Monthly Archives: October 2016

What’s Wrong With Rightmove & Zoopla?



There’s no question about it, buyers visit Rightmove and Zoopla because they provide easily-searched access to properties currently available for sale. Or do they?

Certainly property portals are efficient and estate agents have embraced them for many years as being an important addition to their marketing toolbox. On the surface, people no longer apparently need to register with an estate agent when looking for a property. However, those buyers who do register directly, tend to find they are offered properties before they appear on the portals.

We find that an increasing proportion of property sellers engage us to market their home using more discrete marketing methods than overt portal or other advertising exposure. There are several reasons for this – maybe they want to test the market or they have not yet announced the move to their friends and family. Perhaps they simply don’t want to risk overexposing their property and want to keep it exclusive, available only to pre-qualified buyers that their estate agent has personally vetted.

As a buyer, by registering directly with an estate agent you therefore put yourself at an advantage in terms of access to unexpected properties that you might otherwise have missed. Additionally because so many buyers register through the portals, by registering directly with agent you are demonstrating your commitment to buying in a specific area and you are more likely to be regarded as a viable and legitimate purchaser. This puts you in pole position to hear about opportunities to view properties as soon as they become available, often ahead of other “run-of-the-mill” buyers.

Sometimes it’s the counterintuitive approach that pays off! So if you’re thinking of buying, why not register directly with us at and see how what it feels finally to enjoy “club membership” status! You might be pleasantly surprised!

Leave a comment

October 2016 Property Market Comment

RAFPowerful opposing forces seem to be keeping the property market in check this October, driven by the usual suspects. Demand remains high, but supply is still short. Interest rates are historically low, based on a bank rate of just 0.25%, so mortgages remain cheap, but are difficult to get, with 12% of self-employed applicants being turned down. House prices in the three months to September were 5.8% higher than the same time last year, but down 0.1% down on the previous three months.

The London market, which tends to lead the way for the rest of the country is similarly confused, with first time buyers now almost completely priced out as only 2% of sales in the capital are currently below £150,000. Yet the prime central London market has all but collapsed with just five transactions over £10million, against 35 transactions this time last year. This is despite the falling pound offering exceptional value for wealthy foreign investors.

This same weaker pound has had its effect on inflation, with the latest figures showing a leap to 1% and expected to rise further, based on higher fuel and import costs. Fortunately, wage inflation is currently around 2% but nevertheless, higher costs of living could possibly hit confidence levels going forward, especially when combined with a host of Brexit-related fears.

It’s tempting to over-analyse these things. Despite the above often-conflicting factors, the market remains steady and property, as ever, a reliable investment. The key thing is to ensure that your personal/family/career needs are met in your home. If you need or want to move, just do it! If everyone took this stance, then the supply issue would be addressed, buyers would have more choice and property might become a bit more affordable.

Nevertheless, despite the need for more affordable properties, our job remains very much in favour of helping our sellers secure the highest price the market will tolerate, and in that we excel. So if you’re thinking of moving, why not invite us to comment on your own potential sale – you might be pleasantly surprised!

Leave a comment

The Power Of Pre-Marketing

privateThere is a strong argument for creating maximum exposure for a property during its time on the market, and much of our effort and resources are spent achieving the right exposure in the right places.

However, one of the most powerful ways of securing a fast sale at a high price can actually result from minimal exposure – or rather exposure only to a select few!

It works by taking advantage of the fact that people enjoy being offered something on an exclusive basis, especially when it is a property that is “just about to come onto the market”. So we often offer our new instructions “off-market” to our pre-registered “hottest” buyers first, resulting in a number of recent sales that were never even advertised! Additionally, promoting to potential buyers that we also have properties that don’t appear on our website or any portals generates curiosity and a feeling that the buyer could be missing out on something good. This encourages buyers to register with us so they can then gain access to a potentially popular property with little or no competition.

The prices achieved using this method tend to be good as well, as buyers of such a property know that it is unlikely that the seller would consider anything below the asking price during these early days of marketing.

We find that many sellers like the idea of an initial period of quiet marketing, especially in instances of a marriage break up, a death in the family, a prominent house in a small village, financial difficulties or any other reason where people don’t yet want it to be publicly known that they are selling. The concept also reduces the risk of overexposure or of the property “going stale” on the market.

Of course, it does rely on a strong register of qualified buyers, but that’s never been a problem for us at Richard James Estate Agents!

Leave a comment

Autumn’s All Go!

autumns-all-goWith the summer, and the initial confusion over the Brexit issue, now firmly behind
us, the market is active once again, and we actually find that we currently have far
more buyers than we do stock, but predict that there will be a run of properties
coming onto the market in the run up to Christmas. Those who enter the market
ahead of this rush are likely to be the winners, as they will be competing with old

New-to-market properties over old stock that might have been on the market since
the spring. The first question buyers ask is, “how long has it been on the market?”
If nobody else wanted to buy it–why should they? Any agent will tell you that a
property is most likely to sell within the first two to three weeks of marketing. That’s when buyers are excited about your property, often leading to a price increase as buyers compete for your property.

So if a move is on the cards, we urge you to consider bringing it forward if at all possible. You can always extend your completion date if need be. But the key in this market is to secure a buyer sooner rather than later.

We would be happy to create a Marketing Plan that really works for you – without
obligation – quickly, efficiently and with great care and courtesy for
local homeowners over the coming weeks.

So why not call us today, and discover a refreshingly different estate agency? You might just be putting your Christmas tree up in a different house this year!

Leave a comment