It’s Not Just About Selling!

MovingMany estate agents put substantial emphasis on their ability to find a buyer, and they highlight this as a primary reason to sell through them.

However, we believe in going far beyond this. In many ways, finding a buyer is the easy bit! Most switched-on agents have access to most of the buyers in the market, primarily via their advertising in the press, website and portals, enabling them to build a large database of registered buyers.

But the issue is not actually about selling. For most people it’s about moving. Selling your home is only one component of the process, and for most it is not as exciting as the buying component! Whilst an agent’s sales success and their investment in technology and advertising will always be important to vendors, there does seem to be a huge gap in estate agency that provides the reassurance homeowners deserve when they are moving.

On average about a third of sales arranged in England and Wales fall through prior to exchange of contracts (although our own fall-through rate is substantially below this). The chances of a sale failing to exchange can be considerably reduced if the seller’s agents are as concerned about the whole move in context as they are about the sale in isolation. So often, it is issues relating to linked sales or purchases that can be the cause of problems, be they legal, structural or emotional.

Our aim is to make the process of buying and selling be the celebration it should be, rather than the daunting process it often is. So when you speak to one of our property advisers, don’t be surprised to find them as interested in your moving plans as they are in your sale. Because that’s what meaningful and relevant service is all about!

So if you’d like to work with a committed and accountable agent who will actually help you move, then please do contact us for an initial chat on 01933 224400.

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Royal Wedding Good News for the Property Market!

Feel Good FactorWe British love a royal wedding! The unifying effect of such an event as this weekend’s, in which millions of people are interested (ok, not everyone of course) usually generates a feelgood factor that spreads throughout the economy. This wedding is no different and it comes at a time when the public is slightly jaded by Brexit confusion and needs a bit of a tonic.

May is historically an optimistic time of year, heralding the summer months ahead, which are most welcome following such a long, hard, winter! This is the perfect environment for a house move – the economy is stable, with continued low interest rates, the highest employment levels for 42 years and a realization that if Brexit was going to trip us up, it probably would have done so by now.

Until recently, many people had been reluctant to move. This created its own downward spiral as those who might have wanted to move felt that there was not enough choice of onward purchase. So they didn’t put their own property up for sale, creating a vicious cycle.

But this appears to be easing. We are seeing more properties coming to market, possibly prompted by reports of slowing, or even falling, house prices in some areas. As progressive estate agents, we are able to help our clients capitalize on this – we enjoy close relationships with our sellers and are able to help them buy their next property as seamlessly as possible, often “off-market”.

So once the Household Cavalry has swept up the confetti (surely the perfect regiment for such a task), the Hello! Magazines have been discarded, and Harry and Megan have been waved off on honeymoon, why not take advantage of the 2018 feelgood factor? If a move could suit your lifestyle plans, why not call us to see how we can help you create a Big Day of your own?

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Who’s Choosing Your Home?

May blogAn Englishman’s home may be his castle – but it is usually a woman who chooses it!

94% of estate agents polled in a recent survey* confirmed that, in most house-hunting couples or families, it is the woman who has the last word in choosing which home they buy.

Two of the most important factors that attract women in a home are a modern kitchen, and a his-and-hers en-suite bathroom, with 91% of agents questioned saying that a good kitchen is the single feature most likely to clinch a sale. 95% say it is the woman, rather than the man, who is more inclined to want a his-and-hers en-suite bathroom.

For men, almost half the estate agents polled say that a reception room or recreation room large enough for a wide-screen TV is the most important single sale-clinching feature, whilst a quarter find that a shed, workshop/outbuildings is the biggest attraction.

Both men and women (9% and 4% respectively) said that a back garden, protected from neighbours’ watchful eyes by high hedges or fencing, also featured as a strong attraction.

Whilst men and women may have different agendas as they seek their ideal home, sellers would be well-advised to consider who typically has the most influence on the buying decision.

When making improvements prior to a sale, it is therefore important to focus on those things that will mostly impress the driving force in the relationship. So whilst the garden wall may need rebuilding, perhaps the money would be better spent on improvements to the kitchen or the creation of an en-suite bathroom instead!

Remember, you are selling a home and a property lifestyle – not just bricks and mortar, so take advantage of the respective buying impulses of the most influential people in the buying decision – women!

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March 2018 Market Comment

RAFJust like the snow, the property market seems a little unsure as to what it’s doing, with the Office for National Statistics reporting a fall in UK property prices of 0.3% last month (0.5% in England), and property price growth slowing slightly from 5% to 4.9%.

However, ONS and Land Registry figures are always out of date by at least a couple of months as they do not reflect current buyer activity, which, in relation to the supply of stock, is the greatest indicator of the future direction of property values. The good news here is that buyer activity is up 20% on last month and 14% on last year.

This increased demand has partly come from a 20% annual increase in first time buyers entering the market as well as, importantly, a 15.3% monthly increase in the number of properties entering the market. It is the sellers of these properties who are some of today’s prospective buyers and these are the wonderful people who oil the wheels of the property market. For the past few years, many prospective sellers have been reluctant to put their property on the market because of worries about finding a suitable new property, but we have certainly turned a corner on this now.

Interestingly the number of investment buyers has fallen by around 14% on the year, but these have been replaced by the increase in first time buyers, which is a healthy position for the market, but less-so for tenants, who now face an average UK rent of £1367. Whilst the government has delivered some great incentives for first time buyers, they still need to find ways of helping those who are not in a position to find the £10,000 – £18,000 deposit required in order to buy a starter home.
So if you are contemplating a move – somewhere bigger, smaller, quieter or more convenient, now would be an excellent time to take advantage of the up-swell in demand this spring. Why not call us for a friendly no-obligation chat on 01933 224400 and let’s get you moving.

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Enter The Spring!

Spring blogSpring is traditionally a time of change. Brighter and longer daylight hours make house-hunting easier for working people, and sellers naturally want their property to look its best.

Job-hunters, who wanted to secure their Christmas bonus before seeking employment elsewhere, have by now settled into their new positions and feel confident about upgrading their home.

The school year is approaching its final term, which focuses the mind of parents who wish to make a move before the new academic year begins. They also want to avoid the house being over-run with children when people view, so term-time is preferred. The timing of holidays also plays a major part, meaning that many people are unable to move in the height of summer.

This leaves a relatively small window within which to sell in these “ideal” conditions. However, the consequent increase in the number of new vendors can prove competitive, especially as these sellers themselves are not yet in a strong position to buy. This does not mean that a price fall is imminent. It is often simply a reflection of a short-term over-supply that is usually corrected during the summer.

The rule of thumb for sellers is simply this: investigate what else is available nearby and make sure your house competes favourably, either by presentation, ease of viewing, price or ideally all of these.

So before the Spring syndrome sets in we would advise prospective vendors to consider putting their property on the market early, and then buy from a position of strength when there are more properties from which to choose. In doing so you’ll also become a stronger buyer when you yourself find your next home.

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Snapshot Of Regional Property Market

Dataloft MarchA snapshot of the regional property market courtesy of Dataloft and are colleagues at Relocation Agent Network

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Why Are The Brits Obsessed With Property?

ObsessedNo dinner party would be complete without talk of property values, gazumping, or someone who has made a killing, or a loss, on their home. We are obsessed with our bricks and mortar. More of us own our own home than any other European country – although this is decreasing as values have risen to unattainable levels for many.

On this crowded and class-conscious island, home ownership has always been associated with status and self-worth. Indeed, up until the late nineteenth century only property owners were allowed to vote. More recently, mortgages for the masses have further fuelled the thirst for ownership.

In less than a generation the proportion of adults living in their own home has leapt from a third to more than two-thirds. The pressures to buy are huge, but first time buyers are struggling to get a foot on the ladder unless the bank of Mum and Dad steps in. Mortgages for young people can be difficult to acquire and many parents, whose property wealth has grown dramatically over the past 30 years, are now moving to something smaller, thereby releasing equity for their fortunate off- spring.

So, more than any other time, the influence of the top of the market on the bottom of the market is greater than you might expect. Many of our top end sales are prompted by a bottom end need and the skill of a good estate agent is to ensure that the synergy between the two fits the needs of parents and children alike!

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February 2018 Market Comment

171117_Keyagent_Conference__74Winter may not be behind us yet, but, as far as the property market is concerned, spring is definitely in the air! The latest figures from Rightmove suggest a cautiously positive market.

Of the relatively modest 1.5% annual increase in the price of new-to-market properties on the portal, 0.8% of this occurred last month! This is very much in line with our own observations of very buoyant start to the year, with enquiries from both buyers and sellers on the up.

To put this in context, many properties coming to market at this time of year would be expected to be priced at 1.6% higher than the previous month, so 0.8% demonstrates that these sellers are serious about selling.

It is the enquiries from sellers that are most encouraging. Only when more people come to market can buyer demand be satisfied. So many people have delayed moving because they feel they may not find a suitable property to buy. (This is a shame as we always have “off-market” properties available for these buyer/sellers).

The SDLT (Stamp Duty) break given to first-time buyers has undoubtedly had the desired effect, with about a third of sales going to this group of buyers. This makes so much sense as, according to the Halifax, it costs over 11% more to rent each month, than it does to buy, excluding any capital appreciation! Indeed, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) the supply of rental properties fell by 8% last month, which will only serve to put more upward pressure on rents.

The momentum has therefore started early this year, possibly due to pent-up frustrations caused by last year’s economic and political uncertainties. Combined with the usual spring rush, 2018 could turn out to be a pivotal year that sees more people who want to move house be able to do precisely that. And OUR job is to help make it happen! So if you’re contemplating a move, your timing could be perfect.

Why not call us for a friendly no-obligation chat on 01933 224400 and let’s turn that snow into go!

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Why Overpricing May Leave You Out Of Pocket

OverpricingAs a seller, it is tempting to accept the highest estate agent’s valuation you receive. However, there are three sound reasons why you should avoid overpricing your home initially, as overpriced property often ends up selling for less than it otherwise might have.

Firstly, buyers buy by comparison. Why should they buy your house if it is more expensive than a similar alternative? This simply does not make sense, and your property is unlikely to sell until such time as any competing homes have sold. By that time your house may have suffered overexposure and be “going stale” on the market.

Secondly, buyer activity is highest when the property is new on the market. If your price prevents buyers from seeing the house, you will have missed this opportunity and may have to wait some time before a suitable buyer is found. Competition between buyers drives up your price, whereas time on the market drives it down.

Thirdly – a clear response to sellers who say “but we can always take an offer!” The problem here is that if fewer buyers see your house, the chance of an offer being received is significantly reduced. The wrong price also attracts the wrong buyers, who have high expectations and are therefore unlikely to offer in any event. People tend to purchase a property at the top of their price range; so your likely buyer pool is people looking in a lower price range than your property, not a higher one. So don’t scare away the right buyers!

Intense buyer activity in the early days of marketing is the key to achieving the highest price for your property, and our job is to help you stimulate such activity.

So be realistic; be competitive; quote the right price and stick to it, and you should readily secure the highest price the market will pay for your home. Accurate pricing combined with an optimistic approach has been one of the keys to our being able to help so many people fulfil their home-moving dreams – to budget and on time!

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Raising Funds For Prostate Cancer UK

Prostate Cancer UK runnerWe are all trying to raising funds for Prostate Cancer UK. This charity is helping to fight the battle against prostate cancer with over 40,000 men each year being diagnosed with this primary cancer which can spread to other organs.

I am running the Big Half in London on 4th March 2018, the 13.1 mile route starts on Tower Bridge and finishes at Cutty Sark. Although I am a recreational runner, I am trying to raise at least £100 for every mile, with a target of £1,310.

Please help to reach this target and help save the life of many men by early diagnosis.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richardfowler2017

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