What’s Wrong With Rightmove & Zoopla?



There’s no question about it, buyers visit Rightmove and Zoopla because they provide easily-searched access to properties currently available for sale. Or do they?

Certainly property portals are efficient and estate agents have embraced them for many years as being an important addition to their marketing toolbox. On the surface, people no longer apparently need to register with an estate agent when looking for a property. However, those buyers who do register directly, tend to find they are offered properties before they appear on the portals.

We find that an increasing proportion of property sellers engage us to market their home using more discrete marketing methods than overt portal or other advertising exposure. There are several reasons for this – maybe they want to test the market or they have not yet announced the move to their friends and family. Perhaps they simply don’t want to risk overexposing their property and want to keep it exclusive, available only to pre-qualified buyers that their estate agent has personally vetted.

As a buyer, by registering directly with an estate agent you therefore put yourself at an advantage in terms of access to unexpected properties that you might otherwise have missed. Additionally because so many buyers register through the portals, by registering directly with agent you are demonstrating your commitment to buying in a specific area and you are more likely to be regarded as a viable and legitimate purchaser. This puts you in pole position to hear about opportunities to view properties as soon as they become available, often ahead of other “run-of-the-mill” buyers.

Sometimes it’s the counterintuitive approach that pays off! So if you’re thinking of buying, why not register directly with us at www.richardjames.net and see how what it feels finally to enjoy “club membership” status! You might be pleasantly surprised!

Leave a comment

October 2016 Property Market Comment

RAFPowerful opposing forces seem to be keeping the property market in check this October, driven by the usual suspects. Demand remains high, but supply is still short. Interest rates are historically low, based on a bank rate of just 0.25%, so mortgages remain cheap, but are difficult to get, with 12% of self-employed applicants being turned down. House prices in the three months to September were 5.8% higher than the same time last year, but down 0.1% down on the previous three months.

The London market, which tends to lead the way for the rest of the country is similarly confused, with first time buyers now almost completely priced out as only 2% of sales in the capital are currently below £150,000. Yet the prime central London market has all but collapsed with just five transactions over £10million, against 35 transactions this time last year. This is despite the falling pound offering exceptional value for wealthy foreign investors.

This same weaker pound has had its effect on inflation, with the latest figures showing a leap to 1% and expected to rise further, based on higher fuel and import costs. Fortunately, wage inflation is currently around 2% but nevertheless, higher costs of living could possibly hit confidence levels going forward, especially when combined with a host of Brexit-related fears.

It’s tempting to over-analyse these things. Despite the above often-conflicting factors, the market remains steady and property, as ever, a reliable investment. The key thing is to ensure that your personal/family/career needs are met in your home. If you need or want to move, just do it! If everyone took this stance, then the supply issue would be addressed, buyers would have more choice and property might become a bit more affordable.

Nevertheless, despite the need for more affordable properties, our job remains very much in favour of helping our sellers secure the highest price the market will tolerate, and in that we excel. So if you’re thinking of moving, why not invite us to comment on your own potential sale – you might be pleasantly surprised!

Leave a comment

The Power Of Pre-Marketing

privateThere is a strong argument for creating maximum exposure for a property during its time on the market, and much of our effort and resources are spent achieving the right exposure in the right places.

However, one of the most powerful ways of securing a fast sale at a high price can actually result from minimal exposure – or rather exposure only to a select few!

It works by taking advantage of the fact that people enjoy being offered something on an exclusive basis, especially when it is a property that is “just about to come onto the market”. So we often offer our new instructions “off-market” to our pre-registered “hottest” buyers first, resulting in a number of recent sales that were never even advertised! Additionally, promoting to potential buyers that we also have properties that don’t appear on our website or any portals generates curiosity and a feeling that the buyer could be missing out on something good. This encourages buyers to register with us so they can then gain access to a potentially popular property with little or no competition.

The prices achieved using this method tend to be good as well, as buyers of such a property know that it is unlikely that the seller would consider anything below the asking price during these early days of marketing.

We find that many sellers like the idea of an initial period of quiet marketing, especially in instances of a marriage break up, a death in the family, a prominent house in a small village, financial difficulties or any other reason where people don’t yet want it to be publicly known that they are selling. The concept also reduces the risk of overexposure or of the property “going stale” on the market.

Of course, it does rely on a strong register of qualified buyers, but that’s never been a problem for us at Richard James Estate Agents!

Leave a comment

Autumn’s All Go!

autumns-all-goWith the summer, and the initial confusion over the Brexit issue, now firmly behind
us, the market is active once again, and we actually find that we currently have far
more buyers than we do stock, but predict that there will be a run of properties
coming onto the market in the run up to Christmas. Those who enter the market
ahead of this rush are likely to be the winners, as they will be competing with old

New-to-market properties over old stock that might have been on the market since
the spring. The first question buyers ask is, “how long has it been on the market?”
If nobody else wanted to buy it–why should they? Any agent will tell you that a
property is most likely to sell within the first two to three weeks of marketing. That’s when buyers are excited about your property, often leading to a price increase as buyers compete for your property.

So if a move is on the cards, we urge you to consider bringing it forward if at all possible. You can always extend your completion date if need be. But the key in this market is to secure a buyer sooner rather than later.

We would be happy to create a Marketing Plan that really works for you – without
obligation – quickly, efficiently and with great care and courtesy for
local homeowners over the coming weeks.

So why not call us today, and discover a refreshingly different estate agency? You might just be putting your Christmas tree up in a different house this year!

Leave a comment

Changes – Not Just Digital?

25-yer-anniversary-675x459[1]As we celebrate 25 years in business this month, we reflect on the changes that we have encountered since 1991.

This was the year the world wide web was created, the year that Bryan Adams achieved the longest running Number One with Everything I Do, I Do It For You and the year Freddie Mercury died. John Major was Prime Minister and and the UK went into recession. You could buy a terraced house in Wellingborough for less than £30,000!

On 13th September of that year Richard James Estate Agents opened, at this time computers were rarely used in an estate agency environment and our mailing list consisted of a box of cards with potential buyers name, address, home telephone and requirements hand written on.

Mobile phones were extremely rare, only used by Guppies! There were no websites and no digital photography.These were the days when we took a photo and sent the film away to be developed and then wait to see how good the pictures were the next day. We would sparingly and painstakingly then stick the photographs onto our Sales Particulars, it was rare to have more than three photographs of a property. These would then be stuffed into envelopes and sent to potential buyers from our “mailing list”.

The introduction of digital photography and the Internet changed the way we would market a property. By the late 1990’s computers and basic estate agency software were introduced into our offices, our mailing list became electronic and the software matched people to houses and printed out digital photographs onto a letter to post out. Eventually this progressed to the software matching the properties to buyers and emailing them out to thousands of buyers within seconds. Marketing today has moved on again, with higher quality digital cameras, top quality printing, LED screens in our offices and LED light pocket window displays.

Today the basics principles of customer service is still the cornerstone of good estate agency. However, “online” agents are still trying to steal a share of the market offering a no frills service without personal interaction, mainly offering an Internet advert only.

We wonder what changes we will experience over the next 25 years and what the future holds for estate agency and the property market in general? How will our country change? How will our towns change? How will Richard James change?

Leave a comment

The Big Debate: Buying Vs. Renting

OCTOBERA recent survey amongst UK estate agency members aimed to find out which is the cheapest option when looking for a home: buying or renting. Conducted by Relocation Agent Network, of which Richard James Estate Agents is a member, the survey found that buying a house continues to be the cheaper option.

Relocation Agent Network, the national network of selected estate agents asked its members whether it was cheaper to buy or rent a three-bedroom semi-detached house over the course of a 12 month period. 92% said that it was cheaper to buy.

The national survey also looked at the possible savings you could make when buying property. Again, based on a three-bedroom semi-detached house, member respondents were asked what they estimated the annual saving was from buying a property instead of renting one. 38% of member respondents stated that it was possible to save between £1,000 and £1,500 a year, with another quarter suggesting a saving of up to £2,000 could potentially be made.

So in terms of saving money, Relocation Agent Network’s survey results demonstrate that buying really is the preferred option. We understand that getting onto the property ladder can be challenging, but we’re here to help and guide you through the buying process. Contact us today to discuss your options. We’ve been appointed the area’s Local Expert by Relocation Agent Network, which means – in their opinion – we’re the best estate agent in the area to help you.”

Leave a comment

Richard James proud to sponsor Rushden & Higham Rugby Under 15’s

We’re really proud to support Rushden and Higham RUFC in the form of supplying their under 15’s squad with some smart new training tops. Richard Taylor, Director at our Rushden branch popped along to see the team kick off their new season. We were also really humbled to have received a shirt of our own! Good luck for the season ahead, we’ll be along to cheer you on as much as we can.



Leave a comment

This month marks 25 years of Richard James

25-yer-anniversary-675x459[1]Friday the 13th is deemed to be unlucky; however on this day in September 1991 Richard James Estate Agents opened the doors for the very first time.

Despite some turbulent times over the last 25 years we are now celebrating our silver anniversary. Like all businesses we have faced many difficult challenges, particularly house price “boom and bust”, high interest rates in the 1990’s, the banking crash of 2008 when mortgages became scares and currently we dealing with fall out from Brexit.

The two main reasons we have survived whilst many other estate agents have failed, are our service levels and quality staff. We have always believed in good communication with our customers, keeping them updated on a regular basis, giving prompt feedback, providing honest advice and personal attention. Over the years we have sold houses for three generations of the same family on many occasions. It is always great to know that someone has come to us because we helped their parents or grand-parents, recommendations have been the live blood of developing the business.

To offer quality service you need quality staff; our staff deliver that service. Six members of our team have been with the company for more than fifteen years. This means our customers are receiving advice from experienced estate agents who know the business inside out. Many customers return to us because of the service they received personally from one individual some years ago. We still maintain in the changing world of technology, customers still want personal honest and accurate advice when moving home.

Despite starting from a single room office in 1991 we now have three prominent High Street offices in Wellingborough, Irthlingborough and Rushden. We were selected by Relocation Agent Network, a network of 650 estate agents to represent them locally in 1995, this gives us coverage and exposure nationally, with associated offices in  many towns and cities, something no other agent in our area can offer.

Our proudest moments in recent years has been winning the Relocation Agent Network “Best Agent” regional award for the past five consecutive years. This emphasises quality service, our market leadership, strong marketing initiatives and customer satisfaction.

We hope to continue to build the business further in future years and trust generations of more families will come to us knowing they can depend on our honest trustworthy service.

Leave a comment

25 years in business, 25% off standard fees

25 percent offWe are 25 years old this month, yes Richard James opened in September 1991 and to mark our 25th anniversary we are offering 25% off our standard Sole Agency fee from 1st September.

With this offer, your property will be marketed from our Wellingborough, Irthlingborough and Rushden offices which are open seven days a week, accompanied viewings, next day feedback, advertising on at least 14 websites and the assistance of 650 estate agents offices across the UK via the Relocation Agent Network.

Our standard fee is 1.5% including VAT and this offer is subject to a minimum fee of £2,000 including VAT.

Leave a comment

Brexit? It’s business as usual for Relocation Agent Network members

RAN_4col_block_stackedIt would appear that amongst Relocation Agent Network members, the result of June’s EU Referendum has (so far) had little impact on the UK housing market.

One week after the EU Referendum, Relocation Agent Network surveyed a group of its members to see what trends they were experiencing in each of their local housing markets. The results found that – on the whole – trends were relatively unchanged.

When discussing the direct impact that the Referendum has had so far on the property market, over 90% stated that they had seen no housing transactions fall through as a direct consequence. 75% also noted that buyer enquiries have stayed the same since the result was announced.

When asked whether survey respondents thought residential sales prices will rise over the next 18 months, 83% indicated they will stay the same. Similarly, 75% indicated that transactions in the sales market for the same period, will also stay the same.

It would appear that survey respondents foresee a similar picture for the UK rental market. 66% reported that over the next 18 months, both rental rates and buy-to-let transactions will stay the same.

The survey also asked respondents how long they thought any uncertainty in the UK property market would last. More than 66% think it will be six months, with an additional quarter suggesting 12 months.

So far we have seen Brexit make very little impact on our local property market. Of course, the long term impact it will have is uncertain, but the summer months are traditionally a popular time to enter the housing market and 2016 is no different. If you have a property to sell, contact us today. We’re Relocation Agent Network’s appointed Local Expert for Wellingborough, Irthlingborough and Rushden which means we have access to out of town buyers moving into the area.

Leave a comment