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.
HONEY, LEMONS & WHY SIMPLE IS BEST!
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.
Now that’s progress….
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!
Now we’ve got to retain it!
Researchers at Cambridge University have recently undertaken a study revealing British new homes to be amongst the smallest in Europe. New homes being built at sizes potentially detrimental to our health are one of the claims the research suggests. With the average new build in the UK being measured with 76 sq metres of living space comparing to Ireland at 87.7, Germany at 115.5 and Denmark at 137 sq m the evidence does appear to overwhelmingly support the findings as well.
Pre loved, second hand, used or nearly new are not phrases associated with house buying or owning but every house has a tale to tell and older properties have assets all of their own. Mature Gardens with trees and hedges rather than seeded rubble strewn turf are the external equivalent of high vaulted ceilings versus energy efficient light fittings. The emotion evoked when purchasing a period building cannot be replicated in other than the most bespoke new build.
The space available in many a 1960’s detached home together with it’s driveway and traditionally generous plot should always compensate for it’s not so aesthetic façade. Two up, two down, Victorian houses, found abundantly throughout Coventry offer two terrific double bedrooms and two reception rooms and can be easily modified to incorporate two bathrooms if the mood takes. You’ll have period features, more floor space and real character for less than your average starter home! Look around, take your time and use your imagination. You don’t have to own a Castle for it to be a lovely home.
After an amazing Olympics in which Great Britain beat everybody out of sight (bar USA), team GB arrive home to a hero’s welcome. Richly deserved, it was an amazing achievement.
And the performance went a long way to showing how our little island can perform on the world stage, both in sporting terms and also in economic terms. After some of the post Brexit negativity, this is a real boost to the nation and should inspire everybody to rally together now and get on with the business of finding our way in the world, without the ties and regulations of the European Union.
Team GB won more Gold medals than Germany and France put together. Which goes to show when we organise things ourselves, we get the job done.
My money is on more of the same in Japan, 2020 and by then Brexit and Europe will be long forgotten as our economy and property market grow in strength. We’ll show everyone that our little island can make it’s own way and become a truly global sporting and economic force.
When we have written about London pricing soaring and the rest of us catching up, the London marketplace may have smirked. Now, the boot seems to be on the other foot with active growth and non deterred sellers coming to the market in the majority of regions outside of the Bubble. If we take a snapshot over the last six weeks of activity we can see that the two weeks prior to the Referendum saw a like for like drop in instructions by 8% while interestingly the first two weeks post Brexit saw instructions rise by 6%.
Regionally Estate Agents report that the property market continues to build momentum due to the lack of property coming onto the market. The interesting dynamic here is that prices will likely continue to rise unless the volume of instructions increase. With Mortgage rates remaining low and buyers experiencing a degree of panic that further “suitable” properties will “not” come to the market, the higher prices are being,in the majority of cases, offered.
At Elizabeth Davenport we like to see what the public really feel about the price of there ideal home. Our goal is to generate as much interest as possible and not just to sell, but to find the very best buyer; have a choice if you like. This is not going to happen if you price the buyers of your property out of the equation. If the advertised price isn’t cynical the public will appreciate it and multiple buyers can be found. As I’m sure you can see, this does not occur from demanding a price above that which the property is worth. Our Sold to For Sale ratio reflects this with over 65% of our stock consistently sold.
Brexit has not affected the market place in Coventry and Warwickshire because there is not enough stock for sale. Whilst the demand outweighs the supply the prices will, for many of us, remain too high for comfort. But everyone does need to live somewhere. Possibly not London though.
Having just received a call from BBC Coventry and Warwickshire with a question regarding David Cameron’s legacy and his impact on the property market, I found myself having to look at the same results but from two contradictory angles.
Are dramatic property price increases a positive or a negative? It’s that fundamental. Who is to congratulate and who’s to wave a fist at?
According to data from the Land Registry, average UK house prices have risen from £161,148 in 2009, just before Mr Cameron became Prime Minister, to £206,953 in 2016 – a 28 per cent increase. If you own a home and don’t want to move then could this be irrelevant? Well, not if you want to remortgage and borrow more thus releasing more money into the economy. And what if you want to move? Well, unless you are moving from an area of wealth and high property value to an area not so, then irrelevant it is. The property you purchase will likely have risen proportionally too.
As far as I can see, David Cameron, Britain’s youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812, has been sturdy if not so Gung Ho as New Labours last elected incumbent. His parties decision to increase Stamp Duty for investment landlords seems flawed but his restructure of traditional stamp duty was welcome.
Now, we must move forward as a country, not just a political party and Theresa May be the right person to do this (See what I did there!) . Until Labour’s leadership creates solidarity within it’s own party I see we have little choice other than hoping that this Governments moral decision making prevails within our new “Brexit” nation. No rash decisions, some cleverly thought through policies and a goal of making everyone who at least lives here now as comfortable and productive as possible.
Stocks & Shares, the Euro Sterling Exchange rate and the global financial markets have reacted as everyone either predicted or expected.
What of property? Where do we stand? We haven’t fallen into the North Sea since Friday last but listening to the media we’ve done almost everything but.
Property at it’s heart has always been a safe investment. We all need homes to live in whether we are lucky enough to own or to rent. The housing shortage in this country has needed addressing for a long time and the governments investment in new homes has not made a dent in this whatsoever. Supply and demand therefore suggests no immediate change to this dynamic. Families will continue to grow and first time buyers will still have a passion to own. Housing will therefore still be needed.
In the short term (after a week or two of head scratching) there is every chance that sellers, worried, perhaps unnecessarily of a potential slow down, will come to the market before a slump. This will create more property for sale. Let’s say that an equivalent amount of buyers don’t buy either for the very same reason. This will create more available property for sale. This could, as the market has needed for a long time, create a cool down where a choice of homes means lower selling prices and demand and supply become equal.
This, surely, would be great news for everyone. More choice and lower prices.
Unlike Brexit, this suggests that everybody wins. As far as England’s Euro 2016 challenge, that would have been a nice result as well!