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.

Too Hot to Handle?

“Phew, what a scorcher” as the tabloids would say. The current hot weather is a mixed blessing; if you’re on holiday, then the warm sunny days certainly bring out the best of the British coast and countryside. But if you’re working either outside or in a non-air-conditioned office then life can be very uncomfortable.


But what of homebuyers? Does the hot weather bring them out, or does the thought of trudging round home after home in the heat deter them? We’ve found that there are real upsides to a hot summer which can work to your advantage if you are serious about selling.


For example, some other sellers (who are effectively your competitors in the market) may decide to withdraw their property for the summer. They might assume that buyers will either be too hot and bothered, or more concerned about their holidays than looking at property. Alternatively the sellers themselves may just want to veg out, with paddling pools and other summer paraphernalia littering the garden. Buyers looking round can be seen as an invasion of privacy (especially if topless sunbathing is involved).


You can take advantage of these flawed arguments if you are keen to sell. Firstly, serious buyers remain serious despite holidays and hot weather. These are buyers whose move is likely to have been prompted by real reasons such as a job move, marriage, divorce, growing family, debt etc. With fewer speculative buyers around you know that every viewing is likely to be from a serious buyer. Those people who remove their house from the market for the summer miss these critical purchasers and the corresponding decline in the supply of competing properties for sale can enhance the saleability of your own - and even its price.   


Secondly, the buyer of a property is very likely to reflect the social life stage of the seller when they themselves bought the house. So a family house will sell to a family. So don’t feel the paddling pool, barbecue, water pistols etc detract from the sale – they can enhance it, because they connect with the most likely buyer. A house is a home after all and you are selling a lifestyle, so why not use this to your advantage.


Finally here’s our HOT TIP: Offering prospective buyers a cold drink during viewings on a hot day can work wonders!

Third of landlords falling into a borrowing trap

Recent research has shown that as many as a third of landlords are falling into a borrowing trap.

Without realising, or remembering, they are not remortgaging before their existing product expires and so ending up on the Standard Variable Rate (SVR) from their lender. This costs them on average £371, which means quite a dent in some yields.

Calculated by tracking how many people ended up on SVR in 2017 and how many days they were on that rate for, researchers found the average 42 days on SVR costs those who renewed too late as much as £61.83 on average.

Linda Wale, Independent Mortgage Advisor, reminded us that there are other traps landlords fall into with regards to their finances, like sitting on old loans. With better financial management, things like unchecked insurances and old mortgages will be picked up on and prevent jeopardising the viability of their investments.

Linda estimated that as many as one in three landlords are overpaying on their mortgage. Because of the many changes in the last couple of years, being a landlord has become more complicated and many people do not realise the impact these things are having on the bottom line. “Cost reduction can be done at most stages and level of investment but landlords need to be made aware of these figures so they can ensure they’re not at risk themselves. Costs are rising across the UK so profitability will be affected but this can be mitigated with the correct advice and management.”

Ensure you're maximising the return on your investments further with regular rental amount assessments with up to date comparables and ensure you're producing or receiving full colour, in depth inspection reports so any problems can be dealt with swiftly before they get worse.

For a quick chat over a coffee and some expert advice, please do get in touch. 

First time home seller

Q. I’m looking at selling my first property - can you give me some tips on how to go about it with minimal stress?


A. Choosing the right agent is the best place to start. Don’t automatically go for the one who values your home highest as they could just be trying to buy your business, or the one who quotes the lowest fees as in most things, cheap rarely equals quality.


You want an agent who knows the local market and will give you reliable, professional advice and a quality service at all times. Personal recommendation is always good but failing that, your best bet is to go for a well-established, owner-operated local agent – one whose whole business depends on delivering quality service, rather than hitting targets set by a head office. If you really want to keep stress levels to the minimum, it would also help to choose an agent who can offer a complete service, including things like conveyancing.


Your asking price is obviously hugely important in determining how quickly and smoothly your sale proceeds. You naturally want the highest possible price but you don’t want to scare away any potential buyers so my best advice here is to listen to your agent.


You yourself can make a difference by ensuring that your home is presented in the best, most saleable condition and take the time to gather together any planning consents, building regulation approvals and relevant guarantee certificates for things like gas and electrical installations, woodworm, damp-proofing, double glazing and so on – it’s much less stressful to do it in advance than in a last-minute panic!

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