Enjoy the festive period but don’t let the hangover last until Spring.

Christmas is almost upon us with only 3/4 weeks to go until, for most, the festivities and over indulgence begins. Those thinking of selling their home will now put this firmly to the back of their minds and will be replaced with thoughts of presents, sleeping in front of the TV and Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.

However, this may be the perfect time to consider selling and preparing the house to hit the market after the party season has finished. Traditionally the months of January and February see less properties arrive for sale but is an excellent time to sell as the majority of house sellers will normally wait until Spring to sell. What does this mean for you if you decide to sell sooner?

  1. Less houses for sale increases your chance of a quicker successful sale and hopefully more than the Home Report value. Giving you peace of mind.
  2. You will be in a strong position to purchase a property a little later with more choice available.
  3. More buyers will be inclined to take your offer as you have been pro-active and are less of a risk than a buyer who has yet to sell.
  4. As you will have more choice, due to the increase in properties for sale, you will be less inclined to make a panic purchase then going through the process again in six months’ time.   

If you have decided that you are not going to extend, renew the kitchen or replace the bathroom, but instead sell your home in the New Year, I would urge you to book a free valuation now to prepare for the beginning of 2018 staying ahead of your competitors and make appropriate plans to ensure your house stands out against what little competition you will have.

At Blackadders we offer professional photography, quality brochures with floor-plans, buyers’ bank, social media (Twitter & Facebook), extended opening hours and website portals that suit your individual needs, all as standard.

Enjoy the festive period but don’t let the hangover last until Spring. Be two steps ahead.


Neil Fyall – Estate Agency

Senior Property Branch Manager
www.blackadders.co.uk

Mixed Messages From Mortgage Market

The latest Bank of England figures show that Banks and Building Societies cut lending by a net £2.425 billion between October and December, 2012.  This includes lenders who are taking part in the funding for lending scheme.  While I am noticing an increase in activity in mortgage lending, I know from speaking to a number of mortgage advisers that deals are taking longer to get through and that every box requires to be ticked before the lender will process the application – perhaps no bad thing!

Money Facts have recently called on lenders to re-open their books to first time buyers to get the property market moving.   Sylvia Waycot, editor at Money Facts, said “we have seen the first time buyer market stagnate as deposit demands become unrealistic.”  The latest significant changes the Government’s funding for lending scheme, which seems to put everything back on track – but only time will tell if this works out as planned.  We are already seeing the forward thinking lenders into the markets with innovative products to help first time buyers to get onto the housing ladder.  It looks as though we are about to enter yet another period of change within the mortgage market, and at last it might be for the better.

I hope the Government’s funding for lending scheme works as planned and the Chancellor takes the budget opportunity to do more to assist first time buyers.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner & Head of Property

 

Blackadders – first solicitor/estate agent firm to launch iPhone Property App in Scotland

In the last few years estate agents and conveyancers have been challenged to provide the best possible service at the best possible price. To step up to this challenge we have embraced the use of the latest technologies and techniques available. In 2009 we launched our new website and property system, complete with a client interaction area. This secure login area allows our clients to track the progress of their property sale at a time that is convenient for them. When anything significant happens, such as a viewer booking an appointment, the system automatically sends an update to the client and it is recorded in the system. Any comments we receive back from that viewer are posted on to the system. The client can either choose to receive a feedback call from us or they can login to the system and check for updates at a time that suits them. The system also allows prospective buyers to enter their property criteria and as soon we have a property match it will send out the property details to that prospective buyer automatically.

Our commitment to be at the cutting edge of the legal and property sectors means that we are always looking at new innovations to maintain that position. Following the positive feedback we received after the launch of our website and our commendation award at the DADI (Drum Awards for Digital Industries), it seemed like a natural progression to design an App that would allow those looking for a new home to search our entire portfolio of property for sale and allow our clients to access the client interaction area while on the move.

Although the Scottish property market is showing small signs of improvement we still need to ensure that our clients’ properties are seen by as many people as possible. We hope that by giving people access to our property portfolio through many different sources and allowing clients to access information at the touch of a screen, it will speed up the sale of property and improve the market further.

The key consideration when we were designing the iPhone App was to ensure that the interface was simple to use and that there was synergy between the App, our property system and our website.  We worked with local digital firm Avian on the project for several months and have produced an iPhone App that not only looks fantastic but is user-friendly and has some great functionality. The Blackadders App allows you to search by location, property type and price; view full property details with images, descriptions, floor plans and maps; book a viewing and even submit a Note of Interest. In a tough economic climate we believe it’s important that we stay ahead of the game and continue to develop and use the technologies that are out there to try to make the process of buying and selling a home less complicated and less stressful.

Let us know what you think – download the FREE Blackadders iPhone App from the iPhone App Store.  Search for ‘Blackadders’ to download.

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services

Multi speed property market recovery

I was very interested to read a report carried out by Savills which provided analysis of the last 15 years of land registry data.  The conclusion of this report is that the UK property market is very much following previous trends in that the property market recovery is being led by the top end properties i.e. the least affordable properties in the most affluent areas.  As Lucian Cook, Director of Research at Savills stated: “The bottom end of the market does not appear to have the potential to bounce in line with the top end, now or in the foreseeable future.  Its recovery may only be possible if and when mortgage lending frees up or as investors start to see potential in the local private rental sector.”

This report very much coincides with my feelings in respect of the Scottish property market in general and the Dundee market in particular.  We are seeing good activity in the middle to top end of the market with listings being ahead of targets.  I am anticipating that sales will follow this trend, however, the lack of first time buyers is holding back the bottom end of the market with again the lack of first time buyers causing the major problems.  Readers of previous blogs will know my thoughts regarding the problems that first time buyers face and the knock on effect this has on the market. Interestingly, I was reading a report regarding the Welsh property market which has now seen first time buyers dropping below 20%.  This is the area that must be tackled.  A recent ARLA report predicts a trend away from owner occupier from 70% to 60% and is also predicting a drop in the registered social landlord i.e. council housing and housing association with the big growth coming in the private rental market.  This would certainly be a big social and economic shift and I will issue a blog on this topic shortly.

In the meantime prices for medium to top end properties are starting to slowly increase with prices for traditional first time buyer properties at best holding value.

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services

The Government should create a first-time buyer guarantee fund with money raised from the Banks

Following my recent blog regarding breaking up the Banks, George Osborne has announced he will increase the Banks’ Tax – raising an extra £800m for the Exchequer. This makes good headlines and also appears to be a good political move in light of expected Bank announcements regarding bonuses. Taking more money away from the Banks, however, while trying to encourage them to increase lending appears to me to be two actions which are at odds with each other. At the moment the Banks are unsure of the housing market hence their reluctance to lend which is increasing the uncertainty and has the property market locked into a downward spiral. The only way to break this spiral is with Government intervention and I would urge the Chancellor to use the extra £800m he has raised from the Banks to create a first time buyer guarantee fund. This would help first time buyers back into the property market which would help stabilise the property market, increasing the Banks’ confidence and thus increasing the amount that they are prepared to lend by way of mortgage finance.

ps Since writing this blog the Scottish Government have announced their plans to help First time buyers. Whilst I welcome any initiative in this area I don’t think the proposals are enough to really help the market I will revisit the issue of First time buyers shortly

Social housing and the end of ‘right to buy’

I was recently at a Clydesdale Bank conference on social housing which was timed to coincide with the vote by the Scottish Parliament on the right to buy legislation.  The Scottish Parliament voted to end the 1980s legislation.

I am a great believer in social housing, and with the current turmoil in the property market leading to an overheating of the rental market, the role of registered social landlords (RSL) is now more important than ever.

Given the lack of developments and the depreciation in the value of development sites, I would urge the government to find ways of funding the RSLs to enable them to buy sites and start building social housing to assist with the further development of the property market.

During the course of the conference an interesting statistic was highlighted – that for every £1 central government spends on social housing, the economic return is £9 – another important argument in the case for RSLs.

Whilst I would not necessarily have abolished the right to buy, I certainly would advocate that in its place the government allows a ‘right to sell’ to enable RSLs to develop properties and sell some on, which would allow them to raise funds to carry on the development process.

Again, this shows the importance of the property market in the general economic climate and the need for central and Scottish governments to take action and have a clear strategy in respect of the property market.

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services