One area to consider is the agent’s fee structure, as you’ll want to ensure they’re incentivised to sell quickly without dropping the price every week. If an agent gets a 1% fee on your £100,000 new apartment, they’ll receive £1,000 in commission, whereas you’ll make a £20,000 profit. But, if you drop the price to £90,000, their fee decreases by peanuts but your profit halves. They now have a much easier sales job, but you’re the one who’s taken the hit financially. On the other hand, if they sell at £110,000, your profit increases by 50%, so consider including a ratchet in the agent’s fee mechanism that rewards them for quick sales at a premium price. And don’t try and screw agents down on fees; if selling your units gives them less commission than the other flats on their books, guess how much of a priority you’ll be getting. It’s far better to pay a premium and get their best performance.
You also have a few other options to consider, marketing-wise. Off-plan sales can work well for new-build schemes but are best avoided for conversion projects where the host building is currently an eyesore. People won’t be able to see past it, even if you invest in some CGI mock-ups. Show homes are another marketing option, but you need to plan these carefully with your contractor since they will need to finish one flat ahead of all the others, which wouldn’t be their usual approach. In a conversion project where the flat shapes and sizes are different, show flats are usually not the best strategy as they won’t be representative of every unit.
Dressing your units is another popular tactic, as it allows customers to visualise living there much more easily. Here you’ll install furniture and soft furnishings before you conduct viewings, which comes at a cost. Will you pay someone to dress the units for you, or will you dress them yourself? If the latter, will you be selling the flats fully furnished for a premium, or will you be ‘undressing’ them, in which case you’ll need somewhere to store your furniture until your next project? That said, be careful when dressing smaller flats, as you don’t want them to look cluttered. And if you’re after some design inspiration, simply visit any local housebuilder’s sales suite and see how they dress their own show flats. Do something similar, and you won’t go too far wrong, but, as ever, ask your estate agent’s advice before deciding.