Mike Ellis, director at Ellis Winters & Co in March sheds some light on why sales transactions can take so long to complete and how to speed them up!


“I've been an estate agent for more years than I care to remember but, throughout that time, there has always been a cloud of mystery over why a sales transaction takes so long.


“In essence a buyer needs three things before they are ready to exchange contracts: a local search, an approved contract and a mortgage offer.


“Let's break these down into their constituent parts because they can actually all be done at the same time. A building society survey should be done within the first couple of weeks of the sale being agreed, with a mortgage offer coming out a week or two later. Local searches take two to four weeks and an approved contract should take four to six weeks. 


“So there should be no reason why contracts should not be ready to exchange within six weeks and yet the average length of time from sale agreed to exchange is 11 weeks. You’d think that with modern communications such as mobiles and email the process would surely be quicker today than 30 years ago. However, you may be surprised to know that the average length of time for a transaction in the 1980s was yes, you guessed it, 11 weeks!


“Because of our increasingly litigious nature, there are more hoops for a solicitor to jump through to ensure things are done properly and therefore less chance of them being sued. But still, these extra weeks cannot be explained.


“So how can you speed this process up? For me it's clear. Instructing the right estate agent who will not only sell your property but is used to dealing with solicitors and has the experience to solve any problems that crop up. 


“Your agent must do a proper job in qualifying the buyer to ensure they can proceed with the purchase; due diligence at this stage is paramount. Instruct your solicitor early i.e. when you first go on the market so they can get the mundane things out of the way such as your ID and formal instructions. Ask your solicitor to email any questions rather than posting them and reply as quickly as you can. Finally, tell you solicitor your expectations of timescales and make sure they stick to them!”


Wondering why your house isn’t selling? Mike Ellis, director at Ellis Winters & Co outlines three of the main reasons and why your estate agent should talk to you about them on a regular basis.


1. Something is wrong with the house


It could be location, condition or accommodation. This is where feedback from viewers comes in. It’s vital to ask their honest opinion about the houses they’re looking at. Is there a recurring theme: “I don’tlike the colour in the dining room”? If so, change the colour! Or it can be as simple as: “there was too much washing-up in the sink” - an experienced agent will cut to the chase and let you know!



2. Something is wrong with the marketing


It always amazes me, when looking on Rightmove, at the number of houses where the photos are extremely poor.  Tea towels left hanging over the oven door, cars in driveways, poorly lit rooms - the list is endless.


Then there are the banal descriptions. Your agent needs to grab the attention of a buyer and instil the ‘need to view’, because ‘it’s unmissable’. Regular reviews will bring to the fore any issues and if the agent doesn’t change their poor details, it’s time to change the agent.


3. Something is wrong with the price


There are three ways to value a property, and your agent should review these at regular intervals to make sure your house doesn’t stand out for the wrong reasons.


The first is to look at the House Price Index. If you bought your house a year ago for £100,000 and the market has risen by 8%, it’s probably worth £108,000. The second is by comparison. If your neighbour has an identical house, and it’s sold for £150,000, the chances are your house isn’t worth £200,000. And the third is: “What does the owner need to achieve to be able to move”? The answer is: to sell, it still needs to be priced in accordance with the HPI and comparable sold prices for similar property.


As we head towards Christmas, there are usually fewer houses for sale but also fewer buyers. People have other things on their minds. However make sure you’re ready for that unexpected viewer, simply by making sure your house is warm and tidy. And don’t forget to do that washing-up!


Over the last 12 months, and following the opening of our office in March last September, our rental property portfolio has grown from strength to strength.


Explains Sue Davies, who heads up the rentals team: “We’re currently managing over 350 properties in March, Chatteris and the surrounding villages with a further 300 properties in the St Ives area.  Over the last 13 years we have built up an excellent reputation for doing the job properly, our landlords trust us to look after their investments and we are proud of the excellent level of customer service we are able to provide.”


The Chatteris and March rentals team comprises Kayleigh Ellis, Tracy Raine, Kim Puckering, Clarissa Duggan, Jane Smith and Sue Davies who between them have unrivalled rentals experience and knowledge.


What’s more, with the current rate of growth Ellis Winters & Co is experiencing, we will soon be recruiting further staff to enhance what is already a very strong team. So, watch this space for some great job opportunities.


If you have any questions or are considering letting your property, please contact Sue or the team on Tel: 01354 694900.


In this post, Mike Ellis, director at Ellis Winters & Co in March, offers his opinion on a question that is at the forefront of many homeowners’ and buyers’ minds.


“Despite the decision to leave the EU, it would appear that the majority of us here in the UK remain positive about the UK housing market. But there is a ‘but’ and that’s the fact that actual price growth will continue at a more moderate pace than previous years. But it will grow nevertheless!


“That people are positive is good news all round. It means they still view property as being a good investment – which I definitely agree with – and there are undoubtedly people out there who still want to buy houses. We’re seeing that first hand across all of our three offices but two new pieces of research prove it too.


“According to The Council of Mortgage Lenders, 72% of UK adults still aspire to own their own home within two years and not just for financial reasons. Plus, perhaps most interestingly, those who are struggling with affordability are seriously considering other alternatives such as shared ownership. Part ownership is now viewed as a stepping-stone and is regarded as a ‘good idea’ by half of those surveyed.


“It’s also a good time to get a mortgage with gross mortgage figures reaching £20.5 billion in September, the highest lending figure recorded by the Council of Mortgage Lenders since 2007.


“In summary, the mortgage market is undeterred and has not been deflated as many predicted, lending is increasing and demand for properties is high. So, is the UK housing market suffering from Brexit doom and gloom? No, it’s categorically not!”


Last week, Mike Ellis, director at Ellis Winters & Co in March, outlined the reasoning behind the company’s strapline, ‘welcome to better’. In this post, Mike offers a few more reasons…


“We never take on a property if we can’t provide the time and effort the sale of a substantial asset requires. Although it would be flattering to be offered 100 new properties to market tomorrow, I know that by accepting these instructions our service standards would deteriorate. It’s far more important to us that every client receives our full attention. I would rather be the company that has 50 homes for sale and sells 45, than the company that has 150 for sale and sells 100.


“We always deliver great value for money and our fees are representative of the service and marketing your home will receive. We have a very efficient process and I suspect we offer some of the most competitive fees available.


“We promise to be fair and never aim ‘to get away with what we can’ because a client didn’t have the skills or desire to haggle down an extortionate initial quotation. I know I hate being treated this way and wouldn’t want to be associated with a company that found this acceptable.


“We spend our time, resources and effort marketing your property rather than our company. Finding the best buyer and achieving the best price is our goal and this is what we do, day in, day out. We never use our time to inundate 1000s of homes with unsolicited junk mail shouting about how great we are nor do we erect Sold boards on every verge with the sole purpose of promoting our company because it’s not about us, it’s about you and your home!


“That’s what welcome to better is all about.”


Buying and selling property is considered one of the most stressful and emotional times in life. Moving home often coincides with other major events so requires clear decision making as your choices will be important to your future.


Ellis Winters & Co have a great deal of experience in selling properties and understand the pressures involved so director, Jan Townsend, has compiled a quick guide to answer some of the questions about the sale of your home.


“Selling and buying a property is both complex and time consuming. Excellent communication and good management delivered through experienced professionals is, therefore, essential.


“An estate agent’s primary role is to facilitate the sale of your property. They are there to provide regular communication, guidance and support through the more complicated stages of the transaction and are responsible for:


·       Accurate valuation of your property, taking into account the economic issues affecting the market

·       Marketing your property including the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), floor plan, photography and brochure

·       How your property is presented, how widely it is promoted and attracting the right buyers. There’s nothing worse than having the wrong buyer  for your property; it can delay the transaction for months and waste money and effort for everyone

·       Managing all stages of the transaction from valuation and marketing, to qualifying purchasers to ensure they can afford the property and liaising with solicitors all the way to final completion


Legal requirements

“The EPC must be carried out by a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor and ordered before marketing can commence. It must arrive within 28 days of ordering.


Floor plans and photography

“High quality floor plans and photographs are proven to greatly increase interest in a property. These enable potential buyers to build an accurate image of your property before calling to arrange a viewing. Advances in online technology such as videoettes are becoming increasingly popular and will help your property stand out in a competitive market.”