"They look at the graphs of price increases across central London and believe that the first person who views their property will want to buy it. It’s understandable, especially as there are instances of property selling within days of it coming onto the market. With a comprehensive marketing and sales strategy, very often the best buyer can be found quickly. But in the real world, not all properties sell like the proverbial hot cakes.
"Consider buyer profiles. Increasingly central London purchasers are non-emotional buyers – buying for rental investment or for children or for other specific purposes. And overseas buyers dominate the market. These kind of buyers are critical – they want to know the rationale behind pricing, demonstration of value, comparables and anecdotal information. Seduction for the brain rather than the heart. Spontaneous or impulsive purchases are not on their agenda.
"Our advice to vendors is to focus on a realistic selling period. We plan for an 8-12 week campaign, but it can take longer if vendors are to get the price they want. If a low offer is on the table after a couple of viewings, a vendor who doesn’t have time, or doesn’t believe he has time, may feel pressured into taking a panic price – something we advise strongly against. Mentally, sellers have to take the heat off the sales time.
"To understand the sense behind not rushing, vendors should consider buyer motivation. A property that’s newly on the market is untested, and a purchaser who’s ahead of the pack can mistakenly believe that a low offer will secure a sale. But as soon as other interested parties appear on the scene, the fear of losing the property takes over. Another buyer has proved time and time again to be the best motivation to buy; the fear of losing a property is greater than the fear of buying it.
"Competitive bids, and even sealed bids are not uncommon in central London; but aside from some exceptional examples, it’s rare for a competitive situation to arise in the first days or even weeks of marketing. Vendors who give themselves plenty of time to sell will invariably achieve a better price than those who are in a rush. And if an attractive offer does arise early in the process, it’s generally the case that a long completion can be arranged."
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