Robert Williams Estate Agents, Exeter

House & Son 



So, you’ve been searching the internet like clockwork. You have signed up to automated emails highlighting for you of all the new properties on the market. You have even registered with all the local estate agents and given them a thorough breakdown of what you are looking for and the exact locations on your wish list. Yet, although you have done everything right, you are still having problems finding your next home. Why? It just doesn’t exist! If only I got a £1 for every time we were asked to simply move your dream house to different location!

The trouble is by doing that the property you love will more than likely be out of your budget. When you start your search you need to be realistic and do your research. What properties are available within your budget, and where are they located?

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is giving too much weight to the photographs of a property. We work hard to ensure that the images you see are eye-catching and encourage you to view, but always remember a photo will only tell you half the story of a property. Nothing can prepare you for standing inside a space and seeing it with your own eyes. That feeling, the one that says you are home, is an experience which occurs only whilst you are stood within a property’s walls.

The perception you create of a property from photographs alone could be misleading; don’t make up the fiction of a property before you have been and discovered the facts for yourself.

Let’s talk about your list. You think you know what you want. You may have dreamed of it for many months, but it is only when you actually start viewing properties that you can start to ascertain what you really need. Go and view a variety of properties, even those that wouldn’t normally make your list, you will be surprised how much your list can start to change the more property you view. This way you will end up with the right home, rather than the one you think you want.

Have you ever thought that you may not actually be ready to move home? It may sound a strange thing to say, but if you are not mentally there yet no property will make the grade. You may have a strong emotional attachment to the property you’re living in and be finding it hard to say goodbye. Or you might simply be feeling overwhelmed by the entire process. Please don’t struggle alone, come and talk to my team about your concerns; we’ve met people in similar situations and just want to help, even if that means you taking a break until you are ready. If you’re in the process of looking for a new home, be honest with yourself. Are you being realistic? Are you keeping an open mind or being swayed by your perceptions of a property? 

Go and see those ‘wild cards’ and if you’re not ready, that’s fine. Your search should be fun, so if you’re struggling come and chat to our team and let us help you find that property you can call your home.

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One of the most common questions we get asked by sellers is “how many buyers do you have on your

books for a property like mine?” Some people get too fixated on this question when deciding

which estate agent to select.

Here’s the thing: IT DOESN’T MATTER

In reality, although an agent may have a register of potential buyers, the chances are the best buyer

for a property will be someone new, who sees it advertised.

Therefore a more relevant and important question would be “how are you going to present and market

my property to ATTRACT the buyers who aren’t on your books?”

We say this because for every one potential buyer an estate agent has on their books, there are at

least 10 who aren’t. 

Sometimes the buyer hasn't even notified the estate agencies in an area to register their details,

instead they see it pop up in a Facebook campaign, on Rightmove, Zoopla or even in our


Its the sellers who really need the estate agent and that estate agent should be in tune with the way

buyers now search and adapt their approach accordingly by using, to name a few, professional

photography, premium marketing on all the property portals, respond to emailed enquiries within 1

hour, not 1 day etc etc.

So, don’t worry about how many buyers they have on their books… picture yourself as a buyer and

think about what you would want to see and hear!




If you are considering putting your house in Exeter up for sale, but are not sure where to start, there are methods you can follow to help ensure it is fresh and market ready.

Not just for new build show homes, you should consider staging your home, or to put it another way, setting the scene to arouse immediate buyer interest in your property when it comes to market.

To be truly effective, you’ll need to look at staging both the inside and outside of your home, so here at Robert Williams we have put together our seven top tips to get you started and on the road to staging your home like a pro.


This is one of the most necessary things you can do. You’re going to be moving home anyway and will have to pack, so it makes perfect sense and is a straight-forward job to declutter and start packing at the same time. Pack up everything you don’t need and store the boxes out of sight in the garage if you have one, or consider temporarily renting a small storage unit. Keeping the look minimal can help sell your home.


Whilst we don’t like to think of strangers opening our cupboards, the reality is that they probably will. If you have built-in wardrobes, hang similar colours and garments together because this will make the cupboards look bigger. An organized space always appears larger, and you want your cupboards to look as tidy and spacious as possible.


You should de-personalize your home as much as possible when preparing to put it on the market. This is so that potential buyers can imagine themselves and their own belongings occupying the space. This means minimizing and putting away everything you don’t need or currently use. Clear kitchen worktops as much as possible, stash away all those gadgets and appliances and put miscellaneous small clutter in a few attractive baskets or boxes out of sight.

Look from the Outside

Stand on the street outside your property to see the view your prospective buyers will get as they approach your property in Exeter. Be aware of any negative impressions they may get such as overgrown borders, peeling paint, broken windows and so on. A poorly maintained exterior will make a prospective buyer think that the house has not been well taken care of. Even if you have spent the time and money to ensure the interior is amazing, it will all be wasted if the prospect gets a bad first impression as they approach your property.

What do you really see?

Step outside your front door and close it; then stand on your step and simply look around for a couple of minutes. This might appear to be a strange thing to do, but it is mimicking the likelihood of your estate agent fumbling around for keys before finally opening the door!

During this time, you will see exactly what your potential buyers will see. So, what is it? Cobwebs on the door frame? Dead plants? A broken lightbulb in the porch? A less than shiny letterbox? First impressions count, so it’s worth taking some time to clean up. If you want to go a step further, consider painting the front door or adding new accessories.

Don’t forget the back garden

A tidy and inviting back garden is just as important as your front garden, so don’t neglect it. Whilst it might not be part of the potential buyers first impression experience, you should make sure it is in the best condition possible. Pull up the weeds, water the plants, do some sweeping and maybe even purchase new furniture or accessories such as plant pots or bird houses. This all adds to the vision of ‘living the dream’ your potential buyer wants.

The biggest tip of all

Simply imagine yourself as a potential buyer looking at your property in Exeter for the very first time. See it through their eyes and ask yourself:

  • What impression does the house give you?
  • How is its kerb appeal?
  • Would YOU buy your house?
  • What would you like to see that’s different before you put an offer on your house?

Finally, to stage a home will cost money but you’ll get that back, and often more, when your property sells. Proper staging will help you sell your house in a shorter time and importantly at the price you want.

For expert advice on showing your home in Exeter to its full potential, contact the team at Robert Williams on 01392 204800 today

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Sometimes we get asked the question, “Should I use more than one estate agent to sell my house?” 

Once upon a time, this strategy made perfect sense. After all, before properties were advertised on the internet, how else could you make sure that buyers across different geographical areas would see your home, if you didn’t use two, three or more agents to market it?

But then came the portals – Rightmove, Prime Location, Zoopla and now On the Market – and everything changed. Almost all buyers (93% at last count) look online to start their property search, often browsing a couple of portals, then simply call the relevant agent to book a viewing on a home they like.

So is there any point these days in instructing more than one agent? The short answer is ‘no’.

If a buyer spies your home listed several times online, at best it’s annoying, and at worst it’s misleading, because if the agents involved have used different photographs and descriptions to advertise the property, a buyer could be forgiven for thinking that the adverts belong to different houses.

When a buyer enters a search criteria on one of the property portals, properties appear in a list, in descending price order, with the more expensive houses showing first. Any properties that are marketed at exactly the same price will appear in a random order, to be fair and not favour any particular agent. However, some agents get around this rule by adding a pound to the price, so that thier properties will show first, and therefore you’ll see property prices like £300,001!

Consider how it looks to a buyer if you as the seller have instructed several agents? Desperate perhaps? In need of an urgent sale? This could have the effect of generating some very low offers from those buyers looking for a bargain, whilst genuine buyers may stay away completely, fearful of being stuck with a property that they themselves can’t sell when the time comes.

Finally, there’s the question of cost. If you instruct more than one agent, depending on the type of agency agreement you have, you’ll either pay the standard agency fee, but only to one of the agents; sometimes called ‘winner takes all’. Or else you’ll pay a higher fee, and it’ll be split between the two agents, typically 2/3 1/3 or else 50/50. The average uplift for a joint agency agreement is around 50%, meaning that if the average fee in your area is 2%, you will be paying 3% for a joint agreement.  

When you decide to sell your home, my advice is to choose your agent very carefully, and focus all your efforts on making that relationship work. Ultimately it will serve you well and give out the right signals to instill buyer confidence. So pick slow, pick wisely, and nurture your relationship so that your agent is on side to get you the best result.

If you haven’t picked your agent yet, or you are not getting the kind of helpful attitude you were hoping for, we’d love to hear from you and to arrange for one of our team to visit to help you plan your sales strategy.



A good time to market property as ‘Christmas is cancelled’

Pent-up demand, coupled with the prospect of saving up to £15,000 in stamp duty, has created a buoyant property market, placing upward pressure on house prices.

Activity levels traditionally drop off in the run-up to Christmas, but the stamp duty holiday could turn that on its head this year.

House price growth rose to 6.5% in November, which is the highest rate since January 2015, according to Nationwide’s latest house price index.

The latest figures also suggest property prices increased by 0.9% month-on-month, following a 0.8% rise in October.

Last month, it was reported the average home in Britain cost £229,721, up from October’s average price of £227,826.

Sam Hunter, chief operating officer of Homesearch, commented: “It’s really no surprise that the latest set of data from Nationwide is showing such a significant annual increase, because it’s only probably now that we’re starting to see the impact of Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty holiday unfold.

“As the Nationwide’s data is collected at the post survey approvals stage, these figures are based on deals agreed after July and therefore represent market sentiment as a direct consequence.”

The property market has enjoyed a second, third and now a fourth wind to take prices to a five-year high, driven by unseasonally strong demand at a time of year that normally sees transactions tail off.


Rishi Sunak


Some commentators had expected the month-long Covid-19 restrictions to restrict property price inflation, but that does not seem to have happened.

Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent Strike, said: “House prices defied the usual signs of a seasonal slowdown in November. It’s clear to see that, despite tougher lockdown restrictions, the stamp duty holiday is continuing to work its magic in helping Britain’s property market bounce back.

“Transaction rates are through the roof and news of a vaccine has further boosted the confidence of sellers and buyers alike – with no signs of activity slowing down before the end of the year.

“People will inevitably start to question how long this can all last. However, things aren’t just going to grind to a sudden halt with the stamp duty holiday ending. Demand for moving home is greater than ever and the government has already indicated that it will do whatever it takes to keep Britain moving in 2021 and beyond.”

The market will continue its march, until next March, at the very least, according to the managing director of Enness Global Mortgages, Hugh Wade-Jones.

Wade-Jones said: “Despite many lenders reducing their range of products, we continue to see tidal waves of buyer demand crash against the shores of the UK property market in the form of mortgage approvals.

“However, we’ve also seen enough time pass for this demand to filter through to positive transactional movement as the market continues to defy all forecasts and move against the wider economic grain to provide further evidence of positivity.

“There will be many media commentators who will be searching far and wide for the market downfall they’ve continued to prophesise since Covid hit. Unfortunately, all they are likely to find is a stash of hidden Christmas presents.”



Vouch Tenancy Deposit Scheme The Property Ombudsman RICS Rightmove Zoopla OnTheMarket