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.
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Logo was immensely important to the service the Estate Agent delivered) do we now have a new regulatory body which has superseded the Office of Fair Trading for all property sale compliance.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Quite often the last thing an Estate Agent would choose to do in their own spare time would be to watch a television series about Estate Agents but “Under Offer: Estate Agents On The Job” was a different beast. I suppose the voyeuristic nature of the docudrama spiked a sense of impending dread. I better watch it so I know what I’m faced with tomorrow! Would we Estate Agents be further tarnished? Would we be mocked? I was pretty confident that the show wouldn’t instigate a surge of job applications but I hoped for the best and I think we got it.
First and foremost it was fun. We are great fun you once you get to know us.
Secondly the show was littered with classic quotations that that Messrs Scorcese and Tarantino would have been proud of. “Mass Murderers would be greeted with a better response”, “If you want to be an Estate Agent, you just open a shop”, “Most Estate Agents are Posh and Blond and I’m Irish and a Redhead”. It was great. The show on a more serious note clearly highlighted the canyon between London and the rest of the country something that we certainly have written about before. What clearly works in one region won’t necessarily work in another but certainly what shone through is that energy and enthusiasm go along way. Together with a moral compass pointing North, Estate Agents should come out of this smelling of roses rather than manure! Still, we are only on Episode Two!
The case for selling your property through an established locally based Estate Agent has been given extra credence recently with the announcement that TV’s Sarah Beeney had re-launched her “free to list” property portal as an “Online Estate Agent”.
Beeney’s website “Tepilo” had been launched several years ago with the strapline “Ditch the Estate Agent”. After 4 years of failure, the embarrassing about-turn meant that in effect she became an Estate Agent herself. Tepilo now charges £912 up-front to list a property and this is their “Best Value Deal” (this generously includes a For Sale board, photography, a floor-plan and a rightmove premium listing). The £912 is paid before you go on the market and is non-returnable if you don’t find a buyer.
Let’s think about it carefully. You hand over 912 (nine hundred and twelve) of your hard earned notes to an “Online Estate Agent” based at the other end of the country and they upload your property details to their website. You have already given them their fee so what is the resulting motivation for them to find you a buyer?
ANSWER: Big Fat Zero. You might as well put your money down the drain!
By contrast if you market your property through Elizabeth Davenport Estate Agents you get all of the above, PLUS you get professional bespoke brochures, accompanied viewings AND you get expert local knowledge on setting the correct asking price for your property. We will be highly motivated to find a buyer because that’s how we earn our fee. You don’t pay us a penny until the day the property is sold. Now that’s what I call a great deal!
Call us today for expert, honest, free advice on selling your property.
What a week that was!
A record level of instructions and a record level of sales agreed. It seems that the Coventry buyer really has grown in confidence and together with Mortgage lending we are seeing sensible purchases facilitated by sensible lending. Let’s hope it stays that way. Last week three quarters of the new stock was sold with either asking price offers or above. Most importantly this completely satisfied our clients but it also reinforced the mentality that ” if you don’t overprice a house it will have enough interest to reach it’s own natural level”. That natural level will always be above the asking price (or as the London market now exemplifies,” The Guide Price”!).
From satisfied clients to the shocked and offended . “All fair in Love and War” and “We’ve all got mouths to feed” are just not justifiable hyperbole for ignorance and misleading information.
A potential seller requests multiple valuations or appraisals. Each agent presents their research, their service, the costs and the figure they would like to market the property for. This is how the process works. If you do the job correctly then in far more cases than not you receive the instruction to sell your clients home. We have been witness this week to our clients being approached by agents they haven’t instructed to a) “Dual Market” from day one, b) dis-instruct the chosen agent and c) be told they have made the wrong choice. These same clients have all sold through us within a few days of instruction, we have achieved a superb volume of viewings and the offers have been asking price or above. With our Click Through Rate consistently number 1 in the region and our speed of sale equal to it, I would suggest that some of these “established agents” get their own ships in order to avoid this sort of embarrassment being launched upon them. Extraordinary Practices like this only enhance the poor reputation that many Estate Agents have and that others are, unfairly, often tarnished with.
At time of writing (Tuesday) our Coventry office had already agreed 6 sales for this week alone. Three of those were for the full asking figures and one went for substantially over the asking price. Buyers are desperately competing for the best properties and trying to outbid one another in order to secure purchases. Confidence has returned to the local Coventry housing market in no uncertain terms. There does however remain a shortgage of stock generally and this is increasing the “buyer frenzy” whenever good homes come onto the market.
If you are a buyer then you have to be in a good position when you start searching otherwise you will be wasting your time. This means that your own property must already be sold or you must be chain free. You should already have a mortgage agreement in principle or even better, a suitcase full of cash!!
If you are selling then your property needs to be appealing. This means it should be priced competitively and marketed in the correct way. We can advise you how to do this and also advise on setting your asking price at the correct level. This will help to create the “buyer frenzy” that will get you the best price for your property.
Those homeowners that are badly advised usually set their asking price too high and get the marketing all wrong. This leads to only a small number of viewings and little or no competition between buyers. RESULT: Few viewings, few or no offers, no buyer frenzy and definitley not the best price for the property.
Call us today for expert advice on buying or selling property on 02476 010105. We’ll be delighted to help.