Regardless of whether we’re talking about conventional or unique homes, what words would you use to describe the experience of moving house and dealing with estate agents? Mature, relaxed, professional, delightful? Or would you go for a less positive selection?
As something that only grown-ups can do, selling or letting your home can be a bafflingly adolescent journey: salesy tactics, cagey behaviour and general dissatisfaction.
There are plenty of studies and books on the psychology of selling, most of which bang on about motivating people to buy through fear of loss.
But when people want to move forward with their lives, they’re not thinking about what they’ll lose. They’re looking forward to what they’ll gain: extra space, a bigger garden, a better location, a different lifestyle.
Isn’t that where the effort should go? We think so, and our blog this week gives you an insight into how we work.
HIGH PERFORMANCE, LOW PRESSURE
When we first visit someone’s home, we regularly recommend a higher price than all the local agents.
Not because we’re tricking people into choosing us, but because we have a different perspective and an alternative audience that often gets better results.
Selling and letting unique homes is nothing like high-street estate agency, and almost every seller or landlord we meet says the conversations with us are different to the ones they have with the agents in the neighbourhood.
The one-size-fits-all approach of “it’s all about getting people through the door and we’ll bring loads” is quite off-putting for people selling unique homes: countless viewings and parading masses has little to no appeal.
There is a different way, and it’s all about giving your home a unique place in the market. A profile that includes the property portals and then goes beyond the crowds to find you that special buyer who is absolutely the perfect fit.
UNDERSTANDING UNIQUE HOMES
One of the stranger aspects of high-street estate agency is that no real understanding of property is required. A three-bed semi, a two up two down, a Victorian terrace: what is there to explain?
It’s what makes regular estate agency a fairly easy job, and one of the reasons why people don’t value it. If you asked most agents the history of the streets where they worked – the architects of those Edwardian family homes or the town planner of that 1930s suburb – they wouldn’t know. And there’s no desire to find out.
That’s a shame because curiosity is such a valuable quality. Appreciating the heritage of your home, exploring all its quirks and taking the time to hear about your experience of living there are the basis for finding the perfect buyer.
- Who built your home?
- What were they thinking?
- Did they build anything else?
- How did your home come to be here, rather than somewhere else?
- Does it represent a particular time or movement?
- Is there a story to the materials and design?
Questions like these are all part of selling unique homes because origin stories help to increase value.
When your agent takes the time to learn the history of your home, it gives you greater confidence that you’re in good hands, and it makes fascinating storytelling for viewings and online descriptions.
Imagine if this became standard industry practice: estate agency would be seen in a totally different light.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
If we needed to narrow down the ethos of Unique Property Company to a single phrase, it would be this. There’s far too much wasting of people’s time in estate agency.
We are deliberately not a high-volume agency with a constant churn of property. By limiting the number of homes we have on the market at any one moment, and by specialising in a particular type of property, we have the time to market them correctly.
We apply the same logic to registering buyers. You’ll see plenty of posts from high street agents saying they’ve got hundreds and hundreds of people waiting to buy, but our experience tells us that many of those won’t.
By really getting into their world, we can identify the very best candidates and cut down on wasted viewings
- How do they want to live?
- Which types of architecture do they like?
- What do they want from their home?
- Which interiors light them up the most?
By really diving deep with our questions, we cut down on the number of viewings it takes to get a sale. The national average consistently hovers around 15, but ours is about 5.
We wrote an entire blog on how we make our viewings so special. Click here to read the article.
TREATING PEOPLE LIKE ADULTS
As far as we’re aware, there isn’t a single person in the history of the property market who bought a home before they grew up. And yet, so many buyers tell us they’re treated like troublesome teenagers by some of the agents they encounter.
Much of local agency is driven by getting as many people through as many doors as quickly as possible. The people working in those offices will be targeted on the number of viewings they book, because:
- X viewings =
- Y sales =
- Z fall-throughs =
- £ profit.
That’s the model of almost every high street agent.
This formulaic approach is partly down to selling droves of effectively identical homes, where there’s no real reason to buy one over another.
It also comes from assuming that grown adults aren’t able to buy a home unless they’re made to line up outside, rush around in 10 minutes and hurry into offering “before someone else does”. The image of a conveyor belt comes to mind.
Selling unique homes is an entirely different affair. We have no targets for viewings because they are irrelevant: multiple unsuitable viewings don’t produce higher offers.
And 10-minute slots? Many of our viewings take an hour! We’d never get away with it on the high street, but time is the key to conveying the true essence and value of your home. Time lets buyers savour their visit to be sure that your home is ‘the one’.
COMMITMENT BEATS COMPETITION ON UNIQUE HOMES
What do you think about multiple buyers, final offers and blind bidding? Do you think they produce the best result? It’s not so cut and dried.
One problem is the short-term euphoria that scarcity and popularity create. That dopamine hit of making the winning offer can soon wear off when reality hits and your buyer has more time to wonder:
- Did they pay more than they should have?
- How much lower was the next best offer?
- Have they been too rash?
- Has anything else come onto the market?
All of us here can remember times like that. Sometimes buyers got cold feet a long way into the sale, but often they’d disappear in embarrassment before even instructing a solicitor. No wonder the national fall-through rate doggedly sticks around 35%.
Ours is less than 20%.
So rather than doubling the risk of having to start again, it’s far less stressful and far more certain to identify the people most likely to buy your home. Giving buyers the time, space and respect to commit with conviction keeps sales stronger and smoother.
We’d love to show you how we go about letting and selling unique homes, so if you own an unusual property and you’re thinking of making a move, why not get in touch with our team? Call us on 020 7917 9995 or send us a message at [email protected] – let’s get talking about your plans.