Hadley Taylor Blog

picture of nick compressedNick Taylor

Managing Director

At Hadley Taylor we like to keep our clients updated on the latest local property news and opinion.

April 2011

Spring is in the air

 

At last we have seen some activity in the Norwich property market. This year has been slow to get started but in recent weeks we have seen more instructions to sell, more viewings, more offers and more sales agreed.

 

Many buyers and sellers are still a little reluctant to test the water. People are waiting but they’re not quite sure what they’re waiting for and I’m not sure either.

 

If buyers are waiting for prices to fall, I don’t think they will. With twice as many new households being formed as there are new homes built it stands to reason that supply and demand will remain the biggest driver in the UK housing market for some years to come and this will underpin house prices. This is because developers aren’t suddenly going to acquire additional funds, not to mention additional courage, to build many more new houses and development land in locations close to amenities yet far enough away from water courses is will increasingly be in very short supply. 

 

If sellers are waiting for prices to rise I don’t think they will in a hurry either. This is because the economy will grow very slowly for the next couple of years and wage inflation will be modest at best with workers in both the private and public sectors seeing wage increases only as productivity rises.

 

So what we have is a very stable market. In fact the sort of market that buyers and sellers should feel confident about dipping their toe into.


May 2011

How do Estate Agents work in other countries?

 

I’ve just got back from my annual holiday and many of you may also have been away over the Easter break or will be planning your holiday for later in the year.

 

When I’m on holiday abroad I can’t resist the temptation to check out the property prices in whichever country I’m in at the time. I guess it’s an obsession that goes with the territory when one is an estate agent. What I find is that property abroad is increasingly expensive compared to the UK due in part to the weakness of the pound and those destinations offering bargain homes in the sun are becoming increasingly few and far between.

 

What is also quite interesting is to see how estate agents in other countries work and to learn what they charge their clients. In fact I’m often quite envious at the rather eye watering commission rates estate agents enjoy in other countries. For example it will cost about twice as much to sell a house in the US or in Australia as it will here whilst in France agents charge about 4% and in South Africa agents charge up to 7%. In Italy they really have a laugh because agents charge both the seller and the buyer.

 

Here in the UK estate agents fees are often the subject of endless column inches and media spin but in reality the cost of selling a house here is less than in virtually any other country on the planet. Regulation of estate agents is also much more rigorous here than in most other countries where in many cases redress is non-existent.

 

So if you’re back from your Easter holiday and considering putting your house on the market you can expect great value for money from your local property professional and expect him or her to work within a strict code of conduct rather like the one we have within the Norwich and District Association of Estate Agents.


June 2011

How should I select my Estate Agent?

 

One question I am often asked by would be sellers is how should I decide which estate agent to use? Now I’m bound to say that sellers should choose me but if one is to be more objective let’s look at some more sensible selection criteria.

 

There are many good estate agents in Norwich and many of them can be found within the ranks of the Norwich and District Association of Estate Agents. What might be more useful is to point out reasons why you shouldn’t use a particular agent. Agents that follow poor practice will almost certainly do a poor job and fail to sell your house or sell it for less than it’s worth.

 

For example, sellers should never use estate agents who knock on your door asking if they can sell your house. This is a particularly nauseating practice that preys on the elderly, the infirm or the inexperienced. If it happens to you report it to the NAEA or the Ombudsman but most importantly don’t use that particular agent.

 

Never use an agent that asks for an up front fee. Good estate agents with the required expertise and local knowledge to sell your house at an advantageous price will charge you once they’ve done the job and not before. Volume agents who charge an up front fee rely on banking the income from hundreds of houses they don’t actually sell.

 

Don’t use an agent who values your house at a higher price that anyone else unless they can prove to your satisfaction how they will achieve the price quoted.

 

Don’t use an unlicensed agent. Most agents are members of the National Association of Estate Agents but not all of these meet the required criteria to be a licensed agent. Ask the agent if they are licensed when they call to do their market appraisal.

 

Beware of agents that want you to commit to a sole agency agreement for more than a few weeks. This is because if the agent is not successful at selling your house you need to be able to employ a different agent as easily as possible. Believe it or not some agent’s contracts tie you in for 13, 16 or even 22 weeks but you’ll only discover this when you read the small print in their contract.

 

Don’t use agents who also sell mortgages or conveyancing. These agents have unwittingly introduced a conflict of interest into their business for the sake of making more profit. These agents may be more focused on earning commissions from mortgage and conveyancing work than the job in hand which is to sell your house. Ethical estate agents have only one objective and that is to get you the best price for your most valuable asset.

 

Beware of estate agents who suggest selling your home at auction. Very few properties are suited to an auction sale. The vast majority of properties sold at auction are sold for less than their true value.

 

Most important of all do be assured that estate agents in this country are more ethical, more regulated and offer better value for money than realtors in virtually any other country on the planet.


September 2010

Reasons to be cheerful

 

If one were to take too much notice of the national press and broadcast media one might become rather depressed about the economic outlook and the housing market in particular. However, any decent psychologist will tell you that the national press and the broadcast media are past masters in the art of negative conditioning. In other words the worse the news, the more we read and watch. The EDP does, of course, take a rather more positive approach to local news I’m pleased to say.

 

There are plenty of good news stories about the economy that are buried in the small print. For example the economy is growing, the deficit is being addressed, unemployment is falling, there is stability in financial markets and the culture within government to buy now and pay later is being curbed. The last great period of austerity was in the 1950’s which is a period many regard as a golden era for this country. In fact the measures taken in the 1950’s to balance the books following the Second World War paved the way for prosperity during the following four decades. Rather than fear austerity measures we should embrace them and see them as a necessary medicine for a sick patient.

 

So when it comes to moves in the property market I would advise sellers to choose an agent who is not just hard working, local and well connected but realistic and objective and to be patient in selling because the desired outcome may take several weeks or months.

 

Although I think it would be foolish for any estate agent to use the word “buoyant” when describing the market at the moment, there are encouraging signs. At Hadley Taylor we have agreed three sales in the Golden Triangle each in excess of £600,000 in as many weeks. This is a sure sign that the market is not as depressed as the editors of national newspapers and producers of news programs would have us believe.

 

Times may be hard and confidence in property has been dented but the fundamentals that underpin the UK housing market haven’t changed. Our island doesn’t get any bigger but the population does, new housing development is running at way below the rate required to make up the difference and most importantly of all, Britons have a love affair with property and a burning desire to own their own home. For all these reasons the long term outlook for property is good.

 


October 2010

The things Estate Agents Say

 

If you’ve ever heard an estate agent say “I’ll only put your offer forward if you come into our office to see our mortgage adviser” or “I’ll make sure your offer is accepted as long as you use our legal service” then you have been in the presence of at best an incompetent or at worst a crook. This is because the agent doing the talking either doesn’t know his business or he knows it but chooses to flout the law. You see it’s not just an agent’s moral responsibility to put all offers before his client; it is also his legal obligation to do so.

 

Estate agents who run in house legal and mortgage services do so in order to make more profit although they will tell you they do it to provide a more comprehensive service. What they are doing is running the risk of introducing a conflict of interest into their business and although some agents successfully manage to walk the fine line between providing additional services and falling foul of the law some don’t. If an agent puts their sales people on commission to sell all these services across the board they could have a recipe for corruption.

 

So if you ever hear this sort of thing going on please report it to the Estate Agency Ombudsman who will be very pleased you called. You see not every estate agent wants to be the butt of dinner party jokes or tarred with the same brush as these types. Some of us run businesses following strict codes of conduct where conflicts of interest have been deliberately removed from our day to day activities. If buyers and sellers want advice as to which professionals to use for legal and financial services we tell them who to speak to but this is where the relationship ends. Selling houses is our business and we tend to do it quite well.


July 2010

Will property out perform inflation?

 

Price Waterhouse Coopers have recently confirmed a view that I have held for some time, which is that property price inflation over the next few years will be modest at best. Their view is that property prices will struggle to keep pace with inflation. This will change the way many people view their property purchases from now on. For those of us simply wishing to buy a house to live in, nothing changes, but for those who see their home as an investment vehicle that will always increase in value and which can be borrowed against whenever the need arises, I’m afraid the game is up.

 

However, before we write off property as an investment vehicle completely let’s consider how other investments will do over the next ten years or so. Are we to assume that savings rates will out perform inflation? On current form I think not. Are we to hope that stocks and shares will out perform inflation? Maybe, but maybe not and only the bravest investors will be around to find out.

 

So compared with the alternatives perhaps good quality housing stock in good residential areas doesn’t seem like such a bad bet as some might think.


August 2010

Could property become a realistic alternative for investors?

 

Many people who rely on income from savings will be wondering what to do next with rates on deposit accounts struggling to get above 2%. Low savings rates are symptomatic of the state of the economy and are here to stay for the foreseeable future so could property prove to be a viable alternative?

 

Residential property investments haven’t looked very attractive in recent years due to falling property values but perhaps it’s time to look again now that we have more stable prices and very low rates of return for savers. Let’s ignore capital growth and look solely at yield. Residential investment property in Norwich is currently yielding up to 6.5% before costs and taxes. If investors have the stomach to take on a house in multiple occupancy the return could be as much as 7.5% gross and if investors are prepared to look at mixed residential and commercial properties the returns are even higher.

 

Of course there are many more things to consider with this type of investment and many more pitfalls than if one were to put one’s feet up and wait for the building society statement to come through the letter box but as we enter unchartered water for investments we will all have to make our money work harder than ever before.


January 2010

New Year – new website

 

The turn of the New Year has seen the re-design of our website hadleytaylor.com. There are many unique features on the site that set it apart from other estate agent’s websites. For example we have a local information section providing details of local trades, professions and services that are in some way linked to property. You’ll find details of anything from solicitors to painters and decorators and plumbers to structural engineers. Also in this section you will be able to access details of state, faith and independent schools for all age groups in and around NR4, NR2 and NR1.

 

The other unique addition to our site is our blog. Many buyers and sellers come to Hadley Taylor not just because we tend to market properties in some of the most desirable streets in Norwich but also because we offer experience, advice and opinion. Our blog is one way in which we want to communicate with buyers and sellers, many of whom ask us to sell their home many years after buying from us in the first place.