If it "shows well" it will "sell well"!

Walk over the whole house and tidy up the odds and ends before prospective buyers arrive. When they enter your home, do your best to put them at ease. Cordially introduce yourself and all others that they may encounter. Then let them explore, guide them, be there to answer all questions, but do not waste time in idle chatter. Although you should always observe any stranger who enters your home, do not appear to be watching their every move. Mention the finer points of your home, but do not "hard sell" them — you'll probably sound desperate and the purchaser will wonder if there is anything wrong with the property.

• Be available for showings throughout the time that you are trying to sell your home. You have to commit time to this project.

•   Only one person should show prospects around the home to avoid confusion when questions are asked.

•   Keep the house tidier and neater than it has ever been, so that, to use a favourite phrase of agents, it "shows well".

•   Keep the kids and the pets out of the way — people want to imagine their own families in the house. If your large and lovable hound leaps up on their shoulders, or Sammy the snake twines around their neck, the sale may never get off the ground.

Keep the kids and pets out of the way!

•   Draw back the curtains and let in the light. In fact, turn on all the lights in the house, especially in the basement.

•   Try the old realtors' tricks of having a log fire in the grate and bread baking in the oven (or you could cheat and reheat a loaf from the store)!

•  Have a pile of fact sheets ready to hand out as people arrive.

•  Have those prepared "agreement to purchase" forms on hand to give to "hot prospects".

•  If you think showing what the house and garden look like at other times of the year might help, have photographs available.

•  Book appointments at fifteen minute intervals. Give people time to look around, but at the same time try to create the impression that someone else will buy it if they are not quick in making up their minds.

•  Plan your tour around the house carefully. Keep the most attractive rooms until the end so that prospects will be left with the best impression possible.