The psychology of selling a home.

More and more people are deciding to save themselves several thousands of pounds by not going down the traditional local estate agent route by choosing to sell for as little as £500 using an online agency. How to do this and why you don’t need an estate agent.   As a result most people will need to be aware of the “psychology of selling” when showing  potential buyers around their home and follow a few easy tips to help sell their home.   

High street estate agencies rely on the fact that most people do not conduct viewings very well and do not know the tell-tale signs that buyers can give out.   Even worse, some owners do not even prepare their property to show it at its best and maximise the chances of an early sale at the best possible price. Phil Spencer’s TV programme Secret Agent is based on this.  

Viewings 1But by using simple psychology there are many things that sellers can do to virtually double the chance of a successful sale. Even though most are common sense and somewhat obvious, hardly anyone does them, so you can use this to your advantage to give you the edge over similar properties on the market in your area. 

Arranging viewings

This will be the first contact you will have with your potential buyer. It is important to be bright and cheerful and try to get into a conversation. If the caller asks specific questions about the home be honest and truthful, but be concise and never give anything extra as this may bias their opinion of your home before they have even set eyes on it. 

Try to arrange the viewing some time during the day, at a time perhaps when there will be fewer people at home.  Try to find out how many will be viewing and make a definite appointment.  Make a note of their name and the time and date of the viewing and be accommodating.  Make sure you give the buyer clear directions on how to get to your home, where to park and perhaps landmarks to watch out for on the way.  Include your postcode for use with a SatNav. 

First impressions count – kerb appeal

Front doorIf the buyer is not impressed with your home in the first few seconds of walking up to your front door, there will be nothing you can do to convince them to make an offer, no matter how fantastic the inside of your house is, their minds will already be negatively focused. Conversely, if they like what they see you are well on the way to selling your home!


  • Make sure your front garden is a tidy as possible.
  • Prune any trees, cut any hedges and make sure the path clean and free of all weeds and mildew.
  • If possible, plant some bedding plants to provide a bit of colour.
  • Sprinkle some Sulphate of Ammonia on your lawns. In just a day (after watering in) it will turn your patchy grass into a perfect green lawn. Be sure to cut it regularly to maintain the attractive stripe effect.
  • Pay particular attention to your front door. Clean it and re paint it if necessary. Polish any brass or chrome to make it look brand new, because buyers can and do judge the house on their initial impression of the front door.
  • Clean all the windows and wash down external paintwork.
  • If possible remove your car(s) from driveway.
  • To make your gardens look bigger, tie back shrubs and hedges, and put away any swings and slides.
  • Add compost to the flowerbeds. This will show your garden at its best and  hide  any persistent weeds. 
Preparing the home for a viewing

The inside of your home should as clean as it is possible to get it.

  • Get all those little repairs sorted out.
  • Re decorate any rooms with dark colours with a bright neutral shade such as white, light blue, cream or grey.  Just because you like purple or green walls it doesn’t mean everyone else will!  Remember brighter colours make rooms appear bigger!
  • Pay particular attention to the hall area. This is the first part of the inside of your home a buyer will see. Even  a new doormat can make all the difference! 
  • Generally: Remove all unnecessary clutter and also any furniture that does not add to the presentation of a room. The less furniture and clutter, the bigger rooms will appear. Do not have any washing drying inside the home or outside on the washing line! It may be a good idea to remove net curtains, especially if the view is good. It also lets more light into a room. 
  • Bathrooms and toilets: These must be scrupulously clean. Clear away toiletries and toothbrushes from around the bath or window sills. Bleach the toilet, close the lid! and make sure there is a full toilet roll. Polish the taps, baths, basins and mirrors until they shine. Place a vase of cut flowers on the window sill and an unused bar of scented soap in a dish. Be sure to tidy the airing cupboard too as it will be looked at during each viewing. 
  • Bedrooms: Ensure these are tidy, especially children’s rooms. Make the beds well and choose  light coloured bed linen. 
  • Lounge and dining room: Avoid having any items of furniture in the middle of rooms keep them to the edges to create the illusion of more space. Consider removing all but the essential furniture. For example, do you really need six chairs round the dining room table? 
  • Kitchen and Utility rooms: make sure all appliances are turned off especially noisy washing machines! Clear away any dirty dishes. Hobs and cookers must be  spotless. Tidy all the cupboards as potential buyers may open doors to check on storage.  Remove any pet food dishes, pet baskets and the cat litter! 
Just before the viewing
  • Have some drinks ready.
  • If the weather is favourable open the windows.
  • Be sure to heat up your house, especially on a cold day.  Warm but not hot!
  • Turn on all lights in all rooms.
  • Pull back the curtains to get the maximum light into each room.
  • Leave all the doors open again to create the illusion of space.
  • Consider putting cut flowers in all the rooms to give a cheerful impression.
  • Make sure the dustbin is hidden out of view and don’t keep prams and push chairs inside the house.
  • Keep pets out of the way, preferably have them taken somewhere else for the duration of the viewing. 
The door bells rings – (you checked that too didn’t you?)
  • Always welcome your viewers with a big smile and introduce yourself.
  • Call them by their name and offer to take their coats.
  • Offer them a drink and try and get a friendly conversation going to establish a bond.
  • Ideally, only one person should show people around. Start the tour with the most impressive room on the ground floor first. Let your viewers go into the rooms first and stay by the door. Too many people can make a room look smaller and overcrowded. Be sure to point out the best features of each room and include any other general plus points your home has in the overall conversation such as views or the sunny aspect, broadband speed and how economical it is to heat. For each room point out storage space, electrical sockets, and TV and telephone points. 
Body Language

Never under estimate the power and influence of body language.  It is an  overlooked fact that people often make their decision not based on what you say to them but how you act.  Body language is an important aspect of selling a home.  Estate Agents know all the tricks so if you are selling yourself, you do too so follow these rules:

  • Never cover your mouth when you are talking, it’s a sign that you are lying.
  • Always face the person you are talking to and make eye contact.
  • When speaking, spread your arms with palms exposed, as this is a sign of honesty and friendship.
  • Try not to fidget and scratch – it may be interpreted as a sign of impatience.
  • Never fold your arms, it is a sign that you are being defensive, possibly even hostile.
  • Smile at all times.

Once the tour is completed return to the first most attractive room and offer a drink. Ask the viewers if they have any questions and ask whether there is anything they would like to see again. 

You may have to overcome any objections, so it is a good idea to summarise the benefits and tell them why you bought the house. Try to relate your remarks to their circumstances, if they have children you may point out that other children of a similar age live nearby or that the local school is good.  The three main objections are normally:   PRICE   –   LOCATION   –   SIZE    So you will need to have rehearsed you counteractions beforehand.

Price is relatively easy one.  You will have researched the local market and seen what similar properties have sold for when arriving at your price.  You have the local knowledge to justify your home is at a fair price. You could also point out the fixtures and fittings that are included (carpets and curtains) and any other added features such as a conservatory for example.  

Location is a little harder.  You will need to make any negative seem like a positive.  It could be that your home is near a busy road or railway line.  So you can say it has easy access to transport links and public transport.   

Size  you could point out that smaller homes with smaller rooms are cosy and cost less to heat.  They are also easier to maintain and keep clean and tidy. 

Be sure you have answers to hand for factual questions such as:
  • How much does it cost to heat the home?
  • Who are the current energy suppliers?
  • What is the broadband speed?
  • What Council tax band is the house and how much is the Council Tax?
  • What facilities are in the local area?
  • Where are the nearest schools, doctors and dentists?
  • Does the home have any warranties? (double glazing for example.)
  • Who is responsible for the fencing or boundaries?
  • What are the neighbours like?
  • What offer would you consider?
  • Have you found a home? When will the house be available to move in to?

Sold signNow you need a commitment to buy. If the viewer like the house they will probably tell you there and then. But if the viewer tells you they want time to think about it, try to arrange another viewing with them and point out that other people will be coming to view in the meantime. 

If the viewer does not want to buy ask them why. Learn from their observations and any mistakes you may have made for next time. 

Basically, follow this simple advice,  act naturally and be yourself and you won’t go far wrong.

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