Don’t wait till Spring!

Don't wait till SpringAs the Christmas holiday season is nearly upon us, many people will start to think about the prospect of moving house early next year. However, as the evenings will still be dark, and the garden remains rather sad, there is usually the feeling that it would probably be best to wait until the spring before putting your property on the market. After all, spring is traditionally associated with a time of change and this has always had a bearing on the property market.

However, we would urge some caution on this. Firstly, serious buyers do not give up over the Christmas and New Year period, and can even become frustrated by lack of choice as properties are withdrawn from the market in the mistaken belief that nobody will be looking at this time of year. You can take advantage of this temporary imbalance of supply and demand by being one of the properties that is actually new on the market! Whilst viewing activity may be slightly less frenetic, you can be assured that every viewing will count, as you will only be dealing with those serious buyers for whom Christmas is an inconvenience.

Many sellers will inevitably wait until the spring before putting their property on the market – which could flood the market and potentially thwart prices. So why not sell now instead? Also, by the time a buyer is found, you will be able to take advantage of this increase in supply yourself as you seek a new home. Having a buyer for your own property ahead of everyone else puts you in a strong position as a purchaser, with a selection of properties from which to choose in a market of buyers who have otherwise yet to sell.

So if you are contemplating a sale in the next few months, we suggest you take advantage of the situation, be strategic, and position your property for an early sale at a time when demand is likely to outstrip supply.

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Market Comment – November 2017


This November has seen both an increase in interest rates and the abolition of SDLT (Stamp Duty) for first time buyers up to £300,000. Certainly the nominal 0.25% interest rate increase is unlikely to cause most homebuyers a problem. However, this first rate rise in a decade might be regarded as a tipping point for further increases in the coming year and the market remains subdued. This is despite the apparent windfall for first time buyers, which will almost certainly turn out to be inflationary.

Although we remain busier than expected for the time of year, with some record prices being achieved, there is at atmosphere nationally that we are moving towards a buyers’ market. According to UK Finance, mortgage approvals for purchases are at their lowest for over a year and, according to Rightmove, some 37% of sellers are reducing their asking price (the highest percentage in five years) and new-to-market sellers are being overoptimistic in their pricing. In other words, sellers must price competitively if they are to achieve a respectable sale before the added complication of a further supply of stock hitting the market in the New Year and Spring 2018.

So now, more than ever, sellers should avoid their property becoming stale on the market by quoting a price that buyers will regard as exciting. They should also avoid the mistake of pricing high on the basis that buyers will “make a lower offer”. We employ excellent negotiators and consistently find that we are able to achieve our asking prices (and sometimes even exceed them), but if the asking price itself is too high then there won’t be enough buyers to prompt a sale. This is the type of balancing act that we as experienced estate agents (as opposed to the online alternative) deeply understand, and harness to our clients’ advantage.

Interested in the market? Curious about the current value of your property in context? Why not call 01933 224400 for a confidential chat? You might be pleasantly surprised!

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Richard James Re-affirmed As The Areas Local Experts

photo boothWe have been re-affirmed as the area’s Local Expert by Relocation Agent Network.

Richard James were re-affirmed at the 2017 Relocation Agent Network Conference and Exhibition, which took place at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in Central London on Friday 17 November.

Relocation Agent Network is a national network of selected estate agents across England, Scotland and Wales. We were handpicked to be a member of the Network, based on strict criteria such as quality of service, local knowledge and professionalism.

Helping Our Customers

Through its affiliation to Cartus, the premier provider of relocation services, Relocation Agent Network members help Cartus assist relocating families, offering Richard James customers an additional channel of buyer when selling their property. In addition, members also help their customers through their ‘Referral Network’, which allows Richard James to help 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.

The Conference day included a line-up of keynote speakers, interactive sessions and a trade exhibition, and culminated in an evening black tie Awards Dinner, hosted by well-known comedian and TV presenter, Sue Perkins.

Relocation Agent Network Managing Director, Richard Tucker said, “We are proud to have re-affirmed Richard James Relocation Agent Network membership. They were specially selected to join the Network and in our opinion, are Local Experts in Wellingborough, Irthlingborough and Rushden, when it comes to buying and selling.”

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Budget Comment – SDLT removal is good news for sellers!

Philip Hammond, U.K. chancellor of the exchequer, poses for photographers holding the dispatch box containing the budget, as he exits 11 Downing Street on his way to present his first annual budget statement in the House of Commons, in London, U.K., on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Hammond will say Britain is well placed to weather the challenges of Brexit as he pledges to take the decisions needed to prosper outside the European Union. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Philip Hammond, U.K. chancellor of the exchequer, poses for photographers holding the dispatch box containing the budget, as he exits 11 Downing Street.

Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced the removal of SDLT (Stamp Duty) on all sales to first time buyers under £300,000 in his autumn statement. This is clearly great news for first time buyers, especially those paying the full £300,000, who pocket a tidy £5,000 towards their new home.

More realistically, the saving made by the average first time buyer, who typically pays around £163,000, is just £760.

However, while this support for first time buyers is admirable in theory, any experienced estate agent will tell you that this move is likely to have little effect on transaction volumes and is actually likely to be inflationary – not what the government had in mind at all!

The reason is that if you put money back into the hands of the buyer, then they have more to spend on a property, as do other first time buyers competing with them. In a market where good first homes get snapped up in days, this can only add to the pressure of demand and hence price inflation.

So if you are selling, or thinking of selling a property suitable for first time buyers (nb: don’t wait till Spring as we predict the supply/demand balance might by then have shifted back to the buyer), you might find that there are more buyers around and they have more money to spend. For example, a buyer for a £200,000 property can now afford to pay an extra £1,500 post-budget.

It’s not every day the Chancellor helps estate agents negotiate great terms for their sellers, so thanks Mr Hammond!

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Two Award Wins At Prestigious Estate Agency Event

RAN 17 customerWe are delighted to announce we have won two awards at Relocation Agent Network’s prestigious Annual Awards Dinner. The two awards, Best Agent Central Regional Award and Customer Relocation Award were presented at the black tie Awards Dinner, which following the Network’s National Conference and Exhibition.

Held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London on Friday 17 November, the Awards Dinner was hosted by well-known comedian and TV presenter, Sue Perkins, who announced Richard James’ award wins.

The ‘Best Agent in the Central Region’ is awarded on a number of criteria measuring the agent’s overall contribution to Relocation Agent Network, their ability to achieve customer satisfaction and a proven record of helping relocating buyers move in and out of the area.

The Customer Relocation Award recognises nine estate agents that have generated the greatest number of referrals through the Relocation Agent Network referral scheme.

Referrals are an important element of the Relocation Agent Network membership. Should a customer plan to relocate to another area of the country, their local Network agent can recommend that the member in the destination location assist in their move. As each of their area’s selected local experts, as considered by Relocation Agent Network, members are able to offer customers the very highest standard of customer service.

We are delighted to win both awards, particularly to be named as the region’s best Relocation Agent Network estate agent. This award truly demonstrates the fantastic team we have here at Richard James and shows our customers that we are one of the area’s leading estate agents.”

Richard Tucker, Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director said, “Congratulations to all the team at Richard James. They were awarded this accolade because of their outstanding customer service, innovative business initiatives and commitment to our Network principles.”

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Do You Fancy Being In A Brand New Home For Christmas?

David Wilson 2We are holding a Open House Part Exchange Event at the David Wilson Homes site at “The Wickets” Earls Barton at 6pm on Thursday 9th November 2017.

Generous incentives are available on certain plots.

Pop into the show house to meet us and you could be in a brand new home for Christmas.

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Interest Rate Rise – Market Comment

RAFThe Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has just announced a rise in the Bank of England base rate of 0.25% – the first increase in over a decade.

The base rate is the figure on which mortgage rates in particular are based and a whole generation of aspiring homeowners will be wondering what to make of it. Well panic not – although the base rate has effectively doubled, 0.25% remains a very small increase and simply returns us to the same 0.5% rate that had been in force between March 2009 and August last year, when it was dropped in response to the Brexit referendum result.

While those on a variable rate or tracker mortgage will notice a small increase in monthly payments, those who chose a fixed rate mortgage will not feel any effect at all.

If this new rate is passed on to mortgage interest rates, as it almost certainly will be, the monthly commitment of new buyers will be around £37.50 extra per month on a £180,000 mortgage. This is unlikely to have any direct effect on the property market.

This increase appears to be a response to increasing inflation and the indirect effects could be more noticeable. Is this the start of a rising trend? If so, then if you are contemplating a move, it would be worth doing so quickly; sell before any downward pressure on house prices kicks in, and lock in to a low fixed rate mortgage on your purchase.

As ever, as your local property experts, we’d be happy to advise, without obligation, on how this, and any other market influences, might impact on your moving plans or property value. Please feel free to call us on 01933 224400.

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Thomas Becomes Relocation Agent Specialist

Thomas YorkThomas York from our Irthlingborough office is celebrating after becoming an accredited Relocation Agent Specialist.

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 James 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 Irthlingborough team, ensures that this process is made even smoother.

We take staff development very seriously and Thomas’ 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.”

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Richard James proud to support Rushden & Diamonds U14’s


At Richard James we’re proud of the fact we like to give something back to the communities which we work and live in.  We are thrilled to be able to support Rushden & Diamonds U14’s squad with some smart new long sleeve training tops! Richard Taylor, Director at our Rushden office, popped along last Sunday to see them kick off their new season with a friendly. Good luck to the team for the season ahead!

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Market Comment – October 2017

OctoberThere is a very different vibe to the property market from last month, with a number of reports suggesting that the market is rapidly changing from being a sellers’ market to what is starting to look a lot like the beginning of a buyers’ market in some areas (although nobody has told our office yet…shhh!)

The latest survey by the RICS reports a 20% increase in the number of their members who reported a fall, rather than a rise, in buyer demand last month. This is the sixth month of reported falling buyer enquiries. This is partly substantiated by Rightmove reporting an annual fall of 5.9% in the number of sales agreed.

Overall, the level of new instructions entering the market has risen by 3.1% annually which, when coupled with the fall in new buyers enquiries, positions us for a rebalancing of supply over demand. Fortunately, house prices have generally remained strong in this area, but how long this can hold out is debatable, as some areas, especially in London and the South East, are already seeing significant house price falls.

On the other hand, this information is confused when Rightmove reports that asking prices rose 1.1% over the past month – the largest October increase since 2014. They did however warn that with more sellers chasing fewer buyers, sellers keen to move by Christmas would need to “work hard” (or rather their agent should!).

The problem is, in a confused market, every day there is one report or another that contradicts the previous one. Some can make depressing reading and others deliver a shot of confidence. Whilst all of us at Richard James Estate Agents certainly have our finger on the pulse of the local market and what drives it, ultimately our role is to help people move – whatever the market – and we like to think we do that rather well.

So if you’re contemplating a sale, or you’re already on the market and are frustrated that you have not yet sold, why not call 01933 224400 for a confidential chat. You might be pleasantly surprised!

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