Spring is a wonderful time to sell a home – the buds are budding, gardens are springing into life, and a little bit of sunshine makes everyone’s home look better. Plus, buyers have traditionally always started home searching in the spring, and the property portals tell us this is still the case today.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, or your home is on the market right now, you may have some questions about how to make your move a success. Here are some of the questions we get asked at this time of year by our clients at Storeys:

“My house has been on the market since wintertime – now my garden is flowering, should I get new photographs taken?”

Winter garden photos can look a little, well, sad. Bare trees and shrubs, bare earth and leaf-covered, muddy lawns can all be a bit off-putting to buyers. So when your garden starts coming back to life, it’s a really good idea to get some fresh and colourful images taken to showcase it to buyers. At Storeys we offer new foliage images free of charge to our clients, to make sure their images online are always current and as attractive as possible. Why not ask your agent if they can do likewise?

Old School House, Long Lane, Spurstow CW6 9RF

If I get an offer now, when should I expect to be moved by?”

Nationwide, the current time from accepting an offer to handing over the keys is around 12 weeks, but this can vary hugely depending on your buyer’s position, finance needed, any complications with your sale and much more. If you have a straightforward sale, no chain and your buyer doesn’t need a mortgage, then you should be moved by the summer, or around 10 weeks. Any complications or chain delays can more than double this, so ask an expert about your specific situation. We’re always happy to offer our advice on timescales and what to expect. Just give us a call on 01606 339922 and let’s have a chat.

I don’t know how I’m going to keep my house tidy during the Easter holidays! Should I take a break from the market?”

We feel your pain! Selling a house with children off school is never an easy task, but there are some things you can do to help make your viewings successful and stress-free:

  • Encourage (bribe) your children to tidy up and keep tidy. Daily inspections with reward stickers for younger children and cash for older teens usually does the trick.
  • Keep the children out of the house as much as possible, so your home stays tidier!
  • Takeaways or eating out if you have an imminent viewing booked will save you having to clean your kitchen.
  • Resist the urge to do ‘messy’ playtime with the kids if you have viewings arranged – no finger painting, Play-doh or baking!
  • Make sure you’re out of the house for viewings, so you don’t feel stressed – being under pressure to have perfectly-behaved children will not result in an enjoyable viewing, for you or your buyers!
  • If you have a real house-full and really would rather not have to cope with viewings during the school holidays, tell your agent. They’ll be understanding if you want to take a break from the market until the kids go back to school.
Walnut Tree Barn, Stretton Road, Appleton WA4 4SG

“I’m thinking about moving home – is now a good time?”

A great question! We’re sure you’ve heard it’s a ‘seller’s market’ right now, and has been pretty much since the start of the Pandemic. But things are starting to change. More homes coming to market means more competition for buyers, and that creates downward pressure on house prices. We expect prices to remain strong for at least this year, and probably into next year, but we think the days of huge scarcity are now behind us. What does this mean for you if you’re thinking of selling? Well, if we’re right and property prices have peaked, you can feel confident you’d be selling your home at the top of the market. Whatever your situation, selling now when you know it’s a strong market is going to give you a more predictable sale price than waiting until next year and facing an unknown property market.

What are most buyers looking for right now?”

Some homes are inevitably in more demand than others – our buyers are looking for specific features, like work-from-home space, and often want a home with potential to extend. Bungalows seem to be very popular right now, as are homes with land. Whatever your home has to offer, we’d love to have a chat with you and tell you whether we have buyers registered who are looking for a home just like yours. Just give us a call on 01606 39922 or drop me a line at hello@storeysofcheshire.co.uk to get the ball rolling.

I thought this was supposed to be a seller’s market, but my home still hasn’t had much interest. What can I do?”

It’s hugely disappointing when you’re excited to put your home on the market, and no one seems interested. Especially if neighbouring properties are selling fast around you. The three key drivers of any successful property sale are presentation, price and promotion: how well your home is presented to the market, and whether it competes on how modern rooms like its kitchens and bathrooms are; whether the price is competitive and not over-optimistic; and finally, but probably the most important of the three, how your home is marketed. The images, written description and brochure are more important than most people assume, and just improving them can have a dramatic impact on how much interest a home receives. We’ve taken on , styled them and changed the photography, and sold them straight away without changing the price at all! So if you’re not sure if your marketing is really showcasing your home, we’ll be frank, and tell you honestly if it is. Send me a link to your home at hello@storeysofcheshire.co.uk and I’ll tell you how you can improve your marketing and attract the right buyer.

“Our garden is looking lovely, but it’s still a bit muddy. Can we ask viewers to take off their shoes before they view our home?”

Yes! We always take off our shoes before going into a home, and so we expect the viewers to, too. Carpets with muddy footprints aren’t attractive to buyers, so let’s make sure yours stay clean!

Windcliffe, Alvanley Road, Helsby WA6 9PS

If you have any questions at all about any of the points raised in this article, or you’d just like a friendly, no-strings chat about your house sale, we’d love to help you. Call me on 01606 339922, email me on hello@storeysofcheshire.co.uk or WhatsApp me on 07501723253 and let’s get you moving.

Ian Storey, proud owner of Storeys in Cheshire.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

This two-minute read explains why we should all get behind Hospice Care Week (4 – 8 October).

The nation’s 200 hospices care each year for 225,000 children and adults with terminal or life-limiting illnesses.

And, after an incredibly tough 18 months, they need our support now more than ever.

Where it all started

Dame Cicely Saunders – a nurse, social worker, and doctor – founded the modern hospice movement in 1967, when she opened St Christopher’s Hospice in South London.

Dame Cicely believed that “you matter because you are you, you matter to the last moment of your life”. 

She argued that people should die with dignity and without pain. (This may not sound radical now, but it was back then!)

In the early days, most hospice work was carried out in residential facilities. In recent years, there’s been a push to also provide care in people’s homes (where possible) and outpatient clinics.

Getting through the pandemic

Covid-19 caused serious clinical challenges for hospice staff (imagine comforting a dying person while you’re wearing full PPE).

It also created financial difficulties, as hospices rely heavily on fundraising events and charity shop sales to make ends meet. As these activities were curtailed during lockdown, hospices faced a serious shortfall in income. 

Do your bit

Hospice Care Week (which kicks off on 4 October) gives us all a chance to support the vital – and often overlooked – job that hospices do.

Here’s how you can support our local hospice: St Luke’s Hospice.

Wear yellow – Encourage your workmates to wear yellow for a day and ask them to make a donation to the cause.

Organise a fundraiser – Hold your own cake sale, quiz night, or raffle to raise funds. If you’re a runner, cyclist, or triathlete, set yourself a challenge and drum up sponsorship.

Shop local – Pick up a bargain at your local hospice shop. After all, the money is going to a good cause.

Have a clear out – Donate good quality second-hand goods to your local hospice shop.

Volunteer – Share your time and skills for free.

Here at Storeys, we’d love to promote your #HospiceCareWeek fundraiser on our social media channels.

Give us a shout, and we’ll put the word about.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this three-minute read, we look at the growing popularity of garden rooms as places to work and play.

Garden room. Man cave. Home studio. Shoffice (shed/office). Call it what you will but having a standalone space in the garden where you can work, unwind, or pursue a favourite hobby is one of the fastest-growing property trends in recent years.

Now, garden sheds are nothing new; Britain’s first shed was built in 1481. But a ‘garden room’ is far more than the old-fashioned lean-to your granddad used to store the lawnmower.

Garden rooms are high-spec spaces with plenty of mod cons: mains electricity, heating, and WiFi. They also often include full-height glazing, a kitchenette, toilet, hot tub, bar, or home cinema.

If you’re considering investing in a garden room, here are some tips to help you get it right.

Identify its purpose

Start by having a clear idea of how you’ll use the space. Will it be an office, yoga studio, gym, or games room?

If you don’t have a strong vision, your garden room could turn out to be a glorified storage cupboard, crammed with boxes and odds and sods.

Find the right location

If space is tight, your options will be limited. However, if you have a big outdoor area, give careful consideration to the location and orientation of your garden room.

If you’re creating a mini music studio, opt for a location some distance from the house so that noise isn’t an issue. On the other hand, a children’s playroom might be best near the house, so you can keep an eye on the little ones.

Also, remember that:

  • An east-facing garden room will catch the morning sun (ideal for early bird, work-from-home types).
  • A west-facing garden room will get the afternoon sun (perfect for a post-work parents’ chill-out space).
  • A south-facing garden room will catch lots of sun (great in the winter months) but will get quite warm in summer, so consider adding a louvred canopy.

Insulation

Keep your garden room cool in summer and warm in winter (and save money on heating) by opting for insulated walls, roof, and flooring.

When architects, builders, and manufacturers talk about insulation, they use the term U-value. The lower the U-value, the better (the best insulating materials have a U-value nearing zero).

Landscaping

It’s called a garden room for a reason, so make sure your space is surrounded by lush greenery – being close to nature is good for your mental health, after all.

Plant trees, shrubs, and bushes around your garden room so that it feels like an integral part of the space.

Planning

Before you get started, always seek confirmation from your local authority about whether any outbuilding you’re thinking about needs planning permission.

For more advice about how to add value to your property and market trends, get in touch with us here at Storeys.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this two-minute read, we look at the BIG reasons why your home needs to be up for sale at the very least before you start seeking a new one.

Picture the scene.

You’re house hunting and have been trawling the internet for what seems like forever. Then one day your eyes are drawn to a beautiful looking home that ticks all your boxes.

You visit the property and boom, fall head over heels with it. It’s the one.

You make your offer and start dreaming about waking up in this place you’d love to call home.

If this all sounds too good to be true, it’s because, in this scenario, it often is IF you’re making that offer without your current home being on the market already.

Why?

In our experience, when people start looking for a new home before their existing one is under offer it creates several potential issues that can mean being thousands of pounds out of pocket.

When you see a property you love, you can be blinded by emotion and pay over the odds for it.

And while you may be smitten with it, sellers usually find buyers who already have their homes under offer much more attractive than those who don’t.

The downside

The real downside in this scenario is you may feel pressured to accept less for your current home because you don’t want to miss out on the one you’ve fallen for. However, if you pay more for your new place and get less for your old one, you can see how that creates a crater-like dent in your finances.

So, here’s our advice for homeowners in Cheshire on why it’s a wise move to sell first and seek later.

First, put your home on the market with an agent who has a clear plan and strategy to achieve the best possible price for your property.

Once your property is under offer, it puts you in a much stronger position when offering on a new home. This is because you now fall into that attractive buyer category in the eyes of sellers.

And you won’t have that pressure of being in a rush to sell your home and potentially accepting under asking price offers because you’re desperate to move to the new place you love.

We’re on your side

We’re here to help you make the best decisions when it comes to moving home. And we’d gladly give you advice on buying and selling.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

Summer is a great time of year to sell your home. With bright, sunny days, gardens at their greenest and flowers blooming, your marketing photos will look fabulous!

More daylight hours and generally better weather than at other times of year give people much more opportunity to view your home at its best and brightest. And there’s nothing like a sunny day to put people in a great mood, which means they’re more likely to have a positive mindset when they’re viewing.

So, how can you best take advantage of the benefits of selling during the summer?

Photographs

The marketing photographs in your brochure and online advertising play a huge part in enticing buyers to view your home. Importantly, they’ve got to be in line with the season, so if your home’s already on the market and the photos were taken earlier in the year, we’d suggest you replace them with some up-to-date ones.

Have the interior photographed when there’s maximum daylight outside so the sun streams in through the windows, really boosting the natural brightness of your rooms. And if you’ve got a patio, balcony or terrace, open the doors and have a shot taken looking either inwards or outwards – it can create a really captivating image, with a hint of ‘summer holiday villa’, which could be hugely appealing to many buyers.

Two great times to have exterior shots taken in the summer:

  1. In the middle of the day, in bright sunshine. If you’ve got a good-sized garden, a shot from the end – front or back – looking towards your home and taking in the lush colours of the trees, flowers and shrubs can look beautiful.
  2. On a clear evening, around sunset. A mid-length shot of the front or back against the twilight sky, with exterior and interior lights on, can be quite stunning.

Styling your interior for summer vibes

The styling of your home is important at any time of year to help buyers imagine themselves living there, and it should resonate with the season. To give your home that summer vibe:

  • Pack away any dark, heavy throws and blankets and replace them with lighter fabrics
  • Floral cushions bring a summer vibe to any room
  • White bed linen will help make bedrooms feel bright and fresh
  • Scented candles are a great aspirational and welcoming accessory all year round, so choose some light, floral scents for bedrooms and living areas
  • Any aroma that reminds people of being on holiday, such as coconut, can boost their positive mood even further! You could have some fresh coconut cake in the kitchen or a coconut diffuser in the bathroom.

Of course, the glass surfaces in your home should be gleaming whatever time of year you’re selling, but it’s even more important that they sparkle in the summer light. It might be worth having the windows and glazed doors professionally cleaned inside and outside before you put your home on the market and perhaps periodically until you secure a buyer.

Indoor/outdoor living is becoming increasingly popular, so fling open your sparkling doors and windows before people arrive to view, and have plenty of plants and flowers around your home – particularly near doorways – to help the flow of greenery from inside to outside.

Showing your garden at its blooming best

Many gardens are at their finest during the summer, but it’s the time of year when everything is growing quickly, meaning it takes a little more effort to keep everything looking fabulous. Some of our clients choose to get extra help from a gardening services company while their home’s on the market – so why not consider doing the same? It’s one less job for you to do, and you can be confident your garden will always make the best possible impression on buyers.

Styling is just as important for the outside of your home as the inside, so think about things you could do to show off how you enjoy the garden. If you already have garden furniture, great; if you don’t, then it might be beneficial to buy a reasonably-priced table and some chairs, as that can really help set the ‘lifestyle’ scene outside when people come to view. Put a vase of flowers on the table and lay out some refreshments – even if that’s just a big jug of freshly-made lemonade and some glasses. The garden will look even more welcoming and inviting, which will encourage people to stay longer to appreciate everything your home has to offer.

Families on the move

For growing families, being cooped up together indoors over the winter months often makes them realise it might be time to upsize! And with school-age children on holiday, summer is a popular time for families to look for a new home, as they can all view together, find something everyone loves and then move in early autumn without disrupting the middle of the academic year.

So, while demand tends to be strong across all types of home in the summer, we usually find the ‘family home’ market is particularly busy – especially for those homes that have generous gardens. As children get older, many families really appreciate having extra space outside, so summer is the perfect time of year to sell homes with large lawns, where viewers can watch their young ones safely running about and enjoying the space.

And with high demand comes buoyant prices, which means you may be able to get more for your home than if you try to sell in the winter months.

Would an open house suit you?

Summer is also a great time of year to have an open house, where different buyers can view at the same time over a period of a few hours. In nice weather, buyers can spread out through your home and garden, take their time to view – and, as long as it’s dry underfoot, you don’t need to worry too much about your carpets getting dirty! While it might not be the right strategy for every home, for some it can be very successful in creating a buzz and encouraging great offers, so speak to your agent about whether it could work for you.

Moving in the autumn

Once your summer marketing has led to a successful sale and you’ve found a new home that you love, you can start planning the next exciting step. Moving in the autumn has its benefits, as it won’t be too hot or too cold when you’re shifting all your furniture and possessions in and out of buildings and vans – which removals companies certainly appreciate!

And here’s a valuable tip if you’re using a removals company: contact them as early as possible, even if you don’t have a firm moving date yet and particularly if you’d like to move on a Friday, as that’s the most popular day. They can come and do their survey of what needs moving, give you a quote and you have the opportunity to negotiate the best possible price.

While some people find moving house one of life’s more stressful events, doing it in the autumn means you’re nicely positioned between the rush of the summer and Christmas holidays, so you should have some breathing space – and you’ve got the festive season to look forward to!

So, if you’ve been thinking of selling this summer, or perhaps you’re already on the market and are looking for a new approach to secure a buyer in time for an autumn move, we’d love to hear from you. Give Ian a call/ send a WhatsApp message 07501 723253 or email ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk and we can get things moving right away to ensure you take full advantage of the summer buzz!

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

This three-minute read will help you maximise the kerb appeal for your Cheshire property.

A HomeOwners Alliance survey showed that 68% of potential buyers felt a property’s kerb appeal influenced their decision. Use these quick and easy tips to help your potential buyers fall in love at first sight.

Pathways and driveways

If you access your main entrance via a pathway or over a driveway, make sure you give it some TLC.

  • Refresh gravel
  • Pressure wash to remove discolouration or slippery bits
  • Remove weeds

Top tip: Add solar lights along the route for added elegance.

Front façade

The front of your property is like its shop window. Make sure any soffits, fascias, or guttering are clean and in good order. Clean the windows and frames, or repaint if necessary. Little things like that subliminally reassure viewers that the bigger things have been taken care of too.

Top tip: Clean or repaint your front door, polish the hardware, and add a hanging basket for a burst of colour.

Green fingers

There are low maintenance ways of making a front outdoor area more appealing. You can pick up outdoor plants, even from a supermarket. Pop a few around to brighten any space. If you have a lawn or hedging, keep it tidy. Alternatively, ask a responsible young person if they’d like to earn some pocket money by doing it for you.

Top tip: Choose plants without flowers if you won’t remember to deadhead them. The foliage and pots will still look striking.

Add storage

It might be that you don’t mind your bins and recycling boxes at the front of your home. However, for others it can be off-putting. Broaden your property’s appeal as much as possible by adding a bin store. You can use some trellising to create a divider or go all out and box them in.

Top tip: Surround or cover with pots of flowers or shrubs. You could even train climbers up the side.

Boundaries

If you have fencing or gates, make sure they’re looking their best. This might mean a lick of paint or wood stain. If you’ve got a fence post or panel that’s seen better days, just replace it. It’s unlikely to cost much in time or money. It does, however, prevent any offers from including that as a reason to knock the price down.

Top tip: Add trellising to a fence for some extra foliage.

Identification

You know where your house is. It seems obvious to you. But when you’re travelling around trying to find somewhere, possibly battling with family members, sat nav, or other traffic, it can feel stressful. Make it easy for your viewers. Add a house number or name that is clear and easy to read.

Top tip: Visit your local garden centre. They often have a range of signage so you can choose one that fits the style of your property.

Give your property the best chance of making a good impression. If you would like any advice, please do get in touch for a free, no-obligation chat on 01606 339922.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this two-minute read, I look at why low agent fees don’t equal top selling price.

Unless your name is Elon Musk, selling your home will probably be the biggest transaction you make in your lifetime. So, who will you entrust to get you the best deal?

Option 1: You go for the agent with the lowest fee. This agent is a doppelgänger for Del Boy, but you love the idea of saving yourself a few hundred quid in fees.

Option 2: You go for an agent who makes properties look and sound A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. The fee is a little higher, but they have a reputation for achieving sales that are above asking price.

Do the maths

The agent in Option 2 offers the best value because they will put the most money in your pocket.

When an agent cuts their fee, they’re cutting back on the time and money they invest in marketing a property.

They might sell your home, but they won’t get the best possible price for it.

Here are six (I added an extra one!) ways to tell if an agent will offer you good value.

1) Images

Top agents use quality photography to capture properties at their best. Grainy, shadowy photos taken on a smartphone are a turn-off for buyers.

2) Property descriptions

Look at how agents market properties online. Do the descriptions create an aspirational picture? Or are you reading a list of measurements, plug sockets, and radiators? Good agents will also include a floorplan in listings.

3) Bringing a property to market

If an agent brags that they can have your property on the market by tomorrow, run for the hills because they’re cutting corners. The best agents have a tried-and-tested launch strategy that takes more than 24 hours to implement – but adds thousands of pounds to a sale.

4) Long tie-ins

An agent who is confident that they can sell your home doesn’t need to lock you into a lengthy tie-in (some agents push for 20 weeks’ exclusivity).

5) Social media

Even if you’re not on Instagram or Facebook, many buyers are, so go with an agent with a strong social media presence. Look for engaging posts that cover more than properties for sale. Community content, mortgage updates, and video sneak peeks are big winners.

6) Video

Potential home buyers no longer look in estate agent’s windows for their next home, so you only have one real chance to capture their imagination. A bespoke walk-through property video is an incredible way to sell the lifestyle benefits that static images alone cannot do.

We all love a bargain (that’s why Poundland exists), but with a low-fee agent, the person who lands the great deal is the buyer, not the seller.

If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, get in touch with us here at Storeys.
We’ll exhaust every possible avenue to secure the best price for your home.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

If you’ve ever searched online for a home yourself, you’ll know how many listings there are. The broader your search terms, the more results are going to come up, and then you start scrolling through…

So, what is it that makes you stop scrolling?

When you’re selling, how do you make sure your headline details stand out from the rest so that buyers click to find out more? Importantly, is the rest of your listing good enough to grab their interest and make them want to book a viewing?

The trick is getting the right balance of images and words: enough to whet people’s appetite so they’re keen to view, but not so much that they feel they’ve already seen everything your home’s got to offer. If you overdo the information, buyers could just put you on their shortlist and keep scrolling. Remember, the whole point of marketing is to get people through the door – so make them want more!

Photographs

Photographs are one of the most important features of your online advert. Around 90% of the information processed by our brains is visual, and we take it in tens of thousands of times quicker than text, so you really can’t overestimate the power of a great set of photos. Your main image should be your finest full shot of the front – and taking it at twilight with all the interior lights on can create a truly striking impression.

Then have between six and ten great photos of the inside and garden. You’ve got to show buyers the main rooms and some of the best features, leaving them excited about discovering the parts they haven’t seen.

Make sure your agent uses a professional photographer who can not only take the shots well, but also work with your agent’s team who are styling your home to create the best possible images. Interior shots look best taken on a bright day, so the photographer may need to make another visit to capture the all-important exterior twilight shots that will help ensure you have a great selection of images.

Buyers tend to connect with things that are both familiar and aspirational, so think about how different rooms look in glossy homes magazines and use that as a guide.

Here are some of the things you can do to get your home ready before the photographer and styling team arrive:

  1. Vacuum and dust
  2. Clean the windows and mirrors
  3. Empty all the bins and put away your half-used toiletries
  4. Tidy away any work, toys and kitchen clutter
  5. Have some new candles, plants and/or flowers in the main reception rooms
  6. Fill a fruit bowl for the kitchen
  7. Straighten/plump up soft furnishings and towels
  8. Take away rugs (plain floors make rooms look bigger)
  9. Make sure all the light bulbs work, and have some spares, just in case!
  10. Mow the lawn, prune the shrubs and flowers, and spruce up the garden furniture.

Then do your best to keep your home looking like that until it sells!

When your agent forwards the brochure for you to review, one thing to make a particular point of checking is whether the photographs flow ‘naturally’. Think about the route a viewing would take through your home and try to make sure the photographs follow that order, as far as possible. For example: the front exterior shot, then the hallway, followed by the living room, the kitchen, the staircase, the master bedroom, and so on. If the order makes sense, it will be easier for the buyer to visualise your home and may help create a stronger first impression.

The written details

Your headline and summary paragraph need to say what your home is, show where it’s located and make its best features shine in a way that entices potential buyers to look for more details. So, if your home is ideal for a family, highlight things like a fabulous open dining kitchen, games room, large garden and proximity to schools.

Then the bullet points should be between six and ten things that ‘snapshot’ the biggest selling features of your home. You’re trying to give buyers reasons to book a viewing, so make sure each point is a real benefit, for example:

  • Unobstructed views across open countryside
  • Master suite with private, south-facing balcony
  • 24’ modern dining kitchen with Miele appliances and Rangemaster cooker
  • Versatile, open-plan reception space
  • Soundproofed home office with separate entrance.

Once people have seen the bullet points and been dazzled by your photographs, chances are they’re pretty much decided on whether to view. So, although they may want a little more information, they won’t want to have to scroll through reams of paragraphs describing every last detail.

The best approach is to have a short and sweet description of each room – the size and key fittings that will be included in the sale – and then any other particular features, like an incredible view, unique architectural detail or tech feature. At this stage, buyers really don’t need to know how many sockets or window locks there are; you’re just trying to get them interested enough to book a viewing, so stay focused on the key selling points..

Floor plans & PDF brochure

Floor plans really help buyers put room sizes into perspective and see whether the layout could work for them. They’re more-or-less standard these days, so make sure your listing has one.

Once you’re happy it’s correct, there are three things to check:

  1. There’s a compass rose so buyers can easily see which rooms and areas of the garden face south
  2. The total square footage is stated – that helps buyers compare homes to see how much space they’re getting for their money
  3. The image opens at a decent size online.

A digital version of your full brochure should also be available as a downloadable PDF that buyers can save and print out. Although the agent may provide a hard copy at the viewing, many people like to check the brochure in advance to see if there are any photos or other information they might have missed – and it’s also useful for them to make notes on.

You’ve grabbed their attention – what next?

If you’ve ticked off everything so far, you should have buyers who are really keen to view. You’re halfway there. Now this is where the personal and professional skills of your agent come into play, to turn enquirers into buyers.

The buyer calls your agent

Some people know for sure that they want to view and they’re just calling to arrange the appointment. Other people have questions, and this is where an enthusiastic agent who’s familiar with your home can really help increase the buyer’s interest and firm up a viewing. So, check with your agent to make sure every member of staff has viewed your home and been briefed on any other relevant information, like whether you’ve found an onward purchase.

Whoever’s handling the enquiry should also qualify the person viewing, checking how they’re going to be funding their purchase and whether they have a home to sell. If you’ve found a new place you’ve fallen in love with and the person who wants to view hasn’t even put their own home on the market yet, there might not be much point booking an appointment. On the other hand, if they’re a cash buyer or they’ve sold and their buyer is desperate to proceed, they could be the perfect fit!

The buyer views your home

We’d suggest it’s always better to let your agent carry out accompanied viewings. Our experience means we know what information to give and how to sell the best features of your home; also, importantly, when the owner’s not there, buyers tend to feel more relaxed and talk more freely. That means we can usually get good feedback there and then and possibly even start negotiations on the spot.

Turning an offer into a sale

When a buyer really loves a home – and if your agent has done their job selling it! – they’ll often make an offer even after just one viewing. Your agent then has to negotiate the best possible price on your behalf, keeping you informed of every offer.

If your online listing is up to scratch and you’ve got your home looking its best, you should have plenty of interest. And if necessary, your agent can use feedback from viewings to make tweaks to your marketing along the way to ensure you’re appealing to as many buyers as possible. (See our recent blog, ‘What to do when your home isn’t selling’.)

Whether you’re already on the market or just thinking of selling, you can call us at any time for advice or to arrange a valuation – we’d love to hear from you! Call on 01606 339922 or email hello@storeysofcheshire.co.uk, and one of our team will get right back to you.

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 two-minute read, we look at how the pandemic has given us a greater appreciation for life’s little pleasures.

As tomorrow is the International Day of Happiness, let’s tune out from the negative headlines for a moment and reflect on a few positives.

The theme for this year’s event is Keep Calm. Stay Wise. Be Kind – a motto that chimes perfectly with the times.

Over the past year – and yes, it’s almost a year since we were told to Stay at Home – we’ve witnessed many examples of calmness and kindness and learned a few important lessons along the way.

Here are a few things we’ll take away from the past 12 months.

  • The importance of community. Before the pandemic, many of us were barely on nodding terms with our neighbours. Twelve months on, things have changed. From setting up food banks, to donating laptops and delivering medicines, kind-hearted folks have shown that charity really does start at home.
  • Enjoyment of nature. Spending so much time indoors has amplified the joys of being outdoors. Whether it’s sitting in the garden or wandering through Delamere Forest, we’ve realised just how blissful birdsong and fresh air can be.
  • Health matters. The link between obesity, smoking, and negative Covid outcomes really brought home the importance of looking after ourselves. As a result, many people have adopted healthier lifestyles by taking up a new sport (sales of bikes and running shoes have skyrocketed) or ditching junk food. Meanwhile, 300,000 Brits have quit smoking.

  • Home truths. The pandemic brought the issue of quality of life into sharp focus and prompted many to rethink where and how they live. As a result, many folks moved to gain more space, better WiFi or be closer to their family. Lots of people now have a clearer idea of how they want to live and have reorganised their lives to match these aspirations.

  • We savour the little things. Oh, how we miss popping over to a friend’s place for a cuppa, eating out at restaurants, and visiting the pub. We used to take these things for granted, but when we get back to “normal” and can do them, we’ll savour each and every experience.

From the team at Storeys, stay safe and keep smiling.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys