Author Archives: Nick Samuel

Nick Samuel

About Nick Samuel

We are award winning estate agents that go the extra mile to ensure the highest level of client satisfaction. We are fully licensed and regulated with ARLA & NAEA. Looking to sell or let? Give us a call We have offices in Balham, Clapham South and Colliers Wood/Wimbledon and our service extends up into the City

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Housing market steady post referendum

We have been asked how Brexit is affecting the housing market, particularly at valuations. 

We thought you might find it useful to see some very short-term figures provided to us by which very much give a good representation of things so far!

  • Price of property coming to market falls 0.9% (-£2,647) this month, within usual expectations for the run-up to the summer holiday season
  • Buyer demand in the two weeks since the surprise referendum result is consistent with 2014 although down on 2015:
    • Same period in 2015 benefitted substantially from post-election boost so enquiries this year are down 16% compared to that period
    • 2014 was not distorted by the election so is a better basis for comparison, and buyer enquiries are at the same level as the like-for-like two weeks in 2014
  • Most agents report market momentum continuing due to shortage of suitable property for sale, buyers fearful of missing out on scarce choice, and affordability and availability of low mortgage rates

Sellers seem undeterred – compared to the same period last year, the two weeks pre-referendum saw the number of new properties coming to market down by 8%, and the two weeks post-referendum saw them up by 6%

Better on The Big Screen – Can You Help?

Innovation in estate agency is evolving rapidly, and the use of certain technologies is enabling agents to offer added value to customers.

As you may have noticed, all of our offices are now sporting impressive LED screens that can display our clients’ properties to buyers more effectively than ever before. Gone are the days of the faded window card. It is size, movement, vibrancy and relevance that now catch the public’s attention.

Since installing the screens we have been amazed by the substantial increase in the number of people who not only stop to look into our windows, but who subsequently go on to arrange viewings of the properties displayed.

Of course, most people are not thinking of moving at the moment, but naturally have an interest in the Balham property market, and we always welcome those who simply want to “window-shop”. To this end, and having recognised our window screens’ marketing power, we are now planning to develop their use by adding various points of interest and community messages, for which we are seeking ideas. Perhaps you can help!

If, for example, you are involved with a local charity or school and you would like to promote a fund-raising event, we would be happy to feature an advert on the window screen between our property ads, without charge. Alternatively you might like to raise a local issue or see the news headlines, local weather forecast, sports results or theatre guide. There are numerous possibilities, so please let us know what you would like to see displayed.

You see, at Samuel Estates, we look beyond the sale or purchase. We want to help our customers and other residents enjoy our community by making some small contribution wherever we can.


Taken for Granted

Houses, cottages, flats, apartments, maisonettes, studios, detached, semi, terraced – these are terms we as estate agents hear every day of our lives. They are the lifeblood of our business, but the common theme is they all represent the concept of “home”.

We are privileged to be a nation of homeowners. Property is right up there with the weather when it comes to conversation fodder, especially this year! We can’t get enough of it, along with the perceived personal security offered by bricks and mortar that has long been a creator of wealth.

Either way, we are all the lucky ones! Because whilst we have been focussing on what to buy or where to rent, most of us have been unaware of, forgotten, or one has to admit, ignored, the plight of the ever-increasing number of homeless people. Those who have been dealt a raw deal in life, and to whom house prices are irrelevant. As are en-suite bathrooms, choice of carpets, views from the bedroom, quality of kitchen fittings, proximity to the station, size of garden or a host of other attributes that we tend to take for granted.

Homelessness has many causes, such as family breakdown, redundancy, repossession, a criminal past, or even people who have represented their country in the armed forces but struggle to settle into civilian life. Each of these is a tragedy in its own right that is compounded further by homelessness.

This article is not an appeal for money. It is simply a reminder about our priorities, and to think of those who don’t share the simple pleasures we take for granted, such as changing into something comfortable after work, watching TV on the sofa with our loved ones, enjoying a meal with friends, or simply getting into a cosy bed at night.

At this time of year especially, let’s remember those who don’t have the luxury of a roof over their heads.

What Does Viewing Feedback Really Mean?

Sellers often approach us after an unsatisfactory experience with another agent, particularly in relation to poor levels of feedback following property viewings.

Surely prompt and constructive feedback should be a fundamental part of any estate agent’s service to their clients! Only when agents understand what buyers think of a property can they deliver practical advice that will enhance its sale prospects. The agent and the seller should be working hand-in-hand to achieve the desired outcome, based significantly on buyers’ comments.

At Samuel Estates we also understand the seller’s anguish in simply not knowing whether a sale is imminent following a viewing.

Sometimes, feedback is obviously positive: “When can you move out?” is clearly a strong buying signal; “What are the neighbours like?”, “Could I bring my partner round?” or  “Will you be leaving that cupboard?” certainly indicate that the property is a distinct possibility, and a good agent should be able to move this interest towards a firm offer.

Some feedback can be helpful in confirming whether the asking price is positioned correctly in the market. Buyers buy by comparison, and sometimes a swift price adjustment can be imperative to avoid the house going stale on the market. For example, “The property is too small for us” usually means, “We have seen larger houses for the same price”. “The street is too busy” usually means “We’ve seen similarly priced properties in quieter streets”.

Of course, many people are just being polite when they say, “We’ll think about it”, or “I’m sure you’ll find a buyer easily”. The key to good estate agency is identifying which comments point to a sale, which point to a negotiation, and which point to a problem with the price. And we think sellers deserve to know, via prompt and supportive feedback.

Why Let to a Pet owner

Almost half the UK population own a pet, yet many landlords are reluctant to accept pets! According to research by The Dogs Trust, some 78% of pet owners reported that they had experienced difficulty finding rented accommodation that would accept pets.

However, if you are a landlord, agreeing to accept pets can help you maximise your return on investment for the following reasons:

  • Your pool of prospective tenants is almost doubled!
  • You are therefore likely to let your property quickly and avoid void periods
  • Pet owners will often pay a larger deposit or sizeable “pet premium” due to the scarcity of properties that accept pets
  • Pet owners are more likely to stay longer in a property and accept they may need to cover additional cleaning costs when they leave.

An blanket ban on pet ownership by tenants is actually regarded as an “unfair term” by the OFT, and there is no reason why most pets cannot be accommodated within the existing terms of the lease (which already provides for “no damage”). Obviously goldfish, budgies and hamsters are unlikely to cause a problem, but landlords can worry about cats and dogs.

Cat-owning tenants should confirm that a “scratching post” will be provided. The inventory clerk should also pay particular attention to scratchable areas. Not all dogs moult, and not all bark. Indeed, having a dog that barks occasionally can increase security in the area.

A written reference from a previous landlord is probably a good idea, and you may wish to meet the pet first – it will then be up to you as to whether you wish to accept them.

We have a separate “Pet Policy” that accompanies our lease documents where required to help you maximise your return on your investment, whilst protecting your property. Please let us know if you would like further details.

Making moving easier

Moving day can be stressful enough, but a bit of forethought can go a long way. For example, many people take the opportunity to clear any unwanted junk out of their homes and lives. Charity shops, car boot sales, and friends can be grateful recipients of some items, and hiring a small skip for a couple of weeks (about £80-£120) can be liberating!

Our advice would be to have a clear-out early in the process – ideally before you even put your property on the market. An uncluttered house with tidy cupboards and a clear garage all improve the presentation of your home tremendously, thereby increasing its saleability and possibly its price.

The reduced volume should also bring down your removal costs. You can bring these down further by considering if there are any bulky pieces of furniture that you are thinking of having restored. For example, your current sofa might not look right in your next home unless it is recovered. So, if you are moving locally, why not ask the upholsterer to collect the sofa a couple of weeks before moving day and deliver it, re-upholstered, to your new one?

Do make sure that you plan where larger items are going in advance. It is easy for the removers to put something like a piano in the right room, but difficult for you to move it elsewhere after they have left. As well as making sure that a piece fits in a certain place, do also find out if the access to that place is easy enough.

Finally, direct the removers to pack things you will need on the day such as children’s beds, kitchen and bathroom accessories, clothes, food and work-related items last so they will be the first things to be unloaded at the other end.

Remember – planning is the key to a stress-free move!


Something to Shout about!!

Every town has a variety of styles of estate agent, from the soulless “corporate” agency driven by figures, to the one-man band; from arty-contemporary to pushy-salesy. Each type tends to appeal to a specific sector of the property-owning community, and rightly so – buyers and sellers alike need to be comfortable working with an agent that reflects their own values.

So perhaps it’s time we actually spelt out exactly the type of approach we strive to adopt. Certainly many have commented that our office design and website has a pleasant contemporary  feel, but what does this actually say about the people behind the business, and how would this impact on you as buyer or seller?

As an independent agency, we have the flexibility to adopt whatever approach we feel if of greatest benefit to our clients. Without the constraints of corporate standardisation, our values are more likely to be a reflection of our own aspirations.

If you were to analyse the approach we take to estate agency and business generally, you’d find us to be highly personable and empathetic to the needs of our clients, that we have time to listen with interest, and that we believe passionately in providing straight-talking, good advice that is responsibly realistic rather than insincerely flattering.

Ultimately, it comes down to transparency and integrity, which are the cornerstones of our business. When combined with the passion we also have for results, the balance is a unique and enjoyable service of which we are extremely proud.

It follows that when we employ new staff, they also mirror our values and quickly share the same sense of pride. Indeed, our very low staff turnover rate is a reflection of a happy ship – something on which many of our clients have commented!

Sometimes, when you feel the formula is right, it does no harm to shout about it a bit!


Samuel Estates BALHAM (Time to Sell)

Market Activity from Estate Agents in SW12

Time to Sell

The analysis shows how long, on average, it takes between putting a property on the market and getting an offer accepted in SW12; the less time it takes to get an offer, the more buoyant the market. Time in addition to this should be allowed for the sale to go through, e.g. surveys, mortgage offer, exchange of contracts, etc.

Viewings per Sale

This data gives an indication of the average number of viewings before an offer is made in SW12.

  August September October
Time to sell in weeks 3.0 2.0 2.0
Viewings per sale 12.0 12.0 14.0

Lynn Testimonial Oct13

23 October  2013

Lynn Llewllyn-Jones
Total look Interiors
24, Clairview Road
SW16 6TX

Dear Lynn

Re. 9 Bennets Courtyard – Interior Staging

A BIG thank you for all of your hard work on designing the interior of my apartment in Colliers Wood in preparation to be marketed for sale. The look is  fantastic.

The first person to view the apartment made an offer and I am pleased to say it has gone Sale Agreed on the first day of showing!

Again, absolutely delighted with the results and it goes without saying that I have no hesitation whatsoever in personally recommending  your service. You hard work in producing this quality results very much appreciated.

Yours sincerely

Nicholas Samuel MARLA MNAEA
Managing Director

Samuel Estates acquires of Lafferty & Partners

Samuel Estates acquires Lafferty & Partners

Lafferty & SamuelSamuel Estates, the South Wimbledon-based lettings, sales and property management company, has bought Lafferty and Partners a leading Property Management & Lettings business based in New Malden.

The acquisition will increase the core areas of Samuel, giving the company a footprint that will now further extend into Raynes Park, Worcester Park, Wimbledon and New Malden. The company also lets and manages properties in South East and West London.

Nick Samuel, Managing Director of Samuel Estates, says: “We are delighted that Samuel Estates has acquired such a reputed local agent, adding to our existing local expertise as well as our catchment area.  Our philosophy has always been to combine local knowledge with a high degree of customer care. It’s a measure of our success in these key areas that we can actually expand in what, for some, has been a period of retrenchment in a tough market. This expansion is part of a continual development driven by the desire to deliver a better service, more efficiently, to our clients.”

Lafferty & Partners have also issued the following statement: “In Nick (Samuel) we have found an exceptional personality to take over the business. Samuel Estates is an award-winning estate and letting agency with a superb track record in providing a truly personal and effective service … as specialists in the South and West London area, they know the local market intimately. So we are absolutely delighted to be able to put the business in such proven and reliable hands”.

In April 2008, Samuel Estates became the first property management company to win the WestFocus Business Enterprising Business Award. Inn 2010 they won Best Small Business and Best Business for Customer Satisfaction at the inaugural Merton Business Awards. In June 2011 they won the Gatwick Airport sponsored category for Best Small Business at the HSBC South London Business Awards.