Posts by eSale

Should I Buy My Dream House?

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WHEN BUYING YOUR DREAM HOMES IS VERY DEFINITELY THE WRONG THING TO DO

It takes a lot of time, effort and – increasingly these days – money to manoeuvre yourself into a position where you know you can buy a house. You’ve saved the deposit (finally), you’ve spoken to friends and family and – if you’re sensible – a mortgage advisor and you know roughly how much you can afford to spend.

And the next bit is where it starts to get exciting. You can make a list of the things your new home should have – a garden, a garage, a downstairs loo, a separate shower room, a conservatory or whatever – and you can start to trawl the portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla for properties which seem to match your criteria.

All fine and dandy up to now, right? After all, at the moment, everything you’re dealing with is theoretical. But even though life probably feels quite euphoric, believe it or not, you could be just a step away from a very bad decision – and, even harder to believe is that the bad decision could be to put on offer in on your ideal home.

It might be that your dream property has everything you wanted. It ticks every single box – and then some. But the only one it fails on is price. It’s just, say, £10,000 more than you were really willing to pay and, try as you might, the vendors won’t budge.

Of course, you’ll know somewhere inside that the sensible thing would be to shrug and keep looking. After all, there will be other houses that match your requirements. But something inside just won’t let go of the thought of someone else moving into the house that was so tantalisingly close to being yours – in fact so much so you’ve found yourself thinking how you can shave lumps off your monthly outgoings to bring the likely mortgage payments within range. You don’t need such a big car, right? Or maybe one holiday a year is good enough. What’s wrong with jogging rather than paying for that monthly gym membership or perhaps a couple more nights in front of the TV instead of living it up with friends will be worth it when you know that television is going to be in the living room of the property you’ve now sort of set your heart on?

The problem is that the calculations you’re making are based on the here and now. What if you lost your job and had to settle for lower salary for a while? Of course, we all tend to push those things away or dismiss them as unlikely – but you have to ask yourself how much of a millstone would the mortgage payments become if interest rates were to rise?

Resent research by Ocean Finance may have cheerily reported that over 75% of buyers would bust their budget to acquire the house of their dreams (http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/uk-home-buyers-price-2017582212292.html) but what it doesn’t say is what the consequences can be…

Just one significant life change like redundancy, a significant illness or the recovery of the UK economy, and suddenly, that dream home may have to go back on the market after all.

Our advice? Dream by all means and we’ll do everything we can to help you make them a reality. However, we’d encourage everyone buying a house to ensure those dreams are realistic – or they can very quickly become nightmares.

Should I Believe An Estate Agent?

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FIVE THINGS YOUR ESTATE AGENT PROBABLY SHOULDN’T SAY

You’ve done your online research, you’ve chatted with friends and, hopefully, you’ve done a bit of field research yourself and now you’ve chosen your estate agent.

You made an appointment to see them and now you’re in their office or they’ve come round to your home and, at last, you’re chatting about getting your property on the market. This might be the first time you’ve met face-to-face and the agent seems, charming, urbane, keen to help – or at least they should.

But what should YOU be looking for? The agent’s patter may have been great on the phone but, even at this late stage, you don’t want to end up with a firm which promises the earth and then delivers very little – so what are the signs along the way to help you sort the wheat from the chaff?

It’s by no means a definitive list but, below are five things your estate agent should probably never say:

1/ What do you want your property to fetch?

Er… that’s why you decided to employ an expert rather than just do the whole thing yourself. You might have a rough idea if you looked on the online portals for similar property which has sold recently in the area but that doesn’t mean you’re suddenly on top of the current market. Of course, you may have a figure in mind but it’s probably best to keep that to yourself and see if the agent comes up with something similar. Remember, if your home is pitched too high, you may struggle to find a buyer; too low, and you could be thousands of pounds out of pocket. Do some homework first by all means but let the agent set a price first and then have your say if you feel the need.

2/ Accept the first decent offer you get. It’s a tough market out there.

If you’re in a hurry to sell, it might be sound advice but, like anything else, it doesn’t do to appear to be too keen to sell. Come across as desperate and you may find the buyer will have you over a barrel later on in the process. Play it cool. Take your time. Never rush. A quick sale might look great on the estate agent’s website but this is probably one of the largest financial transactions you’ll ever make so don’t be browbeaten or harassed into a decision which doesn’t feel right.

3/ Make sure you get the coffee pot on just before that viewing.

There won’t be many of us who haven’t heard that the smell of fresh coffee or baking bread can help sell a house. But there’s the rub. If we all know it, it’s not going to be all that effective any more. Indeed, a buyer could just wonder why you’re trying to bamboozle them with a sensory assault as soon as they walk through the door. It’s better to let the property do the talking.

4/ Don’t bother about the DIY jobs. Buyers will probably rip everything out anyway.

Actually not bad advice as spending thousands on new kitchen units, a better bathroom suite or some decking in the garden can be a waste of time and money if you’re going to be selling anyway. However, it’s definitely worth spending some time sorting out the minor fixes and getting the garden tidy. A good tactic is to ask a friend to do a dry run as a buyer and see what they recommend. Also, if you have a viewing coming up, declutter and hide the framed pictures of the kids. In fact, send the kids and the dog to grandma and granddad if you can. An innocent remark from a five-year-old about how daddy was mending the roof at the weekend or a viewing disrupted by a dog which won’t stop barking at “strangers” can be a little awkward.

5/ Don’t put it on the market just yet. Wait until …

Why wait? You have no idea who is out there looking for a new house and your property might just be their dream home. If you don’t go for it, you might just miss them. There are certainly times when property sells faster as there are more buyers looking – spring for example. But, in a world where stock is so low and demand is so high, there will ALWAYS be people on the lookout for the right house. Our advice is always: “Do it today” as the best time to sell your house is when someone wants to buy it – and that someone may be out there right now.

What Brexit Might Mean To The UK Housing Market

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BEWARE THE BREXIT DOOMSAYERS

You may not be surprised to read that we’ve had a little difficulty coming to terms with the fallout from the Brexit vote – but it’s not necessarily what you may expect.

If you follow the property press, you will no doubt have read that many were predicting a drop in house prices if the UK voted to leave the EU. By how much depended on who you listened to but figures being bandied about went as high as 15 to 20 per cent. Of course, once the result came through, the doom mongers went into overdrive. London agents in particular were forecasting a collapse and even some of the usually level-headed sources were talking about the “moment the bubble burst”.

But what we need to remember is, when it comes to house prices, no one – not George Osborne, not the National Association of Estate Agents, not the property pundits and not even the Bank of England – has been dealing in cold, hard fact. It’s mostly conjecture and the truth of the matter is that no one knows for sure what your house will be worth at Christmas time. There are just too many variables.

As an example, at one point, it looked like the UK would be largely rudderless for as long as four months while the Conservatives sorted out a new Prime Minister. We’ve actually ended up with a semblance of a Government much quicker than that, which has seen Sterling rally a little on the foreign exchanges. Then it looked like the Bank of England would lower interest rates, making mortgages even more affordable – but that hasn’t happened either.

Both of these events could have a bearing on property prices as they affect our confidence in how the country is being run, how much of our capital we’re willing to risk on significant purchases and therefore –albeit indirectly – on what value we place on our homes.

It is therefore hugely frustrating to listen politicians – and even fellow property professionals – damaging public confidence by forecasting that house prices are on the edge of a precipice and edging ever-closer to a dramatic decline.

Guess what? If you tell enough people often enough, it’s likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In our local paper, one story focused on a Rightmove study which shows the value of the average Yorkshire home has fallen by over £2,000 since the Brexit vote. Okay … that’s a fact, largely brought about by post-Brexit pessimism. However, no one seems to be reporting – at least not with any emphasis – that the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reckons, come 2021, homes will be worth 14 per cent more than they are right now. Admittedly, that is less than the 20 to 25 per cent per cent forecast about 18 months ago but it’s still an increase. In other words, if you buy a home today, it’ll still be worth quite a bit more in five years’ time and, to be honest, that doesn’t sound very much like a bubble bursting to us…

Caution is understandable in the current climate and it’s perfectly normal in the wake of an election for buyers and sellers in the property market to adopt a watching brief while they assess the lie of the land. It’s also normal for things to stagnate a little in the summer months as people take their annual holidays. The shock Brexit result may well be exacerbating that and prices may have dropped a little more as a result. However, as events unfold over the summer months and the UK returns to a more even keel, there’s every chance – left to their own devices – property prices will recover and, although the pace of growth may not be a meteoric, they could quite easily continue to rise.

Why? Well, simply because the drivers which have pushed house prices higher and higher over the last few years haven’t simply gone away overnight. We’re still desperately short of housing stock as well as people with the skills to build new homes. Until that’s resolved, it’s difficult to see any lasting change as there will still be too many buyers for too few homes.

You may not like the Brexit result. You may have much preferred to have remained a part of the EU. But when it comes to the property market, we would encourage everyone to stick to the facts – even if, right now, there aren’t that many of them …

Online Estate Agency Fees

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SO HOW WOULD YOU LIKE £2,500 TO SPEND?

Like car salesmen, lawyers and journalists, estate agents are not always top of the list when it comes to favourite professions. Although many would accept we’re needed when it comes to selling your home, not everyone understands what it is we do so, sometimes, it’s a little bit harder to convince a customer that they’re getting value for money.

If you’re washing machine breaks down, a plumber will turn up and mend it; if the lights go out, there’s probably an electrician on your contacts list who will come and sort it out. When it comes to restaurants, we’ll even happily pay over and above the bill laid before us.

But, when it comes to an estate agent, some will admit to feeling a bit bamboozled by the cost and therefore a little reluctant to part with the fee.

But what if an agent was to offer you a money-back guarantee if you weren’t completely happy with their work? What if their customer service was rated excellent anyway? But – even better – what if, at the end of the whole house-selling “journey” they handed you £2,500 to spend on a bit of a holiday to recover from the move, perhaps that three-piece suite you had your eye on or maybe to put towards that new kitchen? Would that help you feel a bit better about settling up?

The thing is, at esaleuk.com, we already do all those … sort of. Admittedly, at the moment, we can’t actually place cash in your hand on completion but, on an average sale of a property priced at around £250k, it’s about what you’d be able to keep in your pocket if you compare our packages to those offered by a traditional high street agent working on a commission of 1.5%.

Yet, bafflingly, some will still tell you to steer well clear of online agents – and simply because their business model is based on effective use of the internet.

If truth be told, we’d love to offer our customers a £3,000 package and then give them £2,500 cash back when the deal is done. However, as our biggest online rivals are currently using high-profile television advertising to market pay-up-front deals for under £800, the focus is on bottom-line price, which means our best bet is to continue to offer similar packages for a very competitive price of £595 (including VAT).

It’s a shame really as agents are often criticised for not really celebrating with clients when the deal’s done. Recent research suggested, on “Completion Day”, customers sometimes get the feeling their agent has already moved on to the next sale. Wouldn’t it be great then if, instead, we could say congratulations and hand over a “cashback” sum large enough to make a difference?

Sadly, at the moment, the market restricts us a bit of a joint buzz, maybe a high five and some verbal congratulations which, although sincere, never seem quite enough to register the significance of the moment our customers pick up the keys to their new home. One day, though, we’d like to think that will change and we can add the “cashback” option to our no-quibble guarantee, our low prices and our drive for exemplary customer service which we hope already set us apart.

Where Is The Best Place To Market My Property?

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WHEN THE WORLD IS CALLING:

Of course you will have heard of Rightmove and Zoopla. The more learned in property may also be aware of Prime Location or even On The Market. But, there is also a community of international portals you probably haven’t heard of and, for that, we’ll forgive you.

The thing is – although it may not be as well known in the UK – international marketing is actually a pretty potent tool when it comes to buying and selling homes. Not only does it give you access to all the portals you know, it also opens the door to others you’ve probably never heard of – at least not unless you’re an agent used to working on the international market.

The community we’re now part of is active in 51 countries and has access to 80 websites – all of them the Rightmoves or Zooplas of their own back yards. And that means, if your property appears on them, your audience grows significantly, particularly when the network can speak in 19 different languages.

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, of course. There are always going to be some who are a little uncomfortable with the thought of selling their home to a buyer from as far away as Singapore or America who they may never actually meet. Selling to John and Mary from the same town or even Chris and Sally from the next city up the M1 might somehow feel a little bit more “real”, that little bit more “safe”.

But, at the end of the day, a sale is a sale and – whether we like it or not – with the arrival of the internet, the property market has become an increasingly global one. In London, it’s not uncommon at all for buyers to come from China, the Middle East or Russia and, when it comes to buying and selling homes, what happens in our capital usually spreads across the UK.

Esale only became a member of the international marketing network comparatively recently but it’s already made a difference to our own client base. As an example, one developer has already instructed us on the sale of 17 properties on three separate development sites in South Yorkshire.

However, although the benefits to us are very welcome, we joined because we believe being part of the network offers our customers the very best opportunity to sell their homes quickly and at the best possible price. Of course, we remain affiliated to Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location but we believe adding the international element to our list enhances our clout – and therefore provides another compelling argument for choosing Esale as your online estate agent.

If you would like to know more, just drop us a line or give us a call. We’re happy to chat – and with no obligation.

CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS?

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If you read the papers on a regular basis you can’t have failed to notice some strident headlines recently, claiming the UK property market is on the brink of another crash.

It’s certainly true that the Halifax’s latest index showed a slight drop in the value of homes sold in April – the first time we’ve seen a fall in house prices for quite some time.

However, the almost hysterical reaction by some parts of the media is a little puzzling. First of all, let’s remember many of the same publications have commented frequently enough about high prices making it much harder for first-time buyers to get a foot on the bottom rung of the property ladder. It’s been suggested numerous times that, if prices don’t stabilise soon, then the dream of home ownership will be out of reach to all but the very wealthy. The promise of more “affordable” properties has been one thing all the political parties also seemed willing to offer in the run-up to and the aftermath of the last General Election and was reported widely at the time.

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WHY PROPERTY COULD SEE A LEICESTER CITY TOO…

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Someone asked the other day, if online estate agents are the future, why don’t they have a bigger slice of the property market? And, to be honest, although it’s a good question, it’s actually quite tricky to answer without sounding peevish or paranoid. First of all, we’d point out Rome wasn’t built in a day. As BBC business “Dragon” Deborah Meaden once said, any company with its sights set on a national reputation is probably going to struggle unless they have £3,000 a month to spend on marketing as a bare minimum – and it takes time to establish that sort of financial clout without a big-name backer. More importantly though, few start-ups in any market other than estate agency would find elements of the media quite so closed to them quite so frequently.

Let us explain… Read More »

THE PRICE IS RIGHT

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If you’re in the property game, you’ve probably already heard that a new index will be introduced this summer which will better reflect the true value of homes in the UK.

At the moment, the house price index – and there are many – can vary depending on who you prefer to follow and what metrics they use. For example, the Halifax may tell you the price of an average home in Britain is around the £214,000 mark, Rightmove reckons it’s around £299,000 while the Office of National Statistics (ONS) puts the figure at around £292,000. The variance is often accounted for by regional fluctuations in price and whether London and the south-east are included or not – but it’s no wonder the average seller is so often baffled when it comes to where they should pitch their property.

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SO WHO IS THE FOOL TODAY?

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If you’re a landlord, then today is a bit of a watershed. From this morning an extra 3% Stamp Duty will be imposed on anyone buying a second home or buying property to let.

The Chancellor’s reasoning appears to have been that the additional tax burden would prove a disincentive to anyone considering swapping their pension for property. That, in turn, would mean more small- to medium-sized homes coming onto the market as they wouldn’t just be snapped up by the avaricious buy-to-let set. More houses on the market would help to peg prices where they are or even prompt a modest decline. Combine that with an accelerated building programme, and suddenly you have even more ammunition to avert the risk of a fresh housing “bubble” threatening the stability of the UK economy.

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TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS

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TEN TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS

Read the papers these days and you may believe that getting on the property ladder is almost impossible. After all, the average house price is NOW close to the £200,000 mark and, apparently, saving up for a deposit is well beyond most people’s budgets. Our options are either to scrimp for years and deny ourselves the luxuries in life or to ask mum and dad to cash in their savings or even “downsize” themselves to raise capital which they can hand over.

And it’s true; if you’ve got your heart set on starting out in a comfortable and reasonably modern three-bedroom semi with a garage and garden in a nice part of town or in the suburbs, then you probably will need to have some serious finance behind you, even if the Government’s Help To Buy initiative remains available for another 12 months.

But, if you’re a regular reader of the property press or if you keep a weather eye on the relevant hashtags on social media, you may sometimes spot a comment or two about how talk of a “housing crisis” is overblown and, if you’re prepared to do the legwork and be flexible about location, then it is still possible to find a reasonable home for £100k or maybe even less.

Some will give a derisory snort and suggest that anything for that sort of money is likely to come with its own raft of problems. But even a glance at our own property list – or those of any other agent – will demonstrate that there really are some cheaper homes around which aren’t riddled with damp or slap bang in the middle of a sink estate.

So, if you are a first-time buyer, you’ve looked at Rightmove & Zoopla, and you’ve come up with a list of half a dozen homes for £80k or under – and they ARE out there – here’s a list of 10 things we recommend you do next:

1/ Don’t rush. One of the oldest sales tricks in the book is to lead you to believe you’re one of dozens of possible buyers and, if you don’t agree a deal quickly, you’re going to miss out. Far better to move on than find out later that your first house is actually a home from hell.

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About esale

eSale  Estate Agents, founded in 2012, bringing a fresh, clear and easy approach to online estate agency in England and Wales. We are a group of professionals with years of experience in helping people sell and buy property.

We have the skills to ensure the correct price is set for your property and we can negotiate the right sale price between buyer and seller.

Additionally, we can arrange accompanied viewings and also see the sale through to completion.

Your property will feature on Rightmove , Zoopla  and Primelocation esale have a wide advertising network, come and join our approach to selling a property, no matter what your property value is.