Why are St Albans houses so expensive? The Secret Estate Agent gives his verdict...

The Secret Estate agent has all the answers. Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Secret Estate agent has all the answers. 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...

I’m looking to buy and hoping to pick up a bargain now the market’s gone weird. What are my chances?

There is always a possibility of being in the right place at the right time, where possibly a chain may have collapsed close to exchange and needs a quick fix or where, in the case of new homes, the developer is offering incentives and discounts on last remaining units or where their financial year ends.

Crucially, the pressure point on offers is directly related to the seller’s motivation and desire to sell. The offers we are currently receiving since our return have been quite competitive on asking prices.

Are bidding wars now a thing of the past?

Generally yes, but there are some exceptions where there are refurbishment projects or probates.

Gone are the days of mainstream open days, which were not very popular with buyers but beneficial for sellers.

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Typically, there was usually a bun fight to secure sought-after family homes and offers often went to best and final. I remember there were eye-watering offers well over asking price in some instances to avoid the disappointment of losing out. We were also asked to convey some offers before the physical viewing took place!

In most cases, money talks but there were occasions where sellers took lower offers if their preference was for a cleaner and quicker transaction from someone who, say, was in rented accommodation.

Have people been following the rules on social distancing/not touching things during property viewings?

Yes, they have - unlike the beachgoers in Bournemouth. Viewers are being briefed before their appointment and are being respectful and adhering, although the initial awkwardness is still there.

Why are St Albans houses so expensive? They just don’t seem worth it...

It is a lovely place to live and perhaps during the lockdown and the sunny weather us locals appreciated it even more when out on our walks, runs and bike rides.

You have the history, the schools, the commute, the parks, the bars and restaurants. The eclectic mix of properties is a joy for us agents to deal with, and for the general public, too.

What is your favourite type of property?

The next one which exchanges! I love Edwardian homes.

What’s your second favourite estate agent joke?

What’s the difference between a pigeon and an estate agent?

A pigeon can still make a deposit on a Porsche.

Do you have a question for the Secret Estate Agent? Email jane.howdle@archant.co.uk or contact us via our Facebook or Twitter pages.