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Top 5 tips to keep your sale on track

Published: 12/01/2017   Last Updated: 12/01/2017 16:07:35   Author: Jane Bailey    Tags: RAH News, Sales Progression

Many think that estate agency is money for old rope.  Surely all you do is visit the house, take a few measurements and photographs, upload the details to OnTheMarket or Rightmove and wait for the viewings and offers to flood in.  This part of the job takes up only 20% of our time.  So what makes up the other 80%?

Handling offers and negotiating the final price is a key step and one that requires sensitive handling.  A quick cash offer after the first viewing can be good news.  But it is also vital to test the market fully, to give all interested buyers a chance to view to make sure your client gets the best price in the market at that time.  Keeping the person who made the original offer happy while allowing others a chance, requires diplomacy (and the patience of Job).

Once a property is Sold Subject to Contract (or Sale Agreed or Under Offer), the fun really begins.  Until contracts have been exchanged, either side can pull out of the sale, buyer or seller.  And, across the country 35% of agreed sales fall through, not only causing distress to at least one side but also incurring expensive solicitor and surveyor fees.

Our level of fall throughs is much lower than the national average and this is down to time and effort we put in after a sale is agreed, carefully nurturing a sale to completion.  To get a sense of the common pitfalls, we interviewed Jane Bailey who has responsibility for progressing sales at RAH.  This is her list of recommendations to ensure a smooth sale.

1. In my world it is paperwork, paperwork, paperwork rather than location, location, location. If you are selling, get your initial paperwork done early – a solicitor cannot send out a draft contract to the buyer until you have filled out the forms they need to check you are who you say you are.  There is no point insisting on a fast exchange of contracts if you delay the start of the process.  If you have had work done to the house, make sure you have the guarantees or building regulation sign-off to prove that everything has been completed properly.  The same is true about fixtures and fittings.  Think about what you are leaving behind and return the form to your solicitor quickly.  That way, any problems or issues can be identified early and sorted out before they jeopardise the sale

2. On the buyer’s side, providing the right paperwork on time is key to getting a mortgage offer quickly. Mortgage offers take more time than you think. It is more than a year since new mortgage regulations changed the way that lenders assessed new borrowers, who must now meet tough affordability criteria.  If that utility bill is out of date by the time you send it, you will have to start again

3. Communication is king.  Most sales involve a chain of people and a problem at any point in the chain can affect your sale.  Making sure that milestones are reached at the right time is vital.  With the rise of online estate agents and solicitors, talking to a real person about eliminating a blockage in the sales pipeline is becoming more and more difficult.  Having someone on your side who can talk to (and badger) the different estate agents, solicitors, surveyors and other professionals is really important

4. Be prepared for a renegotiation of the price. Mortgage valuations may come back lower than anticipated.  Equally surveys can throw up structural problems that need attention.  Both reasons can prompt buyers to ask for a price reduction.  If the market is strong you may decide that remarketing is the answer but if you are under time pressure to move quickly negotiating a new price might be the better option. Either way, keeping the lines of communication open is the key to a successful outcome

5. Don’t underestimate the importance of your agent’s office.  This is the place that surveyors come to get access to conduct the survey.  It is also the place where keys can be held, ready to be handed over to the buyer as soon as completion takes place.  Having someone on hand who knows the sale inside out, definitely helps to keep things on track.

Why the price must be right


Published: 07/11/2016   Last Updated: 07/11/2016 11:33:05   Author: Nick Redmayne    Tags: RAH News

Sitting in Cambridge it is easy to think that the housing market is immune from the ups and downs of the wider UK economy. Prices for prime city properties are holding up well. Even with less buyers around since Brexit, the lack of supply means there is still competition for the best houses.  The best locations will always sell well.

Overall however, it feels like the Cambridge property market is in a state of flux. So, if you want to sell and you aren’t living in a stunning Georgian house overlooking Jesus Green or Midsummer Common, how can you maximise your chances of finding a buyer?

Well the simple truth at the moment is that the right valuation will make or break your sale. Under-pricing your home risks leaving money on the table while over-pricing means you may wind up sitting on the market for weeks until you have no choice but to lower the price to gain more attention.

After a home sits on the market for an extended period, many people will think that it hasn’t sold because something is wrong with it. Buyers will assume that an old listing does not live up to its online promise or has had a problem with a survey.  Don’t let your home become stale because it’s overpriced

So, what are the secrets to pricing property so that it sells?

Firstly, you need to understand your competition.  How many similar houses are on the market in your neighbourhood at the moment? If there are several properties on the market, you will need to price aggressively in order to get buyers to choose yours. If there are no other similar houses locally, you may be able to go for a more ambitious asking price.

Then you need to be completely honest about the condition of your home. You cannot make a true comparison with other properties through rose-tinted glasses. Evaluate your home the way a picky buyer would and realign your expectations to match. If there are some quick cosmetic fixes that will improve the first impression of your home, such as tidying the front garden, decluttering and the odd lick of paint, now is the time to get on with them.

If you think that people will fall in love with your home and offer you more than it’s worth – think again. Today’s buyers have so much pricing information at their fingertips. Rightmove and Zoopla give them actual sold prices, together with photographs and floorplans.  They know exactly what has sold in your area and for how much. Buyers may not even view if they think the asking price is too high. They take away the message that if you are oblivious to the state of the current market, you are probably not very serious about selling.  Either that or they simply wait until the guide price is reduced.

An experienced, independent agent will market properties at the right price.  At Redmayne Arnold & Harris we have 25 years of local market knowledge and the history of what has sold in specific roads.  Also, we have the latest information about the competition.  The sales data on the online portals is typically three months out of date as they rely on completion data coming through from the Land Registry. We know what’s coming onto the market, how many viewings are actually taking place and what sales have just been agreed? We can advise on presenting your home in the best way and about setting your asking price so that your home stands out online.

5 reasons experience matters


Published: 22/08/2016   Last Updated: 04/01/2017 12:24:33   Author: Nick Redmayne    Tags: RAH News, Marketing, Pricing

This year, Redmyne Arnold & Harris are celebrating 25 years of selling and letting prime property in and around Cambridge.  Here Nick Redmayne looks at why experience and expertise matter so much when you sell your home.

1. The right valuation makes or breaks a sale. Experience allows us to market properties at the right price, based on 25 years of local market knowledge and the history of what has sold in specific roads. Under-pricing your home risks leaving money on the table while over-pricing means you may wind up sitting on the market for weeks until you have no choice but to lower the price to gain more attention

2. Good marketing sells.  You are competing with other properties for the same buyer so yours needs to grab the attention. Property marketing is about more than an online listing. You need to stand out from the crowd. High quality photos, an engaging description and clear floor plans present your home to its full potential

3. 80% of people buy a property within a five miles of their current address so local knowledge and connections are king. Unlike online agents who operate central call centres we know Cambridge like the back of our hand. We speak to our database of registered buyers and anyone who has viewed similar properties to yours, recommending your property at every opportunity. Following up every viewing allows us to give you valuable feedback

4. Expertise in negotiation can make a huge difference to the sale price. We have negotiated hundreds of home sales, we know all the tactics, the warning signs of a nervous buyer or someone who is not committed to the purchase. We know when it is the right time to push and the right time to hold back. On average we achieve 102% of the original asking price

5. If you agree a sale, national statistics indicate that there is a one in three chance of it falling through before completion. We have a success rate of 88%. Long-established relationships with solicitors, surveyors and lenders mean we are best-placed to ensure that everyone involved in a sale is kept informed and deals stays on track to the end. We can identify any potential problems early and we have the experience to deal with them quickly and efficiently.