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Port Vale Parking Scheme could affect local house prices

The local council are proposing making changes to the yellow lines and parking arrangements for Port Vale that could affect local house prices, home owners and businesses. Local resident, Andrew Figgis, is calling for a meeting of local residents in the Millstream Pub and we fully support all of his efforts. Andrew sums up the issue very clearly below:

PORT VALE PARKING SCHEME
PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE THIS AS IT AFFECTS YOU AS YOU LIVE IN THIS ZONE
Did you realise East Herts District Council is proposing to introduce a residents parking scheme in the Port Vale area? All road space in the area of Port Vale (Hertford North side of the barrier) and Balfour Street (to the bridge) will be either paying resident parking bays or double yellow lines (no parking or waiting at any time).
This will REDUCE the number of parking spaces in the area
This is despite their own consultation…

New Facebook App could revolutionise the estate agency business

I have just read a report in Estate Agency Today that could have huge implications for our business. http://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/New-Facebook-app-set-to-launch-to-sell-houses. There was always likely to come a time when social networking gave people a way to bypass agents and sell houses directly to one another. This new App has brought that a step nearer, though I have to say I think we are still a long way off. Estate agents are going to need to work out where and how they add value to the whole house selling and buying process to remain relevant in this new world. Standing still is not going to be an option.

BBC predicts flat market in 2012

The New Year is nearly upon us and the BBC have their first article looking into the crystal ball and predicting what will happen to the housing market in 2012:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16356568

Although they talk about stagnation, I think there is reason for optimism. They note that the market nationally was “surprisingly resilient” in 2011 with a 1% rise nationally. The picture was much rosier in London with a 5% rise, so the Hertfordshire market will have benefitted from that. In 2012 it looks like the market will be as flat as a pancake, which is no bad thing really.

If people believe the market is stable they are far more likely to be happy to move, which means a market operating more normally. Its dramatic rises and falls that cause problems in the market so a flat market may be boring, but sometimes boring is good!

Traditional applicants are vanishing

There’s a really interesting report in this week’s Estate Agent Today about the changing behaviour of house buyers when they register with estate agents. Expert Agent analysed over 200,000 applicants registering at its member agents (over 1200 branches, so a big smaple) and found that “nine out of ten prospective buyers are registering with an agent only when they see a specific property that they want to view. Instead of registering with agents when they want to start looking in a particular area, buyers now wait to see a particular property pop up online, and only then contact the agent”.

A representative said that “old fashioned applicants have disappeared and house buyers now sit on the virtual fence until they see something they like and then reveal themselves to the agent in question”.

This certainly marries up with what we have been seeing at BigBlackHen.com where last year 90% of buyers…

Estate Agency Contracts are too one sided

I’m always amazed that many High Street estate agents (with one or two exeptions) still insist that their clients sign restrictive contracts with lengthy tie in periods, 12 or even 16 weeks in common, and even ask for 2 weeks written notice in many cases. Signing such a contract is definitely not in the seller’s interest as if for any reason you are not happy with the service being provided, or simply have a change of heart and decide to try someone else, you are stuck. It may be your home but once you have signed the contract you are no longer free to sell it with whoever you wish. To my mind these practices are way out of date, which is why we have always used a client friendly contract, adapted from one recommended by Which? Magazine in their campaign for better estate agency, which has no tie-in…