Tag Archives: preparation

Have you heard of guerrilla marketing? The term was coined and defined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book Guerrilla Marketing and was invented as an unconventional system of promoting something, that relies on time, energy and imagination rather than a big marketing budget. Typically, guerrilla marketing campaigns are unexpected and unconventional, and consumers are targeted in unexpected ways and places.

There’s a lot that estate agents could learn about guerrilla marketing techniques, and how to apply them to selling houses.  In this still-tough market, sellers need all the help they can get.  But don’t leave it to your agent; there’s plenty that you can do to give yourself the best possible chance to attract interest and beat the competition.  Here’s twelve guerrilla marketing tips to get you started:

1. If you have an unusual feature, design or story about your house, try to generate free PR by getting onto local radio or in the press.

2. Offer a financial referral incentive to all on your email contact list, and ask them all to pass it on. Make it a really worthwhile reward – several thousands of pounds – to make sure they get excited about it.

3.Leave your brochure between the pages of some of your used magazines, and then take them to doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries for their waiting rooms.

4. Attach a lidded, waterproof brochure box to your for sale sign so people can help themselves to your brochures when they are driving or walking past.

5. Your largest employers in the area will probably have noticeboards where you can pin a brochure, or at least an index card..

6. Put your asking price on your for sale board. This particularly works well on a busy road, or on the rear fence of a house that backs on to a playing field or park.

7. Have some small postcards printed with your property details and contact information; wherever you go, make sure you have some with you and can leave them in appropriate places.

8. Calculate the price per square foot of your house, and compare it to your competition; if it is favourable, print a table showing how you rank and make it available to buyers.

9.If you have a family house, make sure any children are well catered for, and encourage them to play on swings, slides, trampolines etc, leaving their parents free to look around in peace.  Pester power can work a treat!

10. Follow the developers’ lead, and place some signs around the house detailing appliances and any other features, such as pull-down loft ladders and garage door remote switches. Men in particular, love any gadgets, and it gives them permission to try them out.

11. Ask your friends and neighbours to write some nice testimonials about the house, the neighbours and the village or town. Leave these printed out on the table for them to take with them. Include any interesting local stories and famous or celebrity residents.

12. Facebook sites are really easy to create – make one to showcase your house complete with local information, photographs, details about local stories and famous neighbours etc. Share the link with your email list, and add it to any marketing.

The message here is, don’t leave it all to your estate agent – there’s so much you can do. At the very least, you’ll feel that you have taken back some control of the marketing of your property – and at best, you might just find yourself a 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 gentleman called me recently, having struggled to sell his house for several months.  I took a look at his property advert online and saw a house that was full of mismatched furniture and cluttered rooms.  “Have you considered using a home stager?” I asked him.

He hadn’t heard of the concept.  In fairness, whilst it’s something that the Americans do to sell their properties, it’s not an idea we have embraced in this country yet, though sellers who are struggling often find that it can make a huge difference to the interest they get from buyers.

So let’s look at your living room, and how best to present it for sale, and wow your buyers:

  1. Your suite – I often visit homes that are on the market with old, sagging sofas that haven’t been in fashion since the 1980s! When the homeowner tells me they plan to replace their suite when they move, I urge them to do it now instead, to help the house become more saleable. Old sofa equals dated house, or that’s what a buyer will think.  A new modern sofa will really add a stylish look to your living room and prove a worthwhile investment for you.

Your suite

2. Your carpeting – how is your carpet looking? Is it heavily patterned, darkly-coloured, or both? Would a professional clean refresh it, or does it really need replacing? A dirty, worn and dated carpet will give the impression that the house hasn’t been looked after, so if you want to portray a well-presented home, it may be worth investing a few hundred pounds in a new, neutral carpet.

Your carpeting

3. Your walls – you don’t need to paint everything magnolia, but you do need to present a buyer with a décor that they will like, as much as you can do. Whilst you haven’t got mind-reading powers (I assume!) few people will be put off by neutral, modern colour schemes.  If you have a feature wall in say, vibrant purple, you are risking alienating anyone that doesn’t like purple, so play it safe and go for neutral shades.

Your Walls

4. Your lighting – this can really make or break the impact of your living room. Downlighters and table lamps can create a cosy atmosphere; uplighting can add a splash of drama.  If you have overhead lighting, it’s usually best to leave that off and create a real feeling of homeliness with your additional lighting choices.

Your lighting

  1. Your cushions – if you can’t justify a new sofa, perhaps new cushions will help to refresh the look of your living room. A recent client of mine bought a really inexpensive cream Ikea sofa, then added some lovely colourful cushions in rich fabrics, to add a real feeling of luxury without a big spend.

Your cushions

6. Your accessories – have a look around your living room at your ornaments and other accessories. Are any of them new and stylish? Or do you have little collections of old-fashioned ornaments you’ve gathered over many years? If they have sentimental value, why not parcel them all up now ready for your forthcoming move? That way you can clear the space for some pieces that are in keeping with current home style and perhaps that match your new colourful cushions.

Your accessories

7. Your art and pictures – if your walls and surfaces are covered in personal family portraits, it’s time to take them down, and box them up for your move. Generally speaking, it’s best if art is neutral and not distracting, like the kind of bland style you see in hotels. Lots of mirrors and large pictures in a style and colour to match your living room, will lift your presentation and add a feeling of coordination and harmony.Your art and pictures

8. Your tv – these days, many living rooms are dominated by a large black box, aka your tv! Unless you have one of those high-tech mirrors that magically transforms into a tv at the touch of a button, you need to consider how you are going to diminish its impact however you can. Try rearranging the furniture around the fireplace or other feature, rather than grouping it around your tv.  You may not be able to live with the furniture in that position, but it’s worth placing it especially for your photography and viewings.

Your tv

9. Your ambience – how does your living room feel? Does it have a nice sense of calm and tranquility that makes it feel like somewhere you want to be after a busy day at work? Consider the way it smells, and sounds, as well as the way it looks. Lightly scented candles and some background music can really enhance the feeling of your living room and provide a restful space so that your viewers can relax.

Your ambience

  1. Your finishing touches – before you have your photographs taken, or book a viewing, take a last look at your living room with a critical eye. Take away anything that doesn’t improve the look of the room, like wastepaper bins or piles of magazines, and add a vase of flowers and a beautiful coffee table book, and voila! Your room is ready.

Your finishing touches

Home staging really doesn’t have to cost much, but it can pay dividends!  If you have a great staging tip of your own, please let me know in the comments below.

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.

There are many elements that go into making great property photography: the weather, the skill and experience of the photographer, and the features of the house itself – they all go into making or breaking the shoot. But did you know there are lots of things you can do to increase the chances of achieving the best images of your house? You need to ensure the images of your house not only do it justice, but also more importantly, indicate the kind of lifestyle that a buyer can aspire to. Here are some of my suggestions to do just that:

1. Clean and clear – we all know that tv can add inches to a person’s waistline, well property photography can take off inches! Rooms can look cluttered and meanly-proportioned, with dark corners and distracting colours. Clear surfaces and floor spaces, take up rugs where necessary, and clean everything until it sparkles. Light and reflected shine are the best ways to show off the size of your rooms. (Note: your photographer may want to use a very wide-angled lens, but I would caution against this; at best it can give the rooms very odd angles and at worst, mislead a viewer.)

2. Go shopping! Any self-respecting property lover adores seeing inside the homes of the rich and famous, but one of the reasons these houses look so fabulous is that they are staged for the shoot. Steal their style! Shop for staging accessories and give your home the star treatment:

Kitchen:

  • Croissants
  • Champagne
  • Fruit – stick to one type per bowl. Strawberries, limes and green apples look great.
  • Rustic board of artisan breads and cheeses
  • Flowers – in keeping with your home style; eg hand-picked posy for a farmhouse, Calla lilies for a contemporary home.

Living rooms:

  • Church candles in fireplaces
  • Flowering plants
  • Lifestyle magazines and coffee table books

Bathrooms:

  • Fluffy white towels
  • Luxury spa-style toiletries

Outside:

  • Flowering plant for patio table centre
  • Pretty tealight holders or church candle lantern

3. The better you brief the photographer, the better the images will be! Go round the house making a note of any particularly attractive angles or features, then call him as close as possible to the day he is due, so your requests are fresh in his mind. Suggest he makes notes, or follow up on your conversation by emailing him a summary. Talk to him about the house, and suggest any particular features of interest in the house and garden, that best portray the character and style of the home. Ask him to ensure that in addition to his standard shots, he also takes some ‘lifestyle’ images, eg bowl of fruit, coffee on an outside table, roses in the hallway. Suggest he also tries some ‘vignette’ shots; these are shots framed by a doorway, or in a mirror.

4. Make sure the photographer knows what time of day the sun will be on the front of the house. Think also about evening shots, and when the sun will be on the garden. This may necessitate two separate visits so make sure the photographer has allowed for this.

5. Follow him round! Plump cushions, move chairs, take away any distracting objects, remove bins and washing. Make sure you can see what he’s photographing so you can anticipate any potential for the room not looking its absolute best. Put lamps on, or turn lights off, to keep the ambient light at the right level. A good photographer will really appreciate your help and will guide you throughout.

6. Keep your images seasonal– it’s very telling to see a house advertised in September with daffodils in the garden, or in January with Wisteria in full bloom. Keep your property photography as close as possible to the current season. This often means asking your agent to revisit to refresh your images with new ‘foliage’ shots. At HomeTruths this is something we routinely arrange every three to four months. After all, you may not want your viewer to know how long your house has been for sale – and why give them an excuse to make a low offer?

Some improvements to the images can be made in editing, like putting in a blue sky or taking out a skip! But remember that if you aren’t absolutely delighted with your photography, you can ask for it to be re-taken. Insist on perfection and the viewers will turn up in droves!

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 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.

 

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.

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.

HBBN_Presidential-Villa-Bathroom-763x1024

Needless to say, when selling the home, every room of the house needs to wow potential buyers. Viewers will enter your home with reluctance by default and will scour with a fine tooth comb for anything they can criticise. This is probably due to the fact that investing such a large amount of money into a property is a scary concept and buyers will want their new homes to be in mint condition, requiring no repairs. If your viewers can see your house has been well maintained and cared for they’re more likely to buy it.

Bathrooms in particular, can be hard to maintain when selling your home as they undergo such regular use. Rather than neglecting your bathroom, it should be given regular maintenance to reduce the amount of work required before each viewer is scheduled to arrive. Here are some quick maintenance tips that ensure your bathroom is pristine in preparation for every viewing.

Abolish the mould

Bathroom mould is unattractive and could be a deal breaker for potential buyers. It indicates damp problems and poor ventilation. Be sure to bleach mould before you put your house on the market and continually practice excellent ventilation when showering and bathing to avoid returning mould. Wipe down the bath and shower quickly after every use to avoid blackening grout and silicone.

Invest in some attractive accessories

Clean, sparkling mirrors can revive a tired bathroom whilst reflecting light to create the illusion of space. Replace any toothpaste-stained toothbrush holders with a new one that is used only when viewers are expected, to prevent it from spoiling.

Wash and fold towels

Wet towels strewn messily over radiators aren’t attractive and can emit a damp odour. Wash and dry towels before every viewing and ensure they’re folded or hung neatly. This will create a pleasant odour and a luxury appearance to your bathroom.

Bathrooms can be a major selling point for a house if presented well. If you have more than one bathroom then perform regular maintenance on them all. Try to put yourself in your viewers’ shoes, if you saw your bathroom in a house would you buy 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.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Just seconds into a first meeting we form an impression of people based on their appearance and how they’re dressed, and it’s much the same with the first sight of a front garden.

If you’re selling your house the prospective buyer will quickly form an opinion of what the inside of the house is like, based on the appearance of the front garden and entrance to the house.

Try to imagine what the house looks like to a first-time visitor, take a photo from the entrance and see what this reveals.
These simple steps will help to create a smart, stylish exterior:
• Clear any old leaves and debris, sweep paths, clean windows

• Move any dustbins or recycling boxes out of sight

• Remove any flower pots with dead or unattractive plants

• Replace collections of numerous small plant pots with few larger ones

• Use plant pots of similar material, type and colour

• If there is any grass, cut it and trim the edges

• Cut hedges

• Fill containers with single colour (much smarter than mixed colours) bedding- plants for a quick fix. Match the flower colour to the paintwork of the house, or choose a contrasting colour.

• Use light eg white or pale yellow flowers, to bounce some light into shady areas.

• Invest in some smart lollipop-shaped topiary shrubs to place either side of the entrance, and as long as you remember to tell your buyer that they’re not included in the sale, you can take them with you.

Then just sit back and wait for the compliments!

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.

Dating-couple

Many of our HomeTruths’ clients come to us for help, as they have lost trust in their estate agent.

In order to sell your house successfully, it’s really important that you and your estate agent are on the same page, which means you may need to go through several different estate agents until you find the right one for you.

Here are some tips on how to survive in the property dating game:

  1. Get prepared for selling your house – if you really want to succeed in the property dating game, you need to commit; going into half- heartedly will not work. Do some research and prepare for the worst; promise yourself you won’t give up, no matter what happens.
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  2. Think about what you want to gain from selling your house and why you are selling. Consider the timeframes you expect and where you want to be in 1/3/6 months time. A good reason to sell will drive you to sell your house properly.
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  3. Dress your house so that it is looking at its most attractive. Make sure that the photographs are taken professionally so that the house looks appealing and gets the most amount of viewings. If your house is professionally and stylishly marketed, your confidence in selling your house will improve.
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  4. Target buyers who have a good chance of buying your house. When marketing your property you need to make sure it stands out to those who can afford your asking price, find the property attractive and are interested in what the property has to offer. Marketing includes price, photographs and the how stylish your property brochure looks.
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  5. Take breaks from being on the market occasionally if it’s not going as well as you thought. Recharging your batteries and keeping confidence and optimism levels high in the dating game is an absolute must. Everybody hits rough patches but don’t let your search for your dream buyer become a dreaded nightmare.
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  6. Never make yourself seem desperate. People like properties which other people also dream to have. The more somebody has to chase a property, the more likely the love will blossom. Keep confident about your price of your house; do not drop your asking price because if you do not feel confident about your price, nobody else will.

Make sure you follow these 6 tips in the property dating game and you will have people falling in love with your property in no time. If you want any other tips in the property dating game or you are ready to use us as cupid, do not hesitate to pick up the phone.

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.