Many agents talk about marketing plans and strategies in the context of web exposure, premium listings, high quality photos etc. These are important, even critical components of selling your property, however a real marketing strategy goes much further and deeper than glossy photos. A detailed marketing strategy for your property involves understanding what it is you are trying to achieve, what are the key selling attributes of your property, who your target market is and what competition does your property face.
We outline below our approach to developing a detailed strategy and plan for your property. In our experience, following a logical and fact-based process, based on real data and information gives the best chance of selling your property quickly and at the highest price.
1. It’s a two-way process
While we know about market conditions, and what your likely competition is going to be, nobody knows your property better than you do. At Aspire, we take the time to listen and understand what it is you love about your property, what works well, and also whether there are any issues and concerns we are going to need to manage during the sales process. We also take the time to understand why you are selling, what your motivations are, whether there is a minimum price you need to achieve to purchase another property etc. Developing the marketing strategy is a joint process.
2. Determine the selling attributes
Every property will have unique attributes that should be the focus of the marketing. A bland advertisement for a 3 bedroom house, close to the town center is not going to get you the maximum number of viewings and the best price. Here as some of the things we will look for, and use to “really” sell your home;
- What amenities and attractions are close– the beach, town center, schools etc
- Does the property have great outdoor space that creates an indoor/outdoor feel?
- Has the property been recently refurbished?
- Are all rooms bright and sunny?
- Is the property close to the station or bus routes for access to other local towns, Brighton and London?
- Does the property represent a great investment and buy to let opportunity?
- Is the property an attractive weekend retreat for somebody elsewhere in the country?
Understanding these key attributes is critical, as they will need to be highlighted on any listing and advertisement and actually “sold” to potential buyers during viewings.
3. Understand what issues need to be managed
Unfortunately, people tend to see beyond just the positive points of your property and look for reasons why they “shouldn’t” buy. This is just human nature. Buyers of your property are probably making one of the largest financial commitments of their lives, so they are going to be cautious. A good marketing strategy gets ahead of any issues and ensures that the agent has the answers to potential problematic questions. Things that sometimes need to be considered include;
- Is there sufficient parking space?
- Any known problems with the property?
- Is the house is dated or in a state of disrepair?
- Will there be issues with the survey?
- Is there a large amount of development planned near the property?
- Are neighbouring properties poorly presented?
- Are there significant planned maintenance costs if the property is a flat?
- Have you have had issues with neighbours?
The best way to manage issues is to get out in front of them, to be open and honest with the buyer and demonstrate that there is a solution or plan to deal with their concerns.
4. Who is the target market?
Once we understand the attributes that are going to be attractive about your home, we can be targeted in our approach to determining who the likely buyer is going to be. While we want to “cast the net as wide as possible” to capture potential buyers, we also want to be as specific as possible so we can really “sell” the features to buyers who are suitable. On average, it takes 10-15 viewings to sell a home, however with specific targeting of your property, we would hope to achieve a much better “viewing to offer ratio”. To determine the target market, we will ask questions such as;
- Is the property an obvious investment opportunity as it offers a good rental yield? If so, lets pre-market the property to our buy to let investors.
- If the property doesn’t have a garden or outside space, it might not be quite right for a young family or a family with pets. But it might be very attractive to young professionals who do not have time to attend to a garden.
- Is the property a ground floor flat/conversion and if so, does it offer good alternative to a bungalow?
- Is the property close to the train station – should we be targeting Brighton and London commuters?
- Is the property on the fifth floor of a block of flats that does not have a lift? If so, it is less likely to be attractive to an elderly buyer.
- Is the property close to town center and local restaurants and bars? Then our target market could be a younger buyer who wants to be able to walk to local attractions.
5. Who is the competition?
Now that we understand the positive attributes, what issues we will need to manage, who our target market might be, it’s time to take a look at the competition. What properties are available for sale that are going to be in competition with your property? How are competitive properties presented and priced? What can we do to have an edge over the competition? This is where a “fact based” approach is critical. We will explain the competitive landscape to you and agree what we should do to make sure that your property stands out from the pack.
You also need to consider overall market conditions. Again, we are committed to providing honest and genuine feedback to you so you can make an informed decision. We will tell you if prices are increasing or decreasing, whether it is currently a buyer’s or seller’s market, whether the market is currently flooded with competitive alternatives to your property etc. With good information, you make good decisions.
Now it’s finally time to get serious about price! Many agents will give you an inflated selling price to win your business. We won’t do that. You should also be very careful about using online valuation tools, as they just don’t incorporate the level of information and specific detail about your property to give you an accurate reflection of its true value. While you might feel good about being quoted an inflated price in the short term, over the longer term you could waste considerable time and energy without achieving a sale. You don’t want to see your property listed for a considerable period, showing price reductions and looking “stale” compared to newer properties coming onto the market. According the Housing Advisory, on average, about a third of properties advertised for sale are ‘price reduced’! We will not give you an inflated price just to win your business, we will give you our considered valuation of your property taking into account all of the things that we have learned through steps 1 to 5 above.
7. The strategy
Ok, now it’s time to think about how we market the property. In essence we will need to ensure;
- The price is right when compared to the location, quality of the property, current competition and market conditions.
- What attributes we are going to promote and advertise to capture the interest of our target market and wider audience.
- Based on our target market, determine where and how we are going to advertise the property – just local website/Rightmove, specialised Brighton and London advertisements, increased use of social media?
- Pre-market the property to buy to let investors if appropriate.
- Determine whether there is enough interest for an open house event?
At Aspire, we believe that open and honest communication together with a fact-based approach to selling your property is going to yield the best outcome on every occasion. When we say we are going to develop a “marketing plan and strategy” – we actually mean what we say. You will get the glossy photos - and a whole lot more!
Want to know more?
If you are getting ready to sell your home, you can also refer to guide to preparing your property for sale.
Also refer to our blog on "jargon busting" in which we decipher the 'lingo' involved in selling a property.