Tag Archives: preparation

When you first put your home on the market, you may have gone to great lengths to make sure it looked its absolute best for each and every viewing.  Flowers, freshly laundered bedding, sparkling windows and the dog out of the way: everything you could do in fact, to really bowl over your viewers and persuade them that yours is the home they want.

As time goes on, and the viewings become less and less frequent, it’s easy to lose your enthusiasm, and perhaps make less effort for each viewing booked.  After all, it’s a real effort, preparing your home for a viewer, and what’s the point, if they aren’t going to make an offer?

But they might! Every new viewing is a step closer to selling your home, and deserves just as much care and attention as those first few viewings that you found so exciting. To keep you on track, and your house looking great, here are my six tips to do before every viewing.  Cut out the list and keep it on the back of a cupboard door, to make sure every viewer sees your house looking its absolute best:

  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. 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 – it’s showtime!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.

What to read nextWhat’s the Point of a Viewing Rep?

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Moving with children can be a very stressful time.  Trying to allow for their schedules, needs and energy levels can be a huge drain on your own time and energy while at the same time, trying to move home – something most of us only do a handful of times in a lifetime!

Having moved so many times that I’ve actually lost count, and the last 17 with three children, I thought I’d share with you here my own personal dos and don’ts so you can learn by my mistakes!

Do involve children in the move by getting them to pack and label their own possessions.  Turn it into a game and make it a positive, fun experience.

Don’t rush them into ‘loving’ their new home and life.  The move wasn’t their idea and they may not have known about your decision until it was all cut and dried!  Give them time to get used to it, and before long, their old home will be a distant, if affectionate, memory.

Do create a countdown chart on the wall. Make it colourful and fun, and encourage them to cross off the days as you get closer to moving day.

Don’t forget that young children get tired and whiny easily and when you’re stressed out on moving day, your patience may fray! Consider roping in family and friends to look after them, and give yourself the chance to focus on the move without distraction.

Do have children pack their most special items in a small case that travels with you in the car.  You really don’t want to be opening boxes at midnight when you’re tired to look for their cuddly toy, blanket or other favourite thing.  Having their familiar possessions around them will also help them feel at home more quickly and give you all the peaceful night’s sleep you need.

I’d love to hear any of your own moving tips – with children or otherwise! Leave me a comment.

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:  Are you Ready to Move On?

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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

What to read next: What to do when you just aren’t getting any viewings at all

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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

Beautiful kitchen What’s that smell

While your home might be flawless in your own eyes, there are certain things that can instantly put buyers off. We aren’t talking furniture or dodgy décor (although, try to modernise if possible), but aspects of the house that can turn a nose up in a second. With this in mind, we have put together our tips- six things to look out for, before the buyers descend…

Bad Smells – Even if your home resembles something from Good Housekeeping’s most desirable homes pages, if there’s a whiff in the air, the buyers are going to care. House smells are top of the list when it comes to putting buyers off. Smells range from cigarette smoke and pets, to mould and mildew lingering in the air. Unfortunately, noses become accustomed to certain smells over time, so ask someone who doesn’t live in your home to smell the air. Don’t be offended if you don’t like the answer; they’re helping you out. Get rid of any bed smells so potential buyers come in to a fresh and clean atmosphere, not one that is filled with spray to cover the smells.

Unclean bathrooms – The bathroom is one of the most important rooms that people like to keep clean. A bathroom can make people dislike your home immediately if it isn’t spotless; if the bathroom is grubby and has mildew, they will wonder what other dirt lurks beneath the surface of your property. Extra cleaning is a must if you want to sell your home. Scrub your bathroom to perfection, paint the chipped walls, put in a new rug and fresh towels, and buy a clean shower curtain. Open the windows when buyers are looking around to let in some fresh air.

Damp Rooms – If you have a basement and don’t use it as a functioning room, you may experience some damp issues. Often it is caused by rainwater seeping into the foundations, and doesn’t necessarily mean you have a fault within the grounds. However, buyers won’t see it like this. If they smell damp, they think cost, or a delay in moving in while the damp is removed. Or even worse, recurring damp problems. This is a red light. To remove damp smells, determine where any water from outside is going. The smell could be caused by the drains being clogged, or rain gutters full of leaves. Investigate and resolve, or lose a sale.

Kerb Appeal – Your house needs to look good from the outside. The front needs to be edging on picture-perfect; not only does it paint a good impression of the owners, it puts potential buyers in positive spirits before they have stepped in the door.

The stalker seller – When people come to have a good look around your home, they often prefer to have a good old mosey around without you following them. Yes, it makes sense to be at least a few rooms away in case they have questions, but leave them be while they wander. They need personal space to chat things through with their partner or agent, and if you’re there, they might not feel comfortable. Let them nit-pick at details with you out of the room. If you hear them talking about changing ‘this, that and the other’, this means they like your home and are already considering how to add their stamp.

Lighting – Even if your rooms are tidied to each corner and crevice, if they’re dark and unlit, they can be a turnoff and give the wrong impression of the room. Remove heavy curtains that prevent light getting into your rooms, and turn on lamps that give the room a homely feel. If a room has dark wallpaper or paint, consider giving it a repaint to make it feel fresh; white works wonders.

By making such small simple steps, you will be presenting your potential buyers with a home that will delight them from start to finish. Look at your home before any viewings begin, and see what you can change; it will be worth it when a new family are signing on the dotted line.

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 What’s that smell

What to read next: First impressions

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

Freshly brewing coffee? Baking bread? Do they really work?

In my opinion, these are just a little bit too obvious – and as such, will come across as you trying too hard. However, it is true that the sense of smell does play a huge part in making a viewer feel they could be at home. Here are my Top Five Tips for giving your home the Sweet Smell of Success:

1. A vanilla pod in the oven on a low heat is far more subtle, but smells delicious.

2. Dog owner? Take pooch and any pooch-related bedding out of the house in plenty of time before the viewing – trust me, non-dog lovers will be able to smell it a mile away.

3. Scented candles (used sparingly) smell much nicer than spray fresheners.

4. Place tumble drier conditioning sheets at the base of all of your bins for a lovely fresh laundry smell.

5. Pop some pot pourri in your vacuum cleaner before you clean the house for a subtle but appealing scent.

I scents an offer….[ boom boom.]

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: Raising the steps

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

A gentleman called me recently, and asked me this very question: “How many photos of my house online is too many?”

“How many do you have?” I asked him.

“77” came the reply.

Yes, if you’re wondering, 77 photos is too many.  Around 57 too many, in fact!

There’s a great marketer’s saying that goes, “Sell the sizzle, not the sausage”, and that’s very relevant here.  What it means is, don’t try to show the buyer everything, all at once.  If you have 77 photographs of your home online, coupled with 1000 words of description, why would a buyer need to view your home?  They can decide whether or not your home is of interest to them, from the comfort of their armchair, based on your photography alone.

Keep a little back; tease your buyer and pique their interest.  Here’s a few tips on how to hook their attention, and encourage them to view your home:

  • Don’t post too many photographs: 12 – 20 images is plenty, you really don’t need any more.
  • Try to make a third of your photographs lifestyle images; in other words, stylish pictures of interesting features of your home, close-up. Perhaps a garden table dressed with a bottle of wine and some glasses, a candlelit dining table, or flowers on a hallway table.  These kind of images snag a buyer’s attention and give them the clues they need that your home may be what they are looking for.
  • Keep your copy brief and snappy: use bullet points for your main features, and short, interesting sentences for a brief description.
  • Don’t let your agent use a long description online, as your buyer may well have to scroll down several times before they even reach your brochure link.  Keep the copy to no more than a screen’s depth.

    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: Your photos need naming!

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

When to put your home on the market, and why timing is so important.

Often, when we decide to sell our property, we simply engage an estate agent and then ask them to market it immediately.  However, putting your house on the market at the wrong time of year for your particular buyers may mean that your property launch is more of a dribble. You need early and strong interest from buyers who want to move, and that takes a little planning. Newsflash –  certain times of the year are better for selling particular properties than others.

The key is to know your buyer and plan according to their timescale, not yours. Different types of buyers like to move at different times of the year, according to their own needs. It’s not healthy for your eventual sale price, or for your emotional wellbeing, to have a property languishing on the market for months, so the better you can plan your launch, the more likelihood there is that your property will sell quickly.

Who buys when?

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 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, 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. Do you recognise the significance of these times? They are school term times. Buyers with children don’t usually like to house hunt during the holidays. First, they have better things to do, perhaps going on holiday, and second, 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.

Downsizers: Older couples and singles usually prefer to look at homes during the warmer months, so bungalows and retirement homes will often languish on the market over the winter time. The elderly don’t want to venture out to look 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.

If you know who is most likely to buy your home, you can plan your launch to market more effectively.  Remember that the less time your home is on the market, the closer to your asking price you are statistically likely to get, so plan for a quick sale!

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: When will my home sell? 

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

Nine Ways To Sell Your House Fast

We know setting prospective buyers loose on your home to play Simon Cowell can be daunting; suppose the dog has an ‘accident’ or the neighbours decide their bonfire just can’t wait until November 5th?

Yes, buyers can indeed be difficult to please, but here’s the good news – we know exactly how to please them. Putting the effort in, pays dividends when it comes to getting that all important ‘quick sale’!

Follow our 9 tips to get your house big fat ‘yes’s’ across the board:

Improve your kerb appeal

We know you should never judge a book by it’s cover, but sadly, people often do – a lot of people will drive around first before deciding on which properties to visit.

The exterior of your home is just as important as the interior, if not more so for that all-important first impression. Peter Illingworth Estate Agent says ‘you must make sure every part of this visual picture looks at its best. If the interior is beautiful they may never see it if the exterior is shabby. The pavement in front of your home should be swept clean if necessary, any weeds that are growing should be removed, unsightly bins hidden and any litter picked up.’

Invest in some doggy day-care

As much as you love Rover, not everyone’s a fan. Potential buyers don’t want to walk in and smell cat litter, or walk out with dog hair stuck to their clothes; it gives the impression that your house isn’t clean. Hire a dog sitter or at least exile your furry friends to the garden whilst showing buyers around.

Come up smelling of roses

Or lilies, daisies, tulips – you get the idea. A bunch of flowers goes a long way!

Or there’s always the oldest trick in the real-estate book: pop some cookies or freshly made bread in the oven and intoxicate your buyers with that warm fuzzy feeling, instantly bonding them to your home – or so they say.

Whilst whipping up freshly baked goods each time you have a prospective buyer in your house may be impractical, you can always ‘brew some fresh coffee’ or buy flower-scented candles for an alluring welcome buyers are sure to appreciate. At the very least, ensure all ashtrays are out of the way and Fabreeze is always on hand.

Keep your hardship to yourself

If you think buyers will hear your life story, feel sorry for you and consequently sign on the dotted line, you’re sadly mistaken. Whatever the reason is for selling your house – be it debt, death or your husband running off with the next-door neighbour – keep schtum! Nearly a quarter of the cases of off-putting behaviour in the My Online Estate Agent survey involved sellers unburdening themselves about the reasons for their marriage break-up. Save it for your shrink, please.

Clutter is killer

Get rid of it – and sharpish! Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in your home, and family photos, swimming certificates and your grandma’s ornaments make it that bit harder. If it’s too painful to get rid of them permanently, why not put them in temporary storage?

Keep it PG

According to research by My Online Estate Agent, one in five buyers have encountered ‘something unusual’ when being shown around a property. A total of 22 per cent of house-hunters have been confronted with weird collections of sex-dolls and teddy bears, while 11 per cent have had to avert their eyes from naked pictures of the owners. Awkward.

Less ’50 shades’ more ‘vintage lampshades’, please.

Lighten up

Light, bright and airy – three words to take as house-selling gospel. Especially when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, open plan is in fashion and buyers want as much space as possible. Colour scheme-wise, think whites and creams, or pastel hues.

Bathrooms and kitchens are two of the most important rooms in a property and should be immaculately clean and tidy when showing a property to viewers – again accessorised to emphasise light and space.

“Wildly coloured bathroom suites were regarded as the ultimate in taste in the 1980s, but can look pretty hideous to modern eyes,” says David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services. He claims such a fitting could knock up to £8,000 off the value of your property. Wowzers. Oh, and keep it clean people! Research by Rightmove among 4,000 buyers found that dirty kitchens and bathrooms were the biggest turn-offs – so get out that Mr Muscle before every viewing.

Putting the effort in, either on your own or with the assistance of a specialist property company can clearly pay dividends when it comes to answering the question – ‘how to get a quick sale’

Stay Switzerland

Fancy yourself as the next Kelly Hoppen? This is not the time to test out your skills. The thing to remember is your taste is not the same as everyone else’s. Keep colours neutral and decoration to a minimum to make your house appealing to as many buyers as possible.

Be warned: additions can be made but unsightly adornments cannot be unseen!  Offer an empty shell for buyers to build their dream home around from scratch – your estate agent will thank you for it.

Enlist the experts

Don’t fancy dealing with estate agents, viewings, and the general stress that comes with finding a buyer? You’re not alone.

www.sellhousefast.uk buys over 300 houses a year, direct, from all over the UK! Simply apply online, agree a price and set a date for a rapid and hassle free sale – often completed within four weeks. Oh, and they buy houses regardless of condition, meaning everyone’s invited.

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

Nine Ways To Sell Your House Fast

What to read next: How to make your online property advert work for you

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

When your home has been on the market for a while, it’s easy to become disheartened and disillusioned.  “What’s wrong with our house?” you may ask yourself.  At first, I’m sure that every viewer got the star treatment – you would changed the bedding, banish the dog and buy fresh flowers for each and every viewing, now it all seems like too much effort for what you’re sure will be another timewaster.

However, it’s not all about doing what you can to make your house look as appealing as possible, though obviously this is important; you also need the right mindset.

Think of something difficult you have tried to do: perhaps you’ve given up smoking, lost weight or passed an exam.  Maybe you tried several times before you actually achieved your goal.  If you look back on your previous attempts, why did they fail when achievement was clearly in your grasp?

It’s all to do with mindset; any dietician will tell you that you have to be in the right mindset to lose weight, otherwise you’ll keep failing.  Those friends I know who have successfully given up smoking after many years of ‘trying’ tell me that eventually they just set their mind on their goal, and that made all the difference.

But when you’re selling your home, it’s not in your control whether your viewers actually offer or not, right?  Wrong!  Of course, you can’t force them to make an offer, but you can make sure that you are totally focused on your goal of selling.

When you are focused, you will call your agent more often, research the competition, keep your home looking beautiful, make suggestions to improve your marketing campaign; and all this because your mindset is that of a seller.  When you give up, you lose the fight.

To help you get into the seller’s mindset, make a list of all the reasons you want to move.  Write them in two columns:  one list for your motivations to move out, and the other for all the reasons you want to move to the place or home you have chosen.  Keep this list taped to the inside of a kitchen cupboard you use every day.  Read it often, and use it to motivate you to get out the vacuum cleaner one more time for a viewing; or polish the bathroom taps, or clean the front door.

Stay focused, stay motivated, and the buyer will come.  All because of your mindset.

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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

What to read next: How to get into your buyer’s mindset

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