Category Archives: Selling Property

The importance of de-cluttering your home

When you decide to sell your home the presentation of a property is vital to making that all important first impression to potential buyers. When I say first impression, I don’t mean when hopefully a potential buyer makes an appointment to view, I mean when a buyer first sees a picture of your home amongst lots of other similar properties online.Happy young couple walking into their new house

I’ve been saying for some time now that in my opinion how the property is presented for the photographs has become the most important factor for selling your home at a good price. Why is this? This is because without making your property stand out on websites like Rightmove and OntheMarket.com, buyers may never give you the opportunity to make a great first impression in person, by declining to make a viewing appointment in the first place.

De-cluttering rooms as we know is key in making a property more appealing. This is because the rooms feel bigger, look tidier and so become more inviting. There is also less chance of offending potential buyers! The masters of presenting properties for sale are of course the new homes developers many of whom are large national home builders who have large resources at their disposal. Their show homes are often the ultimate examples of how to successfully present property for sale: beautiful furnishings and fittings coupled with no clutter whatsoever.

Of course if you live at the property this is harder to achieve, personal belongings and children’s toys have to go somewhere after all. However, with some clever thought and sticking to the principal of less is more (perhaps consider putting a few things into storage), your property will attract more interest online and therefore more requests for viewings.

MORE VIEWINGS = HIGHER DEMAND = HIGHER PRICE PAID + FASTER SALE TIME.

At Elizabeth Davenport we know what it takes to sell your home at the highest price the market will pay. If you are thinking of moving or know a family member or friend who is, please give us a call today for some free and friendly advice.

A Sign Of The Times

Selling and Buying property is an ever changing game. The last few years have seen monumental changes to the way that people search for suitable properties to purchase.iStock_000014885905_Medium

With an increasing proportion of the initial searching being done online, buyers can search for their next home or investment from the comfort of their armchair or whilst sitting on a train or perhaps even while at work (heaven forbid!). Just a few years ago the property information would have come in the form of a long winded and tediously long description of the house or apartment in question, with paragraph after paragraph about fixtures and fittings, kitchen worktops and glazing descriptions.

Nowadays of course, these boring write-ups are all but forgotten and have been replaced with high quality photographs and detailed floor-plans, especially from the higher quality estate agents.

The one thing that remains the same is when the buyer actually goes to view the property in person. Modern gadgetry at this point is irrelevant and all that matters then is for the estate agent to show skill and understanding of the buyers’ requirements and help them in making the correct decision. And if the property they are viewing is not suitable, a skilled agent will be able to suggest a suitable alternative. That’s where we come in.

Our viewing representatives have years of experience and will help to get your property sold for the maximum possible value. They also work in the evenings on selected days, meaning greater flexibility and more sales agreed for you, our customers.

Now that’s progress….

Avoiding Common Pitfalls of Property Viewings

The question we get asked the most on this is “Should the agent or the homeowner conduct the viewings?”

The short answer is that either of these methods can work well. A confident homeowner can do the job very well, the key is simply not to try too hard. You have to understand that you can’t hard sell a home to someone. They will often get a feel within a minute or two of entering the property and if it’s not for them then no amount of sales tactics will change their mind. So if you are orchestrating your own viewings, simply be friendly and helpful when buyers come round to look. Happy young couple walking into their new housePoint out things that may not be obvious to a potential buyer such as underfloor heating or proximity to good local schools. DON’T point out the glaringly obvious (“This is the toilet”) and DON’T bore them to death with the technical details for the boiler.

Take the opportunity to tell the buyers exactly what you have enjoyed the most about your time living at the property. Be honest and sound passionate and don’t make it sound sales like.

If you do not fancy the prospect of watching strangers nose round your home than ask the Estate Agent to do the viewings on your behalf. If you go down this route then it is very important to let the agent do their job and make yourself completely scarce. And that means popping out prior to all arranged viewings, a stroll to the park or to Costa is a good idea. There is nothing more off-putting to a potential buyer than being shown around a nice property by the Estate Agent, only to walk into the Living Room and find the homeowner lounging on the sofa with a bowl of peanuts watching daytime TV!

If the buyer leaves the house feeling awkward then that is exactly what they will remember about the property………..it felt awkward. So you can rest assured they won’t be making an offer.

REMEMBER. Buyers simply need to be given the opportunity to look round un-rushed and unhindered and fall in love. Then they are likely to make an offer…………..

For more information on how to showcase your property successfully and on the current marketplace, or to arrange a free property appraisal please call Elizabeth Davenport today. We’re waiting for your call.

Remember, Remember The SECOND of November!

What a fantastic time of year Autumn is; the Football and Rugby seasons are in full flow; the housing market is busy and yes Bonfire night looms on the horizon!

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October has been a surprising busy month for property transactions in the Kenilworth Area, I for one predicted a slow down as the much-debated Brexit deadline came ever closer. In actual fact the opposite has happened. Although or data sample is by no means representative of the whole region, our data shows an annual increase in buying activity from last year. Could it be the case that people are ‘getting on with it’ and taking advantage of continued low interest rates and stable market conditions? Who knows but one thing is for certain it is becoming harder to predict which way the market will go next. Soon we will be into November, one of my favourite months of year mainly due to bonfire night!

We are very lucky in Kenilworth to have one of the best annual Bonfire Firework displays in the country. What a backdrop, the castle beautifully illuminated, the warmth from the bonfire drifting across the field! I have a huge personal affection for this special night, I have been a regular attender for almost thirty years! I was first taken by my grandparents as a toddler and I now help run the show in my thirties as part of Kenilworth Round Table. I have literally grown up with this magical community event. If anyone reading this hasn’t made that trip down Castle Road on a chilly November evening, I would strongly recommend it! The benefits of doing so are two-fold; being part of such a great community event is one thing but by doing so you are actively donating money that is put to excellent use. All of the money raised goes directly to local charities and worthy people living in the Kenilworth area.

Now I am involved with the organising I fully appreciate how lucky we are as a town to have such great local people who give up a huge amount of their spare time for free to help make this event truly special for children and adults alike. The display is held on Saturday 2nd November with tickets available online and in a number of local businesses in the town.

If anyone reading this is attending be sure to say hello, I’m on the road closures around Castle Hill but I’m hoping to make it into the castle just in time for when the show starts!

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Should We Have A ‘For Sale’ Board?

Many homeowners are unsure whether to have a ‘For Sale’ board when they place their property on sale. There are a number of reasons they might think of to not have one: They don’t want to upset the neighbours. They don’t want people knocking on their door. They think it might be a security risk.

In reality these reasons are unfounded and there are many advantages to having a ‘For Sale’ board put up. If you decide to put your home on the market then you will generally find it easier to sell with a board for the following reasons:

Sold Board Kenilworth Buyers expect a house that is for sale to have a For Sale board outside it. A board sends a very positive message to buyers by confirming that the seller is committed.
A board helps buyers to locate and identify the property when they come to view, making their experience an immediately positive one.
Many buyers go on a Sunday afternoon drive searching for ‘For Sale’ boards in their preferred locations. I myself have bought 4 properties, all of which I discovered via the ‘For Sale’ boards!!
The neighbours will know that the property is on sale very quickly via the internet anyway so not having a board won’t stop them finding out. It’s best to simply tell them yourself than let them find out the hard way.
If your Estate Agent has an attractively designed board, this can add to the kerb appeal and the saleability of your property.
Even if you live in a no through road, a board can alert potential buyers to your property. For example, friends or relatives visiting one of your neighbours.

So if you’re going on sale this year then the message is simple. Get an attractive ‘For Sale’ board mounted outside the front of the property and increase your exposure to potential buyers. You’ll be moving in no time.        by George Hartshorn

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!).