Blog

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 To my mind these practices are way out of date, which is why we have always used a client friendly contract, adapted from one recommended by Which?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…

House Doctor your home

This year we have been working closely with a couple of local independent House Doctor’s (or home stagers) as we believe that helping clients present their homes properly is a crucial part of any successful sale – especially in a tough market. The concept is huge in America and Australia but for some reason has been slow to take off in this country. The results we have seen this year show that sellers should definitely consider this before putting their homes on the market. All six of the homes that used these services have now sold, and often for a better price that would have been the case if they had just been sold “as is”. For a minimal outlay you really can transform a home’s appeal to viewers, redecorating where necessary and even staging rooms with furniture which can be rented where appropriate. You wouldn’t sell a car…

Happy Birthday to BigBlackHen.com Herts!

It is exactly one year since BigBlackHen.com opened its Hertfordshire office, and what a year it has been. Only 12 months on and already our distinctive For Sale boards have become an increasingly familiar sight across the county from Arkley in the south to Old Stevenage in the north, from Furneaux Pelham in the east, to Hemel Hempstead in the west. We have out over £30 million pounds worth of property on the market, have nearly 30 houses sold or under offer, and have registered over 2000 applicants looking to buy in Herts on our database. We’ve had a terrific response to our fresh approach to marketing, our more user friendly attitude to service and, of course, our low fixed fees. Traditional estate agents charge too much for what they do and we are proud to be offering people a more cost effective way to move. So blow up…

A revolution is taking place and traditional agents risk being swept away!

An amazing figure emerged this week that illustrates just how consumer’s house hunting behaviour has switched online. Rightmove announced that the British Public spent over 5.5 million hours looking at property on their site last month. Just think about that figure for a moment and you’ll realise just how profound the shift in consumer behaviour is.

After all, Rightmove has only been going for around seven years, before which we had to get in the car and drive around estate agents’ offices if we wanted to find out what is on the market, supplemented with leafing through the local paper.

The amazing thing is that while house hunting has been revolutionised – and remember that 14% of visitors to Rightmove in July were looking on their IPad or IPhone equivalent – the estate agency business has really changed very little. Agents are still wedded to their high cost High Street offices,…

Hertfordshire market starts to move…

There are definite signs over the last two to three weeks that the Herts market is beginning to move. We have had more offers coming in during that period than for the last 2-3 months and properties are beginning to sell well. A flat in Welwyn has just sold within a week with two buy to let investors making offers. A family house in Old Stevenage has gone to the first viewer in under a week and there are lots of other properties now attracting offers. Knight Frank report today that London prices are now 2% above the peak of March 2008 and expect prices to keep rising this year. It seems the heat of London is warming this area with so many buyers commuting to London for a living. It looks like there is reason to be cautiously optimistic at last in the Hertofrdshire property market!