Guild Blog: The Top 10 Ways to Add Value to your Garden

It is difficult for a garden to look beautiful in Winter however it can look tidy and have a little colour.
Ideas of jobs you could be doing – 

Generally tidy your garden –                                                                                    Get rid of the dead Christmas tree. 
Rake/sweep up any leaves left from Autumn. 
Cut back anything that you can, at this time of year. 
Tie back any loose branches or climbers. 
Make sure your bins look tidy. 
Kill any moss. 
Plant some winter colour – winter pansies, early flowering Spring bulbs etc

Now is the time to plan the changes you would like to make to your outside space in 2019 …

Before selling your home, most people try to spruce up their property by decluttering and doing a thorough clean. But many people forget the area that gives a first impression is the garden. We all like to get outside and enjoy a sunny summer afternoon, so make sure your garden looks appealing for a potential buyer. Here are some easy tips to follow to make your garden add value to your property. 

1. Spruce up the space 

Just like inside your home, some decluttering and garden maintenance can add value to your property. Always start with tidying and key maintenance. 

“Depending on their situation, buyers could see the garden as entertaining space, a hobby, the place where their children will play, space for their pets, a source of food or a combination of any or all of these, so it is crucial that sellers place as much importance on the presentation of the garden as they would on the presentation of the house,” says Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris in Cambridgeshire. “Good gardens can add value to a home and poorly kept gardens can detract from it.”

Susie Davies from Debbie Fortune Estate Agents in Somerset recommends maintaining the lawns. “A manicured lawn always enhances the appearance of a garden and makes it look bigger,” she says. 

Lee Hussell from Webbers in Devon has some practical advice. “The first place to start is to give your garden a good tidy up. Winters are never kind to our gardens and damage may have been caused to fences and trellis or maybe the larger shrubs and trees. Any dead growth can be cut back and fallen leaves and other debris can be removed and cleared away.”

2. Add some seasonal colour  

Once your garden is tidy, it is time to make it into a key selling point that potential buyers will love. 

“When showing your home, you want the buyers to visualise living there, so have pot plants filled with flowers to give it some colour and the lawn mowed to make it look tidy,” suggests Celeste Hannah from Hamilton Parkers in Hampshire. “First impressions count, and in the spring and summer months, you want to show your garden off to its full potential. This will definitely add perceived value and gives you a better chance to maximise the selling price.”

Pretty Garden with trees

3. Focus on what is seen first 

Struggling for time or budget? Start where your potential buyer will start and focus on this area. 

“Never forget kerb appeal, and, more relevant in the online age, photo appeal. The first impression really does count, so always start with the front garden,” says Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole in Wales. 

4. Add a key selling point 

A well-maintained garden will make sure a buyer is not put off your property, but something more can make them want to buy your property above any others they have seen. 

“A nice summer house is a garden goal for many people,” says Phil Pritchard from Williams & Goodwin in North Wales. “It often feels like an extra room away from the main property and can be utilised as anything from a place to relax, an office, a man cave or a playroom for the children.” 

There are ways to maximise the impact of an existing summer house, too. “If you have a summer house, it is worth making sure the wood has been treated so that it is weather proof and you can easily give it a face lift by adding a touch of colour,” suggests Andrew Lodge from Andrew Lodge Estate Agents in Surrey. “There are so many good quality garden paints available in neutral tones.”

Don’t forget the impact that a child’s opinion may have on the decision makers, advises John Newhouse from Roseberry Newhouse in North Yorkshire. “Buyers may love the idea of a summerhouse or man cave, and of course children will be drawn to tree houses or play areas.” 

Simon Miller at Holroyd Miller suggests caution, though. “The truth is that some people like hot tubs or summer houses and some don’t. Additions of this kind shouldn’t be thought of in terms of re-sale, however, well looked-after and presented in the right way, they will certainly present something unique and a lifestyle image that potential buyers can see the value in.”

5. Add some shed-quarters 

Sheds are not only practical, but they are coming back into fashion. They can be used from anything as a useful place to store bikes and lawnmowers to a garden retreat. 

“By putting up a good-sized shed, you are adding a useful storage space for gardeners and families with outdoor furniture and even toys,” says Andrew Lodge. 

Many people choose to work from home, and an insulated shed could provide the perfect home office. John Newhouse says: “Additional space in the shape of pods, studios or cabins provide potential work space options for house hunters.” 

Painting a garden fence

6. A little paint goes a long way 

If you’re looking to spend less to add value to your property, don’t underestimate the impact of a good coat of paint on fences, sheds and other wood in the garden. 

“Adding value to your home through the garden doesn’t have to break the bank. If you have decking or a perimeter fence, you could freshen it up with a coat of paint. If the garden is presentable it will be more attractive to viewers and could increase the price a potential buyer is willing to pay for your home,” suggests Jared Thomas from Emsleys Estate Agents in West Yorkshire. 

7. Think about the patio 

“We recommend investing in good quality patio, paving or decking,” says Andrew Lodge. “Having a professional job done will enhance the overall appearance of your outside space. Decent sized patio and decking areas add value as they are great for entertaining and alfresco dining. Adding some good lighting outside will also enable people to make the most of the garden on those long summer nights.”

8. 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? 

“Depending on the size of the garden and who it will appeal to, ensure that the lawns are cut or the terrace is swept and ideally have the garden furniture set up so buyers can imagine themselves sitting out enjoying an al fresco evening,” said John Newhouse. 

small dog in garden

9. Secure the garden 

If the people viewing the house have pets, they will want to see a garden that is fully secured to avoid an escaped dog. 

“It is important that you invest in secure fencing, walls or gates,” advises Andrew Lodge. “People like to feel secure in their gardens so that they can relax. It also makes the garden more appealing to those with young children and pets.”

10. Make it private 

If your home is overlooked by other homes or gardens, 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. It will make the potential buyers be able to imagine themselves enjoying a peaceful afternoon outside in the summer. 

Susie Davies advises that ornamental trees have a pleasing, aesthetic effect in a garden. 

Are you looking for a new home with a beautiful garden? Contact a Guild Member today to start your property search. 

VR

Guild Blog: How Virtual Reality is changing the Property Sector

In today’s fast-moving technological age, new developments in tech are constantly being introduced that are having a significant impact on the property sector. The most recent is the introduction of virtual tours and virtual reality (VR).

While Virtual Reality (VR) is by no means a new concept, rapid advancement in augmented reality technology has meant that it is now at the point of having an impact on consumers’ day-to-day lives.

What differentiates virtual reality from augmented reality?  

Augmented reality provides an additional layer of 3D content to the user’s actual surroundings, while VR fully submerges the user into a created environment and virtual world. By wearing a headset, the user is transported to another place offering them a 360-degree view of their simulated surroundings.

According to statistics, around 95% of home buyers use the internet as their initial search method when looking for a property, with approximately half of buyers purchasing a home that they found online. The integration of VR is adding to the experience and making it far easier.

What are the benefits of virtual reality?

The applications of VR within the property sector are limitless and it offers benefits to both estate agents and their clients. With most people viewing between five and seven homes before they make an offer, VR can save a lot of time and money.

It will also make it far easier to look for homes in other parts of the country or abroad without the need to travel. Buyers can virtually tour multiple properties from the comfort of their own home in a matter of minutes. The process will allow potential buyers to check through several properties and quickly narrow down the field to a few choice homes that they would like to take a second look at in person.

VR can also be an excellent tool for new build developments when the property has not yet been built. A virtual tour will turn imagination into reality, offering the potential buyer a look into what the home will look like once it is finished. Buyers will be able to view an off-plan property, make comments or suggestions and get an idea of the space and how it works before ground has been broken.

Although the majority of people have heard of VR, not everyone has had the privilege of actually experiencing it first-hand. While the technology is in place, it will still be a while before we see everyone searching for a property this way. However, that said, it is becoming more mainstream and accessible and there are already elements of VR that are already being used by the general public, such as Google Street View, which allows the user to visit city and suburb streets that they have never actually set foot on. VR headsets are also becoming far more commonplace in many households.

What can we expect from virtual reality in the future? 

Technology commentators say that in the near future we will see the introduction of haptic or kinaesthetic communication to VR. Using forces and sensations, the technology will replicate the sense of touch and allow users to see their hands in the virtual world. The user will be able to open doors and cupboards, interacting with their virtual surroundings when viewing a property.

Further developments are also being made to introduce the other senses into the VR world as well,  such as smell and taste. During a VR viewing, the buyer will be able to smell the freshly brewed coffee or baking cookies, which will have a subconscious effect on their opinion of the property. These aspects could be used to simulate the same emotional response in buyers, as they would if used in home staging during a viewing in person.

However, even with the advancement in technology and possible application, it remains to be seen whether the virtual world will ever truly rival the actual experience of shopping for a home in person.

Search for a property online today!

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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.