Category Archives: Selling Property

Simple Sells & So It Should

Spring is here! A fresh new start.

I was asked by a developer very recently how many applicants I had on my database. The two of us got on. We got on well enough for me to ask if he had an “application form” for anyone wishing to buy one of his houses and if he did, could certain people’s applications be rejected.

He asked me what I would call an “applicant list” instead? “Customers” I replied. He remarked that ” He hadn’t thought of that before”.

Keeping business simple and understanding what you’re being asked to do and knowing why you do it must surely be the foundation of whatever industry you work in.

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 we all 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”.

2019 & What a Surprise So Far

Kenilworth and Coventry. Wednesday 2nd January 2019. Christmas Break and New Year over (Somewhat thankfully for the tummy and the head at least!). Five sales instructions, two letting instructions and over forty viewing appointments booked into two office diaries. Not exactly what I was expecting that’s for sure.

My trepidation for the year ahead wasn’t based upon our own sales pipelines (which were sizeably higher than the year previous) but the overwhelming negativity promoted by the general media. Bad news travels faster than good. We all know that negative or stressful news is far more readable and enticing than good.

“Everything is OK. Mortgage rates are low and lenders are even giving you cash back as they try to attract new business. Brexit’s OK too. It’s all been smoke and mirrors.  Everything is fine. If you need to move then move”.

I’d put my name to that quote (as I wrote it!) but I’m being entirely flippant. I haven’t got a clue.

Let’s think about all of us for a moment though. If your employer is not trembling in her heels and your boss hasn’t mooted redundancies overheard in the gents toilets then just look at yourself. What has really changed? What is different with Brexit than without? Your own home. Your own life. Do you borrow and extend? Do you move instead? Do you accept the daily stress of living in the wrong area or within a horrendous commute?

Geographically we are often lucky. Like the weather and hopefully the return of the Beast from the East, we don’t suffer the extremes here.

Mortgage rates are genuinely excellent despite the banks remaining cautious. They’re not giving mortgages away. They’re just lending wisely.

If you buy wisely, you borrow wisely and you show your own  due diligence then the ideal house could be sat there waiting for you. Everything is relative.

Memories are short. Only 18 months ago the buying process was fraught with the horrors of up to a dozen buyers for every popular home. 7 out of 10 houses were rocketing above asking price. Their were more unhappy, “missed out again” buyers than happy ones.

Now you will have the time to even book a second viewing. House prices aren’t soaring above asking price. The houses selling (genuinely in greater numbers than 18 months ago!) don’t have multiple buyers but are selling for the right price and to the right people.

On the ground locally, sense seems to exist in the market despite the political turmoil surrounding and intellectualising it beyond any comprehension. Maybe everything really is OK.iStock_000002696243XSmall

 

What We All Thought We Knew, We Do Now!

In many sales and service  industries a common question that always justifies both asking and answering is, “Why should we choose you?“.

Whether you are an Indian Restaurant, an independent Butcher or simply a Charity shop on the local high street ,  the question and the answers should be the same.

Every business needs to show it’s customer’s the difference. And that difference needs to be worth it.

A fascinating study undertaken by the home service group The Advisory, has presented some fascinating figures that go somewhere close to revealing what we thought, but couldn’t be certain of.

If higher fees are charged by a local “high street” Estate Agent, then why are they charged and what does the client receive “that is worth it”?  If  you order a Chicken Saagwala why is it better in one restaurant than another? Is it just the taste or could it be the taste, the ambience of the restaurant and the service you receive? If the price is £5.00 more in the preferred restaurant, this could be as much as 35% or even 50% more than the competition, but you judge that it’s worth it.

The average fee in the UK sits currently at 1.18% with the highest found in London, Sunderland, Manchester and Birmingham all surpassing this average.  The lowest average fees the UK sit currently in both Edinburgh and Hull at just under 0.9%.

In Kenilworth as an example, the fees, with competition being so strong, still have to remain immensely competitive. So whatever the fee, stop and look at it closely. Look not just at the fee itself but what you actually receive for that fee. 1% from one agent can be very different in the quality received  to 1% from another.

Judge these fees (only payable when results are achieved and therefore forcing the agent to prove their worth!),  against paying in advance for lesser “service” and the online threat is purely a perception. The same report states that 95.3% of sellers make the decision to use a high street agent and Rightmove and Zoopla both support this.

What the online “threat” has done, rather than  actually sell houses, is bolster the service delivery of the good agents whilst the ones with nothing to offer simply continue to reduce and reduce.

In short, during the last 3 years and as a national statistic, estate agents fees have reduced by 34% but the quality of the professional high street agent has improved. That’s what “Online and In Advance Payments For Nothing” have done to the industry. That’s what we thought we knew and thanks to this independent research, we do now.

Mark Walmsley, Director, Elizabeth Davenport

Brexit, Timing & Remaining Calm & Carrying On

Since the last issue the volume of both buyers and sellers discussing Brexit and the effect thereof hasn’t as much doubled as become almost the norm. To say there will be no effect is proven already to be nonsense. To say with authority though how positive or negative Brexit will have on the future is as pointless and subjective a question as “what will happen to my day if I turn left instead of right”. It seems that no one has a clue. Not even those who should.

At least the property industry is revealing some interesting yet not adverse findings. The last few weeks have seen two local properties sold for in excess of £935,000. Hardly a signal of panic.

What is statistically evident though is absolutely fascinating and backed up with fact, something sadly lacking in the bigger picture.

Cautiousness has trumped intuition and rashness.  Patience has seen the Tortoise overtake the Hare.

Emoov, often the first to provide analytics and statistics relating to our business has shown that both the volume and duration of viewings have increased in recent months.  This proves that “instinct” has truly been left dazzled by the headlights of “diligence”. 7% of buyers are regionally offering after one viewing. 56% require just two. 27% of those surveyed required a third before placing an offer.

For ourselves we have also observed that the duration of viewing appointments also needs a shift. The “sweet spot” sits between 21 – 30 minutes with 39% of buyers taking this long before offering.

Understanding the necessity of time and consideration we have recently employed further viewing representatives.  This will enable all of our buyers to spend the time they need in a property rather than the time that the other agent will only allow.

If Brexit has created cautiousness then now we have the capacity to support it. It’s all about support after all isn’t it.

 

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)

Why Over Inflated House Pricing Sells Your Neighbours House and Not Yours!

Big Shot Estate Agents

Welcome back! That was as long a Summer as I’ve enjoyed without Sun as far as I can even remember!

Business however was brighter. There was none of the traditional slow down over the months of July and August whatsoever. Instruction levels were high and the interest accordingly. The buyers we needed to attract had obviously decided to not take gloriously long overseas holidays and instead concentrate on securing new home’s for themselves!

Such a successful Summer led me to review the market in general and a couple of valuations I was involved with.

Now, more than ever, the asking price for a home is so crucial that an overvaluation will have such negative effect it will simply show buyers what good value neighbouring homes are instead of your own. I am not saying undervaluing is the solution but, put simply, it bears no risk in comparison to its capitalist and heinous cousin, the greedy valuation.

If a house is truly “undervalued” whether purposefully or accidentally then the worst that will happen is the public will agree it’s exceptional value and numerous offers will then be received. Through negotiation the price then reaches the correct (and increased value!). Although as a buyer this can be an unpleasant experience, a good agent, if they handle it correctly and honestly, will offer advice and build relationships that will help those unlucky first time round (or third if you are like myself!) that will come good in the end.

I looked at the Purple Bricks very carefully. I saw more local instructions with Purple Bricks than any other agent. With false promises (semantics if you will) of no commission (fee’s instead) and a NO SALE BUT STILL PAY OUR FEE philosophy, there is no surprise to see that their “Price Reductions” are also the highest in the local area.

Without being too simplistic about it, the easiest way to achieve an instruction is to tell a client that there property is worth more than it is. Add that to “pay me whether it sells or not” and you have an agent whose ethos is for “being paid for instructions to sell houses for less than the listed price”. If you want annual statistics to prove this point in Black and White (not Purple) then contact me and I’ll be happy to explain that all that glitters isn’t Gold (but it is possibly Purple!).

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.