Simon Smith, Director of John Smale & Co Estate Agents - Credit: Hayley Bray Photography Ltd

Spring has now well and truly sprung

Spring has now well and truly sprung

Joseph Bulmer

The chocolate chicken has laid her much celebrated eggs, Simnel cake has been eaten and Easter has been celebrated, and the encouraging signs for the housing market are that, as well as daffodils springing up along roadside verges across North Devon, there has also been a seasonal blooming of ‘For Sale’ signs as more homeowners launch their property into the much-fabled Spring Market.

This is important because one of the trickiest issues in the property market at the moment, both across the UK and more specifically in the North Devon region, is the imbalance between supply and demand, and it is this disparity between the two that is contributing to the house price inflation that we have all seen running rampant over the last eighteen months or so.

You might find it a little odd to find an estate agent in favour of something that may curb the steepness of the house price inflation curve, and of course, a robust housing market is a key indicator of the underlying strength of the economy and also an amplifier of economic activity as the purchase of a house often triggers considerable (and often painful!) spending on other products and services, from furniture and DIY to employing tradesmen and builders.

However, what works best for everyone involved in the property market, whether professionally or as buyers and sellers, is a market with a degree of stability, which hopefully the increasing amount of available stock will help with.

On a closely-related note, I’ve identified a new acronym recently. The technologically aware amongst you (or the parents and grandparents of the technologically aware) will have heard of the acronym FOMO, which is defined by the online dictionary thus: ‘Short for fear of missing out, FOMO is an anxious feeling you get when you feel other people might be having a good time without you.’

Well the new acronym I’ve identified is ‘FONF’ or ‘Fear Of Not Finding’, the crippling anxiety that a seller will offer their property to the market, be inundated with offers and then not be able to find a property to move on to.

In the market we’ve had over the last couple of years, it’s not an unreasonable concern, but equally there are several ways in which the situation can be managed and it certainly should not be seen as a reason not to move, especially as most home moves happen for a personal reason, whether it’s a growing family, change of employment or age-related downsizing, and it’s a shame to put off moving when there’s a need to live somewhere different.

So how do we manage this situation and slay the dragon of FONF? Well, as an example, here at John Smale & Co, we reassure sellers that when they receive an offer of an acceptable amount for their property, that all they are doing is agreeing a price that they would be prepared to accept and the buyer would be prepared to pay and that no further steps need be taken unless and until the next property is found.

The other important thing to bear in mind is that, in a busy market, it’s almost invariably too late to wait until your dream property appears on Rightmove or Zoopla and it’s a far more successful strategy to lay in wait with a patient buyer behind you and then pounce on the home of your dream as soon as it appears.

My own experience is that, as long as there is total transparency about what is happening, buyers are prepared to wait a surprisingly long time for the owners of the right property to find. After all, if you plan to live somewhere for a couple of decades at least, then it makes sense to give the people you are buying form as much time as they need to find somewhere to move to.