Richard James Named Best Agent In Central Region By Relocation Agent Network!

Richard James - Regional AwardWe are delighted to announce we have won Relocation Agent Network’s prestigious 2014 Best Agent Central Regional Award at the Network’s annual National Conference, held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London on Friday 14 November. This is the fourth successive year we have won this acclaimed award.

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.

The National Conference culminated in an evening black tie Awards Dinner hosted by acclaimed comedy actor, Stephen Mangan, best known for his role as the delusional and arrogant anaesthetist, Guy Secretan in the hit Channel 4 hospital sitcom, Green Wing. Currently he stars in the BBC 2 comedy, Episodes with Matt LeBlanc. Stephen announced Richard James’ award win.

We are really proud to be named the region’s best Relocation Agent Network member as it recognises the hard work and combined effort of everyone here at Richard James. The award win clearly demonstrates to our buying and selling customers that we are one of the area’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 at Richard James and especially on their fourth successive win”

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We Return From National Estate Agency Conference

Conference GuideThe Richard James team have just returned from another fantastic and informative Relocation Agent Network National Conference. The day was packed with top tips, business recommendations and innovative ideas that we can’t wait to put into practice here in Wellingborough & Irthlingborough.

Taking place on 14 November at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, we heard from business experts including, digital media expert, Andrew Davis; one of few who predicted the economic crisis, Roger Martin-Fagg; and Jamil Qureshi, a top motivational speaker who has worked with Derren Brown and some of the world’s top sports performers including Darren Clarke and David Coulthard.

Relocation Agent Network also introduced a brand new Conference App at this year’s event, which allowed us and other members in the audience, to take part in ‘live’ polling during Conference sessions. These interactive sessions produced results shown instantly on stage, providing real insight into how attending Relocation Agent Network members viewed key industry topics.

The event culminated in a black tie Awards Dinner hosted by acclaimed comedy actor, Stephen Mangan, best known for his role as the delusional and arrogant anaesthetist, Guy Secretan in the hit Channel 4 hospital sitcom, Green Wing. Currently he stars in the BBC 2 comedy, Episodes with Matt LeBlanc. Stephen presented awards to the night’s winning estate agents, including the most coveted Agent of the Year accolade.

What does OUR Network membership mean to YOU?
The Relocation Agent Network team search every local market across England, Scotland and Wales, looking for the best independent estate agents to represent them. To be exclusively invited to join the Network, we had to be the area’s leading agent in quality of service, local knowledge and professionalism.

Through our membership and our affiliation to Cartus, the premier provider of global relocation services, Relocation Agent Network members help Cartus move relocating families in and out of areas across England, Scotland and Wales. This offers Richard James customers an additional channel of buyers when selling their property.

So Relocation Agent Network has chosen us, why wouldn’t you?

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Does your estate agent really know your home?

imagesCAK5F5C0An interesting article written by J D Gallagher Estate Agents based in Lancashire.

Just recently I got engaged. It happened in New York which unknown to me at the time is the diamond capital of America. Having burst into tears (and of course saying yes), John and I went in search of the perfect engagement ring. I’m not going to bore you with my full story however some rather interesting events happened which I can relate to in the world of the property. I’ve broken them down into three points. Which all come down to three things. Trust. Confidence and knowledge!

The Department Store ( the large retailer )

Despite the fact we were looking in the fine jewellery department (remember it’s an engagement ring), the shop assistant was totally uninterested us. When asked about a beautiful looking ring, she knew nothing about it other than the price and size which was on the tag. I’m sure it was high quality. I’m sure it was great. However the lack of interest in me and knowledge in jewellery made me walk away. How often does this happen in the property world? How many agents know what they are really selling?

The Diamond District ( the discount guys)

This area scared me. I looked in a window and the diamond sellers were out on the street in seconds with promises of low-cost diamonds, fantastic discounts and today only offers. A diamond ring is a huge investment. It’s a symbol of our future. Did I really want such a special moment ruined in such a way? I appreciate there is huge competition in the area just like there is in the property market. These people did not inspire me with trust or confidence. How did I know what I was really getting? Like in the property world, trust and confidence is essential. A diamond ring is a huge purchase. A house purchase is even bigger. You can’t base a huge decision purely on price! There is so much more to it than that.

The independent jeweller ( a bit like us really, except we sell houses )

We found a great small jewellers. As I looked in the window, they looked up and smiled at me making eye contact. We ventured in. The man asked if he could help and what were we looking for and why? As I told him our story he made a fuss. He brought out a selection of stones and asked me what I knew about diamonds. I admitted very little. He gave me a lesson. And then within our budget proceeded to explain about potential diamonds in terms of their size, their cut, their clarity and colour. I liked him. More importantly with the extra information he gave me, I trusted him. He listened. He cared. He found out with careful questioning what we wanted, what we liked. I chose my ring here. He allowed me to watch it being made. This simple action now makes me want to go back to him for our wedding bands. I trusted this man and his company. Trust is so important. So is knowledge for that inspired my confidence.

So how do all of this relate to property. It’s quite simple really. When you interview your estate agents next, I want you to forget about the price in terms of fee’s and temporarily house value. Ask yourself these 3 questions instead.

1. Do you like the agent sat in front of you?

You will have to deal with them for some time so this really is essential. If you don’t like the estate agent, you’ll never have trust or confidence.

2. Do you trust them?

It is highly likely you’ll be giving them a key to your home. But you also need to trust and believe they’ll deliver what they say. Selling a house is so much more than taking some photos and putting it on the internet. Like diamonds, it’s about knowledge. And this comes from experience.

3. Do you have the confidence in their abilities?

If you don’t have any confidence in the agent sat in front of you, they are not the agent for you. If their pitch is that all agents do the same job but they do it cheaper, walk a way now. It’s simply not true and this is the case in most industries, including service, retail and entertainment. You need an agent you are confident in. An agent who listens to you and understands your needs. You need to feel you can pick up the phone, call into their office and they are there for you. Moving house is such a life changing event.

Once you have interviewed your agents ask yourself this final question. I’m going to cover it in more depth next time, but how much interest was shown in you? Do you believe they know your home? Why you actually bought it? What you like best about it and most importantly what makes it different to other homes for sale that you are competing against?

To sell your home. Your agent needs to know your home. Do they? Are they really interested?

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Richard James Looks Forward To National Estate Agency Conference

Conference Banner

The Richard James team will join fellow estate agents from across England, Scotland and Wales on 14 November to attend a National Conference in London. Hosted by Relocation Agent Network, the event is exclusively for its members (including us!) and a great opportunity to find out the very latest innovations and industry recommendations.

Taking place at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, the Conference will include a trade exhibition and expert keynote speakers including… digital media expert, Andrew Davis; one of few people who predicted the economic crisis, Roger Martin-Fagg; and Jamil Qureshi, a top motivational speaker who has worked with Derren Brown and some of the world’s top performers including Darren Clarke and David Coulthard.

We love to embrace all-things technology, so we can’t wait to use Relocation Agent Network’s Conference App. Brand new for this year, the App will allow delegates to take part in ‘live’ polling during Conference sessions. Designed to enhance the ‘delegate experience’ these interactive sessions will produce results shown instantly on stage, providing real insight into how attending Relocation Agent Network members, like Richard James view key industry topics.

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Richard James Shortlisted For 2014 Best Agent In Central Region Award

images[5]We are pleased to announce we have been shortlisted by Relocation Agent Network, a national network of independent estate agents, for the 2014 Best Agent Central Region Award.

The winner will be announced at a black tie evening Awards Dinner held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London on Friday 14 November. The Awards Dinner closes Relocation Agent Network’s annual National Conference, which this year is hosted by acclaimed comedy actor, Stephen Mangan.

Relocation Agent Network’s 2014 Best Agent Central Region Award is an annual prize for the agent that has consistently made the best overall contribution to the Network throughout the year and offers nominees the chance to become the Network’s ‘Best Network Agent in the Central Region’. To reach this stage of the award programme, agents must demonstrate excellent customer service, independent business initiatives, local market share and a commitment to the Relocation Agent Network principles.

We are thrilled to be shortlisted for Relocation Agent Network’s Best Agent Regional Award, especially as it recognises the hard work and combined effort, commitment and enthusiasm of our entire team. Fingers crossed for a win on the night!.

Richard Tucker, Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director commented, “As a network of independent estate agents, made up of 16 regions across England, Scotland and Wales, our regional awards recognise the agents that have most successfully demonstrated outstanding independent business initiatives and embraced the Network principles. Congratulations to Richard James for their well deserved nomination.”

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Mortgage lending falls, says Bank of England

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Below is an interesting item published by Property Industry Eye. Does this mean mortgages are harder to obtain or are there less buyers in the market?

Mortgage lending dipped in September the Bank of England has reported.

The number of approvals for house purchase loans was 61,267, compared with the average of 64,720 over the previous six months, and down from August’s figure of 64,054. House purchase approvals were also at their lowest level for 14 months, and down 8.7% on September a year ago.

Remortgaging approvals also fell in September, as did the number of mortgage approvals for other purposes.

In total, mortgage approvals were down 12.3% when measured year on year.

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Buying Vs Renting

CaptureAccording to a recent estate agency survey, buying a property is cheaper than renting one. Conducted by Relocation Agent Network, of which we are a member, not only is it cheaper to buy, but you could make significant savings of up to £1,500.

Relocation Agent Network, the national network of independent estate agents asked its members whether it was cheaper to buy or rent a property over the course of a calendar year. 87.5% said that it was cheaper to buy.

The national survey also looked at the possible savings you could make when buying a property instead of renting. Based on a three-bedroom house, member respondents were asked what they estimated the annual saving was from buying a property instead of renting one. Over a third (33.85%) of member respondents stated that it was possible to save up to £1,500 a year by purchasing a three-bedroom house instead of renting it.

This survey shows us that buying really is the preferred option when it comes to making cost savings. We understand that some people are renting because they can’t get onto the property ladder – the so called ‘trapped tenants’ – but we’re here to help and guide you through the buying process. Contact us today to discuss your options.”

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New Responsive Website Goes Live

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.

 

 

Richard Fowler with Gavin Hills of In.house.media. web design

Richard Fowler with Gavin Hills of In.house.media. web design

 

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.

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Britain’s biggest building society turns screws on mortgages

images[10]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

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The importance of kerb appeal

imagesCAT4EVBJFrom 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.

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