The revival of the property market is an inescapable news story right now, with a surge of interest across the UK.
While it's excellent news for sellers, the high demand from buyers is more than mirrored by the increased supply of property, making it more of a challenge for people to get their home noticed: whether you are about to put your property up for sale, or if your home has been on the market for some time, one thing for sure is that you are certainly not alone.
If you're on the verge of putting your home on the market, you might be concerned about so much competition. Perhaps your property has been for sale for some time, but nobody is coming to see it. Or maybe you're attracting viewings, but none have turned into offers. Whatever your current position, we've got you covered.
In this week's blog, we'll show you how to help your home stand out from the crowd. You'll find plenty of suggestions that are surprisingly easy to implement and, with even the smallest of changes, could make all difference between being noticed, and being ignored.
SEARCH FOR A HERO
What's the first thing you notice when browsing property listings? What grabs your attention enough to start reading? Photographs!
Your property's lead photo is the one that creates a buyer's first impression. It's also where they'll make a snap judgement, so ask yourself this: is your lead image enough to make someone click, or will they keep scrolling instead?
In the marketing industry, lead images are known as hero shots because, well, the hero always wins... unless they're in Game of Thrones of course! If your main photo isn't a showstopper, it really doesn't matter how wonderfully you prepared your home for a photoshoot: poor quality photography dampens your chances of catching a buyer's eye, and yet you'll find thousands of properties listed online with bland, uninspiring photos.
Ideally, you'll have two or three superstar shots that you can rotate as your lead image to keep your property looking fresh: one of the exterior, one of the main living space, and one of another standout feature: perhaps a wonderful dining kitchen, a beautiful garden, or stylish roof terrace.
As a rule, bathrooms and bedrooms don't make the best lead images and neither do close-up detail shots: that first photograph is where you want to give the biggest and best impression of your home.
ADD A SPLASH OF COLOUR
The internet is saturated with advice for sellers to paint their walls in neutral tones of they want to find a buyer; so much so that searching for a property can feel like wading through an ocean of beige. Perhaps it's time to spice things up!
It might seem like breaking the rules, but adding a burst of colour to a room can take a photograph from mundane to magnetic and lift a property high above the crowd, capruting the attention of searching buyers who might have otherwise moved on.
There's no need to redecorate your whole home, or indeed a whole room: just find a place where a burst of colour could create a focal point and have the greatest photographic impact.
Picture a chimney breast in deep navy blue; the white paintwork of a bay window framed by a candy-pink wall; the seating area of a dining kitchen in a splendid forest-green leading out to the garden… you get the idea. Now look at your own decor and pick a shade that will contrast with your home's best features to make your photos pop.
GET SMART ON PRICE
When it comes to attracting the best enquiries for your home, it's not so much about the price being right, as the price being clever. Detach yourself for a moment from the price you are looking to achieve and think instead about the price that will get you noticed.
At times when there are lots of properties on the market, people searching for a home can spend hours trawling through endless listings on the portals. This can lead to scroll-fatigue, where all the properties blur into one, disappearing into the milieu as listing after listing drifts up and off the screen.
It would be impossible for anyone to notice absolutely every listing they scroll past – even those that are strong contenders for the title of their next home – and that's why you need to give your property the best possible chance of being noticed early on.
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to price your property where two price bands meet, to get yourself as near to the top of the search results as possible, regardless of whether a potential buyer chooses to sort the listings in ascending or descending order.
As an example, let's say your home is on the market at £395,000. A buyer searching for a property in the price band up to £400,000 will need to get past a whole raft of competing properties at different asking prices before – and if – they get to you.
Typical prices within that one, small £5,000 band alone include £399,999, £399,995, £399,950 and £397,500. Although these are dated pricing strategies from before the property portals even existed, many estate agents still use them today. That means you can use these old-fashioned techniques to your advantage by getting ahead of them; pricing your home at £400,000 where two price bands meet (£375,000 to £400,000, and £400,000 to £425,000) will instantly put you nearer the top of the results.
This works in reverse as well. Imagine your likely sale price was between £405,000 and £410,000. Rather than getting lost in the middle of a price band and quoting an old-school £419,995, you could well generate far more interest by quoting offers over £400,000.
Every property is different, so check with your estate agent to see which pricing strategy would work most in your favour: they'll have examples to show you about what's been working on other homes.
THINK OF THE LITTLE THINGS
Sometimes it's the smallest gestures that make the biggest difference.
Even in the most expensive homes, it's easy to make inadvertent mistakes that lessen the impact of your viewings. Often, these have nothing to do with the physical nature of your home, but are more to do with the atmosphere you create for viewers – and the feelings you inspire – on which they base their decisions.
An open toothpaste tube or a bottle of Head & Shoulders are hardly structural problems, but everyday items like these vie for attention with your beautiful bathroom, so they shouldn't be out on display. On the other hand, that bottle of Jo Malone on your vanity unit might not be a fixture or fitting, but it will certainly improve the aesthetics by adding a touch of luxe.
In the bedroom, we don't all manage to make the bed every morning, or drop the laundry into a basket before leaving the house, but taking care of these two things will portray a restful sanctuary, rather than a student hall.
Doing the washing up before leaving for work is hardly a joyful task, and sometimes isn't possible, but getting it sorted each evening – or just piling it into the dishwasher – will highlight the finer features of your kitchen, rather than the dirty dishes.
Look around for other 'small wins'.
If your home has been on the market for months and you're still not getting anywhere, a review is clearly due.
Of course, you may be perfectly happy with your estate agent – it's not unheard of! – and have an excellent relationship, enjoy frequent communication and have a regular stream of viewings. So before you take the plunge and make a hasty decision, take a moment to consider how effectively your home is being marketed and whether changes can be made, or whether it's time to part company.
Remember, property can take longer to sell when there's more choice; that’s why revisiting your marketing strategy could prove fruitful. Are your photos up to scratch? If not, ask your agent to have some new ones taken. Does the first paragraph of your description make an enticing read? Perhaps it could do with a lift. And does your price make sense against similar homes and for being noticed?
Think back to the conversations you've had with your existing agent and any other companies: is there any advice you haven't followed? Is now the time to take it?
If you've looked at all of the above and still believe your existing agent is holding you back, then switching could be your best option.
One advantage of changing estate agents is getting two weeks of boosted promotion on the property portals. Your photos will be labelled 'new listing' and, when buyers use the 'search by new listing first' option, your home will show up much earlier. Better still, people registered with the property portals will receive an automated alert notifying them of a brand-new listing, sending you directly to the inbox of suitable buyers.
And, of course, simply having a new and enthusiastic agent working to get you moved could change your experience completely.
Hopefully, we've shown you that selling your home in a crowded market doesn't need to be a struggle. There are numerous ways to capture the hearts of potential buyers and, even with the abundance of available property today, there's always room for something special
If you'd like to chat about how we can help your property stand head and shoulders above the rest, we'd love to share our ideas. You can call us on 02380 987 720 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – let's get talking about your move!