How to sell in a quiet market
Choose your agent carefully - you want one who is proactive and really knows the market. Don’t negotiate your fee so hard that it’s hardly worth them bothering selling. Find an agent who is imaginative in their sales patter - make sure your property portal entry stands out from the crowd with a good headline and some more emotional patter instead of standard patter - “Arranged over three floors, the ground floor comprises reception room with bay window and a feature fireplace, cloakroom, utility room and a newly refurbished open plan kitchen living room which leads to a rear garden via bi-folding doors.” - This describes almost every house on our road. Imagine you’re describing the house for a holiday let - somehow we use our emotions better and talk about warmth and coziness. Also see your Rightmove Property Performance Report, to check when it’s been on the market. Seeing how it is faring in terms of clicks on your property will help you to see if you need to present the property differently. (national average is around 5%). Make sure the agent has a website that is mobile friendly as so many would be buyers are browsing on mobile telephones.
Present your house beautifully. You don’t need to empty it and it shouldn’t look like a show home, Sam Edington of Edingtons Property Search says “if selling a vacant property, stage it as it makes all the difference”. Homely is definitely better, but it should be very clean and tidy and it should allow people to imagine putting their own stamp on the place. Don’t give people excuses not to like the house, so complete the little DIY jobs and a lick of paint to be sure it looks very presentable. James Weston, Sales Manager Hamptons says “Buyers are being pickier and therefore making sure the house is presented to its best, both inside and outside. Do those little jobs you have been putting off, declutter, make sure the kerb appeal is there.”
Present the house for the perfect buyer. Consider who might buy your home and present the house accordingly - if the property is likely to suit a family make sure the third bedroom is ‘dressed’ as a bedroom not as a home office. You need to ‘spoon feed’ the buyers with their future in your home.
Get the pictures right - kerb appeal now begins long before they set foot in the house. Almost everyone does a significant amount of house hunting via the internet. It needs to look appealing but remember don’t clear every surface only to fill again for a viewing - you don’t want people to be disappointed when they walk in the door. Wide angles can distort the room sizes and it may be better to do some ‘localised focus images’ instead - you’re trying to tempt people to view.
Talk about the benefits of your home and location. Home security systems, home improvements you’ve done, local schools, access to public transport - all make the house more appealing to potential buyers and don’t let the house be bland Anthony Neary, MD of safe.co.uk says. “A home security system can boost a home’s desirability and subsequently its asking price. A comprehensive security system will also dramatically reduce home insurance costs, making the property more attractive to buyers looking to secure a strong investment with minimal costs.”
Show the buyer where they can improve the house. Buyers want to quickly understand how they can add value so don’t feel you have to have done it all to your house. Make it clear where the opportunities lie for those who may struggle to imagine something different. Sam Edington of Edingtons Property Search says “With SDLT at a historic high, our clients are, more than ever, wanting to future-proof themselves against another home move as their families grow. To this end, they are increasingly attracted to properties with the potential to add additional space and in turn, value."
Get the paperwork in order and instruct your solicitor as soon as the house goes on the market, being able to move at speed and without a hitch is really important when you do get an acceptable offer. Do not try to save money on your solicitor - they are critical to getting the deal done. Proceed with caution if you’ve chosen to use an online agent (also known better as a DIY agent or Call Centre Agents (thanks Ashdown Jones for telling me that!), I would hesitate when considering using their recommended solicitors - you need a really personal service to be sure they are getting the deal done. Get some personal recommendations in your area.
Price it right. Never is this more relevant than in today’s market. Overvalue and you’ll find no one wants to view and if they walk through the door the house will be judged harshly. Better to ‘look cheap’ by comparison to others then buyers are pleasantly surprised when they view and you’re more likely to get an offer over the asking price. Keep your eye on the end game of selling the house and moving out of London rather than focusing on a figure you had in mind 18 months ago.