Date: 7/07/2011

A Friend in Need

Anthony Wood of Samuel Wood and Co looks at just who your friends are when it comes to selling property.

One expert says that house prices will rise next year and then continue to do so for some years to come. Another says that house prices are 30% overvalued and will fall. Meanwhile prices are soaring in central London, are stable in other places and still losing ground in a few more.

But should we care so much about what is going on in general across the UK? And how useful are their comments in helping to keep the wheels of the property market turning? Certainly I don’t think we need to heed these market pundits too much when they are commenting on such a broad basis. What I am fairly certain of is that many of these people often don’t fully understand what is happening in (your town/area/county) right now. There is a big difference between the media experts who talk about the market and the estate agents who actually have to deal with it. It is easy for the media to make grand over-arching pronouncements and predictions but estate agents have to move people whatever the market conditions.
And estate agents know how to do this because they are dealing with these matters every day. We understand how national, regional and even local financial issues affect our own local market and we work constantly to find ways of dealing with these conditions - whatever they may be.

Prior to 2007, when the market was storming away, it was much easier for owners and estate agents to sell property – of course it was. But now it is not. Yet despite this there is an active market bubbling under the lugubrious surface. There are always buyers about whatever the market. It is just that now there aren’t so many of them they can afford to be choosy and are often in no rush - all most frustrating and difficult for sellers.

But well-located property, in good order and at a sensible market price, will find a buyer – it always does. The skill here is in getting the best price. For other property, perhaps where the years haven’t been so kind, which is less pleasing on the eye or not in quite such a sought-after location, things get a little more tricky - but far from impossible.

Personal circumstances do not dance to the tune of the property market. It is when the chips are down and one really has to sell and move on - even in an adverse market - that sellers find out who their real friends are. A market commentator in those circumstances won’t be a lot of use. On the other hand an effective estate agent could - surprise, surprise - become a very good friend indeed.

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