To all friends, clients, associates and anyone else who may choose to peruse some seasonal tittle tattle from our local family firm of estate agents. Although the subject must be touched on, very little space will be afforded to Brexit and the associated complexities of the housing market. Because many readers will be familiar with, even close acquaintances of Chris, Julia, Dan, Simone, Steph and Julie, some of the content will slip behind the scenes to tell a little more of what’s been going on over the last 12 months ……
Market activity in 2017 - Severely hampered by Brexit. Uncertainty is the biggest adversary of the property market and many who would otherwise have planned a move, be it a downsize, upsize or any other size, have stayed put because they don’t know what’s going to happen.
House price performance - The shortage of supply of houses priced up to £250,000 has led to a price increase of many in this range, especially modern 2 and 3 bedroom types. A typical 3 bedroom semi in 2016 would have been expected to sell for £180,000 - £195,000. During the course of 2017 this has risen in many cases by 10% and more, to £200,000 - £220,000. More expensive property has struggled. Over ambitious pricing by both sellers and agents has caused a significant amount of stagnancy where, more often than not, asking prices have had to be reduced, often again and again, to attract a buyer.
Purple Bricks & Co - ‘On line’ estate agents have caused quite a stir, offering to sell for ‘no commission’. Sellers taking the bait pay hundreds of pounds up front and in many cases having paid, do much of the work themselves to get nothing back and certainly cannot expect the service provided by a traditional ‘no sale, no fee’ experienced estate agent. In terms of their long-term success, with ever more disillusioned clients and investors, the days of these outfits appear numbered.
Prospects for 2018 - Unless there is a quick fix for Brexit, little or no change is predicted for the year ahead. If anything, rather than prices catching up, a continued downward trend for overpriced property looks likely in the higher price ranges.
New recruits - In January we decided to ‘up our game’ and strengthen our sales team anticipating a challenging year ahead – and we got this right! Building a successful team is never easy but following an intensive search we found ourselves three remarkably competent and delightfully affable new recruits. If you haven’t already met or spoken with Simone Mockridge, Steph Gent and Julie Fieldhouse, you are sure to be impressed when you do. Everyone who encounters these super ladies will receive a warm welcome and expert attention, we are proud to have them with us.
Daniel Batchelor - is now Director Daniel Batchelor! Having loyally supported Chris and Julia for five testing years, Dan has accepted their invitation to join them on the board. With a charming personality and a dogged determination to succeed, Dan’s input has been a key factor in attracting new clients and assisting Julia and the sales team to steer their business to a successful conclusion in what has been a particularly tough year.
The Willey household - In common with Dan, and many of their clients, Chris and Julia have had a particularly eventful year. They moved house in December last year – just 2 days before Christmas. Of the thousands of moves they’ve handled over the years, theirs proved to be one of the most traumatic! So finely balanced was the transaction that on the 22nd of December, the due moving date, a fully laden removal lorry faced being unloaded and the sale aborted. To cut a long story short, successful last-minute negotiations enabled the deal to complete and them to move in and get their tree up just in time for Christmas. One year on, they are delighted with their ‘new’ abode – a small cottage on the edge of Creech Heathfield, overlooking lovely countryside, just a short walk down to the banks of the Taunton Bridgwater Canal.
Very sadly Julia lost her dear father Colin in May and two months later the family had to have their beloved Dalmatian Gemma put to sleep.
In August Chris and Julia were thrilled to learn they are to become grandparents for the first time as Phoebe announced her pregnancy with a baby boy due in early February. They have also welcomed into their household ‘Suki’, a very naughty but immensely lovable Miniature German Schnauzer who has given everyone a lift, albeit combined with a regular loss of slippers and chewed skirting boards!
We appear to have scored a hit with many of our clients - In common with lots of other businesses we have enrolled with a review site to monitor our performance. We proudly uphold our standards of customer service and although we warmly welcome and deeply appreciate kind testimonials, we also need to know if we fall short anywhere. Very thankfully the team has received more than a hundred complimentary reviews during the year, but one communication really stands out. Chris recently took a call from an elderly lady wishing to discuss the sale of her cute little cottage on the Blackdown Hills. She reminded Chris that she had asked him to value the very same cottage way back in 1994 but at the time she opted to rent it out rather than put it up for sale. He does however vaguely recall her promising to come back to him when she decided to sell. Well 23 years later, come back she has and it would appear her confidence has proved justified. We launched the sale last week and the sale has already been agreed! An excellent result for all concerned.
Our relationship with you – A number of recipients of this communique have been on our mailing list for many years - others maybe only weeks. No matter how long it has been, thank you for your interest, support and friendship which is very highly valued. Instructions to sell property are our lifeblood and we need them now more than ever. For potential sellers yet to take the plunge we do however know the time must be right before the decision is made to sell. When that time comes, please ‘Call us First’, we’ll respond quickly and do everything we possibly can to justify your allegiance and custom
In the meantime, please accept our best wishes for a Happy Christmas and all you hope for in the year ahead.