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23Jan

The Guild Annual Conference 2019 was an outstanding success with record numbers of Members in attendance. Almost 450 Members from across the UK attended the conference, which was held at the QEII Centre in Westminster, London on Thursday 17th January.

Towards the end of the conference, 43 bronze, silver and gold awards for sales and lettings and two special awards were presented by British TV presenter, Rachel Riley and Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild. Awards for best overall Guild agents were also presented. 

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals said: “The Guild Awards is a much-anticipated fixture in our calendar, and this year’s event was another huge success. It was great to get together and celebrate excellence within our network. Congratulations to all agents and offices that received awards this year, and all the best for 2019.” 

The Guild Awards were sponsored by The Telegraph and Reapit. They were also partly powered by The ESTAS, the only industry awards based solely on reviews. 

Here is the full list of Guild Award winners as follows:

Lettings The North


Gold: Whitehornes

Silver: Emsleys Estate Agents

Bronze: Ainsworth Lord Estates


Sales The North


Gold: Next2Buy and Kimmitt & Roberts

Silver: Whitehornes

Bronze: Roseberry Newhouse


Lettings Midlands


Gold: Bentons


Sales Midlands


Gold: Sally Botham Estates

Silver: Mundys

Bronze: James Du Pavey


Lettings Wales


Gold: Morris Marshall & Poole

Silver: Williams & Goodwin The Property People


Sales Wales


Gold: DJ&P Newland Rennie

Silver: Morris Marshall & Poole

Bronze: Williams & Goodwin The Property People


Lettings East Anglia


Gold: Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings

Silver: Mackay Property


Sales East Anglia


Gold: Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings

Silver: Mackay Property

Bronze: Hamilton Piers and Millbank Estate Agents


Lettings London


Gold: Drivers & Norris

Silver: Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents


Sales London


Gold: Drivers & Norris

Silver: Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents


Lettings South East


Gold: Sawyer & Co


Sales South East


Gold: Belgraum Estate Agents

Silver: Sawyer & Co

Bronze: Hodsons Estate Agents


Lettings South West 


Gold: Sawdye & Harris


Sales South West


Gold: Helmores

Silver: Sawdye & Harris

Bronze: DJ&P Newland Rennie


Overall Guild Agent of the Year Lettings


Gold: Drivers & Norris

Silver: Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings

Bronze: Sawyer & Co


Overall Guild Agent of the Year Sales


Gold: Helmores

Silver: Drivers & Norris

Bronze: Kimmitt & Roberts and Next2Buy


Guild Brand Ambassador of the Year


Drivers & Norris


Top Referring Office Vendor Referrals


Kent Estate Agencies




The Guild of Property Professionals Head Office

Tel: 020 7079 1515 Email: mediacentre@guildproperty.co.uk. 

12Dec

The Guild has announced its shortlist for the annual Guild of Property Professionals Awards to be held on the 17th January 2019 at QE11 Centre in London.  

The 40 offices that have been shortlisted are those that have excelled in various aspects of the business throughout the year, with a large weighting being placed on customer-centric service. As with last year, the awards are powered in part by The ESTAS, the only industry awards based solely on customer reviews. 

“The brands and offices that carry The Guild name are agents who truly value their customers and are dedicated to service excellence. All of the offices within the network deserve to be acknowledged for the service they provide to their clients throughout the year, however, the offices we selected for the shortlist have truly gone above and beyond,” said Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals. 

The nominations range from the North to the South of the country and everything in between, showing the strength of the network right up and down the country. As a network, The Guild aims to continue to raise industry standards for the better and ensure offices throughout the UK provide their customers with a high-quality estate agency experience. 

“The awards are a highlight in The Guild calendar, and the shortlisted offices are always of such high quality it’s always difficult to nominate the winners. Congratulations to everyone who has been shortlisted. This year's entries were excellent and gave the judges and myself a lot to consider - it makes me immensely proud to be CEO of such a professional network,” said McKenzie. 

Regional and national winners will be announced by Rachel Riley, the numbers expert from 'Countdown', at our Annual Conference, which will be held at QEII Centre, Westminster, London on the 17th January 2019.

Full list of The Guild Award Shortlist 2019: 

NORTH

Carr & Hume

Logic Estates

Norman F Brown

Emsleys Estate Agents

Holroyd Miller

Kimmitt & Roberts

Moss Properties

Next2Buy

Roseberry Newhouse 

Whitehornes 

Ainsworth Lord Estates

SOUTH EAST

Sawyer & Co

Comyn & James Town and Country Homes

Enfields Estate Agents 

Mansell McTaggart

Stevens Estate Agents 

Belgarum Estate Agents

Clifton & Co Estate Agents 

Hodsons Estate Agents

Seymours Estate Agents

WALES

Morris Marshall & Poole

Williams & Goodwin The Property People

DJ&P Newland and Rennie

EAST ANGLIA

Allhomes Town and Country

Hamilton Piers

Mackay Property

Urban & Rural

 Thomas Morris Sales and Lettings

Millbank Estate Agents

MIDLANDS

 James Du Pavey

 Mundys

Carters Estate Agents

Moore & York

Sally Botham Estates

Hadleigh Estate Agents

The Agents Property Consultants

Bentons

LONDON 

Benjamin Stevens

Drivers & Norris 

SOUTH WEST

Sawdye & Harris

Helmores

DJ&P Newland Rennie 


10Dec

We spoke with Simon Miller, Partner at Holroyd Miller about his 30-year career in the industry, his top tips for success and the future of the property market in Wakefield, Yorkshire.

Tell us about yourself
My career in estate agency currently extends to thirty years. I have worked for both large corporate and independent agencies, and of course I have been running my own business with two other partners for the last 20 years. It comes as no surprise to many that I am a craft beer enthusiast and wholeheartedly support the growing number of micro-breweries in my town.

Tell us about Holroyd Miller
We are a small independent agency based in Wakefield and Dewsbury. We offer a comprehensive range of property services from a company that dates to 1897. From residential sales and lettings, commercial management and sales, RICS valuations and surveys, our trusted teams are experts in their field who focus on individual needs in an easy and relaxed way.

We are hands-on, providing a service that removes the complexity and pressure of property transactions. Whether buying, investing or letting, we simplify the process and co-ordinate everything to ensure our customers’ experience is positive and enjoyable. There’s no estate agent jargon here, just well-informed advice and actions.

If you became the Housing Minister for a day, what would you change?
Bring back HIPs (Home Information Packs)

Can you give six tips for anyone who wants to work in the property sector?
You must be a people person. Patience, empathy, a sense of humour and a genuine desire to help are key skills. It also helps if you like and understand the nuances of different types of property. Enthusiasm and a genuine understanding of the property market is essential – it shines through when consulting with vendors and buyers alike. These are all key traits I look for in agents.

Why do customers choose Holroyd Miller?
Repeat business is a major part of who we are. I have worked and lived in the area for a long time, as have my business partners, Jonathan and Hearl. We are known in our community and are a part of it. I think our customers really appreciate that, not to mention their good experience with us. We take the stress out of the process for them – we manage the complications and their expectations, and that keeps them coming back. 

What is next for the property market in your area?
There are lots of new builds in Wakefield. Given our position next to the M1 and M62 motorway network, our excellent rail links to London, Leeds, and Edinburgh, and top-rated schools, Wakefield has a great deal of potential to be the next “hot spot” in the North.

What makes the perfect home for you?
A home that feels like a home, not always show home ready but one with character, charm and interesting features, probably an older property with lovely well-stocked gardens.

What charities do you support in your local area?
This year we chose to support Andy’s Man Club, MS Society Wakefield, and the Wakefield Hospice by becoming the lead sponsor at the Wakefield Festival of Beer. We are very proud to have been involved in promoting the event, and to announce that almost £10,000 was raised. 

Another charitable cause that we are committed to supporting is our local homeless charity Cap Care. Our support extends to providing food hampers, clothes donations, and furniture donations throughout the year. During the festive period we will be taking part in a supermarket sweep, piling the trollies high for food stocks to be made into Christmas hampers for the charity.

Describe your typical day
There isn’t one! The element of surprise is always there and I continue to be the “Swiss Army Knife” of estate agency – I am involved in HR, marketing, social media, branding, business development, valuations, viewings, negotiating, and making tea… you name it, I do it.

Do you have any news you would like to share?
We have recently launched a new website which includes a produced film in which the team and I take a completely different approach. 

We promote the businesses in and around Wakefield, as well as the area itself. 

The film has received lots of positive comments from locals including Peter Box, the leader of Wakefield Council, all of whom really appreciated our positive promotion of a town we all love.

How has The Guild benefitted your business?
We’re really seeing the benefits; our Guild membership status lets our clients know they are dealing with professionals. They also know they are receiving the best possible chance of selling by being part of one of the largest network of agents in the country. This alone has allowed us to maintain income levels by emerging as the agent of choice for the higher end of the market.


For more information regarding membership to The Guild of Property Professionals email parklane@guildproperty.co.uk or to see more click here.

30Nov

Wanting to make a good impression and make your home stand out in the crowd doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are numerous budget-friendly ways that you can use to make your property more appealing to potential buyers and increase your chances of selling for the highest possible price.

You can make a big impact without spending big money, too. Subtle, well-thought-out and inexpensive updates are sometimes all that is needed to make a lasting impression and give you the edge in the market.

Here are some budget-friendly updates you could do before listing your home: 

Start with a renovation checklist 


Before doing anything else, walk through your home and visit each room to make a list of what needs to be repaired or replaced. It’s might be difficult, but try to be objective, focusing on how buyers would view your home. A second opinion from a friend or family members could help during this process. Look for outdated styles and fixtures, bold patterns and colours, unfinished projects and over-cluttered cupboards or countertops. Consider which elements showcase the home in its best light and what doesn’t. Once the checklist has been established, the next step is to set a budget and make time to complete the tasks.

First impressions count

It takes people just 15 seconds to decide whether they like a house or not. That just highlights the importance of making a good first impression. A buyer’s impression of your home is not only formed by what they see on the interior but starts from outside the property walls. People passing by will judge whether they want to have a look at the property by the way it looks from the street. Curb-appeal is vital and contributes to the success of attracting buyers. Start maintenance outside the property and work your way inside. Basic updates such as painting or refinishing of fences sheds and garage doors, cutting the grass and planting some flowers can improve the look of a home from the outside. 


Use transitional styles

Every home will have a style that is as unique as the people who own it. Ideally, you want to incorporate modern aspects into the home without losing its character and warmth. A transitional style walks the line between traditional warmth and homeliness, and the clean lines and subdued tones of a contemporary look. You want to tick the ‘just right’ box – not too cold or formal and not too fussy. 

Kitchen and bathrooms are key

As some of the most frequently used areas in any home, the kitchen and bathrooms will be a focal point for buyers. Pay extra attention to these areas to ensure they are fresh and look great. Things such as stained shower stalls, broken or missing grout and leaky taps or dated cabinet hardware are easily replaced at minimum cost. Exposed pipes in the bathroom can be boxed in and hidden. 


If laminate on kitchen doors is warped, there are companies who will re-laminate the kitchen doors and carcasses for a fraction of the cost of replacing them. A fresh backsplash is also a great way to update the look of the kitchen while giving the impression of a much bigger renovation. A new kitchen backsplash is surprisingly affordable and DIY-able.


A fresh coat

A new coat of paint is an inexpensive way to revitalise the home, especially if you have the skills to do the job yourself. Paint can breathe new life into a dated space and can be used in a variety of applications on walls, doors, cabinets, fixtures and even tiles. It is best to stick to a neutral muted colour palette when deciding on which paint to select, as these colours will appeal to the largest number of people. 


Replace or repair skirting boards

It is possible to repaint the skirting boards, but sometimes they can be over-painted and in need of a refreshed look, especially next to repainted painted walls or new carpets. At approximately £1.25 per metre, it’s a cheap fix and there are online companies offering a wide range of styles, meaning you can match styles with any skirting boards you wish to keep. 


Replace internal doors and door handles 

If your property was built in the ’70s and you still have the original doors and handles, then they are nearly 50 years old. It’s safe to say that these types of doors and handles will not be coming back into fashion anytime soon. Handles cost as little as £7.99 each, while a door will cost around £46.99 depending on the style and material chosen. 

Put up new window coverings

New window treatments can enhance a room without requiring much effort. You can find reasonably priced and easy-to-install shades, curtains, and rods at stores such as IKEA.

Light switches and electric sockets


Another cheap but highly effective update, replacing the light switches and electric sockets won’t break the bank but will bring the home into this century. A switch will cost around £1.32, while a socket will set you back approximately £3.89. Think safety first – always employ a professional when replacing electrical elements.

Repair failed double-glazed windows

While a blown double-glazed window was once very expensive to repair, this is no longer the case. There are many specialist companies who can remove moisture from inside the failed double-glazed glass, clean and re-seal your windows for a fraction of the cost of buying new double glazing.

Hang wall art


The look of a room can be completely changed simply by hanging artwork. Before making holes in the wall, layout the artwork on the floor to get the right arrangement if there are more than one or two pieces. Markets, antique stores and second-hand shops are great resources for finding expensive gems.

Updating your home doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. By making these small changes before listing a property, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of setting your home apart. 

To find other budget renovation tips check out our video on 'How to upgrade your home for less'. 

23Nov

Yesterday marked a year that first-time buyers have benefited from the stamp duty tax relief. The money-saving tax relief, which is known as First Time Buyer Relief (FTBR), was introduced on 22 November 2017.  The Treasury announced that since the inception of the scheme, more than 180,500 first-time buyers have benefited, saving a total of £426 million pounds. 

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “The government’s effort to assist first-time buyers to get into the market is seeing fruit with the number of first-time buyers at a 12-year high and climbing. Provided they have access to finances to meet deposit requirements, either through savings or their parents, first-time buyers will have an even greater impact in the market during 2019.”

The scheme is available to any first-time buyer purchasing a property in England or Northern Ireland with a purchase price of no more than £500,000, in the budget last month the relief was extended to first-time buyers purchasing a property through an approved shared ownership scheme. According to the Treasury, the relief was claimed in over 58,800 transactions between July and September this year, an increase of 12% compared with the previous quarter.

“While factors such as Brexit are still having a major impact on the housing market, the stamp duty relief will continue to increase the number of motivated buyers looking to purchase their first property,” adds McKenzie.

Find out what stamp duty you will pay on your property purchase by using our stamp duty calculator

22Nov

In his third Budget as chancellor, Phillip Hammond announced that he will extend the cancellation of stamp duty for first-time homebuyers on properties up to £300,000 to first-time buyers of shared ownership properties valued up to £500,000.  He also stated that the measure would be retrospective so that any first-buyer who has bought a home since the last Budget will benefit.

The government has done much to enable first-time buyers the opportunity to get into the market and removing stamp duty on all shared equity purchases up to £500,000 is another great initiative for those purchasing their first home. Since the abolishment of the stamp duty for first-time buyers, many more people have been able to get their foot on the property ladder despite the soaring average deposit amount required. In fact, during the first half of 2018, the number of first-time buyers hit a 12-year high at 175,500. 


How will stamp duty changes affect the market in 2019?

“Our view is that the first-time buyer market will be one of the larger buyer groups in 2019,” says Michael Delaney, Director at Lane & Bennetts, “and provided they are well funded for deposits through savings or the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’, the changes will end up being a kick starter for the sub £300,000 sales market currently being vacated by the buy to let landlords who have been inhibited by the tougher tax regimes.”

Other than focusing on stamp duty, could more be done?

While some believe the changes will continue to boost the numbers of first-time buyers in the market, others believe that more could be done, and certain factors could nullify the impact. Patrick Stappleton, Managing Director of Redwell Estates Ltd, says that anything to help first-time buyers get into the market is a good thing, but like all schemes, they aren’t going far enough. “They should be focussing on getting single occupancy of larger properties moving to release more housing into the mainstream and allow more people to move up the housing chain,” he adds.

Brexit remains a factor

Jack Reid, Managing Director of Orlando Reid, says: “There will be an increasing number of motivated buyers out there looking for their first home. It will have a bigger effect on the market outside of London as the stamp duty exception is up to £300,000. It won’t benefit London if a buyer were to purchase a whole property as opposed to shared ownership because of the higher prices compared to the rest of the UK. However, it will increase the number of shared ownership purchases for first-time buyers in the capital. I personally don’t feel it will have a huge positive impact on the market as right now the bigger problem is the uncertainty caused by Brexit and the lack of a deal with the EU.”


Director of Hunter French, Jacob Heatley-Adams, says: “Although the change could have a positive boost on the housing market which would, in turn, feed up through the market to create fluidity, the effect that Brexit is having has nullified any positivity that this decision would have created. It seems that first time buyers are sitting on their hands waiting to see what the outcome of Brexit is. Let’s face it, if you were a first-time buyer and had heard Mike Carney spouting that house prices could drop by a third if a no deal Brexit happened then you would no doubt be waiting to see what happened.”

What about stamp duty charges in the second-hand market?

While the much focus has been placed on first-time buyers, not much has been done to boost other sectors of the market. According to Heatley-Adams, there has been a rapid slowdown in the market over the last couple of months despite having plenty of sellers wanting to move, it seems that they cannot move as the market is not flowing.  

Sue Dyer, Partner at Atwell Martin, says that the main problem many agents are coming across is the 3% stamp duty on second homes. “The current stamp duty on second homes has prevented a lot of potential purchasers from buying holiday homes or a pad for Monday to Friday working or parents looking to invest in property for children entering University. Should this be lifted then the marketplace would become a lot freer flowing again.”


Jared Thomas, Director of Emsleys Estate Agents Ltd, agrees. “I don’t believe the change in stamp duty for first-time buyers will have much of a positive impact on the market. In all honesty, they need to remove the second property stamp duty charge to have any positive impact whatsoever,” says Thomas.

Jobs and deposit requirements still a factor

According to David Corben of Corbens in Swanage, the south coast market has seen no effect whatsoever with the changes in stamp duty. “We are primarily a holiday and retirement town which, because of the lack of jobs in the area means that most young first-time buyers have to move out to Poole or Bournemouth to secure a job.  For those who stay, unless they are fortunate to be blessed with the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ most will be unable to afford to save for the initial deposit to buy their first home so will end up renting, and it is the rental market which has been hit more by the changes with the two-tier stamp duty levy.  What we have seen over the last two years is buy-to-let investors have been put off purchasing because of the increase in the second home duty,” he adds. 

While the full impact of the stamp duty changes remains to be seen, it seems the general sentiment among agents is that more still needs to be done to encourage transactional volumes and price growth in all sectors.

To find out the stamp duty payable on your home purchase use our stamp duty calculator.

16Nov

Buying a property can be complicated, and so getting it right is pivotal to speeding up the process. Whether you are a first-time buyer, or an experienced home owner, our Guild agents are here to help. We have collected our secret tips to help you sell and move in before the holidays.


1. Preparation

Preparation is always key when it comes to selling your home. Simon Davies from Norman F Brown said: “Make sure your photos are taken before Christmas decorations go up and be prepared to accept viewings. Don’t put off launching your home until spring as lots of properties are launched in the new year and it may get lost amongst other properties.

Statistically, most homes take on average 10-11 viewings to sell between January and November. In December, that drops to four or five viewings as the quality of the buyer increases. The busiest week of the year on the internet is Christmas time as the vast majority of people are off work.”

John Newhouse from Roseberry Newhouse said: “With an antiquated conveyancing system, having all your paperwork relating to your property prepared in advance will help speed the process up. Choosing a property with no onward chain will also significantly improve your chances of getting moved quickly.”


2. Is the price right?

It may seem obvious, but ensuring your property is priced correctly and competitively will save you a lot of time in the long run. It is often overlooked by many and is one of the primary reasons for a slow-moving property. Your agent will give you the best advice based on the market and current demand.

Steve Wayne from Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents said: “Listen to your agent. If you are being advised correctly, then it shouldn’t matter what time of year you are trying to sell. If your agent is working hard for you then there should be no ‘quiet periods’ in the housing market. Make sure your agent is marketing your property on all the online outlets as well as their own social media outlets. The idea is to catch a buyer before they start thinking about festive spending.”


3. Make sure agents have immediate access

When conducting viewings, it is imperative that your home is accessible for the agent to arrange these appointments. You never know who might want to view your home last minute, or when you are unavailable to the agent.


4. Present your property properly

Stephen Wayne from Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents said: “It may seem a tiny detail, but nothing puts off a potential buyer more than seeing little things that already need fixing, so make sure all the light bulbs work and your curtains are open if it’s during the day or lights are on during the late afternoon. If a buyer’s first impression is that the property is dark, then within 20 seconds the rest of the viewing is often pointless as this is the lasting impression they have.

To ensure you’re in your new home by the end of the year, have a good de-clutter. Clear out any stuff you’re not proposing to take with you when you move. Remove anything hanging on or placed behind doors. If a door can’t be opened fully, it gives the illusion that the room is smaller.”


5. Have an efficient solicitor

The more efficient your solicitor is, the quicker you can get things moving. There’s nothing worse than waiting weeks for paperwork, or lack of communication. You could save a lot of time once an offer has been accepted if you are organised.

Aimee Fancourt from Wooster & Stock said: “Instruct a solicitor and provide all the necessary identification and initial paperwork. This way your solicitor can prepare the contract pack in advance and it will be ready to send over to your buyer’s solicitors once you go under offer. This could potentially speed up the process by two weeks.”

Jonathan Keegan from Bryan & Keegan said: “Have quotes ready and  your questionnaire forms filled out in plenty of time. From experience, it is money well spent using an established solicitor rather than looking to save a few hundred pounds.”


6. Sort out your mortgage provider


Your estate agent can put you in touch with the right mortgage provider, or you can do the research yourself to find the best for you. Your mortgage provider will talk you through the steps of getting a loan and calculating how much you can afford for your property. 


Are you looking to sell your home? Contact your local Guild Member for help through the moving process.

15Nov

While most people aspire to become homeowners, research has revealed that around 80% of people who have purchased a property have at least one noteworthy regret regarding their home buying decision. Staggering numbers considering buying a property is often the largest financial decision a person is likely to make in their life time. 

So why do so many people have something they regret after they buy a home? According to data compiled by an online estate agency, it takes people an average of 38 minutes to decide on the home they want to buy. Around two thirds of home buyers will view a property twice before making an offer, while some make an offer after seeing the property just once. Making a large financial decision in less time than it takes to prepare the average dinner could result in a few issues. 

It is easy to get caught up in the emotional aspect of buying a home, which could lead to you possibly overlooking certain key elements. It is often only once you have moved in and everything settles down, that you start to see things you might have previously only glossed over or missed. If you are not fully prepared and do not have an idea of exactly what you are looking for, it could be easy to miss something or make an incorrect decision.

Here are a few tips you can use to avoid regretting your purchase:

Separate the needs from the wants

Before you set out looking for the ideal property, make a list of what you need and what you want. Make the must-have a priority and note the features or aspects you are willing to compromise on. 

Keep focused

It’s important to remain focused on your must-haves and not get distracted by your wants.  A property might tick many of the boxes on your wants list, but if it does not meet your main objectives – it can’t be the right home. It is likely that you will stay in the property for at least a few years, which means dealing with your compromises for that long. It is better to rather make the right decision upfront, than have to deal with living in a home that just isn’t right. 

Look at your finances, and then check them again

Often one of the main reasons that buyers have regrets is the unexpected costs of owning a property. It is vital that you calculate what you can afford considering all costs such as council tax, insurance, service charge, maintenance and ground rent if the property is leasehold.

The bank, mortgage lender or professional financial adviser will be able to provide you with a list of costs that you can expect to pay when purchasing a home.

Get another opinion

Hire someone to have a look at the property to give you an idea of the type of repairs you may need to address and budget for beforehand. If you don’t want to hire someone, at least have a trusted friend or family member have a look at the property to give you an unbiased, objective opinion. 

Make sure you choose the right solicitor

All the legal aspects of buying a home will be handled by a solicitor or conveyancer. It is vital to choose and work with a solicitor that you trust and feel comfortable with, rather than one you have been forced into using by the agent. A good solicitor will ensure you are kept informed and will help guide you through the home buying process. The service you receive from your solicitor can make all the difference in how easy or difficult the all experience is for you, so choose carefully.

Don’t engage in a bidding war

Competition from another prospective buyer could make the property seem more attractive than it is and could lead you to put in a higher offer. However, it is important to remain focused on the main objective, which is finding the right home and not winning a contest. Rather walk away from the deal, than overpay. A higher price will mean a larger deposit, higher fees and thousands in additional interest on a larger mortgage. Another downside is that it will take much longer to build up any equity.

Buying a home is the largest financial decision that most people will make in their lives. While finding the right home will be an emotional journey, remember to keep things in perspective and focus on what matters most.

To find a home you won’t regret, visit www.guildproperty.co.uk  

01Nov

Security and economic crime minister Ben Wallace has revealed that the Home Office will start targeting the property industry harder to bolster its crusade against money laundering. He pointed out that the reason for this is that too few estate agents are currently reporting suspicious transactions. 

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “With the government setting their sights on the property industry and heavily clamping down on Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) violations, the need for estate agents to have far stricter measures in place and ensure compliance is paramount.”

While the focus was initially on banks, the government has opened up its scope and is singling out ‘high end’ estates in particular, because the UK’s prime properties are seen around the world as a “mark of wealth and respectability”. According to Wallace, criminally acquired cash is still being funnelled through the country’s financial system, and the government sees estate agents as weak point in the nation’s defences against economic crime. He has urged estate agents to up their game with regard to reporting suspicious activities, failing which sever penalties and prosecutions would follow. 

“We absolutely support making our members/businesses aware of their obligations under Money Laundering Regulations and in particular providing clarity of the roles and responsibilities of appointed officers and all members of the team in undertaking customer due diligence checks and on how to identify a suspicious activity. We have available in-branch training, online training and webinars all aimed to build robust processes and controls to reduce financial crime transactions becoming a reality,” adds McKenzie.

If you need advice or guidance on meeting compliance requirements contact The Guild

30Oct

Briefly discussing the housing market in his third Budget as chancellor, Phillip Hammond announced that he will extend the cancellation of stamp duty for first-time homebuyers on properties up to £300,000 to first-time buyers of shared ownership properties valued up to £500,000.  He also stated that the measure would be retrospective, so that any first-buyer who has bought a home since the last Budget will benefit.

According to Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, removing Stamp Duty on all shared equity purchases up to £500,000 is great news for prospective homebuyers getting into the market for the first time, but will do little for those who currently own property and wish to trade up. “Since the abolishment of the stamp duty for first-time buyers, many more people have been able to get their foot on the first rung of the property ladder. In fact, as Hammond announced, the number of first-time buyers purchasing property is at an 11-year high. However, it seems that the last two first-time buyer incentives have been designed to drive the focus away from the traditional second-hand market. Initially Help to Buy and now the incentive to buy shared equity property,” he says.

More money for Housing Infrastructure Fund

Hammond also announced that he will give a further £500m to the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is designed to enable a further 650,000 homes to be built. “The demand for housing in the UK has long outweighed the number of available properties. This further allocation of funds will assist the government in addressing the housing shortage and will create more opportunities for people to become homeowners,” said McKenzie. 

Housing on the high street

McKenzie adds that another interesting point that the Chancellor made was turning unused commercial spaces on the high streets into residential housing, again in a bid to ease the burden of the housing shortage, as well as rejuvenating the high-street and creating more foot traffic past high-street businesses. An amount of £675 million will be put into a future high street fund to redevelop un used areas and help the high streets adapt and increase interest for local businesses.  

Lettings relief limited

In the Budget, Hammond said that from April 2020 lettings relief would be limited to properties where the owner is in shared occupancy with the tenant. “The lettings relief is often used by people who have difficulty selling their home, whereby a maximum of £40,000 of gain per owner is exempt if the property is rented out. It seems that small landlords are being targeted again with the reformation of the lettings relief, as it is only available where the owner and tenant are in shared occupation,” adds McKenzie.

International investment

Permanent tax relief has increased from £200,000 to £1 million for 2 years to encourage more investment. “With many international property investors adopting a wait-and-see attitude towards the UK before the Brexit decision, a tax relief could be a great incentive to allure them back in and encourage further investment in the country. However, the extent of this will remain to be seen,” said McKenzie. 

“Overall an encouraging Budget for housing in the short term, but the real question remains. What is the government’s long-term strategy? More still needs to be done to encourage transactional volumes and price growth in all sectors,” he concludes.

25Oct


When it comes to selling your property, making a good first impression is imperative. Our Guild agents share their expertise and identify the top 10 biggest turn-offs for prospective buyers and how to avoid them.

Home buyers' biggest turn offs...

1. Clutter

Clutter is not only distracting, but it could indicate that the property does not have adequate storage. 

Nick Manson from Mansons Newcastle upon Tyne said: “De-cluttering is a great way to increase your chances of completing a sale, but that doesn’t mean that you have to part with your prized possessions. You can box them up and store them in the loft or garage. If this is not an option, ask family or friends to store them. Failing that, there is always the option of self-storage.”

Creating a clutter-free, minimalistic environment will help buyers visualize themselves living in your home. Additionally, too much furniture can make a property seem a lot smaller than it is. 

2. Smells

No matter how pleasant your home appears, persistent odours such as the smell of pets, cigarettes, or pungent food can be detrimental when it comes to selling your property.

Simon Bradbury from Thomas Morris Cambridgeshire explains: “An unpleasant odour is sure to put off a prospective purchaser or tenant. Whether it’s the whiff of stale food, pets or even something more… ‘human’… make sure that your property is free of unwanted smells. Ask a trusted friend to give your home a ‘sniff test’!”

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so we suggest opening your windows to air out your property before a viewing and use air freshener or light a candle to ensure your home doesn’t smell unpleasant.

3. An untidy exterior

Overgrown, unkempt gardens are a big no-no. Abby Wheeler from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “The first thing viewers see is the exterior. Ensure your bins are not overflowing and your pathway is weed free. Do whatever you can to make your home feel inviting from the outset. Don’t forget, our viewers have probably already done a drive-by before making an appointment.”

4. Noise

Most people expect their home to be a place of peace and tranquility. It may not always be preventable, but there are steps you can take to reduce unwanted noise from your property.

Mandy Thomas from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “Upgrade your glazing or install sound proof fencing. Alternatively, try to avoid organising viewings at busy times of the day such as rush hour, when traffic will be particularly bad.”

5. No natural light

Light and warmth are two of the most important factors to attract a buyer for your home, especially in the colder months of the year. Angie Kraft from Simmons & Sons Henley-on-Thames explains: “A cold or poorly lit home can be an instant turn-off  to potential buyers by making the property appear dingy and dark in places. If this is the case, it gives the impression of a house that is unloved and uncared for.”

Resolving this issue can be simple. Philip Trollen from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “Natural light is very important as dark rooms are always off-putting. Ensuring the room is well lit, whether that be naturally or with staged lighting is quite simple to do. Make sure the curtains are open and remove those net curtains!”

6. Bad décor

Avoid controversial or quirky décor in your home as it is not to everyone’s taste. What you think is retro, others may consider dated. Bold colours and patterns can turn-off a prospective buyer, as it is important for them to see themselves living there and décor plays a huge part in this.

Simon Miller from Holroyd Miller Wakefield said: “Replace heavily patterned retro carpets, when purchasers are greeted with such a carpet all they see is decades of dirt and grim – I can guarantee the viewer will want to leave as soon as they’ve stepped through the door.”

7. Nightmare neighbours

Nobody enjoys noisy or messy neighbours, especially not a potential buyer. This is something you cannot change, but it is something you can manage. Whether their garden hasn’t been cleaned in years, or their pet dogs incessantly bark, get to know your neighbour and perhaps they may be able to help. If all else fails, organising viewings for when they are not home might be beneficial, too.

8. Poor presentation

Poor attention to detail such as: flaking paint on soffits, grubby kitchen units, tatty net curtains, unemptied ashtrays and nicotine stained walls are taken into consideration when viewing a property.

Lizanne Simmons from Penny & Sinclair Oxford said: “First impressions are massive and we often find ourselves apologising for the sights of the less cared for properties. We always arrive early to a viewing to open the windows, curtains, close the lids to the toilets and pull a duvet into position here and there.”

Simon Bradbury from Thomas Morris Cambridgeshire said: “Dirty kitchens or bathrooms are not a nice thought and certainly not something that a viewer will want to see. My best advice: have the property professionally cleaned before going to market.”

Small and affordable fixes such as: freshening up the paint work, or having your home professionally cleaned will make a world of difference and worth it in the long run.

9. An unexpected problem

Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole Mid Wales said: “There is nothing worse for a viewer than turning up to find there is a significant issue with a property which they were not aware of such as a structural defect, a problem with something in the neighbourhood or compromised accommodation. It is a wise precaution to maintain compliance with Consumer Protection Regulations, but it also makes good business sense – the viewers are more trusting of us and willing to discuss the issues and the available solutions.

10. An over zealous vendor

It is common for a vendor to want to take part in the viewing or show off their DIY aspects of the property. However, vendors being present at viewings may not always be a good thing. 

Stephen Ingram from Penny & Sinclair Oxford said: “A seller that follows the viewer around is never well-received. With the best intentions, those scenarios always highlight why it’s best to leave it to your agent.”

Take a step back and let your agent do the work, it is their job after all and you will thank them later.


Are you looking to sell your home? Contact your local Guild Member for help through the moving process.

19Oct

There is no doubt that Brexit has already had an impact on the property market with many adopting a wait-and-see approach until the final deal has been made. As March 2019 and a final decision edges closer, many people are wondering whether they should take advantage of the current situation and buy or trade up, while house prices have subsided. On the other hand, some people are conscious that a hard Brexit could see the housing market slow down and are trying to decide whether now is a good time to sell. 

We asked Members of The Guild to give their advice about what they think homeowners should do. Here’s what they said:  

It remains a case of supply and demand

Andy Goundry of Goundrys said: “Interestingly, where we are in Mid Cornwall, it appears that people have taken two different views. We have had potential buyers saying they will wait until the uncertainty is over as they feel prices may well reduce and so they will wait. Conversely, we have had some sellers place their property on the market in the hope if they sell now, they may obtain a better price than if they wait until next year. In our area, as always, it remains a case of supply and demand. We have seen a decrease in the number of buyers. However, the dearth of available property still means that a realistically priced property is agreeing a sale within a matter of days.”

Andy adds that if people are trading up or down, then it remains a matter of relative price differential and makes little difference whether that is in a falling or rising market. “Certainly, if the property isn’t on the market, then I guarantee it won’t sell!”

Good stock is being secured quickly

Director of Maguire Jackson in Birmingham, Philip Jackson, says that the Brexit question has undoubtedly injected some caution in recent weeks into the local market, taking some of the projected growth out of the market. “However, it hasn’t completely stopped the annual growth we have witnessed over the past three years. There are indications this autumn that some vendors are making the decision now to sell, in the anticipation that the sales market going forward into 2019 might become more difficult.  For purchasers, it means there is more stock coming into the market and positively slightly more choice, however, good stock is still being secured quickly, helped by continuing anticipated overall price growth.”

We will begin to prosper again

According to Ben Dreher of Mansbridge Balment, the current uncertainty in the market has caused a drop in sales volumes and an increase in available property. “For the first time in many years, buyers now have the upper hand and as such, there is more scope for negotiation - so yes, they should buy now if they can. Once Brexit is agreed and as a country, we begin to prosper, house prices will undoubtedly start to increase again, so buying now could prove to be a very wise move.”  

The ideal time to trade up

Residential Sales Manager of Rickman Properties, Stuart Mills, says that when the market is sluggish, and prices are proving more flexible, this is the ideal time to trade up. “The gap between higher and lower priced properties narrows considerably, for instance, if selling at £500,000 and buying at £1,000,000 the difference is £500,000. However, if the market were to come down 10%, the figures look different you are now selling at £450,000 and buying at £900,000, the difference is now £450,000. It’s the same properties, but you are saving £50,000. Looking forward, when the market goes back up 10% your old property is worth £495,000 and your new property is worth £990,000, so you have gained £45,000, making a total saving and gain of £95,000.”

He adds that more than ever this is a great opportunity to trade up, for those who hesitate, and wait until the market is back and moving forward they will see the gap between the more expensive properties and their own grow, and perhaps become unaffordable. 

“Another factor to bear in mind is that if you buy a property now, the value becomes unimportant, it only becomes a factor when you sell. Most properties these days are owned for 10-12 years and longer. A property should be a home and enjoyed as such, if you like it and can afford it, and it’s what you want, buy it.”

The markets and economy will take time to adjust

Avin Jay, Director at Mansell McTaggart, agrees that now is a great time to sell and trade up if you are playing the percentage game. “Whatever the outcome, the markets and economy will take time to adjust. Very much the same when interest rates rise,” he explains. “I think there are two types of buyers out there, the ones who want to make a profit and the ones who make that emotional purchase. The real problem in the market is overvaluing and Stamp Duty, the additional 3 per cent required when purchasing a second home has got to go.”  

Property prices in the UK will always increase

Fine & Country’s Adam Tahir, says that very few people truly understand Brexit and what will or won’t happen across all public and private sectors. “Having worked through two prior recessions, there has always been one clear outcome, property prices in the UK will always increase. This comes down to the lack of supply and the ever-increasing demand of homes available. Over the next few years, uncertainty is the key feature here, however, with interest rates lower than they have ever been before, pre-Brexit remains to be a good time to sell, buy or upgrade,” he says. 

“Some buyers have lost the meaning of buying a property now. Too many people buy a property for one price because it will be worth a higher price in six months. Over the next five years, we need to go back to buying properties as homes and stop focusing on the appreciation value. Brexit will be another blip, another reason for prices to come down or ‘balance’ so to speak, but eventually prices will increase again and when they do another situation or scenario will arise and the entire cycle will start again.”

Brexit, No Brexit, Hard Brexit…people still need a roof over their head

According to Steve Wayne of Benjamin Stevens in Edgware, the property market is largely influenced by interest rates and salaries.  

“Brexit, No Brexit, Hard Brexit…in the whole scheme of things, it will be another footnote to history in a decade. We have survived the Oil Crisis, 20%+ Hyperinflation in the 1970’s, Mass Unemployment in the 1980s, Interest Rates of 15% in 1990s, the Global Financial Crash in 2009, whatever happens, happens. People still need houses and a roof over their head. If property values drop, it is only a paper drop in value because you lose when you sell. Long term, we aren’t building enough homes, and so, property is a long game no matter what happens – the property market will always come good,” he concludes.

Are you looking for your first property? Contact one of our Guild agents today. Find your nearest office here.

18Oct

From palatial master en-suites to private powder rooms, beautiful bathrooms are a statement and unique feature that are often considered to be one of the most important rooms in a home. We look at some of the best bathrooms on the market.

1.Virginia Water, Surrey - £7,500,000

Set within the heart of the Wentworth Estate, this seven-bedroom detached family home, which is arranged over four floors, has been completed to an extremely high specification. Located at the end of a private road, the property sits in a stunning quiet spot of approximately 1.5 acres, moments away from Wentworth Golf Club.

On the first floor, the master suite overlooks the garden. It incorporates a seating area and separate dressing room, which leads through to the very generous en-suite with his and hers basins. The bathroom’s contemporary design and clean lines blends seamlessly with the home’s overall styling. 


For sale through Seymours (sales@seymours-westbyfleet.co.uk, 01932 354494).

2. Upper Farm Close, Norton St Philip - £600,000

Those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of city living will find solace in this versatile five-bedroom detached home, which is in the charming village of Norton St Philip, eight miles south of Bath. The luxury suite compromises a large bedroom and separate dressing area. The en-suite bathroom features a panelled bath with electric shower overhead and a heated towel radiator which is perfect for cold winter nights.  


For sale through Fidelis (info@fidelisinbath.co.uk, 01225 421000).

3. Clevedon Road, Wraxall, Bristol - £1,795,000

Looking for privacy? Look no further. Built by Magenta Properties, this impressive new detached residence of 4,000 sq. ft. is situated in a private setting behind automated gates on the edge of the city. The five-bedroom house occupies a commanding, elevated one-acre plot, parts of which offer far reaching views across the Yeo Valley to the Mendip Hills and Bristol Channel on the horizon. Recently completed to the highest standard, careful consideration has been given to the choice of materials used in home, such as the tiles and fittings in each of the three bathrooms. The master en-suite is modern and uncomplicated in its design, featuring a frameless custom-built shower and floating vanity with his and hers counter-top basins. 


For sale through Hydes of Bristol (post@hydes.co.uk, 0117 9731516).

4. The Townhouse, Squirrel Works - £625,000

An industrial façade fuses with contemporary cool in The Townhouse in Squirrel Works. The Grade II Listed, three-storey, Arts and Crafts factory was designed by Architect John G. Dunn and constructed in 1912 for SJ Levi and Company. Exposed brickwork, timber joists and steel beams add interest and character to the two-bedroom, New York style home. The en-suite bathroom remains true to the overall styling of the home, with subway tiles from floor to ceiling, Duravit sanitaryware and Hansgrohe chrome finish brassware.


For sale through Maguire Jackson (bham@maguirejackson.com, 0121 634 1520).

5. Westbury Sub Mendip, Nr. Wells - £1,200,000

Located minutes from the Cathedral City of Wells, the design of this six-bedroom new-build house is strongly influenced by Saxon architecture with post and crunk framing and oak timbers. One of five bathrooms in the home: the en-suite bathroom, features a marble-tiled floor and large shower area with peacock coloured wall tiles and two showerheads. 


For sale through Roderick Thomas (wedmore@roderickthomas.co.uk, 01934 710220).

6. Yealm Road, Newton Ferrers, Plymouth, Devon - £1,600,000

This detached, six-bedroom, contemporary home in the sought-after village of Newton Ferrars offers panoramic estuary views over the River Yealm. The home has been designed to maximise both views of the beautiful surroundings, as well as the natural light flowing through the interior. A prime example is the skylight in the main bathroom, offering night time sky views for the avid stargazer. A large mirror and step-down bathtub complete the design of this modern bathroom. 


For sale through Marchand Petit (newtonferrers@marchandpetit.co.uk, 01752 873 311).

18Oct

For many, the ideal garden is a perfect blend of manicured lawns, flowerbeds overflowing with abundance, trimmed topiary and box hedges. An escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, gardens can be a refuge designed to suit any lifestyle. From small kitchen gardens to grand country grounds, each has its own character and can be a place of serenity amid the daily routines of life. We look at a few properties with gorgeous gardens guaranteed to inspire.

1.Edford, Exeter - £1,000,000

A superbly appointed detached Regency residence reputedly built in the 1820s, Ebford House has recently undergone a complete refurbishment and modernisation programme creating a grand home of distinction and great character. Located in a highly desirable hamlet close to Topsham, Edford House’s gardens wrap around the home with an array of mature trees and shrubs. To one side is a woodland style area with an old oak tree and Douglas fir and an area of lawn with raised beds, a greenhouse and garden shed. To the front of the property is a veranda terrace with wisteria. Steps from the terrace lead down to a gravel pathway which in turn has steps down to a good-sized lawn with mature planted borders and trees.

For sale through Wilkinson Grant & Co (topsham@wilkinsongrant.co.uk, 01392 875000).

2. Grove Park, Camberwell - £2,875,000

On a sizeable corner plot in Rylstone, this seven-bedroom Victorian home is somewhat of a hidden gem. Named in honour of William Wordsworth's poem 'The White Doe of Rylstone', the property enjoys many original features, including stained glass, textured Ashlar coving, fireplaces and decorative wooden detail. Another standout feature are the three separate garden areas, which each supply a peaceful space to unwind. Tall trees on both sides of the garden afford it privacy, while still allowing for plenty of sunlight. Adding to the charm of the home, mature creepers make their way the up the walls alongside wide bays of sash and casement windows. Not just aesthetically beautiful, but functional as well, the paved patio garden area outside the kitchen is where the current owners cultivate all manner of vegetables and herbs. 

For sale through Wooster & Stock (sales@woosterstock.co.uk, 020 7952 0595).

3. Dennis Lane, Stanmore - £2,395,000 

Located in beautiful grounds of just over three quarters of an acre, the garden of this seven-bedroom detached home in sought-after Dennis Lane, Stanmore, offers plenty of space for entertaining or enjoying outdoor activities. The west-facing rear garden of the country-style family home, complete with sun-trap terrace and heated swimming pool, features ample lawn area and high mature trees and scrubs providing both privacy and shade. 

For sale through Breslauer (sales@breslauer.co.uk, 0208 954 2200). 

4. Sussex Square, Brighton - £575,000

Located in the Kemp Town Conservation area, this three-bedroom apartment in Sussex Square looks out across the greenery of the beautiful landscaped gardens of Kemp Town Enclosures. A communal garden, Kemp Town Enclosures is owned collectively by the freeholders of 105 houses that make up the Kemp Town Estate. Residents have access to these private enclosed gardens and can enjoy easy direct access to the seafront without crossing the coastal road via its secret tunnel.

Local horticulturist, Henry Phillips was responsible for landscaping the gardens in 1828, around the same time that the Kemp Town Estate was being constructed. The tunnel to the esplanade was added later in about 1830. Royalty such as William IV and Queen Adelaide, and later Victoria and Albert, enjoyed walks in the gardens on their visits to Brighton.  In 1908, the gardens were set aside for the exclusive pleasure of Edward VII when he and his daughter stayed at 1 Lewes Crescent.

For sale through Sawyer and Co. (brighton@sawyerandco.co.uk, 01273 685111).

5. Valley Road, Leigh Woods, Bristol - £1,600,000

A magnificent six-bedroom Edwardian home in a leafy private road on the very edge of the city, in the enviable location of Leigh Woods. Three Gables was built for the Wills family in 1908 in a bespoke style and now occupies an outstandingly beautiful plot of around a quarter of an acre. The beautifully manicured gardens in the front and rear of the home have an array of mature tree and plant specimens alongside impressive, well-tended lawns and have clearly been a labour of love. 

The front garden enjoys a southerly aspect, while the rear faces a north westerly direction. With the overall plot measuring just over a quarter of an acre, there is ample space for interesting features such as the hexagonal summer house to located on the western boundary of the rear garden. 

For sale through Hydes (post@hydes.co.uk, 0117 973 1516).

28Sep

Buying a home for the first time can be an emotionally driven experience, especially when you consider the various elements that need to be taken into account. While there are several new and exciting things that go into buying a home, it can be a complicated process to negotiate. Often, it’s easy to focus on the smaller details and lose sight of the larger picture while possibly making mistakes.

Here's what first-time buyers need to avoid along the way:

Not getting a mortgage in principle

Once you have made the decision to buy a property, the temptation to jump into the search with both feet will be overwhelming. However, rushing in before speaking to your bank about the mortgage they are prepared to offer you could lead to disappointment. Imagine you find a house you love, only to learn it is not within your price range when applying for the mortgage. While not a requirement or guarantee, getting a Mortgage in Principle will provide you with a written estimate from a lender, giving an indication of what you can borrow. 

It’s possible to apply for a Mortgage in Principle through a mortgage adviser such as L&C or directly with a lender. They will provide you with the reassurance that you are looking at properties within your price range and they will let the seller know you are serious and qualify to buy the property.  

Not working out what you can afford


There might be a difference between the mortgage you qualify for and what you can comfortably afford in real terms. It is always advisable that you leave some cushioning in the budget. Look at your finances and make a list of your expenses before determining a budget for a property to gain a clear idea of what you can afford. Don’t stretch your finances too thin, as this will make you vulnerable if unforeseen circumstances rear their head.

Focusing on the flaws

You shouldn’t compromise on your ‘must-haves’ but placing too much focus on the home’s flaws might have you miss the things that really matter. Fixtures can be replaced, rooms can be made open-plan or walls can be added to create your dream home with a property that meets your essential criteria.   

Falling in love blindly


On the other end of the spectrum, you shouldn’t overlook a home because of its flaws, but don’t completely ignore them either. The look of a home is one thing, but more serious issues such as structural damage are quite another. Often, once a buyer sees a home that they think is the one, their decisions will be based on the emotional connection rather than the facts. Be fully aware of all the property’s issues before you put in an offer. Ask your Guild agent to explain all a property’s past and current major or structural issues, or seek advice from a surveyor.

Waiting too long

It is crucial to make an informed decision when choosing the right home, but don’t take too long, otherwise, you could lose out to a faster buyer. Once you have found the right home, be decisive and take action to avoid disappointment. 

Not thinking about the future


Consider aspects such as the home’s resale potential as well as your future plans. It might seem strange to think about selling the home before you have bought it but much of the home’s potential return on investment is based on decisions you make when buying, not selling. 

Factors that will affect the home’s resale value include:

Location

Condition

Type of property 

Number of bedrooms  

Garage or off-street parking. 

Investments in infrastructure, like HS2

Also, consider whether the home will meet your needs in the future. For example, you may not have children now but plan to shortly - this means needing an extra bedroom or ensuring that you purchase near a school with the desired Ofsted rating. Think about whether the home meets your situation now, but also if it can meet your evolving needs.

Are you looking for your first property? Contact one of our Guild agents today. Find your nearest office here.

27Sep

On 20th September The Guild of Property Professionals hosted an invitation-only launch event at the iconic Titanic Belfast in Northern Ireland. The event welcomed The Guild’s first Member in the region, Wilsons Auctions, and was a great opportunity to engage with potential new Members in Northern Ireland.

The event kicked off with an address by Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild, who introduced The Guild and highlighted the benefits that becoming a Member could offer independent estate agents in Northern Ireland. 

Since its inception 25 years ago, The Guild of Property Professionals has seen substantial growth in both England and Wales, a pattern that is likely to continue with the expansion into the Northern Ireland region. “The turn out and interest at the event was phenomenal,” said Iain, “We had independent estate agents covering over 30 territories who recognised the advantage membership to The Guild offers and showed serious interest in being a part of our expanding network.”

Regional Manager, Kris McLean, who will be looking after the Northern Ireland Members, spoke on the topic, ‘How The Guild works for you.’ He explained the details of how The Guild’s unique offering of over 38 products and services can help agents to save money and increase their revenue and market share in their local market. 

One of the many benefits of becoming a Member of The Guild is assistance to remain compliant in the often-complicated estate agency industry. This is achieved by providing Members with access to, among other things, Paul Offley - The Guild’s in-house compliance officer. Paul provided the attendees at the event with crucial advice on how to be fully compliant as an estate agent in the UK. 

Rounding off the official speeches before the commencement of the celebratory drinks, Iain McKenzie expressed his gratitude to those who attended. “It is an exciting time for The Guild and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work with estate agents in Northern Ireland. This is a new chapter for The Guild, we are eager to see its growth and development in the future.” 

For more information regarding membership to The Guild of Property Professionals email parklane@guildproperty.co.uk or to see more click here.

20Sep

In celebration of our launch in Northern Ireland today, we spoke with Ian Wilson, Managing Director of Wilsons Auctions, our first official member in Northern Ireland:

How long have you worked at Wilsons Auctions?

Over 50 years.


Why did you join The Guild of Property Professionals?

We joined The Guild in the hope it will offer Wilsons Auctions an opportunity to work closer with Northern Ireland Estate Agents, allowing us to work together and assist each other to help our clients achieve a successful sale. 


Tell us a little about Wilsons…

Wilsons Auctions is a family-owned business, established in 1936, it now has branches across the UK and Ireland. We are delighted to be able to conduct a significant number of auctions across our branches including property and private treaty auctions which we have developed over recent years. 


If you became the Housing Minister for a day, what would you change?

I think I would have to take a sick day!


Can you give six tips for anyone who wants to work in the property sector?

You need to have a love for property, enthusiasm, an eye for detail, good communication skills, enjoy working with people and in today’s market you need to be digitally able.


What is the cheapest and most expensive property to go under the hammer with Wilsons Auctions?

We sold a derelict cottage in Dromore, County Down for £7,500 which has been the cheapest property sold, while a few months ago we were involved in the sale of quarries in the Republic of Ireland by auction which achieved a total of €7.22 million. 


Where are the three best places to invest in Northern Ireland and why?

East Belfast, Glengormley and Lisburn would be the best places to invest as all have high demand for rental properties. Most of our buyers are rental investors or developers looking to upgrade and flip a property.


Any tips for first time bidders?

Do your homework, make sure you view the property you are interested in and do due diligence with your solicitor on the Legal Pack. Research properties in the locality, and get a feel for what is selling, who to and for what price.


What is the fastest you have sold a home at auction?

Often we would sell properties instructed late into an auction, sometimes less than two weeks. We recently completed on a house in Ballymena, Co. Antrim in 14 days, the house had a guide price of £110,000 and we were delighted to say it made £167,000 at the fall of the hammer. 


How can people calm their nerves during auction day?

For the vendor I would say to have full confidence in the agent who is selling the property. For buyers, try and enjoy the thrill of the auction, get to the auction hall in plenty of time to get a feel of the auction before the property you are interested is due to be sold. Don’t be scared to ask any staff for assistance or advice. Preparation is key; come prepared with an idea of your maximum bid. It is important that the auctioneer can see you, so choose your seat wisely and bid early.


What is next for the Northern Ireland property market?

It seems to change on a daily basis when you listen to the news, however, in Northern Ireland we have survived through some adverse times and no matter what’s thrown at us we always get through.


What makes the perfect home for you?

The perfect partner to share it with.


For more information regarding membership to The Guild of Property Professionals email parklane@guildproperty.co.uk or to see more click here.


11Sep

There are several reasons why friendly and sociable Northern Ireland is considered to be one of the happiest places to live in the UK. The country has a lot to offer, from beautiful scenery to a low cost of living and great employment opportunities, not to mention the countless beaches, world famous golf courses and wealth of public parks and forests. All of which make Northern Ireland an amazing place to put down roots. 

In fact, Northern Ireland is so blessed with beautiful regions, dramatic coastlines, castles, landmarks and mountains, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to things to marvel at. 

Here are just some of the reasons that Northern Ireland is an amazing place to live:

Belfast


Considered one of Europe’s most friendly and fashionable regional capitals, Belfast has been described by Lonely Planet as a ‘must-see visitor destination’. The vibrant and thriving capital has undergone an era of regeneration and features a wide array of award-winning restaurants, bars and tourist attractions such as the Titanic Belfast Centre. Belfast is also a short drive from a number of Northern Ireland’s other attractions such as the legendary Giant’s Causeway, which is the number one Irish attraction in the list of the world’s top tourist spots, the Lakelands of Fermanagh, the Walls of Derry, the majestic Mountains of Mourne and the Glens of Antrim. 

Best places to live

According to The Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide, five places in Northern Ireland were named among the best places to live in Britain, with Ballyhackamore in Belfast topping the list in Northern Ireland. A wide range of factors are considered when compiling the list from jobs, schools and broadband speed to culture, community spirit and local shops, to compile the definitive top locations to live. Other Northern Ireland locations on the list include Holywood in Co Down, Newcastle in Co Down, Portrush in Co Antrim, and Strangford in Co Down.

Property market

During the first quarter of this year, Northern Ireland led to house price growth across the UK with a 7.9% increase on last year. However, with unemployment now at a 10-year low, inflation falling and wages increasing, property prices remain more affordable in Northern Ireland than in many other regions. 

Economy

Millions are being invested in regeneration and Northern Ireland’s towns and cities are thriving, with the new industries being created giving the economy a new lease on life. Outside of London, Northern Ireland is the leading UK region for attracting inward investment. In fact, Belfast is the world’s top destination city for financial services technologies investments. Business in Northern Ireland is also supported by a strong infrastructure, with the region boasting the highest availability of superfast broadband in the UK.

Outdoor Activities 


The country has not one, but two world-renowned golf courses at Royal County Down and Royal Portrush, not to mention the numerous other golf courses throughout the region. Royal County Down is located in Newcastle, a small holiday town at the foot of the Mountains of Mourne, while Portrush stands on a rocky promontory that juts out into the Atlantic. Both courses offer spectacular views and greens that blend into the landscape perfectly. 

Not a golfer, don’t worry there are plenty of other activities in Northern Ireland to keep you busy, such as a walk along one of the breath-taking beaches. Some of Europe’s most remarkable beaches are in Northern Ireland, with the naturally beautiful formations of coastline providing long stretches of golden sand. 


Arts and culture

Northern Ireland is as culturally rich as it is beautiful. Home to several fascinating museums, the country has also produced a wealth of world-renowned writers, among them Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, C.S Lewis, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett. Northern Ireland has also given the world musical legends such as Van Morrison, Gary Moore, James Galway, Phil Coulter, Brian Kennedy, The Undertones, Ash, Stiff Little Fingers and Snow Patrol.

During more recent years, the country’s film industry has enjoyed much success as the base for a number of large-scale productions which include Game of Thrones, Dracula Untold and the BBC drama series ‘The Fall’. Northern Ireland’s scenic locations and host of talented actors have made it a sought-after destination for production companies. 

Northern Ireland has a lot to celebrate and offer and continues to attract both tourists and settlers alike. In the words of Liam Neeson: “I’ve always maintained that Northern Ireland is the world’s best-kept secret, both in the character of its people and its scenery.”

07Sep

On 20th September, The Guild will officially be expanding to Northern Ireland for the first time. With our launch fast approaching, we are on the hunt for the prettiest places to live in Northern Ireland. We are giving away a luxury hamper from Regency Hampers to the lucky winner with the most delightful submission. Simply message us on Facebook or Twitter with a photograph and the location for your chance to win.



The hamper includes: 

A Hand-Made Lidded Willow Picnic Basket with Leather Fittings (36 x 26 x 15cm)

Two Guinness, Original Irish Stout, 500ml

Snowdonia, Select Extra Mature Cheddar Truckle, 100g

Snowdonia, Select Mature Cheddar With Garlic & Garden Herbs, 100g

Simon Weaver, Organic Cotswold Brie, 100g

Cottage Delight, Caramelised Onion Chutney, 105g

Mondovino, Spicy Moroccan Seed & Nut Crackers, 125g

The Dormen, Zesty Lime & Fiery Chilli Peanut & Cashew Mix, 50g

Four Anjels, Cotswold Luxury Shortbread, 100g

Cottage Delight, Strawberry Extra Jam, 113g

Cole's, Strawberry Steamed Pudding, 227g

Lindt, Swiss Luxury Chocolate Selection, 145g

A Protective Cardboard Outer (480 x 310 x 260 mm)

How to Enter

Message us on Facebook or Twitter with a photograph of your submission and the location.

Important dates

The closing date for entries is on Wednesday 19th September 2018 at 5pm. The winner will be contacted within 24 hours and will be announced on social media when they accept their prize. 

Terms & Conditions

Competition closes Wednesday 19th September 2018. Any entry made after this date will be invalid. 

By entering the competition, entrants agree to be bound by these terms and conditions. By entering the competition, entrants agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

1. The Guild Luxury Hamper Competition is open to mainland UK and Northern Ireland residents only. 

2. The competition is free to enter.

3. Entrants must be over 18 years of age, or under 18 with the permission of a parent or guardian.

4. There is one step required to successfully enter the competition; to comment below the competition post on Facebook.

Once all steps are completed, you will be entered into the competition.

5. The information explaining how to enter the competition forms part of these terms and conditions. Entrants to the competition are bound by the entirety of these terms and conditions.

6. Winners will be chosen at random by the Guild team.

7. There will be one winner. They will be contacted via private message through The Guild Facebook page. They will have 24 hours from when the message is sent to respond, claiming the prize. Failure to do so may result in a secondary winner being chosen. 

8. The winner will receive one luxury hamper from Regency Hampers delivered to their home address. No cash alternative will be provided, and the prize is non-refundable and non–transferrable. There will not be option of choice between hampers.

9. In the event that the selected prize cannot be delivered, The Guild will attempt to find a suitable replacement. A change in prize value due to reasons beyond the control of The Guild cannot be contested by the winner. Finding a replacement is at the sole discretion of The Guild. 

10. The Guild cannot be held responsible for any issue arising from the fault of Regency Hampers or their delivery service. This includes, but is not limited to, any issues with delivery, damage to the product, quality complaints, or missing products. 

11. Entrants may be required to take part in media activity surrounding the competition. By taking part in the competition, entrants consent to the participation in such activity fully.

12. No responsibility is taken for entries lost, delayed, misdirected or incomplete due to server functions or failures, virus, bugs, technical problems or traffic congestion on the internet or any other causes outside the control of The Guild.

13. Events may occur that render the competition itself, or the awarding of the prize, impossible due to reasons beyond the control of The Guild. Accordingly, The Guild may at their absolute discretion vary or amend the competition, and the entrant agrees that no liability shall be attached to The Guild as a result thereof.

14. This competition is organised and operated The Guild Limited of 121 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 7AG.

15. In the event of any dispute regarding these terms and conditions, conduct, results and all other matters relating to the Competition the decision of The Guild shall be final and no correspondence or discussions shall be entered into.

16. Contest not open to The Guild employees and their immediate family members.

17. The Guild Luxury Hamper Competition is bound to The Guild’s terms and conditions, which can be found here: https://www.guildproperty.co.uk/legal/terms 

04Sep

With a growing network of almost 800 independent estate agents, The Guild of Property Professionals has enjoyed a strong presence in both England and Wales for 25 years and now believes that its unique offering will perfectly compliment the best independent agents in Northern Ireland. In June this year, The Guild signed independent auction company Wilsons Auctions as the first Member of its expansion into Northern Ireland. Their connections and extensive reach throughout Ireland will greatly enhance The Guild’s referral network and create many business opportunities for Members.  

Membership to The Guild of Property Professionals focuses on three principles. Saving them money, making them money and helping them remain compliant. This is achieved by giving Members access to a range of marketing solutions, additional revenue generators, such as the nationwide referral programme and Paul Offley, The Guild’s compliance officer. 

The growth also has huge benefits to the consumer. With more than 73,000 listings within the network, buyers should always bookmark The Guild’s own portal as part of their property search. Also, if they are moving out of their immediate area, we are able to refer them to a Guild Member in the location that they are looking to move to, ensuring that they are dealing with an agent that adheres to the same high standards and ethics. 

We are excited to work with agents in Northern Ireland and will be asking them to help us shape our network, both locally and nationally. Our Marketing Committee and National Advisory Council will have Northern Ireland representation. It is an exciting time for The Guild and we are delighted to be embarking on a new journey into previously uncharted territory. 

The Guild is thrilled about the expansion into Northern Ireland and will be hosting an invitation-only launch event at the iconic Titanic Belfast at the end of September. 

For more information regarding membership to The Guild of Property Professionals email parklane@guildproperty.co.uk or to see more click here.


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