This month in property

This month in property


As another bank holiday weekend approaches, we've been busy selling, letting and surveying lots of properties!

This month, we're guiding you through the steps of selling your home, advice when buying your first home and tips for finding a rental property. We also take a look into the dreamy prospects of property abroad...


<span style="font-size: 18px;">Step-by-step guide to selling</span>

Moving home is consistently included in the list of life’s most stressful activities, up there with marriage and starting a family. We like to make this process as simple as possible in order to keep the transition to your new home straightforward and enjoyable, so take a look through our guide and start your stress-free move with us…

1) Cash is king

First and foremost in our guide to selling is your finances – getting these in check will go a long way to smoothening out the whole process. Speak with your bank or mortgage provider to let them know your intention of moving in order to understand your financial position – for example, are there any charges for paying your mortgage back early? Of course, organising your new mortgage or understanding your options either with your current provider or elsewhere will put you in a good position when you are ready to move.

2) Don’t budge on the budget

Once you have understood your position with your current mortgage, it is important to consider what it will actually cost to sell your home and budget for this accordingly, in order to avoid any nasty surprises during the selling process. Of course, estate agency fees should also be budgeted for as these are the foundation to selling your current property. There are also conveyancing fees for your solicitor or legal conveyancer, as well as removal costs – don’t forget to factor in how much it may cost to move your possessions. You may also need to organise care for children and pets on the day of the move.

3) Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

You have your financials in place, you know how much it is going to cost to sell your property, as well as what your mortgage options are moving forwards, so it is time to get hands-on with the property sale. Preparing your property for selling in order to encourage a quick sale will put you in a better position to make an offer of your own on a property. The premise is simple; allow others to imagine themselves in your home by decluttering and showing off the raw potential that your property can offer to them. By decluttering the surfaces and removing the majority of your personal items and mementos, a buyer will be able to imagine their own possessions in your home and therefore be more likely to purchase your property. If necessary, bite the bullet and make the bigger changes – a fresh lick of paint here and there or a tidy up of the garden will help you to sell more quickly.

4) List early

To avoid missing out on your dream property, get your house on the market as early as possible – sometimes this may seem like you’re listing too early, but don’t be afraid to take the plunge. Listing your properly early will also help to focus your mind on the fact that you have made the decision to sell, and encourage you to be active in your own property search.

5) List with us

Our experience in estate agency and commitment to customer service sets us apart from other agents in the area – if you are looking for a smooth selling process with dedicated professionals, then look no further.

6) Offers galore

Your estate agent is legally obliged to pass on all offers which are made on your property – even if they are unrealistic, so be prepared to receive lots of differing offers and don’t jump at the first one. If you aren’t happy with the offer, you can reject it outright or alternatively if you are pleased with the offer, you can accept it straight away. Between those two extremes, however, there lies much room for negotiation so think carefully about what you’re prepared to accept for your property, and how this will affect your own search for your next property.

7) Say “I do”

Great news! You've formally accepted an offer. At this stage, a formal acceptance is not legally binding – it is simply an agreement so do not rest on your laurels that the buyer is 100% committed; this is where being organised and making the process swift will help to avoid any second-thoughts by the people in your purchasing chain.

8) Contract tact

So, you have accepted an offer on your property. The next stage will be negotiating a draft contract between yourself and your buyer to cover things such as; whether fixtures and fitting are included, if they would like to seek any discounts for anything which has came up in their survey of the property and how long the passage of time will be between exchange of contracts and completion dates. Once the minutiae have been agreed upon, it is time to make the whole process legally binding and exchange contracts – if you pull out after this point then the buyer will get their deposit back and you may well be sued. If this point has passed without a hitch, then congratulations – you have sold your property! Once the exchange of contract happens, you will then have an agreed number of days to move out of the property (agreed when drafting the contracts which have just been exchanged between you and your buyer).

9) Moving day

You can move out right up to your day of completion – we’d recommend not leaving it quite so late just in case there is a problem with the moving process, but you do have the option!

10) Done and dusted?

Completion is official when the property changes ownership (contracts signed and exchanged), payment for the property is accepted and the keys have been handed over. All of these final touches occur on a pre-agreed date to ensure that all parties are in accordance, and there is no break in the selling chain. On this day, the property deeds as well as the money are transferred between the legal teams for each party, who will then register the transfer of ownership with Land Registry. Once the money has been transferred to your legal team, they will pay off the mortgage and you will then only have their fees to cover in order to finish up your sale neatly.



<span style="font-size: 18px;">10 tips for renting</span>

With 2018 being proven to be the best year for renters for a decade thanks to increasing wages and static rents, we’ve put together 10 tips to help you in your quest to find the perfect pad.

1) Clarity is key!

Knowing exactly what you’re looking for is key to your success when searching for; there will be always be plenty of choice in terms of location – but that can also be a hinderance if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Make a list and prioritise your needs; is it proximity to a specific place, public transport or local facilities that is the most important to you?

2) Poirot your property search!

Investigating the process by asking the people you know is always a good way to glean information that you may not otherwise be privy to. Ask your friends, family and colleagues about where they live, areas they like or where they would like to move to and it may well help you to find an area that you didn’t know about.

3) Sharing is caring!

If you are thinking of renting, then the initial costs may be daunting and therefore sharing the charges may be the right move for you. Having a housemate can have many benefits in terms of companionship, security and shared responsibility; however, the more tangible benefits are the financial burden being reduced. You may also be able to afford a larger property in a better area and have the benefit of a new friendship thrown in to the deal.

4) Budget is king!

Remember, a month isn’t four weeks long – often the time between pay packets can be five weeks long – and that is one of the many things to keep in mind when considering how much you can afford. Making a budget and knowing how much is sensible, without stretching yourself too much, will be a key concern when you rent your property. Don’t forget the basics either, such as Wi-Fi, TV licence and your utilities (gas, electricity and water) – make sure these are all a part of your budget when searching for the perfect property.

5) It’s a sprint, not a marathon!

This one might seem counterintuitive; however, the rental market moves incredibly quickly, and therefore if you have found a property which you have genuine interest in then moving with haste is the only option. Regularly check the advertisements for new properties, and ensure you engage in all of the communications from your estate agent so that you don’t miss out on a potential gem.

6) Preparation is key!

As we’ve just mentioned, the rental market is a fast-moving sector, and therefore being prepared to move quickly will allow you to make the right move at the right time. Be prepared by ensuring you have your deposit and initial rent saved up and ready to be handed over to secure the property, as well as having references organised.

7) Rights and responsibilities

Before signing a rental contract, familiarise yourself with your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant. These are set out on the government’s website. And don’t forget to ask about a break clause in case you find the property is not right for you. Read your contract carefully, if it gets to that, and remember that it is there to protect your rights as much as the landlord and estate agents.

8) Keep ‘em sweet!

Once you have made that step and rented a property, the importance of maintaining a good relationship with your landlord and estate agent cannot be overestimated. Respect the property so that the landlord has faith in you, and you will foster a nice, easy relationship for years to come.

9) Lights, Camera, Action!

Once you’re in the property that you have rented, a recommendation from us would be to take extensive pictures of the property – all of the walls, floors and kitchen/bathroom so that you have a point of reference when you move out. These may come in handy when you have the discussion around getting your security deposit back – being able to show the state of the property initially will prove you have treated it well. Similarly, taking photographs of meter readings will be useful when you are paying for your utilities as these will show the point at which your bills should start.

10) Leave the door open!

When you have decided that the rental property which you’re in isn’t fit for purpose anymore, don’t burn any bridges by leaving it in an untidy state or parting on bad ways with your estate agent. Remember, we all need somewhere to live and you will more-than-likely be working with these people again in the near future to either rent another property, or to buy a property, and therefore having an established relationship with them will reap rewards for your future self.



<span style="font-size: 18px;">First-time buyer's guide to making an offer</span>

If you’re a first-time buyer and have begun the hunt for your first home, you may think that once you’ve found the right one you simply offer what they ask for; job done! However, when it comes to making an offer on a home, there’s a bit more work that should go into it than simply offering the price advertised.

You need to be confident when making an offer that you’re not going to be stung by an inflated asking price or take yourself out of the running by offering too low. To help you prepare, we’ve put together the following information to help you through this stage of the home buying process.

Get some advice

The first step and arguably most important step you need to take is speaking to an expert. If you’re a first-time buyer, then you probably don’t have a wealth of knowledge on how the market works and what you can and can’t afford. Get in touch with a mortgage advisor, get informed on how it all works and more importantly, find out what your price range is so when you do make a formal offer you can do so with confidence.

Research the local market

Once you know how much you’ll be able to spend, it’s time to get a better understanding of your local market. The more research the better. Take a look at what’s up for sale and find out what your budget will get you in each area.

Build a list of key features that your home will need, such as the number of bedrooms or a driveway. The chances of you moving into your dream property with your first move are somewhat slim; however, it’s important that you know what you’re looking for and how much it will cost you in each area.

It would be wise at this point to get in touch with a local estate agent. You can do as much research as possible, but a good local agent will always be a benefit as they will know the market like the back of their hand. This means that they can fill you in on what to expect from vendors and hopefully help you avoid any pitfalls.

Get out there and book some viewings

Now that you’ve done your research on what you want, what you can afford and what the market has to offer, it’s time to book some viewings and get out there. Things can move very quickly in the property market, so your previous work and research leading up to this point will come in handy as there’ll be no time wasted travelling to unsuitable areas or over-priced properties.

While viewing properties, be sure to check out the building's structure and not just its décor. Check for any damage such as cracks in walls or damp. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting into and have a good idea of the current state of the home as it can help form your offer.

When you find the right home, be ready to act!

If you’ve managed to find the right home, then it would be best to act quickly as there’s a good chance you’re not the only one eyeing up that house. If you’re ready to make an offer, consider a few things before doing so. How much do other similar properties go for in the area? Does the property need some repairs? Have house prices dropped slightly since the home was first put on the market? We’d all love to knock a few thousand off the asking price, but the seller isn’t going to make such a concession easily, so if your offer is lower than the asking price, you’ll need to demonstrate why.

The Final Steps

Now before you finally put your offer on the table, try and organise all your paperwork so that if your offer is accepted, you can get the ball rolling quickly.



<span style="font-size: 18px;">Where are the best places to buy abroad?</span>

As the British winter can be unforgiving, you would be forgiven for dreaming of warmer climates. Sandy beaches, shining sun and stunning seas sound like the perfect tonic to these grey months, don’t they? Read through our guide of the best places to buy property abroad - for investment purposes or for quality of life - and you could turn these dreams in to a reality this year.

Looking for an investment?

If you’re looking to diversify your investments and pour some of your money into another country where price growth is in the midst of a boom, then look no further than Hong Kong. In the last 12 months, property prices have increased by 15.7% in Hong Kong, meaning that if you had made a £100,000 investment, you would have made £15,700 profit in just 12 months – certainly not to be sniffed at.

Closer to home, the archipelago of Malta, in the Mediterranean between Sicily and North Africa, is reaping similar property price growth to Hong Kong. With a 12-month increase of 15.7% in property prices, investing in this small island could reap you big rewards, but move quickly as in the last six months prices have been growing at a slightly slower rate.

Looking for a holiday home?

If you’re looking for a pied-à-terre in the sun, then these are some of the most popular, and most affordable destinations for Brits buying abroad.

Spain

If you’re looking for a new life in the sun, then Spain is the go-to destination for a multitude of reasons; the warmer climate, sandy beaches and ready availability of holiday homes to name just a few. The average property search by Brits looking to buy in sunny Spain centres around the popular locations of Torreviaja, Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca, with the average search price at £117,131.

France

Just across the English Channel is our nearest neighbour France, and it remains a popular choice for overseas property purchases. The so-called “l’Hexagone” (the Hexagon) due to its roughly hexagonal shape, France is an entirely different proposition to that of Spain. With rolling countryside, mountain ranges and gastronomy renowned around the world, France offers a quality of life which is difficult to rival. In 2018, the average property search price in France was £137,741; however, in many parts of the country you would need a lot less to purchase an appropriate holiday abode.

Portugal

This certainly isn’t the cheapest option if you’re looking for an affordable apartment abroad, but its recent popularity means that it is worth considering. The typical property search price topped £220,000 last year, showing the ready appetite to spend in the country, but also reflecting a growing desire by Brits to take the plunge full-time and move to the country. With extremely agreeable temperatures throughout the year, a laid-back lifestyle and great tax benefits, Portugal could be the right choice for you.

Florida

If Europe is too close to home, then Florida mustn’t be ignored. With sunshine practically all-year round and the advantage of no language barrier, it remains a firm favourite amongst families, as well as those aged 60+ who are drawn to the quality of life on offer. With some of the world’s best golf courses, theme parks, shopping malls and sporting facilities, it is practically impossible to be at a loss for activities in Florida. All of these amenities come at a cost, however, with the average property price search at £385,178 and the most popular areas being Davenport and Kissimmee.