Category Archives: Buying Property

Autumn Sales & Dangling Christmas Baubles!

Firstly, apologies for the word “Christmas” being used before Mid November. Within this industry though the “Christmas Effect” often generates the same response as the “Autumn Sale”. And it does happen early.

There are a multitude of reasons why people want to sell. For those who genuinely want, or need, to sell (not because they “may” want a change or they have seen only one unique property they want) then having a sale agreed before the next calendar “milestone” seems to be a much needed psychological box ticked.

With over 37% of properties (nationwide) being reduced from the initial listing (our average sits currently at 8.8%) this Autumn Sale has hit a 5 year high. Why?

Once again, over eager pricing to win the instruction or the clients desire to ride the high price wave experienced by neighbours in the Spring could be the most obvious motivations.

The simplest explanation to the dangers of over valuing are easily explained . If I value your home at £400,000 and you want the house marketed at £425,000 (and we both agree the launch marketing is perfect!) then if no one comes, we know the launch price was wrong.

It is, honestly, as simple as that.

At £400,000 (if my appraisal was correct) more than one buyer may well be interested and we secure £410,000.  At £425,000 if we then have to reduce, the buying public are aware of the reduction and what comes next are even lower offers than the reduced figure.

So with Christmas around the calendar corner, now must surely be the time to consolidate. A rebrand and a sensible asking price will surely be recipe needed to generate the sale price you need.

Leaving you free to think about what to buy your Children and your Aunts, what food you’re preparing, whose house you are going to on Boxing Day, whether Mable prefers Sherry or Port and whether Santa is actually a good or bad influence etc etc……………..Santa (1)

Do You Keep Missing The Popular Properties?

Acting for the seller of a house, our foremost role is obviously to do the best to suit their needs and requirements. With a duty of care to buyers as well, there is nothing more frustrating than having honest customers missing out time and again on their dream homes.

I can sympathise with this personally. I’ve tried to buy a home for my family and lost out to investors or “too good to be true” higher offers as well. It’s a learning experience though that’s for sure. The mistakes I made first time round I didn’t again. Here’s what makes the difference that can hopefully increase your chances to successfully bid for the property you love.

Find out what the seller of the properties situation is. Do they need a quick sale? If they do, don’t think offering low will help, it won’t. Simply offer as good a figure as you can afford but have solicitors lined up in advance and a mortgage survey (if necessary) ready to instruct the very same day.  Show proof of your intentions too! Don’t think that just saying it will be enough because it won’t. The agent you are buying from need to be able to show their client that you are the right buyer for them!

If the seller doesn’t need a quick sale because they haven’t found a property themselves then firstly consider whether you can live with the uncertainty. If you can, then explain that you can wait for them, offer again a sensible price, prove your credentials and ask all parties to at least open a file with solicitors so there is a degree of proven intention. If you are comfortable with this scenario then  be aware that you’ll need to be a first time buyer, investor, in rented accommodation or will have sold to someone who is also non dependant and willing to wait.

You’d be amazed how many times the highest offers is not the offer accepted. Circumstances of both parties mean so much and when circumstances gel then anything is possible!

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Coventry Bucking The Trend or Could It Be Ourselves? Just Maybe….

After some careful analysis that we would be delighted to present to any potential client wishing to sell their home, we seem to have bucked a national trend somewhat.

The latest data from NAEA Propertymark has revealed that, during Februrary, agreed house sales rose to a 10 year high – 74% of which were below the original asking price, suggesting sellers are becoming more realistic when it comes to property transactions.

This, although clearly good news, and personally to me, a positive move in terms of reality and affordability, is not what we have observed ourselves. Since January 1st this year we have agreed 35% more sales than the same period last year. Of this and if we consider 100% of our agreed sales we have found that 70% have sold for the asking price or higher. 

As a business we are delighted with these results. Now we find that they may be even bucking the trend. 

If priced correctly and marketed without compromise and as well as physically possible then asking prices and over asking prices can certainly be achieved.

If your marketing is simply so so and your asking price is too high then what hope could a seller possibly have. Please don’t fall down into this trap.

I valued a house on Friday that needed decorating, offered nothing exceptional at all and had been marketed for 10 weeks by another agent. The asking price was close to 10% too high, the photography was poor and the “professional” advice he received (which achieved only four viewings in 10 weeks) was “don’t worry about the decoration, the new owners can do it themselves”.

Honestly, it’s no wonder Estate Agents aren’t taken seriously sometimes.

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Can Self Confidence Really Improve Your Properties Value?

I’m not talking about braggadocio or arrogance here. I’m not even discussing an ability (or lack of) to point out a properties most “sellable” assets. What I’m referring to is our nations endearing strength in it’s own beliefs. With the trigger of Article 50 due later this week many conversations I’ve had over the last fortnight have asked for my opinion on “what will happen?”. Why anyone would ask me I don’t know, but it’s made for a few interesting exchanges.

The HomeOwnersAlliance, after studying recent data released by The Office for National Statistics, revealed the extraordinary evidence that self confidence has not only bucked a trend but stuck candles in it and launched it skyward.

The five regions which voted most strongly to leave the EU have all seen property price increases in excess of 3 per cent compared to June 2016, with the East of England the fastest-growing region at 4.25 per cent.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the only three regions which voted to remain have seen substantially slower growth.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of the HomeOwners Alliance said

“There is a clear pattern here; areas that voted more strongly to leave the EU have seen property prices grow faster over the past six months than areas that were pro-reiStock_000002696243XSmallmain.

“Of course, house prices are dictated by a myriad of economic, political and social factors, but confidence – the all-important ‘feel-good factor’ – is vital.

This really does show how “optimism” can “trump” negativity. The public feeling more confident in both their everyday lives and working environments  is echoed by willingness to not only buy but also to spend. Of course, in regions where many incomes are generated by overseas trade and the associated industries that support it, a real nervousness about personal circumstances cannot be underestimated.

Why would you be willing to invest where uncertainty reigns? Like most aspects of life it all boils down to how confident you feel and no advice or opinion can normally alter that!

If You Hear “I Can’t Believe my Home is Worth That Much!?”, Then it Probably Isn’t!

BPA-Vinyls-OL-AiCC-10-Coventry_BPA_540pxYou’ve just won £250,000 on the lottery but need to pay £500 to have the cheque couriered to you! A relative has left £1.1 Million to you but it’s in a holding account in Nigeria!  We Buy Any Car have told you your car is worth more than you could sell it for yourself on Auto Trader! You think your house is worth about £250,000 but an Estate agent with a low volume of agreed sales tells you it should be marketed at £325,000!

If these declarations sound too good to be true, it’s because they are! Since January 1st 2017 we have agreed sales on an incredible amount of new instructions. Sensible sellers, once the facts are presented, understand that if their home is worth “more” they will likely “get more”. Supply and demand in a market place with little stock dictates that buyers may have to pay the “asking price” but if the property is overvalued to start with, then they’ve no idea of the true value anyway. This is when property  just sit’s there.  And that’s no good for anyone.

If priced “reasonably” the public demand increases and in 70% of the cases this year, our properties have sold for the asking price or above.

Our advice, to enable a smooth sale remains the same. If the buying public think an asking price is reasonable, then the buying public will come. They won’t come one at a time either. You will have a choice of buyers to suit your needs and it’s this balance that makes for as little stress as possible. It’s also this balance that enable’s you to move onwards and secure you new home.

“Over Value & Risk Under Selling”, Consumer Watchdog Which? Reports!

Board ImagesWe always try to explain to our clients that if their home is worth more than the valuation we have placed upon it then the public will surely make that decision.

Since January 1st 2017 we have agreed sales on homes valued at a total of £7,967,950. The actual total of sales agreed is £8,010,006.

The consumer watchdog “Which?”has found that 1 in 5 houses had been reduced from there initial asking price . Most interestingly houses that were sold after a 5% reduction sold for an average of £19,000 less than those that were sold from their original asking price.

The indication here is that by overvaluing, greedy agents and sometimes greedy vendors will cost themselves 8% of the value of their home.

A fascinating indictment of these facts was realised by Paul Higgins, chief executive at The Homeowners Alliance. “Sellers shouldn’t just consider the price that agents claim they can get. They should be thinking about how the agent is going to sell the property and whether they are asking the right questions!”

Richard Headland of “Which?” states that if the valuation is not realistic you could end up thousands of pounds worse off and wasting a lot of time.

We completely agree. Think about your onward move with one hand and your proposed sale with another. Don’t get too caught up with the minutiae. Don’t hold out for another £500 for a light fitting if there is a risk of upsetting the sellers of your dream home. Ask your agent for advice. Don’t play games. Just be logical and hopefully your agent will guide you with the bigger picture in mind, not just the initial instruction.

White Paper, Blank Paper or Paper Promises

A wider range of “affordable housing” is what former Prime Minister David Cameron lauded and was delivered by way of the Governments latest White Paper. However quite how this change in stance genuinely affects the balance between what is “affordable” and what could only be purchased by “first time buyers” is surely the key. Since being a first time buyer in 2001 I have seen nothing that has made the process easier other than having a larger deposit and a wage increase.

How you get this could be a matter of luck, graft, and genetics with a familiar pinch of nepotism becoming the deciding factor.

If the Governments pledge to contribute to savings, shared ownership or life time ISA’s do actually work then in equal measure they have failed. Most schemes have been withdrawn and most were badly marketed resulting in very little uptake.

Bottom line it’s simple. If you want to own a home and you want a mortgage that ties you to it, then you have to find the money to pay for it. You also have to have the earnings to support it. If both answers are yes then you now need to find the housing stock you can afford……

……As of 8th February 2017 it didn’t exist. The Government want 250,000 new homes each year until 2020. Unless the majority of this stock is affordable nothing can or will change and with 360,000 homes having already undergone planning within our existing Green Belt this entire proposal seems more unlikely than ever.

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How South Coventry Benefits From Kenilworth & Vice Versa

IMG_1952Sometimes, reactions surprise you. Our new Office in Kenilworth has been really well received and comments from one customer in particular were fascinating.  “This is great, my children can’t afford to buy in Kenilworth so I’ll send them your way!”. This was unexpected to say the least. I hadn’t even thought of that market at all. Residents of Kenilworth have children and children (and I’m talking 21 – 40 years old here!) can’t often afford to buy in Kenilworth. That’s why we advertise many South Coventry properties in the Kenilworth branch. It works and people are so interested, it’s almost as if they wouldn’t visit us if we were just a Coventry agent. On the flip side of this we have current sellers in Coventry looking to move to Kenilworth to downsize and also families within Kenilworth moving to Finham and Earlsdon. This is a fascinating market in itself because quite honestly the prices in Earlsdon and Kenilworth are surprisingly similar. A three to four bedroom period terrace in both towns are often comparable. The advantages of one over the other though are completely subjective. The schooling in Finham,  Stivichall and Kenilworth is outstanding whilst the infrastructure with the A46 and A45 being so close allows easy access to the motorway networks. What’s for sure is that homeowners with property in Kenilworth, Finham, Stivichall, Earlsdon, Burton Green, Gibbet Hill and Westwood Heath could not find greater coverage for marketing their home than Elizabeth Davenport.

Best & Final Offer! You’d Better Make Sure It’s Not a Repossession!

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.

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Securing Finance For Your House Purchase

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. iStock_000002696243XSmallOver 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.