OPEN HOUSE STAFFORD ARE DOUBLE AWARD WINNERS

We are very proud winners

 

Open House Stafford & Sone are proud recipients of the allAgents Gold Award for the best estate agent in ST17 and the Silver Award for the Best Estate agent in Stafford

What makes these awards different?

allAgents have funded these awards. This means that no agent has been charged an entry fee and allows everyone to be automatically entered. It makes this the UK’s largest FREE customer awards scheme for agents and people working within the property industry.

By keeping these awards FREE ensures that the winners have achieved award recognition based entirely on clients feedback. Their feedback involves rating and sharing their customer service experiences.

Thank you

A massive thank you to all our customers that have taken time to post a review about us and thank you all for your kind words.
My biggest thanks are for my wonderful team of Julie, Amelia, Laura, Emma, Mel and Barbara who are the best. It is they that deliver the brilliant customer service and whose hard work that has been recognised in such a positive way.

Almost two thirds of homes in England and Wales have poor EPC ratings

-Sprift data highlights that 60 per cent of properties have the lower energy-efficiency grades D to G -Improvements to these properties could more than halve their CO2 emissions

With the climate crisis high on the news agenda, recent research highlighting that homes with higher energy ratings are worth more. Property data specialist Sprift has analysed the last decade of EPC data on its platform and uncovered that almost two thirds of properties (60 per cent) in England and Wales have the lower ratings of D to G when it comes to energy efficiency*.

The data

The data confirms that 41 per cent of properties have the average EPC rating of D, and that only 29,293 homes in England and Wales received an A rating, which equates to 0.2 per cent.

Further analysis has identified that this tranche of lower EPC rated properties produced a whopping 77 per cent of all CO2 emissions from homes in England and Wales. However, potential improvements made to these properties, could more than halve (51 per cent) their emissions.

Main areas for improvements

When it comes to making improvements to D to G-rated properties, the following four installation recommendations are made most often:

  • Solar photovoltaic panels 2.5 kWp
  • Solar water heating
  • Floor insulation
  • Low energy lighting2

Matt Gilpin, CEO of Sprift, said: “These figures around how many properties fall into the lower EPC ratings categories, and the amount of CO2 emissions they produce are alarming, particularly against the backdrop of the COP 26 Summit, and target of net zero emissions by 2050.

“When it comes to improving their EPC ratings, homeowners can really play their part. However, we must not forget that for many, paying for improvements will be both unaffordable and unachievable. Following the failure of the green homes grant, the government must look at how it can provide funding to assist with upgrades in order to meet net zero emission targets.

“Interestingly, if some of the A-rated homes go on to make even further improvements then this category of property would be – potentially – carbon neutral (excluding build CO2)!”

Sources: 1* this figure only takes into account those properties with an EPC rating Energy Crisis: Better EPCs boost house values – claim… (estateagenttoday.co.uk)
2 Potential savings switching traditional or Halogen bulbs to LED: Guide to energy efficient lighting – Energy Saving Trust

Sprift: “Almost two thirds of homes in England and Wales have poor EPC ratings”

Guy Fawkes Night – Are Tenants allowed To Host A Bonfire Party

Sounds like a plan! Hot Dogs, a few drinks, friends, a roaring fire and fireworks, of course. But, the question is can you host a bonfire party? If local council regulations are followed , public displays are fine for homeowners. But what about tenants? Well, that depends largely on their tenancy agreement.

In the absence of a fireworks clause, many tenancy agreements will specify that tenants cannot cause any nuisance or aggravation to neighbours, and certainly not engage in antisocial behaviour.

WE ADVISE

Always gain consent from both the landlord and neighbours. If loud noise is inevitable, try and keep it confined to a short, previously agreed, period of time.

Fireworks can be very loud and are known to cause distress to pets and elderly people so don’t go overboard. If guests are attending, make sure they keep noise to a minimum if celebrating into the night.

Be aware of any potential damage, such as damage to the ground, and determine in advance whether you have the budget or resources to repair any damage.

WE ADVISE….

Prior to holding a bonfire night party, tenants should seek permission from their neighbours and landlord. But the top consideration should be the safety of everyone attending, no matter how small the gathering.

Every year, there are an average of 552 fireworks accidents, some of which are deadly. Because of this, the fire brigade always recommends that people attend events that are properly organized.

WE ADVISE….

The distance between your guests and the fireworks or bonfire should be considerable for a fireworks night party. If you can, designate an area for letting off fireworks that is away from your house and any fences or trees in the area.

Are fireworks safe to let off if you have a concrete patio? If they topple once they’re lit, they could shoot into your fence, house or other objects.

While fireworks can pose a threat in enclosed spaces such as a small garden, they are not nearly as dangerous as bonfires. If not properly constructed, bonfires can damage fences, sheds, bushes, and trees, not to mention the people around them.

If children will be present, barriers should be used to keep them well away from the fire.

It is your responsibility to ensure the safety of those attending the event.

WE ADVISE….

In general, we advise that tenants work hard to get the permission of their landlords and neighbours. Giving a small gift or expression of goodwill is a nice way to show your appreciation for the latter. Or you could simply invite them, which would negate the issue altogether.

Practicing common sense at all times is essential. If common sense tells you that hosting a fireworks party is in violation of your tenancy agreement or could be dangerous, you’re probably better off going to the local fireworks display.

What ever you do, have a great time.

Happy Guy Fawkes Night!

 

Why do asking prices keep rising?

 

Even through a Global pandemic, house prices in the UK have been steadily rising to a record high.

Nationwide building society said the average house price increased to £245,432 from £216,403 in June 2020.

 

Why asking prices are rising.

Factors that have increased the demand for properties.

The pandemic has caused people to re-assess what they want from their home.

  1. Large, detached homes with big outdoor spaces are in high demand from buyers with big budgets, with many now working remotely and commuting less.
  2. The pandemic has also made many people realise that the most important thing is for them to be close to family members and so a re-assessment of their geographical location has occurred.
  3. The return to very low interest rates has also helped more people to get on the property ladder, or to upsize to bigger and more expensive homes.
  4. First time buyers have been incentivised with a government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme offering buyers with small deposits access to 95% mortgage loans
  5. Stamp duty savings

 

Stamp duty factor

The market in recent months has continued to be stimulated by stamp duty holidays.

The temporary reduction of stamp duty tax rates in England and Northern Ireland has offered buyers a potential saving of up to £15,000, so many buyers are racing to move before the deadline.

Stamp duty tax savings and record low interest rates have helped many to afford higher prices, so they can find a new home that suits their changing needs.

Factors that have reduced the supply of properties.

  1. As the stamp duty tax break is now coming to an end, people, especially at the higher price end of the market, will be less inclined to put their properties on the market.
  2. With Furlough and other supports coming to an end, people are naturally thinking about their job security. People are less likely to put their property on the market under these circumstances.

 

The demand for homes is currently outstripping the number of properties available to buy. For this reason, homes are being sold at or above asking price.

However, we are uncertain whether this boom will be followed by a bust. If the economy fails and people are forced to sell and there maybe fewer people who are prepared to buy under these circumstances. If that situation is sustained prices may begin to fall again.

 

Rob Cranwell

Author

 

How to make your home more valuable and sell faster

Preparing your home for viewers, or “staging” as it’s called, is important. It will not only ensure
your property is sold faster but can potentially add thousands of pounds to its value.

Top Tips

Declutter – but don’t depersonalize

• Get rid of all the excess stuff that has accumulated in every nook and cranny. Put it in storage or give it to a friend

• People need to be able to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there. People often find this difficult, so make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering them

• Don’t make it look like a generic hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives unimaginative buyers
suggestions as to what they might do

• People are often buying into a lifestyle as much as a property. Show them the attractive side of your lifestyle

• Consider removing any bulky furniture that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture

A fresh lick of paint

• Giving your walls a fresh lick of paint, neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger

• It will enable the viewers to more easily imagine how they would adapt the rooms to their needs

• It will be easier for the buyers to move in and use the rooms immediately than if the walls were still bright purple or
lime green

• Create a good first impression – give the front door a new coat of brightly coloured paint

Fix and clean

• Make any minor repairs necessary – holes in walls, broken door knobs, cracked tiles, torn or threadbare carpets.
Many buyers want to move in without making changes, so allow for this

• Clean everything until it sparkles. Get rid of limescale, clean and repair tile grout, wax wooden floors, get rid of all
odours, hang up fresh towels. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there

• Tidy up the garden: cut bushes back, clean the patio and furniture of lichen and dirt, and cut the grass. While this
doesn’t add much value to your home it makes it more likely to sell as people visualize themselves using the garden

Update the kitchen
The kitchen is the most valuable room in a house. It is worth the most per square foot and can make the
difference when buyers are unsure

• Consider refacing your kitchen cabinetry. This is much cheaper than installing new cabinetry and often as effective

• Upgrading kitchen counter tops is expensive, but can add serious value

• Declutter the surfaces and just leave a bowl of fruit out. Take out any bulky appliances

• Consider upgrading the plumbing fixtures and white goods, but keep in mind that while that could make your

property sell faster, you will be unlikely to recoup their full value

Light and airy
• Wall mirrors make a room look much bigger and lighter. Consider putting some up, especially in smaller rooms
or hallways
• Clean windows inside and out and replace any broken light bulbs. Making the place feel light and airy makes rooms
feel bigger and the property more attractive
• Ensure that you have lamps on in any dark corners
• Putting a soft light bulb in the bathroom can create a warm glow

Light a fire
• If it’s a cold evening, or even chilly day, light your fire. Consider burning some pinecones for the delicious smell. This
will make your home feel warm and inviting. If you don’t have a fire then ensure the fireplace is clean

Make it look pretty
• Make sure the windows are properly dressed with blinds or curtains as naked windows make a place feel
impersonal and run down. Buy some cheap ones if necessary.
• Plants and flowers bring colour, life and light to a room and they also smell delicious. So does that fruit bowl on your
kitchen counter.

Get the right smells
• Bad smells are the single biggest turn off for prospective buyers. Don’t just cover them up, fix the source of the smell.
Clear drains, wash bins, open windows, air the kitchen from old cooking smells, get rid of furniture that is embedded
with cigarette smoke, and wash any grimy bed sheets
• If you are a smoker, place bowls of vinegar around the house and leave out for three days. Though the vinegar will
smell when you open the windows it will disappear quickly taking a most of the stale cigarette smell out with it.
• Conversely, good smells can make a property feel like an alluring home. While it might be impractical to bake fresh
bread, cakes or brownies for every viewer that visits your home, you could perhaps brew some fresh coffee

Obvious conversions
• If there are any obvious conversions – adapting the garage into extra rooms or going up into the loft – and you have
some spare cash, why not take advantage of this cash cow rather than letting the new owners make easy money out
of improvements. You should usually recoup your money
• If you don’t have enough spare cash to make the conversion, consider getting planning permission anyway.

Updated Stamp Duty Rates from today until 30th September.

Stamp duty is fairly straightforward for most property sales now up until the end of September.

  1. No stamp duty is payable on property purchases under £250,000.
  2. For property purchases between £250,000 and £925,000, 5% of the amount over £250,000 is payable (for example, if a property sold for £260,000, it would be 5% of £10,000 not 5% of £260,000).
  3. Additional amounts are payable for transactions over £925,000
  4. It is important to note that there are different rules for first time buyers (no stamp duty up to £300,000), additional properties (3% surcharge), and non-UK residents (2% surcharge).

The Stamp Duty Land Tax Calculator on the gov.uk website is a helpful tool to use if you or a prospective buyer are struggling to calculate the stamp duty payable on a transaction.

 

The Coronavirus Act 2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 received Royal Assent and came into force today.

Section 81 and Schedule 29 are the parts which concern the law relating to Landlord and Tenants.

The provisions apply from 26 March until 30 September 2020, but this may be extended by up to 6 months by the Government.

The following information has been shared with us by our referencing and legal partner Let Alliance.

The Governments promise to renters stated that:
Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place, and No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis The government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.

Q1 – What changes does the Act make in relation to private landlord and tenant law?

All notices under Section 8 and Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 served from (and included) today must provide a notice of not less than 3 months. This replaces the previous requirement of 2 weeks and 2 months respectively.

Q2 – What remains unchanged by the Act?

Despite the Government’s promise that there would be a complete ban on evictions, the legislation, in its current form, does not ban landlords from serving a notice seeking possession nor does it prevent landlords from issuing possession proceedings within the Relevant Period.

Despite the Lord Chief Justice saying that landlord and tenants should be expected to work together to establish affordable payment plans.

There remains no Pre-Action Protocol for private landlord and tenant proceedings.

Any rent payable during the Relevant Period remains treated as rent legally due.

The grounds for recovering possession under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 are unchanged. For instance, despite the notice period requirement being increased to 3 months, the requisite criteria for satisfaction of Ground 8 remains 2 months’ rent arrears at the time of serving notice and at the hearing.

Q3 – What about notices already served and orders obtained?

Notices served prior to 26 March 2020 are unaffected by the Act. Therefore, once they have expired, proceedings may be issued.

Possession orders remain enforceable and are unaffected by the Act. Therefore application for warrant of possession may be made, but many Courts are cancelling Bailiff appointments already listed and refusing to carry out evictions.

Q4 – What does that mean for us moving forward?

We suggest that you operate business as usual in that if you would normally issue proceedings on an expired notice already served, then you should do so.

Similarly, if you can issue a warrant request, continue to do so.

This will ensure that your application is ‘in the queue’ and whilst it may not be actioned just yet, once the restrictions are lifted, we consider all applications will be dealt with in date order and will therefore be enforceable in due course.

Whilst a Pre Action Protocol was suggested it is not yet law or even drafted to be considered. The current Social Housing PAP has been suggested but whilst it’s not really suited to the private sector it can be used as an indication of good practice.

The suggestion that attempts should be made to negotiate settlement and not issue proceedings in order to avoid a Court fee, in our view, isn’t commercially viable as those attempts should have been exhausted before issue anyway.

In addition, by not issuing when you are able to, you will be further down the list of applications when the Courts are back open for business and there will be a flood of backlogged cases to get through which is likely to result in considerable delays for the foreseeable future.

Q5 – What about Company letting agreements?

The Act extends the required notice period of a Notice to Quit to three months in respect of Rent Act 1977 by amendment of Section 5 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

Whilst there is no direct mention, or applicability to the position relating to company let agreements the Act does provides similar protections in respect of Business Tenancies under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

Our view is therefore that it is the clear intention of Parliament that all tenants should be given 3 months’ notice of the landlord’s intention to recover possession of premises. It is the function of the Court to interpret the legislation and in our view it would be the most logical interpretation that the period of notice required for Company letting agreements is also to be extended to 3 months’ notice.

If less than 3 months’ notice were given for a company let agreement, we consider there is a risk that the Court would deem the Notice to Quit invalid and the action for possession would fail. Meaning it would be likely that a new Notice to Quit would need to be served, providing 3 months’ notice and delaying the recovery of possession considerably.

Q6 – A possibility of further amendment and changes to associated legislation?

It seems the Courts aren’t actively listing cases and may have been advised not to make possession orders just yet but there is currently no changes in law which alter the position of the Court when faced with an application for possession which satisfies the requirements for possession on mandatory grounds.

If an accelerated application is issued for instance, and dealt with by the Court on the papers, there is nothing at present to suggest that the Court is precluded from making a mandatory order for possession.

In light of criticism it has received, the Government may introduce further amendments to the Act, or introduce subsequent changes to legislation which seeks to further deliver on the promises made and therefore the practical implication as it currently stands may change.

As you will appreciate, guidance on likely or predicted changes is difficult and we wish to remind you that we are still in fast moving and unprecedented times but we shall provide further updates as and when appropriate.

9 tips on how to find the best estate agent

Choosing an estate agent is important…

but how do you separate the good agents from the bad? Here’s 9 tips on choosing the best estate agent near you.

1. Select a shortlist of local estate agents

When it comes to choosing the best estate agents, it helps if you can shortlist your options to three. Use the list below to help you draw up a shortlist, then invite the handful of estate agents round to do a valuation.

  • Ask family, friends and neighbours – it’s always good to have a personal recommendation. Here at Open House Estate Agents in Stafford, most of our instructions come as a result of personal recommendations from friends, family and neighbours.
  • Is it right to judge an estate agent on how quickly they sell your property? Perhaps yes. However, if you want the best price for your property you may have to wait a little while.
  • Judge an estate agent on how close to their valuation figure they achieve for you. To judge an estate agent on how close to the asking price they achieve. That way of judging
  • Make sure the agent has experience of selling property like yours. Check there are properties similar to yours on their website.
  • Look at the properties that the agent sells on Zoopla and Rightmove. Are the pictures well taken, and the descriptions clear and relevant?
  • Do not feel pressured to hire the estate agent you bought your house from. Obviously, if you were impressed by how they sold your house to you, you might decide to go with them again
  • What is their viewing policy? Check they will offer to accompany potential buyers when arranging viewings whilst you are out.
  • Find out about their standard terms & conditions, particularly what is their standard commission rate and typical tie in period before you can break the contract if you are unhappy with them?

2. How to select the right estate agent?

selecting the right estate agent for you

When the estate agents come round for a valuation, it’s a good opportunity for you to ask them some further questions to help find the right one to sell your home. You should ask:

  • What is their reasoning behind the value they’ve given your property?
  • Are they members of an accredited independent ombudsman service? Either the Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme
  • Will details of your property be shared with their colleagues? It’s good if more than one person in the office can talk enthusiastically and with knowledge about your property
  • What would they do if your property was not selling as well as expected?
  • Are they open at weekends? A surprising number of agents only work during the week, and perhaps do half day on Saturday, which means they are less accessible to potential buyers. Open House Stafford open from 9am to 4pm on a Saturday and also offer a 24 hour, 365 day a year call answering service out of office hours.

3. Be wary of over valuations

Agents know that one of the main reasons people pick them is the valuation they give. They take two general approaches:

  • Some agents give deliberately optimistic valuations, to make you think you can get a higher price with them, and then try and talk you down after you have chosen them
  • Open House Stafford and Stone believe in giving a realistic price, and will tell you not to be fooled by falsely high valuations

Open House Estate Agents in Stafford will come armed with evidence of local sold prices to support our valuation. Do some research yourself but make sure you use something like our free valuation tool so you’re also armed with some knowledge about what your home should be worth.

It’s always advisable to take the advice of the estate agent, but it’s worth noting that it is you and not the agent who decides what price to put the property on at.

4. How much do estate agents cost?

In terms of fees, overwhelmingly, estate agents charge a percentage fee, which can be anywhere between 0.75% and 3.0%+VAT of the agreed selling price for your home depending on the type of contract you opt for with your estate agent.

Make sure your agent quotes the selling fee including VAT. 20% (the current VAT rate) added on can make a huge difference to the total cost

Make sure you understand all about estate agents fees before you make a decision.

Here at Open House Estate Agents in Stafford, we use a fixed fee model of £998 including VAT. That is offered on a no sale no fee basis. So book your free valuation now

5. How will they advertise your property?

One of the most important factors that will influence which estate agent you choose is how they plan to market your property. You need to understand what their plans are and be comfortable with their approach. Ask them:

  • Which portals are they using? It is the big property portals you want to be listed on: Zoopla, Rightmove and Primelocation, and the relatively new OnTheMarket
  • Do they advertise in local papers or magazines? Open House believe that traditional estate agents will not get the full cost benefit of this type of marketing due to the lower readership. Not enough ‘Bang For Buck’ so to speak. Nowadays we believe people use the property portals more than looking in newspapers
  • Will your property feature in their window? For how long?

6. Are there any downsides to using an online estate agent?

Online estate agents are much cheaper than conventional high street estate agents. But you pay this cheaper a fixed fee upfront and they vary in terms of what packages and prices they offer.

But don’t forget, cheap is not always the best. Open House Estate Agents in Stafford believe that its more about value for money. We believe its not only about giving the vendor a very competitive sale price but also excellent service as well.

Online estate agents all have essentially the same marketing approach, which is to advertise your house online on websites like Zoopla, Rightmove, Primelocation. Some will also use national newspapers..

7. Traps to watch out for in the estate agent contract

Traps to watch out for in the estate agent contract

When you hire an agent, you will be bound by their terms and conditions, so it’s important to understand what to watch out for with estate agents’ contracts. Some of the biggest things to be careful of include:

  • Will you have to pay extra for marketing and other costs, such as preparing the property details or For Sale boards? Try to get a fee that includes all these expenses
  • Do they insist on “sole selling rights”? If so, it means that even if you find a buyer yourself, you still have to pay the agent their fee. Open House Estate Agents in Stafford will not charge you if you find a seller yourself.
  • Are you paying commission when they sell the property, or if they find a “ready, willing and able purchaser”? The latter would mean you still have to pay the agent a fee even if the sale falls through because you have had to pull out – such as if you lost your job. You should only use an agent who expects a fee as a result of exchange of contracts.

8. How to sell your house without an estate agent in the UK

You don’t have to hire an estate agent, it is possible you can sell your home yourself. This has become even easier as more and more websites pop-up allowing you to list your home and market it to potential buyers.

It’s worth noting that these websites won’t be allowed to market your house on the big property portals, so exposure to potential buyers will be limited.

If you can sell you home for the right price this way, you will save a lot of money.

But beware that not getting the best price for your home can be much more costly than paying an agent. £5,000 off a £200,000 home may not seem like much but will completely erase any savings from not using an agent.

It’s also important to understand that you can’t list yourself directly on Zoopla, Rightmove and Prime Location.

They don’t take private listings, so you will need an estate agent, whether online, hybrid or high street, if you want to maximise exposure of your home to possible buyers.

9. Choosing a sole or multiple agent

A  decision you may to make is about how many estate agents you should use.

Clearly, if you are going for a multiple agency agreement, then you can just put your property on with any agent you like, and you don’t really have to choose between them.

Open House Estate Agents in Stafford believe that you only really need one estate agent doing the job well. Otherwise its just a duplication of marketing.

Final thoughts when choosing an estate agent

Make sure you get along with your estate agent, and that you trust them.

They will be the first point of contact for any potential buyers, so you need to make sure that they will represent you and your property well.

Remember to read the contract carefully and check your sole agency tie in period and required notice period. If you don’t understand something, ask.

Sell your property

Why should you look to sell your home in the winter months

Surely not! The mere thought of it…for goodness sake NO! Come on, its true…I know you will think it.

Christmas is all about focusing your thoughts on other matters such as sourcing the ultimate Christmas Turkey, ensuring the sheets are clean and aired on the spare bed for when Gran comes over on Christmas Eve. The presents….the drinks….the tree and on, and on and on..!

Well get this everyone. Surprise, surprise! (and Cilla isn’t ‘ere), the number of people viewing properties soars over the Christmas period and on into January. Who says so?

Rightmove themselves who show from their graph below (with thanks to your-move.co.uk) that there is a viewing spike for potential buyers between Christmas and New Year (Ok! A bit of a lapse during Christmas day and New Years Eve but that can be expected). Zoopla also announced they enjoyed a peak audience around 9pm on Boxing day.

average page visits on right move when selling your property xmas 2019
Right Move statistics for the christmas period in 2019

Selling your house in January with Open House Stafford & Stone

Here at Open House Stafford and Stone we know that once Christmas is out of the way, people are looking at the New Year for a new diet, new job…. a different this….a different that!. What about those that have their New Year’s Resolution as moving to a new home?!

Yes, its true, people do look at moving home in the New Year and contemplate if its the right time to sell.

Top tips for selling your home in winter

Open House Estate Agents in Stafford absolutely encourage those people who want that new year move to put their property on the market before Christmas.

Now I’m not saying that we would like to photo the tinsel, the baubles and the tree, as those are the things that people do not necessarily want to see when they are assessing the suitability of their future home. We offer some excellent hints and tips in our blog about the house selling process so please give this a read for some helpful advice.

If you can get the property on the market for that peak online viewing time you stand a good chance of selling your house fast and getting an early new year sale.

And then, of course you are in prime position to offer on that dream home you’ve been eyeing up.

What our statistics say about selling your property in January

Looking at the Statistics for Open House Stafford in 2019 – see chart below, you will see that we had as many offers on properties during January than we did in the peak of summer.

open house winter statistics
Open House yearly property statistics 2019

 

We had more property viewings this time of year than we did in February, March, April and May. However, the number of new properties being listed in January was one of the lowest months of the year.

What can we deduce from this? It is clear that the buyers are there ready and willing to view and to even make a quick offer.

However, it is also clear that sellers are less keen to put their house on the market. Perhaps its due to the long-standing misconception by sellers that houses only sell in the summer months.

To conclude

Do not delay if you are considering selling your property in the new year.

Why not call Open House Estate Agents in Stafford today, we offer a free valuation and (being right on Stafford high street, we can get the ball rolling on your property sale before you think too hard about Christmas.

The House Selling Process

Get the best out of the House Selling Process

Rob Cranwell, Director of Open House Estate Agents
Rob Cranwell, Director of Open House Estate Agents

How can you influence the house selling process? Rob Cranwell, Director of Open House Estate Agents in Stafford discusses what the vendor and agent can do to help.

If you spend a little time reading this guide you will see how the process of selling your property should be a simple function of time on the market and the price of your home.

The role of the vendor

One of the most important jobs that a vendor can do when it comes to selling your home. Always ensure that the property is looking the best.

This is important when:

  1. The agent comes to take photographs
  2. When the viewings take place.
well presented property to influence house selling process
well presented property to influence house selling process

This may seem very obvious, but it is noticeable how much more quickly well-presented houses sell. If there are any odd jobs that need doing (such as fixtures and fittings) its best advice for the vendor to get them fixed before the viewers see them.

Don’t forget it will only cost you the cost of a tin of paint and some of your time to paint that scuffed wall. The viewers may see it differently – ‘The whole house needs a redecoration and that will cost me thousands’.

The price negotiating will start and the offer price will reflect any perceived cost to the buyer.

Similarly, with that misted pain of double glazing. A couple of hundred pounds to the seller to replace – the viewer may think ‘the whole of the double-glazing needs replacing’. There are other examples, but I hope you get my point.

Once you have presented the property the best way you can, presentation cannot now be a factor as to why the property won’t sell, so long as it’s the best you can do and the best you’re going to do.

If someone doesn’t like it and they cannot see how they can change it, the house may not be for them.

Let us instead focus on the people who the house could be suitable for.

For a more comprehensive list of presentation points, please look at the relevant section in our brochure which you can access here.

The Role of the Local Estate Agent in the house selling process

Right, now some important points about estate agents and what really makes a good one.

At Open House Stafford and Stone, we do not believe its things like:

  • Where the agents office is
  • Whether the agents website has property videos
  • How long the directors have been doing the job.

We think its more fundamental than that. Please read on.

  1. Valuation

Valuations are based on knowing what comparative properties have sold for.

The best comparison would be if you had bought your property last week and you now wanted a valuation on the property today.

The answer is going to be roughly what you paid for it (As long as you bought it at a fair and reflective price).

Usually, we must use other properties as comparisons and so we are looking for the most similar properties in the most similar areas to where your property is situated.

So, if you have a four-bedroom detached property in a nice residential area with a good school we look at similar properties with similar characteristics and that have sold within a close time frame to present.

This then allows us to see what the market was prepared to offer for a similar property.

We will make adjustments, of course, but that is fundamentally how it works.

Important point – Some agents will tell you how quickly they sell houses. That does not mean they have maximised the sale price for you.

To stretch the point, if I offered your house to the market at £20,000 less than its worth, then I would be pretty confident of a quick sale.

It may be that you want the best price, in which case we may have to wait a little longer to get that price.

For property valuations in Stafford, Open House Estate Agents assume that you want to get the best price for your property. Unless you tell us different.

Interested in our services? Then click here for a free valuation

  1. Presentation

One of the key roles of the estate agent is to present the property in the best way they can.

So, if the vendor has spent a lot of time and effort getting the house presented extremely well, it goes without saying that the agents presentation should reflect that.

People will make viewing decisions based on the look of the property. If the photos / description / floor plan aren’t good enough, how many potential buyers may be put off viewing.

entrance hallway for a property to attract buyers
entrance of a well kept hallway for a property which can help attract buyers

Could a potential buyer that would be prepared to pay a good price early on be lost because of the photos?

  1. Once the agent has presented the property well, presentation will now not be a factor to a no sale.

If someone decides they don’t want to view the property it will be for other reasons but not for agents presentation of the property.

There’s a small but here – but the vendor will have to decide whether the agents best is actually good enough! A point of difference between agents, perhaps!

example floor plan for a sales process
example of a floor plan design by Open House to engage buyers

Open House Estate Agents will not be marketing a property in Stafford unless both we and the vendors are happy with content. Right first time is a good motto here!

  1. Responding to Interested parties – Another key role for the estate agent, to ensure that ALL enquiries and requests to view are responded to.

Here at Open House Estate Agents we will respond to all property marketing enquiries very quickly so not to lose a potential buyer.

The Role of the Online Property Portals in the house selling process.

I don’t think it will come as a major surprise when I say that the vast majority of properties are seen by potential buyers within Rightmove, Zoopla, PrimeLocation and other property portals.

Gone are the days when potential buyers would pick up brochures from estate agents. Look at how few estate agents advertise properties in the local newspapers.

Mainly, the way this is done nowadays is from the comfort of the buyers home via their tablet or device.

A top tip not to forget. If the property is on the market, it will be found by buyers looking within the property portals. The property is not invisible, it is definitely being seen.

The Selling Process

For me, the selling process is fairly simplistic and pretty much the same for all properties.

Once the vendor and the agent have presented the house to the best of both of their abilities, as I said earlier, presentation should no longer be a factor.

The House itself, the road on which it sits, the position of the house on the road, the area of the town, the views out of the windows, the neighbouring houses cannot be changed.

So, we are left with very little that we can change in order to attract the buyers.

Those who would buy your property have definitely seen your property (trust me) so, where are they then?

Assuming we have filtered away the people that would not buy your home (and every property will have these people so, don’t worry!) for one reason or another, the remaining potentially interested people will be split into three groups:-

  1. Those that are ready to buy and are prepared to pay the asking price or near to the asking price. These people will view and offer fairly quickly. Job done ! – wasn’t that easy?
  2. Those that are not ready to buy. Not sold their house yet, no agreement with a mortgage lender, not saved enough deposit, not seen the property online yet. The list is varied, as are the timescales in which these people become ready to offer. So, for the people in this group, we have to wait for them to be ready. We won’t necessarily know who they are or where they are in their process. They will come forward when they are ready so we may have to wait!
  3. Those who are ready but will not pay the asking price. These people won’t necessarily make themselves known to us but we know they are there. We may have to eventually engage with these people if the people in the ‘not ready’ category are too slow coming forward.

House Selling Process – The selling equation

So, bringing all the things together, once we have reduced the number of factors we can actually influence to help the sale we are left with two.

  1. Time on the market and
  2. Price

The house selling equation is a function of time and price.

Start at a realistic house price which you hope to achieve (be guided by the valuation) and then reduce gradually over the period in which you need to sell.

In Conclusion

So, in a nutshell, you are waiting for the best price first of all and then reduce gradually if needed before accepting an offer, exchanging contracts and title deeds and transferring ownership.

This is the same for all houses no matter how big or how small. It is how we at Open House Estate Agents are successful at selling houses in Stafford.

Oh, and by the way, you don’t need to pay a fortune to do this. Come to the Best Value Estate Agents in Stafford, to Open House and let us show you how its done.