How To Sell A House When It Can’t Be Physically Viewed

House facades against road in town on sunny day

Often potential home buyers are sold the moment they walk through the door of their new property. In a world where that can’t always happen, though, many wonders if it’s possible to sell a house when you can’t even show it. After all, so much of the need to buy a home happens when a buyer walks in and falls in love. It’s tough to recreate that kind of feeling through static pictures and words in an advert. Is there a way to show a house’s best features if you can’t have buyers walking through the door because of lockdowns or other issues? Absolutely. This guide can help.

Basic Guide To Selling A House

To better understand how you can sell a house when potential buyers can’t see it in person, it might be helpful to review some home-selling basics. Initially, of course, you’ll want to decide if you even want to sell the house. If you’re selling because you think you need additional space, you may want to consider other options like expanding and renovating a loft space or building an extension. Because the costs of both buying and selling can be so high, often this is a helpful way to stay in the spot you love, especially if you cannot sell the home to potential buyers.

Once you’ve decided to move, you’ll need to come up with an estimate of what your home might be worth. You can typically do this through Land Registry data or sites like RightMove and Zoopla. Add up the costs of selling your home, and don’t forget to factor in things like early repayment fees for your mortgage and removals costs, too.

At that point, your next step should be deciding what you’re planning to do after you move. Will you rent a home or buy something else? Selling your house while renting something else can add to your overall expenses, but it may help to reduce your stress level a bit, too. Additionally, it will certainly help with home staging while you try to sell your home. Home staging can be critical to help viewers feel your space through photos and video, something we’ll talk more about in the next section.

Choosing an estate agent to help should be your next move. While you can certainly work to show your home on your own and sell it privately, using an estate agent, especially if no one can view your home, is a critical step. Estate agents are incredibly experienced when it comes to home sales, and making this step forward may increase your chances of success. You can either use a local agent or an online agent.

Once you have an agent, it’s time to gather the paperwork about your house. Typically this will include receipts for any work you’ve done and documentation like guarantees and warranties, FENTAS certificates, and an EPC. The EPC ranks your home in terms of Energy Performance, and they’re valid for ten years, so if you’ve bought your home fairly recently, you may not need an updated inspection. If, however, yours is outdated, your home will need to be inspected.

The next step is the most important if you’re working to sell your home but can’t have physical showings – get your home ready. You’ll want to do a deep cleaning and give it fresh paint. Be sure to repair any little problems, and address the lighting throughout the home. Clean the windows thoroughly and add newer, brighter bulbs to all of the fixtures in your home. Replace heavy drapes with lighter sheers, too, to ensure the natural light can shine through your windows. If you still have darker spaces, you’ll want to add lamps and mirrors to help increase the lighting in those areas.

At this point, you’re ready to begin “showing” your home to potential buyers, even if they can’t walk through the door.

When Viewings Aren’t Possible

If a viewing isn’t possible, how do you sell your house to potential buyers? This can be a bit tricky, but it is possible. The first is to take lots of pictures. You want pictures from every possible angle to highlight the great features of each room. If you’ve already moved out, and you have the luxury of staging your home, those pictures are going to be fairly easy to snap. If you’re still living in the home, make sure every space in the home is as clean as possible to highlight the functions of the room. Buyers tend to be very visual, so the more photos you can take, the better your sales efforts will be.

In addition to pictures, you may want to create a video walkthrough. You don’t need expensive camera equipment to make this happen. Instead, your mobile phone likely has a solid enough camera to film the walkthrough. If you are using your mobile phone, be sure to record in landscape orientation. Do a bit of reading about how to fill the frame and use the Rule of Thirds in certain settings, and do what you can to avoid digitally zooming in on certain spaces. Pay attention to lighting as you film too. Also, you don’t simply want to film a walkthrough, and then post it. Instead, you’ll want to do a little bit of editing. Many phones have built-in video editing software you can use to enhance your film before you post.

It may also help to create a floor plan for your home. Typically you can sketch one out and upload it to a professional service online along with some measurements, and for a fairly low fee, they can create a floor plan for your house. This could help you better sell the home when people can’t walk through it, as it will help them be able to visualize the flow of your home along with the pictures and video you’ve already uploaded.

Don’t forget, too, that it may be possible to have viewings if you’re not present, particularly in situations where social isolation is the biggest concern. Feel free to have your estate agent add a key box, or if you’re selling your home privately, you can take that step yourself. When they notify you of a potential viewing, you can simply ensure no one else is in the space, and they can access the key on their own.

The Next Steps

If you do find a buyer who is interested in the property thanks to your hard work in terms of photography and videography, they will likely want to see it at some point before you exchange contracts. Initially, though, they’ll learn how to put an offer on a house they haven’t seen, and for you, it’s just a matter of accepting their offer, and then having your conveyancing solicitor work with theirs to exchange draft contracts. From there, you can expect at least a bit of activity in your home, as the buyers’ inspectors will need to come in to complete a valuation and possibly a structural survey if the buyer requests that. Once those reports come back, the two of you will need to draw up final contracts through your respective solicitors so you can finalise the sale and move forward with the paperwork. Finding a way for the buyer to see it at that point may be essential to the process.

Do You Have to See It to Buy It?

The bottom line is that you don’t have to have seen a home in person to fall in love with it, and many potential buyers will be able to sift through the pictures, video, and floor plan to decide if this is the right home for them. You can still sell your house, even if you can’t show it. Just do what you can to show off all of its amazing features online.

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