Walking up and down Castle Street in the otherwise lovely historic cathedral city of Salisbury, Wiltshire is surely one of the most soulless experiences with the complete dominance of estate agency offices and this comes from someone who is an estate agent himself! Napoleon once famously described Britain as being a nation of shop keepers, now it seems we are a nation of estate agents!
One could easily be forgiven for thinking that there are more estate agents in Salisbury than properties to sell, indeed, there is some truth in this. Despite the severe recession in the housing market over the last decade, the numbers have grown even though there are fewer homes available to sell now than there were ten years ago. Every other shop in the city seems to be either an estate agency or coffee house!
So do we actually need so many estate agents in our city and town centres? The answer is surely no. Not only is there currently not enough business to go round so many firms but the reality is that properties are no longer bought and sold in estate agents’ offices the way they used to be. It is the internet that is now the property World’s shop window.
With the surge in the use of handheld devices such as tablets and smart phones over the last four or five years and the continuing popularity of personal computers and lap tops, whatever ‘product’ one is marketing, the internet has undoubtedly become king. As an illustration of this, the UK’s leading property portal Rightmove, one of the country’s most visited websites, 500 pages are viewed every second.
Logging onto a property website is the way the overwhelming majority of house buyers search for their next home. This has led to a number of on-line only agencies being set up. With lower overheads by not having high street rents to pay for and fewer staff to employ, they can offer sellers discounted fees, allowing home owners to post their properties on the internet cheaply. This might sound great but the reality is often far from it and vendors need to be aware that some sites refuse to post properties marketed by on-line agents.
There are other disadvantages with on-line agents not least of which is a call centre style of service. Some offer a dedicated contact albeit with an individual who is likely to have limited knowledge of the property itself, it’s setting and the immediate surroundings. If the remote agent is based in say Basingstoke, they will not know about the local schools, pubs, shops, walks etc. in a village in the Wylye Valley.
On-line agents’ marketing material usually has much to be desired with owners often being left to provide their own photographs and descriptions. I have seen some quite appalling property details which are poorly presented, misleading and more likely to put off prospective buyers than entice them. The seller will also have to conduct their own viewings and have limited support in the offer, negotiation and sales process.
So is there room for a hybrid, i.e. an agency that provides a traditional hands-on, personal intermediary service away from the high street but providing both global and local marketing using the World Wide Web and other digital platforms such as social media? Certainly and it is very much what smaller, non-corporate firms like Rural View are about.
We have found that sellers and buyers alike prefer to develop a good working relationship with ‘real’ people who have an intimate knowledge of the area, the local property market and understand their needs and expectations. Oh, and we do have an office where visitors are most welcome, it’s just that it’s in a complex of converted farm buildings and not on Castle Street, Salisbury!
Dorset is a fascinating county with a varied landscape. We give you 5 of our favourite facts about living in Dorset.
- The Celtic name ‘Dorseteschire’ means the place of fisticuffs!
- Enid Blyton bought Purbeck Golf Club for £1 and she used to holiday in Swanage. Many of her ‘Five’ series of books are based around the Isle of Purbeck and Poole Harbour
- Gold Hill, Shaftesbury has been immortalised by advertisements for Hovis bread with a delivery boy seen pushing a bike up the steeply cobbled street lined by thatched cottages
- A chilli pepper grown in Dorset claims to be the World’s hottest. The Dorset Naga is so fiery that gloves have to be worn to handle it.
- At the Bloody Assizes in 1685 following the Monmouth Rebellion, Judge Jeffreys was responsible for sending 74 people from the Dorchester area to their execution and transporting a further 175
If you are looking for property in Dorset, let us help you with your search for a countryside home.
From village fetes to westminster…
One of the benefits of English country living and village life vs living in the city, is being part of the local community. Known as country estate agents specialising in selling rural homes and country lettings in Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire, Rural View conduct their business with this very much in mind.
Over the years we have been involved in backing a diverse range of local events. This has including supporting a number of village and church fetes including those in Chilmark, Donhead St Andrew and East Knoyle as well as the Damerham Firework display and the Deverills Festival, a wonderful week of art, drama, comedy and music based in the Deverill Valley.
As a fund raiser for the parish churches in Chilmark and Dinton, in April 2015 Rural View sponsored an extremely interesting talk chaired by BBC South’s former political editor Bruce Parker in a packed Dinton Village Hall. The guest speakers were Sir Peter Jennings, a retired House of Commons Serjeant at Arms and Sir George Young who held a variety of senior cabinet posts in several Conservative governments. They discussed their take on life in Parliament, revealing a fascinating peek inside the World of British politics and the Palace of Westminster.
Our next sponsored event will be the very popular and spectacular Chitterne Firework Display on Sunday 1st November which is free entry.
We intend to continue being involved in village life, promoting and backing worthwhile local causes and community events and can be contacted on 01722 716895 or via our website; www.ruralview.co.uk to discuss any ideas or proposals.
In the past cycling was thought to be the preserve of the French but over the last decade there has been a huge explosion in the number of people getting on their bikes in this country and it has now become a British institution. Inspired by GB’s tremendous success in the Olympics and Tour de France over the last decade, cycling is enjoying an extraordinary surge of interest. It is not only a relatively cheap and excellent form of exercise but an ideal way of getting some fresh air and enjoying the wonderful British countryside.
Although the sight of middle aged, overweight men kitted out in lycra wobbling along our country lanes (I include myself amongst this group!) provokes a certain amount of sniggering, cycling actually appeals to all sectors of society irrespective of age, gender and indeed, ability. Whether a solitary peddle, family expedition or mass participation organised event, there is no doubt that it is now one of the UK’s most accessible and popular pastimes.
Anyone looking to buy or rent a country or village property in Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset will find miles of well signed and varied routes along country lanes or off road tracks. Cycling in the area offers a wide choice of easy, intermediate and challenging rides suitable for both the road and mountain bike enthusiast. Route maps of many of these trails can be found on the internet and links to just some of these can be found below.
Whilst many are happy to peddle around the locality on their own or with friends and family, there several cycling groups in the area; some are local clubs and associations whilst others operate at a national level. Most of these arrange group outings, some of which are for just small numbers of riders whilst others can include several hundred. For example ukcyclingevents.co.uk sponsored by Wiggle hosts well organised events with maps, feeding stations, stewards and mechanical back up. In spring 2015 this included the Wiltshire Wildcat which covered the Nadder and Chalke Valleys and Cranborne Chase whilst the autumn’s New Forest 100 Sportive took in the New Forest and the countryside around Salisbury and the Hampshire/Dorset border.
1. Stourhead – Mere/Stourhead Loop via Zeals: http://www.discovernadder.org.uk/uploads/docs/Cycle%20Trail%2010.pdf
2. Wiltshire Cycle Way – Mere to Broad Chalke via East Knoyle & Donhead St Mary:
3. Nadder Valley – Hindon & The Great Estates Loop: http://www.discovernadder.org.uk/uploads/docs/Nadder%20Valley%20Cycle%20Trail%205.pdf
4. Nadder Valley – Tisbury/Semley Loop:
5. The Wylye Valley – Warminster to Salisbury via Wyle:
6. Lower Wylye Valley – Wilton/Wylye Loop: http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/dbimgs/Cycle%205.pdf
7. The Woodford Valley – Salisbury/Amesbury Loop via The Woodfords:
8. Cranborne Chase – Sixpenny Handley/Farnham Loop:
9. North Dorset – Gillingham/Buckhorn Weston Loop:
10. New Forest 100 Sportive – New Forest/Cranborne Chase/Ringwood Forest/East of Salisbury: