Friday 18th February 2022
“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
Happy February!! And, as a write this, it is an extremely blowy stormy one out there. There is even whistling coming though the supposedly tightest of double glazing in our kitchen this afternoon. Sam and I popped over to check on a house we are marketing nearby, and even the heavy oak garden bench has been whipped over. I’m keeping an eye out for flying houses, witches in stripey tights, and a dog called Toto.
Mind you, a pair of red ruby slippers might just save a fortune on petrol!
So far, February has been a remarkably quiet month, house wise. Far fewer properties have come to market across the board of all agents than we would generally expect, and a pent up demand for housing stock is still growing. This is keeping house prices strong, and demand keen.
The model of agency which Sam and I have built, under the umbrella of Julian and MAC, is to work to a maximum of three or four houses available at any time. Thus, the occasional quiet period isn’t an issue for us – as we use this time to prepare brochures on the next properties coming along, and concentrate on working through our under offer stock, to get them as ready as we can at our end for Exchange and Completion.
Keeping our lists low, means that we generally achieve a listing to offer date line of approx. two weeks (generally one week), which our clients are generally delighted about. We don’t simply pop a house online, and hope the phone will ring, and then fit viewings around a busy diary crammed with dozens of other property viewing demands. This way, we almost always manage to fit in the viewing times and dates that our buyers and sellers wish, keeping our service levels high.
One thing which we must stress is essential. Not only do we recommend choosing your estate agent wisely, but it is essential to choose your solicitor wisely too. We would highly recommend choosing a solicitor which has been recommended to you, (and sadly not always the cheapest one either). Your local solicitors tend to know the unusual foibles of certain properties, road by road, but even solicitors further afield can be terrific, if they keep their capacity reasonable, and are willing to liaise with your estate agents. Times have changed over the decades – years ago, estate agents simply found buyers, and then handed over to solicitors. These days, a good effective estate agent will manage the sale actively, liaising with the chains and other solicitors involved, and update all buyers and sellers to keep the transaction smooth and moving forward. Many agents’ hearts sink when they hear that some particular conveyancers have been instructed on a case, as they know that communication will be poor, and timescales protracted. We have had a case only this month where a conveyancing house was instructed on a house in November, but no enquiries had been raised by early February. No calls were returned, no activity on the file, despite the anxious buyers, the sellers solicitors, and us, trying to reach them desperately to find out what was going on. Sadly the buyers had a related sale also running, so it was not as simple as them just changing solicitors themselves.
Very sadly and reluctantly, after almost three months of seeming inactivity and little communication, the sellers, who were desperately keen to have their sale concluded, instructed us to change buyers. The difference is like night vs day – within ten days, searches were applied for and back, enquiries raised, and we are hurtling towards an exchange of contracts within three weeks of receipt of draft contract. The sellers are desperately sorry for the original buyers but they had to protect their own position and family.
Give the other solicitors their due, when the sale was withdrawn, the CEO jumped straight on the case, and promised to personally oversee the transaction and get it moving swiftly but our clients had sadly lost confidence. It was just too little too late for them. The firm concerned had apparently grown by 170% over the previous few months, and sadly, whilst their client lists were high, their ability to service them adequately was hampered by lack of staffing to cope.
So, two weeks or so into February, we have pretty much sold all of our existing available properties, which is great news; we have a wonderful development opportunity coming, a house in St Cross, and a fabulous property in the Barracks on its way. Additionally, we have brochures prepared for twelve further properties (to date) in readiness for when those owners wish to go to market.
We have agreed sales on over 60 properties over the past year, and remain endlessly grateful to all our clients for their faith and trust in us.
We have received so many wonderful reviews from our clients, but one of the most recent read,
From the start, Nony had empathy and gave the process of buying and selling a home the importance it deserves. For this is not any transaction to the sellers, it is your nest! Even though, Nony provides the personal touch and truly cares about you and your home. She is professional to the core, stops at nothing to get everything finalised and the deal sealed, regularly going above and beyond.
The access to her, and not being passed on to somebody else, provides reassurance and continuity in a time when everything around is changing. She made what can be a fraught and difficult process less painful, and took a lot of the stress out of it. For me, this was priceless.
Onwards to spring! From the daffodils and tulips currently blazing in the garden (or at least were, the last time I looked, goodness knows where they might have flown off to courtesy of Eunice!), surely it cannot be far away!