The truth about sealed bids, according to Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent

The Secret Estate Agent has the property market in St Albans and Harpenden covered. Picture: Getty I

The Secret Estate Agent has the property market in St Albans and Harpenden covered. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency.

Are sealed bids really sealed, or do agents give buyers hints as to how much higher they’ll need to go?

Sealed bids scenarios are quite rare now. On the occasions when they were more popular with ‘interesting’ properties they were opened with a senior colleague as a witness and a sense of occasion and suspense as the envelopes were ripped open. It also made for a good game of ‘guess the price’ within the office.

I imagine St Albans buyers are more arrogant and full of their own wealth and importance than the average mover. Is that correct?

I really haven’t got time to answer this silly question as I have lunch booked at The Ivy. Next question, please…

How many avocado bathrooms do you see these days?

I only saw one last week complete with a bidet. It’s only a matter of time, they will come back in vogue. A healthy smashed spreading on toast with poached eggs is the precursor and it will be bathrooms next, mark my words.

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I’m putting my house on the market next year and have £5,000 to spend on making it massively more saleable. How should I spend it?

Simple avocado cloakroom, en suite and bathroom.

On a serious note, gardens are the buzzword, with buyers prioritising outside space - especially Londoners who have been cooped up over lockdown. Home offices are proving very popular so that would be my recommendation if your garden has space. Don’t leave it too late as the stamp duty holiday finishes in March.

What’s the most saleable street (and type of property) in St Albans at the moment and why?

All houses with reasonable gardens are currently very popular. London buyers are realigning their search criteria where they do not necessarily need to be so close to the mainline station as they’re commuting less frequently than before.

I’m sick of open plan kitchen/diners. Have they nearly had their day?

No sign of the demise of the bi fold door and open plan theme, although perhaps the vastness of all open plan is becoming less popular with a sentiment of more segregated accommodation with separate office/study space and therefore less distractions.

Can you give me a few cheap tips that will help make my home more appealing during viewings? I don’t own a bread maker and can’t stand the smell of coffee...

Scented candles from TK Maxx, although there are other high street suppliers and it’s not a cheap advertising plug to get a free supply for a year.

I am still sometimes amazed that simple things like the front door and porch area aren’t cleaned and repainted for that first impression. Also, keeping the garden in good condition and perhaps enhancing with decent, welcoming garden furniture.

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