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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

World Cup Dream is Over – But What a Ride!

Elizabeth Davenport attended Kenilworth School’s career’s fair at Castle Sixth Form last Tuesday. World Cup fever was in the air and the team at Elizabeth Davenport decided to have a bit of fun and run a World Cup competition for the students. The prize at stake was a brand-new England home shirt, all the students had to do was answer one simple  question…IMG_4622

The question was; how many properties were currently available to buy in Kenilworth?

More than 30 students took part with guesses ranging from 105 to 4,438!

The winning guess was made by lucky student Louis Perry who guessed 178 which was only 8 properties away from the actual figure of 186!*

Nick Luntley, a Director & Branch Manager at Elizabeth Davenport, who was also a former pupil of Kenilworth School said “we were delighted to meet so many keen and enthusiastic students and only hope we were able to offer some genuine insight into how small business and the property industry works. It was a slightly surreal experience for me as the last time I was in this hall I was sitting my final A-level exam nearly 14 years ago! The England shirt competition was just a bit of fun that hopefully gave students a small incentive to come and speak with us!”

“It’s a shame the football didn’t quite work out how we all wanted but I’m sure Louis will still be wearing his new shirt with pride. I’d also like to extend a special thank you to Marie Brennan at Kenilworth School who organised a fantastic day for all the students”.

Elizabeth Davenport regularly support students and school leavers by offering work experience places throughout the year. If this is something that would be of interest please email either Nick (nick@elizabethdavenport.co.uk) or Mark (mark@elizabethdavenport.co.uk).

*Figure provided by Rightmove.co.uk on the day of the competition.

Kenilworth To London in 90 Minutes & Other Milestones!

On the 30th April Kenilworth residents were  finally rewarded by the opening of its new Railway Station. Situated just a few hundred yards from our Warwick Road office we were lucky enough to have been asked to comment on both BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and on BBC One as well. Essentially a shuttle linking the major hubs of Birmingham, Coventry and Leamington Spa together, the social impact of Kenilworth’s station cannot be overlooked. With cheap and easy hourly access to the neighbouring towns and cities, Kenilworth may not remain the “Island” it has sometimes defended itself against. With enclaves of surrounding land earmarked for residential development never has a time to embrace changes for the positive seemed so apt.

A community, that even in the most  recent years knew exactly who it’s eldest residents and original families were, are seeing changes and dramatic rebirth occur.  Whether found by way of a platform on a Station or a glass of Wine within an award winning restaurant, the towns appeal seems to be growing beyond it’s boundaries. Families attracted by schooling and now interconnectivity (without the need for owning your own four wheels!) mean that wherever in Kenilworth you may live you sit never more than a walk away from whatever your needs may be.

This surely, and being at the heart of forthcoming change rather than battling against it,  is where strength in a community must truly be welcomed.

castle house

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!).