Why The Way We See The Housing Market is Wrong - Part 2

July 5th, 2009

In the last post we started to look at the housing market and how we feel more secure by following the commonly accepted wisdom of the ‘the market’

One of the causes of our inclination to follow the herd when it comes to the housing market is the way we think about the market.

In previous posts we’ve discussed the concept of the “Housing Ladder”.

We strive (or we’re told we should strive!) to climb it – bigger and better. We invest so much time, effort, money and worry trying climb the ladder by moving to larger more expensive houses and by capitalising on the price increases we have enjoyed in our homes.

But the problem about thinking of the market as a ladder is that it leads to us becoming fixated on what is happening to house prices. We worry about them. And this is the reason why we can’t help reading about house prices, talking about house prices.

But should we be as fixated on house prices as we are?

Doesn’t our fixation on prices work against us, particularly when prices are not shooting upwards, by paralysing us with fear?

Think about it.

If prices rise we feel good about it and we are keen to make a move up to the next rung. Buyers are easy to come by and all is good.

But when prices fall or stagnate the story is different. Nobody wants to move, worried that they won’t make as much on their property as they feel they ought to or could have done a few months back.

And if everyone acts in this way the market grinds to a halt.

But what if we think about the market as an escalator and not a ladder?

Those of us that are home owners should think of ourselves as being on the Housing Escalator rather than the Housing Ladder. This escalator can move upwards or downwards in its own right carrying everyone with it.

In other words when house prices move up they move up for everyone – ie the escalator moves upwards taking us with it. And when prices fall they fall for everyone – ie the escalator moves downwards. But relative to each other we all move together.

And this is the really key point here; everyone is moving together on this great big housing escalator and because price rises or falls are all happening to us all we are all keeping our positions on the escalator. And unless you want to get off the escalator completely this should give us all some sort of comfort in uncertain times.

Now that we have challenged our view of the housing market we also need to look at how we make our move up and down the escalator; ie how we sell and buy property.

Selling a house in the UK property market can be an extremely frustrating process as too many people know only too well. But more than that it is a very hit and miss process as well.

Worse still it it’s been this way for a long time and if we all continue to act in a herd-like way it will be this way for a long time to come.

It is like a conspiracy and no-one wants it to change. The Estate Agents generally do just fine the way things are (ok it’s a bit tough for them at the moment), the solicitors do ok, the government collects its taxes and we, the home owners, well we just plod along selling our houses in the same old way.

Think about it – as a seller you are completely reliant on a buyer chancing upon your property amongst all the others that are out there.

So even before the pain of the move has started (i.e. the saga of the negotiation, the surveys , hoping the chain won’t collapse, exchanging contracts and all the rest of it) you are leaving your house sale completely in the hands of fate!

i.e Will the right buyer actually find my property or not?

The way the market works at the moment, if you’re selling you just sit there passively and wait for someone to come and make you an offer!

But what is to say that buyers will find your property amongst all the others? The answer is that it is largely luck. You are being what we call an Accidental Seller.

Think about it; all the houses on the market are being advertised and promoted in much the same way. There is nothing to make any one of them stand out from the others.

What does this matter you say? Houses get sold so surely things must work ok?

Well maybe when the market is buoyant. But what about when things are not so good?

Yes we all use estate agents, but they are passive as well. Sure they will advertise your property in their window, produce a nice brochure and ensure your home ends up on one of the property websites, but all of this is still the same old game – it is waiting for a buyer to take action and to find your property in and amongst all the others they and every other estate agent have on their books.

As sellers we need to think of the market in a different way and more importantly ACT in a different way.

And by this we mean:

  • You need to access as many potential buyers as possible and not just those that are actively searching for property at that moment in time but also those who are interested but not active in the market.
  • You have to work out from all those potential buyers which ones are more likely to be interested in buying your property.
  • You need to begin a conversation with this group of more likely buyers in an attempt to persuade them to make an offer on your home.

If you can do all of these things then you really are becoming proactive and taking control and as such you are much more likely to sell your house.

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Why The Way We See The Housing Market is Wrong - Part 1

July 4th, 2009

There is no other topic more guaranteed to get people talking in this country than what is happening to house prices; ok maybe the weather.

When the market moves in the right direction we feel good and we feel more wealthy. And when prices fall like they have done over the last year or so we worry a lot about what the consequences might be and we feel harder up.

It’s in the DNA of the nation. We are a nation of home owners and where we live and what we do with our houses tells others a lot about who we are. We add decking to our gardens, we carry out loft extensions, we knock down walls, build conservatories, our home is an integral part of the lifestyles we lead. It matters to us.

On the one hand just take a look at the TV schedule in an average week. Even now with all the turmoil in the economy there are programmes on every day about people buying and selling houses or developing properties or doing properties up …. if there is an angle on the housing market then there is a programme being made about it.

And on the other hand in the broader press we have been hit with so many stories over the last year about about how much money we are losing on our houses.

Why is this?

Because we read it! We lap it up!

And what do you think is the effect of these headlines on the average man in the street, with a house and a mortgage?

Well it makes us worried doesn’t it? Of course it does. That’s because it is a natural reaction to hearing bad news. But more than that, we start to hesitate about what we should do with our homes. Those of us that want to move put plans on hold, deciding to see what happens to prices before committing to a move.

And this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and this is where we have been in the last 12 months or so. We are told that house prices are going to fall, so fewer of us are in the market for a new house – i.e. demand falls and guess what – prices fall to compensate.

Now clearly there have been some real problems in the market, no-one can deny that. We have seen for example a massive reduction in availability of finance due to the credit crunch.

But even with this the doom and gloom that is spread just adds to our woes. We develop a “herd mentality”. We feel safe if we act as a group – it is an instinct that goes back as long as we have been walking the face of this earth. If everyone else is doing something then it must be the right thing to do.

Can you see how much of what we do is all about psychology? Our mind drives our actions and if everyone feels bad about the market we feel bad about it as well.

Sometimes the right thing to do is to ignore the widely held belief, to take some control back and to act in your own best interests based upon your own individual circumstances.

What is the market after all?

It is just a collection of individuals buying and selling. So if you want to sell your home and you do manage to find a buyer who will offer you the price you want would you still sit tight and refuse to act just because that was the perceived right thing to do?

Of course not.

That’s all for now but check back here soon for more about why the way we see the housing market is all wrong.

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Raising the Deposit – Option 1 of 7

June 30th, 2009

In other articles we’ve spelled it out clearly – one of the biggest problems with today’s property market is mortgages. Specifically, how much harder it has now become to get a mortgage.

Especially hard for FTBs (First Time Buyers).

And as we all know, FTBs are SO important to the property market. Without them the whole system grinds to a juddering halt. As we can so clearly see right now.

We as we promised in this article we’re going to provide a lot of information that can help you get hold of a mortgage. Some of this info is common sense. Some of it is uncommon sense. And some of it is only known to a very few souls … so only they are benefiting from these secrets.

So do check back here as we reveal more of what you need to know. Our goal is to help people successfully move house (whether you’re selling, buying or both). And by helping you, we hope you’ll think of move2you as a really useful service, and you’ll recommend us to your friends and contacts.

Because the more people who use move2you the more that every single person benefits (not just from this information, but in the matching-people-and-properties-service that’s at the heart of how we help).

So, to start the ball rolling here’s the Option 1 for Raising the Deposit. (We’ll cover at least 7 fundamentally different methods in this series of articles).

Option 1 is in the “common sense” category. It won’t be a surprise to you, and it may be the only way you can think of to raise a deposit.

That’s right – we’ll start off gently and easily … we’ll save the more unusual methods (and certainly less well known ones) for later articles … because we would love you to come back here soon!

Option 1 is the most well-known method. It’s the first one most people try.

But … it’s also the slowest method, and, surprisingly, it’s the hardest method for most people.

And the method is …

… “Save It”.

Sorry to be so dull and predictable there! I did warn you that it wouldn’t be a surprise!

But let’s not just dismiss this as “yeah … of course I knew that … now tell me something I don’t know!” … because we’ll cover a whole variety of different methods, as we’ve promised.

Don’t just dismiss it … because it’s really important that you appreciate the pros and cons of this method. And remember … for many people, this is the only method they think is available to them!

So what are the pros?

- it’s easy to understand

- it’s personally “safe” (no risks involved)

- it’s easy to do (in theory)

- if you do it right, you’re guaranteed to get you to your target … eventually

Erm … any more pros to this method? (Please comment on this article to make any suggestions!)

Well, what about the cons?

- it’s not possible if your outgoings are higher than your income

- even if you’ve saved some money, it can still be tempting to spend it

- it’s easy not to save at any time … so you don’t progress

- it takes discipline

- interest rates on savings are, well, pathetic right now, so your savings won’t really benefit from compounding (By the way, you may be interested to know that Einstein called Compounding the Eighth Wonder of the World … do you realise its power?!)

- It’s. Soooooo. Slooooooowwww. Sure, you’re guaranteed to get there (if you’re disciplined) but it takes ages

Hmmm … a bit of a damp squib, do you think?

Sure, there are faster ways. And if you’re up for a challenge, there are ways that are certainly more fun!

But “Save It” is, nonetheless, a very real Option 1 for Raising the Deposit.

Simple rules:

(a) make sure your income is higher than your outgoings,

(b) be ruthless in minimising your outgoings,

(c) save the difference

(d) keep going until you reach your target.

Stick to those rules and you’ll get there.

Some time.

So there you have it – Option 1 for Raising the Deposit.

Options 2 – 7 will get you there faster. So come back soon to find out more.

(But don’t discard Option 1 – it certainly has its part to play … even if it’s one of many of the 7 Options that you use.)

Do let us know your views … we love to read your comments on these articles.

Speak soon.

Chris

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First Time Buyers – Can’t Climb On The Ladder? Think Again!

June 24th, 2009

In a previous article posted here we’ve talked about the “Housing Ladder”, and how we should really think about it as a “Housing Escalator” – an idea that opens you up to a different way of thinking about what opportunities really exist for you to move house.

But whatever you call it – ladder or escalator – there’s one key ingredient to make the whole thing work. It’s the person who should be everyone’s best friend … the First Time Buyer (FTB).

And right now the Housing Ladder looks less like a ladder, and more like a Well Fortified Castle with the Drawbridge pulled fully upright and firmly shut!

Why’s that then? (we’re just about to tell you.)

And can we help? (hint: answer’s yes – read on to find out how.)

First, let’s look at why FTB’s are finding it so hard right now. Think back to the nineties and early “naughties” – in those times house prices were rising steadily … and so were people’s pay. So lenders could be sensible, and use “multiples of income” to be confident that you’d be able to repay your mortgage.

Multiples of 2.5x – 3x income were commonplace, weren’t they?

But then the craziness started … house prices were shooting up like there was no tomorrow (turned out they were sort of right after all – eventually there was no tomorrow!) … but pay didn’t shoot up in the same way.

The result? House prices started becoming genuinely more expensive … for everyone. Especially for FTBs.

But … banks needed to keep lending … otherwise their income dried up. And they really didn’t want that to happen … not when there was so much money to be made. So they became more cavalier with their lending.

We started to see multiples of 4x … 5x … even 7x earnings.

And that’s if you bothered to tell them your earnings at all! It got to the stage when they just didn’t seem to care anymore.

Don’t have enough income? “No Problem!” said the banks and other mortgage lenders … “as house prices are shooting up, just tell us that you can afford it, and we’ll lend pretty much whatever you need … if it turns out you can’t pay your mortgage, we’ll just repossess your house, which will have gone up in value … a lot … and we’ll be able to sell it and get our money back that way.”

Two things happened as a result … one, the chickens came home to roost, so to speak. In other words, so many people could no longer afford their mortgages that the number of repossessions became enormous … so big that they effectively flooded the market with properties that were trying to be sold off “cheap”.

But the buyers slowed right down. And that led to what we all now know as “The Credit Crunch”.

And the second thing that happened was lending swung right back the other way. Banks then became so worried about lending they made sure they’d only lend if there was plenty of equity in the house.

So the size of deposits required became … well … big. People are needing to find 25% or more as a deposit now. (OK, some deals are now becoming a bit more realistic, but it’s slow change at the moment).

Now, that’s the background to the absence of FTBs. But we desperately need them back in the market don’t we? They are the bedrock of housing chains.

And what we need is FTBs (and everyone else too) to have the ability to buy a house at the right price. So they need:

- the right house

- the right price

- and a deposit (that’s hard to get).

OK, so now we need to help them.

And that’s what we’re going to do here at move2you.

We’re going to be revealing the methods (and there are lots of them) that people can use to raise the deposit they need.

Of course, that doesn’t just apply to FTBs … raising the deposit is useful for anyone buying a house.

So come back here again soon … when we’ll start to reveal methods of raising deposits. In fact we’ll even reveal methods of owning a house without needing a mortgage at all … (and all completely legally, in case you were wondering!)

Only property investors know some of this stuff … and while they’re making a killing from knowing it, it’s about time FTBs benefited from knowing this stuff too.

So, we look forward to welcoming you back soon as we build up the article base of information that could make all the difference to helping you buy your first (or next) home.

Speak soon.

Chris

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Choosing an Estate Agent

June 23rd, 2009

Hi,
Choosing an estate agent is always an important decision and it pays to do your homework first so I thought it would be a good idea to write a post on this subject. Not all of these ideas are mine, but hopefully in pulling some of these tips together in a single place those of you that are looking at putting your peoperty on the market will have some useful information to put into practice when choosing an estate agent.
  • First of all do your research. Speak to people you know and find out what people are saying about the agents around where you live / or are moving to. Research them on the web and try and find out some facts about each of them; for example how many properties they have on their books, how many they are selling, how long on average houses remain on their books before being sold.
  • Go and see all the agents you have decided upon and talk to them. Ask them about their experience and get a feel for what they know about the market and what it is happening in it. Ask them about their professional qualifications. It won’t necessarily make them a better agent but the fact they have taken the time to get qualified might give you some reassurance that they will do their best for you and in the right way.
  • Go with your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable with an agent then they are not right for you. Make sure you find out which agent will be running with your property and spend some time with that person. Do they want your business? Will they put the time and energy into selling your property into that you want them to. This is mostly gut feel and you need to go with your instincts.
  • Don’t necessarily go with the cheapest agent. The fees that an agent charges are of course important but the professionalism of the agents and their desire to work on your behalf are also important. Go for the agent that gives you the best across all these areas. Ultimately you need to select an agent that you trust and one that you are sure is working on your behalf. There are estate agents who charge as low as 0.5% who can provide a better service than those 4x more expensive ie 2%. National chains will often be harder to negotiate with on fee levels.
  • Spend time investigating exactly what activity the agents carryout in marketing your property. Take a look at the brochures they produce, ask them about their database of buyers, see if they can name buyers that are looking for properties like yours. Ask what other activities they carry out. Listing with online property portals is a given now, but see if they have any more imaginative ideas in terms of generating interest in your property. If you have ideas that are a little different make sure your agent is able to act on them and to put them into practice.
  • Do some mystery shopping. Phone up or get a friend to call saying your interested in a particular property. Get a feel for how well the agent deals with your enquiry, how helpful they are and their level of professionalism. Agents that respect your time and don’t make you feel like a number will probably be better at doing the real work; selling your property.
  • Discuss the market with each agent you are considering. Through your discussion make sure that your estate agent understands what you want from the sale of your property. You will need to choose an agent whose view of what your property is worth matches your own. Of course if you are provided with a lower valuation you may getting an honest valuation and not a figure that the agent thinks you want to hear.
  • Choose an agent that has first rate negotiation skills. This could translate into a higher sale price.
  • Look for an agent who is continuing to perform well and expanding due to success. An agent that is performing well is selling lots of properties.
  • Examine the contract closely and fully understand what you are committing to. You must be happy with the contract so make sure you discuss and clauses in it that you are not comfortable with it or do not understand. You should not sign contracts you are not happy with. Overly restrictive contracts are not to be entered into lightly. Flexible contracts can indicate that the estate agent is confident about providing satisfaction to the client. Find out if the contract is a ’sole agency’ or ‘multiple agency’ contract? Multiple agency contracts are where you get several agents to sell your property, the one who sells the property gets the commission. Multiple agency contracts will most likely involve higher fees.

I hope this helps those of you that are about to embark on the sale of your home. Don’t forget that the move2you website is a tool that can be used in conjunction with an agent.

One of the key benefits of the site is the ability to use it to find people that are looking for properties just like yours. The site works like a dating site for property and as soon as you have a match with a prospective buyer you can use the site to make contact with them safely and annonymously. You can at any stage choose to get an agent involved or deal with it the sale yourself (maybe in a future post we could look at the pro’s and con’s of private selling versus using an estate agent).

Take care.

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How To Get The Right Price For Your House

June 20th, 2009

This article is the first of a number that will be published over the coming weeks looking at what you can do to both decrease the time it takes to sell your house and to get the best possible price.

Preparing your house for sale is always important. When the market is buoyant you are competing for buyers with everyone else and when the market is down, like it is now, you are trying to encourage buyers to make an offer and to maximise the price you get.

The golden rule, as anyone who sells for a living knows, is to put yourself into the mind of the buyer.

So in the case of selling a property, ask yourself what does someone who is looking around your home want to see? What will make them want to put an offer in and give you the price you are looking for?

Well below is a long list of really useful tips that you can put into practice if you are about to put your home on the market.

  • Firstly go and view some other houses already on the market and see how the ‘competition’ are doing it, good or bad. Learn from what you see! How did you feel when you pulled up to the property, as you walked through the garden and then as you walked through the door? First impressions count.
  • Be clean & tidy – I’m talking about the house of course … but also you as the seller!
  • De-clutter – leave the house as a blank canvas for the potential buyer to picture all the wonderful creative things they can do with it once they move in.
  • The outside of the house matters as much as the inside – first impressions count so remove that broken down washing machine from the front lawn and take it down the
  • In fact go one step further and keep not only the house and garden but also the surrounding street absolutely spotless. Make sure you trim hedges an mow lawns, pick up litter etc.
  • Use good, generous lighting inside that displays your home in the best possible.
  • Remove highly personal artefacts (ornaments / posters etc) that may clash with other people’s views and tastes.
  • Get an honest opinion from a friend. Sometimes we can become blind to the weaknesses of our own house.
  • A lick of paint on dirty interior walls will always make a massive difference.
  • Deep clean dirty carpets so they look like new and remove those nasty odours.
  • Think about getting rid of pets temporarily, not everyone likes animals and their smells. Then again some people love animals – your call on this one.
  • Have the house viewed at its brightest time of day … if you can.
  • Have the house viewed at the quietest time of day …if necessary and if you can.
  • Make sure any building / DIY projects are complete (shelves, tiles etc) and tidied away.
  • Leave fresh flowers out, it makes the house feel like a home.
  • If it’s you doing the viewings then show the house when there are as few of you there as possible and certianly not over dinner. The house will feel bigger if it is not full of people, dirty dishes and noise.
  • Present rooms as bedrooms rather than a toy room / study etc – and market as such (ie a 3 bed house rather than a 2 bed with possible 3rd).
  • Let the agent manage the viewing rather than do it yourself – most buyers feel more comfortable this way. Having said this make sure your agent actually sells your property and doesn’t just open the door and let the prospective buyer in. You are paying them a hefty fee after all.

There are lots of tips here, most of them are on a similar theme – one of making a fantastic first impression for your buyer and putting them in the right frame of mind to make you the offer you want.

Hope this helps. Going forward there will be many more posts packed full of tips on how to sell quickly and at the right price.

Until then… take care.

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This is the First Hurdle to Overcome to Get a Mortgage

June 19th, 2009

In the last article on mortgages (see it here) we pointed out the way that mortgages are putting the brakes on the housing market – how they’re one of the main reasons people are not able to move house at the moment.

There are many reasons for that problem – some that are out of our control, and some that we can all do something about. There’s no point worrying about what we can’t change … there’s enough opportunity to seize by focusing on what we can influence.

The article is about the first of those – the first hurdle that you can overcome to help you successfully obtain a mortgage that will enable you to move house.

(Oh, this also applies to any of your friends & family, and to anyone else who might be wanting your house … so please help us share this information so you can help your buyers too!)

So … what’s the first hurdle?

It’s the way that banks (and any other lenders) look at you.

Now, you already know that our free move2you web service matches people with property, and property with people - but did you know we also rate the quality of those matches – so you get to find out if the person who says they want your place really looks like they want it? After all, you don’t want to waste your time with people who are less likely to take things forward do you?

Well, if you put yourself in the bank’s position, you’d want the same thing. Many people now know that we all have a “Credit Score” – a file that’s kept on each of us that’ll give banks (and other lenders) information about our financial track record.

Some of us have checked that file, others can’t be bothered. The majority of people don’t know how to check it.

And when people think about this information they assume that the banks are interested in assessing risk.

This is a myth.

They’re not really using this information to check risk. What do you think they’re more interested in?

Think about this! – because if you do “get this”, you can put yourself in a much stronger position at the very first hurdle.

What are the banks really looking for? What do they obsess about? What’s reported in the media about banks?

It’s all about profit. Banks want to know how much profit you can make them.

Do you see how that’s different from risk? Sure, if your credit file tells them you have a dodgy track record in paying bills and loan repayments then they’re much less likely to want to lend to you. But not because of the risk itself … because you will likely make them less profit that someone else.

This is so important!

So what can you do about this?

In later articles we’ll give you some actions that you can take to improve your financial chances, but for this article today we’ll provide the starting points:

Number 1: Think Like They Think

In other words, if you know what the banks are looking for, you start to know how to play them at their own game.

So … what are they looking for? (Imagine you’re looking for a date …) They’re looking for Attractiveness.

Hmmm … what does that mean? How can you be “financially attractive”? Does that mean you’ve got loads of money?

Well, that helps … but that’s not really what we’re talking about here. The thing that makes you super-attractive to banks is that they think you’re going to make them lots and lots of lovely profit. Nothing will get the salivating more! We’ll cover more on how to do that in later articles.

Number 2: Take control & ownership of your file – only YOU care about it!

It’s sad, but true. You’re the only one who really cares about your credit file. Or you should! Because if you don’t care about it, then that leaves no one who cares about it.

And that can really harm you.

Lots of organisations add information to your file – credit card companies, utility companies, banks, mortgage lenders and many others. But not one of them cares about your file. Sure, they won’t create a problem for you deliberately, but they all make mistakes. It’s just that there’s no consequence to them if they do make a mistake.

But there could very well be a consequence to you.

So … you need to know if your file is right, and if it’s got errors in it. Because errors could make you “ugly” … and you want to be “attractive”, right?

We’ll tell you where to get your credit file (for free) in a moment. First, let’s look at what you need to do once you’ve got hold of your file.

Number 3: Verify and Act

What should you look for when you’re checking your file? Here are the priorities:

(a) Right Personal Details – is everything about “you” (the person) correct. Name(s), address(es), other personal details. If they’re not right you could get mixed up with someone else … someone who’s “ugly”. And you don’t want that!

(b) Right Debts and Balances – are all the credit agreements listed really yours? Are the balances right? Are the amounts repaid shown correctly? Do they show any missed payments? Are those accurate? Again, wrong information could make you look “ugly”.

(c) Currently Active Accounts Complete – does the file include all your currently active records? If you know something’s missing it’ll be showing up on someone else’s file. And if that record is something that’ll make you look more “attractive” then you definitely want it back on your file!

Number 4: What if there’s an Error?

If you find a problem with your file, firstly remember … you’re the only one who cares! So you need to write to the agency requesting a change be made to your file. Again, we’ll cover this in later articles.

What to do Right Now

Are you attractive or ugly? You need to know … so you need to get hold of your file. There are many ways that you can do this, and most charge a fee for doing so.

It’s well worth spending money on this anyway, but for now, here are a couple of ways that you can get the information for free, using the main two credit reference agencies, Experian and Equifax:

For the Experian route, go to www.creditexpert.co.uk and choose the Free Report option. They’ll sign you up for a 30 day free trial. Once you’ve got your file, just phone them on 0800 656 9000 to cancel your trial and that’ll stop any charges being made.

Another option is through Equifax, at www.econsumer.equifax.co.uk You can try any of their services, but look for the option that says “free for 90 days, then £69.99 for 12 months”. Again, once you’ve got your report, just phone them on 0870 010 0583 to cancel the membership and you won’t get charged.

Of course they could change their offers and contact numbers at any time, so check out what’s available – these details are right as this article goes to press.

So … we’re starting to uncover a lot of information – really important stuff that you need to be aware of … and this is just the first hurdle when playing the mortgage game.

But, if you know how the game is played, you can get better at the game, can save yourself lots of money, and can win.

And that means you (and everyone else you share this information with) can get the best deals, and can move house … and you can even help other people in your chain at the same time … so everyone wins!

Stay tuned for more key info that’ll make all the difference to you.

Chris

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Why Waste Money on the Housing Market - Part 2

June 18th, 2009

Ok, back again.

We were talking about HIPs in the last post. The fact that you need to spend £300 to test the demand for your house. It’s the law and there isn’t much we can do about it.

As much as we don’t like it and as much as we want it to change you do need a HIP if you want to market your property.

But what about reducing the risk of the gamble? What if you just want to test the market (like you used to) to see if there is any demand for your property before you actively market it as being ‘for sale’?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could instantly see the demand for your property, before you made the decision to pay the £300 for a HIP. If demand was poor wouldn’t it be good to know this before you write the cheque?

Well …… now you can!

Ok it’s a bit of a plug but we’d like to talk you through the move2you website, a website that lets you test the water first without any need to pay for a HIP.

Property websites are nothing new of course, we are all used to searching for properties when we think about moving. These websites don’t help the seller of course - they are just the online equivalent of putting your property in an estate agent’s window.

But this isn’t the reason for the post. As we talked about last time the problem right now is being able to test the market and see if your property is going to generate any interest at a price you are happy with before parting with a substantial amount of your hard earned cash.

This is where this site comes in. . It’s simple: it’s a bit like a dating site for your house. It matches people’s interests with people’s houses and then you take it from there.

A dating website puts people together – it takes information about what kind of person they are (age, job, hobbies, interests, looks etc.) and matches that with what other people are looking for (because they’ve told the website they’re interested in people who are … i.e. “this” age, with “this” personality, “these” interests etc.)

Move2you does the same thing, but for houses.

You let the website know that you’re interested in “this” kind of house, in “this” price range, in “this” road, village/town/city, with “these” characteristics.

And owners let the website know that they own “this” type of house, in “this” price-range with “these” characteristics.

And here’s where it’s different from other property websites – not only does it match owners with people looking, it also gives them the ability to “post a virtual note to them” – anonymously (unless you want to give your name).

So …. The site tells you who might want to “move2you”

And …. you can log an interest in someone else’s area or street to say “I might want to move2you” helping them see the demand for their property.

The really, really neat thing about this site is that you don’t need to be marketing your house to use the site - you could be “just interested” to see how many people want to live in your place. That’s why you don’t need to pay for a HIP - because the move2you website matches interests with properties even if they’re not on the market.

Of course if the demand is good and you do want to move, then you can take things forward.

So what does this mean for you? Well:

  • You don’t need to gamble on a HIP.
  • You can instantly see the demand in your place before you put it on the market.
  • You can safely contact genuine potential buyers.
  • You can sell your house by finding buyers directly.

And if you’re buying a house as well

  • You can be the first to find out if a place you like is about to come on the market.
  • You can safely contact genuine potential sellers.
  • You can increase the chance of securing your dream house by getting in there first.

Sounds great doesn’t it? Well this is what you need to do to get started:

Well the first thing you need to do is register for free at www.move2you.co.uk

Then you add your interests – i.e. the locations you would be interested in moving to. This helps to create the demand.

Then you add your own property so you can see the demand.

This is when the matching process starts and you get the information that may help you find your buyer, and your next place. It could save you a packet too.

And what’s more, you can contact potential buyers safely and anonymously to see if they really are interested. If they are then it is up to you how you take it forward.

Seeing the level of demand for your property can be accessed for free. Don’t forget to do this the traditional way you need to register with an estate agent and then pay your £300 just for the privilege of seeing if anyone wants to buy your home.

Find out for free, or gamble £300. I hope you agree, that’s not too hard a decision!

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Why Waste Money on the Housing Market - Part 1

June 18th, 2009

If you want to move house or need to move house right now you face a few problems!

We all know that the housing market isn’t in the greatest shape at the moment. It’s hard to get hold of a mortgage now (have you read the last post?) unless you have at least a 25% deposit and prices have been falling for months.

The combination of all these factors means that there are lots of people who are sitting tight right now when they might otherwise have decided to move.

But if you do want to move deciding when to enter the market is a difficult decision to make.

What you really want to know, especially right now, is what the level of demand for your property is going to be like, what you might get for it and how long it might take to sell.

Let’s face it no-one wants to have that ‘for sale’ sign stuck outside for months and months on end.

There was a time when testing demand for your home would have been a very simple thing to do. You’d register your home with an estate agent, stick a board up outside and see what sort of interest you get.

If you weren’t desperate to move and the interest wasn’t that good or you couldn’t get the price you wanted then no great shakes. You could just take your house off the market and try again when things picked up again.

Not so now though.

As of 6th April 2009 it has been an offence for an estate agent (or for that matter a private seller not using an estate agent) to carry out any form of marketing of a property without having a Home Information Pack (HIP) already prepared and ready for inspection first.

This means that:

· no adverts can be placed

· no ‘For Sale’ boards put up up

· no flyers printed

· no proactive ‘marketing’ at all

until the HIP has been prepared and is available for inspection.

This really unhelpful piece of legislation means that as a seller you need to spend around £300 on a HIP and then wait for it to be prepared before you can put your house on the market.

In other words you need to spend around £300 just to see if anyone actually wants to buy your property!

What’s more it is well accepted that the vast majority of buyers don’t even bother to look through a HIP before making an offer! According to The Times writing earlier this year:

“The National Association of Estate Agents said that 89% of agents whom it questioned did not think that the new arrangements would benefit buyers. It added that government statistics showed that 77% of people paid no attention to the packs when deciding whether to buy a property”.

So not only do you need to spend £300 on a HIP just to see if anyone wants to buy your house, once you do manage to sell no one pays any attention to it anyway!

And even worse buyers’ solicitors can say they will not accept the answers to the new Property Information Questionnaire contained within the HIP and ignore the searches too. So their clients may yet pay for a new set themselves!

It’s a crazy situation especially when we need to do everything we can to encourage growth in the market.

But what can we do about it?

Well unfortunately we can’t do much about the legislation itself, at least not in the short term.

As much as we don’t like it and as much as we want it to change you do need a HIP if you want to market your property and there isn’t a whole lot we can do about that right now.

But there are ways of testing the market without spending money on a HIP. People will always find creative ways around challenges. The service you have available in the move2you website is exactly the sort of answer you need, and is one of the best.

In the next article we’ll tell you exactly what you need to do.

Until then, stay positive!

Chris

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How Mortgages are Holding Back the Housing Market and How You Can Get Ahead of the Game

June 16th, 2009

Have you seen or heard the news about the housing market recently? Did you hear that famous phrase “green shoots” used to describe a slight upturn in house prices?

Well, don’t be fooled into thinking that everything’s suddenly going to turn round and be hunky-dory! As much as we’d all like there to be a swing to upward prices, that’s still some way off.

But there are signs of change … some estate agents are saying that there they’re getting more instructions now. Some are saying that sales volumes are rising.

All well and good.

But we all know that there are real, deep-rooted and fundamental reasons why it’s still going to be a while before it becomes easier to buy and sell your house – so moving house now is still going to be more difficult than it was a couple of years ago.

And one of the main things that’s holding back the market?

The massive reduction in the availability of mortgages.

Oh, and not only are there fewer mortgage options around than a couple of years ago, the banks are now so worried about the risk of lending that they’re making it about as hard as they can to qualify for a mortgage.

And if people can’t get mortgages then they can’t move house.

And the whole market slows up.

Well … over the last few months we’ve been on a fact-finding mission … we’ve been researching not only what’s really going on with house prices and with volumes, but also we’ve been uncovering ways that we can all beat the system … secrets that we’ve discovered that will raise your chances of getting the (right) mortgage you need (or anyone else in your housing chain needs – so it’ll be in your interest to spread this news around.)

Here’s the background:

(a) from 1997 – 2001 house prices were climbing steadily, and credit availability was carefully controlled, with interest rates at a consistent level;

(b) from 2002 – 2006 house prices started shooting upwards, and credit availability became much more freely available (fewer constraints) and interest rates were on a downwards path, and looking consistent;

(c) from 2007 the game changed – prices started declining and credit availability all but dried up … despite interest rates falling yet further.

So we have 3 factors – house prices, credit availability and interest rates. In the crazy years up until 2007 all 3 were working together to create – what is now clear to anyone who looks – a market that looked fantastic (if you were on the property ladder already), but that was built on sand … and heading for a fall.

The response to that fall is curious – properties are now cheaper than they’ve been for years, and interest rates are similarly cheap … normally these would be conditions that drive the market relentlessly upwards.

But here’s the rub – the availability of credit (i.e. mortgages) is sparse, and people’s confidence is low, so we have a bit of stagnation.

So with that background explanation we can now reveal what’s going to be coming up on this site – it’ll be packed with tools, tips, techniques and secrets that – at the very least – will arm you with what you need to know so you can buy the house you want … and make sure you’re selling to the right kind of buyer.

Because … despite what we all read in the press … people do still want to move house … they just lack some tools and ammunition to be able to do it.

Here’s a taste of what’s coming up:

  • 7 different ways to raise the deposit you need (even if you think you can’t)
  • How to give yourself the best chance of getting a mortgage (how to beat them at their own game)
  • 11 mistakes to avoid that will stop you getting the right mortgage for you
  • A secret way of moving into the house you want with no deposit
  • The latest rates and deals – and conditions you need to be VERY wary of
  • What the “clever people” (who are designing up & coming mortgage products) think will happen to mortgage rates – and it’s not what you think!

So, that’s a small sample of what’s coming up in the days and weeks ahead.

And there’s a whole lot more than just mortgages too. (More on that to follow!)

We’ve been researching what works … and now we’re ready to share it with you … so you can move house successfully.

We look forward to sharing this with you! See you back here tomorrow! (Don’t forget you can use the RSS facility so “we come to you”, it just makes it a bit easier for you to keep updated.)

And if you have any comments to add, please feel free in the forms attached here!

See you soon.

Chris

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