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A Day in the Life of an Estate Agent – Week 1

June 12, 2020 #

Friday feelings….

Ever thought what an estate agent actually does?!? Each week we’ll bring you a quick overview of what has happened during the week and any thoughts we have on the market.

Dear Diary,

This week saw the welcome return to the office for us. Although we have opened on a skeleton basis, we have found the number of enquiries received from prospective purchasers has been hugely encouraging for the remainder of this year. We have accepted offers on a number of properties since Re-opening on Monday and are looking forward to bringing a number of new properties to the market shortly. I also met some lovely people this week who are thinking of selling their properties in the near future and hopefully they choose us to assist them with this.

The way we sell and market properties has changed dramatically over the past 3 months and we are very excited about the future. This week we have been arranging and carrying out professional photographs, 3D interactive floor plans and short videos for all of our sales properties. Keep an eye on all our social media platforms for these over the next short while. I’ll talk about the sales process in another post but changes we were looking to bring to our business have been accelerated and we look forward to bringing a more digital approach to our clients. The aim is to make it more transparent and convenient for both buyers and sellers. I have spent all morning playing with one of our 3D floor plans and it’s great fun! It will definitely help any potential viewers decide whether a property is worthwhile inspecting. For the buyer imagine no more Saturday’s going from house to house and getting increasingly frustrated as you are trying to find the property that suits you!

Conversely, we have put 9 properties to the rental market this week and we have found that the level of enquiries is considerably lower than we would have expected. There are a number of reasons for this but the increased supply from the short-term market to the long-term market along with affordability from tenants is resulting in less enquiries and potentially an adjustment in prices over the coming weeks. Time will tell.

This morning we did a walk-through of one of my favourite houses we are selling with the purchasers’ and their architect. The house sits in the shadow of the Sugarloaf on 0.6acre and is a really special property (in my mind!). It’s exciting listening to the purchaser’s discuss their vision with an equally enthusiastic architect. I feel like I’m inside an episode of “Room to Improve” with Dermot Bannon 😂. I love how varied our job is on a daily basis.

Tomorrow we will be doing our first video viewing with 2 couples on a family home. Both parties have responded with enthusiasm at the thought of having a private consultation with us from the comfort of their own couch – especially when the weather forecast is taken into account. I’ll be sure to get dressed fully unlike Luke “Ming” Flanagan!! Looking forward to bringing the feedback to the vendors following the weekend.

After that it’s a busy weekend with a virtual 5k run for the Castleknock 5k or #RorysRun in memory of our good friend who’s sadly no longer with us. It’s always a great weekend to meet up with old friends but it will be slightly different this year. Whatever you’re doing, enjoy the weekend!

How Government Reactions to COVID 19 have affected the Dublin Landlord and Tenant

June 4, 2020 #

This Covid world that we all find ourselves living through is  much changed, uncertain and a challenging time for all walks of life. None more so than residential tenancies, from both a landlord and tenants point of view. At the time of writing, Hopkins Ward have generally had a very positive response from both tenants in paying rent and landlords engaging with those tenancies who have been financially effected  from a loss of employment and/or income.

Affected tenants have found themselves in two categories:

  1. An immediate ending of the tenancy as, due to financial and personal circumstances, the tenancy is not viable going forward. This is a very tough decision for any tenant as they must give up the right to their home.  As a company, in conjunction with the individual landlords, we are allowing shorter notice periods, a full written reference if requested and with all other tenancy obligations met, a full deposit to be returned.
  2. A wish to remain in situ with an agreed temporary deferment of rent payments. This scenario is the most beneficial to both parties, as tenants get to remain in their home and landlords get to keep good tenants and are not left with a vacant property.

From our entire management portfolio we have had c. 11% of all tenancies fall into the above categories. We are of the opinion that this is quite a low % considering the difficult times that the tenants are facing. The immediate response of the government in paying a €350 Covid 19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, has certainly contributed in somewhat easing tenants financial worries and enabling them to pay all/part of their rental obligations. We would have a slight concern going forward, as to when this unemployment payment ends and tenants are not immediately back to their place of work in the same financial capacity as before.

What has been the response from Government?

With effect from the 27th March 2020, the government introduced the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020. This was a quick and decisive decision in protecting the rights of tenancies. It has brought about an initial set of emergency laws for a 3 month period, 27th March 2020 – 27th June 2020. By government order this notice period can be extended, and we would be of the opinion that it will be.

  1. Notice of termination cannot be served during the emergency period, only under extreme circumstances. Extreme circumstances would be a serious breach of tenants obligations i.e anti social behaviour or malicious damage to the property, to name but two.
  2. Any notice of termination that was legally served prior to the 27th March 2020, is frozen for the length of the emergency measures. For example : Tenant A has been renting from Landlord B  for 7 years. On the 1st of January 2020 Landlord B decides to sell his/her property or to take the property back for his/her own family use. Due to the length of tenancy, a valid notice of 196 days is issued on the 1st January 2020. This tenancy would normally end on the 15th July 2020. With the introduction of emergency legislation, the notice period is paused from the 27th March 2020 for the duration of the emergency period (currently 3 months). If the government does not extend the emergency period, this tenancy will now end on the 15th October 2020.
  3. A rent review which fell due on the 1st April 2020, for an existing tenancy, cannot be issued during the emergency period.
  4. If a new tenancy commences on the 1st April 2020, the increased rent allowed under RPZ cannot be enforced until after the emergency period. For example Tenant A moves into Property A on the 1st April 2019 at a rent of €1000. Tenant A naturally ends their tenancy on the 1st April 2020 and Tenant B is set to commence his/her tenancy from this date. Under normal circumstances the new rental amount would be €1040 under the 4% RPZ calculator. The Covid measures dictate that the rent due will be €1000 during the emergency period and will only increase to €1040 once the measures have been lifted.
  5. An existing tenancy was renewed on the 1st January 2020. A valid 90 day rent review was issued on this day under RPZ calculations and the rent was set to increase from the 1st April 2020. This reviewed rent amount will only kick in after the emergency measures have been lifted. For example Tenant A commences a tenancy on the 1st January 2019 at a rental figure of €1000 per month. Tenant A renews their tenancy on the 1st January 2020 for a further 12 months. A valid rent review is issued on the 1st January 2020, increasing rent to €1050 from the 1st April 2020. Under emergency measures the original rent of €1000 per month will continue to be the rent due until the ending of the emergency period.

Dublin Rental Market Post Covid?

To answer this question with any degree of certainty is near impossible at this time. There remain too many unknowns including the longevity of the disease, the world economy effecting our island economy, long term affordability of tenants and whether Dublin will continue to remain a desirable location for the continued expansion of both existing and new start ups companies both homegrown and international.

I would tentatively suggest that the fundamentals remain strong within the Dublin rental market. Landlords may have to adjust to longer down times between tenancies and not an automatic rent increase year on year. I have been directly involved in Letting and Management in the Dublin residential market since 2003 and can recall a time when it was expected to have anything from a 2 week to a month gap between tenancies. Pre covid 2020, if the gap was any longer than a number of days it was an exception.

Remain safe, stay at home and a post covid world will be sooner than we think.

COVID19 Protocols for Estate Agents

May 28, 2020 #

The Property Regulator and leading representative organisations have published a ‘Joint Sector Protocol for Property Services Providers’ safety document, the aim of which is to facilitate the safe reopening of the property market in Phase 2 (8th June).

The comprehensive new safety Protocol document was jointly developed by the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV), the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), and the Property Services Regulatory Authority, (PSRA) and was shared with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

The Protocol is applicable to Valuers and all PSP’s for the auction, sales, lettings, valuations and property management environment and for both residential and commercial property.

While the property market is currently open for business online and remotely, the three organisations said the sector is now looking forward to a full reopening in Phase 2 of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business – in line with the Government’s health advice.

The key objective of this new Protocol is to facilitate the safe reopening of the property market. The three bodies believe this document will provide reassurance to consumers and clients of property services providers and valuers that the sector can reopen on the 8th June for safe business.

Under the Protocols, the following actions are required amongst others:

  • All viewings and auctions should be undertaken online, where possible.
  • Where viewings take place detailed Covid-19 signage must be displayed and hand sanitation facilities must be widely available. HSE Guidelines must be adhered to at all times.
  • Viewings should be pre-booked and thorough cleaning procedures must take place with record sheets of the cleaning prominently displayed.
  • A maximum of two people per viewing party and no under 16s.
  • All brochures and property details should be sent by email.
  • Removal of doors to small rooms such as utility and storage spaces or alternatively removal and capping of internal door handles to minimise contact points.
  • Auctioneers must announce HSE guidelines before commencement of auctions.
  • In arranging viewings of second-hand dwellings and commercial buildings professionals must confirm whether respective clients and viewers have returned from travel abroad or have had symptoms of Covid-19 over the previous 14 days. If so, the property service cannot be provided for a minimum of 14 days.
  • Property agencies must provide safety training for all employees.

These strict guidelines will be adhered to by all of our staff at Hopkins Ward Estate Agents and all viewers will be requested to adhere to the same guidelines. We will be conducting virtual viewings at set times any by appointment. All physical viewing must be by appointment only. All our documents will be sent by email and electronic signatures will be used in all cases by all parties where required.

The document is available by request. Please contact me at ian@hopkinsward.ie for a copy of the document free of charge.

Dublin Rental Market – How has COVID-19 affected the rental market?

May 18, 2020 #

How has the Dublin rental market been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

The whole world has been affected by COVID-19 and Dublin’s rental market is no different. Daft’s recent report on the rental market shows us that rents have fallen in April by 2.5%. Although, the evidence suggests that rental prices had begun to slow down and decrease ever so slightly prior to the COVID-19 pandemic taking grip. Daft’s previous report in January (based on Q4 2019) showed the first quarter in 29 consecutive quarters where rents did not rise.

There are a number of factors that have resulted in the decrease in rental levels:

  1. Affordability. With rents at such a high level, affordability was always looming as an issue. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in salary cuts, hours reduced and unfortunately job losses. The real effect of the pandemic on unemployment levels won’t be known for a number of months (most likely 12 months) as business re-open and in some cases fail to reopen. With salary cuts and reduced hours, this has significantly impacted tenants ability to pay.
  2. Shutdown of the short-term rental market. This was particularly noticeable in city centre areas as within a couple of days of the government restrictions being put in place, Dublin 8 saw a surge of c 500 1 and 2 bed properties available for rent on the long-term market (according to figures from Daft.ie). It was obvious from the advertisement photographs that these were AirBnB properties (the folded towels on the beds are usually a giveaway!). The influx of similar properties to the market at the same time has resulted in a reduction in rental levels. For example, last year we let a 1 bedroom apartment in Christchurch for €1900pm while we have a property in the same development on the market at the moment for €1650pm).
  3. Lack of transactions. While government restrictions have been in place, there has been limited transactions in the rental market. While there have been some as both agents and landlords have introduced video or virtual viewings into their repertoire, tenants are unwilling to move given the uncertainty in the market.

Only time will tell for the long term effect of COVID-19 on the rental market but I believe there is still a supply issue but hopefully with more properties switching from short-term lets to the long-term letting market this will help improve the situation for tenants and will result in a more sustainable rental market. There are still a large number of factors that are causing a shortage of supply but I won’t deal with them today!

Residential Sales Market 2020 Predictions

April 29, 2020 #

 

Speaking to a lot of people over the past few weeks of lockdown, the main question I am asked is “How will the property market react to COVID-19?”. The residential property market was in relatively good health in Q1 of 2020 on the back of a reasonable 2019. There were a large number of transactions over Q1 with prices in excess of the asking price being achieved in many instances. This was, in my opinion, due to a surge in consumer confidence following Brexit worries in 2019. The market seemed to be functioning again at a normal level in terms of transactions. While prices were beginning to level off in many parts of the city, there was a healthy stock level available for purchasers. There was much optimism for 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought life to a shuddering halt.

It’s my opinion that once Government restrictions are lifted, the market will take a number of months to find it’s feet again. Agents are having to readjust their way of operating and embrace new methods (be it virtual viewings, upgrading CRMs, online bidding platforms amongst others). Vendors and buyers are also going to be cautious as the lessons learnt from the 2008 crash are still very fresh in everyone’s minds. However, I believe that the fundamentals of the property market are in a much stronger position than 2008 and a recovery will be made much quicker this time around. The biggest issue will be affordability as purchaser’s ability to borrow will be affected by job losses, reduced wages and reduced working hours. Given the Central Banks’ tight lending regulations (which I have always wholeheartedly agreed with), the amount a purchaser is willing or able to offer will be limited in most cases.

In my opinion, there will be a lot of people looking to upsize towards the end of this year going into 2021. For the first time, most homeowners are spending time in their properties and are working out how they want their homes to work for them. Whether it is an extra room for a home office, a larger garden to accommodate a trampoline or an area with strong community spirit. I’m of the view that the market will suffer a reduction in the coming months as consumer confidence is shaken but as life (hopefully) returns to the new normal, people will look to make the move. This will lead to a lot of activity in Q4 of this year and early 2021. This time over the past few weeks has given people the opportunity to reassess their lives and what really matters to them – for most people it is their families and their homelife. I believe there will be a shift in work/life balance for most people and that will be reflected in their requirements when looking for a home in future.

If you are looking for advice on selling your property please give me a call at any time on 087-9879834.

Launch of our new website – Book your valuation online.

March 14, 2019 #

Launch of our website

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new website HopkinsWard.ie. Our new website enables our clients to view our various properties for sale / rent. As well as providing more information for our landlords and property owners when it comes to selling their property. For those interested in selling their property, we have added a unique online booking platform for your convenience on this page. We are also adding content frequently in our News section, including some guidance for our clients, as well as general advice on Dublin 8 and living in the area.

2018 has been an exciting time for Hopkins Ward as we moved to our new premises on the South Circular Road in Dublin 8. We also increased our staff. Our new website is another step forward as we continue to grow to achieve our goal of becoming the number 1 estate agent in Dublin 8.

Dublin 8 is becoming top choice for renters.

January 21, 2019 #

Dublin 8 is to the west of Dublin city and includes the areas of Dolphin’s Barn, Inchicore, Islandbridge, Kilmainham, Merchants Quay, Portobello, South Circular Road and the Coombe.

It is becoming the top choice for the capital’s renters due to its old school character, hipster uprising and transport links. Access to the City and Docklands is quick and easy via Luas Red Line, Dublin Bus and Dublin Bikes. Residents here also have Heuston Station on their doorstep where you can catch a train to the west to Galway and to the south to Cork.

The sales market in Dublin 8 is very healthy, with purchasers drawn to the area’s green open spaces around Memorial Park and along the banks of the  Grand Canal. Phoenix Park is located in Dublin 8 which is the largest urban park in Europe. The area offers a wonderful range of period properties alongside 1940’s – current day designs. The former Griffith Barracks aka Griffith College Dublin is actually on the same road as our office, where you’ll find the historic conservation buildings built circa 1892.

We are located at 207 South Circular Road and it is in this area we specialize.

Who are Hopkins Ward?

January 21, 2019 #

Hopkins Ward Estate Agents

Ian Hopkins & Robbie Ward have a combined 30 years’ experience in the Residential Sales and Rental market. Our partner led and personable approach to offer ‘effective advice’ manifests itself in a genuine understanding of the challenges and emotions involved in selling a house and renting out a home. Our commitment is to ensure a smooth and hassle-free process for our clients.

To find out more about the benefits of selling your property through Hopkins Ward Estate Agents or to arrange a complimentary market appraisal please get in touch. We would be delighted to help you.

Why Live in Dublin 8?

January 21, 2019 #

A lot of new trendy coffee shops, pubs and eateries have opened up around the Dublin 8 area (one of our favourites is Noshington!) catering for the new wave of buyers migrating from Rathmines, Ranelagh, Harolds Cross and Terenure.

There are numerous colleges within this postcode making it a young demographic for city slickers. The neighborhood statistics show that 36% of households in Dublin 8 comprise of one person, 23% are house shares and 18% couples. The average age group is 16 – 35 years old*. *CSO Statistics

If you’re thinking of moving to the area there are some great amenities and attractions nearby. The most famous sites in Dublin 8 are the Guinness Brewery and Gravity Bar at St. James’s Gate, Christchurch Cathedral, Kilmainham Gaol, the Grand Canal, Royal Hospital Kilmainham and Vicar Street, which is host to many comedy acts and gigs.

We are currently in a very buoyant market with 4 out of every 5 homes coming on the market with us selling within 4 weeks. We believe we are set to enjoy a good market for the short to medium term and there is plenty of property for investors to choose from.

If you are in the market to sell or rent  your property, please get in touch. We love this area as much as your next purchaser and tenant does and this makes all the difference.

info@hopkinsward.ie www.hopkinsward.ie

01 4967954

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