Client Case Study

Firths Fields, Davenham

Earlier this year, we were approached by a lady who had been on the market for 3 months with a Northwich agent. She had not yet had a viewing, despite it being an active market, and she was worried she was going to miss out on the property that she had her heart set on.

Following a meeting with us, we implemented an action plan together with the seller, and we were instructed to sell her home.

Firstly we advised her to drop ‘Guide Price’ from the marketing – we felt this was confusing and created questions from the outset – rather than letting buyers show interest in a straightforward way.

We also explained that it was essential that her property had a floor plan – the property has been extended and offered really deceptive space. Plus, properties without floor plans traditionally get less online interest.

We also advised that she have a for sale board, to maximise all the selling tools available to her.

Finally we took quality, well thought out photographs that really showed off the space. The vendor also took on board advice about hiding the bins and adding pots of flowers for colour in the garden.

We were now ready to launch the property!

We were delighted to produce 3 accompanied viewings within the first 4 days, and before the end of the first week of marketing, the vendor had accepted an offer!

Sadly it was not all smooth sailing, and the sale fell through due to some complications. But thanks to the swift re-launch of the property back to the market, and the fact that we kept details of interested parties on file, we replaced her buyer quickly.

A sale was then completed at 99% of the original asking price, much to the delight of our seller!

 

On The Up?

It’s been 10 years since the last interest rate rise in the UK.

Back then, the iPad hadn’t been unveiled, Pinterest didn’t exist and Twitter had only just had its first birthday.

It’s almost impossible to imagine life without these things now, and interest rates of 5.75% and Gordon Brown as the Prime Minister are now a distant memory.

Analysts believe that a rise in the Bank of England base rate is on the way, as a result of the latest inflation figures, which have been driven by increasing house prices. The government’s key inflation gauge, the Consumer Price Index, rose to a five year high of 3% in September – a rise that was attributed mainly to the fall in the pound. Raising rates, should, in theory, help control inflation by dampening demand in the economy.

“Food prices and a range of transport costs helped to push up inflation in September. These effects were partly offset by clothing prices that rose less strongly than this time last year. While oil and fuel costs continued to rise, overall, the rates of inflation for raw materials and goods leaving factories were little changed in September. House price growth edged upwards in the year to August, despite growth in London continuing to ease” says the Office for National Statistics’ head of inflation Mike Prestwood.

But what could a rise in interest rates mean for you as a potential seller?

Regional data for England and Wales demonstrates that the North West experienced the greatest increase in average property price over the last 12 months, with a rise of 6.5%. The property market is also showing signs of buoyancy with prices holding up well due to a shortage of stock.

We have found that there is much conflicting speculation out there, and until the interest rate rise occurs, it is difficult to establish the impact it will have. Our research has shown us that whilst the threat of an interest rate rise may put off some potential house buyers, rumours of a potential Stamp Duty reduction for first-time-buyers should encourage demand. Either way, it will take some time for any measures taken to filter down into prices.

In the near term, an impending interest rate rise could even give reluctant prospective purchasers a push. “The calls for an interest rate rise will soon turn to a clamour, and in the short term this is likely to spur wavering would-be buyers into action,” said Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders.

There is also the potential for an initial spike in prices. Paul Smith, chief executive of Haart estate agents, warned that a rate rise in the near future “could mean a further surge in prices, as buyers fight over limited stock in the run-up to Christmas, and look to lock down a cheap fixed rate mortgage before the Bank of England steps in”.

Traditionally though, higher interest rates mean lower house prices, and many experts predict that this will remain the case.

Higher interest rates mean higher mortgage rates, which buyers do not want, especially with economists warning of a possible personal debt crisis. In order to avoid a jump in house prices, the Bank of England is set to raise interest rates gradually, with economists forecasting two possible hikes during 2018.

Also, the September RICS UK Residential Market Survey showed buyers are already taking a more cautious approach as they consider the implications of shifting interest rate expectations. This contributed to a more subdued London housing market last month, according to the survey.

While it may be hard to make a firm conclusion about the long-term implications of a rate rise, it will certainly be an unfamiliar feeling to see rates rise, although discussions about lifting them have rumbled on throughout much of this 10 year period of record lows.

In the meantime, we continue to watch and listen with interest, while we wait to see what November brings.

 

Selling As The Seasons Change

Believe it or not, as the weather is worsening and the nights are (starting) to draw in, we have found that in Davenham and surrounding areas, the market is starting to pick up! The autumn market is often the next best time to sell after spring, and although it’s a little late, it feels like it’s on its way. Once stock levels start to increase, the market should really become active.

Many people are nervous to try and sell at this time of year, because they worry that they won’t find a buyer before Christmas, or if they do find a buyer, the pressure to move out of their home before Christmas will be too stressful!

Other sellers think that they should take their property off the market over the winter, to give it a ‘break’. And some people just panic about accommodating viewings amidst the chaos of the tree and the turkey and the presents!

Read on for some top tips about selling during the autumn and winter.

MARKETING

  • If you are only just putting your house on the market during the autumn/winter, make sure your photographs are ‘current’. It will look peculiar using summery photos, even if you are worried that your garden does not look its best right now. A good agent will wait for a sunny, dry day (we get some of the nicest ones in the autumn!) and then make sure everything looks perfect before launching your home to the market.
  • Although your garden may not be full of colour, as long as it is neat and well maintained, it will still attract buyers at this time of year.
  • Keep your house ON the market over the Christmas period. For many potential buyers, it’s a chance to switch off, browse the internet, and start dreaming of moving house in the New Year. If you leave your house on the market, it will leave it open for all those people who are just starting their search!

VIEWINGS

  • Make the most of the colder weather on viewings by making your home an appealing, cosy haven. Leave lamps on, light the fire, and have the heating on. Think about dressing beds with comfy blankets and create a charming atmosphere with candles.
  • For rainy days, be sure to invest in decent doormats for the front and back doors, and ensure that gutters are clear, to avoid ringing alarm bells with viewers when they overflow!
  • On icy days, make sure viewers have safe and easy access to your home.

AGREEING A SALE

  • Make your expectations about timescales clear from the outset. If you have holidays booked, children’s exams, or simply do not want to move at a certain time, make sure everyone is aware from the very beginning.
  • There is no reason that a straightforward sale should not proceed quickly, so choose a good conveyancing solicitor, stay organised, and communicate regularly.
  • Prepare for your onward purchase early too, have your mortgage or finance in place before you find somewhere to move to.

Secret Shopping

When you are hunting for the perfect agent to sell your home, don’t be afraid to do some secret shopping!

We always recommend it – and we so confident in our service levels, we are MORE than happy for it to happen to us.

  • Enquire by both phone and e-mail and monitor the response – after all, it is how potential buyers of your home will be dealt with
  • Call an agent and ask them specifics about certain properties, the market in general, or even just ask some advice – it will give you a great reflection of their service
  • Remember – you don’t always remember what someone said, but how they made you feel – so go with your instincts. You will be in regular contact with your agent through what can sometimes be a stressful and emotional time – it’s important to get it right

What to ask on a viewing

Don’t leave a viewing without asking these key questions…

  • Why are the owners moving?
  • What is the local area like?
  • How old is the boiler?
  • What is the council tax band?
  • Are there any service charges or restrictions to be aware of?

*TOP TIP* All good agents accompanying viewings should know the answers to ALL these questions!!

Through a buyers eyes

Thinking of selling?

Take a look at your property through a buyer’s eyes, or even better, ask an impartial person to give you their honest opinion!

  • Remember the features that made you buy your home, then highlight them
  • Maximise the feeling of space by showing as much floor as possible
  • When your house is on the market, there is no such thing as too clean or too tidy!
  • Give your home a wide appeal by removing certain items that could ‘turn off’ buyers, for example, hide evidence of pets in case they don’t have them! Or stash toys away to make yours more than just a family home
  • Viewing a house involves all the senses…welcome buyers with fresh flowers, open windows and gorgeous scented room diffusers

Chains Explained

What is a chain?

A property chain describes a line of buyers and sellers linked together because each is selling and buying a property from one of the others, apart from the people at the beginning and the end of the chain.

The chain begins with someone who is only buying, not selling, and ends with a vendor who is only selling, not buying.

How to avoid a chain:

  • If you are selling and have multiple offers, choose a ‘chain free’ buyer, such as a first time buyer or someone in rented
  • Consider selling your property and moving into rented accommodation, or with family, so that you then become a ‘chain free’ buyer
  • Purchase an empty property, or a chain free property, where there is no ongoing chain
  • Purchase a New Build property where there is no one to vacate first

Chains rarely fall through, but they can fail. This is often because:

  • Sales falling through at the bottom of the chain
  • Buyers or sellers changing their minds
  • Surveys reveal problems
  • People withdraw due to the chain taking too long

HOWEVER, ordinary chain-free transactions can also fall through due to these circumstances, so do not be put off entering into a chain situation. The risk is merely higher the more links of the chain that are involved.

How to make sure a chain moves smoothly:

  • Communication from all Estate Agents involved is KEY
  • Weekly sales progression from the Estate Agent

Make sure you, as a buyer or seller:

  • Get your finances in place early
  • Speak to your legal representatives and financial/mortgage advisor weekly
  • Fill in and return all paperwork promptly by hand

 

What happens once I make an offer?

You’ve seen your dream home. You contact the agent with your offer… but you’re worried about what happens next?

Here’s a handy J Lord & Co guide!

  • Firstly, the sales negotiator will ask you all about your buying position.
  • If you have a chain, the negotiator will ring all the other estate agents involved to confirm the status of the chain and all the other buyers involved.
  • A good sales negotiator should also ask for a copy of your mortgage agreement in principle, or proof of cash if you don’t need a mortgage. We also ask to speak directly with your financial advisor.
  • The negotiator will then promptly contact the seller, and put forward your offer, along with providing them with a written ‘Offer Letter’.
  • A GREAT agent will put forward your offer POSITIVELY, and explain your position IN FULL!
  • If your offer is being considered, the negotiator SHOULD communicate this to you, and not leave you waiting and wondering!
  • If your offer is rejected, a GREAT agent will have a full discussion with you about the reasons for the rejection, and help and guide you to the next stage in the process.

Why a sale board is always worth it

Some sellers don’t feel that a sale board is necessary, but we know that it can be a valuable tool when it comes to finding a buyer!

  • Having a board sends a message to buyers that you are committed to selling
  • It’s a way for viewers to immediately identify your property without getting lost, making the viewing a positive experience from the start
  • People relocating to the area will drive around first to get a feel for the location – a board is a great way to capture their attention
  • You can also attract people that don’t even know they want to move yet!
  • It’s a way for neighbours to recommend your home to others, and a great way to draw the attention of people who regularly drive or walk past your home
  • It provides confirmation of what buyers have seen on the internet. Plus if they can drive by and see your position, it may eliminate people arranging viewings just to end up dismissing the property due to its plot or location

What is Sales Progression and why is it so important?

Once an offer is accepted, it is crucial that your agent continues to communicate with you and your buyer throughout the whole transaction, to keep it moving along smoothly and to progress the sale.

At J Lord & Co, our weekly Sales Progression ensures:

  • That your buyer shows commitment from day one
  • Your buyer acts promptly on anything expected of them
  • Both solicitors are acting as swiftly as possible
  • We can anticipate problems and overcome them
  • We can resolve any disputes by acting as the ‘middleman’
  • We can be up front about dates from the outset so there are no last minute surprises
  • We can use their knowledge and experience to help when it is often the only time buyers and sellers have been through the process
  • Can communicate weekly to make it a calm and stress-free time for everyone