Show some re­spect or risk los­ing the home you want

The prop­erty mar­ket is show­ing signs of re­vival and that means buy­ers can no longer af­ford to be too cheeky. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

IN the depths of the re­ces­sion when mort­gages dried up and prop­erty sales plum­meted to de­press­ing lows, those in a po­si­tion to buy had good rea­son to be con­fi­dent.

Some be­came a lit­tle too brazen, putting in ridicu­lously low of­fers, tak­ing un­fair ad­van­tage of des­per­ate sell­ers and be­ing down­right rude about the homes they viewed.

Now the rules of the prop­erty game are chang­ing thanks to a mar­ket that is show­ing signs of re­cov­ery. The lat­est re­search from Right­move re­veals that the aver­age ask­ing price of a prop­erty has risen by 9.1 per cent so far this year, a fig­ure boosted by Lon­don and the South East. It is the strong­est start to a year since the 10.5 per cent recorded in 2004. In prag­matic York­shire, prices are still largely static, though they are pre­dicted to rise next year and con­fi­dence in the mar­ket is grow­ing.

The prop­erty por­tal be­lieves that “cheap money and a more pos­i­tive mood” are start­ing to re­lease pent-up de­mand from those who have put buy­ing on hold.

Right­move di­rec­tor Miles Ship­side says agents in most parts of the coun­try are re­port­ing strong de­mand for well-priced and de­cent-qual­ity stock. In some ar­eas this is out­strip­ping sup­ply and statis­tics back this up, show­ing that three per cent fewer properties were put up for sale in the first five months of 2013 com­pared to the same pe­riod in 2012.

Home­track’s fig­ures also re­flect this trend. Last month, new sup­ply grew by 2.8 per cent while sales agreed were up 8.2 per cent.

Homes are also sell­ing faster. Home­track re­port that the aver­age time on the mar­ket has fallen back to 8.8 weeks, the low­est level since July 2010. The sharpest falls in sale times have been seen in South­ern Eng­land at 7.2 weeks, com­pared to around 11 weeks in the Mid­lands and North­ern re­gions. The per­cent­age of ask­ing price achieved stands at just un­der 94 per cent, the high­est level since July 2010.

Mean­while, in­ter­est rates are low and mort­gages are be­com­ing eas­ier to ob­tain as the Govern­ment’s Fund­ing for Lend­ing scheme be­gins to take ef­fect and the banks re­lease their stran­gle­hold on money.

Th­ese lat­est statis­tics and sur­veys are a sign that while buy­ers are still in a strong po­si­tion, they may need to take a re­al­ity check if they want to se­cure the house of their dreams.

“The land­scape has changed for buy­ers. The last cou­ple of years it’s been dif­fi­cult to put deals to­gether be­cause buy­ers’ of­fers have been so low and sell­ers’ ex­pec­ta­tions have been too high, but there has been an ad­just­ment and now buy­ers are find­ing them­selves in com­pe­ti­tion. They aren’t the only game in town,” says Kevin Hollinrake, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Hunters es­tate agency.

His ad­vice is to be re­al­is­tic when mak­ing an of­fer and to take great care not to of­fend the ven­dor.

“A very low of­fer can be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. You have to be much fairer and go closer to the ask­ing price. It is very easy to re­search the sold prices of com­pa­ra­ble prop­erty on web­sites like Zoopla, so you’ll know if the ask­ing price rep­re­sents good value.

“If it does and you re­ally want the house then of­fer the ask­ing price. Don’t think you have to go 10 per cent lower.”

Even if your price ap­pears rea­son­able, there are other fac­tors to be con­sid­ered, in­clud­ing at­ti­tude.

It’s im­por­tant to try and strike up a good re­la­tion­ship with the seller and to be com­pli­men­tary about a home they may have a strong emo­tional at­tach­ment to.

“Be pleas­ant and be po­lite be­cause peo­ple would much rather sell to some­one they like rather than some­one who is rude and who points out that they don’t like the fea­ture fire­place you put in,” says Kevin.

“Not ev­ery­one has the same tastes and you can re­ally of­fend some­one by point­ing th­ese things out or by say­ing you think a prop­erty ‘needs work’.

“We’ve cer­tainly had ven­dors refuse to sell to some­one they don’t like and they’ve even taken a lower of­fer from some­one they do like. “

He adds: “There are of­ten emo­tional fac­tors at play. Peo­ple who re­ally love their home want to sell it to some­one nice. They may also re­ally value their neigh­bours so they don’t want to sell to some­one they dis­like and who might cause up­set.

“I’ve lost the count of the times I have heard a ven­dor say ‘I hope they buy it’ when some­one they like has viewed the prop­erty.”

Es­tate agent Tim Blenkin, of York-based Blenkin and Co, agrees, but adds that we still don’t have properties out­num­bered by buy­ers, or a trail of buy­ers reach­ing down the street out­side ev­ery door, though most houses find one, and oc­ca­sion­ally two, in­ter­ested par­ties. So it also pays to be pre­pared.

“Get your money in place first. One of our ven­dors re­cently turned down a £600,000 of­fer on their house be­cause the would-be buyer had a house to sell, al­though it was un­der of­fer. In­stead, they took £575,000 from some­one in rented ac­com­mo­da­tion with noth­ing to sell,” says Tim. “Cash is still king.”

RAIS­ING THE BAR: Swin­sty Hall is a 16th cen­tury, grade one listed gem with El­iz­a­bethan and Tu­dor fea­tures. ITV Sport pun­dit and for­mer Eng­land foot­baller and Mid­dles­brough man­ager Gareth South­gate and his wife, Ali­son, have added some 21st cen­tury touches.

POWER SHIFT: A sup­ply and de­mand is­sue could leave cheeky buy­ers out in the cold, as buy­ing a house be­comes a more com­pet­i­tive busi­ness.

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