Category Archives: Selling Property

Interpreting Viewing Feedback

Once your home is on the market and buyers have been to view, your Estate Agent will start to send through feedback from each applicant explaining exactly what they thought of your property. There are opportunities here to try and make sense of the comments that come back and possibly act upon them if no offers are forthcoming. Sometimes feedback can be very revealing and point to a specific problem that needs to be addressed or overcome.

estate-agent-valuationIf a buyer has one particular objection about a property then this is often a positive sign. So if they are worried about the busy road but like the property generally then it’s the job of your Estate Agent to sell them the positives and try to persuade them to make a compromise on this particular point, perhaps by mentioning that similar properties on a quieter road would cost that much more. Or maybe if the garden isn’t quite as big as they hoped, the generous living space will make up for this and again, the buyer may be prepared to compromise.

Of course if the buyer reels off a whole list of reasons why they’re not interested or says that they simply “didn’t get the right feel” then it’s unlikely that they’ll be making an offer. Similarly if the house itself is too small for their needs or the location just isn’t right, it’s unlikely things will progress.

On average you’ll probably need around 8-10 viewings to receive an offer. If you’ve had umpteen viewings with no offers and lots of negative feedback then this is the market’s way of telling you that the price is probably too high. Similarly, no viewings at all after several weeks usually either means the price is too high or that the marketing details produced by your agent are not up to scratch. Take a look at the photos your agent has produced. Are they crisp, well composed and brightly lit? If the photos are poor then buyers will assume the house is poor so don’t put up with poor quality marketing from your agent.

Finally be prepared to act upon feedback and liaise closely with your Estate Agent throughout the process. If buyers keep pointing to that damp patch on the ceiling or that peeling paintwork on the front door,  then you really need to get it sorted. Communication is key and if you listen to what the market is telling you then you’ll be well on the way to finding that right buyer and achieving a sale.

 

Making Sense of Free Online Valuations

I recently decided to check the ‘value’ of my own house by going online to a well known website’s automated valuation system. I was staggered at the figure it gave me.

I bought the property nearly 10 years ago for a bargain £125,000 and I’ve since spent a considerable amount of money on improvements and alterations. At the same time values in the area have gone up due to an influx of investors. I live in an area that is convenient for both universities as well as Coventry city centre and it’s close to lots of good shopping and bus routes. The local schools are also highly regarded and the area has seen a good deal of investment in recent years.

So naturally I was intrigued and excited to see what my property is now worth. And to my amazement I logged onto one of the biggest property portals and was ‘reliably’ informed that my house is now worth a whopping……………………… £127,179  !!  🙁  I mean, come on. Thanks guys, that’s really useful. If I decided to put my property on the market tomorrow, buyers could see this figure and could use it against me when negotiating. Or worse, it would probably just put them off my house altogether. So how did this well known property website arrive at this figure?

It would appear that the figure is automated and has simply taken the last sale price and adjusted it according to Land Registry data for the Coventry area as a whole. No adjustment has been made for all of the work I’ve done to the house or the investment in the local area. But then it’s just a website so what did I expect?

The reality is that no website can accurately value a property with a ‘random number generator’. So I’ll be speaking to an Estate Agent to get a proper valuation done. And if you’re reading this I’d encourage you to do the same. Elizabeth Davenport have experienced valuation experts who provide professional and reliable advice on selling all types of property. Call them today on 02476 010105.

Exactly What is www.OnTheMarket.com and Why Should We Even Care?

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This morning one of our clients received a letter from a competitor stating “Did you know your agent have made the commercial decision to reduce our property on line by removing us from Zoopla? “. I read this a few times before realising that the statement wasn’t even English. Once I’d dealt with this I then replied to our client with the facts. Agents try and use any tool for an advantage.  This one was a bit clumsy. If you’re going to state an advantage make sure it is one. I’ll try and explain before they send another letter stating “Did you know your agents car has got a dent on nearside wing and mine hasn’t”.

OnTheMarket.com” should, at the time of going to press, be all over your televisions and in many quality publication’s as well. Many of the features that have made Zoopla and Rightmove “clunky” are not prevalent with “OnTheMarket.com“. If we look at this very simply then the website adapts seamlessly to fit the screen of any device being used to view it. As a “user” as well as an Estate Agent that’s good enough for me to start with. The property search at “OnTheMarket.com” is also slick, simple, fast and state-of-the-art whilst being compatible with all of the latest technologies. There is no clutter from irritating and distracting third party adverts, nor any spam email. The phone number you see will be our own. Users of “OnTheMarket.com“will also have access to “sneak preview” properties exclusive to them for 48 hours!

Even more importantly buyers that register with Zoopla register with Rightmove. Buyers that register with Rightmove do not always register with Zoopla. Why therefore retain the duplication?  If we removed ourselves from Rightmove I would have questioned our commercial decision as well.

Elizabeth Davenport are one of the first of a forward thinking set of Coventry Estate Agents that will be listing on this new agent driven portal from day one. I don’t think I’ll worry about sending  any letters to our competitors clients asking “”Did you know your agent have made the commercial decision to duplicate your listing and not use OnTheMarket?”. They’ll most likely be on it themselves in a few months anyway!

Want To Sell or Want to Sit? There is a Choice!

Well,  Autumn ‘s here and the leaves are falling. Thankfully house prices aren’t. Indeed, thankfully for many, they are not soaring either. Forget London’s Boom, the reality all around us, is that the reports of a Boom have heightened the expectations of sellers throughout Britain.

I had a Seller last week tell me that the agent they were marketing with in Coventry had told them that house prices had risen 10% over the height of the market in 2008. He was bullish about this too by all account. This same agent had not sold the Vendors house. It had sat on the market without viewings for 6 months. That’s because the Agent was talking nonsense. He/She just wanted an instruction to sell the house. Maybe the individual was being pressured by targets. Whomever’s fault it was it wasn’t the sellers yet they were the ones that suffered. You shouldn’t play games like this. You get found out. 

Robin King a Director at “Move With Us” has just compiled a survey of over 100 Estate Agents. “Reports of a housing bubble may be pushing home owners to set unrealistic asking prices,” he said. “Putting a property on market with an accurate valuation is paramount. Our advice to home owners is not to always believe the hype and to listen to their local property expert, the estate agent”.

Good advice if you can trust your Estate Agent. If you can’t your house is going to sit on the portals and no one is going to come.

We have just compiled a list of every Estate Agents current stock and sales performance in Coventry. How much are they selling and how quickly? The results are shocking. Many of the “market leaders”, the household names, the old families and the aggressive corporates, are sitting on stocks of your houses with only very low proportions being sold. They’ve overpriced and for fear of admitting mistake they won’t approach you to discuss it.  They won’t request the reduction in case you decide to venture elsewhere. They’d rather your house just sit there. With that mentality, you will too so don’t wait for that non-existent call. If you’d like to know the statistics just let us know and we’d be happy to show you. We’re not all bad..

How To Cash In Your Family Gold

The largest investment most of us make is the home that we live in. The value of your property investment is driven by a number of factors including current demand and supply of similar properties. So when you decide to cash in on your home how do you claim back the true value of your investment?

If you decided to sell your family gold you would take it to a specialist gold buyer and they would weigh it and work out an exact value and you would receive the correct amount. Simple. But for bricks and mortar this method isn’t available. A house cannot be weighed. There is no prescribed value per kilogram. There is no formula for working out the correct figure.

Instead the value of your property investment is decided by potential buyers. They visit your property and make offers to you, at which point you either accept or reject their figures, but eventually it is the buyers (or market) that decide the value. The higher the demand (more buyers) the higher the value, the lower the demand (less buyers) the lower the value.

So the biggest risk to the value of your property is a poor Estate Agent that cannot attract enough potential buyers. Budget Estate Agents will offer you a low fee but by definition they will offer a poorer service and provide you with less potential buyers. This translates into a lower property value and a poor return on your lifetime investment. You may save a few hundred quid in fees by using a budget Estate Agent but the huge danger is that they will undersell your property and cost you many many thousands of pounds.

Elizabeth Davenport are High Quality Estate Agents and are able to provide the maximum amount of potential buyers for your property, neutralising any possibility of it selling for below market value.

Don’t take a risk with your lifetime investment. Call Elizabeth Davenport for expert advice, a high quality service and the maximum return on your most valuable asset.

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.

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.

 

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.