We’ve all heard it before that first impressions count the most. Which is why, when having your home open or preparing your home for a private viewing, you only get one chance to make that first impression. So make it count.

So where do you start, I hear you ask. Start at the front of the home. Street appeal and the entrance to the property are either going to get the buyers in the door or turn them off. From photos used for marketing to attract online enquiry to prospective purchasers doing a drive by, this is a key area that needs attention. Hot summers means dry lawns so get those sprinklers to work and get the grass looking nice and green. Gardens, mulch and nicely trimmed plants and shrubs, along with de-cobwebbing are key factors.

Then entering the house, make sure all the lights are on in the property, curtains and blinds are open and even open some windows to allow a fresh breeze through. There is nothing like a smelly odour to send someone rushing out the door. I once remember entering a home for an inspection to find food had gone off in the fridge because the power had been out for a while. The buyer was driving off before I could shut the front door and you guessed it, they certainly didn’t buy the house. A useful tip is to use air refreshers, candles, flowers or scents – but don’t make them too overpowering.

You want to be able to move through the house and not feel like you’re in a jungle. So de-clutter, pack up toys and create as much space as possible. Of course, people and their kids have to live, but consider packing some items away in boxes or hiring a storage unit to store them. On the flip side, if your house is empty, consider hiring some furniture and staging – we’ve sold numerous properties thanks to some clever staging. Kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms are key areas, so make sure beds are made, ovens cleaned dishes away and bathrooms and toilets are clean, neat and tidy.

And what should you do if you have pets? The answer is simple. Make sure they are not at the property when buyers are inspecting. And clean up animal waste. No one wants to be dodging the landmines in the backyard, not even the lawnmower man. Not everyone is a dog, or a cat person so arrange for them to be somewhere else for an hour. It can really make a difference between a buyer being comfortable and you not getting a sale.

So, while the above may seem like common sense, I can tell you from experience that if you don’t do the above, you won’t get top market price and the likelihood is that you’ll be on the market a lot longer. So for a bit of time, energy and elbow grease it’s well worth going to the effort! For further tips and advice, feel free to contact the Merrifield team.