Tag Archives: Home Staging

So, you’ve de-cluttered, tidied, finished off those niggling maintenance jobs, and repainted the kitchen. You’re ready to sell!

But what if there are external drawbacks that may deter a sale? The interior of your home aside, external factors are often forgotten about because they aren’t part of ‘the home’, but there are some your buyers may be thinking about. One of the best ways to see through your rose-tinted spectacles is to think like a buyer, and see what might be challenging them…

Surrounding properties – If similar properties are for sale in your area, it is very important to keep an eye on what is going on with these homes. If a buyer is already sold on the area, they’ll be closely studying the photos on Rightmove. How does your front door compare to that of your neighbours’? If yours is looking a bit sorry for itself, and the neighbour’s door has just had a Fired Earth refresh, they’ll be getting the first visit. Keeping up appearances is essential when the competition is so close.

Pricing – While your price may have been perfect when it was put on the market, what if the market has changed? If your house was put on a year ago and hasn’t shifted, prices could have changed. Any of your neighbours’ properties that are newly listed could be much cheaper than yours, making you look oddly expensive. Compare your price with your neighbours’ similar properties, and talk to your estate agent about altering the price to reflect market changes.

Hurdles – A buyer may have fallen in love with your home and be ready to sign on the dotted line, but a massive barrier could stand in their way. As an example, what if your home isn’t going to be ready to move in to on the date that they are requesting? In these instances, be prepared to negotiate. Suggest local temporary housing and storage options to them, which can make an otherwise impossible move highly achievable. Especially useful if your buyers are moving a great distance.

Neighbourhood – Local facilities are often very important to buyers. If your neighbourhood is quite similar to another in your town, buyers might draw a comparison between the two. Why not do the research for them? Look for amenities that buyers will be looking for such as good schools, playgrounds, restaurants and sports grounds. List the locality of these local benefits on your property listing. Why not put together a few brochures about these places too, and leave them in your home for people to look at?

Thinking like buyer can really help you to take account of any external factors that people are considering when looking at your home, and trying to imagine themselves living there. You can then pre-empt, or at least mitigate, and be prepared for any negative feedback you may get from your agent and buyers.

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.

When clients come to HomeTruths because they can’t sell their house, the first place I look for clues as to why this is happening, is their marketing. Now, anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time at all, knows that property marketing is ‘my thing’ so I usually have lots to say about it! But what can a seller do when none of their local estate agents offer the kind of quality marketing I tell them is absolutely vital in selling their home for the maximum price possible? “Do it your way” I tell them. Let me explain.

There are four key components to a property’s marketing: photography, description, brochure, online advert.

Very few estate agents get all these absolutely spot on, so why not fill in the missing pieces yourself? Let’s look at these components one at a time:

  • Photography – source a good local photographer, asking to see his work. If he’s worked for local estate agents before, don’t use him! You’re only going to end up with more of the same. What you’re looking for, is an innovative and creative photographer, who can really bring the best out of your home, and cares enough to switch on lights, and move your sofa in order to get the best shots.

Expect to pay: around £300

  • Description – you need a copywriter for this. Start off by writing a couple of pages about your home; everything you love about it, and all the features that you think will make a buyer love it too. This will give the copywriter a head start, and something to work with.

Expect to pay: around £150

  • Brochure – a great brochure designer will come up with a creative layout and even a memorable logo. Printing costs depend on the size and number of pages and what paper your brochure is printed on. Most unique homes need at least 6-8 pages in their brochure, to show off all the key selling features of their property.

Expect to pay: around £500

  • Online advert – this is where your photography and description can help your advert to really stand out above the competition. Make sure your brochure is uploaded and both this and your floorplan shown as a link on all the property portals. Give it all to your agent and they will do the rest.

Expect to pay: nothing! 

By allocating around £1,000 to your property marketing, you can create an amazing campaign, that will knock the socks off all the other properties for sale, Whilst it is admittedly a large up-front cost, relatively speaking, I would suggest you negotiate with your agent to make allowances for this in the commission you would be paying. A commission discount of 0.25% on most properties would allow you to recoup your investment, and you’d be doing a much better job than your agent would in selling your house.

Doing it your way is all about taking control of your own property sale; after all, it means more to you than anyone else, so put your passion and enthusiasm into creating a fabulous marketing campaign that will help your buyer to fall in love with your home, just as you once did.

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.

House buyers are a fickle lot – often deciding the biggest purchase of their lives within moments of getting through the front door.

And more often than not it is the trivial that sends them scurrying away – instead of concentrating on numbers of bedrooms or structural stability they are put off by pictures, plants and pouffes.

Despite the fact personal effects tend to leave the home with the seller, our own sense of taste can easily make or break a sale.

But if we love our home, we often cannot see how off putting our children’s artwork or cat’s scratching post can be to a potential buyer.

This is where home staging comes in. First made famous in the UK at the turn of the century by Channel 5’s House Doctor, Anne Maurice, the concept has caught on and not only can sell your home quickly but can even add thousands of pounds to the price.

Today the Home Stager Network can put sellers in touch with a professional quickly and easily – and it boasts more than 250,000 unique visitors a year.

The trick is not to undertake major alterations but to make the best of what you have – albeit maybe with a few accessories or tweaks to make your home seem more appealing for the majority.

What would you do to prepare each room so it looks its very best for the photographer?  Perhaps you would move furniture around to accentuate a feature, or have a grubby wall repainted –  it is really about looking at your house with a critical and objective eye.

For those of us too close to our homes – or just short of time or a creative eye – spending some money on a home stager can see the investment returned multiple times.

A typical home stager may cost £300 for a first visit and recommendations with time charged by the hour after that. This could include shopping for you or just making a shopping list that you take to Ikea. It is rare someone should have to spend more than £1,000 on a successful home staging and often much less.

And if you choose the shopping well – those beautiful new cushions, rugs, lamps ad pictures that look so good in your old house, well, they get to go with you to your new one.

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 flower vase on a table and a bottle of wine and fruits in a background

A flower vase on a table and a bottle of wine and fruits in a background

This month we’re focusing around reviewing where you home is at in the selling process. How is your marketing looking? In a sellers’ market, fantastic marketing can mean the difference between sold or sitting on the market one year later. If the marketing on your home is looking less than inspired, it could be missing out on potential buyer’s eager eyes.

As great a portal Rightmove is for showcasing your home advert, if it isn’t being marketed properly – and if nothing else is being done to market your property – you may have to settle for your home being on the market for some time.

A great agent will ensure your home is being marketed to its full potential. What sort of things should you be reviewing? We’ve gathered some ideas below:

Photography – Better photography means that you will stand out from your competition online, showing buyers the lifestyle they could have in your home. How are your photos looking? Do they show your home to its best potential?

Brochure – Does your brochure stand out from the rest and look individual from the other home brochures? Does it show the lifestyle available?

Advertising – Where is your home being marketed? Is it in a prime spot in your agent’s window? Is it on their website, and searchable? Is it on property portal websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla?

By reviewing with your agent where you currently are, you can discuss refreshing current marketing strategies to make them work better and harder to sell your home.

Unsure if the marketing strategy on your home is working hard enough to sell it? Contact us, we can help!

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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.

A fabric sofa, a wooden table, a plain colour floor and a window overlooking the next room

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.


A flower inside a box with a wicker heart on a wooden table. A couch beside a table and glass window overlooking trees outside

In my opinion, it should be your agent who accompanies viewings on your house. However, there may be times when this is impossible, for example, weekends and evenings, and you may find yourself showing a prospective buyer around your home. When there’s so much riding on a successful outcome, this can be quite a daunting prospect!

With such an important and complex subject as viewings techniques and strategy, there will be many more blog posts to come; in the meantime, (in the words of Julie Andrews) let’s start at the very beginning: you!

If you answer the door in your slops and slippers, in the middle of cooking dinner, your viewers will immediately feel a) unwelcome and b) unimportant. If instead, you dress smartly, and your house has clearly been prepared for them, they will feel both welcome and important! You don’t have to wear a suit, or to have your hair done specially (!) but you do need to make an effort to look friendly and efficient.  If your viewers think that you take as much care of your home as you do over your appearance, they will immediately feel reassured and relaxed, and as a result, the viewing for them will be a very positive experience.

Research shows that we form a very strong opinion of someone in only 8 seconds! First impressions really do count, and presenting the right image at the start of your viewing may just convert your viewers to buyers.

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 it comes to choosing an agent to sell your home, your first choice might be to seek out the one in town with the swankiest digs; lighting that changes colour, freshly painted walls, swish cars in the driveway, silver edged coffee makers. However, image isn’t everything. Some of these agents may be wonderful, but in some cases they aren’t necessarily the best. When choosing an agent, treat your selection like you would pick at the crop of a dating website; be fussy.

So what sort of things should you be looking for, when seeking out your house marketer? We’ve picked our top tips; use them wisely.

Website – ALL agents should have a website in this day and age; if they don’t, this is an immediate bad sign. To gain full marketing exposure of your property, putting it online is imperative. This is where most house hunters start their search. If your agent does have a website, check how often it is updated. Yesterday? A month ago? A year? If the length of time is longer than a few weeks, think again. If they don’t keep their properties and website updated, they won’t be keeping your house marketing updated either.

Reviews – Just like a product review, people review their experience of a service. If someone has received outstanding service at the hands of an agent, some will choose to write about it, just as many will with negative reviews too. It goes without saying that occasionally one negative review will slip through the net for most agents, but view all reviews as a percentage. If an agent has over 10% negative evaluations, read what their downfalls are, and what happened. On some review websites, some agents might even comment back on some reviews, so look out for these points too.

Photography – As we discussed in this blog, photography is paramount when marketing your property correctly. Get it wrong, and no one will take a second glance at your house. With this in mind, analyse your agent’s photography skills. Is it professionally done, or does it look as if they took a few shots with a camera phone? If they care about the look they are trying to achieve when marketing your home, they’ll care about you as a client too.

Reliability – To gain a little bit of insight into how reliable your potential agent is, ask around for word of mouth opinions. People at work, friends or family are bound to know someone who has recently moved, and used the same local agent. Get to know how dependable the agent was in terms of contact, marketing, pricing and other things important to you. If their approach was rushed and impersonal, that’s how they’ll be with you too. It’s a no-go.

Popularity and experience – How long has your agent been in the market? If many years, this is a great sign that they’re doing their job well, and are trusted. While new agencies do grace our towns every few years, without the knowledge of how they work, you won’t know what to expect. Getting an agent with solid experience and a hearty background in helping their client’s sell their house well, is what you need.

By looking at the things that matter when choosing an agent to market your home, you’ll ensure you choose the right one who will only want the best for you as a client. Be picky in the property market; it’ll guarantee you end up with the right ‘date’ for 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.

Your home is for sale, and you have a viewing booked. How exciting! Let’s make sure your home looks amazing and seduces your viewer, so that they turn into a buyer.

Check out our 7 steps to wow your viewer:

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. Beautifully scented – scented candles and room sprays will make sure your home smells beautiful; just don’t overdo it! Your home should smell subtly fragrant.

7. 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.

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.

Whilst it’s very tempting to leave responsibility for your property sale to your estate agent, there are in fact some steps you can take yourself, to improve the interest in your property – in other words, to get more viewings! Here are my 5 changes you can make for a quicker sale and a great post to read for each one:

1. Change your presentation – take a look at your competitors’ properties – are they better presented than you are? If you really don’t know whether it’s up to scratch, and are not sure what you need to even if it isn’t, then you need a home stager. Have a look at this post which explains what home staging is, and how it can help you to sell your home.

2. Change your photography – if you don’t have terrific images of your home, you just won’t get any viewings.  Great photography is all about preparation – get your home ready and dress it for the photographer, and the finished images will be magazine-quality. Read this post to discover the secrets of fabulous property photography.

3. Change your written description – the words you use to describe your home could be the difference between a buyer wanting to view your property, and dismissing it. Use powerful, target-focused words to show a buyer that your home has what they are looking for. This post explains in greater detail what you need to do to captivate a buyer with the right words.

4. Change your Rightmove advert – your Rightmove advert is your window to your buyers.  Get it wrong, and you simply won’t get viewings. Get it right, and you’ll generate a steady stream of viewers that will ultimately result in an offer. This post explains exactly how to optimise your Rightmove advert to get the maximum interest from buyers.

5. Change your estate agent – if all else fails, it may be time to change your agent. With the best will in the world, spending weeks and even months without viewings, is as demoralising for your agent as it is for you. If your agent has lost confidence in his ability to sell your property, moving the instruction to a new, motivated agent with plenty of energy might be the answer to renewing your property marketing. This post  will take you through the key questions to ask your current agent, so you can decide whether or not to stick with them, or move on.

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.