Tag Archives: market

Heathy food served on a wooden plate on top of a table and glasses with wine on it

Heathy food served on a wooden plate on top of a table and glasses with wine on it

Cadburys’ Creme Egg was first introduced to a grateful public in 1971. Most of us over 40 years old could swear to the fact that these little eggs of delight have shrunk in size since we first enjoyed them as children, (fact: they haven’t, sorry). Buoyed high by the huge success of these little balls of chocolate and gooey stuff, Cadburys decided to extend their previous Easter-only availability to sell them all year round. Creme Egg fans were thrilled, but not so thrilled, it would seem, to carry on buying them in the same quantities throughout the year: overall annual sales fell. After several years of falling sales, Cadburys’ bosses went back to basics, and an Easter-only availability. Crème Egg eaters rushed to the shelves and for four months, consumed more than they had done during the previous twelve month period. The case was proven.

Angus Porter, former marketing chief at Mars comments “Much of confectionery consumption is vaguely irrational, and the fact that it is available for a limited period of the year seems to be a critical aspect of the mix that should be preserved. All confectionery brands enjoy a novelty peak when launched; Cadbury sees those benefits each year.”

So why am I wittering on about Creme Eggs when we’re here to sell houses? I hear you ask. Well, for a very good reason actually. The idea of limited availability and the effect on a buyer’s perception of desirability is a very important factor when you are selling your house. Consider this: if your house is available, month after month, and maybe even year after year, what urgency is there in a buyer’s mind to prepare their finances, sell their own property, or even book a viewing on your house?  And what buyer wants something that no one else wants to buy?

Take a leaf out of Cadburys’ book: instead of leaving your house on the market to become more and more stale, only market it for the most buoyant marketing periods each year: early Spring, May/June and September/October, targeting a new wave of buyers each time. Whilst it may feel counter-intuitive, it will ensure that you enjoy a ‘novelty peak’ as Angus Porter calls it, keeping interest fresh and preventing your property from becoming stale. After all, statistically, each year you spend on the market will cost you around 5-10% of your property’s value, and that’s a lot of money to throw away.

My advice – don’t drop your asking price, take a lesson from Cadburys and withdraw from the market instead. I’m off to buy a Creme Egg.

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 and a hallway to the garden

A wooden cabinet and a hallway to the garden

Many sellers who are unable to find a buyer, blame the market.  “We know the market’s dead,” they say, “so what can we do but wait?”

Estate agents also blame the market, adding their own solution to the problem of not enough buyers: “drop the price” they extol as the only answer.

Certainly, if you have a property in a row of many others the same, and yours is the most expensive without justification, then I would agree that the price has something to do with the lack of a buyer.  However, our clients are all selling unique homes, and no one can say without fear of challenge, that their asking price is preventing their property from selling.

The problem with this viewpoint, is that the only course of action, is either to drop your asking price, or to wait; or both.

However, at HomeTruths, we believe there is another way, and in the words of a very well-known bank: “A different way”. There are many factors which affect the saleability of a property, and whilst we can’t control the market, we can control our reaction to it.

Don’t blame the market, and if you have a unique home, don’t drop your asking price.  Instead, focus on making your home as attractive a proposition as possible, then getting the message out to your buyer.

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 pony toy underneath a wooden staircase in a friendly bright room with glass windows overlooking the trees outside

When I was a young teen, I was lucky enough to have a pony. He was a beautiful Welsh Mountain palomino, called Biscuit, and I adored him. My very favourite thing to do was to explore the countryside with him, where we then lived in rural Lincolnshire.

One day, we were out riding, and I spotted a small copse that looked interesting. Finding a way in, I urged him on, hoping to find some little pathways to ride, but he seemed unusually reticent. I pressed my heels into his flank, but he really didn’t want to move. Annoyed, I dismounted, and attempted to lead him by his bridle but he dug his heels in and would not be budged. I was perplexed. He’d never done this before. I remounted, and rode around the periphery of the copse, hoping to fool Biscuit by finding another way in.

Then I saw it. The big red sign saying DANGER – SWAMP! I was stunned, and very grateful to my lovely pony, who had sensed the danger when I was completely unaware of it. His sixth sense alerted him, and though I’d tried to override his reluctance, thinking I knew better, in the end, he proved that he was far wiser.

So why am I telling you this?

Because when a homeowner tells me they are about to put their home on the market with an agent I know is not a good choice, I feel the same sense of dread that Biscuit did! My protective instinct makes me want to shout – DANGER – WRONG ESTATE AGENT!

I’ve been selling houses for a long, long time. And an awful lot of them too. I’ve also helped hundreds of homeowners identify the right agent to sell their home. What I’m trying to say is, like Biscuit, I know more than you do. I’m wiser and more experienced, and if you don’t want to fall in the swamp that can be the house selling landscape, please listen to me. When I have the wrong estate agent in my sights, I’m always going to dig my heels in and say, “No, not that way”.

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 vase of flowers on a vintage mini table surrounded by comfortable sofas and a burning fire place.

This is a question we get asked all the time at HomeTruths. The answer is, it depends on your home! Some types of buyers will only view homes in the summer time; others search regardless of the time of year. Here’s my exclusive guide to the buying calendar:

Young couples and singles: first time buyers often begin their first home search very early in the year. Perhaps they have spent one Christmas too many at home with their relatives, and realised it’s time to move out! Their search often starts in earnest in January and February, and in fact their purchases at the lower end of the market – apartments and terraced homes – then supports the second and third time buyer market – semi-detached and detached homes. This then in turn supports the larger properties, and so the cycle goes on. One thing to remember about young couples and singles, is that they tend to look at lots of different properties, and as they are not in a hurry, their search can go on for months, and even years! So be patient with them, and let them take their time to make up their minds.

Families: family buyers tend to buy at three distinct times of year: autumn, spring and early summer. Recognise the significance of these times? They are term times! Buyers with children don’t usually like to house hunt during the holidays. Firstly, because they have better things to do, perhaps going on holiday, and secondly, it’s a whole lot more stressful viewing a home when you have a bored and whiny child to contend with! Mums and Dads tend to wait until the children are in school, so they can view the house in peace. In addition, summer time is a time for playing outside and enjoying the garden, so ‘upsizers’ won’t feel as squeezed for space in the warmer months, and consequently their move may not feel as urgent. House hunters looking in September and October are usually fewer in number, but tend to be keener to make an early decision, so they can move in and start enjoying the house for Christmas.

Downsizers: Older couples and singles usually prefer to look at homes over the warmer months, so bungalows and retirement homes will often languish on the market over the winter months. Older people don’t want to venture out looking at homes in the rain and snow, and nor do they want to move house in the winter time. For them, summer is the ideal time to sell, and to buy, and this type of buyer tends to look at fewer properties, and make their minds up more quickly. It’s not uncommon for an older buyer to buy the first home they view, whereas a younger buyer will often view 20 or more homes before they put in an offer.

Know your buyer, and plan your house sale accordingly. Keep smaller homes on the market for longer, but take your bungalow off the market for the winter months. The less time your home is on the market, the closer to your asking price you are statistically likely to get, so plan your marketing periods carefully.

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.

An elegant living room, a wooden glass top center table with an open magazine and a flower vase over it, a fireplace with framed mirror design above it, and a wooden side table with white lamp above.

An elegant living room, a wooden glass top center table with an open magazine and a flower vase over it, a fireplace with framed mirror design above it, and a wooden side table with white lamp above.

It seems that every day we wake up to a new and often contradictory headline about house prices.  They’re falling!  No wait – They’re shooting up!  It’s boom – or is it bust? – over and over again. But what’s really happening? Well in my opinion, the market is much less dramatic than headline writers like to hear. Yes, it’s a little flat at the moment, but the buyers that are looking, tend to be more committed to making offers. To give you an example from one national estate agency chain, who tells me that viewings are 40% down from this time last year, whilst sales are only down 7%. So, confidence is improving, and time-wasters are being deterred.

My market comment is three-fold, and, forgive me if this is a little dry, but I think it’s important to look at the actual data, both current and historical.

I’ve also added my own HomeTruths take on the matter, so read on and prepare to write your own headlines…..

1.   Data accuracy – It seems that every day, we read another headline claiming that house prices are ‘soaring’ or tumbling’! But what should we believe? Firstly, it is very important to understand that every piece of data released on house prices is skewed in one direction or another. eg Halifax only include data from their borrowers, Land Registry House Price Index (HPI) uses sales data collected on all residential housing transactions, since January 1995. Home Track (www.hometrack.co.uk) is the most accurate house price data available, as not only is the data gathered from all available sources, but also it is weighted according to relevance and importance. Currently, Home Track report that year on year, (October 2009 – October 2010), House Price Growth stands at 1%. If you look at the graph below, you’ll see that after a couple of dips in 2005/6 and 2009, we’re beginning to level out.

2.   Historical evidence – Let’s look at two data sources: the Halifax House Price Index (1983-2007), and the Nationwide House Price Index (1952-2007).

  • The Halifax House Price Index (HPI) data goes back to 1983 and take in the Eighties boom, the Nineties bust and the return to soaring house prices under this Labour government. During this period, the average house price in the UK has doubled on six occasions, and came very close to doubling on two more. Over this eighteen year period, these figures show that property prices grew by an average of 7.9% a year.
  • The Nationwide House Price Index  covers a much longer period spanning 55 years. This period includes modest house-price growth in the Fifties and the boom of the Seventies. During this time, house prices doubled on 22 occasions. They actually fell on two different occasions and even so, rose at an average annual rate of 8.7%.

3.  The HomeTruths’ Approach – even in a difficult market, some houses do sell!  Our job is to make sure that our clients’ houses stand out in every way they can, to attract those very precious buyers that are prepared to buy. By ensuring their marketing campaigns are well-structured, attractive and confident, and the houses are well-presented and appealing to the identified target market, we place our clients in the best possible position to gain market share of viewings and a successful offer.

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.