Three-way game plan to achieving a successful sale
BLENKIN & Co are asked to value a great number and variety of houses. By tracing the course of those we have seen over the last 18 months, specifically where the business was subsequently taken elsewhere because the owner felt they could obtain a higher price, we unearthed some telling results.
In total we counted 75 such houses that either remain for sale today or have been withdrawn entirely from the market. Many of them, after languishing a year or more without igniting a spark of serious interest, are now at far lower prices than we first advised. Others have disappeared as owners have simply given up the ghost.
Certainly, some silver-tongued estate agents are responsible as property owners are beguiled into thinking that their property is worth far more than evidence can demonstrate, but misplaced pride is also at play.
The gathering of these 75 unwanted properties, many of which fall within a relatively tight price bracket, should send alarm bells ringing to all would-be vendors. But what, practically, can be done to achieve individual success in the midst of a property recession that is staggering through its fifth year since the high point of the market in the summer of 2007? At Blenkin & Co we have naturally given this much thought, and believe that we have, if not a definitive solution, then at least a helpful game plan: Pricing, Presentation, and Pragmatism. Pricing is paramount: Don’t be over ambitious and don’t become number 76 on our list of the unsold and unloved! If all the houses similar to yours have sold for £225 per sq.ft, don’t ask £300 per sq. ft – this market will not bail you out in your lifetime. Presentation: The buyers of today are not won over by wall to wall travertine, an en suite bathroom to every bedroom, and hard landscaping in the garden. They want to see a structurally sound house that sits comfortably in its own plot with good room proportions, and high quality, beautifully crafted interiors that successfully reflect the scale, ambition and provenance of the building. Buyers want to know that they are buying a stand-out gem of a house, or at least a house with all the right elements in place and at a price that will enable them to create something out of the ordinary. Presentation in this instance really does matter. Pragmatism: Most sellers get one chance in this market and if they miss that chance the next one can be a long time coming – and probably at a lower price. Take the example of a cash-rich buyer well known to us. He made three sensible bids on three different houses, and each offer was declined. Now in the position of having bought a house, he tells us that those three houses are still on the market – and all of them at a lower price, of course, than the bid he made three or four months ago.
Our buyer has had a lucky escape but the sellers have each waved goodbye to the goose which would have laid a golden egg.
In a market defined by a scarcity of equity rich buyers, it is worth considering whether the best deal is staring you in the face.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single property, fabulously presented, in possession of the right price and a pragmatic owner, must be in want of a cash rich buyer. Certainly, by adhering to and proposing the tenets outlined in this article, we’ve successfully managed to sell the majority of those houses where we were instructed.
As so eloquently expressed by the great Steve Winwood in his iconic Arc of a Diver album: “That cold grey wind is blowing, and it’s time you should be going...while you see a chance, take it”. Such an approach to life resonates well in these uncertain times. The happy seller is the one who has sold.
Tim Blenkin is owner and founder of Blenkin and Co estate agency in York, tel: 01904 671672, www.blenkinandco.com