In this three-minute read, we list five things Cheshire sellers should look for in an estate agent.

It pains us to say this, but a recent survey found people were more likely to trust a traffic warden or a lawyer than an estate agent.

When it comes to telling the truth, it seems that only politicians have a worse reputation than estate agents (source: YesHomebuyers.com).

As you can imagine, this frustrates us. Firstly, we’re a hardworking Cheshire business with a strong track record – just ask our happy customers. We know there are some cowboys out there – and thankfully, the industry is working to weed them out – but we hate being lumped in the same category as them.

Secondly, selling a home is one of the most significant transactions a person makes in their lifetime. We hate to think that people are being led through that process by someone they think is a consummate liar. It must make the whole experience more stressful.

So, we’ve put together a five-point list of things to look out for when you’re hunting for an estate agent you can trust.

  1. Word of mouth 

Speak to friends and family about their experiences of selling in Cheshire. Don’t just ask them to name a good agent but dig deeper to find out: how long it took them to sell their property, if the agent’s valuation was realistic, who conducted the viewings, and if the customer service was up to scratch.

  • Marketing research

Identify popular agents in Cheshire and scrutinise how they market their properties. Look for good quality photography and well-written property descriptions as these are vital ingredients for achieving top price. Dodgy snaps of cluttered rooms, and minimal information, should set off alarm bells.

  • Are they registered?

All UK estate agents who deal with residential properties must register with either the Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme. These organisations deal with customer complaints (hopefully, you won’t have any, but it’s good to have peace of mind). If they’re not registered, steer clear.

  • Are they a member of a professional body?

Many good agents will be part of a professional body, such as the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) Propertymark, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or The Guild of Professional Estate Agents. Membership shows they take their professional responsibilities seriously.

  • Realistic valuation

If an agent vows to sell your home for a price that far exceeds market trends or your expectations, be suspicious. They’re either over-promising to win your custom or clueless (or both!). Either way, buyers won’t buy it (literally), and you’ll wind up dropping the asking price later. Don’t fall for this time-wasting exercise.

To find out more about why people in Cheshire have been trusting us with their home sales for years, give us a call.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this three-minute read, we show you how to keep calm and in control when selling your Cheshire home.

With April being one of the most popular months for sellers to market their homes, it coincides with Stress Awareness Month. This annual event recognises the dangers of modern-day stress and provides valuable coping strategies. Moving home is infamously reported to be one of the biggest causes of stress; read our top tips to temper your tension.

Stage the scene

You’re selling a lifestyle, not just a home. Some buyers need to be able to visualise living in your home and find it hard to look beyond what they see. While the light in your spare bedroom may be perfect for your art studio, consider whether presenting it as a guest bedroom might be more appealing to a prospective buyer. 

Be realistic with the asking price

The market is constantly on the move. When you’re preparing to sell your property, it’s important to seek up-to-date information when it comes to setting a sensible asking price. A good agent will help you assess the value of your home and compare it to prices achieved with recently sold properties in the Cheshire area. Too high, and you risk your property stagnating on the market. Too low, and you risk a missed opportunity.

Make sure you’re viewing-ready

Embarking on a Marie Kondo-style declutter can induce feelings of overwhelm in itself. (How a cheese grater can spark joy, we’ll never know.) But if you break it down into chunks, tackling a spring clean can be therapeutic. Adopting a minimalist approach to your belongings while you mop and polish will make life easier when it comes to keeping your home viewing-ready. Invest in some decorative boxes in your main living areas; when you’re short on time before a viewing, you can quickly hide bits and pieces away.

Address the admin

If your property is sale-ready, sensibly valued, and marketed by a good agent, there’s an excellent chance that it will sell quickly. Fuelled by the Stamp Duty holiday extension, the busy market means that everyone involved in the sale process has a heavy workload right now. Get ahead by organising your paperwork early. Ask your agent for an admin checklist.

Expect the unexpected

Even the best-laid plans can go awry. Sales can go off track for a number of reasons, some of which will be outside of your control. Communication is key; if you are worried about how your sale is progressing, speak to your agent. Whatever the issue, remember that it will be temporary and that a good agent will be in your corner; working hard to support you in navigating the sale process.

We understand the pressures involved in selling your property and are here to alleviate your anxieties. If you’d like to hear how we can make your sale a stress-free experience, give us a call on 01606 339922.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

You did it: you found an agent you liked, who loved your home and valued it at a price you were happy with. They put together an impressive marketing plan and the ‘For Sale’ board has been invitingly positioned at the end of the drive for a while. It seems like you’ve done everything right, so why hasn’t your home sold yet?

Well, it could be a few different things. Some people believe it comes down to the price – and often that is a reason – but it’s not the only possibility.

So how do you find out what’s stopping your home from selling, and what can you do to kick-start some real interest?

  1. Check out the competition

Before you speak to your estate agent, it’s a good idea to gather some information about what’s going on around you. Have a search online for homes in the area similar to yours and see how they compare. What’s the presentation like and have they had to reduce their price? That should give you an idea of whether your marketing is along the right lines.

  1. Call your agent

Have an honest conversation about your concerns. Ask your agent why they think your home’s not selling and what can be done to get things moving in the right direction.

  1. Find out what people think of your home

Although the expertise of a good agent is invaluable, there’s also nothing quite like a bit of honest feedback. If your agent is on the ball, they should be asking everyone who views your home what they thought about it, then calling you to discuss whether any changes might need to be made to the marketing.

If viewers thought the price was too high, what was the reason? If they thought there was a bit too much work to do, is there something you could fix or improve yourself for very little cost? In short, is there anything you can do to address the feedback that will make your home more attractive to buyers so they start making offers?

  1. Could you improve the presentation?

Have another look at your home with a critical eye and ask yourself if it’s really looking its best. Your agent might already have offered their advice on how to style and present it for viewings, but maybe you could ask a friend to ‘view’ and give you their honest opinion about any positive changes you could make.

One important thing to think about is: do all the rooms make sense for a buyer? You might have a conservatory that’s become a toy store for your family, but when you’re trying to sell, you’ve got to make every bit of space appear as valuable as possible. So, put away the toys and show the real potential of your conservatory. You could style it as:

  • a sunroom, somewhere perfect for curling up with a book
  • a dining room that makes mealtimes a bit more special
  • even a second sitting room, to give parents and children their own spaces.

Likewise, if you have a small bedroom that you use as a walk-in wardrobe, pack away your clothes and stage it as a single room so that buyers can see exactly what value they’re getting for their money.

While the inside might be sparkling, you’ve got to make sure the outside always creates a great first impression so that buyers feel good about your home before they even walk through the door. Some people do a drive-by before booking an appointment to view inside, so keep on top of your home’s ‘kerb appeal’. Make sure the lawn, shrubs and plants are tidy; sweep the drive and path; give the front door a weekly wipe-down – and don’t forget your ‘For Sale’ board. Check it’s straight and clean, and report any damage to your agent so they can have it replaced.

  1. Refresh your marketing

Are the photos your agent took really showing your home in the best light? Do they grab your attention or could they be improved? Even if they’re already perfect, if your home’s been on the market for a couple of months and the seasons have changed, buyers will be able to see that your exterior shots were taken some time ago.

Having new photos taken is an easy and effective way to reinvigorate your marketing. Go for a bright, sunny day and get the front shot from a few different angles so you’ve got options for changing the leading image online every now and then. Ask your agent if they can film an up-to-date video tour, and check whether they’re using the best apps and software.

It’s also a good idea to update the copy in your advertising, particularly the headline, and make sure your home’s best qualities really stand out.

  1. Drop the price

To get the best possible price for your home, try all the above before you look at a reduction. Have viewers said it’s too expensive, or are other similar homes also having to drop their prices because there’s an oversupply at the moment? If you do decide to go for a reduction, make it worthwhile. As a general rule, if a home was going to sell within 5% of its current price, someone would have made an offer already, so bring it down to a level that’s genuinely going to get more buyers interested.

  1. Take a break from the market

If you don’t desperately need to sell, taking your home off the market for a little while can be quite effective, particularly if you come back with a new price, new photos and perhaps a new agent. Certain times of the year are quieter than others, and a good agent will know about seasonal and current trends and be able to recommend the best time to come back onto the market.

Taking a break doesn’t have to mean your home’s not for sale, just that it’s not actively advertised. Your agent can keep the details ‘under the table’ and still give them to people they think might be interested, so you don’t miss out on your perfect buyer.

  1. Switch agents

Sometimes an agent just isn’t the right one for you and your home. Perhaps they were enthusiastic at first, but now they don’t seem that motivated and you suspect they may have been over-confident with the price. Maybe they’re trying their best, but don’t have the right marketing skills. Or it could be that they’re simply not communicating with you.

Bottom line, it could be time for a fresh start with a new agent.

The relationship between an agent and their client is important – this is a significant transaction and you’re going to be working together to achieve the best possible sale. So, as well as making sure the agent you choose has a track record of selling homes like yours and a clear marketing plan, pick someone you really like. If they’re enthusiastic and positive about your home, they’ll pass that on to potential buyers and you’ll have the best chance of a successful viewing.

If you’re ready to move on to a new home and need a marketing boost to help sell your current one, call us on  01606 339922 / 07501 723 253 or ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk and we’ll happily talk through what we think could make a real difference. No matter what the challenge is, there’s always an answer!

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this three-minute read, we look at some simple and affordable projects to help sell your home faster and probably for a higher price, too.

It’s DIY Day on 3 April and if you’re planning to sell your home, here are six easy things you can do yourself to help sell it quickly. They are simple, straightforward, and inexpensive ways to improve your home’s look and value. Happy DIY Day!

  1. Make sure your exterior looks excellent

Prospective buyers make up their minds within a few minutes of arriving, so kerb appeal is vital in creating a good first impression. Think about repainting your front door or fences, check your front garden is well-maintained and check your windows have been well looked after. Tidy up your back garden too if it needs it – people often visualise themselves using it.

  • Paint

If your walls have been crying out for a lick of paint and you’re planning to put your home on the market, now is the time to get busy with a brush. Remember, you’re trying to appeal to buyers so go for neutral colours. You could even read up on current trends to appeal to design-minded house hunters.

  • Give your kitchen some TLC

Kitchens are the focal point of many homes, so a revamp is one of the best ways to add value to yours. Don’t worry, you don’t need to fit a completely new kitchen! Think about freshening up kitchen cupboards with a new paint job, making handles and taps a feature with modern replacements, or rejuvenating seat cushions with pretty fabrics. Even smart new tea towels will make a difference.

  • Boost the bathroom

The bathroom can also be a big selling point, so make sure yours is looking its best. Bathrooms often lack storage so you could install some shelves if you’re feeling confident. Think about other simple jobs like replacing the toilet seat or installing a new shower head. Both of these are easy jobs – even for beginners – and will improve your bathroom’s appearance.

  • Look at your lighting

Clever lighting can make your home look warm and bright, and therefore more inviting. Think about modernising the light fixtures, using energy efficient bulbs or adding lamps to rooms where there isn’t much natural light.

  • Little jobs mean a lot

Small problems and defects could create the impression your home is not well cared for. Look out for things like cracked tiles, dripping taps or even holes in walls and make sure they are dealt with before your home goes on the market. Buyers do not want to be hit with a list of jobs just after they move in.

For more advice about selling your Cheshire home or to share DIY tips, get in touch with the team at Storeys.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this two-minute read, we look at the ingenious ways communities pulled together during the pandemic to spread joy and raise spirits.

In years to come, when we talk about living through the pandemic, we’ll no doubt mention face masks, home-schooling, and Zoom meetings.

But let’s not forget the countless examples of kindness and resourcefulness that we’ve witnessed in the community over the past 12 months.

Here are seven examples of can-do spirit in action.

Mutual aid groups

Since last March, 4,000 mutual aid groups have formed in the UK, providing an army of local volunteers who have delivered hundreds of thousands of food parcels, meals, and medicines to people in need.

Team spirit

A social club in Pontypool, Wales, transformed into a foodbank and supplied hundreds of families with food, baby clothes, and school uniforms. Allan Peploe, a driving force behind the Panteg House Foodbank, said he often went hungry as a child – and didn’t want anyone else to go without food.

Major effort

Army major turned care home manager Jonathan Cunningham had an electric rickshaw fitted with a Perspex screen. He then took residents of Birkdale Park Care Home for spins around their hometown of Southport. The fresh air and a change of scene worked wonders.

Hats off 

When the going got tough in Milton Keynes, the tough got knitting. In December, the local hospital appealed for hats to help keep premature babies warm and local knitters responded by producing more than 3,000 dinky red beanies in a few weeks. 

The power of song

In Warwickshire, an online choir helped people with long-term lung problems improve their breath management and ward off depression. Singer Keith, who took part in the My Voice Lifts My Soul project, said: “The choir gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

Gin-o-clock

During lockdown, residents in over-70s independent living facility Williamson Court, Lancaster, started their own in-house delivery service. On Thursday mornings, volunteers delivered cakes to residents’ doors, and on Friday nights, a gin trolley rolled around. 

Musical fundraiser

When Rebecca Parker, 98, vowed to play the piano for 100 days in a row, the local community responded generously. Rebecca played Scottish tunes to her fellow residents of McClymont House, Lanark, for three months and raised £17,500 for Lanarkshire Health Board Endowment Funds.

From the team at Storeys, keep smiling and take care.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys