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!!

Secure the Home you Want for Less?

I have just left a series of viewings on a property of ours that we really want to secure offers on. We have worked closely with the owners to ensure the right price and marketing has been implemented such that the level of viewings have dramatically increased since they placed their house on the market with us. The viewings were undertaken with myself and the owner both present.  I really wanted the prospective buyers of the house to hear the position of the sellers from the sellers themselves. It is really vital when trying to secure the very best offer on a house that the buyer understands how motivated the sellers are. Do they need to sell sooner rather than later? Have they seen a property themselves that they may be able to negotiate at a lower price? Do they indeed have the luxury of waiting for the highest offer? Surprisingly even when numerous offers may have been placed on a house the recommendation is not necessarily that the seller accepts the highest offer but that they accept the most suitable offer that best suits their needs.

As a buyer your ability to negotiate is dependent upon a number of factors.

Whether you want the house or not, you are not buying the property yourself unless you are buying with cash. Therefore the seller needs to know the offer you make is genuine. It’s very easy to say I’ll offer the asking price but whose paying for it? The mortgage needs to be agreed in principal to put you in as strong a position as possible. This will help.

Is the mortgage subject to additional funds raised by the sale of your own house? As George explained last week, if this is the case, secure your own sale first.

Are the buyers going to want to sell to you? Excuse me! This is without doubt the most personal part of the negotiation process. If the house you are buying is owner occupied then  present yourself to them as well as possible. The amount of sellers who refuse offers because they “didn’t like” the prospective resident in waiting is always a surprise but really shouldn’t be when you consider neighbourly relations and the emotional attachment to they have to their home.

Lastly rationalize and be genuine about your offer. Why is it 10% lower than the asking price? Why is it that your asking price offer is better than another’s? Do the research. Look at the value of other houses in the Street and when they sold. It is our job to present your offer to our Client’s in as good a light as possible. It is also our job to secure the best offer possible for our Client. Remember though. The best doesn’t always mean the highest.

 

By Mark Walmsley

Don’t Put The Cart Before The Horse!

A common dilemma when moving home is juggling things into the correct order.

Should you find somewhere to move to first or find a buyer for your own place beforehand? Many homeowners call our office and say that they are scared to put their own property on sale until they have somewhere to move to. This is an understandable concern but trying to find somewhere to buy before you have sold is putting the cart before the horse. It simply won’t work and will lead to disappointment and frustration.

Firstly many estate agents simply won’t book you in to view any of their properties unless you have already agreed a sale. And even if they do, if you find something that you like then you will not be in a proceedable position and will miss out. After all, how can you possibly make an offer on your next property when you don’t know what your current one is going to sell for?

So the first thing to do is to get your own place on sale with a good estate agent that gets results fast. Look for an agent that has a high proportion of “Sold” stock (around 60% is excellent). Elizabeth Davenport currently have 66% of our stock Sold STC compared to other local agents that have as little as 10%.

Once we find you a buyer and accept an offer, you can begin your search in earnest. And don’t forget, ultimately if you can’t find anywhere to go to then you are not legally obliged to move until contracts are exchanged.

HELP YOUR CHILDREN ! THEY’LL NEED IT !

Whilst the recent birth of my second child only a week or so ago has left the Dad within me contemplating nothing but cuddles, gurgles and kisses, the Estate Agent couldn’t be faulted for wondering if my children will ever be able to afford a house at all.

According to recent research those actively motivated, fully employed, first time buyers are having to save for an average of eight years to acquire the basic deposit needed to by their first property. I don’t work for the Department of National Statistics but my children having full time employment could well be triumph enough. Buying their own property could simply be the icing on the cake. 60% of first time buyers receive help from parents and grandparents and if it’s possible to do so then I would certainly like to honour this statistic. I would love to believe I’ll have the ability to pass lump sums to each allowing them to purchase their first home.

Could this be realistic though? It’s cost enough raising children whilst maintaining the ability to pay a mortgage, financing the family car and facing the inevitable breakdowns and household dilapidations that running a family require. My head began to ache (could have been lack of sleep?). Here are a few suggestions Elizabeth Davenport’s financial advisors have recommended to me.

There are many ways that a parent or grandparent can help their children with that DO NOT involve parting with their own assets. Remortgaging your own home, with the right advice, may mean that your own repayments raise but you will have released a sum to enable your children to pay for their own house rather than Mr & Mrs Landlord’s!

Even more generously minded parents or grandparents who seek to downsize themselves will find tax benefits in gifting monies to their offspring rather than allocating it as possible inheritance. This is a particularly tough conversation to instigate with Grandpa as it involves giving money and death but nonetheless it may be one that an astute Grandma could initiate instead!

Thirdly the ability for a working parent to guarantee a mortgage loan can help top up the deposit. Certainly if their own professional history and credit rating is credible this can be a very valuable tool in securing the right property rather than the compromised shed in not as bad a location as the other forty you looked at!

Finally, despite there being a raft of other options available I’ll present the ultimate. If your relationship with Mum and Dad is faultless and you truly remain the apple of your parents eye then a mortgage can be guaranteed via a charge on the parental home. This is a massive trust related gesture which is essentially a declaration that you can trust your children implicitly and they honour you enough to never default. This, of course will be my chosen path because as every new parent is certain, their children will be faultless!

Why Global Warming is a Scam

Since the beginning of history a favourite outcry to gain attention has always been “The End Of the World is Nigh!”

Each generation assumes that they are the gifted ones that will have the honour of destroying the earth once and for all.Global Disaster The reason for the final destruction varies and has ranged from an “act of god” to a “cataclismic natural disaster” to more recently “manmade self inflicted global warming”.

Such predictions of impending doom sell newstime and quickly collect public support and outcry. At the same time predictions of impending happiness, success and world order are pushed aside and ignored. Sadly, good news simply doesn’t sell.

By the same token, predictions of a stable housing market where prices are steady and properties sell quickly to happy buyers with good credit ratings are overlooked in favour of stories about housing price bubbles, crashes, repossessions and mortgage scarcity. The “housing shortage crisis” sounds much more exciting than “housing harmony” and “steady sales and rebuilding”.

My prediction for the next 3 years is for steady growth and very gradual increases of prices, probably in line with inflation but no more.

I tried to sell this story to the press but surprisingly they weren’t interested. Now if I’d told them that prices were set to sky-rocket……………………..

House Prices Rocketing?!

Once again the media are talking about house prices rocketing and we’re heading back towards a housing market bubble.

The facts of the matter (taken from the Land Registry Price Index) are that prices in Coventry currently (as of June this year) House Price Indexstand at the same level they were in Jan 2011, the same as they were in Feb 2010, the same as they were in Feb 2009 and most surprising of all, the same as they were in July 2004. Yes, that’s right, house prices in the Coventry area are the same now as they were 9 years ago.

The media seem obsessed with house prices. The national figures churned out on a monthly basis are heavily skewed by what happens in London and aren’t really relevant to areas outside the home counties. What really matters and is relevant is the number of transactions that are going through. The great news is that volumes have indeed increased this year in the local area and there is a healthy amount of activity meaning if you intend to move home, now is a good time. The number of buyers out there in a proceedable position has increased meaning sensible people with sensible expectations are able to sell their properties and move on to pastures new.

Fortunately talk of another bubble at this stage is make-believe.

Now You Can Afford Your Dream Home

So you’re thinking of selling your house and moving to that dream home?

But whenever you look on the web the properties that take your fancy seem to be just out of reach for your limited budget. The tempting solution is to put your own property on sale for more than it’s worth and hope that you strike lucky. NO!!!!!! This will not happen. Even if an uninformed buyer is daft enough to pay over the odds (which is highly unlikely in today’s market), their mortgage lender will refuse to lend against an overpriced property.

Here’s a secret tip. Lot’s of homes regularly sell for less than market value BUT rarely do properties sell for more than market value. So if you’re struggling to bridge the gap between what your home is worth and the price of your dream home then the solution is to sell your own place at market value and then to try and pick up a bargain.

And finding bargains is easier than you think. Look for properties that have been on sale for a long time. The owners will be getting anxious and may well be prepared to listen to offers. Also be prepared to look at the homes that all of the other buyers are ignoring. These may have issues that are putting people off,  but these may be solved quite easily and allow you to pick the property up at a bargain price.

Remember: no-one will pay more than market value but owners often sell for less than market value due to exceptional circumstances.

 

When Size Does Count!

“When you want to sell the most valuable and emotional possession you own, you want the sale to be handled by professionals that you both trust and rely on. Every business has a “capacity” before it’s standards are compromised. Every business whether it sells children’s clothes, sandwiches or motor cars will reach a point where the standards to which they originally aspired,  (and hopefully attained!) will be compromised. Unless the stock they have is sold or they employ more staff to facilitate the sale and management of it the employee’s cannot manage the portfolio of property they have promised to sell. At Elizabeth Davenport our sales statistics (please contact the office for the finer details!) show that 84% of our stock sells within 7 weeks with just over 50% sold within 4. This means our “stock” of property is a manageable one. It means we do not have property sitting redundant on the “shelf”.  It means that we are always aware of what property we have for sale, at what price it is marketed and we have the knowledge of which potential buyers we have waiting. The ability to sell and market the property successfully is only possible if you have the correct volume of staff and facilities to do so. Is an agent with 200 properties for sale and 4  full time office staff  more efficient than one with 30 for sale and 3 full time staff? This is where Size Does Count! Possibly not though in the way you might of thought it did!”    By Mark Walmsley.

Relegated To The Bottom Of The Pile

Nowadays, most Estate Agents have “Premier”, “Fine”, “Premium” or “Prestige” versions of their products for their best customers and their best properties.

This immediately begs the question – where does this leave the bulk of their “normal” paying customers. Because where premier assumes the very best, the opposite by default must be worst or poorest. So if you market your property with an agent and don’t qualify for their “Premier” version then by default you and your property have been ranked as second rate.

If your property doesn’t qualify for the “Fine & Happy” or the “Premier & Dandy” treatment then perhaps the implication is that it belongs to the  “Dull & Dreary”, the “Cheap & Shoddy” or perhaps the “Coarse and Cr**py” collection??

At Elizabeth Davenport all of our customers and all of our properties are in the Premier Division. We don’t believe that any of our clients deserve a second rate service and all of our properties are marketed to their full potential. This means they all get the best photography, the best quality brochures, floorplans and marketing that they deserve. This means that not only do all of our clients receive a gold service but it also means that their properties sell quicker and for more money.

So does your property deserve the Elizabeth Davenport experience or is it in the second division? The answer I can assure you is yes, you deserve the ED experience. Because no property deserves to be in the second division.

Only Two Weeks Left!

There’s only two weeks left of our amazing £100 cash offer. We’ ve been overwhelmed by your response so far! Lots of homeowners have been clever enough to take up this great deal by switching estate agent to Elizabeth Davenport.

In case you’ve been visiting Mars for the last few weeks the offer is this: you switch agent and we give you £100 cash up front. Yes, that’s one hundred pounds straight into your pocket.

And the best part of the deal is, we guarantee to sell your property. So that means at the end of the 12 week agency period if we haven’t found you a buyer you can simply walk away with your £100. Its’ the least we can do.

Call our office today on 02476 010105 and arrange for your free appraisal with absolutely no obligation. Our experienced valuer will visit your property and give you honest, professional advice on where your sale is currently going wrong and explain what we can do to help. If you’re happy to go ahead then we give you £100 cash up front and then we  market your property on a sole agency basis for 12 weeks.

But rest assured, we’re confident we’ll arrange a sale long before the end of the 12 weeks. Our average sale time is 7 weeks but over half of the properties we sell go in less than 4 weeks. So don’t miss out and pick up the phone today!

Fending Off The Cowboys

A question we get asked again and again is “What’s so different about Elizabeth Davenport Estate Agents?”

The simple answer is “Excellent Customer Service”. Our clients are the most important people in our business and so we treat them accordingly.

Only last week a prospective customer called me and asked “I don’t see why you will be any different to the rest?” She went on to explain that her property has been on sale for over 6 months with three different estate agents and she was at her wits end. The words she used to describe the other agents included “cowboys” and “insulting”. And these were well established, local, well known independent estate agents she had dealt with. What on earth had they been up to, to create such mistrust and animosity amongst their own clients?

The answer of course is “They Provided Poor Customer Service”. The lady in question had been given poor initial advice and then passed from pillar to post when her property couldn’t be sold. Ultimately she was let down and ignored. (If she is reading this article then I invite her to call our office back as we can definitely help).

In the three and a half years since our Coventry office opened a grand total of just 4 (yes that’s four!) former clients of ours have taken their business elsewhere and not a single one of them had a bad word to say about us. Even though we ultimately didn’t manage to sell those four properties, we still provided a satisfying customer experience and the clients all appreciated that.

So if you want a premium service then call us today on 02476 010105. If on the other hand you prefer “The Dukes of Hazard” then please turn the page…………….