BEST BEFORE: What your property & fruit have in common.
The answer is: quite a lot!
But I will get to that… You see, when you launch any new property to the market, the clock is ticking. There is a crucial first two-week period that you simply MUST make the most of.
The UK’s biggest property portal – Rightmove – revealed that the average property gets double the interest from prospective buyers in weeks one and two compared with weeks three and four.
The fruit bowl effect
It helps, I think, to think of your home as a piece of fresh fruit! Stay with me here… You see, your property is quite a lot like a piece of fruit. Picture a freshly filled fruit bowl filled with ripe and juicy fruit and vibrant colours; it’s pretty very hard to resist – right? And, if your home is anything like mine, it tends to attract lots of attention from little hands (yes, we have two fruit bats for kids)!
Well, the same can be true of a shiny new property listing. There is invariably an initial surge of interest while it is fresh. But this effect is short-lived – both with homes as with fresh fruit. And, with each passing day for your fruit (or week for your property on the market), it becomes less fresh and less appealing… Even two constantly hungry kids will pass up on the bruised apple or the brown and squidgy banana! And properties tend to see the same drop-off in interest.
Now, that isn’t to say that there’s no hope if you don’t sell in that opening two-week period. Not all of your eggs (or fruit?) are in that particular basket. But this period does represent your single best chance of maximising the potential of your home, and achieving the best sale price.
How should you apply ‘best before’ principles to your property?
Hopefully you’re still with me after all the fruit analogies. Well, the good news is getting this right is entirely in your (and your agent’s control).
You may well have heard of the 4Ps of marketing - product, promotion, place and price. Well, with houses, we must pay close attention to three of these. I’ve listed these and explained the thinking and importance of each below:
- Price – it is crucial to pitch your property value at the right level. An inflated price risks spoiling the crucial launch period. It is far better to arrive at a price that will stimulate interest and demand, giving the best chance of generating healthy competition and getting the best price. So, the lesson here is perhaps not to always be wooed by the agent promising the highest price!
- Presentation (Product) – in this case, the product is obviously your home. And what matters more than anything is how you present it to the market. First impressions really last!
Now, this is blog topic-worthy in its own right but a few of the biggest things to consider are:
- Using high quality professional photography – trust me, you can always tell
- How are the walls and floors? A fresh coat of paint or a carpet deep-clean can make a huge difference
- Do what you can to de-clutter from surfaces and floors as this creates the perception of space – it is particularly important if you have lots of large bulky items like buggies, high chairs and kids’ toys
- Adding some colour in the form of some fresh cut flowers in the house, or a few potted plants.
- Promotion – it’s no good setting a great price and getting your property ship-shape if nobody can find it! How and where you promote it can go a long way to maximising interest in those first 1-2 weeks. Being on one or more of the major property portals (like rightmove) is pretty much a pre-requisite. But don’t underestimate either the role that social media can play in raising awareness and fuelling initial demand.
Hopefully you found this a helpful way to think about the all-important launch period – and how to give yourself the biggest opportunity to achieve a sale for the best price and in the shortest time.