Tag Archives: brochure

I had an enquiry recently from a rather cross man who has had his house on the market for six months. In that time, his agent has only managed to produce one viewing. Given that his asking price seems at first glance to be perfectly fair for the size and location, I listened carefully to his tale of woe in order to discover the reason for the total lack of interest in his house. I didn’t have long to wait….

I asked him to talk me through what had happened so far, and he began his story with his negotiation on the agent’s fee. “She wanted 1.75%!” he exclaimed with disgust. “No way was I prepared to accept that,” he sniffed, “I told her I wouldn’t pay a penny more than 1.25%, and she eventually caved in” he added proudly. I think he wanted me to congratulate him, but I moved swiftly on to his photography, which I thought was pretty awful. The rooms looked dark and poky, and the outside of the house was very shadowed, and had been photographed at some very unflattering angles. “I was offered professional photography”, the seller explained, “but the agent wouldn’t include it in his fee; she wanted another 400 quid for it!” he exclaimed, astounded. “I told her to take the pictures herself, and she did”. So what about the brochure, I asked. “That was another thing”, he said, heatedly, “the agent wanted me to cough up for that too!”

“What was he proposing?” I asked, but I knew what was coming….. “Well she expected me to pay £250 for a glossy brochure but everyone knows they don’t make a difference” he said, pleased with himself. “The one she’s done on the office printer is pretty impressive actually”, he added. I could just imagine it….

Had he noticed anyone driving slowly past the house, looking interested, I asked. “They can’t”, he explained, “we live behind big gates; you can’t see the house from the road”. So the photography and brochure were going to have to work hard to tempt viewers to pick up the phone.

So far, this seller had cut the agent’s fee to the bone, and used a cheap brochure and poor photography to market his house. He’d fallen into The Seller’s Trap. Is it any wonder that to date, only one viewer had been tempted enough to come to the property?

It’s a tough market out there at the moment, and your house really has to stand out from all your competition.  Here are the 3 golden HomeTruths’ rules to get you sold:

  1. Don’t negotiate on your agent’s fee, unless it’s upwards. Incentivise them by offering over his commission fee, by at least 0.25%
  2. Always always always use professional photography.  At an average of £400, it can return 100 times your investment in your eventual selling price
  3. Pretty brochures DO sell houses!  Look at the types of brochures premium brands use to sell their goods, and compare the value of the product to your house!

Look at the commission fee you’re paying your agent: are they really being paid enough to want to sell your house? Don’t forget 1% of nothing is nothing! You need to create an ally, and keep them onside, so pay them well.

And if you’re not sure your photography and brochure are up to the task of selling your lovely house in an very challenging market, give me a call. I’ll tell you whether they are good enough, and if not, what you need to do about 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.

A bedroom with a magazine and cup of coffee above a bed

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.

I spoke to a lady recently who hadn’t had a viewing in six months; another gentleman seller called me who had been trying to sell his house for three years, and in all that time had only had three viewings. If you’re in that boat, you have my sincere sympathies. It’s even harder if a friend or neighbour is getting a viewing a week.  So what can you do today that would help you get more viewings?

1.   Review your marketing – look at your photography, description, online advert and brochure, and make a list of improvements you could make to them. Ask your estate agent about getting the house re-photographed, and whether they would cover the charge of a professional photographer. Write the description from scratch, including ‘owners’ quotes’, interesting historical anecdotes, and any other human interest element you think might intrigue a buyer.

2.   Call your agent – my experience has shown that the more often you talk to your agent, the more likely your house is going to be in the forefront of their mind if a prospective buyer calls. How often have you phoned your agent to ask them why you haven’t had a viewing in a while, only to be told a day or two later that someone wants to view?

3.   Take a break – taking your house off the market for a little while may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes it’s all you need to increase the interest in your house when you re-launch. It’s also a good idea if you are going to revamp your marketing materials, as your home will have extra impact when you go back to the market. As a general rule of thumb, I would suggest a month off the market for every six months you’ve been for sale. Upon your re-launch, an email alert will hit all the inboxes of buyers who have registered with Rightmove and the other portals, and this alone could help encourage viewings.

By taking action, not only will you give yourself the best possible chance to increase interest in your property, you will you feel reassured that you are taking control of your own house 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.

Dining room and a table with a flower vase on top

Downsizing isn’t the most seductive word. In a society that values progression and achievement, ‘down’ has a sense of backwardness; it’s a term that’s always blemished with some sort of compromise. And no one really like compromise. But what if downsizing is actually a step forward? Let’s explore what it really means to downsize, and reposition it as a new opportunity, and an enviable new start.

Listen to the beat

Hear that? It’s a gentle metronome, and if you listen closely, it’ll stop its familiar patter when it’s the right time to switch up the tempo, and get moving. Maybe you’re planning to retire, or maybe you’re ready to wake to the sound of the sea. But when do you take the plunge, and make ‘one day’, today? The truth is, that gentle metronome will keep on ticking in perfect intervals, and only you can alter its rhythm. There probably is no ‘right’ time to move, but you can control the patter, and you can switch up the metronome’s beat.

A new dance

Okay, maybe dancing isn’t your thing, but this is all about embracing an opportunity. Watching your youngest flee the nest can be hard; you’re proud of their newfound independence, and you’re excited for their adventures ahead. But with the change comes a sense of loss too. Here you have two options: to sit still and watch your child enjoy their next dance, or to get up and jive alongside them too. A change in your life simply means a new start. A next dance. And this time, you take the lead.

Without children in tow, you don’t need to consider school catchments, and you don’t need to sacrifice a peaceful conservatory for a stuffy home office. In short, you don’t need to compromise. For once, you don’t need to consider the needs of a brood. Being selective and indulgent is a luxury, and what if that luxury could make you time too?

Shake the duster

A smaller home means fewer rooms to maintain. It probably means a smaller garden too. Reduced upkeep frees up time, and allows you to enjoy doing the things you actually want to do. Your home choice no longer needs to be restricted by functional, practical considerations; and those necessary yet clinical box bedrooms can be substituted for idyllic cottage charm. Yes – there might be less rooms, but each beam tells a story, and the character oozing from each sloping ceiling makes you smile. The grandchildren love the whistley kettle and creaky stairs too.

Money, money, money

An oversized mortgage weighs heavy, and freeing up cash is the fastest way to enjoy your time. Fancy travelling more? Maybe you have family overseas, or maybe you just want to explore a little more. What’s more important: spending time cleaning unused rooms, or spending time with your grandchildren? A smaller house means you’ll have friendlier bills, and any surplus can be enjoyed with family.

Downsizing doesn’t mean less; in fact, it means enjoying more of what makes you happy, and losing anything weighing you down. Scaling down your priorities, and creating an everyday that makes you smile, is uplifting. A comfortable everyday is what brings happiness, and with downsizing comes more choice, time and money. And doesn’t that sound appealing?

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.


A lamp and a candle on top of the wooden table beside a bed with a floral designed pillow

A lamp and a candle on top of the wooden table beside a bed with a floral designed pillow

No, I’m not being personal, I’m talking about your online property advert!

Take a moment to find your house on Rightmove or one of the other property portals, and tell me what can see, without scrolling down the page. Web developers call this ‘above the fold’ and it receives far more traffic than the bottom section of the webpage.

If your agent has included, as he should have done, a link to the pdf of your brochure, on Rightmove this link will appear at the bottom. If there is reams and reams of description about your house, a buyer may have two scroll down two, three or more times before they even come to it. Most will just not bother, statistics tell us, and your lovely brochure will go unnoticed.

The solution is easy: ask your agent to chop down your description until you can see your brochure link without scrolling down. It appears just above your EPC (energy performance certificate) so edit your copy carefully until you estimate it fits here nicely. Then send the revised description to your agent, and ask them to update the portals accordingly.

Don’t worry about this loss of description; your online advert is not the place to go into detail about what your property has; think of it as a newspaper advert, and only include a brief but punchy write up that will tempt your buyer to pick up the phone and book a viewing; after all, that really is the purpose of your online advert, isn’t 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.

A bright living room with different furnitures and sofa set.

Today’s blog is courtesy of our south-west consultant, Claire Thatcher.

When times are good, market activity is high, and there are plenty of buyers for plenty of houses – so why should they choose your house?

When times aren’t so good, market activity is sluggish, with fewer people prepared, or able, to buy a house, and certainly being more picky about it – so why should they choose your house?

Here are 4 ways to ensure that your house stands out above your competition, in good times or bad:

  • A better agent will make sure your viewings are engaging, that follow up is thorough and that your sales process and negotiations are handled professionally and quickly
  • A better brochure means that your agent has something to follow up an enquiry with, a brochure that bestows the benefits (rather than the features) of living in your home
  • Better home presentation means that when viewed it leaves a lasting, positive impression that reinforces your property brochure
  • Better photography ensures you will stand out from the crowd and show your house to its best possible potential, showing them what their life could be like living there.

It may seem difficult to believe, but most sellers and agents do not follow these basic principles.

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.

Tea kettle and cups with slices of bread in a plate on a table.

I’ve sold my house. Not the one I live in, but a little cottage I bought, renovated, and then because of the banking crash in 2007, I had to rent out for a few years. When the tenant moved out last year, I took my chance, and prepared it for sale. Just as I advise my clients to do, I freshened up the paintwork, washed all the soft furnishings, and bought lots of lovely accessories to stage it. Then I had professional photographs taken and I wrote a great description, specifically designed to tempt viewings. Finally, I employed a designer to put together a beautiful brochure for me, together with a logo for the cottage, to add some brand appeal.

It all looked fantastic.

So which agent would be worthy of marketing such an easy-to-sell house? I looked at the local independents: too parochial. The big nationals: too impersonal. Really, I wanted to sell it myself, but the private seller sites, like Tepilo, just aren’t big enough yet. I know that buyers only look at the four big portals: Rightmove, Primelocation, FindaProperty and Zoopla – that’s where I needed to be, but they don’t accept private sellers.

The answer, was to use a ‘virtual agent’.  If you don’t know what one of these is, you might be interested in reading my previous blog post on the subject, but briefly, it’s a no-frills agency that offers just enough of a service to comply with the property portals, but doesn’t offer viewings, or charge a commission. In addition, they don’t ‘value’ your home; you tell them what you want your asking price to be.

I tried several virtual agents before I found one good enough to sell my cottage; most of them don’t allow you to upload your own brochure, which was none-negotiable for me, as I know how important it is. Finally I found an up and coming online agent who was just right: right attitude, right approach, right skills, right price.  (I’m not going to share with you on here who it is, but I can create for you a plan to help you sell with them, exactly as I did.)

Viewings to organise now; as I don’t live near to the cottage, I found a local lady who could do the viewings for me for a small fee, and who I trained in how to prepare the cottage, and how to show it to viewers. She called me after every viewing to give me feedback straight away, which was really helpful.  No waiting for days for the agent to call with it.

This weekend, encouraged by my viewing lady, a buyer called me direct, and made an offer to me.  I was able to explain my situation, and negotiate directly with him, and we settled on a price that suited us both, which was the 95%  I was hoping for. Even better, there are no further agent fees to pay!

So what did it cost in total?  Here’s my spend to date:

Staging costs                                      £ 1000

Photography                                      £   300

Brochure design                                £   240

Viewings                                             £   200

Upfront fee to virtual agent             £  199

Energy Performance Certificate     £   60

For sale board                                    £    40

Completion fee to virtual agent       £ 199

Total expenses                             £2238

I’ve saved a total of £2500 on agency fees, which basically has paid for me to prepare the cottage the way I wanted to, which in turn, has resulted in a much better offer than I would have received.

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.

Hello, Happy New Year and welcome back!

Have you resolved to sell your home this year? The market is certainly hotting up, and for the first time since the last peak, we’ve been reading headlines about gazumping. However, this activity is not widespread, and as so often is the case, seems to be confined to popular property hotspots. If you’re living in a more rural area, or a non-so-popular town, you may find that for sale boards go up then hang around for months, if not longer.

If you’re really dedicated to selling your house this year, you need to take decisive action. Here’s my quick guide to selling before Christmas comes round again:

1.    Rest from the market

If you’ve been trying to sell for quite a while without a break, do make sure you take one now. As a general rule, I would withdraw from the market for a month every three months or so. For example, market from January to April, then rest for a month. This can help prevent your house from becoming stale and also helps protect your property value, as properties generally lose up to 1% of their value for each month they spend on the market.

 2.    Change your estate agent

This simple change can make all the difference. Sometimes just a new approach is enough to refresh your marketing and target new buyers.

3.    Stage your home

Ask family and friends for their honest opinions on the way your house is being presented. Scour current home magazines for trends and accessory ideas, and if necessary, commission a home stager.

4.    Commission a professional photographer

One of the most important, yet underused steps in property marketing. A professional photographer can make your house look fantastic, and sometimes all it takes is getting people across the door.  A great image can do that for you.

5.    Only accept a brochure that does your home justice

It’s tempting to allow your agent to produce an ‘information leaflet’ on his desktop, but this will not put you above the competition. To really stand out and tempt a buyer to view your home, your brochure needs to really showcase your home. Photography, design, description and paper quality – they all matter enormously.

6.    Prepare a viewing plan

Take a trusted friend around your home and write up a viewing plan. This is a simple written list of what rooms to show in which order, and any comments or details about each room or feature you feel deserving of mention. Type this up and give it to your estate agent, if they are doing the viewings.  If you are doing your own viewings, practice, preferably with a friend who doesn’t know your home well. Even if you are required to show your home yourself to viewers, your agent should give you some help and guidance in this aspect, so get them involved too.

7.     Time your re-launch carefully

There are some times of the year when activity is traditionally higher, though this does depend on the market for your home. This post will give you more information, but in general, focus on selling in Spring, early Summer or early Autumn for the best results.

8.     Ask for help

If all else fails, why not give me a call? Ten minutes on the phone may just help you to understand what the issues are, and whether or not you can do something to improve the situation. Let’s make sure you keep to your New Year’s Resolution and sell your 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.

A pair of bread and a juice on top of a table

When it comes to a property brochure for your home, you shouldn’t settle for anything but the crème de la crème. Your brochure is an essential tool that viewers will use to get a feel of the lifestyle they can achieve in their potential future abode. Most individuals read up on travel destinations prior to booking, and a property brochure is the same; it provides the essential and inspiring information, and makes your home look beautiful for anyone ‘planning’ a visit.

What if your brochure isn’t working for you though, or – even worse – what if you don’t have one?! As you can read from this previous post, some agents don’t believe in brochures. Some don’t create one, and your online advert for your home on Rightmove will simply link to the agent’s website. Something printed off the agents printer in a flimsy folder with dark photos and copied text, isn’t a brochure either. To a buyer, this indicates lack of care and attention, which they will also attribute to your home.

A brochure sells the lifestyle of your home, its quality and everything that makes it wonderful. You can print it, save it to your phone and email it around to show to family and friends. It gets people excited, and makes them want to view your home even more. It should contain beautifully presented and professional images, floorplans to dazzle and emotive text to describe each detail of the home you have loved. It is there to sell your home.

If you want to refresh your home selling strategies this year, the brochure is the place to start. If your inspirational brochure sits amid a pile of monotonous brochures, yours will be the one the buyer chooses. Be proud of your home, and create a brochure that shines.

If you are now looking at your brochure and wondering if it would meet the HomeTruths’ grade, give us a call, and we’ll tell you!

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.

A wooden cabinet with a plant beside it, a pot of plant and decorations on top of a wooden table, a hanging furniture on a wall, and a wooden door and floor

I once was asked by a client to help him sell his beautiful 18th Century oak-framed barn in Cheshire. Despite selling a home in the £500,000 plus bracket, my client was still only in his twenties, having been initiated into the very successful family business from an early age. His two passions were motorbikes and partying, and not necessarily in that order. There was evidence of his interests throughout the house, from a fully-blown games room where the dining room should have been, and a full sized wooden motorbike in the middle of the living room. He also had a “chillout” room in place of one of the bedrooms, complete with walls adorned with erotic art. Needless to say, it didn’t go down that well with the family buyers……

I told him there were two possible solutions: one – find a buyer exactly like him. Two – change the house to suit the likely family buyer. As he’d already tried the first strategy for over a year without success, I persuaded him that mine had a higher chance of success. He reluctantly agreed. Out came the motorbike, to be replaced by lovely rustic coffee table; the chillout room was transformed into an elegant guest bedroom and the games room was dismantled, and a large, family-sized oak dining table installed. On the day of the photographer’s visit, I had a last run round the house, hiding unsuitable magazines, tidying away sixteen pairs of trainers, Playboy towels and bedding, and instructing him to put the several crates of empty beer bottles out for the recyling. The fresh flowers, fruit and just-for-show toiletries were placed carefully and the resulting images made all the effort worth it.

We re-launched in the early summer, with an open house, and almost a dozen families turned up to see the barn, including some who had previously viewed and dismissed it. The agent had done a great job of selling the ‘makeover’ and the new glossy brochures were snapped up and ooooed over.

The result? Two offers at the asking price. A contracts race ensued and my client found himself moving out just six weeks later. Last I heard he was opening a pub….. well, he needed somewhere to display his ‘art’.

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.