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Why selling your house is like blind speed dating!

Think about how you’d feel and what you would do if you were about to start dating again for the first time in years. How scary is that?! What are the rules? Have things changed since you were last playing the dating game? How would you feel if you’d been set up on a blind date? 

You don’t know who your date is; what they like, or what they don’t like, and they have no idea about you. You don’t know whether you’re going to like them, or whether they’re going to like you. It could be a total disaster, but it could also be a match made in heaven. Who knows!  

So how do you go about attempting to stack the odds in your favour? If you do happen to like your date, how do you make it as likely as possible that they’re going to like you? 

  

It’s all about preparation and probability.

On a first date, you want to look your best, pull out your most appealing behaviour; be polite, attentive, courteous and interesting.  

What you absolutely do not want to do is be a social failure. Don’t be off-putting, rude, dull, or disinterested.  

Basically, just don’t be weird!

In preparation, you’d sort out any undesirables on your face, and you might carefully apply make-up. You’d primp your hair (and get rid of hair where it’s not required to be). You’d make sure you smell nice, but be careful not to overdo it. You’d consult with your trusted friends and put on your most flattering outfit, making sure it was clean and presentable first. You’d perhaps polish your shoes. You’d select accessories with the utmost of care to further enhance your appearance.  

You might practise introducing yourself to your date in front of the mirror. Come up with a few questions to get your date talking about themselves. Maybe even think of a few humorous anecdotes to entertain your date and make you look good.  

All in all, you’re trying to present the very best version of yourself; the version that’s likely to appeal to as many people as possible.  

So let’s be optimistic and assume that the first date has gone well, and you’ve got a second date arranged. What happens now?!  

Well now you both know what to expect, as least in terms of the basics. You know what your date looks like, you’ve probably found out a little about their life; where they live, who their close family and friends are, what job they do, if they have any hobbies, what they’ve been up to over the last few weeks. And your date probably knows the same about you. It wasn’t necessarily love at first sight, but there’s enough of an attraction and an interest for you both to want to see each other again.  

So this time there’s the pressure of a different type – how to maintain the good impression you made on the first date, and make an even better one to clinch that third date. 

So for your second date, you need another flattering, clean, presentable outfit. More make-up and accessories. The same good behaviours you rolled out for the first date. And more interesting stories to tell! This time you’ll probably be going into more detail about yourselves and your opinions on things, so you might think about toning down any strong opinions you have about potentially touchy subjects. And you might save the introduction of those odd geeky hobbies to reveal at a much later date, when your charming personality has well and truly won them over.  

Just like you do on a date, you need to turn up the charm when you are wanting to sell your home.

Now fast forward to a year’s time. Things have gone remarkably well; you share lots of interests, have similar views on important matters, you laugh a lot, you enjoy each other’s company and support one another in working towards your goals. After dating for 6 months, you decided to move in together. This too has gone well; you’ve learned to compromise and adapt to sharing a home. Your financial situations have been discussed and you’ve agreed how it will all work. You’ve tentatively talked about “The Future” and what you both want in terms of a career, a home, a family. And you’re about to pop the big question: “Will you marry me?” 

Think about all the work, time and preparation that’s gone into getting you from a blind date to a marriage proposal.  

And now switch this whole story from a blind date to a house sale.  

This is just as daunting and potentially life-changing, yet some people do next to no preparation for this huge event. Let’s take the first date: in house-selling, the first date is essentially your internet listing and print marketing. This is the first time that people will see what you are offering, and you need them to like it to stand any chance of booking a second date.  

As with your blind date, you have no details at all about the person who is looking at your house on the internet. You don’t know what they like or what they don’t like.  

All you can do is maximise the probability that they’re going to like what they see from your photos on the internet listing, and this means preparation is of key importance once more.  

For your blind date, you chose your most flattering outfit, covered up unsightly bumps on your chin, made sure you were clean and smelling fresh, and you put your best efforts into not being weird or off-putting. The same needs to apply to your house!  

As with dating, selling houses is all about maximising the probability that the other person is going to like what they see. You can’t please everyone, but that’s not the goal here – we’re trying to make it as likely as possible that the potential buyer will not be put off by what they see.  

Here are the main property characteristics that most people will like: clean, tidy, light, spacious, with everything well-executed and functioning properly. So that’s what you need to focus on when preparing your home for its blind dates. 

You obviously can’t change every aspect of your house and make it all appealing – as with people, there will always be aspects of houses that aren’t perfect, or don’t appeal to a particular person, but it’s about making the most of the good points and minimising the bad points to attract the majority. 

Before your estate agent visits to take the photographs that will form the basis of your property’s first date with potential buyers, you need to make sure that the house looks its absolute best and positively sparkles with cleanliness, inside and out. Any unsightly maintenance, decorating or DIY issues need to be dealt with, the garden must be neat and under control, messy rooms must be tidied, and furniture arranged to complement the flow and maximise the sense of space in each room. 

This cluttered kitchen makes it very difficult for the stunning features to shine through.

If your house is currently making any loud statements, it is advisable to tone these down so as not to put off those with more sensitive tastes. People who like loud statements usually want to make their own loud statements, so by toning it down you’re not losing those types of buyers but you are potentially gaining the others who decorate in a quieter manner.  

So we’ll imagine that the first date has gone well and we’ve got some viewings booked – now it’s time for second date nerves. The house needs to live up to expectations, and if you’re conducting the viewing then so do you! Actually this is a bit like a boy going on a date and his father tagging along, hoping desperately that the girl will like his son and trying to help, but really just making them both cringe, getting in the way and stopping the pair of them relaxing and getting to know each other.  

This is why I always conduct viewings on behalf of my clients – it’s less stressful and more successful option for both parties! 

After a good tidy up, the space was transformed into a warm and inviting area for friends and family.

For a house, the second date is where it all suddenly steps up a few gears. For not only does the house need the potential buyers to want to come back for a third date, it is essentially asking “would you like to move in together?”. Asking someone to live with you on the second date?! When the first one was just over the internet?!!! No way!  

But that IS what you’re doing when you’re trying to sell your house. And if you get to the third date, the second viewing, then that’s when you pop the big question: “Will you marry me? And if yes, can you afford me?! And if so, when?!” You start talking about really very serious, personal financial situations, on date number 3.   

Compare this to the dating timeline – it’s not unusual for people to meet and marry within a year, but it is a bit quick for many people. When trying to sell your house, you’re pretty much asking someone to marry you on the 3rd date, and that’s usually within a couple of weeks of the first online Internet date.  

It’s a lot of preparation and effort for people to get to the happily married stage, but you’re trying to get there in 3 dates. You need to put in the same amount of effort and preparation before you even put your house’s dating profile online if you want to reach a successful conclusion. 

I hope you’ve found this analogy helpful in explaining the level of preparation that I believe is necessary in order to maximise your chances of achieving your best sale. If you’d like help identifying the things that would help your home get to a second or third date, then please do call me on 0115 901 7060 or email me anna@annaharthomes.co.uk and I’ll be happy to create a bespoke strategy for you.