Has selling your home turned out to be more difficult than you had hoped? There’s no doubt that it’s frustrating when your little corner of the property market seems anchored to the spot, especially when other houses in the area are snapped up, leaving their happy owners sailing off into the sunset. Where did it all go so wrong, and what can you do about it? Selling your house seems like such a daunting task, but there are only three steps between you and your buyer: price, promotion, and presentation. Get these right, and Goldilocks herself will come skipping through your door, ready to proclaim your house ‘just right’.
We have all heard the argument that shaving a penny off the price of consumer goods attracts more buyers because human psychology processes ‘99p’ differently to ‘£1’—and who doesn’t like to save money? This fact is so ingrained in our thinking that it would be natural to assume that the concept should be applied to house prices too. Instead of listing your home for a round £600,000, you would be forgiven for believing that you will attract a higher number of viewings by listing at £599,995. But is this correct?
While in some ways the advent of sites like Rightmove has made it easier for homeowners to attract buyers, it also operates on a filter system to help browsers find properties suited to their requirements. The natural cut-off points between categories are, you guessed it, those nice round figures you have been avoiding, going up in increments of ten, twenty, and a hundred thousand. So if you list your house at £599,995, it won’t show up in the category including houses priced at £600,000 and above.
This is bad news for you because buyers looking at the £600,000 price range are not only able to afford your house, they would probably be pretty interested in viewing it too. By trying to appeal to money-saving psychology, you have cut your potential audience in half.
Multiply this over several different websites, or even the email list sent out to buyers by your estate agent, and you have missed out on a vast pool of purchasers. Not only that, but those looking in the 500-600k category may perceive your property to be on the less bearable end of their budget.
When we meet someone new, we form an instant impression—either negative, neutral, or positive—within a few seconds. This is mostly unconscious, and it’s the difference between initiating a conversation and a smile or avoiding further social contact. Well, it’s not that different for someone looking for a house. After all, they want a home, somewhere they can envision being happy in, somewhere that will meet their needs.
How can you do this when many of your protentional buyers wouldn’t have seen it in real life before they become aware that it’s for sale? However, you are in a position to control this first impression in advance. Pay attention to these two areas to draw in the perfect buyer:
A picture says a thousand words, the old adage goes, yet it is shocking how often the package put together by the seller doesn’t present the property and its key highlights in the best light—literally and metaphorically!
Make sure that you spend time taking pictures from flattering angles and show off any unique features. That might require some creativity if it’s a small room but remember, no one wants to see a corner of a blank wall. Avoid crumpled sheets and dress the bed before taking pictures of the master bedroom. Turn your home into a set worthy of the cast of Downton Abbey and bring in some extra lighting if necessary.
If your agent doesn’t offer the services of a professional photographer or you’re going it alone, consider hiring one unless you happen to a budding photographer yourself with an eye for design. Lastly, make sure you use enough pictures to whet the appetite of the casual browser, because if you don’t, they may not bother reading the full description.
It’s all too easy to fall into agent-jargon when setting out the details of your property. Consider the reader here; after reading tens of descriptions in a single morning, are they going to be excited by yet more empty phrases such a ‘dual-aspect’? If your house is loaded with original features, tell the reader what those features actually are, from beams to fireplaces, or a traditional arched doorway-come-hobbit door.
Use emotion and poetic language to seduce the casual browser into imagining the lifestyle your property offers, whether it’s ideal for busy professional commuters or a family with small children seeking the clean air and tranquillity of the countryside.
Now you have enticed those buyers in, it’s time to prepare your home for the viewing. Obviously, your house should be as clean and tidy as possible, as clutter can blind people from imagining their own belongings inside the house. It may also be worth toning down any eccentrically-decorated rooms or dressing up the bland third bedroom you have been using as a storage cupboard.
Include textured fabrics, flowers, a framed photograph of a local beauty spot, even a strategically placed teddy-bear, to add warmth. If it’s a cold day, then light that glorious wood-burner. Boiling hot? Open up the French doors leading into the garden.
Scents are potent for invoking positive memories and feelings, so if you have a young family coming, the smell of freshly baked biscuits can only be a good thing, and before you know it, maybe Goldilocks will catch the aroma of hot oats and come skipping through the door.
Now you have learnt the three ‘P’s’ of selling your house, it won’t be long before you are handing over the keys and sailing off into the sunset yourself.
What are you waiting for?
If you’d like to chat about why your home may not be selling, or what you need to do before you put your home on the market, we can help. Just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or pick up the phone to us on 015394 88811 – we’re waiting to help you move on with your life into your exciting new chapter.
Sam and Phil