When we view a property that could potentially become our new home, many of us like to believe we think and act rationally, making astute decisions based on investment potential and level-headed things such as proximity to schools, and so on.
However, we humans are far more emotional than we like to think, even when making important decisions where hundreds of thousands of pounds are on the table. We are led by how homes ‘make us feel’. The heart usually trumps the head.
As homesellers, it’s important to remember how emotional buyers are because, if we can create an emotionally invigorating experience for viewers, we’re far more likely to attract a timely and generous offer. The fastest route to our emotions is, of course, our five senses, so here is a very quick overview of how to appeal to all 5 senses when trying to sell your home.
If your home has an unpleasant odour, buyers will get negative vibes the instant they walk in. The job is simple, replace any potentially off-putting smells with delicious ones.
If you have pets, make sure you have air fresheners dotted around the home – as pet owners, we can get used to their smell, not realising what it’s like for visitors.
If you have teenagers, open the windows of their bedrooms. For the love of god, let in some air.
Be careful not to replace one very strong smell with another, though. Try and create a sense of freshness by avoiding heavy, perfumed aromas such as potpourri. Such smells appeal to very specific tastes, it’s better to keep things neutral and mountain-fresh.
Get rid of clutter and mess. Remove it all from the line of sight. Mess is unattractive and can be stressful for many people. Furthermore, it makes your home look smaller than it is and makes it difficult for potential buyers to envision their life in the space.
You need to strike a balance between showing that it can be a warm, welcoming home while also offering a blank canvas for viewers to imagine their lives onto. Easier said than done, but removing unnecessary clutter is a must.
If viewers are coming during daylight hours, open all of the curtains. If they come during dark hours, it’s essential to get the lighting right. Not too bright – please, no overhead lighting anywhere other than the kitchen and bathroom – but not too dark. Use table lamps and upright lighting that can be positioned and plugged in wherever necessary.
This is about removing sounds as much as it is adding them. If, for example, you can hear traffic from the bedroom, make sure the windows are closed when people are viewing. While they’re unlikely to be fooled, they are going to be given peace of mind that, despite being able to see the main road from the bedroom, they’re not going to be woken up by traffic every morning. If the window is open when they first go into the bedroom, it’s going to be hard for them to shake the memory of hearing cars whizzing by.
Leave the radio on in one room, making sure to pick a mainstream station. Not loud, but audible. As your guests explore your home, room to room, the comforting sound will gently travel with them and is often better than complete silence.
Touch is not a sense that plays a central role in homebuying, but it is definitely worth thinking about. People tend to run their fingers across surfaces and furnishings as they explore a home, much like they do when mooching around a department store (when there isn’t a pandemic).
You can create an almost subconscious sense of luxury and comfort by throwing soft blankets over the back of the sofa, or fresh sheets on the beds. But equally important is dust. Be vigilant and rid your home of dust. You don’t want potential buyers running their fingers across the mantelpiece and being left with thick dust on their hands. It’s just not nice.
Taste is a tricky one. In fact, we’re pretty much talking about all-out bribery when it comes to taste.
If you know you’ve got viewers coming over, you can have some sweet or savoury treats waiting for them such as a biscuit, cake, scone, whatever you like. If nothing else, providing a snack like this slows a viewing down, forces people to stop for a moment and savour the snack and house around them rather than dashing from room to room without stopping to think or take it all in.
You’d be surprised how much of a positive effect this can have, creating a sudden sense of ease despite being a stranger in the house. Sometimes, bribery works.
Equally important, however, is the process of building a good relationship with potential buyers. If they go on to make an offer, being on good terms with each other makes the wholesale process much less stressful.