How radio, radio could be the sound salvation
We have the technology – and electrician Paul Reynolds decided to put it to use in his front garden in a novel attempt to sell his house. Sharon Dale reports.
SELLING a house in a stagnant market can be frustrating and demoralising, so after nine months and 20 viewings without a buyer, Paul Reynolds is using a novel approach to attract passing trade.
The electrician has employed the latest technology to broadcast the merits of his smart, fourbedroom semi in the sought-after Leeds suburb of Roundhay.
He has rigged up a digital photo frame in his front garden, which screens a guided tour of his home and underneath is a sign board advertising 88.1 FM, the frequency he uses to delivery a radio message to motorists.
“It’s about being pro-active and thinking outside the box. I’m a gadget person and came up with idea of using some of the new technologies to promote the house. I made it all last weekend and it works like a dream,” he says.
“I uploaded pictures of the house onto a digital picture frame, enclosed it in a waterproof box and fixed it to a post in the front garden. The idea is that people will stop and look. It shows a new image of the house every three seconds.
“I then recorded a one-and half-minute advertisement on to an iPod, then attached it to a small radio transmitter, so drivers within eight metres of the property can tune their car radio into the FM frequency and hear a description of the house.”
Paul, who is keen to downsize after being made redundant, has done everything possible to sell the semi on Lidgett Park Avenue.
He and his wife Sylvia have the house for sale through an estate agent, they have dropped the price from £315,000 to £284,950 and have acted on feedback from those who have viewed the property.
The house has three reception rooms and four bedrooms, plus an office, workshop, garage and garden.
“We did have five bedrooms, but a couple of people thought the two loft bedrooms were too small, so I took the dividing wall down and opened the space up, so I’ve acted on feedback and done everything I can,” says Paul, who has three children.
“I’m with an estate agent too, so the frame and the radio broadcast are just other tools in the selling package.”
His Heath Robinson-style marketing ploy may well pay dividend, according to Andrew Beadnall, of Beadnall Copley estate agents.
“We have a film projector in the window of our Ripon office showing images of properties for sale. It’s very effective, especially in winter when it lights up the pavement outside. People stop and look because it’s a novelty,” says Andrew, who has also employed the cult of celebrity.
“We had a house in Harewood for sale a few years ago when the first lottery rollover was about to be drawn and the media was speculating what the winner could buy. So we got a picture of Alan Turner from Emmerdale holding a lottery ticket outside the property and that was a very effective marketing tool.”
An increasingly common sales technique is the property raffle, though this can be fraught with problems.
They frequently fail to sell enough tickets to meet the asking price, leaving the seller the issue of what to do with the revenue. You also need to employ a lawyer to check the legality of the enterprise, as raffle ticket sellers risk arrest on suspicion of breaching the gaming laws by running an illegal lottery.
According to Andrew Beadnall a raffle is step too far.
“It smacks of desperation to be honest and I wouldn’t recommend it,” he says.
Offering a sweetener is another marketing ploy and the most common free giveaway used to entice buyers is a car, though you are more likely to be asked to discount the equivalent sum of money off the property’s asking price.
Mark Manning, of Manning Stainton, says: “I saw an offer for new-build properties in America during the recession, it was a BOGOF, buy one get one free, which I thought that was very amusing at the time.
“I’ve also seen an advert for a house in Hampstead that has created its own brand, with its own website, video and photo gallery. I think this is quite a good way to create more of a buzz.”
It’s certainly a winning idea if you have the right content. Former journalist Julie Akhurst has a website, www.pondenhall. moonfruit.net, for her stunning country home with Brontë connections. It is well-written, informative and interesting and was devised to complement marketing by Halifax-based estate agency Charnock Bates.
Meanwhile, Patrick McCutcheon, of Dacre, Son and Hartley, advises a pragmatic approach for those who are struggling to sell.
He says: “Yorkshire property buyers seek and respond to straight forward honesty and realism in respect of price.”
MAKING WAVES: The house in Roundhay using the power of radio to attract buyers