How to get to the front of the buyers’ queue

Many of the best houses and flats are sold before they even reach the market. Even if it is on the market, you need to ensure you are more attractive to sellers than other buyers. Follow these top tips so other people don’t keep getting there before you

Develop a good relationship with estate agents

 The more you get them on your side, the more they will help you:

  • They may give you forewarning of great properties that are about to come onto the market
  • Some properties are only marketed quietly to buyers the agents trust. This can happen when sellers are divorcing and the sale of the home is a sensitive issue, or a property developer wants to discreetly liquidate stock
  • Top end properties are often sold off market. They don’t want the curious snooping around

Leaflet the area you want to live in

If you know exactly which area or street(s) you want to live in, and there aren’t many properties on sale, then consider leafleting it

  • Put notes through people’s letterboxes telling them about yourself and asking if they intend to sell. Many people spend years thinking about selling, and you might prompt them to take the plunge
  • The seller may not want to put their house on the open market in order to avoid estate agency fees. Direct sales incur no such costs

Ask friends and family

Turn them into your army of property scouts – most people like the thrill of the chase

  • Tell everybody you know that you are looking to buy and ask them to keep their eyes peeled and their ears open for any suitable properties
  • Often you will hear through word of mouth that a suitable property is, or will soon be, for sale

Approach absentee landlords

 Absentee landlords, particularly of empty properties, often simply haven’t got around to selling, and so you can make the decision easier for them

  • If you find an empty rental flat or house that you like the look of, put in an offer – especially if it has been empty for a long time
  • The further away the landlord lives, the more likely you are to get a good deal

Knock on doors

If you have really narrowed down the area you want to buy in, consider just asking door to door:

  • It may be awkward, but you could strike gold. It is far more diplomatic to say you are looking to move into the area, and asking if they know any properties that are likely to come onto the market soon
  • Go on a weekend, when more people are at home
  • Prepare for rejection
  • Take along cards/notes with your contact details on

Prepare your finances before hand 

When a hot property comes on the market, the sellers are far more likely to go for a buyer who is in good financial shape:

  • Cash buyers, or those with mortgages in principle, will often be preferred to those who still have to scramble to get the money together. They will be seen as less risky
  • Admitting you haven’t even talked to anyone about a mortgage will not instil confidence you are serious

 

Things to not forget when viewing a property

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

1. 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

2. 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. But you can only look for what you know; a chartered surveyor with years of experience is trained to spot risks and know what needs attention.

3. 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.

4. 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 phone. With bi-fold doors all the rage, be aware that in moments of sunshine the solar gain can make the room unbearably warm, so try to visit and spend some time in that room when the suns out.

5. Are the rooms big enough for your needs?

We’ve heard off new build home developers putting smaller furniture in rooms to make them seem bigger. Be warned! Assuming you won’t be buying all new furniture as soon as you move in, will your existing furniture fit?

 

6. 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. It’s nice to feel you can move straight in without having to do a thing, but try to remain objective. And if their furnishing make the space, take photos and ask what they are leaving behind. Perfect light fittings, for example, can take an age to find and replace!

7. 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 have invested in and looked 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. New windows need to be installed by a registered approved inspector so you should get a FENSA or similar certificate, which often come with guarantees. Ask if this is the case.

8. 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

9. 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 but a survey will confirm if it needs replacing. Having enough plug points is apparently a big selling point in our increasingly gadget driven world so worth taking note on the way round.

10. 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

11. 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 neighbours’ every word.

12. 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? The latter can make a huge difference to your bills and general comfort in winter.

13. What’s the neighbourhood like?

 

This is always good to know so that you are prepared for any disruptions, delays and issues that may commonly arise in the neighbourhood.

  • 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 a local dump in smelling distance?
  • Are you near a school that makes it impossible to get out of your drive at school run time?

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 neighbourhood a bit more. If you can, take somebody with you who might be able to notice things you don’t.

 

Questions to ask the estate agent when buying a property

Buying a home is a often referenced to a game of poker, with very high stakes, and huge incentives to bluff and avoid inconvenient facts. However estate agents are legally bound to tell the truth, so you need to make sure you ask the right questions to find out what the real situation is. It could make the difference between buying a dream home and buying a dud – and save you a fortune

  1. 1.     Why is the owner selling?

The estate agent doesn’t have to answer, but if you’re lucky they might hint at the circumstances. You might find out the owner is desperate to sell, perhaps because work is taking them overseas, and so would accept a lower price

  1. 2.     Is there anything that you would want to know about the house if you were buying?

The big fear if you are buying is that you are missing out some big negative factor that others know about. Is the local train station is about to close, a nearby sewerage plant opening up, or the next door neighbours the family from hell? People have been known to move into the homes of convicted mass-murderers without knowing – but you can bet they wish they had known. If you have any doubts about a house, ask next door neighbours or local shop keepers what they think.

  1. 3.     Exactly what is included in the sale?

Is the garden shed or greenhouse included? Are the fixtures and fittings? Exactly where does the boundary lie? Make sure you see all of what you are getting. It is not unknown for most of the contents to be included in the sale

  1. 4.     How long has the property been on the market?

If the house has been on the market a long time (more than three months), ask the agent why they think it isn’t selling. Are there problems that other people have realised that you haven’t? Is it just overpriced? A long time on the market might mean that the seller would accept a lower price

  1. 5.     How long have the owners lived there?

If they are moving out after a short period, it is important to find out why. Do they have noisy neighbours?

  1. 6.     Has the property repeatedly changed hands?

You should be alert to serious problems if the property has frequently changed hands. Find out why previous owners moved out. Perhaps even try to contact them to ask why they did

  1. 7.     How did the agent decide on an asking price?

A good agent will provide you with their justifications for the asking price, which you can then judge. Or, if you get lucky the agent might tell you that they think the seller is overvaluing the house. You should in any case visit other homes for sale nearby so you get a good idea what properties in the area sell for.

  1. 8.     What is the minimum price the seller will accept?

It sounds silly, but asking if their bottom line is actually negotiable can save you thousands. Estate agents will often give you an indication – it is in their interest to make a sale, even at a lower price, because if they don’t sell, they don’t get paid

  1. 9.     What offers have they had so far?

The agent will most likely tell you if there have been other offers, but not how much they were. But again, they have a big incentive to get a price agreed, so might drop some pretty heavy hints in whispered tones. If you can find out about the other offers, it obviously makes it easier to know what you should offer.

  1. 10.  When do the sellers have to move out?

Have the sellers already found another home? If they have, they may be keen to sell as fast as possible. Otherwise, if you have to wait until they find somewhere else, it adds to the uncertainty, with all the risks associated with being in a chain

  1. 11.  Can you speak directly to the sellers?

Agents generally hate this – it is their job to negotiate – but they can’t stop you speaking to the sellers, which can be the best thing you do. Most sellers are like you – not industry professionals – and this means they often give answers that agents would find shockingly honest. Unlike the agent, they can’t pretend ignorance if you ask why they are moving. It can also give you a much better feel for the house – ask them the best and worst points.

  1. 12.  Have any major works been conducted?

If so, are you able to have a look at the relevant planning and building control consents? In most cases you can search online for planning applications (granted and refused) on the local planning authority website. It would be awful if you bought your dream home only to find out you would have to knock half of it down

  1. 13.  How much is the Council Tax? And how much are utility bills in the area?

Try and get exact amounts. Talk to the seller if you have to. While these may seem like small considerations in comparison to the amount you will spend on the house, they are reoccurring expenses that will add to the pressure of owning your home

  1. 14.  Can they explain the Energy Performance Certificate?

The rating on the Energy Performance Certificate, which says how energy efficient the property is, will be influenced by a number of things. Is there loft insulation? Is there wall cavity insulation? When were they all put in? Is the boiler covered with lagging? How many outside walls are there?

  1. 15.  How old is the property?

Not only is this good to know, but the upkeep of older houses is often more expensive. So it’s better to be more prepared for those upcoming expenses.

  1. 16.  What can they tell you about the local neighbourhood?

What are the schools like? What is the crime rate like? How good are transport links? Where is the nearest petrol station? While it is a good idea to see what the estate agent has to say, make sure you do some independent research as well.

Selling Your Home? 5 Tips To Make Your House Look Amazing In Photos

This week on propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog we have collaborated with Josie from the shoproomideas.com blog to provide you with 5 key tips that can help you to present your home in a better manner for photos.

Attracting the right home buyer is easier and faster when you have great photos that will have buyers drooling and running to your doorstep! Improve your home’s chance of a sale with these 5 tips to consider before you start staging your pre-sale photoshoot.

Take Down The Curtains

Trust me when I say this – we sold our last home $150,000 over asking price using this trick. We staged our home by actually removing the curtains completely out of our home. Why? It opens up the space to make it look wider, and the ceilings look much higher than they are. Not only that, it accentuates beautiful windows and invites natural light inside. If you have a beautiful yard, pool, or great views, then this trick will work for you. Buyers will have a great view of the outdoors from the moment they enter through the front door. Trust me, this works!

Research The Quality of An Agent’s Listings

Before you get on board with a real estate agent, make sure you thoroughly research the quality of their previous listings. Have a look at the photos they have listed of any homes they sold. If the photos look good, don’t be afraid to ask the agent these questions:

  • Do you have a professional photographer to take photos of my home?
  • Will the agent bring in additional lighting for the photoshoot?
  • What equipment do you use? A cell phone, professional camera, a tablet?

Clean Windows and Baseboards

Making your windows shiny and clean with giving buyers a great impression that your home is was well cared for. Use a store-bought glass cleaner and paper towel to get down and dirty from the inside and outside as well. To remove tough grime, soap scum, or hard water minerals from your glass, use a vinegar and water solution with a wet towel for best results.

Pro tip: Pay attention to your baseboards! Buyer will notice dirty, unkept baseboards while they walk through your home. Make sure you vacuum up the dust and wipe them down with a damp, sponge or cloth to remove dirt. Make sure they’re looking bright, white, and clean to give the illusion your home is well kept.

The Obvious – Remove Clutter and Toiletries

This is the simple trick of all professionals. Buyers want to envision themselves living in your home, so remove traces of any personal items, clutter, trinkets, and family photos off kitchen counters and shelves. You can store it away in boxes until the house is sold, later on. Buyers love seeing the amount of space a home has to offer, so removing clutter will show off the maximum your property has to propose.

Shine Up Those Wooden Floors

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If your home boasts hardwood floors, you already have an advantage in the market as this is a really strong selling point. Make sure you dust them off and use a floor cleaner that is safe for hardwood. Double check to make sure the cleaner will leave the floors shiny. Buyers are attracted to shiny floors that look new and strongly maintained.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to buff your floors with a microfibre cloth while they’re drying. Failing to buff floors dry can result in streaks and unsightly residue marks. Some homeowners even swear by dry diapers to buff their floors to the perfect shine!

Check out the original article with the accompanying images on Josie’s blog now! http://bit.ly/2FdfGNd

How to showcase your property in preparation of viewings

 

When selling or renting out your home one of the most important things to consider would be the presentation of your home, especially as it’s well appreciated when a homeowner has put time and effort into making a good first impression on their homes.

Preparing your home for viewings is definitely an important step in the current buyer’s market. Why is that? Well, it’s because your buyer audience will decide within just a few minutes of viewing whether or not your property is an ideal for them: an unkempt garden or peeling paintwork is often all it takes to secure a lousy review and send them house hunting somewhere else. Giving your house kerb appeal however, isn’t just about dressing for effect. Rather what you should be targetting is encouraging potential buyers to make an emotional connection to your property, to see how easy it will be to live there, rather than spend time imagining how the place might look and how hard it might be to whip it into shape. So how exactly do you go about showcasing your home to the best it can be?

Make an entrance

The exterior of your home is the very first thing potential buyers see and probably make the judgement on. So take note of the property across the road – and make sure your front garden frames the house with a design that gives it good character, but which also complements the street and also the uniqueness of your own home. Keep garden paths wide and weed-free to emphasise the feeling of arrival and separate any driveway with small trees and hedging plants or neat garden ornaments/decorations. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint and stick with quality door furniture that suits the age and style of the property.

Get snappy happy

It’s human nature to overlook what we see every day, but when you see things on the screen, you get a much-needed ‘other view’. So take photographs of your property and analyse them on the computer. This will allow you to critique each room in sequence and make improvements accordingly and also make sure the theme of your home coincides. 

Clean up the clutter

An excess amount of clutter makes it difficult to concentrate on what you’re actually viewing; the more we see in a room, the less we process naturally. Clutter also has the knack for making everything look smaller, so strip back rooms and detox them of unnecessary items. Put large items of furniture, knickknacks, and books into storage or get rid of them if they are currently in use. Prune furniture – people tend to line their walls with chairs and tables – floating furniture away from walls into cosy groups makes the traffic flow more obvious and the perimeters clear.

Lose the ‘me, myself, I’

Your home is no longer yours once that “for sale” or “for rent” sign goes up, but you still need to prepare it so potential new owners pick up on the positive undercurrents of your efforts. Start by depersonalising and neutralising spaces – remove photos, clothing, and personal items and replace them with more generic alternatives and items that are only fit for yourself/your family. You can still give your home personality with carefully chosen items such as decorative mirrors or scatter cushions; just keep the family heirlooms and kiddie art to a minimum, or store them away.

Light the way

The atmosphere is best created by having a variety of light levels according to your mood and the time of day, so install dimmers if you want to especially showcase this feature of your home. Remedy bad lighting by increasing the wattage of your lamps and fittings. Aim for a combination of floor, table and overhead lighting in key rooms to create contrast and highlight eye-catching objects. 

HOW TO PERSONALISE YOUR RENTED SPACE

Making a rented space your home is a very tricky task especially as it isn’t your actual home, it’s someone else’s and your just renting it. But never fear Property Property Property is here with some tips and tricks on how you can convert your rented space from being just a rented space to your home.

Seek Permission from Landlord

First of all, make sure you have the permission of your Landlord. If you’re fortunate to have a flexible Landlord who doesn’t mind you suggesting and getting some paintwork and upscaling done on the space, then take advantage of that! However, if you’re Landlord is stricter and doesn’t allow permanent changes (even though painting isn’t permanent), still seek their permission for any changes you may be making to their property.

Now let’s begin….

1. Walls

A majority of the time we want to change and customise our walls, because of walls. So we recommend that your use removable wallpapers that reflect your personality in your rented space, as this will bring to life your character and make you feel homier. Also consider doing a faux wall DIY project, an amazing alternative.

2. Sticking stuff

If you’re into gallery walls or just having paintings/quotes stuck up on your wall for inspiration but your Landlord doesn’t want you nailing stuff on his walls, then we’ve got your back! Consider getting some double-sided tape, blu tack or specific customised adhesive tapes as this will ensure that you can get your gallery wall, without the expensive of drilled walls and an angry Landlord.

3. Flexible furniture

This is one of the most important things you can do! Get flexible furniture as you could easily move it around. If you’re tired of the way your space is set up, with flexible modular furniture you can just opt and switch up the structure and layout of your room at any time.

4. Decorate, Decorate, Decorate

Property Property Property advice you’re to Decorate Decorate Decorate! Adding textiles that interest you or changing the lighting accessories; anything that wouldn’t make permanent changes to your rented space but reflects your personality, you need it!

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the ‘Home Improvement’ series.

 

7 WAYS TO CHEAPLY UPGRADE AND UPSCALE YOUR SPACE

Ever looked inside a home and lifestyle magazine and seen the exquisite homes and expensive looking decoration and wished that your home could look like that. Well, it can! And it isn’t too costly either.

We’ve curated and listed below our top 7 tips for upgrading and upscaling your space:

TIP #1: Clean or Conceal the clutter

First things first we’re the realist… clean the clutter. To achieve that expensive look, we recommend either cleaning/detoxing the unnecessary clutter or hide it with a good storage system that could easier be decorated with a nicely textured cloth or key ornaments.

TIP #2: Paint the floors, not just the walls

Try the unconventional method of painting the floor and not just the walls. Some of the most expensive looking spaces have the best floors. Try a monochrome pattern on the floor, ie. black and white vertical lines.

TIP #3: Organise & Conceal wires

More concealing! A lot of the times we have many little wires all over the floor, hanging on the wall and they’re basically everywhere. They don’t do your living space much justice, to be honest. So hide them! And not just a basic tape work; but branch into the various DIY projects the internet has to offer, such as hiding the wire in boxes or disguising them in the finishing on the wall.

TIP #4: Upgrade switch covers

I’m honestly trying to avoid using the word conceal again, so instead, I’ll use a disguise. Disguise those old light switches with fancy new covers. Or better yet, spray paint or just liquid paint them with the colour of your taste in a metallic finishing. That ought to do the trick!

TIP #5: Retouch & Upgrade hardware

To continue the topic of disguising, why not disguise the hardware around your home also. Switch those old looking door handles to crystal door knobs; they automatically add an element of elegance and luxury to any space. Also, the hardware at the corner of the doors, your kitchen counter, your bathroom floors spray paint those in a waterproof stainless steel gold/silver colour as they will also automatically upscale any space.

TIP #6: One Statement Piece

Most luxury homeowners have that one statement piece that they love to brag about, and why’s that? Well, it might be due to the fact that it actually is a statement piece. Now you don’t necessarily have to go completely out of pocket; but if you’ve got a liking for a certain style of artwork, why not get it blown up in your local photography shop to the largest size and have that one painting/artwork displayed in your living room. That will definitely make a statement.

TIP 7: Simplify your room styling

Now for our final tip. Simplify your room styling.

In order to get that expensive, yet simple living look, don’t do too much. You don’t need to have so many pretty ornaments or too many metallics in one room. Space it out across your living space and make every room a statement.

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the Home Improvement series.

 

HOW TO ACCURATELY THEME/COLOUR MATCH YOUR HOME

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The task of decorating your new home can be quite daunting. If you’re like me and don’t have one specific theme or idea that you are going for then consider these points when decorating your space.

Group Inspirations/Ideas

The internet is a great tool when curating mood boards and also sourcing inspirations. Websites and applications such as Pinterest, We Heart It and Hometalk is great places for you to get ideas on how you want to decorate your living room to your bathroom.

List What You Like

Make a list of things you like. For instance, if you’re heavily into plants, then make a list of the different plants you like and the colours associated with them, that way you can select your colour scheme based on your likes.

Your Personal Style

In the times we live in, we currently have minimal restrictions on how we dress or what our personal styles are; so why not implement that into your home. If you’re into floral prints in your cardigans, skirts, tote bags or whatever, then you’ll more likely be drawn into having floral prints in your home.

Customise each room

Sometimes we really can’t choose one theme or one colour scheme for our home. But who said you have to stick to one theme? You don’t!

It may be an unconventional idea, but why not have various themes in your home, and they can all vary from room to room. After all, it is your home, so you have all the control on making it your comfortable place, and if it means having contrasting colours/themes on the top floor, then go for it.

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the ‘First Time Buyers’ series.

[Opening image sourced from Knight Partnership Cambridgeshire listing, check out the property now http://bit.ly/2jVWUjR]