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Q&A with Debbie Fellows, Senior Sales Advisor at Wadswick Green


29/10/2020 General, Wadswick Green, Corporate

How are you finding the property enquiries at Wadswick Green following lockdown?

Wadswick Green with its community, amenities and spacious apartments are proving to be very popular and we are finding that our positive handling of coronavirus is also appealing to potential purchasers.

What were the positive aspects of living at Wadswick Green during lockdown?

We quickly adapted to the restrictions imposed by the lockdown and were able to arrange a series of socially distanced activities that helped create a fantastic sense of community spirit, such as outdoor Zumba and Qi Gong over zoom, as well as takeaway food and drink and a pop-up shop for daily essentials. Staff were hugely supportive, which made residents feel safe and reduced the sense of isolation.

Do you think the lockdown period has encouraged people to start planning for the future?

We recently conducted a resident survey which found that 92% of residents felt very safe at Wadswick Green over lockdown. It is this sense of security that is one of the appealing factors to potential buyers, particularly with the prospect of another national lockdown.

Many residents have moved to Wadswick Green from a four or five bedroom homes with large gardens and we are receiving a lot of enquiries from people who have found the upkeep of their homes really challenging over lockdown. Typically, many of them rely on people coming in to help with cleaning and gardening and of course this wasn’t possible over lockdown.

The media are saying people want to move out of the cities to the country – have you experienced this trend?

Residents have moved from all over the UK to Wadswick Green and recently we have seen a surge of people from London and the Home Counties. The key driving factor for them is price and escaping the M25. In comparison to London, prices are so much cheaper here, and residents can release equity from their current home and not have to put it straight back into property. It also means residents can have more room and “rightsize”, meaning they can live more comfortably and have spare rooms for hobbies. Viewers are surprised and delighted with the picture windows and balconies available in all apartments, many with amazing views of the surrounding countryside.

Are you finding any changes in the buying process behaviour?

We are finding that children of potential purchasers are getting far more involved – a lot of sons and daughters are enquiring and arranging to visit Wadswick Green before they present the idea to their parents. It seems that children are the ones instigating the move seemingly more than the older generations because they are worried that their parents did not cope well over lockdown and are conscious that things are likely to get worse for them over the winter months.  

In addition, a lot of enquiries recently are from people that first visited Wadswick Green five or six years ago. At that time, they weren’t quite ready to move but with circumstances having dramatically changed with coronavirus, they are now keen to move. The pandemic definitely seems to be a driving factor for most of the enquiries we are receiving. That coupled with the stamp duty holiday has meant we are really busy.  

Have you seen much interest since the Stamp Duty Holiday was announced?

The stamp duty holiday has meant that when reservists put their property on the market – as long as it is marketed at a realistic price – properties are selling so much quicker. A lot of our prospective buyers are receiving acceptable offers for their homes within a few weeks of them being put on the market, which means they can move to Wadswick Green much quicker.

Do you have any incentives you would recommend for prospective buyers?

We recently introduced a 45-day move in pledge which has been very popular. Downsizing can be daunting for retirees, particularly when it comes to the sale of their home. The costs and worry associated with numerous house viewings, the added stress of dealing with estate agents, and the uncertainty of the housing market can be a deterrent for many. Our 45-day pledge programme enables buyers to move sooner than they thought possible. The sale of the current home is entirely handled by house buying partners National Property Trade, freeing future residents from the stress of dealing with estate agents and other sellers in the chain and letting them focus on their own move.

We are finding that most people taking up the 45-day pledge are doing it because they want to move before Christmas. Covid-19 has worsened the loneliness felt by many retirees and they are worried about having to spend Christmas in isolation. They are keen to move beforehand so that they can feel safe, supported and surrounded by people over the festive period.

In some retirement village settings pets are not always welcome, what is the case at Wadswick Green?

A lot of perspective buyers will ask if they can bring their loved pet and are pleasantly surprised when we say ‘yes’. I would say about 1 in 15 residents have a cat or dog here. Providing the pet is well behaved we are incredibly happy to have them. There are so many lovely walks directly from Wadswick Green for residents to explore, with or without a dog, and having dogs around makes it feel more like a village. A big difference between Wadswick Green and our competitors is that if a resident’s pet dies, we actively encourage them to get a new one. A lot of competitor villages will not allow this though.  Pets can play an important part in helping to combat loneliness for the elderly as they encourage social interaction such as taking a dog for a walk and being a conversation starter with other residents, even if they are not dog owners themselves. Pets also encourage a daily routine as it is ‘someone’ to look after. 

Do you offer Domiciliary Care at Wadswick Green?

Offering a care package is another big pull factor for perspective buyers. We have a fantastic care team onsite 24 hours, 365 days a year. At Wadswick Green, residents get to know all the carers personally and with over twenty carers, (most of whom have been here for three to five years), residents get to see a familiar face rather than a bank member of staff that they’ve never seen before.

If prospective buyers want to get more information before they call what would you recommend?

We launched our new website a few months ago and have found that it has had a big impact on the quality of leads we are receiving. The children that are calling to enquire about Wadswick Green are already very knowledgeable about the village as they have studied the website in depth. They say that they particularly find the videos we have on resident life useful as it provides a good insight into the vibrant community at Wadswick Green.

And, of course, we are here to help.  We would be delighted to welcome visitors to view our showhomes and the village amenities, always within the appropriate guidelines and by appointment only. We also have virtual tours available of each apartment style and our showhomes, where we conduct an online viewing while you are sitting comfortably at home – it’s almost like the real thing. 

 

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