Monthly Archives: July 2018

Save The Sale!

Holging blogIt is well documented that, nationally, around 30% of all sales arranged fail to reach a successful exchange of contracts. Fortunately, our success rate is that over 90% of our sales reach completion successfully.
However, the sales cycle can be frustratingly slow and the longer the sale takes, the greater the chance of it falling through. This makes it particularly important that your estate agent handles your sale with kid gloves. So we typically advise our sellers as follows:

• Preparation – Make sure your solicitor has put a legal pack together and prepared a draft contract as soon as you start marketing – in anticipation of finding a buyer.

• Be serious – Only accept a serious offer. Does the buyer have anywhere to sell, a mortgage agreed in principle and a solicitor lined up? Ask to see details. A serious buyer will be prepared and won’t want to delay.

• Don’t accept an offer exclusively from someone with a property to sell. By doing so you limit the saleability of your property to the saleability of theirs, and you lose control.

• Bridge – Bridging finance can provide a solution if you are caught between selling and buying. It is effective but costly and risky, so think carefully before entering into any agreement.

• Ask your solicitor about pre-contract agreements, which can bind the purchaser to buy prior to exchange, subject to certain provisions, much as they use overseas. You can even take a deposit from the purchaser to guard against them pulling out or renegotiating.

At Richard James Estate Agents, we pride ourselves on our ability not only to deliver buyers to your door – but, more importantly, to make sure that your sale sticks! So you’ll find our agents don’t just walk away once the deal is done, but are fully involved in the whole sale process and will hang in there with you until the day you move.

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Prepare To Paint – Some Tips

Paint blogBefore selling your property it is obviously worthwhile doing whatever is reasonably possible to make your home look appealing to prospective purchasers.

Certainly when it comes to making an immediate difference, most people understandably go straight to giving the internal walls a new coat of paint. But beware – a quick “tart-up” job can look just that, and can mar your chances of a sale should you decide to sell in the foreseeable future.

So here are a few tips to consider when repainting your walls:

  1. Surface preparation is paramount.
  2. Prepare and paint in daylight if possible, but take note of how your lighting can throw unsightly shadows across even minor blemishes.
  3. Hack out any badly filled areas or significant cracks and fill with a fine plaster-based filler. Acrylic fillers are more flexible but unless you smooth them fully at the time, some brands cannot be sanded flush afterwards.
  4. If a wall has a lot of filled areas, give it a white “mis-coat” before applying the final colour. This allows you to see any missed imperfections much more easily. Sometimes it is worth getting a plasterer in to apply a skim coat for a perfect finish.
  5. Don’t expect that the paint will fill hairline cracks. Fill them with fine filler.
  6. Avoid papering over imperfect walls with textured or wood-chip paper. These are not popular with buyers as they suggest a cheap cover-up.
  7. As some staining can show through emulsion, so use a non-gloss oil-based coat on these areas before applying emulsion. Painting is the easy bit. It is the preparation that takes the time. But it’s worth it, as you will have a finish that lasts at least until you realise you don’t actually like the colour, or you have moved!
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Solicitors and “Solicitors”

Solicitors BlogThe system of property transfer in this country is relatively archaic when compared to those of most other countries. The variety of age and tenure of UK property forms a complex framework on which sit further complications such as easements, rights of way, restrictive covenants, planning restrictions, building consents, possessory titles and disputed boundaries.

Despite some streamlining to the conveyancing process over recent years, there is no doubt that there will always be a need for an efficient and effective solicitor or conveyancer to handle the considerable legal work before, during and after exchange of contracts.

But, just like estate agents, there are good solicitors and there are not-so-good ones. They all do the job of getting you moved, but some are more fastidious than others. This can be to your advantage, or it can be a problem. A really thorough solicitor will scrutinise every clause in every document and alert you to things a slap-dash solicitor might have missed. For example, you could find yourself liable to pay for the upkeep of a road that was assumed to be public highway, but turned out to be private!

However, a particularly thorough solicitor, or an overworked, understaffed one, can also sometimes be the slowest. Where there is a competing buyer hot on your heels, speed can be absolutely critical. Slow conveyancing is one of the biggest causes of sales falling through, because it provides a greater window of opportunity for someone to pull out of a sale for a variety of reasons. That’s why we always recommend that our clients instruct a solicitor/conveyancer shortly after appointing us to sell their home – and we’re happy to help our clients with the paperwork as well.

So when considering which solicitor to use, just like estate agents, don’t simply judge them on the fee they charge, but seek a recommendation from someone who has moved recently, and get the ball rolling early – it could save your sale!

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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 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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