When you are preparing your house for sale, you have worked hard to get the place looking pristine.
You have arranged all the ornaments to just the right angle and have the cushions plumped just so. Your house for sale is ready. But this is the time to relax the rules. Let your prospective buyers sit, walk (with shoes on if they whish – if this is not too extreme for you), and set their mug down where they like. If you are hovering in the background with a critical eyebrow-raise and a cloth to wipe up water rings from the coffee table, they may get the impression that you are not quite ready to hand over the keys to your precious home.
Of course, this means that you do have to run around cleaning up and plumping cushions again after each visitor leaves. When the next people arrive, they need to be made feel special and don’t need to be reminded by dirty cups in the sink that they are just one in a string of people (hopefully) coming to view the place.
Another hosting trick that can put you ahead of the game is to learn a little about prospective buyers before they arrive.
This can give you an idea of what to talk about and what might be especially appealing to them about your home or its location. If you learn that their mother tongue is different to yours, you should learn a few words in their language. This really helps a person to feel appreciated. The key ones are obviously “hello”, “thank you” and “goodbye”. If you can manage “Would you like a drink?” that would be very special.
It can also be helpful to know a little bit about their cultural background. Some cultures love to talk and chat, others respect silence. Of course, individuals are individual, but you can be prepared so that you don’t seem disappointed or offended if your efforts at small talk are not reciprocated.
It is challenging to sell at this time of the year but these few simple tips can give you an advantage.
Be ready with the kettle on for tea and hot chocolate or, if you’re feeling really brave, even some mulled wine!
It’s getting cold outside and the children have settled back into a new school year;
perhaps not the optimum time for upping sticks and moving house. Property tends to move slowly as the weather worsens since people feel less inclined to go to viewings and it’s more difficult to see the potential of a beautiful south-facing garden through the dreariness. For many people also a move may involve new schools, a difficult task when the kids are already settled into their existing one. So how can you get an advantage with the people who do want to get unpacked into a new home before Christmas?
When it’s cold outside, you need to make sure your home is warm and cosy on the inside. Have the fire lighting and the heating on. Place a good mat by the front door to control the wet footprints and an umbrella stand to catch the drips. Make sure you have plenty of soft furnishings to make the rooms feel more warm and inviting. Get a big shaggy rug for the sitting room and an extra throw for the sofa. And as always…. ensure there is something baking in the oven!
When it’s dark outside, get it bright inside.
Let in as much light as possible by opening the blinds. Make sure the windows are clean and the low sunshine really shows up any dirt. Turn on all the lights and get some lamps to brighten up any dark corners. You don’t want people squinting to see inside the storage areas either – some strip lights under the kitchen cabinets and inside closets can really help. Mirrors are also helpful in making a place feel bright and airy. Whilst these things may cost a bit it really can make all the difference and the money spent may seem negligible when compared to the overall sale price of the house.
If you have a garden, it can be difficult to make it shine at this time of the year.
But there is no reason you cannot keep it clean and tidy. Sweep the leaves and clear away any deadwood. If there is snow in your part of the world, make sure the footpath is kept clear. You don’t have anything flowering in the garden this time of year (which you can by getting some winter bedding)? Buy a nice colourful pot with something flowering in it to have by the door to give potential buyers the idea that the garden can be beautiful too.
If you are showing people around the house yourself, it is vital to hone your hosting skills. You need to make people feel relaxed and comfortable, as if it is already their own home. Be ready with drinks and snacks and give them space and freedom to roam around at their own pace.
To be continued tomorrow…