Mortgage famine for first time buyers

Many people still hanker after the good old days when beer was cheap, money was cheap and if you were just breathing, you could get a 100% mortgage.  Fast foward to 2012: beer is very expensive, money is still cheap if you can find it anywhere and mortgages are atill available after someone has passed a secret police interrogation.  Figures recently released from a comparison website show that the number of mortgages available to borrowers with a 10% deposit have plunged by more than a quarter in the past year. For those buyers with a 5% deposit (typically a first time buyer), they dropped by a third in just 6 months. “This mortgage famine for first time buyers is in stark contrast to the rock bottom deals lenders are offering for borrowers who are able to stump up larger deposits” Ruth Lythe  Daily Mail 29 August 2012.

Getting started on the property ladder has always been difficult and is increasingly so, but it is not impossible.  It would appear almost too daunting to bother but there are people who can offer expert help and advice to those determined to take that first step. If you are contemplating taking that first giant leap into the unknown, you must ensure that you know exactly how much you can borrow before you start looking and you have to be sure that you are happy to take on this long-term financial commitment.

Mortgage lending on the increase? Possibly?

The Council of Mortgage Lenders announced this week that mortgage applications in July were 8% higher than the previous month.  Is this the start of an upward trend?  Well before we all get too excited, let’s remember that mortgage lending in 2011 was £140 billion as opposed to £345 billion in 2007.  That is an awful lot of monthly increases needed to get back to where we were.  On the other hand, Rightmove report that property prices fell in July by 2.4%.  What does this mean, you may well ask?  As always, the right house in the right location at the right price will always find the right buyer.  The right buyer will always have the mortgage funding in place.  The moral of the story is seek the advice of your professional, independent estate agent, not the expert down the pub who last week was advising people on rocket science and the NASA Mars landing.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth??

In all things in life, when making an important, possibly life-changing decision, one needs to be in possession of factual information.  After 30 years in the estate agency business, I am still stunned and saddened when fellow estate agents get so desparate that they forget how to promote their professional service and concentrate instead on reasons why you should not use another agent.  When considering selling your home, a professional, independent estate agent should present to you how he or she will work hard to obtain the best possible price for your property.  I have recently experienced other agents who rather than promote themselves choose to denounce the competition.  Surely for these type of people, this is the quick route to the workhouse.

To paraphrase the words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, “Ask not what other agents can’t do for you, but what the agent sat in front of you, will do’.

Professional, independent agents are not under the threat of weekly targets. We do not have to make that dreaded  ‘phone-call to HQ on Friday afternoon with our manufactured figures.  An independent agent would rather spend that time speaking to vendors and potential buyers.   Independent estate agents only get paid for selling a house; they don’t get paid for hitting instruction targets.  If your estate agent says to you that your property is worth a million pounds when other properties in the street are selling for £100 thousand, stop, and ask what exactly is their motivation?

The power of the internet…

Speaking as someone who struggled with my Walkman (remember those?) in the 1980’s, the advent of social media and the world’s increasing reliance on Facebook to let people know what is happening in their lives has left me with a certain sense of bemusement and a genuine query of “Is it of any use in business?”   Seeing the photos of somebody’s stag party is entertaining, but as a means of selling a house…?

Well as much as it has been a painful experience learning about uploads, likes, dislikes and QR codes and having spent 30 yrs in the estate agency business working with a quill pen I can now say with first-hand experience that the use of social media in the property market is something which does work and should be fully utilised.  Here at Cheshire and Co we listed a property on Facebook on 11 August with a comment stating that the vendor would consider any serious offers.  The property was sold on 13 August.

As an estate agent, one should never forget that the old-fashioned means of leg-work and customer care through updates and regular, honest conversations with vendors are invaluable and should never be ignored or disregarded.  However, it is up to your agent to use every means possible to try and find a purchaser for your property.  At Cheshire and Co we pride ourselves on adopting this approach: be it through Facebook or any of the other social media forums.  We can also go one step further than other agents by taking a real time video tour of your property and then uploading it thus allowing potential purchasers to first view your property without leaving their own home.  To discuss the marketing of your property please call Cheshire and Co on 01633 869086 or drop into the office to discuss the options available.

New Inn bungalow now available

***BUNGALOW***** A modernised and extended semi detached bungalow in the ever popular residential area of New Inn  enjoying access to local shops, bus and rail links. Set on a level plot and located in a cul de sac the property offers the following upgraded accommodation entrance porch, hallway , dining room , extended L shaped lounge, re fitted galley style feature kitchen, two bedrooms, office/ 3rd bedroom and a family bathroom. The property further benefits from gas central heating, uvpc double glazing, front and rear gardens with a block built shed and off road parking. There is also planning permission for further extension to the front. SWIFT INTERNAL VIEWING OF THIS PROPERTY IS RECOMMENDED.

Changing your mind…

Over the past few weeks I have noticed an increasing number of people changing their mind at the last minute before exchange of contracts; not withdrawing their offer, but trying to re-negotiate the price.  Whether this is because people are being cautious as the media casts further warnings of impending financial doom or whether it is people trying to be a bit clever and back the vendors into a corner under the guise of “they’re desaparate to sell, so they’ll take anything”, I don’t know, but the legal position is the same.  Under English and Welsh conveyancing law, either party (vendor OR buyer) can withdraw from the transaction at any time before exchange of contracts.  Sometimes withdrawing can be for a wholly genuine reason; but sometimes withdrawing can be expensive.  Withdrawing your offer at the last minute trying to broker a better price can leave you with an expensive legal bill together with an expensive property survey.  Added to this, when you next need your solicitor or estate agent to move quickly, they are far less inclined to do so – once you have the reputation as a time-waster.

Our advice is to do all your negotiating and research before agreeing on a purchase price.  Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions that you will have to make; remember that any reputable estate agent will be delighted to answer as many questions that you have prior to negotiating the sale.  Where the estate agent will start to lose patience with you is when questions that could quite easily have been asked weeks earlier, now appear just before exchange of contracts as an obvious price-reducing tactic.

Make us an offer

We are currently marketing a property located on Channel View Penygarn Pontypool. The full details are available on our website and rightmove, zoopla, propertyfinder and findaproperty.

Our vendors will now consider a serious offer for this property.

Please contact the office to make a viewing.


New instruction great bungalow in NEW INN


Go to rightmove or our website to see details of this bungalow 

Ask a professional….

“Soaring rents, rock-bottom interest rates and sliding house prices are encouraging more would be investors to consider a buy-to-let property” Larisa Brown , Daily Mail, Wednesday July 25, 2012.  I couldn’t have put it better myself but would offer just a word or caution to prospective buyers.  Of course it really is a great time to buy a property with the plan of renting it out, thus earning far more from your money than if it was sitting in certain high street banks savings accounts.  But I would urge any potential buy-to-let investors to come and talk to a professional before they part with their money. A professional can advise you on the right property to buy and more importantly, the wrong property and make you aware of all the potential pit-falls that are waiting just round the corner for the inexperienced or occasional buy-to-let landlord. Here at Cheshire and Co we can offer a bespoke service tailored to what you as a potential landlord would like to achieve from your investment.  Remember that they key-word here is “investment”, with the aim of making, not costing you money.