By Chris Sapey, of Sapey & Co estate agents in Norwich
Hopefully, the longest cold period for many years in the UK will soon be behind us and spring is just around the corner. The mornings are already lighter and the afternoons are drawing out. At the end of March the clocks will go forward, giving us longer evenings. Figures recently released by the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) have shown a fall in buying and selling activity during January due to the extreme weather conditions. Another factor was the rush during December to beat the temporary stamp duty threshold which dropped back to £125,000 on 1 January. Here in Norwich, whilst the weather has played its part, sales have not been as badly affected as in other areas of the country. If you are thinking of
selling your home before the summer, now is the time to give it that spring clean and get it on the market. Choosing an agent can be difficult. Do you choose a national chain or an independent agent? Independent agents using the right marketing tools can now achieve the same market exposure and coverage as the national agent. Furthermore, the independent agent can give a far more personal level of service rather than some larger agents who are driven purely by targets and the numbers of houses sold. Another important factor in choosing an agent is whether they are regulated. Although the Office of Fair Trading is currently pushing for agents to be regulated, anyone at present can open an estate agency. If unregulated, clients can be exposed to lack of professionalism, fraud and/or financial loss. Indeed, in recent months there have been a number of cases of letting agents misappropriating clients’ funds. If you choose a regulated agent, they have to have regular audits and must comply with certain rules and regulations such as having professional indemnity cover, separate accounts for clients’ money, a formal complaints handling procedure, etc. We re also members of the OFT estate agent and letting agents’ ombudsman scheme which acts as an independent arbitrator between agent and client in the event of a complaint that cannot be resolved between the parties.
Chris is on 01603 616666.