Tag Archives: brochures

Floorplans are a relatively new addition to property details. Originally they were only made available for either very grand homes, or new builds. Now much more prevalent and even the humblest of studio flats usually have a floorplan on the details. But why are they so important?

There are three elements to a floorplan that are important in its usability; firstly, it needs to include measurements. Too many poorly-drawn floorplans often have the measurements missing, or else they are instead included in the written description where they lack context.  The right place for room dimensions is in the floorplan, so that a buyer can easily ascertain their relative sizes. Secondly, it should include a compass market, so a buyer can tell which way the front of the house and more importantly, the garden, faces. The last element that should be detailed on a floorplan, is the overall square footage. This allows the house to be compared with other properties, so that a buyer can instantly see how much house he’s getting for his money. In the UK, we often sell houses on number of rooms only, and as a result, room sizes are getting smaller and smaller. These days, a four bedroomed house can take up the same footprint as a three bedroomed property would have done thirty years ago. To be able to see the total floor area gives a buyer the opportunity to ensure he is getting good value for money.

So why is a floorplan important? There are three main reasons:

1. It helps a buyer see how the house ‘works’, and therefore whether it is worth a viewing. Room flow, relative sizes and layout are all factors that a buyer will take into consideration, especially family buyers, and he won’t want to waste time by viewing properties which just aren’t suitable for his needs.

2. A floorplan can help a buyer to visualise the property after the viewing. This can become useful when he may be considering making layout changes, perhaps knocking down a wall or installing an ensuite, and a floorplan is vital for this kind of thought processing.

3. Floorplans can make a house seem larger. It’s very easy when you’ve viewed a house to forget rooms that you’ve seen, or overlook a part of the house altogether. This is especially true of boxrooms, or areas that aren’t being fully utilised, like storage rooms. By showing the house in its entirety on a floorplan, no area will be omitted and as a result, it can even add perceived value.

In summary, make sure you have a floorplan on your brochure, and preferably available as a separate download on the online property portals, ensure it is clear and informative, and that it includes the total floor area. Your buyer will thank you 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.

What to read next: What’s the Point of a Viewing Rep?

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I called an estate agent today to assess, for my client, the way they handled my request (we do this often at HomeTruths – see Mystery Shopping).   I explained that I had seen a property on their online listing and asked if they could send me the brochure.  The lady duly took my contact details and said she’d email me the brochure.  Whoa……  I told her that I really needed them sending by post (making up some story about my printer not working).  “But you’ve missed tonight’s post!” she protested.  I reassured her that an extra day would be fine.  She conceded with an embarrassed laugh, promising to put it in the “snail mail”, as she called it.

After putting the phone down, I looked again at the online brochure on my screen, and wondered why she thought I would want this same digital brochure emailing to me?  Surely, when a buyer calls and requests a brochure, they would have already been online and what they want is something more?

One last thought: given that the average brochure print run is 50-100, what on earth do these agents do with all the brochures?!

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.

Way back in the olden days, estate agents would offer a double-sided A4 sheet of typed information to market a property, complete with two or three stuck-on photographs measuring 3.5” x 5”.  These were referred to as ‘particulars’ or sometimes ‘details’.

But that was then, and this is now.  If your agent is doing a good marketing job, you should have had created for you a beautiful brochure of anything from 4 – 12 pages long, laminated or extra thick card, packed with professional and beautiful images, skilfully drawn floorplans and text full of emotion that really brings your home to life.

This is not a set of ‘particulars’.  On the contrary – it is a brochure.  Synonymous in quality and content with the best hotel brochures, and those of travel companies, luxury gyms, status watches and top marquee cars.  After all, your house is worth many times more than any of those purchases.

A brochure sells quality, lifestyle; it is something to aspire to, to show your friends and family, to stroke (ok, I admit it) and to keep looking at.

Unique homes need unique brochures.

Brochures are generally gathered over the week to browse through at the weekend, in what one estate agent I know calls the ‘Saturday morning shuffle’.  This is a brutal sorting into ‘yes’ and ‘no’ piles – which one would yours land in?

If you are now looking at your ‘brochure’ wondering if it would meet the HomeTruths’ grade, give me a call, and I’ll tell you.  Though if you are unsure, chances are it’s probably destined for a ‘no’ pile…..

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.

 

First impressions count for a lot in the property market, and the garden can often get neglected. Here on Home Truths we think the outdoor presentation of your property is vital, after all, it’s what catches a potential buyer’s attention. A lot of people take care of their garden in the summer only to skip maintaining it as the colder months approach. Yet if your home is on the market, keeping your garden tidy in the autumn and winter is just as important.

Here are some of the things you can do to keep your garden tidy throughout autumn and winter:

Give your lawn a good sweep

If you leave a dense layer of leaves on your lawn, they will kill the grass underneath, resulting in problems in the spring. If your garden is regularly covered in leaves, one of the best things you can do is to make a leaf mould. Alan Titchmarsh recommends stowing damp leaves away for a year in a black bin liner until they become a crumbly brown mould that is ready to use.

Early autumn is also the best time for lawn care—sow fresh seeds on bare patches, trim plants, and remove invasive weeds.

Start sowing plants for the cooler months

Since growth slows in autumn and almost stops completely during winter, early autumn is the best time to get rid of those ugly, empty containers and reuse them with plants that grow in the colder weather like pansies and viola, bulbs like grape hyacinths, and shrubs like euonymus, evergreen sedges, and evergreen ferns.

You can also start growing some winter vegetables. Good winter vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, all of which flourish in the cooler temperatures.

Onions, shallots, and leeks are also great choices, and these can be planted in the garden in autumn ready for an early spring harvest.

Apart from getting started with planting, The Telegraph also suggests you start moving tender plants like canna, citrus, and young olives indoors or to covered areas. Less hardy plants need winter protection, so make sure you have covering materials like fleece.

Feed your plants and improve your soil

Autumn days are your last chance to add fertiliser into potted plants before the cold months begin. iNews state that it’s best to use low-nitrogen fertilisers, to avoid soft growth that will make your plants more vulnerable to disease and frost. These kinds of fertilisers promote robust frost-resistant growth, perfect for winter.

Autumn is also the most important season to improve your soil. Besides adding fertiliser, adding organic material like compost, shredded leaves, and organic nutrients help provide the soil microbes with food, and protect the soil from being too bare during winter.

Sort out your pond, fountain, and bird feeders

If you have water installations like ponds or fountains, now is the best time to scoop out leaves that may have blown into them. Remove any pond plants that have died, too, to prevent them from rotting and sinking to the bottom, which can upset the ecological balance of the pond. If your garden pond does not contain any fish, you can cover it with plywood or a tarp. Don’t forget to turn off the pumps and filters for the winter, as they can freeze and damage the equipment. Take down bird boxes and empty them as old nesting materials, unfertilised eggs, and other debris that may carry diseases. Make sure you also clean out feeders and regularly refill them.

Clean your garden shed, sharpen your tools, and check your fences

Don’t think maintaining a garden ends with the plants and soil. Your shed is still part of your garden. Keep it neat and tidy by sorting through your tools, cleaning them, and repairing or replacing any that have become damaged.

Don’t forget your fences, too. Check for any shifting in the soil, cracks, or any insect infestation. If any of these are present, it is best to replace your fence with pressure-treated panels to prevent any damage in the future. The bulk of the garden fences showcased on Screwfix come with a manufacturer’s guarantee, which shows how modern fences are much better equipped to last longer. Besides ensuring your fences are made of good-quality materials, make sure you pick a design that will complement your garden and potentially increase the value of your home.

Like the old adage says, first impressions last. And if the first thing a potential homebuyer sees is a poorly kept lawn, a rotten fence, and a patchy garden, the top quality designed interior of your home could be irrelevant.

AUTHOR BIO: Emerson Rosenzweig is a marketer by profession and is based in Bristol, UK. Having grown up with a passion for all things landscaping and gardening, Emerson appreciates the importance of maintaining a beautiful garden not just for boosting property value, but also for health and wellness. When he’s not at work or tending to his garden, Emerson enjoys visiting the national arboretum and going for long runs.

 

Sometimes I look at a client’s property brochure in despair.  It can be a beautiful, rambling country house full of character, and for reasons only known to the estate agent in question, he is attempting to market it with a flimsy A3 folded sheet, printed from the office printer.  The text is lacking in any kind of warmth; the photographs are dull and dark, having been printed straight onto copier paper, and the overall result is cheap and amateurish.  This lack of care and attention to the marketing of a house can permeate a buyer’s view of the property; after all, if the estate agent and seller don’t care enough about it to take the time it needs in creating a beautiful showpiece for the house, how can we expect the buyer to see it as a house of value?

Of course, if you are selling a studio flat in a less than salubrious area, you might expect the property details to consist of only a single sheet of A4 with perhaps 150 words and three or four photographs, but if your house is a good sized family home, it will usually warrant considerably more effort.  As a rough guide, I would expect that a flat or house with four rooms or less rooms to be marketed with two sides of A4, and a family house brochure to be at least four sides; anything bigger than this really needs a brochure of at least six pages, with country homes warranting easily twelve pages or more.  There are exceptions to this of course; development projects, very dated properties or houses that are extremely cluttered and therefore difficult to photograph; the details for these types of house will always be compromised by what the estate agent needs to show, and can photograph. However, if you have a house packed with interesting and unusual features, a pretty garden, or both, then your brochure really needs to reflect this and make sure a buyer’s attention is captured long enough for them to book a viewing on your house.

There are arguments I hear often from estate agents about “overselling”.  In other words, if you set a buyer’s expectations low, they are more likely to be bowled over when they actually visit the house.  This is a pretty risky strategy: if your brochure undersells your home, there’s a strong likelihood that no one will book a viewing anyway.  With almost fifteen properties to each buyer at the time of writing, they will just move onto the next house to look at; one that is being marketed effectively.  Make sure your brochure size, type and style all reflect your home and that you are proud to call it your showcase: after all, your brochure really is the gateway between you and your future buyer, so make sure you keep that gate firmly open.

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 to read next: “What’s that smell?!” What prevents your home from selling?

Whether you have a solitary budgie or a whole menagerie, any pet you have will doubtless be a very important member of your family.  However, even though it’s sometimes difficult for pet lovers to imagine, there is in fact a large proportion of the population that just doesn’t like animals in the house.  So what to do when you have a viewing arranged?

To make sure you don’t alienate your viewers and put them off your home from the moment they step through the door, it’s best to eliminate all traces of your pets if at all possible.  If your agent accompanies viewers, then take the dog out for a walk; if you conduct the viewings yourself, and the weather allows it, let your dog have a sleep in the car, or leave it with a neighbour.

Move out of sight all pet paraphernalia: litter trays, pet food, dog beds, cat toys, etc.  Close the cat flap, and ask a friend to look after the budgie.

Whilst you may prefer to sell your home to a pet lover just like you, in reality it doesn’t make sense to limit your market and you need to look at selling your property in a dispassionate and logical way.  Give your buyers the chance to fall in love with your house and your beloved pets will soon have a new home to move to.

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.

Day 2 of my series celebrating Andy Murray’s fantastic win and hopefully, the sale of your home!

Andy Murray and the rest of the world’s elite tennis players really are creative in their game.  They innovate continually, coming up with new moves, slices, serves and techniques in a constant effort to improve their game.

When you are selling your home, creativity is key.  Your marketing needs to stand out from those of your competitors, and at HomeTruths we are constantly looking at ways in which our clients’ marketing can be more innovative.  Your brochure, online advert and property photography all need to be exceptional, so look at it with an extremely critical eye, and ask yourself “what could we do better?”  Our photographers strive to create new angles and exciting lighting; the brochures we advocate are very special, with unusual formats, lots of pages, and creative layouts.  Only by innovating on a continuous basis, questioning and reviewing your marketing, can you ensure that your home really sells itself.

Once a buyer takes the plunge and books a viewing on your home, you need to be absolutely certain that it really delivers the wow factor in every way possible.  No matter how ordinary your home, or how modest its proportions, every room needs to really shine to a buyer.  In order to be innovative and creative, visit show homes, stately homes and interior design showrooms; gather ideas and tips voraciously and apply the best and most appropriate ones in your home.  It may be a splash of colour, a stylish piece of artwork or a sumptuous rug; whatever it takes to really grab your buyer and reassure them that this is their dream home.

Tomorrow we’re going to look at how to adapt to sell your property faster, and for more.

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 to do next: Sign up to my Selling Secrets https://www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets

Armchair-corner

It’s very frustrating when you aren’t getting viewings.  I spoke to a lady this week who has only had one viewing in three years!  Much more common is for sellers to contact us when they haven’t had a viewing for a month or two.  It’s normal for you to get an initial flurry of viewings in the first few weeks on the market, and for that interest to wane a little as the weeks and months progress.  But what can you do when viewings peter out altogether?  You know what your agent will advise – if he hasn’t already.  “Drop the price” he’ll tell you.  So what else can you do to revive interest, other than dropping your asking price?

1.  Ask for your Rightmove Property Performance Report – this shows how many searches online your property is appearing in, and crucially, what percentage of those buyers are clicking on your property to find out more.  The national average percentage – called your CTR – is currently around 5%.  To achieve higher than that, you need to have great photographs which are rotated frequently, and a short but snappy headline. Have your agent make some changes, then check your CTR again to see if there’s an improvement.Check your photographs to see if they’re becoming dated. They shouldn’t be more than a season behind.  So if yours are still showing daffodils, it’s time for a refresh.  Ask your agent to arrange for new foliage shots – that is, new outside photographs showing the current state of the garden and any greenery – and make sure that these are displayed at least online.

2.  Revisit your property brochure description.  Firstly, draw up a profile of the kind of person you think is most likely to buy your home.  Age, status, motivation for moving, and so on.  Then write down a list of adjectives about your house that you think would most appeal to these target buyers.  Look at your property description – does it need rewriting to incorporate these key words?

3.  Commission a home stager.  Often for less than £200 a professional home stager will look at your home with a critical and unbiased eye, and advise you on what you can do to make the most of your house: usually there is very little expenditure necessary, but small changes can make big improvements in attracting the right buyer.

When you talk to your estate agent about reviving interest in your home and encouraging viewings, make sure you are firm about the price.  Tell him it’s not currently up for discussion, but you are happy to consider any other activities he can suggest.  You’re just not going to drop your price!

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.
Armchair-corner

When a house is being described in print or online, the words used can either have the effect of making a reader switch off, or else making the house lift off the page, and come alive.  The difference between telling the reader all about a property, in terms of bricks and mortar, and the way a good writer can draw you into the detail of a home, full of welcome and memories, is a profound one.  Look at these examples:

‘A beautiful detached family home, set in pretty gardens extending to about an acre, with a wonderfully secluded swimming pool, far reaching views and well planned accommodation.  No onward chain.’

‘On a warm, summer’s morning Mark and Anne Clarke like nothing better than to take a dip in their heated, outdoor swimming pool, before enjoying their breakfast al fresco on the terrace, overlooking the back garden.
The pool is actually at the side of the house and not overlooked by anyone. “That side of the house gets the sun all day, so we often like to take an early morning swim,” Helen explained.  “The minute we first saw it we knew we were going to buy it,” she added. “There are wonderful views from every single window in the house.” ‘

Would you believe these two passages are actually describing the same house?

How about these two; which house sounds more appealing?

This one…. ‘A wonderful country house situated in an enviable position within this hamlet. The property, which has been well maintained and improved by the current owners for over 30 years and is presented for sale in excellent decorative order throughout.’

Or this? Wandering past the glorious roses in full bloom, and on through the Japanese and Italian gardens, Ian and his wife Sophie soak up the wonderful tranquillity of their exquisite English country home.
They have lived at the expansive four-bedroom house in this picturesque hamlet for more than 30 years now.  There they have created an attractive and comfortable family home, which sits beautifully in its magnificent grounds of almost 6 acres. The property is overflowing with delightful features that include intricate plasterwork and open fireplaces, while the fabulous grounds incorporate a tennis court and a number of outbuildings, including converted stables, as well as a semi-walled garden with pond, and an arboretum.’

Beautiful prose and evocative words written in a stylish and nostalgic tone, can really capture a reader’s imagination.  Dull, flat copy full of clichés and ‘estate agent-speak’ can have the opposite effect.  Here’s my 5 point checklist to make sure your home sings on the page:

1. Create a snappy headline.  ‘Executive five bed home with luxury fittings and well-maintained gardens’ isn’t enough to get anyone excited.  ‘Are these the best views in Sussex?’ will get your property noticed for all the right reasons.

2. Supercharge your adjectives.  Is your copy sprinkled with adjectives that evoke homely warmth and comfort?  Words like cosy and welcoming are very appealing to buyers, and will pull at their emotional buying strings.

3. Ban all agent-speak.  Scour your descriptions for words that are clichéd and typical of the worst kind of property description. Make sure you take out offending phrases like ‘double aspect’ or ‘benefitting from’ and eliminate any mention at all of power points, telephone points and radiators.

4. Room-by-room descriptions are old hat.  Much better is a well-written opening paragraph, followed by a written ‘tour’ of the house, including the garden, and peppered with pretty quotes from the owners.

5. Dimensions belong in floorplans; not in the written description.  They interrupt the flow of the writing, and are very difficult to understand when taken out of context.  As part of the floorplan they are useful because they make sense.

Of course, it’s not always a straightforward process, persuading your estate agent to add such imaginative and attractive style to your written description, but even if you can get him to use some of your words, it will make such a difference to the way your buyer understands what your home has to offer them.

Image courtesy of Andy Marshall at FotoFacade

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.

Kate-and-Will

Remember Kate and Will’s Royal Wedding? If you’re anything like me, you were eagerly awaiting that first magical glimpse of Kate’s dress. For months, it was the subject of conjecture and rumours, and still managed to end up a complete surprise. No one knew who the designer was, the colour or the style.  And don’t we just love it?  The surprise for me, and millions around the world, added to the excitement and enchantment of that wonderful day.

Kate’s determination to keep the secret is something that every seller could learn from!  When we sell our home, there is a tendency for the estate agent to try to show everything, warts and all, in the brochure and photography.  The property of a client of ours, has been listed on Rightmove with 52 photographs!  The problem with this, is that a buyer will make a decision about whether or not to view a home based on the photographs, and if there are images of every nook and cranny, they don’t need to come to see it!  In this sense, less is definitely more. Or in marketing speak, you need to sell the sizzle, and not the sausage.  Here are my top 5 tips for keeping your viewers interested and excited about your house:

1.     Make sure there are no more than 6-10 photographs in your online advert.  Any more than this, and you risk losing their interest before they have even seen the best features of your home;

2.     Look at your description, both in your online advert and also in your brochure.  Is the copy wordy and overly descriptive, complete with full measurements and every power point listed?  It should be punchy, full of emotive language and enthusiasm.  Create atmosphere with the wording, and make sure every word entices a buyer to view.

3.     Your brochure should include up to 20 photographs, but at least half of these are better as ‘lifestyle’ shots.  These could be a glimpse of the garden through the gate, a window seat with an open book and a cup and saucer, or a posy of flowers on a bedside table.  If you have a country property, try a shot of muddy wellies by the back door, or a stack of logs in the sunshine.  Urbanites could try a bowl of limes on a shiny kitchen surface, or a bottle of bubbly and two glasses on the coffee table, with just low lamps lit.

4.     When your viewer arrives, make sure all your internal doors are closed.  Invite them to go first into each room, opening the doors like opening a present.  In this way, they ‘take ownership’ of the house.

5.     Try to make some little secret corners, in your house and also in the garden.  This might be a little reading corner, or a garden bench hidden by shrubs, and secret paths are loved by adults and children alike.

You only get one shot to make a great impression on a viewer.  If they are under 40, they are most likely very used to browsing online, and with a click, you’ve lost them.  Unless you can pique their interest and hold their attention long enough to create a desire to know more.  Do it right, and they’ll reach for the phone, and book that viewing.

As for Kate’s dress, well it was certainly worth the wait.

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.

Kate-and-Will