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Nick Churton of H.J. Burt’s associated Mayfair Office looks at the difference between someone who wants to buy a property and someone who does buy a property.
Even seasoned estate agents say that there has rarely been a property market like this. “Property prices rising at pre-banking crisis levels”, “Properties for sale - numbers lowest in decades”, scream the press in reaction to comments made by lenders, property websites and other interested parties.
Moving might not be complicated for buyers who don’t need a mortgage and have no upward chain, or for sellers with no downward chain. But for everyone else, these can be testing times.
The problem is getting chained up with nowhere to go - becoming stuck in a line of dependent deals, especially when the top of the chain can’t find a property to buy.
It’s a wonder anyone moves anywhere with the market so thin on stock, and when getting a deal through often takes between 16 and 20 weeks. Four to five months is a long time in a property transaction – a lot can happen. But the miracle is that even in this market people do move. How? Mostly it is down to the desire of buyers and sellers, coupled with the skill of their estate agent.
If buyers and sellers were to sit or work in an estate agent’s office for a week, they would begin to understand that the tricky bit isn’t so much finding a buyer but getting a chain of deals, sometimes with four or five links, across the line. Finding a willing buyer is one thing, finding an able one is a very different matter. Everyone gets to see the sold board go up. But few get to see the effort that went into getting it there.
So, when choosing an estate agent in this market don’t just go for the one who says they can get you a buyer – everyone says that: instead go for the one who can get you through to completion. There is a vital difference between the two.
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Nick Churton ignores the New Year crystal ball and looks instead at what is actually happening to the property market at the moment.
A recent survey by a national estate agency group revealed that over fifty per cent of home buyers make a buying decision during their first viewing. Any experienced estate agent would say that they don’t need a survey to tell them that.
First impressions are a crucial component in influencing a home buying decision. Hence a clean and tidy house is essential in creating a market-ready property. Neatness must extend to the front garden, where a proportion of buyers often make their decisions to purchase or not even as they walk up to the front door for the first time.
Why are such important decisions made in moments? It’s because for most buyers a home is about the heart: it must feel right for them. A property can have the correct number of rooms, the right amount of space, face the right direction and have dozens of other desirable features, including being priced correctly. Still, if something doesn’t feel right it’s not right, and a buyer can detect that in seconds.
As we stride into 2022, newspapers and social media are awash with industry experts’ property market predictions. But experienced estate agents know that it is the present they have to address. The vast majority of home buyers and sellers are dealing with the now.
Happily, the present is easier to comment on accurately. Early indications this year are that there is no let-up in demand. But stocks remain low, keeping pressure on values and pushing up prices in many areas, making this a particularly good time to sell.
Yes, property buyers must keep their eye on cost-of-living rises, as mortgage affordability and potential energy supply cost increases will be of concern in the weeks and months ahead. Indeed, banks and building societies might toughen up their lending criteria, especially if we see more small, incremental interest rate rises.
Buyers need to make wise decisions when choosing a home, as they should always buy within their means. But, within the bounds of fiscal responsibility, people still choose a home instinctively. Property may have become a commodity, but a home is more than that. It is shelter, security and a comfort blanket, and no one needs a survey to tell them that.