Leaving the EU and the property market
On Wednesday 29th March 2017, Theresa May triggered Article 50 to start the process of Britain leaving the European Union. How will leaving the EU affect the UK property market for both buyers and sellers? It’s an uncertain time with no real answer but continue reading to make more sense of what lies ahead.
With Article 50 being triggered we are finally moving forward as a country with the outcome of last year’s Referendum on the UK leaving the E.U. In general terms, we are heading into the unknown; the nay sayers will say we are rapidly reaching doomsday whilst the optimists will quote we have the ‘best times ahead’. Whichever side of the fence you sit on the truth is no one knows just how this situation will play out. All we have at the moment are speculations and predictions. What we do know is that the market in general will (as it always does) affect the housing market one way or another.
Immediately following last year’s vote, BBC News reported a lull in the market due to uncertain times ahead. This soon reverted to normal as the ‘shock’ died down but now Article 50 has been triggered it will be interesting to see how the market responds. Initial reports state that property price growth will be slow; the Treasury reported that over the next two years, house prices may be 10-18% lower compared to if the country had voted to remain in the EU. The interesting point here is that they ‘may be’ lower; no one really knows as we step into completely new territory.
One fact that is true is that any form of uncertainty affects confidence and decision making abilities both in the financial market and at grassroots level. Peoples’ finances are unknown – how will leaving the EU affect their wages and even their jobs? Uncertainty can spook the market and this causes a vicious circle as the housing market stalls which spooks the market further. There is not a clear forecast yet as it is notoriously difficult to predict the effects of something that has never before been experienced.
However it’s certainly not all bad news. The key benefit to leaving the EU may be to first time buyers. With a (predicted) fall in house prices and stagnation of the market, it will be easier for first time buyers to get themselves on the property ladder. Existing home owners may also find benefits. EU rules on mortgages will no longer apply so lending could be increased. Additionally, interest rates may stay low due to the Bank of England’s reluctance to increase them in these uncertain times, meaning property finance may become more affordable for all.
The fact that we have a steady supply and demand stream in the UK will also help to offset any possible market crash and also help house prices to recover. You mustn’t forget we have a shortage of homes and consistent demand so the market can only fall so far. International buyers will also be better placed to invest in UK property if the Sterling drops.
At the moment it may feel like we are at the helm of a ship sailing into unchartered territory, but we must remember than any changes will be slow and small, and that leaving the EU is a lengthy process. It is more than likely that whatever happens the property market, as always, will level out and stabilise. Triggering Article 50 last week at least provided a little stability to how we go forward as it looked like the government were finally taking control one way or another. This in itself triggered a stability in the market and a raise in house sales.
Your estate agents are always one step ahead. We have an unrivalled, professional understanding of the market and any uncertainties that may approach us. As always, we are a guiding hand in unsteady times and ready to answer any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to get in contact.
Local vs Online – how a local agent works for YOU
Property is big business. Look in any newspaper and on any highstreet and you will see the evidence with estate agents clearly visible. Additionally, over the past few years the online agent has also expanded into the market place with promises of quick sales and low fees. However, are these promises enough to lure you in and, more importantly, will they deliver on their promises, or is there a better way?
Local knowledge for the local market. Your local agent is best placed to know all there is about the market that your property stands in. Our knowledge, from not only selling properties in this area but also living here, means we have all the information at hand to make the best of your property. We know about all the key amenities and future plans for the area; things that would easily be overlooked by an online agent whose only knowledge of the area comes from online research – they might even not have been to your area personally. Unbelievable but true! With our familiarity of the area we can ensure we do the one thing that is important to you above all else – achieve the very best price for your property.
Personable and available One huge advantage of choosing a local agent like ourselves is the lure of accompanied viewings. We all live busy lives and as part of our service we offer accompanied viewings for all our properties. Not only does this have the benefit of letting you get on with your day to day activities whilst we deal with viewings, but it also majorly appeals to buyers. Research has shown that buyers prefer to look around a property with an agent rather than the homeowner; they feel more comfortable due to the impartiality of the agent and their ‘honesty’. They feel they can converse about the property without it being too ‘personal’. Another benefit is that with an agent carrying out your viewings, you will receive good and honest feedback that otherwise may not be as forthcoming from potential purchasers. This feedback can then become constructive and worked upon for future viewings. And because we’re only around the corner we can fit in viewings at short notice for those impulsive, ‘drive by’ customers; those who are just so impressed by your property as they drive by that they just have to view it NOW!
Bigger isn’t always better. Larger corporate estate agents or online agents have one thing in common – they cover a wider area than your local agent and hand in hand with this larger area goes a larger number of properties. It goes without saying that an agent dealing with thousands of properties is going to have less time to dedicate to you as a seller than your local agent who takes on only those properties in their specialised, localised area. Your local agent will therefore be able to spend much needed time both with you as a customer; finding out your needs and details, as well as on promoting and advertising your property.
Branch Benefits Another benefit of choosing a local agent is the fact that it has a ‘bricks and mortar’ base. A local office gives somewhere for both sellers and buyers to interact face to face with a real person, which, let’s be honest, most of us prefer. Put this together with the fact that a local branch has high street presence in the exact place you want to advertise your property, and to the exact people you want to advertise it to, and you will easily see that a local agent is value for money.
At the end of the day, selling your property can be stressful and a huge life experience. Choosing your agent is part of this experience and you need to make sure they are right for you and your property. The lure of ‘cheap’ deals and corporate companies can sometimes be exciting but your decision boils down to who will sell your property? Who will have the full knowledge of both your house and the area? Who will have the ability to attract the right buyer through this local knowledge? This experience can only be brought by first hand understanding of the area and only your local agent can offer this. Why chose anyone else?
Top Tips for Selling
The housing market is a competitive one, so how can you make your property stand out? Follow these steps to make your home shine.
The right first impression. Go outside you home and look at it as an outsider. What impression does it give? Does it look loved and cared for? Or slightly unkempt? Is your outside space tidy and welcoming? This will be any potential buyers first impression of your home as they come to view and you need to wow them. A scruffy garden or sad looking front door will give the impression that your house is uncared for and this impression is likely to stay with them throughout the viewing. Luckily it’s easy to rectify. Tidy the front of your property of any litter or overgrown foliage. Mow the grass and buy a cheap tray of bedding plants to bring some colour and life to your garden if you have one. Make sure your doors and windows are clean and clear of peeling paint. Finally, can you find your house?! Of course YOU can but can your buyer?! I.e. is your house clearly numbered? There’s nothing worse than a buyer who gets lost on their way to a viewing!
Tidy Home. A buyer will only purchase a property if they can actually imagine themselves living in it. But that’s pretty hard to do if your home is cluttered with personal photographs of you posing after one too many sangrias on holiday. In advance of viewings, make sure any items of personal note are tidied away. Not only photographs but trinkets and ‘dust catchers’ (yes, including the lovely clay pot in the shape of an elephant your kids made for you at school…) Having clean surfaces will maximise the size of your rooms and show off the character of your home to its true potential. Another thing you need to tidy away? Any pets. Even pet lovers won’t necessarily want to imagine themselves living where someone else’s pet once lived. Make sure they’re out of the property when any viewings are taking place.
Crystal Clear Everyone loves a light and airy property and a sure fire way to ensure this in your home is to make sure your windows are crystal clear. Grubby hand marks and smears can make your rooms like dank and dirty. Whatever trick you use to do it (a good simple squigee or the old vinegar and newspaper trick for example), make sure your windows are sparkling clean. And don’t neglect the frames! Peeling paint or rotting window frames are not a good look so freshen them up with a good scrub or a lick of new emulsion.
No nasty smells. There’s nothing nicer than fresh air and this is exactly what your home should smell like. Clean and fresh and as neutral as possible. Don’t be lured by scented candles as not everyone likes them; simply open your windows and let the fresh air in (but make sure you don’t do this too close to any viewings unless you want your potential buyers to freeze!)
Those little niggles. I can guarantee that around your property there will be at least 3 or 4 little DIY jobs that need doing (and probably have done for the past couple of years!) The likelihood is that you have ‘lived’ with them as they don’t bother you too much. However take note that they will be the first thing that any potential buyers spot! Be it scuff marks on walls or the odd loose floorboard, on their own they may not seem a problem but stack them up and they can only give the impression that your house is uncared for. Finish any little DIY jobs and make your home look and feel well looked after.
Clean as a whistle. Of course your property needs to be clean for any viewings, but how can you juggle this with leading a busy life? The advice is simple and easily achieved. Once your property is on the market, immediately carry out a deep clean. Now once that has been undertaken, it will be easy for you to keep on top of any ‘intermittent’ cleaning as and when viewings pop up meaning your house will always look presentable yet it doesn’t feel too onerous for you.
Looking pretty. Staging is all about making your home look nice and making any potential buyers want to live there. Little touches such as a bunch of fresh flowers or plumping up couch cushions will make your home look lived in and loved. Even go so far as to iron your bedding! Dress your rooms according to their usage and any potential buyers will immediately spot your home’s potential.
Follow these very simple (and cheap!) steps to maximise your home’s potential and make selling a breeze!
How do I get my tenant to move out
Most tenants will offer no resistance if you want to end the tenancy at the end of the term, but some are more reluctant. Maybe they have children at the local school and will find it difficult to secure another property or they are have an elderly relative living close by. Of course there maybe other reasons such as they are not paying the rent and want to make the process difficult for you.
Your first step is to talk to your tenant, face to face. Explain your reasons for them wanting to move out and discuss a notice period with them.
You may want to offer them assistance to find another home, discuss their requirements and ask them if they have registered with the local agents, you may even want to help them do this to give you the best possible chance of gaining possession in your time frame.
Depending on the type of tenancy you have signed with them will determine the length of notice you need to give them. The standard assured shorthold agreement requires two months notice to be given. The way you serve you notice and the dates you give are very important, if you are unsure give us a call and we can help.
For example, if you have signed an agreement with quarterly rental payments, you may have to give your tenants three months’ notice.
The reason you would like them to leave is also important and will determine your course of action if they decide that after the notice period they are not going to leave. It is important to remember that if your tenant decides not to leave after their notice period you will need to go to court to get a possession order. It is important at this stage that you have followed the correct procedures throughout the tenancy:
- You have protected of any deposit taken in a government scheme
- There is an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- You have issued the ‘How to Rent’ information in the correct form
- Your notice was issued correctly
- There are a number of different legal notices which can be served, the correct one for you will depend on the reasons you are asking your tenant to leave for example: You want to move back into the property as it was your main home before renting out the house
- The tenant is not paying you the rent
- The tenant is not looking after the property
- The tenant is behaving in an anti-social manner
- You want the property back so you can sell
You also need to make sure that you are serving the correct up to date forms as these are updated periodically.
Getting a tenant to leave your property is not as straightforward as it seems. Maintaining good relations with tenants is so important even during times of difficulty.
If you’re worried about whether your tenant will leave your property peacefully, in good order and with the rent fully paid, I can help. Just call me on 0161 8717071 and I’ll talk you through the best way to handle the situation. No strings; no charge, just a helpful chat to help you avoid any unnecessary expense and unpleasantness.
Till Next Time
Winter Viewings Guide
Selling your home in the winter has its advantages as well as disadvantages, there are always ways in which you can improve the chances of selling your home when it’s cold and frosty.
When you are having your gorgeous professional pictures taken, don’t worry if the sun doesn’t shine ask your agent to come back on another day to take your external shots, no one wants to look at a rain soaked picture!
When the viewings start to roll in, always ensure your front door and windows are clean and give the window cleaner a festive tip for that extra shine.
During the winter, it’s hard to have your garden looking its best, but buying a couple of pots and filling them with winter pansies will add lovely colour.
If you have a real fire or woodburner, make sure you light it before your viewers arrive. If your agent does your viewings, give them a lesson on how to do it. It’s always much more welcoming to arrive in a warm and cosy home, as well as showing off a lovely feature of your home. If you leave your central heating on low it will always mean your house is a nice temperature and not too hot that your viewers can’t stand the heat and want to leave!
If it is frosty or snowy outside, make sure you clear the path to the front door, and maybe even to the car if there’s space available, showing your viewers some appreciation and care. This gives a safe passage for your viewers, and also makes your home look well maintained.
Also make sure whoever if doing the viewing wears over-shoes to avoid muddy footprints on the Axminster!
Leaves can be a slipping hazard, so keep paths free and swept, as well as making sure they are not blocking any gutters or drains.
If your Christmas decorations are still up, make sure people can still see the size of the rooms and always switch on the tree lights for that extra sparkle. NB take this para out in another week!
We hope you liked our winter viewing tips.
What to do now – if you’d like a chat about how we can help you maximise your chances of selling before Easter, we’d love to hear from you. Call 0161 871 7071 and ask for Annabelle.
Till Next Time.
Be found in 1 million Boxing Day Searches on Rightmove
Some of you maybe wondering whether its worth keeping your property on the market over Christmas after all who is looking for a new house in December or whether to actually list your property over the festive period?
Well, you will be surprised. You may not get many viewings over the Christmas period but after all the Turkey and trimmings on Christmas Day and time with the family guess what people do?
Hit the sales?
Go for a nice brisk walk to blow the cobwebs away?
No they hit Rightmove searching for their next dream property. Rightmove report that Boxing Day is when they gtt the most hits on their website and therefore your property needs to be there to be found!]
So why are people looking for a new property on Boxing day?
- Maybe they have decided New Year-New Start and they have had time over the Christmas break to make the decision that now is the right time to start marketing their own property and start searching
- Maybe their house sold in the run up to the festive period and they are looking for their dream home whilst they have time of their hands
- Lots of people are off work over the festive period and find themselves with more time than usual to start looking for a new home
- Unfortunately Christmas is that time of year when people decide that they no longer be together so start searching for a new home
If you are considering listing your property over the Christmas period you may be worried about a number of things:
- Dull and dark photographs
- Viewings on cold wintery days
- Being disturbed on your festive break from work
- Well don’t worry these are all issues which can be overcome:
Always use a professional photographer who can lighten up the most dismissal day or even better here at On The Move if the sun isn’t shining we will return on a brighter day to take the external shots.
There are lots of ways to ensure a great viewing on a cold day including lighting all the fires so its toast warm for your viewers on arrival for more great tips see my blog on Wintery viewings for more great ideas.
If you don’t want to be disturbed over a certain period if you are having guests or just don’t want to be bothered tidying up, that’s fine we can hold onto those interested parties till the New Year.
Make sure your property is there for everyone to find on the busiest day of year on the biggest online portal Rightmove.
Till Next Time,
Give us a call today 0161 871 7071, we look forward to hearing from you.
TOP FIVE KEY TIPS FOR ATTRACTING TOP TENANTS
Renting out your home or previous Buy To Let investment can be daunting – for many people they are trusting a stranger to manage their single biggest asset.
Finding tenants is not nard in today’s market but finding the best ones’ can be. So how do you make sure that your tenants are going to look after your home and pay your rent on time?
You want a tenant who is prepared to stay and invest in the area and are likely to want a home worthy of a long term stay! Does your property stand up to the challenge?
A quick top five things to consider to catch the best tenants
- White goods – if you are renting with appliances with the property, make sure they are in good working order and will stand the test of time. If does not take many engineer visits to add up to changing a cheap machine!
- Carpets and Flooring – spend some money on ensuring these all new or at the least professionally cleaned. It may seem extravagant but it will make your home very welcoming, and both you and the tenant will know the condition when they moved in – meaning they are much more likely to look after them and clean up after each spill!
- Combination Boilers – they are efficient for the tenant who has hot water on demand at the lowest cost, and for you with less maintenance, a great idea is to have the boiler on a contract which gives the tenant peace of mind and means you don’t get midnight phone calls!
- Gardens – if the property has a garden make sure its neat and tidy for viewings, tenants are more likely to want the property with a lovely outdoor space to enjoy and if you are expecting them to maintain it starting off with it lovely pristine sets a great example.
- Top Management – most good tenants prefer dealing with a management company rather than the landlord. Tenants tend to take a management company more seriously and like to have the reassurance of a quick and professional response for when problems do crop up.
At On The Move we put the needs of our landlords first, and that means that we regularly give advice that can help them attract the best tenants who are tenants for years. We are also landlords ourselves which means we understand your needs. If you would like to know how we can help you get the best possible return from your rental properties please give us a call on 01618717071: we would love to hear from you.
SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR AGENT!
If your house has been on the market for more than three months, there are some questions you need to ask your estate agent to find out why it hasn’t sold so far, and what to do about it. A good agent will be able to answer all six – let’s see how many your agent can answer!
- Who have you sent our brochure out to? – to what kind of buyers? How many had asked specifically for your property details, and how many had been sent out to their mailing list? How many did they print, and how many do they have left? Sometimes, agents won’t reprint when they run out, preferring instead to keep costs down by printing off the office printer – tacky!
- Can you show me our Rightmove Performance Report and your analysis?– Most agents these days can provide you with one, but can they analyse it? If they can’t – send it to me! firstname.lastname@example.org – I’ll tell you what you need to know.
- Can you change our main image and test the results? – if your online activity is low, I’d suggest you change your main house shot. However, this is only useful to you if you can then measure the results. If it doesn’t improve your statistics, try another, and keep trying until you get the click-through rate you need (see post as above). Sometimes, a fresh new image improves your rate temporarily, so try changing it regularly to keep your results as high as possible.
- What’s happening on any comparable properties? – who is achieving viewings, and who isn’t? Which houses have been reduced in price, and has this made any difference? Which are under offer, after how long, and at what kind of value? If you aren’t getting viewings and everyone else is, ask why!
- How do you think our marketing can be improved? – ask your agent for a marketing review, and analyse as dispassionately as you can, your brochure, photography and online advert. Identify areas that can be improved, and make sure they are acted upon.
- Why hasn’t our house sold – other than the price?– I have often asked agents this question, and listened to them trying to come up with an answer. The truth is, there are often several reasons, and it’s highly likely that none of those reasons will be the asking price! Ask your agent for constructive ways you can help him to attract viewers, and make sure he knows he can be honest. If he can’t come up with anything, call me, and I’ll tell you!
When you’ve asked your agent these questions, please drop me a line and let me know how they scored! I’d love to hear from you.
NEED TO ATTRACT MORE VIEWERS?
If your house has been on the market for more than three months, and you feel you are not getting the number of viewings you would like here are some tips to try….
- Review your marketing– look at your photography, description, online advert and brochure, and make a list of improvements you could make to them. Ask your estate agent about getting the house re-photographed, and whether they would cover the charge of a professional photographer. Write the description from scratch, including ‘owners’ quotes’, interesting historical anecdotes, and any other human interest element you think might intrigue a buyer.
- Call your agent – my experience has shown that the more often you talk to your agent, the more likely your house is going to be in the forefront of their mind if a prospective buyer calls. How often have you phoned your agent to ask them why you haven’t had a viewing in a while, only to be told a day or two later that someone wants to view.
- Take a break– taking your house off the market for a little while may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes it’s all you need to increase the interest in your house when you re-launch. It’s also a good idea if you are going to revamp your marketing materials, as your home will have extra impact when you go back to the market. As a general rule of thumb, I would suggest a month off the market for every six months you’ve been for sale. Upon your re-launch, an email alert will hit all the inboxes of buyers who have registered with Rightmove and the other portals, and this alone could help encourage viewings.
By taking action, not only will you give yourself the best possible chance to increase interest in your property, you will you feel reassured that you are taking control of your own house sale. If you have tried this and got results would we love to hear from you. Email us at email@example.com