The shape of the rooms and the building’s architectural features add character, and following through with a more ‘industrial’ theme with the internal décor can make a building stand out; just make sure that your target audience will appreciate that particular style. Modern blocks of flats often have little character, and ceiling heights also tend to be modest, which gives your more characterful apartments a chance to shine.
So, our target market is understood, and our project has been designed to within an inch of its life. We now need to go about marketing it well, and for this, we’ll need a friendly local estate agent.
Having engaged with several agents right at the outset, you’ll have picked one that you think has the best chance of getting some quick sales. Choosing an agent can be something of a lottery, but there are several sensible checks to be done before you appoint one. Go on Rightmove’s map view and see which agents recently sold similar properties in neighbouring streets. It’s one thing for an agent to ‘cover’ a specific area, but their local knowledge may be sketchy if they’ve not sold anything nearby in recent memory. Check out each agent’s particulars; do some look more appealing or professional than others? Are the photographs or the presentation better, or perhaps the descriptions sound more appealing? And how experienced is their sales team? You’ll also be considering their feedback on pricing and their confidence, having seen comparable properties they’ve sold recently.
Give some thought to the agent’s fee structure and make sure they’re incentivised to sell quickly without recommending price drops every five minutes. If an agent gets a 1% fee on your newly built £100,000 apartment, then they’ll receive £1,000, whereas you’ll be making a £20,000 profit. But, if the agent recommends you drop the price to £90,000, their fee decreases by 10%, but your profit halves. Their sales job is now easier, but you’ve taken most of the pain. The good news is that the opposite is true if they sell at £110,000, so consider including a ratchet in their fee mechanism that rewards them handsomely for quick sales at a top price. Don’t be tempted to try and negotiate the biggest fee discount in history with your agent. If selling your units gives them the lowest fees compared to all the other properties on their books, guess how much of a priority you’ll be getting. Far better to be paying top dollar and getting their best performance.
Once you’ve appointed an agent at the outset, it’s important that you keep in touch with them during the construction phase. Make sure you invite them on to the site mid-project so that they can get super-enthusiastic about it, having witnessed the transition first-hand. They’ll hopefully pass on that enthusiasm to potential buyers. Your agent is also a key protagonist when it comes to re-pricing your units. You will have estimated your selling prices when you first bought the property, but time has moved on, plus the imagined units are now a reality. You’ll only finalise your pricing strategy once you’ve shown the agent around the finished project; however, I strongly recommend you revisit your market analysis before that meeting. See what’s on sale locally and what has sold recently. Then when your agent shares their pricing recommendations, you’re able to critique what they tell you. Two heads are usually better than one, and at this stage, we need any optimism tempered with realism.
There are several options to look at when it comes to your marketing strategy. Pre-development sales usually involve a discount but get you more certainty from having buyers already lined up. But be careful when doing a conversion project; no matter how good your artist’s impression and CGI mock-up is, people will NOT be filled with delight when they drive by your knackered old commercial building and see where you’re expecting them to live. They won’t be able to imagine the finished article, so you’re better off keeping everything under wraps until the units are complete.