Author Archives: Sam

When you first put your property on the market, you were probably full of anticipation and hope that you would get lots of viewings and even an early offer.  But now it’s a few weeks or even months down the line, and the few viewings you had initially have all but dried up, and your agent is on the phone at least once a week listing all the reasons why you should drop your asking price. So what has gone wrong?

Here are my top five reasons why you haven’t sold so far, and what you can do about it:

1. You launched at the wrong time of year – each home has a probably buyer, and each buyer has their own preferred time of the year to move.  For example, retirees tend to plan for a summer move, whereas lots of families move in spring or autumn.  Launch at the best time of year for your buyer, not for yourself, and you have a better chance of getting viewings.

2. You chose the wrong estate agent – does your agent actually like your house? Or you, for that matter?!  Agents are only human, after all, and if they don’t like you, they aren’t exactly going to be motivated to help you move on.  Keep them onside, work hard to make sure your house always looks great, and the result will be a happy, motivated agent.

3. Your house isn’t ready for viewings – take a long, hard look at your house – is it really ready to go public? Or would it benefit from a little tidying up, de-cluttering and perhaps even a lick of paint? Be honest with yourself, and give viewers a well-presented home that they can actually imagine themselves living in.

4. Your photography is unflattering – take a look at the properties on Rightmove – which images catch your eye? Is it the dark, amateurish ones taken on a slant? Or is it the brightly lit, well-composed shots that make you want to keep looking? Unflattering photographs will deter buyers from even looking at your advert, never mind booking a viewing.  Invest in good quality, professional photography and show your home at its very best online.

5. You put it on the market at too high a price – were you swayed by an eager agent, filling you full of tales about how much he could get for your house, despite the precedential evidence to the contrary? The problem with launching to the market at too high a price is that the interest you get in those first few weeks is directly correlated to the price you will ultimately achieve.  Get it wrong, and you risk putting those important buyers off, and perhaps losing them for good.  Price your property right, right from the start, and you’ll get the interest – and offer – you deserve.

If you have read this post and believe you haven’t made any of these mistakes, then why not get in touch? I’ll let you know what I think, honestly and without obligation.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

On HomeTruths we have talked about how seasonal photography can make your advert look dated and out of season. What if you also make big changes to your home, and don’t change the photography? A fatal error! While it is a little illogical to do major renovation work while your home is on the market, several things can happen – you might withdraw from the market for some time, and take a six month hiatus, as an example.

During that time, you do a little renovation work; the living room gets painted, you put in a veranda in the garden. The lawn is starting to frustrate you, so you add stones instead to save you having to mow each weekend. You forget about moving, and enjoy your hassle free garden and clean living room.

And then the estate agent rings. Are you going to go back on the market?

Yes, of course you are. The break is over; you’re ready for new buyers and a fresh outlook.

Your property gets put back into the estate agents window and online, and you eagerly wait for new potential buyers to flock to your front door. But wait…have you told the agent that you’ve altered your home? Even just a little change – a painted room, or a new front door – means the photography needs to be adjusted too. If not, your buyers will wonder if they have walked in to the neighbour’s home, and you’ll be presented with awkward questions. “Didn’t you have a garden?!

Don’t forget to let your agent know the specifics. If you make changes while your home is on the market too, buyers need to know what they’re coming to see.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

Recently we discussed how marketing your home for sale via social media can work wonders to sell your home. Success stories have proved its effectiveness, especially the story of Betsy Talbot, who proved that by networking and running her Twitter account to sound like the house was doing the talking, her house was sold within two months of being put on the market. We like these kind of results!

A woman sitting on a couch while looking at her laptop

Staying within our theme of targeting the female buyer this month, how can you ensure that you’re successfully marketing your home to females via social media? We’ve put together some great tips:

Listen – Setting up a page about your home means you have to monitor it frequently. Women have been significantly more likely to use social networking sites than men since 2009. In December 2012, 71% of women were users of social networking sites, compared with 62% of men. Answer the questions that they will be asking about your home, and ensure you provide them with a quick response.

Tell them what they want – While still connecting with them, of course. People don’t like to be told what they want, but when selling a home it’s different. Tell them about your fantastic walk in wardrobe and how many dresses they could realistically fit in the cupboard.

Images – Upload the best images of your home, and really sell it to the max. Throw some lifestyle photos in there too; the kitchen being used to prepare tea, the garden on a sunny day with a picnic on the grass. Show women what they can expect when they buy into your home!

Share it – Ensure you tell everyone on your social networks about your page in the local area. One female friend will have dozens of other friends in the local area too; a share is worth it!

Let us know how you get on when marketing your home to females via social media!

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If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

When you first put your home on the market, you may have gone to great lengths to make sure it looked its absolute best for each and every viewing.  Flowers, freshly laundered bedding, sparkling windows and the dog out of the way: everything you could do in fact, to really bowl over your viewers and persuade them that yours is the home they want.

As time goes on, and the viewings become less and less frequent, it’s easy to lose your enthusiasm, and perhaps make less effort for each viewing booked.  After all, it’s a real effort, preparing your home for a viewer, and what’s the point, if they aren’t going to make an offer?

But they might! Every new viewing is a step closer to selling your home, and deserves just as much care and attention as those first few viewings that you found so exciting. To keep you on track, and your house looking great, here are my six tips to do before every viewing.  Cut out the list and keep it on the back of a cupboard door, to make sure every viewer sees your house looking its absolute best:

  1. Clean and clear – buyers judge room sizes by how much floor space they can see, and in the kitchen – how much work surface.  Get rid of anything that doesn’t add to the presentation, and that could be distracting to a viewer.  If you’re short of time, grab a washing basket and walk around your house, gathering up anything that shouldn’t be there. Stick it in your car until after the viewing when you have time to sort it out!
  2. Get rid of kids and dogs – you’ll feel much more relaxed if you and your viewer have the house to yourselves, and so will they. You can focus on what to say about each room, and the best order to show your home without a child tugging at your leg, or your dog sniffing your guest inappropriately.
  3. Freshen up – open windows to let some fresh air in, especially if you have pets, and definitely if you are partial to spicy food. Don’t make the house cold though, it shouldn’t feel chilly as you walk round.
  4. Light lamps – take a leaf out of developers’ books, where their showhomes have all the lights on, all the year round. Usually, table lamps are enough to add a cosy glow, and underlighting in the kitchen if you have it.
  5. Bedding and towels both need to be freshly laundered. If you’re a busy household with little time to spare, consider keeping a duvet ready dressed with a clean cover to simply pop over each bed just before a viewing. Same with towels – keep some hidden in the airing cupboard just for viewings.
  6. Finishing touches – if you have time, fill vases with flowers, or simply with some pretty foliage from the garden.  Pop some relaxing music on low, and get your best smile ready – it’s showtime! Whether it’s your first viewing, or your fifty-first, making sure your viewer feels like the VIP they are is super important if you want to get an offer. Giving them the best experience of your home will make them feel important and relaxed, and so in the positive and happy frame of mind to make an offer to buy your house, and not anyone else’s!

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

Do you have a real fire?  At this time of year, you may not want to spend the time or effort lighting it for viewings. Not to mention the mess….. Try this instead:  clean out the grate, then fill it with chunky church candles. Light them for viewings, and hey presto: instant lifestyle, warmth and atmosphere.

No mess.

Simples.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

For those of you that have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that the subject of property brochures is close to my heart, and one that I really feel passionate about. I believe wholeheartedly that a beautiful brochure with expert photography and well-written and enthusiastic descriptions can add thousands, and even tens of thousands, of pounds to a house.

However, some agents (in fact most of them) don’t believe in brochures, or so they say. They tell me “but it’s the 21st century”, “no one wants hard copy brochures any more” and even “we’re trying to be eco-friendly”. Without going into my opinions on these particular objections (and believe me, I have a long list of answers) in this post, I am only going to ask you to consider one question: is he telling the truth?

Think back to when he first came round to give you his expert market appraisal. I’m sure he showed you some comparable properties, explained his commission rate, and talked you through the contract. Did he also leave you behind some company information? Perhaps in the form of a glossy folder or brochure? Aha! Not so 21st century eco-friendly after all then. Thought not.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

When buyers are house hunting, sometimes they’ll be perusing in an area that’s new to them. It might be because of a new job, or they simply fancy a change of scene. They therefore won’t be as informed about the area as perhaps they’d like, and might have a visual check list that they need to cover in order to make sure your house and its location are ideal for their requirements.

What sort of things might they be looking for? In a new area, house hunters will be looking for not only places of convenience, but amenities: good schools for their children, the local hospital, a shop for small items, distance to public transport links and parks, or a local service that can deliver milk to them. You or your estate agent may be able to answer a few prospective buyers’ questions, but if you don’t have children or never use the local bus, a few questions might leave you stumped.

To be prepared for questions out of the blue, do your research beforehand. Google Maps is an invaluable tool. Enter in your postcode, and then use the ‘Search nearby’ tool. By entering in any keywords – school, hospital and so on – it will instantly show you what is the nearest to you.

Make a list of anything you might think is important, and jot it down. It doesn’t hurt to leave your laptop open while the viewers are around; a quick search on the spot will answer their questions straight away, and give your house a few more plus points. Give them a copy of the list as they’re leaving; it’ll make your home and their visit extra memorable, especially if their entire check list was ticked.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

When you’re selling your home, first impressions are imperative. Research suggests it takes only seconds to decide if we like a house, and at least five of them are spent by buyers waiting at the front door for it to be opened. Aside from your lawn and general kerb appeal, people look at the front door before they look at any other aspect of the property. It reflects what you think about the house, and could actually sell your home.

You may spend several hours making your home perfect on the inside, but an unattractive door could ruin all your efforts. It is often overlooked, the tendency being to consider it only for practical purposes of serving as an entry and exit. While it is operational, its appearance is crucial. Its colour, texture, maintenance and style will all have an impact on the buyer’s impressions. If it’s scratched at the base from the cat begging to come inside and the colour has chipped, buyers will see it. They’ll notice that it needs a fresh lick of paint. They’ll see that the handle is rusty.

So what can you do? If a new door isn’t in your budget, a little love can go a long way. Give it a fresh coat of paint, and choose your colours wisely. While you may like dark pink, chances are most of your buyers won’t. Choose a colour that says home, welcome, come in… Popular colours include dark blue and black, and stained glass panels are also a winner. Dark colours exude sophistication too, a colour that has been utilised by Number 10 Downing Street for over 300 years! It was painted dark green once for Prime Minister Herbert Asquite, and quickly repainted when he fell out of favour in 1916.

Consider replacing a plain door knob with something more attractive. Door knobs and letterboxes should be in keeping with one another, and represent the general look of the door. Try to ensure the door – whether new or not – is in keeping with the style of the house too. If it stands out too much, it may make the rest of the house look dreary. Place a few well maintained plant pots on the porch step, and ensure that any surrounding windows and ledges are cleaned and polished.

A few hours on a weekend spent overhauling your front door, can work wonders for your sale. In doing so, you are creating a portal to the house that people can see themselves using as the door to their home.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

What kind of car do you have?  Is your driveway garnished by a gleaming Mercedes or understated Audi?  Perhaps you figured your estate agent’s car was more appealing to show off your home, so he left his BMW on show for the photographs.  Or maybe your muddy Mini was already parked and no one suggested you move it.

Over the years, I’ve seen property photographs with skips, broken down cars and driveways with weeds so high it’s impossible to park a car.  I’ve also seen ‘Butterflies’-type parking (remember Butterflies, with the four car shuffle?) where removing a car is more difficult than the Krypton Factor.

On the other hand, I’ve come across very modest dwellings with a Ferrari or Lamborghini parked outside.  I once knew an agent in Cheshire who always insisted on having his silver Mercedes C-Class in every front shot.  His window display looked like an Autotrader feature.  Having a fully-branded agent car plonked on the driveway is also quite common in the agency’s quest for brand awareness.

So what should adorn your driveway for your main image?  The answer is very simple: nothing.  Any car you park will lead a buyer to make an assumption, or draw a conclusion, and that may not be a positive one.  The agent’s car will do you no favours either; if you are lucky enough for the sun to shine when the front photograph is taken, and the result is a lovely image of your home, the agent’s car is only going to spoil the shot.  It also means you can’t use it if you decide to move agents.

Keep your driveway empty, clean, free of weeds and looking smart, and your front shot will look the better for it.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

The dark wet days of Winter are almost behind us, and it won’t be long until Spring is here again, the peak time to put your home on the market; many buyers are actively searching for a new home during the beginning of the year, as well as trying to sell their own. With a lot of competition around you, it is worth ensuring that your house is in picture-perfect condition before the buyers descend to explore. What kind of things can you do? Read our tips below to optimise your house for spring viewings…

Wash your windows – One of the first things a buyer sees are your windows, and in the spring sunshine any dirt or finger marks will be easily noticeable. To prevent this, wash them inside and out, ensuring that they sparkle. Ensure all curtains are washed, and open the windows when buyers are around.

Tidy the gardens – Ensure that your front and back gardens are ready for viewings. Dried up leaves could still be kicking around from the previous seasons, and bushes might be overgrown. Make sure everything is trimmed and tidy and ready for viewings. Having the garden tidy also ensures your house has great kerb appeal for anyone driving past.

Spring flowers – The winter has been a long one and many people are looking out for the first signs of spring. Tulips and daffodils are beginning to bloom at this time of year, and seeing them at your property will bring a smile to your buyers face. Why not place them in containers and put them on your porch step?

Carpets and floors – If you have hardwood flooring, ensure that they are cleaned to perfection. Hoover your carpets and remove any dust. Aim to reach the areas that are often missed, such as skirting boards.

Let in the colour – Bring spring colours into your home staging when buyers are over. Having spring colours brightens a room; add different coloured towels and cushions to your bathrooms and living areas, ensuring they are washed and ironed. Such simple touches can go a long way.

Weather – As much as we like to envision spring being a sunlit few months after the dregs of the winter snow, it can bring unpredictable weather. If it rains, it is ideal to have a mat at the door for people to wipe their feet, and somewhere to put an umbrella. Not only will people appreciate it, but it’ll keep your carpets clean too!

Why not prepare your house for spring viewings this weekend? Just simple little touches can put you ahead of the competition in your neighbourhood; ideal if you want a quick sale.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.