Tag Archives: property marketing

heart ornament beside window

heart ornament beside window

I often get asked the question, “Should I use more than one estate agent to sell my house?” Once upon a time, this strategy made perfect sense.  After all, before properties were advertised on the internet, how else could you make sure that buyers across different geographical areas would see your home, if you didn’t use two, three or more agents to market it?

But then came the property portals, and everything changed.  Almost all buyers (93% at last count) look online to find their home, often browsing a couple of portals, then simply call the relevant agent to book a viewing on a home they like.

What’s the point in being listed twice like this?

So is there any point these days in instructing more than one agent? The short answer is ‘no’.  If a buyer spies your home listed several times online, at best it’s annoying, and at worst it’s misleading, because if the agents involved have used different photographs and descriptions to advertise the property, a buyer could be forgiven for thinking that the adverts belong to different houses.

And doesn’t this look like a different property? It’s not!

When a buyer enters a search criterion on one of the property portals like Rightmove, properties appear in a list, in descending price order, ie with the more expensive houses showing first.  Any properties that are marketed at exactly the same price will appear in a random order, to be fair and not favour any particular agent. However, one agent I know gets around this rule by adding a pound to his prices, so that his properties will show first, and therefore you’ll see property prices like £300,001 from him!

Another factor to bear in mind, is how does it look to a buyer if you as the seller have instructed several agents? Desperate perhaps? In need of an urgent sale?  This could have the effect of generating some very low offers from those buyers looking for a bargain, whilst genuine buyers may stay away completely, fearful of being stuck with a property that they themselves can’t sell when the time comes.

Finally, there’s the question of cost.  If you instruct more than one agent, depending on the type of agency agreement you have, you’ll either pay the standard agency fee, but only to one of the agents; sometimes called ‘winner takes all’. Or else you’ll pay a higher fee, and it’ll be split between the two agents, typically 2/3:1/3 or else 50/50. The average uplift for a joint agency agreement is around 25%, meaning that if the average fee in your area is 1.5%, you will be paying 2% – 2.25% for a joint agreement.  This could be an extra £2250 on a £300,000 house – not an inconsiderable amount, particularly if it doesn’t actually net you any higher a sale price.

So my advice is to pick one agent, show them your loyalty and let them do their job. Don’t agree to a long contract, and if after say, 3 months, you’re not getting the interest in your home you had hoped for, drop your price, or find another agent and improve your marketing. Or all three….

Happy selling!

Sam

Feeling a little lost looking for the right estate agent? All you need is a trip to Venice and a good coffee!

Selling your home can be an emotional and tiring slog, perhaps even onerous at times. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is such a thing as an enjoyable selling experience, and all you have to do is choose the right estate agent. Read our guide to sell your home and keep your sanity too!

Let’s take a break from house talk, and enjoy a walk through the streets of Venice; after a little sightseeing, you pause at an independent coffee house to enjoy the views of the square. You enjoy the Italian barista’s stories, and they introduce you to the coffee bean farmers sat opposite. They listen as you describe your ideal coffee, and ask about your favourite foods and wines.

The barista leaves you momentarily to enjoy the surroundings, before treating you to your own customised coffee blend. It’s brewed and roasted to your exact liking. The personalised dusting that lays on top is impressively artful, and their efforts are appreciated. They smile as you taste, because they know they’ve got it just right, and watching people enjoy their coffee brings them happiness too. Their experience means that they get every note just right, and the warm crema topping spoils your taste buds.

You make your way back to the airport, but before you board the plane, you fancy one last Italian coffee. There’s plenty of choice, but none particularly catch your eye. So Cafe Nero will do. The cafe offers convenient and cheap refreshments, and the noisy bustle inside is a nice nod to the popularity of the chain. The waitress smiles, and waits for you to place your order. The menu offers a reasonable yet generic selection, but with a growing queue behind, you quickly default to your usual latte.

Personalisation goes as far as a flavoured syrup, before a button is pressed and the end liquid passes through the machine. The ‘to-go-cup’ is promptly popped on the end counter, and in a sea of cardboard blue, you ask the waitress to point out which is yours. Efficient, polite service, but unforgettable all the same. And the coffee? It’s good. You peel off the plastic lid to see a templated bean dusting. It’s trying to be the independent barista, but it’s just not. You don’t finish the cup, but it’s served its purpose. You board the plane, and head back to the UK.

So, on your trip to Italy, you enjoyed two Italian coffees. Each quenched your thirst, but only one made an everlasting impression. And only one experience gave you a story that you’ll share with your friends.

Choosing the right estate agent is exactly the same. Some agents have perfected the art of convenience and speed. Their service is almost templated, and for homes that fall into a particular mould, it can work. Take new builds for example. Developments are plentiful and scattered throughout the UK, and the homes are marketed at the Joneses. Prices generally fall in the lower brackets, and there isn’t too much variant in house styles.

These homes are functional and affordable, but they aren’t unique; so selling these home with a templated marketing service makes sense. But when you see a home with true personality and character, the convenient ‘one-shoe-fits-all’ approach just doesn’t, well, fit. That’s because when a home really is unique, it needs unique marketing too.

If that means that your home calls for a bespoke brochure, or you need the helping hands of a home stylist, your estate agent should have a team of professionals to hand. When they sit down to pen a marketing strategy with you, it should feel unique. Because if every effort is made to approach buyers differently, and to show them all the wonderful features of your home, people will want to step inside to experience it themselves.

So, perhaps you don’t need that trip to Venice after all. Because you may just find a team that can give you a unique experience back home. Make sure you choose the team that will indulge you with an extra special coffee, though.

Happy selling!

Sam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture by Steven Barber


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

Earlier in the week we talked about how seasonal photography can make your advert look dated and out of season. What if you also make big changes to your home, and don’t change the photography? A fatal error! While it is a little illogical to do major renovation work while your home is on the market, several things can happen – you might withdraw from the market for some time, and take a six month hiatus, as an example.

During that time, you do a little renovation work; the living room gets painted, you put in a veranda in the garden. The lawn is starting to frustrate you, so you add stones instead to save you having to mow each weekend. You forget about moving, and enjoy your hassle free garden and clean living room.

And then the estate agent rings. Are you going to go back on the market?

Yes, of course you are. The break is over; you’re ready for new buyers and a fresh outlook.

Your property gets put back into the estate agents window and online, and you eagerly wait for new potential buyers to flock to your front door. But wait…have you told the agent that you’ve altered your home? Even just a little change – a painted room, or a new front door – means the photography needs to be adjusted too. If not, your buyers will wonder if they have walked in to the neighbour’s home, and you’ll be presented with awkward questions. “Didn’t you have a garden?!

Don’t forget to let your agent know the specifics. If you make changes while your home is on the market too, buyers need to know what they’re coming to see.

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

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

When buyers are house hunting, sometimes they’ll be perusing in an area that’s new to them. It might be because of a new job, or they simply fancy a change of scene. They therefore won’t be as informed about the area as perhaps they’d like, and might have a visual check list that they need to cover in order to make sure your house and its location are ideal for their requirements.

What sort of things might they be looking for? In a new area, house hunters will be looking for not only places of convenience, but amenities: good schools for their children, the local hospital, a shop for small items, distance to public transport links and parks, or a local service that can deliver milk to them. You or your estate agent may be able to answer a few prospective buyers’ questions, but if you don’t have children or never use the local bus, a few questions might leave you stumped.

To be prepared for questions out of the blue, do your research beforehand. Google Maps is an invaluable tool. Enter in your postcode, and then use the ‘Search nearby’ tool. By entering in any keywords – school, hospital and so on – it will instantly show you what is the nearest to you.

Make a list of anything you might think is important, and jot it down. It doesn’t hurt to leave your laptop open while the viewers are around; a quick search on the spot will answer their questions straight away, and give your house a few more plus points. Give them a copy of the list as they’re leaving; it’ll make your home and their visit extra memorable, especially if their entire check list was ticked.

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

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

Comfy red lounge chair Photography tips for selling your home PART FOUR_ PICTURE PERFECT IN 5 DAYS (1)

Whether you’re taking the photographs yourself, or enlisting the help of a professional, you want your home to look it’s best when picture days rolls around. Because when your home is listed on Rightmove, great shots attract more buyers. Let’s put your homes best features forwards, and showcase the unique qualities of each room. That way, we can tempt more people to step inside, and take a closer look. So here’s how we do it:

Five days to go

Home styling and staging are great ways to prepare for your house photography shoot. With less than a week before you’re planning to shoot your home, it’s time to get prepared. Take a walk through each room, and take a picture.

Now nip outside to shoot the front and back garden, before finding a comfy spot to flick through the album. Try to imagine yourself as a potential buyer. What do you notice in each room? If anywhere looks a little cluttered or busy, your home is in great company, as almost all homes have that comforting lived-in look. But, sadly, not many people choose to view a lived-in looking home. Because moving into another family’s ‘lived-in’ space isn’t all that appealing.

Four days to go

Let’s take another look at the pictures with fresh eyes, and take note of anything distracting. Because great home photography showcases the home, not the things inside the home. And there’s only so much a photographer can do.

So, let’s tick off the lounge. Are the sofas positioned just right? With a little straightening and shuffling, furniture can frame a fireplace, or draw your eye to an elegant bay window. Textiles shouldn’t be the main focus, so if the curtains are clashing with the cushions, it’s worth indulging in a few new accessories. In your lunch hour, have a quick browse on a few Homeware websites. John Lewis and The Little White Company are great choices; opt for any neutral tones, and steer clear of clashing patterns. And with a few clicks, you’ll have a fresh new look for your lounge delivered to your door-step.

Three days to go

If you have children or pets, give the grandparents a call and do some sweet talking. A family visit is something for the children to look forward to, and it would be ideal timing for the upcoming shoot day too. The sounds of little pattering feet are lovely, but your photographer will thank you for keeping them out of shot.

Two days to go

Let’s look at the master bedroom shots. This room should look like a sanctuary; it needs to appear peaceful, calm and indulgent. But this is the room that often falls short. Most people like to show a little personality with their bedsheets and throws, but unfortunately, not everyone shares the same taste. Keeping bed linen plain and fresh is key. So if all your sheets are wonderfully loud and garish, you’ve just got time to order a calmer alternative. Throws and cushions should be in keeping with the decor, and complimenting curtains complete the ambiance.

One day to go

Head to the kitchen, and remove any appliances off the worktops. Having microwaves, mixers and coffee machines to hand is convenient, but they’re off-putting to potential buyers. Having chopping boards, tea towels and bins on show makes a room appear cluttered. So, with just one day until the shoot, it’s best to find them a temporary hide-away home.

The day of the photoshoot

So, the photographer is on their way, and you’ve got just enough time to grab a bag, and double-check that each room is ready ahead of their arrival. File away any paper-work on the office desk, pop the childrens’ beakers in the dishwasher, and tidy away any rogue clothes. Because a photographer may be a professional, but there’s only so much they can do. A good rule is: anything you can pick up and pop in the bag, pick up and pop in the bag.

Straighten all bed linen, and smooth over curtains, because clean lines and crisp edges make a surprising difference. And once you’ve finished checking each room, leave the door open to create a sense of space.

When the photographer arrives, don’t be afraid to work with them. Yes, they are skilled and experienced, but you know your home better than anyone. Point out all the features you love about each room, and remember the things that made you smile on your first viewing. Make sure to point out any nice fixtures in the bathroom, and encourage them to take close up shots of any original features too. Standard, wide angle shots give a sense of space, but a few snaps of artful details is memorable too. Because if the pictures of your home are memorable, potential buyers are sure to get in touch.

So it’s as easy as that! Happy selling 🙂

Sam

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bathroom--Victorian-House-

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

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

Pastel-floral-hallway

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

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

Pale-Green-and-Cream-Dining-Room

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When you’re ready to sell your home, you want your listing to be on Rightmove fast. But without great photography, you’re unlikely to have many people take a closer look. So how do we make sure that the shots are tempting? Let’s head to the lounge and check that it’s ready for the photographer to arrive. Because the secret to great house photography isn’t the photography itself. It’s the home styling and preparations before the photographer arrives! Follow these simple home styling tips, and your lounge will be picture perfect from every angle.

Take a step back

Perhaps you’ve lived in your home for so long, you don’t pause to appreciate the lovely oak fireplace anymore. Or maybe you’re so ready to move, you overlook the chipped paintwork on the skirting boards. Either way, seeing the same room every day brings a sense of familiarity and comfort. And, sometimes, we can all become a little too comfy with our surroundings. That’s when we start to overlook the details that may be the key to selling your home.

So how do we see the lounge through fresh eyes? We start with a little nostalgia. Let’s go back to the first viewing of your home. What did you feel the first time you walked into your lounge? Perhaps the gently lit window seat, or rustic exposed beams, made you smile. Maybe it simply felt spacious, and you knew it would be the perfect space to entertain guests on a weekend afternoon. But, with time, our home adapts to our family. Maybe your brood is now a few children heavier, and the lounge that once felt spacious and adult, is now cramped with toys.

This is when rooms can start to lose their identity. And to make the room appealing to other families, it’s important to remember the function, or purpose, of each room. So what is the lounge? It’s the communal spot that brings everyone together, and to enjoy each others company. It should feel big enough to gather friends and family comfortably, yet cosy and inviting too. So how do we strike the balance?

We take a look at the ‘things’ inside the room. Because, as time passes, we find ourselves with more and more ‘things.’ Perhaps you brought a new three-piece suit last year, but you just couldn’t bear to part with your favourite old armchair. So it sits in the lounge next to the new suite. Then there’s the coffee table; it might be a little too big for your current place, but you know it’ll fit just right in your next home.

Don’t worry, you’re not on your own. We all do this. But when someone is flicking through your homes pictures on Rightmove, you won’t be on hand to explain why the bookcase is in the lounge. Potential families will simply assume that there isn’t enough space in the office. And a home that looks small isn’t appealing. Too much furniture is suffocating, so creating a spacious-looking lounge is key.

Shuffle some furniture

It’s not quite moving day, but if you follow these steps, you’ll be a little closer to scheduling the removal men.

So, has your furniture sat in the same position for the past few years? If the answer is yes, maybe it’s time for a little shuffling. With time, we position our furniture so that it’s convenient for our everyday living. And that makes sense. But in doing so, it’s easy to cover up, hide and block the homes natural features too. Repositioning furniture can help you rediscover special qualities, and making sure that they’re in frame when the photographer arrives is key.

Flick through a few Homeware magazines for room layout inspiration, because a little sofa shuffling can help breathe some life back into a space. On that note, if you are thinking of indulging in a new suite for your new home, consider replacing the old one now instead. A contemporary set can transform a tired room, and it’ll instantly make the lounge look loved and inviting.

Consider putting big items of furniture, or anything that detracts from the room’s natural features, in storage too. Moving furniture can create space, frame features, and create a more sociable environment.

If your family has grown by a baby or two since you bought your home, you might find that it’s now not quite fit for purpose. That’s why you’re moving. But. And it’s a big but. Potential buyers don’t want to feel that the living space is cramped. They want it to feel spacious and roomy; it needs to look like a family hub, and a perfect space for entertaining too. So any toys, animal beds, or make-shift furniture should be hidden out of shot.

A final five-minute spruce

By following these home styling tips, you’ve done the hard work. But before the photographer arrives, spend a few minutes dressing the room. Neatly fold throws, and plump up the cushions. Open blinds, and turn on any low-level lamps too. Because the lighter the room, the better your photos will show off your home.

Happy selling!

Sam

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

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

sunny space with lamp and comfy chair with a blanket Helping a buyer buy your home

So, you’ve de-cluttered, tidied, finished off those niggling maintenance jobs, and repainted the kitchen. You’re ready to sell!

But what if there are external drawbacks that may deter a sale? The interior of your home aside, external factors are often forgotten about because they aren’t part of ‘the home’, but there are some your buyers may be thinking about. One of the best ways to see through your rose-tinted spectacles is to think like a buyer, and see what might be challenging them…

Surrounding properties – If similar properties are for sale in your area, it is very important to keep an eye on what is going on with these homes. If a buyer is already sold on the area, they’ll be closely studying the photos on Rightmove. How does your front door compare to that of your neighbours’? If yours is looking a bit sorry for itself, and the neighbour’s door has just had a Fired Earth refresh, they’ll be getting the first visit. Keeping up appearances is essential when the competition is so close.

Pricing – While your price may have been perfect when it was put on the market, what if the market has changed? If your house was put on a year ago and hasn’t shifted, prices could have changed. Any of your neighbours’ properties that are newly listed could be much cheaper than yours, making you look oddly expensive. Compare your price with your neighbours’ similar properties, and talk to your estate agent about altering the price to reflect market changes.

Hurdles – A buyer may have fallen in love with your home and be ready to sign on the dotted line, but a massive barrier could stand in their way. As an example, what if your home isn’t going to be ready to move in to on the date that they are requesting? In these instances, be prepared to negotiate. Suggest local temporary housing and storage options to them, which can make an otherwise impossible move highly achievable. Especially useful if your buyers are moving a great distance.

Neighbourhood – Local facilities are often very important to buyers. If your neighbourhood is quite similar to another in your town, buyers might draw a comparison between the two. Why not do the research for them? Look for amenities that buyers will be looking for such as good schools, playgrounds, restaurants and sports grounds. List the locality of these local benefits on your property listing. Why not put together a few brochures about these places too, and leave them in your home for people to look at?

Thinking like buyer can really help you to take account of any external factors that people are considering when looking at your home, and trying to imagine themselves living there. You can then pre-empt, or at least mitigate, and be prepared for any negative feedback you may get from your agent and buyers.

Sam