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Appeal to Buyers and Increase Your Asking Price

Published: 17/05/2019

 Buyers aren’t buying a property—they’re buying a better lifestyle. For every buyer, moving is about finding something that makes their life nicer, more enjoyable and perhaps more luxurious. When you’re selling your home, you need people to discover how it is going to enhance or upgrade their lives.

First off, let’s consider who your buyers are likely to be (your target audience). Think about why you bought your home, where you lived before and why you moved. These are the selling points you must ensure your audience sees in your marketing material.

Perhaps you live near great schools and parks? Is there a high street and train station around the corner? Your kind of buyer will be looking for conveniences to match their lifestyle. Parks and schools suit families and couples, train stations and buzz appeal to first-time buyers, while being close to high-end restaurants and boutiques is something down-sizers at a later stage in life, might want.
Let’s imagine you’re selling a three/four-bedroom house. It’s most likely that your buyers will be ‘second steppers,’ buying their second home (perhaps their first if they’re extremely lucky). Most will have school-age children, some will be considering a starting a family and the rest might be down-sizing after divorce or childless professionals. The last two types will account for the smallest sliver of buyers you’re trying to attract. 
Often, one or both parents will commute into central London but if the children are due to start school, proximity to a good one usually outweighs the importance of being near train links. So, young families are more open to a farther commute than first-time buyers. Families with children at private schools can be more relaxed about distance, but often opt for a short school run anyway. As children grow up, they will get to school independently, so the closer they are, the better.

Your marketing should outline the best local schools, both state and private. It should also highlight certain things that especially appeal to families. We can tell you exactly what families look for in their ideal home. If you have any of the following it needs to be beautifully photographed and described in your brochure.

  1. Kitchen/diners, especially ones that open straight out to the garden. This is the most desirable feature of today’s family home
  2. Two bathrooms is the second most-wanted feature
  3. A decent sized garden
  4. A downstairs loo is something families prefer
  5. Lots of storage space
Don’t worry if you don’t have everything listed, here’s how to get around it: 
  1. If your kitchen is small and next to another room, most buyers will realise how easy it is to knock through. Make sure your agent mentions it if they comment on the kitchen size.
  2. If you don’t have a downstairs loo, but you do have an under-stairs cupboard, then clear it out to show that a loo could be put in. 
  3. If your garden is small, then at least make sure it’s beautifully dressed
  4. For second bathrooms (and fourth or fifth bedrooms for that matter), your attic may be the answer. You could always leave your attic ladder down for viewings so people can see the potential it brings.
  5. Lacking storage? Really? A house should be able to conjure storage from somewhere. If you find yourself cluttered, maybe it’s time to have a big clear out!

Now you understand what your buyer wants, let’s check out your competition
 Have a good look on Rightmove and Zoopla to find and compare similar properties to yours. Your buyers will be viewing these homes too, so ask yourself why they should choose yours over others. If you see a flaw in a competing property, this is your chance to leap in and upstage it.
Perhaps the other home has a lifeless garden. Up your game by adding one or two established feature plants, some colourful potted flowers or knock what you already have into shape. Shop for the most attractive garden furniture you can afford and score extra points for festoon solar lighting, a freestanding firepit or a large BBQ.
It’s far easier than most people think to dress your home to suit your audience. Sort out a budget to spend on things like light pendants, floor/table lamps, rugs, cushions, fresh bathroom accessories, house plants and sumptuous bed throws. If you’re stuck for ideas then grab a good interiors magazine or Insta feed (ideal references include Living Etc, Elle Dec or Wallpaper), steal ideas and go shopping.

How to dress your home, room by room.

 Bathrooms should be spotless, treated to a round of fresh towels and stocked with spa-grade soaps and toiletries. Think Aveda, Ren, Dr Hauschka or Aesop (remove your Superdrug specials). Banish bad smells and if there’s room, add a feature plant.

Imagine the most inviting rooms in a boutique hotel and apply this aesthetic to your bedrooms. Clear all surfaces and hide personal items like hairdryers and make-up. Add soft lighting by placing lamps on bedside tables. Shop for new fluffy pillows (plenty of them) and fresh bedlinen. Prove there’s enough bedroom storage and don’t leave items out of place or at all visible, we’re talking bags stuffed under beds and wardrobe doors or drawers ajar.
Always declutter and deep clean your kitchen before selling. Remove everything on worktops sparing good-looking toasters and kettles. Make sure ovens and fridges are sparkling, tea towels are put away and bins are hidden and emptied (kitchens should only smell of nice things). Only leave the best cookbooks and crockery on display.

Healthy kitchens are super-appealing to aspiring buyers. Simple ways to revitalise yours are to fill  (very beautiful) fruit bowls with fresh fruit and add a window box brimming with fresh herbs.  
Make your sitting room as inviting as you can. Use a floor-standing lamp near an armchair or sofa to give the room a reading zone, wipe TV screens and hide wires. Add fresh flowers and select exceptional magazines for coffee tables.

Overall, your home should be consistently presented and spotless. Clean it from top to bottom and don’t forget the windows. Buyers ALWAYS gravitate to windows during viewings.
Remove personal items like family portraits, paperwork and clutter.

Should I do work to my house before selling?
 This isn’t the time to throw yourself into an attic conversion or to start knocking down walls. It’s far more realistic and sensible to get every room in your home in good order instead of undertaking big plans. Get décor consistent throughout and don’t cut corners by bodging repair jobs. Here’s a list of things that really should be tended to before you sell (and only one is an expensive fix).

Fix leaks in roofs, gutters, taps and pipes
Clean or replace stained carpets
Ged rid of mould in bathroom grout or on walls and ceilings
Repair broken kitchen cabinets
Scrub greasy kitchens
Clean dirty windows
Fix broken panes of glass
Repaint grubby paintwork
Unblock foul-smelling drains

Buyers look for reasons to make low offers, so make sure you don’t give them any. The only expensive thing on this list is a leaky roof, so if yours is fine you have an easy task ahead. If, however you do have an expensive fix and can’t afford to do it, then the best way forward is to get a couple of quotes to show prospective buyers. This way, you’re being transparent and helpful and can defend your asking price as you’ve factored in repair work.  Everything else on the list is easy to arrange, inexpensive and many you can do yourself.

If you’d like any help or advice, we’re always at the end of a phone at 020 8299 3021, or you can email us at