Posts by eSale

Moving house? How To Cut Your Costs In Half…

Moving house? How To Cut Your Costs In Half…

How much would you say it costs to move house?

Remember, you will have solicitors to pay – and, let’s face it, they’re never cheap; you’ll need a removal firm; unless you’re a first-time buyer you’ll have to pay stamp duty; and then there’s bound to be some new bits or furniture or some appliances to acquire.

Indeed, according to some new research, since 2007 the cost of moving house has gone up by 4% to an average of £7,356. But, if you employ a high street estate agent charging an average commission, did you know that their fee makes up for almost half that figure? That’s right… A total of around £3,200 goes to them.

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The Alternatives

No doubt there will many vendors who won’t begrudge it and not for one minute are we suggesting that there’s anything shady going on. As the saying goes “you pays your money and you takes your choice”.

But, when times are tight and financing the Big Move is one of the most significant obstacles to buying that new place you’ve always dreamed of, paying an estate agent such a large fee seems … well, profligate to say the least.

We’re by no means the cheapest of the alternative online agents out there but our packages are substantially less than you would pay on the high street – and yet the services we can offer don’t differ all that much.

What We Can Do For You

We offer images, floor plans and For Sale boards as standard, our prices are inclusive of VAT, we can help with assisted viewings if you prefer and we even offer a no-nonsense, money-back guarantee; if you’re not happy with the service we provide for any reason, tell us within 30 days and we’ll refund you.

So, if your plans for 2018 include a new home, our advice would be shop around; after all the difference between a fee of £3,200 and our up-front package of £600 could help cover the cost of that new kitchen, the three-piece suite or even a bit of a break once the move is out of the way.

Worth considering? Just give us a call or a drop us a line if you think so … We’d love to help if we can.

New Year, New Home …?

New Year, New Home …?

Christmas tends to be a time when we take a moment to sit back and take stock of our lives.

Of course we know having family round and enjoying a few glasses of mulled wine can lead to a little sentimentality – either about how things are right now or how they used to be; and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But, as well as the inevitable nostalgia, it’s also a time when we look to the future and make promises to ourselves and, for some, that may be a moving house.

A Time To Dream

Of course, new-year resolutions are frequently broken – some within days or weeks – and uprooting the family and moving somewhere different is one of the most stressful experiences we go through in life.

But it’s by no means impossible; thousands of people do it every year. But it’s also easy to have your dreams trampled all over, not necessarily by cold hard facts but often by worries over finances and even how national or world events will affect your plans.

But, if you’re determined, methodical and thorough in your preparation, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever why you can’t make your dreams of a new place come true. All we would recommend is that you make sure you know the difference between facts and hearsay.

Facts Or Fiction

If someone begins to relate a story about the property market and how it may play out over the next few years, remember the things they may say may not be fact. Check them out. Ask people who work in the industry for their opinions and don’t rely on speculation.

If you have your own concerns – perhaps about the terms of a new mortgage, the impact of Brexit on property prices, relocating the dog or finding work if you’re planning to move further afield – remember Google is your friend. Research them and establish the facts not the imagined setbacks.

But before you do any of that, why not start the year by making a simple list of the advantages and disadvantages of a new home?

Be honest, take your time and include everything and, by the time you’ve finished, we’re pretty sure you’ll know where your heart really lies – and, as a result, what you probably need to do next.

FIVE DON’TS WHEN SELLING YOUR HOUSE

FIVE DON’TS WHEN SELLING YOUR HOUSE

A new year often means a new start. For some, that might mean a new job, for others even a new life in a different country.

But, as UK online estate agents, we’re here to help those who have pledged to move to a new house in 2018 – whether they’re buying from one of our clients or selling property of their own.

Moving home is often listed among the top three most stressful things we do in life; it’s not just the size of the transaction, but the many and varied pitfalls which can lie in your path. So, if you’re thinking of selling property in the coming 12 months and would like as smooth a ride as possible, here are five things to avoid:

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1/ Having a closed mind on price

Your agent should be able to help with an asking price – something you ought to cross-reference with data you can find on the property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla and with the Land Registry’s website – all of which will give you some idea what similar homes have been priced at and what they’ve actually sold for.

However, be prepared to haggle a little. Few buyers will offer the asking price and all you’re likely to achieve with total intransigence is your house sitting on the market for longer. If you’re not comfortable negotiating, ask your estate agent to take the lead. After all, it’s is part of what their fee is for.

2/ Being greedy

Prices have increased steadily over the past decade but put an unrealistic price tag on your home and you will probably see far fewer potential buyers.

Remember, they have the same tools at their disposal as you do so it’s not hard to work out what a reasonable price is these days. Price realistically, and you are more likely to be on the move quickly.

3 / Being unprepared

We would advise against spending a fortune on refurbishing your home – but that’s not to say you don’t need to prepare it for sale. Sort out those little niggles around the home first so you can conduct a viewing in confidence.

4/ Telling lies

Did you know that, if you deliberately mislead a buyer, then they have the option of taking you to court, where you could face a stiff financial penalty?

It’s true the property market operates on the principle of “buyer beware” but that doesn’t give you licence to fib. If a potential buyer asks a direct question, you need to be honest with your answers.

5/ Forgetting your Plan B

It’s surprising how many folk who are selling property have no idea what they would do if someone makes an offer for their home but they have nowhere to go. A chain could mean the property they’ve set their heart on isn’t going to be empty at the same time that their buyer wants to move and, as a result, they risk having a sale collapse.

Do you have family who can accommodate you temporarily? Is renting an option for a short while? Can you find somewhere to store your furniture for a bit? It’s a good idea to look into it – and the costs – in advance rather than in the midst of a crisis.

Hopefully, all of the above helps but, if you’re thinking of moving and have any further questions, feel free to give us a call or drop us a line and we’ll do our best to help. Alternatively, why not have a read of some of our earlier blogs? Just click back to the tab at the top of the page to get started…

 

MOVING HOME – BUT WHAT DO YOU LEAVE BEHIND?

MOVING HOME – BUT WHAT DO YOU LEAVE BEHIND?

Imagine you’re moving home. You’ve had a look around a house you’ve fallen in love with and you’re keen to make an offer.

In fact, you’re already so committed you’ve started to plan where the furniture would go in the new place and you’re toying with the idea of some new appliances too.

You have a viewing of your current home in the diary and you’re thinking you might stand a better chance of clinching a deal if you offer to include some of your old stuff in the package. The flat-pack pine wardrobe with the wonky hinge in the master bedroom would be a pig to shift anyway and, let’s be honest, the dining table has seen better days.

If your potential buyer happens to be in the buy-to-let market, you might be right. If they don’t have to deal with the little idiosyncrasies of your cast-off furniture on a daily basis, they may be willing to take it off your hands, especially if they’re planning to offer the property on the rental market as furnished accommodation.

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But, if they’re not, be aware that you could be about to spoil your chance of an offer.

The best way to tempt an offer out of a potential buyer of your property is to do everything you can to help them see themselves as the owners of your house.

Why remove all your family pictures, pack the kids and the pets off with family and friends to facilitate a clutter-free viewing devoid of your personal effects – only to announce you plan to leave a lot of your old stuff behind?

Of course, if the viewer asks if you’re taking appliances with you when you leave, it’s not a bad idea to ask if they would like you to and base your response on their reply. It’s the same if they’re enchanted by a particular piece of furniture which you don’t mind parting with.

But, if you glibly announce your old three-piece suite could be part of a purchase, along with a pine dresser in the kitchen that doesn’t go with all the other wood in your new home, you might actually be presenting obstacles to an offer.

It would be a mistake to presume any buyer would see your choice of furniture as a bonus. Instead, it could just be something they would have to dispose of and, although they might get a few quid at the auction house, the hassle involved might not be something they’ve willing to consider.

So, if you have items in your home you’re not planning to move with you, by all means offer them to a buyer – but never imply they’ll be there regardless. It would be better to make a few quid yourself at the auctions, offer them to charity or simply take them to the tip.

A pet friendly purchase

LOOKING FOR A HOUSE FIT FOR A HOUND?

How not to end up in the dog house…

If you’ve never had a dog but buying that new house means you finally have room for one, of course you’ll need to plan ahead.

Your new pet is going to find their new home a little unsettling as everything in their world will have suddenly changed around them.

Changes in behaviour – albeit temporary – can be the result. An anxious dog unsure of its surroundings may be more prone to excess barking, aggression towards other dogs or strangers or even withdrawal.

But buying that new house also offers you an opportunity to consider features which can make dog ownership that little bit easier – and some or all of the below might be worth including on your wish list:

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Is there an enclosed garden?

Does the place you’re considering putting in an offer on have a garden where you could leave your new dog free to roam unsupervised. If you can allow your dog a little more freedom while you nip to the shops or out on the school run, perhaps even with a kennel for shelter, they may be happier than they would be shut inside. Naturally, if your dog is prone to a bit of barking in your absence at first, it may not be an option but, with an enclosed garden, at least you know you can leave a door open in the summer months without allowing your dog to roam the street.

Does it have a lawn or at least some grass?

A garden composed almost entirely of gravel, wooden decking or paving slabs may be easy to maintain but it’s not great from a dog’s point of view. They’re going to need some grass to do what comes naturally and for those mad moments of play when they have excess energy to burn off. If there isn’t any, then you may have to invest some cash in at least a little bit of turf.

Are there any decent walks nearby?

If you’ve already had a busy day, it’s even less likely you’ll want to get back in the car to take the dog for some exercise if the nearest park or open space is a few miles away. A whizz round the block may be acceptable once in a while but it’s a poor substitute for a run off the lead. Is your new home close to some green space, a common, woodland or a countryside walk? Your new dog may be happier if it is…

Are there many other dogs on the street they can make friends with?

Dogs are social animals and mostly enjoy the company of their own kind. An isolated dog can become reactive over time, barking or showing signs of anxiety or aggression when coming into contact with others if they’re not used to it. Social time is important so, from your dog’s point of view, opportunities to meet and mix with others can be important.

Is there a porch or utility room?

If you’re already a dog owner, you’ll know they don’t mind a bit of mud. In fact, some seem to actively hunt it out – along with all sorts of other unsavoury substances they can find thanks their superior sense of smell. A porch is a useful holding area while you find the necessary equipment for the removal of whatever it is your dog has chosen to roll in. A utility room with a large sink is even better for bathing smaller dogs.

Is there an outside tap?

Granted, you’re unlikely to be able to entice a fully-grown labrador or German shepherd into a sink so an outdoor option is probably required. An outside tap which can be readily connected to a hose and all the various attachments is a bonus; ideally, it needs to one with a threaded spout so the hose doesn’t keep slipping off.

Of course, there are many other features which could help make your new home heaven for your new dog but we’re estate agents rather than animal welfare experts so we hope the ones we’ve listed are a decent start.

And, if there are any other aspects of moving home you think we could help with, why not browse our blog or give us a call. We’d be happy to help if we can.

Picking An Estate Agent – Seven Questions To Ask

When it comes to picking an estate agent, research suggests we tend to be most swayed by personal recommendation. If our friends or family say they’ve had a good experience with a particular firm we’re inclined to go to them first, even without doing any particular comparisons ourselves.

As we’re currently rated No2 in the UK for customer service on independent website Trustpilot and as many of our leads do indeed come from third-party referrals, we’re actually quite happy with that.

But, just the same, if we were asked for advice on how to choose an estate agent to help sell your home, we’d actually encourage a slightly more scientific approach.

First of all, we’d suggest you pick three agents to value your home just to see if they come close to an estimated asking price which you can easily establish yourself by researching the property portals and the Land Registry’s website for homes in your area which have sold recently.

After that, we’d recommend seven additional questions:

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How long a tie in period is there?

Is your preferred agent requesting a sole source purchase agreement? If they are, it means you can’t advertise your home through any other agent so you’ll probably want to know how long they want to tie you in for. If it’s only for a few months, it’s not too bad but, if it’s for a lot longer, be cautious. It could mean you’re locked in with one agent which isn’t great news if they struggle to sell your home. You will have denied yourself access to any alternatives.

Do they charge a withdrawal fee?

Is your preferred agent suggesting a withdrawal fee if you change your mind about selling or if your circumstances change and you want to take the property off the market? If so, get a figure in writing. Not all agents will charge but, if they do, the figure can seem arbitrary if you’re not aware of it beforehand.

Are there any “optional extras”?

Are there aspects of service offered by your preferred estate agent which are “optional extras”? You may be surprised to find that some companies operate a little like a budget airline; their headline fees seem reasonable until you realise they don’t include photographs, floor plans and for sale boards. You also might like to check if the price you have been quoted includes VAT.

What do they charge for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Did you know every home has to have an EPC by law? The thing is there’s no set fee for providing one. It could be anything from £60 to £120 so it’s best to find out in advance.

Which websites do they use to advertise your property?

Not all estate agents use all the online portals. A couple of years ago, in a bid to break the Rightmove/Zoopla duopoly, a consortium of influential high street agents launched their own portal called On The Market. Member companies were offered significant discounts on fees paid for listings but, in return, they had to drop one of the other portals. Most chose not to use Zoopla but, since 2015, On The Market has not been the success many had hope and, as a result, clients of member agents have been missing out. Is your preferred agent a member of On The Market? If so, then be aware that could mean your home will not appear on Zoopla, which is the UK’s second largest portal

Social media marketing

Does your agent use social media effectively? Some will post material to draw in customers or to attract clicks on their website but are they actually using targeted posts to sell property? Why not have a look on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. You’ll be able to make your own assessment of how effective they are – and if they’re right for you.

Do they work evenings and weekends?

It may not seem to be a deal-breaker but, if you’re working, finding an agent out of hours can be a Godsend. You may be surprised to find many don’t work after Saturday lunchtime or at all in the evenings. It’s certainly worth checking.

If the answers to the questions above are all the ones you’ve hoped for, then you’ve probably found the right agent for you. If not, it might be worth spending a little more times searching the alternatives. But, as ever, if you think we can help, feel free to drop us a line or give us a call. We’d love to help if we can.

What’s included in the sale – An eSale guide.

BEWARE THE PROPERTY EQUIVALENT OF “BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED”

The house you viewed was everything you hoped it might be; it had some lovely features and even some of the little touches you’ve secretly craved in your own home.

You were diligent about making your offer, you waited for the keys and you looked forward to savouring that sensation of walking through the door knowing you owned everything on the other side.

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But wait! Surely there’s been a mistake…this isn’t the house you fell in love with! Those chandelier-style light fittings in the living room have gone and even the rustic oak shelves which filled that recessed alcove have vanished.

There’s a space on the wall where the mirrored medicine cabinet in the bathroom once was and even the novelty cat at the end of the pull-cord light switch has been replaced with a boring, bell-shaped piece of plastic.

What happened? How could the previous owners have the bare-faced cheek to take everything you loved with them when they left…?

But the thing is, all those quirky little details you fell in love with were not what you were buying. You bought bricks, mortar and the bit of land they stand on – not a home; you might be surprised how many make the same mistake.

Rewind to the viewing and it’s at that point that potential buyers ought to be checking exactly what is included in the deal. It’s easy to make assumptions that the carpets will still be there when you move in but, believe it or not, quite a few buyers presume the curtains will be as well – and that’s by no means guaranteed.

The same applies to light fittings, curtain rails, shelving, wall-mounted storage units, appliances, alarm systems and even some furniture which may appear to be built-in.

If you’re not sure, our advice would be simply to ask – particularly if it’s a feature of which you’re particularly fond. It may well be that the seller intended to take an item with them but, if they know you’re keen on it, they may be prepared to include it in the price, particularly if their property has been on the market for some time.

As Brits, we don’t like to appear too avaricious; it may seem a little gauche to haggle over the fixtures, fittings or personal effects of a vendor.

But, to be honest, it’s better to be clear about exactly what you’re buying before making an offer – especially as you’re likely to be negotiating the largest financial transaction of your lives. Make no assumptions and you’re less likely to be disappointed when you cross the threshold of your new house for the first time.

BUDGET 2017 – A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

There was quite a bit in yesterday’s Budget which will have been broadly welcomed across the UK.

Like a slightly premature Santa Clause, the Chancellor dealt out largesse to motorists by cancelling the planned rise in fuel duty in April; he raised a glass to those looking forward to a tipple or two at Christmas by freezing duty on beers, ciders, wines and spirits; for those thinking of a trip abroad next summer, he announced there would be no extra charge for short haul air passenger duty rates and no increase on tax on long-haul economy rates either.

But, for those hoping to buy their first home, he saved the best until last. As from today, first-time buyers will not have to pay Stamp Duty on a house priced below £300,000; for those house hunting in more expensive areas such as London, the first £300k of a home worth up to £500,000 will also be exempt.

In real terms, that means in excess of 40% of properties on the market will now be free of Stamp Duty, reducing the cost of purchasing a new home for the first time by around £2,500. Great news…

However, there is a “but”.

With such a sharp rise in house prices over the last decade, the real obstacle most first-time buyers face is raising enough for a deposit. It’s not easy to find an average of £33,000 – and, although any reduction in the cost of buying a home has to be welcomed, some analysts are already asking if it’s enough.

There’s also the fact that the abolition of Stamp Duty only applies to first-time buyers so, if you’re already on the housing ladder, there’s not quite so much of an incentive to move. You can’t apply for Help To Buy either so perhaps it’s not surprising that some feel a little aggrieved that Mr Hammond’s generosity only seems to be targeted at first-time buyers. There was little or nothing for so-called second-steppers or downsizers.

But at least there were other measures too which could help ease the crisis, not least Mr Hammond’s attempt to get Britain building again. For example, for the first time, the Government seems to have realised that it needs to do more to plug the skills gap and train and recruit more brickies.

It was also encouraging to see Mr Hammond announce an investigation into why the number of approved planning applications for housing are not correlating with the number of new homes built. If developers are “land banking”, then maybe we’ll see sudden surge in construction – and, hopefully, the new properties will be the ones we need and not the three- and four-bedroom “executive” homes which make the most money.

So, if we had to summarise on yesterday’s announcements we’d probably agree it’s a step – and a significant one – in the right direction. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day – and it’s very unlikely Britain will be either.

Millennials, housing and the budget – our tuppence worth!

A NEW HOPE?

If you read the recent articles in the media about so-called millennials blowing their income on extravagances rather than sensibly saving for a deposit on their first home, it would have been easy to assume these were the claims of some crusty, deluded Westminster politician.

But, as we all know by now, it wasn’t; it was a well-known high street estate agent which had issued a press release which, perhaps in hindsight, was a little ill-judged.

Not only did it come across a more than a little patronising, no doubt thousands of first-time buyers struggling with rising rents or stuck at home with their parents will have felt a sense of indignation that a significant player in the world of property could be so dismissive of their plight.

But amid all the ruffled feathers, Strutt and Parker did actually have a point. Well, sort of.

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There are affordable homes out there…

An interpretation of their argument could be that there are still properties within the means of those prepared to make a few sacrifices or consider a new start in a different (cheaper) region of the UK – and, in all fairness, it’s true.

We’re by no means the largest of estate agents but, if you take a little time to scroll through the properties page on our website, you’ll see that we have sold quite a few homes for under £100k and even have one or two available right now.

Admittedly, they won’t be south of Watford; they might not have a designer kitchen, an expansive garden or a smart en suite in the master bedroom. But the thing is every one of them represents a start; and, once you have a foot on the property ladder – as long as there are no dramatic changes in the economy and interest rates remain reasonably constant – it becomes a little easier to find the next rung .. and the next … and the next.

It’s true that few these days can afford a smart, executive three-bedroom home with a garage and gardens as their first purchase. In the south-east, even a two-bedroom terrace is probably out of reach of many aged below the age of 35.

But it’s wrong to generalise, be London-centric or to quash the hopes and dreams of a generation by telling them repeatedly via the mass media and the property press that home-ownership is simply beyond their grasp. It isn’t; not entirely – at least not yet.

 

Waiting for Wednesday

And that’s why Wednesday’s Budget could be crucial. The Government is making the right noises; Mr Hammond has even let it be known he wants to see 300,000 new properties built every year to tackle a crisis of the lack of supply.

But, if that’s to happen, then controls will need to be in place to make sure developers build the right kind of home. After all, 300,000 more four and five-bedroom executive properties are not what we need and Mr Hammond and his Westminster cronies need to do all in their power to ensure that’s not what we get.

How to value your house.

WHAT SHOULD YOU BE ASKING?

One of the toughest bits to get right when you’re selling property – and therefore one of the best reasons for instructing an estate agent – is gauging the asking price.

There are tools on the portals you can use these days to establish what similar homes in your area have sold for. If you have an address to check against, selling prices are also available from the Land Registry.

However, a good estate agent should also have a finger in the wind and be able to tell you if the current trend has been upwards or downwards and base a sensible figure on the features your home has to offer.

Get it right and you could be on your way to a new home pretty quickly; get it wrong, and your property could be sitting on the market for ages. A small reduction could be all it needs but, if you have to make several downward adjustments, buyers watching may suspect there’s something wrong and then it becomes even harder to get a move on.

So, in the current climate – with the ramifications of Brexit playing on the nerves, rising interest rates and the reservoir of affordable stock dwindling as some potential movers opt to stay put for now – how about a bit of advice?

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First, don’t pitch too high…

It’s not uncommon for some estate agents to persuade you to stick and extra £20k on top of the price you would expect simply because they want your business. Of course we want the most we can get for our home, particularly if we’re on a tight budget, but if your gut feeling is that the figure you’ve been quoted seems over-ambitious, listen to it.

At least check it out, perhaps by asking for additional valuations from other estate agents or against Land Registry information on any similar homes which have sold near you.

Don’t pitch too low…

Once we decide we’re moving, it’s natural to want to get on with it as soon as possible and a competitive price can be key when it comes to a quick sale. However, if you go too low, you may find potential buyers are suspicious and, even if they can’t pinpoint any issues at a viewing, their own gut feeling may be to steer clear.

Keep it real, ask for what your home is worth on the current market and …

Be patient.

If you’ve seen a “sold” board go up outside a nearby property when yours has been on the market longer, it’s natural to feel disappointed. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean your home is going to be forever left on the shelf.

You don’t know the reasons why the buyer chose that home over yours but they are likely to be many and varied. Size, décor, or interior features you’re not aware of could be just some of them.

Okay, if you’ve had no viewings and your house was first advertised six months ago, then fair enough; you probably need to ask your estate agent some searching questions.

However, it’s only been a few weeks there’s every chance your buyer is still out there. Give it time; but, in the meantime, why not get Tweeting or post on Facebook? Anything you can do to add to your audience isn’t a bad thing.

We’ve attached a recent article on statistics released this month by Rightmove as guidance but, should you need any further advice, feel free to drop us a line or give us a call.

(https://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/asking-prices-fall-existing-sellers-drop-prices-latest-uk-index-shows/)

Alternatively, why not browse our blog for earlier articles on buying and selling your home. Just click on the links for more details.

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About esale

eSale  Estate Agents, founded in 2012, bringing a fresh, clear and easy approach to online estate agency in England and Wales. We are a group of professionals with years of experience in helping people sell and buy property.

We have the skills to ensure the correct price is set for your property and we can negotiate the right sale price between buyer and seller.

Additionally, we can arrange accompanied viewings and also see the sale through to completion.

Your property will feature on Rightmove , Zoopla  and Primelocation esale have a wide advertising network, come and join our approach to selling a property, no matter what your property value is.