Saturday, July 25, 2009

Late July '09

It's late July 2009 and we had a call this week from the Cambridge Building Society, which is a small lender in comparison with Lloyds-TSB/HBOS/RBS, to say they are now considering applications for 90% loan to value mortgages. Positive news we feel - hope the interest rates aren't killers!

There is a feeling that the market is improving and there is no way I'd want to pour cold water on that sentiment but let's be careful. We have properties for sale that appear to be correctly priced - cheap even - that don't attract buyers and others that we are swamped with enquiries and viewings on! Very difficult market to assess and make intelligent comment on.

There are 3 things over and above the usual statement of 'location, location, location'. These are are price, presentation/condition and location. Eighteen months ago you could have probably 2 out of 3 that weren't up to scratch and still get a sale. Now you need to 2 out of 3 that ARE right to achieve a sale.

I'm looking for new instructions please!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

General Update

It's now July and we have enjoyed just over 6 months of improved market activity – compared with 2008. In fact we can prove better figures for the last 5 months than the corresponding months of 2008 which is even more significant as we've achieved it with fewer resources. Mortgage lending still appears to be a problem and I'm sure I won't be alone in the opinion that the banks/building societies are slamming stable doors a long while after the horse galloped into the sunset. Asking first time buyers to find 20% or more in order to obtain a sensible interest rate is nearly as excessive as dishing out 125% loans! We've heard of buyers being refused a mortgage by lenders who have uncovered credit blemishes relating to £60 mobile phones, so it pays to be very careful if you're .

The Halifax and Nationwide are talking about price rises. Whilst I'm always in favour of people being positive I think this may be a little distorted. What I believe we are seeing is prices being maintained by the shortage of homes for sale. Lots of potential sellers are not prepared to accept figures which, even if they allow for their purchase being at a reduced price, don't give them enough cash to do other things as well as pay off their existing loan. The result is they grit their teeth and stay put.

I attended a Price Bailey breakfast seminar at Needhams Restaurant in Witchford the other morning (brilliant breakfast by the way!). The title was 'Confidence & Persuasion'. I won't get into detail here but there is so much of our lives and business that function on nothing more or less than 'confidence'. If the market (property) retains and nurtures the confidence we're seeing then the recovery will come quicker across the wider economy, as property drives so much of it.

We have recently entered all our homes for rent on
www.propertylive and as well as continuing on the ever popular . The web proves to be the best marketing tool for all property and far outweighs the return we get from newspapers. The other thing about the web is you can actually measure what reaction you are getting to your adverts – usually expressed as 'clicks'. These occur when someone clicks their mouse on a property ad to view it or further details. Rightmove recently held a seminar to advise agents how to maximise the results we get from some fairly simple adjustments to the way we present our client's properties and write our adverts. We will be working on this over the next few days and it includes re-taking pictures, altering the text. In fact nothing drastic but we are assured of improved results.

Homelet are the company we use to reference tenants and they also provide our landlords with rent guarantee insurance, at initially no cost to them. This lasts for the term of the initial let (6 or 12 months) but then needs to be renewed at a cost of £40 - £90 which I feel is very good value cover on a rental figure of around £600 per month. We are also encouraging tenants to take out cover in order to protect their deposit from deduction if the landlord's effects (carpets for example) are damaged and this will also cover their own contents. Check for a quote here