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Helpful hacks to attract buyers

Oct 24, 2023
Helpful hacks to attract buyers
When showing and viewing a potential new home, there is a lot to absorb in such a short appointment. To make things easier for anyone selling their existing home, we surveyed 1,000 homeowners to find out what’s most likely to deter them from making an offer. We’ve combined this data with our expert advice on the dos and don’ts of viewing and showing homes.

The biggest mistakes to avoid as a seller

Opening your home for viewings can be a stressful and intrusive experience. To give you the best chance of selling your home, we asked homeowners which small things have put them off during a viewing.   
Potential buyers only get to see your home for a small window of time, and minor issues that might seem trivial could leave a lasting impression. 93% of homeowners are put off by easily rectified small issues.

Top 15 things UK home buyers find off-putting

Of all the small things putting viewers off when purchasing a home, the smell of smoke and nicotine stains on the wall came out on top, with 40% of homebuyers put off by this. If you smoke in your home, try using an odour eliminator as a quick fix before viewings, and touch up the walls with fresh paint where needed.


Over a third (35%) of buyers are put off by pet smells and hair, making cleaning and ensuring a fresh smell throughout the home even more important. Keeping pets out of the house for viewings, opening the windows and incorporating neutral scents throughout the home can improve the viewer’s experience.


Another easy way to make house viewings comfortable is by putting the heating on when it’s cold, as a chilly home is unappealing to over a quarter of potential buyers. 


Alongside this, brightly coloured walls or patterned wallpaper also have the potential to deter buyers, with over one in 10 (10%) stating this is an important factor for them. If you can, it may be worth stripping back any statement design elements and opting for neutral colours. A quick lick of paint could be the key to landing an offer. 

15 easy things sellers can do to attract an offer

Every seller wants to increase their chances of an offer to avoid having their home on the market for longer than expected. Philippa Stewart, Sales Director, at David Wilson Homes Northwest, shares 15 helpful tips that could help speed up the process of selling your home – and they won’t cost you a penny.

1. Be friendly and welcoming

While it might seem obvious, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for potential buyers can increase the likelihood of a potential sale. Creating a positive first impression is easily done with a smile and sets the tone for a pleasant viewing. 
Engage in friendly conversation and get to know your potential buyer. Show interest in what they’re looking for in a home, and what might have attracted them to your property.
A welcoming and friendly demeanour can help create a positive environment that allows potential buyers to feel more at ease and confident in their decisions.

2. Ensure your pets aren’t in the house

Despite being part of your household, it’s advisable to keep pets out of the house when potential buyers arrive for a viewing. You should consider any potential allergies that those viewing your property might have which might contribute to an uncomfortable experience.
As much as we adore them, pets can also cause distractions and present odours which some buyers might find off-putting.

3. Book a childminder for kids

Having a childminder to take care of children can mean one less thing to worry about during what can be an overwhelming experience. An empty household is ideal for viewings, as it allows buyers to roam freely and creates a calm environment.
Removing children from the equation also allows buyers to envision the property as their own, in a neutral setting.

4. Depersonalise - avoid having too many family photos around the house

Personalising can help make a house a home, but it’s important that potential buyers can envision your property as their own. It’s important to avoid having too many family photos around the home. 
Buyers will be keen to view a home as a blank canvas, which can be challenging when walls and shelves are covered in another family’s photos.

5. Consider filling your home with a calming scent

Fragrancing your home can mask unwanted odours, but also gives potential buyers the impression that you’ve taken care of the property and paid attention to detail. If you want to avoid lingering odours in your home, avoid cooking strong smelling foods, such as garlic, the day before the viewing.
Subtle scents such as lavender are calming and can create a tranquil environment. Citrus scents like lemon or lime are also associated with cleanliness. 

6. Present the best room in the house first

This strategy is meant to help create the best possible first impression of your property for potential buyers. The best room in the house will often have the most attractive features, whether it be a stunning view or exceptional decor. 
Starting the viewing in the best room can set a high standard for the rest of the viewing and can make other parts of the house seem just as impressive by association.

7. Give buyers space to walk around freely

Allowing buyers the space to walk around the property freely is key to a successful viewing. Buyers will want to examine various aspects of the property and allowing them unrestricted access permits them to conduct a detailed viewing.
Allowing free movement also allows buyers the chance to express interest and ask questions about specific features. Open communication can encourage honest discussions about the pros and cons of the house.

8. Hide electric heaters or fans

When it comes to viewing a home, aesthetics are just as important as practical features. For viewings taking place during the colder months, bear in mind that having electric heaters or fans lying around can be off-putting for potential buyers as it can seem cluttered, and makes the property look cold and energy inefficient. 

9. Avoid showering/bathing before a viewing

It would be considerate of sellers to avoid showering or bathing close to a viewing. Bathrooms are typically of great appeal to potential buyers, yet dampness and condensation will make it difficult for viewers to appreciate this room in the house.

10. Park your car on the side of the road to make your driveway seem bigger

The first impression of your home is critical, and it often starts with curb appeal. By parking your car on the street, you’re allowing potential buyers to see the full extent of your driveway and the home’s exterior. 
A crowded driveway can make the property appear smaller than it actually is. Simply removing any obstructions such as cars can give the illusion of more space, which can be attractive to potential buyers.

11. Move bins away from the front of your house

Curb appeal comes to mind yet again here, as bins aren’t the prettiest sight for potential buyers to see outside of a property. A well-kept and clean front entrance can suggest the property is maintained and cared for. 
When your property is listed online, photographs play a significant role in attracting buyers. Photos with bins in front of the house can be less appealing.

12. Take your washing off the line

Outdoor laundry on show can be visually unappealing for buyers. Ensure your outdoor space is clear of any distractions such as laundry, as this creates a more inviting environment for viewers and allows them to focus on the important features and potential of the property.

13. Ensure the hallway isn’t blocked with coats or shoes

Coats and shoes can take up excess space and collect dust and dirt. Clearing these items away ensures that the hallway is clean and tidy, creating a positive first impression.

14. Ensure viewers have somewhere to park outside

Providing ample parking space is convenient for potential buyers. It ensures that they don’t have to spend time searching for parking or walking long distances to reach the property. 
It’s also reassuring for buyers to know that parking won’t be a problem if they were to move into the property.

15. Mow the lawn

Ensure both front and back gardens are well-maintained, and that the grass is not over-grown. Ensure the grass is mowed and large shrubs or bushes are trimmed and contained. Consider including some potted plants and flowers to encourage wildlife and add a touch of colour, especially during the winter months.

How to manage property viewings

It’s not just details in your home that can deter buyer. Estate agents also play an important role in arranging and hosting viewings. Some buyers can be influenced by their experience with the agent.
1 in 4 homebuyers have been put off by viewing a home at the same time as others, so allow viewers their own time slot to increase your chance of selling.


1 in 5 homebuyers have been put off when the estate agent doesn’t know anything about the property, and a further 1 in 6 have been put off when the estate agent won’t leave them alone during the viewing. Using a trustworthy, experienced estate agent with knowledge of the property provides a comfortable experience for viewers.
1 in 7 homebuyers have been put off when the homeowner is present for their viewing. This can make viewers feel uncomfortable and rush to leave before taking a proper look. Arranging viewings when you are out of your home can put viewers at ease.
For the best viewing experiences:
  • Avoid scheduling appointments during busy times. For example, if you live near a school, avoid holding viewings during pick-up or drop-off times.
  • Book back-to-back appointments to make the property appear more in demand. 
  • If you opt for an open house, Saturdays between 10:00 and 14:00 is the golden time for getting the most people through the door.

Questions to prepare for as a seller

With one in five homebuyers put off by the estate agent not knowing enough about the property, it’s important to prep your agent with the answers to commonly asked questions. Writing the answers down for your agent to refer to during viewings will likely speed up the process of receiving those all-important offers.
Here is a list of questions your estate agent is likely to be asked by potential buyers:
  • Is the home freehold or leasehold?
  • Is there good mobile and broadband signal in the area? Is fibre broadband available?
  • What council tax band is the home in?
  • Which direction do the house and garden face? 
  • What will be left behind, if anything? (e.g., curtains, white goods, wood burner, shed)
  • Why is the property being sold?
  • When are the owners looking to move?
  • How long have the owners lived there?
  • How long has the house been on the market?
  • What energy efficient features does the property have?
As a seller, make sure to highlight 'invisible' benefits like quiet neighbours, environmentally friendly fixtures (like solar panels) and a high EPC rating. 

Looking to move to a new home without any hidden problems? Our brand -new David Wilson homes provide ease and comfort when moving. Buying your new home with us is easy, thanks to our unique home buying offers like Part Exchange and Help to Buy – Wales


We surveyed 1,000 UK homeowners to find out which questions they didn’t ask when purchasing their homes, how much it cost to fix problems missed by not asking the questions, and what put them off purchasing homes in the past during viewings.