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Importance of estate agency in the modern world

Estate agency is a fast moving industry that has evolved over the years and will continue to do so. It is drastically different now than twenty years ago, and with the current climate and ongoing uncertainty in the world, never has an estate agent been more important when selling or buying a property.

Here we speak with two agents from across our network, Guy Vaughan of Birmingham, and Sukhi Chall of Sandwell, for their view on the importance of estate agency in the modern world.

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How can homes sell 26 days more quickly?

If you’re about to put your home on the market and are hoping to move before the stamp duty deadline, we’d like to share some advice with you.

Rightmove’s data analysts have studied 300,000 newly-listed homes across four months and have found that sellers are twice as likely to find a buyer if they have an offer accepted on the initial asking price.

Some sellers are tempted to ask their agent to put their home on for too high an asking price, which could lead to weeks of unnecessary delays.

We know that many of you are planning to be in a new home by the end of March, and our study revealed that the average time to find a buyer if a property is priced right is currently 21 days.

But this number rises to 47 days if a property needs to be reduced.

In fact, homes that needed to be reduced had a one in three chance of finding a buyer (32%) within the timeframe, compared to a 63% chance if priced right from the start.

Currently one in six properties (16%) on Rightmove have had at least one reduction since May. This is an improvement on the 18% for the same period last year.

The average size of a reduction is also slightly lower, at 5%, compared to 5.2% last year. This means an average reduction of almost £16,000 based on the current national average asking price of £319,497.

London is the only region with more reductions than last year, up marginally from 19% to 20%.

What do the experts say?

Love Your Postcode’s resident expert James Snapes explained that pricing your property right could be the difference between completing a sale before the stamp duty deadline or not.

He said: “This analysis shows just how vital it is that sellers listen to their agent when they recommend the asking price that the property should be listed at. If sellers are serious about selling, then starting with too high an asking price can cause unnecessary delays, and also make it a lot less likely they will actually find a buyer in the end.

“The temporary stamp duty holiday means more sellers are in a hurry to get a sale through conveyancing, and with this also taking longer at the minute a realistic asking price could soon end up being the difference between completing in time or losing out on the savings.

“A number of properties are reduced every year, and it’s important to say that not all cases are down to over-pricing. If there’s an area of lower demand than supply then a reduction may be needed if the seller needs to move.

“Also if prices have gone down in an area it’s understandable that a seller will be hesitant or may not be able to afford to put their home on for a lower price than they bought it for. But in the busy market we have right now there will also be some sellers who may think it’s worth a punt to ask for their home to be put up for sale for the same price as their neighbour across the road, when their neighbour may have extra room or their home may be in a better condition.

“A good local agent will be able to look at a number of things before valuing a home, such as the condition of the home and comparable properties, making them the experts at getting the price right first time.”

Note: We analysed all properties that were first listed on the site between 13th May and 31st July. The properties were tracked for any reductions and for the date they were marked as under offer or Sold Subject to Contract.

Feel free to call our teams on 0800 862 0870 to discuss your requirements and beat the Stamp Duty holiday deadline. Book your appointment online now.

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What is the post-pandemic ‘New Normal’?

Confined at home but freed from the daily commute, lockdown had a huge impact on how millions of families live. No longer tied to where they work, homeowners realised it was possible to have more space and a garden.

Property websites Rightmove and Zoopla reported record traffic as would-be buyers sought to make that dream a reality. It remains to be seen whether this represents a fundamental shift in behaviour, away from cities and towards a work-from-home culture. Much depends on the future of the office – and the race for a vaccine.

For the past week, i have running a series of articles on “the New Normal” across retail, offices and the aviation sector, among others. I contributed one on the property market – but the truth is that there is no “normal” yet.

Instead, it is stuck in stasis, detached from the economic reality. For the property market, at least in the short term, lockdown and its aftermath had an instant effect. As soon as restrictions were loosened, estate agents reported a huge spike in demand for homes in the countryside and cities’ outer commuter belts.

Combined with a stamp duty holiday and pent-up demand left over from the “Boris Bounce” after last year’s general election, this psychological boost has created a mini-boom. This will be seen on our billboard campaign this month.

You could argue that this sense of uncertainty is the new normal – an expectation that house prices will fall at some point this year or next, when the recession catches up once the stamp duty holiday ends and unemployment rises.

It also represents a new attitude for many buyers, in which the psychological effects of lockdown and the pandemic outweigh economic concerns. And it further entrenches the divide between those who can get finance – largely people who already have a stake in the market – and those who can’t.

Feel free to provide my teams a call on 0800 862 0870 for an impartial conversation around property and more.

Or alternatively book your free home valuation by clicking on this link.

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D-Day is approaching for the rental market

The rental market is teetering on a cliff edge. The number of tenants who owe money to their landlord is already in the hundreds of thousands and many property owners cannot afford further delays on payments.

The situation is expected to get far worse come autumn when two key deadlines are reached: the end of the eviction ban and the winding down of the furlough scheme.

The ban on evicting tenants was due to be lifted in England on August 23, but just one working day beforehand the Government performed a lightning U-turn and extended protections for tenants until September 20. The extension will simply delay the inevitable and is predicted to lead to an explosion of eviction claims that will overwhelm the courts for months afterwards.

It has also brought the deadline worryingly close to the date on which the furlough scheme, which has kept hundreds of thousands of tenants afloat, will end on October 31.

Approximately 1.5 million private renters were having their wages paid by the state as of the end of June, according to calculations by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a charity. Up to 20pc of furloughed workers could become unemployed when official support cuts out, the Office for Budget Responsibility, the fiscal watchdog has forecast. That means as many as 300,000 renters are at risk of losing their job by November.

Here we map the areas where the highest proportion of workers are on furlough, which could be hit by mass evictions and high employment in autumn.

For both landlords and tenants, it is a nightmare situation. A number of solutions have been suggested – from increasing housing benefit so tenants can pay their rent, to taxpayer bailouts to wipe rental arrears. However these are complex issues and coming up with a resolution will require careful planning. So why has the Government given itself just four weeks to do so?

You can always find more news and advice at Love Your Postcode. Please do take a look at our others blogs.

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Top tips for landlords from Alex Hugh

With the evolving nature of the buy-to-let market, there is a lot to consider as a landlord with new regulations and significant changes in place.

If buy-to-let used to be an easy win, it’s now something that needs a little more guidance, and it’s never been more important for landlords to take professional advice from experienced agents.

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