Our Operations Director, Jenna Spence, reflects on the past year and looks ahead in 2019, giving you her top tips for choosing the right agent to sell or purchase property.
Making predictions for the coming year is difficult and nigh on impossible. Simply put, no one has a crystal ball that can accurately see into the future! What we can do however, is reflect on current trends and accurate statistical evidence from reliable local sources.
Neilsons sales clients had a very positive 2018. Your home – or your property – is your biggest asset and it is usually one of the very few occasions in life where you can maximise your capital tax free. It is the time to engage experienced professionals – it is not the time to find the cheapest agents you can find.
Simply put, there is no point in saving a few hundred off your marketing or estate agency fees if you are going to potentially miss out on thousands of pounds in suitable Offers a reliable and experienced Estate Agent will obtain. In addition, many agents such as Neilsons currently offer no upfront outlays which means you can list your property at no cost. This really incentivises the agent to obtain the best price possible for your property which is of course in your vital interests. By comparison, if you pay outlays and Estate Agency fees up front to a cheap online agent for example, you will be saving some money at the outset, but once they have the fees there is not the same drive to achieve the best possible price.
Neilsons were still selling properties on average between 14-15 days in 2018 which was over 33% faster than the ESPC average and 160% faster than the average selling time of independent agents who do not advertise in the ESPC.
Neilsons regularly achieve over the Home Report value in this current market depending on property type, location, presentation and the professional marketing we provide to clients.
Some of our sales in 2018 where the sales price we achieved for our clients was very much in excess of Home Report valuation includes:
- Morningside Place, Morningside: Valuation £475,000. Neilsons sale price secured: £581,818
- Gardiner Grove, Blackhall: Valuation £575,000. Neilsons sale price secured: £672,000.
- Cowan Road, Shandon: Valuation £435,000. Neilsons sale price secured: £489,977.
- Viewforth, Viewforth: Valuation £415,000. Neilsons sale price secured: £475,189.
- Newhalls Road, South Queensferry. Valuation: £310,000. Neilsons sale price secured: £342,378.
- Roseburn Maltings, Roseburn: Valuation £250,000. Neilsons sale price secured: £285,285.
We could go on but hopefully that gives you an indication on the favourable conditions for selling right now. There is a strong demand for suitable properties across the board – from studio flats to four bed detached properties and everything in between and above! Many of the purchasers that missed out on suitable properties last year, are still on our books and actively hunting properties now.
My top tips and advice for choosing a selling agent include:
- Check that your agent offers good incentives e.g. no upfront outlays and free marketing material. Like this deal, here.
- Choose a Solicitor Estate Agent – not only will they likely be members of ESPC which affords the best advertising of your property locally, but they will be able to seamlessly deal with the legal work (conveyancing) once your property sells. If you choose a non-Solicitor Estate Agent, your legal work will likely be passed to a conveyancer of the agent’s choice or you could be penalised if you wish to use your own Solicitor by paying an additional fee often around the £300 mark. If you use a Solicitor Estate Agent for your sale, they can also deal with the work involved for your purchase. You can really build up a good relationship with a Solicitor Estate Agent and the benefit is that everything is dealt with in-house giving you total peace of mind.
- Ensure that the agent you are thinking of using is achieving good sales in the area that you are thinking of selling and check their selling time frames. A good agent should be able to provide you with detailed market reports.
- Are you trusting the reliability of Trustpilot over Google and Facebook? Reconsider. TrustPilot is a paid-for reviews service, Google and Facebook is free to use. Google reviews can’t be removed by a company if they are listed on maps, but Facebook reviews can be. Check your proposed agents rating and recent reviews on Google for sure, and also Facebook. If they don’t have Facebook reviews, consider why they may have removed this feature in favour of a paid-for reviews service.
- Seen a cheap online agent? Don’t be fooled. Their websites generally look good because they have multi-million-pound investment behind them but their listings to sales ratio is very poor. Online agencies only have between a 28% to 43% listings to sale conversion rate. In contrast, Neilsons have around a 90% conversion rate for listings converted into sales.
- Does your agent offer access to an online portal to track the progress on your sale? These are very useful features in today’s modern technological society!
- Agencies which claim to sell your property with no commission are not telling the truth – they actually charge a fee rather than commission and the statistics show that they do not get the results.
Now, turning attention to your property purchase (if you are purchasing after selling). This is slightly more complex.
Edinburgh and the surrounding areas have seen a notable increase in property prices brought about by the huge demand for suitable properties which has meant that usually closing dates are the norm rather than the exception. In today’s hot property market, the big challenge is being able to secure the property you want to buy. This is where an experienced and knowledgeable Solicitor can really help.
The good news is that in recent months, there has been a significant year on year increase in the number of properties coming to market in East Central Scotland, with the volume of insertions up 14.1% between September and November 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. This continued trend of an increase in the number of properties coming to the market is a positive sign for buyers and shows the continued confidence of sellers, despite the uncertainty of Brexit which is yet to have any impact on the property market in East Central Scotland.
We also anticipate an increase of suitable properties coming to the market as the Council and Government look set to issue new restrictions on short-term letting in the City which will in time make short-term letting less appealing to investors not least with the new regulations coming into force in the lettings market but also the increase in Additional Dwelling Supplement by 1% to 4% from 3% previously coming into force at the end of January.
So, my top tips and advice if you are thinking of buying are:
- Ensure you are using a firm of Solicitors with the relevant experience and knowledge in the local area that you are considering buying. This means that they will be best equipped to pitch your offer correctly.
- Sign up to as many property mailing lists as possible and organise viewings as soon as possible if you see a property you like. ESPC is the most useful one in East Central Scotland and you can set up an account here.
- Does your Solicitor have an in-house mortgage advisor? This can be advantageous, again with everything being dealt with in-house.
- Ask your Solicitor what they can do to help you at closing dates – considering these are such a key feature of the market. You do not want to be pipped to the post.
- Does your Solicitor have access to the full ESPC archives? This is important. This means they can check in detail recent sales prices in the surrounding area you are thinking of buying, and it is much more detailed than what is available to the public.
- Make sure your Solicitor does not charge for any unsuccessful Offers or for Noting Interest otherwise those costs could really rack up.
- Ensure you get a completely transparent fee quotation that details the full cost of buying. For example, LBTT (formerly stamp duty) is payable by law, and so it is important to factor it into your budget.
Still have some questions that you need answered? We would be happy to help. You can email me personally at any time on firstname.lastname@example.org for free advice and you can also book a free consultation to come in and see us if you would rather.