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Sold in 2 Weeks, Off Market
Many homeowners would count themselves lucky to sell their property in two weeks off-market, but not Sarah.
To Sarah, this was exactly what she had planned for.
‘It was because I was careful about the agency I chose,’ she told me. Clearly not wanting to give away all the credit.
‘It was at a record price on your street,’ I reminded her.
‘Yes but for the amount that I expected it to achieve.’
She’s not gloating. She’s being quite factual. I was looking for a hero story and not getting it. When a client tells you they ‘couldn’t have done it without you’ it’s marketing gold. But for Sarah, there were no easy pats on the back here because this result wasn’t out of the norm for her.
The former ‘Director of international development’ for a global charity had previously spent her days globetrotting and negotiating with senior members of governments, charities and even the UN. She lived in a world where success wasn’t left to chance and serendipity, it was down to careful planning and execution.
‘My experience has always been that we sold quickly, because we’ve picked agents that specialise in our type of property. We pick agents that do things by speaking to people (by this she meant that they were proactive and not waiting by the phone), and we interview agents and ask, “exactly who do you know?” We want sales people whom we feel are working for us.’
‘Have you ever had a bad experience with selling a property,’ I ask?
‘Yes, on our previous property in Camden, because I didn’t trust my instincts. I invited Sa*****s around, though they were too braggy: “Sa*****s are great. Sa*****s are big. Sa*****s are international.” Then I listed with Ch******s. All they did was sit on their computers all day and email people. Then when they brought people around for viewings, they would show them around and just email back what they said. No salesmanship at all.’ The last phrase is said with a mark of irritation in her voice. ‘To me it’s all about personal relationships, knowing people and then SELLING it while they are there.’
‘But they also didn’t appreciate the value in our property. I had to point out certain aspects that were important for certain buyers, like distance to the school or some architectural feature. For them it was just formulaic.’
It was clear Sarah had been frustrated with herself over the last sale and decided to get it right. It had cost her time she couldn’t get back.
The decision to sell their Spitalfields home became necessary when her son entered a prep school in Westminster giving her an untenable commute. She found herself spending too much time on the tube during school runs and getting to after school activities.
Throughout the sale she was initially concerned about recouping her money out of the sale since it was such a short turnaround. She called at Space Station whom she had worked with when purchasing the house only a year previous. They responded immediately and located a buyer who had an offer to the table within two weeks. Another two weeks later and the exchange was complete.
I asked her if she had any advice for other homeowners that are in her shoes. I’m fishing for more compliments here but failing.
‘Do it up!’ was her emphatic response.
Her Spitalfields home was quite remarkable when they bought it but she added some finishing touches to it that made it more personable and liveable. She believed this also played a role in their final sale value.
‘I’ve noticed on property websites, you can always tell a home that is done up by developers as it’s all the same. No character. Do it up with character! They are always dressed with the same stuff. It puts me off. Dress it in a very individual way.’
After selling the house, Sarah and her family relocated to Belsize Park in North London where they found commuting bliss.
She is currently taking time out from her career and plans to eventually return to work once her son grows older. Her career required frequent travel and with a husband who was also in a globetrotting position, they felt someone needed to be at home a little more frequently. Sarah’s job paid less so it was an obvious though uneasy decision.
In the meantime, Sarah is going to focus her energy on the property market and she is currently on the lookout for a new home in North London where she can make her creative mark.
It’s clear that both her creative talent and business savvy did play a role in this sale. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours.