Alexandra Storey, Director
My husband and I launched Storey Estates in Cheshire in October 2018. Ian has been an estate agent for 17 years and whilst we know it’s not for everyone, it works well running the business together. Due to my previous life as a solicitor, I have a good eye for detail and I’m happy to be in the office whilst Ian is out and about.
We focus on properties selling for upwards of £350,000 covering a large area across Cheshire – for us it’s about the right client and property rather than gaining ‘market share’. We market any property that we think fits our brand even if we have to travel – we don’t focus on certain postcodes. We have sold properties in Altrincham across to North Wales, including three properties circa £1million. We turn down invitations to sell ‘cheaper’ properties and whilst it is risky saying no to clients as a new business, it seems to be working as we gain a reputation for handling mid to high end properties.
FEES ARE LESS IMPORTANT THAN PRICE ACHIEVED
In terms of our fees, we know that we’re not the cheapest – there are plenty of cheap agents but it’s more important is get the client the best price for their property, rather than the cheapest fee.
In terms of trends, we see increasing numbers of people wanting to move outside Manchester and Stockport for more space and to enjoy the countryside – and of course to get more house for their money. We are busy and find that property prices are holding values well – when they’re correctly priced and the marketing is good. One of our main reasons for joining the Guild of Property Professionals is to create a strong link with London and the International Markets – due to great rail links from Cheshire to London and the ease of working from home these days, we have seen an increase in buyers relocating from the South East to Cheshire and the North West.
The dreaded ‘B’ word is thrown around a lot by the media and other agents, however, certainly in the North West, we have a seen a very prosperous and strong market with properties regularly selling for over asking price. We are heavily data-driven and closely track our numbers – our internal office statistics show the average percentage of original marketing price achieved at 102.9% with an average on market time of 34 days!
Pictured property: Pentre Bach, Marian – OIEO £900,000
Rita Tinney, Sales and Lettings Director
Keats Haslemere Limited and Keats Letting Ltd.
The rental market has had a volatile year with changes in legislation impacting supply and demand. The Tenant Fee Act cooled the market pre-June and the anticipated summer boom was slow to materialise. In early Autumn, with increased demand, our team achieved their best income month for over a year.
Much of the restored confidence has come from legislative changes. The requirement for all letting agents to have CMP, which we have had for many years, has given financial assurance and the cost of renting has reduced with the Tenant Fee Act.
DEMAND AND PERFORMANCE
Rental demand is coming from three main sources: applicants who would rather be buyers but are concerned about the stability of the pre-Brexit market, young people leaving home for the first time, and surprisingly given the proposed withdrawal from Europe, a noticeable increase in the workforce coming from overseas – mainly eastern Europe. The increase in demand has helped to hold rental values steady.
The best performing part of the private rental sector is the smaller units; one- and two-bedroom flats, with studio apartments spearheading the way.
The key drivers for our local market are the excellent schools on offer, both state and private, transport links to the coast and London, and the quality of life to be had having the South Downs National Park on our doorstep – factors which appeal to all sectors of the local population.
Tenants have recognised the benefit of renting; it gives workplace flexibility in an era where employment requires mobility. For would-be buyers, it puts them in the area where they would like to purchase and, in a position, to monitor the sales market and jump in when they spot the ideal home.
With further legislative tweaks in the pipeline, there are more changes to come for the PRS, but with confidence growing for both landlords and tenants, the future is looking good and we anticipate positive end of year results and a buoyant 2020 no matter what the general economy throws at us.
Pictured property: Three-bedroom in Haslemere – £1,250pcm
Robert Murray, Branch Manager
Our market in Edgware, North West London is positive at present, despite the political unsettlement. Properties are still selling because even in the hardest of times, people still need to live. In these tough market conditions many agents over promise and under deliver, quoting low fees and high selling prices to get the vendor onto their books. This is true in Edgware, however, having lots of overpriced stock is just vanity and leaves the vendor with a sour taste in their mouth leading to price reductions and incomplete sales.
At Benjamin Stevens, we manage vendors’ expectations to ensure a property is priced correctly to attract the best, most motivated buyers and then negotiate to ensure we maximise that investment.
In 2019 we have negotiated an extra £774,294 for vendors from the first offer to final selling price, an average of £16,474 extra or 4.1% increase leading to complete transactions and satisfied clients. So, our advice is, don’t just think about the fee – the cheapest agent is the one who puts the most money in your pocket after the sale.
A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE
A big draw is the local high street which is full of restaurants featuring every type of cuisine you can think of, big high street names, supermarkets and other forms of entertainment. There are many transport links with the Northern Line underground and bus station on the high street, and excellent links to the A1, A41, M1, and North Circular. Edgware also has an array of sought-after local schools both public and private, including one of the top private schools in the UK, North London Collegiate Girls School.
Benjamin Stevens deals with residential properties, plus we have independent departments for commercial property & serviced office management as well as dedicated property management and investment departments. Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents now services three separate counties, and manages over seven hundred properties, from small studios to imposing family homes.
At Benjamin Stevens, our highest priority is delivering the best levels of customer service to all of our clients and ensuring we maintain our reputation as the leading estate agency in the local area.
Pictured property: Hillside Gardens, Edgware – £1,150,000