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Effective property marketing will make a big difference to how quickly you can sell your property .. whatever the current market’s like. 

After all, you are trying to ‘sell’ and achieve the maximum market price… you probably take care to present goods/products for sale on sites like Ebay in the best possible light; so why wouldn’t you make sure your home is marketed correctly?

Trawling the property portals for more examples of  ‘How Not to stage ‘ I’m afraid I came across so many underdressed, overdressed, ‘couldn’t careless whether we sell or not’ styles of presentation that I probably have enough property pictures to fill several large books!

In most instances, the home owners ‘could do better’ if they really wanted to cash in on their largest asset but I also came across some excruciatingly bad marketing by a number of estate agents!

Many of them chose to shout about the property putting the whole of the opening description in CAPITAL LETTERS, very off putting to a reader.  A few described houses as “deceptively spacious, must be seen” – only to use a picture of the front of the house or view of the garden (not a single image of the inside) for their advertisement. Others chose to use the space for their vendors property images as a chance to promote themselves .. one showing an image of the front of the house followed by 3 images pertaining to their business; an awards image, logo, contact details etc before showing any further images of the property for sale?!

A subject for another blog perhaps .. so before this turns into a rant;

Here are another 5 classic examples of what not to do if you want to sell your home fast.

1. Don’t neglect your outside space; whatever the size, make the most of it.

2. Never use plastic covers on anything or if you do, take them off for photos and viewings.  I can’t locate the image of two lovely red sofas and a chair I saw covered in thick plastic but if you’re reading this you know who you are…get rid of them!

3. Always leave room for your buyers to circulate.  Edit some of the furniture to allow buyers space to move around.

4. Clear the clutter but don’t strip out all the personality; think warm and welcoming not too austere.


5. Avoid confusion; defining the ‘dumping ground’ adds value!  Make sure the buyer can easily see the room as a bedroom, conservatory, living room etc.

So there you have it ..5 more examples of how not to stage your property for sale.  If you’d like to know more about what you should or shouldn’t do.. please do contact me or keep checking back here for more help and advice in the next coming weeks 🙂

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There’s a huge difference between a ‘Staged home’, a ‘Show-home like home’ and a (developer’s) show-home but that’s another blog!

Subtle use of really good property styling is a property marketing dream.  It helps a potential buyer to visualise your property as their new home and it helps you to clinch a faster sale.  Bad styling gets a property noticed by the viewer …but only for its use of unreal and theatrical staging.

Here are my pet hates/top tips on how NOT to stage a house for sale:

1. Don’t formally set the kitchen or dining table; limit use of candles, china and glass wear – unless you live in a museum.

2. Never put a tray with champagne flutes or teapot/cups on the bed; even if it is at a jaunty angle – unless it is a show-home.

3. Keep towels in the bathroom; don’t stack them on the end of the bed – unless you’re selling a holiday home or B&B.

4. Always light the fire in a big hearth; for photos – unless it’s the height of summer also light for viewings.

5. Dress the master bed with cushions properly – don’t ‘scatter’ them about – EVER!


In part 2 I will give you some more tips of ‘How NOT to stage’ .. and maybe even some examples of  exactly ‘What to do!’

Assuming you are a motivated seller, actually want to sell your property fast and not just ‘test the market’… perhaps now is the time to take a long hard look at the ‘detail.’

A staggering 93%* of property buyers search the internet first, before they even contact an estate agent.

Which means that your home has to stand out from the crowd, from day one.

It appears only a few homeowners thoroughly check their online property details, preferring to leave ‘that side of thing to the agents’.  Most never think of looking at their property to see whether their ‘advert’ could be improved.

Once you’ve noticed your home showing up on Rightmove or Zoopla what do you do, sit back and wait for a sale?

When presented with a client’s ‘problem’ property, one of the first things I do is study the online information to see what it does or, in many cases doesn’t reveal.

Imagine you’re searching for a new home to buy, what would you like to see?  In my case the kitchen, living space and the master bedroom are top of my list.

So just how effective is your property marketing?

Take 5 minutes out of your busy day, sit down with a cup of tea and really look objectively at the way your house has been presented… to the world!

Did you even notice it amongst the 1000’s of similar properties for sale on the property portals?


Hiding something?

More importantly, would you want to view it?

Full frontal!

Any property can benefit from a good declutter and bit of tweaking here and there (I should know!) but if your online and printed information is less than perfect, your smart, clutter free hallway may remain forever unseen!

*Statistics from HMT Report, Property Academy (October 2010) )

Two weeks ago I drove to Devon to see some clients.  I’d been to their house before, not because they were thinking of selling but to advise on the sale preparation for another property they own.

During my previous visit they had shown me around the house.  We briefly discussed what an easy sell it would be if they ever chose to put it on the market but I hadn’t really looked at it with my ‘viewing’ or ‘buying’ head on.   Now however, it was on the market and after 7 viewings they hadn’t even had a sniff of an offer!

This house was meant to be their forever home, a property they had only recently finished refurbishing and fitting out to a very high spec.

A light, bright, modern living space, designed to make the most of  fabulous, far reaching views over the Devonshire countryside.  Fold-back doors, glass balustrades, and a swish bathroom, definitely gave it the ‘wow-factor’.  And, its eco-friendly touches; including a rain water harvesting system made it a very cheap and efficient house to run too.  So much so, that when most of us needed to turn the thermostat right up in the depths of the snow and ice last winter, they didn’t even put their heating on!

Although this property ticked all the boxes for my clients as far as contemporary ‘town’ living was concerned, they were also lucky enough to own another wonderful, more traditional property, in a fairly rural and equally beautiful part of Devon.  After much soul searching, ‘country life’ appealed to them more for a while at least, and they’d decided to sell.

Although we had talked about the property over the phone and I had looked at the particulars online, I hadn’t given the sale of the house much thought.  The Estate Agent was ‘confident that the house would sell quickly’.  The owners had moved out but left the house mostly furnished and, armed with some tactics I had shown them on another property, they weren’t overly concerned about its saleability.

A few weeks on though and with the start of the summer holiday season, the Estate Agent had started murmuring about reducing the price for a quick sale!

Hang on a minute, this was an ‘easy to sell’, stylish, well presented property… What was the problem?

The agent’s viewing feedback had been positive, there were a couple of small issues, nothing major but equally no one was desperate to buy it either.

I thought back through our initial conversation when the house first hit the market, about the advice the agent had given and the reasons my clients thought the house was sticking.  I looked again at the property photos and details and.. ‘ta-da’ … had a ‘lightbulb moment’!

It was arranged for the Estate Agent to be there when I arrived.  I was keen to meet him; to extract any feedback information that perhaps he had neglected to pass on and also to see what he thought of my suggestions.

We discussed at length the appeal of the house, how much promotion it had been given in the press, the marketing details and how the viewings were conducted (i.e. which room they started with and which way around the property they showed viewers).  When he started to talk ‘price reductions’ I challenged his thinking – ‘Why reduce now if this is the quiet season and ‘very few’ are looking?  Surely you’d wait until September if it really was the right thing to do, otherwise you’d risk having to reduce it again wouldn’t you?’

Both he and I were of the opinion that the 3/4 bedroom house should appeal to a wide range of buyers, professionals, young families, and older couples.  And it would.  However, the reality was, that most people viewing or equiring about the property were in fact downsizers!  

Downsizers, ok, forget reducing the price, I had a better idea. 

Downsizing buyers are (usually) leaving a much loved family home, an acre or two of garden and lots of room to swing a cat (if so desired!).  Although they want (or need) to downsize, they often view with an image of their large rooms and big furniture firmly at the back of their minds. “How will we fit our huge wardrobes in there?” “Where will we have our music room?” etc. etc.  When people are buying a home they buy with their heart, not their heads.  To secure a buyer for this house we needed to ensure viewers would buy into the ‘lifestyle’, could appreciated the versatility of the rooms and more importantly, could imagine themselves (and perhaps some of their furniture) actually living there!

Firstly, we needed to improve the details.

To me, the brochure didn’t show the reality of the roomy, light interior.  The main accommodation looked small when actually it is a brilliant party house.  Re-taking some of the interior shots from another angle would still show the views from the windows, whilst at the same time reflecting the EA’s description of a spacious open-plan home.  I also felt there should be a vendors comment.  Perhaps describing how efficient the house was to run or, explaining a little more about the property’s ‘eco-features’.   After all, not many would have come across ‘rainwater systems’ or ‘high spec insulation’ and buyers definitely wouldn’t understand the benefits… unless they were explained to them.

Secondly, some rooms required further definition. 

The very large hall area, I thought, could be utilized as a ‘valuable’, useful, living space, rather than a place to simply hang your coat and dump your post.  Stylishly presented, this area challenged the dining room for size, yet other than a room to meet and greet it wasn’t really being used.  One of the main rooms downstairs also needed a minor re-jig but, it was upstairs that I really hoped my ideas would make an impact.

Upstairs in the property there was a beautifully styled and furnished bedroom but to all intents and purposes it was really Bedroom 2 – not a bedroom many buyers would see themselves occupying.  The so-called Master bedroom was across the hall and, completely empty

I could see why my clients had left furniture in the other room, it had huge windows, stunning views and a ‘summery’ feel.  However, in my opinion, leaving the Master bedroom empty left viewers failing to find and visualise a ‘room of their own’.  This room also had great views but (according to the agent) most viewers didn’t stop to look at or appreciate the space, it had just become a way to see and access the en-suite!  Styling the ‘Master Bedroom’ was key.  It would complete the picture, allow viewers to appreciate the size of the room, identify their own space and ultimately get them to stop and realise (daft as it sounds) that this ‘walk-through’ was actually a bedroom!

None of my ideas were costly, in fact apart from a couple of accessories for the bedroom, the owners had everything in-house to make the necessary adjustments.

Under strict instructions not to let anyone view the property until everything was completed, I left my clients to implement the changes and skipped off to impart more property marketing wisdom 😉 to other Devon based clients.

The next people to view, gave us the feedback we wanted! They loved the house, thought it was bigger and the rooms more spacious than it appeared in the brochure, they lingered in the Master bedroom, appreciated the separate study/computer area and could really visualise themselves living there.  Fantastic!  The only problem was, they hadn’t sold, their own home wasn’t even on the market ….

All was not lost though.  The second viewers to look round after our changes also loved it.  Downsizers again, they came from a very traditional cottage but totally fell for the contemporary look and lifestyle my clients property offered.  Better still ..this time they were proceedable 🙂

After the usual too-ing and fro-ing, I’m thrilled to report that an offer was agreed at the end of last week.  Hands have been shaken on the deal and the couple in question who were so ‘sold’ on the overall package, even enquired about buying many of the furnishings.

My client comments;

“7 Viewings with no offers. You came and worked your magic 2 viewers who wanted it and an offer, higher than expected, in the quiet season, from a sale agreed buyer! Excellent :)”

The first time the new owners of your home are likely to come across your property, is on the internet; via Rightmove, Primelocation, Tepilo or, your Estate Agent’s website.

The second time might be an advert in the Estate Agent’s window or in the local property paper.

The third time? Well probably, when they receive the glossy brochure showing your home for sale in all its splendid glory.

But are your online and printed details good enough to get you a viewing?

Hopefully, this will be one of the things you have been considering since my last blog!

As I’ve said before, selling a house is like selling any product it needs good marketing.  And your property details; photographs, description, floorplan, glossy brochure, should promote your property for sale in much the same way as a luxury hotel might advertise its weekend breaks.  The information needs to be clear, concise, interesting, appealing to its target market, highlight the most attractive features and selling points, whilst evoking a sense of lifestyle.  Ultimately, the advert needs to be impressive, good enough to get them a booking … or in your case, to secure a viewing!

So study your details on-line. 

Are your pictures good enough to stop potential buyers eliminating your property during one sitting at the computer?  How many do you whizz through when searching for a home online – 50? 100?  What makes you stop and click-through the details? price?, image, description?  Think about it.  Searching for a home online gets boring after a while and what stops you will stop your buyers too. 

What could be done to make your property stand out from the crowd? If you have extensive competition in your price range go through the list – is every thumbnail property a picture of the front of the house?  How about asking your agent to change the image to an interior shot or, one of the back garden?

Are your photographs well-lit or does your property look gloomy? Do your rooms look cluttered, tired, messy.  Is your bed made and the toilet seat down?! If you’ve been on the market a while are your photos still in season or do they show snow on the ground in the middle of summer?  Freshen up the photos if necessary.  A good agent should be on top of this but it helps to be a proactive seller…. if you really want to sell.

Go through your property description details.  Hopefully you will have done this from the start but if you notice an inaccuracy don’t leave it, change it!  If yours is a unique property and has a different heating system or particularly unusual feature – perhaps an explanation from you or additional (typewritten) notes could be available at the time of the viewing… (if you’re unable to get them printed on the brochure).

Floorplans are they big enough or too big for your brochure? And do you have room sizes on them?  Frankly they aren’t much good if you haven’t got sizes as they don’t allow an easy comparison to other (similar) properties.  Floorplans show how a property works, allows the buyer to see if a property will work for their family or situation and act as a memory trigger when they have been to view.

If you’re not getting any viewings, don’t (just) blame your agent… be proactive, re-assess your details, re-shoot the photographs and bag yourself a buyer!

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!

The property market is a very competitive one and there’s no excuse for a lazy estate agent. However, there’s also no excuse for a idle seller either!

If your property, big or small, (relatively) low value or (extremely) high value is on the market and going no-where… fast, take stock and take back some control.

It’s all about marketing.

We’re used to living in a society where products are targeted, marketed, to appeal to a specific buying audience – why should your ‘product’ be any different?

90%, yes 90% of viewers cannot visualise how a property could look when faced with the way it is presented to them.  That means 1 in 10 can’t imagine how your empty (or cluttered) rooms could suit their family perfectly!

It’s not as though you haven’t been deluged with TV programmes, ‘property gurus’ and press articles telling you how to sell your home…

So what could you, or your agent, do differently?

Make yourself a coffee, grab a note pad and pen, jot down some of your own ideas and, over the next couple of days I’ll tell you if you were right 😉

What is Property Styling?

Home Staging, Property Styling, Property Staging, House Fluffing, Property Presentation…

These are all popular descriptions used for explaining the practise of preparing a property (and its contents) for a faster sale or let, with the sole purpose of achieving the highest price and appealing to the widest possible audience.

However, professional Property Styling is much more than just ‘painting it all white and clearing out the clutter!’

Styling a property for sale ensures that the presentation of the property is the best it can be.   This might simply mean rearranging what you already have or, it could involve bringing in new furniture, accessories and artwork.  Professional Stylists work with the ‘flow’ of a property which normally entails things of an aesthetic nature; overall appearance, clutter, design, colour, as opposed to major structural improvements.

The goal of Property Styling is to improve the property’s appearance in the eyes of a potential buyer.  Typically a buyer has made up their mind whether to buy, within 10 seconds of walking through the door, forming an opinion as they pulled up outside – that doesn’t leave much time for error!

To achieve the desired outcome, a property should be presented at its best right from the start.  Each viewing should lead to a probable offer. If it doesn’t, it’s a wasted viewing and another likely buyer lost.

If your property looks fantastic, buyers can immediately imagine living there and are more prone to making an offer – Most buyers can’t figure out how their furniture might look in an empty property or see past unattractive and disorganized spaces; people buy with emotion but shop with logic!

…… these are titles often used to describe me.

I run The Property Styling Company a business designed to help you sell your property faster and for more. I can show you how to maximise your property’s potential, whether it’s for sale, to let, or to live in!

Having written numerous articles for other blogs, websites and newsletters, I thought it was about time to start a blog of my own.

Hopefully my passion for property, and effective property marketing, will come across in the articles posted here, along with guest blogs from those in related industries.  The plan is to add hints, tips and ‘other’ property and interiors related news.  Well that’s the plan, lets see how I do!  Thanks for reading so far…..

If you need advice on selling, styling or buying property and would like to discuss working with me … my main website can be found at www.propertystylingcompany.co.uk. Contact can be made through this wordpress site, by email or calling/texting: 07789 488446.

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