Monthly Archives: June 2017

Richard James Joins forces with Agents across the UK, to help raise money for charity.

RAN charityWe’re delighted to announce that we are participating in a nationwide event organised by Relocation Agent Network called #RelocationAcrosstheNation, to help raise money for UK charity, Agents Giving.

The #RelocationAcrosstheNation event launches on 22 June, coinciding with Agents Giving Day, the charity’s national fundraising day. Between then and 31 July 2017, we’ll donate £1 every time we refer a customer to another Relocation Agent Network member agent, or receive a referral. As a network of estate agents across England, Scotland and Wales, Relocation Agent Network members – including us – refer home buyers and sellers to one another. 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.

Agents Giving
Agents Giving is a fantastic charity that works with UK estate and letting agents and their suppliers to encourage and support fundraising activities. The organisation is dedicated to raising money for great UK causes both local and national, including homeless charities. At last year’s 2016 Relocation Agent Network National Conference and Awards Dinner, Network members like us, raised over £2,000 for Agents Giving in just 10 minutes! And we hope to help the Network continue this fundraising effort in the coming weeks.

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June Market Comment – A Fine Balance

JuneAnyone with an interest in the property market generally understands the influence of supply and demand on house prices. Just like any other “commodity”, if everybody wants something that is in generally short supply, the price tends to rise. In the property sector, the media often describes a rising market good and a falling market as bad.

Indeed, as estate agents, our job is to sell our clients’ property for as much as the market will tolerate and, unlike online estate agency alternatives, we are paid in direct proportion to the price we are able to negotiate. The problem is, prices have risen to such an extent over time that the average house is now well out of reach for the average man (sorry, person) in the street. So maybe, socially speaking, rising prices should be seen as a bad thing (although frankly we know which side our bread is buttered).

However, the supply/demand equilibrium appears to be about to change. According to Rightmove, the number of sales agreed at this time of year is the second highest for ten years, only slightly lower than the high of May 2014. So supply is clearly up and, during this time of relatively stable demand, sure enough there appears to be a corresponding dip about to happen in prices, as Rightmove goes on to report that price of property coming to market has dropped by 0.4% this month (the first fall in June since 2009 at the height of the credit crunch) and the first fall this year.

Fortunately these observations could be regarded as fine-tuning and there are no major corrections about to happen. Nevertheless, it may be that the current levels of political turmoil could possibly persuade marginally more people to sell and fewer to buy, in which case the edge could come off property values – but at least this might just free things up to the extend that anyone sitting on the fence as to whether or not to sell might feel more confident that they will indeed be able to find somewhere else suitable to buy.

Please feel free to contact one of our local property experts on 01933 224400 if you’d like to see where your own property sits in the market. You might be pleasantly surprised!

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Too Hot to Handle?”

scorcher“Phew, what a scorcher” as the tabloids would say. The current hot weather is a mixed blessing; if you’re on holiday, then the warm sunny days certainly bring out the best of the British coast and countryside. But if you’re working either outside or in a non-air-conditioned office then life can be very uncomfortable.

But what of homebuyers? Does the hot weather bring them out, or does the thought of trudging round home after home in the heat deter them? We’ve found that there are real upsides to a hot summer which can work to your advantage if you are serious about selling.

For example, some other sellers (who are effectively your competitors in the market) may decide to withdraw their property for the summer. They might assume that buyers will either be too hot and bothered, or more concerned about their holidays than looking at property. Alternatively the sellers themselves may just want to veg out, with paddling pools and other summer paraphernalia littering the garden. Buyers looking round can be seen as an invasion of privacy (especially if topless sunbathing is involved).

You can take advantage of these flawed arguments if you are keen to sell. Firstly, serious buyers remain serious despite holidays and hot weather. These are buyers whose move is likely to have been prompted by real reasons such as a job move, marriage, divorce, growing family, debt etc. With fewer speculative buyers around you know that every viewing is likely to be from a serious buyer. Those people who remove their house from the market for the summer miss these critical purchasers and the corresponding decline in the supply of competing properties for sale can enhance the saleability of your own – and even its price.

Secondly, the buyer of a property is very likely to reflect the social life stage of the seller when they themselves bought the house. So a family house will sell to a family. So don’t feel the paddling pool, barbecue, water pistols etc detract from the sale – they can enhance it, because they connect with the most likely buyer. A house is a home after all and you are selling a lifestyle, so why not use this to your advantage.

Finally here’s our HOT TIP: Offering prospective buyers a cold drink during viewings on a hot day can work wonders!

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Plans For A Successful Sale

Floor PlanOur research has shown that buyers overwhelmingly prefer floorplans on property details in addition to the usual description and written dimensions. There are several good reasons behind this preference, which is why we always feature floorplans on our particulars:

Firstly, where several properties are competing for a buyer’s attention, the particulars that include a floorplan always make an immediate impression. The layout of a property is a major consideration when choosing a new home, and cannot adequately be described by words and room sizes alone. It is the relationship between the rooms in a property that can make the difference between a comfortable and attractive home and a purely functional one.

People make buying decisions on how a property “feels” as much as they consider its size. Several smaller rooms are often more practical than one impressively large one, particularly when there is a family to consider. Only floorplans can accurately relay how the accommodation actually “works” in practice, illustrating how it could complement the needs of a buyer.

Conversely, in instances where a floorplan alerts a purchaser to a blatantly unsuitable property, fruitless viewings can be avoided. This helps to improve the ratio of viewings that actually become sales, saving a great deal of time and frustration.

We also have examples of buyers having bought a property that might have otherwise appeared unsuitable, but the floorplan helped them to visualise adaptability in the accommodation that encouraged them to view. Indeed, Rightmove reports that property listings with a floorplan receive 60% more interest than those without a floorplan.

Floorplans suggest an open approach to property marketing. No longer do buyers have to translate euphemistic “agent-speak”. After all, part of your agent’s job is to match the right buyer to the right property without recourse to flowery misdescription, saving everyone time, and reducing the stress of moving home.

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Election – Market Comment

ElectionThe unexpected hung parliament might appear to have once again cast a shadow over the housing market. Or maybe not!

We know that the stability and strength proposed by Theresa May might not be delivered after all. But is that really so bad for a market already in danger of overheating? Certainly the lack of available properties for sale has helped to escalate prices to unsustainable levels in some areas.

It is well known that job security, employment levels and interest rates play arguably the greatest roles in determining the shape of the property market. Yet these were seldom presented burning issues by any party during the election. An increasingly uncertain Brexit does of course suggest an increasingly uncertain future. However, in the twelve months since the Brexit referendum the market has actually risen by a respectable 4.1% (source HMLR) so perhaps its ill-effects were overestimated.

Indeed, even a hung parliament is not necessarily bad news; during the coalition years of 2010-2015 house prices rose by an average of over 3% per annum.

There is a tendency for the media to exaggerate and “spin” all kinds of political turmoil for a cheap headline, especially with something as close to our hearts as property. Yet possibly the most accurate indicator of the British response to such things can best be summed up in the wartime catchphrase and 21st century tea-towel slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On”.

A house move is usually prompted by a genuine change in lifestyle, such as a growing family, a job move, death, divorce, downsizing etc. Most of these will happen whichever political party is in power, and will continue to dominate our motivations long after even Brexit has been forgotten.

With no pressure on the housing market other than a lack of new homes being built to satisfy the continued demand (and both the major parties have similar new-build policies) our advice to buyer and seller alike would be; if a move would suit you, there is no compelling reason why you shouldn’t do it. And if you are thinking of selling, it might be an idea to act straight away and take advantage of the pent up demand caused by the flippin’ election!

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The Agent you Prefer – at the Right Price

TailorWe know that when choosing the right estate agent to sell your property you have a tremendous choice, and, on the surface, most estate agents appear to do pretty much the same thing!

Indeed, it is probably true to say that any reasonable estate agent could probably find you a buyer, unless of course they are one of those agents who habitually over-value in order to impress you – don’t be fooled by that ruse!

We believe that it is as much about who we are as estate agents as it is about what we actually do. Because it is those personal elements of our service that make the difference to your move, not just the things we do to attract buyers.

For example, the fact that we are independent means we can instantly tailor our service around the specific needs of each of our clients without “head office approval”. We also understand that accompanied viewings enjoy a much better viewing-to-sale ratio than unaccompanied viewings, because we take advantage of the opportunity to engage with our buyers, which often leads to better-qualified offers.

Importantly, our attention to detail in following up an agreed sale means that most of our sales actually proceed to completion, rather than suffering the 37%+ average UK fall-through rate.

As you might expect, such personal service usually comes at a price. However, we have decided to offer what we believe is the most reliable and enjoyable service in the area, for a lower fee than you might have expected from an agency of our calibre.

So, for a refreshing new slant on estate agency, it might be worth giving us a call on 01933 224400. Or why not drop into our office for an informal chat over a cup of coffee?

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With You All The Way.

With YouMany 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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