Having lived in the countryside for much of our lives, it seems that there has never been such an urge to tread the wild green open spaces of rural Britain. There is a real “Rural Renaissance” going on and we are as busy as I can remember taking calls from buyers and tenants searching for their dream home.
The market is currently in very short supply of quality property and history tells us that when this is coupled with significant increased demand, as is the case at the moment, there is likely to be upward pressure on prices – great news for sellers !
Not all new buyers registering with us are from big cities, there is an awful lot of moving going on generally throughout the UK with many families picking this as their moment to upsize or downsize or simply change the balance of their lifestyle. It is very likely that for many, working from home in some capacity is here to stay. In addition there are always job moves happening and ex-pats returning from abroad which adds some healthy competition too.
Here on the Wiltshire/Dorset border, we have perhaps previously taken where we live for granted but not anymore. The area offers a fantastic lifestyle with plenty going on for all ages whilst still being within easy reach of London for those needing to travel there whether on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
The last few weeks have seen a healthy level of exchanges which gives us good confidence going forward. Yes, the market has been buoyed up by the stamp duty holiday but if this expires at the end of March as scheduled, we do not believe demand will dry up.
Do get in touch if you would like an informal conversation about public or private marketing – we would be delighted to hear from you.
CS February 2021
Rural View are delighted that the Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has announced plans to introduce new measures to speed up the house selling/buying process and professionalise the estate agent sector, driving up standards and bringing an end to ‘rogue managing agents’. This is something that is more than overdue and we, together with the rest of the property industry, have been calling for for many years.
With over one million homes bought and sold in England each year, delays and complications during the process cause unnecessary financial and emotional stress to customers. This uncertainty can lead to delayed decisions and contributes to over one quarter of house sales falling through annually.
According to government research, more than 6 out of 10 buyers and sellers have experienced stress, and around a quarter of sellers said they would use a different estate agent if they were to go through the process again.
Estate agents will now be required to hold a professional qualification and to be transparent about the fees they receive for referring clients to solicitors, surveyors and mortgage brokers. Other measures to make the system easier, faster and more transparent include:
– encouraging the use of voluntary reservation agreements to help prevent sales falling through and crack down on gazumping
– setting a timeline for local authority searches so buyers get the information they need within 10 days
– requiring managing agents and freeholders to provide up-to-date lease information for a set fee and to an agreed timetable which will end the current situation where leaseholders are at the mercy of freeholders and their agents
– strengthening the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team so they can carry out more enforcement activity which includes banning agents
Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said:
– “Buying a home is one of the biggest and most important purchases someone will make in their life. But for far too long buyers and sellers have been trapped in a stressful system full of delays and uncertainty.”
-“So we’re going to put the consumers back in the driving seat. We will require estate agents to hold a qualification so that people are no longer at risk from a minority of ‘rogue agents’ and can trust the process when buying or selling their home.”
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark said:
-“We particularly welcome the commitment to further regulation – we have long argued that estate agents should be recognised as professionals, this is an important step towards achieving this and we look forward to working with the government.”
There are approximately 20,000 estate agent businesses across the country, and currently, anyone can practice as an estate agent. The changes set out will professionalise the sector, creating a more trustworthy and reliable industry who will be better held to account.
Guides on ‘How to Buy’ and ‘How to Sell’ will be developed and published to ensure customers are better informed of the process and know what questions they should be asking. The government will work with consumer groups and industry to develop a consistent set of performance metrics for conveyancers, so consumers can make a more informed choice.
To bring the profession into the technology era, a working group will be set up to bring industry and partners, such as HM Land Registry, together to look at developing innovative digital solutions to speed up the home buying and selling process.
Government will consult on how the industry can be brought up to professional standards, like those in the same trade such as conveyancers, solicitors and surveyors.
Why you should considering selling your house now
It’s pretty cold out there and we just seem to be assaulted by one storm after the next. Isn’t that just one reason not to even think about moving house?
Of course we can come up with all sorts of excuses to batten down the hatches and stay put, but the reality is that if you have to move house, for whatever reason, then you should seriously consider selling now.
Here are some very good reasons why now is a good time to sell your house:
Lack of competition in the local housing market
There is currently the lowest number of available properties for many, many years. This means that there is far less competition to attract buyers than there would be in the spring, when we are likely to see more houses hitting the market. It also means that buyers may more readily pay what you are looking to achieve.
Buyers want to move to this area
We have plenty of frustrated buyers who would dearly love to hear about fresh properties in Wiltshire and Dorset. Not only is this a popular part of the world to move to, but there are also those who want to stay in the area and get on with the next stage in their lives. Whether they are upsizing or downsizing, moving from town into country or vice versa, we are in touch with them.
Speed – save time
You can beat the rush and save valuable time. In the summer months solicitors, surveyors and local authorities are often overloaded with work. The quieter months allow them to concentrate on less workload, however, and transactions can smooth through just that bit more quickly. For instance the last couple of summers saw Wiltshire local authority searches take up to a couple of months to be returned which often proved critical. At the moment this is more likely to be one or two weeks.
Putting your property on the market now should enable a move within the next three or four months which means that you will have the majority of the summer to enjoy getting to know your new home. It is a much more pleasant time to physically move, you will have the longer days and better weather (we hope!) to concentrate on any home improvements, and plenty of time to arrange schools for September.
Your house can look as good now as it might in the summer months. Photographers are very clever beings and if you use a professional, as we do, then the best aspects of your property can be relayed with skill. True, they can’t conjure up green leafed trees and bounteous borders, but they can really help to sell an attractive lifestyle, which actually is what it is all about.
Writing these notes on a bitterly cold late February day, it may seem strange to suggest that spring is on its way but aside from nature’s barometer of snowdrops, daffodils and even primroses and crocuses which are out already, there is also a hint of green shoots in the housing market.
Over the last couple of years there has been an acute shortage of property for sale and particularly so since last summer despite continuing strong demand. At last there are signs that this situation is starting to be rectified and we are being invited out to an improving number of prospective sellers’ homes to provide market appraisals which has resulted in our being instructed to put more houses up for sale. We anticipate that this will become a self-perpetuating exercise as more buyers will be encouraged to search in earnest and in turn put their own properties on the market.
Despite it still be relatively early in the year, we are also seeing increased buyer activity with a rising level of internet visits and direct registrations. This has led to plenty of viewing requests and sales, particularly for realistically priced character homes situated in the best locations.There are therefore grounds for optimism for the property market in 2016 and with Wiltshire County Council finally beginning to tackle the unacceptably long delays in processing Local Authority Searches compared to its speedier neighbouring counties, progressing sales in Wiltshire should hopefully no longer be as slow as they have been.
What might temper this early promise? This can be summed up in one rather unattractive word; ‘Brexit’. Whatever one’s views are on whether the UK should stay in or leave the European Union, it is after all a topic that stirs divisive opinions, the volatility that is already being experienced in the currency and share markets may also spread to the property sector. If one is thinking of moving, there may be an argument for getting on with it sooner rather than later.
Should polls ahead of the referendum suggest a close result, the housing market could be affected by a case of the jitters. Putting aside issues such as sovereignty and border control, a result in favour of a withdrawal may in the short term have an adverse impact on confidence in the UK economy whilst a ‘stay-in’ outcome is more likely to see the property market settle down quickly or even push ahead.
Even if you are bored of the European question already, we in the property World are likely to have an interesting time of it in the months ahead!
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!