7 ways to make your house stand out in a competitive market

13 min Read Published: 09 Dec 2020

7 ways to make your house stand out in a competitive marketIf you visit one of the large property portals, such as Rightmove or Zoopla, you are presented with literally thousands of properties that are on the market at any one time. To have the best chance of selling your property you need to make it stand out from other properties in your area that are in a similar price range to your own.

To help with your property sale this article details 7 ways to make your property stand out in a competitive market.

1 - Find the best estate agent to market your property

When looking to sell your property the majority of people in the UK will choose to market their property through an estate agent. You can market your property yourself but the majority of buyers start their househunting journey online so using an estate agent with a presence on a property portal such as Rightmove or Zoopla makes sense.

To start your search for the best estate agent visit one of the property portals, enter your postcode and select a range of 3 miles around your postcode and search for properties for sale in the price range you are expecting to achieve for your property. You will then be presented with a number of properties that are listed with local estate agents and you can quickly see who are the most popular agents in your area.

Create a list of 3 estate agents that have the highest number of properties listed in your area and make an appointment for them to visit your property so you can understand their marketing strategy and fees.

2 - Set a competitive marketing price

As part of their presentation, each estate agent should be able to provide evidence of similar properties they have recently sold in your area together with the sale price achieved. Each agent should then suggest a marketing price for your property together with the fees they will charge. A word of warning here, don't just instruct the agent that suggests the highest marketing price as this is often a tactic used by agents to secure your instruction as you will automatically believe that you will obtain that price. What may happen instead is that the agent with the highest marketing price will then try to reduce that price over the coming weeks if the property remains unsold. This may deter potential buyers who notice how long the property has been on the market and that the price has been reduced.

The fee each estate agent charges will probably be different so try and negotiate the fee down especially if you have a very marketable property.

Once you have decided on the estate agent you want to use you should only sign an estate agency agreement for a maximum of 13 weeks. Also make sure the estate agency agreement does not auto-renew, or have a notice period at the end of the initial period if your house remains unsold.

3 - Agree on a marketing plan with your chosen estate agent

Once you have instructed your chosen estate agent you should sit down and agree on a marketing plan with them. Bear in mind your chosen estate agent will have a large number of properties they are trying to sell at any given time so you need to understand how they are going to make your property stand out from the crowd.

The marketing plan should include the following:

  • the property portals or social media that your property will be shown on
  • any newspaper advertising that your property will appear in and how often
  • whether your property will appear in the estate agents window
  • how will the estate agency staff ensure your property stands out from the crowd
  • when will you receive feedback on any interest shown regarding your property
  • any other marketing strategies suggested by the estate agent

4 - Presenting your property

This is an area you need to get right to have any chance of selling your house quickly. Just leaving the presentation of your property solely to your estate agent is not a good idea as you need to make sure your property is shown in the best light.

Here are some tips on how to best present your property:

  • make repairs that are required as these will stand out to any potential buyer
  • remove all items from  the front of your property, such as wheelie bins and parked cars, while your estate agent photographs are being taken
  • most properties will look better if they are photographed in good lighting so instruct your estate agent to take the external photographs on a sunny day (use a smartphone app to check the weather)
  • if there is snow on the ground when the photographs are taken ask the estate agent to come back to retake the photographs when the snow has melted. Snow is a clear indicator of how long your property has been on the market and could possibly deter buyers.
  • have a good tidy up, declutter and depersonalise your home before the internal photographs are taken and try to show each room in the best possible way
  • if you lack storage space in your house then find a temporary solution, such as a garage, loft or even rent a small space at a local storage facility while your property is on the market.
  • clear all the worktops in the kitchen and toiletries in the bathroom and make sure everything is clean
  • cut the grass and generally tidy the garden to show the space off at its best
  • invite a friend or family member to take a critical look at your property before the photographs are taken as often they will pick up small details that will make a big difference
  • once your estate agent has taken all the photographs, be involved in selecting the best ones that will go on the property portal and the property details

If you put some time and effort into preparing your property for sale it will pay dividends in setting your property apart from the competition.

5 - Preparing for viewings

A viewing is your opportunity to show your house off in the best possible light and preparation is the key.

Here is a checklist of what to do when preparing for a viewing:

  • make sure all rooms are clean and tidy with no visible clutter
  • have no more than 2 people present during the viewing as any extra people will make your house seem cluttered and potential buyers will not see each room in the best light
  • if you own a dog I would suggest finding someone to take it for a walk as dogs can be very distracting, often in a good way, but you really need potential buyers to focus on your property.
  • if you own a cat make sure any litter trays are out of sight
  • have the details to hand of the amenities in your property such as broadband, broadband speed, type of heating or any security system fitted
  • prepare a document listing all the local amenities such as schools, doctors and shopping facilities together with the distance to each one.
  • 30 minutes prior to the viewing time light some scented candles to give your home a fresh smell for when the viewers arrive

6 - Conducting a viewing

When you have an appointment for someone to view your property, you need to make sure you prepare your home as outlined above as this is the time to impress.

Most estate agents will offer to conduct any viewings for you but I would suggest that you conduct viewings yourself if possible. You know your property and the local area better then anyone and are in the best position to show off all the features of your property and answer any questions potential buyers may have.

When conducting a viewing always start with the lounge. The lounge will probably be the largest room in your house and therefore provides a good welcoming space for your potential buyers. After the lounge, you should move into the kitchen as this is the room that families use constantly and is of prime importance for potential buyers when looking for a new home. Then you should tour the rest of the downstairs of the property starting with the most appealing of the remaining rooms.

Once you have shown all the downstairs rooms then move upstairs starting with the main bedroom and working through the remaining rooms in size order. You can then complete the viewing by showing the outside space and any outbuildings.

7 - Obtain constant feedback

As described in the section above, you should have already agreed on a marketing plan with your estate agent part of which should include regular updates on your property. After every viewing, you should receive feedback from your estate agent on what they like or didn't like about your property. This feedback is essential in formulating your plans moving forward as it will provide some good indicators on how your property compares with other properties currently on the market. It may be that after some regular negative feedback you decide to carry out some repairs on your property or reduce the asking price, therefore, making it more appealing to potential buyers.

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