Thursday, 8 December 2016

Are we the first agent to mention the 'C' word? It's not far away but don't assume that buyers aren't out there...

We’ve had lots of conversations with clients over the last few weeks keen to sell, but tending to assume that a New Year launch is their best option. So when we ask how they might feel if we found them a buyer before Christmas, it tends to focus their attention!
The truth is that as we close the doors for the last time before switching off the lights and skipping off to our office festivities, there is always some poor unfortunate being gently and politely ejected on to the pavement happily clutching an array of sales brochures. We like to think of them as our ‘hardcore buyers’ - they’re serious, and they are out there now!
Beat the bad weather that often heralds the New Year, prepare pre-decoration photos & sales brochures and let us introduce your home to our loyal hardcore buyers. There’s every chance that we might bring a little unexpected Christmas cheer to you and line you up to move earlier than you might have hoped.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The clocks are going back and a few simple ideas will keep your home looking good during the dark nights.

I’ve been showing buyers around empty properties again recently and even though the weather remains mild, stepping into some properties seems more like we are opening the door to a giant fridge. Older empty houses in particular need heating by now and I suggest now is the time to dust off the thermostat - an hour or two twice a day will work wonders, not only for your poor agent’s cold feet, but in encouraging your prospective buyer’s appreciation of your home. It will also stave off the misery of a burst pipe should temperatures plummet. Alternatively, ask the help of a plumber to drain the system - it’s a second best, but will cover you against costly water damage.

Before a viewing, take stock, pausing to make sure you have the right ambience, especially with lighting, although some homes with the right décor and character lend themselves well to after dark viewings. If yours is one, make the most of it - use candles (safely) for atmosphere, light an open fire or log burner for an instant hit. Check outside lights work so buyers reach the front door safely and don’t stray into your favourite rose bush instead. Rear lighting and clear garden paths will allow intrepid buyers to explore the garden.

And finally, invite your guests for a second visit in daylight, perhaps at the weekend to cement the deal.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

“We always have to be clear as to whose side we are actually on…”

The house selling process, stressful at the best of times - up there with death and divorce no less - means that you rely on your estate agent to do the right thing, steering you wisely and advising what’s best for you. So here’s the rub - in the course of discussing client’s past experiences, I often hear the phrase "we sometimes wondered whose side they were on". Heavy handed persuasion in discussing a lower asking price, accepting a lower than hoped for offer, or renegotiating price post survey can all be perceived as an agent backing the wrong side if poorly approached. It’s rare for an agent not to act in his client’s best interest and the best way forward is not always the easiest.

With more Consumer Protection Regulations affecting the house selling industry, the role of your estate agent is to offer fairness and transparency to both vendor and buyer. Proper time taken to explain not only the eventual benefits, but also the full implications of the law is not only the best option in the long run, but the only option.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The place between a rock and a hard place is a very tight squeeze!

Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected this week and simply wanted to be loved by all, but it was not to be! Hugely popular to his grass roots membership, but disliked by his own MP’s, he has learned the lesson that he can’t be all things to all people and that principles occasionally get in the way.

And there’s the problem. Estate agents represent two sides - first and foremost their vendor client and secondly the rest of the general public! At some point the general public may well become a buyer too, or even a future client, but until that point our loyalty lies with our own client and that sometimes makes us unpopular.

The place between rock and a hard place is a very tight squeeze and I sometimes hear a previous buyer, now turning vendor, lamenting what a tough deal we put them through when they purchased their dream house.

But the fact that we’re on their side now means we’re with them all the way and putting them first will ensure we achieve the very best deal, whether or not that makes us the most popular people or not.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

“Being asked if we ‘went all the way’ wasn’t quite the loaded question I expected at that point…”

The scene was set - guided tour over and sat opposite the charming lady owner, I was ready to advise why we were naturally her best choice of agent and then she hit me with a perfect Mrs Robinson moment! "Are you the type of agent that goes all the way?"

Perhaps it was my startled expression, so she continued. "You don’t stop halfway through do you?" Luckily light dawned. Mrs. G had heard about the recent breed of online agents who market homes on the internet and if a buyer appears, leaves the rest up to the vendor and their solicitor to see through to completion. She didn’t like the sound of that. She wanted more. Much more.

So it was with some relief that I was able to reassure her that while we can tailor any package to suit a client’s needs, we were definitely an agent that would always be able to go the whole distance. And further.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Smart players aren’t waiting for what may or may not happen, they’re going for it now!

With another budget done and dusted, it only leaves the Euro Referendum in June to look forward to! As a nation we are cautious, but whilst there might be two opposing arguments, there will only be one result and whatever that result, relief that it’s all over and for many institutions and homeowners alike, it will signal a green light to move forward.

Judging from the property market place we see in and around Stourbridge, our average buyer isn’t waiting to see what might or might not happen in a few months time. They’re out there and they have money to spend! Without doubt we are seeing a dynamic market fuelled by relatively low numbers of new instructions - a sellers market favouring vendors who have gone to market ahead of the crowd who will undoubtedly follow later in the year. 

There is a real chance to make the most of this current window of opportunity, with its impressive sale prices, great mortgage deals and a low pressure sales environment enabling forward thinking vendors to place themselves ahead of the game.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Love is in the air and do we have some matches made in heaven....

Mr W - GSOH, Solvent & longing for a three bedroom detached soul mate enjoying long walks around Lawnswood & Kingswinford. Around £260,000

Immediate rendezvous required.

Mr P - WLTV petite two or three bedroom pad enjoying a fondness for Pedmore and Wollescote . Around £140,000
                                                                                                                                                      Broadminded, ready & very willing.

Mrs R - Seeks something very special for serious long term love affair. A preference for shacking up in & around Hagley or Oldswinford. Around £430,000

Willing to pay well for max happiness.

These people need your help to bring them the happiness they deserve. All enquiries in strict confidence and sympathetically considered in order to ensure the relationship is given every opportunity to blossom.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Waiting for the right house to come along before you go to market can prove a risky strategy….

I frequently find that fate or some greater power with a dubious sense of humour enjoys playing games with us when it comes to moving home! The object of our desire, property wise, only seems to show itself at precisely the worst possible moment. And timing is everything, especially at this time of the year. So what’s the solution?

As ever, it’s not rocket science. In the first place, if it’s your dream home, you can bet it’s someone else’s too, so you will have competition. Given that the later Spring season favours those homes with larger gardens, many will not come to market until Easter when daffodils and bulbs are in full bloom. To move to the head of the queue, take advantage of the market now to find your buyer. It’s a less pressured process and with fewer properties for sale than in later months, there is no lack of hardcore buyers keen to do business and pay a sensible price. And with a committed buyer lined up, the playing field is distinctly more level for you take up position at the front of the queue. It also puts you in touch with vendors who are keen only to show their home to those ready and able to move. Steps taken now could just bring that dream home a little closer, sooner.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

When you’re ready to go to market, has your agent given you the full story?

More than likely, even before you have made arrangements for your estate agents to visit and pitch for your business, you have formed a pretty fair idea of who you will use. Internet presence and reviews, nearby sold boards, newspaper advertising and perhaps a visit to the office to meet the people in whom you will be investing considerable trust, are all good first steps.

I would suggest that you go much further though.

The best agent will make a complex plan a simple one! He will listen, but his recommendations will be an unbiased fact based opinion given his expert knowledge of nearby sales and actual comparable evidence. He will advise how best to present the home through images and the written word. He will have a thorough knowledge of the compliance that will govern what he can and can’t say. His terms of business will be clear and uncomplicated with no catches, hidden costs or small print to trip the unwary. You will have a ‘cooling off period’ and your agent should ideally belong to a professional body such as the NAEA or RICS (or both).

My advice is not just to hear what you expect to hear. If you do your homework, your experience will be all the better for it.