What does your garden mean to you? For us, it can be summarised in three simple words: entertainment, enjoyment and peace. With it being such a pleasurable, versatile space, it’s no wonder several studies show that it’s within the top three priorities for a potential buyer. Surrounding your house at both front and back, it’s a large area that requires just as much pre-viewing preparation as any room inside – and that’s where we’re here to help!

Tidying the garden is one thing, but styling it is another – it’s the finishing touches you add to the space with considered layouts and accessories that will take it to the next level. So, after you’ve trimmed the hedges and pressure-washed the patio, the fun can truly begin! By bringing a flourish of style to the garden, you’ll be surpassing the viewer’s expectations, showing them the true potential of the space.

Read on for 6 tested tips that will finesse your garden with a dose of charming style.

1. Frame the front door

The first area viewers will see when they arrive is the front door, so it’s worth thinking about the inviting impression you want to create. After refreshing old letterboxes, handles and knockers, consider defining a pathway to the door with flanks of flower beds or potted plants interspersed with post lights.

When it comes to the doorway or porch, draw the eye by framing it with hanging baskets and climbing plants. Alternatively, use candle-filled lanterns of varying sizes either side of the door – mix these in groups of three for visual appeal.

2. Get in the zone

Before you start accessorising the back garden, we suggest dividing it into different areas that are suited for particular purposes. Not only will this make your space feel bigger, but it will also be more organised, allowing you to show the garden in its best light.

A few cleverly positioned dining and seating areas will help to subtly delineate your garden and enable potential buyers to envisage themselves in the space. Define the centre of the main entertainment area with a weatherproof rug, and use comfy furniture to outline the borders. For a balance of cosy and sophisticated style, use a glass-topped table and cushioned dining chairs made from natural-looking materials such as all-weather wicker or Lloyd Loom.

If space allows, channel relaxation in another corner of the garden with an outdoor sofa or swing chair and a timber coffee table. To complete the snug look and feel, add a gas or electric heater.

3. Light the way

Come rain or shine, illuminating your outdoor space with thoughtfully chosen lighting that looks just as good in the daytime as it does at night will add warmth and style. Consider the theme of your interior, and expand this into the garden. A set of bronze- and copper-toned fixtures will give an aged, antique look that’s in keeping with period houses and cottages, whereas matt black and silvered patinas will coordinate with the contemporary feel of a modern home.

If you have a decking area, consider installing recessed floor lighting – for house viewings during darker months, this it will add an uplifting glow to the space. Alternatively, intertwine streams of festoon lights around an awning, hang them along the eaves of a shed or car port, or wrap them around a tree or two to enhance the relaxed atmosphere.

4. Play with mirrors

An outdoor mirror or two is ideal for bouncing light around the garden and, if you position them in a clever way, they can also make the space feel bigger. When placing a mirror outside, consider what you want it to reflect. Fixing it against a fence or wall to reflect flowers and foliage is much preferrable to a view of trailing drainpipes!

Think about the shape and size of the mirror, too. Going large will have the most impact, so when it comes to oversized mirrors, add one to your seating area to bounce light and reflect your table styling skills. Whether your garden style errs on the classic or modern side, a Crittall window mirror will suit the space. Give an arch-shaped one pride of place in an elegant countryside garden, or use a straight-framed square version in a more contemporary area.

5. Lift the space with colour

When it comes to nature, feel free to play around with colour to make your garden feel cheerful and inviting. For easy decorating, bring in container plants – they work especially well on a paved area or courtyard space where colour might be lacking. And if the flowers aren’t in bloom yet, then you can still add bright hues in the form of plant pots and baskets grouped together in coordinating colours.

For quaint, older houses, a fast-growing climber such as wisteria or clematis set against a wall or fence will give your space a real ‘wow’ factor. Or for a modern home, use trailing plants housed in hanging baskets to create a living wall of foliage for a more minimal approach. Wooden or galvanised metal step ladders are also a creative way to make a fun floral display.

If you have any bare patches among your flower beds, then now is the time to fill them. Bring in a selection of easy-to-maintain perennials that look good all year round such as hellebore, libertia, liriope muscari and cranesbill.

6. Keep it low-key

Remember, you don’t need to go OTT with styling or make it appear high maintenance. Keep it depersonalised by opting for furnishings that highlight texture over pattern and, unless it’s in the form of flowers or plants, accessorise with calm, neutral colours so you don’t overwhelm the space.

Keen for more tips on how to style your garden? Or do you need other advice on how to prepare your home ready to go on the market? Either way, we’d love to hear from you! Simply call us for a chat on 0121 296 2600 / 01543 226322 or send us an email at info@barrowsandforrester.co.uk. No matter what your question is, we’re always more than happy to help.

Estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, has revealed the five biggest homebuyer turn-offs and how much money each of them can remove from a home’s market value.

Bad/nuisance neighbours

For most people, living next-door to nuisance neighbours is a worst case scenario. Sometimes they make loud noises long into the night; sometimes they’re constantly in the garden partying; and sometimes they’re committing rowdy, even abusive behaviour towards everyone living around them. Sometimes, of course, it’s all of the above and more.

Homebuyers will move heaven and earth to avoid moving in next door to bad neighbours, so much so that a property can struggle to even garner buyer interest and the seller ends up having to lower the asking price by at least 10%. With today’s average house price, this means bad neighbours reduce value £27,376.

 

Poor upkeep of home’s exterior and gardens

Unlike bad neighbours, this one is completely within the control of the seller, so there’s not really any excuse for letting it happen. General disrepair and shoddy appearance have a huge impact on first impressions, completely turning off a buyer before they’ve even stepped inside the property. 

It is easy to make a home look clean and tidy from the outside, requiring only a broom, a pot of paint, and maybe a rented power washer. When it comes to the garden, if it’s overgrown or being used as a dump site, buyers are likely to already have a negative opinion of the home before they’ve even stepped foot inside it. Such is the power of this turn-off that it can reduce the value of a home by more than 14%, or £38,600.  

 

Evidence of pets

We are a nation of pet lovers, but we’re also fastidious when it comes to cleanliness. Evidence of pet hair in the carpets and strong odours in the air are big buyer turn-offs and can reduce their perceived value of a home by 4%, or £11,000. 

 

Parking problems

A convenient and secure parking space continues to be one of the most important things for homebuyers, so much so that a safe, private space can increase the value of a home by as much as £22,500 while the complete absence of a parking option will strip 7%, or £19,500, off the value of a home. 

 

Dirty, cluttered and smelly 

It is absolutely essential that sellers clean and tidy their property before inviting prospective buyers to view it. It is easy to do and improves first impressions ten-fold. In the days leading up to a viewing, it’s always good to open the windows for a few hours and let some fresh air in to make sure that the home doesn’t smell musty and to eliminate any odours that the current owners no longer notice but strangers are likely to clock. If a house is not clean and tidy, it can again knock as much as 11% off the potential market value (£11,000). 


Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester
, James Forrester, commented:

“Homebuyers are an understandably picky bunch. They’re looking for their own version of perfection and this can differ wildly from one buyer to the next. So don’t take it personally if they aren’t all as enthusiastic about your house as you once were, or if it takes you a little while longer than expected to sell. 

Of course there are plenty of things you can do to increase your chances of impressing a buyer and securing a sale, as well as plenty of things that can do the opposite.

“Presentation is vital and you need to ensure you are presenting the best version of your property that you can, whether it be in the initial photos taken or during the viewing process. Failing to do so can not only reduce interest and see your home remain sat on the market for far longer, but it can also cost you when you finally do find a buyer.”

 

Table shows the impact of each issue on the value of a home based on the current UK average of £273,762
Turn-offs Impact to property value (%) Impact to property value (£)
Nuisance neighbours -10% -£27,376
Unkept garden -14.1% -£38,600
Evidence of pets -4.0% -£10,950
Parking issues such as no private parking -7.1% -£19,437
General poor upkeep -4.0% -£10,950

 

Average house price data sourced from Gov.UK: HPI.

Data on the impact of each issue to a property’s value sourced from Speed Property Buyers, The Express, Chronicle Live, Essex Live, and Chancellors.

Research by estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, reveals how homeowners can help to protect the environment while adding great value to their property by carrying out some eco-friendly home improvements. But which upgrades add the most value?


Insulation

Upgrading a home’s insulation, specifically solid wall insulation, is one of the best ways of improving efficiency and reducing energy usage. It costs an estimated £2,750 to do but can boost property value by 3%. Based on the average UK house price of £273,762, this equates to £8,213, adding value to the tune of £5,463. This makes it the most profitable eco-friendly upgrade available to homeowners when it comes to adding value to their home, as well as reducing their carbon footprint. 


Electric car charging port

Despite the increasing popularity of electric and hybrid cars, it’s still very rare to find a home that comes with its own charge point. Installation is relatively inexpensive, around £800, and can add around 1.5% to the home’s value, adding £3,306 in value. 


Boiler upgrade

Many homes can still benefit from a good old fashioned boiler upgrade. While notoriously expensive to do, around £2,500, the increased efficiency and longevity that a new boiler provides adds around 1.9% to the home’s value, adding £2,701 in value. 


Tankless water system

Similarly, if a home uses a tank system for its hot water, in which it uses a large tank to store large amounts of water that must then be heated every time hot water is required, it’s a very good idea to replace it with a tankless heater system.  Doing so costs around £1,275 but adds 1.2% to the property’s value, a boost of £1,984. 


Double glazing

Fitting double-glazed windows throughout the home is very expensive, costing an estimated £6,575. It is, however, an essential step towards creating an energy efficient and warm home and is so important to homebuyers that the improvement adds 3% to the value of a property. Measured against the cost, this brings an added value of £1,638.


LED lighting and roof repairs

Increased efficiency and good profits can also be added through installing energy efficient LED lighting throughout the home (£1,069 profit), and addressing any faults or weaknesses with the roof (£987 profit).


Solar panels

One outlier is solar panels. Despite being one of the most common ways of improving the carbon footprint of a home, it seems they do very little in terms of added value. Installation is expensive, around £5,875, while the value added is estimated to be £1,916, a loss of -£3,959. However, there are obvious savings to be made from reduced utility bills, so if the owner is planning to stay in the home for many years to come, solar panels can still offer good savings. 


Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester
, James Forrester, commented:

“Eco-friendly home renovations and upgrades can be a brilliant way of reducing the running costs of your home, which is something that has been brought into focus due to the spiralling cost of living. 

But they don’t just reduce the day to day costs associated with our homes, they can also add value for such a time that you do come to sell. 

In addition to the financial benefits they bring to the home, they can also help us make a positive change with regards to the environment and this eco-friendly conscience is something we are seeing more and more from the modern-day homebuyer.”


Data Tables

Average house price data sourced from Gov.UK: HPI

Renovations information sourced from My Household Quotes. My Job Quote, Checkatrade, and Homehow

 

Table shows eco-friendly home upgrades alongside estimated cost and added value based on the UK average house price of £273,762 (Jan 22)
Eco-friendly renovation / improvement Estimated average cost Estimated added value (%) Estimated added value (£) Added value (£) minus cost
Upgrade insulation (solid wall insulation) £2,750 3.0% £8,213 £5,463
Electric car charge point £800 1.5% £4,106 £3,306
Upgrade boiler £2,500 1.9% £5,201 £2,701
Tankless water heater £1,275 1.2% £3,259 £1,984
Upgrade window double glazing £6,575 3.0% £8,213 £1,638
Energy saving lighting / LED £300 0.5% £1,369 £1,069
Roof £7,500 3.1% £8,487 £987
Fitting solar panels £5,875 0.7% £1,916 -£3,959

 

Spring is a wonderful time to sell your home – the buds are budding, gardens are springing into life, and a little bit of sunshine makes everyone’s home look better. Plus, buyers have traditionally always started home searching in the spring, and the property portals tell us this is still the case today.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, or your home is on the market right now, you may have some questions about how to make your move a success. Here are some of the questions we get asked at this time of year by our clients at Barrows & Forrester:

“My house has been on the market since wintertime – now my garden is flowering, should I get new photographs taken?”

Winter garden photos can look a little, well, sad. Bare trees and shrubs, bare earth and leaf-covered, muddy lawns can all be a bit off-putting to buyers. So when your garden starts coming back to life, it’s a really good idea to get some fresh and colourful images taken to showcase it to buyers and sell your home. At Barrows & Forrester we offer new foliage images free of charge to our clients, to make sure their images online are always current and as attractive as possible. Why not ask your agent if they can do likewise?

If I get an offer now, when should I expect to be moved by?”

Nationwide, the current time from accepting an offer to handing over the keys is around 12 weeks, but this can vary hugely depending on your buyer’s position, finance needed, any complications with your sale and much more. If you have a straightforward sale to sell your home, no chain and your buyer doesn’t need a mortgage, then you should be moved by the summer, or around 10 weeks. Any complications or chain delays can more than double this, so ask an expert about your specific situation. We’re always happy to offer our advice on timescales and what to expect. Just give us a call on 0121 296 2600 or 01543 226322 and let’s have a chat.

I don’t know how I’m going to keep my house tidy during the Easter holidays! Should I take a break from the market?”

We feel your pain! Trying to sell your home with children off school is never an easy task, but there are some things you can do to help make your viewings successful and stress-free:

“I’m thinking about moving home – is now a good time?”

A great question! We’re sure you’ve heard it’s a ‘seller’s market’ right now, and has been pretty much since the start of the Pandemic. But things are starting to change. More homes coming to market means more competition for buyers, and that creates downward pressure on house prices. We expect prices to remain strong for at least this year, and probably into next year, but we think the days of huge scarcity are now behind us. What does this mean for you if you’re thinking of selling? Well, if we’re right and property prices have peaked, you can feel confident you’d be selling your home at the top of the market. Whatever your situation, selling now when you know it’s a strong market is going to give you a more predictable sale price than waiting until next year and facing an unknown property market.

What are most buyers looking for right now?”

Some homes are inevitably in more demand than others – our buyers are looking for specific features, like work-from-home space, and often want a home with potential to extend. Bungalows seem to be very popular right now, as are homes with land. Whatever your home has to offer, we’d love to have a chat with you and tell you whether we have buyers registered who are looking for a home just like yours. Just give us a call on 0121 296 2600 or 01543 226322 or drop me a line at info@barrowsandforrester.co.uk to get the ball rolling.

I thought this was supposed to be a seller’s market, but my home still hasn’t had much interest. What can I do?”

It’s hugely disappointing when you’re excited to put your home on the market, and no one seems interested. Especially if neighbouring properties are selling fast around you. The three key drivers of any successful property sale are presentation, price and promotion: how well your home is presented to the market, and whether it competes on how modern rooms like its kitchens and bathrooms are; whether the price is competitive and not over-optimistic; and finally, but probably the most important of the three, how your home is marketed.

The images, written description and brochure are more important than most people assume, and just improving them can have a dramatic impact on how much interest a home receives. We’ve taken on , styled them and changed the photography, and sold them straight away without changing the price at all! So if you’re not sure if your marketing is really showcasing your home, we’ll be frank, and tell you honestly if it is. Send me a link to your home at info@barrowsandforrester.co.uk and I’ll tell you how you can improve your marketing and attract the right buyer.

“Our garden is looking lovely, but it’s still a bit muddy. Can we ask viewers to take off their shoes before they view our home?”

Yes! We always take off our shoes before going into a home, and so we expect the viewers to do the same. Carpets with muddy footprints aren’t attractive to buyers, so let’s make sure yours stay clean!

If you have any questions at all about any of the points raised in this article, or you’d just like a friendly, no-strings chat about your house sale, we’d love to help you. Call me on 0121 296 2600 or 01543 226322, or email me on info@barrowsandforrester.co.uk and let’s get you moving.

James Forrester, proud owner of Barrows & Forrester across Birmingham, Lichfield and the surrounding areas. 

“Give your home the ‘wow’ factor with these styling tips!”

We’ve all heard this advice from property experts, but what does it mean? And how do you do it? Most importantly, is it worth the time and effort it may cost you?

All good questions, and the answers will be revealed in this article – so let’s dive in…

 

“What’s a ‘wow’ factor anyway?”

It’s that elusive magic ingredient that turns a home from standard to exceptional; from forgettable to unforgettable; from ‘meh’ to ‘wow!!’

 

“Ok I get that, but how do I create it in my home?”

Sometimes it’s as simple as adding a lifestyle touch to your kitchen, with a beautiful cake on a pretty stand, surrounded by fruit. Something like this:

barrows-forrester-estate-agents-birmingham-lichfield

Or you may need to spruce up a room by refreshing the décor with contemporary cushions, new furniture placement and some styling touches like flowers and magazines.

 barrows-forrester-estate-agents-birmingham-lichfield

Bedrooms can be forgotten and unloved, especially if they’re rarely used, so treat them to some new bedding, a luxurious throw and even some new artwork for the walls.

barrows-forrester-estate-agents-birmingham-lichfield

“Is it worth spending time, effort and money on styling my home if it’s going to sell quickly anyway?”

As I write this, there is a definite scarcity of homes on the market. Homes are selling fast, and often over the asking price. But while today’s ‘sellers’’ market may make it seem that house selling is easy, no matter its condition, spending a little T.L.C. on your home to make it even more appealing is a smart move for two reasons:

  1. When the market turns, your home will still stand out in all the right ways, and
  2. Even in a sellers’ market, you need to be confident you’re not leaving any money on the table and losing out to competitive homes just because they are more attractively styled.

As you can see, styling doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, and adding the ‘wow’ factor to your home could be simple and fast to do. If you’re feeling inspired and keen to get started, the team and I have compiled a list of 12 simple ways to wow your buyers. Let’s go! 

 

  1. Make a big, bold statement

To create a ‘wow’ feature, add a special piece to the entryway of your home. A large photographic print, original artwork or over-sized vase will instantly capture attention, pique a potential buyer’s interest and make them want to see more.

 

  1. Showcase your best spaces

To make a room feel large and open, moving or even removing unnecessary furniture will simplify it. This helps your buyers to make it their own in their heads, imagining how it will look with their furniture and accessories. When rooms are full of furniture, buyers find difficult to see past what’s there and envision your home’s potential.

 

  1. Romance your buyers

Think: date night. Soft lamps, gently flickering candles, a crackling fire and subtle music playing – these all set the scene for a romantic date, but also for a successful viewing. Buyers buy with their hearts, not their heads, so appeal to their softer side, stir their emotions and make sure they leave wanting more!

 

  1. Create a culinary experience

So many of us are budding chefs these days with the popularity of Masterchef and Bake-off, so create a mouth-watering experience for your buyers as they step into your kitchen! Try an Ottolenghi cookbook, casually open on the side, with some posh cookware and even posher ingredients, to create the impression that culinary magic is about to happen.

 

  1. Play it safe in the bedrooms

Bedrooms are no place for strong and vibrant colours, unless you are a professional interior designer, and even then you risk sending your buyers running for their car if your bedrooms are overpowering. Even if you love bold colours, when you’re selling your home, you need to pander to a buyer’s tastes, rather than foist yours on them. So keep bedrooms light and simple. Crisp white bedding with plump pillows, dressed with a throw and some cushions in a subtle shade will give your bedrooms a hotel quality a buyer will love.

 

  1. Set the table

Why not set your lovely dining table for dinner with your best dinner set? If you don’t want to go the whole hog with silverware and glasses, just add placemats, plates and glasses for an understated look. Add a floral centrepiece and voila! Your home is ready for its House Beautiful debut.

 

  1. Add colour sparingly and subtly

If you’ve neutralised your home so much it looks bland and maybe a bit boring, it’s time to add some colour. The safest way to add interest is with soft furnishings: rugs, cushions and throws add colour and warmth and can really help co-ordinate a room. If you’re not sure what colours might work, look at high street stores like Next and Wayfair for ideas, and Pinterest for inspiration.

 

  1. Use mirrors to make rooms feel bigger and brighter

Mirrors are a great way to bounce that light around your home and banish dark corners. Try a mirror instead of a picture over a fireplace or above a sideboard. Mirrors can make narrow spaces like hallways and landings look wider and help open up the space, and they can also transform a tiny bathroom.

 

  1. Give your dining room table a fabulous centrepiece

The dining room tends to be a place for celebrations, but it’s also a room that can feel a touch bland when it’s not being used. The perfect solution when you’re selling is to lift the look and atmosphere of the room by having a stunning centrepiece that gives a sense of occasion. Perhaps a large bowl of fresh hydrangeas, a tall vase of flowers and foliage (either real or good-quality imitation) or an arrangement of storm lanterns and pillar candles – something that will leave a striking impression on buyers.

 

  1. Make the fireplace a focal point

Fireplaces are certainly an attractive selling feature, so make the most of them. If you have a working fireplace, make sure the hearth is clean, the fire is always laid and you have a lovely store of logs beside it, ready to light for viewings. And if you can’t or don’t want to light a real fire, why not fill the recess with a selection of pillar candles? That can look really pretty, and even if there’s no actual heat, the flames will give the illusion of warmth.

 

  1. Bathrooms that wow

In the bathroom, tidy away the products you use every day – toothbrushes, toilet cleaner etc. – and make sure your sanitaryware is sparkling. Add a set of fresh white towels and luxurious toiletries (Jo Malone or The White Company), a room diffuser and a couple of pretty plants, and your bathroom is ready to show off.

 

  1. Bring your doorstep to life

And let’s not forget the front door. Plain styles tend to work best for contemporary homes, whereas if you have a period home, a red or navy front door can look classically smart. Adding bay trees or shaped conifers completes the look. If you’re lacking in inspiration, google “front doors” plus your type of home. For example, “front doors for contemporary home”. You’ll see pages and pages of beautiful ideas to copy and make sure your buyers are wowed on the doorstep.

As you can see, we’re big fans of styling a home to wow buyers! And we know it works. The homes we sell that have been skilfully styled tend to get more viewings, and better feedback too from buyers.

If you’d like a complimentary consultation on how your home could benefit from being styled – either a little or a lot – we’d love to share our ideas with you too! Just call us on 0121 296 2600 / 01543 226322 or email info@barrowsandforrester.co.uk and we’ll have your home wowing buyers in no time.

Research by Barrows and Forrester has shown just how much UK homebuyers could save by snapping up a property at auction, as well as looking at the potential drawbacks of this cost effective approach to homeownership. 

 

Auction property prices

The biggest reason property buyers enter the auction room is price. On average, auction homes in Britain sell for -41% less than those on the open market. With the national average house price currently £278,120, this represents an average saving of almost £115,000.

While this saving varies from region to region, it climbs as high as 48% in Scotland while London is home to the biggest monetary saving with a £87,000 saving. 

 

Speed and certainty of purchase

After price, the greatest advantage of buying a home at auction is speed. Unlike buying on the open market, sales are not subject to typical delaying factors such as chains. So, when the hammer falls on an auction property, it takes very little time for the buyer to receive the keys. Typically, around a month compared to around six months on the open market. 

Another advantage is that purchases are certain - there is no way the seller or buyer can decide to back out at the last minute because the fall of the hammer, is itself, a legally binding moment. This brings an additional sense of certainty to the process, allowing all parties to complete their processes without fear of fall through. 

 

Greater transparency

Another advantage of property auctions is the overall transparency of the bidding process. Bidders have full knowledge of the price as it rises, and full control over whether to raise the bid or drop out. 

This prevents buyers from falling foul of the common open market practice of gazumping, in which one buyer has their offer accepted before it is suddenly revoked because another buyer has swept in with a better offer at the last minute. 

 

What to watch out for

There are usually a good variety of homes available at auction, some in good condition, but many with perceived baggage; baggage that might deter buyers on the open market. This is why auctions are popular with professional buyers, but if regular buyers are looking for a ‘fixer-upper’, for example, auctions are a great place to start. 

Because auction properties often require some work, the bidding tends to start well-below market value, and, as already discussed, the sale prices are often well-below average, too. For many people, this provides an opportunity to buy a larger home than they could afford on the open market, or in a location that is otherwise out of their price range. However, despite the significant upfront savings, to suggest that auctions offer better value for money than the open market is misleading. 

Yes, auction buyers regularly secure great deals for themselves, both professionals and amateurs.  But, more often than not, they are buyers who are able to renovate the property, at least partially, themselves. Otherwise, the money required to renovate can quickly negate the auction savings. 

There are a couple of extra things to be aware of at property auctions. The shorter buying timeframes mean less time for surveyors and solicitors to do their jobs, thus reducing levels of due diligence. Buyers must also be ready, right then and there,  with the finances in-place to meet the required agreement with the seller’s solicitor and, as such, there is a real risk of buyers going over budget, perhaps carried away in the heat of the moment, and placing themselves in financial difficulty.

Finally, anyone who is interested in selling a property at auction should know that the auction house will take a commission of around 2.5% of the final sale price. There is also an entry fee, usually around £300 for each property, and sellers must also provide an auction legal pack which costs at least £200 to produce.

 

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:

“Buying at auction is more popular now than ever before. It’s fair to say that the rise of online auctions is responsible for this, not least because it helps everyday buyers avoid the intimidating environment of the traditional auction room, surrounded by competitors who are bidding every day. 

However, it’s important to note that it requires more thought than your usual late night eBay splurge and while greater accessibility is a positive, it has also increased the number of buyers getting in over their heads.

Just like the open market, the financial agreements you’re making at auction are very real and deal with very large sums of money. It’s vital to be prepared, have your finances in place, do your homework on the properties you’re planning to bid on, and ensure all of the important surveys and checks are completed before the hammer falls.”

Contact us here for any property queries.

 

Sold price data sourced from PropertyData

Auction information sourced from Allsop: Dispelling some auction myths – the advantages and disadvantages of buying at auction, HOA: How to sell your house at auction,  and HOA: Buying and selling with online property auctions

Additional information sourced from Auction-Link and PropertyRoad

Table shows the average house price for open market and auction homes in Great Britain, alongside the £ and % difference.
Location Auction average guide price Local area average price (Dec 2021 UK HPI) Difference - auction vs local (£) Difference (%)
Scotland £93,399 £180,485 -£87,086 -48%
East of England £182,872 £339,502 -£156,630 -46%
North West £113,147 £200,172 -£87,025 -43%
North East £83,534 £147,214 -£63,680 -43%
East Midlands £138,547 £235,004 -£96,457 -41%
South East £228,681 £380,237 -£151,556 -40%
South West £192,527 £314,037 -£121,510 -39%
West Midlands £130,757 £212,229 -£81,472 -38%
Wales £127,921 £204,835 -£76,914 -38%
London £341,459 £521,146 -£179,687 -34%
Great Britain £163,284 £278,120 -£114,836 -41%

 

The new year encourages many of us to make positive changes in our lives. A popular choice is pledging to do more exercise, while some people might decide to learn a new skill. But if you were one of the many sellers who put their home on the market last year and you haven’t yet found a buyer, this new year you’re probably resolving to get that sale!

 As estate agents, we find that pretty much every new year brings with it not only a flood of requests from homeowners for valuations, but also a steady stream of enquiries about homes for sale. That means as we make our way through winter towards the spring, the market is usually buzzing.

So, how can you best take advantage of this activity and make sure your home attracts and secures the perfect buyer?

Here’s our round up of five positive steps you can take right now to revamp your marketing strategy and ensure this is the year you move on and make a fresh start in a new home.

1.Take a brief rest from the market

In our experience, a home tends to generate the greatest interest from buyers in the first two to three weeks that it’s on the market. When your home appears as a new listing, buyers who are registered with online portals should receive a link to the details, and your agent should be sending out the brochure to their own database of potential buyers.

But after that initial flurry of activity, things often settle down on the viewing front, and we find that the longer your home is on the market, the less likely it is to attract the perfect buyer. As those who have been looking for a new home for a while keep seeing your listing, the fact that it hasn’t sold yet may make it less desirable to them, and you’re more reliant on new buyers who are just starting their search. 

So, if you’ve been advertising for several months, it could be a good idea to take a break just for a few weeks, in order to reignite interest. Give the market time to move on a little bit – let some sales of other homes that are comparable to yours go through and wait for new buyers to enter the mix – then you can relaunch your home with some fresh marketing.

And while you’re temporarily off the market, you can use the time to review your sales and marketing plan with your agent and take some positive actions, beginning with a review of what buyers who have already seen your home have said about it.

 2. Review feedback from viewings

Feedback from potential buyers who have viewed your home can often be incredibly useful. Finding out what they liked and what didn’t appeal so much helps both you and your agent understand what could be discouraging people from making an offer. 

For instance, if viewers thought some rooms felt a little dark or smaller than they’d hoped, could you change the lighting or perhaps rearrange some of the furniture to maximise light and space? Or, if the feedback was that certain rooms felt dated or needed some work, would you be prepared to spend a little money on upgrades or redecoration, to help achieve the best possible price for your home?

So, discuss with your agent the feedback people have given so far, and if several buyers have highlighted the same points, look at whether there’s anything you can do to change those things and make your home more attractive to buyers. And feel free to contact us for some advice – we’re always here to help!

3. Style your home for the spring

Some simple restyling can be a great, cost-effective way to give your home a new look for the new year, and you might be surprised what you can achieve with just a few accessory changes. 

Pack away any dark-coloured or heavy cushions, throws and rugs – all the touches that helped make your home feel extra cosy through the winter – and replace them with lighter fabrics. Invest in some crisp white bed linen (which will also brighten up the bedrooms in your new home when you move!), and make sure curtains and blinds are well drawn back to let as much daylight in as possible. Breathe new life into each room with freshly cut flowers and leafy plants, and swap large pillar candles and storm lanterns for just a few more subtle, light floral-scented candles. You can also check out the latest issues of home magazines for more current style tips. 

Finally, think about how the furniture is positioned – could a different configuration make a room feel more spacious and inviting to potential buyers? And don’t forget, you can always ask for some help with this. We know ourselves that it can be tricky to look at your own home objectively, so maybe ask a friend to cast their eye over it and give you an unbiased opinion.

 4. Ask your agent to take new, professional photographs

Professional photographs can make all the difference to the success of your home’s marketing. Great eye-catching photographs don’t only show what’s in a home, they tell a story and illustrate a lifestyle that really grabs the imagination of potential buyers, making them want to live that life themselves.

For example, a professional sitting room photograph might feature a roaring fire and some glossy magazines next to an afternoon tea on the table, conveying a sophisticated, yet warm and relaxing feel. And a bathroom shot might show a steaming bubble bath, surrounded by candles and soft lighting, to give the feeling of a luxurious spa.

A photographer who’s experienced in shooting homes for magazines and sales brochures will know exactly how to capture each room looking its absolute best – from the angle and lighting to incorporating the finest lifestyle features into the shots.

So, once you’ve revamped the styling of your home, ask your agent to have some new, professional photographs taken. Not only will that ensure your images look current and in line with the season, but if you’ve taken a break from marketing, it means you can relaunch with an entirely new portfolio of stunning shots and potentially attract buyers that might not have noticed your home before.

 5. Update your brochure

Take another look at the brochure your agent’s been sending out to prospective buyers. Are you happy with the quality, and do you feel it properly reflects the value of your home? It should showcase a desirable lifestyle that will grab buyers’ attention and entice them to view – does it do that?

Once you’ve had new photographs taken, your brochure will need updating anyway, so this is your opportunity to make any other changes that could help attract that perfect buyer. So make sure:

Of course, depending on how your agent responds to your suggestions and how happy you are about your experience with them to date, you may feel it’s time for a complete change of approach with a new agent. In that case, take a look at our blog ‘Thinking of changing estate agents? – Our smooth move guide’

And if you’re ready to step things up a gear so you can get moving this new year, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch and we’ll be delighted to take you through our bespoke marketing approach and discuss how we can help you achieve a successful sale at the best possible price. Just call on 0121 296 2600 / 01543 226322 or email info@barrowsandforrester.co.uk and we’ll get right back to you.

Selling a home might not be an exact science, but there are a number of factors that will make a huge difference to how successful your sale will be.

Our experience has shown us that homes that sell quickly and for a good price tend to have certain key things in common, so we’ve developed a checklist that we can use to analyse the saleability of any home. We rate various elements of your marketing approach across five categories, awarding up to a maximum of five points for each element to give your home an overall ‘Saleability Score’.

Using our scorecard, you’ll be able to see for yourself where there may be room for improvement in your marketing. Once you’ve identified which areas aren’t as strong as they could be, you can discuss those points with your agent and work together to turn things around so that your home makes the right impact on buyers.

So, if your home has been on the market for a while and perhaps you haven’t had quite as many viewings as you’d hoped, run through our Saleability Scorecard and see how your marketing stacks up. Set aside a couple of hours, and make sure you have your printed brochure and online listing to hand. Think about every question carefully, and try to look objectively at your marketing materials and how your home is presented. Then give your answers in the form of points, awarding from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 5 for each bullet point listed under each element below

1. Your estate agent

Communication and feedback are key to helping you understand how the marketing is going and reassuring you that your agent really is doing their best to sell your home. So:

2. Your brochure

Your brochure needs to convey the quality of your home, setting a standard and value before the prospective buyer sees it in person. And the photographs have got to showcase a desirable lifestyle, grabbing buyers’ attention and enticing them to view.

3.Your online advert

This is your virtual shop window, and with the possibility of hundreds of other homes appearing in search results, your listing needs to stand out.

4. The price

If a home is marketed at too optimistic a price, it tends to sit on the market for longer. So you must make sure your home is advertised at a price that both reflects its true value and attracts buyers.

5.Preparing your home for viewings

You must do all you can to make buyers fall in love with your home – from the moment they first see it on the market to the end of their viewing.

Now, add up the points.

If you have a Saleability Score of more than 80, well done – that suggests both you and your agent are on top of your home sale! Just take note of the areas where you might want to make a few tweaks, and if you still find you’re not getting enough viewings, then get in touch with us.

If you’ve scored between 50 and 80, there are probably quite a number of areas that you and your agent could work on. The good news is, this means there’s every likelihood that if you can just make the right improvements to your marketing, you should be able to attract much more interest and start to get some offers coming in.

However, if you have under 50 points, it’s probably time to consider a full marketing makeover. And if your current agent hasn’t already addressed the various challenges, it could be time to switch to one that’s more proactive and professional in their approach. We would be more than happy to discuss how we can help you with this, so please feel free to get in touch with us at any time. 

And if you’re feeling a little disheartened by your result, be encouraged by the fact that there are plenty of things you can do to make your home much more saleable – with the right agent on board. The important thing is that you take action right away. If you don’t, your home will simply sit on the market, leaving it at risk of possibly going ‘stale’, which is likely to reduce your chance of getting a good sale price. When buyers see the same home being advertised in the same way, week after week, it gives the impression that something isn’t quite right. So it’s time to grab the bull by the horns!

The first port of call is to speak to your agent, show them our Saleability Scorecard and find out whether they agree with your ratings. It may be that they have their own ideas about the kinds of changes that could be made and are keen to work with you to turn things around.

However, if you don’t get the response you were hoping for, give us a call – we can review your marketing ourselves and give you our expert opinion on what needs to be done to secure a successful sale. Then, once we’ve visited your home to appraise it fully, we’ll come up with a bespoke marketing strategy that focuses on promoting all the best features of your home and relaunch it onto the market in style!

If you’d like to discuss your current situation and find out how we can help you and your home get the sale you deserve, just give us a call on 0121 296 2600 / 01543 226322 – or email info@barrowsandforrester.co.uk – and we’ll get right back to you.

If you’re ready to move, you might be wondering whether to put your home on the market now or wait until the spring. Well, although winter may traditionally be a quieter time for home-moving than spring and summer, the market is still very much open for business and selling your home in this colder season does have its benefits.

As those who aren’t in a hurry to move tend to hunker down and focus on festivities, buying and selling activity usually dips a little over the winter period. That gives motivated sellers who push ahead with marketing two advantages:

  1. Although you may get fewer viewings overall through the winter, those who make the effort to look at potential new homes despite the inclement weather, are generally committed buyers who are serious about making offers.
  2. If there is a slight drop in the number of homes on the market, there’s less competition. That means you should get a higher proportion of buyers viewing your home and, with fewer houses for them to choose from, they should be quicker to make an offer if they like what they see!

Remember, even if there’s a howling blizzard outside, the internet is always up and running. House-bound potential buyers will have plenty of time to browse through online listings, and estate agents’ doors and phone lines are still open.

So, if you’re keen to secure a sale this winter, it’s time to revitalise your marketing for the season and prepare to show buyers that your home is a wonderful one to live in – whatever the weather’s doing outside!

With that, here are our top 7 tips to help you sell your home this winter:

1. Style for the season

Work with the colder weather and shorter daylight hours by styling your home so that it reflects the season and creates a cosy atmosphere.

Refreshing soft furnishings and accessories is a simple way to transform the look of a room, so replace light cushions and throws with heavier fabrics and deeper colours. Pillar candles in storm lanterns cast a lovely light and can make a great focal point on a coffee table, sideboard or kitchen countertop. Winter-scented candles – think cinnamon, spiced pumpkin and orange – can also help create a welcoming seasonal vibe.

Low-maintenance green plants, such as peace lilies and Boston ferns will add life and are easy to look after, and potted orchids should give you long-lasting flowers and just a hint of spring around the corner.

Finally, if you’re wondering whether you should put up Christmas decorations, we’d say yes – as long as they’re not overpowering. Festive décor can add a lovely, cheery feel to your home, but you don’t want to detract from the natural space. So, even if you usually dress every room from head to toe in Christmas trim, hold back a little this year!

2. Maximise light

Low natural light in winter can sometimes make interiors feel dull, so make sure you let as much daylight in as possible when you have viewings. Pull back the curtains, make sure blinds are fully rolled up and clear window sills of any large objects that might block light from getting into a room.

Another thing to consider is how you could change the lighting to show off the size of each room – emphasising the height in particular can make a huge difference to how spacious rooms feel. Investing in some higher-wattage light bulbs is a simple way to brighten up your whole home, and have plenty of lamps throughout to add a warm and welcoming glow.

3. Turn your garden into a winter wonderland

With fewer daylight hours for potential buyers to appreciate the outside of your home, install some pretty garden lights to inject a touch of ‘winter wonderland’. There’s a huge range of all-weather options for exterior lighting – from strings of fairy lights for trees and summer houses, to stakes for lawns or borders and spotlights for pathways. And many of them are solar powered, so once they’re up, you don’t need to think about plugs or timers.

If you have a terrace or other outdoor seating area, you could add solar-powered lanterns and why not consider investing in a heat lamp or fire pit that you can take with you to your next home?

4. Refresh your photography

The best way to keep your home looking fresh in adverts is to ensure the photography is always in line with the season. So, if your current photos were taken in the summer, speak to your agent about updating them.

Have the interior shots taken once the styling has been refreshed for winter, but before you put up any Christmas decorations, as they would make the pictures a little too time specific. And for the exterior, make sure the photographer gets some shots at twilight, with plenty of lights on – inside and out, so your home glows and the garden twinkles!

5. Stay on top of maintenance

With higher levels of rain and wind – plus frost and possibly snow – you may have a few more jobs to do than usual to keep your home looking its best through the wintertime. But it’s worth doing a daily maintenance check because even if you don’t have a viewing booked, you never know when potential buyers might be passing by to check out your home from the outside.

Three key things to stay on top of:

Also, you may want to keep a close eye on how clean your windows look, as low light can be unforgiving and you want your home to sparkle!

6. Get set for perfect winter viewings

When it’s chilly outside, you want to welcome potential buyers into your home with warmth on all fronts. So turn the heating up a few degrees ahead of the viewing, light fires and candles for a cosy atmosphere, and make sure every room is well-lit.

Check the garden and other exterior lights are on, so people can clearly see where they’re going, and make sure there’s somewhere to hang up coats and leave umbrellas and boots. If you don’t have a porch or hallway, it’s worth popping a coat stand by the front door – and don’t forget a clean doormat.

A nice touch is to offer viewers a warm drink and even a seasonal nibble – perhaps a mince pie or some gingerbread. The more welcome you can make people feel, the more positive they’re likely to be as they walk around your home, hopefully leaving them with a happy memory of the viewing and your home.

7. Discuss the festive period with your agent

Find out what your agent’s business hours will be over Christmas and New Year, and make sure you keep them posted on your own plans – any specific days when you’re going to be entertaining or hosting family and friends and when viewings wouldn’t be convenient.

 If you’re going to be very busy over Christmas, you could simply consider taking a short break from selling for a couple of weeks. The best thing to do is have a chat with your agent and come up with a strategy for the festive period, so you can relax and enjoy yourself, while making sure you don’t miss out on a potentially perfect buyer.

Contact us

If you’re keen to sell and are ready to start marketing your home this festive season, get in touch and we can discuss the best strategy for finding you a buyer this winter. And if you’re already on the market with another agent but haven’t had any offers yet, we may be able to help you secure a sale ahead of Christmas – so give us a call! Phone on 0121 296 2600 / 01543 226322 or email us on info@barrowsandforrester.co.uk or contact us here and we’ll get straight back to you.

A great agent will be focused on selling your home at the best price, in a timeframe that suits you. If everything goes well, they’ll put the right value on it, market it effectively, then negotiate and progress your sale so you can move on to your new home as planned – and they’ll make the whole process as pain-free as possible. That’s what we strive to achieve for every one of our clients, and it’s what every seller hopes their experience will be.

But it’s not always plain sailing, and if your home’s been on the market for a while, with no sale in sight, you might be feeling disappointed and thinking of changing agents.

There could be several reasons why things haven’t gone as you’d hoped. Your agent may have seemed like the perfect choice to sell your home in the beginning, but they haven’t quite lived up to expectations. Maybe the viewings you were promised never materialised and now the agent is putting you under pressure to drop the price. Or perhaps they were attentive and positive at the start, but now their phone calls and emails are getting less and less frequent, and you feel as though getting your home sold is no longer a priority for them.

On the other hand, you may think your agent really has done their best, but for some reason things just haven’t worked out, and it’s probably time for a change. 

Whatever the situation, if you feel you’ve come to the end of the road with your current agent and you want to switch to a different one, what’s the best way to go about it?

Here’s our handy guide to making the transition from old agent to new as smooth as possible:

  1. Be clear on exactly what’s not working for you

It’s often helpful to make a list of what you’re not happy with and what’s been done to address things to date, so that you’re well prepared for a frank conversation with your estate agent. Doing this will also help you be clear on what you want a new agent to do differently.

  1. Check the terms of your current agreement

The most common contract between an agent and their client is ‘sole agency’, meaning that only that estate agent has the right to sell your home and claim the sale commission. Check if you have a tie-in period, and what notice you need to give, so you can plan accordingly.

  1. Have a forthright discussion with your estate agent

Before you jump straight into terminating your agreement with your agent, have a chat with them. They may have no idea you’re unhappy and disappointed with the way things have gone so far, especially if you haven’t voiced your concerns to them. A good agent will ask for a review meeting with you and suggest ways in which your saleability could be improved. They may offer to re-photograph your home, re-launch it on the portals or suggest a reduction in price.

Whether you decide to give your estate agent another try or terminate your agreement and switch to another estate agent, you’ll feel more in control of your home sale by taking affirmative action now.

  1. Shortlist alternative estate agents

If you’re ready to switch estate agents, ask your friends and family which agents they would recommend in the local area and why. Then check out these agents’ portfolios. Are they currently listing and selling homes like yours? Would you be the most expensive, or the cheapest, house in their portfolio? Check out their reviews on Google and Facebook and what their standards of photography and marketing are like.

When you have one or two agents you think would be worth chatting to, call and arrange a meeting at your home. 

  1. Ask the right questions

Asking the right questions of a prospective new estate agent will furnish you with the right information so you can make an informed decision, and potentially improve your chance of selling and moving on.

Use this list of questions as a checklist to start an open dialogue with the agent:

During the valuation meeting, notice whether the agent is also asking you questions. You want an agent to be interested in understanding your situation, as well as your motivation for moving home, so they can tailor their approach to give you the selling experience you deserve!

  1. Seal the deal

Choosing an estate agent is like dating – do you like them enough to want to see them again?? When it works best, the relationship between you the client and your estate agent is a partnership – one that will last at least for months, and sometimes, years. You need to feel that your agent has your back and will be your biggest supporter when times get tough down the line, especially in challenging negotiations with a buyer.

Whilst our advice is not to jump straight into a relationship with a new estate agent straight away, if you really feel you’ve exhausted the will, patience and skill of your current agent, then moving to a new agent could be just what you and your home needs.

We’d love to have a confidential chat with you about your options, and we’ll tell you frankly and openly why we think your home has not yet sold and what we think the answer might be. We rarely suggest a price reduction and prefer to use our marketing and styling skills as a first approach, but let us tell you more about those in person!

You can reach us on 0121 296 2600 / 01543 226322 or at info@barrowsandforrester.co.uk or contact us here – we’re really looking forward to hearing from you.