Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Never standing still, our resolution for the New Year is to ensure our clients receive exceptional service and value for money…..

Another year gone and a selection of just a few of our favourite homes sold. They all had their own tale to tell and with many, it wasn’t just the house, but the vendor or the buyer’s journey that made them so memorable.

Over 2015, we’re delighted to have expanded our presence in and around Stourbridge, being instructed on even more new instructions, taking more offers and agreeing more sales than during an otherwise record breaking 2014!

Looking ahead to 2016, we will be championing new initiatives to make your move even more straightforward, offering an even wider selection of interesting homes - both second hand and brand new, as well as making certain that clients entrusting Lex Allan in the sale of their home receive a service that remains exceptional and offers superb value.

Finally we wish past, current and future clients as well as friends of Lex Allan a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Another 3% to pay if you’re ready to put spare cash into bricks & mortar for the future…

Last week’s Autumn statement brought into sharp focus the government’s need to raise additional revenue without touching the Holy Trinity of income tax, VAT or national insurance contributions and at the same time not upsetting large swathes of the electorate. So with second home ownership being embarassingly buoyant in and around Westminster, there lies a one billion pound solution.

Or is it? The extra three per cent stamp duty (in addition to the basic level) will hit ordinary landlords where it will hurt and not just in the wealthy hinterlands of the South East. With massive calls for additional social housing which the private rented sector props up more than any other agency, it will inevitably have repercussions. Rents may rise and in the longer term, the government may face calls to increase housing contributions as a result. There’s also a strong possibility of a rush to buy before next April 1st and with competition from first time buyers and supply at relatively low levels, prices could be pushed up. Time will tell in the end, but the jury is resoundingly out. For our Buy to Let propositions, go to and click Let to Buy.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Value for money isn’t about the cheapest or the most expensive… It’s all about satisfaction.

A friend of mine bought a new car recently and was wowed by the way she was looked after. It wasn’t a particularly expensive car, but the flowers that were sat on the passenger seat and the warmth of the process and a request that she promise to come back to the showroom in a couple of weeks time to let them know how she was getting on made a big difference. She’s already planning her next car from the same people!

And that’s what matters. It’s not the badge on the car, nor the cost, but the help and support of the people behind the brand that really mattered.

I see the same principle every day in the house moving process and given the magnified stress and emotion that accompanies the event, it becomes even more important to offer an alternative to an average service and instead offer one that really stands out. If it costs a little more or not, that will be forgotten, because ultimately it’s the people behind our name who give more than they might, in order that their clients remember their move as being a pleasure and not just a process from which the scars will heal with time.
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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

It’s dull, dull dull! And that’s not just the weather forecast…

In preparing a home for marketing, a lot rides on the overall presentation that the public will see and read and its impact cannot be underestimated. I’ve frequently preached about getting the photos right, but what about the wording?

It’s easy to fall into classic ‘estate agent speak’, so it makes a refreshing change to tell it as it is and lay to rest some of the dull and outdated estate agent favourites. We want the description to be eye catching and interesting - a few considered words to capture the imagination and encourage the reader to go further. We’re not afraid to use humour as a means of capturing attention, so long as boundaries aren’t crossed, but regrettably some of our more inventive descriptions have not yet made it to print.

But the serious point is one of ensuring the property stands out amongst the many others it has to compete with, so that the buying public pick up the phone and view. Our hook lines can occasionally run to the ‘cheesy’ even, but we make no apology for bringing a smile not only to the the reader, but also to our client when we arrange the viewing that may sell their home.

Friday, 30 October 2015

With the clocks going back, a few simple ideas will keep your home on form for dark nights.

I’ve been showing buyers around a few empty properties recently and even though the weather remains mild, stepping into some properties seem more like we are opening the door to a giant fridge. Old houses in particular need heating 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 agent’s cold feet, but your prospective buyer’s appreciation of your home.

Before a viewing, make sure lights are on. Some homes lend themselves well to after dark viewings, so 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 lights and clear garden paths will allow intrepid buyers to explore the garden.

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

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The online Estate Agent has support, but a ‘wait and see’ service just doesn’t deliver...

With a small fortune being spent on TV marketing, some backed by celebrity ‘property experts’, the writing is on the wall for the demise of the traditional High Street estate agent. Except we disagree!
For starters, a good High Street agent knows that one of their most valuable resources is their database of prospective buyers. The sales team know their buyers well enough to even line up viewings before the property reaches the internet start line.
It happened this week in Pedmore when we were invited to market a bungalow on behalf of vendors with a need for speed. An hour after our first visit, one of our team had targeted a ready buyer, lined up a viewing and negotiated a successful sale. Our buyers were delighted along with our vendors who could now pursue the home their sights were set on. Without the ability to proactively source buyers, ‘virtual’ agents that rely on a reactive ‘wait and see’ approach won’t deliver the targeted, effective service that Lex Allan and our established professional colleagues continue to provide by virtue of knowing not only their clients, but their buyers too.



Thursday, 15 October 2015

Success isn’t achieved by radical means, just by doing it right…

It was approaching a year on the market and their house was still for sale by another agent. With little effort being made to try anything new the couple from Quarry Bank decided radical action was needed and they asked us to take a look at the situation and come up with a plan. After a good look around, we discussed their experience to date, looked at what was for sale and selling nearby and suggested a plan of action.
It wasn’t radical though, just common sense - well planned estate agency with attention to detail. There was no price reduction, but last year’s snowy photos had to go in favour of fresh well staged shots that showed the real benefits of the home with a description to suit. We searched our database, hit online and spread the word to buyers who viewed similar homes with us. Deal done within a week. Happy vendor!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Money is cheap to borrow - but for how much longer?

With the Bank of England base rate at its lowest for six years, Governor Mark Carney has indicated our economy is sufficiently robust to accept some gradual increase over the coming period. As light follows day, and bankers being bankers, one thing is certain - mortgage rates will rise! Let’s not panic though - the deals are still good compared with historic levels with higher rates unlikely to be excessive. But it does seem to indicate that the next few months offers an opportunity to new buyers, investors and home owners alike to explore the best deals while they are still available. Lex Allan offers a mortgage health check to ensure you won’t pay over the odds and secure the deal that’s best for you - now.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

“We sometimes wondered whose side our agent was 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, steer you wisely and advise 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 he was 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. Time taken to explain and clarity of outcome is the only option. 


Friday, 19 June 2015

Supply and Demand - take control and don’t hope for the best!

Read any news article and property-wise they are all making the same point - lack of supply has a direct impact on raising property prices. What has this got to do with me you may ask? During our market appraisals, we frequently hear the comment ‘We’re ready to move, but we won’t go on the market until we find the right house to buy!’ And who can argue if that’s right or wrong, but what I can assure you is that when the right house does come on the market, due to that ‘lack of supply’, if you aren’t first in the queue, you’ll be beaten to it. Solution - go to market, find your buyer and be in control as well as helping to iron out the lack of supply that we are all contributing to by our policy of ‘hoping for the best’.

Friday, 12 June 2015

It’s not always what you know - in house selling it’s who you know!

When it comes to selling your home, there are basics that your agent must address to provide you with the best chance of finding the best buyer in order to sell at the best price. Thoughtful photography, brochures , marketing and the like are key to the outcome. But taking the online agent’s approach who ‘waits for the call’ is not our way of operating. As dynamic ‘High Street’ agents, Lex Allan’s database of buyers has been built with an incisive knowledge of their needs through regular contact, enabling us to approach the public and bring the property to the buyer - our preferred and more successful means of matching buyer to house and in the process delivering  a can do opportunity from a will do agent.  

Friday, 5 June 2015

Most People think that ‘Help To Buy’ is Just for First Time Buyers or New House.

It’s a really natty Government backed scheme, enabling people with a relatively small deposit an opportunity of getting access to many more mortgage products at much better rates. If you have a 5% deposit (or more) and are looking to buy a home for less than £600,000, the Government will up to 15% of the loan – How good is that?!!

For more information on how this scheme really could ‘Help you to Buy’, call a Lex Allan office 01384 379450 or 0121 550 5400

Friday, 29 May 2015

Now that you’ve sold, if time is of the essence - read on…

With your buyer in place, deal done and all that worry over with - the rest is a breeze. Except, that it might just have been the easy bit…! After our sales memorandum rattles your letterbox, it’s the turn of your solicitor to send an even larger bundle. Like War & Peace, it’s lengthy, you may not like it or read it in one go, and thank goodness, it eventually comes to an end. How quickly you respond though can knock weeks off the process. The wise vendor will have selected their solicitor well in advance of finding the buyer, enabling them to prepare and forward contracts without delay. With a process that has many twists and turns, this is one aspect that you can influence from day one and take control of the outcome. Lex Allan understand the value of steering you in the right direction and are on hand at every step both before and after the sale is agreed.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Get it wrong - and a picture really will paint a thousand words…

A book showing the very worst efforts of estate agents to photograph homes did the rounds recently and hugely entertaining it was too. Extreme examples perhaps, but unlikely to help sell the houses. Don’t underestimate the power of the image though on high definition screen, in the agents window or newspaper advert. That two second glance could make the difference between a phone call to view  - or moving on. Presenting the best shots, perhaps where needed by a professional photographer, is the mark of an estate agent who understands the power of the lens in persuading the buyer to view.  For a better chance to sell with an agent who understands the ‘bigger picture’, call Lex Allan.

Friday, 15 May 2015

The public were holding their breath last week - now we’re on the up!

As a seasoned veteran of many an election outcome, my wise colleague Mr Allan commented last week that we were enjoying a “stable, vibrant and positive property market”. Following a resoundingly positive result at the polls, there’s no doubting the impact of  the public’s desire for continuity and  growth in the economy which we can confidently expect to spill over into the sales and lettings scene. And it hasn’t taken long! An eruption of viewings, valuations and offers from the weekend onwards has left us in no doubt that for many aspiring buyers and sellers, the last hint of uncertainty has been cast aside in favour of a ‘can do’ opportunity. If you want a ‘will do’ agent on your side, call Lex Allan today!