Nick Churton from Mayfair Office watches for signs of a change in the property market and gives some timely advice for buyers and sellers.
Eagle-eyed property market watchers may have noticed a change. Certainly those in London will have seen a marked difference from a year ago. The market has done an about turn in favour of buyers. Fewer buyers and more properties available have changed the fortunes of purchasers. What does this mean for the market elsewhere? Well, often where London leads other areas follow.
In a buyers' market purchasers have more choice, negotiate harder and have the luxury of taking their time in finding a new home. There is no need for them to be rushed into quick action.
For sellers this new dynamic will create a different set of questions and decisions. Pricing will be key. So too will property presentation and condition. But one of their biggest decisions will be which estate agent to use. Some might not have sold a property for a long time and there have been many changes. New options are available.
While there was a strong sellers' market low-cost online property listing companies sprang up to cash in when selling property was relatively straightforward. But now things will change. Simply listing a property on a property portal will no longer be enough. Each house or flat will have to be competitively and accurately priced, serious and motivated buyers will have to be found rather than fallen over, and once a sale has been agreed it will take experience and expertise to keep it on track through all the legal, financial and dependent sales complications that are an inevitable part of most property transactions these days. These all take time, tenacity and training - things that the bargain basement operators aren't well equipped for.
Of course one should always look for great value. But sometimes that does not mean the lowest price - or commission in estate agency terms. In estate agency good value means finding the firm that will get the top price from the best buyer, often in the quickest time. Anything else is of no value at all. In fact it is a false economy. It is hoping for the best and that has no place when it comes to selling such a valuable asset.
So if you are selling in what may soon become a buyers' market it is best to shop around and ask your estate agent what he or she will do differently in this different market. Ask what makes one firm better - not cheaper - than another. It is very easy to be the cheapest choice. It takes skill, expertise and sustained performance over many years to be the best choice.