Oh the honey-bees are gumming
On their little wings, and humming
That the summer, which is coming,
Will be fun.
Winnie the Pooh
(from Noise, in Rabbit’s Busy Day,
House at Pooh Corner)
Sunday 13th August 2023
And where is the sun??!
Apparently there is some promise of some to come in the week, so fingers crossed.
Well, it has been a very busy few months season since our last update/blog.
Ellie, our elder daughter, got married to her amazing husband, Ash (they met at university almost ten years ago and he is easily one of our family now!), I turned 60 (how?? I am sure I am only 42!), and Sam and I were proud to have been nominated and then won the Service Excellence Award in June from the Winchester Bid, winning from more than 70 nominations.
We are really touched by this as it was purely down to our reputations for hard work, honest ethics, and clients’ feedbacks for the work we do.
As anyone who knows us will attest, during none of these milestones did we take our eye off the ball with our clients however.
The housing market has been like a heart monitor on Casualty, with the ECG peaks and troughs on a monitor going up and down with notable variances week by week. However the main overriding overview from what we have experienced
is that the market has remained somewhat steady.
An article in The Times a couple of weeks ago mentioned that ‘mortgage providers have bet than rates will peak at a lower point than previously expected, and HMRC figures show that homebuyers have returned to the housing market, ending speculation of a collapse in prices.
Add to this that Mortgages went up earlier this year as everyone knows, but are coming back down again now with many lenders reducing their rates last week.
There has regularly been talk of house prices coming down. We haven’t seen too much of this in the Winchester area to be fair. The main cause of those which have reduced have been because they were potentially too highly priced in the first instance caused by some agents feeling the pressure to do so to beat other competing agents to win the instruction. Sam and I don’t have this reputation thankfully, and forensically price our properties when visiting potential clients in the first instance to almost be back in the maths classroom at school to ‘show our workings out’ with the prices we recommend. And this bears out with our client’s belief and trust in us when they instruct us to represent them.
And this continued confidence in the market correlates with higher numbers of potential buyers being back out viewing in the past couple of weeks than we have seen for a while, and we have received offers on a number of properties, which is good news. Even better news is that we have agreed offers on two properties over this weekend, which is unexpectedly encouraging for a chilly rainy week in August when we would usually expect many buyers to be away on holiday.
To be fair many people are indeed away, and I am somewhat surprised that the UK hasn’t got, if temporary, subsidence leaning down to the South-West due to the large numbers of our clients who have all gone on holiday to Devon and Cornwall!!
Ironically, Sam and I usually go to France in July, and whilst we have been there, we watch the Hampshire weather forecast back home showing heatwaves frying our garden, with us missing the best of the flowers coming into bloom, then wilting horribly whilst we are away. Thus, this year we stayed home to enjoy our hot sunny floral garden, safe in the knowledge that we can easily keep it hydrated with watering … for it to be chilly and rainy. Humph to that, and of course Sam has now got his allotment, of which he is really proud. The weather has provided well for his vegetables but, whilst I was initially delighted at the thought of some broad beans and courgettes, they have been so copious that I almost never want to see another again!! Guess it’s ratatouille again for supper??!?!
As we mentioned in our last Blog, house pricing is essential to getting the right people through the door in the first instance and to prevent the house listing ‘going cold’ after being overexposed and not selling.
We highlighted an instance of this last time, but another one this summer went like this – ‘thank you for valuing my home. Unfortunately another agent valued it at £300k higher than you did. I appreciate the work you did and for the time you took, but we are instructing another agent.
Literally within ten days, the client called us (we were on our way to our elder daughter’s wedding, so I remember the call vividly). “Hello”, I said, “Is everything okay??” “No”, came the reply, “I don’t know how to say this, but they lied!”.
Not unexpectedly, it transpired that the winning agent marketed for a few days, had received little interest, and asked the client to reduce the price…
Close to where our initial recommendation had been.
We will be taking the property on this week.
So, price the property right, get great photographs (we truly believe we have the best photographers in Hampshire, and many clients attest to this!), enjoy the mortgage interest rates stabilise and come down a bit, and we see some green shoots again out there (yep, almost linked back to allotment talk!).
As everyone who knows Sam and me, honesty and integrity, along with hard work and ethics, is the cornerstone of our business. This is what brings work to our door. We pride ourselves in being the smallest agent in town, with the fewest numbers of properties available, and to simply immerse ourselves in them. No-one can guarantee to sell a property, but my goodness we put our hearts and souls into doing our darned-ness to do so!
As mentioned above, we forensically assess the market for each and every valuation to which we are invited (one potential client, for whom we valued her home yesterday, said ‘it’s quite scientific, isn’t it?’).
And to a large extent it is. We assess what else is selling, and for what price, in the immediate and surrounding vicinity, check the size (yes, many homeowners think that all (say) three bedroom houses are three bedroomed houses so comparable, but haven’t appreciated that there could be a variance between 850-1200 sq ft!).
Add to this an element of how the property actually ‘feels’, the presentation and quality of finish, and we are pretty much there.
We have been known for attaining the highest valuation to sale price achieved on our properties compared to other agents.
We then attend each of our photography sessions with our amazing photography team, to ensure we get some of the angles we particularly wish to achieve, but also to get to know the property really well before we finally start viewings.
And then, of course, Sam and I do all our own viewings, this is not palmed off to anyone else. So many buyers say how refreshing it is to have agents showing them around who actually know about the house they are showing and can answer questions about it!
And just as important, we then do our own sales progression, liaising between our buyers and sellers, solicitors and surveyors, to enable a clean continuity between all parties. This is so important as relationships are built during the viewings and offer stages, which can be so easily fractured if the same people do not necessarily see the sale through the next stages.
But above all, old fashioned hard work and ethics, in a modern world cannot, in our mind, be beaten.
Our most recent home owner review received just last week, might just attest to this:
“I would like to say a great big thank you, to both you and Sam. You have been been truly amazing, helping me through my very first house sale. Fraught as it was at times. You did exactly as you said you would do. Gave a fantastic,old fashioned, personal service and always there for me, which was exactly what I needed.
I very strongly recommend Nony if you’re thinking of selling your house.
The service is second to none. Truly first class.”
And another which we were also proud to receive:
“After eight months advertising with a high street estate agent, in which two unsuccessful house sales fell through, I decided to market my home with Nony and Sam. From the moment I made the first phone call to the final closure of my front door on completion day the whole process was surprisingly enjoyable!
Nony and Sam are refreshing. They are honest, reliable, trustworthy and fun, the sale is managed entirely by them and not delegated to a mix or personnel. The brochures produced are very professional and they are easily contactable, responding within an hour or at the very least, the same day, Sundays too.
If I ever move again, I will 100%, without a doubt, advertise with Nony and Sam. Thank you guys, you were brilliant :-)) “
As with my last blog, as I start writing, my fingers simply tap across the keyboard and it somewhat takes on a life of its own!!
Thus, to summarise, I would say much the same as in the Spring blog:
As the market starts to get busier, please choose your agent carefully, not just on the one which suggests the highest marketing figure, however flattering it might be!
There might be some more petrol in the house selling engine but it remains extremely price and presentation sensitive.
Trust your own judgement, on both pricing, and choice of agent to represent you.
Present your home as best you might.
My tip is to stand back, take a photo of each room, and see how it might look to a viewer …
Seasonal flowers are the gift which keeps giving!!
In the spring, we love tulips and daffodils. This time of year, we have sunflowers, hydrangeas, gerberas and sweet peas. Simple and elegant. They look great in photos and can be moved from room to room with the photography.
In the meantime, Sam is back at the allotment as I write this (sigh, I fear more courgettes and runner beans to be forthcoming, shame tomatoes are so late this year!).
Emma is checking out the next match in the England Women’s football – delighting in the fact that we have made it through to the semi-finals with Australia this week.
And me? I am enjoying saying hello to everyone via this possibly overlong summer blog!
Have a wonderful (rest of) weekend one and all,
Sam and Nony