When selling a house, the printed property sales brochure should be fundamental to your property marketing strategy. Alas, all too often many vendors do not think of the brochure as a ‘pro-active sales tool’ and they simply regard it as nothing more than a point of reference for prospective buyers, giving them room dimensions and an idea of what the property looks like along with the estate agent’s details on should they wish to make an offer. Many vendors do not realise how, with just a little effort, their humble printed property details can become a highly effective promotional aid that actively entices buyers.
Many people selling houses in the UK go down the traditional route of simply listing their property with a local estate agent. They then leave all of the marketing and promotion in the hands of the professionals – after all that’s the agent’s job isn’t it? However the quality of sales particulars produced by estate agents varies widely, so it is in the vendor’s interests to ensure that the printed details given to prospective buyers are as effective as possible.
In most cases the estate agent’s fee will probably include some local advertising, listings on property websites or a photograph and summary details of your property in their shop window. Most estate agents will also produce a printed description of your property to give out to prospective purchasers. This will very often be in a pre-formatted standard template design.
A typical house buyer may cast their eye over hundreds of properties when searching for their next home, it is therefore important that your house stands out from the crowd. To have any chance of being noticed among the dozens of other similar properties for sale in your area or buyer’s price range, it is imperative that your property looks as appealing as possible when prospective buyers first see it on-line or in the estate agents window.
Capture the imagination:
Estate agents in the UK are of course legally bound by certain rules regarding the descriptive content within a property sales brochure, but it is the photographic content that usually lets the side down. You only have one chance to make a first impression, so ensure the photographs of your property are the best they can be. If your leading photograph is an exterior shot of the whole house then simple things like ensuring the frontage is tidy will make a world of difference to the overall impression, also try to take the photograph on a sunny day. If your house has a driveway or garage then leave the car off the parking space while the photograph is being taken, this will draw the buyer’s attention to the fact there is parking available rather than to what kind of car you drive. Additionally buyers will not be attracted by interior shots of kitchens with washing-up on show or scruffy laundry-strewn bathrooms – remember you’re selling a lifestyle – and they will not be enticed by photographs of houses taken at night with only pitch darkness visible through the windows.
To avoid such mistakes ensure your house is clean, tidy and well lit before the photographer arrives. If your estate agent visits at night time to list your property, ask him to come back during the day to take the photographs. You wouldn’t expect your estate agent to bring along ‘David Bailey’ to take photographs of your home, but if you feel your agent isn’t a good photographer and hasn’t captured the best possible image of your house, then find someone who is proficient and supply the photographs yourself.
One of the most common photographic errors is not keeping the printed details up-to-date; for example still using a photograph taken in winter with snow on the ground to sell a house in the middle of the summer. Perhaps the worst offence is an out-of-date photograph that shows flags in neighbouring windows taken during major sporting events – especially if the football word cup finished over a year ago! These kind of errors effectively ‘date’ your house and you could be giving buyers the impression that there must be something wrong with it to have been on the market for such a long time.
Retain the interest:
Once your beautifully presented property sales brochure has caught the buyer’s eye, it should then entice them to come and view your property. Apart from containing an accurate description (fixtures and fittings, room sizes, floorplan, tenure etc), your sales brochure gives you an ideal opportunity to tell prospective buyers all about your property’s unique benefits over other houses they may have viewed. You do not need to write a lengthy essay, but a few carefully chosen points in an opening paragraph that outlines your property’s attributes can quickly give the buyer a ‘feel’ for how your house could become their next dream home.
A small section on local amenities, highlighting local schools, shops and entertainment facilities can also go a long way to enticing a buyer to view your house.
In summary then, a well-designed sales brochure should firstly promote your property and attract the right buyers to view your house by capturing their imagination. Secondly it should be a tangible piece of informative literature that retains the buyers’ interest by answering many of their questions; highlighting the unique benefits of the property to make it stand out against the competition. Finally it should be kept up-to-date and underpin your whole marketing and sales campaign and complement any other marketing activities (such as advertisements or websites promoting your house for sale) by carrying the same sales message and clear, quality images.