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31Jul

The Guild of Property Professionals is using the size of its network to make a difference by donating £50 to Agents Giving for every successful referral completed. With a network of approximately 800 independent estate agencies, the potential financial benefit could be significant.  

 

About Agents Giving 

Agents Giving is a fantastic platform that has helped many within the industry, along with their customers and suppliers, to realise their fundraising goals for existing charities nationwide. Agents are able to apply for grants from Agents Giving to help them put together charity events that will raise money for those in need. Through Agents Giving, many within the industry have been able to directly impact the lives of people in their communities who are struggling, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic having a huge effect on a lot of people’s financial situations. The Guild of Property Professionals is eager to support the organisation and help those within the industry with the financial support they require to assist those in need and make people’s lives better.  

 

Making a difference 

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild, says: “If each agent from the entire network makes one successful referral a month that completes, it would equate to a potential sum of approximately £40,000 a month and around £480,000 in a year. That is a substantial amount of money that would be going to Agents Giving to be able to make a massive difference to a number of charities supported by the organisation.” 

 

He adds that around 25% of leads are converted to instructions, of which 50% are completed. “Essentially that means that just one referral per week by every Member with the known conversion rates into business will deliver the level of completions we need to hit the target, which should be easily achievable. It is a great incentive for Members to make the referrals, while helping people and giving something back,” McKenzie comments.  

 

“There is so much going on in the world at the moment, and many people are eager to get back to normal, but if we do go back to doing things exactly the way we did before the lockdown, perhaps the world would have missed the opportunity to change for the better. Our partnership with Agents Giving is a step in the right direction in changing for the better and making a difference. As a large network, we have the influence to be able to pioneer change and make the world a little bit brighter,” says McKenzie. 

 

Agents Giving Chairman, Michael Stoop, comments; “We would like to say a tremendous heartfelt thank you to The Guild and their Members for this wonderful show of support to Agents Giving the Industry Charity.  Your donations will mean we can continue to help support the industries fundraising efforts through the Agents Giving Grant fund ensuring more of the money raised goes directly to even more UK charities on a national, regional, local and community level which is so important during these current times.  We look forward to seeing the partnership flourish.” 

 

Contact us

Find out more about what our Members are doing to help the community, or to buy or sell your home, get in touch with your local Guild agent today.

24Jul

Since 27 March, all new and existing possession proceedings against residential tenants have been stayed. Initially the stay was brought in for a period of 90 days, however, the Government announcement in June that the stay would be extended until 23 August 2020. 

With just over a month until the end of the extension date, the Civil Procedure Rules Committee have agreed rule changes to be applied to possession proceedings when the stay comes to an end and proceedings can once again resume.

Compliance Officer for The Guild of Property Professionals, Paul Offley, says that on Friday, 17 July the Government laid the necessary statutory instrument to implement changes to the Civil Procedure Rules, which will come into force on 23 August. “As part of the next phase of the Government’s response to moving out of the emergency measures put in place as a result of COVID-19, the stay on possession cases will be lifted. The Government has said that while it is important to ensure that all people have the appropriate access to justice and steps are taken towards transitioning out of emergency measures to allow the market to operate, it is vital to recognise that further steps may be needed to protect the most vulnerable,” says Offley. 

He adds that landlords will be required to follow strict procedures if they wish to gain possession of the property, depending on the type of tenancy agreement in place and the terms of it. The Government has been consulting with a working group convened by the Master of the Rolls, to consider arrangements that will mean the courts are better able to address the need for appropriate protection of all parties in the current legislative framework once proceedings commence. 

According to Offley, the new rules state that when a landlord is seeking possession of their property, they will be required to set out in their claim any relevant information about a tenant’s circumstances, including information on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on a tenant’s vulnerability or social security position.  “The rules will apply to all possession proceedings whether new or existing and will include accelerated possession proceedings. In the instance where the required information in not provided, it will be possible for judges to adjourn proceedings. The new rules will remain in place until the end of March next year, however, could be extended if necessary,” adds Offley. 

He continues that under the new rules, landlords will also be required to notify both the Court and their tenant of their continued desire to seek repossession before the case proceeds. Again, this includes accelerated possession cases.  “The reason behind the rule is to ensure the Court’s time is used effectively and on the right cases. If the matter has been resolved through another means, the case can be withdrawn, something the Government is encouraging landlords to do rather than pursuing non-priority cases through the courts. With the expected backlog once the stay is lifted, the Government is eager to only have cases that are a priority go through the courts if possible. Priority cases have been defined as those that include anti-social behaviour, extreme rent arrears, domestic abuse, cases involving squatters, fraud or unlawful subletting,” Offley explains. “If a case does not fall into the category of being a priority, the Government is encouraging parties to use an independent third-party mediator to assist them in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement to resolve their dispute, rather than going to court.”

Other changes that have already been agreed include:

• The court will have flexibility on setting the date for the court hearing to allow it to fix a date either on or after the claim form is issued to the landlord. (Currently a hearing date is set at the same time as the claim form is issued) 

• The requirement to fix a hearing 8 weeks after the claim form is issued to landlords will be suspended. 

• Landlords will need to provide a rent arrears history in advance of the hearing (rather than providing at the hearing itself). 

• High Court bailiffs will be required to provide notice of the eviction date to the tenant, in the same way that notice is provided by county court bailiffs. The notice will include information on how the tenant can apply to suspend the eviction and where to go to for advice. 

Other measures might be considered to support the reopening of the courts, such as arrangements to facilitate hearings and appropriate access to legal representation. 

 

22Jul

Recently, Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans, announced the new temporary changes to Land Transaction Tax (LTT) in Wales. As of 27 July 2020, any properties valued up to £250,000 will require no LTT to be paid. These changes will apply and run up until 31 March 2021. 

New temporary changes explained

Prior to 27 July 2020, there is no tax payable on properties in Wales valued up to £180,000. The Government will now extend this threshold to £250,000. The rates then increase to 5% up to the property value of £400,000, 7.5% up to £750,000, 10% up to £1,500,000 with any amount thereafter taxed at 12%.

Visit gov.wales for more information

Second homes and buy-to-let investments

A 3% surcharge applies to all transactions involving the purchase of an additional property. This includes second homes and buy-to-let investments. The surcharge applies to the full purchase price above an initial threshold of £40,000.

Visit gov.wales for more information

If you are replacing your main residence, the higher rates may not apply.

Specific first-time buyer relief is not currently available under the LTT system.

 

Find out how much LTT you will need to pay on your new home via our Online Calculator.

If you are looking to buy or sell your home today, contact your local Guild Member today.

 

 

15Jul

As of 15 July, the Scottish government is cutting the rate of its devolved Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), with the threshold increasing from £145,000 to £250,000 until 31 March 2021.  

There will be no LBTT paid on homes up to £250,000, 5% on homes priced from £250,001 to £325,000, 10% on homes from £325,001 to £750,000 and 12% on homes over £750,000. This will mean that residential property transactions, where the purchase price is under £250,000, and to which the Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) does not apply, will attract no LBTT.  

Visit gov.scot for more information 

For transactions where the purchase price is above £250,000, the rates and thresholds that usually apply to the proportion of the purchase price above that amount remain unchanged. 

According to the legislation introduced to the Scottish Parliament, the revised rates and bands will apply to all relevant transactions where the effective date is between 15 July 2020 and 31 March 2021, inclusive of these dates. 

Guild Member, Alyson Lowe from Alexander Taylor in Scotland, says the change is good news for the Scottish property market: “Finally, the Scottish Government have given us a precious gift of raising the LBTT figure from £145,000 to £250,000. This is massive to the economic growth of the country and particularly the property sector. A huge 80% of transactions in Scotland are under £250,000, which means the change will have a significant impact to market and buyers moving forward. The jump from £145,000 to £250,000 means around 34% more transactions will no longer pay LBTT.” 

In April 2015, LBTT replaced Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in Scotland. While the Scottish government faced some criticism over its delayed reaction to the earlier announcement of the changes to SDLT In England and Northern Ireland earlier this month, changes are now welcomed by the sector with open arms.  

 

Additional Dwelling Supplement  

ADS is an additional amount of LBTT payable on the purchase of a second residence in Scotland. Where the ADS does apply, the change to the starting threshold will also apply to such transactions. This means that a residential property transaction that is liable to the ADS will not pay the standard rates of LBTT on the first £250,000 of the purchase price, however, the ADS will remain payable at 4% of the total purchase price. 

“What a time we have all come through, we will forever remember 2020 as the year where our very existence has changed beyond anyone’s predictions. Hopefully, this encouraging announcement about LBTT will ignite the Scottish property market and will help a lot of people make a positive change this year,” Lowe concludes.

 

Calculate LBTT 

Are you looking to buy property in Scotland to benefit from the new LBTT rates? Find out how much LBTT you’ll have to pay using our online calculator

 

14Jul

The gradual lifting of lockdown has meant that a portion of the UK population are returning to their offices with many of us keen to avoid public transport as much as we can. For months, walking or cycling became a much needed practicality and source of enjoyment, igniting a newfound appreciation for exercise in the UK. 

 

The Government instigated a new £2billion initiative, on 9 May 2020, in response to these unprecedented times, to encourage more people to walk and cycle post-lockdown. Across England, pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements, safer junctions and cycle and bus-only lanes have been introduced. Vouchers will also be granted to the public for bike repairs, as an incentive for people to get their old bikes out of the shed. 

 

As businesses reopen, roads become busy with traffic again, and we begin to consider our transition back to normality, we reveal the best places in the UK to walk or cycle to work. 

 

Best walking cities 

Walking to work generates a range of benefits, for your body, mind, and the environment. It helps to keep you physically fit, reduces your risk of health issues, gives you time to gather and reflect on your thoughts, all while reducing your carbon footprint. So, where are the best walk-to-work cities in the UK?   

 

Edinburgh, Sheffield and London were voted the top-three all-round walking cities, according to a survey conducted by Living Streets. Voted highly for their street and pavement quality, these cities are built for walking traffic. Being compact cities, the urban planning of these locations promotes high density developments, meaning services and facilities are shorter distances away and it is easier for commuters to get around. 

 

Edinburgh 

Edinburgh was ranked the highest of all for walking by pedestrians, being the best walking-city of all for its pavement quality, appeal of its streets and accessibility to parks. The hilly capital city of Scotland is a centre of culture and art and is particularly well-known for its festivals. Pedestrians in Edinburgh will have the pleasure of strolling through the medieval Old Town and the Georgian 18th/19th century New Town, to pass by glorious gardens and neoclassical buildings. Trams, buses, cycle lanes and bikes-for-hire are also available in the city. 

 

Sheffield 

Originally famous for its steel production in the 1900s, but now a city of music, art, and culture (and good quality pavements), is Sheffield. Sheffield City Council have been making improvements to their city to encourage an increase of cycling and walking. Nearly 70% of people surveyed agreed they feel safe walking around the city and find it easy to walk to the shops. The modern city scape is home to a hilly terrain, with a third of the city lying in the National Peak District. Cyclists can follow the on or off-road routes into the easily accessible countryside to get the best of both worlds. Additional travel options include the Stagecoach Supertram network – reaching all corners of the city, local buses, and plenty of parking. 

 

London 

As London is the capital, the largest, and the most densely populated city of England, the Government are particularly keen to encourage commuters to walk during their commute, where possible. While it may be unrealistic for many to walk for their entire journey, as Greater London extends as far as 45 miles from one end to the other, the city has numerous transport method combinations with walking options in between. Plan your journey to walk past London’s greatest sites, including Big Ben, London Bridge, The British Museum, The Tower of London, and more. Combined with walking, commuters can get the tube, overground train, bus, bike lanes, or even hire an electric scooter in London’s new trial-run to help social distancing. 

 

Best cycling cities 

For cycling, however, the top ranked cities are Bristol, Newcastle and Southampton, according to research by Strava. These top three cities have the highest percentage of cycling commuters per 1,000 people. Leeds and Cardiff were not far behind the best cities for cycling, while London held the highest number of cyclists in one city.  

 

Due to an increase in funding programmes from the Government to promote cycling, such as The Cycling City and Towns programme or we have seen an increase in cycling commuters over the years. Between 2008-2011, the Department for Transport (DfT) funded the The Cycling City and Towns programme, investing in cycling in 12 towns and cities across the UK.  

 

Cycling commuters increased by 42% between 2018-2019, according to recent research by Strava, and these funded cycling initiatives suggest this will continue to rise.

 

Bristol

Currently, Bristol has a three-year partnership with British Cycling to promote cycling. You will find Bristol has been tailored for cyclists, with cycle routes on almost all major roads, plenty of places for commuters to lock their bikes away, over 300 bike parking spaces and bike pumps which are free-to-use, all around the city. 

 

Newcastle  

As part of the new Government funded Cycle Ambition Cities in England, Newcastle city have invested £16.3m from government funding, plus, an additional £3m as part of its Streets for People project [link?], to improve the cycling and walking infrastructure in the city. As a result, commuters and tourists in Newcastle benefit from around 16km of new cycle routes and it has plans to continue to build new routes in the coming years.  

 

Southampton   

Southampton is a cycle-friendly city, offering cycle lanes along congested routes, shared use lanes for cyclists and pedestrians and a whole network of dedicated cycle routes. There are also plenty of quiet, traffic-free trails, as well as easy access to the New Forest National Park, accommodating all cyclists on an expanse of open roads and off-road trails. 

 

Contact us 

If you’re looking to buy or sell your home in the UK, get in touch with your local Guild Member today.

 

09Jul

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced the Green Homes Grant Scheme in his Summer Statement on 8 July, whereby the Government will be issuing UK homeowners up to £5,000 worth of vouchers to make their homes more energy efficient.  

 

The scheme is part of a £3billion green jobs package, hoping to create 100,000 green jobs to kickstart the road to recovery of the economy following months of lockdown. The Treasury aims for around 650,000 homes to be upgraded, saving families up to £300 a year in utilities, and bringing the UK closer to its 2050 target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions. 

 

Landlords and homeowners can apply for the vouchers from September, covering up to two thirds of the cost per household, to help fund energy-saving upgrades, such as insulation or double-glazing. Low income households may benefit from up to £10,000 of government vouchers to support improvement works. 

 

Which energy-saving home improvements will be covered by the grant? 

A comprehensive list of what the Green Homes Grant has not yet been posted, however, below are the confirmed home improvements that will be covered by the scheme: 

- Wall insulation 

- Roof insulation 

- Double glazing on windows and doors 

 

What other things can I do to make my home more energy efficient? 

Many of us want to do more to utilise clean energy at home, but a huge number of homeowners do not realise just how easy and varied it is to power your home with green electricity. You might be surprised at all the different ways to reduce your reliance on the grid and invest in green sources. 

Here are five ways that you can power your home using clean energy options: 

Choose a green energy provider

Firstly, you have the simplest and least invasive option in terms of powering your home with clean energy: switching to a green energy provider. The UK has a huge range of fantastic green electricity providers, so it is actually very easy to make the switch over from your traditional supplier. By doing so, this sends a message to the major energy companies that they need to work on their way of doing business. Use comparison sites such as Simply Switch which identifies the most environmentally friendly and cheapest providers. 

Solar panels

You may want to do more than just change suppliers however, and if you have a property that is suitable, you may wish to install energy generating hardware that can help both to reduce your energy bills, but also to ensure that you have more control over the energy you use.

Perhaps the most obvious (and certainly the most popular) choice of renewable energy technology is adding solar PV panels to your roof. Solar PV modules are used to convert sunlight into electricity that can be immediately used to power your home.   

Wind power

Not all homes are ideal for solar panels. You may not have a roof space, or you might not want the aesthetic changes to your property created by solar PV panels. So, another option is small wind turbines that draw electricity from wind movement. 

However, there are more likely to be issues with planning permission surrounding this, so make sure to do your research beforehand. 

GSHPs

One option that is often overlooked but could actually be extremely valuable for many homeowners is the concept of ground source heat pumps (GSHPs). These pumps are extremely useful for homeowners with grounds, as they are buried underground and draw heat from the soil. So, if you have a lot of ground space, but perhaps lack the rooftop area or access, GSHPs could be a brilliant possibility. 

A large tube of pipe is buried in the ground, and a pump then circulates a mix of water and antifreeze. This draws heat which can then be used in the home to heat appliances such as underfloor heating or radiators. 

Solar water heating

You could consider the possibility of installing a solar water heater, using solar thermal technology to heat your domestic water. It’s a very simple system to install and can be much smaller and less obvious than solar panels on your roof. This option is ideal for your home if you are planning incremental changes and want to take it slowly. 

 

More people making changes to their home can have a huge impact on the amount of energy we use. Adding sources of clean energy can be beneficial for both the planet and your bank balance.

 

Contact us today!

If you’re looking to buy, sell or for further advice on property related matters, contact your local Guild Member.

 

 

Find out more information on the recent changes of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard in our blog post here

09Jul

As the Government announces the Stamp Duty Land Tax Holiday, raising the threshold to £500,000 with immediate effect, the chance for buyers to purchase property exempt of tax is a valuable opportunity. With the initiative in place until 31st March 2021 this is great news for those who were already looking to buy or thinking about their next move.  

Read our blog that explains the new temporary reduced rates here.

 

With this in mind, we explore properties on the market for under £500,000.

 

1. Taunton, Somerset, 2 Bedrooms  

This beautifully presented retirement home is situated just off the town centre in a development set behind remote gates and coded access, surrounded by beautiful community gardens and paved driveways. The accommodation comprises of an entrance hall leading to an open-plan ground floor living space with French doors that open onto the garden. 

 

2. Shadoxhurst, Kent, 3 Bedrooms 

This substantial, newly built home is the last remaining in a development of new homes built by renowned builder, Pentland Homes. This contemporary home is perfectly situated for those who enjoy rural living, while meeting the ever-changing demands of modern living with a high specification finish.  

 

3. Betley, Staffordshire, 3 Bedrooms 

Developed over time by the current homeowners, this delightful property offers spacious living space, with an entrance porch, impressive dining hall, a well-appointed kitchen with utility room, a side porch, a generous sitting room with log burner and a lovely garden room. The property is set in extensive gardens with uninterrupted views over the rolling hills of the Cheshire and Staffordshire countryside. 

 

4. Bradninch, Exeter, 4 Bedrooms 

This modern, detached cottage-style home enjoys an edge of village setting with delightful views across the Culm Valley. The country home features established gardens with breath-taking views and an adjoining paddock, all in three acres. 

 

5. Wheatley, Oxfordshire, 5 Bedrooms 

This well-proportioned, detached family home is set over three floors, with spanning country views from the top floor and extensive gardens surrounding the property. Residents will have the best of both worlds in this country home, with it being ideally situated on the edge of the village at the foot of Shotover Country Park, with only a short bus to London or Oxford. 

 

 

6. Surbiton, London, 3 Bedrooms 

This charming two-bedroom ground floor apartment is perfectly situated only half a mile from Surbiton Mainline Station and the high street. Throughout the spacious rooms are character features including high ceilings, a fireplace and sash windows, accompanied by modern touches, such as the fitted kitchen.  

 

7. Loose, Maidstone, 3 Bedrooms 

Florence Cottage is a Grade II listed home situated in the heart of the village of Loose, close by to the mill pond and trout river. This charming home dates back to 1450 and features natural stone flooring throughout the ground floor, complimented by exposed wooden beams and an Inglenook fireplace. 

 

8. Hankelow, Cheshire, 4 Bedrooms 

This new-build property is only two years old, offering bright and airy open-plan living space on the ground floor, with French doors that open onto the garden. This family home is presented in a small and friendly cul de sac with a generous driveway to the front and plenty of off-road parking. 

 

9. Ruan Minor, Helston, 7 Bedrooms 

This detached, spacious home offers exciting income potential, with two self-contained properties that are currently successful holiday lets, or an opportunity to convert the properties into one larger home. This seaside home is set in the heart of a popular rural village with all the amenities and has access to a picturesque cove, which is only a short walk away. 

 

10. Diss, Norfolk, 4 Bedrooms 

This Grade II Listed detached home has been completely refurbished to an exceptionally high standard and is ideally situated in the town centre, with access to a main railway line to London (Liverpool Street). The Victorian period home boasts character features, including a Victorian mosaic tiled floor in the entrance hall, three attractive fireplaces and exposed timber beams.  

Use our Stamp Duty Calculator to work out how much you will have to pay for the property you buy.

Contact us

Find out more about the recent temporary changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Looking to find a new home under the SDLT threshold? Contact your local Guild agent to find your new home today.

08Jul

With immediate effect the new Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) threshold of £500,000 will apply and will run until 31 March 2021. This means any buyer purchasing a primary residential property between 8 July 2020 and 31 March 2021, up to the value of £500,000, will be exempt of paying Stamp Duty. 

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, says according to a release by the Government the exemption will apply to all primary residential property purchases, so regardless of whether the purchaser is a first-time buyer or someone who has owned a property before. 

He adds that on purchases over the £500,000 threshold, buyers will pay a 5% SDLT on the portion from £500,001 to £925,000, 10% on the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million and 12% on any portion over £1.5 million. 

Visit gov.uk for more information

When it comes to purchasing a second home, McKenzie says that the Government has introduced higher additional rates with a 3% higher rate on top of the new revised standards. “So, what this means is that people purchasing a holiday home up to the threshold value of £500,000 will pay 3% SDLT.  Those buying a second home over the threshold with pay 8% on the portion from £500,001 to £925,000, 13% on the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million, and 15% on the remaining portion over £1.5 million,” McKenzie explains. 

Visit gov.uk for more information

He notes that on new leasehold sales and transfers, the nil rate band which applies to the net present value of any rents payable for residential property is also increased to £500,000 until the end of March next year. A SDLT of 1% will be charged on any net present value of any rent over the threshold. 

McKenzie says that it is not just individuals that will benefit from the changes. “Companies purchasing residential property under the £500,000 threshold will also be exempt from the paying SDLT. In additional companies that buy residential property of any value that meet the relief criteria from the corporate 15% SDLT will also benefit from the change made.”

From 1 April 2021, the SDLT holiday will come to an end and the SDLT regulations will revert to what they were before these temporary changes were announced. “We will likely see a rush of activity before 31 March 2021, with those who have access to finance making the most of the opportunity the SDLT holiday provides,” McKenzie concludes. 

Use our Stamp Duty Calculator to work out how much you will have to pay for the property you buy.

 

Contact us

Looking to find a new home under the threshold? View this selection of delightful properties under £500,000 or contact your local Guild agent today.

 

02Jul

There is no doubt that the past few months have had a significant effect on the UK and people's lives. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has initiated unprecedented challenges which have affected us all. Some changes have been positive, while others we would rather forget. Either way, it will be interesting to see which changes will shape future consumer behaviour. 

The importance of outdoor space

green space

Looking at consumer research from Dataloft, it is clear that the pandemic has impacted buying patterns and behaviour with the term location, location, location taking on a different meaning. COVID-19 has prompted many people to re-evaluate their ideal home. Now, more than ever, buyers are looking for homes with easy access to outdoor space, and it is highly likely that we will see the importance of such space increase. Currently, only 66% of flats have access to private outside space, compared to 97% of houses. Data reveals that there is already a £2,500 price premium for homes within 100 metres of green space when compared with homes 500 metres away. As the value and demand for homes with access to green space increases, we could see a shift in building design moving forward. 

How we commute

commute by bicycle

Another trend is how consumers commute. While we may have seen homes closer to public transport being sought-after pre-COVID, those who aren’t working from home are now avoiding public transport where possible, and are opting for alternative ways of getting to work. Since lockdown, there has been a 70% increase in people commuting by bicycle, with the government encouraging schemes such as pop-up cycle lanes, wider pavements and school streets. A positive result is that many local authorities have started to make changes based on the trend with the government investing £250 million to secure a lasting legacy of greener, safer transport. 

Working from home

Home office

Speaking about people working from home, around 51% of people surveyed by Dataloft claimed to value time saved on their commute most. If people can work from home and have the option to avoid commuting, they will. The lockdown has proven to many sceptics that working from home is viable, and even convenient. Before COVID-19, only 5% of people mainly worked from home, and less than 30% had ever worked from home. It is unlikely that we will see the end of offices, as many people will miss them, along with the interaction and social benefits. However, working from home could become more common and with it, the relative importance of commute times, broadband speeds and space for a home office. 

If you are looking for a new home that meets your current criteria, contact a Guild Member in your area


 

15Jun

With the spring market showing signs of improved consumer sentiment following the election result, 2020 was expected to be the year the property market regained the traction lost due to Brexit uncertainty, with promising figures in the first quarter confirming as such. During spring, the market experienced annual house price growth of 2.1% and an annual increase of 3.7% mortgage approvals during the first quarter of this year, despite the fall in March. The strongest growth in the market was seen in London and South West. 

The housing market was paused once lockdown began in the UK on 23rd March. This resulted in a -9.8% drop in transactions in March, with April volumes around half of the level they were last year. On 11th May, the Government announced the UK COVID-19 exit strategy and England's housing market began its return to business on 13th May. 

Many estate agents saw a surge in enquiries on the first day of reopening in England, with Rightmove reporting 5.2 million visits to their site, a 4% increase from the same day of 2019. This flurry of activity and release of pent-up demand will help the market on the road to recovery. Long-term growth expectations are similar to pre-COVID levels, with average growth of just over 2% per annum over the next five years according to RICS. 

During the lockdown, agents across the UK reported that demand in the rental market weakened with fewer landlord instructions. Despite this, rents increased by 1.5%, however, it can take time for supply and demand pressures to show. Based on the recent statistics, it is possible to see some rental falls in the coming months, but the long-term projections stand at 2.5% per annum over the next five years.

Although it is too early to understand the magnitude of the imact from COVID-19, house prices have been relatively stable. There is a good balance between supply and demand and banks are still lending with fixed mortgage rates at an all-time low based on interest rates of 0.1%.

COVID-19 has left a legacy when it comes to property buying patterns, with the importance of outdoor space increasing. Currently, only 66% of flats have access to private outdoor space, in comparison to 97% of houses. We are likely to see a shift in building design and the premium already established for homes within proximity of green space could increase. 

Contact us today

Get in touch with your local Guild Member to see a full copy of The Guild's summer regional market report and for further guidance on the home moving process.

 

 

11Jun

Although in some parts of the UK, lockdown is easing and estate agents have been allowed to return to conducting business more traditionally, the Government guidelines released on 12th May stipulate that a prospective buyer or tenant should conduct a virtual viewing before they view a potential new home in person.

Smart Viewing

Our new Smart Viewing tool allows Guild Members to showcase properties with fully guided tours in real time, tailored to your specific needs. You don't need to download any additional software; simply book an appointment and you can access the virtual tour from any device using a booking link. It's safe, quick, convenient and compliant!

Key advantages

It comes as no surprise that a lot of home buyers and renters don't feel comfortable physically viewing multiple potential properties, due to the potential risk of COVID-19. However, remaining safe isn't the only advantage of attending virtual viewings.

Not only can you remain safe during the pandemic by limiting your face-to-face contact, but you have the ability to view multiple properties in one day without leaving your home. It also allows you to have flexibility in the time you could view the home and if you're relocating, you won't have to travel across the country to visit the property initially.

As lockdown continues to ease and we eventually return to normal, tech innovation will continue to play a major role in how estate agents conduct business and so this will have a lasting impact on the buying process moving forward and can be a highly effective way of efficiently narrowing down your property search and helping you find your ideal home.

For more insight into the home buying process during COVID-19, read our guide to house hunting during lockdown.

Contact us

Find your local Guild Member and get in touch to begin your virtual property search today.

 

 

05Jun

As we continue to operate in uncertain times unsurprisingly, many are considering moving home or relocating altogether. Whether you're looking for a home with a garden, a dedicated workspace, or more space in general, we've got you covered. We've provided some guidance to get you started on the search for your ideal home.

Look online

Start your home search by having a browse online at the properties available in your desired area and within your ideal budget. This will give you an idea of what is on the market and is realistic for your means.

Digital tools

Once you've found some options that you're happy with, contact the estate agent to schedule a physical or virtual viewing. The agent should have the available tools to help conduct a successful virtual viewing, guiding you through the property and answering any questions along the way. The benefit of viewing a property virtually is that you can decide whether you're seriously invested in the home before physically visiting it. You can even organise several viewings within a single day, all from the comfort of your home.

Follow up

Once you've viewed the property virtually, there may be questions that you've forgotten to ask during the viewing, perhaps you'd like a better look at a certain room or feature, or maybe you'd like to discuss your options with the agent. Do you need to know more about the area? Are you wondering about local schooling or transport? Take the opportunity to get back in touch with the agent to clarify any doubts or queries before you move on to the next stage.

Health and Safety

If you're serious about the property, you may want to visit it in person. Although some areas of the UK are still restricted, if you live in an area where lockdown has eased slightly, you'll want to ask the agent to provide you with their COVID-19 Health and Safety guidelines. This will give you insight into how they are conducting business and their procedure regarding physical viewings. Only when you are satisfied with the measures they are taking and reassured that they are operating in line with Government guidance, should you request a physical viewing take place.

Read The Guild's Health and Safety measures.

Contact us

If you're looking to move during lockdown, our Guild Members are on hand to help you through the process. Contact your local Guild Member today for more information.

05Jun

As we continue to operate in these uncertain times, we've spent more time in our homes than ever before, trying to adapt our spaces to both work and relax from. While our focus has been setting up our workspaces and ensuring we have everything in place to efficiently work remotely, it's important to be able to relax in comfort once the working day has ended.

With this in mind, we've prepared some top tips to maintain an enjoyable environment while working from home.

Create a 'commute' before and after work

happy woman running excercising on her commute on a bridge by the water

Before this 'new normal' most people would have had to commute to work. Whether you would usually travel by train, bus, bicycle or on foot, this was an essential part of our days.

Whether your commute was 20 minutes or an hour long, consider this now free time and use it to your advantage. Whether that's going for a run or walk, or doing an at home yoga session or strengthening workout, you'll find your mind will clear and you will gain perspective, either for the day ahead or after a long day of work. 

Have a break from technology

phone screen with power off displayed

If you're spending your whole day on Zoom calls, emailing and working from a computer, set aside an hour each day to avoid all technology. Although it's tempting to check social media, call and text your friends and family, or binge a Netflix series, giving yourself that happy hour to read a book, do some painting, go on a walk or a bike ride, do some gardening or simply chat to those you live with will make all the difference.

Make mealtime count

happy woman on the phone making lunch or dinner in a modern blue kitchen

Working in an office environment usually means packed lunches made the night before, enjoyed over a magazine and chat with a colleague. Working from home shouldn't mean you miss out on taking a screen break, make sure you schedule in a lunch break every day to step away from your workspace and enjoy some 'me time'.

After work, take the time to cook dinner, even if it's just for one, and you'll feel better than ordering a takeaway each night. If you don't fancy eating alone, schedule a video call with loved ones to host a cook along and enjoy your dinner with company. If you live with friends or family, make dinner time an occasion - dress up and set the table to recreate the restaurant experience at home.

Tidy up your workspace

contemporary interior design workspace with plants and computer

When working from home, it can sometimes seem pointless to pack away your things to then unpack again the following morning. However, this is really important to create a healthy work-life balance during lockdown, especially if your workspace is in a communal area such as your living room or kitchen.

Rid the space of clutter and distractions by turning off your computer along with any other work equipment and pop your notebook and paperwork away in a drawer.

You could even enhance the normal ambience of the room by lighting a candle or turning off the main light and switching on lamps to create a cosy atmosphere for you to fully relax of an evening.

Contact us

Has working remotely urged you to reconsider your living environment? Get in touch with your local Guild Member to see the fantastic properties available around the UK.

 

 

21May

As many of us are spending more time than ever in our homes, restricting time outside and social contact, it's hard not to focus on anything that isn't your own worries and concerns.

Here are some mental health practices to help you maintain a healthy and happy mind. 

1. Upskill

artist creating painting of fruit colourful

Rediscovering an old passion or discovering a part of yourself you've yet to explore can feel rewarding. From photography, painting, learning an instrument or filming videos for loved ones, there are many options available.

2. Practice gratitude

happy woman grateful practicing gratitude with pink jumper on

Although times are challenging, reminding yourself of those things you're thankful for can give perspective and help appreciate the things or people that bring happiness to your life. 

To get started, simpy write down five things that you are thankful for, whether it be the people you love, your home, your health or your hobbies. Say them aloud to yourself, or even better, tell the people you trust. Appreciating those who support and love you will boost their day and your confidence. You may even encourage them to do the same in return!

3. Get as much sunlight and fresh air as you can

woman happy embracing the fresh air

Spending time outside in the soul-soothing fresh air has a plethora of benefits, both for your mental and physical health. Research shows that spending time in green space reduces anxiety and depression.

It's much easier to enjoy fresh air and listen to natural sounds in the countryside, but if you're based in a city, head to your local park, remembering to stay six feet away from other people.

4. Get off to a good start

preson waking up happy and motivated from bed with morning coffee

How you start your day can determine the tone for the rest of the day. Having a positive, motivated mindset as soon as you wake will help maintain an optimistic approach to the rest of the day.

5. Laughter is the best medicine

girl laughin at the tv changing the channel

Laughter really is the best medicine. It releases endorphins which in turn, improve your mood and help alleviate any tension or anxiety you may be feeling.

Get into a new comedy series, follow funny social media accounts, play virtual games with friends, host a pub quiz or listen to a comedy podcast.

If you're struggling to find light relief from the challenging circumstances we're all enduring, Hollywood actor, John Krasinski hosts a YouTube show called "Some Good News", sharing inspiring news from all around the world.

Laughing strengthens bonds with those around you, so make sure to get your family and friends involved!

6. Stay socially connected

man on a Zoom video call on laptop with coffee

While lockdown means we are cut off from family and friends, technology can help us stay in touch, this is particularly important if you live alone or are feeling isolated during lockdown.

Reaching out to friends and family can instantly boost your mood and help deal with stressful situations. It may be that a loved one is also feeling the same, so offering support will help you feel needed and offer you both a safe space to air any concerns or worries.

7. Have a routine (as much as you can)

man drawing curtains in his bedroom waking up in the morning We all know how important routine is, especially for parents, but it's so easy to let a sense of structure go out the window during lockdown. Studies show that unstructured time can create boredom adding stress and decreasing our ability to fight off infections. Maintaining a consistent sleep pattern, and daily schedule can ensure weekdays are structured and will make all the difference.

8. Embrace the positive

stylish girl happy peaceful zen meditation yellow background

Don't beat yourself up when things don't go perfectly in your household, negative thoughts can lead to destructive feelings or actions. It's much more valuable to everyone to cut yourself some slack, recognise when you are slipping into a harmful mindset and try to alter your circumstances.

Maintaining a positive mentality is important, whether it is through an activity, project, exercise or taking to a friend, find a solution that works for you.

9. Mindful meditation

mindfulness sand holding pebble

Managing stress is a big concern, improving your mental wellbeing by focusing on your mind and directing your attention to the present. Removing yourself from the chaos of everyday and undertaking breathing exercises or just finding quiet time can manage stress which in turn will improve sleep and eating habits.

Allow yourself some time, whether it be 10 minutes or half an hour to practice non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts. This can be done through guided meditation, listening to soothing music or writing in a journal.

Popular apps such as Headspace or Calm offer guided meditation and sleep meditation, whilst Gaba is an acclaimed podcast offering guided meditation.

10. Mental health tools

people talking intimately mental health support

There are plenty of useful sources and support available online to help preserve a healthy mind.

The NHS are a fantastic primary resource for advice focused on both mental and physical wellbeing.

MARCH Network offer home-based, creative ways to support mental health during COVID-19.

MIND provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

 

Contact us

At The Guild, we are dedicated to offering support to our Members and customers during this difficult lockdown period. Whether you'd like advice on buying, selling, letting or renting, contact your local Guild Member today.

 

14May

The lockdown rules have left us, quite literally, staring at walls as we adjust to spending more time than ever in our homes, leading to DIY explosion around the UK. Many are feeling compelled to deal with the tatty paintwork that can no longer be ignored.

If you are poised to start tackling some DIY within a rented property, you may feel you lack freedom when it comes to styling your home. We have put together 10 tips to add character without losing your deposit. So, here are our top 10 tips to update your home during lockdown without compromising your tenancy agreement:

1. DIY wall art

Not able to wallpaper your home? Not only is wall art a cheap way of adding personality, colour and pattern to a room, but you can also change the colour scheme as often as you want. There are a range of designs, styles and prints available online. Alternatively, keep yourself and your flat mates occupied with a fun activity of painting some artwork yourselves!

If you don't consider yourself particularly skilled when it comes to painting or drawing, you could purchase a paint by numbers kit online, which will offer you a guide and all the supplies you'll need to create a beautiful piece of art.

Be brave and fill your walls with funky artwork, such as lettering prints and screen prints. Lay the paintings or prints on the floor to get an idea of the arrangement you want.

Always check with your landlord before nailing into a wall. If they are reluctant, opt for hanging strips instead as they will be much more effective than blue tack and won't leave any permanent marks.

2. Colourful crockery

colourful painted beautiful moroccan bowls

Updating your dishes can transform mealtime and if you are unable to choose your kitchen decor, this is a great way to accessorize the room to suit your style.

There are some fashionable, yet affordable styles available to order online, but if you're looking for some activities to do at home to stay creative and entertained, you could purchase a paint kit to decorate plain crockery while in lockdown.

Why shove your stylish pots, pans and utensils in a cabinet when you can show them off? Use a hanging rack to display your prized cookware.

3. Pottery

Home accessories such as vases and fruit bowls are a great way to style your home without a huge price tag. Alternatively, draw inspiration from the pages of catalogues, get your hands dirty and purchase a DIY pottery kit to make your own. This works well as a great group activitiy, or a therapeutic activity if you live alone.

4. Mirrors

Art Deco interior design gold frame mirrors teal wall colour

A well-places mirror can be a powerful asset to any room. Mirrors are known for making space seem larger and more open, but can also be used to distribute light, emphasize colour or artwork on adjacent walls, and even liven up rooms that don't have windows.

Tip: If your landlord is not happy with nails being places into walls, freestanding mirrors work just as well.

5. Scented candles

scented candles on coffee table interiors

Candles are a great way to revamp any room. They look elegant, cost-effective, complement homewares and smell fantastic. You may find that simple actions such as lighting a candle can instantly relax you, reduce stress and alter the ambiance of the room. If candles aren't for you, consider diffusers or essential oil room spray instead.

6. Light it up

candles fairy lights interior design

Experimenting with lighting can also alter the ambiance of your room. If you have any old fairy lights hanging about, display them across your headboard, style them in empty mason jars, or use them to decorate a shelving unit.

If you have outside space such as a patio or balcony, outdoor fairy lights can make having a glass of wine in the evenings seem more magical.

7. Go green

plants interior design square shelf

House plants can not only be used to decorate any room, but also come with health benefits by cleaning the air and can boost healing.

For a low maintenance option, choose succulents as they require less care and less frequent watering.

- Spider plants can help with poor air quality within a home, and don't require lots of sun.

- Lavender can reduce stress and can aid a better night's sleep.

- Snake plants remove toxins from the air.

- Rosemary can help improve concentration and memory.

8. Trendy textiles

interior design bedroom stripe rug contemporary shelves

Rugs have magical powers, aside from breathing in necessary warmth into any room, softening the most sterile of environment, they also have the power to together a room and colour scheme. 

9. Bathroom hacks

interior design bathroom organisation soap rose gold metal tray

If your bathroom is looking a little worn, a new shower curtain, bathmat and new towels spruce up the space. Pick a colour theme or opt for cool textiles and shades to add more vibrancy to the room.

10. Fresh paint

DIY new home decorating painting colour chart

If your walls are looking grubby, particularly around light switches and plugs, ask your landlord if you can repaint the rooms. Most landlords won't mind, especially if the paint is a neutral shade like white or cream. This will instantly transform the room, making it appear cleaner and sharper, and will give you a project to spend your weekend on.

If your landlord is happy for you to paint your walls as you please, get creative and paint a feature wall to make the room really pop.

 

Contact us

We have plenty of virtual solutions to view properties during lockdown, so if you are looking to move home, contact your local Guild Member to find your dream home.

 

 

07May

With our new Virtual Viewing Tool, you'll be able to host viewings through video, but it's just as important to stage your home as you would for a physical viewing. Here are our top tips:

First impressions count

You'll want to begin your virtual viewing from outside the front of your home. This is the perfect opportunity to show the exterior of the property, the front garden, driveway or porch if you have one.

Consider power washing your front stoop or driveway to make sure the first thing prospective buyers see is spotless. Wash down your windows to remove any grime and dirt cause by pollution, too.

Open up your space

Open all doors before filming. This will make the viewer feel welcome, your home appear more spacious, and will prevent any fumbling around with door knobs so your filming will be seamless.

Spring clean

You want every inch of your home to appear squeaky clean, as you would for a physical viewing. Make sure all counter tops and shelves are clear of clutter and personal items, dust every nook and cranny and present your home in its best possible light.

Lighting

No one wants to view a dark and dingy looking home, particularly on video. Your home should appear bright, airy and give the illusion of plenty of natural light. Make sure all curtains and blinds are fully drawn, turn on any lights and lamps, and intricate fairy lights or mood-boosting colour-changing LED lights to signal warmth and comfort.

Clear away toys

For those of you with young children, your home can easily become cluttered with toys and games. Ahead of the viewing, make sure they are all tidied up and out of sight. Prospective buyers are viewing your property looking for a fresh start. If the buyer doesn't have children of their own, they may find this off-putting as well.

Find the perfect balance

While you will want to clean your home and get rid of clutter, you'll also want your home to feel lived in, so that the buyer can also envision themselves living in the property, so sell the lifestyle. It may be a good idea to store away personal items. The items you will want to keep on display can include flowers in vases, house plants, a fruit bowl and candles.

Set the table

Style your dining room table to appeal to the viewers. In between meals, you may be prone to leaving your dining room looking rather bare, but by styling the room, indlucing a centrepiece, or a few smaller decorations down the centre of the table, will set the scene of the roomand make it feel much more welcoming.

Freshen up your garden

As summer is fast-approaching, you'll want your garden to appeal to the buyer, and showcase how it can be used during the warmer months. Start off with the basics by mowing the lawn, power washing the patio, clipping the hedges, removing any weeds or dead plants and brushing away fallen leaves. Make sure your dustbins aren't overflowing with rubbish and tidy away items such as your hose, lawnmower and bikes.

If you have outdoor furniture, make sure it's clean and well-staged and consider adding some outdoor lighting to set the ambience.

 

Contact us today

If you're looking to sell your home during this challenging time, contact your local Guild Member who will be on hand with virtual solutions to help you on your journey.

 

 

07May

Over the past few months the property sector has adapted to a different way of working, with virtual viewings becoming an essential method of looking at a property. There are several advantages that arise from viewing a property virtually, such as being able to view multiple properties in one day, it provides more flexibility in the time you could view the property, and you are able to view homes in other parts of the country.  

Agent virtual viewing

Although a large portion of the UK population are optimistic about virtual viewings, there are of course many who have their reservations and doubts. One of the top reasons why many people are sceptical was because they felt the person showing them around the home would purposefully miss out on the less attractive aspects of the home. 

How can sellers put buyer’s minds at rest?

Start from the outside of the property first. Much like a physical viewing, the outside of the property and the entrance should be the first thing that a potential buyer sees to give them a feel for how the property is situated. 

You may choose to speak throughout the video, highlighting key features and explaining why you love certain rooms or aspects of the home, answering questions along the way. Speak with your estate agent about this beforehand, as they will be able to advise you on the best way to go about this.

Family viewing property

Which features are most important? 

The rooms that often carry the biggest weight in the decision-making process when purchasing a new home are the kitchen and the bathrooms. Family buyers are particularly interested in the kitchen, as much of family activity is centred around this hub in the home. During a virtual viewing, it is a good idea to spend a bit more time in these areas of the home to give the potential buyer the chance to take it all in and see all the features the rooms have to offer. 

Apart from the kitchen and bathrooms, the other areas of the home that buyers are most interested in seeing include the living room, bedrooms and the garden. The lockdown has highlighted the importance of gardens and outdoor spaces for many. 

Focus on unique feature of each room, for example period or character features for example, exposed wooden beams, Inglenook fireplaces, high ceilings and sash windows.

Virtual viewing laptop

It is not all about what you can see

Other aspects that most buyers would be interested to know during a virtual viewing include:

The heating

Is the home cold or draughty? Good central heating and double-glazing are top on many buyers’ lists.

Home security

Seven out of ten buyers say that secure windows and doors are essential.

Broadband signal

This is another aspect that continues to grow in importance as working remotely has become the new norm. A reliable broadband signal and strong mobile signal are on the top of many potential buyers’ must-have lists.

Neighbours

While technology is engrained in our everyday lives, it has not replaced the desire for human interaction. Many buyers want to know what their potential new neighbours are like. 

Although virtual viewings came about as a result of the lockdown, they may continue to be a vital home marketing tool even once restrictions are lifted. Understanding how to conduct a virtual viewing and the key features buyers are looking for, will increase the chance of securing a sale using this new method. 

Contact us

Our Guild Members are dedicated to the wellbeing of their staff and customers. So, whether you'd like a virtual valuation, some advice buying, selling, letting or renting a property, our agents are on hand to help. Contact your local Guild Member today.

23Apr

Will COVID-19 and the continuing lockdown have an impact on property market trends moving forward or could we see the housing market pick up where it left off? With the lockdown restricting movement and most people spending most of their day in their homes, are we likely to see buyers and tenants’ priorities change when looking for a new property? 

Here are comments from some Members of The Guild of Property Professionals:

Associate at Watsons Property in Norwich, Ian Harris, says: “Judging from the conversations we have been having with people, priorities are definitely changing. Many office workers are beginning to enjoy working at home and I can’t imagine anyone is really missing rush hour.  Previously, some will have moved close to the office to cut down the daily commute but working from home could make that moving decision void.  If working from home continues after the lockdown, people may have a different set of priorities, such as a greener environment, a garden, more floor-space, and different recreational opportunities to gyms and bars; but they will need fast broadband!  Workspace and a decent internet connection seem to be the main impediments to working well at home.”

Could we see buyers moving away from cities in search of larger homes? 

According to Birmingham based Philip Jackson, Director of Maguire Jackson, recent evidence based on the daily enquiries suggest vendors and tenants have used this period to look at their current homes and consider their options going forward. “While the attractions of village or more rural housing is obvious in the sunshine, the reality of being locked away from the convenience of easily walkable good shopping has also been exasperating for others, especially those with full houses of family during this time. We have not seen evidence of current city centre vendors looking to move out of the city, but we have seen buyers looking for other apartments, be it with bigger reception rooms, better balconies and terraces or better locations.”

Director of Sawdye & Harris, Katie Griffin, says that she believes there is likely to be a tempered exodus from cities and in particular London where the drawn for space and lifestyle will be at the forefront as we ease out of lockdown. “However, the best employment prospects are often to be found in the capital and the South East but there has always been a constant lifestyle migration into the South West,” she adds.

Kieran Ryan, Managing Director of Rickman Properties in London, says: “During lock down, we can’t help thinking about people living in the capital without any outside space. No one ever dreamed that this pandemic would ever happen. In London, there was always so much to do, even in bad weather. The kudos of saying you live in London, may now have waned as the statistics of catching the virus in London have been high. However, if someone is thinking of moving out of London, there are a lot of aspects to consider, such as the time spent commuting, the extra cost versus a cheaper property and the lifestyle change, to name a few. I certainly think the jury will be out after all this. A complete lifestyle change would suit some, but in our experience, some live to regret this and as the saying goes ‘once you move out of London, you can never get back’ as you get priced out of the market fairly quickly.”

Jackson weighs in again saying many of those looking at properties in city centres do so only as part of the overall package of city living. “This means safe easy access to good restaurants, bars, coffee houses, as well as gyms, yoga studios, delis and supermarkets. Social distancing is being acknowledged as an inconvenience, but it is not anticipated to run forever, and people are making decisions based on their position certainly six months or more ahead when they will certainly be able to take advantage of the facilities close to hand.”

Will we see people more or less likely to let go of the family home and downsize to cut their overheads?

“We don’t think downsizing will be a big issue because of the pandemic,” says Ryan. “We are all hoping that this is a ‘once in a lifetime’ issue. Downsizing has its own problems and people sometimes forget that it can be expensive as often their furniture rarely fits into a smaller home and they have to buy all new. Downsizing has its own reasons and I don’t think this will take off.”

Jackson adds: “We have seen continuing evidence of downsizing from those typical older owners in larger houses. The upkeep of both the gardens, especially with some garden help services being unavailable, and the realisation of the amount of work needed plus ongoing redecoration required has highlighted the time and costs of upkeep for some. As a result, many are looking at newer town houses and good city apartments, ideally those overlooking the canal or open space.”

Griffin believes that rather than downsizing, we could see many deciding they want larger homes. “Maybe this will further influence employers to be more flexible with their work arrangements and as direct consequence lead to an increase in demand for upsizing in the employed sector.  After all there have been many people during this lockdown who have had to operate their workplace from the dining room, kitchen or spare room and realise that this hasn’t quite worked but they have enjoyed the flexibility of homeworking.”  

Any other trends we may see develop?

Harris says that people are really missing social contact now that it has been taken away. “We could see families who are spread across the country wanting to move closer to each other, especially for the sake of elderly family members,” he notes.

According to Jackson, the lockdown may make some people living with others realise the need of their own property. “For younger couples, perhaps those living with parents, the lock-in has highlighted the demand for their own space, whether rented or bought. We are anticipating pressure from first time buyers and new tenants once this lock down is eased.”

Ryan adds that more so than ever before gardens and outside space will be a premium for a lot of potential property buyers in London.

“It is difficult to assess whether this will really change the way people live and the way people think but there are likely to be some interesting times ahead and we are likely to come back with a bounce as pent up demand has built considerably during the last few weeks,” Griffin concludes. 

Contact us

Our Guild Members are dedicated to the wellbeing of their staff and customers. So, whether you'd like a virtual valuation, some advice buying, selling, letting or renting a property, our agents are on hand to help. Contact your local Guild Member today.

22Apr

DIY stores are reporting record sales as many take this time to work on home projects. These five tips will keep you preoccupied and active during self-isolation whilst adding value to your property.

1. A fresh lick of paint

Front door

First impressions count. If your front door has seen better days, consider coating it in a neutral glossy shade or pick a bright colour with personality.

Stairs

If your carpet is looking shabby, tear it up, sand down the wood and replace with a colourful paint job. Remember not to forget the bannister, too. Perhaps consider adding a stylish runner to your newly painted stairs.

Door frames

Wipe the frame clean with soap and water, dry it with a lint-free cloth, use sandpaper to smooth the wood if necessary and you're good to go. To ensure the paint looks neat and professional, use a brush thinner than the frame and cover the door hinges with masking tape.

Kitchen units

Remove all handles and knobs beforehand and cover glass cupboard doors, metalwork and door hinges with masking tape. Don't forget to wash the units to remove any grease, sand down the cabinets if necessary, and use a primer.

Garden fence

Painting your fence will not only improve the aesthetic of your garden, it can help avoid rotting and protect it against seasonal weather conditions.

 

2. Tiling tips

Perhaps your bathroom tiles are cracked, or the wall behind your kitchen sink is looking grubby. Regardless, spending a day tiling will be rewarding and can transform a room.

Lay out the tiles on the floor as they will look on the wall, line a piece of wood next to them and mark where the tiles join. You can then mark the wall appropriately and plan before you start tiling.

Clean the tiles beforehand, and use the solid tiles first, then cut the remaining tiles for corners, or oddly shaped parts of the wall. Mark the shape you'll need first and leave a little extra space as you can always cut more off if you need to.

 

3. Repurpose furniture

Save money and give old furniture a second life. You could turn an old door into a headboard, transform an old bookcase into a bar, an old chest into a chic coffee table, build a shelving unit on an exposed radiator, or create hanging planters out of old bowls or wooden furniture you no longer want.

 

4. Prepare your garden for summer

Use the warmer weather as an opportunity to give your garden a makeover. Get the kids involved and start a vegetable patch together, plant a flower bed, create a gravel path and hang some outdoor fairy lights.

If you don't have a garden, plant a couple of hanging baskets outside your front door, and never underestimate the power of potted plants in an urban home.

 

5. Create art

Use your time at home to get creative and make your own artwork, and you can get the whole family involved, too!

Alternatively, you could gather your family in the garden or living room and take some lovely family photos to hang in your home.

 

Hardware stores are still considered essential by the government, and lots of stores have products available to order online so you should find the tools you need.

An NHS warning has advised to stay safe and take the necessary precautions to reduce avoidable accidents.

 

Contact us

Whether you'd like a virtual valuation or advice on selling your home, contact your local Guild Member today. 

16Apr

If you are working remotely and relying solely on virtual meetings, you need to ensure that daily video calls and catch ups don't go a little stale. Here are our top tips to keep those meetings fun and something to look forward to.

1. Virtual coffee break

When we are usually working in the office, we tend to use a cup of tea or coffee and a cheeky biscuit or two as an excuse to remain social and catch up each day. If work is getting a bit overwhelming or you haven't spoken to anyone in a while, send your colleagues a quick message to say, "Shall we put the kettle on and have a chat?".

2. Friday drinks

If you're known to join your colleagues in the pub on a Friday after work, why not invite them for a drink over a video call? It's a nice way to unwind after a busy week and catch up about something other than work. You could even host a virtual pub quiz or bingo night!

Schedule this in on a weekly basis and it will help you feel like you still have social plans to look forward to.

3. Lunch date

Although working from home means you can tend to live by a slightly different schedule, consider inviting your team to a virtual lunch one day during the week. Make your lunch and eat together, whether it's at your desk, in the kitchen, the garden or your dining room, have a good catch up and a well-deserved break from your work.

4. Group brainstorm

A few days before a scheduled virtual meeting, ask your team to come up with some ideas surrounding a specific topic. This could be ideas to boost morale, improve customer service, or simply fun ideas and games for virtual calls after work!

5. Virtual book club

If you and your team all enjoy reading in your spare time, you could take it in turns to each choose a book to read that week. Then, once a week you could host a virtual book club to discuss the themes of the book, the characters and storyline.

If reading's not your thing, try a movie club instead! Choose a film to watch each week and catch up afterwards through a video call.

6. The pit and the peak

This is a useful mindfulness activity and a great way to start and end of day catch up. The pit is the worst or most challenging part of your day, and the peak is the highlight of your day. Simple!

Begin the meeting by sharing your own peak and pit of the day and then encourage everyone else to do the same. This is a quick and easy way to maintain perspective and serve as a reminder for the things you are grateful for. You will find that although everyone will have a pit of the day, the end result will be more optimistic.

7. Virtual cook-along

This is a great idea for those that live alone but is also fun to get flatmates or the kids involved, too. If you're fed up of cooking on your own, invite a couple of colleagues to a weekly cook-along. Each week, you can pick a recipe and cook it together. If you have a favourite go-to recipe, lead the cook-along and show them how to make it right! This is really rewarding, especially when you can all sit down afterwards with a glass of wine to enjoy your dinner together.

8. Baby face

This fun game is usually played at baby showers, but it's a fun activity to get everyone involved and have a laugh with. Everyone must choose a baby photo of themselves and email it to the host of the game. The host will then gather all the photos and organise them in a numbered grid layout.

Everyone must write down a name by each number on a piece of paper of who they think each baby is. You could even assign a virtual prize to the winner!

9. House tours

Our Guild Members now host virtual property viewings and valuations. So, whether you're an estate agent looking to get the hang of video, are looking to sell your home and are interested in video tools, or simply fancy a bit of fun, this game is ideal.

Each of you can take it in turns to film your home, taking 'viewers', or your colleagues on a tour of your house or apartment. You could even make it into a game and have everyone film their home beforehand, and you can all guess which house belongs to who.

10. Get to know each other

Taking part in video calls each day makes you feel more connected. Take this opportunity to get to know your colleagues and friends better. Ask people to share what's on their bucket list, the last song they listened to, or if they could eat one meal for the rest of their life, what it would be. This is a fun and easy way to get to know those you're talking to every day on a more personal level.

Remember, being isolated means things can get a little overwhelming at times, and people can sometimes feel alone. These activities will give you the chance to open up and find comfort in each other.

Contact us

Our Guild Members are dedicated to the wellbeing of their staff and customers. So, whether you'd like a virtual valuation, some advice buying, selling, letting or renting a property, our agents are on hand to help. Contact your local Guild Member today.

 

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