It's all in the timing!

Tom Burdett, Sales Director at Harrison James & Hardie, on why a timed launch is the best method of sale

"My cottage has been marketed for less than a week. I received an offer just below the asking price from the first applicant who came to view and the agency is pressing me to accept.  Without first testing the levels of interest, how can we be sure that the optimum price has been achieved?"

Our main aim, whether acting as Harrison James & Hardie in the local residential marketplace or as Fine & Country North Cotswolds in the ‘London’ marketplace, is to sell every client’s home swiftly, at the best possible price and to a buyer happy to fit in with their timescales. A clear, informed and concise strategy is fundamental to achieving this; after all, your home is your most valuable asset, so why leave the result to chance? 

As the leading specialists in local agency we invariably have a list of potential buyers registered for every home we list; more often than not, the first person we introduce is likely to be amongst the best buyers for that property. However, unless you trust that your agency is similarly positioned in your local marketplace you can be left with a niggling feeling that you might have got more money. We know that choice-led investment buyers will frequently circle a property for a few weeks in the hope the sale price will come down, so you might be right about other opportunities that haven’t been exhausted by your agency’s approach. For desirable properties like your cottage, a timed launch would have left you feeling far more confident in the outcome. 

As such, a timed launch to the national marketplace is the ideal way to ensure that you have achieved not just a quick sale but attracted the widest possible number of potential buyers, including the most motivated buyer in the strongest position. A timed launch clearly does not apply to every property, only when it is certain to appeal to a wide range of different buyers. To achieve the best possible price in such instances we use a complex, tried-and-tested marketing strategy: The Fine & Country North Cotswolds’ Property Launch

In accordance with our client’s preferred timescales and our experience, we decide upon the best date to launch the property to the marketplace. At least a month in advance, we carefully prepare our range of marketing material - professional photography, a drone video and internal property video, stunning printed glossy brochures and a beautifully written accompanying lifestyle article that will appear in an array of traditional media and property portals, both via Fine & Country’s PR department and Cotswold Homes magazine. Two weeks before the launch we ‘go live’, linking our presence on a wide range of property portals with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, alerting our Cotswold Homes database of 7,000 local residents and frequent visitors to the North Cotswolds with a bespoke e-mailer announcing the launch, too.

This impressive array of marketing material is precisely designed to provoke maximum interest amongst our registered applicants and those elusive cash rich choice-led buyers searching via the web and national media. Everything works towards that single launch day. Viewings are booked strictly by prior appointment and no one is allowed to attend beforehand, thereby amplifying anticipation and competition between buyers. With a senior member of the sales team to conduct viewings we can assess motivation, identify opportunities and secure formal interest as early as possible. What we hope for is multiple offers – to secure some bids on the day, followed by more over the next couple of days or so.

As we have already qualified the buyers we can quickly advise our vendors, accordingly. An ideal outcome is the luxury to choose a buyer not just on the level of offer but also on timescales and buying position. It’s lovely to have a couple of disappointed buyers prepared to jump in if that sale should fall through for any reason.  

Ultimately, the aim of a ‘delayed gratification’ strategy is to focus interested applicants on the importance of making a swift decision when the opportunity arises. Choice-led purchasers are often aware of the control they exert, not being subject to the pressures of a chain or the exigencies of borrowing criteria, and can make them prone to unexpected whims and anxieties. Given that the national statistic for fall-through is around 30% of gross house sales, it is a proven fact that significantly reducing the length of time between an offer and exchange of contracts will positively affect the likelihood of a successful outcome. Over and above price alone, we will always recommend the buyer who is able to proceed to exchange of contracts in the shortest possible time, whilst offering a completion date to suit. 

This strategy was perfectly illustrated by Fine & Country North Cotswolds when selling Prior Bank, a beautiful village home in Blockley. With fifteen buyers viewing the property at the launch, we received five asking-price offers and the sale was eventually agreed at an excess of £100,000 over the asking price to a buyer who exchanged contracts within four weeks. 

In the main residential marketplace we have also employed a timed-launch strategy on occasion. Even though modern properties cannot always produce such a high number of competing buyers, this can still result in a Best & Final offer from two or more interested buyers, when the price can be driven up to, and occasionally well beyond, the asking price. To illustrate, Harrison James & Hardie recently marketed a development opportunity in Swan Close in Moreton in Marsh that resulted in six bids from competing buyers, generating four Best & Final offers, and went on to achieve a sale at the full asking price. 

To speak to Tom, telephone 01608 651000 or e-mail