Absolutely Battersea & Clapham Magazine - Commentary from Sales Director George Franks

Thursday, August 29, 2013 by Douglas And Gordon

I want to put a popular misconception to rest.  Yes, the London housing market is enjoying a mini boom.  Yes, most properties that come onto the market at a relatively sensible asking price will go under offer extremely quickly.  Yes, on average we have over 15 buyers for every property currently on our books.  Yes, the supply of property coming onto the market has shrunk by nearly a third year on year. 

However, if you talk to any estate agent who is working the London market at present, they will all confirm that once a property is under offer, pushing it through to exchange has never been harder.  On average, in Douglas & Gordon at the moment, we are nearly running at 12 weeks from agreeing to exchanging a property.  How can this be? The fact is that everybody in this industry seems to be over worked.  Surveyors are apparently being flown down from Scotland to help with the valuations, mortgage brokers and building societies have found themselves completely understaffed unable to deal with the current flow.  Solicitors are swamped, not only that but they are getting increasingly pernickety with contracts and leases, therefore asking questions that probably would never have been asked three or four years ago; this all takes time.  Vendors excited about going under offer quickly are then finding it impossible to find the house of their dreams at the other end.  Damp companies, structural surveyors, not to mention the local councils with their searches, are all beginning to crack under the pressure.

So next time you question an estate agent about their fees, thinking in the back of your mind that your property will sell quickly, I am afraid in this market an estate agent really earns his money once the property has gone under offer.  Chivvying, chasing, persuading, and not to mention sometimes cajoling all these different people so that an exchange can happen quickly, is no mean feat.  Broking a sale between so many advisers is getting harder and harder.

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