6 Simple, Practical Things you Can Do to Maximise the Chances of Selling your Home - by James Bush.
We’ve all seen the ‘how to prepare your home for a viewing’ type articles online, or guides on ‘how to make your home look presentable before putting it on the market’. Taking it one step further, this article looks at selling your home from a much broader angle, and includes the do’s and don’ts that a lot of people, both agents and sellers, neglect. Sure, opening the curtains, baking a cake before viewings and finishing off that forgotten paint job are all worthwhile exercises, but buyers today are a lot shrewder than you might think, and can often look past the outward appearance of a house. Instead, follow these 6 pointers, to maximise your chances of calling the removals company!
Firstly, the story. When a buyer makes the effort to come and view your property, he or she will inevitably want to know a snippet of information about you, the seller. That’s not to say they want your life story, but just a brief synopsis on how long you’ve lived there, and more importantly why you’re moving. The buyer potentially will be parting with his life savings – the least you can do is come across as ‘human’. If you’re selling for no other reason than, say, you’ve just grown bored of the property, then keep this reason to yourself. This could easily be misconstrued by the buyer and they may think you’re hiding something. Think of another reason for the sale, there are bound to be some. Perhaps it’s a little on the small side for you now? Or you want to move closer to family? If the area you’re moving to is closer to your child’s school – then that’s your reason. Consider the reason carefully though, your buyer wants to know WHY.
Second, pricing. Know your market. Yes, the agent is there to provide insight into local market activity and should help guide you in the pricing process, but ultimately it’s your property, and therefore your decision. Research the market on Rightmove, searching their ‘sold properties’ functionality. Do NOT let emotion get in the way and force you to imagine snatching at an unrealistically high value, but rather take a considered approach and list out the good and the bad about the house and its location. Setting the price correctly from the start is imperative – if it’s overpriced and spends weeks not getting any interest, it could make you look silly. While a subsequent price reduction might be all that is needed to invigorate a spark of interest, there’s a good chance that it will not, as buyers now perceive you as ‘desperate’. The bottom line? Think hard about your initial asking price. And then stick to it.
Third, marketing strategy. What is your plan to get the house sold? We all know Rightmove is a significant advantage when trying to lure in potential interest, but did you know also that effective social media marketing can work just as well? As more and more of the older population pick up their iPad to download Facebook, now could be the perfect time to launch a Facebook campaign that lands straight on the newsfeed of Mr and Mrs Smith, who have been ‘toying’ with the idea of buying... Lastly, when marketing your home, ensure that it appears visible and attractively presented on the agent’s own website. Ensure large, high quality images and a great description are in place.
Fourth up is the viewing agent. The agent who conducts viewings on your property should ALWAYS be the same regardless of what day it is. It’s not much use if on the weekend the agent who turns up is a ‘Saturday girl’ having never seen your home before and knowing nothing of the local area! Ensure your agent is well drilled, knows your home inside out, and is prepared to get to know the buyer and cater to his or her needs. Before the viewing, the agent should have built up a good profile of the buyer, wanting to know their motive for considering this particular home and thus tailoring his pitch to those individual tastes.
Fifth is feedback. Many agents neglect the buyer far more than is good for them, often only bothering to ask for feedback a week or two later. Sometimes, feedback isn’t requested at all. It’s imperative that the agent is proactive in obtaining balanced, honest and detailed feedback so that you the seller know either to adjust certain aspects of your advertisement, or even call the builders in! whatever the feedback may be, it’s one of the most important mechanisms within the selling process, and by receiving it, you are far more likely to achieve a sale.
The sixth and final point is a simple one but is often much overlooked. ASK FOR THE BUSINESS! The worst thing an agent can do is appear pushy, aggressive, or in some way arrogant. However these attributes do not preclude the agent from undertaking the most important task there is, which is asking for an offer. This question should be timed correctly, and should be used in conjunction with letting the buyer know that there is stiff competition for this type of property, and that both the agent and the seller are anticipating a quick sale. ‘What figure did you have in mind if you were to make an offer?’ is a good early way of getting the buyer to start thinking about an offer, even if it may be a little too soon to actually make one. Asking for business in a polite, courteous and professional manner is key to securing the sale, and could be the difference between packing your bags, or staying put for another year...