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.

Top Tips for Protecting your Home in the Winter

Top Tips for Protecting your Home in Winter

  • Check the roof Have any broken or missing tiles or slates replaced and other damage repaired.  Keeping the rain out is one of the most important things you can do.
  • Clear out the gutters. Clear out leaves, moss and debris from rainwater gutters, downpipes and gullies.  Reset any displaced joints.
  • Check the roof insulation. Birds, squirrels, rats and mice can displace the insulation in the roof, and so can we when rummaging about. Check the insulation and consider increasing it, as this could help keep down your heating bill. It needs to be at least 10-11 inches (270mm) thick of insulation.
  • Boiler Serviced. Have the boiler and heating serviced and check that all thermostats and programmers are working and set at a sensible temperature. And when the house is unoccupied, turn the temperature down. Again this will save on heating bills.
  • Don’t get too cold. If you have a large old brick or stone house with thick walls, don’t let the structure get too cold as it will take a lot of energy to rebuild a comfortable temperature. Doing so may cause condensation on the walls, which sometimes results in mould and spores. These can prove a hazard particularly for those with breathing difficulties and should be avoided.
  • Draught proofing.  As to keeping the heat in your home, ensure outside doors and the windows fit well and consider fitting draught proofing strips where there are gaps between the frames.  Keep doors inside the house closed to reduce heat loss from unnecessary air circulation.
  • Don’t forget the curtains. Draw them after dark and use thicker ones if windows are single-glazed.
  • South facing windows. Keep south-facing curtains open during the day to take advantage of the sunshine, which will help heat the house.
  • Check the woodwork. Check the woodwork on windows and repair now if necessary. Otherwise, there will be a risk of penetrating damp affecting the interior of the house.
  • Check the paintwork. Check the paintwork on the window frames and redecorate before the weather deteriorates.  Thorough preparation of the surfaces and use of good quality paint is key to providing a durable finish.
  • Bleed your radiators. A great way to warm up your home is to bleed your radiators. This releases any trapped air, allowing hot water to fill every part of your radiator and warm your home more efficiently.
  • Find your stopcock. Make sure you know where your water stopcock is located. If you suffer a burst pipe you’ll be happy you found it in advance!
  • Create a power-cut kit. Be prepared for the possible winter power cuts by putting together a power-cut kit i.e. torches / blankets etc.
  • Sweep your chimneys. If your chimneys are in use, make sure that they get swept every year. This will remove the build up of dirt and grime from your chimney walls.
  • Smoke Alarm Check. Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are in full working order.
  • Emergency Numbers. Keep a list of useful numbers handy in case of emergency. Include your plumber, gas installer, electrician and doctor

 

AND IF YOU ARE AWAY FROM YOUR HOME….

  • Leave your heating on for at least an hour a day while you are away from home
  • In severe weather, or if severe weather is forecast, you should leave your heating on day and night at your usual temperature setting
  • Check that loft insulation is laid over, and under pipes in the loft
  • Consider asking a friend or relative to visit your home every day while you are away. This will mean that, if you do suffer a burst pipe, it will be detected as soon as possible. Make sure that they know where the stop tap is located.
  • If high winds are forecast, make sure objects such as garden furniture or ladders are fully secured

 

Guild Blog: How do I know if my house is haunted?

Halloween is known for its eerie tales, creepy ghouls and mysterious occurrences. We have put together a collection of spooky stories, inexplicable sightings and things to look out for. Here is a tongue and cheek look at how you know if your house is haunted. 

 

1. What’s the history?

School Lane, Turville – This quaint three bedroom property is based in a small village in Buckinghamshire and comes with an intriguing history. The tale of ‘The Sleeping Girl of Turville’ plagues this adorable village with a mystery that is yet to be solved. In 1871, Ellen Sadler fell asleep and did not wake for nine years. The case attracted the attention of the international newspapers, medical professionals and the public. Ellen became a tourist attraction for years, but not without sceptics questioning the anomaly.

2.  There’s something in the air

Darren Challis, Director of Chambers Sales and Lettings said, “I would say ask a medium to attend the property and tap into the spirit world at that location.  I can usually tell if a property has a positive or negative vibe just by being there and getting a feeling around. Sometimes the negativity can rub off on the occupants and in some cases the property will have this affect for years.”

 

3. Ask the agent

Brain Carlisle from JR Hopper & Co said, “There are a number of houses in the Dales where viewers have commented about a “bad feeling” or not being comfortable in the house. In these instances move on as they will not buy. Having said that, if I have a house with history or stories of Ghoulies and ghosts then better to make it a feature, rather than hide it and hope no one finds out. The brave and adventurous will love a good highwayman or jilted bride story.”

 

4. Is anything flying through the air?

Simon Miller, Partner of Holroyd Miller said, “Unless you live in the notorious 30 East Drive, Pontefract, Yorkshire, which is classed as one of the most haunted homes in the UK, then weird happenings are probably no more than squeaky expanding and contracting floorboards or air in the central heating pipes. However, paranormal activity can take on many guises. Are you experiencing a fine chalk like dust falling inside your home, green foam appearing from taps and the toilet, lights turning on and off, cupboards shaking, and objects levitating? Such activity was reported at 30 East Drive and they most definitely had a poltergeist. Many people report haunted happenings, from the unexplained hair-raising feelings, to objects that simply appear to have been misplaced. But in truth how can we ever really make sense and explain the unexplainable.”

5. Time for a ghost hunt

Mike Coles of Debbie Fortune Estate Agents in Wrington has some interesting top tips for all the ghost hunters out there. Study the history of your home and the region, “Allegedly, areas with a violent past can increase the risk of a haunting. You could try setting up a video camera in your home when you’re away to capture any unusual shadows on film,” said Mike. Don’t forget to rely on your senses and intuition; unusual images in the corner of your eyes, noises like footsteps and smells like sulphur can be more sinister than you think.

 

6. Animals… or not

Often, people report hearing unusual sounds, such as scratching and footsteps. Anything from rats to woodlice can make your mind wonder with all sorts of ideas. Sometimes, it is the most simple of explanations. If these sounds continue, call an exterminator to have a look around, especially in attacks and basements. If nothing is found, congratulations you have a haunted house.

 

7. When in doubt, listen to the dog

Dogs are known for their keen hearing and sense of smell. They can detect far more than humans, so are the perfect sidekick when ghostly occurrences are in your home. If you canine is barking when no one is at the front door, whimpering at thin air or staring at blank spaces, your best friend on four legs might be trying to tell you something.

8. Got a chill?

Does your home have cold spots for no apparent reason? Before jumping to any conclusions, give a call to your builder to take a look around. He may find cracks or areas which needs insulating. However, if your trusted builder cannot find a reason, then something creepier might be at large.

 

9. Misplacing little things?

Everyone misplaces their possessions from time to time, especially items like glasses and car keys. However, if this starts to happen a little too often then you might have a ghostly trickster playing around in your home.

 

10. Lights flickering

This is arguably the most noticeable sign for a haunted home. It is there in all the horror films and spooky stories. If you have checked your fuse box or even called an electrician then there is only one explanation for flickering lights…

 

We hope you have enjoyed our top 10 indicators to find out how you know if you house in haunted. Happy Halloween!

Guild Blog: Why do house sales fall through?

 

Moving to a new house can be a stressful time, particularly if a sale falls through. Don’t worry if this happens as there are often ways to get it back on track. Guild Members talk about the potential pitfalls to avoid during your negotiations and give tips to help your sale move forward. 

 

Surveys 

If something unexpected comes up in a survey, it may be a big enough problem to make the sale fall through.

Becky Evans from Mark Evans & Co said: “In our experience, most house sales fall through due to survey reports. Unexpected work picked up on a survey may cause some purchasers to walk away from a sale. We would recommend that sellers sort out any paperwork for work carried out and organise certificates to provide to your surveyor and purchaser.

“If there is work that needs to be carried out, it can be more beneficial to rectify it before going on the market, because if your sale falls through, you will still have to pay solicitor fees and may still end up paying for the work. Purchasers should fully read their survey report and ask their surveyor to explain anything they don’t understand. If surveyors have not seen any paperwork or evidence of work, they have to assume it hasn’t been done and it can therefore seem like a larger problem than it is,” she warns.

Liam Sullivan from Drivers and Norris has some advice. “Some of the more common reasons for losing a sale can be avoided if you ask the seller if they are aware of any major works having been done on the property,” he said. “Or, if alterations have been made, do they have any documentation which signs it off, either from The Council or Building Regulations?”

Chain

A chain can fall apart for many reasons, and sometimes people can get bored of waiting and find a house elsewhere.

“When you agree a sale, you expect it to go through to completion. However, this is a time when you are not in control of events. You must rely on your buyer, and maybe even their buyer, and so on until the chain is complete. Any one of these people can and do change their minds occasionally. It is often nothing to do with your property,” explains Zoe Hayle from Marshalls Penzance.

The results of a single break can be huge, too. “A sale falling through at the bottom of a chain of sales can potentially jeopardise all of the others, so one break can mean three, four or more sales falling through,” says Justin Flanagan from Charles Eden.

How can you try to stop a chain from falling through?

Becky Evans from Mark Evans & Co has some advice: “Our biggest advice to purchasers and vendors is that you may have to compromise during your sale. Also, picking the right estate agent can literally keep your sale together; our contract chaser is invaluable and on many occasions, sales would have not gone through without her.”

During a negotiation 

Negotiations can be a tricky time, and you can find yourself dealing with surprising demands. It is worth being flexible, and remember that small details should not be a make-or-break on your deal.

Cheryle Wileman from Liverpool Property Solutions says that the key is good communication. “Fixtures and fittings can also cause some fraught negotiations with sellers wanting to take fitted wardrobes etc out of the property,” she explains. “Keeping calm is often the key.”

Allan Carr, Founder of Pulver Carr, agrees that a level head can push a sale through. “I have seen a number of sales almost fall through due to silly reasons such as having to leave a tired old shed, leaving curtains, not wanting to contribute towards an indemnity policy, or not being able to agree on a completion date.

“This is where the quality estate agent mediates between both parties and get them to look at the bigger picture of completing the sales transaction,” he says.”

People changing their mind and pulling out

Situations change all the time. Someone could lose their job, a family member could become ill, or people can simply have second thoughts.

Mike Coles from Debbie Fortune has noticed a range of reasons why minds can be changed. “The seller can change their minds after first accepting the offer and decide to stay put, which is sometimes called ‘gazanging’. The seller may not be able to find another property to move to, or the buyer’s finances are not in place or their mortgage advance is rejected.

“The buyer can be ‘gazumped,’ which is when the seller receives a higher offer from another buyer. The opposite, ‘gazundering’, is when the buyer reduces their offer at the last minute, before contracts are signed,” Mike explains.

As much as a buyer may want to move ahead, they may not be able to. “Despite buyers having AIP finance, there is a changing mortgage market and tougher underwriting depending on the loan to value once an actual application is completed. This can lead to upset unless the buyer has regularly reviewed the arrangements they have made,” points out Justin Flanagan from Charles Eden.

What should you do next? 

If a sale falls through, Kelvin Francis from Kelvin Francis says: “Get the property back onto the market without delay and commence a new marketing campaign. In the event of the cause having been a result of the survey, the seller should deal with any faults.”

How can you prevent a sale from falling through? 

Don’t forget to check your mortgage status before putting in an offer to ensure that you will be accepted to buy the home.

You should always remember to be patient, especially when waiting for sales to go through. The negotiation stage can be the most frustrating as you want the sale to move ahead quickly, but it is worth taking a step back and letting the negotiations take their course.

 

The most important thing is to choose an agent who will be able to constantly chase your sale through, no matter if it is in a chain of not. A highly-regarded independent estate agent, like Members of The Guild of Property Professionals, will be experts in sale chasing and can ensure that everything possible is done to stop a sale from falling through. 

Are you thinking of selling your home? Click here to find your local Guild Member. 

 

 

 

 

http://www.guildproperty.co.uk/news/post/1510588332/why-do-house-sales-fall-through

If you are thinking of buying a property and would like a survey to help you make this decision then please contact our Survey Department on 01765 694804.

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.