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Prepare your home

Sensual blitz

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House hunters can only go on what their heart, head and senses tell them. Your home may be exactly the right size and in the right area for a buyer, but if they don't like the look, feel and smell of what they are confronted with, it may be enough to put some people off. Why not go through a mental checklist of the senses to see how your home sizes up?

As a result of all the cleaning you've been doing, you should be able to ensure that your prospective buyers can touch anything they like in your home, without having to go away and disinfect themselves afterwards.

If it is winter, have the heating on. Nobody will feel that welcomed by a freezing cold home. If you have a fire, light it up. Unless it's the middle of summer and 75 degrees outside. Lighting a fire in this sort of weather not only is a waste of fuel, but it also makes you look rather odd. In the summer, try to make the property as airy as possible, by opening the windows. Hot stuffy rooms will not be all that appealing.

You can even surprise them by bringing their taste buds into the equation, with some wine, or other drinks and snacks to enjoy whilst they look at your house.

Again, the repairs, redecoration, cleaning and tidying that you have done should ensure that the house is visually appealing. A couple of other points though:

  • Make sure that the house is well lit. If it is a little gloomy outside, or your house is not naturally well lit, leave the lights on.
  • Have some freshly cut flowers around the house. These can add colour and life, but they must be fresh - dried up dead brown droopy daisies won't have quite the same effect.

Unless you have the most angelic kids in the world, get them out of the way when you have buyers looking at your home. They can be distracting, noisy and irritating. If your spouse also fits this bill, then consider getting a friend round to co-host the viewing instead!

It's generally a good idea to have the TV turned off. A little bit of music in the background in one room of the house can be OK, but only as long as your tastes are not offensive. Gangsta rap could have a bad effect on some buyers…

Lemon fresh in the bathroom, roasted coffee or baking bread in the kitchen are the tips offered by most people. Both can work really well, but some people argue that it's such a well know trick, that some buyers may actually get suspicious.

The stale smell of yesterday's fish and chips will certainly not attract most people to the kitchen, a room that many people see as their favourite in the house. Air freshener spray or bricks are not so good, nor is burning josticks or scented oils immediately before a viewing. They are not to everybody's taste, can be a bit overpowering and may give the impression that you are trying to hide or mask something.

If you do decide to bake bread, make sure that you give the viewers something to eat, otherwise they won't be able to finish the viewing and get home for lunch. Similarly, if you do brew coffee, make sure that you offer them some.

Don't smoke whilst a buyer is viewing a property. Unless of course they are smoking themselves.

Try to keep pets out of the way if possible. You may not notice it because you live with them all the time, but even the cleanest domestic animals smell, which can be off-putting to some buyers. Give them a bath, change their bedding or litter, and buy them a new bowl. The aim is to make them as inconspicuous as possible.

Try to make sure that the animals are not around when the viewings are taking place. Arrange for the dog or other pets to be with friends and put the cat outside.

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