Invest in good photographs
“We’re living in a digital world,” Gibberd points out, noting that many buyers these days have made their minds up about a house before even stepping through the front door – often off the back of a single picture. “Ultimately, you’re selling a lifestyle, and the visual cues within a photograph can make all the difference.” That means snapping a kitschy image with a fish-eye lens is a no-go. Instead, take a more modern approach – capturing the way the light falls into the kitchen or showcasing the house’s proximity to nature. “These sorts of details are what persuade someone that a house could actually be their home.”
Host your own viewings
“No man in a flammable suit going for the hard sell is going to be as convincing as an actual homeowner,” Gibberd emphasises. “It’s reassuring for a buyer to meet someone who can impart knowledge about what it really feels like to live in a space.” That means it’s a good idea to share what you’ve most loved about your home with potential buyers – whether it’s “the robin who appears on a particular tree each morning or a great bakery nearby”.
Timing is key
Make sure that you schedule viewings at the point in the day when your home is at its best. That might be the moment when the natural light is most beautiful or when the traffic outside is at its quietest. It’s also worth bearing in mind what people’s journey to your house will be like. “If you arrange a viewing during rush hour, and someone is stuck in traffic for an hour before getting to you, he or she is going to turn up feeling pretty wound up,” Gibberd explains. In a similar vein, it’s a good idea to be tactical about the point in the year when you put your home on the market. “If your house has a beautiful garden, then it makes sense to sell it when it’s at its peak in the summer,” Gibberd continues. “Equally, if you’ve got a home that’s well suited to families, I would avoid launching it in August – when parents tend to go away during their children’s school holidays.”
Ditch the clutter
“Let the outside of your house speak for itself,” Gibberd advises, including moving any rubbish bins into the garage and parking your car elsewhere – no matter how nice it is. “Cars are quite divisive, and buyers tend to gravitate towards ‘like-minded’ people – meaning there’s a chance your Ferrari could be a turn off.” Inside, you should differentiate between good and bad clutter. Tuck away dishcloths, cables, and the like – and any item that could conceivably rub someone the wrong way. (Gibberd has a strong aversion to Union Jack pillows, for instance.)
Get your paperwork ready
Before you put your house on the market, make sure that you have everything you need admin-wise – down to the right certificate for your boiler – because the longer a transaction drags on, the more likely it is to fall through. “More than a third of sales fall through after an offer has been accepted, and that’s usually because it’s taking too long,” according to Gibberd. “For the same reason, know that hiring a ‘cheap and cheerful’ lawyer for these sorts of transactions is definitely a false economy.”
Consider all five senses
Try to make any viewing as holistically enjoyable as possible. “People’s senses are really heightened when looking at a potential home – trying to imagine themselves living in a space,” Gibberd notes. To begin with, he suggests getting your windows cleaned – which not only makes your house appear smarter, but lets the maximum amount of light in. When it comes to scent, skip the old “fresh bread and coffee” trick and light candles instead. “At the Modern House, we’ve actually developed our own natural beeswax candle, which has a soft honey fragrance,” Gibberd says. “Otherwise putting some cut flowers in a vase is a nice touch.”
Written by Hayley Maitland
This article originally appeared on Vogue UK.