London asking price trend
London has been on a steady upward trend since January 2009. Rightmove’s figures for July however reported a 3.6% drop in initial asking prices – the largest single monthly drop since 2008, bringing the average London asking price to £460,304.

Viewed within the wider framework of eurozone crises, reluctant bank lending, cessation of stamp duty exemption for first time buyers and the introduction of 7% charge for houses over £2m, a blip last month doesn’t look unreasonable. If like Eric Idle, we all take a look on the bright side, London prices are still up 6.4% year-on-year, and this blip may be attributed to miserable weather or the regular summer lull alongside Olympic distractions.

Local activity
At 7.0% and 7.7% respectively, Southwark and Lewisham are performing above average among London boroughs. The East London Line extension takes most credit here. Carrying 16m passengers in its first year (May 2010 – 2011), it is forecast to carry 50m passengers after Phase 2 opens in December 2012 and links it to Clapham Junction.

It has brought a whole new breed to our applicant profile; a large migratory flock are leaving Highbury, Islington and Canary Wharf and flying south permanently, with particularly positive consequences for homes in Brockley, Honor Oak, Forest Hill and Crystal Palace. Demand may be strong, but selling your home still requires careful attention to the three Ps: Price, Presentation and Promotion.

Getting the price right is crucial as so much data is now readily available to the buyer about when your property came to the market, how long it was marketed, if it had a rest, if it moved from one agent to another, what price reductions were applied and so on. If you come to the market at an over-opportunistic price just to see, you could find this goes against you at a later date. A property that has been hanging around can sap buyer confidence and have a negative effect on their offer.

It stands to reason that the better the property is presented the more people will ask to view. De-cluttering, tracking down a window cleaner and ensuring the gardens are neat (front and back), is the very minimum prescription. All this could be achieved in a weekend at relatively low cost. You can go further – house-doctor teams are increasingly being used to prepare homes for the market and the extra investment can pay enormous dividends.

Research into buyer behaviour carried out by Rightmove shows that potential buyers spend an average of 2.7 seconds looking at a house listing, before deciding whether to click-through. A summary house listing shows 1 photo and a 2-line description. Your property could be in competition with 50 to 100 others in the same search. You need be top of the click-through stakes, not least because this research also shows that 8% of buyers knew that they would buy a property before they stepped through the door, having decided online.

Your contribution to maximizing click-through is your newly beautifully presented, cleaned and de-cluttered property. Your agents’ part of the bargain is to commission fabulous photographs and ensure that the 2-line description hooks browsers in. Ask your agent what their average click-through rate is and go online to see how they present other properties. Then ask what else they will be doing to promote your property.

Find a Team to Represent You
Moving on from Team GB let me introduce Team Roy Brooks. Team RB operate in a different way from many other high street agents. If you would like to find out how, any one of us would be delighted to come along and discuss your Three Ps with you.

Written by Felicity Blair