With your decision to sell comes the challenge of making your property stand out from the crowd. This means making it as attractive as possible to potential buyers. Property viewings happen in one of two ways – either by a private viewing appointment or on a public show day. Either way, there’s much to do ahead of any viewing, and most of that work happens even before your property goes up for sale and is listed.

Getting the home picture perfect

Ahead of advertising your property for sale, your agent will arrange to have listing photographs taken. You’ll want your property to be in tip-top shape for this because the buying process starts when a buyer looks at the listing photos online. The home needs to be picture perfect before a photographer comes around to take the listing photos.

Ideally, what the buyer sees in those listing photographs must entice them to want to see the home in person. As a seller, the starting point is to take a step away from the property. Try not to see it as your home – rather view it through a buyer’s critical eyes. Look for any maintenance issues that you might have been putting off, for example:

  • chipped paint and rooms that need repainting – especially the ceilings
  • fittings that are neither trendy, antique, nor retro – just outdated
  • doors and cupboards that don’t close (or open) properly
  • any other damaged or broken bits that need repairing

Then, head outside the property and take a hard, cold look at:

  • the roof and gutters – do they need cleaning?
  • The entrance – is it uncluttered and inviting?
  • The garden – is it neat, pretty and tidy?

Your answers to these questions are clues to what you must do to make a good impression on buyers. These minor upgrades could potentially affect the price your property could ultimately realise.

A house versus a home

When we put our homes on the market, we must remember that a prospective buyer is looking for a house to turn into their new forever home. Simple, clean lines and mostly neutral colours work best. This means decluttering and putting granny’s mementoes, and the happy snaps of your trip to Timbuktu, out of sight. These simple strategies help your house “speak” to the potential buyer who can begin to imagine themselves – and their things – in that space.

Tips on how to prepare for a viewing appointment

We have prepared a useful checklist for you to go through before a potential buyer arrives at the property. It’s not short, but doing all these things will show off your property to the best possible advantage:

Outside and in the garden

  • Sweep the path and driveways, weed the garden, and rake up leaves.
  • Check for litter or other nasties on the pavement outside your property.
  • Scoop up all the pet poop and dispose of it.
  • Empty the post box.
  • Sweep the stoep and any outdoor patio areas and make sure that the braai – if you have one – is clean.

    Inside the house

    • Dust, vacuum and mop the floors.
    • Empty the dustbins and remove any other garbage.
    • Spray room freshener and/or bake a cake, bread or scones so that the glorious aroma permeates the house.
    • Let in as much light as possible by lifting all the blinds, opening the curtains and turning on the lights in dark corners.
    • Clean the toilets and bathrooms and put out fresh towels.
    • In the kitchen, wash and pack away any dirty dishes and clean the stove and all the surfaces. This
    • includes taking down the important school (and other) notices on the fridge.
    • Make the beds, tidy the bedrooms. Put away run-away socks and any other laundry.
    • Lock up your valuables.

    A last thought: be careful about just stashing stuff into the nearest cupboard. No matter how much we like to think it doesn’t happen, buyers do open cupboards. The last thing anybody needs is the contents of a cupboard crashing down on a prospective buyer!

    In a nutshell, the more a seller can do to make a property for sale as appealing as possible, the better. Your RE/MAX agent will guide you throughout the process and will let you know what needs to be addressed before the home is listed. Following their advice can help you enjoy a much smoother process when selling your home.

    Have more unanswered questions? Here are some related questions – and answers – that might help…

    How long do most house showings take?

    How long a prospective buyer takes to view a property that’s for sale depends on multiple factors. Some buyers can be in and out in half an hour or less, while others take as much as an hour or more. Some of this will depend on the size of the property which has an impact on the time it takes to view it properly. It also depends on how serious the buyer is and how interested they are in the home.

    What do you need to do for a show house?

    To host a show house – one that’s open to the public – work through a RE/MAX agent to get everything in order. It must be listed as a property for sale and advertised as on show on a particular day and during a specific time. Your agent will be present and show the home to any prospective buyers who view your house on the show day. It is preferrable for the sellers to be away from home that day.

    What time of day is best to show a house?

    The best time of day to show a house can be whenever the prospective buyer would like to view it. But, to best showcase the home, the best time is usually in the middle of a gloriously sunny day, and when everything is light and bright, showing the property off to its best advantage.

    For more in-depth answers to these questions, please reach out to your nearest RE/MAX Office for some free advice.