Sue Healey of Kingsley Evans exlains why Cheltenham is the property place to work and gives some pointers for getting those sales through
Dream Homes in Westonbirt, Redmarley and Kempsford
Iwould like to use this space to say a fond farewell to Anthony Hickman who passed away in May. Tony was the most amazing man who changed the face of estate agency, taking it from a comfy chair business in the 80s to a super-tuned sports car, fearsome and inspiring to work for in his regime of 8am to 7pm, 12 days on, two days off. For those still in agency in Cheltenham who started their career with him, he taught an incredible work ethic, tenacity and competitiveness and he will be remembered for always by those who knew him.
In Cheltenham now there is an array of big national names and strong independents all vying for a share of the lively market. Many individuals have been working in Cheltenham for upwards of two decades and what this shouts from the chimney pots is that within the town there is exceptional long standing local knowledge and experience. The benefit to the seller and buyer means in the main, accurate valuations, understanding of process, strong relationships with solicitors, surveyors and financial advisors.
With this plethora of experience, the question remains as to why as an industry we are still notching up a fall through rate of around 30% and although that may well be lower in hot spots such as Cheltenham, the issue remains that sales fall through too often, significant sums of money are spent, never to be recouped and the shine that is attached to a new instruction can be lost.
In my opinion, three points help the process go through:
They can all be covered in the adage of Time Kills Deals. The average sale takes around 12 weeks to exchange if funding is required and in this
‘With all this positive plethora of experience, the question remains as to why as an industry we are still notching up a fall through rate of around 30%’
risk-averse world we live in, what can be done to reduce the time that it takes to get a sale over the line?
1: Fill in your forms. As soon as you decide to sell, instruct a solicitor who will then send you the property information and fixture and fittings forms. Complete them and return them so that as soon as a sale is in hand the buyers’ solicitor will receive a full pack of information to work through. Simply by doing this, a week or more can be saved and momentum swiftly starts to gather.
2: Have a clean bill of property health. As soon as you decide to sell, make sure that any alterations you have had carried out have the relevant guarantees and permissions. In a town full of listed properties we hit a bump in the road far too frequently where work has been carried out without listed planning consent and not only does this worry a buyer, it can also affect the borrowing. Be clear with your estate agent if there are any concerns as they will be discovered through the conveyancing process and by knowing up front what to expect, information can be disclosed and often indemnities put in place.
3: Put a time frame in place on agreeing a sale. On every sales memorandum that goes out there should be an agreed time frame for exchange and completion. Without a sense of urgency and a clear date in mind, the sale can be deemed less urgent than other transactions. With a sensible date agreed immediately, all parties are focused and the level of communication between seller, buyer, agent and solicitor increases dramatically.
There are of course many other points that help along the way however a strong relationship between the client, their agent and the solicitor plus open lines of communication from beginning to end solves a lot of potential problems. It is an intense relationship for around four months which then, along with the file is archived until on average another seven years goes by and the process starts again.
I have no doubt that many of us will still be working in the town in seven years’ time. Why move anywhere else when it is such a vibrant place to sell property? New companies opening help push service standards even higher, The internet brings many benefits to the table and reaches an unprecedented number of buyers but in a town like Cheltenham, personal service and experience is still what it’s all about.
Sue Healey of Kingsley Evans