house buyersPA

There's plenty of advice around for what to do to your house to appeal to potential buyers. But before you go repainting the spare room and buying new cupboard doors for the kitchen units, there's just the small matter of actually getting people in through the door.

And with buyers rarer than bargain rain tickets at the moment, the question of the day is how to drag them kicking and screaming to your door.

There are five vital steps to bringing the buyers in.

1. Choosing the right estate agent

There are a few things you need in an agent. They have to be popular with buyers. Are they in the right place geographically? Do they have a good reputation? Are they proactive in bringing buyers to their door? Do they advertise like mad and subscribe to all the right websites?

They also have to be good for you. Are they being reasonably straight with you? Can you trust them to work tirelessly on your behalf? Do they have enough on their books to make them appealing to buyers without having too many properties like yours which will leave you feeling like a needle in a haystack?

You don't have to like them. You don't have to be lifelong friends, but you need to feel in your gut that they're on your side and capable of doing what you need of them.

2. Getting the marketing right

This starts with the particulars. Take some time to read the sorts of things they put out to make sure they are up to snuff, then check what they write about your property. Have they taken the effort to highlight the most important things? Have they caught the vital benefits of the property and the area. If the details aren't up to scratch you have every right to demand more.

Then make sure you are getting a decent airing. Are you in their property magazine or newsletter? Are they advertising in the local press? Are you getting prominence on their website and other property websites? You need the full spectrum of coverage if you are to get buyers in this market.

3. Making an effort with the photos

This is partly down to you. Don't be shy about dressing your home like a show home. Clear everything out. Chuck the lot in the garage. Lose any furniture that makes the place look cluttered. A well dressed home is always accompanied by a garage or shed brimming to the rafters.

However, it's also down to the photographer. A good photographer will be able to make the place look twice as big, airy, fashionable and attractive than your home ever looked. Don't accept anything less.

4. Being demanding

It doesn't come naturally to most people. We're not used to being demanding and obnoxious. However, if something isn't right, you need to be clear about exactly what you expect and demand.

There's no point staggering along with substandard particulars and a lacklustre estate agent wondering why you don't have any viewers, when a bit of demanding behaviour can get you what you really need.

5. Setting the price

This is the tough bit. Setting the price can be affected by all sorts of things: your sentimental attachment to your home, how much it was worth when you bought it, how much your mortgage is for, how much it was worth five years ago. None of this makes the slightest bit of difference.

You need to find out what similar properties are going for, work out how much you want a sale, and price accordingly. If you want scores of viewings you need to be one of the cheapest on the block. There's no point overpricing your home and then wondering why it's so quiet.