Tag Archives: online advert

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.

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

What to read next: 3 things to do today to get your home sold

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

Is your house for sale?  Log on to Rightmove and enter your area in the seach box.  When your property appears in the list, what does your summary say?  Is it a wordy description full of agent-speak, or a snappy attention-grabbing headline? Compare it with your competitors in the list.  Does yours stand out?

Check out these examples:

Lovely description, whilst wordy, it includes a real sense of rural lifestyle: “the odd baa from the sheep”.  Lovely.

Compare the last description with this one: full of agent-speak – “versatile living accommodation” – and the elipses indicates it’s just a cut and paste job from the main description.  Very lazy.

Ouch!  Capitals are rude and very shouty – DON’T USE THEM! This ad stands out for all the wrong reasons.

Fine

Ok, I know I said no capitals, but here’s an example of how they can work.  Great prose: “a chance to own a truly historic home”, and a great strapline – “You can’t top this”.  Add a great dusk photograph, and you have a beautifully atmospheric listing.  Just begs to be clicked 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.

When a potential buyer sees a photograph of your house, they will have an emotional reaction to it, to some degree.  The reaction may be positive or negative; it may be indifference, which will probably cause them to dismiss your house as a possible next home for them.

Clearly, the main image is crucial as your best chance to generate a positive emotional reaction, and one way of doing this is to make sure that your front door can be seen in the main shot.  Let me show you what I mean.

Take this lovely property for a start; it has some great period features – that decorative brickwork for example – and it clearly has an elegant and perfectly fitting front door, if you crane your neck to see it, that is.  What a pity that buyers can’t see it in any of the photos online.

And this old school house, with its pretty windows and attractive roofline, would look so much more inviting if you could see the front door.  If nothing else, I’m curious as to what it would look like.

This Lakeland stone property has been photographed at an angle that shows the front door, giving balance to the image and the best chance of creating a positive emotional response in a buyer.  I would be intrigued by the fact that the door itself appears contemporary in style, tempting me to seek out the rest of the images, to see what it’s like inside.

What a pretty conversion; imagine if the photographer had taken the shot straight on to the garage; the cute porch wouldn’t be visible.  This way, a buyer can see the character of the outside that could give a clue about what lies inside.

So if your house is on the market, check out your online advert to see if your front door is visible; if not, consider asking your agent to change your front shot so that it is and give your buyers the chance to make that emotional connection with your house right from the start.

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

If your house has been on the market for more than three months, there are some questions you need to ask your estate agent to find out why it hasn’t sold so far, and what to do about it.  A good agent will be able to answer all seven – let’s see how many your agent can answer…..

1. Who have you sent our brochure out to? – to what kind of buyers?  How many had asked specifically for your property details, and how many had been sent out to their mailing list?  How many did they print, and how many do they have left?  Sometimes, agents won’t reprint when they run out, preferring instead to keep costs down by printing off the office printer – tacky!

2. Can you show me our Rightmove Performance Report and your analysis?– (see blog post Your Rightmove Property Performance Report). Most agents these days can provide you with one, but can they analyse it?  If they can’t – send it to me!  [email protected] – I’ll tell you what you need to know.

3. Can you change our main image and test the results? – if your online activity is low, I’d suggest you change your main house shot. However, this is only useful to you if you can then measure the results.  If it doesn’t improve your statistics, try another, and keep trying until you get the click-through rate you need (see post as above).  Sometimes, a fresh new image improves your rate temporarily, so try changing it regularly to keep your results as high as possible.

4. What did our viewers buy?– this is a great one!  Your agent should be keeping in touch with your viewers to discover what they eventually went on to buy.  By doing this, you can build up a picture of the types of buyers looking at your house.  For example, if they went on to buy a completely different style of property, it could be that your marketing is appealing to the wrong target market.  If they bought somewhere very similar, you need to compete better.  Even the best agents need nudging to find out this information, so nudge!

5. What’s happening on any comparable properties? – who is achieving viewings, and who isn’t?   Which houses have been reduced in price, and has this made any difference?  Which are under offer, after how long, and at what kind of value?  If you aren’t getting viewings and everyone else is, ask why!

6. How do you think our marketing can be improved? – ask your agent for a marketing review, and analyse as dispassionately as you can, your brochure, photography and online advert.  Identify areas that can be improved, and make sure they are acted upon.

7. Why hasn’t our house sold – other than the price?– I have often asked agents this question, and listened to them trying to come up with an answer.  The truth is, there are often several reasons, and it’s highly likely that none of those reasons will be the asking price! Ask your agent for constructive ways you can help him to attract viewers, and make sure he knows he can be honest.  If he can’t come up with anything, call me, and I’ll tell you!

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch


What to read nextNine Ways To Sell Your House Fast

What to do next:  Sign up to my Selling Secrets 

Sofa set Price on application? Forget it.

“Price on application” is a tag applied to some properties on the market, the price of which, for one reason or another, the agent or owner wants to keep secret. The theory is that an interested buyer will make the effort to call the agent, to find out the price, and even then, agents can prove to be cagey, to say the least.

So what is POA all about, why are some properties marketed this way, and most importantly, does it work?

A price can be kept secret for a number of reasons: the owner could have requested it, perhaps to keep this information from his neighbours or family; he could be a celebrity, and value his privacy generally, so this is just a natural extension of his cautiousness. There is usually only one reason for an agent to choose to market a house at POA: if he has absolutely no idea what it’s worth. He doesn’t want to commit himself to an asking price, so by marking the property without a price, in essence, he may hope to generate enquiries to help him gauge the likely interest and so determine a suitable asking price.

But – and it is a big but – if this property is marketed on the internet, POA doesn’t work! Once upon a time when the internet was just a baby (and so were most of today’s agents) an agent could make up an asking price on the spot when challenged by a buyer. These days, nothing is secret thanks to the internet. You see, when a property is uploaded to a property portal, POA is merely the descriptor; an asking price has to be selected. Therefore, all a buyer needs to do is to enter a wide search, in terms of asking prices and area, and the so-called secretly-priced property will magically appear in the slot allocated by the uploaded asking price.

Let me give you an example: if I enter ‘Reigate’ into Rightmove, with no upper price limit, I may get a list of properties with a POA property right at the top, with no way of knowing its real asking price. If however, I extend the area to say, 10 miles of Reigate, the POA property will then show in order and I will be able to see roughly where it sits. The reason the POA will probably show at the top of my list by the way, is that POAs tend to be in the upper price brackets, typically at more than £2.5 million.

POA is in my opinion, a little bit arrogant, misguided and it doesn’t work. Can you imagine if next time you go into your local newsagent, all the stickers on the cans of Coke and the baked beans simply say ‘price on application’?!

If you’re a seller with a unique, hard-to-price house for sale, don’t let your agent talk you into it, and if you’re an agent, re-educate your client so they understand why it’s such a bad idea.

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.

Price on App Forget it

What to read next: Don’t drop your asking price! 

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

No, I’m not being personal, I’m talking about your online property advert!

Take a moment to find your house on Rightmove or one of the other property portals, and tell me what can see, without scrolling down the page.  Web developers call this ‘above the fold’ and it receives far more traffic than the bottom section of the webpage.

If your agent has included, as he should have done, a link to the pdf of your brochure, on Rightmove this link will appear at the bottom.  If there is reams and reams of description about your house, a buyer may have two scroll down two, three or more times before they even come to it.  Most will just not bother, statistics tell us, and your lovely brochure will go unnoticed.

The solution is easy: ask your agent to chop down your description until you can see your brochure link without scrolling down.  It appears just above your EPC (energy performance certificate) so edit your copy carefully until you estimate it fits here nicely.  Then send the revised description to your agent, and ask them to update the portals accordingly.

Don’t worry about this loss of description; your online advert is not the place to go into detail about what your property has; think of it as a newspaper advert, and only include a brief but punchy write up that will tempt your buyer to pick up the phone and book a viewing; after all, that really is the purpose of your online advert, isn’t it?

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch

What to read next – Three simple things you can do today to get more viewings 

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

When a potential buyer sees a photograph of your house, they will have an emotional reaction to it, to some degree.  The reaction may be positive or negative; it may be indifference, which will probably cause them to dismiss your house as a possible next home for them.

Clearly, the main image is crucial as your best chance to generate a positive emotional reaction, and one way of doing this is to make sure that your front door can be seen in the main shot.  Let me show you what I mean.

Take this lovely property for a start; it has some great period features – that decorative brickwork for example – and it clearly has an elegant and perfectly fitting front door, if you crane your neck to see it, that is.  What a pity that buyers can’t see it in any of the photos online.

And this old school house, with its pretty windows and attractive roofline, would look so much more inviting if you could see the front door.  If nothing else, I’m curious as to what it would look like.

This Lakeland stone property has been photographed at an angle that shows the front door, giving balance to the image and the best chance of creating a positive emotional response in a buyer.  I would be intrigued by the fact that the door itself appears contemporary in style, tempting me to seek out the rest of the images, to see what it’s like inside.

What a pretty conversion; imagine if the photographer had taken the shot straight on to the garage; the cute porch wouldn’t be visible.  This way, a buyer can see the character of the outside that could give a clue about what lies inside.

So if your house is on the market, check out your online advert to see if your front door is visible; if not, consider asking your agent to change your front shot so that it is and give your buyers the chance to make that emotional connection with your house right from the start.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

What to read next: Time to Sell?

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

 

Flower on a vase good copy bad copy

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

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

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

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

How about these two; which house sounds more appealing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Andy Marshall at FotoFacade

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.