1. What’s the difference between a traditional and an online only estate agent?

    29 December 2017

    There is one VERY BIG one.

    As a traditional estate agent one of the most common questions I am asked when first meeting a potential vendor is this one.

    Is it no sale, no fee?

    The answer to this question is invariably YES.

    Why do people ask this? Here are a few reasons.

    They may be uncertain about the move. They may have one particular house in mind and if they don’t get it they probably won’t move and may not want, or be able to afford to pay anything if it falls through. They may be in financial difficulties. They may want to appoint a second agent at some future date.

    All valid reasons and if the shoe was on the other foot I’m sure I would ask the same question.

    People who have used our services before don’t need to ask as they know how we operate.

    When you are in a hurry and need to sell quickly, you’re looking for an immediate result and if you don’t get one then you are looking for other means to finding that elusive buyer. That is when the “no sale, no fee “  is important. You have the option to go elsewhere or bring in a second agent.

    It’s not always the best thing to do but at least you have the option. The national average for finding a buyer is ninety days

    So what is the alternative?

    You can go to an online agent who doesn’t charge commission. How does that work?

    The usual model is either an upfront, non-refundable charge which can be deferred for several months by signing a loan agreement. So the agent gets paid immediately and your debt is owed to the loan company after six or seven months whether you have sold or not. Can I repeat that is non-refundable. They will just take it out of your bank account.

    The stark reality?

    The clever bit from them is that they get paid and you are obliged to pay for nothing, other than frustration. Their business model means that once instructed, they are never uninstructed. they have been paid remember. You won’t walk away and lose your money so you stick it out, good or bad.

    Any estate agent will admit that they never get a 100% success rate. It’s impossible.

    I can think of 100 other reasons not to use an online only agent, the main one is obviously that not everyone has a computer and the second is that lots of us don’t trust buying anything online.

    Most traditional agents are online and on the major portals. We, at Renown, have been selling houses and advising on property matters for over forty years.  We are ranked number one year on year for house sales in our town. Online only agents account for around five per cent of sales achieved. Dont forget you only pay for results.

    We’d love to hear from you.

     


  2. Waiting for the Boxing Day Bounce

    18 December 2017

    December is generally quiet in the estate agency world. It’s usually a good time to tidy the office and catch up with filing as families prepare for Christmas. Free valuations tend to dry up and most of us don’t want to be having photos of our houses taken with a Chritmas tree in the living room or a reindeer it the front garden.

    The property management side, however, never lets up; there is always a job to organise or a repair to sort out. Biggest dread is that someone’s heating packs in on Christmas Eve. I can remember dropping electric heaters off on many occasions.

    The Boxing Day Bounce is a recent phenomenon thanks to the emergence of the internet. This is the day that home movers start their online search for a new place to live. The property portals and agents web sites get thousands of visits before  the real activity starts in the New Year.

    Facebook is always open and we can always be contacted one way or another when the ofice is closed. Just look up renownestates.

    We look forward to seeing and hearing from you.

    In the meantime we hope you have a great Chrismas.

     


  3. Government announces end to new leasehold sales

    25 July 2017

    After years of protest by leaseholders, the Government have stated that they are seeking to ban sales of new leasehold houses. I started a campaign many years ago to highlight the problems we face in Cramlington and, because of the spread of new leasehold houses with onerous terms and conditions across the country, the matter has eventually been recognised as a disgrace. The Help To Buy scheme has persuaded lots of families to buy homes that are overpriced, not suitable for purpose and with terrible leasehold trems and escalating ground rents. It has to stop.

    Ill informed buyers, unaware of the problems they were facing, have been funnelled into low deposit new leasehold homes that could prove to be hard to re-sell for the price they paid. Indeed it may be more appropriate to call it unaffordable housing.

    We still have a lot to do to sort out the problems with leaseholds. Not a day goes by when we are asked to advise on the issue. Freehold companies will try to rip you off. When you ask for a price to buy your freehold it’s never fair. It’s always inflated and has to be challenged. You can save thousands by negotiating. Have a look at our Cramlington Leasehold Information page on Facebook and keep up with what’s happening.


  4. Every time I check the stats.

    21 April 2017

    Marvelous this technology stuff.

    If an estate agent wanted to find out how well the office was doing against it’s competitors years ago, the way to do it was to drive around town and count  for sale and sold boards.

    It’s much easier and greener now. A couple of clicks on Zoopla is all it needs.

    So this week’s click tells me that we are number one agent for sales and lettings in the NE23 postcode. This week, last week, last month, last year, the year before.

    Same again.

    Very encouraging.

    We must be doing something right.

     

     


  5. Leasehold News

    20 April 2017

    Lots happening in the world of leasehold properties with a group of owners appearing before a Parliamentary Committee yesterday to air their concerns about new build houses with onerous lease terms.

    The forthcoming election will obviously get in the way but now that the ball is rolling down the hill it will be impossible to stop it. Talk of the problem being akin to PPI claims

    Follow this on the National Leasehold Campaign page for regular updates.


  6. Leaseholds. A national scandal.

    29 January 2017

    This issue needs investigation at the highest level.

    Organisations are set up to fight the traps being set by many developers to catch unsuspecting buyers.

    There’s now a National Leasehold Campaign On Facebook,  a web site, Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, as well as our Own Cramlington Leasehold Organisation. Rip Off Britain and the Telegraph are on to it too.

    Please get involved and share.


  7. It’s not getting through the door, it’s what you do when you get through the door that matters?

    26 January 2017

    Making any sense? Probably not so I’ll explain. I was asked to look at a property last week that had been on the market for seven months with another agent without attracting any interest. I would usually have a look at the house on the internet before the visit but I had been very busy and hadn’t got round to it.

    It was really in a bad state and needed a complete overhaul. The decor was awful, it was very untidy and the standard of fixtures and fittings were dreadful. Despite this the asking price was right at the top of the range for its type and location.  I couldn’t honestly have taken a photo of any of the rooms. I suggested, as diplomatically as possible, that a bit of work was needed to improve prospects of achieving a sale. It turned out that the owner was in a hurry to sell so I came up with a few ideas. I couldn’t see any point in taking the job on and expecting a different result.

    You can imagine my surprise when she told me that the agent she first instructed had charged £200 for ” professional photography “.

    We agreed that I would re-visit a few days later  to take details and photos of the house post tidy up and an appointment was put in the diary. She rang to cancel a few days later. The house is still on the market at the same price with the same photos with the same agent.

    I looked at another house the following day. The owners took a totally different approach. They said that they wanted me to  have a look around their property and let them know whether I could suggest any improvements to enhance prospects of a sale and getting the best price before taking the photos and going onto the market. We agreed a plan and they are busy with it now.

    A different approach? Achieving  a sale rather than just getting a listing is surely the result an agent should want. Unless, of course, your target is to get an instruction and someone else is responsible for the sale.

    A good reason not to use an online agent who charges a fee for marketing, not for selling?

    I suppose the agent who charged two hundred quid for some lousy photos has two hundred quid in the bank.


  8. As the year comes to an end

    20 December 2016

    Looking back at the year we can certainly describe it as ” interesting ” as far as the property market is concerned. We have gone through the Brexit vote without, as yet, much of the damage that was predicted by the remainers.

    The thing that really has made a difference around our area is the Stamp Duty surcharge on second home purchases. This has placed an additional 3% on the cost of buying over and above the usual tax. It was intended to dampen the buy to let investors’ enthusiasm. It has certainly done that but the unintended consequence has been to place an extra burden on anyone buying another home and selling theirs at a later date. It is possible to claw this back if you sell within a given period but you still have to find the money in the first place. Buyers seem to be getting used to it and making adjustments to cope.

    In the Cramlington property world we have managed to maintain our dominant position as the leading sales agent. Looking at the Zoopla statistics for the year, we are number one with over 25% of sales agreed in NE23 but interestingly when the figures are  adjusted to look at houses between £200,000 and £500,000 we have handled 50% of the sales. That’s a great achievement and one that we intend to repeat in 2017.

    We are launching our Platinum Service in the New Year to cement our position and give our clients the opportunity to boost their prospects of selling for the best possible price with enhanced  Zoopla  premier listings, professional photos and full page colour adverts in The Guild Of Professional Estate Agents northern regional glossy magazine.

    As local agents connected to the community, we can tell you that  its not just about selling houses.We have also been very busy advising on problems with shortening leasehold terms, having been inundated with enquiries from owners seeking advice and assistance on this subject. Our Cramlington Leasehold Information page has been well supported ( have a look if you haven’t already ) and we have managed to save many of you quite a bit of cash by advising how to challenge the often ludicrous prices being quoted by freehold companies.

    We don’t charge for this advice, we’re just happy to help. We all live here and experience the same problems!

    Please don’t wait to sort this out until you put your property on to the market. It can delay everything and cost you more.

    Enjoy the Christmas break and we hope to be able to help you if you are thinking of moving in the New Year.

    We are open between the holidays on 28, 29, 30th December.

    As a matter of interest, Boxing Day is usually busy with property buyers looking at our website. Let us hope that it’s the same this year.


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