There is no denying that selling your home and moving elsewhere, whether it is down the street or to another country, can be a huge undertaking! To make things easier, read on to discover lots of useful tips that will help you sell your property.
Marketing is more than planting a ‘for sale’ sign in your front garden…
In a market with more sellers than buyers, successfully selling your property may take a bit of thinking outside of the box. You don’t have to come up with all the ideas yourself – that’s what you’re paying your estate agent for. But a little creativity can go a long way, especially if your home is proving hard to sell.
Try selling your property by word of mouth. Speak to friends, neighbours and colleagues at work. They may well know someone who’s only just starting to think about moving. It’s far easier to convey enthusiasm for the benefits of your particular property verbally and you’re reaching a whole new pool of people that traditional methods might not be accessing.
Equally, find a new source of potential buyers by talking to large employers in the area. You may hit lucky – the Human Resources department may know of colleagues who want to relocate to the area quickly. Time-poor house hunters may benefit from finding a new property right under their nose as opposed to spending months hunting round.
Add a waterproof Perspex box below your ‘for sale’ sign with copies of your sales brochure within. People can help themselves while passing.
At the very least, you’ll at least feel like you’re taking control of the process, boosting your confidence!
Common marketing mistakes – pitfalls to avoid
It is very tempting, especially if you are after a quick sale, to try to cover up any significant problems with your property. You may be all too aware that the roof needs some work, or that the electrics throughout your property need replacing or updating. But you can be certain that issues as important as this will be uncovered during the buyer’s inspection, so you are only setting yourself up for additional expense and heartache further down the line.
Address problems upfront when marketing your property. Think about what solution best suits your situation. There are three main options to consider. You can:
Take the plunge and fix the problem before your property is listed. This depends on whether you have the cash available to address the issue.
Ensure the price the property is set at a below-market value in the first place, to account for the money the purchaser will have to spend to bring the house up to standard; or
List the property at the full market value, but be ready to negotiate once the home inspection is carried out.
Be aware that if you fail to fix the fault beforehand, you may be missing out on a significant chunk of the market who hope to move straight into a property without having to carry out work on it.
Make the most of ‘greening’ your home to improve its marketability
Making energy saving improvements to your property could increase its value by as much as 14% on average, a recent government study has found. Of course, we are not advocating that you spend vast amounts of time and money on installing solar panels and other energy efficient measures before you sell. But if you have got it already, flaunt it!
Keep records of your energy bills and average annual spend – as fuel prices rise year on year, buyers will be a lot more conscious about the energy efficiency of their prospective new homes.
Point out improvements that have been made – a recently fitted new boiler can be expected to save money on running costs and maintenance in the near future. Double glazing and roof insulation can reduce energy bills. Keep and show off certificates and guarantees of work done.
If you’re considering sweetening the deal by leaving appliances such as freezers or washing machines behind when you move, make their energy efficiency known to your new buyers. Every little helps!
If you have time and the inclination, look into the government’s Green Deal to see if you could benefit from grants for energy-saving improvements that could increase the value and marketability of your home in future.
Floor plans are an important weapon in your marketing armoury
There really is no excuse for not having one these days. They are invaluable, informative and attractive ways of conveying key information about your property. Users can tell at a glance how the house flows and what space is available for their needs. They can plan uses for space or how to accommodate their family, hobbies, and lifestyle within the rooms available. And when individuals are viewing a large number of houses, a floor plan can make yours stand out at the forefront of their minds and remember key features.
But keep in mind that in order to be of any use to the prospective buyer, your floor plan must include the following:
- Dimensions: Make sure the plan is to scale and includes all key measurements so individuals can quickly evaluate whether the rooms are big enough for their needs.
- Total square footage: Knowing what the footprint of the property is can be increasingly an important tool for would-be buyers to evaluate what they are getting for their money, and how it compares with other houses they have seen.
- Orientation: Most people like to know which way the garden faces, for sunbathing purposes!
It is an often repeated statistic: many buyers make up their mind whether they will buy a property or not within the first ten seconds of walking through the front gate. That is, always assuming there IS a front gate!
Take a short walk around your neighbourhood and really look at the front of other people’s houses. Then walk back towards yours and try to see it with fresh eyes, as a potential buyer would. What do you see?
Are there unattractive wheelie bins or an abundance of children’s toys strewn over an ill-maintained, patchy lawn? Is the path littered with weeds, moss, and lichen? Are hedges, shrubs, and trees overgrown and intruding into yours or your neighbours’ gardens?
What does your front door look like? If wooden, could it benefit from a fresh coat of paint? If UPVC, is it clean and well maintained? Is the house number or name clearly visible?
What do you see when you look at the windows? Are curtains and blinds open, clean and well-hung? Are window ledges cluttered or clear? Is the paintwork (or again, UPVC) clean and fresh?
The truth is, it takes very little time to improve the overall, very first impression of your property. A little effort now could avoid a long period waiting for a sale.
Try on their shoes!
As a seller we are often guilty of telling the buyer what we think they should know, we tell them what we want to show off about our home, we market it in a way that we want our home to be found. But, in order to sell your property, you need to try on the buyer’s shoes.
So… If you were looking for a property like your own, what would your process be?
The first thing you would do is either make a search on a search engine, for example, duplex condo for sale in the area you are interested in or a four-bedroom house for sale, or you would directly choose your portal. Where would you go? Nine times out of ten the answer will be Rightmove – the UK’s biggest home portal.
After this, the buyer then begins to filter their search. So, what would your specifications be when buying a house? You’d have an area in mind, a budget, a required number of bedrooms…
The next thing you would do is browse. What draws you in? Photos – striking ones, ones that make you want to live in the home! Keywords, such as ‘land’ or ‘contemporary’, also play a role.
Find something that takes your fancy? You click on it. This is where you assess the property in further detail. Happy? You take action.
By getting inside the buyer’s mind you can market your property well every step of the way. Look at it like this… if you do not tick step one off the list, because your home isn’t on the right portal, then steps 2-5 will never occur, as the buyer won’t find your property!
So there you have it: some useful tips to help you sell your home! Follow the advice above to give yourself an advantage.