Wednesday, 16 August 2017

“You know you want to move, but the right house hasn’t come along just yet...”


Choosing the best time to hit the market can be tricky, so when the right property does come along, just how ready will you be? It’s become a growing problem over recent weeks and conversations with nervous home owners has prompted us to look into alternatives that will take the pressure off, but ensure sure that if you’re not already on the market, when the time comes, you are Move Ready.

Our Ready, Steady, Move! concept provides a no cost, no pressure option that will propel you to the front of the queue and provide you with the best chance of avoiding the disappointment of missing out again and again.

There’s no rocket science, just good old fashioned preparation and attention to detail that could make all the difference!

Contact the residential sales team for more information on 01384 379450 or sales@lexallan.co.uk

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Property prices are on the up, but it’s not all plain sailing, so make sure you do your homework!


It’s official - property prices are on the up. As if we didn’t know… especially if you’re trying to buy one locally at the moment. Rightmove highlights the West Midlands as showing the UK’s greatest monthly increase with a whacking 2.1%, but on the ground here in Stourbridge, there’s a story to tell.

 

Our tale is one of exceptional results seeing offers often outstripping asking price where multiple buyers chase the same property. So the good news is that when you come to market, you are likely to sell more easily and at a higher price than last year. Looking at the statistics, it would seem that new instructions over the first quarter of 2017 are 15% down on the same period last year. Continuing Brexit uncertainties, a late spring Easter, plus the ‘chicken & egg’ effect of fewer properties coming to market are all potential factors that are holding otherwise willing vendors back and contributing to localised property inflation. 

 

Is there an answer? Yes of course and it starts with taking sound professional advice in establishing the right asking price for your home and prepare for going to market, to the extent of having photos and brochure prepared in readiness. The agent will be prepared to ‘go live’ instantly you see a home with your name on it and might also quietly line up prospective buyers from their own priority purchaser list to pre-empt any delay should you so wish. And don’t forget to check out the best mortgage deals, which are currently at a record low, through an independent mortgage adviser. You’re on the starting blocks.

 

It’s tempting to be led by the headlines surrounding an overheating property market, but buyers are an intelligent lot and won’t be fooled by prices that are set at unreasonably high levels! Nor will the estate agent quoting highest price and lowest fee result in the best outcome. Finding the right buyer is only the first important step of your journey, but at the moment, instructing the best agent who has advised you throughout and will fight your cause from start to finish and only be rewarded on results is always going to bring about the happy ending that you want and deserve.        

Friday, 10 March 2017

Spring Has Sprung In The Commercial Market



By Ian Appleby - Commercial Surveyor

Well hopefully Spring is upon us and it’s time to look at what to expect for the remainder of this year. Not surprisingly, all talk is about a certain ‘Article 50’ and ‘Brexit’ and how this may dampen the hitherto buoyant Commercial Market that we have seen locally so far in 2017. As is traditional in the commercial property and financial press the focus is on what is happening in China, the USA (in particular-Trump!), Europe and of course, London. But what we and I am sure all the traders and business people of Stourbridge and The Black Country want to know, is what is happening on our High Streets and Parades right now, and in the months ahead?
The last quarter of 2016 proved to be challenging, with demand outstripping supply and so far this year, albeit early on, the signs are similar. We have had a healthy demand for retail and warehousing with a resultant rise in asking rents. The lack of demand for office space being maintained from late last year has resulted in an abundant choice for those requiring good quality office space at very competitive rates.

Another significant worry for tenants and business owners has been the upcoming revaluation of Business Rates. It seems we in the local business community have been spared with only modest increases in most areas, and indeed, quite a few reductions in the rateable values of our warehouses and shops. In conjunction with the doubling of Business Rate Relief from next month now would appear an excellent time for those considering either moving or starting a business, to dip their toes into the market!

We have successfully let premises in prime locations such as Stourbridge and Kingswinford High Street’s and large warehouses off Mucklow Hill, Halesowen and in Brierley Hill as well as Lye. Because of the high demand we urgently require quality retail premises and well sited warehousing, either to let or for sale. We are also experiencing high demand for investment premises and portfolios.

Let us hope that with the coming of Spring, we will see our local businesses and traders flourishing, along with the flowers. Oh, and the grass!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Having viewed coming world events in 2017 and taking note of the main focus of the media - It’s DIET time!”

Having paid special attention to all the various media organisations to seek some clarity as to how the complexities of our own economy and the continuing European muddle, not forgetting the inauguration of a maverick US president may affect us all, it seemed there was only one conclusion – It’s DIET time if you want to be bikini ready for the summer!

It’s good to know what the cream of the British media feel the public’s focus should be on, so if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Me – I’m going for the 5:2 with liposuction. The only real certainty is that the nights are becoming shorter and the snow hasn’t come (yet).

The passing of another year and the promise of a New Year galvanises many into planning their move and this year will be no different. Interest rates are holding at an all time low and with much needed new stock coming to market, transactions will be brisk.

Our own success in December’s Sunday Times Estate Agent of the Year Awards that won the Lex Allan Group a coveted Gold medal was our own highlight of 2016 and offers a welcome shot in the arm for ensuring we continue to deliver what our clients want in 2017.


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Are we the first agent to mention the 'C' word? It's not far away but don't assume that buyers aren't out there...

We’ve had lots of conversations with clients over the last few weeks keen to sell, but tending to assume that a New Year launch is their best option. So when we ask how they might feel if we found them a buyer before Christmas, it tends to focus their attention!
The truth is that as we close the doors for the last time before switching off the lights and skipping off to our office festivities, there is always some poor unfortunate being gently and politely ejected on to the pavement happily clutching an array of sales brochures. We like to think of them as our ‘hardcore buyers’ - they’re serious, and they are out there now!
 
Beat the bad weather that often heralds the New Year, prepare pre-decoration photos & sales brochures and let us introduce your home to our loyal hardcore buyers. There’s every chance that we might bring a little unexpected Christmas cheer to you and line you up to move earlier than you might have hoped.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The clocks are going back and a few simple ideas will keep your home looking good during the dark nights.

I’ve been showing buyers around empty properties again recently and even though the weather remains mild, stepping into some properties seems more like we are opening the door to a giant fridge. Older empty houses in particular need heating by now and I suggest now is the time to dust off the thermostat - an hour or two twice a day will work wonders, not only for your poor agent’s cold feet, but in encouraging your prospective buyer’s appreciation of your home. It will also stave off the misery of a burst pipe should temperatures plummet. Alternatively, ask the help of a plumber to drain the system - it’s a second best, but will cover you against costly water damage.


Before a viewing, take stock, pausing to make sure you have the right ambience, especially with lighting, although some homes with the right décor and character lend themselves well to after dark viewings. If yours is one, make the most of it - use candles (safely) for atmosphere, light an open fire or log burner for an instant hit. Check outside lights work so buyers reach the front door safely and don’t stray into your favourite rose bush instead. Rear lighting and clear garden paths will allow intrepid buyers to explore the garden.


And finally, invite your guests for a second visit in daylight, perhaps at the weekend to cement the deal.

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.