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Local estate agent from is delighted to announce that they have been shortlisted for the 2018 Best Agent Central Region Award by Relocation Agent Network, a national network of selected estate agents.
The winner will be announced at a black tie evening Awards Dinner held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London on Friday 23 November. The Awards Dinner, hosted by well-known comedian and television presenter Katherine Ryan, will close Relocation Agent Network’s annual National Conference and Exhibition.
The 2018 Best Agent Central Region Award is an annual accolade given for consistently making the best overall contribution to the Network throughout the year. It gives nominees the opportunity to become the Network’s ‘Best Agent in the Central Region’. To reach this stage of the award programme, agents must demonstrate a commitment to the Relocation Agent Network principles, namely excellent customer service and innovative business initiatives.
We are delighted to be shortlisted in the Relocation Agent Network’s Best Agent Regional Award category. The nomination highlights our commitment to the Network principles, particularly delivering the very best service to our customers. This award nomination really has been a team effort over the last 12 months and I’m extremely proud of everyone at Richard James Estate Agents.
Richard Tucker, Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director commented, “Our Best Agent Regional Awards recognise those agents that show true dedication to business innovations and delivering top quality service to their customers. Congratulations to Richard James for their well- deserved nomination.”
It is perhaps quite worrying that anyone can start trading as an estate agent, without any qualifications whatsoever. This makes it all the more important that you choose an agency that puts a high value on training.
Better-trained staff gain an intimate understanding of what the customer is going through and are able to help you endure the inherently stressful process of moving more readily. Training in buyer psychology is also very useful when it comes to knowing why people buy which property, how they negotiate, and the reasons why they sometimes withdraw from a purchase.
Good staff development also provides the added benefit of having happy, fulfilled and loyal staff who take a pride in their work – which is a real asset to our customers. It also means they are at the cutting edge of estate agency, and we make a point of fostering a spirit of innovation and continuous improvement in all aspects of our work.
Whilst being passionate about professionalism, this does not mean that the traditional values we cherish are in any way old fashioned. Indeed, we are proud to be different, and our approach will not suit everyone! For example, we do not have a formulaic approach to the way in which we work. Instead, we encourage each of our staff to play to their strengths. So in many ways, our business is a reflection of the personalities involved – a far cry from the systemised approach adopted by the corporate estate agency chains!
We are excited about our contribution to the East Northants property scene, and we have a real energy and love for the business of creating a moving experience about which people are delighted. After all – we’re on your side!
Why not call us for an informal chat about the sale of your own property on 01933 224400. You might be pleasantly surprised!
We have won the accolade of the Best Small Estate Agent in the East Midlands at the EA Masters held at the InterContinental Hotel, The O2 in London on 12th October.
This is awarded to the best estate agency brand in the region with two to five offices.
Gold award winners are also in the top 0.5% in the country. This award recognises exceptional performance at a company level and reflects a consistently strong performance across all branches.
The judging is conducted by The Property Academy and the leading property portal, Rightmove. The winners are determined by rigorous and thorough assessment of around 15,000 brand and 25,000 estate and letting agents across the UK. Each branch was scored against a unique set of performance and customer service metrics, using a combination of data analysis and mystery shopping in order to identify the best estate agency brands and branches in the country.
Home-movers and landlords can search for the top agents in their area by visiting the Best Estate Agent Guide to distinguish the leading 73 estate agent brands in the UK who meet the strictest criteria.
Not only did we win the Gold Award for Sales but we were also Shortlisted for Lettings.
The award was presented to Richard Taylor, Director of Richard James Rushden, by TV presenter Gabby Logan. Richard said “We are extremely proud to receive this recognition at a National Awards dinner and this enforces the work of all our staff in achieving our clients not only best prices, but also delivering the very best customer service experience too”.
For further information please visit www.bestestateagentguide.co.uk
From a property perspective, it would appear that the latest budget will not be enough to light November’s fireworks. Nevertheless, overall, it did hint at a surprisingly stable economy, with improved growth prospects and an apparent end to the tighter austerity regime.
The one thing the property market needs is to find its own equilibrium with minimal government involvement. We know that a healthy property sector, based on reasonable sales volumes, is good for the economy in terms of jobs, home improvement businesses, SDLT (stamp duty) and VAT revenues. However, past “incentives”, mostly for political gain, but apparently designed to stimulate the market, have often artificially inflated house prices.
As estate agents, we are of course passionate about securing high prices for our clients. It’s what we do, responsibly, of course. But Mr Hammond’s budget, for the first time, recognised that the only way many people can buy their own first home is to do so via shared-ownership. So he abolished SDLT on shared ownership homes up to £500,000, although this is only expected to cost the government £5 million – not much in the grand scheme of things. Remember, shared ownership does not mean buying a property with another person; it means buying only part of a property and effectively “renting” the other part, usually from a housing association.
We believe that SDLT should ideally be completely overhauled, as the cost of moving for most people is at an all-time high – and this has little to do with estate agency fees, which are actually the lowest in the world!
Nevertheless, property prices have not fallen by the 10%-18% as the Treasury predicted in May 2016, as a warning in the event of a pro-Brexit referendum result. In fact, they have continued to rise, by around 9% since then, with transaction levels 13% above the same time last year (source HMRC). Wage growth is actually increasing strongly and lending remains historically low, with unemployment at its lowest level since the mid-1970s.
Whatever happens with Brexit, it seems that people are once again prioritising a house move in response to lifestyle changes such as marriage, family, schools, jobs, divorce, downsizing, etc. They seem to be increasingly immune to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and are getting on with their lives – a wonderfully British ideal that has stood the test of time.
Whatever your plans, please regard us as your local experts in property, and call us for advice on 01933 224400 before you make a move.
Our last article considered some of the dangers associated with pricing your home in relation to other properties available for sale (ie those remaining unsold). This time we’ll consider pricing in relation to properties which have actually sold.
When considering what asking price to quote, common sense dictates that the price of other homes which have sold locally could be a good indicator of the price you should be quoting. However, your research could well prompt you to price your property at a level which could under- or over-estimate your optimum sale price.
Irrespective of national trends, the property market is very sensitive to imbalances in supply and demand even on a street by street basis. When there are many qualified buyers all seeking a rarely-available house in a popular street the price goes up. If fate dictates that the following week five such houses become available in the same street, the price will inevitably fall.
Likewise there can be situations where a property is sold at a record price to an individual who particularly wanted a specific property for personal reasons. Conversely a situation could arise where a desperate seller, who might otherwise suffer repossession, agrees a sale at a very low figure for a quick sale.
Only the estate agent involved in any of these transactions knows how the individual circumstances of sale can affect value. So a word of caution – leave the science of valuation to an experienced local estate agent who is highly active in the market and has a good track record of achieving swift sales at or close to his/her suggested asking price. Time for a chat? We’re here to help.
When considering the value of a property prior to putting it on the market, many vendors understandably look at the asking price of other properties currently on the market locally, and draw pricing conclusions based on this research.
Whilst this is not an unreasonable way of determining value, there are some traps for which to look out.
Firstly, an important observation is that if a property is on the market, it is by definition “unsold”. An unsold property is invariably one that is overpriced. If it had been priced correctly then it would have sold, but in the event the market has rejected it and it will probably only sell if the price is reduced. So if you have a similar property and you price it at about the same level as the unsold property, then the chances are that yours will remain unsold as well.
We know that purchasers buy by comparison. So your property has to compare favourably when seen alongside others on the market. If your property is similar to another on the market nearby, then yours only becomes readily saleable when it is priced favourably and offers better value for money.
Additionally, if you feel that your property is slightly better than a neighbouring property for sale (as you are bound to, as you chose the décor and it has your own possessions in it) then surely it makes sense to quote a similar price, rather than attempting to offset the extra features with a higher price.
Ultimately, correct pricing is all about seeing the world through the eyes of the buyer and making responsible and effective pricing decisions which always point to offering better value than that offered by competing properties available locally.
We’re experts in this field. If you’d like to know how your own property compares to others currently available then please feel free to contact us on 01933 224400 for a free and intelligent consultation without obligation.
If a property were some form of commodity like petrol or milk, then you would simply buy the cheapest stock available. However, buying a home is much less mercenary, and emotions run high.
Over the years, homebuyers have become used to the idea of making a “starting offer” below the asking price, but it might be worth considering a few aspects of the implications of making a low offer.
Firstly what does a low offer say about you to the vendor? That you don’t have the money and that any subsequent increase might stretch you beyond your ability to complete the purchase? Does it suggest you don’t really like their home, risking offence? A low offer can often start off the relationship with the vendor on the wrong foot.
And what if your low offer is accepted? Will the vendors experience regret and continue to market the property hoping to find a higher price with someone else? The chances of such a buyer being found are high as people usually want a property that someone else wants. We receive more interest about properties which are “under offer” than we do about those for sale!
Ultimately it’s about commitment. An offer at, close to, a realistic asking price tells the vendor you are committed to the property. In return the vendor is likely to demonstrate a level of commitment to you that will result in a successful purchase.
Ultimately, you are buying a home; is it worth losing your dream property for the sake of getting (and possibly losing) some sort of “deal”. Most properties sell for about the “right” price – all you have to be is the “right” buyer!
If anyone thinks that the confusing political shenanigans of the past few weeks have destabilised the property market, they’d be wrong. If anything, we are seeing more “lubrication” in the market, as sellers realise they’d be foolish to hang on for an overly ambitious sale price in the run-up to Christmas. This in turn has freed up the market, with more undecided sellers committing to moving, as there now appears to be more choice of properties available for sale. Indeed, Rightmove reports a 16% jump in new properties coming to market in the first week of September.
In support of this increased buoyancy the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reports a “broadly stable” housing market, once again emphasising the wonderful “Keep Calm and Carry On” mentality of the British!
Asking prices are “behaving”, with the price of newly marketed properties for the last reported month averaging a 0.7% increase. This is broadly in line with the medium-term average for September, although the annual 1.2% is somewhat subdued. Of course, asking prices do not always reflect actual sale prices, which will be a more accurate barometer of the market in the coming months. But the signs are good.
In terms of sales volumes, the prime London market (over £750,000), which can be seen as an indicator of confidence levels overall, is finally improving with a jump of 6% over this time last year, as the previously stretched buyer affordability ratios are now levelling out. Everyone knew London was overheated!
The Land Registry figures show an annual 3.1% increase in UK house prices, the lowest for five years, which can only lead to continued sense and stability in the market.
Interestingly, rents rose in 40% of cases last month, despite the number of tenants registering falling by 19% nationally (source:ARLA) and stock availability rising by 7%. Could this be pointing towards a rent peak in the coming months? Research by Paragon suggests that 21% of landlords expect to sell some of their buy-to-let properties in the next 12 months, versus only 9% who expect to add to their portfolio. Certainly, we are seeing some exceptional yields for our landlord clients, although we always urge them to buy with caution.
Whatever your plans, please regard us as your local experts in property, and call us for advice on 01933 224400 before you make a move. We know what we’re talking about and we offer straight-talking, good advice with a smile, to anyone who’ll listen!
Relocation Agent Network and Land & New Homes Network have announced a collaborative referral partnership to support Land & New Homes Network’s part exchange and assisted move offering that will benefit house builders across Britain.
With the assistance of Relocation Agent Network members in areas where Land & New Homes Network doesn’t have member coverage, this new service will link leading independent estate agents, and enable developers to market part exchange and assisted move properties from any region – a move that Land & New Homes Network believe will lead developers to break free from the often costly and unenterprising national corporate agents.
Richard Tucker, Managing Director of the Relocation Agent Network adds: “Having been established since 1994, many house builders will already be familiar with our members and will know the extent of our reach, awareness and performance – our members sell a property every three minutes across approaching 600 member offices. Plus, we have the backing of Cartus, the world’s premier relocation company. We are delighted that Land & New Homes Network has chosen to partner with us and to utilise our referral platform to support their builder clients.
Kevin Ellis, founder of the Land & New Homes Network says: “Until now, house builders had been forced to stick with the national chains to handle their PX properties, but we offer a credible, effective alternative. We are delighted to be working with Relocation Agent Network; this is yet another demonstration of our commitment to offering a cohesive service to the UK’s leading house builders and is part of our Developer Solutions offering, which also includes part exchange, assisted move and Shared Ownership sales.”
The collaboration will enable buyers from any location to move with ease, while offering house builders the flexibility to market their developments with a more agile, effective partner. This new working relationship with Land & New Homes Network will deliver another level of service that will cover any and every eventuality, and give house builders the confidence to strike new profitable new relationships with outstanding independent agents.
The vast array of property-related TV programmes proliferating our screens is certainly an indication of our appetite for home improvement. Presumably this has something to do with pride of ownership and making the most out of “an Englishman’s home is his castle”.
However, once you come to sell, you may understandably be more focused on your next property than the one you are leaving. It is surprising how many properties we see offered for sale where the vendor has not taken advantage of some simple things that can be done to increase their chances of selling whilst maximising their price.
Bear in mind that we are not just selling bricks and mortar, but an aspirational lifestyle, as most people purchase a better property than the one they are leaving.
A recent survey among estate agents identified key aspects of property presentation that they regard as important to get right when selling. 77% said that decluttering the interior was among their top three tips, 68% included a thorough interior clean, 48% highlighted the need to tidy the garden, 40% suggested neutral decoration, 35% recommended a fresh coat of exterior paint, and 24% felt a new kitchen or bathroom was important.
Interestingly, gadgets, technology and security features ranked surprisingly low, with less than 1% of agents citing these as important, presumably as these are things that can easily be added at a later date as required although a fast broadband speed is of course critically important. A survey by Rightmove suggested that homes with slower broadband tended to sell for up to 20% less than those with fast broadband!
It is interesting to note that, apart from the broadband issue, the above figures overwhelmingly point to the need to create a strong first visual impression, and this concurs with our own findings that whilst buyers do not always know precisely what they want, they certainly know it when they see it. Our job is to help them get to that point!