What a fortnight that’s been. Three weeks to be exact. From being an Estate Agent to becoming a buyer myself has been an absolute revelation.
A house I’ve been looking at for over three years finally came onto the market. Sure it needed a little work but I was expecting that. It’s being sold “On behalf of a corporate client” was the official line. The viewing staff who showed me round were genuinely lovely. “Is it a Repossession?” I asked. “No, we’re just selling on behalf of a corporate client” was the reply. A Repossession it indeed was. If the word, Halloween like, fills you with dread (think Grim Reaper & Exorcism) then you’d have nailed it. After the fourth time of being asked for a best and final offer myself I felt like I had become a summoned corpse.
I do not blame the agent. To handle a repossession correctly and respectfully I would suggest no one other than investors get involved. The emotional roller coaster would not have been prevalent if the entire process was purely finance motivated.
This is where the law needs to change. Is a buyer a buyer? If they indeed are then why should be treated differently simply because the seller is a Financial House rather than a Mr Smith or a Mrs Khan. What gives a Financial institution, a Bank or Building Society and the companies that execute their debt collection for them, the right to act contrary to a genuine, human home owner.
What homeowner would sell to an investor rather than an owner occupier if the price agreed was the same? Where is the consideration to the neighbours? Why isn’t the sense of community a consideration? These are questions that are morally & socially unanswerable. And I had agreed to pay more. Sour Grapes you might say. Try Watermelons.
Dark at 4.30pm. That’s the sad reality now that the clocks have gone back for the winter. And that means trying to get things done after work can be really difficult (unless you work nights of course!!)
And if you’re house or flat hunting that can make trying to view prospective properties very difficult indeed, especially with many agents closing down for most of the weekend. Looking round a property in the dark is a futile experience, you can’t make a buying decision under such conditions.
And what if you’re selling a property? Exactly the same applies. It can be difficult to find a buyer if your Estate Agent doesn’t do weekend viewings when demand is at it’s highest.
One of the reasons we are now the market leader for sales agreed in the area is our attention to details and this includes arranging and overseeing access to our properties during weekends and this includes Sundays.
So if you serious about buying or selling this winter, don’t get caught in the dark, give us a call and move a full step closer to that next home move. Talk to Coventry’s favourite Estate Agents on 02476 010105 today.
There is No Such Thing as a Wrong Season to Sell! Just The Wrong Light Bulbs!
Some people say there is no wrong weather, only wrong clothes. I don’t know about this. I really don’t like the dark evenings or the dark mornings. I don’t like mud stained carpets either! Autumn has always been a popular time to place your home on the market for sale. With the onset of the new season we’d like to present a few exciting tricks and treats (get it!?) that can be implemented to make your house attractive for buyers as the nights draw in.
I used to have friends who had a very neutrally decorated home but contrasting soft furnishings for Summer, Autumn and Winter. The grey and blue Rugs, Scatter Cushions and the throws would all be replaced by oranges and browns and although it seemed such a hassle, the effect was executed perfectly.
Don’t neglect your Gardens and your frontages either. Everyone can say “My Garden looks great in the Spring and Summer” but if in Autumn your Garden is clean and tidy, cut back, dead headed and presentable you don’t need pretty flowers. Just make it look cared for. Remember if the competition hasn’t bothered then you’re one step ahead already!
Think about your lighting. In the Summer, natural light is the order of the day. Properties with bright and airy rooms draw the most attention. Now, in the Autumn and Winter, we can do cosy and warm. Uplighters, Lamps and fireplaces are welcome but let’s make sure that your floorings, having suffered Summer long abuse with inside out living, have been steam cleaned or mopped ready for the new season.
We’ve got some real tricks up our sleeves for stunning dusk and night photography as well so don’t be put off! There are lots of buyers who need to be resettled for Christmas and the New Year and we’d be delighted to help you find them.
A common discussion with absolutely no rights or wrongs is the value of a “For Sale” or “To Let Board” at your home. “To Let” Boards are more straightforward as the emotional factor of telling your neighbours and the passing public that your house or a house you own is “available” is far less relevant. The percentage of owner occupiers renting there own home is obviously less than the number of investment properties on the market. The issue regarding security though may still be a relevant one. If the property you own is empty then does a board signal “Empty! Easy Opportunity”. Well, Ne’er-do-wells don’t burgle empty houses. So a Board does not a burglary make. These security issues are the most common negatives that a seller or buyer will concerned about, and quite fairly too.
The positives though can of course can be great. Desirable areas will lead potential buyers to drive around and research where they hope to live. If there is no “For Sale” board then they may not see your house. No matter how impressive the brochures and web details, no one should buy a home without seeing it in the light of day. A “For Sale” Board isn’t just helpful for the seller of course. It’s an immensely powerful marketing tool for the Estate Agent too. If your agents For Sale boards are faded, in bad repair or remain fallen down or broken, what does this say about them as well?
One of the most popular questions I am asked at valuations is “Is there anything I can do help my property sell?”. The answer is normally yes! One of the main aspects of our service that we are often complimented on is the quality of our photographs. There is strong evidence that suggests the higher quality of the photographs directly translates into more enquires from potential buyers.
There are many techniques together with the clever use of technology that help capture great photographs but the most obvious element is the subject matter itself. We often advise our clients on how best to stage their property to help us capture the best possible images. Everything from giving rooms a fresh lick of paint to arranging for fresh flowers to be present on the day that we come round to photograph, all help us achieve the desired results – better photographs!
At Elizabeth Davenport we like to think we are different from most other agents, different in the sense that we go the extra mile to help you present your home to get you the best results. All the evidence suggests that a well presented home reflected well with top quality marketing will sell for a higher price due to the increased level of buyer activity.
Please give us a call if you would like some free advice on how to best to present your home and we would really welcome the opportunity to show you some of the results we have achieved.
The announcement of the end of the ‘help-to-buy’ scheme this week raised a few eyebrows and even surprised some commentators. In reality, the volume of property sales that involved help-to-buy was marginal. Over the course of the scheme, our agency was not involved with a single sale that utilised the government backed scheme.
The good news is though now that there are lots of mortgage lenders that are offering 95% mortgages again so it is possible (though not easy) for many first time buyers to get together their deposits without the need for such schemes.
Generally it is more difficult to obtain finance now than it was 8 or 9 years ago before the credit crunch came. There are many more hoops to jump through (including more rigorous means testing), more paperwork to fill out and you won’t find any self certification mortgages nowadays as there were at the height of the boom in the late naughties.
That said it is still easier to get a mortgage today than it was 30/40 years ago, and with interest rates historically lower than ever before, repayments are small by comparison to those from years gone by. And if you really hunt around there are lenders out there that are offering interest only mortgages again (you’ll have to venture off the high street to find them though).
So whilst today’s generation of buyers think they’ve got it tough, buying a home is generally cheaper than renting and is an excellent long term investment for the future.
Like the majority of the UK I’m sure, my interest surrounding the US Election is born more out of caution and fear than a desire to see the best candidate succeed. How can two opposing candidates with huge question marks hanging, halo like, over their uniquely manicured barnets create anything other than morbid curiosity?
With the first of the three debates over, Hilary Clinton seems to have taken a substantial lead in the US opinion polls. Why?
It seems like simplicity is again the key. If asked a question, the least the respondent should do is answer with as much integrity and supporting fact as possible. This is where Donald Trump seems to have let himself down. In his commercial life, having so long been able to simply preach demands without explanation, he seems to struggle with anything other than “this is my opinion, therefore it is correct”.
This failure is a lesson to everybody. If you are going to preach, then prove it. If you are going to provide “facts”, make sure they are “correct”.
Nick, George and myself will not even undertake a valuation of anybody’s home without thorough research and up to date statistics with evidence to prove each point we make.
Loud voices a successful sale do not make. Incidentally we’ve just placed a “White House” on the market. Bit smaller and slightly less prestigious but “White” nonetheless.
Whether you like Lemons or not, Dr Chris van Tulleken’s flawed documentary “The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs” did reveal more about us than originally intended. An over-reliance on taking professional advice and the easiest solution possible seemed to be the standard medication both prescribed.
“Get some exercise!”, “drink Water!”, “socialize a bit more!”, were the simplistic views offered to the solution of aching joints, depression and headaches. They could be a lot safer though than simply taking the advice you are given.
However, keeping it simple and understanding what you’re being asked to do (and why you are being asked to do it!) spoke volumes to me.
How many times are you preached complicated solutions to problems that really aren’t there?
Our industry is full of peculiar language that simply doesn’t need to exist.
The person selling a house is called a “Vendor”. Why? Do you really “Vend” a house? No, you sell a house. Surely the person selling the house is a “seller”? Then, if you want to buy a house, are you an “applicant”. Sorry, do you “apply” if you want to buy a house? Is it a job or a gym membership? If a house is for sale does the process of buying it require an application to do so? If you buy a “Bentley” or a “Sunseeker” I think you’ll find the dealership will refer to you as a “customer” not an “applicant”.
I think sometimes business creates a world of semantics just to make itself seem more important than it is. I think it creates it’s world to simply distance itself from the truth of how simple business should be.
If you make yourself sound complicated you justify your role. Well, I think you need a “holistic and cradle to grave approach that loops back to our initial dialogue”. Mark, stop it man you’ve sold out! “Let’s just keep it simple”. Anyone for a hot Lemon and Honey?
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.
With much 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 agents 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 on Sundays, unlike the majority of Estate Agents, meaning greater flexibility and more sales agreed for you, our customers.
When you have an eight week period in any business you expect to have a volume of enquiries that, despite dealing with professionally, do not lead to genuine fee earning business. Whether fee earning or not every enquiry made about any property and many that are made to simply to register interest must always be dealt with as courteously and promptly as possible.
The last eight weeks have seen this service rewarded with the team at Elizabeth Davenport earning us our own Gold Medal from the British Property Awards! With this success we’ve now been entered into the Regional and National Event so if you don’t read a blog about them then clearly we’ve still got more work to do!
So, for speed of answering calls, email enquiries, answerphone call backs, integrity of reviews, in fact with a judging criteria of 25 separate factors, this Coventry award really is quite special.
Massive credit to all of our colleagues, Chris, Jan, Jo, Kate, Lauren, Nicki and Shelina for being so personable and efficient in each and every way. Having fun, enjoying your job and generally caring about what you do make the Monday blues a thing of the past. It really is a pleasure to go to work! This Award is proof that Red tape and over zealous Management are simply out of fashion and not what it takes to win a Gold Medal in 2016!