Posted by & filed under Industry News, Opinion.

I think it is clear to see that we are in a tougher market than we have seen for many years, with the effects of the Brexit vote and also the General election it has made the role of an estate agent much harder than it has been for many years and in terms of the calibre of agents, the bar has been raised substantially.

The days of “All you had to do is answer a phone first and you would have a deal” are long gone, it is now a case of educating your buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants on the market, advising them on the current market conditions, the processes and what the likely outcome is for them.

I am seeing a lot of very experienced agents leaving the industry that they love, due to work life balance and in some cases their concerns about earning potential in this tougher market. It is a shame to see so many of my peers leaving, another thing I have noticed is the shift from experienced professionals moving to online agencies.

As a recruiter on a daily basis I, just like many property professionals, see the constant battles on Linkedin between online agents and the more traditional agencies. I have noticed that now many of the smaller independents and the larger corporate agencies who previously used to Linkedin to battle with each other now reserve their usage of Linkedin to join forces and battle with the online agencies.

To me, it has raised a few questions:
Is traditional estate agency is becoming a thing of the past?
Is the new flashy hybrid online agency going to become our future?
Which model will come out on top?
Is there a place in the market for both traditional estate agency and also online agency?
Is the model so different? Surely it is just paying the fees upfront yet still working with estate agents who were trained in the traditional way?

In terms of revolutionising estate agency, the objective is still the same, a property is listed by a professional and then sold or let, the majority of online agents seem to be agents who cut their teeth so to speak in traditional agency but then moved over to online, taking years of experience with them.

Many business analysts from outside of the industry have likened the evolution of estate agency to; Blockbuster and Netflix or the black cab to Uber, 10 years ago who would have thought that in 2017 the world’s largest taxi firm would own no taxis and the world’s largest accommodation providers Airbnb would own no property.

The online agents that I have spoken to, all seem very happy with their choices and put this down to having flexibility in their work life balance and not being constricted to a structured diary, in their words they are able to make more money, working better hours and providing a greater level of service to each client.

Many of the traditional agents question the service that is provided by online agents and the processes that make them different, so paying fees upfront, whether the property is sold or not, which they say questions the motivations of the agent, they are also questioning the way that the fees are presented and also the service that customers receive.

However, looking at reviews for both online and traditional agency, I see common themes in customer complaints, it seems to be clarity, service and the age old, over promising and under delivering, could this be the answer?
Surely both models can exist harmoniously if they operate with integrity, clarity, provide outstanding service and do not under deliver, look at First Direct they are an online bank, who operate perfectly well within a market full of physical branches.

What are your thoughts?

 

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A report was released by Sheffield Hallam University on August the 1st that currently one third of private Landlords are cutting back on leasing to under 35’s due to the younger generation who are currently in unstable employment, universal credit or students. A separate piece of research by Housing Hand which shows the rising rents, household debt and poor credit is also making it harder for young people to secure accommodation. As a Property Recruiter which target market is largely focused on the younger generation with a massive proportion of roles being Graduate positions – this report did not only concern me, but the way houses are being used as assets rather than a home to people – morally worries me.

I understand to an extent the flip side, Landlords need to cover their backs and of course, they do not want a situation of rent arrears. My mother is a landlord so I can empathise with the latter – it can put the Landlord under huge financial pressure. RLA suggested instead of Landlords increasing their rents to make it unfordable, they are covering the ‘risks factors’. Which to some, may make sense.

Stating that the Property Market has been rocked in the past 18 months would be a huge understatement. Working in Property Recruitment for the past 5 years I have never seen more uncertainty– but is it this deleterious thinking that is adding to the negative effect. The Independent has recommended talks with the government to cover this decline (79%) of Landlords leasing to under 35s is needed ASAP – without action the younger generation will find it harder and harder to access any accommodation.

Alex Huntley, Head of Operations from Simple Landlords Insurance has suggested ways to overcome this with Landlords – interviewing tenants in person? Guarantors? Regular inspections of the property? Payment plans with tenants? Sheraz Dar chief exec of Credit Ladder suggests landlords should not be basing their decisions on gut feeling and pointed out that many young people can be better than the older are at organizing their finances.

So, what is the solution? I would say – is this effect on Landlords reverting back to the strict Buy to Let costs (I have discussed in previous blogs Is the Sales Market Doomed?) which are then translating to the negative impact on the Landlords thinking of who they would like to lease to? Something needs to be adjusted quickly – before Properties are not just a home or safe haven for people anymore, but just used an asset.

I would be keen to hear thoughts and opinions?

Posted by & filed under Opinion.

Why I love Estate Agency Property in South London.

Ever since moving to London I have lived and worked in South London, I have become one of those people who shudder at the thought of “crossing the river”.
South London is a fantastic part of London to work in, especially for Estate Agency, the average house price over the years has risen dramatically. Looking at past figures, the average house price in the borough of Greenwich has risen by 480% from £47,655 to £382,874, the borough of Wandsworth has risen by 556% from £114,179 to £624,212 and the borough of Lambeth 639% from £47,059 to £538,477.

With 1 in 3 people renting their homes, there is a great mix of diversity and culture, it certainly is a vibrant place to be.

There are also the huge developments that are changing the face of South London making it increasingly desirable.

In South West London we have the Battersea Power Station development, which is sure to be outstanding once completed. Battersea Power Station looks like it is going to be one of the latest hangouts with their 6-week festival really starting to take shape. Over the course of summer, they are bringing us not only bars and restaurants but also dance classes, music, the arts and for you comedy lovers out there, there will also be previews of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

For all of the Love Island fans who are about to start morning the loss of Love Island, it’s not over yet. Iain Sterling, the voice of Love Island will be performing his material prior to the Fringe Festival alongside Matt Richardson.

There is not just Battersea Power Station, there are many other sites popping up, it almost seems like they are appearing out of nowhere. These sites are really transforming the look and feel of South London, they are bringing in lots of new homes, jobs and increasing the spend in South London and making it even more desirable.

Aside from the new developments, we also have exciting roof bars, pop up and cafes in South too. With the ever popular Neverland which has opened its doors in Fulham, with its fantastic location and its beach theme, this is going to be a hit all summer! Let’s not forget that the much loved Brixton Beach is back, also in Brixton there is the Prince of Wales and Franks Café in Peckham, the latter two among others have been voted London’s best rooftop bars for the summer. We saw the Ivy Café spreading their ivy across South London too, with the Ivy Café Wimbledon Village opening its doors last year and the Ivy Café Richmond following suit this year, which again is great for building the profile and the economy of South London.

The properties in South London are vast and varied making it such an exciting place to be, with more people relocating here for work and more home movers, whether you are buying for yourself or as a form of income, it is a great place to invest those funds.

Looking at past data, just in Battersea alone, I find it astonishing looking at Latchmere Road for example, in 1996 flats were selling for roughly £100,000 and now some of them are selling for upwards of £700,000. Also in Prince of Wales Drive, in Overstrand Mansions, in 1995 you could have paid just over £200,000 for a flat whereas now you are looking at just under £2,000,000, which really is phenomenal, most of us are probably wishing we invested in those flats!

One of the other things that I love the most about South London is the property professionals, they are so knowledgeable and passionate about their area.

They can talk in depth about the market, they can share stories about the history of the area and also the amenities. Over the past few years I have seen the standard of the professionals working in the industry increase and the bar has risen significantly. The people that you are dealing with now are experts in their field, they ensure that they are armed with facts, figures and knowledge so that they can do the best by their clients.

Here at Cherry Pick People I have the pleasure of speaking to many of you on a daily basis, hearing about your successes also sharing stories from my time in the South London property market.
I am always keen to meet new faces within the sector and to help and assist where I can, so if you are thinking of a move, know someone who is or would just like to connect, please do get in touch.

Posted by & filed under Blog, Jobs, Opinion, Uncategorised.

As an administrator, have you ever felt unappreciated in your job? Do you feel like you are the least important person in your office?

If I had a pound every time an administrator tells me this, I’d be a very rich woman.

Here are 5 reasons why your administrator is amazing:

  • They are your right-hand man. Anything you ask them to do, they do it. Without complaining and with a smile on their face and even if they have a list of 20 other things to do, they never say no! (even though they really want to sometimes)
  • They are always one step ahead. Everything is done a couple of hours before you have even got round to asking them to do it.
  • Every office needs a mum right? They keep everyone in check when you are not there. They see every romance blossom. They go through every break up with you. They always offer the best advice and a shoulder to cry on. They keep you calm and help you see reason.
  • Not only are they the office administrator, they are a doctor, counsellor, teacher, IT specialist, all round superhero, pretty much everything you can think of.
  • Lastly and most importantly they save you time! Something we could all do with a lot more of. A good administrator means you spend more time focusing on managing the team, making sales, meeting clients, winning new business whatever it is you need to do to run a successful office.

One of the biggest challenges I come up against in my job as a Property Recruitment Consultant is hearing from clients that they do not want to pay recruiters for administrators as they are not ‘fee earners’.

Yes, negotiators are ‘fee earners’, they bring in the money and are at the forefront of the business. But please do not forget about your administrator. They are the backbone of the office and keep things running like clockwork. Appreciate the work they do for you, pay them well, keep them happy.

Administrators salaries have risen drastically since I started specialising in Business support here at Cherry Pick People. To find out if you are being paid the right salary or are paying your staff the correct wage please take a look at our salary survey. http://www.cherrypickpeople.com/salary-survey/

If you would like to have a confidential chat about the next step in your career please contact me today on 0203587 7689 or georgie.barraclough@cherrypickpeople.com

Posted by & filed under Blog, Cherry Pick People News, Industry News, Opinion, Uncategorised.

So happy my offer has been accepted?  But oh WAIT, the dreaded stamp duty…

The Times recently stated, “Stamp duty only used to be paid by the wealthy property buyers but now it makes younger buyers poorer”.

As promised, here is an update on my last blog – the sales market is it doomed? I started the process of buying my first ever home in London.

To give you an update – I have had an offer accepted on an amazing property in my perfect location! So happy! But the excitement flattened, as a first-time buyer I was shocked in the increased stamp duty to 5%. I sat there – looked over all the figures – How do they expect first-time buyers to save for a deposit, pay the mortgage and solicitor’s fees as well as pay a hefty stamp duty? Naomi Heaton (CEO of a Property Investment firm in PCL) has said the fall in home sales is ‘very concerning given additional government schemes for first-time buyers’. The Guardian have also blamed the huge rise in stamp duty as London home sales fall by 40 per cent!

The Telegraph has stated that stamp duty is not actually helping first-time buyers – an example was shown of a married couple trying to buy in Brixton, found their dream home at £345,000, offer accepted but did not budget for the stamp duty and had to pull out due to an additional £10,350 for stamp duty that they could not find the money for! Contradicting the latter, Marsh & Parsons have stated that home purchases have increased from 22% to 34%, according to data collected from buyers across all Prime London. The FT have also said the 3% rise in stamp duty for private landlords has scared off buy-to-let purchases which have given a larger market to just regular buyers.

According to the Land Registry in 2016 we have seen that the huge rise in stamp duty is blamed for London’s sales falling by 40% with the average stamp duty at a whopping £16,500 – even more so in Central London with a 60% fall (only 62 properties were sold in Central London in 3 months!). Comparethemarket.com has shown that a third of people are choosing to renovate their homes instead of selling/ moving. I had this experience a few times whilst looking – viewings booked, properties had already decreased their prices by 20-30% and then the seller decides to not sell!

However, if we scrapped the stamp duty – what would happen to house prices?! Of course in logical thinking, bringing more people into the property market without increasing supply is likely to push prices up? It has also been suggested by Yorkshire Building Society, that Stamp Duty should be paid by the house sellers rather than the buyers to remove the burden of money so that younger generations who are struggling can actually get on the property ladder earlier in life!

So, what are you thoughts? Should the stamp duty be paid by the sellers? Should it be different for first-time buyers? Or has the increase actually helped the property sales market?  I’m interested in your thoughts on this.

Posted by & filed under Blog, Opinion.

Doom and gloom have risen over the property market in the past months, especially focusing on the estate agency sales market. A question that is frequently asked of me is “Surely Lettings is doing a lot better than Sales isn’t it?”. But is it? I believe it is all a scare/ shock tactic of the EU referendum. As a first time buyer looking to purchase a property in South West London, I have had conflicting advice. I either hear “NO – do not buy now just after Brexit, bad idea WAIT” or “Yes April, it is a perfect time to buy, mortgages are at an all-time low!”.

So what is the truth?

What is the estate agency sales market currently like – behind all the façade of the UK exiting Europe?

I have researched this vastly for the past week, in property news, and speaking with brokers, Sales Managers, Sales Directors and various other estate agency professionals. It is clear that uncertainty shook the Sales Market after Brexit. The Guardian stated uncertainty of the EU Referendum drove the largest fall in people trying to buy a property since the Financial Crisis. The Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICs) has also suggested the number of homes for Sale has declined more rapidly than at any other time since they started gathering information in April 1999! (Rics) have also stated that at least 1.8m more households will be looking to rent rather than buy a home by 2025. This has been proven by tenancies also increasing from 2.3m in 2001 to 5.4m in 2014. House prices in London are the second-most over-valued of all the world’s major cities, according to investment bank UBS.

The Guardians research, however, contradicts with figures showing the Brexit vote in June has not collapsed all consumer confidence which was so feared – Christen Lagarde stated prior to the EU Vote, that voting to Leave would lead to a crash in house prices. Whereas house prices have grown in September, and August by 0.3% and 0.6% according to their research.

Deutsche Bank analyst Reiff and Scheulfer made a huge case (over 70 pages worth) arguing that for any investor the economics in the London Property Sales market have been HAMMERED according to the FT times. The analyst’s state three main things to prove this fall – the tax deductions in 2015 have been restricted for higher income buy-to-let landlord’s. Secondly, increased stamp duty on buy-to-let and second homes, lastly changed the way landlords report their income, forcing them to register their gross rental income rather than the net income.

Facts, figures, stats and everything shown – People will still always buy in London, it is one of the most sort out cities in the word (even though it may be one of the most overvalued…). It will always be somewhere we (well me), will want to buy in.

What do you think? Is the Sales property market REALLY doomed? Or will it get back to normal as some facts have shown?…

I will keep you updated with my first time buying process.