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Ask the Expert: Buying and Selling Property

When it comes to money, buying or selling a property is usually one of the biggest money moves we make. We had an amazing interview with Leanne Parr, founder of award-winning estate agents Harper Williams, who gave us her expert tips for buying or selling a house during or immediately after the COVID Crisis.



SELLING A PROPERTY


1. For someone whose house is currently up for sale, talk us through what you are advising clients right now?


We are advising them to stay positive! Online traffic from prospective buyers has increased by 40%, in line with the increased traffic we always get over the Xmas period, which is very encouraging. We are offering virtual viewings for properties that are still available with our sellers' help and we have had some success with this, with potential buyers wanting physical viewings as soon as they are able to. If sellers and buyers need to move, that is not going to change in light of the current situation and if they can still afford to move, then our advice is to still go ahead with moving plans. The market will adapt whatever the long term outcome of the economy post COVID-19. For example, if house prices see a dip, you may get slightly less for your sale, but will pay less for your onward purchase, so it all becomes relative.

2. For those who want to put their house on the market once we start to emerge from this crisis, what do you advise people to do now?


I have written a blog on this last week on the Harper Williams company website which goes into further for detail, but top tips for now include:


- Take the opportunity to declutter and have a deep spring clean

- Get those odd jobs finished

- Tidy the garden and external areas while the weather is good

- Get organised with paperwork

- Speak to an independent mortgage broker

- Research estate agents and solicitors

- Get your property "wish list" together

- Prepare for viewings - virtual or physical


3. What tips do you have for someone selling a property to optimise value in the sale?


Some tips are covered in the above blog in terms of the property itself, such as looking after first impressions and getting the odd jobs done. Anything that really needs replacing to create a fabulous first impression, ensuring the externals of property looks its best. But also, choose the right estate agent to work with and have the right sales and marketing strategy agreed and in place to ensure you achieve the overall maximum equity pot from your move. The cheapest estate agent is often the one who gets you the best selling price for example. Don't just be obsessed with fees, but more about the end value you want to achieve and which agent is best equipped to get you there.


BUYING


4. For someone who is looking to buy a property right now or in the immediate future, what tips do you have?


- Know your needs and your wants wish list.

- Do thorough research of the areas you would like to live in and also the properties.

- Have your agreement in principle in place, have your documents ready to submit a mortgage application when you find the right house.

- Take advantage of virtual viewings and get your physical viewings shortlist together.

- Getting financially and legally prepared, so that your offer can be put forward in the best possible light with upmost confidence that you are serious & committed.

- Do your research around price and have your negotiation range in mind when negotiating your offer. You need the right balance of thinking with your head vs heart.

5. What trends do you see as we emerge from this crisis?


I can see a few. I feel home lifestyle and work/life balance will become one of the key factors going forwards as I do feel most businesses will become more agile and start offering more flexibility going forwards. I think people will start to care more about where they live and the locations they aspire to live in.


I also think we may see a slight dip in house prices, and a shift between what was a sellers market to more of a buyers market, but I do not think this will be for too long and think the property market is quite resilient and will bounce back quicker than the media would lead people to believe (just as it did post-Brexit news). I also personally feel we will see more serious sellers coming to market, along with more serious buyers, and will lose those that simply like to test the waters and sit on the fence, meaning the transactions will be of better quality.


I also think, there will be a greater sense of community spirit going forwards, again tying in with people caring about where they live more and supporting their locals businesses and community like they've never done before.


6. Running a business during COVID, especially one that was flying beforehand, what are the things that you are focussing on to come out of this crisis stronger than before?


  1. Our business foundations and infrastructure to support growth plans going forwards.

  2. Doing full audits of the entire customer journey to see where we can improve to create an even better buying and selling experience going forwards.

  3. Over communicating with our sellers and buyers, so they know we are here and have our full support, despite the challenges we all face.

  4. Myself, focusing on speaking to great people to ensure I have a brilliant talent pool as and when I can bring more people into the business to help us serve even more customers.


We'd like to thank Leanne for taking the time to share such amazing insight with us. She has built an award-winning estate agency from scratch by putting the customers at the forefront of everything Harper Williams does. Hopefully, the above tips and trips can help those who are looking to buy or sell property during or immediately after the crisis.

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