Tag Archives: viewers

A fireplace with a kettle above it

A fireplace with a kettle above it

Do you have a real fire? At this time of year, you may not want to spend the time or effort lighting it for viewings. Not to mention the mess….. Try this instead: clean out the grate, then fill it with chunky church candles. Light them for viewings, and hey presto: instant lifestyle, warmth and atmosphere.

No mess.


If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

Drawer with glass candle and decorations on top of it.

If you’re selling your home and have children, have you considered their impact on your home viewings? As much as you love your little ones, there are a few things you need to consider when selling up.

Noise and clamour. If there are people over viewing your home, the last thing they want is to be interrupted by screaming children. Yes, children make noise, but it will dampen a home viewing and could leave viewers feeling negative. Ideally get the children babysat during viewing times, or have your partner take them out.

Toys and clutter. No one likes to see clutter during a home viewing. Your home might be lovely and tidy in the majority of the space, but with piles of toys elsewhere mid-use, and Lego pieces lying around to get caught under shoes, it can make a space look smaller.

Lifestyle. We’ve talked about it before; buyers are buying into a home’s lifestyle. If your viewers are a couple with children, they might appreciate a child centred home. People without however, can sometimes lack the imagination needed to see past the Batman duvet and picture their private study. Try to make any children’s spaces as tidy and neat as possible, and put the toys in a wardrobe to have a clear floor.

Pink. Magnolia sells, deep pink walls don’t. Explain to your little ones that you’ll paint their new bedroom pink/with Superman wallpaper in the new house, but for now the walls need to be painted for the new buyers. Your house well sell quicker.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch

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Sometimes it seems that every weekend sees you tidying, vacuuming and getting rid of the dogs yet again, but come Monday, it’s the same old story – they aren’t interested. I spoke to a gentleman recently who had had 30 viewings on his house over only a three month period, but not only had no one offered on the house, not a single viewer had booked a second viewing. Statistically, we know that a house sells on average after around 15 viewings, but during this time, there should be at least 2 or 3 second viewings, and usually a low offer or two. So after 30 viewings, this gentleman should have had say, 5 second viewings and three offers, of which the last should have been high enough for him to accept. Something is clearly not right – but what?

  • The marketing materials could be misleading. Perhaps the wrong aspects of the house are being promoted, such as a photograph of the back of the house used as the leading image; a very wide-angled lens used in property photography can make small rooms look vast, or maybe an important feature, such as the fact that the house is next to a school or has no garden, has not been mentioned in the description at all. Your marketing materials (brochure, online advert, photography) all need to be flattering, but not misleading.
  • Maybe your agent is being over-enthusiastic, and pressing everyone, no matter how unsuitable, to come to view. Be selective – only allow viewers who are in a position to actually buy the house, so then even if you have less buyers wanting to view, at least your viewings will all be of a high quality.
  • Make sure that your agent is seeking full and frank feedback from your viewers. A comment of “not for us” is not helpful. Impress upon him the importance of being aware of any issues, particularly those which you can do something about.
  • Engage a home stager. A professional expert with a dispassionate viewpoint can often identify problems that are easy and inexpensive to rectify. A beautifully presented home that has been staged especially for photography and viewings will set you head and shoulders above the competition.

Too many viewings is a much easier problem to deal with than no viewings, and is a positive measure of how many buyers are looking for a property of your type, location and price range. Now all you need to do is attract that one viewer who actually wants to buy your house!

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

A fabric sofa, a wooden table, a plain colour floor and a window overlooking the next room

I once went to view a property on behalf of a client; a lovely little cottage in Cheshire at £350,000.  When I arrived with a colleague, the front door was wide open and the viewing ‘rep’ was standing in the kitchen, reading the paper.  At sixty-plus, he looked like a homeless person, or at least someone who was down on his luck. Unshaven and dishevelled, our first impressions were less than favourable.

It got worse. He didn’t even look up when we rang the doorbell, but just called at us to come in.  In fact, he didn’t look up from his paper during our whole viewing, but instead left us to look around the cottage by ourselves.  Even when we went to the back door and rattled it, looking for the key, he completely ignored us, only muttering “bye” as we left.

Appalled by the lack of care he had displayed with the seller’s cottage, I called the estate agent’s office and told the manageress what had happened.  Her response left me stunned, to say the least.  She said, and I quote, “He’s not there to sell you the house”.

“So what on earth is he there for?” I asked, genuinely confused.

“His job is just to open the door” came her reply.

I put the phone down. And closed my mouth.

What would their client think?

What would the seller have said if she’d heard our conversation?  If she’d known that he couldn’t even be bothered to find the back door key for me?  Or the fact that we were left completely unsupervised to roam around this poor lady’s cottage, without a thought for the security of her possessions?

At my agency, AshdownJones, we place viewings at the top of our services, and given them maximum priority. After all, this is where the rubber meets the road – the offers are generated. Which is actually the point of an estate agent.

Phil, my co-director, put a new property on Rightmove this week. Within an hour, a couple called from York, some 2.5 hours’ drive away, asking how soon could they see it? Phil shuffled round his diary, and set off to the house, an hour from our office.  It was a two hour viewing. Because we’d sat with the owners for hours discovering all we could about the house, he knew all the answers. In that two hour viewing, those people from York made an asking price offer.

How would other agents have handled that request, do you think? Would they have sent a director out of the office for four hours to do everything he could to ensure the outcome was the best for everyone?

Imagine if he’d been a ‘door opener’, like our friend in Cheshire. What are the chances he could have produced an asking price offer within hours of the property being available?

It’s an estate agent’s job to show your home

Estate agents need to realise their purpose at a viewing – whether it is a director, the manager, or a lowly viewing rep – is to sell the house. They do this by engaging the viewer, answering questions, and helping those buyers come to the right decision for them.

I work with independent estate agents all over the UK, and can probably recommend one in your area. Just tell me a few details about your home here, and if I think I could help you, I’ll be in touch.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.


Dining room and a table with a flower vase on top

Downsizing isn’t the most seductive word. In a society that values progression and achievement, ‘down’ has a sense of backwardness; it’s a term that’s always blemished with some sort of compromise. And no one really like compromise. But what if downsizing is actually a step forward? Let’s explore what it really means to downsize, and reposition it as a new opportunity, and an enviable new start.

Listen to the beat

Hear that? It’s a gentle metronome, and if you listen closely, it’ll stop its familiar patter when it’s the right time to switch up the tempo, and get moving. Maybe you’re planning to retire, or maybe you’re ready to wake to the sound of the sea. But when do you take the plunge, and make ‘one day’, today? The truth is, that gentle metronome will keep on ticking in perfect intervals, and only you can alter its rhythm. There probably is no ‘right’ time to move, but you can control the patter, and you can switch up the metronome’s beat.

A new dance

Okay, maybe dancing isn’t your thing, but this is all about embracing an opportunity. Watching your youngest flee the nest can be hard; you’re proud of their newfound independence, and you’re excited for their adventures ahead. But with the change comes a sense of loss too. Here you have two options: to sit still and watch your child enjoy their next dance, or to get up and jive alongside them too. A change in your life simply means a new start. A next dance. And this time, you take the lead.

Without children in tow, you don’t need to consider school catchments, and you don’t need to sacrifice a peaceful conservatory for a stuffy home office. In short, you don’t need to compromise. For once, you don’t need to consider the needs of a brood. Being selective and indulgent is a luxury, and what if that luxury could make you time too?

Shake the duster

A smaller home means fewer rooms to maintain. It probably means a smaller garden too. Reduced upkeep frees up time, and allows you to enjoy doing the things you actually want to do. Your home choice no longer needs to be restricted by functional, practical considerations; and those necessary yet clinical box bedrooms can be substituted for idyllic cottage charm. Yes – there might be less rooms, but each beam tells a story, and the character oozing from each sloping ceiling makes you smile. The grandchildren love the whistley kettle and creaky stairs too.

Money, money, money

An oversized mortgage weighs heavy, and freeing up cash is the fastest way to enjoy your time. Fancy travelling more? Maybe you have family overseas, or maybe you just want to explore a little more. What’s more important: spending time cleaning unused rooms, or spending time with your grandchildren? A smaller house means you’ll have friendlier bills, and any surplus can be enjoyed with family.

Downsizing doesn’t mean less; in fact, it means enjoying more of what makes you happy, and losing anything weighing you down. Scaling down your priorities, and creating an everyday that makes you smile, is uplifting. A comfortable everyday is what brings happiness, and with downsizing comes more choice, time and money. And doesn’t that sound appealing?

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.


Your home is for sale, and you have a viewing booked. How exciting! Let’s make sure your home looks amazing and seduces your viewer, so that they turn into a buyer.

Check out our 7 steps to wow your viewer:

1. Clean and clear – buyers judge room sizes by how much floor space they can see, and in the kitchen – how much work surface.  Get rid of anything that doesn’t add to the presentation, and that could be distracting to a viewer.  If you’re short of time, grab a washing basket and walk around your house, gathering up anything that shouldn’t be there. Stick it in your car until after the viewing when you have time to sort it out!

2. Get rid of kids and dogs – you’ll feel much more relaxed if you and your viewer have the house to yourselves, and so will they. You can focus on what to say about each room, and the best order to show your home without a child tugging at your leg, or your dog sniffing your guest inappropriately.

3. Freshen up – open windows to let some fresh air in, especially if you have pets, and definitely if you are partial to spicy food. Don’t make the house cold though, it shouldn’t feel chilly as you walk round.

4. Light lamps – take a leaf out of developers’ books, where their showhomes have all the lights on, all the year round. Usually, table lamps are enough to add a cosy glow, and underlighting in the kitchen if you have it.

5. Bedding and towels both need to be freshly laundered. If you’re a busy household with little time to spare, consider keeping a duvet ready dressed with a clean cover to simply pop over each bed just before a viewing. Same with towels – keep some hidden in the airing cupboard just for viewings.

6. Beautifully scented – scented candles and room sprays will make sure your home smells beautiful; just don’t overdo it! Your home should smell subtly fragrant.

7. Finishing touches – if you have time, fill vases with flowers, or simply with some pretty foliage from the garden.  Pop some relaxing music on low, and get your best smile ready.

Whether it’s your first viewing, or your fifty-first, making sure your viewer feels like the VIP they are is super important if you want to get an offer. Giving them the best experience of your home will make them feel important and relaxed, and so in the positive and happy frame of mind to make an offer to buy your house, and not anyone else’s!

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

An outdoor scenery of a house with trees and a brick stone wall and stair

Your for sale board is probably the most important part of your marketing campaign when you are selling your house. It shows your neighbours that your house is for sale, and they will naturally tell anyone they think might be interested in buying in the area. Not only that, but if you’re thinking of moving to an area, the first thing most people do is to have a drive around, looking for sale boards. In fact, some research shows that for every viewing that is booked, there are at least ten prospective buyers that simple drive fast, and discount your house.

If the for sale board is so important, why on earth aren’t agents using them more effectively? My advice is to take matters into your own hands and take some positive action to help attract more viewers. Here are some innovative and creative ways you can use your for sale board to generate viewings:

  1. Get a photo board – these are great for when your house can’t be seen, or properly appreciated, from the street. Try a photo of the kitchen on one side, and perhaps the view from the garden on the other. There are plenty of companies online that will print it for you, according to your specifications and design, and you can still include your agent’s logo and telephone number.
  2. Print your price on the board – a radical idea this, and one that sellers rarely go for, and that’s why it makes it so effective! Not only will you stand out from the competition, a buyer doesn’t have to risk embarrassing themselves by calling the agent and finding out it’s completely out of their price range. Nor do they have to sit frustrated in their car trying to locate the property online in order to find out the price so they can book a viewing. And if these benefits weren’t enough to persuade you, how about the fact that it will make you seem much more confident about your asking price?!
  3. Display your brochures – buy a brochure holder from somewhere like Staples or Amazon, making sure it has a lid for the rain, and attach it with cable ties to your board, or even your garden gate. Put half a dozen of your property brochures in it, and a little sign inviting people to ‘Please take one!’ You could even add to the note a nice message like “we’re often in and around for impromptu viewings at weekends, so please ring the doorbell if you’d like to take a look”. Well, you want to sell your house don’t you?!
  4. Clean your board – perhaps not so radical, but still very important. An untidy, dirty, unkempt board looks shoddy and will make it seem your house has been on the market for many months. Even if it has, you don’t want your viewers to know that! Clean it up, and if necessary, get your agent to replace it with a new one.
  5. Make it look pretty – imagine it’s a sign to promote a business, and make the ground it sits in look as attractive as possible. Plant some flowers, water and cut the grass, to give your buyer the impression that you care about your home and the way it looks, and also to give your board the attention it deserves!
  6. Make sure it can be seen – think carefully about the best place for your board; is it to the side of your driveway, or in the front garden? Is there a grass verge which it could be fixed into, or would it be more appropriate to put it on your garden gate? Wherever you put it needs to indicate with no possibility of ambiguity, which house is for sale.
  7. Add helpful suggestions – a little addition to your sign saying ‘please park in the drive’ or ‘front door to your left’ could be immensely helpful to your potential buyers, and start the viewing off on the right foot.
  8. Draw attention to your sign – if you have an apple tree, put any superfluous apples in a trug with a sign saying ‘please help yourself’ next to your for sale sign. Or perhaps you have a multitude of daffodils and wouldn’t miss a few bunches; whatever it is, it will create attention and interest at the front of your property, and if you’ve left brochures outside, they could enjoy an apple whilst flicking through your brochure!
  9. Light it up – if your house is in an unlit neighbourhood, perhaps you could angle one of your existing outside lights so your sale board is lit at night. Whilst local by-laws don’t allow for the sign to be lit in its own right, there’s nothing wrong with lighting it as part of your outside lighting scheme.
  10. Add an ‘open house’ sign – have one ready for when you are available, then simply attach it to your sale board (from underneath with hooks like a guest house ‘vacancies’ sign is easiest). After all, if your house is usually tidy and in presentable condition, and you’re in doing some gardening or watching tv, why not let people come and see your house? They might actually buy it!
  11. Get a ‘book board’ – this is something I’ve never actually seen but I’m convinced it would be a great idea! Have the sign manufacturer make you up a board with ‘pages’ – just one or two will be plenty – so that people can actually ‘leaf’ through your board as if it were your brochure. In fact, you could actually replicate your brochure in your sign! Whilst you’re limited to a sale board that doesn’t exceed 24” by 32”, nowhere does the law state you can only have a front and a back. And think of the interest this would create – I bet the local paper would come an interview you – free publicity!
  12. Add your telephone number – yes, another radical idea, but it would save the buyers going through the agent to try to book a viewing, particularly if it’s on a Sunday, or a weekend. Why not seize the moment, and when they call, urge them to come straight round. Many buyers actually try to call the agent from outside the house, and become very quickly frustrated by the agent not answering, not returning the call, or the owner being unavailable. Imagine if they were to call you direct, and you could say “I’ll be home in ten minutes, if you can hang on. When I get there, I’ll put the kettle on for you”. Nice, friendly, helpful, and perhaps a very clever sales strategy.
  13. Brand your board! Ok, not everyone will be able to do this, but for those who can, it could be oh so powerful. So what do I mean by ‘branding your board’? It’s simple! If your home is called ‘Rose Cottage’, decorate your board with roses; if it’s ‘Red Roofs’, paint your signpost red and maybe get an arty family member to make a little red roof for your board; ‘Lark View’? Glue a little model lark to your board. Have fun with it! At the very least, it will create a talking point, and that’s a very good start when you’re selling your home.

Well there you go. I don’t expect you to rush out and do all 13 at once, but even if you tried one or two, you never know where it might lead. And it would certainly make your agent sit up and take notice! Vendors being proactive in their own marketing? Whatever next?!

Happy selling 😮

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

Above a glass table, is a white small bowl with a silver spoon in it placed on a top of two compiled white ceramic plates

Who should show viewers around your house? Over the years, I’ve heard many arguments for and against the homeowner showing their home to potential buyers. There are agents who will always tell a vendor to conduct viewings themselves, saying “you’re the best person to show people round; after all, you know your home better than anyone,” and on the other hand, just as many agents who believe they should accompany every viewer, with the argument “buyers often feel uncomfortable with the seller, as they are unable to say what they really think of the house”. In my view, both are right, but only to a point. Here’s to the Who’s Who of Viewings:

The first viewing on your home should always be accompanied by your estate agent. They are the expert – not in your home, admittedly – but in selling! They are (or should be) trained to listen for buying signals, and respond professionally and skillfully to ensure the buyer feels comfortable and secure enough to share their thoughts and feedback with them. The best course of action, is for you to prepare your home yourself for the viewing: light lamps, ensure the central heating is at the right comfort level, but still leave the house aired, light the fire, and leave it looking absolutely gorgeous whilst still homely. Once you’ve done this, go out! Walk the dog, pop out for dinner, go next door for a coffee: whatever you need to do to make yourself scarce. Leave the agent your mobile number so he can call you once the viewing is over and it’s safe to return.

On a second viewing, it’s good to be there. A couple of exceptions to this rule: if only one of a couple has viewed the first time, then the second viewing is actually a first viewing for one of them, so needs to be treated accordingly. The other rule is much harder to gauge, especially if you’re the seller! If you or your lifestyle is fundamentally different from that of your potential buyer, then it’s best if you keep yourself scarce. For example, if you’re in you’re in your nineties and married, and your viewer is in his twenties, and a bachelor, then there’s no way he will connect with you or the house in any way, other than as a ‘project’, and you can only sabotage that vision.

Otherwise, prepare your home as before, and allow the agent to let the viewers in and to have a look round, unaccompanied if possible. Then, time your return for around twenty minutes or so into the viewing. If they are really serious about buying your house, they will be there at least that long. When you arrive, introduce yourself and shake their hands warmly, then offer to make them a cup of tea or coffee, adding that you’re making one yourself. It’s a good idea to have a prior agreement with your agent that if this part of the viewing is going well, they should actually make themselves scarce, perhaps leaving to go to another viewing. Then you can settle down to focus on building rapport with your potential buyers, and answering any questions they may have with interest and enthusiasm. As they leave, again shake their hands warmly, and let them know they can contact you at any time with any further questions.

All being well, your viewers may at this point put an offer in. If they have met you, they are much less likely to make a very low offer! Human nature and our traditional English reserve will usually mean that it is just too embarrassing to risk the possibility of causing offence to a seller you have met, by submitting a potentially insulting offer. Meeting your buyers will also help to ensure that negotiations start on the right footing, will consideration and respect on either side, and a genuine motivation to find a middle ground acceptable to both parties.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

Most sellers who call us have had experiences at least as traumatic as this:

On the other hand, with our help, it could look more like this……

So – what’s it to be?

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

I hear many reasons against having a for sale board: it’s a security risk; we don’t want our neighbours to know; we don’t want people to knock on the door, wanting to view; it’s embarrassing to have a board up for months on end. These are all valid reasons, but none outweighs the merits of having a for sale board outside your home, when you’re trying to sell it. Some reports indicate that up to 50% of enquiries originate from a for sale board, and in a difficult market, that’s a statistic you just can’t afford to ignore. Even if your house is down a no through road, or considerably off the beaten track, you should not take the risk of missing out on even the smallest number of potential buyers that might see it.

Whilst your home is on the market, it’s vital to keep it looking good. If the wind blows it slightly askew, make sure you straighten it without delay, or ask your agent to arrange this. If the board that is erected for you is considerably past its best, and looking tatty, then don’t accept it: ask for a new one to be put up. Keeping it clean and straight is a subtle but strong indication to a buyer that you value the way your home is presented, and they will subconsciously acknowledge this.

Clever ways of using your for sale board:

  • Put your price on your board.

This is a bold move, and it’s rare a seller tries it. However, if you are on a busy thoroughfare, or maybe in a popular village, putting your asking price on your for sale board can really bring in the enquiries. Otherwise, when an interested buyer sees your house is for sale, they have to do the research themselves to discover whether or not it is affordable to them. This may involve a call to the agent, searching on their mobile, or remembering until they have access to the internet, to look for your house online. These all have the potential elements of delay and frustrations, whereas if the buyer can see straight away the price your home is for sale at, the only step they need to make is to call the agent to book a viewing. More simple, direct, and less susceptible to anything going wrong.

  • Attach a brochure holder.

Wouldn’t it be lovely for a potential buyer, if whilst walking or driving past your house, he could stop and pick up a brochure? So right at the point of his initial interest, his desire to find out more about your house is fulfilled immediately. He can sit in his car or pause a while on his walk, to take a look through your brochure, and decide whether or not to take the next short step to book a viewing.

  • Have a unique sign.

There are some sign companies that will create for you a bespoke sign. This could include photographs of your house and garden, and even be constructed like a book, with opening “pages”. This gives the seller the opportunity to ensure that all the best aspects of his home can be ascertained from his sale board, without relying on the buyer to take the necessary steps to find out this information for himself. One example of this is below, where the kitchen is featured. This can be really eye-catching!

In a nutshell, your for sale board could be your biggest and most effective marketing tool, so use it to its best advantage, to make sure that everyone knows your home is on the market, and to lure those buyers to view.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.