Tag Archives: sale strategy

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.

Are you wrestling with the decision of exactly what the marketing price of your house should be? Worried you’ll make a mistake, and concerned about the consequences?

Selecting just the right asking price for your house can be a challenging task.; one that should be made easier by the advice of your estate agent, but often that’s not the case. After all, if you’ve interviewed three or more estate agents to give you an up to date market appraisal, you may have found yourself in possession of three different asking price recommendations.

We’ve been advising homeowners on pricing strategy for well over a decade now, and in that time, we’ve tried and tested some simple guidelines to help you select the best asking price for you to go to market with.

Rightmove’s search bandings

If you choose a strategically optimised asking price, it will make sure your house is found in a Rightmove search:
A drop-down search in Rightmove

When you use the drop-down search in Rightmove, you’ll see the price ranges become further apart as the prices go higher. So for searches below £300,000, the bands jump in £10,000 rises, whereas between £1,000,000 and £2,000,000, the price bands are in £250,000 increments.

If you select an asking price that’s just below a Rightmove price band, say £599,999, your property will only show in a search up to £600,000, but not including it.  This is what we call the ‘Rightmove Zero Pricing Strategy’.  By pricing your property at £600,000 exactly, it will appear in searches that both start and end at £600,000.  Simply put, pricing your property at the exact same price as a Rightmove property search band, your house will show in more searches; potentially up to double the number of searches you’d get found in, with a non-optimised price.

The psychology of pricing houses

Estate agents often like to use a price with all the nines, because they believe it’s a psychological price point. But this is an outdated viewpoint, that doesn’t work in today’s digital world.  Let’s face it, a price with all the nines like £999,999 is a cheap ploy – an ‘Asda’ price.  Your buyers aren’t daft, so don’t treat them as if they are.  Give them some respect with a ‘John Lewis’ price.

After all, as my Dad would have said, “Look after the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves”.

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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.

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.

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.

It’s Friday and the last in my mini-series of learning from Andy Murray to help you sell your house! 

However on top of their game Andy is, if he wants to stay there, he knows he has to defer to his coach for advice and, well, coaching!  He has to put his total trust and faith in Ivan Lendl, and believe whole-heartedly that he has Andy’s success at heart, wanting the win as much as the player themselves do.  It must sometimes take a lot of courage and ability to overcome his own misgivings in following advice that might seem counter-intuitive, but he knows that without this faith, Andy would be on his own and success would almost certainly evade him.

If you’re trying to sell your home and it’s just not going very well – perhaps you’re suffering from a lack of viewings, and maybe you’re trying your best to resist pressure from your agent to reduce your asking price – you may be wondering what on earth you can do. That’s where HomeTruths comes in.  think of us as your personal property coach!  We ask you to put your trust and faith in us, and in return we will advise and coach you through what can be a very difficult and emotionally-trying time.  We’ll be there for the inevitable ups and downs, to tell you what to do when the feedback is less than flattering, or when you get a very low offer.  We will do everything we can to get you a sale at the price you want.  Sometimes, as I’m sure happens from time to time between Ivan and Andy, you might think we are wrong, that our advice is counter-intuitive, but stick with us, and keep the faith, and together, we’ll get you moving!

Andy Murray of Britain embraces his coach Ivan Lendl after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia

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

Fourth in my five-part series with the shamelessly contrived theme of Wimbledon! 

Andy Murray is exceptionally competitive.  To him, winning is everything.  Coming second is no consolation – it just means not winning.  He needs this competitive edge, this determination to win, in order to achieve success. He has to want it enough. Not only this, but he has to know his competitor’s game as well as they know their own. Only by completely understanding  the nuances, strengths and weaknesses of Djokovic’s game could Andy hope to beat him by being better, stronger and more creative.

How well do you know your competition?  Do you know what else someone looking in your price bracket can buy? You need to know what other homes are on the market that in any way could be your competition.  Look at their price in great detail, for example, what is their price per square foot, and how does that compare to yours?  What features are they offering? Is your conservatory equal in value and desirability to their pool?  Does your garden compete well against their paddock?

It’s difficult for a buyer to compare non-exact features such as these, as it’s like comparing apples with pears.  However, compare the houses is exactly what they will do, and they will make a balanced decision on which offers the better value, and the most house for their money.  Thus a young family will often choose a home with new fixtures and fittings over one with more space, but dated fittings; an older couple may well decide a home with two bedrooms and more character has more to offer them than a modern four bedroomed home on an estate. Consider carefully what your most likely buyer will look for, and give it to them.  And give it to them in spades.  Just like the tennis players, your game needs to be better, stronger and more creative, then you’ll beat the competition hands down. Just like Andy 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.

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

Day 2 of my series celebrating Andy Murray’s fantastic win and hopefully, the sale of your home!

Andy Murray and the rest of the world’s elite tennis players really are creative in their game.  They innovate continually, coming up with new moves, slices, serves and techniques in a constant effort to improve their game.

When you are selling your home, creativity is key.  Your marketing needs to stand out from those of your competitors, and at HomeTruths we are constantly looking at ways in which our clients’ marketing can be more innovative.  Your brochure, online advert and property photography all need to be exceptional, so look at it with an extremely critical eye, and ask yourself “what could we do better?”  Our photographers strive to create new angles and exciting lighting; the brochures we advocate are very special, with unusual formats, lots of pages, and creative layouts.  Only by innovating on a continuous basis, questioning and reviewing your marketing, can you ensure that your home really sells itself.

Once a buyer takes the plunge and books a viewing on your home, you need to be absolutely certain that it really delivers the wow factor in every way possible.  No matter how ordinary your home, or how modest its proportions, every room needs to really shine to a buyer.  In order to be innovative and creative, visit show homes, stately homes and interior design showrooms; gather ideas and tips voraciously and apply the best and most appropriate ones in your home.  It may be a splash of colour, a stylish piece of artwork or a sumptuous rug; whatever it takes to really grab your buyer and reassure them that this is their dream home.

Tomorrow we’re going to look at how to adapt to sell your property faster, and for more.

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

speed_dating-1024x681

We’re often asked in an initial consultation, “which agent would you recommend?” There are two answers to this question, and neither is what the homeowner is hoping for!  Firstly, we don’t yet know without conducting a considerable amount of investigation and research, and secondly, that information is privileged: only once a client engages our services do we share with them information on which agent is the right one for them.

There are 15,000 agents in the UK, and selecting the right one can be like finding the proverbial needle! So how do we choose our ‘preferred agents’?  We only allow around a dozen agents to work with us, so you might describe us as ‘picky’!  At the very least we expect an agent to fulfill the following basic criteria:

  • Track record – whenever possible, we prefer to work with agents we know and trust, and that we have had past success with.
  • High level accountability – if something goes wrong in your local branch, I need to know that I can take the issue up the chain, to a senior executive.  With most of our preferred agents, this contact is a managing director or partner; in this way, I am confident we will achieve the very best service for our clients.
  • 21st Century marketing techniques – the brochure, photography and online marketing conducted by an agent is scrutinized by us to make sure it is of the highest quality, and that it successfully targets the right type of buyer.
  • The right attitude – our preferred agents all understand the value of what HomeTruths do, and that we’re all trying to achieve the same result – to sell the house for the price our clients want.  These agents encourage and welcome our involvement, listen to feedback, and continually monitor their marketing activity to ensure it remains fresh and relevant.

This collaboration really works! In the past twelve months, over 80% of HomeTruths’ clients sold within 6 months – including one poor seller who had been trying to sell his beautiful Georgian home for 6 years! Was it too expensive?  His agent thought so, but  I didn’t – we helped him sell for £40,000  over his asking price in 6 weeks.

A word to the wise: choose your agent as carefully as you choose your friends, and you will have a better chance of keeping him onside, and selling your home for the price you want.

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.