How to Win Buyers and Influence People

14.06.16

How to Win Buyers and Influence People

They say tough times call for tough measures – a belt-tightening mantra you’d expect to be meted out in a property market where qualified buyers can be hard to come by. Research from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks into the factors shaping the UK’s home-buying decisions however, suggests that a successful sale can have as much to do with emotional stealth as it does hard-nose negotiation, especially when to comes to getting potential buyers through the door.

Money conscious times, force buyers to focus on practical decisions about a home such as the right number of bedrooms, parking, proximity to schools and work. But for many, choosing a property remains one of compulsion and reaction. The lure of a lifestyle or an image they associate with themselves is a strong driver in the selection of a house and a location, which means vendors, prepared to get creative about drawing people in, are far more likely to succeed in securing a sale. In the current climate where everyone is on their guard - an intuitive approach can help break through the barriers.

Sugar-coated strategies for a speedy sale

Turn Detective
Savvy vendors are increasingly turning to pre-sale surveys as a way of pre-empting a ‘warts and all’ expose of their home. Why? Reverse psychology - it puts, you, the homeowner in the driving seat, by providing a comprehensive overview of work that needs doing ahead of sale. In doing so, it dilutes any ‘spanner in the works’ queries raised by buyers further down the line. Shelling out £400-£800 for a pre-sale survey from a chartered surveyor may seem like overkill, but compared to a lost sale, it’s time and money well spent. While a bargain hunting mentality prevails – it’s the smart way of neutralising a buyer price ‘chip’ in advance of viewings.

Meet Your Agent Half Way
Increased competition means vendors are in a stronger position to influence terms of contract with agents. How? Propose a ‘fee ladder scheme’ to motivate them to get the highest possible price for your house. The fee ladder works by increasing the agent’s commission if they achieve a higher than expected price. Standard fees quoted can range from 0.75% for an independent to 2.5% for a well-known chain, with the majority of agents charging between 1.5% and 2% +VAT. Aim for 1% +Value Added Tax, with a 0.15%-0.25% fee increase if your threshold price is exceeded. Never divulge to at the outset, the lowest price you will accept as a vendor – it can colour your agent’s judgement.

Make First Impressions Count

Potential buyers spend an average of just 2.7 seconds judging a seller’s summary advert before deciding whether to dismiss it, making it vital to tailor particulars to your target market. If you are a second stepper looking to trade-up by selling on to a first-time buyers or a downsizer looking to sell your family home, consider what would appeal to those buyer groups and work with your estate agent to bring those qualities out in the way your property is priced, presented and promoted. Headline your property’s USPs (loft conversion, period fireplace, garden office) before square footage and layout configuration details. Get creative with photography too. A buyer can take a shine to your kitchen design. All of a sudden, their emotions are fired up, and you have a real chance of a viewing.

Drop the Asking Price
You’re not only broadening your potential buyer pool, but you're also tapping into significant ‘threshold’ price brackets first-refusal buyers have put down as their pre-viewing ceiling price. Think about it. Companies always ease you in with a “Prices from” offer to get your interest. It’s a numbers game. Once they see your property and make an emotional connection to it, you're in a much stronger position to negotiate upwards on price. A £5,000 increase can, for example, be qualified as a ‘doable’ addition in the mortgage. Reversing this scenario won’t, however, reap the same rewards. Put your £420,000 property on at ‘offers over £430,000’ and to buyers qualified to purchase at this price point your home won’t seem like a bargain; it will merely seem overpriced. As for those qualified to pay £420,000 – what it’s actually worth – they’ll dismiss it as ‘out of their league’.

Keep the TLC Low Key
Shell out on last-minute improvements to make your house ‘show-home’ ready and buyers will sense that they're paying a premium and retreat to something more on their level. Why? Properties with renovation potential are in demand at present. They not only offer buyers the opportunity to upgrade ‘under their own steam’ but they can itemise project work with a longer-lead budget. Being creative with the space you already have is one of the quickest and cheapest routes to adding perceived value – think dual-purpose study/spare room or extra storage space in the loft. If your flat boasts floor-to-ceiling storage, that’s the one likely to get snapped up first.

Showcase Your Place
Giving your house ‘kerb appeal’ is no longer just about dressing for effect, it's about encouraging potential buyers to make that all important emotional connection - to see how easy it will be to live there. Why? A high percentage of current sales are about long-term gains. Your buyer’s motivations are likely to be ‘life chapter’ driven rather than investment focused, so give them the space to imagine the possibilities.

Top Tips:
Get snap happy. It's human nature to overlook what we see every day. So take photographs of your property and view them on the computer. This will allow you to critique each room in sequence and make improvements accordingly.

Lose the 'me, myself, I’ - your home is no longer yours once the 'for sale' sign goes up. Neutralise space: remove photos and personal items and replace with generic alternatives.

Save the Best for Last
‘Tipping point’ extras position your property more attractively with buyers in the final negotiation stages. Why? Value added incentives may be just what a buyer is seeking when deciding between similar properties. This could take the form of paying for the Stamp Duty, a gifted deposit or even including the white goods. Giving them something they can consider as separate from the home cost will also make a more appealing offer than a fair market price deal alone. With a creative gift, you provide something that seems more valuable and connects with the potential buyer on a more personal level, for life in their new home. You could for example entice them by offering to pay for professional cleaners or a gardener for six months. These are life-enhancing services that most people wouldn’t splurge on for themselves. And the cost of these services is negligible compared to how much you might save by getting an offer right away.

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