How to Think Like a Buyer

17th January 2017

Chances are, if you’re selling a property, you will at some point have bought one. Both experiences have their own unique challenges, and yet in some ways, they’re not as different as you might think.

After all, both involve stepping back and looking objectively at a space, summing up the pros and cons, and analysing how a house could become a home. The difference is that as a home seller, you’re making these decisions on behalf of potential buyers, and hoping that they will agree.

Promoting your house in a way that appeals to people you’ve never met can seem like hard work, but with a little research and an open mind, you can quickly work out who it is you're selling to, and show your property’s full potential for becoming their dream home!

Do your research

Before you start making changes to your home, take some time to understand potential buyers, and to get into the home-buying mindset. 

Start by searching current online listings in your neighbourhood. Take some time to critique them objectively - name a few nice touches that you see in the photographs, and make notes of anything off putting about the way the home is presented.

Go one step further by analysing recent sales in your area, and looking at which houses sold the most and least quickly. Consider what your home has in common with fast sellers, and what you can learn from the slower properties on the market.

Ask your estate agent for advice on the typical buyer demographic in your area and price range, and get a mental picture of the sort of person you’re appealing to. Different age groups prioritise different things during a viewing, so you want to make sure that you’re targeting your listing, viewings, and any home improvements to the right audience.

Once you have an idea of the buyers you’re appealing to, and an objective opinion on what does and doesn’t sell in your area, you can take a fresh look at your own property, and make plans according to your discoveries.

Appeal to emotions

While being objective is a good start when it comes to getting your home on the market, it’s also important to realise that buying a house is an emotional process, and that viewers will be looking out for a place they can call home. 

Appealing to these emotions can begin before the first viewing, with beautifully presented listing photographs, and a well-written description. Speak to your estate agent about any aspects of your home that you think are worth highlighting in the listing - for example, if you and your family have enjoyed long evenings on the South-facing patio, conjure up that image for potential buyers.

Bear in mind that buying a home is also buying into a lifestyle. Think about how you can describe the local area in a way that appeals to buyers’ imaginations. 

Is your property located in a particularly friendly neighbourhood, with green spaces for kids to play in?  Is the property located within walking distance of the beach, or pleasant public footpaths? Are there friendly local pubs nearby, offering culture and community? Any of these details could help a potential buyer to ‘see themselves’ in your neighbourhood.

This is where having a local expert on your side can help. We are proud to know Brighton & Hove inside out, and can advise on the most attractive aspects of any area to help bring in buyers.

First Impressions

Did you know that it takes 7 seconds for someone to make a first - and often lasting - impression of another person? The same is true of your home. No matter how ideal the layout is, viewers won’t be able to forget their first glimpse of the exterior.

This means staying on top of things. Keep the lawn mowed, the driveway swept, and the patio algae-free. Wash the windows, clean the gutters, and be willing to repeat the process as often as necessary. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to increase your curb appeal - but you may need to spend some time.

Applying a new coat of paint to doors and window frames never hurts - you may be tempted to update your property’s look with an in-vogue coloured door. Likewise, adding flowers, climbing plants or decorative items to the exterior of your property will brighten its overall image and make it stand out from the rest of the street.

If you are selling a flat, you can make sure that viewers aren’t put off by untidy common areas and staircases. Consider adding pot plants to communal windowsills, as well as politely asking neighbours to keep clutter to a minimum.

Little details

One of the hardest things about preparing your home for sale is stepping back and looking closely at the house you’ve lived in for years. Being so used to the space, you may miss little details that viewers would pick up on instantly.

It may help you to ask a friend, family member or your estate agent to walk around the property with you and point out any broken, dated or unclean aspects of the space that might stand out to a viewer. Pay particular attention to bathrooms and kitchens, as creating a bright, hygienic-looking space is vital here.

Think long-term

While first impressions matter, buyers will also be looking at your property as a long-term investment and living space. It’s important to remember that viewers will be looking around your house with a view to how it would grow with their lives and families - as well as any potential for future problems.

Bearing this in mind, you may want to invest in new built-in appliances, if you’re leaving any behind. This will reassure potential buyers that they will get a good many years’ mileage from appliances and fixtures before they need to consider replacements. Choose a timeless, neutral design in white or stainless steel to ensure that viewers can add their own stamp to the space.

You will also need to address any potential long-term problems such as damp in the walls or leaking pipes. If there is any sign of this in your home, it could quickly put viewers off, as it signifies a necessary investment for them later down the line. Do what you can to negate issues like these ahead of time, and you could see a marked increase in the offers being made.

Are you ready to take the plunge in 2017? Get in touch with our property experts today to start your selling journey.

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