I had seen this property on the market for about four months during 2014. After this length of time it seemed clear that the seller must be having difficulties generating interest despite the property having a lot of potential as an attractive family home. Concerned that their estate agent was not doing the best possible job of selling a house in Birstall, I knocked on the door and introduced myself.
It appeared that I was not the only one with concerns as the vendor invited me in for a chat during which I was able to establish the history of the property and the difficulties that they had experienced to date. It turned out that the house had been on the market for nearly a year; for six months with a well-established agent that focuses on higher end properties and then with a popular local high street agent. Viewings had been few and far between and there had been no offers made.
I identified a number of factors that had not been effectively addressed.
The price had originally been set by the first estate agent unrealistically high in relation to the condition of the property and the prices that similar properties nearby had sold for. After some time the price was dropped.
The second agent followed the same pattern: setting too high a price at first, dropping it later to £325,000. Whilst the seller needed to achieve a minimum price of £320,000 there was still some concern about pricing at this level.
I explained that the way Open House typically achieves a quicker sale than other agents, is our practice of setting a realistic price from day one. The vendor took this on board and we were instructed to sell the house at a further reduced price of offers over £320,000.
It was important to be honest in the description of this property. Whilst bungalows are often attractive to elderly people or those with walking difficulties, this property has a staircase leading up to the front door making it unsuitable for the traditional bungalow buyer. It was important that we made this clear to avoid creating interest from people who would not turn into buyers and wasting time on viewings that would not turn into sales.
I made sure that the staircase was detailed on the listing and that photos of the properties showed this feature clearly.
The previous agents had described the property as being in excellent condition and having no further works required – this was not entirely the case and such a description would be likely to lead to disappointment on viewing. Instead, I emphasised that the property required some work but that it could be an excellent family home with some refurbishment.
There was no interest in the property during the first couple of weeks of Open House listing it – something that is common when a property has already been on the market for some time. I called the sellers on a weekly basis to keep them up to date with my activities on their behalf.
By week three, I received a call from someone who had seen the property listed previously but who, because of our description, was now interested in booking a viewing. To ensure this would be a warm enquiry I established:
Their position in any chain.
Their financial position.
The extent of their interest in this property and the Birstall area.
During the viewing we talked about what improvements they could make to the property to turn it into their perfect home. I could see that they had a serious interest in the property but, rather than push aggressively there and then and risk putting them off, I wanted to let them think about it over night before asking for an offer.
The next day I phoned the viewers to ask for their final feedback and received an offer of £300,000. I knew this was considerably less than the seller wanted but put the offer forward anyway. The seller was very grateful to have had a serious offer but, as I expected, advised that it was below the level they were able to accept.
Most estate agents would leave it at that and look for other buyers. However, because I had been on the viewing myself, seen the viewers’ enthusiasm first hand, and established a good relationship with them I thought it was worth having a further conversation with them.
I made a suggestion: “Why don’t you come back for another viewing and see if it might be worth a bit more to you? After all, this will be your long term dream home once you put your personal stamp on it.”
The couple agreed and I met them again the next day. I said they could take as long as they needed, take notes and measurements, and ask any questions they needed to.
At the second viewing, I was with them was again for a whole hour and let them walk around freely to really get a feel for the property’s potential. By the end of the viewing I received a confirmed offer of £325,000 (£25,000 more than their first offer), and was thanked for my time and my service. We shook hands and I was able to accept this offer on behalf of the seller as per their instructions.
The seller was amazed that in just three weeks I was able to sell the property after it had languished on the market for nearly a year.
The purchasers were thrilled and felt very confident they had made the right decision as a result of the second viewing.
I liaised with both sides throughout the conveyancing process and was always on hand to help and give advice. We achieved a smooth completion within three months and even today I keep in touch with the buyers as we established a friendship as well. The purchaser actually said to me as I handed over the keys to their new house “Rahul, it if it wasn’t for you and Open House, we probably would never have bought this property, thanks so much for everything.”
“After many months of fruitless use of other agents in the area, we put our house on the market with Open House. Rahul Jain did a first class job in honestly assessing our slightly unusual property and demonstrating its quirky attractiveness perfectly, with nicely worded descriptions and highly effective photography. Consequently the pitching was excellent and a reliable buyer found almost immediately. Throughout the sale procedure Rahul was constructive and supportive in every direction. My genuine recommendation of this agent is 100%.”
Mr P Montague-Mason, Birstall, Leicester