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Giving a Tour of Your Home to Potential Buyers

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 7 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Home Buyers Prospective Buyers Tour

Most people will often choose to let an estate agent show prospective home buyers around their house and there are some very good reasons for doing that. For example, if you as the seller are giving the tour, prospective buyers are less likely to verbally point out any faults or things they don’t like and they are less inclined to ‘show their hand’ in terms of whether they’re keen on buying it or not.

Also, this has been your ‘home’ and it’s often better to let an estate agent who’s going to be emotionally detached from the property show people around. Buyers will also be more honest and frank to estate agents too which will enable them to give you feedback as to the strengths and weaknesses of your property.

However, if you do choose to give the ‘guided tour’ yourself, there are a number of things you should remember.

Welcome The Viewers…Then Leave!

The most important aspect of any house viewing is to let the prospective buyer have space and freedom in which they can consider their thoughts and, more importantly if it’s a couple viewing, they need to be able to discuss potential advantages and drawbacks which they’re not going to do if you are present.

Therefore, you should welcome them into your home and it’s perfectly acceptable to ask them if they’d like a drink and make general ‘chit-chat’ in, say, the kitchen or front room for a few minutes. However, at that point, you should tell them that you’ll leave them to look around and will be back in half an hour or so.

You could perhaps wait outside in your car or visit your next door neighbour during this time but the important thing is to give the prospective buyers space to consider the property and to discuss things with a partner, if they have one.

Upon Your Return

When you return, you should ask the viewers if they’ve got any questions and be prepared to answer anything you might be asked. If questions relate to certain features in a particular room, you can then accompany the viewers to the room in question, if that’s relevant.

If you have an extremely large property with lots of different rooms and annexes, for example, you could accompany the viewers and give them the guided tour yourself to save them from getting lost or confused. Here again, however, this will not enable them to discuss the potential for buying given your presence and it’s often best left for an estate agent to show them around.

However in most cases, if we’re talking relatively few rooms, there’s no need to say, “The bathroom’s upstairs and it’s the first on your left”, for example. They’ll soon figure that out for themselves.

Selling The ‘Dream’ Without Being Present

Many people might think that if they’re not present to show the buyers around, how can they ‘market’ their home to them and accentuate its appeal. However, that should all be done prior to the visit.

Apart from ensuring your home has been cleaned thoroughly, any decoration has been done and that the house smells fresh, you can actually ‘sell’ the concept of the property as a potential home to buyers by doing the following:

  • Make sure the temperature inside is neither too hot nor too cold. If it is cold and you have a fireplace, light a fire. It’ll make your house seem more ‘homely’
  • It’s important the house smells fresh but try to achieve that more by opening more windows than using heavy plug in scent fresheners
  • Promote brightness. If rooms seem dark, turn the lights on, even in daytime and open all the curtains and blinds
  • Use sensuous materials for any throws or cushions you use
  • If you have a garden and it’s winter, leave some photographs strategically placed of how it looks in summer time
  • Keep wardrobes and cupboards neat and tidy to promote the fact that there is ample storage space
  • Pay close attention to the cleanliness, tidiness and hygiene of your bathroom and kitchen, in particular

Of course, some people do not like the idea of leaving the house to complete strangers to look around without being present so a good compromise is often to let an estate agent show any prospective buyers around whilst you wait in the garden or garage, maybe, so that you’re still on hand to answer any specific questions after the tour is over.

Remember, whilst it’s important to accentuate the positive if you’re asked, everybody’s tastes are different so don’t get too carried away in drawing attention to a particular feature as it may just be the one feature the prospective buyer doesn’t like at all.

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