David Andrews Blog

' It needs too much work! ' - Nov 13

Richard Faulkners Blog

November 2013


“It Needs Too Much Work!”



This is a phrase that I hear time and time again when accompanying property viewers, or when seeking feedback after a viewing, so I think it is worth talking about.


But firstly, my apologies for not “blogging” in October!! Its been a long time since I’ve been able to use the words “The Property Market Is Buzzing”, but it has happened at long last!! Completing the sales of more than double the monthly “norm”, we were so busy in October, that I didn’t make it with the blog. No excuses, but doesn’t time fly?


When I completed my September blog, I started thinking about what I could say in the next one, and I couldn’t get away from presentation. Unlike many larger, and perhaps less personal estate agents, myself and David, (Gaster), are involved in the whole of the sales process, from first meeting a seller, to the accompanying of viewers, through the negotiating and contract chasing period, to the happy day when we hand over the keys at completion.


One of the most common reasons that viewers give for not wanting to buy a particular property, or for making a low offer, is that “it needs too much work!” We have no doubt that this is sometimes a polite way of telling us they don’t want to buy it, or a convenient way of justifying a low offer but, on many occasions, it is because they genuinely believe that they would have to spend a lot of money, or a lot of time and effort, or both.


As an example: During a viewing of a large house a couple of weeks ago, I got this response before we had even reached the kitchen so, with “it needs too much work” ringing in my ears, I let the viewers look around upstairs on their own, and had a long hard look for “all this work”.


For the life of me, I couldn’t find more than a need for a bit of decorating, and perhaps some new carpets. I made my way upstairs and, in the politest way, I asked what they meant by “too much work”? Sure enough, it was no more than the need for decorating and carpets. The viewers’ father declared that it would be his job to do the decorating, and he wasn’t keen, nor were they happy to spend any money on new carpets and decorating. I tried to encourage a cheeky offer, without success. Would they have bought it if things had been different? We will never know….. but there was no chance of opening any kind of negotiation under the circumstances.


Another recent example at the opposite end of the scale: In mid October, we were instructed to sell a truly immaculate property, even to the point where the owners had made arrangements with friends to store their “clutter” for a while. I suggested an asking price substantially higher than recent sales of similar houses on the same road, making it clear that we were in uncharted, but realistic, territory, and away we went.


The Saturday after marketing commenced, we had 6 viewings, and received a couple of offers of the asking price the following Monday. After fulfilling our commitments to a few more viewings during the early part of the week, our clients were able to choose a buyer who suited their circumstances best, and a sale was agreed at the asking price by the Wednesday. Needless to say, this experience has exceeded both ours, and our clients, expectations, in terms of both the level of the offers, the number of offers, and the speed with which it all happened.


If you are as sad as I am, and you watch all the property shows, you will see and hear people like Phil and Kirsty, and Sarah Beeny, et al, telling sellers that, with a little effort, and a bit of money, they can make their home more attractive to buyers, and thus achieve more interest, and a better price. This is often as simple as clearing the clutter, tidying up, mowing the lawn and weeding the garden, or it could mean attending to the multitude of niggling little jobs that you might put up with when you live in a house, but which buyers are looking for with a fine tooth comb.


In a similar way, I often see Phil or Kirsty telling buyers that they might be able get a better deal on a property that appears to need a lot of work but which, in reality could be sorted out to their satisfaction, for not too much money or effort.


There is no doubt that, when most buyers see things that they think require some fixing, or some “work”, they multiply the time, effort, and money, many times over what is actually required. Sometimes this gives buyers a polite reason for not buying a property they don’t like, sometimes it gives them an opportunity to make what seems like a cheeky offer, and other times it means they do not even offer on a property that they otherwise would. Needless to say, if the seller can resolve these issues before a buyer gets to see them, there is every chance that there will be more serious interest in their property, and any offers made should be better than they might have been.


I am not suggesting that we all create an immaculate property before selling – life is not like that – However, I am convinced that, with most properties, there are some things that can be done that will repay the time, effort, and money involved, many times over. It might mean life is a bit inconvenient, or artificial, for a while, but it should prove worth it in the end.


I could ramble on about all of the things a seller could consider with regards to presenting their property, but why reinvent the wheel? Click here: http://dahomes.co.uk/salesguide

and you will find lots of suggestions. Even if you are not an avid watcher of property programmes, changing your watching habits for the time you are considering a sale, or a purchase, or both, could reap dividends. I particularly like Phil in Secret Agent, and Phil and Kirsty in Location, Location, Location, but Sarah Beeny has some good advice when she is on, as has Ann Maurice if you can find reruns of The House Doctor.


I hope my ramblings are at least interesting, if not helpful. I’ll see if I can think of something festive to talk about in December. 

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