Our Latest News
Housing was briefly mentioned as Phillip Hammond was drawing to close the Spring Statement on 13th March 2018. CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, Iain McKenzie, shares his thoughts on what the government has said, and not said, about the housing market.
“I am pleased that housing has at least been mentioned in the Spring Statement 2018. Despite this, many of the key issues surrounding the housing crisis have been overlooked or understated.”
What was mentioned?
The Spring Statement announced an additional £1.7 billion to deliver 26,000 affordable homes in London, including for social rent. This will bring the total number to 116,000 new homes in London by the end of 2021/22. Additionally, collaboration with local housing associations will lead to the 250,000 homes to be built in the West Midlands.
The Guild’s reaction
“Investment in housing infrastructure and collaboration with local housing authorities is undeniably a positive thing. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, nevertheless needs to put more emphasis on the housing crisis. The creation of a few hundred thousand homes in London and the West Midlands will not solve the issue for the 5,000,000 people who privately rent in the UK and are still unable to get onto the housing ladder. The changes to Stamp Duty have helped 60,000 first-time buyers, but this is not enough.
“Guild Members have expressed their concerns to me about Stamp Duty rates stagnating the second homes market/private landlord market, lowering the amount of private rental stock and creating increased competition for tenants.
“To lessen the risk of tenants paying higher rents, the government should review the policies that support corporate landlords at the expense of good conscientious private landlords. I am happy to discuss this in person with any government or home office official,” continued Iain.
Finding your dream home can be a challenge. If your children have left home or if you have too much space, you might be looking to downsize. What are advantages to downsizing in 2018?The main reasons to downsize is to release equity, go mortgage free, or to live in an appropriately-sized home. It will also mean lower running costs, which can be very welcome as the cost of living rises.
Recent property price increases mean that homeowners have increased equity, which can make it a great time to downsize and cash-in on your investment. Downsizing can be difficult because it will mean compromise. If you only want a specific location, you may have to buy a smaller house, or the benefit of off-road parking may mean you can’t get an extra bedroom. What factors are most important to you? Transport links, community atmosphere or more space? Ultimately, the best time to downsize depends on personal circumstances. Be aware of market conditions, your budget, and be honest about your needs and requirements, otherwise, you could stand to lose out financially and emotionally. The Guild is a network of the best 800 independent estate agents around the country.
Are you thinking of downsizing? Contact your local Guild Member for advice at guildproperty.co.uk/find-a-guild-member.
On March 13th 2018, Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, will present one of the shortest spring budget statements in years. Plans for: budgeting Brexit, diesel car tax and HS2, benefits and living wages will be touched upon. Most importantly for the property market, are stamp duty and tenant fee bans.
We have asked our members what they hope to hear from this year’s Spring Statement and any predictions they may have.
Ben Appella from Simmons & Sons (www.simmonsandsons.com)
“Predictions are positive in many respects and there has been a flurry of activity in the first couple of months of 2018. We can be hopeful that the Stamp Duty changes introduced last year will stimulate further activity and encourage sellers to place their properties on the market. Overall our firm takes the long-term view and we believe the market will remain active in the geographical areas that we operate from during the course of this year.”
Mark Sobey from Keats Estate and Letting Agents (www.keats.biz)
“We need to focus on actions that will really boost the property market across the UK, not just on a local level. Our wish in property sales is also to see removal of the surcharge. It is apparent that far fewer investors are entering our local market.
Simon Davies from Norman F Brown (www.normanfbrown.co.uk)
“I predict that nothing will really change, the Stamp Duty ban for first-time buyers made in the autumn hasn’t had a vast impact in my area of Yorkshire so far, but I am sure it will help over time.
“I hope that the government will introduce new legislation for landlords. The current financial penalties and scrutiny, albeit often necessary, make it unviable for a lot of landlords to buy new properties or keep their existing ones. If there is no change, rents will rise to cover the extra costs that they face and there will be fewer properties available for rent. As for the tenant fee ban, there are legitimate costs that agents have when it comes to processing tenancy applications, not to mention the risks we face with all the changes in legislation. Therefore, I think cap them, but don’t ban them.”
Jared Thomas from Emsley’s Estate Agents (www.emsleysestateagents.co.uk)
“High on my wish list for the Spring Statement would be a change to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for second-home purchases. The higher rate came into effect after the 2015 Autumn Statement, and since then the buy-to-let market has been stifled. Decreasing, or even scrapping, the additional surcharge would assist in opening up the market for investors.
“However, I predict that there won’t be any changes to SDLT when the Chancellor makes his announcement, as first-time buyer relief has only recently been announced in November 2017. The statement is more likely to focus on Brexit and maintaining certainty in a time of great change.”
Rita Tinney from Keats Estate and Letting Agents (www.keats.biz)
“From a lettings point of view, a concession on the 3 per cent Stamp Duty Land Tax imposed on landlords is desirable to re-start the buy-to-let market. Also, due to the shrinking amount of available rental property versus the growing demand, some tax breaks for investors may encourage them to invest in the private rental sector.
Phil Jackson from Maguire Jackson (www.maguirejackson.com)
“We would like to see an easing of Stamp Duty with the aim of encouraging more homeowners to move. The current rates have become an increasingly expensive burden, which has cause the market difficulties seen recently in many places. There is no doubt that the south east, in particular, has suffered from the upfront Stamp Duty fees, while the uncertainty of the market continues.”
To find your nearest Guild agent, click here.
Read the latest news on property prices, market movements and Guild guides here.
Have you thought of selling your home at an auction? It’s not only developers and bargain hunters that buy at auction. In fact, homes of every price and finish are selling through the modern method of auction. This is what you need to know.
Auctions can run for 14-28 days, so buyers have time to set their budget and bid accordingly.
It’s a quick turnaround so you can move faster. Completion will happen within 56 days of sale.
Both cash buyers and mortgage buyers can bid for your home. They just need money up-front for their reservation fee.
Fewer sales fall through because of the non-refundable reservation fee, so you can be more confident in your sale. Plus, everything happens safely and securely online.
You can save money on estate agent fees. With an auction, the buyer pays the auction fee so there are no fees for the seller. You may just need to pay a small marketing fee.
Competitive bidding can drive up the sale price, so you could sell for a higher price than you expected.
The Guild is a network of the best 800 independent estate agents around the country. Your local Guild Member can help you sell through the modern method of auction, so you know you are dealing with a local property professional.
Find your closest Guild Member at guildproperty.co.uk/find-a-guild-member
What will happen to the housing market in 2018? There are lots of predictions, from big growths to slight falls in house prices, but overall, most experts predict a slight rise in prices of around 1%. Find out what the big forecasters, RICS, Nationwide and Rightmove, predict in our quick video. Small house price increases mean that it is a good time to move. You can get a good sale price for any current property you own, and there is not a huge rush to buy, so you can take your time to find your dream home.
Before selling your home, most people try to spruce up their property by decluttering and doing a thorough clean. But many people forget the area that gives a first impression is the garden. We all like to get outside and enjoy a sunny summer afternoon, so make sure your garden looks appealing for a potential buyer. Here are some easy tips to follow to make your garden add value to your property.
Just like inside your home, some decluttering and garden maintenance can add value to your property. Always start with tidying and key maintenance.
“Depending on their situation, buyers could see the garden as entertaining space, a hobby, the place where their children will play, space for their pets, a source of food or a combination of any or all of these, so it is crucial that sellers place as much importance on the presentation of the garden as they would on the presentation of the house,” says Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris in Cambridgeshire. “Good gardens can add value to a home and poorly kept gardens can detract from it.”
Susie Davies from Debbie Fortune Estate Agents in Somerset recommends maintaining the lawns. “A manicured lawn always enhances the appearance of a garden and makes it look bigger,” she says.
Lee Hussell from Webbers in Devon has some practical advice. “The first place to start is to give your garden a good tidy up. Winters are never kind to our gardens and damage may have been caused to fences and trellis or maybe the larger shrubs and trees. Any dead growth can be cut back and fallen leaves and other debris can be removed and cleared away.”
Once your garden is tidy, it is time to make it into a key selling point that potential buyers will love.
“When showing your home, you want the buyers to visualise living there, so have pot plants filled with flowers to give it some colour and the lawn mowed to make it look tidy,” suggests Celeste Hannah from Hamilton Parkers in Hampshire. “First impressions count, and in the spring and summer months, you want to show your garden off to its full potential. This will definitely add perceived value and gives you a better chance to maximise the selling price.”
Struggling for time or budget? Start where your potential buyer will start and focus on this area.
“Never forget kerb appeal, and, more relevant in the online age, photo appeal. The first impression really does count, so always start with the front garden,” says Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole in Wales.
A well-maintained garden will make sure a buyer is not put off your property, but something more can make them want to buy your property above any others they have seen.
“A nice summer house is a garden goal for many people,” says Phil Pritchard from Williams & Goodwin in North Wales. “It often feels like an extra room away from the main property and can be utilised as anything from a place to relax, an office, a man cave or a playroom for the children.”
There are ways to maximise the impact of an existing summer house, too. “If you have a summer house, it is worth making sure the wood has been treated so that it is weather proof and you can easily give it a face lift by adding a touch of colour,” suggests Andrew Lodge from Andrew Lodge Estate Agents in Surrey. “There are so many good quality garden paints available in neutral tones.”
Don’t forget the impact that a child’s opinion may have on the decision makers, advises John Newhouse from Roseberry Newhouse in North Yorkshire. “Buyers may love the idea of a summerhouse or man cave, and of course children will be drawn to tree houses or play areas.”
Simon Miller at Holroyd Miller suggests caution, though. “The truth is that some people like hot tubs or summer houses and some don’t. Additions of this kind shouldn’t be thought of in terms of re-sale, however, well looked-after and presented in the right way, they will certainly present something unique and a lifestyle image that potential buyers can see the value in.”
Sheds are not only practical, but they are coming back into fashion. They can be used from anything as a useful place to store bikes and lawnmowers to a garden retreat.
“By putting up a good-sized shed, you are adding a useful storage space for gardeners and families with outdoor furniture and even toys,” says Andrew Lodge.
Many people choose to work from home, and an insulated shed could provide the perfect home office. John Newhouse says: “Additional space in the shape of pods, studios or cabins provide potential work space options for house hunters.”
If you’re looking to spend less to add value to your property, don’t underestimate the impact of a good coat of paint on fences, sheds and other wood in the garden.
“Adding value to your home through the garden doesn’t have to break the bank. If you have decking or a perimeter fence, you could freshen it up with a coat of paint. If the garden is presentable it will be more attractive to viewers and could increase the price a potential buyer is willing to pay for your home,” suggests Jared Thomas from Emsleys Estate Agents in West Yorkshire.
“We recommend investing in good quality patio, paving or decking,” says Andrew Lodge. “Having a professional job done will enhance the overall appearance of your outside space. Decent sized patio and decking areas add value as they are great for entertaining and alfresco dining. Adding some good lighting outside will also enable people to make the most of the garden on those long summer nights.”
You wouldn’t show a room to a potential buyer without any furniture in it, so why show a garden without a table and chairs?
“Depending on the size of the garden and who it will appeal to, ensure that the lawns are cut or the terrace is swept and ideally have the garden furniture set up so buyers can imagine themselves sitting out enjoying an al fresco evening,” said John Newhouse.
If the people viewing the house have pets, they will want to see a garden that is fully secured to avoid an escaped dog.
“It is important that you invest in secure fencing, walls or gates,” advises Andrew Lodge. “People like to feel secure in their gardens so that they can relax. It also makes the garden more appealing to those with young children and pets.”
If your home is overlooked by other homes or gardens, it’s a good idea to give the idea of privacy to the garden. If it isn’t too expensive, add hedges or trees in key spots. It will make the potential buyers be able to imagine themselves enjoying a peaceful afternoon outside in the summer.
Susie Davies advises that ornamental trees have a pleasing, aesthetic effect in a garden.
Are you looking for a new home with a beautiful garden? Contact a Guild Member today to start your property search.
The best estate agents in the country were commended at The Guild’s annual award ceremony at Westminster Bridge County Hall, right next to the London Eye, in February.
The 35 silver and gold awards for sales and lettings were presented by Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild, at the gala dinner and awards ceremony. Awards for best overall Guild agents were also presented. “This was my first year at the annual conference. We celebrated excellence within our network and across the industry. It is a testament to the growth of The Guild over the past 12 months,” said Iain McKenzie.
This year, the awards were sponsored by The Telegraph and powered partly by The ESTAS, the only industry awards based solely on reviews. Simon Brown, Founder of The ESTAS commented: "Integrating customer feedback into The Guild’s judging process demonstrates how important customer experience is to The Guild and makes these awards even more valuable. Congratulations to all the winners."
Victorstone Property Consultants won the ‘Overall Guild Agent of the Year’ in sales. Scott Hailou, Director at Victorstone said: “It was an incredible achievement to be acknowledged for outstanding levels of customer service, industry expertise and performance. Our business has not only benefited from The Guild's high standards but the continued support over the past year.”
The full list of Guild winners is as follows:
Lettings regional awards
Midlands - Newman Property Experts
South East – Jonathan Rees
South West – Complete
London – Petermans
East Anglia – Mackay Property
Wales – Williams & Goodwin
Overall Guild Agent of the Year - Lettings
Silver winner – Helmores
Gold winner – Victorstone
Sales regional awards
North East - Roseberry Newhouse
North West – Wilkes Green & Hill
Midlands – Bentons
South East - Enfields, Southampton
South West – Webbers
London – JDM Estate Agents
East Anglia – Mackay Property
Wales – Williams and Goodwin
Overall guild agent of the year
Silver Winner – Sawyer & Co
Gold winner – Victorstone
Guild ambassador of the year – Sawyer & Co
Top referring office vendor referrals – Webbers, Ilfracombe
Do you want to sell your property? In order for your home to appeal to the widest range of potential buyers, it’s a good idea to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Every property is different. Your home might have beautiful windows and a state-of-the-art kitchen, but be in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint. Remember to book a property valuation today, to understand what your property could be worth. We’ve identified some common property weaknesses, and how you can turn them into strengths.
The Fix: Outdated windows can show the age of your property, and even make it look out of date when it isn’t. Hanging new curtains is an easy way to update your property. Install a simple metal rod with decorative finials and hang a neutral curtain with metal rings. Your home will look like a magazine, and what was once a weakness has become a strength.
The Fix: Purchase new white goods for your kitchen. This will add plenty of value to your home, and keep prospective buyers from being put off because your appliances are past their prime. When you’re updating, think stainless steel. These appliances are popular and modern.
The Fix: Hang a large mirror. Mirrors can make any space seem larger, so they’re especially important in an entryway or narrow hallway. Is the space too awkward for a large mirror? A gallery wall of mirrors in different sizes will solve that problem perfectly.
The Fix: What do you do when your house has been standing for over 200 years (and looks like it, too)? A fresh coat of paint and a top-to-bottom clean can work wonders to turn a rustic property into a character-filled dream. Highlighting the period features of your property is also a good idea. That way, the house becomes historic, not just ‘old’.
The Fix: A few accessories go a long way. While it’s great that your property doesn’t have much in it (an empty canvas makes it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves in your home), having a few accessories (think throw pillows and a light fixture or two) can make a huge difference in your home’s atmosphere. Use neutrals, and try visiting your local charity shop to make your improvements on a budget.
The Fix: Whether you meant to or not, you’ve bought the most expensive home in the area and are now trying to sell. In this situation, take a look at your home. Why is it pricier than other homes in the area? Once you recognize why your home has been valued at a high price, highlight those features as unique selling propositions, or USPs. Turn price into exclusivity, and this weakness quickly becomes a property strength.
The Fix: When you’re close enough to hear the neighbours next door, it can be a problem for potential buyers. Take this time to highlight the amenities that your property has close by. If you have a great relationship with your neighbours, this is the time to mention it. A sense of community is invaluable for new buyers, and proximity to amenities like a corner shop or department store are valuable assets to your property.
Are you selling your home? Contact your local Guild member today to get started.
Changes to stamp duty are among the main factors that allowed ‘generation rent’ to obtain mortgages and finally get a foot on the property ladder. The important question for these first-time buyers is, where are the most affordable places to buy? Here is our top 10 list across the UK.
Those who love the south coast of England are moving further away from Brighton and into the city of Southampton. The average house price is £199,074, with a refreshing 98 per cent of properties deemed as affordable, according to Post Office Money. This beautiful and bustling seaside town is set to be one of the most popular city for first-time buyers this year.
Georgina Korrison from Seymours Land & New Homes said, “We successfully sold two developments comprising one and two-bedroom apartments in central High Wycombe in the past year. More than 70 per cent of the purchasers were first-time buyers using the Help-to-Buy scheme. High Wycombe maintains excellent rail links to London, shopping facilities as well as direct access to the A40 and Junction 4 of the M40, which is less than two miles away. Already rated highly by the Guild of Property Professionals, High Wycombe’s location on the edge of the Chilterns combined with its proximity to London makes it an affordable location for your first home. Prices in High Wycombe for a one-bedroom apartment from £200,000.”
Gina Burbidge from Royston & Lund said, “The Meadows is currently proving to be a firm favourite with first-time buyers due to its close proximity to Nottingham city centre as well as the popular and affluent suburb of West Bridgford. The area’s fantastic local amenities make it is easy to see why The Meadows is one of the most up-and-coming areas in the Nottinghamshire region.”
The approval to begin construction on Crossrail 2 has made Tottenham Hale a sought-after location for many first-time buyers. For those who are still in the process of saving, off-plan new-builds are hidden gems in many pockets of London. The investment opportunity in Tottenham Hale from Crossrail, access to the Underground’s Victoria line and national rail links ensures that the area remains an attractive hotspot. Prices start around £179,000.
Simon Miller from Holroyd Miller said, “North and central Wakefield provide great opportunities for the first-time buyer. Typically, a two bedroom flat is priced around £75,000, or a two-bed terraced house from around £85,000. The added benefit of these areas are the extremely close commuter links with Leeds. Leeds is the second largest financial city in the UK, with a population of three million people, making it highly desirable for growing businesses. With a direct and regular rail network, the M1, and local road access, north and central Wakefield won’t blow the budget.”
The Post Office Money’s recent research has shown that Norwich is featured second on their list of the most affordable places to buy for first-time buyers in 2018. The average property price is £266,489, according to Zoopla Zed-Index. Norwich also offers beautiful surroundings with the coast and countryside nearby and town centre full of culture and entertainment.
Northampton is a stunning town with direct trains to London in under 60 minutes. The average property price is £245,000, according to Zoopla data, but you need to hurry as average property sales go under offer in just 27 days. This is 20 days quicker than the rest of the UK, which averages at 47 days.
Frances Bowling from Moss Properties said, “The average semi-detached home in Doncaster sold in the past 12 months was £123,080, compared to London for £638,439, according to Zoopla as of 19 February 2018. Doncaster Train Station offers direct trains in to London kings Cross in less than 90 minutes. While stamp duty changes haven’t had a huge effect in Doncaster, the HS2 link that will be passing very closely will have a positive effect on Doncaster house prices.”
The average property price in Liverpool is £121,374, an increase of three per cent from last year, according to Post Office Money’s research. This lively, bustling city is perfect for first-time buyers. Its culture, music and entertainment make this one of the most popular cities in the UK. This city has its strengths in industries such as car manufacturing and engineering.
Steve Barron from Drivers and Norris said, “It is thought that over the next few years, Holloway will also see a larger than average increase, proportionally, in prices due to its investment into housing redevelopment. There is also a noticeable change in some of the commercial properties and businesses that are being attracted to the Holloway area, such as Jamie Oliver’s business headquarters. While not “cheap”, Holloway is still more affordable than many if its neighbouring areas.”
Are you looking to buy your first property? Contact your local Guild member today to find the perfect area for you. Visit us here.
Finding your dream home can be a challenge. You might need a larger property if your family is growing, or if your children have left home, you might be looking to downsize. There are advantages of both upsizing and downsizing in 2018. We asked our Guild agents for their opinions and advice on what is happening in the market that makes it good for either upsizing or downsizing.
“In Wakefield, we are seeing the £500,000-plus market booming in sales. A lot of this movement is due to downsizing. Many of the larger properties in more select suburbs rarely come on to the market, but when they do there is always considerable interest.
“Currently, Wakefield is a great opportunity for downsizing purely because of the interest to buy. Likewise, it’s an incredibly good place to upsize, with more property on the market and many more new build developments, both in the luxury and mainstream market. The choice has never been so abundant.
“There are pros and cons. Upsizing may be a dream but think of the practicalities. Your utility bills, council tax, and maintenance bills will be higher. General upkeep will be a much larger task; from gardening to cleaning, it will all take more time and resource. Downsizing might be more practical, but how will the lack of space impact on you? Your utility bills might be cheaper but will you be compromising? Maybe you hadn’t considered the need for a spare bedroom or a utility space, what about the outside space? Or simply the fact you’ll be much closer to your neighbours. For many, the realisation can sometimes be quite an adjustment.
“Ultimately, the best time to upsize or downsize depends on personal circumstances. You have to be fully aware of market conditions, your budget, and be honest about your needs and requirements, otherwise you could stand to lose out financially and emotionally.”
“In the London area over the past two/three years, we have seen prices softening, but this offers a fantastic opportunity to trade up to that dream house. When people sell, there is much focus on ‘what will I get for my house?’ It is an important question, but if you are planning to trade up to a more expensive property, is that actually the right question?
“For instance, if you have a property ‘worth’ say £1,000,000 and prices have dropped by 10%, this is now ‘worth £900,000 but you wish to buy a property that had a value of £1,750,000, and this too has dropped 10%, so is now available at £1,575,000. The gap between the 2 properties is £675,000. Had the prices been more stable, the gap would have been £750,000, so the saving now is £100,000.
"Equally, if prices are rising, again using 10%, we see the values being £1,100,000 and £1,925,000 respectively, a gap now of £825,000.
“This example shows how using a ‘poor market’ can be a great opportunity. Sometimes focusing on ‘how much can I get?’ is not the right question, when it should be, what is the difference I have to pay?"
“Strong buyer demand, affordable lending, and stable house prices make this a perfect market for both up-sizers and down-sizers here in the South West.
“Whether looking to move to a larger property or seeking to move to a smaller, easier to manage home, stable prices make it easier to plan and healthy demand from buyers who can afford to borrow help make the current market fluid. Moving up or down the market, actual and purchase prices are less important than the price differential between the two.
“Across the country, it seems that stock is an issue and whilst this may mean that new homes developers are taking a larger share of the market, competition between them is keeping prices steady.
“This doesn't mean that upsizers and down-sizers are so limited in choice though - it simply means that if they can't find what they're looking for, they need to work with an experienced local agent that provides a search and acquisition service.
“With over twenty years experience, dealing with thousands of homeowners, at any one time, we have hundreds of local people on our database who are looking to move - even though they are not on the market and advertised for sale.
“Over the last 12 months, we have seen an increase in property prices and therefore increased equity for homeowners. This can make it an ideal time to downsize and cash in on your investment. Recently, I valued a four-bedroom detached property. The owners bought their home in 2015 for £266,000 and would now expect it to achieve £300,000. There are not many investments that will give you a return of £34,000 in 2 years. They were looking to sell and downsize to go mortgage free.
“The main reasons we find people choosing to downsize is to release equity, go mortgage free, or the property they are in may be bigger than what they need. I believe downsizing is one of the hardest moves a person can make as comprise is needed. Therefore, our advice would be to think about what you are prepared to comprise on. If you only want a specific location, you may have to comprise on the size of the property or if off road parking is a must for you, you may have to give up that extra bedroom.
“The market offers advantages at the moment for those looking to upsize or downsize. Since November 2017, first-time buyers have not needed to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on properties priced up to £300,000, which will speed up the time it takes them to save for their first home. Mortgage rates are still at a historic low, making a bigger mortgage more affordable for many people.
“You might be looking to upsize to accommodate a growing family or to downsize to release capital, reduce outgoings or if your children have left home. Whatever the reason, I would advise you to book a professional valuation and speak to a mortgage advisor before selling your home.
“If you’d like to upsize; plan ahead. Perhaps you’d like to relocate to be closer to catchment areas for schools. Consider the timing of the school year when planning your move and allow for any delays in the chain.
“Those looking to downsize should be realistic about the amount of space you need. Ask yourself: are you using all the space you’ve got or have you simply expanded to fill it? You’ll also need to consider the factors which are important to you, such as public transport, facilities and the local community."
“As the market cools off, opportunities can arise for those looking to up-size as larger properties come down in value more quickly than the lower end of the market, which is propped up by both first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors. This can create an opportunity for buyers to procure a large property at a lower price while still achieving a good price for their own.
“As the cost of living rises, down-sizing offers an opportunity to lower the running costs of your home and free up capital to spend on the refurbishment of a new, smaller property. The market has been rising for a number of years and, since 2016, has begun to cool, making this a good time to down-size, release large assets, cash in, and invest in a lower-value property, lowering your exposure to the market. With the cost-of-living rising, lowering your mortgage out-goings is always a wise move, too."
Are you thinking of upsizing or downsizing? Contact your local Guild Member to start your property search.
Estate agency is one of the few careers which doesn’t require formal entry qualifications. There are a number of ways become an estate agent. Our Guild members have come up with a range of useful attributes that will help you to begin your career as an estate agent.
Are you looking for a career in estate agency? Contact your nearest Guild agent today to see if they have positions available.
This is how it works and why you should consider selling through the modern method of auction...
1. Auctions can run for 14-28 days, so there is more chance for the future owner to think about the price they want to pay and bid accordingly. In the traditional method of auction, lots sell in an auction room, but with the modern method, everything happens safely and securely online.
2. Completion happens within 56 days, which can be a lot faster than selling your home on the open market. If you want to move quickly, an auction could be the perfect method for you.
3. Your local Guild Member can help you sell through the modern method of auction, so you have the safety of knowing that you are dealing with a local property professional, working in partnership with experts IAM Sold. Click here to find your nearest Guild agent.
4. Both cash buyers and mortgage buyers can bid for your home, vastly widening the number of people who can bid. All the buyer will need up-front is cash for their reservation fee.
5. Fewer sales fall through due to the non-refundable reservation fee. This will lessen the threat of an expensive fall through and means that you can be much more confident in your sale. There is also no chance of re-negotiation or gazumping once contracts are signed.
6. You can save money on estate agent fees. With an auction, the buyer pays the reservation fees. These cover the costs of the auction and leaves the seller without a hefty bill to pay. However, you may still need to pay a small fee to market your home for auction, so be aware of this before you decide on who to sell with.
7. Competitive bidding can drive up the sale price. You can set your own reserve price, which is a great safety net if the interest isn’t there. However, bidders can often drive up the price when there are two or more parties interested in the same property. You could leave with a price higher than you ever expected.
Buying a property and moving to a new area can be a daunting prospect. There is nothing that will make your new house feel like a home like making new friends and getting involved in local events. Being involved in the community can bring a sense of belonging, fill your social calendar, and make it easy to find friends. But how can you tell if an area has a good community spirit before you move there?
Take time to visit local community centres, sports clubs, church halls, cafés, and local shops to see what’s going on. Find the notice boards for information on local groups and events.
Talk to the local people on the high street. If they are happy to stop and help a stranger, it’s a sign that the community is open, friendly and trusting.
A lot of community planning has now moved online. Try searching for Facebook groups and small websites with the name of the town or village. Look at how active the pages are to see if people are engaged.
Pick up a local newspaper to find out about upcoming local events. Plus, it’s a good way to find out about the crime rate in the area.
Speak to the local Guild Member, as they will know the area like the back of their hand and will have a finger on the pulse of local activities. Be sure to quiz them during a property viewing, or pop in to see them when you’re in the area.
The Guild is a network of the best 800 independent estate agents around the country. Find out why you should choose them to sell your home. Click here to find your closest Guild Member.
A sale falling through can be a seller's worst nightmare. It can set your home search back by months and could cost you money. Thankfully there are some things that you can do to prepare yourself for the possibility and to avoid a sale falling through.
If something unexpected and potentially costly comes up in a survey, it may make the sale fall through. Remember to do your own survey, pick up on any issues and get your paperwork in order before going to the market.
A break in a chain can happen for a range of reasons, from people changing their mind to pulling out because of financial problems. Choose an experienced estate agent, like a Guild Member, to help monitor the chain and keep your sale on track.
Negotiations can be a tricky time, and you can find yourself dealing with surprising demands. Try to be flexible, and remember that a few small details should not make-or-break your deal.
Good preparation and keeping calm should keep your sale on track. If the worst happens, get your home back on the market as soon as possible.
To give your deal the best chance of succeeding, chose a Guild Member to sell your home. Find your local agent by clicking here.
Putting your home on the market can be an exciting time. But once the floorplans have been drawn up, the photos taken, and the property listed online, what else do you need to do? Being proactive at this stage can lead to a faster sale.
Watch our video for The Guild's top tips.
Across England there are a variety of unique and beautiful places to live and work which offer individuals their perfect lifestyle. We asked our Guild agents their opinions on where the best places to live in Britain with a good quality of life are.
“Believe it or not, London is still a good place to live although there has been a mass departure in the last 12 months with many moving out of the city.
“It is ideal for young and old with amazing restaurants, bars and theatres. London’s offerings to its inhabitants are inexhaustible unlike any other city in the U.K; ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’ as Samuel Johnson once said.
“With all the economic turmoil and uncertainly over Brexit, Londoners need to stick by their capital city and tell the planet that it is still the best city in the world,” explains Susie.
“Wiveliscombe is the best place to live as it is 10 miles from Taunton and six miles from Wellington. The geography defines the place and it stands on its own two feet, socially, educationally and economically. Whilst it’s technically a town, it really is a big village, with primary and secondary schools, shops, takeaways, businesses, services, serving a much wider rural community in West Somerset.
“There is a real diverse group of people of all demographics, young, working, old, retired, matched by a real variety of property in beautiful rolling west country Somerset countrywide between the Quantocks and the Brendons and Taunton Vale.
“The population is less than 3,000 but there are many thriving businesses and further residential and commercial development taking place in the town. There are also numerous clubs and societies, including the latest - Wivey Lele, mini Ukelele orchestra and Wiveliscombe rugby club which is currently top of Tribute Somerset premier, explains Bruce.”
3. Brighton and Hove
“Sometimes you have to look a bit further than the headline to get the real story, and if Brighton is usually the name in bold sometimes the attractions of Hove actually get over looked.
“Today it's the city of Brighton and Hove, but because they were originally adjoining towns with separate councils the city's sibling areas still have unique identities. One thing they share is a varied, vibrant lifestyle, though in Hove it tends to be a little more laid back and discrete.
“You only have to walk the beachfront along from Brighton's piers to feel the change as the promenade starts to be separated from the road by Hove Lawns. A well-kept wide strip of grass which hosts various culinary and sporting events throughout the summer, it's popular all year round with families, dog walkers and sports enthusiasts as are the green open spaces of Hove Park and St Ann’s Well Gardens.
“The Churchill Square retail centre is a big Brighton attraction, but for those who like their shopping to be carried out away from the modern mall experience Hove is the place to be. Church Road runs through from the famous floral clock and has a wealth of restaurants, pubs, cafes and shops. George Street is a traditional local high street with a mix of outlets, both major chains and independents, and recent additions to the culinary scene include MasterChef winner Steven Edwards' first restaurant Etch.
“With its wide main avenues laid out in a continental style grid, when you’re enjoying a coffee in local popular indie Baked or Brighton chain The Flour Pot, you know you are far removed from the more hectic and touristy atmosphere of Brighton.
“If you need to travel to London, Hove train station offers mainline commuter links that travel directly to the capital without needing to change at Brighton, and if you really want to escape the South Downs are on your doorstep offering their own panoramic sea views, explains Jenny.
4. Yarm, Teesside
“Yarm is a Georgian market town bordered by the River Tees and previously voted Best High Street in the UK.
“Yarm is well regarded as the best place to live on Teesside due to the wide range of shops, cafes and restaurants in the high street. It is popular with families due to excellent schooling in both state and private sectors. There are open park spaces at Preston Park with river walks and easy access to the A19, Darlington train station and Durham Tees Valley airport.
5. The Test Valley Village
"The Test Valley Village is one of the best places to live as it has very convenient access to London and the West Country by road and rail with main line stations at Winchester and Sailsbury providing fast trains into London Waterloo.
"The Test Valley is blessed with some spectacular walks and countryside and is renowed for the River Test. The area is a favourite for ramblers, cyclists and for its shooting.
“There are many attractions in the Test Valley which include the Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Longstock Park Water Garden, Highclere Castle, Houghton Lodge, Romsey Abbey and Romsey Signal Box.
"Test Valley in the west of Hampshire possibly has more pubs and restaurants than any other area of the county. The clear chalk streams of the River Test are famous for the Test Valley trout and there are many producers of quality local food in this area. Thatched cottages and welcoming pubs in Test Valley's picturesque villages add to the area's charm and there are attractions for all ages. There are also excellent schools within the area in both the public and private sector.” concludes Celeste.
Are you thinking of buying or selling? Get in touch with your local Guild Member today by clicking here.
It has been a mixed year in the housing market, but with house prices continuing to rise across the UK and Stamp Duty cuts for first-time buyers, times are changing. What will 2018 have in store for the housing market? Guild Members share their predictions.
1. Ramsgate, Kent
We have positive predictions for 2018. Many are concerned that the Brexit talks will still leave some EU control over us for around eight years, so this should mean that the property market should stay strong for a while longer yet.
In 2017, we found that many purchasers are ‘on hold’ with their property search, but now many property owners are now preparing to be market ready for the start of 2018 which is hugely positive. We have seen New Year trends improving year on year, I hope that this is again the same.
2. Burpham, Surrey
There is room for optimism in 2018 as average house prices across England and Wales are likely to increase by 1%. Whilst this might not seem like a significant change, it reflects the fact that the market is still growing at a stronger rate than previously predicted.
In Surrey, we are likely to continue to see a healthy market. The current shortage of homes within Surrey will keep upward pressure on property prices in the short term due to the continued demand from those looking to live in one of the most desirable parts of the country.
3. Birmingham, West Midlands
My predictions are that Birmingham City Centre will continue to be busy both in residential sales and lettings. This will be helped by several major relocations, such as HSBC, who will shortly be moving into their new retail headquarters on Broad Street, bringing in staff from Canary Wharf and elsewhere.
Many of the new blocks of apartments now being built will readily let on completion but I predict a very limited further growth in rental prices through the year, as this additional stock becomes absorbed. Landlords of properties which readily let in this past year will find there is more competition if they must let again this coming year. Therefore, interior presentation will be the key to securing new tenants or retaining current tenants. As we have seen in previous years, we do know tenants will be swayed by the choice and the opportunity of renting new build apartments as they come forward.
4. Henfield, West Sussex
We expect to see more people deciding to get on with their lives after putting plans on hold because of elections and a referendum impacting three successive spring markets. This will mean more supply to the marketplace and will hopefully encourage more people to move.
We do not expect prices to either rise or fall, but as in 2017, overpriced property will be ignored and we predict that the market will continue to be price sensitive.
5. St Neots, Cambridgeshire
For Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings, 2017 was almost identical to 2016 across all our measures. The number of instructions and sales were within 2% of the previous year. According to the Land Registry, house prices in the East of England have risen by an average of 6.1% and we would anticipate a flat housing market in terms of prices for 2018.
We expect mortgage rates to increase gently in the year ahead and for the market to remain broadly stable. In short - more of the same!
6. West London
It has been a tough year in the central London market as Brexit talks and the increased cost of Stamp Duty have made high-end buyers think twice. However, the Brexit negations are now in a positive mode, the pound remains weak and interest rates are low, so there are good deals to be found.
Sellers may have to be restrained on their asking prices, but the gains made over the past 10 years have been strong, and if buying on, savings can be had.
Property is a long-term investment, but it is also a home, and this should never be overlooked. Buying property in and around London, has been seen as a yearly money maker. Perhaps we will be seeing a slower growth pattern over the next few years, but growth it is. London will always be a desirable place to live and work, so it may prove to be an excellent time to buy.
7. Stokesley, North Yorkshire
We predict that in 2018, the rental sector will continue to grow in demand and the market outlook will be a repeat of this year. People are only moving because they have a need to, which has created a shortage of stock which will remain an issue.
The market was one of two halves, with activity buoyant up until the election followed by slower activity. Many properties have sold quickly, while others have struggled to attract viewings. The uncertainty regarding interest rates and Brexit have not helped.
The increased Stamp Duty threshold for second home owners has had a negative impact on the marketplace. Buy-to-let investors and downsizers would have traditionally purchased a property before selling their own, now want to sell first and wait to market their own home until something becomes available to buy.
A huge increase in the number of new builds across Teesside has not helped resale market competing with Help to Buy and developer incentives.
8. East London
East London’s rental market remains strong, and recent rent dips have simply made it slightly less expensive for tenants than before. Students and professionals still compete fiercely every summer for flats in trendy spots, and as landlords begin to offload buy-to-let properties, the available rental stock will shrink. With strong yields, rapid development, and the new Crossrail opening next year, prices will weather the storm better than elsewhere.
After a slow start, first-time-buyers eager to buy after the cut in Stamp Duty after the Budget will be attracted to price-stable areas to buy instead of paying rent for another year. This will keep East London prices far more stable than some of the more over-valued areas of the capital.
I don’t expect fireworks in 2018, but it won’t be all doom and gloom either.
9. Chew Valley, Somerset
2018 has the potential to be another exceptional year for our offices. North and north-east Somerset have always proved to be popular amongst those looking to buy a property south of Bristol. The commuter routes into the city are excellent, notably benefiting from the new South Link Road that opened connecting businesses and reducing travel times for many in the area.
There is a great deal of development planned in the region which will no doubt help increase property sales and rentals in the area. New developments often bring more re-sale properties to the market as people look to secure a brand-new home, and investors love buying them, which will help provide more choice to waiting tenants.
The Stamp Duty changes for first-time buyers seem to have made a positive difference. We have seen a rise in viewing requests and offers made on properties since the announcement. We expect to see those choosing to sell their homes through the winter will get really positive results, compared to the competitive market for sellers in the spring.
Waiting for an offer to come through on your home can be tense, but there are plenty of things you can do if your house isn’t getting any good offers. Changing the price - this was the number one recommendation from Guild agents. Most people won’t view a property if they think it is overpriced. If your property has been on the market for over 12-15 weeks with at least 15 viewings, it may be time to change the price.
Well-presented homes in a good quality condition tend to sell the fastest. The viewer can imagine themselves moving in right away, making it more attractive. Has your agent been putting in a lot of work? If yours clearly isn’t, it may be time to change. A good agent, like a Guild Member, will work proactively to sell your home. They’ll present your home perfectly through photos and brochures, and will know the local market really well. Listen to feedback - agents should be able to offer feedback after an unsuccessful viewing. Ask to hear all their advice and act upon it to achieve the sale.
Are you having a hard time selling your property? We can help.
The Guild is a network of the best 800 independent estate agents around the country. Find out why you should choose them to sell your home. Click here to find your closest Guild Member.
From volunteering at animal shelters to hosting bake sales, the community service and charitable events from Guild agents has been unparalleled in 2017. Guild agents have been hosting events, sponsoring charities and funding community programmes throughout 2017. Take a look at some of the amazing work they achieved this year by our members.
Moss Properties, Doncaster
For the second year running, Moss Properties hosted Sanjfest, a day conference in November. Around 300 agents from across the UK attended to learn about new trends in the property industry and assist the funding of a housing project in Nepal. A portion of the ticket price was donated to the cause, as well as the Heads of Tails game on the day. The whole event raised £3,700 which will provide almost three houses in a village in Nepal that was flattened by devastating earthquakes in 2015. Moss Properties will host Sanjfest 3 in London in November 2018.
Mark Evans & Co, Tamworth
Mark Evans & Co are proud supporters of the Guide Dog Association. In 2017, they have seen canine guide, Gismo complete his Guide Dog training and Fifi is very close to finishing her teaching. Mark Evans & Co have been sponsoring this programme and will not only continue this in 2018, but look to support more charities in the future as well.
Royston & Lund, Nottingham
This year, Royston & Lund took part in two fantastic fundraisers. The first was a pyjama day for Children in Need in November, which involved a bake sale and wet sponge throwing game. The day raised an amazing £501.75. Royston & Lund sponsored the West Bridgford Christmas Lights Switch On in December, raising a further £550 for The Friary, a local homeless charity in Nottingham which has around 15,000 visits each year.
M&M Estate and Letting Agent, Kent
In September, Lindsey West, Sales Manager from M&M Estate and Letting Agent ran a half marathon to support The House of Mercy Homeless Hostel in Gravesend. Lindsey not only raised an incredible £2,000, but also inspired her colleagues to get involved in charity. This December they are holding a reverse advent calendar where staff, customers and friends bring one item a day to a collection to help the local homeless have a warm and happy Christmas.
Hodders has supported their local community through a number of events in 2017, including: children’s colouring competitions and fancy dress days where staff dress up as minions and emojis. Hodders has funded the new trim trail at St Anne’s Catholic Primary School in Chertsey, and worked alongside Runnymede Council to launch the Living Well Event for all ages to encourage healthy living.
Holroyd Miller, Wakefield
Holroyd Miller has contributed to three fantastic local charities this year, and actively engaged with local schools to fund sporting events and trips. Staff took part in the ‘20 Not Out’ sleep out in November, raising £1,225 for the Community Awareness Programme (CAP). In addition, Holroyd Miller was the principal sponsor at the Wakefield Beer Festival, raising over £10,000 for the Wakefield Hospice. Finally, their sponsorship of the Wrenthorpe Rangers Good Club U15s has kitted the team ready for their overseas tour in Portugal.
Kimmit Lettings, Tyne and Wear
Kimmit Lettings has been engaging with their local community in a number of ways. The office donated an incredible £2,000 with a deliberate overbid on a Facebook auction. The auction was held to fund the equipment and therapy necessary for a child with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. Read more about the Go Brody story here.
Thomas Morris, St Neots
It is unsurprising that Thomas Morris was awarded Silver in the Community Champion category at the national Negotiator Awards. Among their numerous methods of ‘giving back’ in 2017 is their Christmas drive. Thomas Morris is teaming with local businesses to provide Christmas stockings to the local homeless charity and serve Christmas dinner at the shelter. Simon Bradbury from Thomas Morris is taking part in the ‘Agents Do Strictly’ dancing competition on 8th December, which raised £3,000 in 2016 and hopes to exceed this total this year.
Debbie Fortune, Bristol
Debbie Fortune has been busy this year sponsoring events and hosting fundraisers. They raised £1,300 for Children in Need from cakes sales, raffles and dressing up days. Debbie Fortune sponsored the Santa Scramble, a 10km run for Chew Valley School, the local secondary school and the Chew Magna Christmas Fayre.
Sawyer & Co., Hove
Sawyer & Co. have been keen supporters of The Clock Tower Sanctuary, a local homeless charity in Hove. Sawyer & Co. have a coffee morning earlier this year and throughout December they have planned a freshly made hot food stand for the homeless. In addition to this, the office helped to organise the annual beach volleyball competition, an event highlight for the town.
Stamp Duty is changing for first-time buyers.
In the Budget 2017, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced that Stamp Duty would be exempt for people buying their first property if it costs under £300,000. For first homes under £500,000, you won’t have to pay Stamp Duty on any the first £300,000, which will reduce the amount you need to save.
• On a £300,000 home, first-time buyers won’t have to pay any Stamp Duty, instead of a £5,000 charge.
• For a £500,000 property, Stamp Duty will now be £10,000 instead of £15,000.
• If your first home costs over £500,000, you will not get a discount.
Watch our quick video to get a great overview of the changes and what they mean:
|Property price||Previous Stamp Duty cost||New Stamp Duty cost for first-time buyers||Saving|
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.
Check mortgage eligibility online