Thursday, 20 October 2016

“We always have to be clear as to whose side we are actually on…”

The house selling process, stressful at the best of times - up there with death and divorce no less - means that you rely on your estate agent to do the right thing, steering you wisely and advising what’s best for you. So here’s the rub - in the course of discussing client’s past experiences, I often hear the phrase "we sometimes wondered whose side they were on". Heavy handed persuasion in discussing a lower asking price, accepting a lower than hoped for offer, or renegotiating price post survey can all be perceived as an agent backing the wrong side if poorly approached. It’s rare for an agent not to act in his client’s best interest and the best way forward is not always the easiest.

With more Consumer Protection Regulations affecting the house selling industry, the role of your estate agent is to offer fairness and transparency to both vendor and buyer. Proper time taken to explain not only the eventual benefits, but also the full implications of the law is not only the best option in the long run, but the only option.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The place between a rock and a hard place is a very tight squeeze!

Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected this week and simply wanted to be loved by all, but it was not to be! Hugely popular to his grass roots membership, but disliked by his own MP’s, he has learned the lesson that he can’t be all things to all people and that principles occasionally get in the way.

And there’s the problem. Estate agents represent two sides - first and foremost their vendor client and secondly the rest of the general public! At some point the general public may well become a buyer too, or even a future client, but until that point our loyalty lies with our own client and that sometimes makes us unpopular.

The place between rock and a hard place is a very tight squeeze and I sometimes hear a previous buyer, now turning vendor, lamenting what a tough deal we put them through when they purchased their dream house.

But the fact that we’re on their side now means we’re with them all the way and putting them first will ensure we achieve the very best deal, whether or not that makes us the most popular people or not.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

“Being asked if we ‘went all the way’ wasn’t quite the loaded question I expected at that point…”

The scene was set - guided tour over and sat opposite the charming lady owner, I was ready to advise why we were naturally her best choice of agent and then she hit me with a perfect Mrs Robinson moment! "Are you the type of agent that goes all the way?"

Perhaps it was my startled expression, so she continued. "You don’t stop halfway through do you?" Luckily light dawned. Mrs. G had heard about the recent breed of online agents who market homes on the internet and if a buyer appears, leaves the rest up to the vendor and their solicitor to see through to completion. She didn’t like the sound of that. She wanted more. Much more.

So it was with some relief that I was able to reassure her that while we can tailor any package to suit a client’s needs, we were definitely an agent that would always be able to go the whole distance. And further.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Smart players aren’t waiting for what may or may not happen, they’re going for it now!

With another budget done and dusted, it only leaves the Euro Referendum in June to look forward to! As a nation we are cautious, but whilst there might be two opposing arguments, there will only be one result and whatever that result, relief that it’s all over and for many institutions and homeowners alike, it will signal a green light to move forward.

Judging from the property market place we see in and around Stourbridge, our average buyer isn’t waiting to see what might or might not happen in a few months time. They’re out there and they have money to spend! Without doubt we are seeing a dynamic market fuelled by relatively low numbers of new instructions - a sellers market favouring vendors who have gone to market ahead of the crowd who will undoubtedly follow later in the year. 

There is a real chance to make the most of this current window of opportunity, with its impressive sale prices, great mortgage deals and a low pressure sales environment enabling forward thinking vendors to place themselves ahead of the game.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Love is in the air and do we have some matches made in heaven....

Mr W - GSOH, Solvent & longing for a three bedroom detached soul mate enjoying long walks around Lawnswood & Kingswinford. Around £260,000

Immediate rendezvous required.

Mr P - WLTV petite two or three bedroom pad enjoying a fondness for Pedmore and Wollescote . Around £140,000
                                                                                                                                                      Broadminded, ready & very willing.

Mrs R - Seeks something very special for serious long term love affair. A preference for shacking up in & around Hagley or Oldswinford. Around £430,000

Willing to pay well for max happiness.

These people need your help to bring them the happiness they deserve. All enquiries in strict confidence and sympathetically considered in order to ensure the relationship is given every opportunity to blossom.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Waiting for the right house to come along before you go to market can prove a risky strategy….

I frequently find that fate or some greater power with a dubious sense of humour enjoys playing games with us when it comes to moving home! The object of our desire, property wise, only seems to show itself at precisely the worst possible moment. And timing is everything, especially at this time of the year. So what’s the solution?

As ever, it’s not rocket science. In the first place, if it’s your dream home, you can bet it’s someone else’s too, so you will have competition. Given that the later Spring season favours those homes with larger gardens, many will not come to market until Easter when daffodils and bulbs are in full bloom. To move to the head of the queue, take advantage of the market now to find your buyer. It’s a less pressured process and with fewer properties for sale than in later months, there is no lack of hardcore buyers keen to do business and pay a sensible price. And with a committed buyer lined up, the playing field is distinctly more level for you take up position at the front of the queue. It also puts you in touch with vendors who are keen only to show their home to those ready and able to move. Steps taken now could just bring that dream home a little closer, sooner.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

When you’re ready to go to market, has your agent given you the full story?

More than likely, even before you have made arrangements for your estate agents to visit and pitch for your business, you have formed a pretty fair idea of who you will use. Internet presence and reviews, nearby sold boards, newspaper advertising and perhaps a visit to the office to meet the people in whom you will be investing considerable trust, are all good first steps.

I would suggest that you go much further though.

The best agent will make a complex plan a simple one! He will listen, but his recommendations will be an unbiased fact based opinion given his expert knowledge of nearby sales and actual comparable evidence. He will advise how best to present the home through images and the written word. He will have a thorough knowledge of the compliance that will govern what he can and can’t say. His terms of business will be clear and uncomplicated with no catches, hidden costs or small print to trip the unwary. You will have a ‘cooling off period’ and your agent should ideally belong to a professional body such as the NAEA or RICS (or both).

My advice is not just to hear what you expect to hear. If you do your homework, your experience will be all the better for it.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Never standing still, our resolution for the New Year is to ensure our clients receive exceptional service and value for money…..

Another year gone and a selection of just a few of our favourite homes sold. They all had their own tale to tell and with many, it wasn’t just the house, but the vendor or the buyer’s journey that made them so memorable.

Over 2015, we’re delighted to have expanded our presence in and around Stourbridge, being instructed on even more new instructions, taking more offers and agreeing more sales than during an otherwise record breaking 2014!

Looking ahead to 2016, we will be championing new initiatives to make your move even more straightforward, offering an even wider selection of interesting homes - both second hand and brand new, as well as making certain that clients entrusting Lex Allan in the sale of their home receive a service that remains exceptional and offers superb value.

Finally we wish past, current and future clients as well as friends of Lex Allan a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Another 3% to pay if you’re ready to put spare cash into bricks & mortar for the future…

Last week’s Autumn statement brought into sharp focus the government’s need to raise additional revenue without touching the Holy Trinity of income tax, VAT or national insurance contributions and at the same time not upsetting large swathes of the electorate. So with second home ownership being embarassingly buoyant in and around Westminster, there lies a one billion pound solution.

Or is it? The extra three per cent stamp duty (in addition to the basic level) will hit ordinary landlords where it will hurt and not just in the wealthy hinterlands of the South East. With massive calls for additional social housing which the private rented sector props up more than any other agency, it will inevitably have repercussions. Rents may rise and in the longer term, the government may face calls to increase housing contributions as a result. There’s also a strong possibility of a rush to buy before next April 1st and with competition from first time buyers and supply at relatively low levels, prices could be pushed up. Time will tell in the end, but the jury is resoundingly out. For our Buy to Let propositions, go to and click Let to Buy.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Value for money isn’t about the cheapest or the most expensive… It’s all about satisfaction.

A friend of mine bought a new car recently and was wowed by the way she was looked after. It wasn’t a particularly expensive car, but the flowers that were sat on the passenger seat and the warmth of the process and a request that she promise to come back to the showroom in a couple of weeks time to let them know how she was getting on made a big difference. She’s already planning her next car from the same people!

And that’s what matters. It’s not the badge on the car, nor the cost, but the help and support of the people behind the brand that really mattered.

I see the same principle every day in the house moving process and given the magnified stress and emotion that accompanies the event, it becomes even more important to offer an alternative to an average service and instead offer one that really stands out. If it costs a little more or not, that will be forgotten, because ultimately it’s the people behind our name who give more than they might, in order that their clients remember their move as being a pleasure and not just a process from which the scars will heal with time.
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