Every now and then, something comes along that stands out from the crowd, it could be a toll that can make life so much easier, that you could soon, find yourself wondering how you managed without it.
I recently spoke to Simon Gates who is the head of training & development at Homesearch.
Simon explained in great detail the benefits of using the Homesarch market appraisal tool.
This is a simple tool that helps agents collate data about a property that could take hours in minutes.
Everything that you need to create a professional, comprehensive report for your clients at the tip of your fingers.
During our online meeting, Simon gave me a live demonstration of the tool. He used one of our recently sold properties as an example. It is a simple as entering the address of the property, then the tool goes to work, preparing an in-depth report in minutes.
As we all know, the majority of automated valuation tools are all too often, wildly inaccurate, so what makes this one so different?
Unlike mainstream automated valuations, this tool does not just take a local average, or a previous sale price, it actually looks at the size of the property, the type of property, the size of the plot and similar properties in the area.
As an example, if there is a 4 bed house in a street of larger luxury properties, it will not over-value the house by taking the average of the street, it will seek out similar properties within a certain radius, and use those as comparables.
This enables the application to get a far more accurate calculation than other automated calculators, indeed the property that Simon chose was valued surprisingly close to the agreed sale price.
When the report is generated, it includes your own branding, contact details and other information, such as details information about the property, the sq footage, number of bedrooms, listed status and much more. Then it will add photos of comparable property and details of recently sold property.
It will produce a graph of property prices in the postcode district and a market analysis. On a local level, it will create a neighbourhood report with facts and figures along with a summary. Finally, it will include the agent’s profile and contact details. An amazingly accurate market appraisal tool at the click of a mouse.
What Homesearch say……
Homesearch is the essential source for comprehensive information on every single property in the UK. It’s a platform for relationships to be forged and potential to be unlocked.
Find more opportunities, give the best advice and provide your clients the information they need to move.
Homesearch helps position you as the absolute property expert. Harness the most advanced data available to proactively spot and convert new leads and opportunities, and confidently instruct, sell and let more
Impress your market, book more valuations and grow your business with fully branded, fully personalised and fully customisable reporting.
Data is never a substitute for dialogue, but when combined – they’re powerful. Give your clients the best possible view of the property landscape by fusing your local expertise with Homesearch insight.
I was really impressed with this site, in these days where agents will be conducting more and more online valuations, the need for accurate information is of paramount importance.
The Estate Agency industry is a service industry, ‘SERVICE’ being the operative word, it is very important to demonstrate to sellers that you have gathered as much data as possible to value their property, but more importantly, to demonstrate HOW the valuation was calculated, on what basis, with what information and details of the information that was used.
In this respect, Homesearch does a wonderful job and will without doubt grow to be an invaluable tool used by agents throughout the country.
As more and more agents have access to accurate information about property, not only will they benefit from the advantages that this tool offers, but the public as a whole will benefit as they become accustomed to receiving a detailed, professional and accurate valuation of their home.
Homesearch are also launching property listings soon, I am looking forward to seeing their what they have in store for us, when they do.
View an example report HERE
For further information visit homesearch.co.uk
There’s been a surge in buyers wanting to view properties – but agents must sit on their hands and wait for government clearance.
That’s the advice from NAEA Propertymark overnight as it responds to the frustrating government guidance issued yesterday on how businesses emerge from lockdown.
To the disappointment of some in the industry, the government’s 60-page document which was released yesterday utterly ignored the housing market and agency sector.
Most analysts felt the nearest business category defined in the document was “non-essential retail” which may open sometime after June 1 so long as safe processes can be agreed. However at the same time the guidance suggests domestic cleaners can visit a home with immediate effect – which could be a loophole for agents to exploit.
A statement from Propertymark last evening says: “Consumers’ demand for viewings has increased today with potential buyers across the UK contacting members.”
But it warns that the guidance first set out by the government on March 26 – and explicitly ruling out physical viewings – remains in force and must be adhered to.
There is evidence that the lockdown is being circumnavigated by some agents; within minutes of the government document being publish yesterday afternoon, Estate Agent Today was told of a London agency chain allegedly showing viewers around properties surreptitiously; and in Devon, one agent told EAT that he had allowed a buyer to view a property after the owner stepped out.
However, the NAEA – although clearly frustrated that recent discussions with government have not led to any date for lifting agents’ lockdown – says the guidance set out over six weeks ago still holds.
“Consumers that are demanding viewings are leads to be nurtured until the point at which a face to face viewing – if that is the final hurdle – can once again be executed safely. This nurturing can involve video viewings and vendors conducting a more amateur viewing by phone around the house, where 360-degree software is not available” continues the association.
And NAEA Propertymark states: “It remains the case that where staff can carry out work from home this is Public Health England’s preference, freeing up space on public transport for those who cannot work remotely. When the time comes, agencies may choose to return staff to branches on a rotational basis combining branch and home-based work to accommodate re-opening with the required social distancing.
“Although Propertymark does not yet know exactly when the Government will allow estate and letting agency premises and auction houses to re-open, business managers must make appropriate preparations within the information that is available now.
“This will vary across premises and companies but key common areas are: arranging sufficient stocks of personal protective equipment and easy to access cleaning products and sanitiser but also considering whether there is sufficient space between work stations and preparation for minimising the hazards of frequently touched areas such as door handles, taps, kitchens, and toilets.”
Meanwhile another omission from the government document has been picked up by the Winkworth franchise chain.
“The key to keeping the second-hand and new build homes markets active is for banks to allow valuers to go back to work to allow mortgages to progress. This could be done with strict social distancing, hygiene and wearing of masks and other protective clothing rules in place. The government needs to consider this as a priority” explains Dominic Agace, chief executive of Winkworth.
Despite the terrible crisis that has fallen upon us, we are now beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and people are beginning to ask:
"What is the state of the market after this?"
I habitually create market updates not only for Northamptonshire as a whole, but also postcode by postcode. However in this video, I present a quick snapshot of the market in Northamptonshire, with surprisingly encouraging results!
Out of 8,194 properties on the market in Northamptonshire,
3,578 are SSTC which is 44%
Which is up from an average of 41% 3 months ago
There are 4,616 Available
Property over £,500,00.00
There are 706 properties on the market in Northamptonshire
207 are SSTC which is 29%
This is up from an average of 25% 3 months ago
There are499 Available
These are figures for Northamptonshire which is my area. If you require any information about the market in your area Please contact me and I can put you in touch with a colleague from any one of our 225 offices, who will also have a specialised knowledge of the property market in their area. For further information, valuations, marketing, help finding your next home, or if you would like further information on BUYING, SELLING, INVESTING, OR RENOVATING, please feel free to contact me directly.
The demand for mortgages in April was scarcely a quarter of what it was in March – but the figures show that there’s been an increase each week since Easter suggesting there’s light at the end of the lockdown tunnel.
Technology company Twenty7Tec analyses mortgage statistics and shows that for the week ending Saturday May 2;
– The volume of online searches for mortgage information was 5.36 per cent up on the previous week and 21.32 up on two weeks before;
– The total value of loans granted was up 2.93 per cent on the previous week and up 23.59 per cent on two weeks before;
– Mortgages for new purchases represented 31.74 per cent of the searches made online last week, compared to recent lows averaging 24.5 per cent;
– Searches for mortgages for buy to lets (both to purchase and to reportage) stood at 25.01 per cent of all mortgage searches.
“The data tells us that we are gently on the up again and have been ever since Easter. Across the board, we are seeing higher search volumes, higher levels of documentation prepared and higher total levels of loans requested” explains James Tucker, chief executive of Twenty7Tec.
“Buy to let is probably the story of the week, representing around one-fifth more of the total market than the long-term average [ but] whilst it’s great news that this week’s searches for purchase mortgages continue to rise, the volumes remain considerably down on their January to March peaks. This week’s volumes are only 26 per cent of the weekly volumes in mid-March.”
He continues: “In comparing April to March, it’s worth noting that April had two Easter bank holidays and that March was a day longer, but also that the volume of mortgage products on the market was considerably lower than the month prior.
“Despite the difficult conditions, lenders quickly moved to address the changes in the market conditions and amended, updated and replaced their products at an unprecedented rate. Brokers responded well and were able to focus in on those areas of our industry where volumes remained higher.
It may seem a long time since normal trading took place but many agencies are now finding they are picking up leads and some deals despite the lockdown.
Midlands agency Centrick says it’s seen positive results in recent weeks thanks to what it calls its ‘digital-first’.
Since the lockdown began on March 23 it has edited and uploaded over 140 virtual viewings. All the viewings were filmed before restrictions were put in place and the agency says that it has since had the time to edit and release them.
The agency has also devised a contactless handover so that tenants can sign contracts digitally and collect keys without having to meet face-to-face.
“Despite lockdown restrictions prohibiting people from moving home unless it’s absolutely essential, we are still seeing leads pour in thanks to the marketing campaigns we have in place. By providing services which allow consumers to engage with us while following social distancing rules – such as virtual viewings and instant online valuations – we have been able to find opportunities and keep the business ticking over” explains Andy Butts, Centrick’s group sales and lettings director.
The firm says its commitment to digital marketing has allowed it to continue generating leads, even though a large proportion of the market has been on hold for a number of weeks now.
For example, Centrick generated over 200 rental property leads over the Easter weekend alone. The agency has also continued to generate vendor and landlord leads through its ValPal instant online valuation tool. Many of these leads have come directly from Facebook ad campaigns, while it has also been promoting its hugely successful virtual viewings across social media platforms.
“Centrick is a model agency. It is adapting to a challenging market and still managing to interact with consumers while adhering to the government’s lockdown rules,” says Craig Vile, Director of The ValPal Network.
“The agency’s results show that the market is still active and demonstrate why committing to digital marketing during this tricky period can be hugely beneficial. Encouraging consumers to carry out instant online valuations of their properties can help agents to keep consumers engaged in the moving process now and fill their sales funnel so they can hit the ground running when the market becomes more active in the coming months” says Vile.The ValPal Network is a product of Angels Media, publisher of Estate Agent Today and other Today titles.
Meanwhile John Bray and Partners in Rock, north Cornwall, says it is still negotiating new sales and taking on new property.
“Last week we agreed a sale on a property with a guide price of £275,000. It was empty having recently been refurbished throughout … A local buyer viewed the particulars, and the video walk through, and entered into competitive bidding to secure the property above the guide price. Launch to agreed sale happened in just two days” explains John Bray partner Josephine Ashby.
“Another recent deal involved a brand-new property in North Cornwall. One of the buyers had seen the house, but the other hadn’t managed to visit prior to lockdown. They decided they were happy to proceed on the basis of a video walkthrough and the sale is progressing” she adds.
“Video walk-throughs are becoming common-place for vendors who aren’t happy to wait out the lockdown. Where property is vacant we are able to produce these videos safely, and serious buyers are often happy to buy without visiting the property in person.
“We are also using virtual staging for vacant properties to help buyers get an impression of what the property would look like furnished.”
Ashby says some vendors prefer to put their property on the market under the radar, appearing on the agency’s own website but not on the portals.
“Our web traffic is up 50 per cent since the lockdown, and 80 per cent of that figure is made up of new visitors. Telephone calls are dramatically reduced, but buyers and sellers who call are very serious. We have time to spend talking everything through in great detail.”
PropTech big names Reapit and ViewMyChain are joining up to try to accelerate transactions when the lockdown finally ends and the sales market returns.
They say that 55 per cent of all housing transactions in normal times are in chains, making it more essential than ever that agents know the status of each transaction.
This will be particularly crucial post-lockdown when agents have to rebuild pipelines and cashflow, especially if furloughing staff costs is no longer an option.
Reapit and View My Chain have therefore created a Chain View platform that provides “a dynamic, data-driven view of the entire chain status” against key milestones.
There are no upfront charges but agents pay when individual transactions complete – £25 at the point of each completion.
“The partnership of Reapit and View My Chain will help expedite transactions in the immediate post-COVID-19 market. With £125-billion worth of impending sales commission waiting for agents, linking the Chain View platform with Reapit’s agency software will ease the burden on resource-tight agencies to gently pull chains to completion” explains Gary Barker, chief executive officer of Reapit.
View My Chain’s chairman Ian Lancaster adds: ”This has been an incredibly difficult platform to create and many have failed before us in successfully aggregate both property chains and all the relevant milestones. The View My Chain platform done it now through strategic partnerships to become the single eco system that can finally transform the UK residential housing market.”