Technology, technology, technology

I don’t usually use this blog to promote my firm’s initiatives, however, I am particularly excited about the launch of our new web-based client interaction area.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, I’m confident that technology will play an increasingly important role in the marketing of a property, and the data that can be obtained will be a tremendous sales tool. 

We have invested heavily in our website and we continue to do so to keep it at the cutting edge of the property market.  The client interaction area means that from the moment you contact Blackadders and arrange a time for a Sales Valuer to come out and visit your property you will be e-mailed your unique user name and password which will enable you to view the progress of your sale online at your own convenience – from checking appointment dates and times to ascertaining viewer feedback and checking whether or not price changes have been made.  All in all I think this is a fantastic initiative.

A seasonal property market?

Is the property market as seasonal as it once was?  My answer to that question is ‘no’ – it has been much flatter and steadier during the past 12 months.  However, there are still some key points in the year which may be of interest to you.

At the end of January/beginning of February there tends to be a rush of people putting their property on the market as the festive period comes to an end and people decide to get moving with their plans for the year.  This causes a marked increase in activity of viewers and sales/purchases in March and April.  The Easter break does tend to cause a slight slow down but the market usually continues to rise until the end of June/beginning of July, marking the start of the school holidays.  At this time there tends to be a drop off in both new houses coming on to the market and also potential purchasers until mid August, picking up again when the schools resume.

In November the market begins to quieten down again, however, there does tend to be a rush of people wanting to get their transactions settled before the end of the year.  This was particularly noticeable in 2009 with an apparent rush to avoid the changes in Stamp Duty and VAT.  December is one of my busiest months as far as property settlements are concerned.

The above is useful to remember, however, it is not something that should be used to dissuade general plans.  People who are looking to buy should not stop looking in the summer.  While there may be less properties coming on there is always the chance of picking up a bargain as the number of viewers are down.  People who are looking to sell should be aware that general activity levels will be slightly lower in the month of July to middle of August; this means that there is less competition and it can be a good time to get a property on the market to meet the autumn rush.  Likewise getting the property on as early as possible in January does mean that you can hopefully take advantage of the spring rise in activity. 

Again, as has been a constant theme through many of these blogs, my recommendation is to speak to a property expert who will give you the correct advice and keep you right regarding timing and marketing strategy.

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way – Part 2

I watched with interest the BBC Panorama investigation in respect of private Will writing companies which has also lead a Scottish Government Minister to call for protection throughout the whole of the UK.  The Scottish Government is legislating to offer greater protection to the consumer in respect of Wills which will come into effect next year. 

As I mentioned in a previous blog it is very important that everyone should have a Will, and although I admit I am biased I would recommend taking advice regarding your Will and estate planning from a Solicitor who is regulated by the Law Society and has the appropriate professional indemnity insurance.

Using technology to sell your property

Following a recent discussion with a client who was selling his property,  I was reminded of how much technical information and data is available to selling agents and how useful this can be when planning a marketing campaign for a property.

The client’s property had been on the market for some time but had generated little interest.  I had a meeting with our Estate Agent who was responsible for the transaction and we conducted a full investigation into trends, prices and the typical purchaser of this type of property.  We also looked at other available data – hits on the Tayside Solicitors Property Centre website, hits on our own website, the number of people accessing the Home Report, the number of people requesting schedules and we reviewed the feedback from a few people who had viewed the property. This enabled us to put in place a detailed strategy for the client which involved a slight price change.  The reduction in price enabled us to refresh the mailing list and also send the updated information to all the people who had previously viewed the property or accessed the Home Report. We continued to monitor the data and it was interesting to note a spike in the activity around the property as soon as the price had been altered.

I am pleased to say that after two weeks an offer was received and negotiated to an acceptable level. Whilst there is no replacement for experience, enthusiasm and the skill of a trained property sales consultant,  it brought home to me the importance of  analysing all the technical data available.

When choosing a selling agent, vendors should explore the technology and data that is available to the estate agent.