Now it is fair to speak of hous­ing’s green shoots of re­cov­ery

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

Whilst facts might speak for them­selves, there is one com­mon theme of the mar­ket in York­shire and around the coun­try as a whole, namely the ac­cep­tance of re­al­ism on the part of both buy­ers and sellers alike.

In De­cem­ber one firm Knight Frank (ex­clud­ing cen­tral Lon­don) agreed sales on £250m pounds of res­i­den­tial prop­erty, fly­ing in the face of ac­cepted prac­tice that De­cem­ber is quiet es­pe­cially when Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber proved to be slow sell­ing months.

The new year has started where the old year fin­ished with my team in Har­ro­gate agree­ing sales on over £4m of prop­erty in the first full week of 2013. As you can guess this sales success has posed the in­evitable ques­tion as to whether it is a sign of an im­prov­ing mar­ket, New Year good for­tune, bril­liant es­tate agency or maybe a com­bi­na­tion of all three?

I be­lieve there are five fun­da­men­tal el­e­ments to our success:

1. Our in­te­grated na­tional net­work of of­fices be­ing part of a Pan Euro­pean team and global net­work is prov­ing to be es­sen­tial in of­fer­ing houses in York­shire to the widest range of po­ten­tial pur­chasers.

2. We put clients at the heart of ev­ery­thing we do. By virtue of be­ing a pri­vately owned com­pany this means that our ser­vice lev­els are driven by our clients’ needs not those of ex­ter­nal share­hold­ers and as a re­sult we have cre­ated an en­vi­ron­ment that nur­tures the best peo­ple in the busi­ness. We also have a strong sense of cor­po­rate re­spon­si­bil­ity with cur­rent spon­sor­ship in­clud­ing St Michaels Hospice and a long stand­ing as­so­ci­a­tion with the Acorn char­ity in Har­ro­gate.

3. It may seem an ob­vi­ous com­ment but your es­tate agent does need to un­der­stand the mar­ket place in which they are op­er­at­ing and be fa­mil­iar with your type of prop­erty. It is not just a ques­tion of who will charge the low­est com­mis­sion rate.

4. The changes in tech­nol­ogy that have arisen over the last four to five years have had a stag­ger­ing im­pact on the es­tate agency pro­fes­sion and your cho­sen agent should have em­braced the ben­e­fits that have re­sulted rather than treat­ing them with sus­pi­cion. So what are the lat­est features to at­tract buy­ers? For ex­am­ple, the abil­ity to per­son­alise your search seems in­evitable with a “Near me” func­tion­al­ity on our apps prov­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar, and this ex­plains why our iPad app has re­mained in the top 70 life­style apps since its launch at the be­gin­ning of 2012.

5. Mar­ket in­tel­li­gence is the lifeblood of a good es­tate agency and pro­fes­sional mar­ket re­search gen­er­ates an un­der­stand­ing of the key drivers of the mar­ket. In­ter­est­ingly, 38 per cent of all buy­ers through Knight Frank Har­ro­gate last year came from out of the York­shire and Hum­ber re­gion, with 56 per cent of our sales been be­tween £500,000 and £1m, with 34 per cent be­ing to those em­ployed in pro­fes­sional ser­vices in­dus­try and 14 per cent de­fined as en­tre­pre­neur­ial. A sin­gle of­fice es­tate agent can also be very ef­fec­tive but do they have the nec­es­sary reach? An agent needs this core data to en­sure that the mar­ket­ing strat­egy of any prop­erty is struc­tured and fo­cused to the tar­get mar­ket that might pur­chase.

So when choos­ing your sell­ing agent in 2013 con­sider, do they have all the right tools in the am­mu­ni­tion box to ap­peal to the widest range of po­ten­tial pur­chasers whether they are from Har­ro­gate or Hong Kong, Leeds or Lon­don?

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