Guild Blog: Secret Tips to Sell and Move in Before Christmas

Buying a property can be complicated, and so getting it right is pivotal to speeding up the process. Whether you are a first-time buyer, or an experienced home owner, our Guild agents are here to help. We have collected our secret tips to help you sell and move in before the holidays.

 

Secret Tips for Moving Home before the Holidays

 

1. Preparation

Preparation is always key when it comes to selling your home. Simon Davies from Norman F Brown said: “Make sure your photos are taken before Christmas decorations go up and be prepared to accept viewings. Don’t put off launching your home until spring as lots of properties are launched in the new year and it may get lost amongst other properties.

Statistically, most homes take on average 10-11 viewings to sell between January and November. In December, that drops to four or five viewings as the quality of the buyer increases. The busiest week of the year on the internet is Christmas time as the vast majority of people are off work.”

John Newhouse from Roseberry Newhouse said: “With an antiquated conveyancing system, having all your paperwork relating to your property prepared in advance will help speed the process up. Choosing a property with no onward chain will also significantly improve your chances of getting moved quickly.”

 

2. Is the price right?

It may seem obvious, but ensuring your property is priced correctly and competitively will save you a lot of time in the long run. It is often overlooked by many and is one of the primary reasons for a slow-moving property. Your agent will give you the best advice based on the market and current demand.

Steve Wayne from Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents said: “Listen to your agent. If you are being advised correctly, then it shouldn’t matter what time of year you are trying to sell. If your agent is working hard for you then there should be no ‘quiet periods’ in the housing market. Make sure your agent is marketing your property on all the online outlets as well as their own social media outlets. The idea is to catch a buyer before they start thinking about festive spending.”

 

3. Make sure agents have immediate access

When conducting viewings, it is imperative that your home is accessible for the agent to arrange these appointments. You never know who might want to view your home last minute, or when you are unavailable to the agent.

 

4. Present your property properly

Stephen Wayne from Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents said: “It may seem a tiny detail, but nothing puts off a potential buyer more than seeing little things that already need fixing, so make sure all the light bulbs work and your curtains are open if it’s during the day or lights are on during the late afternoon. If a buyer’s first impression is that the property is dark, then within 20 seconds the rest of the viewing is often pointless as this is the lasting impression they have.

To ensure you’re in your new home by the end of the year, have a good de-clutter. Clear out any stuff you’re not proposing to take with you when you move. Remove anything hanging on or placed behind doors. If a door can’t be opened fully, it gives the illusion that the room is smaller.”

 

5. Have an efficient solicitor

The more efficient your solicitor is, the quicker you can get things moving. There’s nothing worse than waiting weeks for paperwork, or lack of communication. You could save a lot of time once an offer has been accepted if you are organised.

Aimee Fancourt from Wooster & Stock said: “Instruct a solicitor and provide all the necessary identification and initial paperwork. This way your solicitor can prepare the contract pack in advance and it will be ready to send over to your buyer’s solicitors once you go under offer. This could potentially speed up the process by two weeks.”

Jonathan Keegan from Bryan & Keegan said: “Have quotes ready and  your questionnaire forms filled out in plenty of time. From experience, it is money well spent using an established solicitor rather than looking to save a few hundred pounds.”

 

6. Sort out your mortgage provider

Your estate agent can put you in touch with the right mortgage provider, or you can do the research yourself to find the best for you. Your mortgage provider will talk you through the steps of getting a loan and calculating how much you can afford for your property.

 

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

Guild Blog: Buying and Selling Over Christmas

Should I put my home on the market now or wait until after Christmas?

 

Many people think that trying to move house over the festive period is a mistake, but that is no longer the case. People have more free time and motivation to make a change in the New Year, so it can be a great time to buy and sell. Guild agents share their top tips.

 

Make your property visible online 

If you are selling, your home needs to be listed and visible on all the major property portals (like Rightmove) over Christmas. People have more free time and will start to browse properties online over the festive season.

Ailsa Mather from Andrew Coulson says: “We are listing a number of properties now because statistically, property portals show that there is a substantial spike on Boxing Day. We appreciate Christmas is a busy time for families, so we operate a ‘Do Not Disturb’ policy, that is clicking the property on the market just before Christmas but refraining from viewings until after the New Year.”

Simon Miller from Holroyd Miller agrees that sellers need to take advantage of this busy time. “Once Christmas Day is done and Boxing Day leftovers eaten, what do people looking for a New Year move do? Start looking for a new home. Don’t miss the opportunity to sell your house during the holidays; what could be nicer than viewing a very festive home?”

Rightmove say that Boxing Day is their busiest all year, and Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris agrees that it is equally busy in their office.

“Statistics have shown over recent years that the busiest days of the year for internet traffic on property portals are the days immediately following Christmas and Boxing Day. Our own evidence appears to confirm this phenomenon, showing that during the period from Christmas Eve 2016 up to and including New Year’s Day, we received over 130 telephone calls and 170 email leads from property portals. We even received calls and emails on Christmas Day.”

But why is this period so busy? Stuart Mills from Rickman Properties has an idea. “The reason? All those lovely new phones and iPads. It is also one of the few holidays that the family will be all together and most likely at home. This means that any discussions about a move can be had, viewings can be done with all the decision makers present, adults and children, and with a coming New Year, what better than a new home?” he asks.

Winter weather 

Spring is a popular time to buy and sell, but winter has its benefits, too.

“Sometimes stepping into a bright, warm, cosy home on a bitterly cold day or drizzly evening can have just as positive an effect as viewing a property on a warm summer day,” said Ben Whiting from Victorstone.

Abby Wheeler from Keats Estate Agents agrees.

“If you walk into a property in the depths of winter, when the sky is moody and the nights are drawing in at 4pm and you still love it, imagine how much you will love it in the summer? If in winter you can see yourself living there, it’s a keeper.”

She has some tips for winter viewings, too. “Always arrange viewings in the daylight. If you arrange a viewing after work at 6pm, you won’t get the true experience of the property, especially if there are grounds to explore. It is important to view them before the night draws in.”

 

Motivated to move 

Those people who are looking to move in December and January are committed to moving quickly. It’s a great idea to make the most of this.

Richard Stovold from Seymours said: “Although there are downsides to house hunting over the festive season, the benefits can outweigh the drawbacks. Houses that are available for sale over the Christmas period have often either been on the market for a while or are very new to the market. This means that sellers are likely to be eager to secure a sale, giving buyers greater control as they find themselves in a much better bargaining position.”

Simon Davies from Norman F Brown completely agrees.

“The December and the Christmas period is a great time to try to sell your property as the quality of the buyer is higher than at any other time of the year,” he said. “If someone is out house hunting around Christmastime, it generally means they are motivated to buy quickly. The speculative, non-motivated viewings decrease as people are busy preparing for Santa and won’t go out to view unless they must. There also tends to be less properties for sale around this time of year and therefore less competition to compete against for a buyer’s attention.”

Justin Flanagan from Charles Eden agrees that there is a much higher number of motivated buyers and sellers, and the ‘the viewing to sale ratio’ is much higher at other times of year. “From a buyer’s point of view, there is not so much competition and the sellers are probably motivated to move,” he said.

Think about photography 

If you’re thinking of making the most of the Christmas attention, it’s a good idea to think ahead. “Try and instruct your agent prior to putting up any Christmas decorations,” says Gina Burbidge from Royston & Lund. “This prevents the photos from looking dated if it doesn’t sell instantly.”

 

Ready for the New Year rush 

In the New Year, there will be a rush of people looking to buy and sell. Why not beat the rush by getting your sale registered or getting to know the market in December?

“January 2nd is one of the busiest days for us at Drivers & Norris,” said Steve Barron. “There aren’t likely to be too many viewings happening over the Christmas period, but it’s nevertheless a great time to get some viewings lined-up for the New Year.

“Many sellers hold off until after the New Year and miss out on the busy online searching that takes place between Christmas and New Year. Additionally, because there are fewer sellers listing their property over Christmas, those who do benefit from having less competition than they typically would have in the New Year or spring.”

Don’t underestimate the time that it takes for your home to go on the market, either.

Steve Wiggins from Bond Residential said: “Given the time it takes for an estate agent to prepare the marketing material for a property including taking photos, preparing floorplans and commissioning an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), we advise our clients to actually start the process now so that they are ahead of the competition and ready to take advantage of these peak periods.”

It is a great time to develop a strategy with your Guild agent to make sure your home launches to market in the best possible way.

“We are currently running a ‘do not disturb’ campaign which means we are preparing properties to market with EPC, floor plan and images before the decorations go up and then launching them to market over the festive period,” explained John Newhouse from Roseberry Newhouse.

“We will then start arranging viewings in the New Year when the household returns to usual. In January 2017, we arranged more viewings on the first day back than in the whole of December,” he revealed.

It’s not essential to wait until spring to sell, agrees Celeste Hannah from Hamilton Parkers. “Most sellers wait until spring and then there is more supply and more competition,” she said. “Whereas over the Christmas season, there is less supply but still high demand. By selling your home over the Christmas season, you are more likely to achieve a better selling price than you would trying to sell against the flurry of stock in the spring market.

“My tip for house hunting over the Christmas season is to contact local agents and see what stock they have ready to launch over the festive period, as most agents hold back stock to launch over the Christmas holidays. This way you may get first refusal and will get to register your interest first.”

 

The property market is still active at Christmas 

Take our word for it: people are still looking to move, even on Christmas Eve.

“We have found that year on year we have improved with agreed sales figures in December,” said Laura Scott from Cooke & Co. “I am unsure if this is to do with investors in recent years trying to secure a bargain purchase, believing that anyone on the market at this festive time of year will be desperate to sell and more likely to accept an offer, but we have also seen a vast improvement with first time buyers agreeing sales too.”

Tim Goodwin from Williams & Goodwin says it is never too close to Christmas. “Having sold property at 4:30pm on Christmas Eve before now, I have no hesitation in recommending that potential sellers should place their property on the market sooner rather than later,” he says.

“I did have a viewing one year on December 20th, with the completion due the next day. The sole purpose of the viewing was to measure the oven to ensure it was big enough to fit the turkey in, so make sure you take your tape measure to the butchers as well as the viewing if looking to complete before Christmas Day.”

 

Are you thinking of buying or selling during the Christmas period?  Why not contact us on 01765 694800 or 01845 522680 for your Free Market Appraisal.

 

If you are thinking of moving this Christmas, why not look at what properties our Sales Department have on the market right now!

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: 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: Golden Principles for Buying Property

Not all property purchases are equal. While one property investment could be the foundation to building wealth, another could be a monetary black hole. What is the difference between the two?  To ensure that you are making the most out of your property purchase, it is vital to be well-informed, savvy and make the right buying decisions from the outset. The choices you make during the property buying process will have a significant impact on the potential return on your investment in the long term.

 

Simply purchasing a home at what is considered a fair market value will not guarantee that you will see good returns in the future. Here are a few golden principles that you can apply to any property acquisition:

 

Do the research and ask questions

The first step is to decide whether you are purchasing the property as a home to live in or for investment purposes. This decision will have a bearing on how you will approach the purchase. If you buy the property with the intention of living in it as your primary residence, the decision-making process will be far more emotionally guided. In this instance you will consider aspects of the property and the surrounding area that appeals to you personally. However, if the property is for investment purposes, it is more important to research what appeals to possible tenants in the area and who the tenants might be.

Although it is possible to find a lot of information about an area online, nothing can replace checking out the location in person. Take the time to drive around the area and walk the streets. Consider what the traffic is like and who your potential neighbours could be, as well as the local facilities and amenities. Local estate agents will also be able to provide you with information regarding the local property market and recent stats and figures of sales in the area.

 

Keep it simple and stick to the basics

Irrespective of the property market phase or external factors such as Brexit, sound property buying principles remain true. These include the property’s location, the value per square foot and the potential rental yield. These factors will always be the key criteria to base your decision on.

 

Subtle variances can have a large bearing

Never underestimate the importance of location. Two homes can have the same features but have very different values depending on their location. For example, the average house price can vary by as much as £500,000 from one tube station to another in London, so it might be worth sacrificing a few extra minutes on your commute. It is even possible for homes to have different values based on which side of the street they are on. From an investment perspective, purchasing the worst home in a sought-after area is better than buying the best home in an area that is not as appealing.

If you are buying with the intention of letting the property out, you will need to consider that different aspects will be attractive to different people, so discovering your niche market is essential. As an investment buyer, you should also look at how many other rental properties are available in the area before you buy. The rental sector is driven by demand, and an investment could fall flat if there is an oversupply of properties available for rent in the area.

 

A plan is paramount

If investing, it is important to think about what you would like to achieve with your property portfolio and what needs to be done to get there. If you are buying a home to live in, it is essential to think about where you would like to settle for the next five to ten years.

Having a clear plan in place will help you remain focused and will give you something to work towards. Never limit your thinking to what you can afford right now, but rather what will be possible for you in the future.

 

Get rid of debt

Access to finance is a key element to any property transaction. While around 30% of buyers can buy a home in cash, most buyers will require a mortgage to purchase a home. To increase your chances of getting a mortgage approval, ensure you have a favourable debt-to-income ratio and keep a clean credit record.

It is also vital to have a deposit of between 10% and 20% of the purchase price of the property, as well as additional funds for solicitor’s fees, stamp duty and various other costs associated with purchasing a home.

 

A home is more than bricks and mortar

Although a return on investment is often at the core of every property buying decision, there are other aspects to be considered. The basic principle of purchasing a property is that if you wouldn’t want to live in it, it’s not likely many others would either. The property should appeal to you and you should want to own it.

 

If you are looking to buy a home you’ll want to own contact your local Guild agent.