Tag Archives: Estate agent

When you’re ready to sell your home, you want your listing to be on Rightmove fast. But without great photography, you’re unlikely to have many people take a closer look. So how do we make sure that the shots are tempting? Let’s head to the lounge and check that it’s ready for the photographer to arrive. Because the secret to great house photography isn’t the photography itself. It’s the home styling and preparations before the photographer arrives! Follow these simple home styling tips, and your lounge will be picture perfect from every angle.

Take a step back

Perhaps you’ve lived in your home for so long, you don’t pause to appreciate the lovely oak fireplace anymore. Or maybe you’re so ready to move, you overlook the chipped paintwork on the skirting boards. Either way, seeing the same room every day brings a sense of familiarity and comfort. And, sometimes, we can all become a little too comfy with our surroundings. That’s when we start to overlook the details that may be the key to selling your home.

So how do we see the lounge through fresh eyes? We start with a little nostalgia. Let’s go back to the first viewing of your home. What did you feel the first time you walked into your lounge? Perhaps the gently lit window seat, or rustic exposed beams, made you smile. Maybe it simply felt spacious, and you knew it would be the perfect space to entertain guests on a weekend afternoon. But, with time, our home adapts to our family. Maybe your brood is now a few children heavier, and the lounge that once felt spacious and adult, is now cramped with toys.

This is when rooms can start to lose their identity. And to make the room appealing to other families, it’s important to remember the function, or purpose, of each room. So what is the lounge? It’s the communal spot that brings everyone together, and to enjoy each others company. It should feel big enough to gather friends and family comfortably, yet cosy and inviting too. So how do we strike the balance?

We take a look at the ‘things’ inside the room. Because, as time passes, we find ourselves with more and more ‘things.’ Perhaps you brought a new three-piece suit last year, but you just couldn’t bear to part with your favourite old armchair. So it sits in the lounge next to the new suite. Then there’s the coffee table; it might be a little too big for your current place, but you know it’ll fit just right in your next home.

Don’t worry, you’re not on your own. We all do this. But when someone is flicking through your homes pictures on Rightmove, you won’t be on hand to explain why the bookcase is in the lounge. Potential families will simply assume that there isn’t enough space in the office. And a home that looks small isn’t appealing. Too much furniture is suffocating, so creating a spacious-looking lounge is key.

Shuffle some furniture

It’s not quite moving day, but if you follow these steps, you’ll be a little closer to scheduling the removal men.

So, has your furniture sat in the same position for the past few years? If the answer is yes, maybe it’s time for a little shuffling. With time, we position our furniture so that it’s convenient for our everyday living. And that makes sense. But in doing so, it’s easy to cover up, hide and block the homes natural features too. Repositioning furniture can help you rediscover special qualities, and making sure that they’re in frame when the photographer arrives is key.

Flick through a few Homeware magazines for room layout inspiration, because a little sofa shuffling can help breathe some life back into a space. On that note, if you are thinking of indulging in a new suite for your new home, consider replacing the old one now instead. A contemporary set can transform a tired room, and it’ll instantly make the lounge look loved and inviting.

Consider putting big items of furniture, or anything that detracts from the room’s natural features, in storage too. Moving furniture can create space, frame features, and create a more sociable environment.

If your family has grown by a baby or two since you bought your home, you might find that it’s now not quite fit for purpose. That’s why you’re moving. But. And it’s a big but. Potential buyers don’t want to feel that the living space is cramped. They want it to feel spacious and roomy; it needs to look like a family hub, and a perfect space for entertaining too. So any toys, animal beds, or make-shift furniture should be hidden out of shot.

A final five-minute spruce

By following these home styling tips, you’ve done the hard work. But before the photographer arrives, spend a few minutes dressing the room. Neatly fold throws, and plump up the cushions. Open blinds, and turn on any low-level lamps too. Because the lighter the room, the better your photos will show off your home.

Happy selling!

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.

Sam

5 Top Tips to keep your estate agent onside.

The market is buoyant right now.  Properties are selling quickly – mostly.  If yours isn’t getting much interest from buyers, you may find that your estate agent has stopped calling. Perhaps it seems they are even avoiding your calls.  You’re left feeling frustrated and powerless, wondering what on earth you can do when no one wants to view your home.

Communication between you and your agent at this tricky time becomes all the more important.  Without communication, there can be no trust, and without trust, there is no worthwhile relationship.   What can you do to keep the channels of communication open, and keep your agent onside?

Here are my 5 Tips to keep your estate agent onside when they don’t want to speak to you:

  1. Pre-empt any issues by agreeing a communication schedule before you launch your home to the market.  This is over and above any calls to arrange viewings, or to give feedback afterwards; this plan outlines your expectations and so your agent has some chance of meeting them.  For example, you could ask for a fortnightly call on a Friday, regardless of whether there had been any viewings in between.  In this call you could ask them about market conditions and trends, recent sales, viewings on other comparable properties, and updates on any of your recent viewers.  With a plan agreed in advance, there are clear expectations and if these are not met, you can refer your agent back to their original agreement.
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  2. Share your plans with them: if your agent knows how important your move is, perhaps to be closer to a special relative, to give yourself more financial security, or to realise your long-held dream of living in the country, they will be able to genuinely identify with your aspirations.  By taking them into your confidence, you are showing that you trust them, and the resulting enhanced relationship will allow them to do the best possible job of selling your home for you.
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  3. Ask for advice: lots of vendors do this, but then they either don’t listen to any suggestions, or else they argue with it.  If you genuinely listen and show that you value any input that might improve the level of interest in your property, you will find your agent much more confident about discussing the issues with you.
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  4. Keep your communication positive – if your agent feels that they are being told off, or held to account, for a lack of interest in your property, they will be increasingly reluctant to pick up the phone to you.  If however, your tone is encouraging, friendly and supportive, they will look forward to speaking to you, and they will be only too happy to have a chat to you, even if there is nothing concrete to report.
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  5. Pop into the office, if you live close enough.  Take them cakes, or flowers out of your garden for the office.  If they offer to make you a cup of tea, even better.  Take the time to really get to know the staff in the office, and you and your house will be at the forefront of their mind when they next receive a suitable enquiry.  Agents are just like you and me; they have favourite clients, so make sure you’re one of them.

Keeping your estate agent onside can have a big effect on the interest you receive on your house.  You may be feeling frustrated, but chances are, they are too.  Add to that the embarrassment they could be feeling, having told you initially that they were sure your house would sell quickly! A bit of kindness and understanding can go a long way, and reassures your agent that you consider your house sale a team effort.

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 looking at homes for sale online, the first picture people usually see is a front-facing shot. And there’s a good reason for that. The ‘front-aspect’, or ‘face’, is the familiar view that greets us each time we arrive home. So having an inviting, warm appearance is key. But after a cold winter of hibernation, our front gardens suddenly begin to look a little wild. It’s difficult to know where to begin, and it’s hard to know what really appeals to other families. So we’re here to lend some hands. Just follow these three easy steps, and you’ll have a picture perfect frontage in no time!

Pick the perfect season

This one is a little tricky, but if you’re looking to sell this Spring, you’re in luck. It’s no secret that in this season, everything begins to blossom; the daylight is fresh and inviting, and the Sun casts a gentle hue on natural woods and brick. Gardens look loved, and capturing beautiful shots is a breeze.

A spot of preening

Take a walk down your front garden, and stand facing your home. Position yourself so that the whole house and garden is in view. Take a picture, and head back inside. Have a look at the shot, and note down anything that detracts your attention from the house. Are the curtains drawn? Or perhaps it’s time for the window cleaner to take a visit? (We all know the feeling!) Sending the picture to friends and family is helpful too; it’ll help you see through objective eyes, and they’ll be able to spot the things you may overlook.

Take bins for example. Most are kept in a convenient spot to the front or side of a home. It works for everyday living, but it’s not the first thing a potential buyer wants to see. Moving them to a more discreet location is a quick job, but it will go a long way to smartening up the frontage. Have a quick sweep of the drive too, and hide away any rogue bikes or watering cans.

Now to tackle the grass

But don’t worry if you’re not the green-fingered type, a quick mow the lawn is all you need to make the garden presentable. Try to take cars off the drive, and park them elsewhere ahead of the photographers’ arrival too; it’ll make the frontage look more spacious, and give people an unobstructed view of the home.

Reinvigorate with colour

The subtle tones of Spring are a delight. A splattering of flower pots adds a delicate touch, and sweeping back any unruly stones or gravel is a worthwhile work-out too. And double-check that any overhanging trees are trimmed back just enough to see the house front. On that note, if the front door looks a little unloved after the winter season, consider freshening it up with a repaint. If you have a picket-fence on show, perhaps give it a lick of paint too. And whilst you sigh as you open the paint pot, know that the couple of hours you spend with a paint-brush in hand will make all the difference to a potential buyer.

And, to finish, popping a few hanging baskets either side of a polished front door is all you need to complete a picture-perfect frontage.

The final touches

So, your home looks magazine-worthy, and you’re ready to schedule the photographer. But what time is best to take the shots? Well, it depends on your location and what aspect your houses faces, so it’s best to double-check with your photographer. Some may advise a mid-morning shoot, others favour a mid-afternoon glow. Most would suggest avoiding midday, as this is the time that shadows appear the darkest overhead. They may suggest returning in the evening to take some twilight shots, though.

There are no real rules when it comes to photography, but for daylight shots, an abundance of light and clear skies is helpful. If it’s raining, try to reschedule, but it’s not a deal breaker if it’s overcast. As long as your home looks welcoming, it’ll catch the eye of potential buyers.

Happy selling!

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.

Playing music to put someone in the mood for buying isn’t new.  Retailers use it, hotels and even hairdressers employ background music to influence our behaviour. It can be quite literal: fast music makes us move quicker, and slower tunes help us relax, and browse.  Music can be a very powerful sales tool.

Music can also help us to make an emotional connection.  You only have to catch a few bars of a song you haven’t heard in years and you are instantly transported back to a place and time when it was embedded into your memory.

How do we use music to sell our home to a viewer? 

Firstly, make sure the music fits not just your home, but the person viewing it.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know how important it is to understand your buyer.  If you can determine the most likely person to buy your home, you’ll know the best type of music to play.

Keeping the music choices relatively neutral, but fitting, here are some of my suggestions:

  • First-time buyers – Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars
  • 30-45 year old upsizers – David Gray, Adele, James Blunt
  • 45-60 year old downsizers – Michael Buble, Luther Vandross
  • Retirees – Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Nina Simone

Secondly, make sure the music itself is down-tempo, and played at a discreet and relaxing volume.  You’re trying to put your viewer at ease, not force them to shout!

Next, choose the music to suit the season.  Some songs are naturally more sunny, while some feel cosier for wintry evenings.

Lastly, plan ahead and make sure it doesn’t run out during the viewing.  A CD is usually around an hour long, so put it on repeat, or use an iPod to play it through, perhaps creating a longer playlist.

Music can be your best friend when you’re selling your house. Use it to set the mood, connect with your viewer, and create the perfect browsing atmosphere for your home, and you might just have an offer before the fat lady sings.

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.

Did you know that on average, 36% of sales arranged in England and Wales fall through after the offer is accepted?

It’s a scary thought, especially when so often so much is riding on the sale of your house.

Sales progression management is the process of monitoring all those tricky milestones and liasing with all parties to ensure that communication doesn’t go unanswered, questions are responded to promptly, and disputes are handled sensitively. This process is best handled by someone to whom a successful outcome means a completed sale. That person is usually your estate agent.

So, one of the questions you need to ask an agent before you decide to engage his services, is how sales progression is managed in his office. You need to know someone is on your side, fighting your corner for when the going gets tough – and it often does!

You can also help yourself at this tricky time, by making sure you do the following:

  • Instruct your solicitor early – before you get an offer – then inform your agent;
  • Get your documents together – this may be details of any work you have had done to the property, planning permission, guarantees and certificates;
  • Complete and return all paperwork from your solicitor as soon as possible; for example, the fixtures and fittings enquiry form;
  • Keep a diary of all communication and double-check anything you have sent has been received, whether by email or post

With a great agent experienced in sales progression management, and thorough communication and record keeping, you’ll put yourself in a far better position to get that sale to completion.

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.

At HomeTruths, a very important part of our service is to provide to our clients a comprehensive and detailed report on their asking price. We look at several different data points in order to establish whether they are still achievable. In the vast majority of the time, we report back, much to our client’s relief, that we believe they should continue to market at their chosen price, or even at an increased level.

However, we are not the only party to be convinced. There are three other parties who, if not confident that your house is worth its price, can sabotage your property sale. Let’s have a look at the implications of their influence in turn:

Your estate agent. If your agent does not have confidence he can sell your home for the price you want, this lack of support will eventually filter down through the branch staff, and be in no doubt, to your viewers. It only takes a careless remark, such as “the vendors are very flexible” or “it’s always worth making an offer” and a buyer will get the subtle message that the agent does not support the asking price. The solution is to gather all the data you can regarding any houses sold in your local area, comparable properties currently on the market and even, if your maths is up to it, a price per square foot comparison table, showing how much house a buyer is getting for their money.

Your buyer. They are probably the best informed out of these three parties, as they are likely to be looking only within a particular price range, geographical area and house type. This makes them a ‘temporary expert’ of a house such as yours. If they don’t feel your house is worth the asking price, they may not even make an offer. The solution is to make your house as appealing for the 21st century buyer as possible, and compete strongly on features and presentation. Your marketing sets the scene, so ensure your brochure, photography and online advert are giving the right message, and back it up with a house that sells itself to a viewer.

Your buyer’s lender. This is a very important point: your estate agent may agree to market your home for a very optimistic price, and your buyer may get carried away enough to offer the asking price, but if he needs a mortgage, it’s the lender who makes the final decision. Their valuer will take a very cautious and guarded view of the value of your house, particularly if your buyer needs a relatively high loan amount. The solution is to present the valuer with your own dossier of comparable evidence to support your price. He will, of course, compile his own data from various different professional sources, but any information you can supply that will make his life easier, and your agreed purchase price more realistic, will really help to support your argument.

The lesson here is that preparation will really put you in a much stronger position and make your eventual sale price more likely to put a smile on your face.

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.

Sometimes it seems that every weekend sees you tidying, vacuuming and getting rid of the dogs yet again, but come Monday, it’s the same old story – they aren’t interested. I spoke to a gentleman recently who had had 30 viewings on his house over only a three month period, but not only had no one offered on the house, not a single viewer had booked a second viewing. Statistically, we know that a house sells on average after around 15 viewings, but during this time, there should be at least 2 or 3 second viewings, and usually a low offer or two. So after 30 viewings, this gentleman should have had say, 5 second viewings and three offers, of which the last should have been high enough for him to accept. Something is clearly not right – but what?

  • The marketing materials could be misleading. Perhaps the wrong aspects of the house are being promoted, such as a photograph of the back of the house used as the leading image; a very wide-angled lens used in property photography can make small rooms look vast, or maybe an important feature, such as the fact that the house is next to a school or has no garden, has not been mentioned in the description at all. Your marketing materials (brochure, online advert, photography) all need to be flattering, but not misleading.
  • Maybe your agent is being over-enthusiastic, and pressing everyone, no matter how unsuitable, to come to view. Be selective – only allow viewers who are in a position to actually buy the house, so then even if you have less buyers wanting to view, at least your viewings will all be of a high quality.
  • Make sure that your agent is seeking full and frank feedback from your viewers. A comment of “not for us” is not helpful. Impress upon him the importance of being aware of any issues, particularly those which you can do something about.
  • Engage a home stager. A professional expert with a dispassionate viewpoint can often identify problems that are easy and inexpensive to rectify. A beautifully presented home that has been staged especially for photography and viewings will set you head and shoulders above the competition.

Too many viewings is a much easier problem to deal with than no viewings, and is a positive measure of how many buyers are looking for a property of your type, location and price range. Now all you need to do is attract that one viewer who actually wants to buy your house!

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.

Crafting the right Rightmove headline is an art, and it might just be the key to selling your home too. As you scroll down a never-ending list of homes online, you’ll find a sea of dull, generic descriptions. Nothing catches your eye, or tempts you to find out more. Then you see a thoughtfully drafted description. It’s considered and personal, and invites you to click on the home to take a closer look. Let’s take a look at why the words you choose are so important.

When you take a walk down the high-street you see a patchwork of shop fronts. The Little White Company catches your eye. Its clean frontage and thoughtful window display is inviting. Two carefully placed posters catch your eye; the first reads, ‘Think timeless style, not fashion, quality, not quantity, and attention to detail in everything we do.’ The other reads, ‘Precious moments of uncomplicated happiness…We believe in making the most of life’s simple pleasures- it’s the little things that matter.’

Considered, delicate words, but there’s no mention of what you can actually buy; instead, it simply it asks you to think about ‘precious moments.’ Picturing how the treasures inside can bring your family happiness is far more personal; it creates emotional ties that are difficult to ignore. These headlines don’t sell the homeware and clothing products inside, they sell a lifestyle. Because everyone wants to make happy memories.

This little treasure sits alongside Matalan. The garish red sign sits above a cluttered display window; the clashing colours are off-putting, and the chaotic design is a harsh contrast to the elegant white and creams next door. There are lots of posters, but the biggest reads, ‘New rug collection. Delivering quality and value always.’ The words are concise and functional; they tell you exactly what is inside, but it’s generic. This poster could exist in the majority of homeware shops, and it would suffice. The words are far from offensive, but they are forgettable.

The words on the posters speak of the shops inside. Both offer homeware and clothing, but only one creates an environment you really want to browse in. Getting lost in The Little White Company is an indulgence. And the treasures inside are more than just products. What lies within the clean, thoughtful space is a lifestyle, an ideal.

Matalan offers functionality. It’s busy, cluttered aisles are well utilised and practical. But it’s a place you go if you have to go. Not because you have the luxury of time and choice. The Little White Company schmooses. And it’s thoughtfulness is memorable.

Shop headlines and home descriptions both fall into the same two categories: the functional, and the emotional. Most adopt the former. These are the generic, copy-and-paste jobs, littered with cliché phrases and adjectives. Yes, they are quick to write, and yes, they probably describe the home to some degree. But when you take a leaf out of The Little White Company, and craft a considered headline, it makes people pause and want to find out more.

Now let’s compare two property headlines. The first reads, ‘*ESTATE AGENTS* are pleased to market this substantial property in a HIGHLY DESIRABLE location. The property is WELL PRESENTED and in brief comprises three reception rooms…’ It goes on. And there is nothing wrong with the description. Just like the Matalan sign, it’s practical, reusable and informative. But, except tweaking the number of bedrooms and reception rooms, it reads like every other headline. The generic capitalized adjectives could be used to describe most homes, and the overall tone is dull and forgettable. It doesn’t tell the story of the home, and it doesn’t help people to picture the lifestyle that can be enjoyed inside.

Alternatively, here’s a schmoozy Rightmove headline, ‘Is this the best view in the Lake District? Victorian splendour, views to make you swoon, and a wine cellar to boot. Welcome to the Old Vicarage.’ The opening sentence talks to you. It invites conversation, and it’s warm. There is just enough personality, and just enough detail, to make you want to find out more. The language and tone is elegant yet friendly, and the description is unique to the property.

Much like The Little White Company posters, this headline is less focused on functionality, and captures a lifestyle instead. Why? Because emotions sell homes. And everyone wants a home that is special.

So, to pinch a few words from our friends at The Little White Company, ‘It’s the little things that matter.’ Let’s take all the little things that make your home special, and invite families to see for themselves.

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.

Maybe you’re looking at your little ones, and you realise they’re just not that little anymore. Or you’re fed up of shifting essentials from room to room, because there’s not really a place for them to call home. Either way, the spacious home you once lived in somehow just feels a little squishy now. Perhaps your brood is made up of a baby or two more than expected? Or maybe you now work from home, and an office wasn’t on the tick list when you bought. We’ve all been there. The home was once roomy, but now there’s simply no room. Let’s look at the options, and figure out your best move.

Extensions

Extensions always seem appealing. It’ll be the same home you fell in love with, just bigger. No compromise, right? Let’s see…

Perhaps you’re thinking of a modest 5mx5m addition. Nothing indulgent, but just enough to turn your humble kitchen into a more sociable space. What’s the cost? Outside London, expect a bill of around £30,000. And that’s just for the build. Now let’s add on 10-15% for professional fees, because the architect, structural engineer, building regulations and planning permission won’t come for free.

Yes, extensions leave behind a long list of receipts, but what’s the real cost? The council typically takes eight weeks to consider planning permission applications, and longer for more complex builds. So that means two months of thumb-twiddling before the project has even had the thumbs up. And to what extent will your family-life be compromised if the builders do ascend? In amongst the dust, noise, and mess, you start to wonder if it was really worth sacrificing your garden for a larger kitchen. And was turning the children’s playground into a construction site really the right move? To extend is to compromise.


Loft conversions

Now let’s consider creating more space by moving up, not out. Loft conversions don’t usually require planning permission, so that’s one headache less than extensions. And unless you’re set on changing the properties exterior, creating a straightforward loft room is, well, pretty straightforward. From a legislation perspective anyway.

It’ll create a new room without nibbling into your gardens, which again, makes it more appealing. And it’s the least disruptive member of the extension family too, since all the work is contained to one unused space above. So as the new room takes shape, mess, dust, and noise is kept well away from family life.

And while grub is kept out, heat is kept in. On average, a home loses a quarter of its heat through the roof. But when converting a loft space, reinforcements are made to the walls, ceilings, and floors. This naturally packs in extra installation, so in the process of creating a functional space, you’re trapping warmth inside the property. This means friendlier heating bills, and a toastier house.

It sounds promising, so let’s consider the finer details. Like floor plans. Architects design homes based on the plot size, and to optimise useable space. So, since your home wasn’t designed with a loft room in mind, how much wiggle room is there for an extra flight of stairs? Spiral staircases are an option, but they’re not in keeping with most interior design and styles. Then there’s the building legislation to think of; the width and headspace of the staircase all need to be in compliance.

Now let’s talk money. A loft conversion isn’t cheap, but it’s generally cheaper than an extension. And it can increase the value of a home by up to 25%. So what does it cost? Like extensions, it varies, but expect a modest conversion to set you back upwards of £20,000. And an elegant master bedroom, complete with an en-suite? £45,000 minimum.

But, again, what does enduring an extension or loft conversion really cost? Let’s take figures and statistics out of the equation. Because mathematics doesn’t have the answer to a happy home.


Time for a move?

Growing your home to accommodate your changing family, or circumstances, seems appealing. Romantic, even. But how many romances end in tragedy? You may gain an extra room or two, but dust, disagreements and dissatisfaction are other likely add-ons too.

A home is a retreat. It’s the place you should look forward to returning to, and it’s a place that can make or break family time.

Perhaps you could put up with turning your kitchen into a construction site. And maybe you could sacrifice some of the gardens to accommodate the new kitchen-diner. The build is temporary, and the garden is plentiful after all. But once the build is complete, will it be just right? Compromising for planning grants, pinching floor space from gardens, and fighting the restrictions of the original house design. When you bought, you bought a home that was built for your needs at the time. It was comfortable, and it was just what your family needed. But when your circumstances change, perhaps it’s time to look for a property that was designed for your family as it is now.

To extend or convert is a compromise. It’s making the most of what you can do with what you’ve got. They both come with limitations and restrictions. And compromises, limitations and restrictions aren’t the homeliest adjectives around. Choosing a new home is an indulgence. It’s a fresh start, and a new beginning. And this time, you know exactly what your family needs.

So if you’re constantly looking for extra room, maybe it’s time to reassess. Families change with time, and if the home can’t keep up, it’ll start to drag you down. When you bought the home, it was right for you and your circumstances. But with time, your tick-list of priorities will naturally change. Write down the things you’d like to stretch, rejig or knockdown in your current home, and it’ll help draw a picture of what your next home looks like. So don’t compromise, move!

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, or are just looking for more options and advice on what would be the right move for you please answer a few short questions here and I’ll be in touch to help you the best I can.

I once went to view a property on behalf of a client; a lovely little cottage in Cheshire at £350,000.  When I arrived with a colleague, the front door was wide open and the viewing ‘rep’ was standing in the kitchen, reading the paper.  At sixty-plus, he looked like a homeless person, or at least someone who was down on his luck. Unshaven and dishevelled, our first impressions were less than favourable.

It got worse. He didn’t even look up when we rang the doorbell, but just called at us to come in.  In fact, he didn’t look up from his paper during our whole viewing, but instead left us to look around the cottage by ourselves.  Even when we went to the back door and rattled it, looking for the key, he completely ignored us, only muttering “bye” as we left.

Appalled by the lack of care he had displayed with the seller’s cottage, I called the estate agent’s office and told the manageress what had happened.  Her response left me stunned, to say the least.  She said, and I quote, “He’s not there to sell you the house”.

“So what on earth is he there for?” I asked, genuinely confused.

“His job is just to open the door” came her reply.

I put the phone down. And closed my mouth.

What would their client think?

What would the seller have said if she’d heard our conversation?  If she’d known that he couldn’t even be bothered to find the back door key for me?  Or the fact that we were left completely unsupervised to roam around this poor lady’s cottage, without a thought for the security of her possessions?

At my agency, AshdownJones, we place viewings at the top of our services, and given them maximum priority. After all, this is where the rubber meets the road – the offers are generated. Which is actually the point of an estate agent.

Phil, my co-director, put a new property on Rightmove this week. Within an hour, a couple called from York, some 2.5 hours’ drive away, asking how soon could they see it? Phil shuffled round his diary, and set off to the house, an hour from our office.  It was a two hour viewing. Because we’d sat with the owners for hours discovering all we could about the house, he knew all the answers. In that two hour viewing, those people from York made an asking price offer.

How would other agents have handled that request, do you think? Would they have sent a director out of the office for four hours to do everything he could to ensure the outcome was the best for everyone?

Imagine if he’d been a ‘door opener’, like our friend in Cheshire. What are the chances he could have produced an asking price offer within hours of the property being available?

It’s an estate agent’s job to show your home

Estate agents need to realise their purpose at a viewing – whether it is a director, the manager, or a lowly viewing rep – is to sell the house. They do this by engaging the viewer, answering questions, and helping those buyers come to the right decision for them.

I work with independent estate agents all over the UK, and can probably recommend one in your area. Just tell me a few details about your home here, and if I think I could help you, I’ll be in touch.

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.

Sam