Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Why can't i sell my home?

A report from the National Housing Association released today has certainly placed more doom over the housing market. The report suggests that home ownership will fall by 10% during the next 10 years and yet during the next 5 years rents are expected to rise by 20% and property prices by 25%. The rate of home ownership has declined in recent years due to the level of house prices, the need for larger deposits and stricter lending requirements set by banks, the housing federation says.
This rather gloomy outlook comes shortly after the Rightmove report stating that 7 out of 10 homes put up for sale during 2011 have not sold.
With this backdrop is it any wonder that potential sellers are asking why can’t I sell my home?
The good news is that there are a number of positive steps that a home owner can take to enhance their chance of selling in today’s market.

Review the marketing activity from your estate agent. Are the sales particulars showing your home in its best light, are the photographs of a good quality and do the sales particulars contain a floor plan? Some forward thinking estate agents are also offering services such as 3d floor plans and virtual tours both of which enhance the property profile on the internet. Why is this important? Well 90% of potential buyers research potential properties on the internet.

In a flat market multi agency agreements create competition between Estate Agents to “earn” their fee. Beware and check out your current agreement to ensure that you will not be paying 2 sets of fees.  An online estate agency can offer a suitable alternative to a high street agency as part of a multi agency agreement and the fees are a lot lower.

Be realistic with your expectations. Price is still the key factor in the current market. If your price needs to be lowered then this differential can be negotiated on your future purchase.

Presenting your home in its best light for viewings is essential as first impressions do count. However this goes beyond “putting a pot of coffee on” or “baking a loaf of bread”. Carry out an audit of your property.
Do you have safety certificates for gas and electric?
Has the boiler been serviced?
Is the roof covering in a reasonable condition, and are there any missing tiles.
Are the rainwater goods securely fixed and in reasonable condition?
Are there any minor cracks in the walls that could be repaired?
The above represents a few issues that could be checked but for professional advice you could employ the services of a surveyor to produce a Home Report. The Home Report is essentially an “MOT” for your property. Alternatively you could pay for a survey on the property and market the property as “Survey provided”. Admittedly there is reluctance on the part of sellers to employ the services of a surveyor however our previous blog explains the real value of a survey compared to the cost and such an offering will make your property more attractive to a potential buyer. It will also highlight any major problems with your home and give you the opportunity to resolve these issues.

This list of actions is by no means exhaustive. It is meant to be thought provoking. Strategies to sell your home in the current market need to be far more proactive than in a buoyant market and I hope it as a least given some ideas on how to answer the Question Why can’t I sell my home?
This blog is written by Chris from Dickens Surveyors.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

So how much does a Home Condition Survey cost?

When speaking to a potential client the first question often asked is How much?
To answer this requires more than a little patience from the potential client.
Clearly in their eyes the survey is deemed to be a COST and not an INVESTMENT. It is only through having the time to discuss this fully that they understand some of the fundamentals not only in the REAL VALUE of a survey but also what a powerful tool a Home Condition Survey can be.
So before we consider the price of a survey lets look at some numbers;
The average house price is £163,981 (Based on Halifax July 2011)
25% of people that did not get a survey had to spend over £2500 to put serious defects right.
For 10% of the people they had to pay over £10,000
By contrast those people that did commission a survey were able to negotiate a reduction in the asking price that averaged £2000. (These numbers are based on the Which 2008 survey)

Even if we eliminate the "unlucky" 10% a surveys true value is close to £2000. Based on the average price above,the report is true value is 1.22% of the price. This equates to having their estate agency fees paid.

Even with these numbers some potential clients baulk at paying a fee for a survey and rely on the Mortgage Valuation. The Mortgage Valuation is not an independent survey that a buyer can rely on. Why? Well the easiest answer is to say that for a mortgage valuation the valuer will be on site for circa 20mins, compared to 3-4 hours for a Home Condition Surveyer.
A valuer will answer questions for the Mortgage lender whereas the Surveyor will be studying the property for defects to make the buyer aware.
The valuer gives the Mortgage lender a value on the property should the buyer default on payment, the surveyor gives the home buyer peace of mind.
All Home Condition Surveys are fully covered by £1,000,000 Professional Indemnity Insurance.

So now we understand more about the true value of a Home Condition Survey how much does it cost? As with most things there are variables in terms of age, size, location & detachment etc. As an indication a post war semi detached property would cost only £300 + VAT. That is less than 0.25% of the average price.

This blog is written by Chris Dickens of Dickens Surveyors.