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!!

Brexit, Coronavirus, panic buying. How will your property sale or purchase be affected?

The national Brexit crisis of 2019 now seems like a feeble storm in a teacup compared to the latest news headlines and developments. Aside from people’s fears regarding their own family’s health and wellbeing, most of us could also be forgiven for wondering what financial burdens Coronavirus may bring. ShoppingStampede

In terms of the property market, the signs of a slow down haven’t materialised at date of writing (11th March 2020). Whilst houses aren’t shifting at the same rate as sanitiser or loo roll, record sales were recorded by our Kenilworth & Leamington Branch in February and March has begun in much the same mould. Buyers clearly aren’t being deterred and are getting on with it. Sellers seem a little more hesitant and so there is a shortage of quality new property coming to market, thus if you’re considering selling then there couldn’t be a better time to take the plunge.

Once you have decided to go on the market then there may be some precautions worth taking. Consider what provisions your Estate Agent is taking to ensure your property continues to be marketed during the coming weeks. What contingency plans do they have in place in case their staff are unable to come into work, will they still be able to take calls and enquiries or will your house sale be forced to self isolate?

At Elizabeth Davenport, we have made extensive plans for every eventuality including ensuring that our phone lines will be fully manned in the coming weeks and months, allowing your home to be marketed fully and a sale achieved. Check with your current agent what provisions they have put in place, if they “umm and arr” (or don’t answer the phone!) then it may be time to wash your hands of them.

If you would like further information or advice regarding your property sale then please call one of our helpful agents who will be delighted to chat and offer advice. We are here to help.

The importance of de-cluttering your home

When you decide to sell your home the presentation of a property is vital to making that all important first impression to potential buyers. When I say first impression, I don’t mean when hopefully a potential buyer makes an appointment to view, I mean when a buyer first sees a picture of your home amongst lots of other similar properties online.Happy young couple walking into their new house

I’ve been saying for some time now that in my opinion how the property is presented for the photographs has become the most important factor for selling your home at a good price. Why is this? This is because without making your property stand out on websites like Rightmove and OntheMarket.com, buyers may never give you the opportunity to make a great first impression in person, by declining to make a viewing appointment in the first place.

De-cluttering rooms as we know is key in making a property more appealing. This is because the rooms feel bigger, look tidier and so become more inviting. There is also less chance of offending potential buyers! The masters of presenting properties for sale are of course the new homes developers many of whom are large national home builders who have large resources at their disposal. Their show homes are often the ultimate examples of how to successfully present property for sale: beautiful furnishings and fittings coupled with no clutter whatsoever.

Of course if you live at the property this is harder to achieve, personal belongings and children’s toys have to go somewhere after all. However, with some clever thought and sticking to the principal of less is more (perhaps consider putting a few things into storage), your property will attract more interest online and therefore more requests for viewings.

MORE VIEWINGS = HIGHER DEMAND = HIGHER PRICE PAID + FASTER SALE TIME.

At Elizabeth Davenport we know what it takes to sell your home at the highest price the market will pay. If you are thinking of moving or know a family member or friend who is, please give us a call today for some free and friendly advice.

A Sign Of The Times

Selling and Buying property is an ever changing game. The last few years have seen monumental changes to the way that people search for suitable properties to purchase.iStock_000014885905_Medium

With an increasing proportion of the initial searching being done online, buyers can search for their next home or investment from the comfort of their armchair or whilst sitting on a train or perhaps even while at work (heaven forbid!). Just a few years ago the property information would have come in the form of a long winded and tediously long description of the house or apartment in question, with paragraph after paragraph about fixtures and fittings, kitchen worktops and glazing descriptions.

Nowadays of course, these boring write-ups are all but forgotten and have been replaced with high quality photographs and detailed floor-plans, especially from the higher quality estate agents.

The one thing that remains the same is when the buyer actually goes to view the property in person. Modern gadgetry at this point is irrelevant and all that matters then is for the estate agent to show skill and understanding of the buyers’ requirements and help them in making the correct decision. And if the property they are viewing is not suitable, a skilled agent will be able to suggest a suitable alternative. That’s where we come in.

Our viewing representatives have years of experience and will help to get your property sold for the maximum possible value. They also work in the evenings on selected days, meaning greater flexibility and more sales agreed for you, our customers.

Now that’s progress….

Avoiding Common Pitfalls of Property Viewings

The question we get asked the most on this is “Should the agent or the homeowner conduct the viewings?”

The short answer is that either of these methods can work well. A confident homeowner can do the job very well, the key is simply not to try too hard. You have to understand that you can’t hard sell a home to someone. They will often get a feel within a minute or two of entering the property and if it’s not for them then no amount of sales tactics will change their mind. So if you are orchestrating your own viewings, simply be friendly and helpful when buyers come round to look. Happy young couple walking into their new housePoint out things that may not be obvious to a potential buyer such as underfloor heating or proximity to good local schools. DON’T point out the glaringly obvious (“This is the toilet”) and DON’T bore them to death with the technical details for the boiler.

Take the opportunity to tell the buyers exactly what you have enjoyed the most about your time living at the property. Be honest and sound passionate and don’t make it sound sales like.

If you do not fancy the prospect of watching strangers nose round your home than ask the Estate Agent to do the viewings on your behalf. If you go down this route then it is very important to let the agent do their job and make yourself completely scarce. And that means popping out prior to all arranged viewings, a stroll to the park or to Costa is a good idea. There is nothing more off-putting to a potential buyer than being shown around a nice property by the Estate Agent, only to walk into the Living Room and find the homeowner lounging on the sofa with a bowl of peanuts watching daytime TV!

If the buyer leaves the house feeling awkward then that is exactly what they will remember about the property………..it felt awkward. So you can rest assured they won’t be making an offer.

REMEMBER. Buyers simply need to be given the opportunity to look round un-rushed and unhindered and fall in love. Then they are likely to make an offer…………..

For more information on how to showcase your property successfully and on the current marketplace, or to arrange a free property appraisal please call Elizabeth Davenport today. We’re waiting for your call.

Safe As Houses!

Recent results showed that house prices in the midlands rose by 33% in the last decade from 2010 to 2020. This compared to average wage rises of 20% during the same period. The price rises were in line with the average across the country, London predictably faired the best with 66% rises whilst other regions in the north and west didn’t fair anywhere near as well. iStock_000002696243XSmall

Rises were way short of those seen in the previous decade. The 2000s saw big property price increases, the midlands saw 108% whilst London faired slightly better at 111%. However these figures still didn’t come close to those achieved in the 1980s when prices in the midlands rose by a whopping 196% over a 10 year period.

On average, prices in the midlands over the last 40 years have risen 88% for each decade. That’s an incredible statistic and illustrates the huge and constant upward pressure on prices. For sure there have been periods of stagnation and falls (notably during the credit crunch when the lack of availability in the mortgage market drained the supply of funds available), but the reality remains that when demand outstrips supply prices will continue to head north.

With a continued shortage of new properties being built and a growing population, this isn’t going to change any time soon so property will remain an excellent investment vehicle into the forseeable future. And with no immediate signs of interest rate rises, the benefits of putting money into savings are hard to see, whilst investing in stocks or shares is a huge gamble unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

The phrase “As Safe as Houses” is here to stay, so if you are after a solid investment or simply looking for your next home, there’s never been a better time to venture into the world of bricks and mortar. If you already own property in the Kenilworth, Leamington or Warwick area and want to know the up to date value, call Elizabeth Davenport for expert advice today on 01926 298 298.

On your marks, get set for 2020…

Goodbye 2019. Here comes 2020…

And here are our predictions for the property market for the coming 12 months:

A year where uncertainty becomes certainty, a year where dithering and delay become a time for action. A year where homeowners who weren’t sure become sure and a year where the need for homes and the need for relocation drive the property market as they should, rather than outside unrelated forces. thumbnail 15.59.15

What does this all mean for the homeowner on the ground? Essentially it will mean more choice when shopping around for a new home, more confidence when going on sale or renting and more positive decisions leading to an all round healthy market.

All of this coupled with continued record low interest rates is excellent news. If you are thinking of moving in 2020, then traditionally January quickly becomes a busy time with lots of activity. This continues into Spring with February, March and April being 3 of the busiest months of the year, usually with activity only slowing down during the school summer holidays, purely for logistical reasons with many families away on holiday.

If you are selling, please bear in mind that once a buyer is found the legal process takes up to around 3 months to complete, so taking steps sooner rather than later is advisable. If you want to start the ball rolling then please call our office for a free market appraisal of your property. Our expert consultants can advise on any essential preparations prior to marketing and answer any other questions you may have about the process in general. Call us today to book an appointment.

In the meantime, from everyone at Elizabeth Davenport Estate Agents please do have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We look forward to working with you in 2020.

Elections, Brexit & the Property Market

As election fever grips the nation, you may be wondering how the property market will be affected, either positively or negatively? House supply and demand don’t seem to be at the top of the political agenda, falling well below Brexit, the NHS and other big issues in the debate.

Directions to a polling station for a UK general election, European election or local election.
December 12th General Election.

However, here are some interesting policy proposals which would directly affect property owners and tenants alike depending upon the outcome of the December 12th vote. Labour are proposing a shake up of Council Tax which will see the property owner be liable, not the resident. So if you own an investment property you would be liable to pay the CT all year round, even when it’s tenanted. On the other hand, if you’re a tenant then you wouldn’t have to pay at all.

Labour also published a paper this year that hinted at removing private residence relief on Capital Gains Tax. If implemented, this would mean paying Capital Gains Tax when selling your primary residence. CGT would also be hiked up on second homes and investment properties, in line with income tax rates as a base line.

Meanwhile, whoever wins the election, a swift and decisive end to the Brexit impasse would certainly help the property market (and no doubt the economy as a whole), whilst most of our clients have decided to “get on with it” during 2019, the delays and dithering have put a small number of people off. In reality though, a high percentage of property sales are driven by necessity, people moving for work related or family reasons, people who are retiring or downsizing, as well as distressed sales and sales of estates. None of these sellers have the luxury of “choosing the perfect time” to move. End Result: a housing market that keeps moving forward. Overall, 2019 has been a good year and we expect 2020 to carry on in the same manner.

A majority government with a sensible approach coupled with a swift resolution on Brexit could be the beginning of something special….

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.