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How to: Find the right market for your property

By Georgina Mann

If you’re selling your house, chances are you’ve thought about decluttering but have you considered the different ways potential buyers might use the same space?

For many a quick sale is a good sale, but how do you know what market or markets your property appeals to and how can you cater for the different needs of these interested parties?

Find a good agent

Property stylist and interior designer Naomi Findlay says finding the right agent and speaking to them about your property is really important.

“Start by looking to find which agent is selling the most property in your area.

“Generally, most areas are dominated by one or two agents, I’d speak to them,” she says adding that a great agent can offer an independent assessment of the market or markets that a house will attract.

Check out the competition

Findlay also recommends sellers check out other homes in the area currently on the market

“It’s all about researching your market,” she says.

Open houses are a great way to learn more about potential buyers.

Open for inspections can be a great way to gauge the kind of buyers a house like yours could attract.  Take note of the ages of those looking at these houses, the type of car they drive, if they do or don’t bring children to the inspection, to see if you can narrow down the kinds of buyers your property may attract.

“Attending open homes for opposition properties is a great way to identify your market,” says Findlay.

Keep in mind that your home may appeal to more than one market.  A home with one or two bedrooms in an inner-city area could be attractive to both downsizers and first home buyers.

“Easily 60% of properties have to style for more than one market, as there’s a possibility they appeal to multiple markets,” she says.

Keep your style options open

If your home, like many, could be used by different buyers for different purposes how do you style it to suit different needs?

“You need to play it safe. There’s a way to play it safe without being boring and drab.

“So metallics are huge in the younger market at the moment, but my parents who are in their 60s, if they went to inspect a property with lots of copper it would just distract them,” she says.

While neons or graphic prints may be popular with some buyers, others may find such decor overwhelming.

Use art and colour carefully and try to understand how different looks will be received by different potential buyers.

“If, for example, we have a property that appeals to people in their 20s and their 60s.  If we were to furnish it with country style furniture for the older (potential) buyers, the 20 somethings may hate it,” she says.

Add a sprinkle of interior trends

Make sure you have contrast and texture and use trends in a subtle way to style a property for sale.

“Have a sprinkle of trends in your styling. But when you are styling a property with multiple markets, you need to really consider if the featured trends will polarise people or if you need to pare it back a bit,” says Findlay.

So while neons or graphic prints may be popular with some buyers, others may find such decor overwhelming and it may hamper their ability to see themselves living in your space.

“It’s not about making pretty spaces, it’s about knowing the market,” she says.

Let go of how you use the space

Findlay says one of the biggest mistakes some sellers make, is in assuming the rooms they have in their home will be used in the same way by the next owners.

“Often people don’t think about the functions of spaces and how the market may use it (differently).”

This may be how you use the living area, but what will buyers want something else from the same space?

Styling can be a way to suggest alternate uses for the same space – a second living area may be presented with a single bed and a lamp to show buyers that it could be used as a home office or bedroom or transitional space, not just another living room.

“When we show someone how to live in a space, it answers these questions.  When we don’t show someone how to live there, it’s open to interpretation.

“When you style a house well, you are the air traffic controller, you control how people see and use that space,” she says.

Time matters

How long does it take to identify your market and style your property to suit those buyers? Longer than you’d think, says Findlay, whose clients often comes to her three months before the sale of a property.

Getting the look right takes time and that’s why some sellers and agents hire professional property stylists like Findlay as part of their marketing plan.

Those who plan on selling after the reno consult property stylists before they get to work.

Some sellers really think about the long-term and hire or consult a real estate stylist before they renovate a house they plan to sell.

“They want to make sure they don’t polarise (buyers) or overcapitalise when they eventually sell.”

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