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The Guild's CEO, Iain McKenzie, weighs in on the election result - and what it could mean for the property market.
The UK wakes up today to the shock news that there is a hung parliament with no party winning the required 326 seats to form a majority. Clearly the decision to call a snap general election has backfired with the original 15 percentage point margin between the two major parties in polls materialising as just a 3-percentage point margin.
There will be a period of uncertainty as the new government forms. We have a good idea of what a Conservative minority government may look like for the housing sector from analysing their manifesto and previous commitments.
At a time when instructions are scarce, fees are at an all-time low, conveyancing is taking longer than ever, and tenant fees are to be banned, the housing sector needs a government that understands the housing crisis needs to be a priority.
What should we expect from Teresa May and the Conservatives as the largest party in the House of Commons in the housing sector?
In a recent report it was alleged that a higher percentage of homeowners thought that the Tories policies were more relevant and sympathetic to homeowners, but do sales and lettings agents working in that sector feel the same?
Interestingly, I would be unsure how that debate would conclude, as recent changes to SDLT and proposed changes to lettings agents charging tenant fees, have been very unpopular.
So what should we all expect in the next four years?
It is very unlikely that the government will amend or reverse changes to Stamp Duty, why would they? It is raising extra income for the treasury. It is also cooling the UK housing market and reducing transactions levels enabling first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder.
The proposed tenant fee ban concluded its consultation process on the 2nd June and the outcome will be delivered shortly. All industry experts I have spoken to don't expect any change in direction. The ban has already been implemented in Scotland and Wales and so it appears a foregone conclusion.
But the real elephant in the room is the announcement within the Tory party manifesto that they intend to hold a full housing review, with particular emphasis on the cost of moving. They intend to make it cheaper for customers. Although in the short term this may be sidelined by other priorities, at some point this pledge will be delivered.
Is there a vendetta against the sector? Or will the Conservatives be considered a party that estate agencies can rely on to produce policies for growth?
None of us know the answer to that. All I do know is that when the housing minister is appointed they need to get a holistic view of the challenges facing the UK housing market from the agent’s perspective.
This must take into consideration the thousands of independent agents and not just the corporates who try to influence policy for their own benefit.
I will be writing to the new minister offering my services as the CEO and representative of The Guild of Property Professionals members.
Where have house prices increased the most? Here are five districts with the highest annual capital growth.
Are you thinking of moving house soon? Property viewings can be a stressful situation as you need to assess the property and find out if it fits your requirements, all while trying to decide if this is 'the one'. We have made a handy video so you can be fully prepared with the right questions and equipment on your next home viewing.
If you have any questions, let us know on twitter @GuildProperty.
Workers on zero-hour contracts could soon have the right to ask their employers to move them onto fixed hours, potentially making it easier for them to get a mortgage.
Zero hours contracts don’t provide employees with a guaranteed regular income, as employers only offer work as and when they need help. As a result, lenders are often wary about offering mortgages to people on this type of contract, as they may be concerned that in some months, income may not be sufficient to cover mortgage payments.
A government-commissioned inquiry into zero hours contracts is expected to call for employees on this type of contract to be given the right to request a transfer to fixed hours, which would help them know exactly how much they will earn each month.
There are currently more than 900,000 people in the UK on zero hours contracts, according to the Office for National Statistics. Numbers are rising, with 110,000 more people on this type of contract in 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. In 2008, just 143,000 people were on zero hours contracts.
Even though it can be harder to get a mortgage if you are on a zero hours contract, some lenders are prepared to offer mortgages to temporary workers. They will treat applications on a case by case basis, but there are several things workers on zero hours contracts can do to improve their chances of getting a mortgage.
· It’s important to show you have a track record of working on this basis and that it has provided you with a relatively stable income. Having records showing that you’ve been on a zero hours contract for at least 12 months should help prove your work is consistent.
· You’re less likely to be offered a mortgage if there are big gaps in your employment record, perhaps because you work for a retailer and are only brought in during particularly busy periods, such as the summer sales or Christmas.
· You should also get a copy of your credit history and see whether there is anything you can do to improve your credit score. Ways to do this include: making sure you’re on the electoral roll, closing any credit card accounts you no longer use, and paying off outstanding debts.
Communication with an estate agent before buying a property is always key, and this is particularly important for buy-to-let investors. There are key questions that should be asked, and they can differ from the standard question that a house hunter would think of. We asked Guild agents to share their top tips to ensure that investors have all the information they need before making an offer.
Is the property freehold or leasehold?
“I would always recommend buy-to-let investors to check whether the property is freehold or leasehold initially to factor in any service charges and ground rents which could impact yield,” said Joe Gervin from LPS in Liverpool.
Philip Jackson from Maguire Jackson in Birmingham explains why this is crucial. “Find out if you are buying a leasehold apartment and what the annual service charge is, because you the landlord are liable for this annual cost. Also, what is the size of the managing agents Sinking Fund in the building regarding cover for future works planned?”
“For first time landlords, my advice is to be prepared,” says Helen Jolly of Emsleys Estate Agents, Leeds. “If looking to buy a leasehold property, ask what is the service charge, what does it cover, and how will large maintenance and repair works be paid? How long is the lease?”
Has the property been rented before? What is the demand like?
“I would want to see a copy of the current tenancy and deposit protection, together with a schedule of rent history. Having a good feel for the kind of tenant in the area is important for future lets,” said Joe Gervin from LPS in Liverpool.
An agent can advise you on the quantities of people looking to rent this style of property. “Consider the competition. Find out from local agents whether there is there good rental demand for your proposed purchase plus if this might be effected in the near future,” said Philip Jackson from Maguire Jackson.
“Investigate the rental demand for that area and ascertain the rental level from agents in the area to do their homework to see how quickly similar properties are let,” advises Stephanie Caine from Royston Lund in West Bridgford.
Is the area safe and desirable?
Joe Gervin from LPS in Liverpool said; “Looking at local amenities such as train stations, schools, and local amenities such as sports centres all helps. The shops can suggest something about the local area as well. Lots of boutique coffee houses and trendy bars suggests professionals with a higher disposable income – these are often the dearer properties though which could impact yield.”
“Location is key in lettings, as much as it is in selling,” says Helen Jolly from Emsleys Estate Agents in Leeds. “Choose a property that suites the market, so if you’re looking in a family area, buy a family house.”
There is more to consider about the area, too. “Is it a good area?” asks Nichola Wallis from Holroyd Miller, Wakefield. “Are there signs of regeneration, and is it on the up if it hasn’t already been regenerated. Look at the demographics of area to decide.”
What is most important for you?
Tim Goodwin from Williams and Goodwin, Gwynedd, recommends a more bespoke approach, which requires some thought from the landlord beforehand.
“I ask buy-to-let buyers what is most important to them - is it yield, potential void periods, hassle factor, capital growth or ease to let now and in the future?
“For example, a buy-to-let purchaser of a five-bedroom property in the University City of Bangor could obtain a yield between 12% and 15%, which on the face of things may appear very attractive, but the stress of finding five sharers, dealing with the fact that they may fall out with each other and the additional wear and tear may put off certain purchasers.
“If maximising yield is not the main driving force, the ease of letting the unit and minimising maintenance may appeal, for instance we have clients who are just looking for a greater yield than can be currently obtained from more traditional investments where a return above 5% would suffice.”
Paul Spencer from Victor Michael Estate Agents in London and Essex agrees that it is important to decide which type of let is preferred before starting a property search.
“Is your investment long term?,” he asks. “Natural growth is often underrated. For some people, if costs are covered, the yield the property can generate is not as important. If you are looking to cover costs in the long term, there can be no greater asset than having the right tenant in your investment for as long as possible. Most new investors, however, turn to short term investments.”
What is the energy efficiency like?
“Be mindful of energy performance ratings,” advises Lawrence Williams of Webbers Property Services in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. “The Law is changing from April 2018 and properties which have a poor energy efficiency rating will be required to upgrade. Tenants expectations rise year after year and a low cost energy-efficient property is more important than ever, and will ensure you don’t have any surprises next year.”
Where have house prices increased the most? Here are five districts with the highest annual capital growth.
Where have house prices increased the most? Here are five districts with the highest annual capital growth.
Find your nearest
Guild Member agent and start your property search today.
Where are the best
cities to invest and why? Guild members from around Britain reveal
investment hotspots, property prices and where to buy in 2017.
We know that Brighton & Hove historically attracts a
wide range of buyers. In fact, the diverse demographic that makes up the
population is one of the most appealing factors for many who choose to make the
city their home.
Demand remains steady, activity levels consistent and people have regained confidence after any post Brexit decision shock that may have been felt elsewhere.
The image of Brighton & Hove as 'London by Sea' can be justified by the wealth and diversity of culture that the city has to offer. A vibrant arts scene is reflected in the famous Laines, the city’s football team, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, have just been promoted to the Premier League. The city as a whole is increasingly becoming home to one of Europe's most thriving digital and IT (CDIT) clusters.
The potential for a huge growth in employment in the coming years is yet another positive factor that will play into the health of the local property market. Brighton & Hove still holds the crown as the most visited destination in the South East, too there is little doubt that the local economy is on firm ground.
Currently, there is a major marketing push for investors to buy in the northern cities, particularly in Manchester. However, I believe the over-reliance on new build stock and international buyers in those areas carries the hallmarks of a property bubble similar to what we experienced in London between 2014-2015. The best cities for investment in England are those that offer steady and sustainable growth with a strong rental market.
This can be found mostly in the smaller commuter cities surrounding London, such as Reading, Chelmsford and Croydon, where there are currently on-going regeneration projects and growing interest due to the benefits offered from infrastructure improvements such as Crossrail. These areas also typically offer significantly more freehold property than large inner city locations. Recently, there has been an increasing number (up 25% since 2014) of young professionals leaving London and moving to these areas. This has been driving up rental values and property prices and this trend appears set to continue into the future.
Birmingham is currently in the rare position of now seeing the results of significant structural changes both inside and outside the city. Many Fifties and Sixties eyesores are being or have been removed and replaced with good looking new-build structures along with older empty derelict sites now being built upon.
Commercially local businesses are growing and at the same time the city is benefitting from several major relocations, such as the HSBC retail headquarters, moving from Canary Wharf to a purpose-built site close to the city’s new library. The 60,000-student population is increasingly deciding to stay in the city helping to give Birmingham the title of youngest city in Europe, with 45.7% of the population under 30.
HS2 the new high speed train to London arrives in less than ten years with journey times from 2026 of less than fifty minutes. While certainly commutable, it also helps further open the doors for businesses based in Birmingham. Prime commercial property rents are 35-40% less than the capital, and prime residential prices offer significant discounts being circa only 20% of Central London prices, with both sectors offering significant scope for improvement.
Within the city increasing numbers of downsizers are looking for homes alongside existing renters now looking to buy or existing lessees trade up from smaller flats into larger dwellings, then put down longer-term roots. Niche developers alongside specialist retailers are acknowledging the trends finding home within the city and catering to the maturing and expanding market.
The West Midlands capital is much more than just home to Cadbury's chocolate and Aston Villa.
The figures are based on the latest data from the Land Registry
House Price Index which helps to form a picture of the region’s housing
markets. While there is no single measure which provides a complete
picture of the market, below are 20 areas with statistics on the total
value of all property transactions in the past year. This has been
calculated by multiplying the average value of homes by the number of
We take a closer look at Yorkshire & the Humber region as part of our series of property spotlights, focusing on average house prices, the
total number of sales and the size of the market around the country.
These figures are based on the latest data from the Land Registry
House Price Index, which helps to create a picture of the region’s housing
markets. There is no single measure which provides a complete
picture of the market, however below are 20 areas with statistics on the total
value of all property transactions in the past year. This has been
calculated by multiplying the average value of homes by the number of
The district with the largest market is Leeds which saw £1,944m worth of transactions in the year to January 2017.
This was followed by Sheffield with £1,023m worth of sales over the same period.
The district with the highest overall average house price was Harrogate where prices sit at £274,800, which is 20% above the regional average.
The market with the highest number of transactions was Leeds with 11,530 sales occurring during the period.
Where have house prices increased the most?
Here are the five districts with the highest annual capital growth:
With the average UK house price edging closer to £300,000, finding a £100,000 home is becoming more difficult every year. However, first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors can still find good-quality properties with the right research.
An increase in first-time buyers has led to increased demand for properties at the low end of the market. With buy-to-let, these are properties that can be in high demand due to their attractive price.
Guild Members share their insider tips to reveal the best places to get more house for your money.
1. Wisbech, Cambridgeshire
“Wisbech in Cambridgeshire is an area where yields of more than 8% can be achieved,” said Sharon Carter, Director at C Carters Estate Agents.
“It is an agricultural and industrial area, so there is constant demand from tenants. £100,000 can still buy a two to three-bedroom property in the town, with rents ranging from £500 to £650 per month for a two-bedroom home to £650 to £750 for a three-bedroom house, which is a great return.
“The area has had a lot of recent financial investment, so new restaurants and cinemas have opened and more businesses are heading this way as they get priced out of the science capital of Cambridge. There are also talks of reintroducing the railway to the town, so a great potential for capital growth. The good news is that it is still a small town so not everyone has heard of it, which means it offers a lot of potential.
“Plus, two and three-bedroom terraced and semidetached houses sell swiftly to first-time buyers who have rented for some time and been saving to get their foot on the property ladder.”
2. West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire
“West Bridgford is one of the most desirable place to live in Nottingham,” said Gina Burbidge, Senior Negotiator at Royston Lund Estate Agents. “The area was voted one of the top 10 best places to live in the UK by the Halifax in 2015. West Bridgford is a thriving town just south of Nottingham, over the Trent Bridge.”
“As well as being popular with families due to excellent local schooling, the numerous local amenities and its modern cafe culture are clearly the reason why young professionals are attracted to the area.
“We are currently marketing a two-bedroom ground floor apartment for £92,500 in a popular purpose-built development near to the River Trent. This style of property is very popular with buy-to-let investors given the rental yield and would be expected to attract a large amount of interest from young tenants due to the easy access to the centre of West Bridgford with its cafes and restaurants.”
3. Birmingham, West Midlands
“Birmingham City Centre is becoming increasingly difficult for the investor or owner occupier with £100,000 maximum in their budget,” said Philip Jackson, Director at Maguire Jackson.
"Studio apartments located within easy walking distance of the new HSBC headquarters can be secured for £95,000 to £102,000, but demand is currently outstripping supply.
“These smaller apartments are now being bought as a city pied-à-terre by increasing numbers of incoming professionals for the HS2 infrastructure work, or those who work for large banks, who are boosting Birmingham offices. These flats have proven to be great buys in recent years, showing price growth above the city centre average.”
4. Wakefield, West Yorkshire
“If you have £100,000 to spend, north and central Wakefield is a good option,” said Simon Miller, partner at Holroyd Miller.
“Two-bedroom flats start at £75,000 with an expected yield on 7-8% return, or two-bedroom terraced houses are available from £85,000 at a 6% yield; the ROI is certainly worth looking at.
“We attract first-time buyers and investors because of the very close commuter links with Leeds. With a direct and regular rail network to Leeds and a major motorway network linking the country on the doorstep, Wakefield is a worth considering.”
5. St Neots, Cambridgeshire
“Although a budget of £100,000 will mean limited purchase options, it is still possible to buy a studio or one-bed apartment in the town. The prices are slightly higher because it is such a great place to live. The town offers history and a wealth of amenities, plus excellent access into London for commuters by road and rail, as well as easy access to Cambridge, Birmingham, the north and the east coast ports.
“Most properties sell very quickly, being bought by locals and investors as well as people moving into the area to take advantage of the easy commute. Land Registry data released in February 2017 shows that the East of England has seen the highest annual house price rises in the UK, with an average increase of 11.3%.”
6. North Devon
“North Devon is a beautiful part of the UK, with lovely beaches, beautiful countryside, theatres, restaurants; shopping and culture all sit on our doorstep,” said Lawrence Williams, Head of Lettings at Webbers. “Demand for the quality of life here is huge and at Webbers, we talk to people from across the country who are looking to enjoy ‘the good life’.”
“For our experience, ideal investments here are two-bedroom houses which sell for around £180,000 and rent for approximately £700pcm. Properties of this size have the widest level of tenant appeal, ranging from single professionals, a retired couple, to a young couple moving into their first home. It also means that when these properties are sold, demand again is usually high.
“Convenient parking, en suite facilities and high energy efficiency standards are all a must for the discerning tenant.
“Nearly all demand locally is for unfurnished accommodation, which suits landlords well. High demand levels and local economic factors create favourable conditions for those who buy in North Devon. There is a high continuity of tenancies, which last for an average of four years.”
Getting onto the first rung of the housing ladder takes a lot of saving and determination. To help aspiring homeowners get started, we have created a video to share some top tips.
Still have questions? You can ask us on twitter @GuildProperty or get in touch with your local Guild estate agent here.
Slowing house prices combined with rock-bottom mortgage rates are making it more affordable for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder.
Property prices fell by 0.4% last month according to Nationwide’s latest House Price Index, their second monthly decline this year. The building society said that annual house price growth has dipped to 2.6%, the weakest rate since June 2013. The average property price in the UK currently stands at £207,699.
Falling prices could be due to household budgets coming under pressure thanks to higher inflation and slow wage growth, according to Nationwide. However, it predicts that despite lower house prices in March and April, a small increase in house prices of around 2% is likely over the course of 2017 as a whole.
First-time buyers driving mortgage activity
Separate figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show that despite slowing property prices, mortgage lending was up 19% in March, reaching £21.4 billion, up from £17.9 billion in February.
The Council said that there has been a shift in mortgage lending towards first-time buyers and those looking to remortgage, and away from buy-to-let landlords and home movers. Low mortgage rates along with government housing schemes are helping those trying to purchase their first home.
The number of first-time buyers over the past 12 months increased to 342,000, more than any other period over the past nine years.
Mortgage price war drives rates lower
Recent weeks have seen the launch of the some of the lowest mortgage rates ever seen, as lenders battle to attract borrowers.
Deals have become even more competitive thanks to a fall in funding costs for lenders, and due to new providers entering the mortgage market. Swap rates, which are among the factors lenders look at to help them determine their fixed rates, have also fallen, prompting lenders to introduce record low fixed mortgage deals.
Owning a home has, therefore, become less expensive for homebuyers, while those looking to remortgage may be able to slash the cost of their monthly mortgage payments.
However, the best mortgage deals tend to disappear fast, so homeowners and those looking to buy will need to act quickly if they see a deal they like.
It’s important to factor in all the associated costs of any mortgage before applying, however, as many of the most competitive deals come with steep arrangement fees. Homebuyers or remortgagors who are unsure which deal is likely to be most cost-effective for them based on their individual circumstances should seek professional advice.
But what are these figures based on? The latest data from the Land Registry House Price Index helps to show the makeup of the region’s housing markets. While there is no single measure which provides a complete picture of the market, below are 12 areas with statistics on the total value of all property transactions in the past year. This has been calculated by multiplying the average value of homes by the number of sales.
This week, we look at the North East of England.
* Average price in the year to January 2017 multiplied by the total number of transactions in the same period.
“The North East property market is a collection of micro-markets, each with their own particular drivers and nuances. Some markets have higher levels of turnover than others and indeed some perform better than others when it comes to capital inflation,” said Iain McKenzie, CEO of the Guild of Property Professionals.
The Guild of Property Professionals will hold their annual regional meetings in May. The meetings will be held at 10 sporting venues across the UK, inspired by the theme ‘Fit for the future’, and will focus on keeping members abreast of the latest market advancements. This will be a chance for members to meet the new CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, Iain McKenzie.
McKenzie will introduce the event and present the latest news on the business, culminating in the launch of the Guild’s brand-new website.
The roadshow will start in early May in Newcastle, the home of the Falcons Rugby Club, with meetings following in Bournemouth, Bristol, Cambridge, Coventry, Exeter, Leeds, Manchester, Tunbridge Wells and London.
Stuart Penney, former Property Editor at The Telegraph turned digital strategist, and Jon Cooke, Executive Director of the Guild, will feature as key speakers at each meeting. They will be discussing advancements in digital property marketing, and how agents can stay up-to-date on the most effective marketing trends.
The Guild welcomes sponsors Reapit, Feefo, and Goodlord, who will be attending the meetings and speaking about their respective services.
Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild says, ‘’The regional meetings are a chance for members to gain in-depth knowledge of what to expect in the coming months and are a chance to network with other members. I look forward to seeing everyone for what’s sure to be an informative and innovative series of meetings.”
Westminster remains abuzz with the news that Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a snap general election. But what does this mean for the housing market? Traditionally, the uncertainty surrounding an election causes an economic slowdown that the housing market feels keenly. However, Iain McKenzie, CEO of the Guild of Property Professionals, believes that calling an election in the current political climate combines genius with recklessness, and has every chance of positively impacting the housing market.
“The lack of anticipated political uncertainty that surrounds this election is reason for us to look at the housing market from a more positive viewpoint. Before this election, the housing market is a seller’s dream. There’s less on the market due to political uncertainty, but fewer homes means less competition for sellers and the opportunity to stand out more. Now is the time to put your home on the market. Conversely, after the election, the market will be buoyed by an influx of new homes, creating a buyer’s paradise for those who have been clever enough to sell before the election.
If you’re considering buying or selling a home, now is the time to take action by visiting our website for a free valuation.
I have every confidence that the housing market will see immediate and long-term benefits following the results of the general election.”
Putting your property on the market is an exciting time. The photos are taken, the floorplans completed, and the home is perfectly presented, so it’s time to start the viewings. But how many should you expect? What if viewings are not as regular as you hoped? We asked Guild agents to share their tips and advice.
Check the price
One of the biggest deterrents for a viewing is the price. “How does your home compare to competing homes on the market?” asks Ian Southall from Chess Moves of Tewkesbury. “Query your agent if you think the price is set too high and consider talking to agents who quoted a more realistic price during the valuation.”
Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole in Tywyn, Gwynedd agrees. “If a property is getting no viewing interest at all, then the first place to look for an answer is the asking price. Compare the property with others for sale around it and see if it compares favourably, if not you need to think about a reduction.”
The price needs to attract potential buyers, points out Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris in St Neots. “The housing market is now incredibly transparent, information on marketing and sale prices of similar properties is easily available on the web, so it is important that properties are marketed at a realistic price. Nothing turns a buyer off quicker than a house that is perceived to be over-priced.
Pick an estate agent well
“There’s absolutely no point in appointing an agent who isn’t embedded in the community, you need an agent who knows all about the area, is connected and recommended, but also one that knows where your target audience is,” said Simon Miller, from Holroyd Miller in Wakefield.
Mark Noble from Castles Estate Agents in Swindon agrees. “Without a shadow of a doubt, if a property is well-prepared for the market, it will get a better response and potentially a higher offer. In reality, if you market the best-presented property with an estate agent who is not motivated, then the property can easily stagnate in the marketplace.
“There is a misconception that all agents are the same and that popping a property on a portal will do the trick. The more motivated the agent you choose, ideally a traditional agent who will fight for your price, in most cases achieve higher prices as well as selling more properties.”
The approach that an agent has can have a big impact too, says Linda Mortimer of Mortimers Estate Agents in Woodbridge. “If an agent bombards a potential buyer with lots of questions and insists they speak to their mortgage adviser before even handing out any details, you can be sure you will be missing out as an aggressive approach can send some people running for the door.
“Buyers usually enter an agent’s office because something in their front window has drawn their attention. Greeting a potential buyer in a friendly way and then giving them details of what they are enquiring about is a better way to encourage them to discuss the property they have shown interest in. The agent can then proceed to offer their time to show them the property. This calm approach is far more likely to result in a viewing or even a sale.”
Spruce up the property
“Aside of de-cluttering, attending to those long overdue maintenance jobs, and ensuring everything is visually appealing for the marketing materials, the best route to more viewings is to employ the right agent,” advises Simon Miller, Holroyd Miller, Wakefield.
Vicki Field, Cooke & Co, Kent, always recommend for sellers to have a good clean and tidy throughout and to de-clutter. “Try not to de-personalise your property, as making it feel homely to viewers gives them a feeling of what it would be like when they are living there.”
If you have already moved out, it may be a good idea to add furniture. Linda Mortimer, of Mortimers Estate Agents in Woodbridge, says: “If you are selling an empty property of a higher value, it's worth looking into getting it furnished. It makes a huge difference. Coincide the furnishing with an open house and you can be guaranteed viewers, maybe even an offer or two.”
Nicole Woolley, Goodwin Property, Stamford, said: “Be sure to tidy up, and not just inside the home, but outside too, even if you have an apartment. A lot of buyers won’t even step outside the car if the kerb appeal is not good enough. If there is paint peeling on the front door or windowsills have them repainted, fixing them is money well spent. Have a good clear out and declutter; if you have rooms full to the brim then buyers will need a good imagination to see the potential, and the same goes for the garden. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, weed the flower beds. Try to show a lifestyle in your home; properties sell much faster if a buyer can imagine themselves living there.”
Who is your likely buyer?
“Consider targeting your market and draw attention to the benefits the property can offer a particular type of buyer,” suggests Martin Moore, Morris Marshall & Poole, based in Tywyn, Gwynedd. “For example, if you are selling a property that would suit a buy-to-let investor, think about offering an initial period of guaranteed rent. Even simple things like providing a list of schooling options with a family home or explaining the convenience of public transport in the commuter belt could help. You will, however, need to make it individual to the house rather than relying on the generic information provided by the internet portals.”
Invest in photography
"Many people now judge properties through online platforms, so the better the picture, the more chance of your potential buyer investigating further,” said Ian Southall, Chess Moves of Tewkesbury. Stand back from your home and ask yourself what could be improved upon. Is the garden tidy? The décor is another key factor.”
Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole in Tywyn is also keenly aware of the importance of high-quality photos. “Most people start their search on the Internet and this is a very visual medium, especially on mobile devices. People often skip over the text, so properties with good external and internal photographs and floor plans get noticed. Invest your time wisely in this area and use professional services where appropriate, ensure also that the property is well presented with the photographs as high-resolution images show great detail. Always have a good selection of photographs available and change them frequently so that the listing does not become stale.
Vicki Field from Cooke & Co in Kent had some alternative photography tips. “Ensure your agent makes the most out of your most valued asset by taking good photographs on a sunny day and remember to keep the toilet seat down! It always helps to make your home aesthetically pleasing from the outside, so maybe brighten it up with flowers and flower pots.”
Jennifer Butler, Trading Places in Leytonstone, London, said: “Before engaging in the photography, make sure your home is ready. Declutter, clean and pay attention to the front of your property and the rear garden.
“Perhaps have the photography carried out over two days, allowing a couple of rooms to be used as temporary storage areas, whilst the rest of your property is being photographed. Afterwards, you can empty out those rooms and the photographer can return the next day to finish the job. Rushing the photography would be a big mistake.”
Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris in St Neots says that photos are a crucial first impression. “It is important not only that the photos show the property at its best, but also that the quantity of pictures right. Too few may lead to potential buyers either assuming that there is something wrong with the property or deciding not to view as they couldn’t get a reasonable impression of the property.”
“As an estate agent, I am particular about the weather for photos. A clear blue sky on a sunny day will show the natural warmth and brightness of the house,” says Jamie Fisher, Taylor Milburn, Essex.
Best mix of exposure
“It is crucial that the property is exposed to the maximum number of potential buyers to attract the maximum number of viewers. An attractive price and great photographs will mean little if they are kept a secret," said Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris in St Neots.
“Many agents in recent years have focused all of their marketing on the internet through the myriad of property websites including major property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla and their own websites. This is incredibly important, but providing the widest possible exposure must include far more. Other areas of focus can include; advertising in newspapers, advertising in office windows, advertising across local, regional, national and even international branch networks, promotion on social media, marketing to known/registered buyers via phone and email, for sale boards and leaflet drops. A good agent will cover these areas and more.”
How many viewings should you expect?
“In the current busy market in Margate and the surrounding areas, we look to have a surge of viewings within the first week with offers coming in – if this isn’t the case then a price reduction or amendments to the details could certainly help,” said Vicki Field of Cooke & Co, based in Kent.
“Check the demand,” suggests Jennifer Butler, Trading Places of Leytonstone in London. “As a proactive estate agent, we monitor internet click through rates and constantly review market activity for all types of property. Some property types will be more in demand than others so it’s important to know the current market and manage the seller’s expectations, especially when it comes to the number of viewings they should expect to receive.”
Could a lack of viewings just be one of those things? “Sometimes it's just a blip. Viewings can be like buses. None for ages then three at once,” says Linda Mortimer, Mortimers Estate Agents, Woodbridge.
“There will be a week or two where things go quiet. This is when your agent needs to retake pictures and move things around on the websites and window displays. A refresh is always a good idea.”
Be prepared early, advises Nicole Woolley, Goodwin Property, Stamford. “Don’t forget you will see about five or six times as many people in the first couple of weeks as the subsequent weeks – make sure everything is ready and that your agent is fully briefed.”
How many people should you expect, though? “Viewing in the first month is important and if ten people are not through the door, things need to be changed,” advises Jamie Fisher from Taylor Milburn in Essex.
quarter-century of experience under their belts, there’s no better time to
celebrate some of our most experienced agents. Buying or selling, whether it’s
a seven-bedroom country home or a beach hut, these are the agents who have seen
it all (and sold it, too). The past 25 years have been years of significant
changes. Agents have had to learn, adapt, and grow to stay up to date on the
trends of a constantly evolving property market, and continue to provide the
highest levels of service to clients. They have plenty to say about what they
discovered along the way.
Our agents strive to help customers find their ‘dream home’, and have learned never to let their own ideas of what the customer wants get in the way. This commitment drives their desire to constantly improve customer service and stay on top of the industry.
“Every day is different, but the main lesson I have learnt is never take anything for granted. We must continue to deliver better and better service to our clients so that we remain the agent of choice on performance and likeability. It’s so important to evolve and embrace new ideas to keep ahead of the field."
- Ken Bird, Renton & Parr
“The top lesson I’ve
learned is that the customer is right. They always
have the final say... just because we think something is a good idea does not
mean our customers do.
- Simon Badbury, Thomas Morris
“Always look to
- Henry Rowe and Kevin Moll, Kevin Henry
About positive changes…
The past 25 years have seen their fair share of changes, particularly in the property industry. The experience our agents have gained has given them perspective, and they have seen first-hand the power of positive changes.
“The standards of competency and professionalism have improved
massively over the past 30 years. The modern buyer and seller are much more
commercially aware; they ask more questions, want more information and do not
just base their decision about employing a firm just because of a previous
experience. They will want to know that staff not only have great local knowledge,
but they are able to guide them through the process.”
- Linda Thorne, Simmons and Sons
“Our success in trading for almost three decades has been down to always
staying one step ahead of our competitors and introducing new innovative ways to
market homes. We pride ourselves on being different from the other estate
agents in our area. Our links with the Guild of Property Professionals makes us
stand out because of our associated London office and our national referral
-Andrew Coulson, Andrew Coulson Estate Agents
Before anything else, our agents are committed to their clients. However, this kind of commitment extends far past finding them a home. Some of our agents have maintained lifelong relationships with their clients, and won’t soon forget the part that their clients have played in their success.
“Perhaps I’ve had more
exciting clients, or certainly ones that have been more stressful, but never one
that I’ve dropped off at flower arranging class after a viewing. Mrs. B was a
retired teacher and widow who decided to move after living in her home for
nearly 40 years. We met at the property she wanted to buy, a little bungalow,
but it took so long she worried about missing her class, so I battled traffic
to get her there. She made it on time; I got the sale and she moved 25 yards away,
into the little bungalow on the same cul-de-sac where she’s lived for over
- Simon Miller, Holroyd Miller
“Our most memorable clients were
a couple who asked us to help sell their home within days of opening our fledgling
business. We prepared the property
details and the following day we returned with a hammer and nails to put the
board up ourselves. We eventually found a buyer and also managed to find a
property for Nick and Rosemary to buy as well. The deal was agreed and
everybody moved. Closing the sale ensured that our bank overdraft was paid off,
and at the end of our first year trading we presented a profit to our
accountants. I am pleased to say they still call in to see us every Christmas. We
still owe them a huge debt of gratitude for believing in three 25-year-olds who
had just started their own business.”
- Paul Eperon, James Anderson