a sales strategy to grow off-plan property sales in 2017

Your off-plan property sales strategy for 2017 and beyond

An off-plan property sales strategy to increase sales

We’ve helped property developers sell over £800m of off-plan property to an investor base from around the world with a substantial number going to UK based investors. We’ve held property investment seminars in six countries, and sold off plan property for over a hundred property developers and several hundred schemes.

Helping property developers get new build developments financed and off the ground we offer property investors off-market and exclusive investment opportunities. Investors from the UK and overseas understand that we work with great developers, with the properties we source benefit from great property fundamentals in highly researched and specific areas.

We can’t and won’t stand still, just as property developers continually evolve and change practices, we are continually growing our investor client base, innovating our off-plan marketing strategies, and forward-planning sales strategies. Here I want to give you a peek into just some of the plans we have to increase your off-market, off-plan sales in 2017.

Review your investor profile

Our clients are UK and overseas property investors who understand property investment. They know that, despite negativity surrounding Brexit, the UK offers a stable environment for long-term investment. Our overseas investors, in particular, have not been surprised to see that post-Brexit London off-plan development sales are holding.

We understand the profile of most active investors changes over time. Regulations, market events, economic cycles and foriegn exchange rates have separate and combined effects. We’re continually researching, analysing and examining who the most active investors are. Our team use this information and insights to determine marketing strategies and focus on developing our investor database.

Understand why the investor buys your property

Our property consultants spend a lot of time getting to know your development, the area, the story behind it and the particular qualities it has as an off-plan property investment opportunity. We spend a lot of time understanding our investors’ objectives, their aims, and the journey they take to get to making the investment.

We take this journey seriously, mapping it out and understanding the conversations we need to have to move from one stage to the next.

Again, this is something we constantly review – and backwards! We start at the end point (exchange of contracts) and move back through each step needed. We iterate, innovate, and evolve off plan property sales strategies to develop a fully rounded sales conversation. We get to understand the strings we need to pull and why, the objections we’ll come across and the true motivations property investors have.

Something we’ve know is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach possible – with different developments, completion times and locations – when you consider property investors are from across the UK or overseas, each has their own motivations, cultures and customs which need to be accounted for.

Property investors prefer different contact methods

We communicate with our investors in a variety of ways, including:

  • Seminars and events
  • Content or inbound marketing
  • Email outreach and campaigns
  • Promotion and advertising
  • Telephone or online chat / instant messaging
  • Face to face meetings and catch ups

Different investors prefer their property consultant to use different contact methods. We’re careful about the type of contact we use at each stage. Off-market sales requires discretion and a lot of personal contact and time is invested between the property consultant and client – otherwise, they cease to be off-market.

Our USP or unique selling point

Investors buy through Castlereach because we offer them something different – off-market and off plan property investment opportunities. Our property consultants are personable, dedicated, and highly experienced. With more than five decades of experience between them, they’ve invested in off plan property themselves and they’re international.

We get close to property developers, understand the local market and have some of the best research in the property investment industry available. Our investors benefit from all of this. We understand that our customers know what they want, so we ask them. We find out why they deal with us, which helps us to grow our investor database. By offering what investors want and investment properties they can’t get elsewhere, we have incredible understanding and reach. That how and why we help property developers with their off-plan property sales.

Review of website and marketing materials

We’ll make sure that our website, landing pages, area guides and marketing materials speak to investors in the UK and overseas. We’ll review them in line with investor profiles, changing markets, and evolving technology.

Creating a brand that is synonymous with property investment, consistent throughout, but appropriate for a range of investor personas requires a 360-degree review – website, social media, print, email, etc. We’re continually innovating new ways for all our channels to be effective and materials to be informative, attractive and educational, as well as promotional.

Our Off Plan Property Sales Process

We are continually innovating and evolving all aspects of our sales and marketing. We encourage sharing of best practice, writing engaging materials and introducing new processes into our sales strategies. From initial contact (often by referral) we nurture prospects as we discover what their unique challenges and objectives are. Throughout, we’re building a profile for the property investor that allows us to target specific investors with specific off-plan property investment opportunities and developments. This sales funnel filters down to commitment and almost-certain sales targets for your off-market properties.

Tracking progress, evolving sales strategy

We’ve some stretch sales targets for next year. Individual property consultants here are responsible for hitting them. Every week, we review activity and progress as individuals and as a team. At team meetings we’ll be discussing successes and failures, learning from mistakes, ensuring that everything we do is aligned to meet our objectives: to sell more of your off-plan property off-market.

What are you doing to increase your off-plan property sales in 2017?

When it comes to working with individual developers, we understand all developments and each developer’s objectives are individual. Unique. That’s why we build flexibility into all of our sales and marketing strategies, to allow for flexibility when working with different developers so we dovetail with their expectations not ours.

We’ll work with you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your development, and use this knowledge to identify investors with the highest and most appropriate need for your off-plan property opportunities. Collaborating closely, we’ll target a list of interested investors without going public. We don’t advertise and we leave all your current sales channels unaffected. You’ll get the early-stage investment you need, while our investors benefit from their investment in great property, in strong locations with all the information they need to hold on to their property for years to come.

Contact us today on + 44 207 923 5680, connect with me on LinkedIn. We will outline how we dovetail with your existing marketing and sales strategies and importantly, how we can help sell your off plan units, fast.

Live with Passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

increase your off-plan property sales despite the luxury bubble bursting

Increase off-plan sales and take the luxury bubble bursting opportunity

Adaptable strategies to maximise new build sales

According to the Land Registry, the luxury end of the London property market has finally burst. Super prime sales have collapsed, but it’s not Brexit that’s to blame. With tens of millions in property developments designed for the high-end market remaining unsold, developers have to employ remodelling strategies to shift and sell their developments.

Here I’ll look at how the bottom has fallen out of London’s luxury property market, and what developers are doing to sell their developments. You’ll also discover how we work with developers to create strategies that sell.

Stamp duty stomps all over luxury development property sales

When the government increased stamp duty rates, it did so in the hope of reducing the number of additional properties bought. The idea – at least publicly – is that this will deter investors and leave more housing stock on the table for ‘genuine’ home buyers.

In the run-up to the introduction of the additional stamp duty land tax of 3%, buyers rushed through their purchases in March. Investors avoided the extra stamp duty, and the property market went through a month of incredibly high sales numbers. The extra demand helped to push property prices higher. Sales for two or three months suffered because purchases had been rushed through the market early. We also had Brexit in between.

A lot of market watchers blamed the fall in property investment transactions on Brexit, but with property market transactions now normalising again, it’s clear this wasn’t the case.

At the luxury end of the market, the so-called ‘super prime properties’ worth £10 million and more, sales have collapsed. In the three months to August 2015, there were 35 properties sold in the luxury bracket in London. This year sales have hit the rocks. Only five £10 million-plus properties sold in London in the comparable period. This lack of interest has also hit prices paid – an average of £16.3 million this year compared with £22 million last year.

The hardest hit in the luxury sector has been new builds – not a single one has sold.

Deflation of the bubble was inevitable

Prices of high-end luxury property in London have increased so far, so fast, that a correction was inevitable. Prices at the upper end of the market are always the first to be hit. With a review of non-dom inheritance tax on the cards, it’s unlikely that this end of the market will bounce anytime soon. Some analysts are predicting a multi-year lull in luxury home prices; and not only in London but across the UK.

Lower sales numbers at these higher prices might dismay the government (it will collect less stamp duty), but it could be devastating to developers who haven’t got a plan B. This is where revised off-plan property sales strategies come into play.

Deflating your luxury property could inflate your sales

We’ve found that the death of billionaire buyers is prompting developers to evolve their plans, and it’s working. As super prime sales have fallen, we’ve found that investment interest in smaller, more affordable properties has increased. It is especially the case from our foreign investor base, which has benefitted from the fall in the value of the pound. Off-plan property sales have suddenly become 20% better value. (Read more in our article “Foreign property investors demand new build property post-Brexit”.)

Developers are remodelling their projects to appeal to the lower end of the market, where investment is still strong. It means creating four or more apartments from one, with lower price points that appeal to a different investor profile. There are planning hurdles to overcome, but once these have been ironed out, the developer can employ a range of strategies to sell to a more engaged audience.

Working hand-in-hand with developers

While the developers we work with have been building new developments in the best places and to the highest standards, we’ve been developing an excellent network of investors at home and abroad who turn to us to benefit from off-market property investment opportunities.

We discuss marketing plans with the developers and then swing into action with some sales strategies that protect the integrity of the development while increasing off-plan property sales.

We discuss property fundamentals (shops, schools, transport links, major employers and major investment) with the investor, relating how the developer’s property offered fits into the growth and income producing bracket that our investors are seeking.

Our investors rely on us to source incredible and exclusive deals – they take on a larger risk because we’re able to offer them ground floor opportunities that have real rental appeal in the long term. These investors aren’t for flipping; when it comes to selling your next tranche of off-plan properties, you won’t find you’ve got unexpected competition for buyers’ signatures.

Foreign investors are the lifeblood of off-plan property sales

We’ve seen a sizeable increase in enquiries from foreign property investors. They’ve been buoyed by the fall in the value of sterling. Despite the Brexit negativity in some quarters, the UK is still a great place to invest. Housing demand outstrips supply, we benefit from a stable government, and there’s an entrepreneurial spirit that is the envy of the world. The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world, and Brexit is unlikely to change that.

Meeting the challenges of off-plan sales together

Developers face some challenges. Working with local councils to source the best locations for development is among them. But the UK needs more than 1 million new homes, so the opportunity for developers is very much alive.

Property investors are interested in off-plan property in the best locations. That means buying property that benefits from nearby shops, schools, and transport options. Our investors expect these fundamentals to be present; repositioning difficult-to-sell super prime properties is a strategy that is likely to create units that investors want. We can then work together to create a sales strategy that compels investors to invest in your newly planned off-plan properties.

Contact us today on + 44 207 923 5680, and we’ll be happy to discuss the help and expertise we can offer you as we link the best developers with the best investors.

Live with passion and fun,

Brett

londons city hall is on the side of foreign investment in off-plan property

London – City Hall on side for off-plan property foreign investment

Report could ease pressure on Mayor Kahn when targeting foreign property investors

It’s official – London’s new build developers need to sell to foreign investors. And that’s not Castlereach extolling the virtue of our valuable bank of high net worth foreign property investors. It’s what City Hall says, in a report briefing which has spun Sadiq Khan’s anti-foreign property investment rhetoric a full 180 degrees.

Here I look at the quiet about-turn made by Sadiq Khan’s administration, the research report for which it is calling for researchers, and what it means to developers of new build property and for sales of off-plan property in London.

Why is London property so expensive? … Blame the foreigners!

Londoners may have voted to remain in the European Union and be less visible UKIP than pretty much anywhere else in the United Kingdom, but they are most definitely anti-immigration when it comes to property investment. In a city that is culturally diverse (perhaps the most in the world?), Sadiq Khan found it extraordinarily easy to pander to the widely-held belief that London’s high house prices have foreign investment to blame.

Blaming foreign investors for high property prices is a capital city pastime, the topic of dinner parties and catch ups with friends. Embedded in the mindset of most Londoners. A 2014 YouGov survey found that almost half of Londoners felt the cause of house price inflation was the fault of foreign property investors and speculators. It probably runs counter to what you’d expect from a city where more than a third of its citizens were born overseas.

Mayor Sadiq Khan promised a review of the effect of foreign property investors on the London property market, and the hunt to source research is firmly underway. But the wording of City Hall’s research briefing indicates a softer and more welcoming approach to property investors from abroad. It also confirms the possibility that foreign investors might be good news for the London property market! Who’d have thought?

City Hall welcomes foreign investment into London off-plan property

The City Hall’s Housing and Land Directorate’s briefing says “We welcome investment from around the world in building new homes,” and while it acknowledges people’s concerns about foreign property investment in London, it also says that “The GLA wants to ensure any discussion of policy responses is underpinned by clear evidence and understanding.”

There are four areas the report examines and attempts to clarify with clear evidence to produce that understanding:

  • How many new homes are sold to property investors from overseas?
  • How many new homes owned by these investors remain empty?
  • How reliant is new build development of foreign property investors?
  • How does overseas financing contribute to the supply of homes?

The briefing accepts that “Off-plan sales are an important part of development viability. Industry bodies report that development finance can be difficult to obtain until 40% of units have been reserved and that most developers will not start construction on a development until a third of its units have been pre-sold.”

It admits that there are reports of the active role that foreign investors play in the new build property market, and wants to quantify their role.

Will the report be important for developers?

Sadiq Khan has made a big play of his desire to clamp down on foreign property investment into London. However, the briefing for the research role could give Mr Khan a heap of news and statistics that he wasn’t expecting to hear, but that he might want, now he’s had time to meet with industry insiders, property developers, estate agents, and others.

The reality is that the ability of new build developers to build the supply of homes that London needs relies on foreign investors. For Sadiq Khan and City Hall, this is an important concept that they are starting to understand. It’s real important for Mayor Khan because what he wants to do is build more affordable homes for Londoners – and that needs the developers on board. Right now, a big number of those affordable homes are built only as a condition of the permission for other new build properties given to developers.

An example of an affordable housing initiative in action is the development of the Aykon London One Tower, south of the Thames. It’s 50 floors of apartments are priced at up to £4 million. However, as part of the deal, Lambeth council gets 90 affordable homes. Without the luxury flats, those homes would not have materialised.

So, for sure the report will be relevant to developers – but it will also be important to Londoners. Perhaps it will be most important to Mayor Sadiq Khan: he’s promised a review, and he’s promised more affordable housing. Somehow he may need to extricate himself from blaming foreigners for London’s high house prices – what better way to do that than by an independent report that shows foreign investment is an integral piece of London’s property landscape?

A favourable report will likely kick into touch all the talk of penalising foreign property investors, and that will allow developers to continue to develop new build sites backed by foreign investment into off-plan property.

Foreign investors support new homes for Londoners

Off-plan property sales to investors – both domestic and foreign – help to fund development projects. These projects have created around a third of all affordable homes built in recent years – and that’s according to the GLA!

However, the GLA and Mayor may well have a point when they express their concern about investors buying property to leave empty. We’re not sure why investors would want to do that – our foreign investors are serious about making money from their London off-plan property purchases and want to tenant them after completion.

London’s property market has long since relied on foreign property investment money. Without investment from the Far East, Europe, and the United States, residential developments such as those in the shadow of Canary Wharf’s towers would never have got off the ground.

Will Mayor Sadiq Khan’s review harm foreign property investment?

It’s probable that the review ordered will be mostly accommodative to foreign property investors in London. The industry has already told the Mayor that it’s needed. He may have started to realise just how much his plans for more affordable housing rely on the ability of developers to continue building new build at a range of price levels. And that development relies pretty heavily on foreign investment, especially into off-plan property opportunities that support funding for entire projects.

The mayor may try to provide some solace to Londoners by instigating penalties or restrictions of some kind on investors (foreign or otherwise). In reality, there is probably little he can do. Calls for rent regulation, higher taxes on land, greater borrowing powers for local authorities to build, and harsh council tax penalties would all need central government legislation. That’s highly unlikely to be forthcoming.

Londoners want what Mayor Sadiq Khan wants: greater numbers of better homes, and more affordable housing.

Instead of butting heads with developers and being forced to fight foreign property investors, the report that City Hall has ordered may give the Mayor reasons to be more accommodative to developers and the investors in their off-plan property. Finally, investment by foreigners may well be seen to be positive for London’s property market at all price points, and not the sole reason for property price inflation.

To connect with us and our access to an active foreign investor base, call my team direct on +44 207 923 5680.

Keep in touch and connect with us on LinkedIn.

Live with Passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

increase off-plan property sales with an incentive strategy

Boost off-plan property sales with an incentive strategy

Incentives can sustain sales through all market conditions

Whatever direction the property market turns, developers need to sell off-plan property. When the market is roaring, off-plan property sales are easier to make and complete. When the market slows, you’ll need to be more innovative with sales strategies. One way to maintain sales price and volume of off-plan property sales is to offer incentives.

Here, I look at what you must consider when developing a property sales incentive strategy, as well as six incentives that encourage property investors and home buyers to invest in an off-plan property.

Off-plan property incentives – the rules of the game

Incentive schemes should do a number of jobs or they cease to be incentives and instead become no more than sales gimmicks. Here are the five incentives rules that all good incentive strategies follow:

1.     Make sure your incentive relates to the off-plan property for sale

The first rule of incentives is common sense. Always ensure the incentive offered is in line with the property you’re selling (in this case, off-plan property).

We’ve all seen restaurant deals that offer a free bottle of wine for the couple dining together and ordering two steak dinners. I doubt these would have the same impact if the offer were a free screwdriver. The wine relates to the meal. It’s an offer that makes sense and they might chose to spend more on another drink as a result, helping you cross sell and creating an opportunity for you to upsell.

A free iPad with every off-plan purchase might be a nice-to-have for some, but a free fitted wardrobe to the master bedroom or a kitchen appliance is both pertinent and useful to all property buyers.

Take time when thinking about the incentives you offer, and reflect on the buyer, too. Imagine the off-plan property investor talking to their partner, and what they might say. “If we invest in this off-plan property, we get two years’ guaranteed rent,” for example.

2.     Pitch the incentive to all interested parties

The incentive needs to appeal to all parties who will have an interest in a deal to buy off-plan property. Commonly, this will be a married couple (they may also be business partners or good friends). If you pitch the incentive and one is excited but the other is not, it’s not an incentive to buy.

Remember that incentives don’t have to be giveaways. They could be extra services or products at a discounted price. Cheap holidays with an obligation to attend a property seminar used to be a great strategy to incentivise people to take the first step to buying property abroad. (Notice, too, that this such an incentive also meets the needs of rule number 1 above – a holiday in the area being considered for the purchase of a vacation home.)

“We’ll decorate in the colours of your choice and discount the work by 50%,” is an incentive that allows one partner the creative license to stamp their mark on the new build investment property, while saving the second partner a whole heap of time and effort doing the work.

3.     Make the incentive suitable to the buying stage

You can have a range of incentives, but if they are offered at the wrong time they simply won’t work. For example, offering free white goods when an investor is at the first stage of discovery of the property investment opportunity will be a wasted incentive. This type of incentive is better positioned to encourage a close of a deal and held back for the negotiation process.

At the early stage, it’s much more relevant for the property investor to be offered a free consultation and exploration of investment goals and needs (in the manner in which property consultants at Castlereach reach out to investors). Save the ‘buy now and get this free’ incentive for later stages of the buyer’s journey.

4.     KISS – Keep it simple, stupid!

Don’t get too smart with your incentives or make them too complicated. Investors in off-plan property want simplicity and certainty. Property consultants need to be able to articulate your offer in a couple of sentences. One sentence is even better. Think about the ease of which the best incentive schemes are described and understood: “Buy two, get third free”; “Buy now, pay later”; “Everything must go”.

Try to be innovative, rewarding your customers with something different to what your completion has on offer. And keep the offer short and sweet: “Buy this week and get free white goods on completion.”

5.     Dissolve the off-plan investor’s concerns with a knockout incentive

Every property investor has concerns. If they didn’t worry about the risk of property investment they wouldn’t be in business or successful. Consider offering a knockout investment that makes those concerns go away − rental or price guarantees, for example. Whatever the knockout incentive you offer, make sure that you can keep your end of the bargain.

Incentives offer some extra value to mitigate risk and encourage a purchase (or moving to the next stage of the buyer’s journey). Whatever incentives you offer, make sure they support the sale of your off-plan property.

Six incentives to encourage off-plan property investment

Our investor clients have told us that the following six incentives that would help them in making a positive decision when considering an investment in off-plan property:

1.     Financing assistance

It could be in the form of relaxed deposit requirements, extra staged payments, or recommendation of suitable mortgage brokers.

2.     Discounted or free furniture packs or white goods

As a time-limited offer, encouraging investors to make a quick decision. Items that might usually accompany a residential property, either standard provided free of charge or upgraded at a discount.

3.     Offer incentives on the purchase price for late completion

If late completion is your fault, give a concession from the agreed purchase price without it costing you too much financially. It shows confidence on your part as the developer and helps to build trust and alleviate the risk factor.

4.     Offer to pay for an associated service

You might offer to pay the first year or two of ground rent or service charges, for example. It helps the investor with their cash flow during the most difficult period of ownership.

5.     Price or rental guarantees

Structured correctly, this is a highly emotive incentive. An investor who knows rental income is guaranteed for the first year or two has a big chunk of risk removed from the equation. It makes the investor’s buying decision a whole lot easier.

6.     Offer a bulk buy incentive for two or more properties

We have investors who buy two and more properties in a development because they like the scheme and their numbers stack. Offering an incentive to a single investor might encourage higher volume investors to move on a deal more quickly or commit to take more volume off your hands so you can complete faster.

Who creates the best incentives?

The best ideas for incentives always comes from your investors and the property consultants who work with them. Speak with them and ask what makes a buying decision easier to make. Get information on the incentives that competitors offer, and at what level according to the value of the property. Follow these simple tips and your incentives will start to add up, make sense and appeal to investors which will pay you dividends in the long run.

Our property consultants are in constant contact with our property investors, nurturing and keeping abreast of their situations. We know what investment returns they are looking for and what buttons to press to prompt a decision. Our track record of UK off-plan property sales made off-market speaks for itself.

To connect with us and get the ball rolling, call my team direct on +44 207 923 5680.

 

Live with passion and fun,

Brett

off-plan property development costs the double jeopardy of sterling and immigration

Off-Plan property development costs – double jeopardy

Off Plan Property Development costs are rising – mitigate them with Off-Plan sales strategies

There are two consequences of Brexit – one intended and one a by-product – both separately and together could bump up the off-plan property development costs for new build property developers in the UK. The intended consequence is a reduction in immigration, the by-product is the fall in the value of the GB Pound. Here, I explore the effects of both, as well as suggest a couple of easy strategies that could help developers mitigate at least part of the most damaging effects of higher construction costs.

Be prepared, the pound could cost you 3%

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned that the falling pound will increase costs in the UK construction industry. The ONS estimates that 10% of construction output represents the value of imported materials. Sterling has lost around 15% of its value since the EU Referendum vote (accurate at the time of writing). Prices of imported goods and services are therefore 15% higher in sterling terms.

Applying these numbers to off-plan property development costs, the RICS calculates the cost of imported materials will rise by up to 3%, and the overall costs of construction of new build from today will increase by more than 1%.

It might be possible for developers to absorb these price increases, and it appears that’s what Bellway plans to do: They said that it doesn’t expect a significant impact on house prices due to the pound’s fall. However, if developers do absorb the extra costs without passing on to buyers, margins will be squeezed further.

Slowing immigration could threaten residential construction

We’ve heard far less about the potential for low immigration to hurt the construction industry than we’ve heard about the possible price perils of the pummelling of the pound. The threat is very real though, and at its heart, is a chronic skills shortage in the UK construction industry.

Skills shortage in the UK construction industry

There are more than 2 million people working in the UK construction industry – and that has hardly fluctuated over the last decade. It’s not fashionable for youngsters to become bricklayers, plasterers, plumbers or roofing contractors:

  • A Recruitment and Employment Confederation report in 2015 concluded that the skills shortage in the UK construction industry was at a critical level.
  • The Construction Industry Training Board estimates at least 36,000 new workers every year are required to stand still and service current demand only.
  • RICS has said that 27,000 new construction projects every year could be impacted by the skills shortage.

More people are retiring from the industry and fewer apprenticeships. In fact, the number of apprentices more than halved between 2008 and 2014. Last year, there were 14,000 new apprentices hired in the industry. That’s some way above the 8,000 recorded in 2014, but even further behind the 36,000 new workers needed each year.

The falling pound and immigration

In the last few years, the construction industry has sought to plug the skills gap by employing foreign workers, mostly from the EU. The falling pound is making working in the UK less attractive for EU-born tradesmen. They tend to send part of their wages home to help support their families, and this is now far less efficient. A pound sent home in May was worth around €1.40. Now that has fallen to just €1.10.

The fall of the pound may do the job of controlling immigration for the government. Even if it doesn’t, it seems increasingly likely that Brexit will mean adopting some form of immigration control. Either way, it’s going to be harder for construction companies to find the skilled workers they need. And that means that labour costs will rise as fewer workers chase more jobs.

What can property developers do to mitigate rising costs of construction?

One immediate and effective solution to reduce off-plan property development costs is to outsource where possible including but not limited to internal sales staff, marketing costs and sales progression services. Savings will quickly be realised in both labour and speculative expenditure. Developers can reduce (or even eliminate) the impact of rising off-plan property development costs caused by the falling pound and lower immigration numbers. Some strategies adopted by property developers to reduce off-plan property development costs may include

  • Switching from overseas suppliers to UK suppliers and manufacturers to remove currency exchange impacts.
  • Asking suppliers to absorb some of the extra cost themselves
  • Larger developers will find such supplier price negotiations easier to push through
  • Source materials from alternative, cheaper sources, though it could be a mistake if this affects quality of finish or time to completion
  • Reduce cost of sales and marketing, outsourcing time to progress your development sales to completion

Market more intelligently and seize the opportunity

There are many ways developers can operate which might not affect costs that will certainly impact sales. Being able to sell off-plan property fast, within a certain timeframe has a positive impact on cash flow. Finding and using the best partners to drive sales ensures that prices paid remain buoyant and aren’t deflated.

The fall of the pound may have increased construction costs in the UK, but for overseas investors, it has created incredible property investment potential. The 15% to 20% fall in the pound’s value against the euro, for example, has effectively cut UK property prices by the same amount in euro terms.

Property consultants with a network of foreign investors and a distinguished track record give property developers an edge in the sales process. Regeneration, a commitment by the government to spend on infrastructure, and pent-up demand for housing in the UK are the factors that underpin foreign property investors’ demand for new build property post-Brexit.

Excellent property sales partners will work closely with you to ensure that your units reach the email inboxes, desktops and mobiles of property investors. They’ll have a bank of active investor clients whom they know inside out. These investors will trust their property consultants to discover and source only the best residential off-plan property investment opportunities that match their investment strategies.

Be consultative, not pushy to create demand

When you’re working with property sales consultants, ensure they have meaningful connections with their clients and they want to work with you and dovetail with your sales strategy with you. Collaborate on the sales pitch together, be open and help articulate the investment potential and the unique selling point of your development. If there are potential objections, consider and identify how you will overcome these during your pitch process.

Finally, understand that the hard sales routine rarely works with seasoned investors. These people buy once and usually come back for more: these are the real buyers you want access to, for their consistent commitment, experience and understanding of property investment and buying off-plan property.

Make sure you work with a property sales consultant with a solid list of UK and overseas property investors, with a track record and strong relationships. Chose a partner who’ll help build and enhance your reputation, not a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ salesman who’s in it for the short term.

At Castlereach, we pride ourselves on the relationships we build with developers and investors. We understand construction and know property developers need to make a reasonable profit in the same way that investors need to buy at a reasonable price to make a reasonable and attractive return. Our property consultants work hard with developers and help them achieve their objectives for the benefit of all. With over £850m of new build and off plan sales under our belt, our track record of UK Off-Plan and Off-market property sales speaks for itself.

Connect with us and get the ball rolling or call my team direct on +44 207 923 5680.

Live with Passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

14 digital marketing tips to increase off-plan property sales

14 digital marketing tips to increase off-plan property sales

The world lives online. If it could eat, sleep, and breathe online it would. The amount of time we spend online is mind-boggling. According to research from globalwebindex:

  • Millennials spend more than three hours online on their mobile every day
  • Six in ten millennials shop via mobile
  • 93% visit YouTube

According to Ofcom’s Media Use and Attitudes 2015 Report, the average adult spends more than 20 hours a week online. Nine in ten people use the Internet, accessing via computers, tablets and smartphones. Online is rapidly becoming the number one resource for research, news, shopping, entertainment, and social connections.

The point is this: if you’re a property developer and not online, you’re missing out on a huge number of potential sales. But being online isn’t enough. Successful digital marketing requires planning and constant maintenance.

In this article, you’ll find 14 digital marketing tips that will help you create a knockout online off-plan property sales model.

1.    Create a breathtaking website

If there’s one industry that’s been transformed by the Internet, it’s real estate. Home buyers and property investors are avid online surfers. They use Google Maps to discover the layout of the land. They conduct research online to find evidence of new business, infrastructure build, and regeneration projects. They post questions on Quora and discuss education, local councils, and market fundamentals on property investment forums.

Your website should help property investors to access all of the information they need and want. It also has to be visually appealing but needs to be much more, too.

2.    Ensure your website is easy to navigate

If your site is a maze with a mass of false turns and dead ends, users will soon become bored with the experience. A well-designed website leads the visitor from their point of entry to the exit in a route you want them to take. Think of how modern stores encourage people to browse in a logical way as they are steered to the cash desk. That’s the job you want your website to do for you.

3.    Don’t forget mobile!

Think about how you access the Internet, and where. The world isn’t just online. It’s online and mobile. Make certain that your website is mobile friendly.

4.    Create killer content

Your website is your online salesperson. It has to have the charisma and gusto to amuse, inform, and entertain. It has to connect with your target audience of property investors.  An off-plan property is not an easy sale, yet the best salesperson makes it look easy. Your website has the power to be your best salesperson.

Think about the content your audience wants, the language that will connect with them, and the imagery that will sell to them. Your content must be irresistible, consistent, and constant. And it has to be found by the people who you want to find it.

5.    Be an active blogger

A blog is one of the most powerful tools in cyberspace. It increases your visibility, keeps you front, and centre on search engines gives an ideal location to direct social media contacts and provides a starting point for your online conversations.

Your blog enables you to reach out to the property investment community, raising awareness of new property developments, and updating them on market and company news. Your blog allows you to educate and inform, and demonstrate your experience, expertise and knowledge. Including a call-to-action (CTA) gives the opportunity to capture leads.

6.    Maintain a company news section

Including press releases and company updates help to build trust and inform people that your new build property company is growing.

7.    Create lead-capturing content

People love freebies. They also love convenience. When you give them something that adds value to their lives or helps them invest in property, you’re adding another building block to the relationship that you’re creating.

Offering a free download of an eBook that divulges “X reasons that property here is about to skyrocket in value”, or “The new build features that propel rental income” in exchange for an email address is a great lead capture strategy. With the email address on your contact list, you now have the opportunity for an agent to make contact or to set in motion an email marketing campaign.

8.    Let visitors sign up to a newsletter

Newsletters are a perfect way to reach out to potential property buyers and keep your company name at the forefront of their thinking. You can include content from your blog and business news section (perhaps the ‘most popular blog this month’) as well as featuring your latest off-plan property opportunities. If you plan to run a webinar, you can include details of this, too.

An excellent way to get visitors to sign up to your newsletter is to include one of your CTAs on every blog and as a sidebar addition on your website.

9.    Publish property investment reports

Investors want to know what’s happening in their target markets (and to discover new locations for investment). Publish reports compiled with meaningful data – average rents, selling prices, local property price history, economic background, and reviews of local schools, retail, recreation, and business amenities. Create a section on your website to highlight these reports – and how about providing a clipped piece of content with a call-to-action to download the full report (in exchange for an email address, of course)?

10. Improve your SEO

People use search engines to find the content they are looking for. The biggest of these is Google. Get found on Google, and you could see your online traffic explode. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is how you keep your website front and centre on search engines. Across all your content, you’ll need to use the keywords that property investors and home buyers are searching for. You’ll also need to use other techniques that optimise your content and your website. Get a content marketer or SEO specialist on board to help you.

11. Provide virtual tours for visitors to view your off-plan development

Virtual tours of off-plan properties are a relative innovation. They let visitors ‘see’ the finished product before a brick is laid. It saves them time and expense and draws them into the investment potential of your property development.

12. Host a webinar

Webinars are highly visual, interactive tools to encourage sales. You can offer education, property investment news, and allow people to answer questions. It’s like a property investment seminar that gives the world the opportunity to participate. You’ll capture emails for marketing purposes and can record the webinar for online promotion purposes (‘selling’ in exchange for email addresses time and again).

13. Put in place targeted email campaigns

The whole reason that you’ve been aggressive with your content and capturing emails are to increase traffic to your website and build a list for marketing purposes.

Your contact lists can be segregated, and autoresponder email marketing can be designed and instigated. This uses the sales funnel approach, leading potential buyers through to the final decision to contact or purchase.

You’ll be able to market appropriate materials to only those who are most likely to respond; and once you have set up an email campaign, it can operate automatically and without intervention until the crucial moment. The best email campaigns react to different user actions – one email sent to those who open the previous email, a different one forwarded to those that don’t.

14. Track your results, iterate, and improve

Track all your results – numbers of website visitors, leads created, and positive email responses – on a regular and continual basis. Some blog posts will have more visitors than others. Examine and understand why to evolve and upgrade underperforming blogs.

To increase off-plan property sales, it’s imperative that you understand what digital marketing content is working and why it’s working. Results don’t happen overnight, but as you monitor results and make tweaks to content, SEO, landing pages and CTAs, you’ll discover what resonates with the property investment community, what keeps them returning, and what encourages sharing your digital marketing content with others.

Like a snowball rolling down a hill, digital marketing begins slowly. Once on the move, it grows and gathers pace organically. And that leads to rising off-plan property sales numbers.

At Castlereach we are committed to helping property developers reach property investors and maximise sales. We’ll bring investors who are ready to buy property across the UK, while you do what you’re great at – creating incredible residential properties. Our track record of UK off-plan property sales made off-market and discreetly, speaks for itself.

To connect with us and get the ball rolling − call my team direct on +44 207 923 5680.

 

Live with passion and fun,

Brett

How UK property developers unleash technology to untether sales

How UK property developers unleash technology to untether sales

Connect off-plan property investors using technology

Today, information is freely available to a global audience. For you, selling off-plan property and reaching a global audience doesn’t mean you’ll reach your potential buyers, and off-plan property investors are a canny lot if recent research is anything to go by:

  • According to com research in 2014, 81% of shoppers research online before making a purchase.
  • A Moz survey in 2015 found that 67% of purchasing decisions were affected by online reviews.
  • A 2015 Realtor study found that homebuyers under 50 tend to spend 11 weeks searching and researching before making a buying decision. Their first port of call is an internet search.

The majority of UK property developers’ websites are targeted at home buyers. Yours may be, too. However, when kicking off a new off-plan property development, access to off-plan property investors will be crucial.

In this post, I’ll explain how we use technology to target off-plan property investors with interest in new build developments specifically. You’ll discover a little of why property developers in London and across the UK work with us to sell their off-plan property off-market.

We make it easy for off-plan property investors to get information

We understand that off-market sales only have a limited period of success. The window of opportunity is narrow, but that doesn’t mean our marketing starts that way. In fact, our marketing starts way before we even speak with developers.

Our websites are the first point of contact for off-plan property investors: the first step in us targeting a specific audience for your new development.

Our sites reflect the quality of the developers that we work with and the quality of the developments we offer off-market. They’re optimised for all forms of access (mobile, laptop, desktop, and tablet). We also make sure that asking for more information is easy, requiring only email and name as the first level of client information.

We track our off plan property investors and information they ask for

From this initial point of access, we’ll track our new off-plan property investor’ journey on our sites using technology. This helps us build up a picture of them as an off-plan property investor. Whenever they request a new piece of research or visit a blog or news item, we log this information. Over a period of time, this information gathering enables us to target specific property investment opportunities to particular target investors.

Agents speak to off-plan property investors to get better insights into their needs, and this further informs our marketing process. We factor in previous investments made, and the prices paid.

We then use a combination of email marketing and direct contact to excite investors to new, off-market, off-plan property. By this stage, we’ve reduced our marketing list to those investors that our database says will be most interested in the specific investment opportunity.

The who, the how and the why – using information to sell off-plan property to investors

Our marketing and sales techniques speak to off-plan property investors, not homebuyers. Off-plan property investor motives are different to those of the homebuyer.

The emotional pull of a property is, for the most part, non-existent for our clients. They are interested in the investment potential, so we develop our research and site-specific information to sell to this need. People by a home. Investors buy a box that makes them money. This is markedly different to the sales information provided by estate agents and online resources like Zoopla and Rightmove.

By understanding investor needs, we harness technology to give them the information they need and want. We’ll show them in numbers and facts why your development is a great investment opportunity. We’ll talk about prices, values, infrastructure, regeneration, sales, and rental yield. We’ll contrast and compare with existing properties in the area, helping to close the deal that we know the target will already be interested in.

For most property developers in the UK, undertaking this kind of technology remodelling for each new development is expensive and time-consuming. Our advantage is that we only need to iterate for a new development. We evolve our offering to compliment the strength of our existing and expanding investor database for the benefit of the developers we represent.

Feel free to contact us on +44 207 923 5680 to discover how our off-market targeted sales strategy marks us out from the competition.

Live with Passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

Unlock the sales of luxury off-plan developments London

Best luxury off-plan development sales in London

Securing the best off-plan development sales in London

We take calls every day from developers eager to increase their off-plan development sales in London. In the aftermath of Brexit, many of these calls question how we can help to introduce luxury developments to foreign investors – with the £GBPound taking a recent hammering.

We use tried and tested techniques and strategies to sell your off-plan developments in London – off-market and off-plan. With the fall in the pound post-Brexit, we’ve witnessed sales of off-plan developments are flying as foreigners snap up bargains that won’t last long. This isn’t default but by design.

In this post, I’m going to introduce a few marketing ideas that can be incorporated into an off-market sales strategy.

Sell the area of London on property fundamentals

Investors want to know and be confident they are buying in an area that will support growth now and in the future. Luxury developments need to appeal to a sustainable base of renters and purchasers. We research areas where off-plan development sales in London are set to take off – confirming the investment potential of an off-plan development in London.

This research goes deeper than a four-page sales brochure from an estate agent. We’ll cover infrastructure plans, highlight transportation benefits, analyse nearby bars, restaurants, and leisure facilities as well as local schools and further education establishments.

Make it exclusive

The whole point of an off-market sales opportunity is exclusivity. The investor has to be comfortable with a ground floor opportunity. It’s a bigger risk for them, and so they don’t want the chance to be made available to a broad market. Our property investors and property developers we work with know that we will never market to anything other than a select audience.

We know our clients, what they want, and where they want to buy. That close relationship takes nurturing. We won’t risk our reputation – nor that of our developer partners – by blanket marketing in the hope of drumming up some interest.

This is one reason we can take volume on board, and not just the odd one or two new build apartments.

Off-plan development sales in London are a bargain

Our research examines market fundamentals, too − sales and rental prices of luxury apartments in the locale of your development, for example. This is where pricing ability pays dividends. You have to sell them a bargain and outline where their value lies.

The investor may be committing to the deal before even a brick is laid. That’s greater risk than other investors take on. They’ll expect to see a great offer. We’ll help developers maximise their opportunity while meeting investor needs for a value investment. It’s a tightrope that we’ve walked successfully thousands of times.

Invest in targeted off-plan development marketing

Finding the right investors quietly is the key to success of off-market sales. You don’t want to rock the boat. That’s why we get to know our clients inside out. When we invest in marketing your off-plan development in London, we’ll target investors who have shown an interest in such properties before, some may have missed out on a similar opportunity and be waiting for another one just like it. The vast majority of these are long-term holders of property, so when you come to market your next off-plan development sales, you won’t find investors looking to flip for a quick profit.

Investing in your off-plan development sales in London needs a company that understands the market (and with upwards of £1 billion of properties sold off-plan and off-market, we believe we’ve got an edge here). This is going to pay dividends not only now, but also for your future sales strategy.

Feel free to contact us on +44 207 923 5680 to discover how our off-market targeted sales approach marks us out from the competition.

 

Live with passion and fun,

Brett

how new build developers benefit from the castlereach advantage

How new build developers benefit from the Castlereach advantage

Connecting new build developers with investors

When new build developers work with Castlereach, they’re using a robust network that reaches out to property investors at home and abroad. Many of these investors have worked with us for several years. They understand that the off-market and off-plan properties that we select and promote are chosen because of strong property fundamentals.

Our due diligence process is trusted and recognised for locating the best places to invest in UK property. We provide research, investment guides, and connect investors to a sales progression process, which removes common stumbling blocks that deter investment in off-plan property. We’ve found this to be especially relevant as a marketing tool for foreign investors, an increasingly important sector of the market for new build developers.

So what is the Castlereach advantage that will help sell your development off-market and increase your ROI?

In this article, I’ll outline five reasons why Castlereach delivers sparkling sales numbers to the new build developers with whom we work.

1.    Staff that are fully trained and continuously trained

Our property consultants are not only experienced in the property market; we also ensure they’re trained in specific sales skills that are needed to boost off-market property sales. New build developers need far more than the standard estate agent to achieve the highest premiums and best sales numbers for off-plan sales.

From the off, and throughout their time with Castlereach, property consultants are trained and updated on the skills and techniques that have been identified as key attributes in the sales and marketing process. These include the following critical capabilities:

·      Be good at listening

The art of good communication is the ability to listen. Our property consultants learn to listen to our clients, learning their investment objectives by the use of effective questioning techniques. By understanding the needs of our investor clients, we can promote your off-plan property to targeted individuals who have a greater motivation for buying. There’s no scattergun approach and no blanket marketing. It helps to preserve the integrity of your development while increasing sales potential.

·      Know how to sell off-plan and off-market

It does not simply understanding the needs of the investor that informs selling success. Property consultants also have to be well versed in how to sell your product. The emphasis here is on creating a buzz within each investor. Our property consultants are trained to sell the investment potential, confirming its capacity to attract home buyers and/or tenants dependent upon investment goals.

·      Negotiating skills

Our property consultants are highly effective negotiators. They understand the investor, the product, and the market. That puts them in the ideal position to negotiate the best deal between developer and investor.

2.    Market knowledge

There’s no substitute for market knowledge when promoting off-market property investment opportunities. Individual investors don’t have the time or energy to research every property, nor keep on top of rapidly-moving markets.

We have the manpower, systems and resources to do all the legwork and crunch the reams of information required to make informed investment decisions. It means the investor can concentrate on their strategy, knowing that they have a partner working with them to identify opportunities that are in line with their property investment objectives.

Our unique position as the sales conduit of the developer, with the a highly focussed market knowledge that is indispensable to the investor, makes us the ideal partner for new build developers and investors alike.

3.    Building effective and lasting partnerships

Sales is a relationship business. We remain in constant contact with both developers and investors. The way we maintain these relationships is key to our success and your sales. Developers can be confident that we know which investors have their buying hats on at all times. Investors can be sure that we know of the new build property developments that match their needs, and that we’re perfectly placed to meet their investment plans when an opportunity arises.

4.    Up to date and innovative

As the world moves at an ever-faster pace, methods of communication and marketing are evolving. Investors want to be kept up to date with markets and opportunities, and they want to be communicated with in their favoured method. That might be by email, newsletters, blogs, social media, and so on.

This connectivity and contact help us to be seen as the educator and investment partner. We stay in the forefront of the investor’s thinking, and that is highly beneficial for the new build developers with whom we work. This constant contact creates the foundation for an incredible marketing framework. It’s also one of the keys to how we grow our database of investor clients – by referral from satisfied investors who return to us time and again.

We also use more traditional methods of connecting with potential investors, such as property investment seminars. Educational seminars allow us to present the latest research, local market knowledge, and network with new and experienced property investors. Our clients know that we have a consistent flow of exclusive deals and that we might provide indications of these at our seminars – so our seminars become an ideal opportunity to showcase property developers and their off-plan properties, too.

5.    An international reach

International investors make up a large proportion of today’s buyers of UK property for investment purposes. Prime central London property is especially appealing for  The Middle East and Chinese buyers, with the safe haven appeal of the UK and London underpinning demand (even after Brexit). In fact, interest from foreign property investors post-Brexit has increased further, as the fall in the value of sterling has made UK property even cheaper in foreign currency terms.

We have an especially strong presence with investors from China and Singapore, and the Middle East. A recent report in The Guardian suggests that Chinese investment in foreign property could be as much as £200 billion over the next ten years, and the UK will likely see a large slice of that. Charles Pittar, CEO of Juwai, told The Guardian, “The UK market, particularly post-Brexit, is picking up (for Chinese investors.”

Partnering with Castlereach offers exceptional access to a large and rapidly-growing database of foreign investors keen to purchase UK property.

How to connect with Castlereach and our investors

Some sources have estimated that foreign property investors buy as much as 75% of all London off-plan property made available by new build developers. We’ll help you connect with them. To connect with us and get the ball rolling, call my team direct on +44 207 924 5680.

Keep in touch,

Martin Sadler

Post-Brexit off-plan developments in London are exploding

Post-Brexit London off-plan development sales are holding

Increasing your off-plan sales post-Brexit

For several years the UK housing market has been diverging into a two-tier affair. On the one hand, you have London property, and on the other, you have the rest of the United Kingdom. Post-Brexit, it looks very much like London off-plan developments are being polarised into two distinct sectors: domestic investment and foreign investment.

Here, I’ll discuss and distill some of the recent news that supports this view, and examine how property developers in London take advantage of this new dynamic.

The UK house prices: a two-tier market?

According to the Nationwide House Price Index, in the UK, regional and London house prices tracked each other between 1973 and 1996. Apart from a blip in the mid-1980s when London property prices broke higher temporarily, property values across the UK increased at the same rate.

But since 1996, when it became apparent that the UK would not join the Euro, London property prices have outperformed prices across the UK regions. From an index base of 100 in 1995, the London House Price Index has risen to more than 700, while the UK House Price Index has increased to a shade more than 400.

london vs uk house price index off-plan developments

 

There are some factors for this massive outperformance. Primarily these reasons focus on the financial sector. As it became apparent that refusing to be a euro currency member would not damage London’s status as a financial centre, and contrary to expert forecasts at the time, investment into London property increased.

We see this dynamic repeating now, but with a much more polarised focus. London is – at least in the short term – a mecca for foreign investment into property.

Off-plan development sales slump… or is it?

Figures released by Molior London in mid-July showed that the number of off-plan properties sold in the second quarter of 2016 (ahead of the EU Referendum) fell from 6,974 to 4,600 from a year earlier. This was partly blamed on uncertainty ahead of the Brexit vote, but mostly on the continuing effects of the 2014 tax hike. On top of this, stamp duties were raised on higher value homes, and changes to the way that buy-to-let mortgages are taxed also had an effect.

Since Brexit, agents have reported a divergence of interest in London off-plan developments. It has been reported that as many as one in eight buyers of property under construction have pulled out of the deal. These are domestic, UK-based buyers. They’re nervous of what Brexit may mean to house prices in the London market.

Meanwhile, foreign buyers have flooded in. This was forecast in an excellent article by Brett Alegre-Wood, who anticipates that Brexit has the potential to create a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for investors in off-plan property in London. In that article, Brett points out that:

  • Demand for off-plan property in London from foreign investors is likely to increase
  • Long-term demand from renters and homebuyers in London will remain strong
  • Off-plan property in London represents excellent value to the investor

Mirroring these forecasts, London’s agents are reporting a huge uptick in foreign investor interest in off-plan developments in the capital. The pound’s collapse has put London property firmly in the bargain bucket as far as foreign investors are concerned. Some agents have reported a spike of 50% in enquiries for properties.

How to stop your London development from being mothballed

Some property developers have reacted with extreme caution towards the Brexit vote. Some have mothballed projects, while others have said that they will reduce the pace of building. This offers some developers an opportunity to make hay while the sun shines.

On 11th August, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reported a softening in house price growth and falling prices in London. But interestingly, in the same survey, it said that its sales and price expectations on a twelve-month view have risen. In other words, the current softening of the market looks more cyclical than systemic.

Developers who strategise for off-market off-plan sales to foreign investors probably won’t have to mothball any developments. They’ll benefit from:

  • lower competition in the market;
  • continuing demand for long-term rentals and from homebuyers; and
  • expectations of a return to the growth path within twelve months.

Here at Castlereach, we’ve also seen enquiries for off-plan development property in London increase. As I’ve discussed recently, UK property investment is high on the list of our foreign investors. Now is the perfect time to get in touch and implement a bespoke off-market, off-plan sales strategy that taps into this rich vein of foreign demand. Don’t mothball, market!

Call me direct on +44 207 924 5680. Our foreign investors have specific investment needs which London property satisfies.

 

Live with passion and fun,

Brett