How To Get Your Home Ready For Sale – Safely And Successfully

Property market with house and  mini house in shopping cart

 

In this three-minute read, we share four simple ways you can get your property ready for sale if you are thinking of moving when lockdown ends. And we share four things we’re doing to continue serving our clients and to keep everyone as safe as possible.

As the housing market resumes business there is some light beginning to be seen at the end of the tunnel. The messages we’ve all heard from medical officers across the UK is that if we stay very mindful of the threat of Coronavirus, we can eventually defeat this awful disease.

We can’t rush this, the lockdown is a phased process, and whilst we can conduct appointments we must do with a clear safety policy to protect our staff and customers.

The good news is there are some simple things you can do to get ahead and prepare, should you want to sell and move in the future.

By following these steps, you help give your agent the best chance of selling your property quickly, and for a price, you’re delighted with.

Four Steps to Prepare – Help Us

1)     Many of you have probably done this one already if you’ve had time on your hands. Declutter.

2)     Get any property related paperwork like warranties, guarantees, and manuals all in one easy to access place. Organize.

3)     There’s never been a better time to do those odd jobs around the home which need doing. Fix the squeaky door, clean the fascia, paint the spare room. Maintain.

4)     It’s spring clean time (ish) and having a fresh-smelling, a clean home is good for your mental and physical health – whether you are selling or not. Clean.

And while we’re on the subject of being clean.

Here are four things we will be introducing,

Virtual Viewings – We’re already doing them, and they will continue to be very popular with prospective buyers in the future. Contact us for more details.

Going Contactless – We’ll be advising sellers to leave doors, cupboards, and gates open where possible to reduce any risk during physical viewings.

Protecting Each Other – We will carry hand sanitizer and other forms of Personal Protective Equipment to every viewing.

Take a (very short) Vacation – We will be asking people to vacate their properties if there is a viewing. This could be to sit in their cars or go into the garden. We feel the use of virtual valuations will mean that prospective buyers having a physical viewing are seriously thinking about buying the property they are looking at.

We’re expecting the local property market to leap back into life with the pent-up demand.

Stay safe. We will get through this and conduct our business in a safe manner.

Estate agents go virtual and homeowners research during the market pause

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  • Not enough properties coming to market to provide meaningful new seller asking prices this month
  • Abrupt turnaround from best start to a year since 2016 to new sales now being almost impossible. Pre-lockdown sales agreed in the year to 23rd March were 11% up on the same period last year
  • Existing sellers stay on the market, with total available stock for sale down just 2.6% since lockdown
  • Agents focus on holding together sales already agreed and explore virtual viewings and valuations to help keep activity bubbling
  • What will it take to kick-start the market again once lockdown is eased?
    • Continuation of mortgage lending on the same terms as before the lockdown, aided by government incentives to encourage moving as a key part of the economic recovery
    • Forbearance by lenders to limit forced sales until employment levels recover
    • Social distancing measures may still be needed for some time to come, so safe viewing procedures will require innovation by the property industry

Given the lockdown and pausing of key activities in the housing market, statistics on the number of properties coming to market, new seller asking prices, and new sales agreed are not meaningful. You do not have a functioning market when buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell, and so the focus needs to be on what is required to help the market recover once the lockdown can safely be eased.

For the record, the average asking price of the daily dwindling number of properties coming to market in our reporting period from 8th March to 11th April saw a monthly price fall of 0.2% to £311,950, with the annual rate of increase from last April being 2.1%.

Visits to Rightmove fell by around 40% at the time of the lockdown announcement when the property was understandably not at the front of people’s minds but has now started to recover slowly across the last week. While demand has naturally been much lower than earlier in the year, current behavior on-site shows many homeowners researching their plans for the future. Rightmove’s recently relaunched sold prices section has recovered more quickly since the lockdown, with page views now running just 20% lower than usual levels.

Sales agreed and available stock for sale

The buoyant start to the year before the lockdown saw the number of sales agreed in the year to March 23rd up 11% compared to the same period last year, which was the best start to a year since 2016. Most sellers already on the market, and those with a sale already agreed, appear to be continuing with their plans to move once it has been deemed safe enough to do so. Available stock for sale is down only marginally, by 2.6%, and since the lockdown, the level of fall throughs is similar to what we would expect to see in a normal three week period.

What will it take to kick-start the market again?

The price of property coming to market was at an all-time high as we went into lockdown, fuelled by buyer demand outstripping supply, high levels of employment, and mortgage lenders competing to lend. The unprecedented government support for people and businesses will need to continue once the lockdown is eased, in order to facilitate a quick recovery on many fronts. For the housing market, the key drivers that we believe will need to be in place to support a return to a more normal level of activity are laid out below.

Low-interest rate lending with low deposits, plus government incentives

Buyer affordability is key to housing market activity, so mortgage lenders need to be in a position to be able to offer the same low-interest rates. Recovery could also be boosted by government incentives targeted at home movers such as stamp duty holidays, an extension of Help to Buy, and perhaps also the encouragement of mortgage lending. Lenders need to keep offering low deposit mortgages, which would help both the resale and new build sectors of the housing market.

Forbearance by lenders to limit forced sales until employment levels recover

It is vital that lenders show forbearance to those in arrears and do not rush to repossess, leading to forced sales. These would, in turn, put more severe downward pressure on property prices, depressing activity, and leading to damaging negative equity. Much will depend on future trends in employment rates, as most buyers need appropriate employment to get a mortgage or to keep up repayments on their existing mortgage. These are all important factors influencing market sentiment, and it’s currently hard to predict how that will fluctuate in the months ahead.

Innovation to help rebuild activity so sellers and buyers keep safe

To aid a quicker market recovery it’s very important that the property industry tries to keep some activity simmering on the back-burner during the lockdown. Then after the end of the full lockdown, it needs a plan to overcome potential buyers’ and sellers’ new-found caution, and to cope with the need to maintain social distancing during visits for marketing, viewing, valuing and surveying.

Agents’ views

Peter Woodthorpe, Director of Readings in Leicester, says: “The positive news so far is that we’ve had no sales fall through that were agreed before the lockdown. Some sellers and buyers are still proceeding on the basis of simultaneous exchange and completion while still adhering to government guidelines, for example where properties are currently unoccupied. At worst people are holding off to see what happens by the end of the lockdown, but not withdrawing from the transaction. Given the good start to the year, it’s possible that at some point in the future we may start again pretty much where we left off.”

For more information: https://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/house-price-index/

 

FREE FINANCIAL ADVICE

webbers advice

The UK ‘s mortgage market has changed profoundly in the last two weeks as the full effect of the Coronavirus has started to be felt. Lenders have been told to allow repayment holidays; moving home is virtually banned leaving swathes of home­ movers in limbo; thousands of mortgage products have been withdrawn and the bank base rate has been reduced to 0.1%, the lowest in history.

Not surprisingly, many clients have been making contact to ask questions regarding their mortgage.

Some questions you may have regarding your current mortgage position:

I have exchanged on a new property, but not moved in. What should I do?

The Government has stated that they do not want you to move during the lockdown unless it is in exceptional circumstances. If you can, therefore, delay your move then you should. Mortgage lenders are now extending the expiry date on offers by three months to hopefully allow more time, while many solicitors are adding new clauses into contracts in case purchases don’t progress.

I have completed on a new property, but not moved in. What should I do?

As with exchanges, the Government is requesting that moves don’t occur unless there is no option. If you do have to move, then take extra precautions to adhere to the social distancing rules.

Can I qualify for a repayment holiday?

All lenders are required by the Government to offer borrowers the opportunity to take a three-month payment holiday. This is true for all homeowners, Buy to Let mortgages and for clients who have used the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.
The repayment holiday is available to borrowers who are up-to-date on their mortgage payments and not already in arrears.

Should I take a repayment holiday?

We believe that over 1 million borrowers have already requested a holiday and if you are in a position where you will struggle to meet your monthly mortgage payments, then it is a sensible thing to do. You won’t need to go through a means test or demonstrate your income drop. There also isn’t a fee to pay. However, I would stress that this is not free money and that you will need to make up the missed payments in due course. Instead at the end of the three month holiday, you will n ed to agree higher repayments moving forward with your lender or extend the term of your mortgage. As such, taking a holiday will cost you more in the longer-term. My recommendation would, therefore, be to not take a holiday unless you really need to.

Also, if you are coming up to the end of term on your existing mortgage deal, then be aware that taking a repayment holiday could impact on whether or not you can qualify for a re-mortgage or a new deal with your existing lender. Please, therefore, talk to me first before applying.

It’s important that you don’t cancel your direct debit to the lender. Simply canceling the direct debit may cause issues later down the line when you come to the end of your payment holiday and could cause you to miss a mortgage payment in the future. A missed mortgage payment will show on your credit file.

I can’t get through to my Lender. What should I do?

All of the lenders have been swamped with calls from borrowers about repayment holidays at a time when they were also trying to move significant numbers of staff to remote working. Many have consequently struggled to cope, leading to long waiting times. I would, therefore, encourage you to wait a few days for things to quieten down and try again or alternatively look on the lender’s website. Most have detailed information on their response to COVID-19 and how to request a repayment holiday.

I am coming to the end of my current mortgage deal. Should I re-mortgage? A significant number of products, particularly trackers and those at higher loan to value’s, have been withdrawn by the lenders in recent days. However, over 10,000 products are still available and rates remain at historically very competitive levels. Funding may become more constrained in the future, so if you are within six months from the end of your current deal, please get in touch and I’ll talk you through the options available.

My income has dropped. How will this impact my ability to get a mortgage? All lenders look at your current income and any expected or known changes when they assess whether you can afford a mortgage. With access to a comprehensive range of lenders from across the market, I can help you find a mortgage that’s right for you and that is affordable based on your income and expenditure.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

The 2020/21 tax year started at the stroke of midnight between the 5th and 6th of April. While many individuals leave tax planning to the end of the tax year, you can look to maximize the benefits by using your personal tax allowances* and reliefs straight away. Please get in touch to take advantage of one or more of the following:

Income Tax

  • The tax-free personal allowance remains unchanged at £12,500.
  • Basic rate tax of 20% will be payable on income above the tax-free allowance and up to the higher rate threshold of £50,000.
  • Additional rate income tax remains the same at 45% on income above £150,000.
  • If you are married or in a civil partnership, you may be able to save money by structuring your finances as a couple to ensure you are using both spouse’s tax allowances. This could be an especially good idea if one spouse pays tax at a lower rate than the other.

ISA

  • The Junior ISA allowance has risen to £9,000 from £4,368 for children under 18.
  • The adult ISA allowance of £20,000 remains unchanged.
  • If you are 16 or 17 this tax year (or have children of these ages), they can benefit from both the Junior ISA allowance and adult ISA allowance (cash only).

Pensions

  •  Saving into a pension comes with great tax benefits. For a start, investments in your pension are free from Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax. Pension contributions up to your annual allowance will also receive an automatic 20% top-up from the taxman, and higher-rate and additional-rate taxpayers can claim back another 20% or 25% through their Self-Assessment.
  • Because of these generous tax rules, there is a limit to the amount you can pay into your pension. Each year, you can contribute as much money as you earn, usually up to £40,000 (although these tapers down to £4,000 for higher earners).
  • If you have not used your annual allowance in the last three years, you may also be able to make extra contributions by using carry forward.
  • Minimum pension contributions (paid by employers and employees) through auto-enrolment remain 8% (3% employer and 5% employee) of band earnings.
  • The lower limit of the qualifying earnings band will increase from £6,136 to £6,240. This means the first £6,240 of an individual’s earnings don’t count towards auto-enrolment contributions. The upper limit is £50,000.
  • The Lifetime Allowance for pension savings has increased to £1,073,100.
  • The State Pension has increased with the full allowance now £175.20.

Other Savings Allowances

  • The Personal Savings Allowance, which gives you tax-free savings interest, remains £1,000 for basic rate tax-payers. This reduces to £500 for higher rate taxpayers and additional rate taxpayers do not get any allowance.
  • The tax-free Dividend Allowance remains at £2,000 (although dividends received by pension funds and ISAs remain tax-free).

Venture Capital Trusts and Enterprise Investment Schemes

  • Although only suitable for individuals with a higher appetite for risk, there is no change to the taxation of Venture Capital Trusts, so you can invest up to £200,000 and get up to 30% income tax relief.
  • Similarly, the taxation of Enterprise Investment Schemes is unchanged, meaning you can invest up to £1 million and claim up to 30% income tax relief.

Inheritance Tax

  • Each tax year you can make a range of tax-free gifts. These leave your estate immediately and won’t be taken into account when calculating your Inheritance Tax bill.
  • All gifts to your husband, wife or civil partner (as long as the UK is their permanent home).
  • Gifts of up to £3,000 each tax year, which can be carried over one year for a total of £6,000. This is useful if you did not use it in the 2019/20 tax year.
  • Unlimited individual gifts of up to £250 per person. Although not to anyone who has already received a gift of your whole £3,000 annual exemption.
  • Wedding gifts of up to £5,000 for a child, £2,500 for a grandchild or great-grandchild, or £1,000 to anybody else.
  • Unlimited payments towards the living costs of a child under 18 or in full-time education, elderly dependant or ex-spouse.
  • Unlimited gifts from surplus income that won’t affect your standard of living.
  • The Residence Nil Rate Band has risen to £175,000 from £150,000.
  • This can be added to the £325,000 Inheritance Tax allowance when a direct descendant inherits someone’s main house.

Capital Gains Tax

  • The Capital Gains Tax allowance has increased to £12,300 from £12,000.
  • Married couples and civil partners will continue to be able to combine their annual allowances.

Landlord Mortgages

  • Landlords are no longer able to offset their mortgage interest payments against their rental income.
  • There is now only a 20% tax credit saving from a landlord’s mortgage interest.

Yours sincerely

Christine Cowley

Financial Adviser

*This information is based on our current understanding of the rules for the 2020-21 tax year.

HM Revenue and Customs practice and the law relating to taxation are complex and subject to individual circumstances and changes that cannot be foreseen.

The value of investments and any income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back the original amount invested.

QUESTIONS EVERY SELLER WANTS ANSWERED

Home buying comes with a number of different questions that you want answering yet there is no reason why home sellers won’t also have unanswered thoughts running around their head. Whilst the selling and buying of homes are completely unique processes, with a little preparation both can be stress and hassle-free.

When is the best time to sell my house?

Everyone wants to know the answer to this question but no one has the answer. Reports suggest that spring is the preferred time yet the truth is that people buy houses in spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Only you can decide when the best time to sell is based on your financial and personal situation.

How is the market right now?

Once again, this question is common in the property industry. Instead of looking at the market as a whole look at the local market. Take into consideration how much similar properties sold for and how long they were on the market. Even though negative stories regarding the UK property market may be fluent in the news, at the end of the day, people are always going to want houses.

How should I prepare my home for a sale?

First impressions are huge so make it a good one. Consider what buyers may think when they drive up to your property. Is it attractive, clean, welcoming and well-maintained? Kerb appeal is what brings potential buyers in and sets your home apart from the competition. Repair any problems and take down anything that largely relates to your family or political/religious stance. You want to allow buyers to envision their own family inside.

What should and shouldn’t I tell potential buyers?

It’s important to let a potential buyer know of any defects. The old saying ‘treat people how you would want to be treated’ applies. If you are aware of any problems then it’s best to try and get these fixed before putting your property up for sale or negotiate the price to include the cost to fix them.

How much is my property worth?

This question is one that every seller wants answered but one that cannot be answered with a general response. However, there are a number of ways to ensure that your property is worth the higher spectrum including bathroom and kitchen renovations. Take a look at the local market to see how much similar properties sold but only use this as a guide.

How do you determine how much my home is worth?

As well as a comparative market report, things such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the state of the kitchen, window quality, location, roof age and style of the property will also be taken into consideration to determine its worth.

What happens if I change my mind?

Don’t worry! An offer to buy or sell a property is not legally binding in England and Wales until contracts are exchanged. After this, there may be some legal implications but before any contracts have been signed, you just have to cover any estate agency fees.

Shall I leave appliances or not?

Some buyers appreciate appliances and big furniture items being left but some would prefer you didn’t. If you can’t make up your mind and know you don’t want to take the items with you, give the buyer an option and offer a slightly reduced price if they don’t want them.

Should I be present when someone is viewing my home?

There is no right or wrong answer here but many sellers forget that their own behavior says a million words. If you’re frosty, rude and bored then your property will have the same negative feeling. Some buyers will also feel more confident asking questions if the seller isn’t present.

How long will the process take?

This depends on the property and anyone involved in the chain. As a guide, look at the local market to compare how long similar properties were on the market for and when offers come in, ask whether the potential buyer is waiting to sell their property before they move. There is no definitive answer.

Roseberry Newhouse Guidance For Clients

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We have analyzed guidance from The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) on how we should conduct our business during the COVID-19 pandemic status in the UK.

Even before formal guidance was issued, we made the decision to close our offices and work remotely. Our teams are fully functional from an availability standpoint, but our operational ability has significantly changed which is crystallized in the information below.

For contact, please call the Stokesley 01642 711 111

Stokesley@roseberrygroup.co.uk

yarm@roseberrygroup.co.uk

Norton@roseberrygroup.co.uk

Ingleby@roseberrygroup.co.uk

Lettings@roseberrygroup.co.uk

Do I pull out of my agreed transaction?

Directly from MHCLG:

“There is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including the specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms, self-isolating or shielding. Prioritising the health of individuals and the public must be the priority.”

Please note where possible we will try and facilitate everyone’s move. There are steps that can be undertaken from a cleaning perspective, and clearly, moves are essential for a variety of reasons.

Furthermore, there is no reason why a vacant property should have its completion delayed.

There is further guidance for Conveyancers in line with agreed transactions

Directly from MHCLG:

“Conveyancers should continue to support the sales process as far as possible and should make sure their clients are aware of the difficulties of completing transactions in this period:

·      Conveyancers should continue to support the sales of unoccupied properties as far as possible.

·      Conveyancers should make every effort to support clients who are due to complete on occupied properties in the stay-at-home period to change this date.

·      Conveyancers should advise their clients who are ready to move not to exchange contracts on an occupied property unless they have made explicit provision for the risks presented by the virus.”

Your conveyancer should act to support the transaction, and we have found with two completions last week tremendous support from conveyancers to get transactions through.

Clearly, if you have a property transaction at the moment, wherever that is, there is steps you can undertake to ensure completion happens including offering cleaning services as required.

Can I speak to you about preparing my home for sale?

Directly from MHCLG:

“Getting your home onto the market may be more challenging than usual in this period. There should be no visitors to your home. You can speak to Estate Agents over the phone and they will be able to give you general advice about the local property market and handle certain matters remotely but they will not be able to start actively marketing your home in the usual manner.”

·      If you are thinking about selling, you can use this time to start gathering together all of the information you will need to provide to potential purchasers.

·      Advice for people to stay at home and away from others means you should not invite unnecessary visitors into your home, including Property Agents to carry out a market appraisal or take internal photographs prior to marketing your home; and Energy Performance Certificate assessors.

If you are currently living in your property no estate agent, under this guidance is able to access your property to either meet you for the benefit or a valuation or complete viewings on your property.

We are of course fully available over the telephone and by email and would be delighted to speak to you in regards to any property matter and give appropriate market advice on current market conditions.

However, if your property is vacant or you have developed a vacant property to the market, we can still market it and look to attend viewings in line with Government guidance on safe distancing and the number of people in attendance.

Associated work to estate agency/home-movers

Surveyors

Directly from MHCLG:

“Surveyors should not expect to carry out non-urgent surveys in homes where people are in residence, and no inspections should take place if any person in the property is showing symptoms, self-isolating or being shielded. It may be possible to carry out some of your work online and also carry out urgent surveys on empty properties, or those where the occupants are out of the property or the following guidance to stay at home and away from others.”

If you are under offer, in occupation it will not be deemed ‘essential’ a surveyor visits your home to conduct a survey for a future buyer. We found it difficult just prior to the pandemic status for individual surveyors to agree to attend and clearly if you have agreed on a transaction, and if it’s yet to be surveyed, you need to check the situation with your buyer and timescale associated.

Some buyers will be buying without recourse to a mortgage, and other buyers will have a limited mortgage, perhaps to an extent that the lender will be able to conduct a desktop only survey.

This advice could at least help move your transaction forward, but you will have the scenario of completion dates discussed above if you are living in the property you are selling.

Removals Firms

Directly from MHCLG:

“There will be people who have already committed to moving home; where possible we are encouraging them to delay their move but a small number of moves may need to go ahead. We would urge everyone to take all sensible precautions to ensure the move can happen safely.

·      Removers should honour their existing commitments where it is clear that the move can be done safely for the client and your own staff and it is clear that the moving date cannot be moved.

·      Removers should follow the latest Government guidance which currently (26 March 2020) states that work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms or coronavirus (COVID-19).

·      It is important to ensure Government guidelines are followed, including maintaining a 2-metre distance from others and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitizer gel if soap and water are not available).

·      No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild.”

Clearly, all removal firms should honor existing contracts and not pull out of agreed work. Where work is being undertaken, in the same way, we will be undertaking viewing work on vacant property, safe distance guidelines should be adhered to.

For Landlords

We look at some operational guidance for landlords released by MHCLG, for any specific questions please contact our property management team.

Lettings@roseberrygroup.co.uk or 01642 927288.

Directly from MHCLG:

“Landlords’ repair obligations have not changed. We are encouraging tenants to inform landlords early and engage constructively in the event that they encounter any issues with the condition of the property. Technological solutions such as smartphones can be used to reduce the need for in-person inspections of property issues.

However, in these unprecedented times, we encourage tenants and landlords to take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to non-urgent issues that are affected by COVID-19 related restrictions.

Inspectors or maintenance workers can still visit blocks of flats and multi-occupied properties for essential or urgent work such as inspecting and testing fire alarm and emergency lighting systems.

https://www.roseberry-newhouse.co.uk/report-maintenance

Urgent health and safety issues are those which will affect your tenant’s ability to live safely and maintain their mental and physical health in the property. This could include (but not limited to):

·      If there is a problem with the fabric of the building, for example, the roof is leaking.

·      If the boiler is broken, leaving your tenant without heating or hot water

·      If there is a plumbing issue, meaning your tenant does not have washing or toilet facilities

·      If the white goods such as the fridge or washing machine have broken, meaning the tenant is unable to wash clothes or store food safely

·      If there is a security-critical problem, such as a broken window or external door

·      If equipment a disabled person relies on requires installation or repair.”

What about my legal obligations to provide regular gas and electrical safety inspections? Will I be prosecuted If I can’t get access because I or my tenants are self-isolating?

Directly from MHCLG:

“Landlords must provide tenants with all necessary gas and electrical safety and any other relevant certification at the beginning of a tenancy (and carry out all scheduled inspections and tests where required). Where inspections have already been carried out, documents can be provided by post or in some circumstances it may be possible to provide digital copies.

“If you are not able to gain access to the property due to restrictions in place to tackle COVID-19, or are not able to engage a contractor to carry out the necessary work, we recommend you document your attempts to do so and all correspondence with your tenants.”

Clearly, there will be the need for some comprise on access between both landlords and tenants, and the Government is clear that they expect all parties to work together for access. Tradespeople can still access people’s owner-occupied residence during the COVID-19 and as of 30/03 major construction sites remain open in line with Government guidance of working practices.

We have the online portal Fixflo fully operational and have technology that allows the reporting via smartphones to take place. We will be asking all landlords and tenants to consider their obligations in line with the above.

Summary

Clearly, this is a very fluid situation, one that continues to evolve and change. As a company, we salute the efforts of the NHS in fighting this pandemic and support the efforts of the Government while adhering to their principle that business, were deemed safe to do so, continues in the most suitable form possible.

We hope that you and your family are safe and if you need to reach out to us over any property matter please pick up the phone, we would be delighted to consult with you where possible and provide operational services in line with the above guidelines.

All the very best and stay safe.

 

 

HOME SELLING MYTHS DEBUNKED

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As you go through life, you’ll find that people are always there to give their advice and opinion.

Whether it is asked for or not. Selling your home is no different and you‘ll find that suddenly everyone wants to get involved. Here are myths uncovered to help you get the most out of the process.

Spring is the best time to sell a home

While homes do sell in spring, they also sell in summer, autumn, and winter. The truth may be that people can’t be bothered in the winter and would prefer to wait a few weeks until the days are lighter and the weather is brighter- however, overall there isn’t the best time to sell your home.

You can do it alone and don’t need an estate agent

Whilst estate agent fees may make your toes curl up, going solo can actually be more difficult. Selling your home is more than just creating a fancy-looking advert- you also have to arrange viewings, market your home, establish relationships with potential buyers and filter the offers. Estate agents may get a bad reputation but ultimately they are pros at selling homes.

Noisy locations are a turn-off

Houses near roads and train stations are actually very popular these days as they indicate a closeness to transport. In addition to this, window glazing is so advanced in today’s society, that it means you can rarely hear traffic noise once inside a property.

People massively overspend on DIY projects in the kitchen and bathroom when in reality as long as it isnt too out-dated and appears clean, potential buyers don’t care. Simple improvements often have the best results so tidy up the front garden, revamp the front door and give the living room a fresh lick of paint.

You should price your home high and then reduce it if it doesn’t sell

This is one of the most common mistakes that sellers make. Price your home too low and you’ll leave money at the drawing table but the price is too high and you could miss out on offers. Instead of pricing your home with space to negotiate, price your home at its worth.

When you receive an offer, you should make the buyer wait.

When you receive an offer, you should reply straight away. When a buyer makes an offer, that buyer is ready to buy your home. Moods can change and you don’t want to lose the sale because you stalled in replying. Some people believe that waiting to reply puts you as the seller in a better negotiating position but that just isn’t the case.

Selling your property is a big decision and can be daunting and confusing but hopefully, the confusion between fact and fiction has been solved. If You have any questions, please get in touch today.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO RELOCATING

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There are many reasons for relocating, whether it is for a new job, for love or to be nearer to family

Relocating can be stressful, with many logistical details to consider, from leaving your current property to getting everything moved. To help you, we have put together a handy guide…

Finding out about the area

Relocating can be a daunting task, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area you are moving to. Your estate agent should be local experts and will be able to share their knowledge with you and find you the ideal home in a location that suits you. They will also be able to share with you places to go, local demographics, as well as advising you of local schools and catchment areas if necessary. Also, things like the nearest postbox to post all your new address cards, local dentist, local pharmacy if you/your family take medications- you can register with a local doctor on the internet by visiting the NHS website. All of these are important to know in advance.

Before the move

Have a clear out, if you have things you haven’t used in the last 12 months, then get rid. There are many useful websites for selling unwanted goods such as eBay, Gumtree and Music Magpie as well as charities such as the British Heart Foundation who can collect unwanted furniture.

Notify your utility suppliers and anybody who needs to know that you are moving. But also remember to check out the average prices of utilities in the area you are relocating to so that you don’t get a nasty shock when the first bill arrives- it will be a bonus if it works out that you will pay less.

After the move

Hold an open house and invite your neighbors round, it’s good to try to create a community for yourself, you never know you may need someone’s help to pop in a feed the cat or leave your key with.

Make friends with your colleagues and find out what there is to do in the local area and if there are any work activities- maybe they all go bowling once a month? Joining a local gym, club or sports team is a great way to meet new people.

Explore- there are so many apps including near me and many more that will help you explore your local area. Look out for the local paper, leaflets and community boards, they are full of information about local clubs, societies, and groups that you can join.

Lastly, enjoy the experience. Whatever reason for your relocation, it’s an exciting new chapter in your life and one that should be memorable for all the right reasons. Take the time to really appreciate the new start and the opportunities it will bring to your life.

TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF SELLING YOUR HOME

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The road to selling can be long and daunting but getting the most out of your property is easier than you think.

First impressions count

Nothing is more important than a first impression so make it a good one. Consider what potential buyers may think when they drive up to your property for the first time. Is it attractive, clean, welcoming and well-maintained? Mow the lawn, tidy the drive and de-clutter exterior porches. Add potted plants, outside light and revamp the door. Kerb appeal is what brings potential buyers in and sets your home apart from the competition. Remember you have to get buyers through the front door and if nothing else, your house should at least look better than your neighbour ‘s.

Choose the right price

If your home is priced too low, you’ll miss out on some money but if it’s too high, you won’t get as many offers. While you might be tempted to start with a high listing price to see what happens, overpricing can be a bad strategy. If a house has been on the market for a long time, people will assume that it hasn’t sold because something is wrong with it.

Depersonalise and declutter

Another top tip to selling your home is to get rid of all traces of pets. Not everyone loves animals and buyers don’t want to walk in and see a bowl of pet food or cats lying on the furniture.

Get repairing

As they inspect the house, a buyer wants to see that everything works including doors, locks, draw in kitchens and bathrooms, toilets, sinks, and lights. It’s also important not to ignore necessary repairs. If a buyer can see minor mistakes, it will alert them to think about the damage that they cannot see.

A fresh lick of paint

You may decide to renovate your house to sell so bear in mind that neutral colours are always best and kitchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms for prospective homebuyers. These rooms should not look like they need major renovations.

After location, good light is the one thing that most buyers want. Clean the windows, open your curtains, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the outside bushes to let in the sunshine. Whatever you can do to make your property seem brighter and cheerier will make it more sellable. Lighting a sweet-smelling candle will also only have a positive impact.

Choose the right agent

There are a number of agents to use so search around and find the right one for you. These are the people who are ultimately going to sell your home and answer those tricky questions so make sure you have faith in them and trust them.

Be flexible

Finally, the more flexible you are about visits, the more people will be able to see your home. Be ready for visitors early in the morning, at night and on weekends, with little notice. If you have any questions, then please get in touch today.

ESTATE AGENT MYTHS DEBUNKED

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Estate agents -some people love them, some people hate them! In a world that is Internet led, it is important to remember that not everything you read on the web is true.

Myth 1: All estate agents are the same

This is a common misconception. Not only are individual estate agents different but companies are also very different. Look around and find the perfect agent for you -after all this is a big job and you need to have complete trust in the person you choose to do it.

Myth 2: You need to price your house with space for negotiation

The Internet has allowed potential buyers to research the local area resulting in them being able to see what similar properties sold for. If you price your house too high, not only will you put buyers off but you also run the risk of not getting any offers, leaving your property on the market. Once a property has been on the market for a number of weeks, people begin to wonder if there is something wrong with it. Instead, focus on pricing your property on its worth.

Myth 3: Your house doesn’t need to be ‘sale’ ready

Whilst some empty houses do sell, houses that already look like ‘home’ often sell better. People want to be able to envision their own family on the property. It is also important to clean your home and repair any minor problems or DIY mistakes as if left, a potential buyer will begin to think about the things they can’t see. Most people want a home that is in a move-in condition, even if they plan to do some renovations.

Myth 4: You should choose the agent who says they will sell your house for the highest price

You should choose an agent based on their experience and knowledge of the local market. Pricing your home high may be appealing but it will just end up on the market for too long causing suspicion with potential buyers. Instead, choose an agent who you trust and have faith in.

Myth 5: If your offers are low, your agent is not working hard enough

It is very easy to point the finger of blame at an agent if your sale isn’t going as fast or smooth as you’d like. If your offers aren’t matching the asking price then it is usually because your asking price is too high!

 

Myth 6: Estate agents will say anything to get a sale

Much of the estate agent business is done on referral and if an agent constantly lied, they wouldn’t receive business. Word of mouth will soon spread about an untrustworthy agent. Check reviews and ask people in your local town to find the best agent for your property and you.

Whether you are buying or selling, the property world can be daunting and confusing but hopefully, the confusion between fact and fiction has been solved. If you have any questions, then please get in touch.

A GUIDE TO A SUCCESSFUL PROPERTY LET

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Being a landlord doesn’t have to result in fraught relationships, horror story rentals or unlimited amounts of stress. Instead, being a landlord can be a hugely rewarding job and with a few steps in the right direction, you can be on your way to a successful property let.

First things first, you should treat every tenant how you wish to be treated. When you meet to show a potential tenant around your property, look at your body language and ensure that you are open, professional and friendly. If you appear unapproachable and moody, then straight away you will give your tenant a bad impression and this makes some people unwilling to cooperate from the get-go. Likewise, it is important to be prompt in your responses. Just because it is a business relationship, doesn’t mean it can’t be friendly and it is important to NOT dismiss everything that comes out of their mouth straight away. If you are lucky enough to have a great tenant, then be a great landlord. Ultimately, if you make the tenant feel respected, they will think of you as professional and courteous.

It is also a good idea to keep a check on the property. This isn’t to say that you should be around 4 times a week but instead keep in touch with the tenant and let them know that you are always there. This will not only highlight that you are trustworthy and reliable but is also more than likely going to make the renters treat the property with respect.

If something needs fixing then fix it, after all, you wouldn’t live in a property with broken lights and a leaking toilet system so why should your tenants? When a tenant informs you about some damage, set up a time to come and inspect it. Once you inspect the damage schedule the repair immediately.

Respect has huge importance when it comes down to a successful letting. You want the tenant to respect you and the property. Similarly, the tenant will want to gain respect from you. Be realistic and treat tenants how you would expect to be treated. If they have been a fantastic renter, paying their rent on time and one month informs you that they may be late with a payment, then be willing to understand.

When things do go wrong, don’t always take matters into your own hands but instead refer to the contract. Always follow the guidelines outlined in the lease, which has been signed by all parties. If the matter hasn’t been addressed then check on local forums and get expert advice before acting.

Moving into a new property can be daunting especially if the tenant has moved to a new area. Take this into consideration. How about leaving some information about the local area, phone numbers for emergencies and added extras such as home accessories will only add to the homely feel of their new property.

It is important to remember that a landlord/tenant relationship works both ways. Being a good landlord will ultimately grant you, good tenants, making your renting journey a whole lot easier! If you have any questions about LETTING a property, then get in touch today.