Tag Archives: Homes

New Year, New Opportunities: Preparing your home for a New Year sale

Preparing your home for sale is vitally important – it can help to sell your property more quickly, and more importantly, can add extra value to the sale price.

You don’t have to invest a ton of money to make your home more appealing to potential buyers – a few tips and tricks might just do the trick.

#Step 1 – Clear the clutter

It’s very important that people are able to visualise what the property would look like if they were going to live there.

So get rid of all excess items that have accumulated around the place – people like space. If you have large pieces of furniture, consider moving them out or re-arranging to make rooms look larger.

Put DVD’s/CD’s away, make sure the washing up is done, clear work surfaces, put laundry away, clear away toys and move pet beds away from living rooms.

#Step 2 – Clean like you’ve never cleaned before

Cleanliness is so important. It makes buyers feel that the home is well cared for. By cleanliness we mean, spotless and shiny, from the top of doorways to the corners of the floors and all the areas in between. There should not be a surface of the home that hasn’t been touched when the house goes on the market.

Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen is the most important room in the house and can really make the difference when a buyer has doubts or is choosing between your property and another. Make sure that work surfaces are clean and tidy – clear surfaces to make the kitchen look bigger. Clean the appliances and remove any grease.

If your kitchen really has seen better days, you might consider changing the doors on the kitchen cabinets, which can be done relatively inexpensively and will make a significant difference to how the kitchen looks. Get rid of any limescale stains and clean or replace mouldy grouting in both the kitchen and bathroom.

Make sure the toilet is clean and fresh, the seat is down and the mirrors are gleaming. Put out new towels as they always look nice.

#Step 3 – Fix everything no matter how insignificant it may appear

Do any minor repairs, fill and repaint cracks and replace items that are broken or damaged. Make sure hinges are adjusted, taps don’t drip and any other minor issues are fixed. Even the smallest repairs can make a big difference when it comes to selling your home. You want your house to be in the best shape possible.

# Step 4 – A new lick of paint makes all the difference

A bright and airy home will give a feeling of space. Keep everything as neutral as possible by sticking to a cream or off white to maximise light reflection.

# Step 5 – The sweet smell of success

Bad smells are a real turn off! Make sure your property is well aired and smells good. Don’t just cover the smell – remove the source if you can.

Make sure waste bins are emptied, sheets & towels are fresh and pet bedding is clean. Open windows and clean surfaces with a fresh scented cleaner to remove cooking and smoking odours. Leaving a bowl of vinegar for a few days will help absorb the smell of smoke which will disappear once you have opened the windows for a while.

Try not to use air-freshener – it smells synthetic and many people are allergic to it.

On the other hand, good smells can make a property really welcoming – a pot of coffee brewing can really do the trick and fresh cut flowers look good and smell nice.

# Step 6 – You only get one chance to make a first impression

It is quite common for people to drive by your house before they decide to view, so when your visitor sees the property they will immediately make a judgement about it.

Make sure that the front of the property is clean and tidy. Move bins out of site. If you have one, tidy the garden, cut back the shrubs, clean and tidy patios, pathways and driveway.

Give the front door a fresh coat of paint, or at least a good clean and make sure that the door furniture is shiny and the bell works! Windows and net curtains should be cleaned.

And finally…choose the right agent

With the help of Ellis and Co Golders Green your home can be beautifully presented and marketed to appeal to the widest selection of buyers, giving you the best opportunity to sell for the highest price.

We are property specialists and our expertise and knowledge is often underestimated and underused. We’d be happy to give you a constructive critique and point out any weak points about your property. It’s all part of the service we offer our sellers to help them achieve a quick and successful sale.

5 Reasons you should sell in early 2015

The festive season is upon us and the last thing you may be thinking of is selling your home. There have been many changes within the property industry this year including the mortgage approval system and more recently the stamp duty reform. With a General Election fast approaching, why should you consider selling in early 2015?

  1. Stamp Duty

As you may have read, George Osborne’s reform on the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) at the beginning of the month saw changes to the system overnight. This meant that the previous “slab” system has been replaced by the preferred sliding system.

Residential properties

Purchase price of property Rate of SDLT (percentage of portion of purchase price)
£0 – £125,000 0%
£125,001 – £250,000 2%
£250,001 – £925,000 5%
£925,001 – £1.5 million 10%
Over £1.5 million 12%

How does this work in practice?

If you were purchasing an apartment for £300,000:

  • You would pay no tax on the first £125,000
  • 2% on the next £125,000 (£2500)
  • 5% on the last £50,000 (£2500)

That’s a total of £5000 compared with £9000 under the previous system.

Many are stating that this change to the upper brackets is a political move, and if the there was to be a change in government that the revered Mansion Tax may now not be imposed. But as history dictates, you cannot predict what each political party may change or introduce once they are in power. Homes up to £937,500 will now certainly benefit from the change in Stamp Duty payable.

  1. Interest Rates

We have been blessed for some years now with low interest rates. It has been hinted for some time that these are expected to rise during 2015. Although we believe that for many homeowners it will not have a huge impact. We do predict however, that many will want to move in the early part of 2015 to tap into a lower interest rate mortgage before the rise.

  1. Mortgages

Although the nicknamed mortgage “stress test” has slowed the market in some sectors, the number of mortgage products available is on the rise. With preferred rates and deals being pushed by major lenders it has certainly been an attractive time for buyers over the later few weeks of this year. We envisage the growth of potential buyers to continue to rise in the early part of 2015. What a better time to sell your home than when buyers are a plenty and mortgages more attractive.

  1. House Prices

 The Centre for Economics and Business Research predict that house prices will dip by 0.8% by the end of 2015. They have confirmed that this is only due to a ‘levelling off’ from the rises during 2014. We predict that the early part of the year will remain strong with prices starting to slow after April and continuing for the rest of the year.

  1. Time of the Year

Although Easter to summer tends to see the most movement in the property market we believe that there will be a strong start to 2015. Homeowners have already started to approach us with the intent of listing their property at the beginning of next year. Their reasons? They too anticipate a rush of buyers seeking to move before the election. Moving before Easter will allow you to enjoy the summer months in the comfort of your new home.

Whatever 2015 may bring we look forward to helping you move.

To find out why you should use Ellis and Co Golders Green, read next: 5 Reasons why you shouldn’t list your home with Ellis and Co Golders Green

 

 

How to maximise your selling potential during winter

Many people believe it’s harder to sell your home in winter than summer. But there are a number of real advantages to selling during the colder months.

For one thing, removed from the sometimes frenzied action of the spring market, sellers can take a little more time to consider offers, and with fewer homes on the market, there’s less competition. And don’t worry; the things that lead people to make new home purchases i.e. a new job, a growing family, up or downsizing ; happen all year round, and there are still plenty of buyers out there. In fact, winter is a great time for accentuating your home’s cosy, family-friendly charm.

Here are a few tips you can follow to make your home more appealing to buyers:

Clear all exterior pathways of snow and ice

Nothing will turn away potential buyers faster than a treacherously icy path. Open-house guests should be able to easily walk all the way around the house and access outbuildings. Provide as much off-street (snow-cleared) parking as you can to make things easy for visitors.

Preparation is key

Be sure to prepare for those wet and snowy shoes and boots. No one likes having snow and dirt tracked around their home by shoes or wet socks, just as no one enjoys having wet socks and dodging puddles in the doorway.  Be sure to implement a strict “shoes off” policy.

Place an absorbent mat protecting the flooring. Be sure to have a shoe rack or appropriate storage area for shoes, not only to avoid the puddles but to show off the organization of your home.  Apply this also to winter jackets, hats and scarves. Show functioning and organization by thoughtfully arranged set ups, don’t just have outerwear exploding out of closets or haphazardly hanging on hooks or coat rack.

Fix anything that is noticeable

Winter time is when a lot of the problems in a house can become more noticeable. Cracks or gaps in the walls next to doors and windows can allow the wind to whistle in, for example. Fixing any visible problems is an important part of staging at any time of year but it is something we need to take extra care over in the coldest months of the year.

Consider your home’s temperature

Homeowners often turn the heat down in the winter months to save money, but home sellers should turn up the heat to make it more comfortable for buyers. It doesn’t have to be tropical in the home, as buyers will probably have their coats on during the viewing, but you want your home to be warm and inviting. If it’s too cold buyers won’t want to stay and look at all your home has to offer.

Turn on all the lights.

It gets dark very early in the winter, so lights are extremely important. Whenever possible, show your home during daylight hours. Open all the windows so the buyer can see where the natural light comes in. Turn on all the lights, so the buyer feels welcome to look anywhere and doesn’t feel like you’re hiding anything. If you have to show the house at night, make sure all of the outside lights are on and open the windows so people can see the inside lit up as well. Consider bringing in some extra lamps so your house is bright and welcoming.

Give each room a warm touch

A folded throw draped over the back of an armchair, a plump quilt at the foot of the bed or an area rug in warm hues are a few small additions that will make a big difference to the way a room feels to prospective buyers.

Keep decorations simple

Preparing your home for sale includes depersonalizing the home, so keep the Xmas decorations simple. Don’t overdo lighting or ornaments. You want the home to be festive, but not distracting. And after the festive season is over, make sure you’ve taken the decorations down.

Pet-friendly and groomed

If you do own pets, be sure to have the appearance of clean pets…especially dogs. We love our furry friends, but it’s best not to leave those dirty, wet towels and doggy outfits laying around. The last thing you want is the smell of wet dog greeting your buyers at the front door; this can be a real turn off!

Selling a home requires knowledge of the local market, experience in negotiations and the know-how that only an estate agent can bring. As always, correct pricing coupled with great marketing are keys to a successful transaction and our experienced team will be pleased to advise you on maximising the result and helping you to achieve a great sale price at this time of the year.

How to choose the right estate agent for you

The biggest posters or the loudest ads don’t always translate to the best person for the job. Agents are a critical part of the selling process, and can offer unique insights and experience. They also help shoulder some of the stress; helping you to focus on what matters most.

Rapport is all important when it comes to your estate agent, so here are some tips about finding the best agent match for you.

When you select an estate agent, you’re performing a job interview for a prized position. You’re choosing a stranger for an incredibly important task; one that requires trust, expertise, and adaptability. Your expectations should be demanding when it comes to selling one of your biggest assets!

Agents should have a high degree of professionalism and dedication to their work. They should have a good reputation, and still be committed to impressing you and working hard.

Does the agent you’re investigating appear interested in your property – or is it just another one in a line of many that they’re hoping to sign as a listing?

When researching, get a sense of how you fit into the agent’s ‘map of the world’ and whether you’re likely to fade into the background once you sign on the dotted line.

What should you look for in an agent?

  • Ability to meet your actual requirements (not impose their own)
  • Clear interest in meeting your needs
  • Professional accreditation
  • Positive word or mouth and testimonials from previous clients
  • Knowledge of the area in which you’re selling your property
  • Knowledge of the price bracket you’re likely to sell in
  • Commitment to frank, realistic dialogue about the market and your situation

How do you research?

The portals let you know which agents are working in your area, and you can start your search there.

Combine this with an extensive online search to explore their website, blog and any reviews or recommendations from clients.

Make a shortlist and meet with them personally and put together a list of the questions you’d like them to answer.

Here are some suggestions:

  • What is your experience as an estate agent?
  • How long have you worked in this particular location?
  • How many property sales were you involved with last year?
  • Do you normally represent buyers or sellers?
  • How many properties do you currently have listed?
  • How many prospective buyers approach you?
  • What do you perceive your personal strengths are as an estate agent?
  • What do you think our property is worth in the current market and how did you arrive at that figure?
  • Which marketing strategy do you suggest is the best one to pursue for our property?

Your agent should provide

  •  Access to recent market sales and appraisal data in your area
  • Contact with a large number of buyers
  • Screening of those buyers to identify qualified leads
  • Advice on how best to market and present your home
  • Negotiation services between you and buyers
  • Ongoing access to a range of advertising and marketing options
  • Honest and continual discussion about how well your property is performing, and whether changes are required
  • Effective administration of all legal and financial requirements

Why do our clients choose Ellis and Co Golders Green rather than another Estate Agent?

Our people: Rapport, good communication skills, understanding and a deep-rooted care and interest to succeed for our customers, are the factors that really make us stand out from the crowd.

We look forward to helping you with your move.

 

Why this autumn is predicted to be one of the busiest yet!

September always feels like a new beginning in itself. Thousands of children return to school and even though we have worked during the summer months, there is a sense of returning to normality. It is also the time that many people re-start their quest for a new home, there are already signs this is going to be a busy autumn.

One of the signs that autumn is going to be a busy period is the recent news that a few major lenders released fixed rate mortgages deals that are back below 3 per cent. This is amazing news for buyers, with some being put off by the imminent increase in interest rates together with the new ‘stress test’. The worry of not only getting a mortgage but also being able to meet their repayments has seen some light.

Mr Hollingworth of broker London and Country in the Telegraph on 5 September stated that those ‘considering a five year fixed mortgage should not hold out for a better deal.’ In affect now is the best time to buy. He continues, “The recent falling five year fixed rates that we’ve seen shows just how rapidly prices can change. Rates might get slightly better but the market leaders are looking very competitive.”

We always see an upturn in properties coming on to the market this time of year.   This year is no exception; the first week in September we have seen a particular increase in the number of buyers looking for their next home and wanting to be in before Christmas.

But we must urge all those looking to sell that is not a done deal. Staging your home for sale will not only increase your chance of selling quickly but also can have an impact on the price offered, with many well-staged homes receiving above their asking price. Home staging is so important as it creates the lifestyle of your home, and is the first impression they may see of your home on property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.

Always go with the principle that they can’t see through your cluttered rooms or unique décor. The actual fact is that the majority of potential buyers want to be able to walk into a home without having to do any work to it. Yes they may down the line wish to decorate, but they want to move into somewhere where they can feel at home straight away.

With an increase in buyers and below 3 per cent fixed rate mortgage deals, why wouldn’t you want to move before Christmas. Contact us today to arrange your free valuation and register your buying needs.

At Ellis and Co we will not only sell your home quickly we will work hard to make it as stress free as possible. Let us to do the hard work, and you can enjoy planning your new home.

 

Selling? – Give your House it’s own MOT!

In our September newsletter we feature our top structural pre-sale tips. But why would we be asking you to look at the structure of your home? We all want to ensure that any sale runs as smoothly as possible, delays are the last thing any vendor; buyer and agent would want. Structural delays are caused by failure to produce paperwork or having to renegotiate because work needs undertaking. As it is often said, “to be forewarned is to be forearmed”.

Whilst you are staging the inside of your home, take a break and have a walk round your home to check the structure. So what basic checks can you undertake to do, how can you give your house it’s own MOT?

  1. Check the service record of your boiler, this will need to be up to date prior to your move. Also ensure that you have all the paperwork and licenses available for any work you may have had undertaken.
  2. Check your building from the outside. Clean all your guttering to prevent any possible water damage and also check your drainpipes and drains are in good working order.
  3. How is your roof looking, this is of special concern if you live in an older property. The thought of a new roof can send shivers down the spines of any potential buyers.
  4. Cracks can appear in all ages of homes, most of which are caused by natural movement of the home. What you need to ask yourself is – are there any cracks that may look like they may be of concern? If you can fit a sideways 10 pence piece into a crack, pre-empt any problems in the sales process by getting it checked and have a report that you can show potential buyers.
  5. Greenery adds to the beauty of our homes but it can also raise alarm bells for potential buyers. We have all heard of the horror stories of tree roots destroying the foundations of some properties but remember this is not the case in every home. Be honest if you think that your greenery may be an area of concern for potential buyers and seek expert advise.
  6. At Ellis and Co Golders Green we have known potential buyers to walk round a house with a damp meter, yes really! If you have had damp problems, which have been resolved, inform your agent so they can in turn inform potential buyers. Otherwise undertake a visual check and have a quick feel of your walls, you know your home best and will be able to notice any changes.
  7. Do you know that any electrical work needs to be signed off by a qualified electrician? Don’t leave yourself open to an embarrassing conversation as with all areas of your property’s MOT, have a professional do the work and get your compliance report.

A survey is likely to be undertaken prior to sale that will identify any issues, but you can speed up the process by completing our simple checks and paperwork gathering as suggested above.

As an estate agent we know that having knowledge of these checks is of great benefit when showing potential buyers round your home. Like when you view a new car, you want to know about the MOT, Service History, and Mileage etc. When viewing a home potential buyers want to ensure that the house has been looked after and well maintained. They long to buy a property that not only superficially looks like it has been loved but has all the ‘records’ to prove it has been.

At Ellis and Co Golders Green our home consultation service will not only list your home but also advise you on home staging and conducting your property’s MOT. Call us today on 020 8455 1014.

 

 

The Perfect Sale – Is there such a thing?

When you’re selling and buying a home, you dream of the perfect sale. The sale where you can sit back relax, the process moves swiftly and then you get a call to say you have exchanged. You collect/drop off your keys on the completion date and open the door to your new beautiful home. Everything has run smoothly and you blissfully move with no stress at all.

I’m afraid to tell you that this reads like a work of fiction, as many of us know. Why?, because that from the moment an offer is accepted the majority of what happens next is completely out of your control. Not only are you at the mercy of your solicitors’ efficiency, but also that of everyone in the chain. It’s a time where stress takes hold and frustrations set in.

At Ellis and Co Golders Green our mission, and we always choose to accept it, is to be the central control of your sale. We want you to have a pleasurable experience and we work hard to make sure it happens. It is our job to do all the chasing so you don’t have to. We keep in contact with your solicitors and your seller/buyers solicitors, we chase searches, documents and faxes and keep you updated so you can focus on planning your future. Not only do we keep on top of your sale but also that of your chain to ensure that we are in the best situation to advise and keep things moving.

In effect we are trying to give you The Perfect Sale.

But what can you do to help?

It’s all about documentation and information – any small delay can have an impact on the whole chain.

  •  Identity – make sure you have all your previous address, passport and other identity documentation ready and available.
  • Mortgage – Simple, have a mortgage in place. Please do not wait until after you’ve made an offer as you could delay things for the rest of the chain and there may even be a small chance that you can’t afford the home you’re seeking.
  • Deeds and Servicing. – If you are selling your home, start sorting through your documentation and making sure you have the deeds to your home and any annual servicing documents available. You do not want to be in a mad panic one evening as they weren’t where you thought you had left them.
  • Communication – Make sure your solicitor and estate agents have your contact numbers in case they need to get in contact with you as a matter of urgency.
  • Check – If you are asked to fax any documents, always ring to check the person they are destined for has received them.
  • Double Check – Keep on top of your emails and post, ensure any documents that are to be signed and returned, are read thoroughly and returned as soon as possible.

 

Help yourself to have The Perfect Sale.

Not all Estate Agents are the same; we work hard to ensure the service we provide is over and above your expectations. We don’t just say we’re the best; we prove it to our customers every day.

Contact us today and let us help you on your journey to The Perfect Sale.