New Home Shock and Pre-Loved Favourites!

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.

Coventry – Euston – Sales Express!

Although I can’t see Coventry becoming North Londonshire any time soon it is worth bearing in mind that local government development agencies have come up with such bizarre  concepts in London’s more popular commuter towns in recent years.

With a travel duration of 60 minutes from Coventry Station and annual costs being in the region of £7500 it is no wonder we are finding more and more buyers visiting from the Big Smoke. This annual cost of travel is as little as 1% of the average price difference between  houses in London’s Zone 1 and 2 and Coventry itself.

With Nationwide showing a 26% growth in central London and a steady but not so spectacular increase circumnavigating its core, the ability to commute can offer both a healthier lifestyle and a happier wallet as well. With the opportunity to own more substantial property at a fraction of the cost, the once traditional lure of towns such as Reading, Hatfield and Luton can be bettered at even lower cost by travelling just a few miles further.

Kettering, Peterborough, Luton and Basildon are in the top five most cost-effective towns within a 70-minute commute to central London. Coventry sits even closer if we use the Coventry – Euston line.

We have seen tremendous interest in properties within easy access to Coventry Station. Styvechale, Cheylesmore and Earlsdon are all appealing to Londoncentric buyers wishing to spread their wings.

What with the new FriarGate development dramatically improving the entire Station area we could soon see Coventry and its surrounding Villages become a genuine commuter hub. Seemingly this city is certainly becoming one to to invest in and one that should see more families making it there own. Now that can’t be bad for anyone can it.

Rubbish English Football = Time to Buy Property

Every time the football World Cup comes round, expectations are high and “England Expects”. A good run in the tournament for the men in white translates into a long happy summer and the onset of the “feel good factor”. 

And in the past, statistics have clearly shown that when England do well and reach the late stages of the competition, a happy buzz is created throughout the land which causes people to go out and spend money, whether it be on cars, electrical goods, holidays, and even property.

Well sadly this time that hasn’t happened. Two dismal results against mediocre opposition has dumped England out of the tournament and (at time of writing) a pending third game that could prove to be embarrassing. No feel good factor.  🙁

Here’s a sneaky tip: If you’re in the market place to buy a property then go and buy something right now. Whilst everyone else is sitting at home feeling sorry for themselves and dreaming of Italia 90 or Euro 96 you can go and put an offer in on that dream home and with no competition to outbid you, that house could be yours!  🙂

And when Euro 2016 starts, all of your friends will want to come and watch it at your place (if we qualify!). For more tips on football & buying and selling property visit our website or call 02476 010105.

Join our Winning Estate Agency!

WINNING FORMULA:  HAPPY STAFF = PRODUCTIVE STAFF = BETTER RESULTS = HAPPY CUSTOMERSWinning Medals

As sales volumes increase with the ever-improving housing market, Elizabeth Davenport is expanding it’s operations and requires both new properties to sell and at the same time requires an experienced office supervisor/senior negotiator to fit into their expanding operations. The successful candidate will bring with them several years in the industry and a track record of successful sales experience.

At Elizabeth Davenport our staff are well rewarded for their efforts, meaning they are highly motivated and this leads to better sales results and more satisfied customers whose properties sell quickly and for full market value due to a combination of unsurpassed marketing material and also expert valuation processes.

Our branch at 23 Warwick Row has a happy, relaxed atmosphere which creates the perfect environment for efficiency and seamless processes. This reflects on both our staff and our customers, who continually leave positive feedback following the services they receive from us.

To arrange for a free valuation of your property or to apply for a role in our growing operation please call our Warwick Row office on 02476 010105.

 

 

 

Come on Down! The Price is Right!

I’d like to think that Leslie Crowther and I have little to nothing in common. I was alive in the 1980’s but I didn’t present any game shows.  The famous “Come On Down, the Price is Right” catchphrase did though come to mind  after 4 new instructions were under offer within 24 hours of being launched to the market this week. We did not offer these house for sale less than others had valued them. In fact two of them were higher valuations than any other agent. The properties  were not being given away by any means. One of them was actually valued over 30% higher than our competition!

Research, market analysis and a working  knowledge of remedial and installation costs from Lighting to Lofts, enable us, we believe, to price sensibly for both the seller and the buyer. After all, however long the process of selling a property, the  reality is that the price will be justified by external forces anyway! The Mortgage Survey, The Home Buyers Report and The Building Survey will all aid (or band aid, pardon the pun) the correct and actual sale price.

A market leading trainer whose course we attended showed how vital the “asking price” was within the first few weeks of marketing. To achieve the highest “actual” price, the volume of viewings is no accident. If the “asking price” is incorrect the viewings will not occur. If it’s correct they will. In fact if the “asking price” is less than the “market price” then for goodness sake don’t panic. The house will simply attract a greater volume of viewings and the price will rise to it’s “correct” value. Remember if you are the seller then the property for sale is yours. No one can steal it from you. If the offers that come in aren’t to your liking then don’t accept them. If they continue to come in without much variance then rethink. A house on the market for a long time very rarely gets sold for what it could at the beginning.

Regulation, Regulation or Simple Integrity

No sooner had your local regulated Estate Agent amended all of their promotional material to include the new Ombudsman Logo (as requested by them because the Logo was immensely important to the service the Estate Agent delivered) do we now have a new regulatory body which has superseded the Office of Fair Trading for all property sale compliance. Clients and Customers alike are now advised to visit the Citizens Advice Bureau if they believe they have been unfairly treated or even mis-sold property under new regulations. From last month the OFT and Competition Commission merged to form the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). This body now enforces, by law, consumer protection regulations governing house sales.

The most interesting part of this regulation would be the disclosure of information by the agent to a buyer regarding any information that is known that may affect a buyers decision. No more Caveat Emptor for the agents to rely on then! No more painting over the cracks or only attending viewings when the neighbours dog’s are asleep! Let’s be realistic about this…

It’s simple common sense and integrity that needs to be applied by the seller, the agent and the buyer.

What matters to one buyer doesn’t necessarily matter to another. Maybe our buyer owns a noisier dog. Maybe our buyer wants to buy a dilapidated property. As long as the price reflects it and the survey is agreeable then we are all aware and understanding. The protection is for the consumer against those individuals and agents hiding serious issues that the buyer should have been  made aware of. If a survey reveals serious detrimental information and a sale falls through then of course, surely, any further sale must account for this knowledge. That’s common sense and a lack of themis what these regulations should be applied to.

 

Are We On a Bus Driven By London?

Once again that omnipresent threat to the UK’s perception of Estate Agency is our Capital City. It drives a progressing market to the extreme and whilst the counties beyond do not rejoice in its’ ascendency they suffer when it eats itself. David Cameron, backed by Nick Clegg (what?) have suggested curbs on the second phase of the Help to Buy Scheme. However both agree with Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, that we do need to build more new homes. This cannot be denied. But if we do and the Help to Buy is restructured or even phased out then whose buying? More investors?

Undoubtedly the Bank of England’s uncertain management of  the rapid increase in house prices has been fuelled by London. A 17% rise within the last year has been experienced in London with an average outside the area of 9%. Coventry has seen a equivalent growth of 4.5%. If this growth was experienced throughout the UK then no such redress of Help to Buy would surely occur. The lack of available property generates increased prices and in London, with a constant fuel of overseas investors, overpricing  is clearly not a concern.

If there are more buyers than property and asking prices become “Guide Prices”  then the BBC decided to scare the nation with the fact that “Estate Agents” were now charging the buyer and not the seller. I’ve seen this happen with one agent in Chelsea charging a £6000 administration fee  just to place an offer with the Vendor. This sounds horrendous but don’t think that this is transferable to the Midlands because it isn’t.  That’s a bus none of us would ever want to ride on.

 

The Truth About House Prices

Once again the national media have been providing commentary about the “housing bubble” and talk of measures to cool the property market down seem to be getting louder. The press however are pre-occupied with what’s happening in London and the home counties and don’t seem interested in reporting what’s happening on the ground further afield. It’s a shame that local media outlets don’t run stories about what’s happening in your own backyard or more specifically the Coventry area.

Doing some of my own research, I found it extremely easy to get the exact figures for the Coventry area, simply doing an internet search for “Land Registry Price Index” and the real data is available publicly. The contrast between the reality and what the press are reporting is amazing. Importantly the only data that matters is what houses actually sold for and this data is available through Land Registry. Price indices based upon asking prices are meaningless and misleading.

Prices in Coventry rose 4.6% annually to the end of March. This contrasts with those in prime central London which soared 17.5% during the same period. However, the most amazing statistics are where prices currently stand compared to the top of the market in early 2008. Coventry prices are still 12% lower than the at the peak (see graph). Compare this to the city of Westminster where they have risen 72% during the same period. The national figures put out on TV are heavily skewed by what’s happening in the south-east and as a result are meaningless for the rest of the country.

The market in Coventry is very healthy at present but certainly not out of control or becoming a bubble. We don’t need politicians, bankers or economists applying the brakes to our market for all of the wrong reasons.

 

Pictures Paint A Thousand Words

I’ve been to a fair few weddings in recent years and one thing that they all seem to have in common nowadays is a professional photographer. The kind that turns up with lots of equipment, charges a high fee, takes literally hundreds of photos, steals the bride & groom for hours on end to take dozens of portrait shots, and even stays for the evening do to get snaps of everyone doing their bit on the dance floor. Why do all couples go down this route? Why do they pay through the nose for a professional when all of the guests have got their own digital cameras anyway?

Probably because it’s the most important day of their lives and these are the most important and memorable life photos they will want to cherish!  Can you imagine the look of horror on the bride’s face if the photographer turned up and started taking pictures with his mobile phone?

Chatting to a homeowner recently I was astonished to find out that his Estate Agent had done just that. He turned up at the property and began photographing each room with his Motorola. If this isn’t acceptable at a wedding then how can it be acceptable when selling a property worth £00000s? The photos are THE most important marketing tool that homeowners have nowadays to help them sell their house. They MUST be taken by a professional who has the right equipment and knows how to use it! Poor photos will knock many thousands of pounds off the value of a house in the long run.

At Elizabeth Davenport, our photographers have the very best equipment and most importantly they have received extensive training in how to take good photos. This means that our marketing details are of a higher standard and our properties sell more quickly and for higher prices. Call us today for a free valuation on 02476 010105.

Joint Agency or Double Trouble?

Last week we placed a prestigious property onto the market in a coordinated effort to achieve the very best price possible. Both ourselves and another Estate Agent met the client independently before sharing information in a considered meeting. We had contrasting opinions to the other agent about a few different aspects of the potential sale but the vendor, prior to the instruction had heard both viewpoints and wanted maximum exposure. Sometimes, if Estate Agents work together honestly, the client can benefit from a “Joint Agency” instruction. The problem is not many do because not many Estate Agents work well together.

This is very much a contrasting story to other “Multiple Agency” experiences we have witnessed. Thankfully due to our speed of sale, we have not seen others agent instructed after ourselves, but we have begun marketing at the tail end of another’s agency period and this has led to complications for our sellers.

Despite instructions from their clients to the contrary, these Agents have not removed the properties from their own websites, Rightmove or shop windows. The result of these practices in Coventry are that “Multiple Agency” simply confuses potential buyers and leads to unsympathetic and reduced offers at best.  At worst the buyers look elsewhere entirely. What the client should remember is that if their home has been on the market without offers then something is wrong. When this is the case, a fresh pair of  eyes and ears can be the start of a successful new beginning rather than a prolonged sense of disappointment.

Continuing to employ the Agent who hasn’t achieved what they promised to achieve really does does not solve anything.  Thankfully the quality of our brochures, photography and I.T systems have allowed us to continue our number one ranking for Speed of Sale and Click Through rates during these “multiple agency” excursions and have seen properties that have sat unloved for many months sell for asking prices after multiple viewings.