Q. When selling your home, is ambience really as important as some people think?

A.        To be honest, until relatively recently, the word barely featured in the vocabulary of British estate agents at all! It was really only when people started importing some of the more exotic practices favoured by our American cousins that ambience - along with things like de-cluttering and “house-dressing” came to be regarded as a lucrative sideline for a whole new breed of specialist consultants. Suddenly, we were all being urged to cram every nook and cranny of our homes with vases of fresh flowers, or place a dish of vanilla essence in a warm oven to fake the smell of fresh-baked cakes! 

Of course, most of us are sensitive to what you might call the feel of a property, but just like decluttering, improving the ambience of your home is probably around 99% common sense. After all, it is generally the simplest and most obvious things that have the most impact. For example, studies show that people react more positively to properties that are brightly lit. So, during the day, the best advice is to keep curtains wide open and windows clean, while at night, all lights should be switched on, with any blown bulbs or flickering fluorescent tubes being replaced.

Similarly, the question of sound. Personally, I always consider that the best and most restful way in which to view a property is in complete peace and quiet. You should certainly try to avoid any loud, jarring noise – and ensure that the TV is turned off for the duration of the viewing. It can also be worth mentioning to your neighbours that you’ve got someone coming round to view your home – particularly if you know they are planning a bit of DIY. Even if it’s coming from next door, the sound of a hammer drill can be a trifle off-putting!

Lastly, smell. Again, there is nothing to beat the essentially neutral aroma of a good, clean home – particularly important in kitchens and bathrooms, of course, but equally so if you have pets. Simply masking unpleasant odors with chemical air fresheners is no substitute for a serious spring-clean!