Why use High Street agents?

Richard TuckerRichard Tucker, Managing Director of Relocation Agent Network, says:
“If you’re considering selling your property, it’s important to think carefully about your expectations of the agent handling your sale. After all, you are going to be opening up your home to them and prospective buyers. I strongly recommend that sellers pay close attention to the quality of the agent’s service, advice and trust, as well as commission rate.

“With more than 600 offices across England, Scotland and Wales, the Cartus Relocation Agent Network brings together the know-how agents handpicked for their experience and performance can bring. The world’s leading provider of relocation services, Cartus, has recognised the value of the Relocation Agent Network. Why not talk to your local agent to discuss your requirements?”

Marketing strategy
This will cost you nothing, and you will benefit from a face-to-face consultation with a trusted expert who can guide you through the whole planning process.

Things to consider:
• How to price your property
• Expected time to find a buyer
• Commission structure
• Where the property will be promoted
• Regularity of viewings and whether viewings will be accompanied
• For Sale board – even in the digital age, this remains a key marketing element
• Marketing updates from your agent to you – make sure you agree the most convenient time and format of these updates

Thinking of selling?
Richard James Estate Agents is a selected member of Relocation Agent Network, who has chosen us as the Local Expert, based on our customer service and a variety of other criteria. Not only does this prove our credentials as one of the area’s leading estate agents, but through our Network membership, we are able to offer sellers a completely unique channel of buyer that no other estate agent in East Northamptonshire can provide. Visit www.relocation-agent-network.co.uk/how-we-can-help-you.aspx to find out more.

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July 2018 – Market Comment

July MarketThe national housing market paints a picture of the “summer doldrums” with mortgage approvals for house purchases at their lowest this year and 23.3% below their long-term average. The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee has also been advised that, by the end of the year, house prices will have risen by just 2%, which would be well below inflation and its slowest pace for five years.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has indicated that the UK should prepare for ‘a few interest rate rises over the next few years, although house prices will continue to be supported by high levels of employment, and low-interest rates (even if these increase slightly later in the year) as well as, primarily, a shortage of stock.

However, there is demand out there, and 66% of a survey* of 2,000 renters said that they would buy, but that homes were too expensive, despite the monthly mortgage repayment often being lower than their rent.

We are certainly finding that even more buyers, wealthy and well-qualified, would also move, but they feel there is too little choice of property, so they don’t put their own on the market, thereby feeding the problem. This is a shame as we always have a good supply of properties that are not formally on the market, but where the owner has indicated a willingness to sell “off-market” if a buyer were to materialise.

At this time of year, some people also consider removing their house from the market for the summer. Our strong advice is “DON’T”. Whilst the football, the weather, and imminent holidays may be distracting for some, for a good buyer, these are just irritations. Let other people withdraw their home and yours becomes even more desirable due to temporary local scarcity.

Whilst we don’t have a magic wand, we do have some fabulous people with some very creative solutions for those who are serious about buying or selling. Why not put us to the test? Please call 01933 224400 today.

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Richard James Joins Forces With Agents Across The UK To Help Support Local Food Banks

RAN_social_artWe’re delighted to announce that we are participating in a nationwide event organised by Relocation Agent Network called #OneThousandItemsofFood, supporting local Foodbanks in their bid to help tackle food poverty in the UK.

The #OneThousandItemsofFood event runs between 14 June and 21 June. Richard James and our customers will collect as many items of food and other supplies with the aim of collecting 1,000 items across the network.

The last day of our fundraising event coincides with Agents Giving ‘Donate a Food Parcel Day’ on 21 June. Agents Giving is a fantastic charity that works with UK estate and letting agents and their suppliers to encourage and support fundraising activities. For more information, visit agentsgiving.org/ #agentsgiving

Follow Us!
On Twitter? Follow us – @RichardJamesEA and Relocation Agent Network – @RelocationAgent to keep track of how much the network has collected so far… #onethousanditemsoffood

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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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