It was a sweltering hot day in June and I was showing a young couple round a very sweet little flat in Kendal, Cumbria. I was a rookie – only been in the job two weeks working for Barratts and this was a part exchange property I was showing. The flat was owned by a young professional lady who was buying one of our new properties and we needed to sell her flat to make the figures stack up. She’d furnished it beautifully, very contemporary (though it was the 1980s, I should point out, so chintz and apricot was definitely the look of the moment!) and the viewing was going really well. The young couple clearly really liked it and asked if they could look around again, and I waited in the kitchen. They returned, making the right kind of noises, and I thought it was in the bag. Then she opened the integrated fridge, and it all went wrong. It was horrible. The food, if you can call it that, was all mouldy and furry, and the smell was terrible. Not only that, but the fridge clearly hadn’t been cleaned for many months, if not longer, and there were bits of decomposing foodstuffs and nasty stains all over it. For a moment we all stared at it. Then she shut the door, and looked at her boyfriend. He shrugged helplessly. The lady then opened the cooker, to be met by a very similar sight, and finally the microwave. Horrible.
Needless to say, this couple did not put in an offer. She just couldn’t come to terms with the owner’s slovenly habits and you just knew that no matter how much she scrubbed, the memory of what she had seen would linger like a very bad smell. You see, it had tainted her view of the flat, and of the owner, and she just couldn’t separate the two issues.
You may think that what’s inside your fridge is irrelevant when you’re selling your home, but if you have an integrated fridge/freezer, as many of us do these days, I’m afraid it is going to play its part in helping or hindering you to sell. I’m not suggesting you fill your fridge with champagne and caviar, but you could make sure it is spotlessly clean, and fill it with some nice fresh fruit and veg. I promise you, it will make more difference than you or your viewers will know, because it is happening sub-consciously. We don’t make rational, logical decisions when we are buying a house: we choose a new home that “just feels right”, and one of the hundreds and even thousands of clues that we pick up on a viewing, is whether the owner’s lifestyle is something to aspire to, or eschew.
If your home is on the market, go check your fridge. And if it doesn’t look like an advert for Indesit, go to work. Your viewers will notice, I promise.