Sellers should back their agents

Most home sellers prefer to let the experts take care of advertising and marketing their properties – and estate agents are, indeed, trained for exactly that.

However, says Martin Schultheiss, CEO of the giant Homenet estate agency group, sellers who hand the whole affair over to their chosen agent and then sit back may in fact delay or even scupper a potential transaction.

“Presentation of the home remains the sellers’ job,” he says. “Experienced agents will be in a position to advise their clients on the necessary steps to present the property at its best but all agents need the owner’s co-operation to make it possible.

“Suggestions may include fresh paint, minor repairs, or even something as simple and inexpensive as a few punnets of cheerful annuals for flower boxes or planting pots.

“But the most important contribution that a seller can make is to keep the home in ‘show condition’. A home that is clean and tidy at all times makes an agent’s job of showing the property to prospective buyers much easier.”

Schultheiss suggests that owners de-clutter their homes as a first step. “Non-essential items should be packed away and surfaces should be kept free of bric-a-brac. The aim is to create a backdrop where prospective buyers can envisage their own possessions.”

The second step is to make sure that the house is kept tidy and clean. That means no unwashed dishes stacked in the kitchen or dirty laundry lying around. And it goes without saying that windows, baths and basins, floors and all surfaces should be spotless and gleaming.

“And if you allow pets inside, it is essential to make sure no animal odours linger in the rooms. Other stale or musty odours can also sink a transaction, so make sure the home is aired regularly and smells fresh. But guard against trying to mask unpleasant smells by overdosing with commercial air fresheners – the ‘top notes’ and ‘base notes’ of such a mix might just be too nasty to handle.”

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