How to make your property stand out when selling

UK housesThe property market is pretty slow at the moment. So if you're selling your home, how do you ensure that it catches the eye of potential buyers?

It's that time of the year when the property market expects to see its usual seasonal dip as everyone jets off to warmer climates to escape the British drizzle.
Historically the summer months can be tough for sellers, as buyer numbers decrease. And with the start of the Olympics creeping up on us, estate agents predict an even quieter start to the summer than usual.

With more properties on the market to sell to fewer buyers, it's more important than ever to ensure that your property stands out from the crowd.

Show off the best side of your property
Before you deploy any sales or marketing strategy, you need to make sure your home is in tip top condition to ensure that it appeals to the maximum number of buyers. This doesn't mean renovating your entire house and spending a fortune on DIY, but it will require a little elbow grease.

Here's what you can do:
  • De-clutter your property to maximise space, removing any unnecessary items.
  • De-personalise your home by removing things like family photos, so that the prospective buyer can imagine themselves living in it.
  • Light any dark corners with lamps and soft lighting to highlight the space.
  • Ensure your home has kerb appeal by tidying any outside areas. This is the first part of your property that potential buyers will see.
  • It's not just all in the eye - smells count too. So ensure your property is clean and fresh and doesn't smell of pets or cigarettes.
  • Tone down any vivid paint choices and go for neutral colours to appeal to a wider range of prospective buyers.
Once your property is sparkly clean and looking its best, it's the ideal time to get an accurate house valuation. This is paramount to ensuring a property sale - if it is priced too highly, it will take a long time to sell, but if it's priced too low, the sale could cost you thousands of pounds.

To ensure that you obtain an accurate valuation, have your property valued by two or three local, accredited estate agents. You can also research what similar properties have sold for recently in your area to help provide yourself with a guide price.

It is possible to reduce the asking price of your property, however it is best to get it right the first time as a house makes most impact when it first comes to market.

Once your house is looking its best and you have obtained an accurate house valuation it's time to start showcasing your hard work by ensuring as many people as possible know your property is for sale by utilising a comprehensive marketing strategy.

It's important to check that all of the usual marketing routes are covered by your estate agent such as putting the property on their website, and ensuring that any marketing is accompanied by good quality professional photos (and lots of them!) and accurate details about your house.

Typical marketing methods include:
  • Your local newspaper.
  • Your estate agent's shop window.
  • Property websites such as Rightmove.
  • Estate agent's own website.
In the age of technology however, you can go the extra mile to set your property apart from the crowd. So don't forget to speak to your estate agent about:
  • Creating a virtual tour of your property to upload to websites.
  • Utilising their customer database list so your property particulars are emailed directly to interested parties.
  • Uploading your property particulars to Facebook.
  • Creating an online brochure you can print out and show around.
  • Adding a Google map to your particulars so your property is easier to find.
  • Providing clear contact details for people looking to book viewings.
You could also look to incentivise your agent by putting them on a fee ladder and giving them the opportunity to earn more by encouraging higher offers. Multi-agency agreements are another option so that several estate agents compete with each other to sell your property rather than just sticking to one.

You or your estate agent?
Once you have secured maximum exposure and booked in some viewings, you can choose whether or not you want to be present at the viewings with your estate agent.

There are advantages to both sale techniques: choosing to make yourself scarce during any viewings will help any potential buyers to see the property as their own and they will feel more free to discuss any potential pitfalls without offending the owner.

However, as you are the one that knows your house and the area best, it is here that you can become a real asset in helping to sell your property. An estate agent that has only visited your home a few times will be able to show people around, but they might not know all of its best bits, your neighbours, parking regulations and local amenities in the way that you do. Make sure you keep communicating with your agent to see how much interest you have had.

It's this sort of inside knowledge that can really help to sell a home. Take responsibility for your house sale and don't be afraid to put pressure on your estate agent if you feel they aren't doing enough. Whilst good homes in the right locations often sell themselves, sharp presentation, the right marketing choices, a fair valuation and a good sales technique could really make the difference when selling your home during the quieter months.

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