Take the best advice and put your property in the picture
I MIGHT be a chartered surveyor but I am certainly not an economist. As such it would be inappropriate to suggest I can provide any magical solutions to the problems created by our European friends in the blue skies of southern Europe.
However, it has prompted me to reflect on what might appear to be muddy waters in this uncertain world. As I often say, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to be an estate agent but you do have to understand the psychology of individuals when buying and selling houses given the whole process does not always bring out the best in some people.
As an agent you have to be diplomatic and understand the pressures placed on buyers and sellers alike. I might do it for a living, but many experienced business people have only moved two or three times in their lives and that includes some who are approaching retirement. They need guidance, and if it is presented properly they will hopefully understand and heed the advice. If they don’t, a good agent needs the tenacity to keep going and this does not just apply to assisting those who are selling, buyers need guidance as well. We all take advice from solicitors and accountants, there is no reason to think the professional opinion of estate agents and valuers is any different.
In the world of modern technology even those with the most savvy IT knowledge do recognise that it can only ever sit alongside, but never replaces, the merits of experience. It is a question of achieving the balance between the two, and anybody involved in the residential property market acknowledges that computers will never replace the personal touch.
So, on one hand, the ability to search across the web for residential property has been an amazingly effective tool that has transformed the marketplace over the last 10 years with Google maps, Street View and the plethora of property portals available through SmartPhones and iPads, all making the process of buying and selling property both exciting and to many, a more pleasurable experience. I do not believe this means our industry has transformed for ever, but there is no doubt that the most successful of property transactions are where buyers, sellers and the professional advisers involved all use the very best of modern and traditional marketing tools.
First impressions, be they online, in a newspaper or the ubiquitous sales brochure are still essential.
I might be a little old fashioned, but when a picture “paints a thousand words” exceptional professional photography is a prerequisite to encouraging potential purchasers to view and is why my own firm has a photographer who works exclusively for us in Yorkshire. But words also play their part in enticing potential purchasers. It can be wrong to describe a house as being “to modernise” when perhaps more appropriate words would be “elegantly tired”. This can give a hint to potential buyers of what may be required without causing offence to the owners. In which case if a property is presented in this guise I would like to think that buyers bid for it accordingly and would not try to take advantage of the situation.
You might think that this is a collection of rambling thoughts, but what I am leading to is a survival list for those involved with the residential property market, be this buyers, sellers, agents, valuers, solicitors or financiers.
Use the best of modern technology, but do not be a slave to it.
Cost does not necessarily equal value.
Early interest, if selling, if often best interest.
The marketplace is ultimately the final arbiter on price.
You can exchange contracts in less than four weeks.
Tim Waring is a partner in Knight Frank and is based in Harrogate, from where he heads their estate agency business in Yorkshire.