Tag Archives: Selling

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

Table with magazines on top Dropping your asking price when your house won’t sell

Table with magazines on top Dropping your asking price when your house won’t sell

If you have had your house on the market for some time without success, dropping your asking price may seem an inevitable, if undesirable, next step.  Your estate agent will often suggest this move if they have run out of ideas, motivation and most importantly, confidence in your asking price.

But is dropping your asking price really the answer to selling your home more effectively?

It’s true that for some properties, reducing the asking price can generate new interest from buyers who would have been previously unable to afford your home.  It’s also a step that for some sellers, is unfortunately necessary, if they have an urgent move, for example, or are facing repossession.

However, with many houses – particularly premium homes – dropping your asking price is not always the answer, and in fact it can even harm your chances of selling your house effectively.

I’ve compiled these DOs and DON’Ts of dropping your asking price to help you get the result you want and move on with your life:

DON’T drop your asking price by less than 10%

Or it just won’t make any difference to the interest you get. Buyers will usually look at homes 10% either side of their budget anyway so you’ll need to reduce by at least that to get noticed by a new set of buyers.

DO ask your agent why you need to reduce

– Your property was originally valued based on sound research and by an expert in the industry.  What’s changed? Understanding whether your agent misjudged the market, or the demand has changed for houses like yours, will help you make the right decision to either reduce or to stick it out.

DON’T keep making small drops in price

–  A price drop can cause suspicion among buyers, who may wonder what’s wrong with it?  Why have you lowered the asking price?  A buyer may not want to risk buying a house that seems to be falling in value. Each drop can signify a red flag to a buyer, so make your drop big and impactful, but make it just once.

DO drop to the next Rightmove price banding

– You can find these by going to www.rightmove.co.uk and entering a search. The list of price bandings that comes up is your guide as to the price your house should be marketed at. For example, there’s no point at having an asking price of £399,999 when the Rightmove banding is £400,000. You can read more about this subject here.

DON’T try to break the ceiling for your road or area

– Not only does this make buyers jittery, it will also make your surveyor nervous, too. Unless you really can’t avoid it, try to price your home at less than the highest price sold in your neighbourhood.

DO ask your agent the right questions before you drop your price

– If you’re feeling pressure from your agent to reduce, or you have a moving deadline looming and can’t afford to drop your price, ask your agency what else could be done to secure that sale, other than reducing your asking price. Have a review with them and look at your marketing critically. Could it be improved? A new twilight image or drone shot could show your home in a whole new light and generate new interest from motivated buyers.

DON’T give your buyers an excuse to make a low offer

– Make sure your home is wonderfully presented, with every room polished and attractive, otherwise you’re literally leaving money on the table. Home staging can add thousands to your asking price and making a few small changes now can help you reap the rewards when you do get an offer.

DO give yourself some negotiation room – but not too much

–  On average, you can expect to achieve around 95% of your asking price, with 5% lost in the negotiations with your buyer. This will depend on other factors of course, like how fast your local market is moving, the confidence in the housing market while you’re selling and how long your home has been on the market. Taking 95% as a benchmark, losing 5% of a £400,000 asking price means you will eventually receive £380,000 on completion. But if you reduce the asking price to £375,000 say, you’ll only get £356,250; quite a drop. Not only have you reduced by £25,000, you’ll also have lost an additional £23,750 in negotiations, putting your total ‘lost’ sale monies at £46,750, a significant loss of 12% of your original asking price.

DON’T forget to analyse your price per square foot

– it’s a far more accurate way to value a house than other methods. If your agent hasn’t already done this for you, make a spreadsheet of the other properties for sale and sold in your area and calculate the price per square foot of each, then compare it to yours. Read more about this way of valuing here – Price per square foot – a more accurate way to value

When your home hasn’t sold and you’re wondering if it’s the asking price to blame, use the above DOs and DON’Ts as a checklist to see if you’re doing everything you can to get your house sold. If your price per square foot is about right and you’re not trying to break the price ceiling for your area, and your home is presented in the best way possible, and you have time to wait it out, then have confidence in your asking price. Because if you don’t, no one else will

Happy selling

Sam

There’s a story I once heard about a Spanish bank. Apparently their elderly customers were taking up a disproportionate amount of their staff’s time, yet their business was of little value to the bank. But how to gradually ease them out without causing offence and starting a PR scandal?

They simply increased the height of their steps that led to the bank.

Of course, nowadays this would be terribly non-politically correct, and anyway, there would be a ramp! But this was some time ago, and the original stone steps were the only way into the branch.

So, the bank increases the height of their steps and one by one, the elderly customers stop coming, and over time, the average age of the bank’s customer decreased. Yes, they probably did upset some of their older customers, and I’m not necessarily advocating this as a customer retention method (!) but in the bank’s case, it did mean that they could offer a better, more appropriate service to their younger customers.

When it comes to selling your house, it’s your estate agent’s job to raise the steps, metaphorically speaking. If he adopts an open-door, anyone-can-view policy, you will spend your time preparing your homes for one time waster after another to view. There will be those who ‘haven’t sold yet’, those who are ‘just looking what we can get for our money’, and even the ones who admit ‘we’re just the neighbours – always wanted to have a look inside’. Not to mention those viewers who ‘haven’t checked yet’ what they can borrow and the “can’t afford it but thought it was worth a cheeky offer” types.

And slowly but surely, with each viewer who views your house, and each month that your house spends languishing unsold on the market, it becomes less and less desirable. Even your once-optimistic agent starts to become disheartened: “20 viewers and no offers” he will note glumly, “must be the price.” And so you begin the inevitable downward spiral of price drops, resulting in seller demoralisation and despondency, and agent bewilderment. At HomeTruths, when we re-launch a client’s property to market, we give a very clear instruction to the estate agent: only show the house to buyers who can actually buy it. Do your homework, we tell him: find out the viewer’s budget, their buying position, what else they’re looking at, and ask lots of questions about the type of house they’re looking for. By making viewings by invitation only, overtly or discreetly, a buyer will feel they are being allowed to see an exclusive property, for which they have been especially selected.

A HomeTruths’ client last year had experienced 60+ viewings over the course of a year, and yet had not received one single offer: not even a cheeky one. We re-launched her house with a new, motivated agent who was fully supportive of her asking price, new photography and a beautiful brochure, and told the agent to screen all her potential viewers carefully. The result? Only four viewings in eight weeks: but two offers. She accepted the higher of the two, and she and her family were able to finally move on.

The lesson here is to raise your steps. Don’t make it too easy for a buyer – make them work a little. Play a little hard to get; we all know how attractive that can be.

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’s that smell?!” What prevents your home from selling? 

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

Floorplans are a relatively new addition to property details. Originally they were only made available for either very grand homes, or new builds. Now much more prevalent and even the humblest of studio flats usually have a floorplan on the details. But why are they so important?

There are three elements to a floorplan that are important in its usability; firstly, it needs to include measurements. Too many poorly-drawn floorplans often have the measurements missing, or else they are instead included in the written description where they lack context.  The right place for room dimensions is in the floorplan, so that a buyer can easily ascertain their relative sizes. Secondly, it should include a compass market, so a buyer can tell which way the front of the house and more importantly, the garden, faces. The last element that should be detailed on a floorplan, is the overall square footage. This allows the house to be compared with other properties, so that a buyer can instantly see how much house he’s getting for his money. In the UK, we often sell houses on number of rooms only, and as a result, room sizes are getting smaller and smaller. These days, a four bedroomed house can take up the same footprint as a three bedroomed property would have done thirty years ago. To be able to see the total floor area gives a buyer the opportunity to ensure he is getting good value for money.

So why is a floorplan important? There are three main reasons:

1. It helps a buyer see how the house ‘works’, and therefore whether it is worth a viewing. Room flow, relative sizes and layout are all factors that a buyer will take into consideration, especially family buyers, and he won’t want to waste time by viewing properties which just aren’t suitable for his needs.

2. A floorplan can help a buyer to visualise the property after the viewing. This can become useful when he may be considering making layout changes, perhaps knocking down a wall or installing an ensuite, and a floorplan is vital for this kind of thought processing.

3. Floorplans can make a house seem larger. It’s very easy when you’ve viewed a house to forget rooms that you’ve seen, or overlook a part of the house altogether. This is especially true of boxrooms, or areas that aren’t being fully utilised, like storage rooms. By showing the house in its entirety on a floorplan, no area will be omitted and as a result, it can even add perceived value.

In summary, make sure you have a floorplan on your brochure, and preferably available as a separate download on the online property portals, ensure it is clear and informative, and that it includes the total floor area. Your buyer will thank you for 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.

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

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

Sellers often come to me desperate and despondent, having had viewer after viewer reject their home.  “So what was their feedback?” I ask them. “Not suitable they answer.”

Not suitable? Why? What didn’t they like? What did they like more about the homes of your competition?

You don’t know? That’s because your agent hasn’t asked them!

The wealth of information that your non-buyers could tell you, could help you reach a successful sale so much quicker and with less pain.

I can guarantee you that every single item on your supermarket shelves has been tested, tested, and tested again before going on sale. If it didn’t make the grade, you won’t find it on the shelf.  Those lucky manufacturers who have managed to successfully get their products accepted, have almost certainly changed the packaging, the text, the photographs or graphics, and the product itself, before it was finally deemed of a high enough quality for us to be able to buy it.

So – think of your viewing as market research! Educate and if necessary – beg – your agent to ask lots of questions of your viewers. Tell him you promise not to be offended! Encourage him to really open his ears to every comment during the viewing and report back to you.

You don’t need to hear endless comments about factors you can do nothing about, such as the proximity to the road, or the fact that you have a teeny tiny garden, but maybe your viewers just didn’t appreciate your orange carpet or your lime green ceilings! If you know what the stumbling blocks are to your sale, you can do something about it. Otherwise, all you can do is wait, and gloomily consider a price reduction, persuaded to do so by your agent who just can’t bring himself to suggest you slap a bit of magnolia on the walls!

So when you get your next “not suitable” reach for your notepad. You may just have a house-selling success plan.

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: First impressions

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

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


What to read next:
 “What’s that smell?!” What prevents your home from selling?

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

beautiful sala set with dog Why your pet might be stopping you sell!

If you have a dog or cat, or any other pet, they are probably a very important member of your family. (My lovely collie, Georgie, kind of rules our house…. )  However, even though it’s sometimes difficult for pet lovers to imagine, there is in fact a large proportion of the population that just doesn’t like animals in the house.  In fact, if they see any evidence of pets at all in the photos, they just won’t even book a viewing!

So what do you do with Rover and Moggy (or Georgie) when you have a viewing arranged?

You need to make sure you don’t alienate your viewers and put them off your home from the moment they step through the door, so get rid of all traces of your pets if you can.  If your agent accompanies viewers, then take the dog out for a walk; if you conduct the viewings yourself, and the weather allows it, let your dog have a sleep in the car, or leave it with a neighbour.

Also, don’t forget to hide all pet paraphernalia: litter trays, pet food, dog beds, cat toys, etc.  Close the cat flap, and ask a friend to look after the budgie and the tortoise.. and the snake…..

But you protest “I want to sell my home to a pet lover just like me!” I hear you, and even sympathise, but we’re talking about selling your home here for the most money possible!  Don’t limit your market, instead if you appeal to everyone, you have the best possible chance of a successful sale.  If you only want to sell to someone who has rabbits, rats and an iguana, you may be waiting a while….

Give your buyers the chance to fall in love with your house and your beloved pets will soon have a new home to move to.

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 read next: Are You in the Right Mindset to Sell Your Home?

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

 

I have a dream.. that one day in this country, property will be marketed with the cost per square foot clearly indicated.  These are my arguments:

1. It’s much more common in the US and in Europe

2. It’s easier to see how much house you’re getting for your money

3. It will help stop massive over-valuing or ‘buying boards’ (the practice of over-valuing to win instructions)

4. It allows direct comparisons of properties

5. We even buy our loo rolls like this – 2p per sheet for example, so why not our houses?

I always present my clients with a Price Per Square Foot Analysis, and whilst the critics out there will argue that there’s much more to property valuing than this, it’s a very good starting point.

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 nextIs there a hidden reason why your house isn’t selling?

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

Living room with couch. What to do when you just aren’t getting any viewings at all

I spoke to a gentleman this week who has had his house on the market for three years.  And in that time, he has only had three viewings.  Really. He sounded utterly despondent, and no wonder!

So what can you do when you just aren’t getting any viewings at all? Here’s my action list to help you to address the problems, and improve your situation – cut out and keep it!

Presentation – ask a friend to walk round your house with you, and write down all those little jobs you’ve been meaning to get round to doing.  Ask her to point out any area that is particularly personal, like name plaques on doors or a photo gallery.  De-clutter, de-personalise and add shine through dressing and accessories.

Photography – get in a pro! If neither you nor your agent can afford it, then read my Six Secrets to Fabulous Property Photography and get the best shots you possibly can – including some lifestyle images – to make your house look like a magazine shoot.

Description – brainstorm with your family and come up with the best descriptive words to describe your home. Use emotion and feeling to really get across the essence of your home.

Rightmove ad – keep the text in your summary advert short and sweet.  Write a snappy headline of no more than a line, to encourage clicks. Pick the best ‘lifestyle’ image that represents your home and ask your agent to use it as the main shot on your advert.

Estate Agent – is your agent fully on board? If not, get another! Newer agents are often hungry, with something to prove.  Offer them a great commission to incentivise them to sell your house quickly; this is not the time to scrimp on fee!

Prepared? – have a plan that you stick up on the inside of a kitchen cupboard so that as soon as a viewing is booked, the whole family can spring into action.  Whether it’s moving the cars off the driveway, taking the dog out for a walk, or having freshly laundered bedding ready to pop over the top of the beds, having a plan will make sure you have a professional approach to your viewings when they do happen, which they will!

If you aren’t getting viewings, perhaps it’s time to call in an expert – me!

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: 8 Tips For Prepping Your Home For A Viewing

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

laptop at the top of the side table When did you last speak to your estate agent?

5 Top Tips to keep your estate agent onside.

The market is buoyant right now.  Properties are selling quickly – mostly.  If yours isn’t getting much interest from buyers, you may find that your estate agent has stopped calling. Perhaps it seems they are even avoiding your calls.  You’re left feeling frustrated and powerless, wondering what on earth you can do when no one wants to view your home.

Communication between you and your agent at this tricky time becomes all the more important.  Without communication, there can be no trust, and without trust, there is no worthwhile relationship.   What can you do to keep the channels of communication open, and keep your agent onside?

Here are my 5 Tips to keep your estate agent onside when they don’t want to speak to you:

  1. Pre-empt any issues by agreeing a communication schedule before you launch your home to the market.  This is over and above any calls to arrange viewings, or to give feedback afterwards; this plan outlines your expectations and so your agent has some chance of meeting them.  For example, you could ask for a fortnightly call on a Friday, regardless of whether there had been any viewings in between.  In this call you could ask them about market conditions and trends, recent sales, viewings on other comparable properties, and updates on any of your recent viewers.  With a plan agreed in advance, there are clear expectations and if these are not met, you can refer your agent back to their original agreement.
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  2. Share your plans with them: if your agent knows how important your move is, perhaps to be closer to a special relative, to give yourself more financial security, or to realise your long-held dream of living in the country, they will be able to genuinely identify with your aspirations.  By taking them into your confidence, you are showing that you trust them, and the resulting enhanced relationship will allow them to do the best possible job of selling your home for you.
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  3. Ask for advice: lots of vendors do this, but then they either don’t listen to any suggestions, or else they argue with it.  If you genuinely listen and show that you value any input that might improve the level of interest in your property, you will find your agent much more confident about discussing the issues with you.
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  4. Keep your communication positive – if your agent feels that they are being told off, or held to account, for a lack of interest in your property, they will be increasingly reluctant to pick up the phone to you.  If however, your tone is encouraging, friendly and supportive, they will look forward to speaking to you, and they will be only too happy to have a chat to you, even if there is nothing concrete to report.
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  5. Pop into the office, if you live close enough.  Take them cakes, or flowers out of your garden for the office.  If they offer to make you a cup of tea, even better.  Take the time to really get to know the staff in the office, and you and your house will be at the forefront of their mind when they next receive a suitable enquiry.  Agents are just like you and me; they have favourite clients, so make sure you’re one of them.

Keeping your estate agent onside can have a big effect on the interest you receive on your house.  You may be feeling frustrated, but chances are, they are too.  Add to that the embarrassment they could be feeling, having told you initially that they were sure your house would sell quickly! A bit of kindness and understanding can go a long way, and reassures your agent that you consider your house sale a team effort.

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:  Should I use more than one estate agent to sell my house?

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