Tag Archives: marketing

When you first put your property on the market, you were probably full of anticipation and hope that you would get lots of viewings and even an early offer.  But now it’s a few weeks or even months down the line, and the few viewings you had initially have all but dried up, and your agent is on the phone at least once a week listing all the reasons why you should drop your asking price.So what has gone wrong?

Here are my top five reasons why you haven’t sold so far, and what you can do about it:

1. You launched at the wrong time of year – each home has a probably buyer, and each buyer has their own preferred time of the year to move.  For example, retirees tend to plan for a summer move, whereas lots of families move in spring or autumn.  Launch at the best time of year for your buyer, not for yourself, and you have a better chance of getting viewings.

2. You chose the wrong estate agent – does your agent actually like your house? Or you, for that matter?!  Agents are only human, after all, and if they don’t like you, they aren’t exactly going to be motivated to help you move on.  Keep them onside, work hard to make sure your house always looks great, and the result will be a happy, motivated agent.

3. Your house isn’t ready for viewings – take a long, hard look at your house – is it really ready to go public? Or would it benefit from a little tidying up, de-cluttering and perhaps even a lick of paint? Be honest with yourself, and give viewers a well-presented home that they can actually imagine themselves living in.

4. Your photography is unflattering – take a look at the properties on Rightmove – which images catch your eye? Is it the dark, amateurish ones taken on a slant? Or is it the brightly lit, well-composed shots that make you want to keep looking? Unflattering photographs will deter buyers from even looking at your advert, never mind booking a viewing.  Invest in good quality, professional photography and show your home at its very best online.

5. You put it on the market at too high a price – were you swayed by an eager agent, filling you full of tales about how much he could get for your house, despite the precedential evidence to the contrary? The problem with launching to the market at too high a price is that the interest you get in those first few weeks is directly correlated to the price you will ultimately achieve.  Get it wrong, and you risk putting those important buyers off, and perhaps losing them for good.  Price your property right, right from the start, and you’ll get the interest – and offer – you deserve.

If you have read this post and believe you haven’t made any of these mistakes, then why not get in touch? I’ll let you know what I think, honestly and without obligation.

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.

Picture by Steven Barber


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

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

flower and statue on top of the table Lego doesn’t sell houses

flower and statue on top of the table Lego doesn’t sell houses

If you’re selling your home and have children, have you considered their impact on your home viewings? As much as you love your little ones, there are a few things you need to consider when selling up.

Noise and clamour. If there are people over viewing your home, the last thing they want is to be interrupted by screaming children. Yes, children make noise, but it will dampen a home viewing and could leave viewers feeling negative. Ideally get the children babysat during viewing times, or have your partner take them out.

Toys and clutter. No one likes to see clutter during a home viewing. Your home might be lovely and tidy in the majority of the space, but with piles of toys elsewhere mid-use, and Lego pieces lying around to get caught under shoes, it can make a space look smaller.

Lifestyle. We’ve talked about it before; buyers are buying into a home’s lifestyle. If your viewers are a couple with children, they might appreciate a child centred home. People without however, can sometimes lack the imagination needed to see past the Batman duvet and picture their private study. Try to make any children’s spaces as tidy and neat as possible, and put the toys in a wardrobe to have a clear floor.

Pink. Magnolia sells, deep pink walls don’t. Explain to your little ones that you’ll paint their new bedroom pink/with Superman wallpaper in the new house, but for now the walls need to be painted for the new buyers. Your house well sell quicker.

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

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As home stagers, we are often accused of staging the personality out of  a house.  In the 1980s when home staging first came to the UK from our friends across the water, the trend was for neutral floors, neutral walls and generally neutral taste throughout.  Bland and boring was definitely the order of the day, though when you think about the décor in those days – peach bathroom suites and flowery borders everywhere – perhaps it’s understandable!

However, home staging has moved on.  It’s far more sophisticated these days, and having a home with personality definitely doesn’t have to mean it’s ‘unsellable’.

Here are my top DOs and DON’Ts for home staging in the 21st Century:

DON’T just paint every wall Magnolia – choose a sophisticated colour palette with different but complementary shades for each room.

DO clear away anything you wouldn’t see in a show home: toys, pet paraphernalia, laundry, coats and shoes, all need to be put away out of sight.

DON’T have carpet in your bathroom – the 21st Century buyer won’t be impressed!

Bathroom--Victorian-House-

DO replace any carpet in high traffic areas that is over 10 years old, or 5 years if you have pets and children.

DON’T choose patterned carpets – this is one area where boring is best!

Pastel-floral-hallway

DO shop for modern accessories like lamps, vases and ornaments from a well-known brand like Next or John Lewis, to ensure quality and good taste.

DON’T keep your collection of teapots, fluffy toys or scarily realistic dolls on display.  Time to pack them away for your (hopefully) forthcoming move.

Pale-Green-and-Cream-Dining-Room

DO set the dining room and kitchen tables using dining sets, good glasses, flowers and mats.

DON’T be afraid to use colour, but stick to an overall colour palette for the whole house, with different shades and accents in each area.

DO be careful with strong colours and prints: they can be a bit overwhelming.  Best to keep them to small items like cushions, rugs or throws.

DON’T forget the bathroom when you stage – fill it full of special toiletries and hide away the Pantene, the Colgate and the half-worn soap

DO visit your local show homes for more ideas for staging in the 21st Century, and browse through Pinterest, which is a fabulous free source of inspiration.  You can even create your own boards to keep your ideas together in one place.

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.

beautiful kitchen with kitchen table and flower vase Photography tips for selling your home PART TWO_ STYLING YOUR KITCHEN (1)

The prospect of a photographer taking pictures of your home isn’t always the most pleasant thought. You want your home to appear homely and inviting, but not too lived in. And you want it to look clean and neutral, but definitely not clinical. Sounds complicated, but our home staging rule is simple: declutter, de-personalise and dress. And since it’s the hub of the home, let’s apply our method to the kitchen. Because, here’s a secret: it’s not the photography itself that’ll catch people’s eye; it’s the preparation before the photographer arrives.

De-clutter

Let’s start by decluttering. Sounds taxing, but it doesn’t have to be. Simply make sure that all worktops are clear, chopping boards are put away, and tea towels are tucked out of sight. The same applies to bins. Yes, every kitchen has bins. But there’s no avoiding that even the most tasteful bin, is a rubbish container in disguise. And anything that can be associated with dirt and grime is not a welcome distraction.

In fact, anything that can be removed, probably should be removed. Because the kitchen should look as spacious as possible. So if your microwave lives on the worktop, consider giving it a temporary new home. Appliances on show make the kitchen look cramped, and a lack of space is unappealing to any family.

De-personalise

Preparing your home for a photographer can feel a little intrusive. Your home is filled with your family’s memories, and the personalised touches are special to the people inside. But since it’s an unavoidable formality when selling your home, it’s best to take it as an opportunity, not a chore.

Because if you’re selling your home, you’re ready to move forward. That means a new home, and a fresh start. When styling your kitchen, neatly pack away anything that’s too personal, and store it ready to unpack in your new home. You’ll feel more comfortable without the photographer catching your children’s portraits in the background, and a blank canvas will help potential buyers envision their family in the space.

The same rule applies for fridge magnets and personalised name hangings. In fact, anything that is sentimental is best out of shot. Yes, the kitchen is a family space, but it’s best to pack any rogue toys into storage. Because, whilst an endless trail of toys is the reality of our homes, no one is ever really impressed by reality.

Home styling is about romanticising reality. It’s about creating an ideal that is unachievable every day. Take pets for example. Most families have a furry friend or two, and yet no one really likes to see their food bowls and litter trays. So animal lovers or not, potential buyers will thank you for hiding the cat mat out of shot when the photographer arrives.

Dress

Now that the kitchen is a fresh blank canvas, let’s have some fun. Dressing a home to appeal to another family can be tricky; you know what appeals you to you, but making your home desirable to another family is a whole other ball game. A flick through a few home magazines is a great source of inspiration. But a few finishing touches might be all you need to catch people’s eye.

So, where to start? Take a step back, and look at your de-cluttered, de-personalised kitchen. How does it look? Hopefully the words ‘spacious’ and ‘open’ spring to mind. But the de-personalisation might have made the space a little cold now too. So, now we personalise again. Seems illogical, but there’s a theory to the madness. This time, we personalise with potential buyers in mind. It’s not true personalisation, but staging is, well, staged. And it’ll help other families to picture their family living inside.

The next time you’re mooching around John Lewis, or browsing The Little White Company’s website, take a look at their homeware and accessories. It’ll give you inspiration for your new home, and anything you pick up can be taken with you once your home sells.

For larger textiles, such as curtains and blinds, opt for neutral, subtle tones, and steer clear of any bold, loud patterns. Cushions and throws can add a touch of colour to your kitchen chairs or sofas, but again, pick out the calmer colours. Fresh textiles are a quick way to add warmth and homeliness, but we want to keep a calming environment too. Anything with too much personality, or that jumps out, should be left on the shelf. These finishing touches shouldn’t be a feature, and they shouldn’t detract from the kitchen itself. They should simply compliment the room, and make it cosy.

Kitchen tables can be a feature though, and if dressed to impress, they can help bring a room to life. So if you’re tableware is a little tired or outdated, it’s the perfect excuse to indulge in a new set. Table mats that complement the decor add a nice touch too. Laying a contemporary runner down the center, and placing a delicate trail of candles, completes the elegant finishing.

Happy selling!

Sam

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!

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.

book on top of the table and Fireplace beside Do it your way!

book on top of the table and Fireplace beside Do it your way!

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.

 

kitchen dining table and countertop with chairs Loft Conversion

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!

kitchen dining table and countertop with chairs Loft Conversion

Flower vase at the top of table Do you have a marketing strategy (1)

Flower vase at the top of table Do you have a marketing strategy (1)

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!

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.

Do you follow us on Facebook? Join us today for great daily posts.

What to read next: Is your online property advert too talkative? 

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

living room with sofa set When should i start worrying about my house sale

It’s a good question. Do you start worrying after a few weeks of marketing without an offer on your house? Or should you be patient and stick with your agent and price for six months or more?

At HomeTruths, we see so many sellers who have been on the market for over a year; our record so far is a couple who had been trying to sell consistently for six years!  It’s true that the longer your property is on the market, the less desirable it is to a buyer, and the less confidence your agent will have that he can achieve any figure close to your asking price.  It’s therefore really important that your strategy in the first 6-8 weeks is as well thought out, planned and confident.

Here are my 5 golden rules for making sure you don’t get to worrying stage:

  1. Choose the right agent based on marketing skills, enthusiasm and a high fee – he’ll earn it;
    .
  2. Once you’ve decided on your asking price, stick to it.  So long as it’s well-researched and realistic, of course. Make sure it’s a nice round figure, and don’t drop it – be confident;
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  3. Have the best photography and brochure you possibly can.  Be pedantic, beg and bully until you get the best.  Your house MUST stand out in a pile of also-rans;
    .
  4. Commission a home stager to give your house a once-over. Even if you and your friends think it’s immaculate, you need independent, professional advice at this crucial time.
    .
  5. Communication, communication, communication! Call your agent every week.  Obtain written feedback from viewings, ask for your Rightmove Property Performance report each week and monitor the activity generated.

Follow my 5 golden rules, and you should sell within 8 – 12 weeks.

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.

living room with sofa set When should i start worrying about my house sale

What to read next: Your Rightmove Property Performance Report

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