Pragmatism will help the property market through 2011
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.