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Property Boom not Property Gloom

Why We Believe NOW is the Best Time to Sell Your Property

On the one hand, the UK is facing a shortage of housing with the number of properties available to buy on the market at a 10-year low, Brexit is (still) looming but mortgage rates and interest rates continue to be at favourable levels. The UK Government continues to put measures in place to keep first-time buyer activity stimulated at the bottom of the property ladder yet there is still caution among homeowners about whether to sell….or wait?

So, why do we think NOW is the best time to sell your home?

Mortgage Rates

Despite a rise in the Bank of England’s interest rate from 0.5% to 0.75% in August, mortgage rates in the UK are still some of the lowest in Europe and are marginally higher than the all-time lows recorded in 2017 (2-year, 3-year & 5-year fixed rates).

The table below shows the current average published rates of mortgages available from high-street lenders vs this time last year, five years and ten years ago:



2 year (75% LTV) fixed rate 3 year (75%LTV) fixed rate 5 year (75% LTV) fixed rate 2-year (75% LTV) variable rate Standard variable rate
31-Oct-08 5.83 5.95 5.88 5.94 6.91
31-Oct-13 2.48 2.89 3.37 2.91 4.37
31-Oct-17 1.55 1.7 2.04 1.46 4.31
31-Oct-18 1.76 1.83 2.07 1.69 4.39

When we hear news about rises in interest rates, it is all too easy to forget the current landscape and it helps to visualise the context of the current base rates upon which most mortgage lenders base their own borrowing fees. In this chart, you can see the base rate set by the Bank of England over the last 39 years. As you can see, the UK is still enjoying a period of low interest borrowing and, whilst the interest rates are low, borrowing is at its most affordable.

bank of england base rate

The Danger of ‘Timing the Market’

We are hearing quite a bit of commentary about people who are waiting for a drop in prices before they buy a property and, on the face of it, this may seem like a good idea. The problem with this strategy is that doing so is taking a huge gamble on the fate of interest rates.

Did you know that a 10% decrease in house prices is immediately negated by a 1% increase in interest rates (based on a 30-year mortgage)?

Don’t believe us? Here are just two examples of how a drop in house prices, coupled with an increase in interest rates can affect monthly mortgage repayments:

  Buy Now 5% Fall in Property

0.5% Rise in Interest Rates

10% Fall in Property

1% Rise in Interest Rates

House Price £400,000 £380,000 £360,000
Mortgage Amount £300,000 £285,000 £270,000
Interest Rate 4.39 4.89 5.39
Mortgage Payments £1,501 £1,511 £1,514
Total Cost of Mortgage £540,184 £543,902 £545,201

Illustration based on 75% LTV, standard variable rate as of October 2018 (4.39%).

Trying to ‘time the market’ almost never works and most people forget that in order to take advantage of the market, they have to be on it in the first place.

When it comes to buying a property, the main issue about trying to ‘play the market’ is knowing, at the time, when the market has reached the bottom. We can look back retrospectively to see how house prices have risen and fallen but, in the moment, there is no way to tell if your strategy has worked.

The truth is that UK house prices fluctuate all the time and in response to an enormous number of influencing factors. From basic economic-recessionary cycles and growth to socio-political reasons.

Here, we can see the trends of the average house price in the UK over the last thirty years. There is variability in prices over the decades with the sharpest change occurring during the period 2006-2011. This coincided with the global financial crisis and followed a period of slow down for house price inflation.

A similar (but less marked) reversal occurred between 1990-1992 as the UK moved through a period of recession.

The commonly-held opinion by many economics advisors remains, that, given the long term above-inflation rise in house prices, property is a safe investment. This is true for homeowners but also for other investors and for property developers. This is even more the case when interest rates are low and alternative investment opportunities become less attractive.

average house prices uk since 1987

Brexit: The Elephant in the Room

We couldn’t put together an opinion piece of this nature without addressing the ‘elephant in the room’ and, whilst the word ‘Brexit’ is as unpopular as Christmas adverts in June, the fate of the UK’s economy post-departure from the EU is of prime concern for all of us. However, the speculation, just like the run up to Y2K is polarised in its opinions. Some believe that Brexit will have a huge impact on house prices in the UK whilst others believe that the current (and growing) domestic demand for housing is enough to keep the market buoyant.

brexit uk property prices

Image via Pixabay.

There is no doubt that the process of Brexit is an uncertain period and one that is expected to continue for a long period. Although the deadline for the framework of the UK’s departure from the EU must be completed by 11pm on Friday March 29th 2019, a 21-month transition period has been agreed until the end of 2020. The transitional period is expected to lessen the immediate impact that Brexit will have on the economy.

So, what will a post-Brexit world, look like for the UK property market?

Chancellor, George Osbourne has predicted an 18% fall in house prices over the two years of the transitional period in the immediate aftershock of a post-Brexit dip in the economy. Some forecasters predict that this drop (if it happens) could be a very positive factor for the market and allow many first-time young renters the chance to get on the property ladder.

Popular BBC property analyst, Henry Pryor, has predicted that the impact of leaving Europe could be much less shocking than feared with a possible decline in prices of around 5% with some of this slow-down already having occurred in some areas of the country. Whilst house prices in London may have fallen by 1%, other areas of the country have seen healthy increases (6% in the Midlands and Scotland).

The likelihood of a ‘crash’ in the UK property market is, by most analysts’ reckoning, ‘very low’ and ultimately the supply of houses coming to market will still be driven by the three D’s in a post-Brexit world; Death, Divorce and Debts.

And our final word on Brexit? The impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union cannot be known in advance but the likelihood of a property ‘crash’ is very low and, even if the housing market recoils during this period, it is important to remember that owning a property is a long term investment. Peaks and troughs will be ridden out over a period of many years and as long as you can continue to afford the monthly repayments (see Mortgage Rates), your home is not at risk from fluctuations in the market.

Autumn Budget

In the Autumn 2018 Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced some good news for the UK’s property market. Since October 2017, first time buyers do not have to pay Stamp Duty on properties worth up to £300,000 and Philip Hammond has further extended this incentive to include first time buyers of Shared Ownership homes.

The result is likely to improve the number of new buyers at the bottom of the housing chain and this can only mean greater mobility for the rest of the market.

Since 2017, the abolishment of stamp duty in this bracket has helped an estimated 121,500 people to buy their first properties and has boosted the number of first time buyers to an 11 year high.


property boom uk property prices

The number of first-time buyers are at an 11-year high. Image via Pixabay.

In addition, the Government also extended the Help-to-Buy Scheme. Originally intended to come to an end in April 2021, this government loan initiative will now run until 2023. The additional impetus that this financing provides for first time buyers is an important one and has so far helped more than 420,000 people get on to the housing ladder.

Buying & Selling: Two Sides of the Same Coin

In a market where a sense of caution is being fostered, it is only natural for sellers to be anxious about the value of their home falling. However, it is important to look at the fact that any reduction in the sale price of a property will also be seen with a commensurate drop in the purchase price of a new home.

So, whilst a 5% drop in the sale price of your own £350,000 home may feel like a big loss of £17,500, a similar 5% decrease in the purchase price of your dream £500,000 property will realise you a £25,000 saving!

In Summary:

We believe that there are a number of good reasons why now is the perfect time to sell your home and trade up:

  • Number of first-time buyers on the market is at an 11-year high.
  • More incentives announced to increase the number of first-time buyers.
  • Mortgage rates are still low and borrowing is at its most affordable.
  • Impact of Brexit will be a gradual and transitional process
  • A fall in the value of house prices will see commensurate savings to be made on trading up to a bigger property.

At the end of the day, the decision to sell your home will have many influencing factors and only you can make that judgement call about whether it is the right time for you. However, we strongly believe that the current landscape of the UK property market is a favourable one and are continuing to help clients maximise their purchasing power to secure their dream homes for the future.

If you’d like to know more about the local housing markets, get a current valuation on your property and find out how you can take advantage of low interest rates to trade-up your home then contact us today on 0118 912 2370.

Thinking of Having an ‘Open House’? Pros and Cons

If you’re thinking of having an ‘Open House’ then you should read up on the pros and cons before setting a date.

Once considered an easy and hassle-free way to sell your home, ‘Open House’ days are popular with clients but not always embraced by agents or buyers. Used extensively in Real Estate listings in America, the UK has yet to adopt ‘Open House’ days as part of the estate agency culture. But why is this?

In this feature, we explore the pros and cons of an ‘Open House’ to help sell your home and give you all the information you need to decide whether an ‘Open House’ is right for you.

What is an ‘Open House’?

An ‘Open House’ is an event, usually planned by the buyer and/or their estate agent when viewings can be made of a property, without an appointment. Unlike typical viewings where estate agents firstly screen potential buyers and then show them around the property, an ‘Open House’ is what it suggests, an open invitation to prospective buyers.

However, you can also organise a pre-vetted ‘Open House’ where only those parties who have been invited may attend in block viewings.

An ‘Open House’ is usually held for a set period on a specific date which has been advertised in advance.

why hold an open house

An ‘Open House’ could be an opportunity to mass market your property…as long as the timing is right. Image via Pixabay.

What Are The Benefits of Holding an ‘Open House’?

There are a couple of reasons why having an ‘Open House’ to sell your home is a good idea.

The main benefit of holding an ‘Open House’ is that it can save time and effort when preparing your house for viewings. By having a bulk series of viewings on one day, you can focus your attention on making your property shine for its big moment. Traditional viewings, by prior appointment, can take place at short notice when you are least prepared and, sometimes, when it is not convenient.

‘Open House’ viewings are also known (on occasion) to raise the competitive element of buying a home. With enough marketing and a good turn-out, any potential buyers will immediately see the interest in your home. Anyone who is serious about property may be prepared to offer the full asking price and sometimes more in order to secure their dream home.

The Downsides of Having an ‘Open House’

There is no doubt at all that having an ‘Open House’ can mean a lot of preparation in advance and, if you want to make sure you present your home in the best possible light, it can take a lot of time and energy. Decluttering and stage your home are all essential ways to make it more appealing and an ‘Open House’ gives your property a prime spotlight.

having an open house day selling your home

Your house should be in pristine condition for its big day. Image via Pixabay.

However, compare this effort to having to do a last-minute clear and tidy a few hours before a traditional viewing. The latter will probably not be anywhere near as comprehensive a job as the former and, if you have to go through this process twenty times whilst your home is on the market then an ‘Open House’ could end up saving you time.

If you are holding them yourselves, ‘Open House’ days can be exhausting with a non-stop barrage of questions and queries, showing people around plus collecting follow up information and noting any negative feedback.

If your home has been on the market for a while then, the chances are, that the majority of buyers interested in owning property in your area at the price you are marketing for, have already seen the listing. If they haven’t already arranged a viewing then an ‘Open House’ is unlikely to tempt them in. In these circumstances, an ‘Open House’ is only likely to appeal to the following types of visitors:

  • Prospective buyers who are new to the market.
  • Neighbours who are curious.
  • Passers-by who are equally as curious.
  • Future buyers who are not currently looking to buy.
  • Other agents keen to find out why your home is not selling.
  • ‘Open House’ hobbyists. Yes, there are people who like to spend their weekends attending ‘Show Homes’ and ‘Open Houses’.
  • Potential burglars looking to scope out your property and opportunistic thieves who are looking to steal something on the day.

Lastly, holding an ‘Open House’ is not a silver bullet and managing your expectations is important to avoid disappointment. Whilst the event could rustle up some interesting leads, don’t expect to walk away from the day with a full asking price offer.

Why Having an Agent to Run an ‘Open House’ Day is a Good Idea

As we mentioned in the previous comments, holding an ‘Open House’ can be hectic and requires a lot of energy, knowledge and professionalism. Depending on how successful your marketing has been for your ‘Open House’, you could be escorting dozens of would-be-buyers around your home.

thinking of having an open house

An ‘Open House’ should be held by an experienced property professional. Image via Pixabay.

Not only could all of the people that turn up be the next potential owners of your property, but those that aren’t interested are extremely useful to a professional property agent in order to gauge how your home is faring in the eyes of the buyers.

Some buyers may see obstacles with your home and not everyone is forthcoming with their feedback. Sometimes it takes an experienced property professional to find out what the potential barriers to a sale are and help to remove them.

Collecting contact details of all the visitors to your home and following up after the day is essential to boost your chances of selling quickly and to keep the momentum any competitive spirit that the day evoked.

A professional agent will usually invite pre-screened visitors and manage the flow of people in your home. They will field questions, collect feedback and personal data and encourage would-be-buyers to talk about their current position.

A good agent will also advise you on how to manage the security on the day, ensuring that all your valuables are kept under lock and key.

Why The Timing of Holding an ‘Open House’ is Essential

Holding an ‘Open House’ when your property has been on the market for some time is not generally considered a good idea unless this is accompanied with a drop in the asking price. The act of lowering your price widens the chances of your home being looked at via online searches and an ‘Open House’ will encourage a new selection of buyers to come and view your property.

If you are new to market and conditions favour the seller rather than buyer, then an ‘Open House’ is considered an excellent way to start your marketing campaign off. If you do not hold any viewings until the day of the ‘Open House’ then sufficient interest can be roused with your advertising and the day can be a big success.

working with property assistant sell your home fast

Why choose Property Assistant to help you decide on an ‘Open House’? Image via Pexels.

Why Choose Property Assistant?

We like to think that working with Property Assistant is like working with family; with people that you can trust. Some agents are happy to suggest holding an ‘Open House’ because it is what the seller wants and it generates a promotional day where they get to talk to plenty of prospective buyers whom they can sell other houses to (maybe not yours).

As professional estate agents, we only ever provide services to our clients that we know they need, whether that’s in our interests or not. Choosing to host this kind of sale day is a big commitment and we would always talk through the pros and cons of having an ‘Open House’ with you so that you know what to expect.

For more information about the way we work with clients to maximise the selling-potential of their home, contact us today on 0118 912 2370.

Full Disclosure: What You MUST Tell Prospective Buyers When Selling Your Home

Trading laws in the UK have always been strict about what you can and cannot do in order to sell something. Whether it is the weights and measurements enforcement act, CE marking or selling goods to minors, legislation is in place to protect the consumer. But, did you know that, when it comes to selling a property, there are also certain standards you must comply with?

In this feature, we take a look at the issue of disclosure and what you have to tell a prospective buyer when selling your home.

The Myth of ‘Caveat Emptor’

There is plenty of Latin in our legal systems and the phrase ‘caveat emptor’ (meaning, ‘buyer beware’) is one that exists as a fall back for many sellers, particularly in residential property sales. The principle is a simple one; the buyer alone is responsible for checking the suitability and quality of something before they purchase it.

However, consumer law in the UK has moved away from this traditional model and caveat emptor can only be applied up to a point.

what you must disclose when selling your home caveat emptor

Buyers must take the necessary steps to ensure they know what they are buying but caveat emptor does not always protect the seller. Image via Blue Diamond Gallery.

The Property Information Form

The Property Information Form is a standard part of the conveyancing process and is the official document where information must be laid out by the seller for the buyers information. Most of the questions asked on this form cannot be answered by any other form of search or survey and is therefore the responsibility of the seller to complete as fully and as accurately as possible.

Also known as the TA6, the form requires details in the following areas:

  • Boundaries including notices received or issues under the Party Wall Act.
  • Disputes and complaints with neighbouring properties and/or landowners.
  • Notices and proposals issued by neighbours, councils or government departments which may affect the property or a nearby property.
  • Alterations, planning and building control such as planning permissions, listed building consents and building regulations consents and completion certificates.
  • Guarantees and warranties for works completed such as damp proofing, timber treatment, electrical work, underpinning and roofing.
  • Insurance including whether the property is subject to any special conditions, unusually high premiums or high excesses. The seller should also state whether they have made any claims on the property.
  • Environmental matters such as flooding, Radon and Japanese knotweed. This section also requires evidence from the latest Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
  • Rights and informal arrangements including shared driveways, drains etc, joint ownership of parts of the land, rights to mines and minerals, chancel repair plus any leases on the land or parts of the property.
  • Parking including any local authority parking schemes in place around the property.
  • Other charges such as service charges, ground rent and maintenance (often applies to leasehold premises only).
  • Occupiers. Sellers must supply information of all permanent residents of the property that are aged over 17 including dependents, lodgers and tenants.
  • Services such as the electrical installation, central heating system (where applicable), drainage and sewerage including any cess pits, septic tanks and associated soakaways.
  • Connection to utilities and services including information about the mains gas, electricity, water supply and sewerage as well as telephones and cable providers.
  • Transaction information. This is where the seller commits to any requirements about a specific moving date
property information form and what you must tell buyers

Make sure you complete the TA6 to the best of your ability and have provided as much evidence as possible. Image via Pixabay.

All of the information provided in this form must be backed up with copies of the corresponding paperwork such as FENSA, NHBC, Gas Safe certificates, building consents, Competent Persons Certificates etc.

It is a requirement of law that if there is more than one party selling the property that all sellers complete (or check the answers) and sign the form.

Any subsequent changes to the detail provided in the TA6, after you have completed it, must be advised to the conveyancing solicitors. Failure to complete the form accurately or supplying incorrect information can result in an incomplete, failed or reversal of the contract and the transaction.

What You MUST Tell Your Buyers

Given the extensive information that you must legally provide on the TA6 Property Information Form, you should always ensure that you do not mislead your buyers before they make an offer. Doing so can result in lengthy delays to the contract process and even failed transactions. Failure to provide (or to lie about) information relating to those areas detailed above can ever result in your being sued (see below).

neighbour argument what to tell buyers when selling house

If you are involved in a dispute with your neighbours over boundary issues, parking or otherwise then you must tell your buyers. Image via Wikimedia.

With this in mind, it is in your best interests to make sure that prospective buyers and the agents representing you make clear any defects, issues or special particulars which relate to the sale of your home. This can include (but is not limited to):

  • Feuds with neighbours.
  • Cracks appearing in your walls.
  • Any alterations to the building particularly if you don’t have the relevant building control completion certificates.

Consequences of Misrepresentation

If you deliberately misrepresent your property, by lying on the Property Information Form, concealing major defects or by providing false information to buyers (either directly or via your estate agent) then you could find your self on the wrong side of the law. The Misrepresentation Act 1967 shifts the burden of responsibility from the buyer (caveat emptor) to the seller. Effectively this means that, if your buyer suspects that you lied on the paperwork or presented your property in a misleading way then it is up to the seller to prove otherwise and not the other way around.

what to tell buyers when selling a house

Failure to tell your buyers something significant during the sale could lead to your being sued and the contracts reversed. Image via Pixabay.

It is important to note here that a verdict of misrepresentation can be found by the courts for both fraudulence and negligence as well as a more innocent fail-safe of ignorance.

Being sued, post-sale, by your buyer could lead to a reversal of the contract meaning that you would need to buy back your property and cover your buyers’ expenses. This could include mortgage interest as well as legal costs.

The Role of an Estate Agent

When you appoint a third party to act on your behalf to market and sell your home then it is vitally important that you advise the individual (or company) of any matters which may come up on the TA6. If they are to act on your behalf, then they should know whether there are any issues which may come up so they can advise you (and your buyers) accordingly.

Concealing information from your agent can also be considered misrepresentation and can significantly delay the process of selling your home. Don’t forget that some issues could also affect the valuation you receive against your property.

estate agents and what you must tell your buyers when selling

You must give your estate agent the full picture about your home, warts and all, if they are to represent you faithfully. Image via Pixabay.

And finally, pleading ignorance is no defence in the case of withholding pertinent information about the circumstances, state and condition of the sale of your home. As the legal title deeds holder, it is your responsibility to be forthcoming with the facts.

An experienced and reliable estate agent will be able to advise you on the best way to navigate the marketing and sale of your property in respect of any flaws, issues and missing certification. They should be able to do this within the law and acting in your best interests as well as realising the best value for your home.

Here at Property Assistant, we take great pride in our reputation for honesty, integrity and performance. Not only can we ensure that your home achieves the best market value, but we can also advise on how best to market your home when it is in a less than perfect condition, subject to special conditions or even if you have an ongoing dispute with neighbours.

To find out more about why our clients put their trust in us, contact us today on 0118 912 3270.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.


A Comprehensive Guide to House Moving Fees from Stamp Duty to Removal Costs

With the average UK home costing £253,521 (June 2018), buying a property is, for most people, the single biggest expense they will ever have to pay out. Whilst most people will rely on a mortgage to cover much of this expenditure, there are plenty of other costs associated with a house move which are important to factor in.

In this guide, we’ve taken a comprehensive view of all the costs associated with moving house so you know how much money you really have to buy your next home with.

Before you even begin looking at the market to consider a property, it is imperative that you understand what price range you can afford and this should include, not only the extent of the mortgage that you can be approved for but also, the associated costs of moving.

house buying and selling fees

There are lots of costs associated with buying and selling a home. Have you considered them all? Image via Pixabay.

If you are a first-time buyer then you won’t need to factor in costs such as estate agency selling fees but all buyers will need to consider costs such as:

  • Deposit
  • Mortgage arrangement fee
  • Stamp duty
  • Legal fees
  • Survey costs
  • Removal fees
  • Solicitors costs

And that’s just covering the main elements of a property purchase. Depending on the type of property you are buying, the kind of mortgage you are arranging and even the process of where you buy (such as an auction), there may well be additional charges that apply.

So, in order to understand what you can afford, let’s start by looking at the financial side of buying and selling a property.

Arranging a Mortgage

Most lenders do not offer 100% mortgages anymore and you will have to have a deposit to put down against the purchase of your home. Depending on the mortgage you arrange, this is usually upwards of 5% of the agreed price of your home.

Your mortgage lender will usually agree to fund the rest as long as you can meet the monthly repayments. Applying a ‘stress test’, lenders assess an applicant’s income along with fixed outgoings and assess the current (and future) rates at which the borrowing is calculated.

They will also assess your credit history and any debts that you have before giving you an idea of what they can lend you.


Many mortgage lenders will charge an arrangement fee to set up your loan, but this is often added to the cost of your mortgage rather than being an upfront charge. However, if you use a mortgage broker or an independent financial adviser then there may well be fees associated with using their services. Some receive commission from lenders based on their recommendations whilst others make a direct charge to the customer.

You should also be aware that some lenders insist on obtaining an independent valuation of a property but this too is often added to the cost of your overall loan. Such a report can cost from £150 to £1500.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Also known as SDLT, this is a tax payable to the UK government when you purchase any residential property over the value of £125,000.

Since 2014, the rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax is applied on the proportion of the value of the property that falls into each charging band. The level of tax also varies if you are buying a second home or a buy-to-let property.

The current rates of SDLT are as follows:

Property (lease transfer) value First Property Additional Properties
Up to £40,000 0% 0%
£40,001 to £125,000 0% 3%
£125,001 to £250,000 2% 5%
£250,001 to £925,000 5% 8%
£925,001 to £1.5 million 10% 13%
Over £1.5 million 12% 15%

For example, if you purchased a house for £350,000 then you would pay zero tax on the first £125,000, 2% tax on the £124,999 that falls into the second bracket with the remainder (£100,000) being charged at 5%. The total stamp duty would therefore be £7,500.

First time buyers do not pay SDLT if the property they are purchasing is £300,000 or less.

SDLT is payable within 30 days of completion of contracts and is usually handled by your conveyancing solicitor.

Capital Gains Tax

You may have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the sale of a property which isn’t your primary residence, for instance a buy-to-let home, inherited property or business premises.

The rate of CGT is dependent on your tax-free allowances but is currently 18% on any profits which fall within the basic Income Tax band and 28% on any amount above this band.

Removal Fees

Most property purchases (and sales) will necessitate some kind of removal fees. Whether you simply hire a large van yourself and bribe a few friends and family who can help you move your belongings or pay for a full packing and removal service there is a cost involved.

Professional removals companies can charge from £500-£1500 for their services and usually include full insurance for any damage, both to the old and new property as well as your belongings.

Van hire can cost a lot less and you might be able to hire a small van for just £50-£150.

Legal Fees

When purchasing (and selling) a property, you must appoint a conveyancing solilctor to act on your behalf. Your representative handles the contract paperwork and the transaction process upon completion of the sale.

house buying fees land registry

A convenyancing solicitor handles all the legal side of your house sale and purchase including lodging change of title deeds with the Land Registry. Image via Wikimedia.

There are two types of fees that are payable to a conveyancing solicitor; direct legal fees and disbursements. The former are charges levied by your representative for work undertaken and are often calculated on a fixed fee basis although some do charge hourly. The latter are fees that are payable to third parties and include:

  • Obtaining Title Deeds – £6 (freehold) or £25 (leasehold). Additional copies £3
  • Land registry ownership transfer fees – approximate cost £200-300
  • Searches (local, drainage and environmental) – approximate cost £250-300
  • Transfer fees – charged to electronically transfer funds from your lender to the vendors solicitors. Typically, around £40-50.

These charges are common to all conveyancers, but the direct legal fees vary depending on who you instruct to act on your behalf. However, you should factor a cost of between £300 and £1500 depending on whether you are buying or selling only or both; the figure will depend on the nature of the sale and whether there are any complicating factors such as foreign currency, unregistered land etc.

As with an IFA, mortgage lender and removals company, it is best to get a few quotes to ensure that you get the best conveyancing deal.

Survey Costs

Your mortgage company may stipulate the minimum level of survey required in order to release funding for your new property with a valuation survey costing anywhere from £150-£1500 (see Arranging a Mortgage, above).

However, even in the absence of a mandatory need for a survey, all homeowners are recommended to obtain a survey that is appropriate to the age and type of property they are buying. There are three main options:

  • A RICS Homebuyer Report which costs around £400 and is a basic inspection or £250 for new build (known as a condition report). This kind of report is normally recommended for buildings under 10 years old.
  • A Home Condition Survey which offers a more detailed inspection of a property and identifies defects along with possible solutions. You should expect to pay around £500 for a survey of this nature. This level of survey is suitable for properties under 50 years old and which are a traditional design and build.
  • A full structural survey that is more extensive in its detail. Best used for buildings over the age of 50 years old or that have been designed and built outside of the ‘norm’, a survey of this nature can cost at least £600 but for more complex properties may be over £1000.
building survey fees guide to house moving

Building surveys vary in cost but you should always opt for one that is right for your home not just your budget. Image via Wikimedia.

Other Fees

Depending on the type of property you are buying, the mortgage you arrange or the circumstances, there may well be additional costs to factor in, including:

  • Insurance – Some properties may require specialist insurance policies, particularly those that are at risk or have been subject to subsidence, flooding or other issues. Some insurance companies may insist on a survey of things like drains, trees or foundations prior to issuing cover.
  • Indemnities – if you sell your house without the relevant certification for matters like double glazing, electrical works or building certification then your buyer may wish to take out a policy to insure themselves, the cost of which is usually charged to the seller.
  • Leasehold fees – if you are purchasing a leasehold property then you may have to pay your annual ground rents and other service charges up front. Your estate agent should be able to advise you of these costs.
  • Post Redirection – don’t forget to have your mail redirect from your old address to your new.
  • Cleaning fees – if you are selling a home or leaving a tenanted property then you will need to ensure that the house is clean upon handover. Whilst you may want to save money to do this yourself, it can be easier and less stressful to have someone else do this for you. A professional company can clean carpets, kitchen appliances and windows etc for less than you might think. It might be worth considering if you are relying on a landlord returning your deposit for you.
  • Storage costs – not all moves are to upsize with some families, couples and individuals downsizing their property. If you are doing this and haven’t completed the process of depleting your belongings then you might need to pay for storage until you unpack the majority of your stuff.
  • Kennels – if you have pets then packing, moving and unpacking can be a stressful time. You may have to rely on family and friends to look after animals such as cats, dogs or small caged furries. If you don’t have access to this kind of support then you may need to budget for boarding facilities until your new home is ready to welcome your four-legged friends.

Moving home can be an expensive and challenging experience and is regularly ranked as one of the most stressful life events you can encounter. Here at Property Assistant, we want to make the process of buying and selling a home as stress-free as possible. We go the extra mile to make sure our customers achieve the best price for their home so they can afford to make their budget go further on moving day.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you maximise the market value of your property and secure the best price for your new home then contact us today on 0118 912 3270.

Don’t forget, you can also download our free copy of the Home Buyer’s Guide for simply registering for our newsletter.

Featured image via Public Domain Pictures.

Should You Conduct Your Own Viewings?

Conducting your own viewings is becoming increasingly more common in the property market. Whether you are marketing your own home, using an online agency or are just open to the idea of showing potential buyers around your property, we look at the pros and cons. We also give you some tips about how to conduct your own viewings safely.

Conduct Your Own Viewings: Pros

The principle reason that makes conducting your own viewings a benefit is that you are the most knowledgeable person about your home. Not only can you answer any questions that potential buyers might have about the property but you also know the local area. From questions about school catchments, local bus services and facilities through to neighbours, parking and planning consents, you will have the information readily available.

do you own viewings

A lot of people like the idea of showing their own home but are you prepared for all the questions? Image via Flickr.

If you are asked a question during a viewing then you should always answer it as honestly and as accurately as possible. It is a criminal offence to mislead buyers about important factors during the sale of your home.

The other major benefit of being available to meet buyers yourself is the availability and flexibility that you can offer which might not otherwise be available, Most good agents will try to accommodate the times requested by potential buyers but with a busy schedule or a clash of timings, may not always be able to do so.

Conduct Your Own Viewings: Cons

The most obvious downside of conducting your own viewings is the fact that you have to deal with your buyers direct. Whilst you may very well be the best person to conduct a tour of your home, not everyone feels comfortable doing so. Estate agents are used to dealing with strangers and are well-practiced and knowing when to let the property speak for itself and when to interject with useful information.

Some people do not feel safe conducting their own viewings and would prefer a professional to take responsibility for receiving visitors as well as pre-screening potential buyers.

pros own viewings

Not everyone feels comfortable inviting strangers into their home. Image via Flickr.

Professional estate agents are well-practiced at conducting property viewings and will understand the best way to prepare a tour that shows your home off to its best. They will also use the time with buyers to get a feel for what elements of the home are working and those that might be off-putting. If you undertake all of your own viewings then you may not get important feedback and advice.

Whilst it can seem like fun to undertake the viewings yourself, it can take up a lot of your time and the appointments might not always be at the most convenient of times. If you are busy and need to get away then this can negatively effect the quality of the viewing itself. Rushed buyers will feel harassed and may leave before really appreciating your home.

Tips About Hosting Your Own Viewings

If you are not using an agent to sell your home then it is essential that you approach viewings with caution in order to stay safe.

  • Always secure information about the person/people who are attending a viewing. Get some personal information from them such as full name, current address and a contact telephone number. It is also useful to establish their current position in terms of moving status. Screening prospective buyers will help give you useful information if they are interested in your property but is also a safety measure.
  • Give the house a clean before your appointments and try to give it an air by opening some windows.
  • Make sure you advise someone else that you are hosting a viewing or, better still, have someone with you when your prospective buyers turn up. However, it is usually best if you do not have a whole house full of people. Buyers can feel like they are interrupting family time and not be inclined to spend as long viewing your home.
  • Where possible, you should conduct your own viewings during daylight hours; most buyers prefer to see a property when it is light.
  • Keep valuables and sensitive personal information out of sight. Whilst nobody likes to believe that people would take advantage of you in your home and being distrustful is not a comfortable position to start a viewing from, it is sensible to keep valuables and things like bank statements hidden from away.
  • Always secure your property after a viewing, in the unlikely instance that a prospective buyer is a potential burglar then you would be advised to ensure that all windows and doors are locked after they have left. Even check those points of entry that you may not have unlocked.
stay safe own viewings

It’s a sensible idea to keep valuables safely hidden away. Image via Pixabay,

If you are hosting your own viewings then you should always make sure that interested parties know what to do after the viewing is over. If you are using an estate agent, then you should refer them to your contact there. You should also contact your agent yourself and let them know that the potential buyers turned up and how the viewing went.

Based in Winnersh, Property Assistant provides a comprehensive home sale package across the Thames Valley which includes a full hosting service. We go to great lengths to accommodate the demands of our sellers to ensure that your home gets the maximum exposure to quality buyers. We are happy to work with vendors who want to conduct their own viewings as well as arrange open days.

To discuss our home sales services in more detail, contact us today on 0118 912 2370.

Featured image via Pixabay.


How NOT to Present Your Home: A Picture Guide

With the advent of the internet, the process of selling homes has changed considerably. Most listings now have a considerable number of external and internal images. Combined with Google Earth, 360o tours and floorplans, buyers can conduct a virtual viewing without leaving their own home.

Though this can improve the reach of your potential audience, it is a double-edged sword. Get your property listing done properly and you can convert these browsers into genuine viewings. Get something wrong and you will find a huge drop in the expected number of potential buyers.

Unfortunately, not everyone gets property listings right, but we can turn their mistakes into a fun learning exercise for us all. Want to know exactly what we mean, take a closer look at the featured image above.

So, with that in mind, here is our guide to what not to do when you are listing and presenting your home online.

Oh, and all of these examples have been taken from genuine online property listings!

Always Use High Quality Images

There are several mistakes you can make when preparing your property listing. The first is ignoring the power of high quality images over poor ones.

In an age when digital editing is widely available and mobile phones have excellent resolution cameras, there is no excuse for poor quality imaging and editing.

Here’s some examples of when people listed using photos that were substandard.

bad photoshop image estate agent

There is no doubt that agents will prefer to take external pictures on a bright sunny day but this is taking Photoshop to a new level! The edge of the world kind…


good quality images estate agents

There is never any excuse for the ‘finger’ in any property listing photograph. Schoolboy error.


bad photos estate agents

Every photo should have a point and help to sell your home. Even Alan Titchmarsh wouldn’t find this photo illuminating. The worrying  thing about this listing is there was only one photo….we are a little scared about what the property looked like!


bad images sell home

If we need to explain why this picture won’t sell your home then we may need to start with something more basic…like an eye test!


bad estate agent photo listings

If images need editing then leave it to the professionals!


bad estate agent pictures

Okay, so it’s not just the grainy quality of this image that is wrong but it quite nicely leads us onto the next issue with photographs.

Always Clean Up Before Taking Pictures

It might sound patronising but if pictures are the first impression that you give potential buyers of your home then you want to put your best foot forward. You wouldn’t show up on a first date wearing unclean and ripped clothes so give your home the best chance of someone falling in love with it by tidying up.

Though extreme, here are some examples of when people ignored this advice:

clean your house before taking pictures

Spare room clutter can build up but it’s not useful to show buyers how to play household Jenga.


poor photos estate agents

Okay, so this might be an extreme case but it does aptly illustrate why cleanliness is important when it comes to listing images of your home.

Quirky is Good but Doesn’t Always Sell Homes

We all have a bit of character in our property, it’s what makes them unique to us and what transforms a house into a home. However, they are not always the most useful of tools to endear a listing to potential buyers. Listings should always show off the property first. Look carefully at rooms to see if there is anything that could be off putting to buyers before taking a photograph.

Whilst not always a deal breaker, these images illustrate the need to be discerning about the content of a picture.

bad estate agents photos

A beautiful kitchen…shame about the cow.


how to present your home

Those ‘cute’ little touches might sometimes be a little off putting. It’s not everyone who appreciates a four-headed toy ‘mer-fish-doll’.


quirky photos homes

We dread to think what’s being prepared for dinner tonight?!

Review the Images You Use

The second big mistake is overlooking the content you are including in your images. You might be oblivious to the foibles, quirks and mess of a family home but to make a good impression, always make sure that every room is clean and free of any obvious ‘oddities’.

Here are our favourite examples of when people (and their agents) got it wrong…


bad estate agents photos how not to present your home

Don’t ignore the elephant (or deer) in the room when you are uploading pictures.


how not to present your home guide

By all means, clear surfaces but hiding things in plain sight is just lazy!


getting good quality images for property listings

Quality wood floor, not such great quality photography skills.


good images estate agent

Unintentional photo-bombing is not acceptable.


how not to photograph your home

Beautiful swimming pool…floating corpse not included!

Use a Professional

Here at Property Assistant, we understand the importance of professional, high quality images that showcase your home in its best light. Getting a property listing right can make the difference between achieving your home’s true market value or struggling to sell. And, whilst listing your home yourself might seem like a good money saving idea, if you want to get the best price for your home the you should consider using a professional.

If you are considering selling your home then we’d love to talk to you. Call us on 0118 912 2370 today to discuss our services and how you can benefit from being in competent hands.

All images courtesy of Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos.


Should You Sell Your House Fast For Cash?

Looking to sell your house fast for cash?

Whether you have been trying to sell your home for a while or need to shift a property fast, it can be tempting to consider a quick cash sale. There are plenty of companies on the market that offer a fast service by purchasing your home for you or finding a cash buyer at short notice. But is this the best way to sell your house fast and what are the pros and cons?

In this guide, we take a look a what kind of service is being offered when you sell your house fast for cash, the positives and the negatives as well as offer some alternatives.

Benefits of Using a Quick House Sale Company

A quick house sale company is an organisation, agency or individual who will offer to purchase your home or find a third party to do so. They usually offer to pay cash thus speeding up the process of completing an exchange of contracts.

The service is a useful one for homeowners who need to unlock the cash in their homes very quickly. This could be for many different reasons including financial difficulty, swift disposal following marital breakdown or an unexpected relocation due to work or health reasons.

sell your house fast for cash

Most people would bite the hands off a cash offer to sell their home quickly. Image via Pixabay.

For others, it might be the result of a long period of trying to selling their home via the traditional route and wanting to sell in a hurry to secure another property.

For other people, the rapid service can be a useful way to dispose of inherited property to settle probate finances.

The major benefit of using these services is the rapid turnaround from offer to completion which can suit a lot of people. Most sales do not involve any chain and there is usually very little that can prevent contracts from completing within 4-6 weeks.

Some companies also offer to pay all your fees for you including searches and solicitors costs.

Downsides of Using a Quick House Sale Company

The principle downside when you sell your house fast for cash is a financial one and the only reason companies like these will be interested in your property is if they can make a profit on it.

According to the government’s Money Advice Service, the typical cash value achieved via these companies is around 75% of the true market value. This may seem like a very steep sum to pay for achieving a quick sale and may not stack up with some of the claims made by some companies in their advertising. However, the final sum paid does not always match the initial offer made.

There is the added downside that, though many sell your house fast for cash companies purport to offer a ‘hassle-free’ service, there can still be delays in the process. The sale process must be proceed in a conventional way and is therefore subject to some of the same hold-ups that happen in traditional conveyancing.

money advice service sell your house for cash

The Money Advice Service state that typical sale prices are 75% of the true market value. Image via website.

Lastly, there is plenty of anecdotal and reported evidence to suggest that it is common for the initial offer price to be reduced close to the exchange date. Though this can happen in the ordinary process of a house sale as a result of unexpected findings from a survey, the extent of these price drops can be significant.

The Money Advice Service reports a recent case study where a homeowner accepted an offer of £120,000 for his property which was reduced to £80,000 just days before the deal was due to be signed.

Sell your House Fast for Cash: The Process

When you initially make an enquiry to a quick house sale company, you may well be quoted an initial offer against the value of your home. This can range from a reduction in the market value of between 5% and 25%. If you receive a quote for 95% of the value of your home in cash with a guaranteed turn around of 4-6 weeks, you may be tempted to accept the offer.

Firstly, it is important to get a clear idea of the value of your home. Whilst some of these fast sale companies may value your home for you, clearly it is imperative that you get an independent assessment so that you can accurately judge the offer on the table.

sell your house for cash

It is crucial that you know the true value of your home before you consider any cash offers. Image via Flickr.

It is worth remembering however that surveys can throw up any number of issues and it is common for the initial offer to be replaced before the exchange of contracts. If the revised offer is too low then you will have wasted several weeks in the process.

As if this weren’t enough to put potential sellers off, some quick house sale companies make it a part of the initial agreement that you may not sell your home to another party for a fixed period of time without incurring penalty charges to them.

Unfortunately, this area of selling a home is not regulated so there are few protections that any industry body can offer you when you are using the services of a sell your house fast for cash company. However, you can mitigate this risk by only looking at those companies who are registered with the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB). A not-for-profit organisation, customers of companies who are registered with this body can access independent redress in the case of any complaints.

Alternatives to Using a Quick House Sale Company

Of course, there are other ways to sell your house fast, the most secure way being via a reputable estate agency.

If you are looking to sell your house fast for cash then doing so on the open market via an agent offers plenty of advantages over a quick house sale company, including:

  • Professional accreditation and full redress
  • Transparency of offer and contract process
  • Independent advice and support
  • Better chance of securing competitive value

The chances are that, if you are prepared to accept a reduction in the value your property can be sold quickly and, often, at far less of a reduction in price than the typical 25% offered by quick house sale companies.

You might also wish to consider selling your home at auction with a minimum asking price. Auctions are a pot-luck when it comes to the achieved sale price but, as long as your reserve has been met, are an almost guaranteed way to sell a property. You could be fortunate and achieve a higher sale price than you were expecting.

sell your house fast at auction

Selling your house at auction might be a good alternative. Image via Pixabay.

Using a Sell Your House Fast For Cash Company: Advice

If you do decided to go down the route of selling your house through a quick house sale company then remember the following advice:

  • Always get everything in writing; valuations, survey results, fees etc. Never accept any verbal assurances.
  • Shop around. There are plenty of companies to choose from so review feedback, fees and always look for a company that is registered with The Property Ombudsman.
  • Get some independent advice. Always seek an independent valuation of your property to determine how fair the offer made on your home is. You should also ensure that you appoint your own legal adviser. Though some companies will ask you to use their own conveyancing team (to speed things up), they cannot force you to do so. You would be well-advised to have independent legal advice.
  • Read the contract carefully. Make sure that you are not signing up for a long tie-in or that there are any clauses that could cost you downstream.
  • Take your time. Though you may be in a hurry to sell, always make sure that you give due consideration to the legal paperwork and don’t be pressured into making any decisions over the phone. Some companies have a reputation for being skilled at last minute negotiations to reduce the price. Taking advantage of some people’s need for instant cash can lead to significant drops in the sale price.
  • Be honest. You should never withhold any information pertaining to the sale of your property as this can delay or jeopardise any contract. Be upfront about known problems, issues and information to avoid hold-ups later on.

If you would like some more advice on how to sell your house fast, contact us today to discuss your options. We are happy to give you some impartial advice on the ways you can get a faster sale without needing to resort to a sell your house fast for cash company.

Not only can we market your home for a fast sale but we also work with a new company in the UK that guarantees completion between buyer and seller. To find out more about this, and other services, call us on 0118 912 2370.

You might find our other posts on ‘Top Tips For Getting Your House Ready for Sale’ and ‘5 Reasons Your House Might Not Be Selling‘ useful.

Featured image via Flickr.

Slash the Risk of House Sales Falling Through

Buying and selling a home in England and Wales currently offers a potential pit of problems with up to 38% of house sales falling through. The legal system is drawn out and both buyers and sellers can walk out on an agreement at any time up to the exchange of contract. More than a fifth of property owners have experienced gazumping and lost time and money on a property due to the seller being tempted by the offer of more money.

The whole system has long been the subject of criticism from both industry professionals and consumers themselves. According to HM Department of Business, Innovation and Skills – 70% of house-hunters would favour a change to the system to eliminate gazumping.

So, is there a better way?

The Current System

The current system in England and Wales, an offer on a property is worthless until the contracts have been exchanged and this important point in the contract process can take many months to reach.

house selling broken chain

Estate agents do their best to keep the chain together but they can fall apart at any time up to the point of exchange. Image via Pixabay.

In 2017, over one in four house sales fell through due to a break in the chain. The reasons for a chain falling down can be due to many things, including:

  • Buyer changing their mind
  • Lender refusing borrowing
  • Buyer trying to renegotiate sale price
  • Issues with a survey

The prime reason is due to the deal not progressing fast enough and sellers pulling out. Some of the delays are a result of buyers and sellers in the chain needing time to secure a property but much of the time is attributed to the conveyancing process.

According to figures released by HM Treasury, consumers spend £270 million each year on failed housing transactions.

Until the contracts have been exchange, your offer agreement can be subject to change with the practice of gazundering and gazumping being, sadly, all too common.

What’s the Alternative?

Many property professionals know that the current system is full of flaws but, there is another way!

Property Assistant is pleased to be working with a brand-new partner offering an easy solution to buying and selling a property in the UK. This innovative and effective service offers full transparency and certainty for both parties.

Voted Proptech Company of the Year in 2017, our partners offer a groundbreaking and game-changing service, where buyers can:

  • Reduce the risks of a sale falling through
  • Eliminate gazundering or gazumping
  • Prevent time wasters
  • Save months on conveyancing time
  • Enter a legally binding contract on acceptance of an offer

Former Chairman of the Property Ombudsman Service, Bill McClintlock, had this to say about the service:

“If buyers and sellers enter into the agreement this will reduce the risk and make the sale more certain to complete. This must be in the consumer’s interest and as such I would welcome such a move.”

How Does it Work?

The service works by accelerating the legal process with the majority of the paperwork being prepared in advance in a simple but accessible way.

Designed to remove the stress and uncertainty of buying or selling a home, the service is instantly binding on both parties. Effectively putting the title deeds into Escrow once an offer has been accepted and a survey is underway, the service fast tracks the prices of title verification and exchange happens immediately.

Once the agreement has been made, buyers and sellers both get a 14-day cooling off period but, after that, the deal is secure.

sell your home with confidence

With so many parties involved, and the value of the ‘handshake’ over a legal agreement being worthless, can make buying and selling a huge gamble. mage via Pixabay.

How Much Does it Cost?

Both the buyer and the seller pay £250 (buyer pays upfront, seller pays on completion) to seal their offer and insure the contract process. It is a small sum to pay for the assurance that your agreement is legally binding and will happen more quickly. A house sale falling through can certainly cost significantly more than this amount in repeated survey costs and wasted time. This is particularly important for first time buyers who have saved hard for t heir deposit and fees.

Find Out More About A Fresh Way to Buy and Sell Your Home

If you want to consider a fresh way to market your home with a fast route to exchange, then contact Property Assistant today on 0118 912 2370 for a free appraisal of your property.

Featured image via Pixabay.


Estate Agents: Online Agency vs Traditional Agency

How do you compare an online agency vs traditional agency to sell your home?

With the rise in online searches being the most popular way to find a home, online estate agencies have become a popular choice for many people looking to cut costs on fees.

But what are the benefits of choosing an estate agent from an online agency vs traditional agency?

Online Agencies: Pros

One of the principle reasons that most home sellers choose an online agency is down to the low rates they charge. Most online agencies offer a service for a fixed fee which can be significantly lower than the traditional commission structure of traditional high-street agencies.

save money online estate agency

Saving money is a key motivator for using an online estate agency but the service may not cover all aspects of your house sale. Check the details of the agreement. Image via Pixabay.

One of the reasons they can charge lower rates is that much of the process of selling your home, including the preparation of a property’s particulars, taking photographs, listing the details online and, crucially, arranging and carrying out viewings is done by you.

This last point can be a perceived as a major benefit for sellers especially those who prefer to manage their time.

With so much being undertaken by the seller themselves, you might be wondering what exactly the online agencies do for their (albeit lower) fixed fee.

Well, aside from the obvious exposure your property receives on one (or more) of the main property search sites like Zoopla or RightMove, some (but not all) will also provide the following within their fees:

  • Free valuation (based on statistical data)
  • Check buyers ID prior to viewings
  • Validate all offers
  • Handle negotiations
  • Drawing up a memorandum of sale
  • Provide conveyancing monitoring through exchange and completion

It is worth noting that some online agencies can undertake viewings for you as well as arranging for professional floorplans, photographs and a physical valuation. These can sometimes be charged in addition to the base fee.

Lastly, some online agencies offer services that vendors (and buyers) can access via an online portal. Available 24/7, this database provides sellers with up-to-date information and analysis on how many people are viewing their property’s particulars, how many enquiries have been made and how any offers are progressing.

Online Agencies: Cons

There is an obvious disadvantage with the services offered by online estate agencies and that is one of knowledge and physical involvement.

Although many are owned and operated by property professionals with a great deal of experience in the industry, just as many are not. This lack of experience can show when it comes to providing advice and support. From the very outset on property pricing, the way that a property is photographed, staged and marketed a lack of experienced input can significantly impact the value your home can command on the market.

When it comes to negotiations, there is nothing to compare to the experience of an estate agent who knows the local markets and has some first-hand experience dealing with the potential buyers; selling a house takes sales skills and this requires personal contact.

This element is also important when it comes to handling viewings (if your online agent doesn’t conduct viewings as part of their service) and whilst some people are happy to show strangers around their home, many are not.

The major downside when it comes to dealing with an online agency and one that is reported by most customers who have had a negative experience is one of after-sales care. Whilst many report good service up to the point that a sale has been agreed on a home, more report that the service afterwards can be inefficient. Despite popular portal services being available 24/7, the physical process of conveyancing still requires active management by an effective employee which, incidentally, must be a property professional. Certainly some online agencies offer after-sales care, but many do not.

Yes, online estate agency staff may not contact a buyer’s solicitor to chase up negotiations only those members of staff with a professional association. This can certainly slow the process down if only a handful of staff can perform this essential task.

Another downside to the online agency is their popularity and huge growth (as is the case with larger nationwide online agents). Taking on significant volumes of properties has left many under-prepared and their service can be diminished as a result.

Those attractive base fees can also add up so it’s worth checking what is and isn’t included within your contract. It may be an attractive prospect to list your home with an online agent for a few hundred pounds but less so if you have to factor in additional charges for floor plans, handling viewings and providing after-sales support.

online estate agency

An online agency can get your property to market swiftly but the property details may be down to you to provide. Image via Flickr.

Lastly, and worth bearing in mind if you have been attracted by the low prices, you usually have to pay online agency fees up-front with no refund if your home doesn’t sell. With six in ten homes in London coming off the market ‘unsold’, this is something to bear in mind.

Critically, paying up front does little to incentivise an online agent to see your property as they have already been paid.

Traditional Agencies: Pros

When it comes to the choice between online agency vs traditional agency, most traditional agents offer the same service that are available with an online agency but with some added extras and inclusions.

Your home is likely to be the most treasured possession you own and trust plays an important part of where you place the responsibility to sell it. Not only do you want to make sure that you realise its highest value but handing over the keys to someone who will perform the viewings is also essential. Traditional (or high street) estate agencies usually offer sellers the chance to meet their agent face to face.

sell your home yourself

Using an online agency to help you sell your home yourself could be a false economy if you don’t negotiate the best price with your buyer. Image via Pixabay.

Principally, a bricks-and-mortar estate agency can often bring valuable local knowledge which can be key when matching buyers to the right house. It can also have an impact on your asking price. Failing to maximise on local property prices and housing trends could mean your home languishing on the market for too long or not achieving the best price.

Unlike many online ‘estate agencies’ that often act simply as listings sites, a traditional agent is legally obliged to offer Government backed redress schemes to its customers meaning your sale is protected by strict regulations on conduct and service.

Lastly, when it comes to price, traditional estate agents generally only charge you when your home sells which gives them a huge motivation to work hard on your behalf; not only to secure the best offer but also to get the contracts completed. Their fees are usually fully inclusive and because they come out of the agreed sale price, you are never left out of pocket.

Traditional Agencies: Cons

For most sellers, the biggest negative about estate agents comes down to one of cost. Why pay more if you can get it done cheaper elsewhere?

Another downside with traditional agencies is their availability for viewings. Most will have a good portfolio of properties and set schedule for when they conduct viewings. Some agents fail to live up to the expectation of performing all viewings on your behalf and you may end up showing buyers around your home after all.

One of the main selling points for the bastion of high-street estate agents was always greater visibility. A few decades ago, their own websites, local newspaper advertising and mail marketing meant that only they could offer the best coverage for selling a property. Of course, nowadays most property searches begin online via the big property search sites like RightMove and Zoopla.

So, which type of estate agent is best, online or traditional?

There is no simple answer to this and when it comes to estate agents an online agency vs traditional agency can still throw up good and bad examples.

Of course, some people do have success with an online estate agent with many being happy to shoulder the extra responsibility of selling their own home. The beauty of the internet means that people are free to choose the solution that best suits their needs.

The key to choosing the best estate agent is to make sure you fully understand both the extent of the services being offered and the price you are going to pay. Do your research, get some recommendations and always interview an estate agent to get the facts of how they intend to sell your property for the best price most efficiently.

In the end, choosing an online agency vs traditional agency is about a personal preference but there might be another way…

Hybrid Estate Agencies

With a more creative and innovative focus, hybrid agencies offer a blend of both a traditional estate agency and an online one.  Though the blend of services and flexibility is in keeping with an agent based online, a hybrid offers those important commodities:

  • Local knowledge
  • Practical experience
  • Professional accreditation

Property Assistant is an independent and local agent working as part of the globally successful Keller Williams team. We think that we offer the best service available for selling your home; from competitive commission rates and high online visibility to personal yet professional service and an unrivalled knowledge of local markets.

If you would like to know more about the benefits of selling your home through Property Assistant then contact us today on 0118 912 2370

Featured image via Pixabay.

How to Get an Accurate Property Valuation

Want to know how to get an accurate property valuation?

As estate agents there is perhaps no question we are asked more than ‘What is my house worth?’ and why not? When you are selling your house you want to be sure that your property is valued correctly, not just to achieve the best price for your onward property purchase but also to avoid languishing on the market as a result of being overpriced.

Getting an Accurate Property Valuation

Many agents apply a ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach to valuing a property whilst some simply over value a house in order to secure a marketing contract with a new client. We think that an accurate property valuation is the foundation of successful property sale and getting it right isn’t rocket science but it does involve more than simply looking at Zoopla.

In this guide, we talk you through the process of reaching an accurate property valuation as well as the variables that can influence the price you should expect to achieve.

Check Achieved Sale Prices

Of course, the first port of call for any property valuation is to assess the sale cost of similar houses in the same area. It is important to point out that this is different to the price a property was marketed for. By this we mean that websites like Right Move and Zoopla simply advertise the price a house is being marketed at and not what has actually been achieved. The sellers of a property that is marked as ‘Sold’ at £499,000 may have accepted an offer of £465,000.

Using tools like the Land Registry’s Open Data index can tell you exactly how much money changed hands for any given property. However, this data is often published several months out of date as the prices are only updated in arrears once a sale has been completed. In effect, you are seeing the results of an offer on a property at least three months ago.

land registry price paid index property valuation

The Land Registry can help you find the actual prices paid for specific properties. Image via website.

Check Marketed Prices

To give some balance to the achieved sale prices, it is still worth looking at the value of homes being marketed at the moment. Using a tool like Property Bee you can see the history of any similar homes that have been marketed including any price reductions as well as any periods when a home was taken off the market before being listed again.

Compare Like for Like

Once you have an idea of what kind of prices are being achieved (and expected) in your area for similar homes, it is important to have a clear idea of how your own home compares. For instance, the average sale price of a three-bedroom semi-detached home in your area may well be £450,000 but if your home has extra reception rooms and a larger garden then an extra premium could be applied.

accurate property valuation

Make sure the property you are comparing prices for is similar to yours. Image via Flickr.

Get a Rough Online Guide

Get a ball park valuation using an online tool like this one from Property Price Advice. By updating relevant details, you can get an average price for your home based on some very rough approximations for your area.

Adjust for Variables

There are many homes that are quite similar such as terraced properties and housing developments built at the same time. However, there are always differences between homes such as condition, any extensions or modernisations plus presentation. All of these factors can affect an accurate property valuation.

If you have added a new kitchen and bathroom to your home or converted a loft then these things can all add value to your home. Likewise, a property that is need of refurbishment cannot expect to achieve a similar asking price to one that doesn’t.

Research the Market Trends

Of course, just as the figures from the Land Registry indicate what a house sold for some months ago, the figures available for houses on sale now may well be an indication of what the market looked like several weeks ago. You should do your research to find out what the property markets are doing generally and, more specifically, in your area.

House Price Crash is a good site for keeping an eye on national trends and they regularly publish data on issues which can affect the property industry.

house price valuation

You don’t need to be an expert on the HPI statistics but an informed feel for trends is a must. Image via Flickr.

Run the Numbers

Once you have collated all the variations of valuation and adjusted these to your own property (taking into consideration any factors which may influence the price of your home such as flood risk, proximity to busy roads etc) then you should have a reasonably clear range of prices from a top level to a bottom level with an average in between.

Price to Your Circumstances

Consider your circumstances carefully when you are deciding upon a valuation to market your home with. If you want to achieve a quick sale, then you may need to be prepared to lower your asking price. Likewise, if you are in no rush and need to achieve the maximum value of your home then you could take the risk of marketing your home at the top end of your valuation figure. The only thing to consider when doing this is that any price drops will be automatically registered. Too many price drops can indicate low confidence in a home and may make buyers more wary. Whilst we would never recommend marketing a home beyond the true value of its worth we do know that many buyers have a mentality of ‘you get what you pay for’. A property priced in an aspirational price bracket that is presented accordingly can fare well, with patience, for the right buyer.

If you would like an accurate property valuation for your home from an agent who understands the local market, then we would love to hear from you. Whether you are thinking of selling, re-mortgaging or just curious, call us today on 0118 912 2370.