Prag­ma­tism will help the prop­erty mar­ket through 2011

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Tim War­ing

WITH fi­nan­cial bail-outs, eco­nomic un­cer­tainty and a mixed out­look for 2011, does any­one re­ally know what the next 12 months holds for the res­i­den­tial prop­erty mar­ket in York­shire?

I sus­pect we all think the an­swer is: “no, not re­ally” and per­haps this is best il­lus­trated by the eco­nomic bul­letins I have re­ceived this week from a ma­jor bank and sig­nif­i­cant pen­sion provider. Both make ref­er­ence to in­fla­tion­ary is­sues, em­ploy­ment rates and the eu­ro­zone as well as quan­ti­ta­tive eas­ing (and I thought the QE2 was a ship).

Fun­da­men­tally, how­ever, both con­clude with the won­der­fully sim­ple line: “Only time will tell”, which may not be very help­ful if you are look­ing for cer­tain­ties.

So where does that leave those want­ing to buy or sell next year? Well, I hope it doesn’t leave would-be buy­ers and sell­ers in the con­fused state of flux, that some would have us be­lieve ex­ists. For what it’s worth, I have a few sug­ges­tions that might see you through the choppy wa­ters that could lie ahead.

Price: Al­ways the ob­vi­ous one, of course, but as I have said be­fore, you can­not de­feat the ev­i­dence how­ever much more you may think your house is worth. It is worth what a buyer is will­ing to pay, and that may not be quite as much as you think.

Sim­i­larly, buy­ers must recog­nise that not all sell­ers are des­per­ate and, ul­ti­mately, we are talk­ing about the sale of homes, not of fi­nan­cial com­modi­ties, so you may have to pay the ask­ing price for some­thing spe­cial in the right lo­ca­tion.

Pre­sen­ta­tion: As Robin and Pa­tri­cia Sil­ver, of The Home Store at Salts Mill, Sal­taire, said in their col­umn in Prop­erty Post last week, con­di­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion are es­sen­tial but, sur­pris­ingly, over­looked by many own­ers, be it for a mod­est ter­race house or sig­nif­i­cant coun­try home. How­ever, I urge buy­ers to re­mem­ber that a bit of damp or peel­ing paint­work in a 100-yearold house is per­haps rea­son­able and not, there­fore, grounds to jus­tify a ma­jor rene­go­ti­a­tion on price, cre­at­ing un­nec­es­sary ill-feel­ing.

Prag­ma­tism: If you have to sell quickly you will need to force the mar­ket, in which case you will have to force your price to a level where a sale can be guar­an­teed. If you have time on your hands as a seller, you may have to be pa­tient un­til the right buyer comes for­ward.

Pur­chasers may take the view in the present cli­mate that they will wait un­til the price drops but do bear in mind it might not. So if you like it, why not buy the house you have al­ways wanted?

So where do us es­tate agents fit into all of this? Well, ex­pe­ri­ence and pa­tience are two of the most sig­nif­i­cant at­tributes that dif­fer­en­ti­ate a good es­tate agent from a bad one.

Home sell­ers are un­der­stand­ably be­com­ing frus­trated; for some it is sim­ply a lack of view­ings, for oth­ers it is re­ceipt of dis­ap­point­ing of­fers. Work with your agent, un­der­stand what the mar­ket­place is telling you and re­act ac­cord­ingly to the ad­vice he or she may give you.

For buy­ers, I urge you to recog­nise the mer­its of the prop­erty you are con­sid­er­ing, Please don’t just crit­i­cise in the be­lief that it will bring down the price.

Work with the sell­ing agent to un­der­stand what the prop­erty in ques­tion has to of­fer in terms of its at­tributes, how you can im­prove or al­ter it to suit your taste. Keep an open mind and be pre­pared to pay for qual­ity or in­di­vid­u­al­ity.

As for the agents them­selves, some of us have worked through dif­fi­cult times be­fore, some more than once, as my grey hair tes­ti­fies. For Knight Frank, it is al­most 100 years since we sold our first prop­erty in York­shire. No­table trans­ac­tions have in­cluded Foun­tains Abbey and Brimham Rocks. They are still around and so are we.

Tim War­ing is a part­ner of Knight Frank and heads their es­tate agency team in the North of Eng­land.

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