So with more political uncertainty, some are predicting more uncertainty for the housing market but I am not so sure if my current experiences at the “coal face” of day to day estate agency are anything to go by.
It is widely recognised that the residential property market thrives on enthusiasm in its many guises. And what seems to be happening at present, is that where ever, or how ever enthusiasm is generated sales are taking place, proving that there is definitely activity in the market despite the negative stance being adopted in certain quarters. So what are the factors that are creating these sales?
Competition is an obvious one. Witness a farmhouse to modernise I am currently selling near Wetherby that has generated over 30 viewings in the last week. And we now expect to set a closing date for the submission of best offers. Opportunity is another measure of enthusiasm with the ubiquitous stone barn with planning permission to convert, usually being an estate agent’s dream instruction. You know it will sell, its just a question of how much and how you manage the process. Two barns to convert at Beckwithshaw, near Harrogate being endorsement of this theory.
Does character sell? Yes provided its presented in the right way so as to create enthusiasm from buyers. Do avoid giving the impression you are selling a museum piece and do make sure your historical facts are correct. I recall a client some years ago who insisted Oliver Cromwell had stayed in his house after the Battle of Marston Moor (1644). However he never quite understood my refusal to quote Cromwell’s reputed presence in the sales brochure, when the building was in fact constructed around 1720.
And what if your home is a bit more individual? Well we all know of the enthusiasm for lifestyle television shows such as Grand Designs and the numerous variants. Individuality can sell very well, you just have to accept that the more personal you make your home, the more specialist the marketplace will be when you decide to move. Modern? Well we all like the convenience of modern homes. High energy efficiency, minimal maintenance, contemporary open plan living and so the adjectives flow. Hence why we all rely on marketing in all its forms to generate enthusiasm be this the competition I mentioned earlier, or indeed creating an element of exclusivity where you have the chance to buy a house you love, before it’s offered to others.
When there are many reasons why homes of different shapes, style, age and size are actually selling at the present time, are there any counters to my positive mindset? Politics aside, there are a few but most are actually within your own immediate control. Whatever the age of your home remember upkeep and maintenance, regular and often are essential if you are to tempt your buyer. I have long advocated the likes of peeling paintwork, leaking gutters and a poorly kept garden will quickly deflate the enthusiasm bubble. So why let it happen? And then of course there is the whole question of price. However much money you have spent, however much you consider your house is better than the neighbours (even when its the same house type), as the old adage goes, a property is only ever worth what someone is prepared to pay. So whilst you may have bought well, and spent sensibly on improvements, this doesn’t automatically mean the property has doubled in value creating a massive profit. You might be full of enthusiasm, and convinced yourself that your price is right, but do please remember the old adage. If you do, you will sell despite the current doubting soothsayers.
Tim Waring FRICS is head of residential at Lister Haigh in Harrogate 01423 730700. firstname.lastname@example.org