Book a Property Valuation
Plumstead t: 020 8316 6616
Thamesmead t: 020 8312 4111
Management Office t: 020 8311 9766
e: sales@hi-residential.com & lettings@hi-residential.com

 

 

Our Latest News

 

 

 

 

15Feb

While the government has put several things in place to boost the first-time buyer’s market, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and its full impact on the housing market, deposit requirements and property prices have left many would-be homeowners waiting on the sidelines for now. 

Brexit

According to Chris Sawyer, Managing Director at Sawyer & Co, operating in Brighton and Hove, the area is showing evidence that Brexit is having a significant impact with first-time buyers. “We are seeing first-time buyers showing fragile confidence in the market, which is understandable given the gloomy picture that is painted,” he says. “Many have adopted a wait-and-see-what-happens approach. With an average house price of £400,000, even a small change to value can have an impact on the buying power.” 

Brighton and Hove aren’t the only areas to be affected. Nick Manson, Managing Director at Manson Property Consultants in Newcastle noticed that the uncertainty of Brexit is making the buyers in his area take a pause. He adds that warnings from Mark Carney from the Bank of England that a disruptive no deal Brexit could cause a 35% drop in house prices are also impacting buyer’s decisions. 

It is no secret that London’s property market has also taken a knock. Conran Estates in Greenwich have pointed out that first-time buyers are very apprehensive, much like the rest of the market in the financial hub. Again, uncertainty regarding Brexit was pinpointed as the primary issue, with buyers concerned they could end up with negative equity having no assets behind them, even though they have decent deposits. First-time buyers who are taking the leap are generally giving offers below the asking prices. 

Deposits and high property prices

First-time buyer activity has slowed to a trickle in the Midlands, according to Bill Tandy in Lichfield. However, he says that Brexit is not the main antagonist but rather deposit requirements and the high value of the second-hand market.  He adds that low stock and good availability are the main fundamentals at play, aspects that will not change when the dust of Brexit has settled. 

Not all doom and gloom

For some, it is business as usual in terms of the first-time buyer market. According to Simon Miller, Managing Director at Holroyd Miller in Wakefield, being predominantly a leave area, first-time buyers are not worried in the slightest by Brexit, as employment levels are stable. Brexit has not had a great impact on the area overall and first-time buyers are carrying on as they always have, with no hesitation.

Craig Reynolds, Owner of Urban & Rural in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, agrees. “First-time buyers are generally not holding back but if they are, it is due to other factors - not Brexit. These include elements such as mortgage availability and lending restrictions. House prices have fallen slightly, which has helped first-time buyers. With Brexit having been a saga for two years now, people are just getting bored with it and are carrying on undeterred,” he adds.

In Wales, Melfyn Williams, Managing Director at Williams & Goodwin The Property People Ltd, says Brexit has not impacted his area at all. “First-time buyers seem to be ignoring the press which is the most harmful thing surrounding Brexit. The attitude seems to be that everyone is still going to need a home or to move home at some point.”

Webbers, with offices in North Devon and Somerset, say their area of operation generally has a low number of first-time buyers, but Brexit is not affecting the attitudes of the ones who do. Overall, they say they have seen little impact to their local market. Borrowing is still very cheap and interest rates are low. First-time buyers are not worried. 

Is Brexit keeping you out of the market? If not, have a look of the properties The Guild has on offer. 

 

 

12Feb

Regulatory models: contributions sought

The Government has committed to regulating estate agents to ensure that all tenants, leaseholders and freeholders on private and mixed-use estates are confident that the estate agent they are dealing with is legally compliant and meets the standards of practice. Chaired by Lord Best, the Government has tasked a working group to undertake the process of putting together a new framework that will regulate all facets of the property sector, as well as estate agent themselves.

Wanting input from the industry, the working group has opened channels of communication with The Guild of Property Professionals, inviting Members and industry experts to submit written contributions regarding both the regulatory framework and the strategies that will be used to enforce it. The written contributions will be used to augment the Government’s commitment to listen to and engage with those impacted by or otherwise interested in the proposals that the working group is considering.

“As the outcome of the workgroup’s consideration will have such a massive impact on the industry and estate agents, The Guild has asked its membership network to provide input regarding their views on the potential regulatory framework and ways in which it can be enforced,” said Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals. “There are several aspects that need consideration such as whether there is currently an existing body able to perform the role of regulator for estate agents, as well as the powers that such a regulator should possess to effectively carry out its purpose.”

Other elements that the working group requires input on include whether the regulator should be accountable to Parliament or Government and how this will play out. Also, what resources the regulator would need to carry out its duties, and how it will interact with all parties involved such as the consumer.  “Considering how fast-paced the industry is, there is also the matter of how the regulator will remain agile and move with the ever-changing property sector,” states McKenzie.

Once The Guild has received feedback from its Members it will submit its contribution to ensure that the opinions of the network are heard and considered by the Government.

Please complete the survey on  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/W9LLG67 by 20 February 2019 to ensure your contributions are heard.

01Feb

We spoke with Steven Wayne, Managing Director at Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents about his top tips for success in the industry, the future of the property market and his idea of a perfect home.

Tell us about yourself

I launched Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents in January 2004 when I was just 22 years old. In January 2019, myself and my team celebrated our 15 year anniversary. 

I’m hardworking, ambitious, honest, and strive to be the best at everything that I do. I look after those around me that I care about, whether that be my family, my friends or my colleagues. I treat others how I would like to be treated and I channel that into the way we operate at Benjamin Stevens.

I grew up and continue to live in North West London and operate out of our Edgware and Mill Hill branches. I know them inside out and I love living here which makes it all the easier to sell and let here.

I created and launched my own independent property blog – The Edgware Property Blog. I publish weekly articles ranging from market trends, property news in the local area, and advice pieces for both buyers and sellers. 

I’m married and have a young daughter. I spend my spare time with them, at the gym, or with my second love, Queens Park Rangers.


Tell us about Benjamin Stevens

Benjamin Stevens’ business began from a small serviced office in Mill Hill. Within six months I moved out and opened our first branch in a prime location on Edgware Broadway, which remains Benjamin Steven’s Head Office. 

In 2009, our second branch in Bushey opened and the business has gone from strength to strength. In January 2017, I bought out Frederick George Property Management Services which has been established in Edgware since 1869 and this year celebrates 150 years.

We have large Sales, Lettings and Property Management departments and we operate in Edgware, Mill Hill, Burnt Oak, Colindale, Stanmore, Bushey, Watford, Harrow, Wembley, Luton and surrounding areas. In 2014 we were invited to become a Member of The Guild.

After two years of planning, in September 2018 I launched the first Benjamin Stevens Hub covering the Harrow and Wembley areas, and in November 2018, a second Hub, operating in Luton. In just a few short weeks after starting the operations, we had several listings and viewings. The buzz being received is amazing. I can see in front of my very eyes the changing shape of how the industry can operate.

I chose to grow and develop my business slowly and in the most effective ways to look after my staff and clients. In an industry with a dubious reputation, I’ve tried to make the company different. 

My ethos is making sure that the aim of the business is to always put clients first, and to help them to make their dreams a reality with their perfect home.

After my wife and my daughter, Benjamin Stevens is my sweetheart and my soul.


What is next for the property market in your area?

Benjamin Stevens covers three main areas. North West London, Bushey (Hertfordshire) and Luton (Bedfordshire). 

Luton is the one to watch, having just been awarded the ‘Best Commuter Hotspot for 2018’. The average house price is 60% cheaper than London, and with 24-hour trains into the country’s capital and outstanding road connections, it’s not hard to see why this vibrant town is attracting so many commuters and first-time buyers. 

Despite having already seen massive changes over the last five years, there’s a huge amount of investment being pumped into this area: it’s forever changing and growing. There’s always something new being built or going on, and these developments are happening fast! For example, a new football stadium is opening in Luton and there are plans to build a whole new development of flats around the surrounding the area. 

North West London will continue to grow and develop. It has so much to offer in terms of location, travel links and community. The majority of people buying in the area is shifting from Buy-To-Let Landlords to End-Users. The housing market is fortunate enough to remain stable as it is surrounded by slightly more expensive areas, such as Bushey and Stanmore. For these areas, prices are normally slightly beyond what the average owner can afford, so people flock to Edgware, Colindale and parts of Mill Hill for more affordable prices, without feeling they are having to downsize on the size of property they’re looking for. 

Bushey is becoming more affluent and the place that people aspire to move to. It’s a magnet for the older generation looking to downsize and for families looking for a great property, great schools and a great community feel. 


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

1. Learn the business. Learn to do the processes correctly first. Be prepared to go back to basics, to canvass and door knock in order to win valuations or close sales.

2. Don’t become obsessed with making money. Don’t think you’re going to become a millionaire overnight or you’ll fail before you’ve started.

3. Customer service should always be your priority. If you look after your clients, your clients will look after you. 

4. The Estate Agency industry is about people not property. Your job is to help people find their next home: their dream home. How much money you make and how quickly you make it depends on the service you provide. If you take care of your clients, they’ll not only give you repeat business but they will recommend you to others. 

5. Be professional with whoever you are dealing with at all times. 

6. Work in an area that’s close to where you live. When you’re dealing with clients, they are reassured that you know and love the area you’re selling to them. 


Why do customers choose Benjamin Stevens?

We worked hard to build a reputation of being honest and trustworthy. We have great people in our team who have been with the company for years, who care and want to help people. Our clients know a brand which has been around for 15 years and trust that we will still be here in the next 5-10 years. 

Our sales team pride themselves in their interactions with both existing and new clients. The rewards for these efforts are clear and can be seen in both the cold metrics of sales data and warm metrics of customer feedback. We receive constant five-star reviews on ‘allAgents’ and based on client feedback, we were awarded their Gold Award for Sales in both branches, plus two Gold, a Silver and a Bronze award for individual Sales Negotiators. Most recently, we won Silver for both Sales and Lettings for the London area in The Guild Awards.


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

I would start by lowering stamp duty three percent on investors to reinvigorate the investors market. I would reverse the decision to get rid of the tenant ban. Without it, landlords won’t pay for inventories, nor will tenants, and when tenants move out, we’ll revert to a time when landlords won’t give back deposits.


What makes the perfect home for you?

Everyone has a different idea of the perfect home: that’s what makes the property business so varied and interesting. For me, now I have a family of my own, a safe neighbourhood is my priority. The house you live in should have a ‘warm feeling’ that you immediately detect during a first viewing. I like a nice garden where I can barbeque, a spacious kitchen, and a separate space where I can chill out and watch some TV.


What charities do you support in your local area?

Over the years, we have worked closely with Norwood and Langdon. One of our clients set up a charity called Cure Cancer which we donate to and support with social media marketing. We work closely within the areas that we cover, believing if we can help make our local communities the best that they can be, it will drive new people to the area and stop people moving away. We therefore work with and support a number of local schools, churches, synagogues and community events. This year we hope to find one main signature charity to support.


Describe your typical day

Every day is different which is why I love what I do. I get up, take my daughter to nursery, go to the gym and arrive at the office. I meet with my team and clients and look after the properties in my portfolio. My role has changed now. I have a trusted team of staff which means the business doesn’t need me there every second of the day to oversee it. My role now is to look to the future, to expand and make Benjamin Stevens the best that it can be.


Do you have any news you would like to share?

It’s been a busy start to the year! We’ve won two awards at The Guild Awards, celebrated being in business for a decade and a half, and launched our new 2019 advertising campaign. We’ve received industry press after winning a sole agency contract, whereby the developers approached us (rather than the other way around) off the back of our social media marketing campaign. We’re growing and developing two new Hubs and hope to expand into other areas later this year. Our block management department is celebrating 150 years since it was established. Oh, and I’ve taken up spinning classes! All that, and we have just arrived in February!


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

30Jan

A place where family and friends congregate, the kitchen is often described as the heart of the home. A kitchen is the home’s epicentre and must have the capacity to both entertain and bring happiness to those who live there. Here are some of the best kitchens currently on the market that will warm your heart and have your stomach rumble.

1. Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood – Asking price £850,000


Conveniently situated for sought after schools of Becket Keys, St Helens and St Thomas, this beautiful four-bedroom home in Brentwood, has an exceptional luxury fitted kitchen in slate grey finish. The solid wood worktops and copper furniture provides a superb contrast to the tiled floor and white walls. Three sets of bi-folding doors mean that this area of the house is bathed in natural light and a central island makes an ideal spot for breakfast or casual dining. 

2. Bury Way, St Ives – Asking price £575,000


A stunning detached residence situated within St. Ives, this four double-bedroom home has been extended to provide bright and spacious living accommodation and is immaculately presented throughout featuring a beautiful refitted kitchen/breakfast room. Fitted with a range of base level and eye level units, the kitchen consists a half sink bowl with mixer tap and drainer, a five ring Neff gas hob with extractor hood and built-in Bosch double oven. Other features include an integrated fridge and freezer, dishwasher, wine fridge and break bar.

3. West Byfleet, Surrey – Asking price £2,000,000


Set within an outstanding and secluded plot that extends to around 0.6 acres, is this fabulous and luxurious family home with 5,144 square feet of magnificent living space. The whole property has been designed and modelled both inside and outside for those who love entertaining with the kitchen a prime example. The open-plan design and island-based gas hob, lend themselves to sociable dinner parties. Wooden worktops and inset stainless-steel sinks with mixer tap, finish the sophisticated, clean look of the kitchen.

4. Portishead, North Somerset – Asking price £549,950


Constructed in 2001, New Down House is an immaculate, four-bedroom detached residence in an elevated position on a hillside with views of the Bristol Channel towards the Welsh Coastline. At the front of the home is a stunning kitchen and dining room fitted with white high gloss units contrasting granite worktops, stainless steel sink and swan-neck mixer tap. Other standout elements include integrated appliances, porcelain tiled floor, recessed spotlighting and a concealed Valliant gas fired boiler with Natatmo smart thermostat capable of remote operation via smart phone. 

5. Abbey Walk, Shaftesbury – Asking price £625,000


Built circa 1939 in the former orchards of the Royal Precinct of Shaftesbury Abbey, itself founded by King Alfred the Great in 888 A.D, this three-bedroom home was the first religious house built solely for women. The entire property has been re-modelled to an exceptional standard, featuring a bespoke, hand-crafted and hand painted kitchen by an award-winning local firm in Dorset.  The kitchen is fully equipped with Italian quality Smeg appliances throughout.

6. Sprotbrough, Doncaster – Asking price £475,000

A semi-rural retreat, the Brandfield House is located a short drive from Doncaster Town Centre through Cusworth, past the historic natural beauty, Cusworth Hall. The country style kitchen in the home is large enough to accommodate an eight-seater table. A blend of modern and traditional, the design of the kitchen includes exposed wooden beams, ceiling spotlights and granite work tops. The warm wooden units house an under counter fridge, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, electric fan assisted oven with separate grill and a microwave. 

7. Wood Lane, Stanmore – Asking price £1,999,950


Located high on Stanmore Hill, shielded by trees and set behind a gated entrance, The Cloisters represents a rare opportunity to live in an exclusive development of just ten elegant detached properties in a stunning environment. One of the four-bedroom properties in the development, called The Ash, is arranged over two floors with a large open-plan kitchen on the ground floor which is ideal for entertaining. High-gloss finishes, crisp white worktops, integrated appliances and stainless-steel inset sinks, all work together to create a contemporary elegant space.

The Guild is a network of over 800 of the best independent estate agents around the country. To find your dream home, visit our website.

30Jan

With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching, everyone is thinking of the perfect gift to treat their loved one. This February, The Guild are giving away a Hotel Chocolat gift card worth £100. 

This is your chance to spoil your partner with a chocolate hamper, drinks at their cafes, a meal at one of their restaurants, one of their Chocolate Training Adventures or even their School of Chocolate, all courtesy of The Guild of Property Professionals.

For the chance to win this fantastic prize, simply follow the instructions below:

How to enter:

On Facebook – Share the competition post pinned at the top of the page AND like The Guild of Property Professionals Facebook page @GuildProperty.

On Twitter – Retweet our pinned tweet about the competition AND follow @GuildProperty.

On Instagram – Follow @guildofpropertyprofessionals, like our competition post and tag a friend in the comment section below.


Important dates

The closing date for entries is on Wednesday 13th February 2019. The winner will be contacted on the following day and will be announced on social media when they accept their prize. 

Terms & Conditions

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

1. The Guild Valentine’s Day Competition is open to residents of mainland UK only. 

2. The competition is free to enter.

3. By entering the competition, you hereby warrant that the information submitted is true.

4. Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

5. There are two steps required to successfully enter the competition.

To participate, you need to;

a. Retweet on Twitter or share on Facebook the competition post that is pinned at the top of the page. 

b. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram or like our page on Facebook.

c. Alternatively, you can like our competition post on Instagram and tag a friend in the comment section below.

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

7. The winner will be chosen at random by representatives from The Guild.

8. The winner will be announced on Valentine’s Day via The Guild’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. The winner will be notified via private message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

9. The overall winner will win a Hotel Chocolat gift card (RRP £100, https://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/gift-card.html#start=1). If the gift card becomes unavailable, a prize of a similar value will be selected. No cash alternative will be provided, and the prize is non-refundable and non–transferrable.

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

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

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

13. This competition is organised and operated by The Guild of Property Professionals of 121 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 7AG.

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

15. Contest is not open to The Guild employees & their immediate family members.

16. These terms and conditions incorporate The Guild’s standard terms and conditions, which can be found at https://www.guildproperty.co.uk/legal/terms 


The Guild of Property Professionals Head Office

Tel: 020 7079 1415 Email: mediacentre@guildproperty.co.uk

29Jan

Looking for a fresh start in 2019? We have scoured the country for homes near pretty parks. Whether you enjoy a gentle stroll in the park, a trek in the hills, or a place to play sports at the weekend, these properties have one thing in common: they are beautiful places to live and explore. 


1. Western Park, Leicester - Asking price £550,000


The Pavilion is an outstanding period home, built circa 1830. With large, picturesque gardens, the traditional property enjoys a prime position within the delightful Western Park. The four-bedroom home offers a wealth of period features including tall ceilings, paneled doors and antique French marble fireplaces. Presented to an exceptional standard, with expansive gardens, a car port and far-reaching, panoramic views, this residence is a hidden gem.


Western Park is the largest park in Leicester, and arguably the most beautiful, offering 178 acres of meadows, woodland plantations and formal areas to explore. This delightful park has a great cycle trail and offers a wide range of activities all year round. This includes two bowling greens, seven football pitches, five cricket wickets, six tennis courts and one baseball field. 


2. Llandwrog, Gwynedd - Asking price £300,000


This Grade II Listed cottage makes for an excellent family home, located in the heart of the charming village of Llandwrog, north west Wales. The house is deceptively spacious and has been extended to offer additional living space. With a captivating front exterior and a lovely enclosed garden and gated driveway that leads to a large garage and useful workshop, the property offers an abundance of charm and character including coved ceilings with exposed beams and a traditional Inglenook fireplace. 


The property is located near Parc Glynllifon in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, a historic country park with an outdoor Amphitheatre, children’s play area, a popular café and gift shop, as well as several water features, including a delightful river. A winner of the ‘Green Flag’ award: A Visit Wales Accredited Attraction, this park is perfect for a Sunday stroll, a bike ride, or a picnic in the warmer months.


3. Chudleigh, Devon - £745,000


A unique detached home designed to blend with its surroundings, Sedgewell Coach House is a rare find set in four and a half acres. Situated to the southern slopes of the Haldon Hills with extensive uninterrupted views across a stunning wooded valley in Chudleigh, Devon. The property effortlessly merges period charm with modern living in contemporary accommodation where you can both relax and entertain in comfort and style. 


Crafted to embrace both space and light, this home overlooks extensive woodland and rolling fields. Dramatic sweeping lawns and drystone walls emphasise the natural beauty of the landscape.  The property is perfect for those who enjoy country walks and a home with an unbeatable view.


4. Sandal, West Yorkshire - £875,000


This breathtaking Victorian stone-built residence is located within a short walking distance of Pugney’s Country Park in the heart of Sandal village, south of Wakefield city centre. The property offers a high degree of privacy and character. The home also boasts mature gardens with Yorkshire stone paving, an excellent gymnasium with useful storage and a sauna.


Pugney’s Country Park is set in 300 acres, offering a variety of walks with good footpath links to Sandal Castle where there are spectacular views to the west along Calder Valley. Cycling is also very popular, and the park operates a rental service. The park also offers additional watersport facilities including sailing, windsurfing and canoeing. Bird watchers indulge themselves in the bird hides overlooking the Local Nature Reserve, while other visitors stop at the café for some refreshments while they enjoy the views across the park.

 

5. Bassaleg, Newport - £1,250,000


This beautifully presented seven-bedroom family home is positioned in the tranquil hamlet of Penylan, overlooking beautiful countryside, near the village of Bassaleg. The property is set within over three acres of picturesque grounds and features a fresh water lake. 


The residence is extremely private and peaceful, with spacious gardens and parkland surrounding the property including a boat deck, barbecue, chalet, out building and fruit orchards. The timber deck relaxation area is adjacent to the lake, which features a magnificent backdrop of the Newport countryside.


The Guild is a network of over 800 of the best independent estate agents around the country. To find your dream home, visit our website.

23Jan

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

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

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

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

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

Lettings The North


Gold: Whitehornes

Silver: Emsleys Estate Agents

Bronze: Ainsworth Lord Estates


Sales The North


Gold: Next2Buy and Kimmitt & Roberts

Silver: Whitehornes

Bronze: Roseberry Newhouse


Lettings Midlands


Gold: Bentons


Sales Midlands


Gold: Sally Botham Estates

Silver: Mundys

Bronze: James Du Pavey


Lettings Wales


Gold: Morris Marshall & Poole

Silver: Williams & Goodwin The Property People


Sales Wales


Gold: DJ&P Newland Rennie

Silver: Morris Marshall & Poole

Bronze: Williams & Goodwin The Property People


Lettings East Anglia


Gold: Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings

Silver: Mackay Property


Sales East Anglia


Gold: Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings

Silver: Mackay Property

Bronze: Hamilton Piers and Millbank Estate Agents


Lettings London


Gold: Drivers & Norris

Silver: Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents


Sales London


Gold: Drivers & Norris

Silver: Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents


Lettings South East


Gold: Sawyer & Co


Sales South East


Gold: Belgraum Estate Agents

Silver: Sawyer & Co

Bronze: Hodsons Estate Agents


Lettings South West 


Gold: Sawdye & Harris


Sales South West


Gold: Helmores

Silver: Sawdye & Harris

Bronze: DJ&P Newland Rennie


Overall Guild Agent of the Year Lettings


Gold: Drivers & Norris

Silver: Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings

Bronze: Sawyer & Co


Overall Guild Agent of the Year Sales


Gold: Helmores

Silver: Drivers & Norris

Bronze: Kimmitt & Roberts and Next2Buy


Guild Brand Ambassador of the Year


Drivers & Norris


Top Referring Office Vendor Referrals


Kent Estate Agencies




The Guild of Property Professionals Head Office

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

12Dec

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full list of The Guild Award Shortlist 2019: 

NORTH

Carr & Hume

Logic Estates

Norman F Brown

Emsleys Estate Agents

Holroyd Miller

Kimmitt & Roberts

Moss Properties

Next2Buy

Roseberry Newhouse 

Whitehornes 

Ainsworth Lord Estates

SOUTH EAST

Sawyer & Co

Comyn & James Town and Country Homes

Enfields Estate Agents 

Mansell McTaggart

Stevens Estate Agents 

Belgarum Estate Agents

Clifton & Co Estate Agents 

Hodsons Estate Agents

Seymours Estate Agents

WALES

Morris Marshall & Poole

Williams & Goodwin The Property People

DJ&P Newland and Rennie

EAST ANGLIA

Allhomes Town and Country

Hamilton Piers

Mackay Property

Urban & Rural

 Thomas Morris Sales and Lettings

Millbank Estate Agents

MIDLANDS

 James Du Pavey

 Mundys

Carters Estate Agents

Moore & York

Sally Botham Estates

Hadleigh Estate Agents

The Agents Property Consultants

Bentons

LONDON 

Benjamin Stevens

Drivers & Norris 

SOUTH WEST

Sawdye & Harris

Helmores

DJ&P Newland Rennie 


10Dec

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

30Nov

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

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

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

Start with a renovation checklist 


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

First impressions count

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


Use transitional styles

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

Kitchen and bathrooms are key

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


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


A fresh coat

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


Replace or repair skirting boards

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


Replace internal doors and door handles 

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

Put up new window coverings

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

Light switches and electric sockets


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

Repair failed double-glazed windows

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

Hang wall art


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

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

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

23Nov

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

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

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

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

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

22Nov

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

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


How will stamp duty changes affect the market in 2019?

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

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

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

Brexit remains a factor

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


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

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

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

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


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

Jobs and deposit requirements still a factor

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

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

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

16Nov

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


1. Preparation

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

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

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


2. Is the price right?

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

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


3. Make sure agents have immediate access

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


4. Present your property properly

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

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


5. Have an efficient solicitor

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

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

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


6. Sort out your mortgage provider


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


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

15Nov

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

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

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

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

Separate the needs from the wants

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

Keep focused

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

Look at your finances, and then check them again

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

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

Get another opinion

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

Make sure you choose the right solicitor

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

Don’t engage in a bidding war

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

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

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

01Nov

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

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

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

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

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

30Oct

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

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

More money for Housing Infrastructure Fund

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

Housing on the high street

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

Lettings relief limited

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

International investment

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

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

25Oct


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

Home buyers' biggest turn offs...

1. Clutter

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

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

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

2. Smells

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

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

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

3. An untidy exterior

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

4. Noise

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

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

5. No natural light

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

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

6. Bad décor

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

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

7. Nightmare neighbours

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

8. Poor presentation

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

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

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

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

9. An unexpected problem

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

10. An over zealous vendor

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

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

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


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

19Oct

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

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

It remains a case of supply and demand

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

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

Good stock is being secured quickly

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

We will begin to prosper again

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

The ideal time to trade up

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

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

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

The markets and economy will take time to adjust

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

Property prices in the UK will always increase

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

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

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

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

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

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

18Oct

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

1.Virginia Water, Surrey - £7,500,000

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

18Oct

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

1.Edford, Exeter - £1,000,000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Sussex Square, Brighton - £575,000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check mortgage eligibility online