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23Oct

Do you know about the different ways to sell your home? There are lots of different ways to sell your home, but the main two options are paying a flat-fee up front, which is favoured by DIY models, and the 'no sale, no fee' model, that you'll find on the high street. 


There are different types of estate agent model out there, but at The Guild, we recommend the 'no sale, no fee'. This means that you don't have to pay until your house is sold, so there is no risk of having to pay for no results. 


Watch the video to find out more: 



The 'no sale, no fee' model is used by nearly all 'traditional' estate agents, which means your friendly local estate agent who has a shop on the high street. Be sure to look for this when you decide to sell your home. 


When you choose the 'no sale, no fee' option, it means that your estate agent wants to sell your home as much as you do - they won't get paid if they don't! 


What are the differences?


DIY model 

  • Pay a flat fee up-front 
  • Payment is due no matter if the agent sells your home or not
  • Usually conducted online 


'No sale, no fee' model 

  • No commission is taken until the sale goes through 
  • Agents are paid on commission, so they want the same as you: to sell the home 
  • Usually has a high-street office, giving consumers an in-person point of contact 


The choice is yours, and you are free to pick the model that best suits your needs. At the Guild, we recommend the 'no sale, no fee option because agents with a commission-based fee structure aren’t paid until they get results, meaning their priority is the same as the homeowners: to sell the property. 


Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild, said: “There has been a rise in the number of DIY packages with up-front fees available to consumers, but no-one has truly explained the pros and cons of each service, so we want to educate the public about the different options that are available. 

“At The Guild, we strongly recommend the high-street option of ‘no sale, no fee’ to ensure that the seller gets the best service and best price for their home in the shortest possible time.” 


The Guild is a network of the best 800 independent estate agents around the country. Find out why you should choose them to sell your home. 


Click here to find your closest Guild Member.

16Oct

Are you thinking of renovating a property? Here are The Guild's top tips to make sure your renovation goes to plan and stays on budget. 



Lots of people become property developers, where they can take a neglected home and turn it into a beautiful house that lots of people will want to buy. Keeping to a strict budget can mean that there is a lot of profit to be made here, but getting carried away can mean that the developers do a lot of work for little or no reward. 

Doing a property renovation can be more work than people anticipate. Plus, you need to get the property for the right price, no matter if that is buying it from an estate agent or bidding at auction, to make sure that you sell for a profit. 


The Guild is a network of the best 800 independent estate agents around the country. Find out why you should choose them to sell your home. 

Click here to find your closest Guild Member. 

12Oct

You’ve found the perfect tenants, they’ve moved in without issue, and you’re expecting smooth sailing with the tenancy. But then you check your bank account and find that rent hasn’t been paid that month. What do you do? Guild Members share their expert advice to help in this tricky situation. 


1. Communication 

All of our agents agree that communication is key to keep track of payments and to resolve an issue with tenants. 

First of all, it is important to check to see if rent is due on time, rather than realising later in the month. 

“Check your bank statement the day after the rent is due,” advises Louise Cawley from Newland Rennie. “Your tenant has a responsibility to pay rent the same day every month as if he/she were paying a mortgage, the rent should never be late. If the rent has not come in there may be a simple explanation, a telephone call to the tenant may sort the matter out very quickly.”

“When a tenant defaults with their rent, the first steps are to contact them,” said Suzanne Bellamey of Jackson Green & Preson. “Non-payment of rent does not always mean you have a bad tenant. Sometimes their personal circumstances may change throughout the tenancy, such as losing their job or suffering from ill health and relying on sickness benefits.”

If a miscommunication has happened in the past, now is the time to fix it. 

Sarah Green from Mundys says: “Communication is key with tenants to enable the right course of action to be taken in the event that a tenancy is not running as planned. You need to ensure that all the correct information and guidance is provided to the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy so that the tenant is clear on what, when and how payments can be made.”


2. Clear records 

Be sure to keep clear records of all communications and decisions while you are trying to get rent from the tenant. It may be needed in court, though hopefully the dispute won’t reach that stage. 

Sarah Green from Mundys said: “You should ensure that you keep a record of contact with the tenants, a clear statement of account and copies of letters or notices served to a tenant.”


3. Guarantor 

Does your tenant have a guarantor to pay their rent if they are unable to? Now is the time to find their contact details. 

Sarah Driscoll from M&M Estate & Letting Agents says: “Remind the guarantor of their agreement to pay the rent should the tenant not be able to. As with the tenants, keep any conversations and emails professional.”

Emma Foreman from Complete Property agrees that talking to the guarantor could solve the problem. 

“If you have a guarantor for the tenancy, speak to them immediately as it is likely that they are unaware of any rent issues and may be in the position to pay the rent over directly themselves,” she says. 




4. Insurance

Landlord insurance is always a good idea to have in case of situations like rent not being paid. 

“If you have any form of landlord insurance now is the time to review the terms,” says Sarah Driscoll from M&M Estate & Letting Agents. “Should you need to make a claim, you want to make sure you have adhered to the T&Cs of the policy. Depending on your insurance, you may find they take things out of your hands.”

Suzanne Bellamey from Jackson Green & Preston has further advice on landlord protection. “I recommend that all landlords take out a ‘Rent Guarantee’ cover offering legal cover, rent arrears and offers financial help for part of the empty period of the property once possession has been obtained through the courts, whilst the property is either being re-advertised or brought back to a satisfactory standard, paying part of the monthly rent.”

Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris says: "A good policy will protect against lost rent when a tenant stops paying but does not vacate a property and will also cover the legal costs involved in recovering possession of the property. This is something we would strongly recommend to any Landlord, though it is important to check and understand the full details of any policy and the cover it provides." 


5. Timeline 

So what should your communication plan of action be? 

“When a tenant doesn’t pay, the first thing is a call, email or text to the tenant (the initial check) to ask why,” suggests Joe Gervin, in-house solicitor and Director of LPS in Liverpool. 

“Keeping a record of all initial communications is key in case it is required as evidence in court. We would normally recommend a grace period of seven days from due date to allow for banking logistics. If the initial message or call doesn’t work then a formal letter requiring payment forthwith (usually in 7-14 days) is required. Keeping a copy of this letter is imperative. If rent is still not received, then attendance at the property is required. Give 24 hours’ notice that you will be attending to inspect the property to discuss arrears.”




6. Legal

If communicating clearly and giving the tenant time to pay hasn’t solved the issue, it is time to consider legal action. 

Sarah Green from Mundys says: “If a landlord is experiencing difficulties with a tenant, speak to the letting agent who will provide guidance on how the matter can be handled. A Legal Adviser and Landlord Bodies such as National Landlord Association can also provide useful advice and guidance for members. 

“In the event that the tenant is not keeping up to date with their payments and the landlord is unhappy, it is important to serve the correct section notice at the correct time. A Section 21 notice provides the tenant with a minimum of two months’ notice, coinciding with the fixed term of the tenancy, of the Landlords intention to regain possession. A Section 8 notice can be served where a tenant is two months in arrears and provides a shorter two-week notice of the landlord’s intention to regain possession. Serving the appropriate notice promptly can stop the issue escalating.”

Jenny Owen, Sawyer & Co agrees, though recommends leniency if the tenancy has been successful up to that point.  “If the tenant has always paid on time in the past it, depending on the situation you may decide that giving them a small period of breathing space to catch up is fine, otherwise depending on how long they’ve been in the property, you have the option of contacting your solicitor and serving notice under Section 21.”

The Guild recommends seeking the help of a qualified advisor, such as a solicitor, to get the best advice before serving a legal notice. 


7. Solutions going forward 

If you are able to resolve the problem and the rent is paid, it is worth looking at solutions to make sure the tenant can pay on time in future. 

“If you understand the reason for a late or non-payment of rent, you are able to look at simple solutions. For example, an alteration to the rent payment date so it coincides with the timing of work incomes, or a payment plan if the tenant is struggling to make a single larger payment per month. This will prevent the situation from escalating.”


05Oct

Have you ever seen a property that just seemed to be trying a bit too hard? Over home-staging, or trying too hard when decorating a property in order to sell it, is a surprisingly easy thing to do. Our agents share their stories of homes they’ve see that have been over home-staged, and what you can do to prevent this problem. 


1. Be genuine 

According to Steve Barron of Drivers & Norris, trying too hard can be a major turn-off for potential buyers. Steve says, “we don’t come across many over-staged homes in our area, and we don’t advise our clients to do so either. Around here, home-baked bread, the smell of fresh coffee or bowls of fruit could appear a little corny.”

2. Don’t do too much

According to Matthew Higgins of Sawyer & Co., “an over-staged property is always easy to spot. There’s too much artwork on the walls, too many cushions and throws on the sofa, and the most major mistake: a dining table set for a banquet. Less is always more when it comes to staging a home.”

3. Don’t underestimate the power of flowers 

While overdoing it on the floral front can spell disaster home-staging-wise, a bunch of flowers helps to keep things homely. According to Dominique Scott of Sawyer & Co., “a subtle yet attractive vase of flowers in a few of the rooms is always a nice touch.”

4. Remember that you’re selling a lifestyle

Part of what you’re offering to a potential buyer is a lifestyle. One of the major problems with over home-staging a property is that “it makes it incredibly difficult for a potential buyer to see past the sellers’ belongings. Buyers aren’t just buying a home, they’re buying a lifestyle. Seeing a room set up like a banquet hall could be very off-putting for a potential buyer that doesn’t use a formal dining room. It can make it very hard to see the space in any other way,” adds Dominique. 

5. Over home-staging can make buyers suspicious

Why are over home-staged properties so off-putting, and why can’t potential buyers look past them? Steve Barron of Drivers & Norris explains, “When anyone tries too hard to ‘sell’ something, it can be off-putting. Most of us don’t like feeling that we’re being pushed in a certain direction, and may start questioning the motive of the seller. Are they trying to draw the potential purchasers’ attention away from an unflattering view or a building defect? That said, if they like the property, they will more than likely still be interested in it.”

6. Avoid clutter

Box up anything you don’t need before the move. Nicole Cox of Wye County says, “I always tell the vendors that if they don’t need it, pack it up ready for the move, because less clutter means more space and more space equals more money! It’s a simple equation.”

7. Make sure rooms are well-lit

Customers won’t want to buy a house if they can’t see what it looks like. Steve adds that sellers can “emphasize a property’s best asserts by fully pulling back curtains and making sure rooms are generally well-lit, either with natural light or artificial light. If the house is lit by artificial light, make sure that the lights are already on before a prospective buyer arrives.”

8. A few extras go a long way 

Hang window treatments to showcase high ceilings and hide low ones, and use fresh towels in the bathrooms and nice white linens on the beds. All of these things can be taken with the seller after they’ve sold their home, and they offer a blank canvas for a potential buyer. Don’t hesitate to hire an interior designer if you’re really stumped. They can help steer you in the right direction, decorating-wise. 

9. Think understated 

Highlight the lightness and cleanliness of your home before you do anything else. Nicole says that “houses that are clean, tidy and welcoming, with tasteful and understated décor and furnishings will always sell for a premium. There’s no need to make it any more complicated.”

10. Depersonalise

Interior design is a matter of taste, and your particular taste may not appeal to everyone. Take your personal taste out of any home that you’re staging, and think of choosing neutral tones that will open up spaces. 


Are you considering selling your home? Contact your local Guild agent today to see how they can help you sell your property. 

05Oct

The air is turning cooler, the leaves are falling and the days are growing shorter. There are a variety of jobs you might want to carry out as autumn goes into full swing. Guild agents share their comments on the most important things to do this autumn before putting your house on the market.


Zoe Hayle, Marshalls Estate Agents

“Now that autumn is upon us, it is essential to keep up to date with home maintenance. Firstly, the leaves have turned and are falling, so check gutters before they become blocked. Clear any garden debris to ensure the space is tidy. Try updating pots with some autumn/winter colour to add kerb appeal. 

"Check your heating system, does it need a service? Has the chimney been swept? Is the insulation in the roof space fit for purpose? Check the windows, doors and trickle vents. Remember that a warm, welcoming and cosy experience at this time of year can really set the scene for a great viewing,” says Zoe. 


Chris Sawyer, Director, Sawyer & Co Sales and Lettings

“There are many essential tasks that should be on every sellers’ to do list.  

“It won’t be long until many of us will be firing up our boilers to get us through the cold months, so having your boiler serviced and bleeding your radiators is a good place to start.

“For those who enjoy an open fire, check when the chimney was last swept. Now is a good time to replenish the wood store because who doesn’t love an open fire?

“To keep your sash windows in good working order now is a good time to sort out those rattles and drafts. Give them a bit of an overhaul and some TLC before the autumn gales start.

“Before the temperature drops, make sure you pay attention to the exterior of your home, too. Gutters are important to add to your list, they often gather moss from your roof and now is a good time to check if they have got any gaps where they join. Autumn is the wettest month, so a visual inspection of any flat roofs, flashings or fire walls is essential,” explains Chris.




Brian Carlisle, J. R. Hopper & Co

“Selling your house this autumn? Keep it bright! Nights are drawing in, and days are dull, so getting light into your home is really important. Make sure all the summer garden growth is trimmed back from windows. Clean windows, and remove any net curtains to maximise the light and the view. Ensure all lights in the house work, and ideally are bright modern LED bulbs, not the low energy bulbs which only warm up long after the viewer has gone. Turn all the lights on before the viewer arrives, and don’t turn them off until after they leave, a few pence spent on electricity can be worth thousands of pounds on the sale to create the right impression. 

“It is essential to keep your home welcoming and safe as winter approaches. Ideally heating should be left on low, with a timer to ensure that the house always feels aired when viewers visit. If the heating can’t be left on then the house needs to be winterised, with water turned off, and drained down, and heating system either drained, or have antifreeze added to the system. Prevention is much better than cure and it is really difficult to sell a house if the pipes have all burst,” explains Brian.


Matthew Flowers, Property Lifestyles

“I would suggest making sure all exterior lighting is in good working order before the clocks change. This always takes many of us by surprise, so make sure the lights are on during a viewing. And don’t forget home security during the dark winter nights. A few minutes spent making sure that all locks work properly and windows are closed will help to keep your home safe,” says Matthew.


Simon Miller, Holroyd Miller

"If you haven’t already, make sure you service your gas boiler, and if you burn solid fuel ensure your chimneys are swept. The maintenance is critical to ensure you will not fall foul of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

"We have had very high winds already and there will be more to come, fix those slipping roof tiles and any loose mortar from the ridge tiles, and don’t forget the gutters. If water can’t flow freely through the gutter it will find its way into your house via the roof. A badly maintained roof will lead to big problems and huge repair bills later down the line. 

"Our advice is to make the maintenance tasks annual as it’s much cheaper, easier and it ensures your home is in tip-top condition should you want to sell it later," concludes Simon.


Are you thinking of moving house? Contact your local Guild agent to start your property search. 

03Oct

Being able to spot an up-and-coming area could be a fantastic business investment. Coming to an area before it has become popular means that prices are low, and have a long way to rise. It also means that you could secure a property in a prime location, giving easy access to improving shops and amenities. 

Watch our video to find out how you can spot an up-and-coming area. 



Contact your local Guild Member for help with buying a property

26Sep

Are you dreaming of building your own home? Buying land and building a property on it is a dream many people share. But what about the logistics? Buying land and building your own house is uncharted territory for most people. 

David Davies of David Davies Estate Agents has seen this process happen time and time again. With almost thirty years of estate agency experience, David has seen many people build their dream homes on land that they’ve bought for that purpose. He’s seen where things can go wrong, and all of the ways that a buyer can prevent these things from happening. Read on for David’s do’s and don’ts for building your own property. 


Q: So you want to buy land to build a home. What should you be looking for in the land? Are there any red flags to watch out for? 

A: Firstly, when looking to buy land to build your dream home, carefully consider the land’s location, size, and surroundings. This includes whether the property would be an appropriate size or style that will fit with the neighbours, which will become an important factor when you apply for planning approval. 

Q: Is it feasible to demolish an existing property on land that you’ve purchased?

A: Always do a land registry search. It’s a small cost to pay, but can tell you a lot about the land you’re considering. The search will be able to tell if the property is registered. If it was built before 1982, it may not be registered, and unregistered land can take time to get papers in order, especially if you’re relying on old deeds, when it may be very difficult to prove title. 

If you’re demolishing a property, you will certainly need an asbestos survey. You can’t just knock a property with asbestos down, and removing asbestos can be a costly job. You’ll also need a bat survey, which usually entails an initial survey and often a ‘dawn and dusk emergence survey’. Before building, you’ll need a geotechnical survey, as without this unexpected building costs can arise, which can add thousands of pounds to your build cost. 

Q: You’ve bought the land, and now want to go ahead with the build. What kind of permissions do you need, and how will this affect the time frame of building your house?

A: Step back a little. Before exchanging contracts, it’s essential to put a preliminary enquiry into the planning department. This is called a pre-application. You will need to get an opinion from the local planning department, to see if they will grant full approval to build. You can prepare and submit this yourself, as long as you can sketch a rough idea of your design. The cost of doing this is currently £140, so it’s not a large risk, but if you buy first and don’t get approval, it could be a costly mistake.

Q: What happens after you’ve applied for permission? 

A: Subject to the above, you now own the land. You then need to employ an architect or an architectural designer to save money. They will discuss your design requirements, and be warned, architects can charge up to 10% of the property’s build cost, though designers will cost less. Visit the RIBA website to find a list of local firms. 

Q: What else should I be aware of? 

A: Definitely think about utilities (gas, electricity, main drains, etc.). All these things will add to your total costings. A tip here is to get your solicitor to do a ‘multi search’, which doesn’t provide all the locations of various utilities, but will help you through the process of dealing with the public companies. 

Q: What about trees?

A: Check and see if there are any trees preventing your build, and if so, if there are any tree protection orders. Speak to the councils’ tree specialist; they are free, knowledgeable and usually very helpful. You may need to employ a professional tree surgeon, especially if the land is heavily planted. Try to find land that’s not too overgrown. 

On another note, make sure that there’s no Japanese knot weed on the land. I’ve seen clients struggle terribly with eradicating it, and it would put me off the land completely unless the seller has it removed by a specialist, who can provide an insurance-backed guarantee that it has been successfully eradicated. 


Contact your local Guild Member to find out about land for sale in your area. They will be able to guide you through the buying process, too. 


23Sep

Waiting for an offer to come through on your home can be a tense time. Offers do not always follow viewings, and it can be frustrating to feel like you can’t do anything to help. However, this isn’t the case. There are plenty of things you can do if your house isn’t getting as many offers as you’d hoped. If your property sale seems like it’s stuck, Guild agents have some advice for you. 


1. Changing the price

Changing the price was the number one recommendation from Guild estate agents. 

“We always encourage a vendor to put their property on the market at a price we know it will sell at, taking location, demand, and physical attributes into consideration,” says Simon Miller of Holroyd Miller

If you are thinking of not following your agent’s advice with pricing, this is something to consider. 

“The housing market is price sensitive and studies have shown that most buyers will choose not to view a property if they think it is overpriced. It is difficult to be completely accurate, but the price should be based on evidence from the sale of similar properties,” said Steve Thompson of Thomas Morris

Peter McHugh from Webbers says: “The price should be backed up and confirmed by established market evidence. An agent’s job is to secure the best price in a time frame that suits the client. The price should maximise the potential; too low and a quick sale could damage the agent’s reputation, too high and marketing may be in vain. It should be as high as possible whilst still attracting viewers.”

If there is something that may put off some buyers, such as traffic noise or poor parking availability, make sure the house is priced to reflect that. 

“Excuses can be that the property is not big enough, has too much traffic noise, that there’s not enough bathrooms, or even the wrong parking, but these are all other ways to say that a property is too much money. If priced correctly to allow for any downside, it will sell,” said Nicola Cox from Wye Country

So, when should you think about a price change? 

“Under prevailing market conditions, if a property has been on the market for 12 – 15 weeks and/or has had 12 – 15 viewings and has not sold, then something is the matter,” advises Mike Coles from Debbie Fortune



2. Condition and presentation 

Well-presented homes in a good quality condition tend to sell the fastest. The viewer can imagine themselves moving in right away, making it more attractive. Our agents have some tips. 

Simon Miller from Holroyd Miller says: “After price, the next most common reason that a house isn’t selling quickly is that it looks like too much work for a potential purchaser. A lot of people do not have the extra cash required to completely facelift a property. 

“If the price reflects the condition of the property then this shouldn’t be an issue, but if the condition is poor and the property is marketed at a premium price, the opportunities for a sale are limited. People either want to be able to visualise moving straight in, or are looking to take on a project – but at the right price.”

First impressions are vital, according to Gina Burbidge from Royston & Lund. “The garden will be the first thing your buyer sees so make sure it looks presentable and ensure you have cleaned your front door and external window sills.” 

Zoe Hayle from Marshalls Hayle says: “A good idea is to stand outside your home as though you are viewing it for the first time, this will help you notice if anything is off-putting as a first impression.  Good housekeeping is essential now, so keep everything clean and clutter-free. If your home feels welcoming, you will be half way to achieving a sale.”

Make sure you pay attention to the whole property, advises Abby Wheeler from Keats Estate Agents. “Most people focus on the interior of their property, however, first impressions count and the first thing that people see is the exterior. Ensure your bins are not overflowing and your pathway is weed free, pop a lick of paint on the front door and add a pot plant (or two). Do whatever you can to make your home feel inviting from the outset. Don’t forget that viewers have probably already driven past before making the appointment.”

There is more to think about during the viewings, too. 

“Sellers need to maintain the property whilst it is on the market. Cut the grass, clean the windows, and pull out the weeds. They also need to allow the agent to work freely in the property whilst showing potential clients around, and be able to answer any questions,” recommends Ken Morton from Apple Homes

3. Have the right estate agent for you 

Has your agent been putting in a lot of work? If yours clearly isn’t, it may be time to consider going to a different company. 

“Good agents work hard to proactively sell a home,” says Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris. “They spend time phoning out to talk about a property rather than waiting for buyers to phone in, they take time and care over the presentation of the property with quality photographs and informative details and they update the presentation in response to feedback from the market. 

“A good agent will value properties correctly, attain detailed knowledge of the property, and know the area and the buyers. They are able to use this knowledge to put the property together with the right buyer. A poor agent could be the reason a home is not selling.”

Peter McHugh agrees that it is best to have an agent who knows the area inside and out. “Choose a good agent with a recognised reputation. Make sure the promotional material, including photographs, brochures, advertising and web coverage are all excellent to make a good first impression. Pick an agent who really knows the marketplace.”

Mike Coles from Debbie Fortune advises buyers to check that they are getting the service they should. “Ask yourself: what is your agent doing for you? What does your marketing literature look like? Does the photography or video show it at its best? Are they advertising the property? Are they keeping in touch? Adequate feedback is vital as it may highlight actions which need to be carried out.” 

Kevin Parson from Marsh & Parsons advises sellers to check that their agent is giving clear information across all platforms to avoid confusing any interested parties. “Make sure every advertising medium you use is consistent in its message. The brochure should have the same photographs as the online advert. The wording should be the same on both. Don’t confuse your potential buyers by adding and omitting important information.” 



4. Market conditions 

Before making big decisions, consider the state of the market. 

“The housing market is a changing and evolving thing,” points out Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris. “Prices can go down as well as up for any number of reasons including economics, time of year and market sentiment amongst others. A property may not be selling due to changes in the market and the price and marketing made need adjusting to react to market changes.” 

5. Listen to feedback 

Agents should be able to get an impression from a potential buyer who decides against making an offer. Ask to hear all feedback and act upon it to achieve the sale. 

Steve Barron, Drivers & Norris, advises: “Use applicants’ feedback to work out if there’s a common theme as to why people are not interested in the property and then remedy this, if possible.”

If you’re unsure, ask your agent to ask more questions of the viewers next time. “Sellers often get little price opinionated feedback, so asking a potential purchaser what they would be willing to pay is a very important question,” says Daniel McGowran from Gibbs Gillespie

Are you having a hard time selling your property? We can help. Find a Guild agent near you today. 


05Sep

Selling your home with a Guild Member? Your property could go on display at The Guild's London Looking Exhibitions, taking place in October 2017. It is a great chance to widen your audience, showcasing your home to London buyers who are looking to move out of the capital. 

Londoners are looking to move out of the big city now more than ever. Make sure you capitalise on this trend by using The Guild's London Exhibitions in their head office on Park Lane, Mayfair. It's a great chance to get your property seen, and you may even find a buyer. 


Find out more in our quick video: 


Click here to find your closest Guild Member. Ask them about exhibiting at the London's Looking Park Lane Exhibition to get your property in front of a whole new audience. 

29Aug

Good news this month, a total of 157 Members of The Guild of Property Professionals have passed the Associate Scheme in sales and lettings in July. 

The Associate Scheme covers fundamental knowledge for sales and lettings with 40 separate modules to pass.

On completion of the scheme, they have all become a Guild Associate. To mark their achievement, property professionals received a certificate, featuring the trading standards logo. They also received a  badge and a Guild Associate Reward card.

Iain McKenzie, CEO at The Guild of Property Professionals says, “Congratulations to all the Members who have passed the Associate Scheme in July. Trust and confidence is one of the four pillars of strength within The Guild. This not only applies to the relationship we have with our Members, but more importantly our Member’s relationships with their customers. We look forward to more people passing next month across our network of 800 of the best independent estate agents across the UK.”

                                                                           


Here our agents have talked about how the Associate Scheme has helped them in their roles:

Zoe Kent, Marshalls Hayle: 

“We found it very informative, having been an agent for a long time it's great to refresh your memory and add to your knowledge. We made it into a competition and had lots of laughs along the way. We loved the confetti on passing. It's always positive to update and improve our understanding of what can be a difficult market. Many thanks to the team for putting it together.”


Spencer Mckay, Oasis Estate Agents: 

"I have found the course very helpful and it's certainly improved my knowledge. It's a really easy format to use and I'm excited to begin the next modules".

 

 Ellie Hudspith, Jan Forster Estates: 

“Since passing the Associates Scheme it has allowed me to find out things for myself and gain new information that will benefit me and my career. I now have a better understanding of things that I had little knowledge of before.”


Passes for the The Associate Scheme Sales:


First NameSurnameCompany NameOffice
AlexComptonEdwards Estate AgentsBournemouth
AliFletcherTaylor MilburnBraintree
AmandaBricePhilip Laney & JollyGreat Malvern
AndrewScoffinsSutherland Reay Estate & Letting AgentsNew Mills
AndyWallerRedwell EstatesBexhill-on-Sea
AnthonyKeaneDavies & DaviesBradford on Avon
ArwenSmithOliver Minton Estate AgentsPuckeridge
BeckyDenfordHelmoresCrediton
BenWigginsPhilip Laney & JollyGreat Malvern
BethanyMackenzieMundysLincoln
BradleyMcelroy- ClarkeNewman Estate AgentsCoventry
CaroleRoweEmsleys Estate AgentsSherburn-in-Elmet
CharlieCarrollNigel Poole & PartnersPershore 
CharlieLaneClifton & Co Estate AgentsDartford
CharlotteReadEdwards Estate AgentsBournemouth
CharlotteGearyDavies & DaviesBradford on Avon
Charlotte FrenchMoss PropertiesDoncaster
ChrisLaughtonMundysLincoln
ClareRichardsonJan Forster EstatesForest Hall
DanJonesDavies & DaviesBradford on Avon
DanSharpeConran EstatesGreenwich
DebbieSampsonJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
DebraNetherwayMarshalls Estate AgentsHayle
DominiqueScottSawyer & CoHove
EddieO'MahonyJan Forster EstatesNewcastle
ElaineRobinsonEmsleys Estate AgentsGarforth
EliseDavenportTailor Made Estate AgentsPoole
EllieHudspithJan Forster EstatesNewcastle
EllisFisherJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
EmmaBoweyMundysLincoln
EmmaMetcalfeFenwicks Estate AgentsLee-on-the-Solent
FrancescaPryceEdwards Estate AgentsBournemouth
GeorgiaLuptonThe Big Property ShopWarrington
HazelCampbellPhilip Laney & JollyGreat Malvern
HelenaScholfieldWilkinson Grant & CoExeter
HilaryPinheiroNigel Poole & PartnersPershore 
Holly GowlandJan Forster EstatesForest Hall
IanHounsellDavies & DaviesBradford on Avon
IsobelSmithCharnock BatesHalifax
JamesBirkettCastles Estate Agents & Mortgage Services LtdSwindon
JamesStanhopeJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
JamesChalonerHeritage Estate AgentsPortishead
JamesBushRedwell Estates 
James FarranEdwards Estate AgentsBournemouth
JennyWrayJan Forster EstatesForest Hall
JoeBourneRedwell EstatesBexhill-on-Sea
JohnWilliamsJan Forster EstatesNewcastle
JoleneDoyleConran EstatesCharlton
JonathanGuyJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
JordanDyeKent Estate AgenciesTankerton
JuneStocksMundysLincoln
KatierRoperHolroyd MillerWakefield
KennedyOvertonCentury Residential Sales & LettingsGillingham
KimAllenJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
KimParkinsonMoss PropertiesDoncaster
LindseyHibbertThe Mather PartnershipHelston
LisaCoplestonStevens Property Sales & LettingsAshford
LisaHarrodRedwell EstatesBexhill-on-Sea
LizChetwoodPhilip Laney & JollyGreat Malvern
LorraineBrooksEdwards Estate AgentsBournemouth
MATTHEWCASEYOliver Minton Estate AgentsPuckeridge
MandyBarleyJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
MarkBondTaylor MilburnBraintree
MattWheelerHeritage Estate AgentsPortishead
MatthewHigginsSawyer & CoBrighton
MelJamesPhilip Laney & JollyWorcester
MichelleNuttallMoss PropertiesDoncaster
NaomiGhafoorJames AndersonEast Sheen
NatashaAldridgeStevens Property Sales & LettingsAshford
NeilBalcombeKent Estate AgenciesTankerton
Nichola WallisHolroyd MillerWakefield
NicoleRandleNigel Poole & PartnersPershore 
OllieStaceyGuild StaffPark Lane
PaulCalcuttHeritage Estate AgentsWorle
PaulAndersonJan Forster EstatesNewcastle
PaulaMoneyMundysLincoln
PaulineClarkeNigel Poole & PartnersEvesham
RachaelMerrittKent Estate AgenciesWhitstable
RachelCunninghamMoss PropertiesDoncaster
RichardEvansMorris Marshall & PooleWelshpool
RobertoGhirardaniRochills LimitedWalton on Thames
RobynDyerRedwell Estates 
RogerLuntMorris Marshall & PooleWelshpool
RoisinCunninghamConran EstatesCharlton
RyanJefferyMarshalls Estate AgentsHayle
SandraRoweMarshalls Estate AgentsCarbis Bay
SarahWilsonThe Estate CompanySt Johns Wood
SarahTupperMarrion & CoWalsall
SerenParry-EdwardsMorris Marshall & PooleAberystwyth
ShannonWoodHeritage Estate AgentsPortishead
ShelleyBlagdenHeritage Estate AgentsYatton
SpencerMckayOasis Estate AgentsStaines Upon Thames
StaceyWrightMundysLincoln
StevenDesirCastles Estate Agents & Mortgage Services LtdSwindon
SueWoodJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
TaniaPortNigel Poole & PartnersPershore 
TomBarterPhilip Laney & JollyWorcester
TonySutherlandHarrison-Lavers & Potbury\'sSidmouth
VickyStovellWilkinson Grant & CoExeter
VictoriaAllen - ElbournMarshallsRoyston
WendyKirknext2buy LtdWallsend
ZoeKentMarshalls Estate AgentsHayle
davidMarshallMarshalls Estate AgentsPenzance
joluxtonHelmoresCrediton
juliesaddIconic

Norwich

Passes for the Associate Scheme Lettings:


First NameSurnameCompany NameOffice
AaronStannardSowerbysDereham
AmberRichertEmsleys Estate AgentsGarforth
AndrewScoffinsSutherland Reay Estate & Letting AgentsNew Mills
AndyWallerRedwell EstatesBexhill-on-Sea
AnnaStoreyJan Forster EstatesNewcastle
Anna Irving Jan Forster EstatesNewcastle
AnnieWrightJan Forster EstatesNewcastle
CaroleRoweEmsleys Estate AgentsSherburn-in-Elmet
Caroline EdwardsBassetsSalisbury
CathlynnHornofJames AndersonPutney Hill
CharlieLaneClifton & Co Estate AgentsDartford
CraigKirkRochills LimitedWalton on Thames
DanJonesDavies & DaviesBradford on Avon
EllaXuerebBassetsSalisbury
EmmaRodmannext2buy LtdWallsend
GeorgiaLuptonThe Big Property ShopWarrington
HannahWhiteTown & Country MoldMold
HeatherNewsomeJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
JOManceraFAC GroupPar
JamesBushRedwell Estates
JaneHoldenJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
JanetteOatesJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
JohnWilliamsJan Forster EstatesNewcastle
JoleneDoyleConran EstatesCharlton
JonWebberBassetsSalisbury
KirbyNaisbittKimmitt LettingsHoughton le Spring
LaurenNewshamJan Forster EstatesNewcastle
LisaHarrodRedwell EstatesBexhill-on-Sea
LisaPalmerJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
LisaCoplestonStevens Property Sales & LettingsAshford
LucySinhaJan Forster EstatesNewcastle
LukeKenchington The Mather PartnershipHelston
MelanieCadeyJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
MichelleNuttallMoss PropertiesDoncaster
NatashaAldridgeStevens Property Sales & LettingsAshford
PaulAndersonJan Forster EstatesNewcastle
RachelCunninghamMoss PropertiesDoncaster
RichardEvansMorris Marshall & PooleWelshpool
RobynDyerRedwell Estates
RoisinCunninghamConran EstatesCharlton
RyanFreemanJan Forster EstatesNewcastle
SamBennettHelmoresCrediton
SarahTupperMarrion & CoWalsall
SarahKeenannext2buy LtdWallsend
SarahWilsonThe Estate CompanySt Johns Wood
SerenParry-EdwardsMorris Marshall & PooleAberystwyth
SheilaFieldAbode Property AgentsTavistock
SuzanneBellameyJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby
TaraMorrisAdams Estate AgentsStockton Heath
TomLewisMorris Marshall & PooleNewtown 
TomBarterPhilip Laney & JollyWorcester
TracyHammondJackson Green & PrestonGrimsby

22Aug

Selling your property is a big decision, and agreeing on an asking price is key. But how much is your house worth, and how do estate agents come to a final figure? 

This quick video tells you how to get a rough idea of the value of your home. It explains how an estate agent will take these figures and turn them into an asking price, so you can feel in control during the process. 



Are you thinking of selling your home? Click here to contact your local Guild agent. 

16Aug

Viewing a property is exciting as you judge if it could be a suitable home. It is easy to get caught in a whirlwind as you walk from room to room, without taking it all in properly. It might tick some of your boxes, but does that make it the perfect home for you? Guild agents share their tips to get the most out of a property viewing. 


Assess the building condition 

Even if there are enough bedrooms and the layout works for you, there are other signs to consider first. Is the building safe and are there warning signs? 

“When considering the building, it's a good idea to find out how old the building is, whether there has been any maintenance done recently and whether there are any associated charges that you need to be aware of,” said Josh Smith from Jan Forster Estates. “You should also look out for any potential costs such as old boilers, leaky roofs, and possible damp. Don't let these things put you off, but be sure to bear them in mind during your negotiations.”

Steve Barron from Drivers & Norris says: “Watch out for diagonal cracks. They suggest some movement or structural issue. Whilst that doesn’t necessarily mean you should dismiss the property, it is definitely worth having it checked out early on. Generally speaking, horizontal or straight vertical cracks are not as much of an issue but it’s always wise to have the property properly surveyed.”

Don’t forget to check for damp, too. “Always make sure that the property has adequate ventilation in the kitchen and bathroom. Potential damp issues can arise if it is not well ventilated.” 

Laura Scott from Cooke & Co agrees and warns of the dangers of not looking in certain rooms. “If for any reason while on a viewing you are unable to view inside a room or a space of interest, make sure you ask as to why it is off limits for your viewing. If you see areas of concern, ask about any investigations which might have taken place already so you can be confident in proceeding. For instance, if you spot an area which appears to be damp, ask if they have had work carried out with guarantees available or if a report with the cost of repair is available to be seen in advance of any offers being made.”

Remember to look at the exterior condition of the property as well. Gina Burbidge from Royston & Lund says: “Particularly in an older property, try and have a good walk around the outside looking at the brickwork for any cracking and if possible, the roof for any slipped tiles.”

Structural integrity is always a key consideration, but it could be worth getting a professional survey before coming to any conclusions of your own. 

“Structural movement can cause problems but can also be difficult to spot. There is a big difference between settlement (long standing movement) and progressive movement, however good agents can always offer sensible advice on this or provide details of RICS surveyors.

“Don’t necessarily be put off by minor issues on a survey. Problems are rarely insurmountable and sometimes the reality is never as bad as first feared.” 



Spend time looking at the local area 

It’s tempting to drive to the property, look around, and leave again, but our agents suggest that you should spend more time in the area. 

Josh Smith from Jan Forster Estates says: “I always like to take a wander around the local area before viewing a property; sometimes it's worth doing this before booking the viewing. Look out for things like supermarkets, parks and green areas, and local schools (even if you don't have children), as all of these things can affect the property price.”

Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris advises his clients to do the same. “On a viewing, potential buyers should take the time to look around outside the property. This provides the opportunity to get a ‘feel’ for the neighbourhood. Are neighbouring properties well-kept or uncared for? This will help them decide whether this is an area in which they feel they can live.”


Multiple visits

As well as looking at the area, it is worth visiting multiple times. 

Jared Thomas from Emsleys Estate Agents recommends a drive-by viewing beforehand. “You may also wish to consider driving past the property you are interested in before booking a viewing if you live within a reasonable distance. This will help to quickly eliminate any unsuitable properties from your search. To find out more about an area, it is worth visiting at different times throughout the week – you may get a different impression on a Saturday evening compared with a Wednesday afternoon.”

Gina Burbidge from Royston & Lund says: “Make sure you view the property more than once and ideally at different times of the day. As well as viewing the property itself, make sure you have a good walk around the general area to get an understanding of traffic and parking. Try and take someone with you; it’s always great to have someone to bounce ideas off and ask for a second opinion.”



Make a wish list to check off

Are you willing to compromise? Taking a checklist to a viewing can help to decide if the property is for you. 

Zoe Hayle from Marshalls says: “When you start your search for your perfect home, you usually have a wishlist. Invariably something has to give as budget and wishes collide and a compromise has to be made.”

Having a clear idea of what your needs are will making finding a property a lot easier, says Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris. “It is important for each buyer to have a clear understanding of their requirements so that they can look at how well the property satisfies these requirements. A checklist can be a useful tool to help with this and will also help with comparing the merits of different properties after multiple viewings when the memory can blur.” 

As well as a wish list, include a checklist of questions to ask the estate agent who is showing the property. Josh Smith from Jan Forster says: “When viewing a property, it's a good idea to prepare yourself with a list of questions for the agent and owner. Make sure to write your questions down as it's very easy to get caught up in the viewing and forget them. I would say there are three main categories to consider when viewing; the building itself, the services to the building, and the local area and amenities.”

Lynda Lewis Davies from Town & Country has some ideas for the best questions to ask. “The first question a viewer should be asking is; how will I commute to work, are there good road links, and is public transport frequent? 

Will my furniture fit?

Do I need new window dressings?

Can I live with the colour scheme?

Is the garden big enough, or small enough?

What are the running costs?

Are the electrics up to date including the fuse board?

Has the central heating system been serviced regularly and are there certificates to show this?

Do all the doors and windows operate correctly and have appropriate locking mechanisms?

If the property has solar panels, has the roof been leased?”


Spend a lot of time looking around the property

It’s a good idea to take a slower pace and even have a sit-down. “One thing that very few people seem to do when viewing a property (whether for sale or rent), but everybody should try to do, is to take a moment to sit down,” says Martin Haigh of Haigh & Sons Estate Agents

“How else are you going to find out what the place would really be like to live in? Few people spend their entire lives at home walking around the property but we do tend to spend a lot of time sitting down: watching TV, reading a book, eating or just plain relaxing. Rather than admiring the view out of the window from a standing position, what can you see when you're seated? Is the window sill so high that all you can see is sky? Would you be happy with that?

“Once you're sitting quietly, what can you hear? Traffic, trains, the neighbours, or birds tweeting and a babbling brook?”


Are you thinking of moving house? Contact your local Guild agent to start your property search. 

14Aug

Are you looking for a home, but are not convinced about purchasing an older property? Buying a new build or off-plan property may be the right choice for you. New build homes, or properties that have been built recently, have been gaining popularity over the past few years for the ease of lifestyle they provide. 

Off-plan homes, or properties that you purchase from an architect’s plan and are then built, have also seen an increase in popularity because of the ease in making the property your own. Our agents break down the considerations that should be taken into account when purchasing a new build or off-plan property. Read on for the best tips to find your dream home.


Advantages:

Our agents comment on the some of the best aspects of buying a new build or off-plan property, citing things from choosing your own fixtures to knowing the property has been built to the most modern standards. 


1. It’s easy to start living your life

“We live busy lives these days and don’t necessarily have the time or inclination to spend weekends redecorating or refurbishing a second-hand home. New builds are like new cars, you decide on the specification, what colour you want, the engine, optional extras, then wait for the delivery day. You can even have a test drive equivalent by visiting the show home.” Simon Powley, Rickman Properties


2. You can add your own personal touches

“When buying off-plan, purchasers are usually offered a choice of finishes included within the price as well as a range of chargeable upgrades. This essentially enables them to personalise and customise the property to their own specific tastes and requirements.” Steve Thompson, Thomas Morris


3. You’ll pay a lower fee 

“You can very often pay slightly less for a property if you are buying off-plan, sometimes developers will increase the price once the home is completed, but offer a discount for an off-plan home which gives them guaranteed revenue.” - Marc Blackmore, Simmons & Sons


4.  10-year guarantee 

“One of the big attractions of buying a new-build home is the peace of mind that comes with the warranty associated with the purchase. Most new-build homes have a 10-year warranty for building properties." Gina Burbidge, Royston-Lund


5. You can secure the price before the home is built

“One of the greatest advantages to buying off-plan is knowing that the price can be set up to two years in advance of completion, giving the possibility of capital increase.” - Margaret Towey, Lumley Estates Ltd.


Disadvantages:

With all the advantages of new build homes, there are certainly things you should be aware of before you sign on the dotted line. 


1. Homes can be hard to visualise

“Garden and home sizes on plans can be difficult to judge, and buyers may be disappointed if they are smaller than anticipated or the sun isn’t quite in the position hoped for.” - Andy Goundry, Goundry’s


2. The timescale is uncertain

“In my opinion, the biggest disadvantage with buying off-plan is getting the timing right. If you are in a chain you have to rely on either your purchaser being patient and prepared to wait for the house to be finished, or you need to go into temporary accommodation. Bear in in mind most larger housebuilders will not give you a fixed completion date, so you will be working to 10 working days’ notice or less.” - Marc Blackmore, Simmons & Sons


3. There could be extra fees 

“Be careful before you sign on the dotted line. Some new-build and off-plan companies don’t include the price of flooring, which could affect your mortgage when the home requires more than £5,000 of additions.” - Margaret Towey, Lumley Estates Ltd


4. Your new home might not look like the show home

“Be sure you study the floorplan, and check that the measurements and layout work for you. Always check the show home, and ensure you are happy with the quality of the finish. Remember the show home may not necessarily be the same size, style and layout as the plot you are considering.” – Vicki Field, Cooke & Co


5. You’ll have to exchange quickly, but wait for your home

“One of the main pitfalls of buying a new build property is that you’re required to exchange contracts very quickly and part with your deposit, but still wait for the property to be completed.” - Jonathan Keegan, Bryan and Keegan


Top Tips:

Convinced that a new build or off-plan home is right for you? Here Guild members guide you through the process and make it as easy as possible. These tips will help you navigate this process with ease. 


1. Sums up front 

“Generally, you should be wary of paying sums up-front, it is normal for developers to request a reservation fee (typically £1,000) and you will be asked for a 10% deposit on exchange. If you are asked for any further payments before completion, check the situation very carefully with your solicitor to make sure you are protected. Do not allow legal completion and make full payment until you have inspected the house yourself and are sure it is finished to the standard and specification agreed.” - Martin Moore, Morris Marshall & Poole, Powys


2. Ask about future building plans 

“Be especially aware of hammer heads and dead-end roads, you might think the plot has a nice view, but it’s almost certain that the nice view will turn into another development or become a shopping complex.” - Jayne and Nick Tart, Nick Tart. 


3. Research your builders and developers

“If you’re thinking of buying off-plan, do your research on the development, builders, and the surrounding areas. Make sure the builder is reputable and visit other completed sites if possible.  Look into whether there are any other potential developments or building works in the surrounding area.” – Gina Burbidge, Royston Lund


4. Ask questions about the property and negotiate

“It’s always worth asking the questions about finishes, as it is a really good way to negotiate the home you want. Most developers are always happy to talk about a deal.” – Will Smith, Complete Property


5. Make sure you sort out your mortgage before looking at new build or off-plan property

“Uncertain timescales can create problems with mortgages, so this should be looked at very carefully with an expert advisor.  Though there are exceptions, mortgage offers generally have a lifetime of between three and six months, and must be in place before contracts can be exchanged. If the time between the exchange of contracts and eventual completion of the build and the purchase is longer than the lifetime of the mortgage offer, then a buyer could find themselves without the funds to complete the purchase and effectively in breach of contract.” – Steve Thompson, Thomas Morris


Get in touch with a Guild Member to find out more about new build and off-plan homes in your area today. 


07Aug

Being involved in the community can bring a sense of belonging, fill your social calendar, and make it easy to find friends. When moving to a new house, it’s important to consider what the community spirit will be like in the new town, village, or borough. How can you find out about the community before you move there? Guild agents share their top tips. 


Check social media 

“We have recently opened a new office in Ingleby Barwick, Stockton on Tees where community spirit is certainly alive and well,” says John Newhouse, Managing Director at Roseberry Newhouse

“We have interacted with the community through social media where the page ‘Ingleby Barwick Noticeboard’ on Facebook is widely used on a daily basis for people to share events, tradesman’s recommendations, sales and community events.” 

In John’s experience, community spirit is alive and well in his area. 

“We recently sponsored and attended the Ingleby Barwick Community Event which was well supported by a variety of stalls and activities and brought the community together. My advice to buyers looking to integrate into a community would be to search Facebook for the town or village and see what community pages are available to join.” 

Mike Coles at Debbie Fortune Estate Agents agrees that social media is a great way to keep up-to-date with local events. “We keep in touch with the local community by following local organisations on Twitter and Facebook. We promote them within our networks by placing links to their events on both our website and by retweeting them on our page.”

Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris says: “Facebook and Twitter are fantastic sources of information about a community. Search the name of the village, town or area and you will find numerous community groups operating locally. 

“Checking the group’s feed and events to see how active and how well supported the group is, what events are happening and how you can get involved. All of this information will help provide a feel for the community spirit in the area.”



Look for a local magazine 

The existence of a local magazine run by local people is a sign that there is a lot going on in the area, that people are so proud of where they live, and that they want to shout about it. 

“In our area, there is a brilliant online magazine and news page which keeps our community up-to-date with any upcoming events,” says Gina Burbidge from Royston Lund. “If you are looking to buy in an area with good community spirit, our recommendation would be to look for a local online magazine stating information and events within the community.

“West Bridgford is a perfect example of great community spirit. We are a small town, three miles away from Nottingham City Centre. There is a huge amount to offer including both primary and secondary schooling and a great variety of shops, restaurants and cafés.”


Check the local newspaper

“These are great sources of community information, as newspapers include adverts for upcoming events and stories on recent events,” says Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris. “Papers and magazines can often be obtained at local shops, community centres or the local library.”


Go to libraries and community centres

“Visiting local community centres, council offices, sports clubs, church halls, cafés, and local shops will help provide a sense of the community,” says Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris. “Many of these will have notice boards giving information on local community groups and events. They may have staff who know the area, and even live in it, who will often be happy to provide information.”


This is a great way to find out about the area before making an offer on a property. It’s even something to do after going to a viewing. 

“Here in Buckingham, The Old Gaol, community centre, and the library all offer information on what is on and when. There is also a weekly community lunch on a ‘free to all’ basis, knit and natter, children’s activities and online courses are available at Buckingham Library,” says Chris Barrell from Apple Homes

Josh Smith from Jan Forster Estates said: “It is worth popping into local libraries or community centres. These will often have notice boards outlining any upcoming events in the area. If you have time, it's a good idea to try to go to one of the events before moving. This will give you an idea of how the community interacts and will provide an opportunity to get to know your potential new neighbours.”


Talk to people who live nearby 

It may sound obvious, but it’s important to get out in the area and talk to the locals. If they are happy to stop and help a stranger, it’s a sign that the community is open, friendly and trusting. 

“When you visit the area, meet the people. Whether you are visiting an area for viewings, or simply to get to know it, take the time to speak to the locals. Ultimately, they are the people that make up the local community and could be your neighbours one day,” says Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris

Fancy a stroll? “Local parks are a must,” advises Josh Smith from Jan Forster Estates. “Wandering around a park, you are likely to bump into a wide range of local people. From dog walkers to joggers to mums with prams, this is a great place to feel out the community spirit of an area.”



Get in touch with your local estate agent

Debbie Fortune Estate Agents are sure to keep their customers up-to-date with local goings on. “We keep buyers in touch with what’s going on by sending out a newsletter to them via email, complete with a diary of events that we will be attending to do fundraising for the local community,” said Mike. 

Chris Barrell from Apple Homes suggests asking questions of your local agent when looking at properties to buy. 

“Once you have finished your viewings, or maybe even before you have booked a viewing, call into our office and speak to me or one of the team. As an independent estate agent, we have all lived and worked in the area for a good number of years. We love our town and all that it has to offer, we know the area well and we love being involved with our local community”.  

Josh Smith from Jan Forster Estates agrees. “As a starting point, we would always recommend speaking to your local Guild agent. We are all local people who know and love our areas, so we will be able to guide you throughout the buying process.”


Are you looking to move to a new area? A Guild agent can help with your search. Click here to find your closest agent. 

17Jul

Choosing the right estate agent to sell your home can be difficult. You need to trust your agent, and choose a company with knowledge and integrity, who can get the best result for you. 

The Guild is a network of the best 800 independent estate agents around the country. Find out why you should choose them to sell your home. 


Click here to find your closest Guild Member. 

07Jul

If you’re interested in renting a property, you’re not alone. More people than ever have chosen to rent homes or flats rather than buy them. Over the past few years, the letting market has been changing constantly. In a changing market, staying ahead of the trends is the secret to success. Our agents weigh in on the trends they’ve seen in the rental market over the past few months. 

1. Well-presented properties are letting faster than budget options

If you’re a landlord, it may be time to consider updating your rental property. According to Sawyer & Co. Lettings Negotiator Kerry-Anne Holland, “the rental prices in properties in Brighton and Hove have dropped slightly this year. However, quality well-presented properties tend to be let a lot quicker than something than is cheaper and less desirable (i.e. dated properties).” While an update will require a financial investment at the outset, letting property that is highly desirable means that you’ll have more potential tenants, and could potentially raise the letting price. 

2. Smaller properties are more popular

Smaller properties for single-occupants are becoming very popular, and for good reason. A one-bedroom or studio means fewer tenants, making rental agreements easier for landlords and tenants alike. Phillip Jackson, the Director of Maguire Jackson in Birmingham, has noticed this trend, saying that “recently, there has been an increase in demand for smaller properties, like one beds and studios.” Kerry-Anne of Sawyer & Co. agrees, noting that “one-bedroom flats in the city always tend to be let very quickly, more so than the two bed or studio properties.”

3. More tenants are renting properties while they search for homes to buy

This year, more tenants are looking for places to rent while they search for a home to buy. Many people look for contracts with six-month breaks, but find permanent homes sooner. Nick Goodwin of estate agency John Goodwin weighs in, saying “this year, we’ve had experiences with people wanting to ‘buy’ themselves out of a tenancy agreement. When they sign up for a tenancy, it is explained this is a six-month fixed term let. However, when they find a property to purchase they no longer require the property and so want to get out as quickly as possible. Same when people fall out during the fixed term, they no longer want to stay. Some find they don’t like the accommodation as much as they thought, so we sometimes find that six-month tenancies turn into just a few months.”

4. Tenants are paying more for access to prime locations 

While prime locations have always had a hefty price tag, tenants have started paying more for areas with easy access to prime locations. Robert Leight, Lettings Director at Victorstone, attributes this new trend to shifts in employment. According to Robert, “tenants are willing to pay more for a location that offers easy access to both London’s Docklands, City and the West End. This is largely down employment changes. Whether it be a career change or job security, accessibility to prime locations is paramount. When tenants are unable to plan ahead regarding their employment with long term tenancies, at least their worry of rent increases, protracted negotiations, admin fees and of cost the cost of moving is all but diminished.”

5.
Demand for high-end flats has decreased

While quality, well-presented flats are seeing increase popularity, the demand for luxury lets is decreasing. Phillip of Maguire Jackson defines a high-end let as one that “costs more than £2,000 per month. We really haven’t had a high demand for high end rental properties in Birmingham recently.”

6. Unfurnished properties remain more popular than furnished ones

There’s a great debate about furnished properties versus unfurnished ones. Furnished properties allow tenants to move in quickly, and can cost a bit more than their unfurnished counterparts. However, unfurnished properties give tenants free reign to make the property their own. Kerry-Anne of Sawyer & Co. says, “when it comes to the furnished/unfurnished debate, unfurnished properties still tend to be more popular than those that are furnished, with furnished properties not being of any more value than those that are not.”

7. More quality housing is becoming available

James Kimmitt, Director of Kimmitt Lettings, has noticed that homes of high quality are coming on to the market. James says, “better accommodation is becoming available as sellers opt to rent out their homes rather than sell, so above average accommodation becomes available but on a reduced timescale. Stamp duty increases are causing evictions for good tenants who want longer than 3-year tenancies.” If you’re viewing a high-quality property in pursuit of a long-term tenancy, check with the landlord to see if they are considering selling the property. 

8. ‘Accidental landlords’ are becoming a thing of the past 

Robert Leight of Victorstone has noticed plenty of change in the lettings landscape, particularly with landlords. According to Robert, “today’s current market sees the return of large investors’ interest in the market with a view to expand their portfolios. Whilst smaller ‘accidental Landlords’ appear to be looking to off load their properties. The number of “new” properties coming the market for let appears to be low at this stage, however demand is steady and increasing. The result of this will inevitably be an increase in rent prices as more people want less property.” James agrees, saying that “many self-maintained landlords have now come to us asking us to manage their properties for them.”

9. Long-term tenancies are becoming more common
 
While many people rent for the short term to keep their living situation flexible, long-term tenancies are becoming more popular. Robert of Victorstone has noticed that “students, whether they are under- or post-graduates, are quite keen to let long-term as long as there’s a possibility to re assign the tenancy should one their flat mates wish to vacate early.” Many professionals with stable jobs are also willing to enter long-term letting agreements. “I personally think it is win-win for both the tenants and landlords as the Private Rental market has become very competitive, especially with increasing number of properties remaining on the market for sale that are now being offered for rent. Long term tenancies offer landlords security of regular income without the need to source new tenants and the costs that are associated with it.”

10. Most tenants are offering six months’ worth of rent in advance

If you’re trying to gain a competitive edge in the lettings market, you’re not alone. Many tenants are offering six months’ worth of rent to landlords before the tenancy begins. Nick of Jon Goodwin comments on this trend, saying “there are a great many tenants opting to offer six months’ rent in advance, (still subject to satisfactory references) but feel they can make this offer to be ahead of other suitable applicants. This is mostly made up of people selling and requiring a property to live in while they look around for another property to purchase as it gives them bargaining power for a purchase. Other cases are people relocating from abroad where they have no credit history here, or older people selling to enjoy their capital.” 

Are you thinking of letting or renting a property? Take a look at our guides. 

05Jul

How do you find an up-and-coming hot spot? Maybe it is an electrification of a train line, good schools or perhaps it is just a natural expansion of a town, city or village.

In reality, it is probably a combination of all these factors. We asked Guild Members to identify hot spots to watch across the UK. Here you will find everything from St Neots to St Albans.


1)  Elaine Hanrahan, Martin Pendered & Co 

Wellingborough:

“Wellingborough and the surrounding countryside may seem an unusual place to nominate as an “up- and-coming area” but it has a number of impressive features.

“The main factor is its exceptional commute to property price ratio. Wellingborough station to St Pancras International is a 50 minute journey with an excellent service. Prices in Wellingborough and the locality are low compared to all the surrounding areas, particularly Bedford which is only 15 minutes closer by rail, where prices are probably double ours. Last autumn Lloyds Bank put Wellingborough as the number one location for the best commute to property prices.

“Northamptonshire is undergoing major changes. The new shopping development at The Lakes at Rushden (5 miles) will open in July.  There is extensive new residential development planned in Wellingborough and Kettering with 20-30,000 new dwellings coming online over the next 10 years or so.  Wellingborough station will be extended and upgraded and the railway line is due for electrification.

“Unemployment rates in Northamptonshire are among the lowest in the country.  Northamptonshire’s road connections are second to none with the A14 across the north of the county, the M1 on the west and the A1 close to the eastern boundary of the county.  Cambridge is about a 45 minute drive and Milton Keynes about half an hour.

“Finally, people have begun to identify Wellingborough and Northamptonshire generally as an area they would like to live in.”


2) Sarah Green, Mundys

 Lincoln:


“Lincoln is a Cathedral City and the county town of Lincolnshire. It is Britain’s hidden gem. Having recently received great media acclaim as a result of the City’s Football Team and award winning Castle.  The University City is steeped in local history, which can be traced back as far as 300BC - links to the city's past heritage can be seen in abundance, even today. 

Lincolnshire is one of the UK's largest counties. Part of the East Midlands, it sits on the East coast of England, to the north of Norfolk and the south of Yorkshire between the Humber and the Wash.

“Access to Lincoln is also easier than you may imagine. The A1 and recently dueled A46 make the journey from the South and the Midlands much quicker now.  And from the North and North West, the M180 connecting to the A15 make for a straightforward journey. There are also train services into the city, and three airports within a 50 mile radius.


3) Scott parry, Atwell Martin Estate Agents


South East Cornwall:

“The stretch of coastline between Rame Head and Polruan has long been overlooked as a destination for those seeking to make that coastal lifestyle home purchase.  Not anymore, buyers who traditionally orientated towards the notable hotspots on the North coast have turned their attention to South East Cornwall. Affordability and accessibility are major factors, many of the buyers are immediately employing local building companies and architects to refurbish or rebuild/reconfigure the houses that embrace the maritime location.  Evidence of this can be observed by just driving through our coastal villages and seeing the amount of construction work being carried out.

“We recognise that lifestyle is a driving force behind many people’s home purchase. Employment and schooling as well as improved transport links and more people working from home. There is no doubt that capital appreciation in coastal locations is more robust than the rural counterparts and market turnover remained healthy even during the recessionary years.  Looking forward we predict that coastal properties particularly in south east Cornwall will retain their value and indeed in some cases see strong appreciation as more and more buyers seek to indulge their passion for the coastal lifestyle. Constrained by geography there is less opportunity for large scale development, so there is no doubt that buyers will seek opportunities to stamp their own identity on the second hand housing stock. 

“The waters of Whitsand and Looe Bay provide a sheltered playground, set against the beautiful cliffs and hinterland, parts of which is in the ownership of the National Trust, it’s easy to see why savvy buyers are already identifying the area as the next property hotspot,” concludes Scott.


4) Zoe Kent,Marshall’s Estate Agents

Cornwall:


"For those looking to move in to the county of Cornwall most people have heard of, or visited St Ives. A busy thriving harbour town with glorious beaches, the Tate Modern and the fantastic atmosphere that has been a muse over many years for artists. So the search for a home or holiday let begins here. Prices will range from £165,000 for a flat at the top of the town to in excess of £1,000,000 for something truly special with the all-important view of the harbour, sea and coast. Traditional fisherman’s cottages are now highly sought-after holiday lets which enjoy year round letting.

“If you need parking and some outside space it is soon apparent that by moving away from the town towards Carbis Bay and beyond your budget will stretch further. Carbis bay has a beautiful beach and Hayle has 3 miles of golden sands. With excellent bus and train connections you can visit St Ives easily and return to a quieter lifestyle.

“For those looking for their new home, investment or second home there is no better place to visit and decide to stay.”


5) Josh Hurford, Hurfords

Peterborough:

 “Peterborough is one of the fastest growing cities from an employment point of view. By 2019 the train time to London Kings Cross will be 38 minutes.

 “We’re perfectly placed with some of the best physical and digital connections in the country. Peterborough is 45 minutes from London Kings Cross and direct trains connect us with Leeds, Newcastle, Cambridge, Leicester and Birmingham. The A1M, A47 and A14 are on our doorstep, providing direct connections to nearby Stansted Airport and quick access to Eurostar and Felixstowe ports.

“We’re adopting innovative approaches like the Circular Economy at a city level – the first in the country. In 2015, we were awarded Global Smart City of the Year, consolidating our position as thought leaders in smart city thinking.

“Peterborough is one of the UK’s number one cities for housing stock growth. New developments include a 5,000 home urban extension and a trailblazing sustainable city homes development featuring 295 eco-houses. An excellent house price to earnings ratio makes Peterborough attractive and affordable for employees.”


6) Nick Parker, Aubrey & Finn

St Albans:


“St Albans has always been popular but with a growing 30-something population and rapid growth St Albans should be on your radar. The price growth prediction for the area in the next 5 years at 38%, this makes it one of the top areas for capital growth.”

 

Top 5 reasons to live in St Albans:

·     1) 17 minutes from London St Pancras, 14 from West Hampstead, both offering speedy onward links.

·     2) Schools: state schools rate more highly than the vast majority of the country’s private schools, and people cross the world to take advantage of that. 

·     3) People, culture, food

·     4) Country: Hertfordshire is almost the defining county. From St Albans city centre it is only a short walk to rolling scenery at the Gorhambury Estate. 

5) Range of property and investment.


7)  Diana Solden – Victor Michael

Leytonstone – 'the new Hackney':

“Leytonstone has seen an influx in purchasers having sold their apartments in areas such as Hackney, Stoke Newington and Shoreditch.

“Leytonstone, Leyton and Walthamstow areas seem to have been targeted for its recommended OFSTED schools, excellent transport links in to the city whilst also offering better value for money.

"The new wave of young families purchasing in Leytonstone have the best of worlds enjoying city life as well as the peace and tranquillity of open spaces such as “Hollow Ponds Boating Lake” or “Wanstead Flats”. 

 


8) Simon Miller, Holroyd Miller

Wakefield:


“The suburbs North of Wakefield and South of Leeds such as Wrenthorpe and Lofthouse are up-and-coming currently seeing a surge in refurbishment and new build developments.

 “These areas are a good buy, with a good choice of properties available under 100,000 and a good standard of family friendly properties offered at around 200,000 or less. The new builds in the area offer high-spec living with financial incentives such as Help to Buy, Sales Assist Scheme, and Stamp Duty paid, not to mention other offers such as part exchange, furnished kitchens, carpets etc.

 “The popularity comes largely from their proximity to excellent schools and availability of family homes,  which also makes these suburbs extremely attractive to buyers looking for a good quality of life with easy access to the city but the convenience of being near a town.

 “Wakefield is a more affordable choice and with good transport links, schools, leisure and shopping.”


9)Steve Thompson, Thomas Morris

Biggleswade:

 “The town of Biggleswade and its surrounding area are hugely up-and-coming. Steep rise in house prices over recent years bear testament to increasing demand. This demand that has led to rapid growth, and with the borough council proposing the building of 10,000 more houses in the town and surrounding area, this growth is set to continue.

 “The reasons for the popularity? It is genuinely a nice place to live with a lot to offer its residents. Leisure facilities are abundant, it has a busy yet charming traditional town centre with a regular market, a good mix of shops and a growing “café culture” all complimented with the opening last year, of a large retail park on the outskirts of the town.

"On top of all this, the town offers excellent schooling and access to good transport routes. It is located on the A1 trunk road  33 miles north of the M25, 25 miles from Luton airport and less than 60 miles from Heathrow. It is also less than an hour from central London by train." 


10) Gina Burbidge, Royston & Lund

Nottingham:


“The Meadows is approximately one mile from Nottingham City centre as well as being in close proximity to the popular suburb of West Bridgford. With the fantastic amenities within West Bridgford along with the bustling city of Nottingham, it is easy to see why The Meadows is one of the most up-and-coming areas locally.”


To find out more, contact your local Guild agent to help

28Jun

Navigating the property market can be difficult for anyone, but it is particularly daunting for first-time buyers. There are lots of hoops to jump through, paperwork to be completed, and tense waiting to hear if your deal is going to go through. We asked Guild agents to share their top tips for anyone looking to get onto the property ladder. What should you look out for?


1. Talk to a mortgage advisor and get a mortgage in principle

Mortgage advisors can give independent advice on the property that you can afford. 

“First-time buyers need to ensure they do their research and have a plan right from the start,” guides Vicki Field from Cooke & Co. “We would always advise seeing a mortgage advisor in the first instance to establish your borrowing ability, this will give a more realistic idea of what types of property will be affordable.”

A mortgage advisor can also assess your finances and offer a mortgage in principle. This will be a huge help further through the buying process. 

“Having a mortgage agreed in principle will speed up the timescales of the transaction,” said Mark Noble, Castles Estate Agents

Gina Burbidge from Royston & Lund said: “Make sure you have spoken to a mortgage advisor and have an Agreement in Principle before arranging viewings, so when you find a property you are interested in, you are ready to make an offer. This proves to the agent and the seller that you are serious and able to proceed.”


2. Be aware of all the fees involved in moving

Now that you are aware of the mortgage that you can afford, it’s time to think about the other savings that you will need. Some are more obvious, but others may have gone under your radar. 

Gina Burbidge from Royston & Lund rounds up some of the key costs to consider: 

Mortgage Fee: Many mortgages come with arrangement fees. Once your offer has been accepted, your lender will carry out a valuation to check the property is worth what you're planning to pay for it. The lender will usually arrange this for you, but in most cases, you will be expected to cover the cost – typically between £200 and £600. The valuation survey is a brief report on the property's condition and its market value based on an inspection of the property. 

Survey Fee: There are two main kinds of survey; a RICS Homebuyer’s Report and a building survey (also known as a structural survey). A Homebuyer’s Report examines the general condition of the property and usually costs between £350 and £1,000. A building survey provides a more in-depth analysis of the condition of the property, including the structure, and will typically cost between £500 and £1,300.

Conveyancing Fee: Your legal adviser will either charge a flat fee or a percentage of the value of the property. You can expect to pay between £500 and £1,500 depending on the type of property, its location and complexity of the transaction.

Land Registry fee: When you buy a property, the Land Registry charges a fee to transfer the register entry into your name. This fee is dependent on how much your property is worth but usually varies between £200 and £300.

Stamp Duty: This is the tax you pay to the Government when you buy a property. From November 2017, you don't need to pay Stamp Duty on your first home under £300,000. For homes up to £500,000, you only need to pay on the amount above £300,000. You will need to pay your stamp duty to your solicitor, who will then pay it to HM Revenue & Customs when your property purchase completes. Click here to use the Guild's stamp duty calculator

Removals: Employing a removal company can help to take the stress out of moving, but of course there will be an additional cost involved. If you decide to do it yourself, you may well need to hire a van to transport larger items such as your furniture. You should, therefore, budget at least a couple of hundred pounds for the move itself.




3. Use your estate agent

Your property search shouldn’t be restricted to looking through properties online. Contacting your local independent estate agent will mean hearing about properties as soon as they come onto the market – sometimes even before that. 

“In the current market conditions, it is best to stay in touch with the estate agents as there are generally more buyers than properties and we are still selling property before they actually reach the internet,” said Mark Noble, Castles Estate Agents

Steve Thompson, Thomas Morris, said: “Buyers should get to know the estate agents in the area they are looking at and make sure that the estate agents know them, what they are looking for and want to help them find it. As an agent, I take the most pleasure in handing over the keys to a first home to people who I have built a relationship during the time they are searching for and buying a property.”

Nick Cragg from Country Property agrees. “Speak to estate agents, share your ideals, make them aware of your minimum requirements and how much you can spend. Show that you are serious about buying with a mortgage arranged in principle and cash saved for your deposit.”


4. Viewing a property

Once you have everything in order, it’s time to start finding properties and booking viewings. What should you be aware of at this stage? 

“First-time buyers should spend some time discussing their property needs and wants so that they know what they are looking for. This will help them to focus efforts on finding a property that matches their needs and to ensure that any compromises that they make are ones that they can live with. Buying a property that does not fit necessary requirements could be an expensive mistake,” cautions Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris

Don’t feel like you have to view every property that you’re told about. “Before viewing, ask yourself if the property is the situation, location and accommodation that you want, or if it could be adapted to what you require? If not, don’t waste your time and energy,” advises Nick Cragg from Country Property




5. Freehold of leasehold?

When buying a flat, there are other things to consider. 

“If buying a leasehold property, ask about the length of the lease, the ground rent and any service charges,” said Simon Powley of Rickman Properties. “What do the service charges cover? Ask to have a look at previous years’ service charges. If buying a lease, be broadly aware of the provisions of the Leasehold Reform and Urban Development Act 1993.”


Click here to find out what you should do before going to a property viewing. 


6. Making an offer 

Once your dream home has been found, it’s time to make an offer on the property. 

“With the low levels of stock in the marketplace now, first-time buyers need to put themselves in the strongest possible position,” said Mark Noble, Castles Estate Agents. “Once you have viewed a property that you like and decide is of interest to you, don’t delay. Move quickly to make an offer. Offer what you are prepared to pay for it at the earliest point. We regularly have disappointed buyers who made an offer that was too low, and then the property is snapped up by a buyer with a higher offer. 

Nick Cragg of Country Property said: “Property is worth only what someone is prepared to pay for it. Having selected the property of your choice, you will by now have been able to assess local market prices for the sector of property you have considered. 

“Be prepared to pay the full asking price if it seems reasonable to you, otherwise try an offer at a price you think appropriate (such as if work needs to be done on the kitchen or structurally). Always add ‘to include carpets, curtains and light fittings’ to your offer – these are costs you can do without when buying your first home and they are unlikely to be of use to the seller as they move on to another home.”


7. Conveyancing – how to pick the right solicitor

Conveyancing is the transfer of legal title of property from one person to another, and it requires a solicitor to make sure everything transfers as it should. Pick the right solicitor, and the process should go smoothly. 

Gina Burbidge, Royston & Lund said: “Once your offer has been accepted, you will need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor. It is essential that you instruct someone you can trust to work with you to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. Speak to the agent to see if they have recommendations. Quite often the agent will have well established working relationships with solicitors which can often help speed along the process.”

Mark Noble, Castles Estate Agents, says that his agency suggests their tried and tested local solicitors to buyers. “They are fantastic; the speed and efficiency of their service helps us to make the whole process smoother for our clients, and our fall through rate is much lower than the industry average. 

“Like everything in life, you get what you pay for and saving money on you conveyancer can slow your purchase down and, in the worst cases, can cost you your purchase.”


14Jun

Buying a new home is one of the most exciting things you can do. Between looking through beautiful new houses and choosing the perfect area, it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of new-home ownership. However, ignoring the details could end up costing you. Our estate agents have seen it all, and have identified the top mistakes that people make when purchasing a new home.

1. Looking at property without setting a budget 

“Taking a hard look at your finances is critical before you begin to look at property”, says Guild of Property Professionals CEO Iain McKenzie. “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen fall in love with a property to realise that it’s out of their price range.” After you look at your finances, consider seeking professional advice, especially when it comes to mortgages. 

According to Steve Thompson of Thomas Morris St Neot’s, “buyers should fully consider their property requirements and get the advice they need to organise their finances and solicitors before they find a property so that they do not miss out.” Do your research before viewing properties, and get a good idea of what you can afford to avoid heartbreak later. 

2. Understand their reasons for moving 
Buying a property is a huge emotional and financial decision, and certainly not one to take lightly. According to Siobhan Jordain of Boyce Brixham, it’s important to make sure that you’re running toward something better, rather than away from something unsuitable. Siobhan encourages serious thought before moving into a different area, saying that “a bit of self-reflection on what you think moving from one area to another will give you can save time and money – perhaps you just need a lifestyle change rather than a location change.” 

3. Buying too quickly
If your property purchase is the direct result of a relocation, Steve Barron of Drivers & Norris cautions against buying immediately. Steve encourages potential buyers to “rent first, and then figure out what you like. Then you know you’ll be buying in the best area for you, rather than simply having to make an educated guess.”

4. Having too many non-negotiables
When you view a property, it’s a good idea to know what you’re willing to be flexible on and where you’re not willing to negotiate. Stick to your convictions, but keep your list small. According to Steve Barron, “it’s best to prioritise what you want, as you’ll never get everything on your wishlist.” Mark Noble of Castle Estate Agents echoes this sentiment, saying “one of the biggest mistakes I see is buyers being too fussy about a property when a few simple alterations could make it perfect.”

5. Being closed off to alternative suggestions 
“One in three people end up buying something completely different than what they thought they wanted,” says McKenzie, “so be sure to broaden your horizons while you’re looking.” The perfect property for you might not be what you think you want, so being open to alternative suggestions is critical when buying a home. 

6. Not using an estate agent in addition to looking online
Steve Thompson cautions: “heavy reliance on the internet to find your home is a mistake. Although it is a fantastic source of information, simple to use and available round-the-clock, the internet will never be able to replicate the local knowledge and expertise of your local estate agent. Build a good relationship with your estate agent, and they will tell you about properties that fit your specifications before they hit the market, search for properties that might now have hit the market just yet, and think of all kinds of out-of-the-box solutions to help you find the perfect home.” 

7. Waiting too long to make an offer
Celeste Hamilton-Parker, Mark Noble, and Iain McKenzie all agree that waiting too long to make an offer on a house is one of the easiest ways for someone else to buy the house of your dreams. If you have a good feeling about a house and it ticks off your list of non-negotiables, then making an offer is the sensible choice. 

8. Negotiating poorly
Negotiating is an important part of the property buying process, and negotiating poorly (or not at all) is one of the most common mistakes estate agents see in buyers. According to Mark Noble, “offering a price that’s too low and then taking too long to make a more acceptable offer is the reason I see many people lose homes they really love.” Iain McKenzie has been in a similar situation. “I’ve have buyers offer the asking price on houses where the seller would have negotiated. Negotiating will almost always result in a better price, especially if you maintain an air of ambivalence at a viewing. Never gush when you view a house, as gushing will make the seller think you’re willing to pay more for the property.”

9. Appointing the wrong property professionals
“Choosing the wrong solicitor or mortgage broker can be a huge mistake for buyers” says Mark Noble. Celeste Hamilton-Parker of Hamilton Parkers agrees, arguing that “a solicitor that’s either online or unfamiliar with the area can delay the conveyancing process, and the whole process in general.” When you buy a property, be sure to choose mortgage brokers that are reputable and local to your area. Local professionals will have a much better idea of how the market in your area works than non-local brokers or solicitors. 

10. Not thinking ahead
“While it’s tempting to prioritise what you need now over what you’ll need in the future, but choosing a home is a relatively permanent decision,” warns Steve Barron. “Be sure you prioritise what you’ll need in the future, as well as what you’d like now.” Siobhan Jourdain agrees, adding that you should “consider a situation where you should have to return to your original home area, and make sure that you can afford to buy back in – this is particularly important if you are downsizing and using equity as pension funding or buying in a cheaper area.”

Are you thinking of moving? Click here to contact your local Guild agent.  
 



14Jun

Alok Sharma was named the latest Housing Minister on the evening of 13 June 2017. 

The MP for Reading West is the 6th person in the role since 2010. 

But what will it mean for the housing market? The Guild's CEO, Iain McKenzie, shares his thoughts. 


“I welcome the news of the appointment of a new Housing Minister after waiting for five days after the General Election result. However, I am concerned by Alok Sharma’s lack of industry experience. There’s no doubt that his background in accountancy will help with the role, but the housing market is in crisis. We need a government representative who will stand up for the industry. I hope that Sharma can step up to the plate.

 “Perhaps more concerning is the lack of a cabinet position for the Housing Minister. Housing was a key concern during election campaigning, but now it looks set to take a back seat in policy making while Brexit dominates the agenda while the sector deals with yet another new housing minister. As CEO of The Guild, I am going to endeavour to raise the profile of the issues facing our industry during this government, no matter how long it lasts for.” 


A Guild Member will be up-to-date on compliance and other political concerns. To find your closest office, click here.