Selling home: Tips to attract viewers?

(115 Posts)
Tau Sun 24-Feb-13 16:16:41

We want to sell our house. It's been on the market for about a month now, and we've only had one viewing. I guess we should drop the price, but we can't go to low or we won't be able to afford another decent home!
There is another house for sale around the corner, very similar to ours and a bit nicer inside, but not on such a nice spot, but it's on for less than ours and hasn't sold in a year! Soooo.. I'm a tad worried there.
Our house is lovely (in my opinion) as is the location. It's advertised on rightmove.
Any ideas how we can get more viewers?
First, of course, is to lower the price. But what else?

Wigeon Sun 24-Feb-13 20:39:15

Apart from agreeing with everyone else: what exactly are you getting for the £££££s you will pay the estate agent if you ever sell? You aren't getting good photos. You aren't getting any viewings so they clearly aren't marketing it correctly (or alternatively they should be telling you loud and clear that the price is definitely wrong). You aren't getting a coherently written description. If you take your own pictures, and re-write the description, you might as well just sell it privately.

You don't go into Sainsbury's and expect to pop out the back, harvest your own corn, grind it into flour and then make a loaf of bread with it, before paying £10 for the privilege of buying the loaf!

I can't believe that no one has mentioned that the predominant feature of picture 11 appears to be A SNAKE! That would seriously have put my DH off viewing somewhere when we were buying. Even a fake snake.

Picture 4 - unnecessary.

Picture 19 - just looks like you are really cramped between your neighbours. Unnecessary photo.

And totally agree that you just need to remove as much as possible to make it look less cluttered and like you are bursting out of the seams. Message given = this house is far too small and we don't have enough room for everything.

It does look like a decent house if you are feeling like looking past the awful pictures and description...

AuntLucyInPeru Sun 24-Feb-13 20:48:15

From an agents viewpoint - no viewings means overpriced . Lots of viewings and no offers means badly presented.

So if after a deckclutter and new photos (and I strongly suggest calling the company Floorplanz and paying for your own photos - costs around £120) there's still >5 viewings/week, time for a price review I'm afraid. Good luck!

AllIWant85 Sun 24-Feb-13 21:37:23

We are just about to put our house on the market this week. Similar layout (bathroom knocked through and kitchen/diner knocked through), same type of estate, same county (but other end!) £145000 with idea of accepting £140000. New bathroom and kitchen, neutral throughout.

I think I'd be changing agents in your shoes, they don't seem to be trying very hard.

Oreocrumbs Sun 24-Feb-13 22:12:14

I agree with everyone else about the pohtos and the write up.

I would also make a point of pushing the original features (I'm presuming the fireplaces are original) I noticed the door next to the front door looks original too. And picture rails?

I would lead off with a description of a chance to own home with lots of original period features. Play to your strengths.

I have looked up the sold prices. I will be honest and say I think your house is very overpriced. I don't know the local market so forgive me if I'm wrong and it is currently very strong.

The other house linked for sale is on for £7.5k less than the owners paid for it in 2004. The market continued to rise for another 4 years after that.

The only sold prices on your street that are around/higher than your's have parking and were sold back at the peak of the market.

I don't know where to suggest you price your house, but I really do think it should probably be around the price you paid, and perhaps even below it.

Feel free to ignore me! But that is my opinion. All houses will sell, but they have to be priced right.

What did the agents suggest as a price?

Tau Mon 25-Feb-13 07:19:55

I was indeed disappointed that the picture rails were not at all mentioned - it's one of the things I like most about the house.

About the price: I thought it was too much, but we have had five estate agents over for an estimate -including four local ones-, and they all came up with around 155000.

Where did you look up prices? Zoopla? In this particular street no house has been sold since 2006, when we bought ours and later that year when another house was sold for a ridiculously high price. So there isn't that much to go on.

I have to agree with Wigeon - please get rid of the snake! I have a phobia and just would not be able to go in that room, plastic or not. When I come across them in gift shops it takes all my willpower not run from the shop screaming!
However much we were interested, I would not come to view it with that on the wall.

Oreocrumbs Mon 25-Feb-13 08:08:17

Right move, you can look at the Land registry if you are doing proper research, I just clicked over from the link.

Look at the neighbouring streets too (provided the road is of similar houses).

The biggest indicator of the price is the second house in the link is having problems selling and it is cheaper than your house.

Do some more research, look at how many houses were sold in TR18 in the last year, how much for.

Search rightmove for houses available for sale around £160k in a 3 or 5 mile radius of your house.

How does your house stand up to them?

Your house is lovely and has some gorgeous features, some things aren't great (mainly the estate agent!!) like being overlooked at the back, but it is still a nice house.

If you put a small amount of time into researching the market, and get the house priced at the right point you should get people through the door.

Tau Mon 25-Feb-13 09:35:22

If anyone is willing able to look - How about this write up. It's not perfect, but I reckon it's a lot better that what is on atm.:

Description:

South-facing 3 bed, 2 reception family home in good decorative state, with original features and gardens front and rear. Properties seldom come on the market in this sought-after position on a quiet close overlooking a green. The large green between this house and those opposite makes for a quiet position on the most attractive area of the estate and is also excellent for children to play on whilst still well in sight. There's plenty of parking space on the far side and top end of The Close.
The house is just 5 or 10 mins walk to the town centre, little more to the mainline station and there's also a local bus service just over the road. The Lescudjack Surestart Centre, Princess May Recreation Ground and Humphry Davy School are all within a few hundred yards, with other secondary and primary schools a few minutes walk away and the newly redeveloped Penwith College closer still. There's very easy access to the A30 but at the same time you are only minutes away from lovely country and coastal walks.

The house briefly comprises of: entrance hall, living room, dining room, kitchen and storage cupboards on the ground floor, with landing, 3 bedrooms, bathroom, separate WC and further storage on the first floor.

GROUND FLOOR

Entrance Hallway
Enter via a double glazed UPVC door. Double glazed window to the side elevation. Radiator. Staircase to the first floor. Built-in storage and additional understairs cupboard. Doors to lounge, dining room and doorway to kitchen. Vinyl tile-effect flooring.

Lounge 13' 3'' x 11' 1'' (4.05m x 3.4m) Max
Bright, sunny room with double-glazed bay window overlooking the front garden and green, fireplace with tiled surround and picture rails. Radiator. Vinyl tile-effect flooring.

Dining Room 13' 1'' x 11' 5'' (4m x 3.5m)
Spacious room with double glazed window overlooking the back garden, with peeks towards the hills beyond. Built-in display cabinet with storage space. Fireplace with tiled surround and picture rails. Radiator. Vinyl tile-effect flooring.

Kitchen 9' 6'' x 8' 2'' (2.9m x 2.5m)
Double glazed window overlooking the back garden. To the side, another double glazed window and ditto door, which leads to the side walkway. Built in larder provides storage and holds the boiler.
Range of modern floor and wall cabinets in white 'shaker' style, with dark worktops. Round, extra-deep stainless steel sink with mixer tap. Space and connection for electric cooker, washing machine and fridge. Vinyl tile-effect flooring.

FIRST FLOOR
Hallway with painted floorboards and large built in storage. Double glazed window to the side elevation. Doors to bathroom, toilet, and all three bedrooms. Access to insulated loft which provides plenty more storage.

Master bedroom 14' 9'' x 10' 9'' (4.5m x 3.3m)
Very light and spacious double bedroom with double glazed bay window to the front, overlooking the green. Oil-treated wooden floorboards. Picture rails. Radiator.

Bedroom 2 10' 9'' x 10' 2'' (3.3m x 3.1m)
Another good sized double, with double glazed windows to the back, overlooking the garden, and views towards the hills. Oil-treated wooden floorboards. Picture rails. Radiator.

Bedroom 3 9' 10'' x 8' 6'' (3m x 2.6m) Max L-Shaped
Large single bedroom with double glazed window to the front, overlooking the green. Oil-treated wooden floorboards. Picture rails. Radiator.

Bathroom.
Double glazed frosted window to the back. White bath with shower over. White wash basin with cabinet underneath. White tiling to the walls. Radiator. Vinyl tile-effect flooring.

Toilet
Double glazed frosted window to the back. Modern white toilet. Wall-hung cabinet. Vinyl tile-effect flooring.

Outside:
Fully enclosed gardens to front and rear, with sidewalk. Two outbuildings and built-in storage accessible from outside.
Front garden: Two south-facing garden areas overlooking the green, one easy maintenance and the larger one laid to lawn. Concrete path from gate to door, with patio area.
Side: walkway to the side of the property has areas for recycling, rubbish and compost bins and a built-in shed.
Back garden: Large patio area with a water butt and concrete block shed overlooking the lawn. At the bottom of the garden is a well-developed sun-trap patio with gravelled area, plus an old Anderson shelter which easily stores large items like bikes and garden furniture.

Additional Information:

Property is of conventional construction, cement-rendered concrete block walls under a pitched, timber-supported natural slate roof. Suspended timber floors throughout.
There's double-glazing throughout (still under warranty), including front and side doors. The roof tiles were re-set or replaced in 2011, while a Mundic Block test in 2012 was passed with an 'A' Grade. The house is centrally heated through a combi-boiler.

Tau Mon 25-Feb-13 10:01:14

Searching rightmove is not all that helpful, as this neighbourhood is actually cheaper than the rest of Penzance.
Land registry only shows two house sales in our neighbourhood over the last year, and they were not all that similar to ours.
The only thing to really go on is that other house that is not selling - which is not very hopeful. sad
If we have to go too low we'll never be able to buy anything that even remotely matches up to this, so we would rather stay here!
Land registry calculates a lower price indeed for our house, but it also says it does not take into account home improvements, and we did quite a few of those.

specialsubject Mon 25-Feb-13 11:31:02

that write-up is SO much better, tells people what they need to know and sells, sells, sells. Anything that starts 'south-facing' grabs attention.

ask your agent for a refund of most of their fee as you are doing all the work.

marinaaquamarina Mon 25-Feb-13 12:13:51

If a house is in the area I want to buy in, has the right number of bedrooms, parking, gardens (all selectable search criteria on Rightmove) and is in the budget I specify - then I will look at it, unless the pictures reveal something structurally horrific.

Like many people I have only the very lowest expectations of accuracy, truthfulness, veracity or honesty of any sort in estate agent details or photos -so overall, I wouldn't be put off by your Rightmove details - but an excessive asking price would mean I'll think you, the vendor, won't drop to the market average - which would be hard work and time wasted on negotiation for me - so that would make me pass a house by.

The answer is, lovely pics and details are nice, and every agent should provide these as a very bare minimum level of service - but price is deterring your viewers.

Tau Mon 25-Feb-13 12:33:27

The estate agent is an online one - and very cheap. They're friendly, always available (even weekends and evening) and helpful, so they are not really that bad. But the man they sent here wasn't up to the task. I have now called them - we put in the new description (the one I posted up here - slightly altered) and we are dropping the price.

I agree with you, marina, but it seems that many people are put off by photos, and even by furniture and stuff. I've experienced that with my mother - a while ago I was all excited about a house which met all our criteria and was on at an affordable price, but when my mother saw the photos she only said things like oh, what awful curtains, hideous cupboards and far too many cuddly toys! I don't understand that; if I buy a house the furniture won't be there when I move into the house, so I couldn't care less what it looks like. But others feel differently, and it'll be others who buy the house.
It is hard to know for sure what the market value of our house is because there has been no really comparable housing been sold here recently.

I looked again at the land registry - but really, that doesn't work out sensible at all. According to them the house we are interested in buying should be worth only 120,000. grin Oh, how lovely would that be!

marinaaquamarina Mon 25-Feb-13 12:54:42

I know - people are so superficial wink!

If you want my twopennorth on your price (you probably don't but that's the internet for ya!).

You're looking for £157,950 which is an odd number to choose and will perplex simpler purchasers.

Rightmove cuts the price segments in £10 thousands.

So your unusual pricing makes me think you're actually looking for £150,000.

Then I go and look at sold house prices and see you paid £140k in 2006.

I'm reasonable, I guess prices probably haven't fallen in Cornwall, so I know you'll want more than £140k.
I also know that you bought when houses were on their way up to the ridiculous highs of 2007 but nothing sold in your street after 2006 so I can't tell what they would have peaked at.

As a rational person, using my own personalised and patented house price barometer and bearing mind what I think you want and what I think it's worth and what I want to pay (all of these can be different amounts)......

I would market your house at £149,995 and be prepared to accept £143,000 - £145,000

You make £3,000 - £5000 more than you paid - you're happy - covers your fees.

I pay what I think is a price which is reasonable and which I think I might be able to sell at again in a couple of years, so I'm happy.

Tau Mon 25-Feb-13 13:54:25

House prices have fallen in Cornwall!
At the time of the ridiculous highs our house was valued (insurance related) at 172,500. We should've sold it at that point! But of course everything else was stinking expensive too at the time.
For a sale price of 143,000 we would make a loss. The house was a mess when we bought it - prehistoric disintegrating kitchen, ancient carpets laid AROUND the furniture, bent metal window frames and a rubbish dump in the garden. So we put double glazing in, and a kitchen (cheap one because we were running out of money), redecorated a bit and dug up car parts, beer bottles and an entire collapsed greenhouse.
But I'm not too fussed about making a loss, but I DO want to be able to afford another house that is at least as good as this one, and if we sell our house for a price that low, we won't be able to find another comparable house in an area where we want to live. In which case we'd be better off staying put... so we are going down in price now, but if we don't sell for an acceptable price before the end of the summer holiday we'll take it off the market. I wouldn't mind; I'm not all that keen on moving anyway, but I hate this being in limbo!

marinaaquamarina Mon 25-Feb-13 14:16:42

Ahhhhhhh! I'm sorry to hear that Tau.

Well I guess you know you've answered your own question/dilemma there.

And I'm sure you realise that no amount of photo fiddling and word jigging is going to make any difference.

If you know your house will only sell at less than £140k then you must already know that everybody else in you neck of the woods knows that too.

I would hate sopmeone saying it to me but the truth is, you're wastin any upfront money you've spent on the online estate agency and you're wasting the listings on Rightmove until you put the price down.

In fact, if you don't re-list at a proper price soon, when buyers keep looking over the summer and your house is still lurking on the market like a bad smell, drifting down by a thousand here and a thousand there, and everyone who's looking in your area gets to know your house and you're the venfdor who won't accept the reality of the market....

I needn't go on - you're doing your house, and your chances of selling, a huge disservice by marketing way above what you know it's worth.

People might get the idea that you're looking for a mug, someone you can pull a fast one on, and that'll stop them looking too.

Sorry if it sounds harsh but we've all been there and it's hell.

Tau Mon 25-Feb-13 14:26:35

Oh no, I don't mean the price of our house has fallen to less than 140k - just that it has fallen since the peak. But then the peak price was 30k more that what we paid, so that would've been silly anyway.
I've looked at other prices here and I think that at this time and with the improvements we have done, the value of our house should be about 150,000. I'm pretty sure it shouldn't be less than that. Well, maybe 50 pounds less to keep it exempt from stamp duty...

Mandy21 Mon 25-Feb-13 14:31:06

I agree with what everyone else has said but I just wanted to make one point - your agents have been hopeless and I mean hopeless. We were in a similar position, photos were awful, description was inaccurate - when it was first listed on Rightmove (a week later than it was supposed to so we missed a bank holiday weekend which we thought would have been used by lots of people to house hunt), some photos were missing, some were duplicated, and I ended up writing the description. They did get viewers in and we sold very quickly. However, after it had all completed, I refused to pay the whole commission because they'd been so poor with the marketing. We ended up going to the Ombudsman but they agreed with me and I only had to pay a % of the commission. I wouldn't be paying in your shoes even if you sell.

marinaaquamarina Mon 25-Feb-13 14:45:28

Sorry Tao - totally misunderstood what you were saying - and replied badly blush

In that case, it sounds like you've got it as right as you can, in the circumstances. I defintely wouldn't price your house above the other house in your area. If you're the same price, at least you'll both attract the same viewers.

My concern would be that they've been on at that price for a year, was it?

That would make me think that the market was saying the houses aren't saleable at that price - that's my feeling - the work you've done may have added nothing valuewise sadly.

Looked at your agent's website. Are you committed to them financially?

Housenetwork offer similar prices and deals and are a million times more capable. I've used them a few times and would totally recommend them.

AlbertaCampion Mon 25-Feb-13 15:15:30

Tau, I love those period features - your rewritten description is so much better, but I'd amend it again to make more of them.

For example, I'd have "original Anderson shelter" rather than "old Anderson shelter" - there aren't that many of them about these days, and they're always a curio factor!

Also, those original 1950s fireplaces. And the door that somebody mentioned further up.

Oreocrumbs Mon 25-Feb-13 18:17:51

That write up is so much better.

Rather than "There's plenty of parking space on the far side and top end of The Close."

I would just say "ample on street parking" or something like that. The far side sounds like it could be quite far away.

I would ham up the period features a bit more too. Other than that you have done an excellent job.

Nicecuppachar Mon 25-Feb-13 18:31:44

I think you have a beautiful house but appalling EA!

May I recommend House Network? They take amazing photos and are very pro active , organised and professional.

They are also very cheap in comparison!

Tau Mon 25-Feb-13 18:42:26

I'm not sure about the period features, because I feel a bit out of my depth there - I don't know what is original and what not, and from what time things are... so I am a bit reluctant to say too much about those in case I'm wrong!

We've made a few little amendments and send it off. It's not perfect, could be better, but it sure beats the current description. And we dropped the price; all that should be online this week. Now the wait is for better pics... and then viewers!
I only hope the house we want to buy will not be sold before we can make an offer!

If it doesn't work we'll try House Network. I'm not so displeased with our current agents though; they may have blundered on this one, but they are always helpful, readily available and they really listen.

thesnootyfox Tue 26-Feb-13 09:56:54

I like your house it is the kind of property that would appeal to me if I was looking.

Not keen on your neighbours house it looks dated and doesn't have the same character.

I agree with the comments about the photos. Sometimes you wonder if Estate Agents actually want their commission. hmm

The latest thing around these parts is called low key marketing. The EA doesn't take any photos at all they basically just put an ad on rightmove that states 3 bed semi for £325K it doesn't even give the name of the road. Not good for a nosey property porn addict like me.

Wigeon Tue 26-Feb-13 19:29:42

The new description is so much better - well done!

The only test of whether your estate agent is any good is surely whether you are having viewings, offers, and then an offer you can accept. So far they are not getting any of this for you. So the fact they are "helpful, readily available and really listen" is completely irrelevant. Sorry to be so blunt. Being nice people is no good if they aren't selling your house. And if they've "blundered on this one", and that one happens to be your house, that's also not good enough, considering most of us don't sell a house every day of the week, and when you do, you pay a huge sum to the agents.

I think you should give yourselves a deadline: give it another 2 weeks max, say, and if you still aren't getting any viewings, or if any viewings are from completely wrong buyers (eg people looking for a 4 bed with a large garden, or first time buyers who really want a flat), then you need to change agents.

MarjorieAntrobus Tue 26-Feb-13 22:41:51

I wonder whether an online estate agent is the right thing for you. If the market were buoyant then, yes, perhaps.

As a seller you want your agent to have good knowledge of the local market, and of your house in particular. A good EA will be contacting everyone on the books to alert them to your house, and will be pushing your house to everyone who comes through the shop door. Your house will feature in the window display to catch the attention of passers-by (and it'll still be on Rightmove to catch the online browsers). The agent will have seen your house, will perhaps have sent other members of staff to see it and meet you too, will conduct viewings of the house in your absence, and will know its strengths (the new kitchen, the period features, the green space in the front etc).

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