DBPR sought the advice of property experts James Robinson, Richard Bernstone and Jamie Hope about selling larger houses in today’s property market
James Robinson, General Manager at Lurot Brand
Get it furnished and furnished well
Not only do empty larger houses look like they have just been burgled, but they also appear far smaller than they really are. Furniture gives scale for example an empty medium size double bedroom always looks like a single.
Find the specialist
If you have a grand or niche property there is normally an independent specialist who can give you the very best advice. It is worth searching for your type and style of property on the portals to find the agent most active in your sector.
An owner being present on a viewing more than halves the chance of a sale. Regardless of the size of your house, you being there will make many buyers feel claustrophobic. The feeling is similar to a shop assistant chasing you around a clothes store. Your agent knows exactly what the buyer is looking for which is why he has brought them to your house, plus you probably will not like what your agent needs to say about your house to sell it.
Act on your agent’s advice
Your agent’s advice might not be what you want to hear but, as long as it is well evidenced you need to both accept it and act on it. Remember, although you may have bought and sold a number of properties through your life, your agent has sold thousands.
Richard Bernstone, Director at Aston Chase
The anecdotal saying to clients was always: “All things being even if your property doesn’t sell within three months it’s either the agent or the price.”
Clearly in recent years the market hasn’t exactly been ‘even’ and has shown extreme volatility especially for larger houses, burdened with high SDLT charges.
So my top 10 tips for larger houses which are not selling are as follows:
- Reassess the price – see which agents have actually been selling comparable houses and what prices were actually ‘achieved’ (not asking prices) and then call them in to refresh an opinion on value and revise it accordingly.
- Marketing collateral is crucial in a competitive selling climate: invest in new photography and make it seasonal if the house has been available for some time and create a new perspective.
- Ensure that the exterior/gardens are properly maintained because first impressions are most important.
- Keep the property clean and tidy internally. Keep pets at bay, small children if possible and hide endless plastic toys!
- If the property is empty, consider dressing the house – a well-furnished property sells a lifestyle especially to buyers who lack imagination. Professional agents will be able to recommend good companies to either rent or buy furniture and can manage the process for you.
- As we move into Autumn/Winter make sure the heating is on for a reasonable time during the day, there is nothing worse than entering a cold uninviting property.
- If the house is lived in, place a weekly order for fresh flowers for principal reception rooms; a cost effective means of adding colour and ‘life’ to any home.
- If at home at the time of a viewing, avoid following the buyer around the property and leave it to your agent; as they say ‘why have a dog and bark yourself’.
- Don’t overly negotiate your agents commission structure. Generous commissions/incentives for your agent will allow them to act as a conduit for the entire market. After all, the object of the exercise is to sell the house for the highest price, not to save on the commission payable.
- Make access to the property as convenient as possible, providing keys to your agent if possible – buyers are generally fickle and need to be shown houses at times that suit them and not the vendors.
Jamie Hope, Director of Sales at Maskells
At Maskells, none of our larger houses are on the open market. With things taking longer in the present marketplace, we are finding that larger houses are tending to stay off the open market.
What appears on Rightmove and what is on the open market only represents a small percentage of properties available at the higher levels, most are available confidentially and off market. This is significant point because coming to the open market with a high value house (£10m plus) can be damaging for the sale. Buyers at this level want to buy discreetly and can be put off properties that can be viewed by the general public.
Often buyers for these instructions come via private networks and liaising with established buying agents who are generally the first port of call for buyers at the upper levels.