Selling Your Home: How To Write a Listing
There are a few golden rules about writing the description of your property. The listing description can’t be too short or too long, however you are better off it being relatively short and packed with bullet points. Some “enlightened” estate agents feature a quote from the vendor in the listing: for example, something like ‘I lived in this property for 10 years and I have enjoyed the feeling of coming back home from work and relax. The flat is bright and welcoming.’ Some buyers may not even notice it but many will appreciate that extra touch and will refer to it during the viewing.
You may want to make your buyer’s life easier by listing the current running costs for the property: this is not common practice (a quick search of listings will prove that), however it can make your listing stand out.
If you are selling your home for the very first time, you are putting on the market a property that is likely to attract two types of buyers (see section on types of buyers later for more information): first time buyers and investors. It is important to cater for both categories. Regarding investors, your listing should include, among other things, the potential rental yield of the property. You can ask your estate agent to give you an estimate on the going rent for similar properties in your area or you can look it up online. There might even be a flat in your block being advertised as being available to rent. You can ask your neighbours how easy it is to find tenants and what type of people the tenants are (single people, couples, single parents, small families) – this is all information that is like gold dust when you talk to an investor. Even if you decide not to be present at viewings yourself and delegate the task to your agent, motivated buyers will request a second viewing and may ask to meet you in person. Buyers prefer to speak to the vendor because they want to ask additional questions about the property without the pressure from a professional salesperson.
Depending on the type of property you are selling, i.e., a house or a flat, make sure you give useful information. If you live in a flat, the listing should include which floor your flat is in the block, if there is a communal garden and parking space. Useful information should also include nearby facilities and places of interest like train stations, supermarkets and green spaces.
What To Include In a Listing
Are you selling the flat fully furnished? Are you leaving all the appliances behind? Add that to your listing and make sure you tell the buyers during viewings. Both first time buyers and investors will appreciate not having to buy appliances (and waiting for them to be delivered and installed).
The most important part of your listing is the preview text that accompanies the preview picture (main picture). The description should capture a buyer’s attention by highlighting the best aspects of your property: location, size, quality of finishes.
A way to make your property more appealing to buyers and more likely to be sold earlier than others is to offer it vacant on completion: you can either move temporarily into rented accommodation after selling your home, or stay with friends or relatives while you are looking for your new home. If you are selling chain-free you are giving an incentive to buyers, who may be concerned about delays.
A chain-free property is going to be more attractive than one in a chain. You may want to use this expedient again further down the line as you move up the property ladder: if, for example, it might take a further six months for your buyers to sell their property before they can buy yours. Would you be able (or could you afford) to wait almost a year to complete on your flat?
Think about the online pictures of your property as virtual real estate: the pictures will do the talking for you and buyers make decisions on whether to view your property in a matter of seconds.
Your estate agent will take a number of pictures during the valuation or a few days afterwards. You know your property better than anyone else so you are in charge of presenting your flat in the best way possible and offer suggestions.
Ask to see the pictures in the camera viewer before the agent leaves and ask to delete or retake pictures that don’t look satisfactory.
Move furniture if necessary, open or close doors depending on the shot. This is particularly important if you are selling a studio flat: if, for example, you are using the same folding table both as a dining table and as a desk, have the photographer take two pictures. Set up the table as a dining table with plates and a nice tablecloth or runner for one picture, then dress the table as a working desk with your computer and accessories like a diary or notepad. When viewers come in, explain to them that they can use the space for different functions, so that they can appreciate that even small spaces can be functional.
If you only do one thing during the photo-shoot, please close the lid of the WC. Many property listings have pictures of toilets in full view and they are not pleasing to see.
- Don’t forget to put away all your crockery left next to the sink after washing.
- Remember to add fresh flowers and plants, ideally in every room.
- Plump all the pillows and straighten out pictures on the walls.
- Speak to your estate agent and agree on what to include and exclude in the listing.
- Make a list of desirable features of your property that will appeal to buyers.
- Give buyers a bit of background about how much you have enjoyed living in your property by highlighting what you love about your home.