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!!

Property Sales Fuelled By New Coventry Jobs?

2015 has seen Coventry benefit from new employment in a variety of roles and locations. Many of these locations have seen properties sell to those new employees who in many cases are also new to the area. What with Coventry University also hitting The Times Top 15 list, the resurgence of Coventry as a City of investment and progress, has also seen us achieve record sales over the first nine months.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With Whitley, Cheylesmore and Styvechale serving Jaguar Landrover we can also see Travis Perkins set to employ 300 new staff at it’s new multi million pound distribution centre at Whitley Business Park.

Metrocab and The London Taxi Company are seeing over 1100 new jobs being created between Ansty Park and Tile Hill. Unipart and it’s new division, Powertrain Applications, being based in Holbrooks, will see a need for 150 new roles to support it’s growth.

Sainsburys also sees new roles within digital design and development bringing a further 300 new jobs to the city spread between Walsgrave and Ansty.

With The University Hospital, Warwick University and that ever so simple Coventry – London Euston commute, Coventry with a wealth of property stock to suit all pockets, seems to be driving the market from strength to strength.

We’re really happy to be part of it.

Why Too Many Estate Agents Can Spoil The Broth

Just last week we received instructions to sell a property in Coventry. The agreement was for 2 agents (Elizabeth Davenport plus one of our competitors) to market the property simultaneously. CooksThe idea of appointing 2 agents is to get a quicker sale for the client and because of the extra competition, presumably obtain a higher price for the property.

Sadly the arrangement soon became counter productive. The other agent involved received the first offer on the property. Their immediate response to this was to suggest to the owner to quickly accept the offer and remove the property from the market. Under any circumstances this is not the best advice to give especially when an offer has just been received and there are several other viewings booked in. Higher offers could well follow from other buyers so to accept the first offer instantly is questionable.

As it happened our agency subsequently negotiated a higher offer with a second buyer, well in excess of the one received via our competitor. By then though a deal had been struck and the original offer firmly accepted. The owner of the property, true to their word decided to stick with the original deal. They have now been left substantially out of pocket.

If one Estate Agent had been appointed then a different outcome would probably have prevailed and I suspect the owners would have now accepted a substantially higher offer on their property. Using multiple agents to sell your home is often NOT the best way forward.

Elizabeth Davenport specialise in sole agency and will get you the best results bar none. Call our office to day and arrange a free valuation for your property.

Great Time To Buy Or Sell

The housing market in Coventry and  the surrounding areas has moved up a gear in the last 3 months or so with a flurry of activity from buyers and many properties selling very quickly for full asking price. iStock_000014885905_Medium

The demand seems to be driven by the healthy job market in Coventry with many new positions being created by large firms such as Jaguar LandRover. This is leading to an influx of people moving into the area and adding heat to what was already a healthy property market. Speaking to an RICS valuer the other day, he was of the opinion that prices have risen in Coventry around 5% since the beginning of the year which is considerable by any standards.

There still remains a shortage of stock for sale though and this is adding further upward pressure to prices as well as meaning that we are currently without doubt in a sellers’ market. Great news then if you are a seller. Good news also if you are a buyer, despite the fact it may be more competitive and trickier to purchase a property, once you’ve found somewhere the long term growth prospects look excellent.

So overall it’s a win win. If you’re about to buy or sell a property (or both) then contact Elizabeth Davenport for expert technical advice and friendly support. We’re waiting for your call and are available on 02476 010105.

 

Mortgage Surveyors Should Not Dictate House Prices, Let The Public Decide!

Board ImagesAs soon as the Christmas Tree took home in the loft space and our bums hit the hot seats back at Warwick Row, we have seen month after month increases in sales results, instruction levels and viewing figures. Interestingly we have seen a few other repetitive patterns emerge that aren’t so favourable.

If we accept that the way we market a property attracts a greater number of Online Click Throughs than competition then we must also accept that is one of the reasons we have a greater volume of viewings. This in turn should create a wave of offers. When this occurs we find it sensible to set a date for “Best and Final Offers”. The Vendor is happy, the buyer is happy and we did all we could to ensure fairness for the parties who weren’t successful.

Then a Mortgage Valuation is booked. Is it Santander? Is it Natwest? Is it the Coventry?

Then, more familiar than ever, certain lenders are undervaluing the properties we are selling. The Vendor is not happy, the buyer is not happy, my colleagues are not happy.

What next? Renegotiation? Compromise? A scratch of head?

Stop! A pattern has formed and it’s one that seems to victimise the success our marketing has created. If we have a volume of buyers wanting to pay more than the mortgage valuation suggests, then are the buyers wrong? They viewed countless other houses they deemed not of value. When the Mortgage Surveyor attempts justification, “Have you had other offers on the property and what were they?”, we can safely state “Yes! Here they are! What does that tell you?”.

The answer? Should we reduce the value of the houses we are selling? No. On at least four transactions this year the answer has been to appoint another lender who offers a free survey. The result? Four houses that were not down valued a second time.

The Vendor was happy. The Buyer was happy. My colleagues were happy and I didn’t have to scratch my head again.

Interpreting Viewing Feedback

Once your home is on the market and buyers have been to view, your Estate Agent will start to send through feedback from each applicant explaining exactly what they thought of your property. There are opportunities here to try and make sense of the comments that come back and possibly act upon them if no offers are forthcoming. Sometimes feedback can be very revealing and point to a specific problem that needs to be addressed or overcome.

estate-agent-valuationIf a buyer has one particular objection about a property then this is often a positive sign. So if they are worried about the busy road but like the property generally then it’s the job of your Estate Agent to sell them the positives and try to persuade them to make a compromise on this particular point, perhaps by mentioning that similar properties on a quieter road would cost that much more. Or maybe if the garden isn’t quite as big as they hoped, the generous living space will make up for this and again, the buyer may be prepared to compromise.

Of course if the buyer reels off a whole list of reasons why they’re not interested or says that they simply “didn’t get the right feel” then it’s unlikely that they’ll be making an offer. Similarly if the house itself is too small for their needs or the location just isn’t right, it’s unlikely things will progress.

On average you’ll probably need around 8-10 viewings to receive an offer. If you’ve had umpteen viewings with no offers and lots of negative feedback then this is the market’s way of telling you that the price is probably too high. Similarly, no viewings at all after several weeks usually either means the price is too high or that the marketing details produced by your agent are not up to scratch. Take a look at the photos your agent has produced. Are they crisp, well composed and brightly lit? If the photos are poor then buyers will assume the house is poor so don’t put up with poor quality marketing from your agent.

Finally be prepared to act upon feedback and liaise closely with your Estate Agent throughout the process. If buyers keep pointing to that damp patch on the ceiling or that peeling paintwork on the front door,  then you really need to get it sorted. Communication is key and if you listen to what the market is telling you then you’ll be well on the way to finding that right buyer and achieving a sale.

 

Making Sense of Free Online Valuations

I recently decided to check the ‘value’ of my own house by going online to a well known website’s automated valuation system. I was staggered at the figure it gave me.

I bought the property nearly 10 years ago for a bargain £125,000 and I’ve since spent a considerable amount of money on improvements and alterations. At the same time values in the area have gone up due to an influx of investors. I live in an area that is convenient for both universities as well as Coventry city centre and it’s close to lots of good shopping and bus routes. The local schools are also highly regarded and the area has seen a good deal of investment in recent years.

So naturally I was intrigued and excited to see what my property is now worth. And to my amazement I logged onto one of the biggest property portals and was ‘reliably’ informed that my house is now worth a whopping……………………… £127,179  !!  🙁  I mean, come on. Thanks guys, that’s really useful. If I decided to put my property on the market tomorrow, buyers could see this figure and could use it against me when negotiating. Or worse, it would probably just put them off my house altogether. So how did this well known property website arrive at this figure?

It would appear that the figure is automated and has simply taken the last sale price and adjusted it according to Land Registry data for the Coventry area as a whole. No adjustment has been made for all of the work I’ve done to the house or the investment in the local area. But then it’s just a website so what did I expect?

The reality is that no website can accurately value a property with a ‘random number generator’. So I’ll be speaking to an Estate Agent to get a proper valuation done. And if you’re reading this I’d encourage you to do the same. Elizabeth Davenport have experienced valuation experts who provide professional and reliable advice on selling all types of property. Call them today on 02476 010105.

What Drives The Value Of A Property?

Location? Number of Bedrooms? Size of the Kitchen? Local Schools?

What exactly does drive the value of a property? And what exactly is the definition of value?

The market value is what a willing buyer would pay for the property to a willing seller, once the property was adequately exposed to the open market via the correct channels for the correct period of time (up to 3 months). This figure could vary dramatically depending upon the method(s) of marketing and how many buyers are drawn towards the property in the first place. The number of interested buyers in turn is driven by the quality of the marketing details and the asking price. The marketing details are in effect “the bait”. Poor marketing details (eg poor photographs) is like going fishing with no bait on the hook. You simply won’t catch anything.

The asking price is like a magnet for buyers. A competitive asking figure will create excitement and activity amongst potential purchasers, whereas a high asking figure will have the opposite effect and repel the most likely buyers away in the first place.

Both of these crucial elements (asking price and quality of marketing) will be driven by the choice of Estate Agent that you make. A poor agent will overprice (in order to win the instruction) and probably under market (simply because they don’t know how to use a camera). Elizabeth Davenport Estate Agents are experts in getting both of these fundamentals right and as a result have a very high success rate in selling all types of property.

Call today on 02476 010105 to speak to one of our experts about getting maximum market value for your own property.

 

Exactly What is www.OnTheMarket.com and Why Should We Even Care?

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This morning one of our clients received a letter from a competitor stating “Did you know your agent have made the commercial decision to reduce our property on line by removing us from Zoopla? “. I read this a few times before realising that the statement wasn’t even English. Once I’d dealt with this I then replied to our client with the facts. Agents try and use any tool for an advantage.  This one was a bit clumsy. If you’re going to state an advantage make sure it is one. I’ll try and explain before they send another letter stating “Did you know your agents car has got a dent on nearside wing and mine hasn’t”.

OnTheMarket.com” should, at the time of going to press, be all over your televisions and in many quality publication’s as well. Many of the features that have made Zoopla and Rightmove “clunky” are not prevalent with “OnTheMarket.com“. If we look at this very simply then the website adapts seamlessly to fit the screen of any device being used to view it. As a “user” as well as an Estate Agent that’s good enough for me to start with. The property search at “OnTheMarket.com” is also slick, simple, fast and state-of-the-art whilst being compatible with all of the latest technologies. There is no clutter from irritating and distracting third party adverts, nor any spam email. The phone number you see will be our own. Users of “OnTheMarket.com“will also have access to “sneak preview” properties exclusive to them for 48 hours!

Even more importantly buyers that register with Zoopla register with Rightmove. Buyers that register with Rightmove do not always register with Zoopla. Why therefore retain the duplication?  If we removed ourselves from Rightmove I would have questioned our commercial decision as well.

Elizabeth Davenport are one of the first of a forward thinking set of Coventry Estate Agents that will be listing on this new agent driven portal from day one. I don’t think I’ll worry about sending  any letters to our competitors clients asking “”Did you know your agent have made the commercial decision to duplicate your listing and not use OnTheMarket?”. They’ll most likely be on it themselves in a few months anyway!

Want To Sell or Want to Sit? There is a Choice!

Well,  Autumn ‘s here and the leaves are falling. Thankfully house prices aren’t. Indeed, thankfully for many, they are not soaring either. Forget London’s Boom, the reality all around us, is that the reports of a Boom have heightened the expectations of sellers throughout Britain.

I had a Seller last week tell me that the agent they were marketing with in Coventry had told them that house prices had risen 10% over the height of the market in 2008. He was bullish about this too by all account. This same agent had not sold the Vendors house. It had sat on the market without viewings for 6 months. That’s because the Agent was talking nonsense. He/She just wanted an instruction to sell the house. Maybe the individual was being pressured by targets. Whomever’s fault it was it wasn’t the sellers yet they were the ones that suffered. You shouldn’t play games like this. You get found out. 

Robin King a Director at “Move With Us” has just compiled a survey of over 100 Estate Agents. “Reports of a housing bubble may be pushing home owners to set unrealistic asking prices,” he said. “Putting a property on market with an accurate valuation is paramount. Our advice to home owners is not to always believe the hype and to listen to their local property expert, the estate agent”.

Good advice if you can trust your Estate Agent. If you can’t your house is going to sit on the portals and no one is going to come.

We have just compiled a list of every Estate Agents current stock and sales performance in Coventry. How much are they selling and how quickly? The results are shocking. Many of the “market leaders”, the household names, the old families and the aggressive corporates, are sitting on stocks of your houses with only very low proportions being sold. They’ve overpriced and for fear of admitting mistake they won’t approach you to discuss it.  They won’t request the reduction in case you decide to venture elsewhere. They’d rather your house just sit there. With that mentality, you will too so don’t wait for that non-existent call. If you’d like to know the statistics just let us know and we’d be happy to show you. We’re not all bad..

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That’s it then! Summer’s over but all’s not lost and being well an Indian Summer will soon begin!

Our Warwick Row office has been open for just over 13 months now and has also seen our sales performance grow by over 150%. This cannot happen successfully without one vital and often overlooked ingredient. Staff. 

This week we are proud to have employed Georgina D’Arcy who brings with her a wealth of Estate Agency, Administration and Accounts experience. Prior to Georgina we placed ourself in the enviable position of working with Greg Irish an experienced Financial Advisor and Estate Agent who although based at our office can be made available for home visits whenever our clients require (Within reason of course, he’s got a life too you know.) Prior to Greg, another team member with Estate Agency experience, Nicki Page, had been employed to support Yvonne Haywood in one of our most important public facing roles. That’s not all. We have also commandeered the approachable and multi tasking Craig Emmerton who not only undertakes viewings in a genuinely helpful manner (Rather than with a  “just opening the door” and “feel free to have a look around” mentality which seems to be industry commonplace) but  also takes responsibility for the painting and erection of our Sign Boards. Then there’s George and Me. Elizabeth, well I’ll can tell you about her when we meet.

Please don’t just take our word for it. You can’t keep selling houses successfully without the right support and good staff are what any business needs to retain it’s quality of service. Our reviews on www.allagents.co.uk and google say it much more succinctly than we do! Please have a look when you are thinking about which agent you’d like to work with. They can be very revealing!