Category Archives: House Prices

Nothing is Unsellable if Presented Properly.

Every House Will Sell. Put quite simply, every property has a market value and can be sold in a matter of days or weeks. This may sound incredible, especially if you have been on the market for months (or even years) but it is absolutely true.

On Saturday this week we agreed a sale on another property that had been unsuccessfully marketed for many months with another agent. It was a lovely home. Definitely a property worth more than the square footage it presented, the house was certainly a difficult one to value.  Many are. If they are then the key is to not let them “sit” on the agents books. The agent can’t be allowed to forget your property and just wait for interest. That interest won’t come. Proactive agents have the ability to engage new interest and they need to be on the ball to do this. We sold the house  for a price the owners were happy with and the buyers were also delighted.

If a property is stuck on the market then it is for one of three reasons. Firstly, the vendor is not motivated to sell, secondly the property has not been marketed correctly (i.e poor marketing, brochures, presentation, lack of information etc) or thirdly the property is not being advertised at the right price. There is no other reason why a home will not sell.

Bad neighbours, busy roads, railway lines through the garden, poor decoration, old fashioned kitchens, not enough bedrooms, pink bathroom suites, unfinished extensions, holes in roofs, lack of parking, too many bedrooms, no heating system, poor location……………………….. THESE ARE NOT VALID REASONS FOR A PROPERTY TO BE STUCK ON THE MARKET. They are simply factors that negatively affect the value of a property.

So if you have a property that has been stuck on sale for a long time and you think it’s not selling because of the motorway at the bottom of the garden, think again. Look at the three reasons and work through them. Your property will sell with an agent who cares.

The Beeb, Microclimates & Fiona Bruce!

By Mark Walmsley.

 We are confident that we remain the only Estate Agent in the Region to have successfully sold an HS2 “Blighted” property to a private buyer in Burton Green. We have also successfully sold property to HS2 themselves. Our conversations with the local press, the Guardian Newspaper and the BBC led us to being the Coventry Estate Agent chosen to reflect upon the differences between our Cities property prices and those of the Big Smoke. Maybe Monaco and Milton Keynes or Singapore and Stoke on Trent could have led to similar conversations, but if the BBC asked for professional opinion, we were only too happy to offer one.

The crew were professional and there questions were all valid and sensible. However it was no surprise that so little was aired. It will remain true what Frederick Wiseman, the distinguished Documentary filmmaker of the 60’s and 70’s alluded, “If you wish to tell a lie or misguide the general public then Documentary is the medium to do so”.  Suffice to say, when asked by the director how the property market in London affects activity in Coventry I might as well have countered  “How does Fiona Bruce presenting the 6’0 Clock News as well as The Antiques Roadshow affect your role at the BBC?”. One does not affect the other.  Edward Lorenz’ Butterfly effect is not at work here either. You could almost drop an “Eden Project” dome over the city to uppercase it’s microclimate status.

An astronomical 25% hike in Central London a nationwide housing boom does not make.

The reality in Coventry and hopefully it will continue, is that of a steady affordable rise with a variance in those suburbs more favoured by quality schooling and prestige. But all sellers must be aware that there is a “lust” factor playing it’s part in property prices too. This will create anomalies in whichever area you live. This is where the seller, the buyer and the agent can make a difference. Place the national statistics in a draw for a moment and make a sigh of relief! If you want to emulate the Big Smoke’s Housing Boom then present your property for sale with elegance and style, practicality and cleanliness and your property sale could certainly be the New York of your Neighbourhood rather than the Northampton!

Christmas Wishes, Mick Jagger and No Resting on Laurels!

By Mark Walmsley.

As 2013 draws to a close there could not be a better time to “take stock”( if you’ll pardon the pun), of the housing market in Coventry and it’s surrounding areas. Before that, 2013 has been a landmark year for Elizabeth Davenport Estate Agents. Not only have we opened our first, prominent High Street Office and employed our first non director staff, we have been consistently ranked either 1st or 2nd place for the click through rates on our website and the speed of our sales! With over 85 Estate Agents in competition with us this is something we are obviously very proud of. 2014 will see no resting on our Laurels (Christmas Pun intended) and we are investing in dramatic new sign boards that really compliment the nature of Agency and most importantly will get your property noticed first! We plan to further recruit and are constantly improving our website.  We have invested further in professional photographic equipment too which is evidenced within our brochures and proven by way of our number 1 “Click Through” ranking by Rightmove. Highlights of the year for us include the dramatic amount of viewings and sale of “Whitegates”, a characterful and unique cottage residence in Keresley that had sat on the market gathering dust with other agents for over six months. We sold this within 4 weeks. “Armorial Road” is a similar success story with us having a number of offers and plentiful viewings when other agents had again failed. The sale of “Cannon Close” was another proud moment. A number of agents had valued the house and many unusual tales arose from these valuations too which quite honestly don’t depict Estate Agents well at all. Myself and the owners got on really well and the offers we received came thick and fast. It was certainly lovely to deal with a seller with such moral virtues. We had offers from investors and owner occupiers but they wanted the house to sell to family who would cherish and develop it over the years and that’s exactly what happened. The seller, as it transpired, was attracted to us by the quality of our photography which was certainly saying something as that was his profession! He kindly photographed George and I outside the house as a memento. For us it was great. For him probably a step down as he’s previously photographed Prince Charles, Mick Jagger and a host of real talent!

So what can we expect of the housing market in 2014? Firstly throw away the crystal ball and think about your own needs first. Don’t get excited or depressed by national statistics or the media’s declaration of a new housing boom with property prices increasing 6% per annum. In the West Midlands property prices are still considerably lower than they were at peak and only London and the South East are showing above inflation linked asking prices. However the “West Midlands ” statement is also not specific enough. In Coventry alone the growth in one area has been substantially greater than another with property prices literally at the end of one road remaining quite static whilst the other end see’s growth. This is why the only real monitor of worth is to the buyer. We need to put ourselves in there shoes when valuing correctly. In 2013 despite record instructions our stock levels remain low. When we price and market a property it sells very quickly.  So for every new instruction a sale also occurs. This is an unlikely business model that must be retained. Why would any agent want a stock of 100’s of unsellable houses because they haven’t addressed the real reasons as to why they are not selling? If we can keep marketing to the precedent we have set then we will keep selling. We just need more, because there are buyers waiting, as my earlier examples proved. The stock level will then always remain manageable allowing us the time to productively work for you in finding your perfect buyer!

So let’s hope for New Year’s Health and Happiness and continuing the success of 2013. Thank you to all of our Customers and Christmas best wishes to all.

We will be closing for Christmas at Midday on 23rd December 2013 and opening again between 10 and 4pm on December 28th, Saturday 29th and Monday 30th December. Normal office hours will resume on Thursday 2nd January 2014.

You Want It, You Can Afford It, But You Can’t Have It!

This week has seen the The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors show public caution to the seemingly dramatic rise in house prices over the last eight months. A rise of 5.4% to the end of August is revelation indeed, certainly one at odds with the reality in many parts of Coventry & Warwickshire, let alone the Country as a whole.  Quite how their suggestion of how a cap could occur is not certain but surely it would be almost impossible to control?  Joshua Miller, the RICS Senior Economist believes that the Bank of England  have the ability to instigate such an action, one that has proved successful in Canada and other parts of the World.  Anyone who knows me will know I am the least able to argue with a senior economist of anywhere, let alone the RICS, but  Canada and Britain are two totally different beasts. One has a total lack of space and the other more space than they could use, need, or wish to ruin! This is really the point to address. Demographically certain areas within the country will benefit from price rises and are also able to tolerate them. How in a free economy could you tell homeowners that they could not sell to waiting cash buyers because the buyer wants to pay too much? In contrast there are more areas in the country hoping for a rise in house prices than there are who have already benefitted from them. Once again, the reality seems to sit with the Banks and Mortgage lending. If you need a mortgage to buy a house as virtually all of us do, we have to remember that it is not “our” money which allows the purchase to occur. With this in mind surely the RICS should be focusing their might upon the experienced and proven failures of the past rather than restricting potential growth across this very much imbalanced county and nation as a whole? By Mark Walmsley

Why Global Warming is a Scam

Since the beginning of history a favourite outcry to gain attention has always been “The End Of the World is Nigh!”

Each generation assumes that they are the gifted ones that will have the honour of destroying the earth once and for all.Global Disaster The reason for the final destruction varies and has ranged from an “act of god” to a “cataclismic natural disaster” to more recently “manmade self inflicted global warming”.

Such predictions of impending doom sell newstime and quickly collect public support and outcry. At the same time predictions of impending happiness, success and world order are pushed aside and ignored. Sadly, good news simply doesn’t sell.

By the same token, predictions of a stable housing market where prices are steady and properties sell quickly to happy buyers with good credit ratings are overlooked in favour of stories about housing price bubbles, crashes, repossessions and mortgage scarcity. The “housing shortage crisis” sounds much more exciting than “housing harmony” and “steady sales and rebuilding”.

My prediction for the next 3 years is for steady growth and very gradual increases of prices, probably in line with inflation but no more.

I tried to sell this story to the press but surprisingly they weren’t interested. Now if I’d told them that prices were set to sky-rocket……………………..

House Prices Rocketing?!

Once again the media are talking about house prices rocketing and we’re heading back towards a housing market bubble.

The facts of the matter (taken from the Land Registry Price Index) are that prices in Coventry currently (as of June this year) House Price Indexstand at the same level they were in Jan 2011, the same as they were in Feb 2010, the same as they were in Feb 2009 and most surprising of all, the same as they were in July 2004. Yes, that’s right, house prices in the Coventry area are the same now as they were 9 years ago.

The media seem obsessed with house prices. The national figures churned out on a monthly basis are heavily skewed by what happens in London and aren’t really relevant to areas outside the home counties. What really matters and is relevant is the number of transactions that are going through. The great news is that volumes have indeed increased this year in the local area and there is a healthy amount of activity meaning if you intend to move home, now is a good time. The number of buyers out there in a proceedable position has increased meaning sensible people with sensible expectations are able to sell their properties and move on to pastures new.

Fortunately talk of another bubble at this stage is make-believe.

Overzealous Estate Agents Stifling Property Market

The property market has fragmented into two clearly defined places.

One is the place where houses go on sale at a sensible, current market value figure. The moment they go on sale the phone begins to ring and viewings are booked in. After approximately 6-10 viewings an offer is received, negotiations follow, a sale price is reached and finally the “Sold” Tab goes up outside the front of the property. Painless.

The other place is on the edge of Sanity where common Over Pricedsense and reasoning have no place. Properties are over-valued as standard by overzealous Estate Agents who have no Unique Selling Points other than their silly high prices. Absurd initial asking prices followed by long periods of no interest and no viewings are followed by systematic price slashing. Weeks, months or even years follow before the property begins to attract a decent level of interest and eventually offers. By the time a sale is agreed, the vendors have lost all motivation but gained plenty of grey hairs. The over-zealous Estate Agent still walks away with their fee, despite the fact that they gave their client very poor, if not downright reckless advice in the first place. The client ultimately could well have lost thousands.

You may think this all sounds rather extreme. But this is truly the current state of the market. In all seriousness I can say that I moved house myself in 2004. We went on sale at a reasonable figure and sold to the first person that viewed. The neighbour by contrast put his house on sale at the same time for too much money. He is still there in the same house 8 years later. I have moved house twice more since then!!!

If you are considering putting your property on the market Correct Price and Salethen give me a call. I will visit you at your home and talk through carefully with you recent SOLD prices in the area and suggest a sensible asking price to get you moved quickly and for the market value figure.

House Prices in Coventry

Where now for house prices in the Coventry Area?

Trying to predict where prices will go next is every-one’s favourite party trick. Most people have an opinion but is there any way of really knowing what the future holds?

In reality the big question is “Do we buy now or wait a bit longer?” The best time to buy anything is at the bottom of the market and property is no different. Trying to forecast the bottom of the market is a mug’s game though so the real question ought to be “Is this the right time for YOU to purchase?” Your own circumstances are more important than predicting which way a line on a graph is going to head for next! If you can comfortably afford the repayments and the house you are buying is suited to your needs then now is always a good time to buy property.

Try to look at it from a long term perspective. Over a period of many years houses and other types of real estate are always a safe form of investment, they have traditionally increased in value in real terms at a greater rate than household income and many other types of investment. So even if you were to purchase a house tomorrow and the initial trend was a fall in value, over the long-haul you’ll be in safe hands. It’s not such a popular term nowadays but the saying still goes, “Safe as Houses”.

Previous Price Trends in the Coventry Area

House Price Graph

The one thing we can talk about for certain is where prices have been in the past. If you bought a property in Coventry in the last few years you may be rather confused as to what its worth now. House price trends reported in the national news have very little relationship to localised property prices in the Coventry and Warwickshire Areas.

At the time of writing (April 11) prices in Coventry are now level with where they were back in September 2004. By stark contrast property prices in prime London have doubled in the same period. Take the price index for Merthyr Tydfil and you’ll find an equally disproportionate change. In other words, listening to national house price trends is an utter nonsense. They don’t mean anything to anybody.

My own prediction for the Coventry Area is for prices to hold steady for the next 18 months and then to begin a slow and steady recovery. The number of house sales will start to increase again this year as vendors (and Estate Agents) become more realistic with their expectations and price their properties accordingly.

If you have a different opinion please feel free to comment:

 

Big Valuers & Big House Prices

House For Sale
Selling Your House - But Is The Price Right?

Among us Estate Agents, there’s one topic of conversation that really gets our feathers ruffled and makes our blood boil. No it’s nothing to do with our fees or our For Sale boards or even our poularity ratings (or lack of) in the latest poll of polls.

 

Money Talks

It’s to do with Valuations and Appraisal of properties in the local area. Over-valuing is the oldest trick in the book and yet time after time unscrupulous agents try it and get away with it much to the expense of their would-be clients. The single biggest mistake a vendor can make when choosing their Estate Agent is to plump for the “Big Gun” who pulls an enormous figure out of their hat during the appraisal. Its not difficult to reel off lots of zeros, in fact it takes no skill at all; the only art involved is making the over-hyped valuation sound convincing.

The saddest part of the story is that vendors who start out with the best of intentions can quickly be duped by large numbers and the promise of a fortune. After all, when you’re talking property prices these are life changing figures for most people. A higher sale price could mean buying a much bigger property, extra cash in the bank or even a whole new lifestyle. But getting caught up in the excitement of a big figure value is the first big no-no when inviting Estate Agents to your property with a view to selling. Don’t be the next victim of your local pie-in-the-sky Estate Agent.

Big Shot Estate Agents
Big Shot Estates

Of course, most vendors are sensible, level headed people and some will see straight through these tactics. But for many people the biggest worry (understandably) is that their home could be sold for less than market value. They worry that the asking price could be too low, not too high.  Experienced property professionals will tell you that this is very unlikely to happen. A modestly priced property in Coventry or any other part of the country will attract lots of interest from educated buyers that are on the hunt for a bargain. Lots of interested buyers means lots of offers, bidding wars and ultimately a higher selling price.  By contrast, an inflated asking price means few or no viewings, no offers and no sale.

In years gone by the one saving grace was that house prices were always rising. Those properties that went on sale at over the odds would sit around for a few months but eventually  the market would catch back up and they would become saleable. Vendors would purposely “wait to get the best price”. But in a falling or stagnant market this is no longer the case. The “best price” now goes to those homes that sell instantly. Those that stay on sale for any period of time simply become stale and unwanted.

 

Big Shot Estate Agents

But We Can Reduce The Price Later If Need Be?

Any Estate Agent worth their salt will tell you that the greatest interest for properties comes during those first few magic weeks on sale. This is the honeymoon period when buyers clamour to book viewings and make offers. They know that the best bargains and the best properties always sell quickly and they do not want to miss out.  Once this magic period has passed by there is no going back, you cannot recreate that initial surge of interest no matter what. When told that a particular property has had its price reduced, most buyers will respond with “Really, what’s wrong with it then?” They are instantly suspicious. They also smell blood; if the price has come down already how much more might they be able to get it reduced by. In a falling market reducing the price now to what it should have been six months ago is simply closing the stable door after the horse has already bolted. The boat has been missed.

But Surely Estate Agents Don’t Want Overpriced Homes On Their Books

In today’s internet based market it costs very little for an Agent to market a property once the initial costs of take-on are covered. Once they’ve hammered that £10 For Sale board into the front flower bed of your house they will be happy to leave it there indefinately. Why wouldn’t they be, every day dozens of cars and pedestrians will go by and see their “billboard” mounted outside your front door. It’s free advertising and it also gives the impression that they are big players in the local market. Potential vendors often look around to see which agents are marketing similar properties so the more they have on their books, the more valuations they will pick up.

In Conclusion

Before you invite any Estate Agents around to value your home, make sure you have done your own research on prices first. Don’t pay too much attention to asking prices, its SOLD prices that count. There are many websites that offer this information for free www.nethouseprice.com is a good one to try.  If one (or more) of the agents pulls out a huge figure that sounds high, be cautious and ask them to back it up with evidence of RECENT SOLD prices in your local area. Before choosing which agent to use, ask them what their REAL Unique Selling Points are. You may just find that for once they are lost for words.