Hello again folks, and thank you in advance for reading my blog. Sometimes I need to say things that may not be so positive or easy to hear, but they must be told. Speaking the truth is not always easy, and truth speakers are sometimes not the bearer of good news. This is indeed the case now. This blog covers what you should expect from the property market in the next few months.
Last week most of the high street banks pulled their lower rates mortgage deals from the table, and before the Bank of England announced a general interest rate rise to 5%, the lenders had already put their borrowing rates up to over 6% now, with the average (75% loan to value, 25% deposit) being at 6.44%.
If you are looking at a house purchase of around £250,000 with a deposit of £50,000 (20%), the average variable repayment is now well over £1,500 a month. This, of course, is harming the housing market already. Buyers are getting cold feet on properties that they agreed to purchase a few months ago and are already re-evaluating the cost implications and how much of their income will now be swallowed up by mortgage payments, let alone the fact that we are still in a cost-of-living crisis with inflation hovering just below 9%.
The more mature people out there (no, I am not being ageist) that have been through this process before will not necessarily be the ones that are worrying about mortgages as they may well have either paid them off or have a lot less borrowed. Still, younger buyers or first-time buyers will be reconsidering their options.
When the property market finds itself in this position, we find ourselves in shark-infested waters. This is when some of the less scrupulous agents out there start resorting to less respectable methods to keep their available stock levels high.
Now, this is where other agents will protest, but we have been here before, and we’ve seen it before, and we know the warning signs to look out for.
- Has an agent given you a surprisingly high valuation that you weren’t expecting – This is what we in the trade call buying an instruction; the agent knows full well that your property has no chance of achieving this price but also knows that if they can persuade you that they can achieve the impossible than they stand more of a chance of gaining your business.
- Has the agent offered you a generous low fee – again, any proper business person knows full well that all companies are facing increased costs for absolutely everything that they pay for, from electricity to phone calls, petrol, paper, envelopes, websites, staff wages, photocopiers, membership to recognised bodies to the tea boat in the office, so if they are offering meagre fees, you know that they are not anticipating selling your property, just using you to make their property stock look better than their competitions and make other potential sellers want to use them.
- How quickly do they ask you to reduce your price after coming to the market – On one of the property portals that we use, there is a tab that shows us which agents are bringing the asking prices of their properties down (Price Reductions), here in Plymouth there are the usual suspects. Still, there is always that special one that must rely on price reductions consistently to try and gain any credible interest in their stock of properties; quite often, though, this has the opposite effect and will deter potential buyers from putting in offers as it can come across as negative marketing. If you keep seeing properties that are dropping in price, do you ask the same question as me? What is wrong with it that it needs to keep coming down in price?
- Multiple Agent Listing – This is where you feel you have no choice but to list your house with more than one estate agent. If your agent recommends listing your property jointly with a specific agent, maybe this is not the right thing to do. As with the previous point, buyers will question the necessity for your property to be advertised with more than one agent when if you chose the right agent, then your property could have gone under offer already.
There are obviously some exceptions to these general guidelines, but any good, proper, qualified agent should have already factored in these shifts in the market; they should also know what is expected in the coming months and have worked out and planned around this for selling your house.
If the agent reacts to the market, they must be more proactive.
The last thing that any seller wants to be is chasing a down-turning market, as this usually leads them to achieve a much lower selling price than they could have if they planned the marketing price by the changing state of the market. This is a clear case of age and experience, combined with qualified and regulated service, winning against youth and enthusiasm, usually married with the more corporate companies (or companies who try to emulate corporates) who rarely keep / pay for their more experienced staff, as this invariably cost them much more in staff wages.
As usual, I will end this blog positively; last week, we achieved marvellous sales levels across all different market price ranges. We regularly call our clients and let them know what is happening to the property market so that we can change/amend their marketing ahead of the competition and still achieve the best possible outcomes. Cross Keys Estates prides itself on the honesty and integrity of the advice given to our clients by all of our staff, and this is why we are a multi-award winning company with over 1,500 5 star ***** reviews on www.allagents.co.uk from our clients, making us the best estate agent and the best-letting agent in Plymouth for many years in a row now.
If you would like to pop into our friendly office for a chat or call us on the phone (01752 500018) for any help or advice or to book a valuation on your property, please rest assured that you will be in the best possible hands in this industry.
Hello again folks and thank you in advance for continuing to read my blogs. I always try to find topics that are of general interest to everyone but it does get difficult sometimes to write about some of the topics as they are not always the most riveting of subjects. That being said, let’s talk about insulation (yawn, yawn and another yawn).
We have all seen the adverts on the television with regards to all forms of property insulation. They all claim to be great investments in your property that will, in the end, save you money and add value to your property, THIS IS NOT ALWAYS TRUE, in fact quite the opposite, some forms of insulation can in fact damage your property, down value your property and quite possibly make you property un-mortgageable.
The first form of insulation is the external type that is attached to the outside of your property. If your property is listed this will not be an option for you. There are some forms of this external insulation that are subject to EWS1.
An EWS1 certificate is an External Wall System Fire Review certificate. They come into play when a leaseholder is buying or selling or re-mortgaging an apartment in a multi-storey multi-occupied residential building. It is not a building safety certificate or a legal requirement. It is a mortgage valuation tool – An EWS1 survey is only required if: buildings over 6-storeys where there is cladding, curtain wall glazing or vertically stacked balconies. buildings of 5 or 6-storeys where there is a significant amount of cladding (25% plus of the whole of one elevation).
As with anything in life, these issues are here for the greater good, but seem to have a huge negative impact for home owners that fall into this category, as their properties are either un-mortgageable or they usually have to bare a huge cost to have this cladding removed. Not all forms of insulation are covered by this “Lenders Law” but there really is a large amount out there that fall prey to this new condition for lending.
The other adverts that are becoming increasingly irritating are the ones for “Spray Foam” loft insulation. The claims that they can add value to your home by reducing your heating bills are FALSE, they might well indeed reduce your heating bill whilst you are living at the property but the negatives far outweigh the small financial gain.
The installation process for this spray foam seems to be very easy but even if your roof has a physical membrane between the rafters and the roof tiles, spraying this expanding foam shifts and lifts the tiles and allows for water ingress as the foam itself is not waterproof.
Secondly, again we look at mortgage lenders, applying this spray foam insulation renders your property un-mortgageable. The foam itself also forms a barrier to the roof timbers and has led to some of these timbers beginning to rot due to the moisture that either comes in through the newly formed gaps in the tiles or comes from the foam solution itself. Currently, there are many hundreds of cases going through the law courts for these very reasons and also now include cases where it has been proven that the fumes given off by some types of this foam insulation materials can be seriously hazardous to your health.
A claims management company (CMC) is in the process of helping with more than 500 claims from homeowners to get refunds for inappropriately installed spray foam installation. This law firm, which helps recover money paid for mis-sold home improvements, said it is helping people on a no-win-no-fee basis who have had mortgage offers withdrawn and lost sales after surveyors spotted spray foam insulation.
The chief executive of this law firm said homeowners think they have done the right thing by opting for spray foam insulation in the roof, as it is often sold as saving more energy than traditional ways to insulate the home. He also said “Spray foam insulation is the cancer of home improvements”.
There are several hundred claims for homeowners who have been refused equity release, mortgages or that have had mortgage offers (AIP, Agreement In Principle) retracted after the surveyors spotted spray foam insulation in the loft areas.
There may be as many as 250,000 homes with spray foam insulation in the loft, and the guidance being offered is to adopt a highly cautious approach. The final recommendation is the removal of the spray foam in almost every case.
Now I am guessing that after reading this you may be feeling very conflicted about how to insulate your property but if you ask me, the original, tried and tested, way is to use the rolls of insulation that you can buy from your local DIY stores. Loft insulation is typically sold in batts or rolls, made from mineral wool, fibreglass, or sheep’s wool. All three of these products are non-flammable, requiring a high temperature to melt. Mineral wool, sometimes sold as rock wool, will only melt at temperatures hotter than a house fire, making it safe to use.
The only reason that I am writing this blog is because, here, at Cross Keys Estates, we have had a few properties that have fallen foul to this new negative and we just want to bring it to our clients’ and friends’ attention alike.
Here we are again. Parents are buying school uniforms, holidays have been and gone and dare I say it but “Yes” we are on the countdown to Christmas, please don’t hate me for pointing that out but facts are facts.
I have been very busy lately, not only as Plymouth’s Premier estate agent but also planning a wedding. What has this got to do with anything? I hear you say but during the course of booking entertainment, caterers, venue and all the odds and sods that go with it, I have really started to see that absolutely everything has gone up in price. Everything that I had budgeted for has turned out to be nearly double the expected costs. As a result of this, I have tried to make sure that all the contractors that are being used for this wedding are local as if you are going to be spending money, I think that the most you can do is try to keep it within the local economy.
I think that we all will be having a more pared down Christmas this year due to the current cost of living. We have rising inflation, rising interest rates and rising energy bills with the new cap that has been introduced. At the pumps, petrol is still relatively high in spite of the fact that oil is at one of its cheapest rates per barrel that has ever been.
Everywhere you look prices are on the up, but not the housing market! The price for property did not increase July or August. Average UK house prices fell in August 2022, their first drop this year, according to the latest market data from Rightmove, however the property portal’s latest house price index showed that property values dropped by 1.3% month-on-month since July – equivalent to a fall of £4,795 on average. While there are tentative signs of a slowdown in activity, with a dip in the number of mortgage approvals for house purchases in June, the effects did not come in to effect until July and have now been reinforced by August figures from the office of national statistics.
In my last blog I commented on what I thought would be the issue with the property market after the Christmas period, I still think that the latest figures coming from all the property professionals shows that the housing market buzz has or will end very very soon.
Yes, I know that you want to hear positive news or get some good advice, so here we go with a few:-
- If you are looking to sell your property, now is the right time to achieve the best possible price.
- If you are looking to save money, use Cross Keys Estates as we are the most competitively priced agent in Plymouth.
- If you are looking to increase your rental portfolio, wait until march 2023 where you will see better prices for you to buy in at.
- If you have been quoted a “package deal” by your agent, do not be fooled. It is cheaper to instruct your own solicitors than to use one supplied by the agent as part of a “deal”.
- Deals offered by new home builders are not necessarily the best deals around, look carefully at the detail and check with prices elsewhere.
- If your agent tells you that if you want to buy the house that they have on their books, but you’ll need to list your house with them in order to get it – this is illegal and any agent doing this needs to be reported to the ombudsman.
- Look at which agent shows you proof of their valuation and how they came to the property value. Do not just accept a figure plucked out of thin air, it may just be a ploy to get you to sign with them.
- Zero-week contract should mean ZERO weeks – not a 28-day notice period, which is in effect a four-week contract.
- If an agent spends more time talking about themselves rather than your property, then you know how much time they’ll put in to selling the property and how much time they will spend on just promoting themselves.
If you are looking to sell a property then now is the right time to consider putting it on the market.
Give Cross Keys Estates a call and see if our truly professional, premier service and competitive fees are what you have been looking for.