Berkeleys comments on the Lettings Agent fee ban announced in the Autumn Statement.

Waking up to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement announcing that Letting Agents fees will be banned took us all by surprise.

“Should we be surprised though? Probably not,” suggests James Tiller, Head of Berkeleys Lettings in Dorset, “The prospect of banning letting agents fees to tenants has been on the horizon for a while and even in June this year a bill was introduced to Parliament with the prospect of banning fees but was rejected by the house.”

The private rented property sector has taken a beating on several issues over the last few years, with a number of changes (not all bad) having had to be adapted to by agents and landlords. This is just the next in line.

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With all the talk about what tenants actually pay for it may be worth explaining what actually goes into a ‘Lettings Agents’ fee as these are often quite misunderstood. Contrary to what most people think, ‘credit checks’ only form part of what a tenant pays for, good agents will also carry out employment and previous landlord checks, these do not just happen, an agent may need to spend considerable time processing these checks, so that they can present an applicant to a potential landlord whilst trying to minimise any risk in renting to a high risk tenant. It is all part of the due diligence process.

Negotiating an agreement, whether it is a term or a rent reduction is something that can benefit both parties, this is also a big part of what we do, and what the tenant is paying the agent to do. Similarly the tenants’ contribution towards the cost of preparing the tenancy paperwork.

Also, the fees paid act as a commitment from the tenant to rent a property, without that commitment from a tenant they could in theory walk away from a deal at the last minute leaving an unnecessary void period, which could cost the potential landlord a couple of weeks of high value rent at the minimum.

It became a legal requirement for agents to clearly display what their fees are both online and in their premises and you will find that good agents having been doing this without question since this became a requirement in May 2015. It shows the tenant (and landlord) what they are paying for in an open and transparent way.

So, you can see that a lot of work goes into setting up a deal to let a premium property to a trustworthy tenant, and it is important that these high standards are maintained. Here are just some of the luxury lifestyle lettings we have negotiated and secured for our clients in 2016.

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At Berkeleys, several of our lettings team are ARLA members, and we will therefore be following the consultation period with keen interest, and will look to update all of our customers about how this may affect them when information becomes available. This will not be immediate and it may cause a period of ‘holding out’ for the time being as we await news. This in turn could also cause unpredictability as to how the market may change in the coming months.

Until we know a definitive date as to when these changes will happen, it will be difficult to know how exactly matters will pan out, however one thing for sure: here at Berkeleys, it will be business as usual, and when the changes do come in we will be prepared and we will continue to offer a premium quality lettings service to all of our customers, both landlords or tenants.

Berkeleys comments on the Budget 2013 announcement

Jeremy Priestley, Director, Berkeleys comments on the Budget 2013 and its implications for the prime property market in Sandbanks and Canford Cliffs, Poole, Dorset:

“The additional assistance for buyers via the Funding for Lending and Help to Buy schemes is, of course, welcome, particularly since the resurgence of activity in the upper-market levels needs to be under-pinned by the ability of all the lower value segments to function efficiently.

Thus, the extension of interest-free equity loans to those who are not first-time buyers and on new-build properties worth up to £600,000 will enable many more people to move up the housing ladder and so “unlock” some of the logjam that has had such a stultifying effect locally.

That said, negative sentiment cannot be finally put aside in that there is still the looming spectre of a change of government in 2015, even if the Chancellor does succeed in stimulating some growth with his new-found infrastructure funds. The negative impact on confidence and on house prices that such an event would presage via the potential advent of a mansion tax, or any other form of wealth or capital taxation, as well as further tightening of the already punitive Stamp Duty Land Tax regime, especially at the top end, would be very significant, especially for the area of Sandbanks, Canford Cliffs, Branksome Park and other areas surrounding Poole Harbour, Dorset.

On the upside, it has been however heartening recently to see that there is an increasing sense of reality returning to the mind-set of some vendors – prices are being reduced, in some case pretty drastically – and this in turn is producing spots of resurgent activity.”

Property Marketing Insight – Sandbanks & Canford Cliffs, Poole, Dorset

Property in Sandbanks, Canford Cliffs and Branksome Park, Poole, Dorset – there is, we suspect, we would all agree, an intrinsic “je ne sais quoi” about why people buy property here – reasons could include a hefty sprinkling of lifestyle, climate, accessibility, seaside, sailing, golf, kindred spirits – but, at the end of the day, it all boils down to “It’s a great place to be.”

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However, the brickbats are being thrown by HMRC and – increasingly – in a very targeted fashion. Stamp Duty increases over the last couple of years (>£1m @ 5%; >£2m @7%, 15% if corporate). More in prospect? Mansion Tax – if brought in by a Labour government, in our view it will have a material, negative, impact. Bad news. Outside London, this would be one of the few UK locations to feel the effect.

And then, there’s the economy ……… the banks are still hoarding cash as they re-capitalise their balance sheets; mortgages are far from plentiful and there simply aren’t so many people looking. More specifically, there are 130+ properties at prices in excess of £1.5m currently on the market for sale in BH13 and BH14, of which some 70+ are either plots where construction has not yet been started, plus those under construction or which are new (less than 12 months following completion), in all amounting to nearly £260m of property for sale (NB at asking prices > £1.5m ONLY).

However, it’s not all bad news for owners. That last figure is down from over £350m in October 2012 – there have been at least 24 such properties withdrawn from marketing (for various reasons) and a further 20+ sold subject to contract since then, so the (apparent) over-supply picture is improving. More than that, of those houses and apartments which have sold, the average discount to original asking price has dropped from c. 35+% to c. 25% in the same period. So, for those who do wish to sell, there is a market. But beware the flattery. There are too many property specialists out there telling you what you want to hear and, in the long run, they’re not doing you any service.

Overall, sales in the area are holding up: £55m worth last year (2012), in line with the 5 year average, even if 35% down on the peak property performance year 2007 at £85m. Not bad in a recession. But ….. a word of advice. Pricing realism is the key to achieving a sale.

Market snapshot – Properties within BH13, BH14, BH15 sold at prices > £1.5m

(NB: 2012 figures have been annualised from November 2012, the date of the latest
available Land Registry returns at the survey date)

Year

Branksome Park

Canford Cliffs

Sandbanks

Units

Sales

Units

Sales

Units

Sales

 

2012

4.8

£8,640,000

9.6

£23,984,400

3.6

£11,160,000

2011

7

£17,675,000

9

£20,625,000

3

£12,950,000

2010

4

£9,000,000

3

£5,300,000

1

£2,500,000

How do you choose the best estate agent in Poole, Dorset, UK?

If you are searching for an estate agents in Poole, Dorset for luxury houses, flats, bungalows and waterside apartments with a sea view, how do you select the best partner?

New Build Poole Luxury Property For Sale: Blake Hill Crescent.

There are many property agents in Poole, Dorset. If you are thinking of selling your home in the New Year, some good solid up front research and planning will make for a successful sale in the future. The team at Berkeleys Estate Agents has created this helpful checklist of the 10 ultimate questions all home-owners should consider before making a final selection of property agent to sell your home.

Is your estate agent reputable, trusted and financially stable?
It is an important question to ask, particularly in these times of economic uncertainty. Good agency provenance coupled with solid customer references can underpin the most reliable choice of partner. Local solicitors, banks and conveyancing firms all make good sources of referrals too.

How long has your estate agent been established in the local area?
A long established estate agent will bring all the benefits of depth of local knowledge, great references and a deep database of potential buyers.

Is the estate agent a brand I have heard of?
There is no doubt that selling your home falls into the category of a high value transaction. Choosing to work with a brand that is well-known reduces risks. Ask yourself which local estate agents in Poole are recognisable, high profile and pro-active near to you.

Are they registered with any professional property associations?
An estate agent in Poole with professional accreditations such as RICS, NAEA, OFT or The Property Ombudsman will be adhering to an industry recognised code of conduct. Look for these accreditations within your agency short-list.

If you are selling, how far do they reach to attract buyers?
Fact. A local estate agent with national and international reach will deliver more interested buyers for your property. Find out whether they are part of a wider group, or belong to a national network like the Guild of Professional Estate Agents, which delivers 750 office links nationwide.

Is the estate agent successfully selling in your area?
Success breeds success. If a property agent can show you examples of sold properties in your area, they are also showing you they deliver reliable home valuations and a source of more like-minded potential buyers for your home.

Are they knowledgeable, with solid local research and data?
It’s reassuring to see examples of sold house prices from local property agents, but have you seen more? Information on average house prices, seasonal trends, area values and price fluctuations are helpful insights. This knowledge is invaluable to clients selling and buying because it delivers the confident basis from which offers then follow.

Will your property be in good company?
Property agents tend to specialise in different price segments of the market.  Place the sale of your property with an agency working in the same price bracket to your home value. In this way, they will deliver more relevant buyers and an outstanding depth of knowledge in the specific market sector.

How will they market your property?
Look in-depth at examples of the marketing undertaken to sell a property. Your checklist should include traditional marketing examples like beautiful property particulars and photography, local property magazine advertising, property portal listings and direct mail. Today, however, exceptional property marketing needs to live and breathe on the internet. By that we mean:- website content, online property press coverage and editorial, digital marketing and social media. Look for examples of what the industry calls “integrated marketing and communications.” It’s what gets exceptional results in this digital day and age.

Ask yourself, ‘can we work together’?
Finally, after weighing up your fact-based arguments – the I.Q. of the process – don’t forget to add a little E.Q. Building a rapport with your property agent will make the whole experience of selling a good one. Select a partner who you feel you will enjoy working with. After all, there will be plenty of communication to follow, so you want to enjoy the journey.

Have you have answered yes to all these questions regarding the estate agents you are considering? Then you can reassure yourself you are making the right choice with peace of mind. Go ahead. You are ready for 2014.

Berkeleys Property Marketing Insight Report – Canford Cliffs & Sandbanks

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Current Market Conditions – Autumn 2012
What should you expect from the Canford Cliffs and Sandbanks property market this autumn? Berkeleys is performing extremely well bucking the local trend, with completion numbers up versus 2011. A real achievement. Rightmove® has recorded that actual sale completions nationally are just half of what they were five years ago.

Market Sentiment
Nationally, the economic outlook is still difficult, stock levels having risen for the last five consecutive months, as new sellers outnumber properties sold or withdrawn from the market, so increasing competition. None of us is immune to market sentiment nor to negative headlines. Purchasers remain highly price-conscious, indeed apprehensive. However, the market should gain momentum this autumn, traditionally an active period.

Achieving a positive sale outcome
Pricing competitively to attract new buyers remains key. Purchasers are reluctant to commit unless they feel that a property on the market is fairly priced. It is essential to be realistic and to examine comparative prices of property which has actually sold.

The short-term outlook
Eurozone issues may have receded but the problems are not over. This and the continuing drought in mortgage availability, together with weakening consumer sentiment, has forced buyers to be even more cautious. At Berkeleys we aim to hold their hand, to guide them whilst at the same protecting the interests of our client, the seller.  Against a backdrop of a market treading water nationwide,  we confidently expect the local area to continue to deliver .

Again on a positive note, continued growth in London has made prime regional property, especially in this area, look increasingly good value for money. We receive constant enquires from the capital, from local, national and international buyers, wanting to move to the area or to buy their holiday dream home.

Local Market Snapshots:
Canford Cliffs
“The local market has been active and fairly constant in 2012.”  
Properties Sold in 2011: 87
Value of properties sold in 2011: £58m
Value of properties sold in 2012*: £25.6m
2012 peak*:  Shore Road, £2.75m (by Berkeleys)

Sandbanks
“Interest in the area remains high, as always, fuelled by regular national media attention, but the number of sales agreed is low.”
Properties Sold in 2011: 23
Value of properties sold in 2011: £22m
Value of properties sold in 2012*: £9m
2012 peak*: Old Coastguards Road, £3.5m

To read the full version of this report, contact Berkeleys. e: info(at)berkeleys(dot)com

All Data Sources: Land registry®, YOUq®, www.youeye.co.uk
Berkeleys data, during timeframes indicated. * = to June 2012. Published:  September 2012.