Yes. Despite what you may have read or been told, there is no such thing as a particularly good – or bad – time to buy or sell property. If that were the case, we’d all be buying or selling at the same time. In a free market such as the property market, supply and demand tend to balance each other out. For example, if sellers all put their properties on the market at the same time, all the buyers would swoop in to take advantage of the lower prices; the result being that the increased demand would push prices up.

 

A more realistic scenario is what happened in 2012 when first time buyers rushed to buy before the end of the Stamp Duty holiday. Figures released by one of the big national chains suggest that around 24,200 first purchases were made during March – twice as many as the following month. The result of this was that asking prices in the first time buyer sector increased and purchasers ended up paying the highest prices seen all year. Now Stamp Duty for first time buyers has been abolished, it's an even better time to buy.

 

So, the best time to buy – or sell – is when it suits you. If you’ve seen a property you like, and you are in a position to proceed financially, then you should go ahead.

 

All things considered, property prices are lower than they’ve been for years and increased competition from lenders means that as long as you have a reasonable deposit, there are some excellent mortgage deals around. Don't just go to your bank and accept their word for it - there are some excellent independent financial advisors locally - ask us who would suit your situation best and we can signpost you to make sure you're getting the best deal for you.

For those who are too young to remember the last time it was an issue, gazumping is what happens when a seller – having already agreed a sale – subsequently accepts a higher offer from someone else. 

The first point to make is that gazumping is not illegal. But isn’t it morally wrong? Well, that rather depends on your point of view. So, while buyers who have been gazumped will tend to regard it as a pretty low trick, the ones doing the gazumping may view it as nothing more than a perfectly legitimate use of their greater buying power. Then of course there is the seller, who might see it simply as a way of ensuring they get the best possible price for their home. 

That’s not to say that I condone the practice, however. Far from it, in fact. Being gazumped is no joke – particularly if you have already incurred expense on things like searches and a survey. 

So, to return to your question, how can you stop it? I’m afraid there is no easy answer. Some, for example, have called for gazumping to be made illegal. However, this would seriously distort the market by tilting the balance of power between buyer and seller hugely in favour of the former. After all, it’s worth remembering that the same legal leeway that allows the greedy seller to switch offers in mid-stream also enables the cynical buyer to renege on their earlier offer and put in a much lower one at the very last minute (a practice known as gazundering). 

OK, so why not make them both illegal? Well, not only would this create a legal minefield, but more importantly it would be interfering in a fairly major way in what is essentially a free market. After all, when it comes to buying or selling our most valuable asset, why shouldn’t we have the freedom to change our minds, if we want to? 

What this all boils down to is that as a buyer, your only and best defence against being gazumped is 1, to make your first offer your best offer, and 2, to ensure you are ready to proceed to exchange of contracts as quickly as possible. The shorter the time a transaction takes, the less opportunity for abuse by either party. In short, be as prepared as you possibly can.

Introduce plants

Bringing the outside in can fill a room with scent and colour. It’s a cost effective way to really brighten an area.

Choose flowers and plants that are in season. You can do this all year round, so sweetpeas in July make way for poinsettias in the winter.

Ice cream tones

This summer, pastel tones are really en vogue. That makes it the perfect time to bring them into your interior’s design. Blush pink is everywhere but that might not go with your existing theme. Celebrate these hues with bold prints or just a splash of colour.

What do I mean by the latter? Here’s a beautiful shot to give you an idea:

It’s always time for Pimms!

How about getting a drinks trolley for your home?

As gin is so fashionable (and delicious!), drinks trollies are back in. Revamped by designers like Eichholtz, they create stylish additions to living and dining rooms.

Introduce mirrors

Mirrors help bring all that sunshine into your home, lighten dark spaces and lift the ambience. Particularly useful in corridors or north facing rooms.

If you’re not sure how to spend money at home to freshen it up, either just for yourselves, or for the near future, please just get in touch. We can pop round and give you our expert opinion, for free and with no obligation, so you spend your hard earned money in the most sensible area for your home and lifestyle.

 

What exactly can and can’t we take with us when we move home?

 

What exactly can and can’t we take with us when we move home?

The basic rule is that you’re free to take anything that you didn’t specifically say would be staying. Make sure your agent doesn’t include anything in the sales particulars that you plan to take with you – that way, your buyer/s won’t expect it to be there when they take ownership. Secondly and more importantly, at the beginning of the conveyancing process your solicitor will ask you to complete a ‘Fixtures and Fittings’ form, on which you are required to list the specific items which are to stay with the property. This document forms part of the legal contract between you and your buyer, so you can’t just change your mind on a whim - otherwise you are technically breaching the terms of that contract. 

The one real exception to the basic rule involves the issue of safety. So, for example, while you are perfectly free to remove any light fittings which aren’t specifically listed, you are not entitled to leave bare wires hanging out of the ceiling or walls. 

Needless to say, if you do decide that you want to take the carpets and curtains after all – despite having originally promised to leave them behind – you must inform your solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity. 

It’s worth remembering that the Fixtures and Fittings form also covers the garden so, if you don’t actually specify which plants and shrubs are staying, you are theoretically entitled to take them all with you. However, I suspect most people would regard this as rather extreme! If you want to dig up any specific plants and take them to your new home then make sure that it is mentioned in the forms, your solicitor is informed as soon as possible or you have the blessing of your buyers.  

home improvements can cost more than the value they add

🛠️ Many home improvements can cost more than the value they add according to new research by buying agent Henry Pryor and GoCompare Home insurance.

🛠️ Improvements such as new flooring and replacing kitchens and bathrooms (the most popular home improvements) are unlikely to yield a profit for many homeowners. At £7,000 the average cost of a new kitchen, is twice as expensive as the estimated value it adds to a property.

🛠️ In comparison, energy improvements, such as a new boiler or central heating system, can increase the price of a property by close to 4%, the equivalent to just over £9,000. A new boiler costs around £2,000, providing the householder with a net profit of close to £7,000.

🛠️ While a fresh coat of paint may add little to the value of a property, such improvements undoubtedly encourage prospective buyers through the door.

If you're thinking of doing some home improvements and would like an expert eye cast over before you start, please just get in touch with us. We'll be happy to help.

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