Tag Archives: Housing market

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year written on red background with snowflakes and stars

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

With Christmas Day fast approaching we wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2017 has been another busy year for us at Check 4 Houses thanks to our fantastic clients. Over the past 12 months, we have saved our clients an astounding £248,000 when compared to standard agency fees. That’s an average of over £4,000 per sale. What would you do with the extra £4,000? It’s a long way towards a new kitchen or a new boiler.

Savings of over £10,000

Our single biggest saving for a client was £10,526 (excl VAT). We sold properties of all shapes and size during the year, with the most expensive sale at £735,000.

Many of the properties we sold were in our local area of Fleet, Frimley, Wokingham, Hook, Farnborough, Camberley and Aldershot, but we have also sold properties as far away as Southampton and London Docklands. Thanks to our internet-based approach we can sell properties anywhere in England from our head office in Fleet, Hampshire.

Going the extra mile for our clients

At Check 4 Houses we pride ourselves on our customer service, which means putting our clients first. This year, this has included even conducting viewings on Skype. Working for a client in Hong Kong, we walked around on Skype showing her the house, as she wasn’t able to view in person.

One sale we worked on was particularly challenging due to the number of cars on the road. Viewers consistently fedback that parking was an issue. After investigating the matter with the vendors and neighbours it turned out the two houses next door were trying to get permission to convert their front lawns into driveways, but one of the main service providers was not giving permission for a ‘box’ to be moved. Due to a personal contact, we were able to contact the service provider and get this authorised, so the work could be done. Once this was completed, the issue was resolved and a sale proceeded very quickly.

Ethical estate agency in Fleet

Whatever our sellers’ circumstances, we pride ourselves on our honest, professional approach and our personal contact from start to finish. As Mr Price from Fleet said “We discovered Check4Houses after viewing a property before selling our own. We hugely valued Paul’s experience of the area and honesty (a rarity I can tell you compared to some of the other independent high street agents in Fleet).  We marketed our property through Check4Houses and as well as Paul securing the best possible price, he was on hand throughout the frustrating completion process, dealing with other agents in the chain as well as solicitors. I will use Paul again and have no hesitation in recommending him. Keep up the good ethical work!”

After such a demanding year we will be taking a few days off over Christmas. The offices will be closing on Saturday 23rd December and reopening on Tuesday 2nd January. We are expecting the first six months of the year to be busy, as they are always a popular time to buy and sell houses.

If you are looking to sell your home in 2018 then please give us a call on 01252 819725. We would be delighted to give you a free valuation of your property as well as talk you through our competitive pricing options, personal service and price match guarantee.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Check 4 Houses.

Outline image of detached house above tablet with man about to type representing online property market

Is the property market stagnating or actually accelerating?

News out today suggests that the property market is stagnating.  The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) report says that the number of people interested in buying a property – and the number of sales – was “stagnant” in March.  The headline paints a somewhat gloomy picture.

But read further and the latest monthly survey shows that stock levels in the property market are at a new record low and because of the shortage of housing,  prices in many parts of the UK are continuing to accelerate.

So what does all this mean?  Is it a good or bad time to be thinking about selling your property and moving home?

Moving for life changing reasons

Most people move house not just because it might be a ‘good time’ for the property market, but because they need to.  New babies arriving, families moving in together, people downsizing for retirement or sadly moving on due to family loss, all of these are common reasons for buying and selling property.  Yet it is true also that some people can put off the idea of moving if they worry about what the market is doing and whether they will be able to get a good enough price for their home, or secure a new property for what they can afford.

Short supply can mean bigger rewards

Whatever your reason for moving, a lack of supply in the property market can actually be a good thing.  It can make it the perfect time to sell.  A lack of housing stock, as we face in our local area, means that prices are continuing to rise, with more buyers looking than properties available.  Particularly if you have found the property you want, you may be able to capitalise on the market and get more for your property than you might expect.

At Check 4 Houses we can sell your property from as little as £599 or 0.5%+VAT.  This could save you thousands when compared to standard agency fees.  We offer:

  • 24/7 national marketing
  • Unlimited photos
  • Accompanied viewings
  • Personal contact from start to finish
  • A price match guarantee*

Please contact us for a free, no obligation valuation on your home on 01252 819725 or info@check4houses.co.uk.  We would be delighted to help.

*See website for full terms and conditions of our price match guarentee

 

male hand activating a Property market button on virtual screen

Property market news: New Rightmove & Zoopla rules, overvaluing and the big vs local agent debate

The property market has been hitting the headlines recently and a number of interesting stories have got our attention.  Clearly there are current concerns about prices due to Brexit, but there are also good news stories around of local property hotspots.

New rules for selling your home on Rightmove & Zoopla

One story that caught our eye was the new Rightmove & Zoopla rules over relisting properties.  In an effort to combat unscrupulous activity in the property market by some estate agents both portals have now set tighter rules on re-listing homes.  In a practise called “portal juggling”, some agents were re-listing homes that have been on the market for a while to make them look new and bump them up the search rankings.  This could be done by taking a property off the market for just 14 days, but Rightmove have now increased this to 14 weeks.

We are huge supporters of this move as practises like ‘portal juggling’ is part of the reason we set Check 4 Houses up back in 2010.  Our founder Paul Hemmings recognised the notorious behaviour of some estate agents who appeared to be complicating the selling or purchase of a property for customers.  He wanted to create a flexible and reliable service for customers that was as stress free as possible; offering a personal approach to with a cost-effective pricing package to suit them.  We also strongly believe in not overvaluing properties.  Therefore we wouldn’t ever need to engage in practises such as portal juggling anyway.

Overvaluing costing homeowners thousands

This leads us on to another recent story reported in the Telegraph.  A new Which? study  found that 1 in 5 properties sold in England and Wales had been heavily reduced from the original asking price.  This is something we wrote about last year, in our post ‘Is the market declining or correcting?‘  A high valuation for your home may seem exciting and flattering.  But if it isn’t realistic it will only lead to disappointment and disillusionment.  We always offer a free property valuation with a realistic price as to what we think we can sell your home for.

The big vs local estate agent debate

A final story that caught our eye was this debate on the Homeowners Alliance website about whether big estate agency brands are better than local high street firms.  Their research using their EstateAgent4Me tool showed that home sellers could be missing out on thousands of pounds by opting for well-known estate agent chains rather than local options.  To get the best price for your home, those with a larger share of their local housing market were more likely to sell a property and to achieve the asking price.

At Check 4 Houses we aim to offer the best of both these worlds.  Our local team has all the knowledge of a traditional high street agent, but at the cost of an online agent.  We can sell your property from as little as £599 or 0.5%+VAT.  This could save you thousands when compared to standard agency fees.  We offer:

  • 24/7 national marketing
  • Unlimited photos
  • Accompanied viewings
  • Personal contact from start to finish
  • A price match guarantee*

Please contact us for a free, no obligation valuation on your home on 01252 819725 or info@check4houses.co.uk.  We would be delighted to help.

*See website for full terms and conditions of our price match guarentee

Red Christmas balls on shiny background which says Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from all of us at Check 4 Houses

With Christmas Day fast approaching we wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2016 has been another record year for us at Check 4 Houses thanks to our fantastic clients. Over the past 12 months we have saved them an astounding £286,000 when compared to standard agency fees. That’s an average of about £4,500 per sale and an increase of 22% verses last year. What would you do with the extra £4,500? It’s a long way towards a new kitchen or new bathroom.

24 hours from start to sale

Our record quickest sale this year was a house in Wokingham which had an offer accepted in less than 24 hours from when we started advertising it. Not only was it a super quick sale, the client sold their property for £850,000 using our standard £499+VAT package. This means we saved them nearly £15,000 in fees they could have paid to a traditional high street agent.

Many of the properties we have sold have been in our local area of Fleet, Farnborough, Camberley and Aldershot, but we have also sold properties as far away as Southampton and Twickenham. Thanks to our internet based approach we can sell properties anywhere in England from our head office in Fleet, Hampshire.

We have enjoyed working with a variety of clients this year – some of which had not bought or sold a property for 30 years, and others which have used us twice in the last 12 months to help them manage their buy-to-let portfolio. Whatever our sellers’ circumstances, we pride ourselves on our customer service and our personal contact from start to finish. As Ms Christie from Farnborough said: “Paul was always available if I needed to get through to him and was on the ball pushing things through when it looked like things would be delayed. He was very committed in getting the completion through on time unlike larger estate agents who don’t bother. Would definitely recommend.”

Despite the challenges of Brexit and the stamp duty rise on second homes the property market continued to show growth, particularly around our local areas of Fleet, Farnborough and Basingstoke. Supply continues to outstrip to demand, allowing us to achieve higher asking prices and deliver even greater savings to our customers.

Best performing estate agent in Fleet is … Check 4 Houses

We were delighted to be the ‘best performing estate agent in Fleet’ across all three criteria on comparison website estateagent4me. The site looks at each estate agent’s success rate of selling the properties they advertise, the speed of sale and the achievement of asking price. This particular criteria was very relevant this year as we saw overvaluing in the local property market. We strongly believe in an honest, practical pricing approach as to what we genuinely believe we can sell your property for. You can never under value your property – but you can price yourself out of the market.

After such a busy year we will be taking a few days off over Christmas. Our offices will be closing on Christmas Eve and reopening on Tuesday 3rd January.

If you are looking to sell your home in 2017 then please contact us on 01252 819725. We would be delighted to give you a free valuation of your home as well as talk you through our competitive pricing options, personal service and price match guarantee.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Check 4 Houses.

Financial and business charts showing growth

Reading set to be the fastest growing city in the UK

According to the latest EY UK region and city economic forecast, Reading is expected to be the fastest growing city in the UK over the next three years. The Berkshire city will deliver a GVA of 2.5%, outperforming the overall UK GVA of 1.5% during the same period.

The South East as a whole is forecast to grow faster than the rest of the UK, delivering  average growth of 1.9%.

Reading growth led by digital

Reading tops the growth league tables for GVA and employment, with average annual rises of 2.5% and 0.9% until 2019. As the UK’s fastest growing sector, digital accounts for 25% of Reading’s GVA.  This figure is much higher than in many other UK cities. The strength in digital, along with growth in key sectors such as ‘professional, scientific and technical’ contributes to Reading’s strong performance.

The outlook for other parts of the UK is more challenging. Slowest regional growth levels are expected in the North East, Scotland and Wales. These areas rely on different employment sectors such as accommodation, oil mining or the public sector. These industries have already suffered job losses or are expected to come under threat over the next three years.

Mark Gregory, EY’s chief economist commented: “This is our first region and city forecast since the EU referendum, but Brexit isn’t the only factor at play in these economic downgrades…. The changing UK landscape means that it is even more important to continue to monitor economic developments at the region and city levels and to include the potential implications of emerging economic, industrial and trade policy for all parts of the UK.”

Here at Check 4 Houses we are not surprised by these results. They underpin the continued strength of the South East region, despite the challenges of Brexit. Our local property markets of Reading, Fleet, Basingstoke and other major towns all remain strong due to an ongoing lack of supply. This means your property might be worth more than you think.

Thanks to our online approach we can sell your property from as little as £499+VAT.  This could save you thousands when compared to standard agency fees. We offer:

  • 24/7 national marketing
  • Unlimited photos
  • Accompanied viewings
  • Personal contact from start to finish
  • A price match guarantee*

Please contact us for a free, no obligation valuation on your home on 01252 819725 or info@check4houses.co.uk.  We would be delighted to help.

*See website for full terms and conditions of our price match guarentee

Property for sale

Too late to get your property on the market before Christmas?

Christmas is less than five weeks away.  The decorations are in the shops and your shopping may already be in full swing.  Buying a new property might be the last thing on your mind.  But for others it might be a top priority.

Traditionally December to mid January is a quiet time of year for the property market.  However Boxing Day is said to be one of the busiest days for people looking at property online.  People move house for all sorts of reasons such as a new job, a new addition to the family, people moving in together.  These things can happen at any time of year. They don’t go on hold just because it is nearly Christmas.

There is still time to get your house on the market before Christmas

It can even be an advantage to go on the market at what can be seen as a quieter time.  With less properties on the market yours can seem more desirable.  Depending on your property, Christmas decorations can add real charm and a sense of celebration.  They can help prospective buyers imagine just what it could be like to live in your property.

We can get your house, flat, apartment or bungalow on the market in just 24 hours.  We have even sold properties in less than 24 hours, thanks to our extensive database of buyers.  We always offer honest valuations of what we think your property is genuinely worth.  We take into account your personal circumstances, how motivated you are to move quickly, as well as market conditions.  We work with you to provide a personal service from start to finish.

Contact us for a free, no obligation valuation of your property on 01252 819725 or email info@check4houses.co.uk.  We can sell your home from just £499 or 0.5% + VAT, giving you thousands more to spend on your new home.

Keys with house in background

Is the property market declining or just correcting?

There has been lots of talk in the press for months (even years) about the property market ‘bubble’ and the implications of Brexit. The property market can be a volatile thing.  Just like money markets it can be driven by emotion, as well as cold hard facts.

Here in our local areas of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire we have been out valuing properties and hearing concerns about the market ‘declining’.  Sometimes clients call us in because they have marketed their property with another agent, but it hasn’t sold.  In some cases they have already reduced the price and that doesn’t seem to have made any difference.  They are asking ‘Are the buyers actually out there?’

We firmly believe that the buyers are out there, but what we are seeing is properties being over valued.  With years of property boom you might think your homes is worth a lot more than it actually is. You also may be flattered by agents who suggest a high valuation for your property.  In some cases all this is true.  But in others, we need to be more realistic.

Honest, practical pricing

We promise to always give you an honest valuation of what we genuinely think your home is worth.  This won’t always be the highest valuation.  It will be what we actually think we can sell it for as ultimately that is what most buyers want.  Yes in some cases you might be downsizing and feel you have one chance to maximise that pension pot.  But for many people they just want to move on with their lives.  They might be looking for that bigger home, or more manageable flat.  It might be that first step on the property ladder, or a family home with a garden.

Whatever the reason, getting your property sold is the only way you can move on.  We pride ourselves on delivering a personal service every step of the way that helps our clients to do just that.  We maximise the value of their property through our local market knowledge and our marketing.

If you are looking to move within to Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey or beyond then we can help you find your ideal property. Why not check out our properties currently for sale, as well as some comments from happy customers who have sold their property through Check 4 Houses. We can sell your home from just £499 or 0.5% + VAT. Please give us a call on 01252 819725 or contact us and we can give you a free, no obligation valuation of your home.

Money saving tip: Use an online estate agent

Moving house can be an expensive business, but there are a number of things you can do to reduce the cost.  Conducting your own viewings or not having a For Sale board can both save you money, as well as enabling you to take more control of the house selling process.

Another way of saving money is to use an online estate agent.  Over the past few decades, buying and selling online has taken an increasing share of our spending.  Whole companies such as Woolworths, Comet and HMV have either disappeared or completely reinvented themselves to compete with online retailers who in many cases can offer the same or even better products and services, at cheaper prices.

Here you can read our article explaining four reasons why going online might be a better approach for selling your property.  The article was published in the latest issues of Farnborough and Fleet Connection magazines.

Please click on the image to read the full article.

Check 4 Houses Proof 2 July 16-001

Property for sale

Can you ever undervalue your property?

Valuing a property is a tricky business.  You can apply logic, by looking at properties that have sold recently nearby.  You can look at overall property prices and Zoopla valuations.

But valuing a property can also come down to experience and to detail.  If there aren’t any comparable properties then you need to make your best estimate.  A property might look comparable, but the actual particular circumstances may have been different.  It may have sold for less than expected as the sellers wanted a quick sale in order to not lose something they had found.  Or it might have been immaculate inside and got lucky with the right buyer.

Ultimately a home is worth what someone will pay for it, but when you decide to put your house or flat on the market you need to decide on a starting figure.  Estate agency is a competitive business and one way of trying to win your business might be to come up with a high valuation.  Short term, this can be persuasive – “If they think they can get more money for it then let’s go with them” but overvaluing can be risky.  Of course, if you have the benefit of time then you may wish to try a price that is out of line with local market data just to see if you get lucky.  But an inflated price can put buyers off even viewing your home.  You may then have to look at your house sat on the market for weeks, constantly having to keep it ready for a viewing.  You then reduce the price and wait.  You may even have to reduce the price again which can become a negative cycle with buyers asking questions “Why has it been on the market for so long? Why have they had to reduce the price so much?”

People are understandably scared of undervaluing their property.  It is usually the biggest asset you will ever have.  You want to get the most you can to fund your move, your retirement or a change in lifestyle.  But can you ever undervalue a property?  Generally in a market such as ours we don’t believe you can undervalue.  Of course, we always look at market data and calculate what we honestly believe is a realistic valuation for your property.  But starting at a more achievable price can encourage more people to want to come round for a viewing, and then give you an offer.  Having more than one buyer wanting to buy your home puts you in an excellent position – able to push the price higher, able to choose the buyer which you feel suits you best (perhaps a lack of chain, or one with funds already in place).  If buyers really want your property then original asking prices become a starting point to see who wants the property most and what they are prepared to pay.

We always recommend to prospective sellers that they do not go with the highest valuation.  Though the pound signs can seem attractive, it is money in the bank that really matters.  Choosing a lower valuation can actually end up delivering you more.

If you are thinking of selling your property then we can help.  With all the knowledge of a local high street agent, but at the cost of an online agent we can sell your property from as little as £499 or 0.5%+VAT, saving you thousands.  Please give us a call on 01252 819725 or contact us and we can give you a free, no obligation valuation of your home.

Paul Hemmings, Check 4 Houses

Meet the Check 4 Houses team: Paul Hemmings

Selling your property can be a very stressful time but it doesn’t always need to be.  At Check 4 Houses we go out of our way to offer you the best advice, guiding and updating you through each stage of your property sale.  We offer dedicated, personalised contact from start to finish wherever you are in England, from our head office in Fleet, Hampshire.

Here’s a little more about Paul who founded Check 4 Houses in 2010, aiming to deliver a genuine, reliable and professional service for half the cost of a traditional high street agent.

Name: Paul HemmingsIMG-20140727-00407 - cropped

Job role: Founder and Director.  Dealing with valuations, meeting clients, conducting viewings and managing sales through the process.

When & why did you join Check 4 Houses: I started Check 4 Houses back in 2010 after becoming increasingly frustrated by the behaviour of many high street estate agents.  I felt that sometimes they unnecessarily complicated the selling or purchase of a property for customers.  I wanted to create a flexible and reliable service for customers that was as stress free as possible.  With the advance of the internet, there was a real opportunity to create a new way of buying and selling houses, without the high costs of high street rents and newspaper based advertising.   A genuine alternative to the traditional high street agent – at a significantly reduced cost, savings customers thousands of pounds.

What did you do before you joined Check 4 Houses: I started my career in sales, working for a major brewery company, which helped me gain an extensive knowledge of the South East region.  I also started buying and selling a few properties both in the UK and Europe, which opened my eyes to the world of estate agents and the sometimes fraught process of buying and selling houses.

Best thing about working for Check 4 Houses: Saving our customers thousands! It is gratifying to know what a difference we have made to our customers being able to afford the property they want.  Sometimes we are lucky and sales fly through (we actually managed to take on a house and sell it within less than 24 hours) but in a way the most gratifying sales are the ones that take longer to complete.  We had one sale that took over a year to go through due to various issues in the chain, but when we finally got there it was such an achievement for the customer who was at last able to move on to the property they wanted.

Best thing about living in Fleet:  I have lived in Fleet since I was 4 years old and have seen it evolve and grow over the last 35+ years.  Not only does Fleet offer great transport links, great schools and a safe place to live there is also a unique community and spirit, with fun community events such as the annual carnival.

Plans for the future: To continue to grow the business.  We are lucky that much of our business comes from referrals and for people coming back to us.  In the six years since I started the business online estate agency has really become so much more mainstream and clients are much more aware of the benefits.  Outside of work, I enjoy travelling, football and boating which is a great way to get a break from the office (as much as you can these days!).

If you are thinking of selling your property and buying your next home then we can help.  With all the knowledge of a local high street agent, but at the cost of an online agent we can sell your property from as little as £499 or 0.5%+VAT, saving you thousands.  Please give us a call on 01252 819725 or contact us and we can give you a free, no obligation valuation of your home.