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Last week we launched the latest version of our website. With tablets and smart phones now more popular than a traditional desktop computer to browse the web, we decided to make our site responsive. This enables customers to see all the information clearly and boldly on any device. All the pages resize themselves automatically according to the screen size.
Previously and like most other estate agents sites, browsing from a smart phone would only enable you to see properties in a “watered down” format. All the other information about our business and the home buying process would not be available on a mobile device making it difficult to make a qualified decision either about booking a valuation or a viewing.
The fact the site is easy to use and packed with useful information means customers are less likely to leave and look elsewhere. It is now generally perceived that a website forms the image and profile of the business and one of the first places people research when looking for an estate agent.
This is the sixth version of Richard James website that has been designed by local business in.house.media. We employed them again having been extremely happy with the previous sites but as technology has evolved, we wanted it to be responsive to give our customers a better ability to browse, having a fresh, clear contemporary look.
Britain’s biggest building society Nationwide has tightened up on its lending criteria – with a clampdown on loan to income multiples that appears to go considerably further than Bank of England guidelines.
It has also tightened its stress testing, as warnings mount on impending rises in interest rates.
As of yesterday, it capped all of its new lending to 4.75 times income. It had previously applied caps on individual cases but the new ceiling is to be applied across the board.
The Bank of England has said that only 15% of all new lending should be at 4.5 times income or higher from October, suggesting that most new loans should be at no more than 3.5 times annual income.
However, Nationwide’s new limit suggests that it is being far more cautious.
The move follows limits placed by RBS and Lloyds, which have imposed 4 times income on loans where the property is worth £500,000 or more.
The mutual has also, as of yesterday, raised its stress test, meaning that new borrowers will have to prove they can repay mortgages if interest rates go to 6.99%.
A spokesperson said: ”Nationwide is increasing its stress rate as a result of the recommendations made by the Financial Policy Committee and our approach to affordability is subject to continual review.
“We have previously operated an income multiple cap. This is one element of its affordability calculation.
”Previously the cap has varied depending on the circumstances of the individual application but we are now applying the new criteria to all forms of residential lending.”
Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | July 23, 2014|Property Industry Eye
From the moment they arrive at a property, a potential buyer is asking themselves, ‘Could I live here?’ When it comes to buying a house, judging a book by its cover is a phrase that all sellers should be mindful of. Don’t lose the sale before the viewing has even begun!
In a recent survey by estate agent network, Relocation Agent Network, 98% of respondents (including us), recommend that sellers ensure outside areas are well presented. From painting the front door to mowing the lawn or planting flowers, according to the majority* of survey respondents, over 60% of sellers do ensure a property’s outside areas are well presented before entering the market. After all, why put your property at a disadvantage for the sake of a cracked gnome or broken fence?
But what’s the most important jobs to complete before selling your property? Network respondents rated the following in order of importance…**
1. Mowing the lawn. Sounds obvious, but a 10-minute job like mowing the lawn can really improve your property’s kerb appeal.
2. Painting the front door. It’s the first thing a buyer will look at, so make sure your door is looking its best.
3. Cleaning windows. It not only improves the property exterior, but also ensures clear views from the inside.
4. Painting the shed. A tired shed at the bottom of the garden is easily improved with a lick of paint.
5. Planting flowers. Flowers can really lift the outside appearance, for small gardens, consider window boxes.
Thinking of selling in 2014?
As a selected member of Relocation Agent Network, we’ve already proven that our customer service is deemed to be the best in Wellingborough & Irthlingborough (in the Network’s opinion). But if that isn’t enough, through our membership, we can offer sellers a completely unique channel of buyer that no other estate agent in either Wellingborough or Irthlingborough can provide. Visit www.relocation-agent-network.co.uk/how-we-can-help-you.aspx to find out more.
According to a recent estate agency survey, now is a good time to be a landlord. Conducted by Relocation Agent Network, of which we are a member, not only is it a strong buy to let market, but re-sale values have also increased in the last three years.
Relocation Agent Network, the national network of independent estate agents asked its members whether the re-sale value of a typical two bed investment property has increased or decreased in the last three years. A third indicated the value has increased by up to 10% and another fifth reported a 15% rise.
The national survey also looked at what prospective tenants consider to be the most important factors when looking for rental accommodation. The majority of survey respondents (46%) cited location as the top priority, followed closely by the cost of a property (37%).
This survey brings good news for current landlords and those considering becoming a buy to let investor. Not only is it a strong rental market, you’re also getting capital growth as well as rental yields.
“If you have a property to let, contact us today. We’re Relocation Agent Network’s appointed Local Expert for East Northants which means we have access to out of town tenants moving into the area.
Richard James Estate Agents is helping Relocation Agent Network celebrate its 20th Anniversary this year. We are East Northants member of Relocation Agent Network, a national network of independent estate agents across England, Scotland and Wales.
When Relocation Agent Network began in 1994, the property market was in a very different place. According to Nationwide Building Society, property values have risen by over 230% in the last 20 years, so a house that cost £70,000 back then would be worth over £231,000 today.
Who is Relocation Agent Network?
When Cartus – the premier provider of relocation services – launched Relocation Agent Network, the idea was to create a UK network of ‘Local Experts’ that would guide relocating employees and their families through the home buying and selling process. Today, that ‘Local Expert’ ethos still remains, as just one estate agent in any given area is invited to join, with Richard James being East Northants selected agent.
Helping Relocating Customers
In addition to helping Cartus move families, Relocation Agent Network members also help their own relocating customers via a unique referral service. Known as the ‘Referral Network’, the service sees each estate agent work together to help relocating customers move from one location to another. As part of this service, we and other Network members can provide their relocating customers with local area information guides that include local property prices, transport links, even data on school catchment areas.
We’re delighted to be celebrating Relocation Agent Network’s 20th anniversary. As a member of the Network, our membership means that we have access to potential out of town buyers moving into the area, providing an additional channel of buyer to our home selling customers. Contact us today, as a member of Relocation Agent Network, we have the local expertise and national connections to help you move into and out of the area.
With the help of its member estate agents, Relocation Agent Network has achieved many accolades throughout its 20-year history:
• Since 1994, Network members have helped customers sell more than £1.2 billion worth of properties.
• In the last 10 years over 110,000 people have moved home through Relocation Agent Network’s ‘Referral Network’.
• With the help of generous members like Richard James, in the last decade Relocation Agent Network has raised over £51,500 for charitable causes. These include the NSPCC, ChildLine, Help for Heroes and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
• Ensuring member estate agents continue to provide the best service possible, in the last six months alone, over 500 hours of customer service training has been conducted by Relocation Agent Network.
• The Network team hosts 52 regional meetings annually, across the UK, each one attended by local members, including Richard James. Regional meetings provide the opportunity for regional initiatives and industry discussion.
• From Blackpool to Brighton, Manchester to London, the Network has hosted 20 successful national estate agency conferences across the UK, every year since its inception.
Managing Director of Relocation Agent Network, Richard Tucker said, “It is fantastic to be celebrating 20 years of Relocation Agent Network as well as 20 years of excellence in estate agency. Each one of our members, including Richard James has been specially selected to represent us in their local area, based on their local knowledge and – above all – the customer service they provide. 20 years is a significant milestone in Relocation Agent Network’s journey and I look forward to celebrating the next 20 years of achievement.”
Heather Smith of Relocation Agent Network presents Chris Wise with his certificate after becoming an accredited Relocation Agent Specialist, the first in the Central region of the country.
The accreditation was awarded by Relocation Agent Network and is achieved by completing a comprehensive online training programme, The Importance of Service.
A national network of independent estate agents (of which Richard Jamees is a member), Relocation Agent Network introduced the training programme to ensure each of their members provides the very highest customer service to those relocating around the UK.
To be successfully accredited, participants must complete three phases of learning, which begins with four training sessions on the importance of customer service. This is followed by three online seminars covering the Relocation Agent Network Referral Process and how best to help customers who are relocating around the UK. Finally, participants must convert their theoretical learning into a practical skill set by delivering assistance to three relocating customers.
By working with fellow members across England, Scotland and Wales, Relocation Agent Network members provide an exclusive relocation referral service to customers. For those relocating to East Northants, Richard James guides their customers through the daunting task of moving to an unfamiliar location. This includes local area information on schools and amenities, popular neighbourhoods and (of course) finding the right property for them. The introduction of a Relocation Agent Specialist to the Richard James team, ensures that this process is made even smoother.
We take staff development very seriously and Chris’ Relocation Agent Network accreditation is a great example of what can be achieved when staff are supported properly to improve their skill set. Of course, having a Relocation Agent Specialist in the team is also great for our relocating customers.”
Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director, Richard Tucker said, “Selected by us as the best independent estate agent to represent the Network in East Northants, Richard James have proved themselves as the area’s Local Expert. So with the addition of an in-house Relocation Agent Specialist, they have gone one step further to provide relocating buyers and sellers with the very best customer service.”
With New Year’s resolutions in full swing (or falling completely by the wayside in my case), we take a look at the most popular house-related New Year’s resolution and its potential impact on the value of a property…home improvement.
From putting up that shelf in the bedroom to giving the kitchen a lick of paint, these jobs are all completed with the end goal of making your home look and feel nicer to live in. But when it comes to selling, which DIY jobs potentially make a difference to a property’s value? In a recent survey, Relocation Agent Network asked its members (including us) for their opinion…
How many people make home improvements ahead of entering the property market? The majority of estate agency respondents1 indicated that a fifth of their sellers make home improvements before trying to sell their home. And an additional third2 of members reported up to 40% of their sellers complete DIY jobs before putting their property on the market.
Which room has the potential to add the most value to a property, if home improvements are made? According to 93% of Relocation Agent Network member respondents, it’s the kitchen. Often one of the most important rooms for potential buyers to view, if yours is relatively new then great, if it isn’t then consider freshening it up before trying to sell. Even if your budget is tight, you can transform a kitchen by replacing cupboard doors and handles. The room or area with the least potential to add value if improvements are made to it was the dining room, with 75% of survey respondents stating so.
A national network of independent estate agents, Relocation Agent Network is well placed to comment on all-things-property. Each of their members (including ) has been handpicked after thorough checks identify them as the best estate agent to represent the Network in their local area.
Thinking of selling in 2014? As a selected member of Relocation Agent Network, we’ve already proven that our customer service is deemed to the best in East Northants (in the Network’s opinion). But if that isn’t enough, through our membership, Richard James can offer sellers a completely unique channel of buyer that no other estate agent in Wellingborough or Irthlingborough can provide.
Many potential sellers wait until well into the New Year to enter the property market, thinking that few people are considering buying or selling a house in the first few weeks of January. But with many property websites reporting an increase in page views during the Christmas period, we recommend that potential sellers enter the market as soon as possible.
Indeed a recent survey amongst Relocation Agent Network estate agents (including us!) found that nearly all respondents (97%) recommend that sellers put their house on the market early in the New Year. The survey also found that 77% of estate agents have seen an increase in sellers in November 2013 compared to the previous month. This would appear to indicate that the property market continues to gain momentum.
Relocation Agent Network is a national network of independent estate agents across England, Scotland and Wales. Each member is handpicked to represent the Network in each of their local markets and judged to be – in Relocation Agent Network’s opinion – your area’s ‘Local Expert’.
Additional buyers exclusively for you Even better news for sellers is that the Network survey reported estate agents across the UK expect the number of prospective buyers entering the market to increase in the first quarter of 2014.
Not only this, but through our Relocation Agent Network membership, Richard James is able to offer sellers an additional channel of buyer that no other estate agent in East Northants can provide.
How? Relocation Agent Network members like Richard James work together to provide an exclusive relocation referral service to customers. This is how it works…
1. Our member estate agent in Bristol helps a family to sell their property. The family are planning to move to Wellingborough or Irthlingborough .
2. As Wellingborough and Irthlingborough’s Local Expert, we can provide the family with information about the local area and help them find their new home from the properties that we’ve been instructed to sell.
3. This saves the relocating family time and effort in looking for a new home. And with our local expertise only a phone call away, we can guide them through the daunting task of moving to an unfamiliar location.
4. Our sellers have the opportunity to showcase their homes to new buyers moving into the area, a service that none of our competitors can offer.
5. If that wasn’t enough, the referral service is completely free to both the buyer and seller.
So whether you’re buying, selling, relocating to another part of the UK, or just thinking about entering the market, contact us today
We recently joined Relocation Agent Network to mark its 20th National Conference and celebrated our status as East Northants Local Expert.
We met fellow Relocation Agent Network members from across England Scotland and Wales for the National Conference at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel on Friday 15 November.
Celebrating its 20th National Conference, the Relocation Agent Network event culminated in a glittering black tie Awards Dinner and ceremony, which was endorsed by leading UK relocation HR magazine Re:locate. The sold out evening event was hosted by television presenter and comedian Dara O Briain.
Relocation Agent Network personally selects each of its members, basing criteria on quality of service, local knowledge, professionalism and mystery shopper feedback. Affiliated to Cartus, the premier provider of relocation services, Relocation Agent Network members help Cartus move relocating families in and out of areas across England, Scotland and Wales. This offers customers an additional channel of buyer when selling their property.
Members like us can also help customers through their unique ‘Referral Network’, which helps people who are looking to move out of the local area, by referring them to a Relocation Agent in the location they are moving to.
Managing Director of Relocation Agent Network, Richard Tucker said of ’s attendance, “We are delighted to have welcomed each of our members, including Richard James to this year’s 20th National Conference. As a selected member of the Network, in our opinion, Richard James is East Northants Local Expert for buying and selling.”
Richard James named BEST Agent in the central region by the Relocation Agent Network! (3rd Year in a row!)
We are delighted to announce we have won Relocation Agent Network’s prestigious 2013 Best Agent Central Regional Award at the Network’s 20th Annual Conference, held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London on Friday 15 November.
The annual prize gives the winning Network member the title of ‘Best Agent in the Central Region’ and is awarded on a number of criteria measuring the agent’s overall contribution to Relocation Agent Network, their ability to achieve customer satisfaction, a strong market share locally and a proven record of helping relocating buyers move both in and out of the area.
This year’s event was Relocation Agent Network’s 20th National Conference. To celebrate, the day ended with a glittering black tie Awards Dinner, which was hosted by comedian and television presenter, Dara O Briain, who presented us with our award.
We are very proud to be named the region’s best Relocation Agent Network members. It recognises the hard work and combined effort of everyone at Richard James over the last 12 months and clearly demonstrates to our buying and selling customers that we are one of Wellingborough & Irthlingborough’s leading estate agents.”
Richard Tucker, Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director said, “Richard James’ outstanding customer service, independent business initiatives, local market share and commitment to our Network principles means that this award is thoroughly deserved. Congratulations to all the team.”