eSale blogNews and views on the estate agency industry

The future of the high street estate agent? – What we think at eSale

WILL HIGH TECH TAKE TO THE HIGH STREET?

Flicking through industry news today, we came across an article about a “new type of hybrid estate agency” mixing a high street location with the latest innovations in communications technology.

Naturally, as estate agents, we were curious and read on… It seems the concept is based on an interactive touch-screen display on a busy high street offering passers-by access to details of homes for sale in the area (more here: https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2017/10/a-new-type-of-hybrid-agency–with-a-high-street-touch-screen)

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At first sight – as it’s a new idea combining aspects of the traditional high street estate agency and the more recent online business model – we felt the folk behind it should be applauded.

But, once we began to discuss the concept in more detail, one or two flaws cropped up – and, sadly we suspect, they may prove to be stumbling blocks significant enough to prevent the idea from catching on.

Firstly, it’s not clear if the display will be able to offer much more than your average smart phone. If we can achieve the same end result by using an iPhone in a café across the road, why would we be want to use a touch screen while standing outside in the cold and rain?

Secondly, it takes a while to persuade the public to try something new. Remember the automated self-service supermarket check-outs? It took time for shoppers to trust them; no one wanted to appear to be a hopeless technophobe by attempting to use one only to be told repeatedly that there were endless “unexpected items in the bagging area”.

Most of us did eventually get the hang of them but that was because the industry as a whole got behind the technology and, suddenly, self-service check-outs were everywhere.

In the estate agency game, there are plenty of folk among the Big Names still hoping the internet is just a fad that will go away soon. The new company can therefore expect little support from property’s Establishment.

Thirdly, as the technology is new and only available to a limited audience to begin with, it will have to be bomb proof. If it fails – whether it’s a hardware fault of a glitch in the software – you won’t be able to just shuffle down to the next terminal along the high street. The customer will walk away disappointed and probably relate the failure to anyone who asks, spreading a perception of unreliability.

So, although we would take our hats off to the company behind the idea and we do genuinely wish them well, we fear they may be facing some pretty tough odds.

Will touch-screen technology be available on your high street soon when you’re hunting for a new home? It would be exciting to think so … but, sadly, we suspect there are too many obstacles to overcome to make it a reality any time soon.

Estate agents photographs – ideas for buyers. An eSale blog

PUTTING YOU IN THE PICTURE

Chatting to a photographer friend the other day (you get to know one or two in this job) we were exchanging tales of horror images or property for sale we’ve seen in the past.

It’s easily done and, to be honest, it’s not always the sellers’ fault. After all, a good lens man or woman should be able to spot objects in the image likely to leave a poor impression.

But, while terrible pictures are a staple when it comes to estate agents relating stories of slip-ups committed by others, the conversation led down another path we thought worth sharing …

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Get snap happy

If you’re buying property and you have arranged a viewing, have you ever thought of taking a small compact camera or asked if you can use your smart phone to take a few images while you’re looking around?

Our photographer friend did it when he was in the market for a new home – and then used the images to better assess the property in his own time.

Not only did it give him the opportunity to have another look at the house without the agent breathing down his neck, it also meant he could try a few imaginary changes – and then see the results on his laptop.

After all, with apps and software such as Photoshop, it’s much easier to cut and paste things into images to see if your furniture would look right in a certain place, change the colour of the walls, carpets, curtains…

The online alternative

Obviously, your own aptitude with the available technology may limit just how much you can do. You may also find some sellers are reluctant to have additional images taken of the inside of the property when they haven’t had time to tidy up properly.

But, if that’s the case, then why not use the pictures taken for the estate agent’s marketing blurb? You should be able to find them online, use a screen-grab app to download them, and then muck about with them to your heart’s content. As long as you don’t publish them, you’re not breaking any copyright and, if it helps to give you a better idea if this really is the home for you, it could even be to the seller’s advantage too.

Obviously, it’s not going to be a technique everyone’s comfortable with. There will always be some buyers who don’t need to look closer to a property as they simply fall in love with it regardless.

But, in a technological age, why not use all the tools at your disposal?

If you’d like more ideas on buying and selling property, why not browse other posts on our blog. Alternatively, you could watch our “How To…” videos here: http://www.esaleuk.com/how-to-videos/ , drop us a line or give us a call. We’re here to help…

For Sale Boards and selling your home – Our view on the matter

A SELLING TECHNIQUE WHICH SHOULD GO BY THE BOARD …?

When you’re selling property, For Sale boards are usually part of the deal. You pick your estate agent and, within a couple of days, someone comes around to put it up. It takes a few minutes and, suddenly, the whole street is aware that, soon, you may no longer be their neighbour.

Sometimes, the prospect of those conversations over the garden fence or at the bottom of the drive with folk who live nearby is enough to prompt some sellers to request that their agent dispenses with a For Sale board. Sometimes, too, there are genuine personal reasons why a client wishes a sale to be discreet.

Believe it or not, we’ve even had a few sellers ask if we would mind not putting up a board simply because we’re an online agent; that means our fees are considerably lower than our high street rivals and they didn’t want neighbours thinking they were selling “on the cheap”!

In our view, if you choose to instruct us, it suggests you’re smart enough to have worked out a savvy way to sell your home and that an online estate agent can provide much the same service as a traditional one, regardless of what they charge.

But, whatever the reason for not having a For Sale board, we take the view that the customer is always right and, if that’s your preference then that’s perfectly fine …

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However …

… we would point out that you could be missing a trick when it comes to reaching possible buyers. Fair enough, if your home is on a cul-de-sac, there might not be that much passing trade. But, if not, it could be that your buyer walks or drives past every day and is unaware that your house is one the market.

Your property will only be available to view on the portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, in the press or in a high street window and, although it’s true a dedicated buyer may find it there, the more casual house-hunters may not.

What if your address is someone else’s ideal? They pass your home regularly and have often mused about how it would suit them – but, as there’s no board, they won’t know it’s available.

There’s the neighbours too. Maybe they know someone looking for property like yours or maybe one of their family is looking for something close by.

Something else to bear in mind is that a For Sale board may also attract attention from other firms which you may find helpful; professional cleaners, solicitors or removal firms for example. Some keep an eye open and drop leaflets through letterboxes of homes with boards outside and, although you may have already sorted something out yourself, it’s sometimes useful to have a few to browse so you can compare prices.

But, at the end of the day, the decision on whether to have a For Sale board is yours to make. Adorned with telephone numbers and website addresses, of course they’re great publicity for the agent – but this is YOUR house sale and you have the right to make a choice.

If you are thinking of selling and you would like advice on other aspects of moving home, why not have a browse through earlier blogs (http://www.esaleuk.com/ourblog/) or have a look at our How To … videos (http://www.esaleuk.com/how-to-videos/)? Equally, feel free to give us a call or drop us a line. We’re here to help if we can.

The stupid things we estate agents say! – An eSale blog

ESTATE AGENTS’ JARGON AND WHAT IT (PROBABLY) MEANS

Perhaps we’re most inclined to think of doctors or lawyers but, when it comes to it, every profession has its jargon.

We all get used to repeating the same phrases or having to describe the same things over an over that we develop a sort of verbal shorthand which becomes clichéd.

For example, if we’re watching Casualty or Holby City, we’ll nod sagely at the acronyms and abbreviations as though we’re experts in emergency medical treatment; it’s the same with the crime dramas and police work.

But, if your guilty secret is that you like to browse homes on the property portals, then you’ve probably got used to stock phrases used to describe houses for sale too.

All estate agents use them; even us (although we do try not to if we can help it). But, as buying and selling property isn’t something many of us do very often, some of the terminology may not be as familiar as some of the jargon we hear on the TV.

So, as a result, we thought we’d offer a few slightly tongue-in-cheek definitions of what some of the stock phrases can mean. Putting the list together raised a few smiles in the office so we hope you enjoy them too!

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Estate Agent Parlance and What It (Probably) Means

Potential: It may need quite a bit of work.

Unique / fantastic / handsome / superb / stylish / outstanding / attractive / bespoke: We can’t really think of any other fitting or accurate superlatives which won’t get us into trouble.

Compact: So small even a hamster might reject it.

Spacious: Not your average two-bed semi or terrace.

Family home: It has more than one bedroom.

Quiet / tucked-away location: It’s in a village or a suburb on the edge of town.

Rural aspect: It’s even further away than that from the nearest town.

Sought-after / enviable location: Expect to pay a bit more.

Prime / prestigious / exclusive location: Expect to pay a lot more.

Stunning / immaculate / well-presented / beautifully appointed: Neat, tidy, well-maintained.

Substantial / imposing / generously proportioned / impressive / expansive / extensive / magnificent: Larger than your average three-bed semi.

Lovingly restored: Undergone some refurbishment.

Highly individual / individually-styled: Interior décor or a layout which may raise an eyebrow.

Exciting / rare opportunity: We don’t win instructions on this sort of home very often.

Characterful / charming: Old or possibly listed.

Contemporary: On a new estate or perhaps a modern barn conversion.

Convenient / ideally-situated: It’s not in the back of beyond. It may be in a town or village centre but it can also mean there’s a shop, a pub, or even a bus stop nearby.

Realistically-priced: Offered for a little less than most.

Online estate agent / Hybrid estate agent – What’s the difference? – an eSale blog

What Is A Hybrid Estate Agency?

Hybrid seems to have become quite a popular word of late. We’ve seen it most recently in the automotive industry of course but, if you follow the property market, you will have already seen it tagged onto the front of estate agency businesses too.

But what does “hybrid estate agency” actually mean?

The High Street Henrys

In short, it’s generally used to describe an estate agent based on your local high street who has worked out how to use the internet.

Before the turn of the Millennium, most relied purely on the local media, brochures and their own shop fronts to advertise your property. But, over the last 15 years and particularly since the arrival of online portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla – and, more recently, the growth in the number of online estate agencies – they have had to confront the reality they were being left behind.

The undeniable fact is that, these days, most of us prefer armchair research to tramping up and down rainy high streets looking for our ideal home (between 70% and 90% of us, depending on whose statistics you believe). Many traditional high street estate agents have had to accept that and have had to incorporate advertising homes on the property portals into their business model.

The result? Hey presto! They are now hybrid estate agents…

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The Online Option

You would think it would work the other way too. After all, there are some internet-based estate agents out there – ourselves included – who have learned that to eliminate all trace of human interaction from the buying and selling process isn’t necessarily the way forward either.

As a result, assisted viewings have been incorporated into our offer; face-to-face appointments can be arranged and we can also supply For Sale boards, EPCs, photographs and bespoke property descriptions. We are always contactable by phone – customer service is our byword, we’re currently rated second in our field on independent review website Trustpilot and we’ve even won awards.

But, because we lack a high street presence, for industry purposes we remain an “online estate agent”. We are not deemed a hybrid – at least not among many of our peers.

The thing is, it’s not approval from other estate agents that we seek. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s yours.

If you think we’re an online agent, fine. If you think we qualify as a hybrid, then that’s all good too. But the most important thing to us is that you are satisfied with the service we provide. If you’re not then, as far as we know, we’re the only estate agent prepared to offer a no-quibble guarantee – as long as you tell us you’re not happy within 30 days.

Like to give us a try? Feel free to drop us a line or give us a call. Perhaps we can get you started with a free, no-obligation valuation. What happens next is then down to you.

Not all online estate agents are the same – An eSale blog

LET’S GET A FEW THINGS STRAIGHT…

It seems one of our rivals in the online estate agency game may have scored a bit of an own goal with a recent press release.

They sent the media some statistics they had extrapolated suggesting that, so far in 2017, sellers have shelled out over £300m in estate agents’ fees.

“RIP OFF!” screamed the strident headline, which is probably what the estate agent responsible was hoping for… However, the article failed to make a clear distinction between high street estate agents charging commission and online agents charging a (much lower) flat fee.

The result? Well … most readers who only skimmed through the details may have been left with the impression that ALL estate agents are rip-off merchants, reinforcing a stereotype which none of us in the industry really wants.

It’s a shame really as the release made some good points – including one suggestion that, without the new breed of internet-only estate agents, the total amount paid in fees may have been much higher; without the competition, high street estate agents would have continued to demand a much higher commission.

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But, instead, anyone who read the piece could now be tarring us all with the same brush – so maybe it’s time to reiterate a few things about the service we offer our customers.

First of all, although we do offer a flat-rate up-front package, it’s by no means the only choice; sellers can also opt for a pay-on-completion deal in exactly the same way they can if they deal with a high street agent on commission.

There are no strings attached; there are no deferred payments or thinly-disguised credit agreements. If we don’t sell your home, then you pay us nothing. It’s as simple as that.

We offer assisted viewings, we provide EPCs, floor plans and pictures, we utilise Rightmove, Zoopla, and PrimeLocation in the UK to market homes we’ve taken instruction on, as well as a network of 80 portals in 50 countries around the world.

We have a trusted network of suppliers for things like conveyancing and removals but they are entirely optional and sellers are free to search for their own.

And what’s more, as far as we know, we’re also the only online estate agent offering a 100% money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with our service for any reason, simply say so within 30 days and we’ll return any money you have paid up front. No quibble; no argument. Just your cash back.

We’re from Yorkshire so we prefer to keep things straightforward. Perhaps that’s why we’re rated No2 in our field in the UK on independent review website Trustpilot, we have won awards for customer service and we have grown our portfolio across England and Wales rapidly over the last 12 months.

But, as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating so, if you’re selling property, why not give us a try? Just drop us a line or give us a call and maybe we can get you started with a free, no obligation valuation.

The property website On The Market – What we think at eSale

GOING ON THE MARKET? A WORD IN YOUR EAR …

The property portal On The Market has been in the news recently as its prepared for a floatation on the stock market. But, although it may be a topic of conversation in UK estate agents’ offices, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was under the radar of the buying and selling public.

But, as there was a TV campaign to herald its launch a little while ago and in case you feel you need to be filled in on what all the fuss is about, we thought we’d offer a potted history of the story so far:

What is On The Market?

On The Market is a property portal set up by Agents Mutual – a consortium of high street estate agents opposed to the Rightmove/Zoopla duopoly. Not happy about the fees they had to pay either (or both) to advertise property online, they set up their own portal to compete with the two established names. Stock was always going to be an issue to begin so fees for listings with On The Market were considerably lower to tempt agents to give it a try. However, those who signed up had to abide by the controversial “one-other-portal” rule which decreed, if they wanted to use On The Market, they had to dump either Zoopla or Rightmove. Online estate agents like us – and even the bigger names like Emoov and Purple Bricks – were not permitted to use the new portal.

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What benefit is there to the participating agents?

Put simply, they get to advertise property online much more cheaply. They also have a semblance of control over the portal as it’s owned by the consortium of leading high street estate agents. It also cuts out the online agents, whose lower fees many traditional estate agents see as a direct threat.

And the drawbacks?

Despite an initial impact – particularly on Zoopla, which most agents who joined On The Market opted to dump – the new portal hasn’t really taken the market by storm. Its share of the online audience is still lagging well behind Zoopla and Rightmove who have continued to return impressive trading results. As a result, some high street agents have begun to get a little twitchy about the reduction in profile for properties they’re trying to sell – to such an extent some have rebelled against the “one-other-portal” rule.

What happens next?

It has been announced that Agents Mutual wishes to offer shares in On The Market. A floatation will raise capital which can then be re-invested in the business – hopefully giving On the Market a better profile and thus more traction.

So, as a seller or a buyer, what’s in it for me?

Probably nothing. This was never about improving services for customers. It was about taking on the online portals and reducing the participating agents’ overheads.

Will the floatation change that?

Possibly, but it depends if the change from a mutual to a new (public) company also means an end to the “one-other-portal” rule. At the moment, customers signed up to agents using On The Market have a significantly reduced audience for their property as it (probably) won’t be advertised on Zoopla. If the new-look company relaxes the restrictions, then customers’ homes will be available to view on as many portals as they wish.

Hopefully, that answers questions you may have. As an online agent, we are not members of On The Market but currently advertise our customers’ homes on both Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as PrimeLocation and an international network of 80 property portals in over 50 countries and in 19 different languages. If you’d like to know more, feel free to drop us a line or even give us a call. We’d be more than happy to help.

 

Selling your house – don’t forget social media – an eSale blog

SELLING AND SOCIAL MEDIA

In an age where new technology is encouraging us to think we can do what we once thought impossible, it’s easy to understand why estate agency is losing some of its mysticism.

We can all take pictures with our smart phones, we all have instant access to mass media whenever we feel like it so it’s not a great leap of logic to presume we could probably sell our own home without shelling out hundreds or even thousands of pounds to some slick-talking middle men.

A few images of the right rooms, a brief description including the right hashtags and all we have to do is keep tweeting, right?

The march of social media

In theory, it sounds great but, in reality, it rarely works out that way because, although many news stories break first on social media these days, we’ve also learned that, just because it’s on Facebook, it doesn’t mean it’s true.

When it comes to buying and selling property, because the value of the product is so much higher than a juicy bit of gossip or an amusing meme, we’re far less inclined to play fast and loose. When it comes to property, we do actually want expert opinion (although it doesn’t necessarily follow that the more you pay, the better the quality of advice).

So, although the estate agency game has been blown about by the winds of change since the relentless march of social media began a decade ago, as an industry, it’s weathered the storm better than, say, the news media.

It’s true that approximately 97% of property searches are completed online via Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation but comparatively few property deals are completed there without some form of professional help. Estate agents – either online or on the high street – are still around.

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Never say never

But that’s not to say Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, SnapChat or even Tumblr have no part to play when it comes to selling your home. Indeed, at Esale, we’re using some of them every day to highlight property for sale to the right potential buyers. It’s just that social media isn’t the only channel we use. Just as an example, Esale is part of an international property marketing network listing homes for sale on 80 portals in 50 countries in 19 different languages

But, if you are selling your home, post away by all means. There’s nothing wrong with extending your potential audience by supplementing what your estate agent is doing anyway.

But what we are saying is that, if you rely simply on your own posts to reach the buyer of your home, your quest is going to be limited to your own followers and – unless you’re some sort of internet sensation or a celebrity in your own right – that’s likely to be a comparatively small audience.

If you’d like any more advice on selling your home, do give us a call or drop us a line. Perhaps we can get you started with a free, no obligation valuation (http://www.esaleuk.com/free-valuations) Alternatively, feel free to watch our “How To…” video guides, also available on YouTube (http://www.esaleuk.com/how-to-videos) or browse some more of the blogs on this page.

Conveyancing – what to do once you have a buyer – an eSale guide

MEET THE LEGAL EAGLES

In our experience, when it comes to conveyancing solicitors, there are three types.

The first, let’s call Nigel…

Nigel is painstakingly thorough. He likes everything to be in the right box in the right place on the shelf. He will have a PA or a secretary but likes to spend time on his correspondence. The language he will use may tend towards legal jargon, albeit largely to underline experience but, where Nigel comes into his own is when there’s a dispute. Nigel likes disputes. It’s because they present an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of his field. There’s often no harm in having a legal leviathan on your side but, sometimes, the problem with giants is that they tend to move slowly. Nigel may well enjoy the cut and thrust of legal debate but it can slow the progress of your house sale. Nigel won’t be inclined to pick up a phone to resolve a problem. He’ll want to send letters by post and keep copies in the box file with your name on. After all, it proves he’s worth his fee – which tends to be on the high side. If you’re in no hurry, you like a stickler for detail and you don’t mind paying top dollar, Nigel’s your man. Just hope he doesn’t line up against another Nigel; the debate can be endless.

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The second, let’s call Giles…

Giles is slick. There’s no other word for him. He may be newer to the game but he’s done the training and knows the score. In fact he thinks he knows it well enough to take a few shortcuts. Giles might not bother with a PA as it keeps costs down; instead he seems be almost welded to his smartphone which he’ll answer anywhere – in a meeting, on the train, on his car hands-free. He’s an email man and not one for letters – which is probably just as well because Giles will rarely be in the office. Instead, Giles likes to network and enjoys the hunt for new clients just as much as working for them. Indeed, for Giles, acquisition is the prime objective. After all he needs as many clients as he can get to help pay off the credit card bill and the payments on the smart Mercedes. Giles will be fast; he’ll be confident – as long as your sale is straightforward. But, if there are any complications, Giles may struggle. It’s may not be because he lacks knowledge. It may not be because an issue is beyond his experience. It may be simply that Giles’s constant quest for clients leaves him overstretched when it comes to protracted negotiations. If you’re on a budget and you’re not anticipating problems, Giles could well be your man. If you’re selling an older property, a leasehold home or something listed, maybe not.

The third let’s call Sally (although it could equally be Robert or Geoff or whatever name you prefer) …

Sally may not be particularly high-profile. It’s not because she doesn’t know her job; it’s just she tends to work below the radar. She’s not a partner in a large firm or recognised as an energetic new kid on the block. She’s just quietly done her own thing for years, winning new clients largely through personal recommendation. She’s thorough too; perhaps not as pedantic as Nigel – but not averse to phone calls rather than letters if it helps to smooth the process of buying or selling a home. She’s more than qualified to represent you in the event of a problem but will inform and consult you on your options first rather than making arbitrary decisions on your behalf. She’s unlikely to be brow-beaten in a legal dispute but doesn’t need victory at all costs. Speed isn’t the priority for Sally either. She simply sees her job as smoothing the progression to completion and exchange as practically as possible – and recognises that may sometimes mean a little compromise along the way. Sally probably won’t be as cheap as Giles; her fees may even be closer to Nigel’s. The difference will be that you’ll probably hear from her more frequently and you may be more involved in the process. It’s not for everyone of course; some buyers and sellers actually prefer to take a back seat. But, if you like a little personal control and you’re prepared for a little compromise for the sake of expediency when you’re selling your home, you probably need to find a Sally.

We’ll all probably only use a conveyancing solicitor no more than two or three times in our lives so it can be hard to establish if the one you’re considering is a Giles, a Nigel or a Sally. Personal recommendations from friends or online reviews are often all we have to go on.

But, at least you now have some caricatures to base your choice upon. All we can suggest is that you Google a few names, make some phone calls and perhaps keep our “pen characters” in mind …

 

How to get your garden ready for selling your house – By eSale

IS EVERYTHING ROSY IN THE GARDEN?

If you’re buying property, there’s a good chance a garden is going to be on your wish list.

We all have our own ideas about how we should use that space; for some, it’s a bit of room for a kick around; for others an exercise area for the dog; an oasis of peace surrounded by the scent of flowers; a blank canvas for our own horticultural designs; or just somewhere to potter with pot plants and our own veg.

But, whichever one best describes you, you don’t really want to be starting life in your new home with an undiscovered nightmare lurking outside – so perhaps a few tips will help:

The Lawn

If you get the chance, before you buy a property have a closer look at the green spaces. If they’re patchy, you can always lay a bit of new turf but, if the lawn is rife with dandelions, you could be meeting a new nemesis. The yellow bobbing heads add a splash of colour in the spring and early summer but dandelions are weeds which don’t know where they’re not welcome – and they get everywhere. Once they’ve found a crack in the drive, between the block-paving or on the patio, they dig in like ticks and work away at widening the gap. It may not be enough to persuade you to give up on a house you like, but it’s best to know what you’re starting out with.

Flower beds

The question you have to ask yourself is do you know what’s in there? Are the flower beds home to anything exotic or high-maintenance. It’s less of a problem if you have green fingers and you know what you’re doing but it’s a bit of a disappointment to move into a new home and watch the garden wither around you as you don’t know what the plants and shrubs require. Why not ask the seller for a few tips or, even better, a “map” of the garden so you know what’s what?

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Trees

A tree in the back garden some distance from the house can be an attractive and versatile feature which changes with the seasons. If you don’t mind raking up leaves, it can offer shade in the summer and colour in the spring and autumn. In the front garden, though, it can be a different matter. Roots can interfere with sewers and water pipes, so check where they are if you can. Sap can find its way all over the car on the driveway while trees are useful roosting spots for birds who seem to take great delight in pooping on the car you’ve just cleaned. Leylandii is a popular tree for screening but be warned; it seems to grow almost as soon as your back is turned. Expect to be busy with the shears or the hedge-trimmers at least three times between spring and autumn.

The Shed & The Greenhouse

It’s great to have them but, just as you would look at a new home with a critical eye, try to do the same with any outbuildings. Check the base for signs of rot at ground level and the roof for leaks or signs of weakness. You don’t want to be retrieving the shed or the greenhouse in kit form from the neighbour’s garden after the first gales of the autumn.

Timber fencing

It’s the same with fence panels; if they’re attached to rotting wooden posts, it’s not going to be long before you’re repairing storm damage. If the garden is enclosed by timber fencing, it’s best if the panels are designed to let wind blow through but to still to allow a degree of privacy. Solid wood can offer quite a bit of wind resistance and, if they’re not properly anchored, the panels will soon be horizontal in anything more than a stiff breeze.

Decking

Again, for some, it’s a desirable feature – but is it sound? If it’s a bit creaky you may want to take a closer look. A little bit of give isn’t necessarily a problem but, if the wood looks a bit corky or is showing signs of excess weathering, it’s probably a good idea to be sure you’re not going to be up to your knees in broken planks after your first winter.

Paving

The best advice we can give is mind the gaps… There are bound to be some places where the seal has gone, letting in water or weeds. Too many though and you could be looking at some substantial repairs in a few years’ time.

If you have any other worries about buying property, why not have a flick through some of our earlier blogs? But we’re here to help and, if you there’s anything we haven’t covered on our FAQs page (http://www.esaleuk.com/faqs/ ) or in our “How To…” videos (http://www.esaleuk.com/how-to-videos/) feel free to give us a call or drop us a line.

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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.