How to sell this Spring – reach for the stars

Even if you’re unlikely to sell your home to a major pop princess, it doesn’t harm to prepare your home for one.Buying agent Henry Pryor invites us to imagine looking for a home for Rihanna, and gives us his top tips to ensure your property has star quality in the spring market.

One of the perks of being a buying rather than a selling agent these days is that I get a buyers view of the housing market, something that is often 180º different from the view that the seller might have. As all good sales people know, it’s best to put yourself in the other persons shoes so here’s some feedback from a very particular sort of buyer.

On a recent advanced trip looking for a temporary home in London for a ‘certain-female-artist-with-28m+ Twitter-followers’ coming to the UK to record her new album it became painfully obvious that many sellers and even more estate agents have a very one-sided view of how to prepare a property for sale. I’m never at liberty to mention my clients name of course but this particular lady is now back in the United States and because she was only looking for a stop-gap home it’s unlikely that those who helped her will give anything away that might be of interest to a passing stalker.

First up a quick word of advice to anyone looking for a home this Spring. When registering with an agent (or enquiring about my services) lots of people start off saying “there’s no budget” thinking this is somehow ‘cool’ or indeed helpful. It’s neither. A pop star like Rihanna however is one of the few people for whom there genuinely is “no budget”. If you have this kind of fire-power you get to see some pretty amazing properties yet even at this level sellers and selling agents make mistakes. Here are my top tips:

1. Make sure your home is realistically priced

As a professional house hunter I’m not put off by someone who clearly set their guide price during a long evening with Messrs Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker. I see them as foolish and all the more likely to undersell their home – eventually. Having put honest buyers off by appearing greedy and out of touch these sellers are often only left with the likes of me – and I’m no charity!

2. For goodness sake, clear up before someone comes to see your property

I don’t want to be stepping over dirty laundry, looking past last night’s washing up or trying to work out if the pile of rubbish in the garden is an art instillation. I don’t ask that it be re-decorated just make sure it’s clean and tidy.

3. Try opening a window!

Or better still, try masking the smell of socks/loo/nappies/dog with fresh coffee, baking or if you must with air freshener. You want people to remember the house for the right reasons not to flee holding their nose!

4. Tidy the garden

It’s not going to encourage a buyer to make a decent offer for your over-priced home if I have to clean dog poo off my shoe! The recent snow may have conveniently covered the little piles but sweep paths, clear drives and make sure slippery ice is salted if the English Spring stays arctic!

5. De-clutter

Make sure that if you’re trying to sell me a monster home cinema claiming that the betamax tech is state-of-the-art that there is space in the room for me to imagine sitting and actually watching a movie. Make sure that the room is actually as described – bedrooms have beds in, take OUT the rubbish, the exercise bike (clearly never used) and the rest of the stuff that other people would stick in the loft or garage.

6. Turn the heating on

This Spring looks like it will be more like Christmas for most of us so don’t assume that buyers want to walk around in a Parka. Put some heat into the house and try and recreate the womb-like sensation we all have when we know we’re somewhere safe and secure.

7. Finish the odd-jobs

You’ve promised to fix that window/leaking tap/bit of carpet all winter. Do it before the buyer turns up before he gets the impression that you don’t care about the place. If I can see something obvious like a broken roof tile or a door that doesn’t shut properly I begin to wonder what I can’t see that needs fixing and I knock the price accordingly.

8. Gates

It’s never cool

to be A list and to sit with the back end of your limo hanging out into the busy traffic and it certainly isn’t cool to leave a diva waiting to drive into a property with a queue of beeping cars behind her. If I arrange to see your house at 10.00 am then open the gates at ten to. If I’m late I’ll apologise but try and look welcoming and not give the impression that you need to keep ’em shut because it’s a rough neighbourhood!

Follow Henry Pryor on Twitter – @HenryPryor


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