The wonderful people at ‘My Bump 2 Baby’ have asked me to write a monthly article relating to the local property market. As the owner of my own independent estate agents, with 22 years of experience behind me, I think of little else than buying, selling and renting property, so I was more than happy to oblige.
We all face life-changing events and having a baby is certainly one of the most exciting! It does tend to lead to other big events like moving to a new home and having moved many new and young families over the years, I’m aware of the decisions parents face!
I decided on January’s title ‘Are you in the best position to offer on your next property?’ for a couple of reasons; firstly we have all, I’m sure, seen the various media outlets reporting on the lack of property and steep price increases recently, (so much so that I’ve been asked twice this month by BBC Essex radio to talk about exactly that) and linking to this, I have spoken to a number of people who are increasingly frustrated about losing out on properties, whether this is not getting a chance to view or being ‘pipped at the post’ by other offers.
Agents need to act in their clients’ best interests and in such a busy market are often restricted on times and days to ‘show’ clients’ homes (these restrictions understandably often come from the owners who live at the property). For example, Mr & Mrs Jones can take viewings between 1pm and 5pm on Saturday and have a couple of evenings free next week, the agent understandably has many applicants wanting to view but of course, Mr & Mrs Jones are highly likely to only want their available times taken by buyers who are able to move forward and purchase (i.e., be ‘Buyer Ready’).
So let me offer you my best tips for being ‘Buyer Ready’:
- If you have a property to sell, as a minimum you should be on the market, but ideally, you should have a buyer who has in turn, a completed chain behind them (or of course are themselves a chain-free buyer i.e., has no property to sell).
- You must be confident of how much you can afford, as a bare minimum contact your bank or ideally a mortgage adviser, there is a large choice of financial advisers and wealth management options available to you in the marketplace but, as financial services are, quite rightly, a highly regulated business I am unable to elaborate further. Note, this is well worth keeping in mind if an estate agent tells you that you must or have to speak to their adviser, it is your choice who you decide to speak to not theirs!
- Educate yourself on the level of prices in the area or areas that you plan to buy in, it won’t take too long for you to be a smart cookie on the local marketplace! You will find this invaluable as new properties appear ‘For Sale’ on the property portals (i.e., Rightmove/Zoopla/OnTheMarket etc), you will have the ability to spot not only keenly priced property but also overpriced property too, very helpful to know when looking to book viewings and in turn make offers.
- Register on a few property portals for their new listing alerts and if you have the option, always choose the most regular notification to avoid missing out.
- Finally, if you do need to sell a property ensure it is ‘the best you can make it’. We would all love to market our home in showroom condition, shining with that clean, minimalist glow but of course, life is rarely like this, so this is why I say ‘the best you can make it’, do what you can with the money and time restraints you have to have your home market-ready and you won’t go far wrong (I will be writing a whole article on ‘Getting your home at it’s best before you market’ next month).
So, in conclusion, let’s remember the Four B’s:
Get some financial advice and if you need a mortgage have an Agreement in Principle (AIP) in place. You are free to see any adviser who you choose and will be asked by agents for this or for proof of funds. If you already have a property, you need to be sold so that when you view it, you are able to buy the place you have just fallen in love with.
View a few properties that are a bit different to your ideas. Consider different house layouts, areas or if the property has room to adapt.
When you make your offer remember that although you are dealing with an agent, it’s a person’s property and they may take exception to what they believe is an unrealistically low offer. As properties are often going above asking price in the current market, you may put the seller off your offer with an offer that is very low. Make your offer strong and try to stand out from the crowd (I recently had a buyer who secured the home by following her offer up with a handwritten note on why she loved it so much posted through the owners’ door!)
If you don’t get your first choice don’t despair, keep looking! People very often go on to find something they otherwise wouldn’t have seen if they hadn’t lost out previously.
In conclusion, I hope this information has been helpful and has answered some questions you may have. My wife Rachel and I are always available to help or give advice and I very much look forward to speaking with you again at the end of February, so for now stay safe and keep warm – Derek Edwards Independent Estate Agency for Central and North Essex.
Derek Edwards is an independent estate agent with over 20 years’ experience in both central and north Essex, working with his wife Rachel they offer a personal home selling service looking after their clients personally throughout the home sale and purchase journey.
Derek and Rachel have four children all of which are now grown up. ‘We formed the business as we felt that the traditional estate agency model is outdated and centred too much on the agent and not on the customer, we only work with a limited number of clients at any one time, giving 100% attention to their needs. We carry out all viewings , speak to all viewers for effective feedback and after agreeing a sale to the best buyer for our vendors, continue with full sales progression through to exchange, completion and key handover. We work with local businesses wherever possible, which are chosen only if they can offer the same high service levels as ourselves. We work from our home office and are available 7 days a week and outside traditional office hours, so are ready when our clients need us most’.