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Guild Blog: Are you a First Time Buyer? What to Avoid when Buying a Property for the First Time …

What to avoid when buying a property for the first time …

 

First Time Buyers

Buying a home for the first time can be an emotionally driven experience, especially when you consider the various elements that need to be taken into account. While there are several new and exciting things that go into buying a home, it can be a complicated process to negotiate. Often, it’s easy to focus on the smaller details and lose sight of the larger picture while possibly making mistakes.

First Time Buyers

 

Here what you need to avoid along the way…

Not getting a mortgage in principle

Once you have made the decision to buy a property, the temptation to jump into the search with both feet will be overwhelming. However, rushing in before speaking to your bank about the mortgage they are prepared to offer you could lead to disappointment. Imagine you find a house you love, only to learn it is not within your price range when applying for the mortgage. While not a requirement or guarantee, getting a Mortgage in Principle will provide you with a written estimate from a lender, giving an indication of what you can borrow.

It’s possible to apply for a Mortgage in Principle through a mortgage adviser such as L&C or directly with a lender. They will provide you with the reassurance that you are looking at properties within your price range and they will let the seller know you are serious and qualify to buy the property.

 

Not working out what you can afford

There might be a difference between the mortgage you qualify for and what you can comfortably afford in real terms. It is always advisable that you leave some cushioning in the budget. Look at your finances and make a list of your expenses before determining a budget for a property to gain a clear idea of what you can afford. Don’t stretch your finances too thin, as this will make you vulnerable if unforeseen circumstances rear their head.

 

Focusing on the flaws

You shouldn’t compromise on your ‘must-haves’ but placing too much focus on the home’s flaws might have you miss the things that really matter. Fixtures can be replaced, rooms can be made open-plan or walls can be added to create your dream home with a property that meets your essential criteria.

 

Falling in love blindly

On the other end of the spectrum, you shouldn’t overlook a home because of its flaws, but don’t completely ignore them either. The look of a home is one thing, but more serious issues such as structural damage are quite another. Often, once a buyer sees a home that they think is the one, their decisions will be based on the emotional connection rather than the facts. Be fully aware of all the property’s issues before you put in an offer. Ask your Guild agent to explain all a property’s past and current major or structural issues, or seek advice from a surveyor.

 

Waiting too long

It is crucial to make an informed decision when choosing the right home, but don’t take too long, otherwise, you could lose out to a faster buyer. Once you have found the right home, be decisive and take action to avoid disappointment.

 

Not thinking about the future

Consider aspects such as the home’s resale potential as well as your future plans. It might seem strange to think about selling the home before you have bought it but much of the home’s potential return on investment is based on decisions you make when buying, not selling.

 

Factors that will affect the home’s resale value include:

• Location

• Condition

• Type of property

• Number of bedrooms

• Garage or off-street parking.

• Investments in infrastructure, like HS2

 

Also, consider whether the home will meet your needs in the future. For example, you may not have children now but plan to shortly – this means needing an extra bedroom or ensuring that you purchase near a school with the desired Ofsted rating. Think about whether the home meets your situation now, but also if it can meet your evolving needs.

 

Are you looking for your first property? Contact one of our Guild agents today. Find your nearest office here.

 

 

(To read this blog post or other blog posts by The Guild of Property Professionals please visit their website.

Guild Blog: How to Upgrade your Home For Less

The home you purchase isn’t always your dream property, but you can turn your property into the home of your dreams with a few quick fixes.

Here are some tips to upgrade your home for less.

 

 

1. Paint your kitchen cabinets 

Freshly painted cabinets give the kitchen an update without the cost of a full renovation. Choose light colours to brighten the space.

 

2. Add mirrors 

Mirrors can make any space seem larger and are an easy way to ‘open up’ a room.

 

3. Invest in landscaping 

Consider adding some landscaping to the front of your property. A tree or two works well in a more rural environment, and never underestimate the power of a few potted plants in an urban home.

 

4. Add wooden floors

Wall-to-wall carpet is no longer a popular choice, as homeowners now prefer wooden floors that they can choose to put a rug on. Consider vinyl flooring in a wooden pattern to get reclaimed wooden floors for less.

 

5. Freshen the front door

First impressions count, so choose a front door in a neutral glossy shade or pick a bright colour with personality.

 

Do you want to find a home to spruce up? Contact your local Guild Member today.

Guild Blog: Moving? How to Feel at Home Fast

The sale is complete, you have the keys in your hand and the moving van has delivered your household contents to your new property. All that is left is for you to unpack and turn your new house into a home. 

 

Here are a few tips to help you settle and make the labour-intensive process a smooth and easy as possible:

 

Many hands make light work

Dividing the work among friends and family who are willing to lend a hand and get involved will make things move along much faster. Delegate the work out by providing a list of tasks to each person. It is best to focus on the larger jobs first, such as moving and placing furniture and then working down to the items that you would be able tackle on your own if need be. If possible, get at least one room set up as quickly as possible so that helpers have a place to put their feet up and take a well-deserved break during the process.

 

Put safety first

It takes a few days to feel settled in a new property and often even everyday sounds can be strange or unnerving. Making sure you and your family feel safe in the new environment will help everyone feel settled sooner. Ensure all the doors and windows close and lock properly. Also, make sure that each family member has a set of keys to the property. If you think it’s best to change any of the locks, schedule a locksmith and change the codes to any coded entry points, such as automated garage doors and security systems.

 

Get to grips with the electrics

Ensure you know where the fuse box or circuit breaker is and how it works. Have a look at the boiler and heating and familiarise yourself how it turns on and off and how to set it.

Also, remember that often electric cables are hidden behind walls, so before making any holes in the wall to hang something, make sure you know what is behind it. It is possible to buy cable detectors from DIY shops.

 

Update all your details

Don’t wait until the last minute to get your paperwork done and update your details. Redirect your mail online with Royal Mail, notify utility providers and the council. Also, fill out a change of address with your bank and employee and ensure that all the relevant service providers, clubs and creditors have your new address on record. Changing addresses also means re-applying for the electoral role. Remember also to make the time to change the address on your driver’s license.

Don’t pressure yourself to do all of this in one go, but the sooner you get them done, the more settled you will feel.

 

Make the place yours 

Changing the colour of the walls and putting up your personal items and photos will make the house feel like a home and can make the rest of the unpacking a much more pleasant experience.

 

Take time to breathe

There’s no deadline or rush, it doesn’t have to all be done at once. Take some time out to have a family dinner, watch a movie or go on a social outing. Or just relax, step outside to meet the neighbours and take time to enjoy your new surroundings.

 

If you are looking to move to a new home, contact your local Guild agent.

Guild Blog: How to Make a Good First Impression

When it comes to selling your home, making a good first impression is vital. Here are our top five things to avoid when trying to entice prospective buyers:

 

1. Poor light

Light and warmth are two of the most important factors to attract a potential buyer, especially in the colder months. Make sure your home is well-lit: open your curtains or blinds and if there is low natural light, turn on some lamps.

 

2. Noise

Most people expect their home to be a place of peace and tranquillity. Avoid organising viewings at a busy time of the day and if you have noisy neighbours, avoid the time of day they are usually at home.

 

3. Smells

Persistent smells such as pets, cigarettes or pungent food can be a real turn-off for prospective buyers. Avoid these smells by taking your dog for a walk, lighting some candles and opening a window.

 

4. Clutter

Clutter is not only distracting, but it could indicate that the property does not have adequate storage. Make sure your home is tidy when viewers arrive and if all else fails, self-storage is a great solution.

 

5. Untidy gardens

The first thing most visitors see is the exterior of your home. Make sure your bins are tidy and your garden is well-maintained. No one likes an overgrown, messy garden.

 

Are you looking to sell your home? Contact your local Guild Member today.

Guild Blog: How to Turn your Homes Weaknesses into Strengths

To make your home appeal to the widest range of buyers, identify its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the most common property weaknesses and how you can turn them into strengths …

 

Weakness: The windows are outdated.

  • Hanging new curtains is an easy way to update your property. Install a simple metal rod and hang a neutral curtain with metal rings.

 

Weakness: Your kitchen needs an update. 

  • Purchase new white goods for your kitchen to avoid the cost of a complete renovation. When you’re updating, think stainless steel as these appliances are popular and modern.

 

Weakness: There are small, ‘awkward’ spaces in your home.

  • Hang a large mirror. Mirrors can make any space seem larger, so they’re especially important in an entryway or narrow hallway.

 

Weakness: Your house looks old.

  • A fresh coat of paint and a top-to-bottom clean can work wonders to turn a rustic property into a character-filled dream. Highlight the period features of your property so the house becomes historic, not just ‘old’.

 

Weakness: There’s no furniture in your property. 

  • Have furniture in every room to demonstrate what it could be used for.

 

Are you selling your home? Contact your local Guild Member today.

Guild Blog: Can your garden add value to your property?

Can your garden add value to your property?

 

Many people forget the first impression comes from the garden. Watch the video below, to get ideas and tips to help sell your home this summer, as well as make your garden a more enjoyable place to be.

 

We would love to see some photographs of your outside space.  Please email them to vicky@joplings.com or Direct message them via our Facebook or Twitter page.  Please let us know if you are happy for us to share these on Social Media.

 

 

1. Decluttering the garden can add value. Always start with tidying and give your lawn a fresh mow and tidy up any weather damage before a viewing.

 

2. Add some seasonal colour, like plant pots filled with flowers. This will add perceived value.

 

3. Start in the front garden, because this is where your potential buyer will start. The first impression counts.

 

4. Add a key selling point, like a summer house, play park or a jacuzzi if you want to turn your garden into a fantastic reason to buy the house. This requires major investment, but it could secure your sale.

 

5. If you’re looking to spend less, don’t underestimate the impact of a coat of paint on fences and sheds.

 

6. Style your garden with furniture. You wouldn’t show a room to a potential buyer without any furniture in it, so why show a garden without a table and chairs on the decking or patio?

 

7. If your home is overlooked, it’s a good idea to give the idea of privacy to the garden. If it isn’t too expensive, add hedges or trees in key spots.

 

Are you looking for a new home with a beautiful garden? Contact a Guild Member today.

Guild Blog: How to get more from a Property Viewing

Are you getting all you should from your viewings?

 

Most property viewings happen in the first month of marketing a property. What can you do if your home isn’t attracting much attention? 

Here are five tips to make sure your property has more viewings in 24 hours. 

 

1. Run a social media campaign 

Ask your agent to boost your property on Facebook. They will be able to target people who live in your local area to generate attention. Make sure people can easily book a viewing from the post. 

 

2. Host an open house 

Set a date for an open house and invite interested people to attend. Most open houses run from about 11am to 1pm on a Saturday. You could get up to 30 people through the door on just one day. 

 

3. Stage your home 

Are your interiors inspiring? Hire a homestaging firm to help declutter and present your home in the best possible light. This is particularly important if your property isn’t furnished. 

 

4. Reduce the price 

This is a big decision, but a reduced price will get a lot of new attention. If you need to sell quickly, this is a good option. 

 

Are you looking to sell your home? Contact your local Guild Member for help through the moving process.

Guild Blog: Top Tips to Help make your House Move Less Stressful

So you’ve completed on your new home and can’t wait to move. You’ve even started thinking about how to decorate. There’s one thing you might have forgotten, though: you’ve got to move out of your home first. Between packing your things and preparing for your first night in a new home, moving house can seem overwhelming. However, moving from one property to another doesn’t have to be stressful. Read our tips to remove the stress from your moving experience.

 

1. Stay organised

As with any daunting task, staying organised is key. Pack by room and decide when and how you will organise your things. Once you’ve assigned items to labelled boxes, consider the moving van. How will the boxes go inside? Will you need to take multiple trips? Once you’ve worked these things out, you’ll have a plan for your moving day which should give you peace of mind.

 

2. Pack early

There’s nothing worse than having a moving van booked and realising that you’ll need to pack all night to be ready. Start packing as soon as you can. Choose non-essential items first (decorations, etc.), and pack your essentials like furniture and cutlery the week of the move.

 

3. Take your time

When you’re moving house, be sure to allot more time than you actually need. Feeling rushed will make your stress levels skyrocket, so being slow and methodical is the best way to combat moving worry. Extra time allows you to be more careful when you’re packing and unpacking, and it also takes into account the inevitable moving day setbacks.

 

4. Be flexible

There are sure to be bumps in the road when you’re moving house, so remind yourself to stay flexible. Having a plan is a great way to stay organised, but don’t be afraid to deviate from it when circumstances require.

 

5. Have a backup plan

When you’re planning your move, take a small amount of time to think about the things that could go wrong and write them down. Once you’ve got your list, think of ways that you could overcome these problems. A backup plan will help take stress out of your move, because you’ve already thought of potential solutions.

 

6. Enlist help

Moving house is a huge task, and it becomes even bigger when you have to do it all yourself. Ask for help from your friends and family (most of them will be willing to lend a hand for a few slices of pizza) to take the pressure off. You’ll be finished much faster, and the more people that are involved, the easier moving to your new home will be.

 

7. Say goodbye

You’ve lived in your old property for some time, so give yourself a moment to think about all the good memories you associate with the space. If you’re in the mood to entertain (and you haven’t packed all the plates and glasses), have a party and invite your friends to say goodbye to your old home in style.

 

8. Take care of yourself

Purchasing a new property and moving into it can be extremely draining, so be careful to take care of yourself throughout the process. A healthy diet and plenty of exercise can help take the edge off your moving stress. Taking care of yourself also means that you deserve a treat every now and then, so consider a takeaway on your first night in the new home to reward yourself for all your hard work!

 

Are you looking for your dream home? Contact your local Guild Member today to get started.

Guild Blog: Up-andcoming areas in 2019

It seems everyone is searching for the next up-and-coming areas to move to but how do you find the next budding hot spot?

 

Is it the development of transport links, good schools or just an expansion of the city?  We asked Guild Members to identify key areas around the country that are rising in popularity.  From Croydon to Cardiff, here are the up-and-coming areas in the UK for 2019: 

 

1. Jeff Dowton, Managing Director at Smart Property Online

St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings:

“This seaside resort may seem an unusual place to nominate for best ‘up-and-coming’ area, but it has a number of impressive features. The main attraction is the potential of the ‘commute to property price’ ratio. Hastings to London Cannon Street takes 1hr 40mins, but with recent changes in the planning stage for improvements to the Ashford line, this journey to London Stratford will potentially reduce to 60mins. This will have a dramatically positive effect on house prices and businesses in the local and surrounding areas.

Recent road improvements and new housing developments, together with local re-generation projects have transformed this forgotten sleepy seaside fishing village into a hub for opportunity. Over the past few decades, Hastings has retained much of its enviable historic past whilst undergoing major surgery to its seafront facades and its splendid Victorian squares.

And let’s not forget the sunshine! Hastings’ annual hours of sunshine average 1,871 hours. It is one of the top five towns in the UK.”

 

2. Darren Cray, Managing Director at Cray & Norton

Croydon, London:

“If you’re looking for one of the most up-and-coming places to live in London, then look no further than Croydon. Aiming to be London’s future borough of culture, Croydon has big plans and with huge amounts of investment, the area will soon be one of the most exciting places to live in the UK.

The £1.4 billion-pound Westfield project will create up to 7,000 new jobs in the borough and put the spotlight on the area. Certainly, the shopping centre will make the atmosphere of Croydon thrive more than it already is.

With new developments and plans, like the second tallest building in the UK to be built towering over Canary Wharf, there is a range of choice in terms of the tenure of property somebody can buy or rent. Below average house prices and superb transport links around London are a great mix, making Croydon a haven for first-time buyers and investors.

The near to 400,000 population means that new restaurants and facilities are constantly opening and succeeding. More unusual businesses have even opened including a virtual reality café on the high street giving people a range of choice.

In recent times, Croydon has been seen by many as the street art capital of the city. You can find fascinating pieces of street art at St George’s Walk which is now known as Croydon’s Arts Quarter. More than 100 murals cover this area and are always changing to keep the place full of life and spirit.

Being home to the premier league side Crystal Palace means there is always entertainment for football lovers and with Crystal Palace being based in and around Croydon tonnes of opportunity has emerged in terms of future development, available employment and facilities.

The iconic Fairfield Halls is currently undergoing a £30 million transformation. When reopened, the facility will host a range of live music, theatre shows, comedians, dance acts and events.”

 

3. Kelvin Francis, Managing Director at Kelvin Francis

Cardiff, Wales:

“Cardiff is one of the smallest cities – ninth in size in the UK – with a population of 357,200 as of October 2018. However, the city has a university population of 44,000 and its campus of 30,000 is one of the largest in the UK.

The city has many attractive features, including a fully developed bay area (former docks, at one time the biggest coal port in the world) with extensive leisure facilities.

Cardiff, which was occupied by Romans and Vikings is named in Welsh, Caerdydd, Caer (Fort) and Dydd (Taff) a river running through it.

There is Cardiff Castle, a Gothic design with extravagant interior and extensive grounds built on the remains of a Roman Fort. Cardiff Bay is fully developed with a large Marina, bars and eateries.

It has been the capital of Wales since 1955 and contains Wales Millennium Centre, home of the Welsh National Opera, Orchestra and dance companies. There is the Richard Rogers designed Senedd Building, containing the Welsh Assembly, providing Government of Wales.

The city boasts many parks and gardens, including Roath Park, centred on a large lake with boating and popular walks right around it. Cardiff Victorian Market offers a wide variety of goods and foods, and of course we have the Principality Stadium, with the facility for National and International games of Football, Rugby and with its closing roof, concerts as well.”

 

4. Simon Miller, Partner at Holroyd Miller

Wakefield, West Yorkshire:

“Wakefield is an up-and-coming district with appeal for those looking for affordable living, but with the luxury of excellent transport links and ease of access to Leeds. With a vast choice of property from new build, luxury developments, suburban retreats, country cottages, and trendy apartments, there is something for everyone, and more importantly something in-reach and accessible for most people.

Wakefield is commuter heaven! It is only two hours to London by train and minutes away from the M1 and M62 motorway network, and access to the rest of the country.

At the weekend, you can stay local and take advantage of Wakefield’s upsurge in independent wine bars, delis, restaurants and boutiques, or hop on a train to the vibrant and trendy cities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield where designer shops and cocktail bars await.

Another huge benefit is the surrounding countryside and access to outdoor pursuits. From country parks and stately homes to much more rugged pursuits in the Pennines, you can kick back, walk the dog in peace and relax in a country pub or hook up the mountain bikes to the car and enjoy the myriad of trails on offer.

We could write an essay on the plus points, but it’s safe to say it has a lot to offer.”

 

5. Mark Halliwell, Partner at Moore Allen & Innocent

The Cotswolds:

“The dream of owning a property in the Cotswolds once seemed the preserve of celebrities looking to escape London. But after years of sporadic and piecemeal development, a recent building boom around the larger villages and market towns of the Cotswolds has put a honey-coloured house within the grasp of more and more homebuyers.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Cotswolds was recently named one of the Top Ten places to live in the UK in the highly-regarded annual survey by the Halifax Building Society.

And while period properties with thatched roofs and Inglenook fireplaces are in short supply and high demand, the good news is that local planners continue to expect the highest standards from new-build developers.

New-builds are constructed in traditional building materials. Gardens are the rule, rather than the exception – individual properties are given room to breathe – and drystone wall boundaries are not as uncommon as you might think.

A few miles south of Cirencester, the capital of the Cotswolds, the large village of South Cerney has become a magnet for developers. Gravel pits once dug by aggregates firms have become the Cotswold Water Park – England’s largest wetland nature reserve. Homes with a lakeside view are not uncommon. Some even come with jetties!

The new research and development facility of Dyson attracts scientists, computer programmers and engineers to work on top-secret projects.

High levels of well-paid employment have nurtured business confidence in the area – the area’s independent coffee shops and restaurants continue to flourish, while businesses looking to capitalise on the leisure time of residents – particularly in water sports, country pursuits, and cycling – are thriving.

And despite its position in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Cotswolds are remarkably well connected to larger centres. Motorways and good A roads put Bristol, Bath, Oxford and Newbury within a drive time of three quarters of an hour.

London is easily commutable too, thanks to regular and speedy train services to the capital from Kemble station. Average journey times of under 90 minutes will only improve with electrification of the rail line.”

 

6. Philip Jackson, Managing Director at Maguire Jackson

The Gun Quarter, Birmingham:

“In Birmingham city centre, the area hotly tipped for 2019 is The Gun Quarter which sits on the edge of The Jewellery Quarter. A former military and sporting gun manufacturing area, with roots going back over 400 years. The area is typified by former Victorian workshops, with new canal side apartment buildings filling in post-war manufacturing sites.

The construction of The Berkeley Group’s St Joseph’s branded development, Snowhill Wharf is now underway, comprising 404 new apartments. The renaissance started with the stunning Comet Works conversion in Princip Street by award-winning developers Javelin Block, and their success has encouraged other smaller developers as well as individuals to now make the area their home.

The district sits behind the acclaimed gothic revivalist St Chad’s Catholic Cathedral, designed by Augustus Pugin. The area is also very close to the handsome new office blocks of Snowhill, now home to various leading companies.

The Gun Quarter is an area that was once overlooked by many but is now seen as an obvious neighbourhood close to the larger, successful district, the Jewellery Quarter.”

 

7. Graham Butt Estate Agents

East Preston, West Sussex:

“The coastal village of East Preston is a superb location lying between the sea, English Channel and the A259. The area is easily accessible for Angmering station on the Brighton/Portsmouth coastway line, giving direct access to Gatwick and London Victoria.

Originally a thriving family community dating from 1087, the village retains much of the former character and has a strong community spirit centred upon social and educational activities.

The beach itself is a real gem, and at low tide provides a huge expanse of sand that’s dog friendly all year round. There is an abundance of leisure activities on your doorstep, with a good range of local shopping and annual Festival Week.

There are two golf courses in Angmering and others in Littlehampton and Worthing. Littlehampton harbour offers excellent sailing and mooring facilities together with riverside restaurants and bars.”

 

8. Frances Bowling, Assistant Manager at Moss Properties

Doncaster, Yorkshire:

“We have seen a surge of buyers from the South seek to relocate to Doncaster as they ‘can get more for the money’. We have also noticed an increase in southern investors looking for buy-to-let properties.

Logistically, Doncaster is very well-positioned. There is the M18 motorway & A1 motorways linking Doncaster to the North and South of England. Commuters can be in London King’s Cross train station in around 90 minutes on the grand central line.

We have the famous St Leger Festival at Doncaster Racecourse with a plush new Hilton Hotel. Yorkshire Wildlife Park expands year on year and has more visitors than Doncaster Sheffield Airport nearby. We have the iPort, home to one of the largest Amazon distribution centres and neighbouring DHL and Ikea warehouses.

The average house price here is £130,000!”

 

9. Andrew Lodge, Managing Director at Andrew Lodge Estate Agents

Farnham, Surrey:

“Farnham Town Centre is undergoing an amazing time of change with major redevelopments taking place in the East Street area of Farnham which is increasing interest in the town from prospective buyers and investors.

Currently, new major residential and commercial developments are being undertaken by Crest Nicholson, Berkley Homes and Farnham Estates which will change the face of the town centre and provide many new homes, some of which will be affordable housing.

Along with these new homes, there will be an influx of new amenities and recreational areas including shops, a cinema, and public spaces. It will be very interesting to see the East Street area regenerated for the coming years ahead.”

 

10. Mick Money, Proprietor at Money Properties

Wymondham, Norfolk:

“Wymondham is a historic Norfolk market town with an impressive Abbey situated 9 miles south of Norwich. The area offers easy access to the main A11 motorway for commuting to Norwich, Cambridge and London, with its own railway station with regular links to Cambridge and London, making it a commuter belt area.

It is believed that as many as 30% of all houses which are sold to commuters to Cambridge and London, enjoy more property for less money.

Historical points of interest include King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries which brought about the closure of Wymondham Abbey, which was surrendered to the King in 1538.

Kett’s Rebellion was a revolt in Norfolk, England during the reign of Edward VI, largely in response to the enclosure of land. It began at Wymondham on 8th July 1549 with a group of rebels destroying fences that had been put up by wealthy landowners.”

 

To find your dream home, contact your local Guild agent today.

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