Tag Archives: price

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An image of a bed with pillows on top of it, a candle and lampshade on the side. 

“The flaws in the intelligence are plain enough in hindsight.”

~ Edward Kennedy

Have you been trying to sell your home for months, or even years, without success? You’re certainly not alone; did you know that only half the properties on the market last year actually sold?

Did you decline an offer in the first month or so that, in hindsight, you now would take? It’s a familiar story. In fact, around 75% of sellers who contact us would now accept that offer – gladly – and now regret having rejected it.

A property is never more desirable than when it first goes onto the market. The initial flurry of interest can even occasionally generate an offer in excess of the asking price, such is the draw of a newly-marketed home. The interest curve for those all-important first few weeks looks something like this.
A sample chart of a price and a time on market

However, once all the buyers who have been searching for a while for their next home have seen it, then it’s only the new buyers coming to the market who are around to show any interest, and this may be only a handful a week, at best. This just isn’t sufficient to instill any sense of urgency in a buyer, who may view 15 – 20 or more properties before making an offer on one.

Once your property has been on the market for more than a couple of months therefore, the interest curve looks more like this:

A sample chart of a price and a time on market

If you drop your asking price, and keep dropping it in an attempt to counteract this downwards trend of interest, all you’re doing is ‘chasing the market down’, in effect.

So what’s the answer? Here’s my expert guide to keeping your property marketing fresh, and avoid it becoming stale and forgotten:

1. Don’t dismiss out of hand any offer you receive in those crucial early weeks of marketing. It will probably be the best offer you will ever receive on your home;

2. If you’re several months (or years) down the line, you need to break the vicious cycle that is no one wants a house that no one wants. Take it off the market completely for at least two months, and preferably up to six months.

3. Re-launch at the right time of year for your property, ie at the time of year when your buyer is most likely to be searching.

4. Don’t scrimp on your re-launch: engage a professional home stager, commission a professional photographer, and choose a proactive agent who believes in quality marketing.

5. If you get an early offer when you go back to market, take it! Within reason of course…. As a general rule of thumb, anything in excess of 85% of your asking price is definitely worthy of consideration in this market, and over 90% is a terrific offer.

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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.

This blog post is courtesy of our lovely office manager, Hellen, who sees an awful lot of very bad photography!

I took a call from a potential client today in the office.  One of our consultant’s had been to see them that morning and they’d been pondering whether HomeTruths was the way forward for them but then needed some extra reassurance.  This is quite a common occurrence; after all, it’s a big step in what is a very emotive time.  Here at HomeTruths we really don’t mind if you want another ear to talk things over with, that’s what we’re here for.  In fact, the gentleman in question posed one of the most common queries; “is the grass greener on the other side”?

When clients contact us, most (not all, I might add, but the majority) have lost total confidence in their agent.  No doubt when the agent initially met with the vendor he gave them lots of confidence.  Confidence that the price was achievable, that their house would sell quickly, that they would be an open dialogue at all times regarding their sale, that they would produce a beautiful brochure and post a great advert on Rightmove, that there are people queuing up on their books to view their home.  Of course he did, he wants your commission!  Six months (or longer!) down the line and that confidence is waning.  But how does the client know that their experience with the agent we recommend is going to be any different?

Here at HomeTruths we take the utmost care when recommending agents to sell your property.  We have outstanding relationships with the agents that we use.  We are confident they understand our philosophy and have the means to market your home as we would like it to be marketed.  In most cases we not only know the Managers in the individual office but the Regional Director too.  They’re on speed dial with Sam.  We meet with them regularly to check we’re still on the same page.   We’re not formally associated with any agents, nor do we earn commission (including back handers in brown envelopes) and if they’re not performing as we would wish, we don’t use them any more.  It’s as simple as that.

In the majority of cases we also know the photographer (and in some cases his wife)!  We can tell, when a brochure lands on our doormat, whether one of our recommended photographers has taken the photos.  We will only use photographers who we know of, and whose work has impressed us in the past (and there’s no-one more picky than an ex-photographer is there Sam)?  In fact, if we see a brochure we love, and we’re not familiar with the photographer or the agent, we’ll give them a call and see if we could work together.

So actually yes, we believe the grass is greener on the other side, and that’s because we’ve done all the legwork for you to make sure that it is.

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.

Ireland has certainly enjoyed a property boom in recent years, but now, sadly, it’s paying the price.  On our trip last week, my husband and I drove across from Dublin to Achill on the west coast, and the same sad story was evident in every town and village on our route.

Big faded placards announce bargains no one wants; no show home welcomes brave browsers, and the front doors of the identical cookie-cutter houses are already peeling from months (years?) of neglect. The developers, or more probably, the banks who funded them, can only watch helplessly as the seasons roll by with buyers either unwilling or unable – or both – to make an offer, even an insulting one.

But it’s the sometimes solitary occupants who I feel most sorry for; the bright young families, eagerly moving into what may have been for some, their first home; excitedly planning room schemes, and running their fingers lovingly over the new appliances and that shiny new shower cubicle. Now, however, the house looks tarnished, not least because whilst they thought they were buying an investment: a house to add value to; a stepping stone of a home: like the early occupants of these three bed semis below, they have already made a loss of 118,550 Euros – that’s a cool £100,000 at today’s exchange rate, or a whopping 41%. All they can do really, is wait it out.  Now is not the time to sell for a loss – even if their lender would allow them to – which is unlikely. Not only have they lost their original hard-saved deposit, they are now also paying mortgage payments at a level their home is not worth, and for which they could have bought a property considerably bigger.  No wonder Ireland is depressed, and not just economically.

It’s all too easy to decry the wild greed that gripped the Irish property market and whipped it into a frenzy of speculative property developing, but it’s the first time buyers and the young families that have really lost out. The developers just go bust, and start again, or else dust their hands off and move onto a more lucrative industry. (Debt recovery, for example….)

So, before we start complaining about our measly 1.6% – that’s the amount that the Land Registry announced yesterday our semis have lost in the past year – spare a thought for our Irish neighbours, and cross your fingers that their property market recovers in time for the most vulnerable home owners to move 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.

On 13 July 2007, there was an article in The Times, written by my old co-presenter Lucy Alexander, called “How to sell your home in a hurry”. She consulted with three property experts to discover, that magic strategy, sellers need to sell their houses quickly – Phil Spencer, presenter of Location, Location, Location; Ed Mead, estate agent, and Sarah Beeny, presenter of Property Ladder. Here’s an excerpt of their advice, and my responses:

Phil Spencer: “Ask your agents why they haven’t sold it and how you can help them do their job.”

I like Phil, he doesn’t mess about with his advice. There is a problem with this particular piece of advice though – the agent doesn’t know what else to do! Many times at HomeTruths, we have come up with a whole raft of ideas to help increase interest in a house, when the agent had completely run out of inspiration and indeed, motivation. In my experience, they only have one suggestion when a house won’t sell – dropping the price.

Which brings me neatly to Ed’s advice…

Ed Mead:  “Drop the price to appeal to a whole new level of buyers – there’s no point tinkering at the margins.”

Let me ask you this: if your house is for sale at £600,000, and you aren’t getting interest, how would it help to drop the price to £550,000? Is Ed saying that the buyers at £550,000 are completely different from the buyers at £600,000? Time and time again, clients come to us already having dropped their asking price, sometimes several times, but to no avail: no new buyers magically appeared at the lower price.  It’s rarely the asking price that is stopping the house from selling.

Sarah Beeny: “If it isn’t selling it’s too expensive. Drop the price, take the house off the market for two weeks before launching it with a new agent at a price at least 10 per cent lower.”

Sarah’s great at shooting from the hip, but on this subject, I think she’s way off target. Consider this: if a new model of Mercedes isn’t selling as well as Mercedes hope, do they drop the price? Or do they instead re-train and incentivise their staff and roll out a ramped-up marketing campaign? They know that discounting is a mug’s game. They prefer to leave any discounting to the salesperson sitting in front of a hot buyer – just as you should save any room for negotiation for a buyer ready to offer on your house.

For real expert advice that gets your house sold whilst protecting your asking price, it’s time for some HomeTruths.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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