“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!
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.
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!
Q. The estate agent I am buying through wants to see proof of my financial position, but I don’t want to disclose that until my offer is accepted. Do I need to give this information in advance?
A. The agent you are dealing with is absolutely right in asking to see proof of your financial position. The relevant section of The Property Ombudsman’s Code of Conduct states that the agent must take all reasonable steps to establish the source and availability of a prospective buyer’s funds - and pass this information to the seller - so if he didn’t, he would actually be in breach of the Code and if the sale subsequently fell through over money matters, his client would have legitimate grounds for complaint.
You are under no obligation to disclose this information if you don’t want to. However, the agent would then have no choice but to tell his client that as a result of your unwillingness to co-operate, your financial position couldn’t be confirmed. Ultimately, it is the seller’s decision whether or not to accept any offers but the agent would be doing less than his duty if he didn’t recommend an appropriate course of action. If the seller wanted to accept your offer, the agent might well suggest for example, that he continues to actively market the property until appropriate reassurance was established.
Of course, your reluctance to reveal such details at such an early stage of negotiations is perfectly understandable. However, the sale is unlikely to go anywhere until you do – except on the kind of conditional basis above.
The best piece of advice where land is concerned is - think very carefully about it!
For many people, building their own property is the ultimate dream and it can be extremely satisfying. It can even be relatively cost effective; however there are a number of potential pitfalls.
Employing an architect and project manager to handle the whole thing on your behalf can be pretty expensive. Alternatively, you could tackle things all on your own but do bear in mind that dealing with planning and building control departments and coordinating builders, suppliers and public utilities has the potential to turn into a real-life nightmare.
If you are one who thrives on this sort of challenge, your first step is to track down a suitable piece of land. That in itself is no easy task - after all, we live on a fairly small, crowded island.
Some estate agents – although by no means all – do deal in land. Alternatively, there are a number of websites these days that specialise in this area. Nevertheless, you need to bear in mind that buying land without planning permission can be a huge gamble – while conversely, land which already has planning permission is obviously going to come with a higher price tag.
Robert Williams Estate Agents, 2 Southernhay West, Exeter, EX1 1JG
Tel: 01392 204800 | Sales: firstname.lastname@example.org Lettings: email@example.com