How to answer the five killer house-buyer questions

From ‘What is that smell?’ to ‘why are you moving?’ - great answers to tough buyer questions

confident businessman showing...

Showing your property off to prospective buyers can be very stressful - when you're desperately trying to drop into conversation how lovely the neighbours are, how quiet the area is, and how you like to have a gin and tonic on the patio in the evening. However, according to a new study, you're wasting your time, because buyers are going to have entirely different questions on their mind.

We reveal the five key ones to deal with if you're going to win a buyer round.

1. What's that damp patch? Mortgages found that damp was the biggest area of concern for househunters - and 71% say it would put them off buying a place. The best approach is to deal with the issue causing the damp before you market the property, then paint over the damp, and avoid the question at all. If this isn't possible, investigate the cause, so if it's a leaky gutter you can at least explain it's nothing serious.

2. What's that smell?

Almost two thirds of people said they wouldn't buy somewhere that smelled bad. They listed damp among the most worrying smells, which is another reason to deal with any issues. They also cited pet spells and cigarette smoke. If you have issues with either, it's worth keeping your home aired, and considering the old tricks of baking or putting coffee beans in the oven before a viewing to mask the smell. If possible, very smelly pets should be relocated while your property is on the market. This should all ensure the question never comes up.

3. Where do you park?

If there's nowhere to park at the property, then it's going to come up. Some 59% of people said it would put them off a property altogether. You should have an answer handy, even if you don't drive, so you can highlight whether parking is free or easy on the street, or whether parking permits are affordable.

4. Why are you moving?

If the pokey rooms and irritating neighbours are forcing you out, then this isn't the time to dwell on the negatives. Consider the other reasons you are moving, and mention those instead. Will you be closer to friends and family? Are you looking for more bedrooms? Has your job moved? All these are good reasons that won't put anyone off.

Likewise, you should avoid giving an answer that hints you are desperate to move, or it will encourage them to play hard-ball over the price, so try not to emphasise any real need to move fast.

5. Does any work need doing?

You will not want to reel off a long list of jobs that need doing, so consider accepting that some work needs to be done, but mention some of the big jobs done more recently. So, for example, you could say: "With a property of this age there's always ongoing maintenance, but it was rewired six years ago and the plumbing is sound".

Buyers will all have their own unique obsessions, so it's worth looking into local schools, knowing a few local bars and restaurants, and having something positive to say about some of the neighbours. However, if you have the five key questions covered, you should avoid any of the worst viewing traps.

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