The perfect viewing experience

How to stage the perfect viewing experience

28th March 2016

I recently arrived at a double upper flat to photograph it for the schedule. The appointment had been made nearly two weeks earlier and at the time the client was “nearly ready, just a bit of painting to do”. When I arrived it became clear that she had in fact embarked on painting almost all of the rooms, as she felt that the new paint in one room just showed up the other rooms. She compared it to “painting the Forth Road Bridge!”.This had taken so long to do, that she had neglected to do the obvious cleaning and decluttering. Now the walls looked great, but the rest of the flat was slightly chaotic.

I walked around the flat sketching the floor plan, I realised every room needed a lot of work still. Upstairs, I found quite a large box room that was mostly empty and I suggested we quickly blitz every room, filling this box room with the clutter. It only took both of us about twenty minutes to fill the box room floor to ceiling, wall to wall, and what a difference it made. Now the flat looked great, much more spacious and homely, it photographed very well.

Three weeks later I got a text from the client thanking me for helping on the day and to tell me that a closing date had been set for the flat, exceeding her expectations.

Neil’s top tips

Here are Neil’s top tips for staging a property perfectly


This should start in the weeks before going on the market. Stop bringing home things that aren’t needed and start filling bags and boxes. Once cupboards and storage areas are full, stop hoarding! Worktops and coffee tables etc. should never become storage areas.

Don’t depersonalize too much though. A few framed family photographs left out can create a homely atmosphere.

If possible, remove any very large items of furniture that aren’t totally necessary. A large arm chair with a footstool can take up too much space in a small room.

Likewise too many pictures on a wall can make a room seem smaller than it is.

Remove excessive amounts of toiletries from the bathroom.

Top tip! A seller should try to create as much floor space as possible to make the property feel bigger.

Painting / Cleaning

If the walls are dirty they may need painting or cleaning. Bright, clean walls are not only nice to look at – they create a feeling of space too. Likewise certain colours should be avoided, todays buyers prefer calming neutral tones.

Hoovering carpets and washing floors is an obvious thing to do too. Kitchens and bathrooms should be especially clean.

Top tip! Bright, clean walls are not only nice to look at, they create a feeling of space.


Time to fix cracked tiles, holes in walls, gaps in skirting boards etc. Every property has a least a few repairs that need doing but aren’t serious enough to demand urgent attention and therefore never get done. Buyers want to move in without starting repairs, they may even use these repairs to talk the property down.

Top tip! Make sure little DIY jobs are completed to help maximise the wow factor of your property.

Lights on

Overhead lights on can appear strange in the daytime, use lamps to illuminate darker areas where needed.

Top tip! Adding lighting can make a space feel larger and more welcoming.


Nobody has time for baking bread before viewings! Open a window for fresh air and if needed, get an air freshener to mask bad smells.

Top tip! Avoid cooking foods with strong smells just before a viewing. You might love a curry or bacon, but it could put a potential buyer off.

The garden

Often overlooked, this should be treated like another room. Cutting grass, pruning where necessary and some garden furniture will add value to the property.

Top tip! Make sure your front garden is looking at its best to help get viewers out of the car and into your house.


Decide in advance what order to show the rooms in, starting and ending on a high if possible. And don’t then follow the viewer around making small talk about the windows etc. Keep it business like.

Top tip! Give the viewer a tour, but then let them have time to wander around and look around your home by themselves to get a feel for the space.

Top tips provided by Neil Macmillan is Director of Tour My Home,

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