Why Does Presentation Matter?
If you haven’t sold a property before, or you haven’t sold for a long time, you might not be familiar with how people go about looking for a property to buy. It’s no longer a case of visiting all the local agents, not all agents have premises on the high street. These days we simply go online, enter our search criteria and a selection of properties pops up in our feed. The feed will show one image, usually the frontage of the property, or perhaps three images if the property has a premium listing. You scroll through, ignoring those that don’t appeal and click through any that you think might be of interest to see more images and read more about the property. It’s a bit like internet dating where a lot depends on the “Profile” picture, think of the image that appears in the feed as the “Profile”. But it doesn’t stop there. If your prospective purchasers have clicked through before they book a viewing they need to like the images they see. With properties taking longer to sell, buyers have more choice and in those circumstances how your property looks is important.
Assemble Your Team
If you want you move to go smoothly, it pays to assemble the right team around you. Key players are:-
- Your estate agent
- Your solicitor
- Your mortgage advisor/ financial advisor
You need to consider not only the individual parties but also how they interact. Do they collaborate or do they seem to act independently of each other. It may be tempting, but don’t go for the cheapest option. This can be a false economy. The old saying that you get what you pay for is true.
Once you have made the decision to put your property on the market, the instinct can be to launch it as quickly as possible. Many agents will cite the speed at which they can have a property on the portals as a reason for choosing them. However, take your time to prepare.
Apart from the right team here are a few things to consider:-
- have your finances in place. Whether you are purchasing your next property with a mortgage or cash make sure you are ready to go.Being proceedable (as it is sometimes referred to) makes you attractive to sellers.
- Have a backup plan. You may not have yet found your dream home but what if a buyer comes along and wants to proceed quickly? One reason transactions fall through is because a buyer gets tired of waiting. Have a plan ready in case. Be prepared to move into a rental or short term let or do you have friends or family you can stay with?
- Prepare your property. Presenting your property correctly can help you sell quickly and for the best price. Home staging is a concept that is still relatively unknown in the UK but sellers and estate agents are becoming more aware of its benefits. Engaging the services of a professional home stager can really pay dividends. The investment in staging your home is likely to be a lot less than the amount of your first price reduction.
When I talk about home staging, I often say that the first thing the seller has to do once they’ve made the decision to sell it that they need to switch hats. What I mean by this is that when you sell a property there is usually a degree of emotional attachment. It might have been the home you raised the family in, it might be what was the family home where you grew up or possibly it’s been a renovation property that you have invested a lot of money time and effort in. When it comes to selling, that emotion has to be put to one side. You need to regard the sale as a transaction. I’m not pretending that this is easy. You may need to take some time to make the mindset shift but when you do it does make the process of preparing your home for sale a lot easier.
Most people have heard the term kerb appeal, and understand that it refers to the appearance of the exterior of a property when viewed from the path or the road. It’s always a factor that’s been important to buyers, but given the manner in which house hunting is conducted these days, as explained previously, it is even more important. First impressions count. When potential buyers are scrolling through their feed and they see that initial image, it’s generally the front of the property, so the exterior of your property has to look attractive. Things to consider are:-
- The approach, i.e., the path, driveway and any garden.
- Does the frontage look well maintained and freshly decorated?
- Is the entrance made to look attractive by the addition of hanging baskets or planters?
A sense of space and airiness is generally high up on buyers’ wish lists. They don’t want a space to feel cramped or crowded. One of the most effective steps that you can take to improve the appearance of your property is by removing any excessive items of furniture or, if necessary, replacing overly large pieces of furniture, such as sofas and chairs. A sense of space is also enhanced by having tidy and uncluttered surfaces such as tables or shelves. Taking such steps may involve some inconvenience, but should only be a temporary measure. You might still be living in the property, but even so your buyers are your first priority. Remember, this is a transaction.
The cleanliness of your property might not be apparent in the photos online, but, having attracted potential buyers to book a viewing, the cleanliness of your property is essential. Even if you are extremely house proud, it’s worth considering having a deep clean before your property is put on the market, including carpets, upholstery and curtains, especially if you have pets. The kitchen and bathroom are always the most important rooms as far as hygiene is concerned. After a deep clean it is a question of keeping on top of the cleaning whilst the property is on the market. It might even be worth considering employing a cleaner for this period.
The Blank Canvas
There will always be buyers who are looking for the property that is perfectly to their taste or those who are looking for the complete renovation project. However, the majority of buyers will be looking for a property that they can put their own stamp on, whether by making alterations or simply in terms of decor. This doesn’t mean that those buyers want to start doing things immediately they move in. Taking time to live in a property and get used to how you use the space is often good advice. Buyers will appreciate it if they can happily move into a property and start living there even if they plan to make changes in the future. Creating a blank canvas makes this easy. Having a neutral decor and flooring gives a blank canvas to which you can add interest with elements such as artwork, accessories, and soft furnishings.
Their Home Not Yours
When preparing your home for sale, you want to make it easy for potential buyers to picture themselves and their belongings in your home. Having too many personal items, such as large-scale family, portraits, ornaments, etc makes this more difficult although buyers may not be consciously aware of this. All those personal touches, especially if they’re on a large scale, can make it harder for buyers to consider it THEIR home
Sell The Dream
I mentioned the idea of helping buyers to imagine themselves living in your property. This means not only having the neutral backdrop, not having lots of personal items but selling the lifestyle. Think of each room or space in your house. What are your buyers likely to be doing in that room or area? For example, is the room going to be a family room where everybody gets together and perhaps watches a movie or plays a board game. Maybe it’s a dining room used for family meal times or entertaining. Is there a little corner of the living room, where you can create a reading nook with a comfy chair, a side table with a lamp and cushions and throws
With the improvements in the quality of the cameras in smart phones these days, you may ask why you should enlist the services of a professional photography to take the photos of your property. There are two reasons why you should. The first concerns the quality of the equipment used by a professional photographer. They will not only have the best cameras and lenses, but they will also have additional items of equipment such as lighting. A professional photographer, especially one specialising in interiors photography, will have the understanding of elements such as light conditions, angles, and how to capture THE image. The image that really showcases the room. They have the knowledge and expertise to capture those lifestyle images. Staging your home and professional photography go hand in hand. It is no use having a beautifully presented property if the images don’t do it justice, just as there is no point in having professional photos taken if what those images show isn’t attractive. I have worked on a number of projects with professional photographer, Raymond Jones of Raymond Jones Images one of whose specialities is interior photography. Raymond and I offer a discount if both our services are used.
Conveyancing is taking longer, so if you wish to celebrate Christmas in your new home, you shouldn’t delay. To give yourself the best chance of achieving this goal, you should instruct the right team of professionals to undertake the necessary elements such as estate agent, solicitor and mortgage advisor. You need to recognise that selling your property is a business transaction. You need to prepare before you launch your property to market. This involves having your team in place, having a plan in place in case you haven’t found your next property and a buyer wants to proceed quickly. You need to consider the presentation of your property, so that it looks its best. Good luck and enjoy planning where you going to put that Christmas tree!
If you would like to learn more then call me on 07745 876182 to arrange a free no-obligation chat. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and North Wales