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18May

Have you ever thought of being an estate agent? There are some skills that will help you in the field. Here are tips from Guild estate agents.



1. Experience in customer service and sales will be a useful asset. Time working in hospitality or retail can give the confidence and skills needed to be an estate agent.

2. Good knowledge of the local property market will be very useful. Think about starting as an administrator to get an idea of the business, build customer relations and to discover if this is the right career for you.

3. Buying and selling houses is a stressful process that can result in emotional clients. Estate agents need to be patient with their clients because this will be one of the most important decisions of their lives.

4. There is clear progression in estate agency, providing you with clear goals and chances to move up the ladder.

5. Estate agents will juggle a lot of tasks, like visiting clients and landlords to do valuations, arranging viewings, and negotiating between buyers and sellers.

6. It is often required, but not necessary, to be able to drive to appointments.


Are you looking for a career in estate agency? Contact your nearest Guild agent today to see if they have positions available.

11May

Are you dreaming of building your own home? It can be a complicated process, so here are some top tips.



- Carefully consider the land’s location, size, and surroundings. Would the property fit in with the neighbours? This will be crucial to get planning approval.

- Always do a land registry search. It’s affordable and can tell you a lot about the land you’re considering. The search will tell you if the property is registered. Unregistered land can take time to get papers in order.

- There are many checks to do before you build. Depending on the scale of your project, you’ll need a bat survey, an asbestos test, and a geotechnical survey. Check there is no Japanese knotweed on the property, and ask the Council if there are any tree protection orders. Without these, unexpected building costs can arise, which can add thousands of pounds to your build cost.

- Put an inquiry into the planning department for £140 to see if they will grant full approval to build. It’s good to do this before you buy to guarantee approval.

- Employ an architect or an architectural designer. Visit the RIBA website to find a list of local firms.


Are you looking for land? Contact your local Guild Member to find out what is on the market in your area. 

27Apr

So you’ve completed on your new home and can’t wait to move. You’ve even started thinking about how to decorate. There’s one thing you might have forgotten, though: you’ve got to move out of your home first. Between packing your things and preparing for your first night in a new home, moving house can seem overwhelming. However, moving from one property to another doesn’t have to be stressful. Read our tips to remove the stress from your moving experience. 


1. Stay organised 

As with any daunting task, staying organised is key. Pack by room and decide when and how you will organise your things. Once you’ve assigned items to labelled boxes, consider the moving van. How will the boxes go inside? Will you need to take multiple trips? Once you’ve worked these things out, you’ll have a plan for your moving day which should give you peace of mind. 


2. Pack early

There’s nothing worse than having a moving van booked and realising that you’ll need to pack all night to be ready. Start packing as soon as you can. Choose non-essential items first (decorations, etc.), and pack your essentials like furniture and cutlery the week of the move. 


3. Take your time

When you’re moving house, be sure to allot more time than you actually need. Feeling rushed will make your stress levels skyrocket, so being slow and methodical is the best way to combat moving worry. Extra time allows you to be more careful when you’re packing and unpacking, and it also takes into account the inevitable moving day setbacks. 


4. Be flexible

There are sure to be bumps in the road when you’re moving house, so remind yourself to stay flexible. Having a plan is a great way to stay organised, but don’t be afraid to deviate from it when circumstances require. 


5. Have a backup plan

When you’re planning your move, take a small amount of time to think about the things that could go wrong and write them down. Once you’ve got your list, think of ways that you could overcome these problems. A backup plan will help take stress out of your move, because you’ve already thought of potential solutions. 



6. Enlist help

Moving house is a huge task, and it becomes even bigger when you have to do it all yourself. Ask for help from your friends and family (most of them will be willing to lend a hand for a few slices of pizza) to take the pressure off. You’ll be finished much faster, and the more people that are involved, the easier moving to your new home will be. 


7. Say goodbye

You’ve lived in your old property for some time, so give yourself a moment to think about all the good memories you associate with the space. If you’re in the mood to entertain (and you haven’t packed all the plates and glasses), have a party and invite your friends to say goodbye to your old home in style. 


8. Take care of yourself

Purchasing a new property and moving into it can be extremely draining, so be careful to take care of yourself throughout the process. A healthy diet and plenty of exercise can help take the edge off your moving stress. Taking care of yourself also means that you deserve a treat every now and then, so consider a takeaway on your first night in the new home to reward yourself for all your hard work!


Are you looking for your dream home? Contact your local Guild Member today to get started. 

24Apr

The home you purchase isn’t always your dream property. However, you can turn your property into the home of your dreams with a few quick fixes. Some property additions can even add value to your home. Take a look at our best tips to upgrade your home for less. 

Paint your kitchen cabinets

If you’re looking for an easy way to update the look of your home, paint your cabinets. Freshly painted cabinets give your home the update it needs without the cost of a full kitchen renovation. Choose light colours to brighten up your space, but don’t be afraid of colour: light blue or pale green both look fantastic in a kitchen. 

Update your fixtures

New cabinet door handles or knobs on the sink can make a surprising difference in any room in your house. Choose modern door handles to update your kitchen, and you can even consider painting your sink knobs to give them a much-needed facelift. 

Add mirrors 

Mirrors can make any space seem larger and are an easy way to ‘open up’ a room without knocking down a wall. Hang a large mirror on an open wall, or consider a gallery wall of smaller mirrors for a room that’s tricky to decorate. 

Invest in landscaping 

Kerb appeal is king, so be sure that the outside of your home is attractive. The entrance to your home should be neat and tidy, and consider adding some landscaping to the front of your property. A tree or two works well in a more rural environment, and never underestimate the power of a few potted plants in an urban home. 

Add visible storage

Adding storage is a great way to add value to your property, and visible storage is an extremely easy way to make use of the more awkward spaces in your home. Look for spaces like nooks in corridors, eaves, spaces under stairs, space above sinks, and wall space for mounted cupboards. Adding visible storage in these places is a great way to showcase your personality as well as cut the clutter.

Add wooden floors

Wall-to-wall carpet is no longer a popular choice, as homeowners now prefer wooden floors that they can choose to put a rug on. Many types of wooden flooring are available on a budget, so consider vinyl flooring in a wooden pattern or get reclaimed wooden floors for less. 

Freshen up your front door

First impressions count, and there’s nothing less appealing than a front door with peeling paint. You can stay classic and choose a front door in a neutral glossy shade, or pick a brighter colour with some personality. 


Are you interested in finding the perfect home to spruce up? Contact your local Guild Member today. 


10Apr

Every seller wants to get as much money as possible for their home. But as a buyer, you want to pay the market price.

Here’s how to spot an overpriced home.How long has it been on the market? If it’s more than 60 days, it may not have sold because it is overpriced. However, some high-end homes can be on sale for a longer period.

Discover more top tips to make sure you pay a good price for your next home in our video.


Are you looking to move house? Find your nearest Guild Member today for help throughout the moving process. 

06Apr

Do you need to move to a bigger property? It may be a better time to upsize than you might think. A cooling market means that prices at the top of the market are remaining steady, so you could get more house for your money while achieving a good sale price for your own home. 

Find out more in the quick video: 



Want to start your property search? The Guild has properties from Members around England and Wales. Find your dream home today. 

04Apr

Big or small, the villages in England are always a treat. From St. Ives to Castle Coombe, we’ve all seen their many wonders. But what if you’re looking for an experience that’s off the beaten path? We’ve found some of the most charming villages in the UK that you’d never heard of. 

1. Cerne Abbas, Dorset

Cerne Abbas is a Dorset treasure that’s certainly worth a visit. Located along the River Cerne, the village grew up around an abbey and is known for its lovely architecture and the ‘rude giant’ that features in its fields. 

2. Hellidon, Northamptonshire

A quaint village in Northamptonshire, Hellidon is perfect for those searching for a quiet retreat. Try one of the many country walks, or if you fancy something a bit sportier, the pool and spa just outside the village is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

 

3. Saltaire, West Yorkshire

Saltaire is a town next to the River Aire that was a thriving industrial village in the second half of the nineteenth century, and it is incredibly well-preserved today. The mill has now been converted into an art space and a shopping arcade. Walking through the town can make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. 

4. Framlingham, Suffolk

This market town is full of history and mystery. First known for its connections to the Howard family of Tudor fame, Framlingham is the birthplace of many other notable Brits such as Ed Sheeran. The ‘Castle on the Hill’ referenced in Sheeran’s hit single is a must-see.  

5. Presteigne, Wales

Presteigne is a town right on the border between England and Wales. It’s surrounded by stunning untouched countryside, which makes it perfect for a rural retreat, but that’s not all Presteigne has to offer. There’s a vibrant high street and cultural centre, and the annual Presteigne Music Festival is an internationally known event that’s not to be missed. 


6. St Mawes, Cornwall

A fishing village situated on the end of the Roseland peninsula, St Mawes is one of the most picturesque villages you’ve never heard of. It’s almost completely surrounded by the sea, which means that the views are spectacular. The community is known for its close ties and welcoming nature, making it a real Cornish gem. 

7. Aysgarth, Yorkshire

Aysgarth is located in part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It’s home to Aysgarth Falls, one of Britain’s loveliest waterfalls, which featured in the film Robin Hood.


8. Higher Bockhampton, Dorset

Higher Bockhampton is tucked deep into the Dorset countryside, surrounded by rolling hills and high hedges. This village is the setting of Thomas Hardy’s first five books and is where Hardy was born. You can even visit Hardy’s cottage, which is now a National Trust property. 

9. Hutton-le-Hole, North Yorkshire

It doesn’t get more English than this North Yorkshire village. There’s a lovely quiet stream, plenty of pubs, and moorland sheep graze throughout the village. It’s the perfect ice cream picnic spot during the summer months. 


10. Lustleigh, Devon

Lustleigh might be the most picturesque village in England. It’s one of Devon’s most well-maintained villages. Thatched cottages surround a 13th century church, bookended by the Primrose Tea Rooms and a village shop. Have a pint at the pub while you watch a cricket match on the local pitch. 

Are you looking for a home in one of these hidden gems? Contact your local Guild agent today. 


04Apr

Selling a property can be challenging. Sometimes a property will fly off the market, but in other circumstances, it could take longer to find a buyer. Why not make the process go faster? By home staging your property perfectly, you could attract a buyer sooner. 

A well-staged home will allow the buyer to imagine living there and being able to put their own stamp on the property. 

Watch the video to find our top tips. 



Are you thinking of selling your home? Contact your local Guild Member today. They can also advise you on the best way to display your home and may be able to recommend a local home staging firm if you would like to accelerate your sale. 

28Mar

Converting a derelict wreck into a beautiful home is a dream for many. But what do you need to know before embarking on a renovation project? Here are some top tips from Guild Members. 


1. Finding the right property 

Renovation projects can be few and far between. When one does come along, there can be many interested parties. Some people interested in making a profit from the renovation, while others will want to create their dream home. 

“Finding a major renovation project is never easy,” admits Stuart Mills from Rickman Properties. “Get to know your local agents instead of just looking at websites. Talk to the agents, go in to meet them and explain what you want to achieve. Give them confidence in your ability to go through with a purchase, rather than just being another hopeful looking to make a quick profit.”

Make sure you check all the sources available to you. John Newhouse from Roseberry Newhouse says: “Finding derelict homes or barns to convert can be tricky. Properties such as these can be in high demand and will often be found at auctions or in private adverts in the local press.”

The auction house is a particularly good place to find dilapidated homes. 

“Those properties that are particularly tired or have other complexities may be sold at auction and therefore local, online and national auction houses are a good place to look,” suggests Stefan Collier from Joplings. “You may be able to contact the auctioneers directly to see if any properties can be bought before or just after the auction to avoid an expensive snap purchase in a rush of auction room excitement.” 



2. Setting a budget and getting finances in order 

If you have ever watched an episode of Grand Designs, you will know that personal building projects often go over budget. It’s important to plan realistically and have a large contingency budget. 

“Given the likely structural integrity of run-down properties, the big issue may be finance,” says John Newhouse from Roseberry Newhouse. “Buying at auction will require you to have funds or finance in place before you attend and to have done your homework with surveys beforehand.”

Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole agrees. “Costing such projects is notoriously difficult. To avoid running out of money during the work, check and recheck repeatedly before committing and always allow a generous contingency to cover the unexpected.” 


3. Legal considerations and planning application 

From planning permission to area restrictions, there is a lot of legal work to do before building can start. 

Edward Dixon from Simmons & Sons says: “One has to be extremely clear-headed about major renovation projects and start with the most basic questions, such as ‘is the work I am wanting to do legal?’”

“Don’t think that just because you have the imagination and drive to save an old building that the local Planning Authority will agree with you. There may be any number of restrictions in place which might not be immediately obvious, such as those imposed by Listings, Heritage requirements, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and so on. Start by looking into the background of the building and the Local Planning Policy for clues. Councils now offer dedicated pre-application advice for a fee, which is not the same as a planning application but gives a good insight into the issues that might arise.” 



4. What surveys do you need? 

It’s important to conduct several surveys before building starts to assess the building and work out exactly what you need to do. 

“Start with a specialist building surveyor and a structural engineer who, between them, will be able to start building a picture of how much work will be needed,” says Edward Dixon from Simmons & Sons. “Older structures will need careful examination of roof parts, wall strength, and foundations, whilst 20th Century properties and former industrial sites should have an asbestos survey as well. 

“Another point that is particularly relevant for rural properties is the supply of utilities. That old barn may make an ideal home, but where is the nearest water main or electricity supply? If they must cross someone else’s land to get to you, there will be costs involved and legal agreements to be drawn up.”

Stefan Collier from Joplings has further advice. “Derelict properties are often empty for some time and therefore can be prone to structural, damp and timber defects. Therefore, it is essential to instruct a chartered surveyor to carry out a full Building Survey on the property. This will outline the current defects and give you advice and help to plan for any intended alterations.”



5. Choosing your contractors 

Now that all the property research has been done, it’s time to start thinking about the build itself and the people that will need to oversee it. 

Stuart Mills from Rickman Properties says: “Carefully consider who is going to project manage the build. There are qualified people for this; you can get the architect, or if you are brave and have the time to devote, you can do this yourself. This involves coordinating all the tradespeople, such as when they should be on site and what they should be doing. Plus, they will liaise with the planning department, arrange inspections of works done, and get everything signed off. Getting the paperwork right is vital; the last thing you need is to get toward the end of the project and find you cannot move in because of paperwork that has not been completed.”


6. Thinking about profit 

“Buying and rescuing a derelict property can be a difficult task, however, if you get the right professional advice along the way, you can create a truly fantastic and individual home. I have also found that well-finished period and character homes get an excellent reception on the market and, therefore, your investment could prove lucrative in the long run,” says Stefan Collier. 


Are you dreaming of your own renovation project? Contact your local Guild Member to find out about properties on the market that could be suitable. 

16Mar

Are you thinking about putting your property on the market, but aren’t sure when or how? It can be difficult to know exactly when you should sell your home. However, there are times and seasons when selling your home is almost certainly the right thing for you. Whether your reasons are personal or market-driven, we’ve identified some of the best times to think seriously about selling your property. 

1. Your family needs more space

Your family may not be expanding, but if the people in your house are growing restless, it’s time to consider a change. As young children grow into young adults, many parents move into properties where each child can have their own room. Adding private spaces and larger rooms can also accommodate your family’s needs, so bear that in mind when you’re looking at properties. Knowing that your family needs more space is a key factor in determining if you should put your home on the market.  

2. Look to the seasons 

The autumn and spring are known for being good times to sell your property, and for good reason. Potential buyers aren’t busy with holidays and Christmas parties during these seasons. The spring coincides with an increase in sunlight and a blooming garden, both of which do wonders for the appearance of your property. In the autumn, the fading light and multicoloured leaves add a romantic touch that’s unparalleled. If you’re selling, try to time putting your home on the market with the beginning of the season. 

3. Your family is expanding 

Whether you’re expecting a child or welcoming a parent, there are plenty of family expansions that will require more room for everyone. If you know that your property won’t be able to accommodate everyone, it’s time to put your home on the market. 

4. You’re not excited to go home at the end of the day 

Is your home a place where you can rest and relax? Do you feel safe in your neighbourhood? These are all signs that it’s time to start looking for a new home. Your home should be a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed, and anything less should have you looking elsewhere.

5. The local property market is flourishing

Have you been toying with the idea of moving for a few years, but never knew when the time was right? Putting your home on the market when it is flourishing will increase your chances of a speedy sale. But how do you know when the market is flourishing? Speak to your local agent and look around your neighbourhood. Are there plenty of sold boards around? This is a good indication of the state of the property market in your area. 

6. You’re considering buying a new property

If you’re thinking of moving house, put your own home on the market first. That way, you’ll be free to make an offer when your dream home comes along. Worried that a buyer won’t want to purchase your house because you haven’t secured another home? Most buyers are very understanding, and will appreciate your honestly if you’re up-front with them about not having found another home. 

Are you considering selling your home? Contact your local Guild agent today. 

14Mar

Housing was briefly mentioned as Phillip Hammond was drawing to close the Spring Statement on 13th March 2018. CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, Iain McKenzie, shares his thoughts on what the government has said, and not said, about the housing market.

“I am pleased that housing has at least been mentioned in the Spring Statement 2018. Despite this, many of the key issues surrounding the housing crisis have been overlooked or understated.”


What was mentioned?

The Spring Statement announced an additional £1.7 billion to deliver 26,000 affordable homes in London, including for social rent. This will bring the total number to 116,000 new homes in London by the end of 2021/22. Additionally, collaboration with local housing associations will lead to the 250,000 homes to be built in the West Midlands.


The Guild’s reaction

“Investment in housing infrastructure and collaboration with local housing authorities is undeniably a positive thing. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, nevertheless needs to put more emphasis on the housing crisis. The creation of a few hundred thousand homes in London and the West Midlands will not solve the issue for the 5,000,000 people who privately rent in the UK and are still unable to get onto the housing ladder. The changes to Stamp Duty have helped 60,000 first-time buyers, but this is not enough.

“Guild Members have expressed their concerns to me about Stamp Duty rates stagnating the second homes market/private landlord market, lowering the amount of private rental stock and creating increased competition for tenants. 

“To lessen the risk of tenants paying higher rents, the government should review the policies that support corporate landlords at the expense of good conscientious private landlords.  I am happy to discuss this in person with any government or home office official,” continued Iain.


13Mar

Finding your dream home can be a challenge. If your children have left home or if you have too much space, you might be looking to downsize. What are advantages to downsizing in 2018?The main reasons to downsize is to release equity, go mortgage free, or to live in an appropriately-sized home. It will also mean lower running costs, which can be very welcome as the cost of living rises.



Recent property price increases mean that homeowners have increased equity, which can make it a great time to downsize and cash-in on your investment. Downsizing can be difficult because it will mean compromise. If you only want a specific location, you may have to buy a smaller house, or the benefit of off-road parking may mean you can’t get an extra bedroom. What factors are most important to you? Transport links, community atmosphere or more space? Ultimately, the best time to downsize depends on personal circumstances. Be aware of market conditions, your budget, and be honest about your needs and requirements, otherwise, you could stand to lose out financially and emotionally. The Guild is a network of the best 800 independent estate agents around the country.

Are you thinking of downsizing? Contact your local Guild Member for advice at guildproperty.co.uk/find-a-guild-member.

09Mar

On March 13th 2018, Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, will present one of the shortest spring budget statements in years. Plans for: budgeting Brexit, diesel car tax and HS2, benefits and living wages will be touched upon. Most importantly for the property market, are stamp duty and tenant fee bans.

We have asked our members what they hope to hear from this year’s Spring Statement and any predictions they may have.


Ben Appella from Simmons & Sons (www.simmonsandsons.com)

“Predictions are positive in many respects and there has been a flurry of activity in the first couple of months of 2018. We can be hopeful that the Stamp Duty changes introduced last year will stimulate further activity and encourage sellers to place their properties on the market. Overall our firm takes the long-term view and we believe the market will remain active in the geographical areas that we operate from during the course of this year.”


Mark Sobey from Keats Estate and Letting Agents (www.keats.biz)

“We need to focus on actions that will really boost the property market across the UK, not just on a local level. Our wish in property sales is also to see removal of the surcharge. It is apparent that far fewer investors are entering our local market.


Simon Davies from Norman F Brown (www.normanfbrown.co.uk)

“I predict that nothing will really change, the Stamp Duty ban for first-time buyers made in the autumn hasn’t had a vast impact in my area of Yorkshire so far, but I am sure it will help over time.

“I hope that the government will introduce new legislation for landlords. The current financial penalties and scrutiny, albeit often necessary, make it unviable for a lot of landlords to buy new properties or keep their existing ones. If there is no change, rents will rise to cover the extra costs that they face and there will be fewer properties available for rent. As for the tenant fee ban, there are legitimate costs that agents have when it comes to processing tenancy applications, not to mention the risks we face with all the changes in legislation. Therefore, I think cap them, but don’t ban them.”


Jared Thomas from Emsley’s Estate Agents (www.emsleysestateagents.co.uk)

“High on my wish list for the Spring Statement would be a change to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for second-home purchases. The higher rate came into effect after the 2015 Autumn Statement, and since then the buy-to-let market has been stifled. Decreasing, or even scrapping, the additional surcharge would assist in opening up the market for investors.

“However, I predict that there won’t be any changes to SDLT when the Chancellor makes his announcement, as first-time buyer relief has only recently been announced in November 2017. The statement is more likely to focus on Brexit and maintaining certainty in a time of great change.”


Rita Tinney from Keats Estate and Letting Agents (www.keats.biz)

“From a lettings point of view, a concession on the 3 per cent Stamp Duty Land Tax imposed on landlords is desirable to re-start the buy-to-let market. Also, due to the shrinking amount of available rental property versus the growing demand, some tax breaks for investors may encourage them to invest in the private rental sector.



Phil Jackson from Maguire Jackson (www.maguirejackson.com)

“We would like to see an easing of Stamp Duty with the aim of encouraging more homeowners to move. The current rates have become an increasingly expensive burden, which has cause the market difficulties seen recently in many places. There is no doubt that the south east, in particular, has suffered from the upfront Stamp Duty fees, while the uncertainty of the market continues.”


To find your nearest Guild agent, click here.

Read the latest news on property prices, market movements and Guild guides here

09Mar

Have you thought of selling your home at an auction? It’s not only developers and bargain hunters that buy at auction. In fact, homes of every price and finish are selling through the modern method of auction. This is what you need to know.



Auctions can run for 14-28 days, so buyers have time to set their budget and bid accordingly. It’s a quick turnaround so you can move faster. Completion will happen within 56 days of sale. Both cash buyers and mortgage buyers can bid for your home. They just need money up-front for their reservation fee. Fewer sales fall through because of the non-refundable reservation fee, so you can be more confident in your sale. Plus, everything happens safely and securely online. You can save money on estate agent fees. With an auction, the buyer pays the auction fee so there are no fees for the seller. You may just need to pay a small marketing fee. Competitive bidding can drive up the sale price, so you could sell for a higher price than you expected. The Guild is a network of the best 800 independent estate agents around the country.

Your local Guild Member can help you sell through the modern method of auction, so you know you are dealing with a local property professional.

Find your closest Guild Member at guildproperty.co.uk/find-a-guild-member

07Mar

What will happen to the housing market in 2018? There are lots of predictions, from big growths to slight falls in house prices, but overall, most experts predict a slight rise in prices of around 1%. Find out what the big forecasters, RICS, Nationwide and Rightmove, predict in our quick video. Small house price increases mean that it is a good time to move. You can get a good sale price for any current property you own, and there is not a huge rush to buy, so you can take your time to find your dream home.



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.

06Mar

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


1. Spruce up the space 

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

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

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

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


2. Add some seasonal colour  

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

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




3. Focus on what is seen first 

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

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


4. Add a key selling point 

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

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

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

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

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


5. Add some shed-quarters 

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

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

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




6. A little paint goes a long way 

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

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


7. Think about the patio 

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


8. Style your garden with furniture 

You wouldn’t show a room to a potential buyer without any furniture in it, so why show a garden without a table and chairs? 

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




9. Secure the garden 

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

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


10. Make it private 

If your home is overlooked by other homes or gardens, it’s a good idea to give the idea of privacy to the garden. If it isn’t too expensive, add hedges or trees in key spots. It will make the potential buyers be able to imagine themselves enjoying a peaceful afternoon outside in the summer. 

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


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


02Mar

The best estate agents in the country were commended at The Guild’s annual award ceremony at Westminster Bridge County Hall, right next to the London Eye, in February. 

The 35 silver and gold awards for sales and lettings were presented by Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild, at the gala dinner and awards ceremony.  Awards for best overall Guild agents were also presented. “This was my first year at the annual conference. We celebrated excellence within our network and across the industry. It is a testament to the growth of The Guild over the past 12 months,” said Iain McKenzie.

This year, the awards were sponsored by The Telegraph and powered partly by The ESTAS, the only industry awards based solely on reviews. Simon Brown, Founder of The ESTAS commented: "Integrating customer feedback into The Guild’s judging process demonstrates how important customer experience is to The Guild and makes these awards even more valuable. Congratulations to all the winners."

Victorstone Property Consultants won the ‘Overall Guild Agent of the Year’ in sales. Scott Hailou, Director at Victorstone said: “It was an incredible achievement to be acknowledged for outstanding levels of customer service, industry expertise and performance. Our business has not only benefited from The Guild's high standards but the continued support over the past year.”


The full list of Guild winners is as follows:


Lettings regional awards 

Silver

Midlands - Newman Property Experts

South East – Jonathan Rees 

South West – Complete

London – Petermans 

East Anglia – Mackay Property

Wales – Williams & Goodwin 


Gold








Overall Guild Agent of the Year - Lettings 

Silver winner – Helmores 

Gold winner – Victorstone 


Sales regional awards 

Silver

North East - Roseberry Newhouse 

North West – Wilkes Green & Hill 

Midlands – Bentons 

South East - Enfields, Southampton 

South West – Webbers 

London – JDM Estate Agents 

East Anglia – Mackay Property 

Wales – Williams and Goodwin 


Gold 











Overall guild agent of the year 

Silver Winner – Sawyer & Co 

Gold winner – Victorstone


Guild ambassador of the year – Sawyer & Co


Top referring office vendor referrals – Webbers, Ilfracombe



Are you thinking of moving house this year? Contact your local Guild Member by clicking here

01Mar

Do you want to sell your property? In order for your home to appeal to the widest range of potential buyers, it’s a good idea to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Every property is different. Your home might have beautiful windows and a state-of-the-art kitchen, but be in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint. We’ve identified some common property weaknesses, and how you can turn them into strengths. 

Weakness: The windows in your home are outdated and tired. 

The Fix: Outdated windows can show the age of your property, and even make it look out of date when it isn’t. Hanging new curtains is an easy way to update your property. Install a simple metal rod with decorative finials and hang a neutral curtain with metal rings. Your home will look like a magazine, and what was once a weakness has become a strength. 

Weakness: Your kitchen needs an update. 

The Fix: Purchase new white goods for your kitchen. This will add plenty of value to your home, and keep prospective buyers from being put off because your appliances are past their prime. When you’re updating, think stainless steel. These appliances are popular and modern. 

Weakness: There are lots of small, ‘awkward’ spaces in your home.

The Fix: Hang a large mirror. Mirrors can make any space seem larger, so they’re especially important in an entryway or narrow hallway. Is the space too awkward for a large mirror? A gallery wall of mirrors in different sizes will solve that problem perfectly. 

Weakness: Your house looks old.

The Fix: What do you do when your house has been standing for over 200 years (and looks like it, too)? A fresh coat of paint and a top-to-bottom clean can work wonders to turn a rustic property into a character-filled dream. Highlighting the period features of your property is also a good idea. That way, the house becomes historic, not just ‘old’.

Weakness: There’s nothing in your property. 

The Fix: A few accessories go a long way. While it’s great that your property doesn’t have much in it (an empty canvas makes it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves in your home), having a few accessories (think throw pillows and a light fixture or two) can make a huge difference in your home’s atmosphere. Use neutrals, and try visiting your local charity shop to make your improvements on a budget. 

Weakness: Your home is the priciest home on the street. 

The Fix: Whether you meant to or not, you’ve bought the most expensive home in the area and are now trying to sell. In this situation, take a look at your home. Why is it pricier than other homes in the area? Once you recognize why your home has been valued at a high price, highlight those features as unique selling propositions, or USPs. Turn price into exclusivity, and this weakness quickly becomes a property strength. 

Weakness: You’re extremely close to your neighbours.

The Fix: When you’re close enough to hear the neighbours next door, it can be a problem for potential buyers. Take this time to highlight the amenities that your property has close by. If you have a great relationship with your neighbours, this is the time to mention it. A sense of community is invaluable for new buyers, and proximity to amenities like a corner shop or department store are valuable assets to your property. 

Are you selling your home? Contact your local Guild member today to get started. 

26Feb

Changes to stamp duty are among the main factors that allowed ‘generation rent’ to obtain mortgages and finally get a foot on the property ladder. The important question for these first-time buyers is, where are the most affordable places to buy? Here is our top 10 list across the UK.

1. Southampton, Hampshire

Those who love the south coast of England are moving further away from Brighton and into the city of Southampton. The average house price is £199,074, with a refreshing 98 per cent of properties deemed as affordable, according to Post Office Money. This beautiful and bustling seaside town is set to be one of the most popular city for first-time buyers this year.


2. High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Georgina Korrison from Seymours Land & New Homes said, “We successfully sold two developments comprising one and two-bedroom apartments in central High Wycombe in the past year. More than 70 per cent of the purchasers were first-time buyers using the Help-to-Buy scheme. High Wycombe maintains excellent rail links to London, shopping facilities as well as direct access to the A40 and Junction 4 of the M40, which is less than two miles away. Already rated highly by the Guild of Property Professionals, High Wycombe’s location on the edge of the Chilterns combined with its proximity to London makes it an affordable location for your first home. Prices in High Wycombe for a one-bedroom apartment from £200,000.”


3. The Meadows, Nottinghamshire

Gina Burbidge from Royston & Lund said, “The Meadows is currently proving to be a firm favourite with first-time buyers due to its close proximity to Nottingham city centre as well as the popular and affluent suburb of West Bridgford. The area’s fantastic local amenities make it is easy to see why The Meadows is one of the most up-and-coming areas in the Nottinghamshire region.”




4. Tottenham Hale, Middlesex

The approval to begin construction on Crossrail 2 has made Tottenham Hale a sought-after location for many first-time buyers. For those who are still in the process of saving, off-plan new-builds are hidden gems in many pockets of London. The investment opportunity in Tottenham Hale from Crossrail, access to the Underground’s Victoria line and national rail links ensures that the area remains an attractive hotspot. Prices start around £179,000.


5. North and Central Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Simon Miller from Holroyd Miller said, “North and central Wakefield provide great opportunities for the first-time buyer. Typically, a two bedroom flat is priced around £75,000, or a two-bed terraced house from around £85,000. The added benefit of these areas are the extremely close commuter links with Leeds. Leeds is the second largest financial city in the UK, with a population of three million people, making it highly desirable for growing businesses. With a direct and regular rail network, the M1, and local road access, north and central Wakefield won’t blow the budget.”




6. Norwich, Norfolk

The Post Office Money’s recent research has shown that Norwich is featured second on their list of the most affordable places to buy for first-time buyers in 2018. The average property price is £266,489, according to Zoopla Zed-Index. Norwich also offers beautiful surroundings with the coast and countryside nearby and town centre full of culture and entertainment. 


7. Northampton, Northamptonshire

Northampton is a stunning town with direct trains to London in under 60 minutes. The average property price is £245,000, according to Zoopla data, but you need to hurry as average property sales go under offer in just 27 days. This is 20 days quicker than the rest of the UK, which averages at 47 days. 


8. Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Frances Bowling from Moss Properties said, “The average semi-detached home in Doncaster sold in the past 12 months was £123,080, compared to London for £638,439, according to Zoopla as of 19 February 2018. Doncaster Train Station offers direct trains in to London kings Cross in less than 90 minutes. While stamp duty changes haven’t had a huge effect in Doncaster, the HS2 link that will be passing very closely will have a positive effect on Doncaster house prices.”




9. Liverpool, Lancashire

The average property price in Liverpool is £121,374, an increase of three per cent from last year, according to Post Office Money’s research. This lively, bustling city is perfect for first-time buyers. Its culture, music and entertainment make this one of the most popular cities in the UK. This city has its strengths in industries such as car manufacturing and engineering.


10. Holloway, Greater London

Steve Barron from Drivers and Norris said, “It is thought that over the next few years, Holloway will also see a larger than average increase, proportionally, in prices due to its investment into housing redevelopment. There is also a noticeable change in some of the commercial properties and businesses that are being attracted to the Holloway area, such as Jamie Oliver’s business headquarters. While not “cheap”, Holloway is still more affordable than many if its neighbouring areas.”


Are you looking to buy your first property? Contact your local Guild member today to find the perfect area for you. Visit us here


30Jan

Finding your dream home can be a challenge. You might need a larger property if your family is growing, or if your children have left home, you might be looking to downsize. There are advantages of both upsizing and downsizing in 2018. We asked our Guild agents for their opinions and advice on what is happening in the market that makes it good for either upsizing or downsizing.



Simon Miller partner, Holroyd Miller

“In Wakefield, we are seeing the £500,000-plus market booming in sales. A lot of this movement is due to downsizing. Many of the larger properties in more select suburbs rarely come on to the market, but when they do there is always considerable interest. 

“Currently, Wakefield is a great opportunity for downsizing purely because of the interest to buy. Likewise, it’s an incredibly good place to upsize, with more property on the market and many more new build developments, both in the luxury and mainstream market. The choice has never been so abundant.

“There are pros and cons. Upsizing may be a dream but think of the practicalities. Your utility bills, council tax, and maintenance bills will be higher. General upkeep will be a much larger task; from gardening to cleaning, it will all take more time and resource. Downsizing might be more practical, but how will the lack of space impact on you? Your utility bills might be cheaper but will you be compromising? Maybe you hadn’t considered the need for a spare bedroom or a utility space, what about the outside space? Or simply the fact you’ll be much closer to your neighbours. For many, the realisation can sometimes be quite an adjustment.

“Ultimately, the best time to upsize or downsize depends on personal circumstances. You have to be fully aware of market conditions, your budget, and be honest about your needs and requirements, otherwise you could stand to lose out financially and emotionally.” 



Stuart Mills, Rickman properties

“In the London area over the past two/three years, we have seen prices softening, but this offers a fantastic opportunity to trade up to that dream house. When people sell, there is much focus on ‘what will I get for my house?’ It is an important question, but if you are planning to trade up to a more expensive property, is that actually the right question?  

“For instance, if you have a property ‘worth’ say £1,000,000 and prices have dropped by 10%, this is now ‘worth £900,000 but you wish to buy a property that had a value of £1,750,000, and this too has dropped 10%, so is now available at £1,575,000. The gap between the 2 properties is £675,000. Had the prices been more stable, the gap would have been £750,000, so the saving now is £100,000.

"Equally, if prices are rising, again using 10%, we see the values being £1,100,000 and £1,925,000 respectively, a gap now of £825,000.

“This example shows how using a ‘poor market’ can be a great opportunity. Sometimes focusing on ‘how much can I get?’ is not the right question, when it should be, what is the difference I have to pay?"



Roger Wilkinson, Wilkinson Grant & Co

“Strong buyer demand, affordable lending, and stable house prices make this a perfect market for both up-sizers and down-sizers here in the South West. 

“Whether looking to move to a larger property or seeking to move to a smaller, easier to manage home, stable prices make it easier to plan and healthy demand from buyers who can afford to borrow help make the current market fluid. Moving up or down the market, actual and purchase prices are less important than the price differential between the two. 

“Across the country, it seems that stock is an issue and whilst this may mean that new homes developers are taking a larger share of the market, competition between them is keeping prices steady.

“This doesn't mean that upsizers and down-sizers are so limited in choice though - it simply means that if they can't find what they're looking for, they need to work with an experienced local agent that provides a search and acquisition service. 

“With over twenty years experience, dealing with thousands of homeowners, at any one time, we have hundreds of local people on our database who are looking to move - even though they are not on the market and advertised for sale.


Becky Evans, Mark Evans & Co

“Over the last 12 months, we have seen an increase in property prices and therefore increased equity for homeowners. This can make it an ideal time to downsize and cash in on your investment. Recently, I valued a four-bedroom detached property. The owners bought their home in 2015 for £266,000 and would now expect it to achieve £300,000. There are not many investments that will give you a return of £34,000 in 2 years. They were looking to sell and downsize to go mortgage free.  

“The main reasons we find people choosing to downsize is to release equity, go mortgage free, or the property they are in may be bigger than what they need. I believe downsizing is one of the hardest moves a person can make as comprise is needed. Therefore, our advice would be to think about what you are prepared to comprise on. If you only want a specific location, you may have to comprise on the size of the property or if off road parking is a must for you, you may have to give up that extra bedroom.


Jared Thomas, Emsleys Estate Agents

“The market offers advantages at the moment for those looking to upsize or downsize. Since November 2017, first-time buyers have not needed to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on properties priced up to £300,000, which will speed up the time it takes them to save for their first home. Mortgage rates are still at a historic low, making a bigger mortgage more affordable for many people. 

“You might be looking to upsize to accommodate a growing family or to downsize to release capital, reduce outgoings or if your children have left home. Whatever the reason, I would advise you to book a professional valuation and speak to a mortgage advisor before selling your home. 

“If you’d like to upsize; plan ahead. Perhaps you’d like to relocate to be closer to catchment areas for schools. Consider the timing of the school year when planning your move and allow for any delays in the chain.

“Those looking to downsize should be realistic about the amount of space you need. Ask yourself: are you using all the space you’ve got or have you simply expanded to fill it? You’ll also need to consider the factors which are important to you, such as public transport, facilities and the local community."


Ben Whiting, Victorstone

“As the market cools off, opportunities can arise for those looking to up-size as larger properties come down in value more quickly than the lower end of the market, which is propped up by both first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors. This can create an opportunity for buyers to procure a large property at a lower price while still achieving a good price for their own. 

“As the cost of living rises, down-sizing offers an opportunity to lower the running costs of your home and free up capital to spend on the refurbishment of a new, smaller property. The market has been rising for a number of years and, since 2016, has begun to cool, making this a good time to down-size, release large assets, cash in, and invest in a lower-value property, lowering your exposure to the market. With the cost-of-living rising, lowering your mortgage out-goings is always a wise move, too."


Are you thinking of upsizing or downsizing? Contact your local Guild Member to start your property search


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