When your house is listed for sale, it can feel a little uncomfortable to think that you’ll have strangers coming to look around. It can also be daunting to think that you may have to conduct at least some viewings yourself.
Even the best estate agents will sometimes ask you to conduct a viewing without them, usually to cover out-of-hours viewings or when they get too busy to fit them all in. You don’t want to miss out on a potential buyer, so, when you can, you should eagerly accept.
For one thing, you know your house better than anyone. That means if you take a little time to understand how to do your own house viewings, you may just find you can sell your property much better than any estate agent.
We’ve done lots of our own house viewings over the years. In fact, we enjoy doing them!
So, here’s a few tips that should put your mind at ease. They’ll be particularly useful if you are selling through an online estate agent that doesn’t offer hosted viewings as part of the sales package.
Make Your House Presentable
There are a number of things you can do before a viewing to put your house in the best possible light. Things like tidying up the garden, getting those odd jobs done, putting away the washing, etc can all make your home more inviting.
You can even put some bread in the oven just before a viewer arrives and put some calming music on in the background to make your property feel cosy and relaxing. Make sure you’ve read our guide on how to get higher offers for your property.
Over the years we have sold a few houses and we developed a checklist with things to do before each viewing.
It includes things like turning on/up the heating half an hour before the visit, tidying away anything we don’t want on show, making the bed and switching on all lights.
Especially when you are busy already, it’s easy to forget some of the tasks, so having a checklist can help you to ensure your home is as presentable as possible every time.
Ensure A Warm Welcome
First impressions are extremely important. From the moment your potential buyer pulls up outside, to the moment they leave again, they are judging your property.
They aren’t there to judge you, but your friendliness will have a direct impact on how comfortable they feel in your home. That means you should relax, smile, and give the potential buyer a warm and friendly welcome.
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Make Them Feel At Home
The more ‘at home’ viewers feel when looking around your property, the easier it will be for them to picture themselves living there. And that means the more likely they’ll be to put in an offer.
Don’t be afraid to ask them to take off their shoes. Not only will this help them feel more like they already live there, it will help you keep the property clean for future viewings.
We found most people will ask you if you want them to remove their shoes. Always say yes! It helps show you care about the property even though you’re selling it.
We also found that when we had to ask people to take their shoes off, everyone was more than happy to do so. It’s kind of expected when you visit someone else’s home!
Understand Your Viewers Wishlist
What kind of properties have your viewers been looking at? What are they looking for in a property? Who will be living there?
Your estate agent may be able to get the answers to these questions on your behalf when the viewing is booked.
Failing that, try and drop them into casual conversation with the viewer. Just try not to bombard them with questions as soon as they walk through the door!
Once you know more about your visitors wants and needs, it will become clearer how your property will work for them. This may affect the order in which you show them around the property or the features you point out.
We found that listening to people is just as important as what you say. If someone mentioned they had kids, we’d emphasise the garden space. If they mentioned they worked from home, we’d talk about experiences in working from home at the property.
Start With The Best Part Of The Property
To some degree, the layout of your property will affect the order in which you show people around your house. However, where possible you should try and get people to the best part of your house as quickly as possible.
Got a great view from a bedroom? Start with the upstairs first. Got an amazing feature fireplace in the living room? Take people straight to it.
It’s easier to get people to overlook a negative if they’ve already fallen in love with another part of the house.
In our last house we had an amazing view on our garden from the living room. The living room window was also huge, which meant the room was also very light. So on every house tour we took potential buyers into the living room first.
And the fact that everyone stopped dead and just admired the view for a few moments before commenting on how nice it was, proved that it was the right decision.
We also used that as an opportunity to have a casual chat and try and find out more about why they were moving, what they were looking for, etc.
Most people would also watch the rest of the house and then gravitate back to the living room to have another look at the view. The first impression counts and if you start with a bang, people are more likely to have this in the front of their mind when they see the rest of the house.
To find out which part of your home is the best part, think back at when you viewed the house. What was it that sold the house to you? If you can’t remember because you lived there for such a long time, ask friends and family.
We found that that really helpful, because you get to know how other people see your home. You might even get some more positives that you forgot.
Don’t Be Shy About Mentioning Positives
Most people tend to be a little shy about pointing out the good parts of their home. They don’t want it to seem like boasting or make the viewer feel like they are being sold to.
However, when done correctly, it can be very effective at turning viewings into offers. In fact, you have a better chance of succeeding than your estate agent simply because you know your property better than they do.
So, don’t just tell viewers that “this is the garden” tell them “the garden is south facing so it gets the sun all day, we’ve had some great evenings sat on the patio having a few drinks with friends while watching the sunset.”
You’re not pushing anything on to people, you’re simply pointing out how you’ve enjoyed the space. Think about the parts of your property that you’ve loved the most and think how you can best mention them to viewers.
This can be a bit difficult, because to most people it doesn’t come natural. We found that it helps to walk through the house together and come up with stories that we can tell.
In one of our properties we had a roll top bath, which always got a positive comment. So we would reply by saying something like: “it’s the best place to relax after a bad day at work”.
This will then prompt the potential buyer to imagine themselves enjoying a bath in this roll top bath. If you can get people to do that, they are more likely to make an offer.
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Counter Any Negatives
If a viewer mentions a negative, see if you can counter it. For example, the negative of a kitchen being small may be able to be countered by explaining how a wall could be knocked down to open up the space.
Even if the viewer doesn’t mention a negative, they may still be thinking it.
If you sense a viewer has spotted a negative, counter it with a positive. But, don’t go overboard with negatives as you may point out things people hadn’t otherwise considered.
In our experience, after the first few viewings you get a feeling of what negatives people seeing. Either from what people are saying during the viewing or the feedback they give to the estate agent.
Make sure your estate agent is passing on any feedback to you because it helps you to find positives to any negatives. It might also give you ideas how to lessen the impact of negatives.
In one of the houses we sold, we had a small area for a table in the kitchen. We got quite a few comments about it being quite a small dining space. So we tried to turn the table to make the space around it feel bigger.
And it worked, after that we got fewer comments about it. You can’t make your house perfect for everyone, but by countering the negatives people might see, you can minimise their impact.
Don’t Take Offence
Everybody has their own list of likes and dislikes when it comes to their ideal home. Don’t be offended if someone views your property and doesn’t like everything about it.
It’s natural that some people will find your house doesn’t meet their needs, others will want to change things that you love to make it fit their lifestyle.
This isn’t a slight against you, so don’t take it as one.
On selling our last house we often had comments about the unconventional layout of the property. There wasn’t much we could do to rectify it and it hard worked perfectly for us but we didn’t take those comments personally.
Instead, we made sure we were upfront about the layout on the listing and tried to highlight the positives of the layout that had attracted us in the first place. Still, no one property is right for everyone!
Give Viewers Time Alone
You should always first accompany people around the viewing. This gives you chance to answer any questions, point out the positives of your home, and guide people to the best rooms first.
However, once you’ve finished the ‘grand tour’, tell the viewers that they should feel free to have a wander around on their own if they wish.
It will be much easier for people to picture themselves living there without you shadowing their every move. Just be sure to make sure any valuables are safely locked away.
We always let people look around the house alone after we showed them around. We told them were they can find us, in case they have any questions.
It’s something we always appreciated when looking at houses ourselves, so we know how important it is.
One thing this does is giving the potential buyers the chance to discuss what they would do with each room. Sometimes this can be awkward with the owner in the room. Maybe they want to rip out the whole kitchen or redecorate the bedroom.
And you want them to think of these things, because this shows that they are starting to see themselves living in the house. This is the first step to making an offer.
Answer All Questions
Interested viewers will often ask a lot of questions. This can be a very good sign so never get annoyed and always try and answer the questions the best you can.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, write it down and promise to find out to get back to the viewer as soon as you can.
Don’t forget to ask the viewer if they have any more questions at the end of the viewing and let them know they are welcome to ask you any questions they think of later. Tell them that they can also arrange another viewing if required.
If a buyer asks you a question you are not comfortable of answering (such as those revolving around asking prices or offers), ask them to discuss with your estate agent.
We found that most people ask similar questions. This is quite useful, because it means that if you didn’t know the answer to a question, you can find out and be prepared for next time.
We did this when someone asked a question about the nearby school. We didn’t know the answer at the time as we didn’t have children, but we took the time to find out the answer and let them know after the viewing. The next time the question was asked, we could give an answer straight away!
Selling Is Easier When You Know How To Do Your Own House Viewings!
As you can see, selling your home is not that difficult once you know how to do your own house viewings.
You already know a lot about your property and what makes it a good purchase for the right person. Use that to your advantage and you won’t go far wrong!
It has certainly worked well for us and we always try and do as many viewings as possible ourselves. We sold one property where every viewing we conducted resulted in an offer, whereas none of the viewings the estate did turned into an offer!
This shows how much of a difference knowing how to do your own house viewings can have!