Monthly Archives: May 2017

Up, down or sideways

Up DownElection periods usually add a degree of confusion to the property market, but this effect appears to be less pronounced this time around. Indeed, the level of sales agreed nationally is actually 2% up on that recorded during the run up to the last election in 2015, albeit down 2% on the same period last year.

According to Rightmove, asking prices have risen for the fifth consecutive month albeit at a slowing rate of 1.2%. This may have been somewhat distorted however, by the increase in the value of typical family homes with a 5.4% year on year increase. Rightmove’s research shows that families with children under 11 years of age are twice as likely to move than other homeowners. Clearly, this sector usually has a real reason to move – upsizing, downsizing, school moves, etc. Is the speculative move becoming a thing of the past or is this just a lull during a politically tumultuous time?

In terms of prices actually achieved, according the latest figures from HM Land Registry, the national average house price stands at £215, 847 representing a fall of 0.6% compared to the previous month’s figures. Annually, we are 4.1% ahead of this time last year, which demonstrates a continued slowdown when compared to last month’s 5.6% annual increase. Indeed,

Certainly, demand continues to exceed supply and it looks like the floodgates could also be released for any pre-election fence-sitters as soon as the election results are known.

From a home-owner’s perspective, there are few major differences in the housing policy of the major parties. Taxes, employment and economic confidence tend to have a greater bearing on people’s personal finances than minor policy tweaks.

The first time buyer’s situation must however be addressed as it has huge social consequences (such as couples having children much later in life). Any commitment to build 200,000 starter homes or extending the Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme are therefore to be welcomed, as is the Help to Buy ISA that helps people save for a deposit.

Just like politics and the economy, stability is the key. We find ourselves in a relatively stable, albeit somewhat muted, market with no overwhelming financial reason to either buy, sell or stay. Perhaps we should therefore go back to regarding property as a home over being an investment. If a move would suit your lifestyle better, then move. If not, don’t! Simple really.

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Something In The Air?

CondensationWhy is it that tenanted properties appear to be damper than those that are owner-occupied? Firstly, we’re talking about condensation here, not rising damp. Condensation is caused when warm air, which holds more water vapour, meets a cold surface, forming water droplets. This may attract fungal growths such as Mildew leading that “that damp smell”.

Tenants may not be as house-proud as owner-occupiers (although this is changing). As such, they might not spend so much time at home, meaning that less air circulates around the property, and they may not be quite so inclined to seek out the reason for any dampness and fix it. After all, it’s not their property.

Older properties without cavity wall-insulation may have colder walls and are therefore more prone to dampness. However, newer properties may be so well insulated that there is insufficient ventilation. Condensation can therefore occur in either.

Landlords have a responsibility to provide habitable accommodation so here are a few tips to help prevent the problem of damp:
1. Ensure the property is evenly heated and ask your tenant to ensure that the heating remains on a warm constant, rather than hot and cold, especially in the winter.
2. Maintain heating in all rooms, even if unoccupied.
3. Ask tenants to use lids on saucepans wherever possible if condensation is an issue.
4. Ask tenants to open a window if they are drying clothes indoors.
5. Ensure a con-condensing tumble dryer is adequately vented outside.
6. Use freestanding furniture rather than built in cupboards unless they are well ventilated, ideally from the rear.
7. Ensure there is adequate ventilation in areas of high moisture build-up and temperature differentials such as kitchen and bathroom.
8. “Force” ventilation using electric fans if necessary. Use timers or link to light switches to ensure they get used.
9. Install “trickle vents” in windows and make sure they remain open – even in winter.
10. Wipe away any mould (don’t disturb it by brushing or vacuuming it away) and treat it with a fungicide or use fungicidal paint.

As you might have guessed, as managing agents, we have a keen eye for damp!

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With You All The Way!

With You All The WayMany estate agencies simply act as a broking service that matches people to property. However, we are acutely aware that there is far more to successful selling than this alone. Indeed, over 30% of property sales in this country fail to reach completion, falling through for various reasons.

One of the main reasons is that a buyer simply gets cold feet and withdraws as a result of “buyer remorse”. This is a familiar phenomenon to estate agents and occurs when a buyer feels overwhelmed by the apparent enormity of the decision to buy and takes the more comfortable “low-risk” option and does nothing.

Perhaps the buyer is offered another property which they prefer, or something else comes on the market that makes the price they have offered on your home look expensive.

Your buyer may lose their job, or get a promotion. They might decide to get married or divorced; they might inherit or win a fortune, or their business may be experiencing difficulties. They could even die!

Whilst these types of issues are generally unavoidable and naturally have a profound effect on people’s decision to move, the main problem concerns timing. Because offers in this country are not binding until exchange of contracts, the longer the time between offer and exchange, the greater the opportunity there is for the buyer or seller to decide to withdraw.

We go to great lengths to help you move and seek to become very familiar with your circumstances and plans. Our agent will usually be the same person who negotiates for you and who will be thoroughly involved in any linked transactions. This is why we do not have a separate “sales progression” department. We find our clients appreciate the level of personal dedication and accountability provided by a single point of contact, which in turn leads to understanding, trust, and a speedy conclusion.

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Why accompanied viewings

More viewingsSome people feel that houses should be able to “sell themselves” and do not need to be “shown” by estate agents. Whilst this may be true of certain exceptional homes, or where achieving the optimum price is not an issue, most properties require the skills of a well-trained estate agent if they are to sell for the best price within a reasonable period timescale.

One benefit of your estate agent showing your home is honest feedback. Many purchasers wish to avoid appearing rude and build up a seller’s hopes by telling them what they want to hear; “It’s lovely – we’ll get back to you”. By the time they have seen several other properties their feedback to the agent about your particular home is likely to be minimal.

Additionally, the buyer will probably want to discuss aspects of the property out of the seller’s earshot. They may have plans that they feel would offend the seller, such as knocking down a wall the seller may have built!

When we show your property, immediate feedback can also be generated from buyers who might not have been so frank with you directly. This helps us understand their buyers and allows us to fine-tune our marketing efforts. Clients often say that sincere post-viewing feedback significantly helps to reduce the stress of selling, and after all, this is surely one of the most compelling reasons for appointing a professional and reputable estate agency to represent you in your sale.

Please feel free to contact us at any time on 01933 224400 if you’d like to discuss any aspect of the possible sale of your property, for straight-talking good advice, without any obligation.

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The Accompanied Viewing

Viewing manSome estate agents claim that the seller is the best person to show a property to prospective purchasers.

However, apart from the inevitable awkwardness of inviting strangers into your home, there are sound reasons why good estate agents prefer to accompany buyers around.

When buyers see a property for the first time, they are probably viewing it alongside other properties, and simply want to get a feel for its relative suitability in terms of location, layout, size, condition and style. These can all be assessed within the first few minutes. Vendors are understandably emotive and partial to their own property and tend to go into too much detail, which can frustrate buyers who simply want to assess the property in principle and move on to the next house. Such a vendor can unwittingly appear desperate to sell which can put buyers off!

The agent on the other hand is the “impartial broker” who has an understanding of the buyer’s needs and can use the feedback gained during each viewing to facilitate the decision-making process, leading to strong offers and decisive moves.

Children and pets, no matter how sweet they can be, should also be kept out of the way during a viewing, as they can become an unnecessary distraction. Buyers should be focussed not on the property’s occupants but on the home itself and what it would be like living there. Our job as estate agents is to facilitate this in order to secure a speedy sale with the minimum of disruption to our clients’ life!

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Seven Days!

Seven daysThere is no doubt that the Internet has simplified the property searching process as one way or another it effectively holds a fairly comprehensive list of all available stock from most of the agents. But it is only a tool – just like the property advertising pages in the local newspaper.

In these times of standardisation, efficiency and automation, we still find that people really appreciate personal interaction once they have actually selected properties in which they may be interested from our website or a property portal.

Although buyers can search for details any time, any day – and yes, some people have even been known to search for property during working hours, they cannot physically view them unless they can get hold of the agent. This is especially the case where spouses/partners wish to view together, or need a second visit in a more relaxed environment, rather than rushing to see a property during a lunch hour, or in the evening when it may well be dark.

We therefore find it incredible that so many agents are only open six days a week, when most people want to discuss their needs and view properties over the weekend. We know from our own experience that Saturdays and Sundays are by far the busiest period of the week for estate agents, and we enjoy talking to buyers and sellers who come into our offices at this time.

We believe it would be a disservice to our clients not to be open seven days a week. Seven-day opening means we are in touch with more buyers. More buyers means more activity, ultimately leading to faster sales and higher prices for our clients.

So when the time comes for you to consider moving, why not come and have a chat one weekend?

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