All posts by GeorgeHartshorn

George is Managing Director at Elizabeth Davenport Estate Agents. He enjoys writing this weekly blog and hopes that you enjoy reading it!!

Should We Have A ‘For Sale’ Board?

Many homeowners are unsure whether to have a ‘For Sale’ board when they place their property on sale. There are a number of reasons they might think of to not have one: They don’t want to upset the neighbours. They don’t want people knocking on their door. They think it might be a security risk.

In reality these reasons are unfounded and there are many advantages to having a ‘For Sale’ board put up. If you decide to put your home on the market then you will generally find it easier to sell with a board for the following reasons:

Sold Board Kenilworth Buyers expect a house that is for sale to have a For Sale board outside it. A board sends a very positive message to buyers by confirming that the seller is committed.
A board helps buyers to locate and identify the property when they come to view, making their experience an immediately positive one.
Many buyers go on a Sunday afternoon drive searching for ‘For Sale’ boards in their preferred locations. I myself have bought 4 properties, all of which I discovered via the ‘For Sale’ boards!!
The neighbours will know that the property is on sale very quickly via the internet anyway so not having a board won’t stop them finding out. It’s best to simply tell them yourself than let them find out the hard way.
If your Estate Agent has an attractively designed board, this can add to the kerb appeal and the saleability of your property.
Even if you live in a no through road, a board can alert potential buyers to your property. For example, friends or relatives visiting one of your neighbours.

So if you’re going on sale this year then the message is simple. Get an attractive ‘For Sale’ board mounted outside the front of the property and increase your exposure to potential buyers. You’ll be moving in no time.        by George Hartshorn

A Very English Summer!

Wow what a summer, the England Cricket team have won the World Cup and then lost the Ashes demonstrating the highs and lows of sport in only a few short weeks – the housing market has been pretty much the same!

We have achieved some fantastic results for many of our clients and yet there have been some properties that have left us scratching our heads. One thing is for certain though, there are buyers out there looking to buy. Mortgages remain competitive and there are still some fantastic opportunities available.

Shot of a batsman's equipment for cricket
A very English Summer

Unlike the England cricket team this summer as an Estate Agency you have to be able to adapt your approach to the current climate. Whether you find yourself facing the red or the white ball, an escalating or stagnant marketplace you have to find a winning formula!

We as a business have had to adapt and adopt a much more proactive approach to seeking out buyers and keeping our selling clients updated as to what’s happening. Gone for now, are the days of buyers queuing up at open house events scrambling over each other to make offers. Whilst buyers are out there pricing has become more of a primary concern than in the past when we were seeing very strong annual price inflation.

The current situation requires careful thought and planning for every property we are entrusted to sell, bespoke marketing plans with checkpoints at various stages to keep properties fresh and appealing. Detailed pricing plans with appropriate method of sale recommendations, planned marketing reviews to learn from buyer feedback. Dedicated trained professionals accompanying buyers round homes are but only a few examples.

So with one test still to play let’s see if England can win at The Oval and send the Aussies home with a tied series. If anyone has worked out how to get Steve Smith out please feel free to email me nick@elizabethdavenport.co.uk

Why Your Property Is Worth More Than Next Door’s….

We recently dealt with 2 identical properties located just yards from one another. Theoretically they were both worth the same amount, there was nothing in it. Both went onto the market within a few weeks of one another and both were sold. BUT…One of them sold for significantly more than the other. How on earth did this happen?iStock_000014885905_Medium

The first property was valued by our agency and subsequently marketed with our usual high quality details and at the correct market asking price. There was a brilliant response and lots of buyers flocked over to view, with several offers being quickly received and very soon a buyer was selected. Job done.

The second property was also valued by our agency, but subsequently went on sale with a low-budget Estate Agent at an inflated asking price. The house sat on the market for several weeks attracting little interest. The photos that appeared online were of poor quality, some were blurred and out of focus, others were very dark and the house looked unappealing. Some weeks later the asking price was reduced to the correct level, however by then the property had gone stale on the market and buyers were suspicious. Three or four months later the owners reduced the asking price further and eventually accepted an offer some 5% below the figure achieved by their neighbours.

They saved several hundred pounds in Estate Agency fees but lost several thousand pounds on the sale price of their home. As someone once said “The cheapest option often turns out to be the most expensive…….”

Elizabeth Davenport have a track record of achieving excellent results for our clients. If you want to work with a High Quality Estate Agent then please call us today on 01926 298 298 and we can help get your home sold.

Kenilworth & Surrounding Villages Prospering

Kenilworth Estate AgentsDespite the school summer holidays and some continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit, etc, a very healthy and encouraging number of sales have been achieved during July and August at our Kenilworth Branch. Sales achieved represented a broad range of values and property types, showing that buyers are electing to “get on with it” and not let the continued media circus put them off.

Not that surprising really when you think about it. I’m currently in the process of buying a property myself, the main motivation being that my family and my son in particular need a bigger home and more space to run around in. It’s a decision that has been made out of necessity and when it comes down to it, the “shall we or shan’t we” dilemma turned out to be a no brainer. As a family we are more interested in ourselves and our own lifestyle than what a few hundred dithering politicians are doing in Westminster.

Purchasing a home and investing in property is a long term proposition and whilst in the short term the market can fluctuate, in the long term property prices always go up. In fact as a rule of thumb prices double every 10 years so the phrase “as safe as houses” has been around for decades and is here to stay. The supply of property available for sale continues to fall whilst demand continues to rise.

If you are still thinking of moving in 2019 then now is a fantastic time, September always brings a busy and bustling market once the kids have returned to school. Call our office today on 01926 298 298 to arrange your free property appraisal and set the ball rolling. You’ll be glad you did.

Life Goes On!

After a quiet start to 2019, the local property market in Warwickshire has seen brisk activity with record numbers of properties being listed during May and June. In addition May saw both our offices agree a huge number of sales during the same period.
George Hartshorn
Rewind to February and March and the market was very quiet. It seems that a large number of homeowners were “waiting to see” (what happened with Brexit) and so what normally is a very busy time of year failed to kick into action.

Once Brexit failed to happen many sellers decided to simply get on with it and put their homes on sale. Most people are simply fed up with Brexit now and want to get on with their lives. This is certainly being reflected in all of the sales figures for the year.

If you are still “waiting to see” then you could be waiting for a long time. Now is a good time to make that decision and decide to move home. Prices are perhaps seeing a small correction at present so being realistic with your expectations is paramount, however don’t forget that you can make savings on your onward purchase in a falling market so it’s no bad thing.

For a no obligation, free market appraisal of your property call our Kenilworth Branch on 01926 298 298 or our Coventry Branch on 02476 010105.

Sometimes Kenilworth & It’s Neighbours Can Be A Symbiotic Solution!

Sometimes, reactions surprise you.

Our stylish window changes  within our Kenilworth office have been really well received and comments from one customer in particular were fascinating.  She was looking at an attractive “South Coventry” property we were marketing for a Kenilworth resident. “This is great, my children can’t afford to buy in Kenilworth so I’ll send them your way!”.

This was unexpected to say the least. I hadn’t even thought of that marketplace at all. Residents of Kenilworth have children (and by children I’m talking 21 – 40 years old here!) who can’t often afford to buy in Kenilworth. That’s why advertising the occasional South Coventry gem in the Kenilworth branch can be so effective. It works and people are so interested.

On the flip side of this equation we have current sellers in Coventry looking to move to Kenilworth to downsize and also families within Kenilworth moving to Earlsdon.

This is a fascinating market in itself because on the face of it and quite honestly the prices in Earlsdon and Kenilworth are surprisingly similar. A three to four bedroom period terrace in both towns are often comparable. The advantages of one over the other though are completely subjective.

The schooling in Finham,  Stivichall and Kenilworth is certainly outstanding whilst the infrastructure with the A46 and A45 being so close allows easy access to the motorway networks. What’s for sure is that homeowners with property in Kenilworth, Finham, Stivichall, Earlsdon, Burton Green, Gibbet Hill and Westwood Heath could not find greater coverage for marketing their home than Elizabeth Davenport.

2019 & What a Surprise So Far

Kenilworth and Coventry. Wednesday 2nd January 2019. Christmas Break and New Year over (Somewhat thankfully for the tummy and the head at least!). Five sales instructions, two letting instructions and over forty viewing appointments booked into two office diaries. Not exactly what I was expecting that’s for sure.

My trepidation for the year ahead wasn’t based upon our own sales pipelines (which were sizeably higher than the year previous) but the overwhelming negativity promoted by the general media. Bad news travels faster than good. We all know that negative or stressful news is far more readable and enticing than good.

“Everything is OK. Mortgage rates are low and lenders are even giving you cash back as they try to attract new business. Brexit’s OK too. It’s all been smoke and mirrors.  Everything is fine. If you need to move then move”.

I’d put my name to that quote (as I wrote it!) but I’m being entirely flippant. I haven’t got a clue.

Let’s think about all of us for a moment though. If your employer is not trembling in her heels and your boss hasn’t mooted redundancies overheard in the gents toilets then just look at yourself. What has really changed? What is different with Brexit than without? Your own home. Your own life. Do you borrow and extend? Do you move instead? Do you accept the daily stress of living in the wrong area or within a horrendous commute?

Geographically we are often lucky. Like the weather and hopefully the return of the Beast from the East, we don’t suffer the extremes here.

Mortgage rates are genuinely excellent despite the banks remaining cautious. They’re not giving mortgages away. They’re just lending wisely.

If you buy wisely, you borrow wisely and you show your own  due diligence then the ideal house could be sat there waiting for you. Everything is relative.

Memories are short. Only 18 months ago the buying process was fraught with the horrors of up to a dozen buyers for every popular home. 7 out of 10 houses were rocketing above asking price. Their were more unhappy, “missed out again” buyers than happy ones.

Now you will have the time to even book a second viewing. House prices aren’t soaring above asking price. The houses selling (genuinely in greater numbers than 18 months ago!) don’t have multiple buyers but are selling for the right price and to the right people.

On the ground locally, sense seems to exist in the market despite the political turmoil surrounding and intellectualising it beyond any comprehension. Maybe everything really is OK.iStock_000002696243XSmall

 

What We All Thought We Knew, We Do Now!

In many sales and service  industries a common question that always justifies both asking and answering is, “Why should we choose you?“.

Whether you are an Indian Restaurant, an independent Butcher or simply a Charity shop on the local high street ,  the question and the answers should be the same.

Every business needs to show it’s customer’s the difference. And that difference needs to be worth it.

A fascinating study undertaken by the home service group The Advisory, has presented some fascinating figures that go somewhere close to revealing what we thought, but couldn’t be certain of.

If higher fees are charged by a local “high street” Estate Agent, then why are they charged and what does the client receive “that is worth it”?  If  you order a Chicken Saagwala why is it better in one restaurant than another? Is it just the taste or could it be the taste, the ambience of the restaurant and the service you receive? If the price is £5.00 more in the preferred restaurant, this could be as much as 35% or even 50% more than the competition, but you judge that it’s worth it.

The average fee in the UK sits currently at 1.18% with the highest found in London, Sunderland, Manchester and Birmingham all surpassing this average.  The lowest average fees the UK sit currently in both Edinburgh and Hull at just under 0.9%.

In Kenilworth as an example, the fees, with competition being so strong, still have to remain immensely competitive. So whatever the fee, stop and look at it closely. Look not just at the fee itself but what you actually receive for that fee. 1% from one agent can be very different in the quality received  to 1% from another.

Judge these fees (only payable when results are achieved and therefore forcing the agent to prove their worth!),  against paying in advance for lesser “service” and the online threat is purely a perception. The same report states that 95.3% of sellers make the decision to use a high street agent and Rightmove and Zoopla both support this.

What the online “threat” has done, rather than  actually sell houses, is bolster the service delivery of the good agents whilst the ones with nothing to offer simply continue to reduce and reduce.

In short, during the last 3 years and as a national statistic, estate agents fees have reduced by 34% but the quality of the professional high street agent has improved. That’s what “Online and In Advance Payments For Nothing” have done to the industry. That’s what we thought we knew and thanks to this independent research, we do now.

Mark Walmsley, Director, Elizabeth Davenport

Brexit, Timing & Remaining Calm & Carrying On

Since the last issue the volume of both buyers and sellers discussing Brexit and the effect thereof hasn’t as much doubled as become almost the norm. To say there will be no effect is proven already to be nonsense. To say with authority though how positive or negative Brexit will have on the future is as pointless and subjective a question as “what will happen to my day if I turn left instead of right”. It seems that no one has a clue. Not even those who should.

At least the property industry is revealing some interesting yet not adverse findings. The last few weeks have seen two local properties sold for in excess of £935,000. Hardly a signal of panic.

What is statistically evident though is absolutely fascinating and backed up with fact, something sadly lacking in the bigger picture.

Cautiousness has trumped intuition and rashness.  Patience has seen the Tortoise overtake the Hare.

Emoov, often the first to provide analytics and statistics relating to our business has shown that both the volume and duration of viewings have increased in recent months.  This proves that “instinct” has truly been left dazzled by the headlights of “diligence”. 7% of buyers are regionally offering after one viewing. 56% require just two. 27% of those surveyed required a third before placing an offer.

For ourselves we have also observed that the duration of viewing appointments also needs a shift. The “sweet spot” sits between 21 – 30 minutes with 39% of buyers taking this long before offering.

Understanding the necessity of time and consideration we have recently employed further viewing representatives.  This will enable all of our buyers to spend the time they need in a property rather than the time that the other agent will only allow.

If Brexit has created cautiousness then now we have the capacity to support it. It’s all about support after all isn’t it.

 

Flocking Out Of London For A New Nest Here!

Well we’ve seen  it with our own eyes.  We’ve opened the doors and we’ve shook the hands.  We’ve passed the keys into the palms of many 30 and 40 somethings excited to be leaving the capital for the size, space and peace offered here on our own doorsteps.  Now both Nationwide and the Resolution Foundation thinktank have statistically proven the exodus from London northward. With property prices down 5% year on year and with over 330,000 leaving the city last year  (ONS statistics, year ending June 2017), London is the only region in the country with falling prices with the average increase nationally being 2.2%.

The Midlands, most specifically Birmingham, but now Coventry and the surrounding towns of Kenilworth, Leamington Spa and Warwick have seen the highest property price increases over the last year with a regional average of 4.5%.

HighSpeed2Infrastructure is vital. Investment in the city and the towns will reap rewards for all and the Rail network’s part in this cannot be understated. Whether people live in or out of London they’ve still got to get there after all.

Closer to home though and on an emotional level, the appeal of a commute no longer than many travelling from Wimbledon to Wembley means that living in Kenilworth or Earlsdon  or Styvechale or Leamington Spa will offer substantially more living space for the pound. It will also offer a community that can see children raised in outstanding schools without a forty five minute traffic jam and a bill for £100 a day childcare.

The distance between us and London seems to be getting smaller every year. Whether or not Mash and Liquor will be sold at The Almanack or Millsys though could be a step too far….