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Not all property purchases are equal. While one property investment could be the foundation to building wealth, another could be a monetary black hole. What is the difference between the two?
To ensure that you are making the most out of your property purchase, it is vital to be well-informed, savvy and make the right buying decisions from the outset. The choices you make during the property buying process will have a significant impact on the potential return on your investment in the long term.
Simply purchasing a home at what is considered a fair market value will not guarantee that you will see good returns in the future. Here are a few golden principles that you can apply to any property acquisition:
The first step is to decide whether you are purchasing the property as a home to live in or for investment purposes. This decision will have a bearing on how you will approach the purchase. If you buy the property with the intention of living in it as your primary residence, the decision-making process will be far more emotionally guided. In this instance you will consider aspects of the property and the surrounding area that appeals to you personally. However, if the property is for investment purposes, it is more important to research what appeals to possible tenants in the area and who the tenants might be.
Although it is possible to find a lot of information about an area online, nothing can replace checking out the location in person. Take the time to drive around the area and walk the streets. Consider what the traffic is like and who your potential neighbours could be, as well as the local facilities and amenities. Local estate agents will also be able to provide you with information regarding the local property market and recent stats and figures of sales in the area.
Irrespective of the property market phase or external factors such as Brexit, sound property buying principles remain true. These include the property’s location, the value per square foot and the potential rental yield. These factors will always be the key criteria to base your decision on.
Never underestimate the importance of location. Two homes can have the same features but have very different values depending on their location. For example, the average house price can vary by as much as £500,000 from one tube station to another in London, so it might be worth sacrificing a few extra minutes on your commute. It is even possible for homes to have different values based on which side of the street they are on. From an investment perspective, purchasing the worst home in a sought-after area is better than buying the best home in an area that is not as appealing.
If you are buying with the intention of letting the property out, you will need to consider that different aspects will be attractive to different people, so discovering your niche market is essential. As an investment buyer, you should also look at how many other rental properties are available in the area before you buy. The rental sector is driven by demand, and an investment could fall flat if there is an oversupply of properties available for rent in the area.
If investing, it is important to think about what you would like to achieve with your property portfolio and what needs to be done to get there. If you are buying a home to live in, it is essential to think about where you would like to settle for the next five to ten years.
Having a clear plan in place will help you remain focused and will give you something to work towards. Never limit your thinking to what you can afford right now, but rather what will be possible for you in the future.
Access to finance is a key element to any property transaction. While around 30% of buyers can buy a home in cash, most buyers will require a mortgage to purchase a home. To increase your chances of getting a mortgage approval, ensure you have a favourable debt-to-income ratio and keep a clean credit record.
It is also vital to have a deposit of between 10% and 20% of the purchase price of the property, as well as additional funds for solicitor’s fees, stamp duty and various other costs associated with purchasing a home.
Although a return on investment is often at the core of every property buying decision, there are other aspects to be considered. The basic principle of purchasing a property is that if you wouldn’t want to live in it, it’s not likely many others would either. The property should appeal to you and you should want to own it.
If you are looking to buy a home you’ll want to own contact your local Guild agent.
It seems everyone is searching for the next up-and-coming area to move to, but how do you find the next budding hot spot?
Is it the development of transport links, good schools or just an expansion of the city? We asked Guild Members to identify key areas around the country that are rising in popularity.
From Croydon to Cardiff, here are the up-and-coming areas in the UK for 2019:
“This seaside resort may seem an unusual place to nominate for best ‘up-and-coming’ area, but it has a number of impressive features. The main attraction is the potential of the ‘commute to property price’ ratio. Hastings to London Cannon Street takes 1hr 40mins, but with recent changes in the planning stage for improvements to the Ashford line, this journey to London Stratford will potentially reduce to 60mins. This will have a dramatically positive effect on house prices and businesses in the local and surrounding areas.
Recent road improvements and new housing developments, together with local re-generation projects have transformed this forgotten sleepy seaside fishing village into a hub for opportunity. Over the past few decades, Hastings has retained much of its enviable historic past whilst undergoing major surgery to its seafront facades and its splendid Victorian squares.
And let’s not forget the sunshine! Hastings’ annual hours of sunshine average 1,871 hours. It is one of the top five towns in the UK.”
“If you’re looking for one of the most up-and-coming places to live in London, then look no further than Croydon. Aiming to be London’s future borough of culture, Croydon has big plans and with huge amounts of investment, the area will soon be one of the most exciting places to live in the UK.
The £1.4 billion-pound Westfield project will create up to 7,000 new jobs in the borough and put the spotlight on the area. Certainly, the shopping centre will make the atmosphere of Croydon thrive more than it already is.
With new developments and plans, like the second tallest building in the UK to be built towering over Canary Wharf, there is a range of choice in terms of the tenure of property somebody can buy or rent. Below average house prices and superb transport links around London are a great mix, making Croydon a haven for first-time buyers and investors.
The near to 400,000 population means that new restaurants and facilities are constantly opening and succeeding. More unusual businesses have even opened including a virtual reality café on the high street giving people a range of choice.
In recent times, Croydon has been seen by many as the street art capital of the city. You can find fascinating pieces of street art at St George's Walk which is now known as Croydon's Arts Quarter. More than 100 murals cover this area and are always changing to keep the place full of life and spirit.
Being home to the premier league side Crystal Palace means there is always entertainment for football lovers and with Crystal Palace being based in and around Croydon tonnes of opportunity has emerged in terms of future development, available employment and facilities.
The iconic Fairfield Halls is currently undergoing a £30 million transformation. When reopened, the facility will host a range of live music, theatre shows, comedians, dance acts and events.”
“Cardiff is one of the smallest cities – ninth in size in the UK – with a population of 357,200 as of October 2018. However, the city has a university population of 44,000 and its campus of 30,000 is one of the largest in the UK.
The city has many attractive features, including a fully developed bay area (former docks, at one time the biggest coal port in the world) with extensive leisure facilities.
Cardiff, which was occupied by Romans and Vikings is named in Welsh, Caerdydd, Caer (Fort) and Dydd (Taff) a river running through it.
There is Cardiff Castle, a Gothic design with extravagant interior and extensive grounds built on the remains of a Roman Fort. Cardiff Bay is fully developed with a large Marina, bars and eateries.
It has been the capital of Wales since 1955 and contains Wales Millennium Centre, home of the Welsh National Opera, Orchestra and dance companies. There is the Richard Rogers designed Senedd Building, containing the Welsh Assembly, providing Government of Wales.
The city boasts many parks and gardens, including Roath Park, centred on a large lake with boating and popular walks right around it. Cardiff Victorian Market offers a wide variety of goods and foods, and of course we have the Principality Stadium, with the facility for National and International games of Football, Rugby and with its closing roof, concerts as well.”
“Wakefield is an up-and-coming district with appeal for those looking for affordable living, but with the luxury of excellent transport links and ease of access to Leeds. With a vast choice of property from new build, luxury developments, suburban retreats, country cottages, and trendy apartments, there is something for everyone, and more importantly something in-reach and accessible for most people.
Wakefield is commuter heaven! It is only two hours to London by train and minutes away from the M1 and M62 motorway network, and access to the rest of the country.
At the weekend, you can stay local and take advantage of Wakefield’s upsurge in independent wine bars, delis, restaurants and boutiques, or hop on a train to the vibrant and trendy cities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield where designer shops and cocktail bars await.
Another huge benefit is the surrounding countryside and access to outdoor pursuits. From country parks and stately homes to much more rugged pursuits in the Pennines, you can kick back, walk the dog in peace and relax in a country pub or hook up the mountain bikes to the car and enjoy the myriad of trails on offer.
We could write an essay on the plus points, but it’s safe to say it has a lot to offer.”
“The dream of owning a property in the Cotswolds once seemed the preserve of celebrities looking to escape London. But after years of sporadic and piecemeal development, a recent building boom around the larger villages and market towns of the Cotswolds has put a honey-coloured house within the grasp of more and more homebuyers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Cotswolds was recently named one of the Top Ten places to live in the UK in the highly-regarded annual survey by the Halifax Building Society.
And while period properties with thatched roofs and Inglenook fireplaces are in short supply and high demand, the good news is that local planners continue to expect the highest standards from new-build developers.
New-builds are constructed in traditional building materials. Gardens are the rule, rather than the exception – individual properties are given room to breathe – and drystone wall boundaries are not as uncommon as you might think.
A few miles south of Cirencester, the capital of the Cotswolds, the large village of South Cerney has become a magnet for developers. Gravel pits once dug by aggregates firms have become the Cotswold Water Park – England’s largest wetland nature reserve. Homes with a lakeside view are not uncommon. Some even come with jetties!
The new research and development facility of Dyson attracts scientists, computer programmers and engineers to work on top-secret projects.
High levels of well-paid employment have nurtured business confidence in the area – the area's independent coffee shops and restaurants continue to flourish, while businesses looking to capitalise on the leisure time of residents – particularly in water sports, country pursuits, and cycling – are thriving.
And despite its position in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Cotswolds are remarkably well connected to larger centres. Motorways and good A roads put Bristol, Bath, Oxford and Newbury within a drive time of three quarters of an hour.
London is easily commutable too, thanks to regular and speedy train services to the capital from Kemble station. Average journey times of under 90 minutes will only improve with electrification of the rail line.”
“In Birmingham city centre, the area hotly tipped for 2019 is The Gun Quarter which sits on the edge of The Jewellery Quarter. A former military and sporting gun manufacturing area, with roots going back over 400 years. The area is typified by former Victorian workshops, with new canal side apartment buildings filling in post-war manufacturing sites.
The construction of The Berkeley Group’s St Joseph’s branded development, Snowhill Wharf is now underway, comprising 404 new apartments. The renaissance started with the stunning Comet Works conversion in Princip Street by award-winning developers Javelin Block, and their success has encouraged other smaller developers as well as individuals to now make the area their home.
The district sits behind the acclaimed gothic revivalist St Chad’s Catholic Cathedral, designed by Augustus Pugin. The area is also very close to the handsome new office blocks of Snowhill, now home to various leading companies.
The Gun Quarter is an area that was once overlooked by many but is now seen as an obvious neighbourhood close to the larger, successful district, the Jewellery Quarter.”
“The coastal village of East Preston is a superb location lying between the sea, English Channel and the A259. The area is easily accessible for Angmering station on the Brighton/Portsmouth coastway line, giving direct access to Gatwick and London Victoria.
Originally a thriving family community dating from 1087, the village retains much of the former character and has a strong community spirit centred upon social and educational activities.
The beach itself is a real gem, and at low tide provides a huge expanse of sand that’s dog friendly all year round. There is an abundance of leisure activities on your doorstep, with a good range of local shopping and annual Festival Week.
There are two golf courses in Angmering and others in Littlehampton and Worthing. Littlehampton harbour offers excellent sailing and mooring facilities together with riverside restaurants and bars.”
“We have seen a surge of buyers from the South seek to relocate to Doncaster as they ‘can get more for the money’. We have also noticed an increase in southern investors looking for buy-to-let properties.
Logistically, Doncaster is very well-positioned. There is the M18 motorway & A1 motorways linking Doncaster to the North and South of England. Commuters can be in London King’s Cross train station in around 90 minutes on the grand central line.
We have the famous St Leger Festival at Doncaster Racecourse with a plush new Hilton Hotel. Yorkshire Wildlife Park expands year on year and has more visitors than Doncaster Sheffield Airport nearby. We have the iPort, home to one of the largest Amazon distribution centres and neighbouring DHL and Ikea warehouses.
The average house price here is £130,000!”
“Farnham Town Centre is undergoing an amazing time of change with major redevelopments taking place in the East Street area of Farnham which is increasing interest in the town from prospective buyers and investors.
Currently, new major residential and commercial developments are being undertaken by Crest Nicholson, Berkley Homes and Farnham Estates which will change the face of the town centre and provide many new homes, some of which will be affordable housing.
Along with these new homes, there will be an influx of new amenities and recreational areas including shops, a cinema, and public spaces. It will be very interesting to see the East Street area regenerated for the coming years ahead.”
“Wymondham is a historic Norfolk market town with an impressive Abbey situated 9 miles south of Norwich. The area offers easy access to the main A11 motorway for commuting to Norwich, Cambridge and London, with its own railway station with regular links to Cambridge and London, making it a commuter belt area.
It is believed that as many as 30% of all houses which are sold to commuters to Cambridge and London, enjoy more property for less money.
Historical points of interest include King Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries which brought about the closure of Wymondham Abbey, which was surrendered to the King in 1538.
Kett's Rebellion was a revolt in Norfolk, England during the reign of Edward VI, largely in response to the enclosure of land. It began at Wymondham on 8th July 1549 with a group of rebels destroying fences that had been put up by wealthy landowners.”
To find your dream home, contact your local Guild agent today.
It all means that it should make it easier for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder and make the housing market move faster at all levels.
This month, we caught up with Simon Etson, Residential Sales Manager for Drivers & Norris. He tells us about the history of Drivers & Norris, the property market in North London and his idea of a dream home.
I am the Residential Sales Manager for Drivers & Norris. I was fortunate enough to join the company a year ago. I have worked in estate agency for seven years, originally with a construction background, and I will shortly attain a Building Surveying degree. I aspire to be known for my extensive market knowledge and my devotion to our clients.
We can trace back our origins to Mr. Driver, an agricultural agent in Tufnell Estates, who established his business in 1852 practising as Driver & Co until 1870. The business originated from the Northern Estates Office corner of Seven Sisters Road, Islington, London.
In 1919 Mr. Driver and Mr. Norris merged their respective companies to become Drivers & Norris, now one of London’s oldest estate agents.
We are a multi-practice business offering Residential Sales, Residential Lettings, Property Management, Block Management, Commercial, Auctioneers and Surveys.
We are proud to support and are trusted by our community since 1852.
Our clients choose Drivers & Norris because of our innovation, customer relationships and astute recruitment practices. We know our people are our brand and we have created a culture built on intelligent, friendly people.
We try to utilise inventive technology, but without straying from the traditional values of service and customer care.
What is next for the property market in your area?
There is a lot of negative press surrounding the property market and much of the downbeat forecasts and pessimism is blamed on the lack of clarity surrounding Brexit.
Lack of supply and affordability will continue to affect the market, but in North London we are still experiencing good instruction levels with motivated vendors. Whilst the market is reporting a lack of new buyer enquiries, (which fell for a sixth month in a row in January 2019) we are seeing positive signs in North London, with buyer registrations remaining solid.
There are no easy fixes, but we need to remove the uncertainly over Brexit. We need a clear plan, regardless of the eventual outcome of Brexit. From releasing more land, relaxing planning laws, and stamp duty changes to speeding up transactions.
We start the day with an effective morning meeting that drives the pace of activity, structuring the day and focusing on maximising opportunities and sharing knowledge.
Most days I carry out Market Appraisals, but I still contribute to canvassing, call out sessions and conducting viewings.
A great part of being an estate agent is that no day is the same. There are always different people, responsibilities and properties to keep you engaged.
1. Excellent customer service – service is the cornerstone of any agent’s success
3. Patience – buying and selling property is a stressful process that can result in high emotions
5. Appetite to for learning – constantly looking to improve yourself and your knowledge
Location will play a big part for my perfect home. Being within walking distance to a park, local pub or restaurant would be ideal.
I also like open-plan living, which is great for entertaining, but with a separate reception room. I would like generous bedrooms with a master with en-suite, a large rear garden, off street parking and a double garage are all preferable!
Our business is authentic, and we try to show shared goals and values. We speak to people and businesses in our community, ask them questions and tell them about our staff and our business.
Some charity fundraisers and community activities we did in 2018 include: Beacon Festival, Virgin 5k Run, Manor Gardens Street Festival, Tufnell Park Summer Fair, ULHS Housing Fair 2019, Tufnell Park Winter Fair, Whittington Park Christmas Lunch, Whittington Park Big Day Out, Christmas Jumper Day, National Jeans Day, #DoItForDom - Huntington's Disease Association, Agents Giving #AgentsGotTalent, Agents Giving #OneThousandItemsOfFood, Children with Cancer, MacMillan Cancer Support – Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning, MacMillan Cancer Support - Sober for October, Agents Giving - #DonateACoatCampaign, Tufnell park Primary School Calendar and Tufnell Park “Race Night”.
We all want to add value to our homes. After all, property is one of the best investments so why not make the most of it. The rule of thumb when it comes to adding value is to utilise what you already have. Any additions that are too costly might not bring you much of a return when you sell, so work with the space and think how it could be transformed to make it more useful.
Here’s a list of some of the most worthwhile alterations and additions that can add great value to properties. Remember, it’s important to think about who the most likely buyers are and to go for improvements that will be most beneficial to them.
Although large gardens are becoming less and less attractive, as a nation, we do value the addition of outdoor space. Making your garden feel like another reception room could add heaps of value to your property, especially if it's currently somewhat neglected. Simply adding decking or a patio can turn a garden into a great entertaining space. Summer houses are other welcome additions, especially when staged as an extra room to enjoy.
Most people would prefer an extra reception room to a garage. If you have permission to do so, then you could convert the garage to add a square footage to your home. Depending on where your garage is located, they can make fantastic playrooms for children or home offices. It is important to utilise the extra space you have. Any added space is better than nothing!
The loft is another often unused area of potentially functional pace in a property. Most houses don’t require planning permission to convert the loft and they make really stunning rooms. Plus, they’re reported to add up to 20% onto a property’s value. More about the importance of checking loft insulation, boilers and windows.
Having somewhere to park the car is a big plus for most buyers. In 2014, 29.6 million cars were registered for use in the UK, which is a 9% increase on the previous year. We clearly do like our vehicles and parking spots are becoming even more scarce, making them especially valuable. Even if your buyers don’t drive, they will value the space for when family and friends come to visit. If you don’t already have parking but do have a front garden, consider paving part of it to create off-road parking. You might have to apply to have the kerb dropped, but it’s still well worth investigating.
Conservatories are another great way of adding square footage to your property. Consider adding one next to your dining area or kitchen to increase the size of this hugely appreciated space. And make sure you keep it at a comfortable temperature as any rooms that are too hot or cold could put buyers off.
Kitchens are the heart of the home and there’s nothing more appealing than a big welcoming room in which to cook up a feast and entertain. If you only want to improve one room, then definitely concentrate on the kitchen and add a few wow-factor touches to really make it stand out. Read more about renovating your kitchen on a budget.
Expanding the kitchen onto the side and to the full width of the rest of the property means that you will gain valuable space. As previously mentioned, a big open plan kitchen presents a warm welcome and inviting environment - which is guaranteed to add value to your property in the long run.
After the kitchen, your bathroom should be next on the list for an overhaul if it’s looking dated. Opt for a crisp white suite so it appeals to lots of people and add a few ultra-stylish features to make it a room to remember. This can be an expensive investment, however, if it's something that needs doing then it becomes a necessity.
It might seem obvious, but adding central heating to a property that doesn't already have it will really help to increase its value and appeal. It’s considered essential and buyers could try and offer less money if they need to get it installed.
At the very least, make sure you fix any structural problems before you put your house on the market to maximise your chances of getting your asking price. If your property is structurally unsound, buyers are likely to use this as leverage to negotiate as they will know they will have to invest money upfront fixing those problems.
Making your home more environmentally friendly with the likes of solar panels, wind turbines and good insulation can increase its value. If your home is cheaper to run, it will stand out in the property market and you can usually add a premium to the price.
If you're looking to add value to your property so that you can sell your property and buy a new home, then make sure you read our top tips for buying a property guide.
Like this post? Read more on this topic here.
Packing up and moving to another city, or for that matter, another country, is a major undertaking. It takes a great deal of preparation and is imperative to do the necessary research and weigh up all the options before making the final decision. Regardless of whether it is relocating to another part of the country or abroad, there are essential elements that need to be assessed in each potential neighbourhood to ensure you will settle in.
Does the area provide an easy commute to the office? It’s fair to say that most people spend a significant portion on their day commuting to and from work, so the distance between the two is an important consideration. Other aspects to think about include access to public transportation, service hours, route and stops. If you travel often, find out if the area is within reasonable proximity to an airport, or if there are transport systems linked to the airport for easy commuting.
Location is paramount in real estate and proximity to public transport can have a positive impact on the appreciation of the home’s value over time. Global property market studies have shown that home values tend to rise faster in areas that are close to bus, train and underground stops.
Are the retailers and businesses in the local area the ones you frequent regularly, such as the bank, pharmacy and grocery store? Ideally, you would want these kinds of establishments conveniently located to your potential new home. A trendy coffee shop or gourmet deli are excellent places to catch up with friends but being close to a grocery store that stocks your daily staples is far more practical.
Even if you don’t have children, the quality of the schools in the area is an important aspect to consider because of the influence they have on property pricing. Figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show that homes near the best performing primary schools are 8% higher, and 6.8% higher when near to the best secondary schools. This can largely be attributed to the high demand in these areas due to parents wanting to be located within the school’s catchment area. The catchment areas for schools that have an Ofsted rating of ‘Outstanding’ see the highest returns on investment.
Considering the amenities in the area is important because they influence the home’s investment potential, however there is another element that relates to your personal needs and wants. If you rate culture very highly then you will more than likely want to be near art galleries and theatres, whereas if you are someone who enjoys the nightlife then you would probably want to be close to good restaurants, pubs, or nightclubs. A sports enthusiast would want to know the distance to the stadiums and athletic arenas in the area. There is also the matter of free entertainment, such as parks, museums and libraries.
This is not a reference to the country’s economy, but rather more specific factors which influence the neighbourhood, such as a high crime rate. There will be telltale signs if an area is experiencing a financial decline or is poorly managed by the council. These signs include houses in need of attention, rundown parks, littered streets, and businesses closing. People will be eager to move out of the area, so look for an unusually high number of ‘for sale’ signs.
While there are many other aspects to think about before moving to a new neighbourhood, these guidelines will assist you to find the right area to meet all your needs, regardless of whether it is in the UK or abroad.
If you are interested in moving, have a look at some of the properties The Guild has to offer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com or to see more click here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Silver: Emsleys Estate Agents
Bronze: Ainsworth Lord Estates
Gold: Next2Buy and Kimmitt & Roberts
Bronze: Roseberry Newhouse
Gold: Sally Botham Estates
Bronze: James Du Pavey
Gold: Morris Marshall & Poole
Silver: Williams & Goodwin The Property People
Gold: DJ&P Newland Rennie
Silver: Morris Marshall & Poole
Bronze: Williams & Goodwin The Property People
Gold: Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings
Silver: Mackay Property
Gold: Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings
Silver: Mackay Property
Bronze: Hamilton Piers and Millbank Estate Agents
Gold: Drivers & Norris
Silver: Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents
Gold: Drivers & Norris
Silver: Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents
Gold: Sawyer & Co
Gold: Belgraum Estate Agents
Silver: Sawyer & Co
Bronze: Hodsons Estate Agents
Gold: Sawdye & Harris
Silver: Sawdye & Harris
Bronze: DJ&P Newland Rennie
Gold: Drivers & Norris
Silver: Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings
Bronze: Sawyer & Co
Silver: Drivers & Norris
Bronze: Kimmitt & Roberts and Next2Buy
Drivers & Norris
Kent Estate Agencies
The Guild of Property Professionals Head Office
Tel: 020 7079 1515 Email: email@example.com.
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:
Carr & Hume
Norman F Brown
Emsleys Estate Agents
Kimmitt & Roberts
Ainsworth Lord Estates
Sawyer & Co
Comyn & James Town and Country Homes
Enfields Estate Agents
Stevens Estate Agents
Belgarum Estate Agents
Clifton & Co Estate Agents
Hodsons Estate Agents
Seymours Estate Agents
Morris Marshall & Poole
Williams & Goodwin The Property People
DJ&P Newland and Rennie
Allhomes Town and Country
Urban & Rural
Thomas Morris Sales and Lettings
Millbank Estate Agents
James Du Pavey
Carters Estate Agents
Moore & York
Sally Botham Estates
Hadleigh Estate Agents
The Agents Property Consultants
Drivers & Norris
Sawdye & Harris
DJ&P Newland Rennie
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or to see more click here.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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
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