Our cold, wet winters brings their own set of issues to consider when preparing a home for viewings, so we have compiled a ‘Top 10’ to help sellers make the most of their home for a sale this season:
1. Make sure all the curtains and blinds are open to allow in as much light as possible and try to arrange viewings in daylight hours rather than in the dark – take advantage of your agent providing accompanied viewings, especially if you’re out at work during the day.
2. Turn all the lights on for viewings - even in cupboards and garages - and make sure you have a stock of bulbs so they can be immediately replaced. If you have garden lighting, switch it on at dusk for a welcoming glow and so the ‘For Sale’ sign is easy for passers-by to see.
3. Make sure there is parking close by – potential buyers won’t want to walk any further than they have to in the cold weather!
4. Make sure hallways and entrances in particular are kept clean and tidy – put away the family’s winter coats, scarves, hats and gloves, provide a rug or seat for viewers to easily wipe or remove their shoes and boots and keep the floor clean from any mud or residue from wet shoes.
5. Windows are mostly left closed when it’s cold, which allows odours to develop and linger more easily, so try to restrict pets to certain rooms, avoid cooking dishes such as fish the day before a viewing and clean more often as dust settles more quickly. It may sound like a cliché but the smell of bread baking or a stew cooking is lovely and fresh flowers or plants can add colour as well as a wonderful scent.
6. Maintain a comfortable indoor temperature – not too hot as buyers are likely to keep their coats on during viewings. If you have an open fire, light it for a warm, welcoming feel. Empty properties can become prone to condensation mould and burst pipes at this time of year so an amount of heat and ventilation is paramount; clean out and keep clear any corners or alcoves showing signs of condensation mould to allow it to dry properly.
7. Offer potential buyers a warm drink – this encourages them to stay for longer, makes them feel comfortable, particularly on a cold day, and allows them to get a real feel for the property.
8. Keep gardens tidy, make sure paths and steps are kept clear of snow and ice for easy entry and keep paths, patios, greenhouses and decking clear of green algae and moss, which can build up at this time of year. Also, repair any storm or weather damage as soon as possible
And make the most of time spent indoors on cold, wet days:
9. De-clutter to make your home feel bigger. Box up some of your favourite knick-knacks and either give old items to charity or make extra money by selling unwanted items in the local newspaper, by auction or on classifieds web sites such as Gumtree or Preloved
10. And do some easy DIY jobs - give tired rooms a new lease of life with a lick of paint or replace mouldy old sealant in kitchens or bathrooms for those all-important fresh finishing touches.