Rocketing property prices are pushing thousands of homeowners to sell through cheap online estate agents. Traditional High Street agents charge sellers a percentage of the sale price of their property — so the more your home is worth, the higher your fee. And as property prices have increased, so, inevitably, have the costs.
Would you spend just 20 minutes viewing a property that is going to be your home for many years? Some buyers do – and live to regret it. Don’t remember the things you should have looked for after you have left.
IS THERE DAMP?
The main giveaway signs are a mouldy smell, flaky plaster, and watermarked walls or ceilings. It sounds obvious, but make sure you look closely near the ceiling and around the skirting boards. Another clue might be if the room has just been repainted – possibly covering any damp
IS THE BUILDING STRUCTURALLY SOUND?
If the house looks and feels solid and structurally sound you may not need a surveyor at all. Big cracks are what you are looking for – you should expect some hairline cracks. Look especially around where extensions join, end-of-terrace walls, and bay windows, all of which can start to fall or bow away from the rest of the house. If you see major cracks or have any doubts it might be worth getting a surveyor if only for peace of mind. If any walls look like they are seriously bowing consider engaging a structural engineer.
HOW MUCH STORAGE SPACE IS THERE?
Storage space is a valuable but often overlooked asset. Where will you keep your vacuum cleaner, towels, spare linen, and boxes of junk? Is there room for cupboards or shelves to be built in? Especially in newly built houses, storage space can be scarce
WHICH WAY DOES THE HOUSE FACE?
In winter, during a cloudy day or at night, it is difficult to tell the difference between a north and south facing house or garden – but in summer it can make the difference between a home that is full of light and warmth, and one that is frustratingly dark. Your favourite plants might notice too, and protest by dying. Don’t be shy about taking a compass with you to the viewing – you might have one on your iphone
ARE THE ROOMS BIG ENOUGH FOR YOUR NEEDS?
Occasionally, it has been known for sellers to put smaller furniture in rooms to make them seem bigger
HAVE YOU BEEN FOOLED BY STAGING?
Cleverly placed mirrors, strategic lighting, delicious smells, cosy fires, and fresh licks of paint are all tricks sellers use to make their home more appealing. Make sure you don’t get fooled.
DO THE WINDOW FRAMES HAVE CRACKING PAINT? IS THE DOUBLE-GLAZING INTACT?
The state of the external window frames is a great indicator of the state of the house – if people look after those, they are likely to have taken great care of the rest. If you can easily push your finger into wooden window frame, they are usually rotten. If there is condensation between double-glazed window-panes it means that they are faulty
HOW OLD IS THE ROOF?
Replacing roofs is an expensive business, and newer roofs have a life expectancy of only 15-20 years, depending on the materials. Also, if the property has a flat or nearly flat roof, check out the material with which it sealed. Nowadays a membrane is used and is better than asphalt and gravel, which can leave seams and edges unsealed
ARE THERE ENOUGH POWER POINTS AND WHAT CONDITION ARE THEY IN?
Dodgy wiring can be dangerous, and rewiring your new home can be an expensive business. Also check out the fuse board – often an indication of the state of the wiring. Does it look old and outdated?
IS THE PLUMBING UP TO SCRATCH?
Run the taps to check the water pressure. Ask if the pipes are insulated, and ensure they are not lead which would have to be replaced. Do the radiators actually work? How old is the boiler? If the hot water tank is situated in the roof it is probably an old one, and may have to be replaced soon
IS THE PROPERTY ADEQUATELY SOUND-PROOFED?
If the sellers have the radio or television on ask for it to be turned down to ensure that you can’t hear your neighbors’ every word
WHAT’S THE ATTIC LIKE?
People often ignore the attic, but it is an important part of the house. How easy is it to access? Is there much storage space? Could it be converted into extra rooms? Is there insulation?
WHAT’S THE AREA LIKE?
- Are you near a pub or bar or kebab shop that becomes rowdy in the evening?
- Can you walk to shops to get a pint of milk, or do you have to drive?
- Is it easy to get to public transport?
- Are there noisy roads or train tracks nearby?
- Are you underneath a flight path?
IS THERE SUFFICIENT DRAINAGE IN THE AREA?
Check the whereabouts and levels of external drains. Are the drains accessible and are they fully functional? Keen gardeners may use lots of extra water which can cause severe structural problems for potential home improvements such as conservatories or patios. If you are concerned about insufficient drainage for a property you wish to buy, then get a structural survey.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DOES IT FEEL LIKE YOU COULD MAKE IT YOUR HOME?
If you do like a property, arrange another viewing for a different time of day, and scout out the local area a bit more. If you can, take somebody with you who might be able to notice things you don’t.
Selling your property can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow our top tips for vendors.
First impressions count. The majority of potential purchasers will decide whether or not to arrange viewings on your pr operty based on its external appearance. A well maintained property on the outside generally hints to the condition of the property internally. Make sure that lawns are cut regularly and that any trees, hedges or shrubbery are tended to. Use of pots and hanging baskets at the front door will really make a house feel more welcoming.
DE-PERSONALISE & DE-CLUTTER
Potential customers often want to imagine themselves living in your property when they come to view. Tidy away ornaments and personal effects, especially posters or decorations in the bedrooms. Although it may be difficult to do so, distance yourself from the property. Put items that aren’t in everyday use into the attic or storage. Visit a high quality show home to get ideas. You want the presentation to feel homely but not cluttered.
The majority of potential purchasers will look for quality and neutrality in any property they view. Again, viewers will want to imagine themselves in your property and although a ‘loud pink’ lounge may be to your taste it will not appeal to everyone. A neutral palette will allow purchasers to visualise relatively easily how they might put their own stamp on the property.
HEAT & LIGHT
Walking into a warm bright house will create such a stronger first impression than walking into a dark colder one. Set your heating to come on in advance of the viewing. Adequately light every room in your property even if this means putting the lights on during the day. Remember that your property is an unfamiliar environment to the viewer and they will want to see exactly what is on offer.
ACCURATE PRICING IS CRITICAL
The market has changed dramatically over the past few months. Traditionally one might expect to put their house on the market for more than they expected to achieve in order to leave some room for negotiation. This is no longer an effective strategy. With so much information available to buyers and so many properties to choose from, quite often they simply won’t consider or view a property which looks overpriced. Reducing price later then sends a negative message out and can raise red flags with buyers. In recent months we have numerous examples that prove the importance of accurate pricing from the outset and how a small margin can make a big difference.
There are lots of marketing tools available to us and sometimes the choice can be confusing. Make sure your agent is up to speed with the best and most effective marketing tools to make your house stand out from the crowd.
It’s true. A photo speaks a thousand words. Great photos attract buyers. Poor photos can actually put them off. At Online Estate Agent NI we believe in crystal clear photography that shows off the whole room. Here are our some of our top tips to help you get ready for your photo shoot!
Clear your workspaces of clutter, jars and food. Hide away the dustbin. Remove the dish liquid and tea towels.
Add flowers and a bowl of fruit
Put down the toilet seat, remove the everyday shampoo bottles, laundry bin and any spare loo rolls.
Display fresh towels and some posh looking toiletries!
Clear away any clothes and shoes. Make sure bedside tables are tidy and nothing is peeping out from under the bed. Clear off anything that is stored on wardrobe tops.
Dress your bed with your best linen and add a luxury look with plump cushions
THOSE GENERAL AREAS
Clean your windows. Make sure your curtains and blinds are open. Hide away any wires that look unsightly. Tidy away the kids toys and signs of pets.
Light the fire. Turn on your lights. Plump up the cushions
OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
Move your car from the drive or house front. Tidy the garden, and sweep away the leaves. Move the wheelie bins. Clean the front door.
Add colour with seasonal planting and hanging baskets.
Research from the consumer organisation Which? suggests that the number of mortgages on the market has increased by 13 per cent in the 100 days since the EU referendum result was announced on June 24.
At the end of September there were 5,366 mortgage deals available, compared with 4,736 in June. Despite pre-referendum fears that inflation could lead to pricier mortgages, Which? claims deals have actually become cheaper following the Bank of England’s decision to cut the base rate in August.
The average mortgage rate on offer fell from 2.99 per cent at the start of June to 2.85 per cent at the end of September, according to the group’s analysis of Moneyfacts data.
Availability has also improved for first-time buyers and those looking to remortgage.
At the end of September there were 245 deals available to first-time buyers with 5.0 per cent deposits, seven more than in June. The number of 80 per cent mortgages available to first-time buyers increased from 516 in June to 609 at the end of September.
Read more at: https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/10/crisis-what-crisis-surge-in-mortgages-in-100-days-since-brexit
You don’t need to walk far through the suburban streets these days to notice signs of a significant shift-change in the way we sell our homes.
Increasingly the For Sale signs adorning properties up and down the city are not those of the traditional high street estate agents.
When it comes to selling your home, there is a growing trend to “do it yourself”, through one of the rising number of online estate agents.
The internet is changing the shape of many industries – from the way we shop to the way we access our media – but it seems that estate agents are also not immune from the rise in all-things “online”.
While traditional estate agents have given vendors an online presence for many years, this new wave of “online” estate agents offer a more hands-off service, for a fraction of the price of traditional high street estate agents.
Industry experts have predicted that by 2020 50 per cent of house sales could be done through this new channel, and a survey, conducted by Face For Business last month (Jan) found that out of 1,000 members of the public questioned on the subject, some 34 per cent would now prefer to use an online estate agent over the services of a traditional high street agent.
The big difference between the new estate agents compared to their traditional cousins is price, with vendors paying a one-off fee to list their property, which also allows them to get it on the property search giants like Property Pal and Property News.
High street agents charge sellers a percentage of the sale price of the property — so the more your home is worth, the higher your fee. A typical fee of 1.5 per cent means a fee of £3,000 on a £200,000 property.
Online estate agents, meanwhile, charge a flat fee that can be as low as £499, regardless of how much your home is worth – meaning that the new system is particularly attractive to the high end of the market.
Estate agents in London were this week left with their heads in their hands when a multi-millionaire decided he was going to put his £24 million 18-bedroom Belgravia mansion on the market with an online firm. The audacious move, which made headlines in the Sunday nationals, could save him more than £430,000 in estate agency fees. But you don’t have to be a multi-millionaire to decide that doing it yourself is fast becoming a real alternative.
Industry experts estimate that 4 per cent of all homes are now sold through an online agent each year — around 48,000 — and predict that internet firms could be taking up to 50 per cent of all sales by 2020.
Read more at: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/house-sellers-making-new-wave-online-estate/story-28652473-detail/story.html
Whether you are looking to sell or merely gripped by curiosity, the price your property commands is of interest. Your home is likely to be your most expensive asset and it’s something you invest a lot of time and effort in, so it’s important to know how this investment is performing.
But how do you get a realistic assessment of the value of your property? Here are some tips on how to get this all-important judgement right…
Proper research of the state of the market is necessary to get this right. Make sure you don’t simply focus on the national picture – be as local as possible to ensure you get an accurate assessment. Look at the prices paid for properties in your street and neighbourhood – ideally those of a similar age and size to your own – to gauge what others have paid. You want to keep a close eye on the time period too – a sale five years ago is no longer relevant.
Be honest with yourself. If the home two doors down sold for an astronomical fee but had benefitted from designer fittings and extensions then yours may well not follow suit. It’s important to recognise the weaknesses – as well as the strengths – of your property. Yes, you want to make money – and certainly sell for more than you paid – but manage your expectations accordingly.
Room for manoeuvre
Buyers will look to negotiate. It’s a simple fact of life. Bear in mind the fact that you will receive offers below your asking price and it’s quite natural to have to settle for five or ten per cent below this. To avoid disappointment, allow yourself a little bit of room to manoeuvre that won’t leave you out of pocket.
Make yourself aware of the points at which Stamp Duty kick in as these could prove significant. Changes to the rules surrounding Stamp Duty have made this a less important measure than it once was but the simple fact is most people will not want to pay a price that creeps into a higher bracket as it will force them to find more money up front. Be aware that the price of your property might be held down slightly if it falls around the £125,000 or £250,000 bracket, for example.
Speak to an expert. An estate agent will be directly involved with the sale of homes every single day. You’ll be able to put questions about the price of your property to them and mull over the pros and cons of setting your value at a higher or lower rate.
Pricing a property is a tricky business. It’s important to recognise this, take on board as much advice as possible and do plenty of research. Don’t let this be the end of the process either – the smart seller will carry on the hard work they put in pre-sale to ensure they keep on top of the current picture. The price you put on your home may have to fall slightly over time if circumstances change – you need to be reactive and flexible should this be required.
Selling a home is not something to go into lightly. No matter what your reason for selling, it’s vital to get the maximum return on the investment you made on your property. Here are eight things you must know before you put your home on the market:
*Prices in the area: As much as you might have a value in mind for your property it’s important to consider that, in reality, the state of the market will determine the price that you are able to attract. By searching online you will be able to see how much houses in your street and wider area have sold for in recent weeks and months. Keep a close eye on this before you sell, it’ll give you a good idea of what to expect from a valuer.
*Local knowledge: As well as the prices in the area, make sure you’re aware of what’s around you. Remember, buyers are attracted to an area as well as a property. As well as your house, sell the area if you can – tell buyers about the shops, schools, pubs and transport links.
*Home truths: Before you go on the market you need to know how your house will be perceived. Try inviting friends and family members around and get them to help you pinpoint the weakness of your property. Sometimes a quick lick of neutral paint in the back bedroom can make a difference, for example, and fixing that leaking tap or creaking door can stop a bad impression from forming. Encourage people to be honest about your home. Buyers will, after all, not hold back. You need to be prepared for your home to be judged – and you can’t afford to let it get to you.
*Think digital: 98% of house buyers start their process online. Anyone selling any product needs to take stock of where their customers will be shopping and aim to reach them there. Your customer is online – and they’ll undoubtedly be going through a whole host of options. You need to give this customer everything they need – pictures (of every room), videos, plans – to keep up with your rivals.
*It’s not all about estate agents: Some people may just think there’s only one way to go about selling a home, but that’s absolutely not the case. Using an online agency can sidestep much of the hassle – and fees – involved with the sale of a property in an estate agent on the high street. Searching for a home has moved online in recent years, selling one is increasingly heading there too.
*What next: Where are you heading next? Do you have a property lined up already? Don’t put your home on the market without considering this or you might suddenly get an offer before you’re ready. Have a firm plan in place and make sure you’re comfortable.
*Ready to go: As well as being ready for your next move, you also need to be ready for the all-important viewings. That means you need to have the house clean and be available to let people in. Yes, you might still be living there but you cannot afford to let your standards slip. You will need to be in the selling mindset.
*Paperwork: You need to know where all the paperwork for your house is and have it to hand. Don’t wait and be left scrambling about trying to find an important document at the last minute. Anything that holds up a possible sale could prove very costly.
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House hunters are returning to the market after the Brexit vote but are struggling to find suitable homes, which means prices are going up in all parts of the country apart from central London, according to surveyors
The number of properties on the market dropped again in October, continuing the trend of the past two years, the latest monthly housing snapshot from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) shows. Interest from would-be buyers rose for the second month in a row, with a balance of 10% of Rics members reporting more demand.
The survey showed a small fall in new instructions in October. The combination of growing demand and falling supply pushed up house prices further, with 23% more surveyors reporting growth than a decline, up from a net balance of 18% in September.
London remained an exception where prices fell for the eighth month, with 16% more surveyors reporting falling rather than rising prices.
This reflected affordability issues and the slump in luxury home sales in inner London owing to Brexit uncertainty and stamp duty changes, while the outer boroughs were still seeing significant price growth, Rics said. Land Registry data has also suggested that the wealthiest buyers are shunning London, with sales of £10m-plus homes collapsing 86% in the past year.
Simon Rubinsohn, the Rics chief economist, said: “The dire shortage of available housing across the UK is continuing to push prices upwards, regardless of the uncertainty linked to the ongoing discussions surrounding Brexit. We are only weeks away from the autumn statement and it will be interesting to see what measures – if any – the chancellor will put in place to increase housing supply and create a more affordable market.”
As the market recovers after the shock vote to leave the EU in June, agreed sales rose slightly last month, with a balance of 5% of surveyors seeing an increase. All regions of the country are expected to experience a further rise in property transactions in coming months.
Prices are also expected to keep rising, with 18% more surveyors predicting growth in the next three months rather than a decline. Central London is the only exception where prices are forecast to be broadly flat in the near future.
The lack of homes to buy has fuelled demand in the lettings market, where a balance of 29% of surveyors reported a rise. London bucked this trend, with a balance of 15% reporting falling demand. This means rents are likely to fall in the next three months in the capital, in marked contrast with the rest of the country where rental growth expectations picked up, to 34% from 15% in the three months to June.