Have you ever wondered why some homes get multiple offers, while others struggle to get even one?
It’s rarely down to chance.
There’s no such thing as an unsellable home, and every property in every price range has the capacity to generate high levels of interest. Marketing is certainly a factor, but getting the highest possible price comes down to the partnership between you and your estate agent.
The advice you’re given around price and presentation, whether you take or leave that advice, and then how your agent performs are the three pillars on which a successful sale depends.
Whether your agent is online or on the high street, what truly matters is how they carve out a special place for your home to make you stand out from the rest. So let’s take a look at how you can choose the best estate agent and have a credible plan to find the perfect buyer at the highest price.
STARTING WITH A STRATEGY
Homes are most exciting when they’re new to the market and you’ll get the best price for yours by exploiting that early activity.
Given that every estate agent is using at least one of the major property portals, it can be hard to choose between one company and another. But there are critical differences in how agents market their properties that can profoundly affect the price you achieve and how soon.
Check these six qualities of each estate agent you speak to for a real insight into how effective they are:
- Do their photographs look dark, wonky and blurry, or are they bright, straight and crisp?
- Are their descriptions enticing and evocative, or are they boring and bland?
- Do they wait for enquiries to come in, or do they actively drum up interest?
- Have they sold homes similar and near to yours?
- How long did it take to agree those sales, and were they at, above or below the asking price?
- What will they do after the initial few weeks if your viewings and enquiries dry up?
Putting a home on the market is easy, but it’s the agent with the best selling strategy who will get you the highest price.
SELLING THE LIFESTYLE
Styling your home to sell isn’t simply about decluttering and trinkets, it’s about reflecting the aspirations of your likely buyer and highlighting the character of your home.
While showing potential buyers around and highlighting the finer points, it really helps to weave in your happy moments and memories. It’s not just for small talk: it’s about evoking a real sense of how it is to live in your home and how it could be for a future owner.
Talk with your agent about your likely buyer, then look at ways to appeal to them. If your style is geared to couples or creatives, a dedicated space for working from home could be a real dealbreaker. For a family audience, places for children to play and for everyone to gather will be high on their list of priorities.
When it comes to looks, concentrate on getting stuff off the floor and clearing sightlines to windows. Over-furnishing makes rooms seem small, yet removing even a single armchair can make a huge difference, as can reducing the contents of over-stuffed shelves.
Take inspiration from magazines like Elle Decoration, House Beautiful, Homes & Gardens and Wallpaper, or get lost in the world of Pinterest. They’re full of beautiful homes of every age, staged to irresistible perfection.
SUCCESSFUL VIEWING DAYS
Launching your home to the market with a viewing day is, in most cases, the most effective way to create maximum excitement from the start.
Agents have different strategies, but scheduling a Saturday 7-14 days after your online listing goes live is the norm. This gives you enough time to prepare your home for visitors, and your agent enough time to fill the day’s diary with appointments.
The day before a viewing day
As well as tidying up, get a cleaner in to have everything sparkling. A bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen worktop and some fresh seasonal flowers on the dining table are always worth having. For dinner, consider grabbing a takeaway or eating out to avoid undoing all the cleaner’s hard work.
On the morning of the viewing day
The best way for your home to smell is clean and fresh, so shower early and then open a few windows to allow the air to clear. Aim to be out at least 30 minutes before the first appointment.
Some owners ask if it’s necessary to provide refreshments. It’s a nice thought, but it really isn’t essential. The idea of the day is to get your home sold, and no amount of lemonade or cupcakes has ever made someone buy a home they didn’t like. Focus on how your home looks.
Rightmove recently wrote about the allure of buyers who are already under offer or completely chain-free so they can move on a property as soon as it becomes available. You can read all about them here.
Power Buyers are relatively small in number, so it’s worth considering a VIP preview before your open day for special access to the most motivated movers. This will also leave room for more appointments on the viewing day itself.
Exclusivity sells, and having put themselves in the perfect position to buy, you may find a Power Buyer can offer you exactly the right combination of price, ability and speed.
Although you don’t have to accept any offer that comes in before your viewing day, it’s worth being open to one from this small group of people as they represent the cream of the crop of potential buyers.
ACCEPTING THE RIGHT OFFER
After a full day of viewings on a Saturday, inviting offers by lunchtime on Monday gives buyers the chance to be certain that your home is the one they want, rather than rush into an offer they later regret.
Not all offers are equal, even when they’re for the same amount of money, and I have a number of checkpoints that each one goes through to be sure it’s right for you. Even if you only have one offer, it’s vital to know it’s a goodie.
Regardless of whether they’re a cash buyer or getting a mortgage, everyone who makes an offer should be asked for proof of funds. It’s also important to know the details of any chain involved, and to have an idea of when each potential buyer is looking to move.
This essential fact-finding may leave you with a clear winner, or you might have multiple people to invite to submit their best and final bid.
Having time on your side will always work in your favour, so it’s best to avoid setting your heart on another property before having a buyer for your own. Otherwise, your need to move fast could leave you prioritising speed over getting the highest price.
Chain-free cash buyers are extremely attractive. but they also know their worth. The highest offers generally come from buyers getting a mortgage and/or selling another home, so if your priority is the price you achieve, give yourself the breathing space to have the luxury of choice.
A solid selling strategy of styling advice, expert marketing and creating excitement makes all the difference in how many buyers come through your door and the final price you achieve.
If you’re thinking of selling your home, I’d love to show you how I can help you get the best possible price. Call me on 01384 958811 or drop me a line at email@example.com for a talk about your moving plans and making them a success.