Tag Archives: viewing

A sofa behind a Coalbrookdale fireplace and books above a cabinet

"A sofa behind a Coalbrookdale fireplace and books above a cabinet "

In a tricky market like this one, it’s difficult to keep up the momentum that perhaps you once felt when you first put your home on the market. Now, many months down the line and still no sale in sight, you may be losing heart. When once you might have changed the bedding, banished the dog and bought fresh flowers for each and every viewing, now it all seems like too much effort for what you’re sure will be another timewaster.

However, it’s not all about doing what you can to make your house look as appealing as possible, though obviously this is important; you also need the right mindset.

Think of something difficult you have tried to do: perhaps you’ve given up smoking, lost weight or passed an exam. Maybe you tried several times before you actually achieved your goal.  If you look back on your previous attempts, why did they fail when achievement was clearly in your grasp?

It’s all to do with mindset; any dietician will tell you that you have to be in the right mindset to lose weight, otherwise you’ll keep failing. Those friends I know who have successfully given up smoking after many years of ‘trying’ tell me that eventually they just set their mind on their goal, and that made all the difference.

But when you’re selling your home, it’s not in your control whether your viewers actually offer or not, right? Wrong. Of course, you can’t force them to make an offer, but you can make sure that you are totally focused on your goal of selling.

When you are focused, you will call your agent more often, research the competition, keep your home looking beautiful, make suggestions to improve your marketing campaign; and all this because your mindset is that of a seller. When you give up, you lose the fight.

To help you get into the seller’s mindset, make a list of all the reasons you want to move. Write them in two columns: one list for your motivations to move out, and the other for all the reasons you want to move to the place or home you have chosen. Keep this list taped to the inside of a kitchen cupboard you use every day. Read it often, and use it to motivate you to get out the vacuum cleaner one more time for a viewing; or polish the bathroom taps, or clean the front door.

Stay focused, stay motivated, and the buyer will come. All because of your mindset.

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

There’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.

A lampshade and a plant above a table. A wooden cabinet and a bed beside a table

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.

When looking at homes for sale online, the first picture people usually see is a front-facing shot. And there’s a good reason for that. The ‘front-aspect’, or ‘face’, is the familiar view that greets us each time we arrive home. So having an inviting, warm appearance is key. But after a cold winter of hibernation, our front gardens suddenly begin to look a little wild. It’s difficult to know where to begin, and it’s hard to know what really appeals to other families. So we’re here to lend some hands. Just follow these three easy steps, and you’ll have a picture perfect frontage in no time!

Pick the perfect season

This one is a little tricky, but if you’re looking to sell this Spring, you’re in luck. It’s no secret that in this season, everything begins to blossom; the daylight is fresh and inviting, and the Sun casts a gentle hue on natural woods and brick. Gardens look loved, and capturing beautiful shots is a breeze.

A spot of preening

Take a walk down your front garden, and stand facing your home. Position yourself so that the whole house and garden is in view. Take a picture, and head back inside. Have a look at the shot, and note down anything that detracts your attention from the house. Are the curtains drawn? Or perhaps it’s time for the window cleaner to take a visit? (We all know the feeling!) Sending the picture to friends and family is helpful too; it’ll help you see through objective eyes, and they’ll be able to spot the things you may overlook.

Take bins for example. Most are kept in a convenient spot to the front or side of a home. It works for everyday living, but it’s not the first thing a potential buyer wants to see. Moving them to a more discreet location is a quick job, but it will go a long way to smartening up the frontage. Have a quick sweep of the drive too, and hide away any rogue bikes or watering cans.

Now to tackle the grass

But don’t worry if you’re not the green-fingered type, a quick mow the lawn is all you need to make the garden presentable. Try to take cars off the drive, and park them elsewhere ahead of the photographers’ arrival too; it’ll make the frontage look more spacious, and give people an unobstructed view of the home.

Reinvigorate with colour

The subtle tones of Spring are a delight. A splattering of flower pots adds a delicate touch, and sweeping back any unruly stones or gravel is a worthwhile work-out too. And double-check that any overhanging trees are trimmed back just enough to see the house front. On that note, if the front door looks a little unloved after the winter season, consider freshening it up with a repaint. If you have a picket-fence on show, perhaps give it a lick of paint too. And whilst you sigh as you open the paint pot, know that the couple of hours you spend with a paint-brush in hand will make all the difference to a potential buyer.

And, to finish, popping a few hanging baskets either side of a polished front door is all you need to complete a picture-perfect frontage.

The final touches

So, your home looks magazine-worthy, and you’re ready to schedule the photographer. But what time is best to take the shots? Well, it depends on your location and what aspect your houses faces, so it’s best to double-check with your photographer. Some may advise a mid-morning shoot, others favour a mid-afternoon glow. Most would suggest avoiding midday, as this is the time that shadows appear the darkest overhead. They may suggest returning in the evening to take some twilight shots, though.

There are no real rules when it comes to photography, but for daylight shots, an abundance of light and clear skies is helpful. If it’s raining, try to reschedule, but it’s not a deal breaker if it’s overcast. As long as your home looks welcoming, it’ll catch the eye of potential buyers.

Happy selling!

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.

Sometimes it seems that every weekend sees you tidying, vacuuming and getting rid of the dogs yet again, but come Monday, it’s the same old story – they aren’t interested. I spoke to a gentleman recently who had had 30 viewings on his house over only a three month period, but not only had no one offered on the house, not a single viewer had booked a second viewing. Statistically, we know that a house sells on average after around 15 viewings, but during this time, there should be at least 2 or 3 second viewings, and usually a low offer or two. So after 30 viewings, this gentleman should have had say, 5 second viewings and three offers, of which the last should have been high enough for him to accept. Something is clearly not right – but what?

  • The marketing materials could be misleading. Perhaps the wrong aspects of the house are being promoted, such as a photograph of the back of the house used as the leading image; a very wide-angled lens used in property photography can make small rooms look vast, or maybe an important feature, such as the fact that the house is next to a school or has no garden, has not been mentioned in the description at all. Your marketing materials (brochure, online advert, photography) all need to be flattering, but not misleading.
  • Maybe your agent is being over-enthusiastic, and pressing everyone, no matter how unsuitable, to come to view. Be selective – only allow viewers who are in a position to actually buy the house, so then even if you have less buyers wanting to view, at least your viewings will all be of a high quality.
  • Make sure that your agent is seeking full and frank feedback from your viewers. A comment of “not for us” is not helpful. Impress upon him the importance of being aware of any issues, particularly those which you can do something about.
  • Engage a home stager. A professional expert with a dispassionate viewpoint can often identify problems that are easy and inexpensive to rectify. A beautifully presented home that has been staged especially for photography and viewings will set you head and shoulders above the competition.

Too many viewings is a much easier problem to deal with than no viewings, and is a positive measure of how many buyers are looking for a property of your type, location and price range. Now all you need to do is attract that one viewer who actually wants to buy your house!

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

There are many reasons why your house may not be selling: it could be the fault of your estate agent, a lack of market activity or maybe your house isn’t presented as well as it might be.  These are all practical issues, and ones which we at HomeTruths help sellers to solve, every day.

However, there are other issues, which are much harder to spot.  Maybe, for example, one party doesn’t actually want to sell. If the husband is very attached to the lovely family home that he has enjoyed for a decade or two, he may be rather hoping it WON’T sell. In fairness to him, he may not even realize that he is sabotaging the sale; perhaps by not remembering to tidy up after himself, might not pass on messages from the estate agent, or maybe he’ll decide to cook a curry the night before a viewing.  This may be totally subconscious, of course, but no less effective at deterring a potential buyer for that.

Divorces are also very efficient at putting buyers off; even if the agent doesn’t know, or has been sworn to secrecy, somehow a buyer can sense the disharmony. It may be the physical signs: the separate bedrooms, the conflicting styles, the piles of paperwork; or there may be less tangible clues: muttered remarks, pregnant pauses, the odd sniff perhaps. There’s something about the atmosphere in a house being sold by about-to-be-divorced couples that is just plain sad.

If you’re trying to sell and it’s just not happening, maybe it’s time to have a big clear-out – not just literally, but emotionally – to make sure nothing is consciously, or unconsciously, sabotaging your 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 flower inside a box with a wicker heart on a wooden table. A couch beside a table and glass window overlooking trees outside

In my opinion, it should be your agent who accompanies viewings on your house. However, there may be times when this is impossible, for example, weekends and evenings, and you may find yourself showing a prospective buyer around your home. When there’s so much riding on a successful outcome, this can be quite a daunting prospect!

With such an important and complex subject as viewings techniques and strategy, there will be many more blog posts to come; in the meantime, (in the words of Julie Andrews) let’s start at the very beginning: you!

If you answer the door in your slops and slippers, in the middle of cooking dinner, your viewers will immediately feel a) unwelcome and b) unimportant. If instead, you dress smartly, and your house has clearly been prepared for them, they will feel both welcome and important! You don’t have to wear a suit, or to have your hair done specially (!) but you do need to make an effort to look friendly and efficient.  If your viewers think that you take as much care of your home as you do over your appearance, they will immediately feel reassured and relaxed, and as a result, the viewing for them will be a very positive experience.

Research shows that we form a very strong opinion of someone in only 8 seconds! First impressions really do count, and presenting the right image at the start of your viewing may just convert your viewers to buyers.

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 month we’re talking about reviewing and refreshing where your property is at in the selling process. If it’s been on the market longer than it should have been, it is a great time of year to decide what your next stage is!

Today we’re revisiting the topic of social media, and how it can actually be used to help you sell your home. Read more…

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter is on everyone’s lips nowadays, from university students using it to network with their classmates, to businesses sharing their latest venture or new creation. Networking with people – from your own town to those across the world – has become the norm. With this is mind, could social media marketing be used to sell your home? It’s being used in much more productive ways than simple friend connection, and with just a few simple guidelines, your home could be reaching your target audience within hours.

Here are our Top 5 Tips to sell your house effectively using social media:

Do your research – Have others done the same in your area? Have a search around your local area via social media, and see if you can find any success stories. Ask them questions, and learn any helpful facts about your area and its social media selling potential from those with experience.

Lay the foundations – Set up a social media page for your house via Facebook and Twitter. Both have advantages: Facebook is great for imagery, and Twitter is ideal for networking locally. Create a page you would want to look at if you were a buyer. Have a strong cover and profile photo of the property, and details of its location in the text boxes.

Sell it! – If you want to attract potential local buyers, ensure your images are spot on. A professional photographer would come in handy here. Get rid of clutter, and make each room look homely. Facebook has the advantage of videos too; why not get a video made? A showcase or walk-through of your home is an ideal way to let people see more of the property. Make your home sellable through quality creative content. Is it near good schools, for example? Tell them so.

Share it – Share your pages via your Facebook and Twitter accounts with your friends, and ask them to share it on to their friends too. This immediately opens your network. Do you have a blog or a website? Share it on here. Put it on the footer of your personal emails. Network on Twitter too; search for people looking for property in your area, and comment on their tweets.

Be interactive – You hopefully will start getting likes and comments from potential buyers; ensure you check the page daily to answer these, or risk losing prospective viewers.

One of our favourite examples of how successful social media selling can be, is a woman called Betsy Talbot who was setting off around the world with her husband, and wanted a quick sale. By networking and running the Twitter account to sound like the house was doing the talking, the house was sold within two months. One of our favourite lines: “I love watching you stroll by me on the way to Fremont Sunday Market. If you lived here you could park in my garage!”

In the next few years we could well see more properties being sold through social media. With such interesting developments in the property market happening all the time, it’s worth spending a little effort seeing if you can make it work for you.

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

A sofa and a pillow with a lampshade beside it

A sofa and a pillow with a lampshade beside it

I once went to view a property on behalf of a client; a lovely little cottage in Cheshire. When I arrived with a colleague, the front door was wide open and the viewing ‘rep’ was standing in the kitchen, reading the paper. He was in his fifties, scruffily dressed, and didn’t even look up when we rang the doorbell, but just called at us to come in. In fact, he didn’t look up from his paper during our whole viewing, but instead left us to look around the cottage by ourselves. Even when we went to the back door and rattled it, looking for the key, he completely ignored us, only muttering “bye” as we left.

Appalled by the lack of care he had displayed with the seller’s cottage, I called the estate agent’s office and told the manageress what had happened. Her response left me stunned, to say the least. She said, and I quote, “He’s not there to sell you the house”.

“So what on earth is he there for?” I asked, genuinely confused.

“His job is just to open the door” came her reply.

I put the phone down. And closed my mouth.

What would the seller have said if she’d heard our conversation?  If she’d known that he couldn’t even be bothered to find the back door key for me? Or the fact that we were left completely unsupervised to roam around this poor lady’s cottage, without a thought the security of her possessions?

Agents need to realise their purpose at a viewing, whether it is the agency manager, or a lowly viewing rep.

Their job is to engage the viewer, to open doors, to answer questions, and very importantly, to protect the seller’s possessions.

And yes, to actually SELL their client’s house!

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.

Newly remodeled kitchen; white theme, wide glass window, fully furnished kitchen, table and chair, leather sits, glass top table, tiled kitchen floor

Newly remodeled kitchen; white theme, wide glass window, fully furnished kitchen, table and chair, leather sits, glass top table, tiled kitchen floor

While your home might be flawless in your own eyes, there are certain things that can instantly put buyers off. We aren’t talking furniture or dodgy décor (although, try to modernise if possible), but aspects of the house that can turn a nose up in a second. With this in mind, we have put together our tips- six things to look out for, before the buyers descend…

Bad Smells – Even if your home resembles something from Good Housekeeping’s most desirable homes pages, if there’s a whiff in the air, the buyers are going to care. House smells are top of the list when it comes to putting buyers off. Smells range from cigarette smoke and pets, to mould and mildew lingering in the air. Unfortunately, noses become accustomed to certain smells over time, so ask someone who doesn’t live in your home to smell the air. Don’t be offended if you don’t like the answer; they’re helping you out. Get rid of any bed smells so potential buyers come in to a fresh and clean atmosphere, not one that is filled with spray to cover the smells.

Unclean bathrooms – The bathroom is one of the most important rooms that people like to keep clean. A bathroom can make people dislike your home immediately if it isn’t spotless; if the bathroom is grubby and has mildew, they will wonder what other dirt lurks beneath the surface of your property. Extra cleaning is a must if you want to sell your home. Scrub your bathroom to perfection, paint the chipped walls, put in a new rug and fresh towels, and buy a clean shower curtain. Open the windows when buyers are looking around to let in some fresh air.

Damp Rooms – If you have a basement and don’t use it as a functioning room, you may experience some damp issues. Often it is caused by rainwater seeping into the foundations, and doesn’t necessarily mean you have a fault within the grounds. However, buyers won’t see it like this. If they smell damp, they think cost, or a delay in moving in while the damp is removed. Or even worse, recurring damp problems. This is a red light. To remove damp smells, determine where any water from outside is going. The smell could be caused by the drains being clogged, or rain gutters full of leaves. Investigate and resolve, or lose a sale.

Kerb Appeal – Your house needs to look good from the outside. The front needs to be edging on picture-perfect; not only does it paint a good impression of the owners, it puts potential buyers in positive spirits before they have stepped in the door.

The stalker seller – When people come to have a good look around your home, they often prefer to have a good old mosey around without you following them. Yes, it makes sense to be at least a few rooms away in case they have questions, but leave them be while they wander. They need personal space to chat things through with their partner or agent, and if you’re there, they might not feel comfortable. Let them nit-pick at details with you out of the room. If you hear them talking about changing ‘this, that and the other’, this means they like your home and are already considering how to add their stamp.

Lighting – Even if your rooms are tidied to each corner and crevice, if they’re dark and unlit, they can be a turnoff and give the wrong impression of the room. Remove heavy curtains that prevent light getting into your rooms, and turn on lamps that give the room a homely feel. If a room has dark wallpaper or paint, consider giving it a repaint to make it feel fresh; white works wonders.

By making such small simple steps, you will be presenting your potential buyers with a home that will delight them from start to finish. Look at your home before any viewings begin, and see what you can change; it will be worth it when a new family are signing on the dotted line.

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.