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Prepare your home for a viewing

Opening your home to the world can be a little daunting — we get it. What are buyers looking for when they view a home? Where should you put your time and energy when getting your home ready to view?

There’s a lot to think about, but don’t worry. We’ve been here before — in fact, we’ve been here a lot. Even though many viewings have moved online in the COVID-era, you still want your home to look its best when potential buyers come through the door. This house viewing guide will talk you through everything you need to know about how to prepare your home for a viewing. 

Things to pay attention to before a viewing

1. Drive-by appeal

They say you only have one chance to make a first impression — and that’s certainly true when it comes to showing your home. 

Make sure that any front garden or drive is tidy to help make a strong first impression. If you live in a flat and have a communal entryway, make sure that’s neat and clean. It’s great to go for a “wow” factor, but at the very least it should definitely be free from dirt and distractions. 

2. Natural light

Most people don’t think too much about the light in their home — especially if they’ve been living there a long time — but buyers have said that natural light is one of the most important things they look for in a home

Little changes can maximize the light you already have. Make sure the windows are clean, add mirrors or reflective surfaces and greenery where you can, and make sure any artificial light isn’t too overbearing. 

Swapping out bright light bulbs for something softer can help complement the natural light, rather than overwhelming it. 

A lot of house viewing guides focus on what you need to do as a seller, but at Strike we think it’s helpful to get into the head of a buyer. "

3. Bathrooms and toilets

Bathrooms and toilets should be clean and tidy — no exceptions. You’d be amazed by how much a dirty sink can turn a buyer off, because it shocks them out of the fantasy of making the home their own. 

Bathrooms and toilets are also an area where a little DIY can go a long way. Putting in a whole new bathroom may not be feasible, but a cheap regrouting job or a lick of paint can really spruce up the space on a budget — and could be worth thousands in the long run. 

4. Living areas

When it comes to preparing your home for a viewing, imagine what you would want out of a living space — tidy but welcoming, clean but warm. A few well-placed blankets or cushions can make a huge difference and clearing up the clutter is a must. This is an area where you might find that viewers linger, so you want it to be looking its best.

Try to let your potential buyers picture themselves living there. You can leave a few personal touches around, but you don't want them to feel overwhelmed.

5. Kitchen

For some people, especially families with kids, the kitchen may end up being the heart of their home — so don’t overlook it.

Again, you may not want to break the bank with a total kitchen makeover right before you move out, but small changes — like painting the cabinets or adding a shelf for pots — can be transformative. 

6. Space and order

One of the most important things buyers say they’re looking for, time and time again, is space. You want to show off your home’s space as much as possible, even if that means faking it a bit. 

Getting rid of things you don’t need will give the illusion of space — if potential buyers see clutter, they’ll assume the home doesn’t have enough storage. 

Vacuum-sealed bags can be a lifesaver — and organization is key. Plus, all of the work you put in now will make it easier when you move. 

7. Garden

Outdoor space is a dealbreaker for a lot of people — especially those with pets or children. In fact, surveys show that a garden can really affect your house price and help you get the most for your home. But 57% of Strike buyers said they would be put off by an overgrown garden, so make sure to show it at its best. 

Make sure the grass is cut and the flowerbeds are neat — and if you have space for lawn furniture, even better. It shows how usable the outdoor space is and can make your entire home feel bigger. 

8. Cupboards and wardrobes

Cupboards and wardrobes are another fake-it-til-you-make-it area. You might not feel like you have enough cupboard space, but you want buyers to feel like there’s plenty. 

Streamlining your wardrobe, hiding away seasonal clothes, or buying clothing organizers to maximize your space can make a huge difference.

9. Home security

Security is high on the list of priorities for many buyers. You should make sure all of the basics are taken care of — the windows lock securely, the front door seems safe. If you have an in-built security system then make sure to refresh yourself on any relevant details. You may also get questions about the safety of the area, so it’s good to keep that in mind. 

10. Know the area 

People love recommendations and they may have questions about transport links, local parks, and schools. And pubs. Never forget the pubs. The power of a local recommendation on a watering hole can go a long way.

Anything you can do to show off the local area and why it makes a great home can be really helpful in giving it that personal touch. People love to feel like a part of a community — especially if they’re moving from further away. 

11. Pets

If you live in a flat, buyers might want to know any restrictions on pets in the building — so make sure to read up on any relevant rules. If you have pets yourself, some buyers might be worried about how that affects the condition of the property. That’s when making sure the house is clean and well-presented (and free from any pet smells) is so important. 

What do people look at when they view a house?

A lot of house viewing guides focus on what you need to do as a seller, but at Strike we think it’s helpful to get into the head of a buyer. In fact, one study put eye-tracking goggles on buyers — which means we know exactly what buyers looked at in a potential home. 

So what were they interested in?

  • Views: 95% headed straight to the windows

  • Storage spaces: 80% snooped into large storage areas, like wardrobes

  • Period features: 75% noticed unique and period features, like fireplaces

  • Ceilings: 70% looked up to get a sense of space

Interestingly, floors and surfaces didn’t draw too much attention, with only about 15% taking the time to look at them closely. 

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It depends. Most people say that between two and four viewings are enough, but a recent survey found that some buyers view a house up to eight times before making an offer. On the other hand, some people make an offer after one viewing.