If you are putting your property on the market this year, here is a collection of tips to help you out…
How professionally will your property be marketed?
Unless you sell property for a living, it’s unlikely you will know every trick in the book for making sure your home is marketed to best effect. That’s why we employ estate agents. But your responsibility is to ensure you are placing the sale of your property into the right hands. Before you make appointments with any estate agents, have a look at their websites. Around 80% of people start their property search online these days. If you check a website as if you were intending to buy and find it hard to navigate or characterised by poor photos and a lack of information about the local area, do you really want your home to appear on that site?
Instead, look for a firm whose website looks professional and informative. Find a company that offers professional photography, preferably through an in-house team. Establish whether they will prepare a floor plan for you – most discerning buyers would prefer to have access to this kind of information these days. Will your listing be complete with location maps to help potential buyers see how close your home is to shopping centres, transport links, schools and other local amenities?
If you’d find it hard to buy a house from this estate agent, then why would you use them to sell your home?
Stand out from the crowd
The aim when marketing your property is to expose your home to the widest possible number of prospective buyers. The more people who see it, the more likely you are to achieve a sale. But more than that, more potential buyers equals more chance of you receiving the full asking price, or better, a higher offer to secure the property of their dreams.
Discuss a marketing strategy with your chosen estate agent. You should be confident they will focus their attention on promoting your property effectively. Will they prepare printed materials such as brochures, pamphlets and postcards that prospective buyers can take home with them? Even in this digital age, people like to pore over attractive photographs and have the key benefits of a property summarised for them in hard copy.
But by the same token, will your property be actively advertised through social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest? Young professional buyers especially will expect to be able to use tools such as this in their house search.
You’ve put the hard work in by renovating and repairing your property, making sure it’s clean, tidy and dressed to a high standard. Don’t allow lazy marketing methods to let you down when it comes to finding a buyer.
Making the most of your assets to stand out in the market
Has your house got an interesting history? Maybe someone famous has lived or stayed there in the past. Perhaps it has an unusual feature that makes it stand out – We’ve seen everything from a secret passage to an old baker’s oven, the original servants’ bells or an interesting hearth. And if there’s nothing that stands out about your house, then perhaps there’s something unique about your street or your neighbourhood? If you search online, you may find there is something that will appeal to people’s innate curiosity about your locale that may just pique their interest enough to make them consider viewing your property.
Share the information you have found on your marketing material. Consider setting up a Facebook page dedicated to your house sale, listing your home’s history and interesting facts about the local neighbourhood. People are endlessly fascinated in human interest stories – make this work to your advantage.
Of course, once you have got them over the threshold, it’s up to you to convert their interest to a sale. The usual tips apply: declutter, de-personalise and paint them a picture of how their lifestyle could be better if only they buy your house!
First impressions count!
These days, many people start their property search online. The first encounter they will have with your house is the photo of the exterior that appears on Rightmove or any other of the popular property sites.
Make sure that first impression of your property not only does it justice, but also shows it off to its best advantage. Stand across the road from your home and view it critically. Remove wheelie bins, children’s playthings and vehicles from the drive. Tidy up shrubs, bushes and trees and mow the lawn if you have one.
Don’t forget what’s in your windows. Make sure window ledges are not cluttered and curtains or blinds are hung properly.
Ensure your agent takes high quality photos or they are not serving you well. Ask if they will invest in a professional photographer, instead of just a member of the office staff with an iPad. Make sure the final shot is up close and at an angle; and crop out the rest of the street to avoid unsightly views of cars and clutter in neighbours’ gardens. Ideally, the picture will be taken in bright sunlight – a real bit of blue-sky thinking!
Why every room should have a purpose – Market the space you have available
Look around your home as it is right now. You’ll probably find that various rooms have multiple functions. Does your dining room currently contain a mini home office, for example? Is there a corner of the living room devoted to your children’s toys and games? On a practical level, this is how many people live. But you absolutely do not want to create any confusion in your buyers’ minds about what each room is used for.
What you’re actually saying is that the house is not big enough to accommodate all these things independently. It comes back to decluttering. Remove all children’s toys to their bedrooms, using clever storage options such as under-the-bed boxes, shelving and cupboards if necessary. Dress your dining room as a dining room – put away the paperwork, consign the laptop to a cupboard and lay the table as if you were about to sit down to a meal.
Create clarity in your buyers’ minds about what each room ‘does’. They may well impose a chaotic lifestyle on the house in future when it’s theirs, but for now, they are buying a dream of a better life. Make it easy for them to visualise themselves living comfortably there in future.
How home-staging can help you to stand out in the market
A good estate agent will give you feedback about your home from the outset and suggest changes if they think improvements can be made that will help your property sell. Very often, these are common sense. You may need to get rid of unpleasant pet smells that you have become accustomed to over the years. Perhaps your home is too individual, full of personal photographs and your own taste in decoration, making it hard for any buyer to envisage themselves living there. Or there may be small but off-putting maintenance problems you need to attend to in order to avoid discouraging interest.
But if you have addressed all these – you have painted your property and replaced your photos with beautiful artwork and ornate frames – and don’t feel the changes you have made are going far enough, why not ask about employing a professional home-stager to introduce those all-important, final, finishing touches? It needn’t cost the earth and it could well make the difference when it comes to finding a buyer.
Familiarity, they say, breeds contempt. You may no longer ‘see’ things that are putting buyers off, and a fresh pair of eyes can really help. Small details like a lick of paint and a bit of window-dressing to a tired hallway can create a wow factor that turns prospective buyers’ heads the minute they walk in.
As you can see, there are many different things you can do to give yourself the greatest chance of selling your property in today’s crowded marketplace. If you follow the tips that have been presented above, you will have the greatest chance of selling your home in 2019. From ensuring you create the right first impression with the outside of your house to using the services of a home stager, there are so many different things you can do to not only sell your house but sell it at a price you are happy with.
This is a collaborative post.