Are property prices about to crash? The Secret Estate Agent shares his thoughts
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Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency...
What’s been one of your most embarrassing moments as an estate agent?
This one sticks out from my formative years.
I had received training to value homes and one of my first appointments let loose on my own was to value a bungalow. I was a little nervous so spent a lot of time researching and preparing.
I rang the bell - silence. I then knocked loudly on the door and was about to retreat when it slowly creaked and opened and I was greeted by this smiling, frail lady who welcomed me in and immediately offered me a cup of tea as she ushered me into the lounge.
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After what seemed an age the kind lady returned with the best china and a selection of shortbread biscuits. We chatted generally about the weather and Michael Barrymore until I politely asked if I could have a quick look around the property which she welcomed whilst she boiled the kettle.
After another cup of tea she apologised for running out of shortbread biscuits and offered Rich Tea as she didn’t have many visitors and I reminded her of her grandson.
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Having exceeded my capacity for tea it was only polite to perhaps bring into the conversation a relevant question, so I asked her what her reason was for moving. She seemed surprised and replied that she would have to be carried out in a wooden box.
I was a little taken aback and said, “Mrs Harris, I’m sure it won’t come to that”. She said her name was Mrs Williams not Harris.
I felt flustered and not in a position to query and exited stage left.
I got back to the office and my irate manager asked me where I had been as the owner of 17 Delmar Avenue had complained I hadn’t shown up at the appointment. I protested, checked my paperwork and soon realised I had spent two hours at 11 Delmar Avenue. Bless her.
What will happen to house prices going forward?
Tough one - times they are a changin’.
I can see agents going back to work quickly in some shape or form when the government’s relaxation comes into place and there has been a noticeable and encouraging increase in the level of buyer enquires in the last week.
However, there has been barely a trickle of new stock and sales in the last six weeks, and valuing properties will be very tricky going forward as the frozen state of the market will take time to thaw.
I also feel job insecurity will be a big factor once furlough ends as employers will face tough decisions.
St Albans’ housing market has historically been resilient but not bulletproof. I used to tell my staff in troubled times “every market makes a market”, although I was never entirely convinced what it actually meant.