Tag Archives: Top tips

hand signing a sales contract

Conveyancing: A simple guide

When you come to buy or sell a property, you will need a solicitor or conveyancer.  They will complete the conveyancing process on your behalf.  But what do they actually do?  What does conveyancing actually mean?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring home ownership from one person or company to another.

In conveyancing, the property is legally transferred from the buyer to the seller, or vice versa.  In this guide we will look at the key steps involved. The process is similar if you are buying or selling, but we will focus on buying a property in this article.

  1. Once you have had an offer accepted on a property you will need to find a solicitor or conveyancer to complete the legal process on your behalf.  It helps speed up the process if you have already decided which one you will use.  You can do this as soon as you start house hunting, then formally instruct them to start work once you have had an offer agreed.
  2. Your conveyancer will request draft contracts and other documents from your sellers.  You will need to go through these forms which provide further detail on the property you are buying, as well as what the buyers are planning to leave behind etc.
  3. Searches will be carried out to give you a full picture of external factors that might affect the property you want to buy.  For example, are there plans to build a new motorway just across the road?  Searches cover this kind of information as well as flooding and subsidence risks.  Data on water and drainage which may be important if you are planning any building works.
  4. Your solicitor will write to you with details of all the search results and highlight any areas of concern.  You can then address any of these issues with the sellers as appropriate.  Once you are ready to proceed, you will confirm a completion date and sign the draft contract.  You must also pay the deposit into your solicitors account.

From exchange through to completion

  1. Once you and the seller have agreed, your solicitors or conveyancers will exchange contracts on your behalf.  This is usually done by both solicitors/conveyancers making sure the contracts are identical.  They then immediately send them to one another in the post.  Remember, once you have exchanged contracts you are now in a legally binding contract to buy the property.  You can no longer change your mind or renegotiate, without risk of being sued.
  2. Completion day arrives!  The day you have been waiting for is here.  Usually you collect a set of keys from the estate agent, once they have confirmed that the purchase has been completed and the sellers have vacated.  Your solicitor or conveyancer pays the outstanding balance to the sellers’ solicitor, along with any mortgage funds.  Your solicitor hands over the legal documents that prove that ownership has now been transferred and the process is complete.

You can find out more about what to expect from the conveyancing process and how to find a solicitor or conveyancer from websites such as The Money Advice Service or The Home Owners Alliance.

At Check 4 Houses we are passionate about supporting people through the sometimes stressful challenge of purchasing a property.  We offer personal contact from start to finish, from local property experts.  We know the towns and cities of FleetFarnboroughAldershotBasingstokeCamberleyYateley and Farnham inside out.  Our internet based approach means we can sell your home from just £599 or 0.5% +VAT.  This could save you thousands in agency fees.  Please give us a call for a no obligation valuation of your home on 01252 819725 or email info@check4houses.co.uk.

Table of best performing estate agents in Fleet with Check 4 Houses at the top

Check 4 Houses rated as no.1 estate agent in Fleet

We are delighted to see that Check 4 Houses has again been rated as the top performing  estate agent in Fleet by independent comparison website estateagent4me.

The best performing estate agents in your local area

Estate agent 4 me helps you find the best estate agent in your local area.  It compares estate agents against 4 key indicators:

  • Fees they charge
  • Average days they take to sell a property like yours
  • How close they might get to achieving an asking price
  • How successful they are at selling similar homes

The tool was set up in partnership with the HomeOwners Alliance.  The complex statistical engine is fed on a daily basis with property data from over 18,000 estate agents across thousands of different websites.  It provides accurate comparison data which is free and impartial.  It currently covers over 95% of all property advertised for sale in England & Wales.

We are delighted that Check 4 Houses has been ranked again as the best performing estate agent in Fleet.  The statistics show we are delivering a 69% success rate of selling homes.  We take an average of 33 days to sell properties.  We have a track record of achieving 98% of asking prices.

Personal service from start to finish

Paul Hemmings, founder and director at Check 4 Houses said: “I am pleased that we continue to be ranked highly as one of the best performing estate agents in Fleet.  As an online estate agent we can sell property anywhere in England.  But as local experts in the towns of Fleet, Farnborough, Camberley and beyond, local reputation matters.  Our commitment to the whole process of selling houses – from realistic valuations through to personal service, right through to completion is clearly paying off.  These results prove that our approach not only saves our customers thousands of pounds.  It also delivers real results.”

At Check 4 Houses we deliver a genuine, reliable and professional house selling service for up to half the cost of a traditional high street agent.  From our head office in Fleet sell properties in Fleet, Farnborough, AldershotBasingstokeCamberleyYateleyFarnham and beyond. We can sell your home from just £599 or 0.5% +VAT – saving you thousands in agency fees. Please give us a call on 01252 819725 or contact us and we would be delighted to give you a free, no obligation valuation of your home.

hand signing a sales contract

Conveyancing: A simple guide to what happens when you sell your property

When you come to buy or sell a property, you will need a solicitor or conveyancer.  They will complete the conveyancing process on your behalf.  But what do they actually do?  What does conveyancing actually mean?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring home ownership from one person or company to another.

In conveyancing, the property is legally transferred from the buyer to the seller, or vice versa.  In this guide we will look at the key steps involved. The process is similar if you are buying or selling.  In this article we we will focus on the process of selling your property.

  1. Once you have accepted an offer on your property you will need to find a solicitor or conveyancer to complete the legal process on your behalf.  It helps speed up the process if you have already decided which one you will use.  You can do this as soon as you put your house on the market, then formally instruct them to start work once you have accepted an offer.
  2. You must complete a number of detailed questionnaires about your property.  They are standard forms which will be provided to you by your solicitor/conveyancer.  The forms include information on boundaries, utility providers, fixtures and fittings to be included etc.  It is really important you complete them as truthfully as possible and take the time to do so.
  3. Your solicitor or conveyancer then writes up a draft contract and sends this to the buyers for approval.  At this point there may be some further negotiation between you and your buyers about date of exchange and completion.  You may also need to negotiate any payments for fixtures included, and any issues arising from their survey or home buyers report.
  4. Once you and your buyer have agreed on all the details and a date and time to exchange contracts, your solicitor or conveyancer will exchange contracts on your behalf.  This is usually done by both solicitors/conveyancers making sure the contracts are identical.  They then immediately send them to one another in the post.  Remember, once you have exchanged contracts you are now in a legally binding contract to sell the property.  You can no longer change your mind or renegotiate, without risk of being sued.
  5. After exchange of contracts you should receive the buyer’s deposit – usually 10% of the property price.  However if you are purchasing another property at the same time, your solicitor may hold this on account for you. They will use it to pay the deposit on the property you are purchasing.
  6. Completion day arrives!  Once you have packed up and done a final clean it is time to hand over the keys.  Usually your buyer collects a set of keys from the estate agent.  You leave any spare sets and other keys in the property.  Your solicitor or conveyancer will receive the outstanding balance of sale price.  Any outstanding mortgage on the property can then be paid off from the proceeds of the sale.  Your solicitor hands over the legal documents that prove that ownership has now been transferred and the process is complete.

You can find out more about what to expect from the conveyancing process  from websites such as The Money Advice Service or The Home Owners Alliance.  They also have tools to help you find a solicitor or conveyancer.  Your estate agent may also recommend people they work with regularly.

At Check 4 Houses we are passionate about supporting people through the sometimes stressful and emotional challenge of selling their property.  We offer personal contact from start to finish, from local property experts that know the towns and cities of FleetFarnboroughAldershotBasingstokeCamberleyYateley and Farnham inside out.  Our internet based approach means we can sell your home from just £599 or 0.5% +VAT – saving you thousands in agency fees.  Please give us a call for a no obligation valuation of your home on 01252 819725 or email info@check4houses.co.uk.

House sitting on calculator with word mortgage on

Survey or Homebuyers Report: Do I need one and if so, which?

When buying a property you will probably think about having some kind of survey done.  In most cases you will have to organise your own survey.  Your mortgage company may complete a valuation.  However you may wish to organise a survey as well for your own peace of mind.

So what is a survey?

According to RICS, the professional body that represents Surveyors, A Home Survey is an in-depth visual inspection of a property.  At the end of inspection, the surveyor produces a report.  This provides an expert account of the property’s condition and highlights any problems.  If using a RICS Surveyor, the report communicates these in clear and easy to understand ‘traffic light’ ratings.

What are the options available?

There are 3 different options of home survey available, to allow you to choose which best suits your needs:

  1. A Home Condition Report: The simplest (and cheapest) of the options, this report describes the condition of the property.  It identifies any risks and potential legal issues and highlights any urgent defects.  It is most suitable for conventional or unmodified properties and new homes.  These are less likely to have significant issues.
  2. A Home Buyers report (may include a valuation): This mid-range option is most suitable for conventional properties which are in reasonable condition.  It gives more detailed information than a Home Condition Report about the current state of the property and any remedial works required or issues to be aware of.  It can include a valuation for mortgage and insurance purposes (though be aware this may be done separately by your mortgage provider).
  3. A Building Survey: This is the most expensive option – but the most comprehensive. It is particularly useful for larger or older properties or if you are planning to do substantial work to a property. The survey provides an in-depth evaluation of the current property condition.  It includes advice on any issues that need to be addressed or repairs that are required.

Why would I need one?

For most of us, property is the biggest investment we will ever make.  Whether you plan to live in a property or rent it out, you still want to be aware of any potential issues before you part with your hard-earned money.  A survey delivers expert advice on the condition of the property.  This enables you to make an informed choice.  It helps to ensure that your dream home does not become a disaster.

How can I find out more?

You can find out more about the importance of surveys and the different types available on the RICS website http://www.rics.org/uk/.  Their online tool enables you to search for registered surveyors in your local area.  You could also ask for recommendations from your estate agent or solicitor.

At Check 4 Houses we are passionate about supporting people through the sometimes stressful and emotional challenge of purchasing a property.  We offer personal contact from start to finish.   As local property experts we know the towns and cities of FleetFarnboroughAldershotBasingstokeCamberleyYateley and Farnham inside out.  Our internet based approach means we can sell your home from just £599 or 0.5% +VAT – saving you thousands in agency fees.  Please give us a call for a no obligation valuation of your home on 01252 819725 or email info@check4houses.co.uk.

hand signing a sales contract

What is a property sales contract?

When you agree to sell your property with an estate agent, the sales contract becomes a vital document.  It clearly sets out what is and is not expected of you, as well as what you can and cannot expect of your agent.  It might seem like lots of small print, but it is important you carefully read and evaluate the sales contract, so you know what you are signing up for.

Here are five key things to look out for on any property sales contract:

  1. Your property address details

Always make sure the property address details are correct including the postcode.  Mistakes can happen – but they can cause confusion with solicitors further down line, should you proceed with a sale.

  1. Asking price

Double check this is the price you discussed and agreed with the agent.  However do remember that this isn’t a valuation or any guarantee of the price you will actually achieve.  It is simply what you and the agent have agreed to start marketing the property at.

  1. Sole / Joint agency

Most property sales contracts are for sole agency.  This means that you cannot ask another agent to sell your property at the same time.  Even just a one-off viewing because they happen to have the ‘perfect candidate’ is not allowed.

  1. Minimum term and notice period

This area is vital as it sets out your rights, should you not be happy with your agent.  Everyone goes into an agreement hoping it will all go perfectly.  But things don’t always go to plan.  You don’t want to get stuck with an under-performing agent for months so check and question if needed what is written here.  Don’t sign for more than 8 weeks and expect to see a notice period of no more than 14 days.

  1. The fees

Confirm that the fees you will pay are what you have discussed with the agent, including when they have to be paid.  Historically all estate agency costs were paid on completion which was when you received the money from your sale.  Your solicitor paid the fees directly to the estate agent.  But with the rise of online estate agents this has changed. Some have up-front costs.  Others have fees that are payable on exchange.  This can work well as long as you receive sufficient deposit from your buyers or have the cash available.  Also don’t forget the VAT in your own calculations as it can make a real difference.  We don’t recommend you pay more than 1% for any estate agent and do consider up front/one off payment options as they can save you thousands.

Finally, ensure you read through other items such as whether you will be required to agree to or pay for extras such as For Sale boards.  Confirm how offers will be dealt with so you know what to expect during the process.

Whether you choose an online or offline estate agent – a major national chain or a local self-employed agent – the principle and importance of the sales contract remains the same.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are not sure.  Taking the time up front to get things right should ensure a swift and successful sale will follow.

At Check 4 Houses we offer a flexible and reliable service that is as stress free as possible.  We can sell your property from as little as £599 or 0.5% + VAT, saving you thousands compared to some high street agents.

Please give us a call on 01252 819725 or contact us and we would be delighted to give you a free, no obligation valuation of your home.

Wooden house or home with love heart

Show your home some love this month

This time of year, with shorter, colder days and longer, colder nights, it can be easy to take your home for granted.  Gardens can look like a neglected sea of mud.  But our houses and gardens are usually our biggest assets and it does pay to look after them.  Even if you are not planning on moving for the foreseeable future, maintaining your property now should pay dividends when the time does come for your next move.

This time of year can actually be the best time of year to tackle those jobs you have been putting off, so that when the Spring weather comes you are ready to enjoy it.

Here are some of our top tips to show your home some love this month:

Let it breathe

Ventilation is a big issue in many houses.  Particularly during the colder winter days the last thing you want to do is open a window and let all that lovely heat escape.  But houses need to breathe.  Opening windows or trickle vents even just for a short period each day can allow moisture to escape and reduce the risk of any mould or damp.

Let it flow

Clear out gutters to ensure water can run freely.  During autumn and winter they can get blocked with leaves and twigs.  But any blockages run the risk of water sitting next to roof tiles and leading to leaks or gutters breaking.  Clear them out yourself or ask a company who can come and do it for you.  Some window cleaners offer it as an extra service which they can do at the same time.

Don’t let it slip

Check your roof for any slipped tiles or appearance of damage.  Winds and rain in winter can cause loose tiles to move.  Getting them repaired not only looks better but ensures your roof is water tight and your home is protected.

Tidy, Tidy, Tidy

Tidy up gardens and repair any fences.  Of course now isn’t the time for planting and it can seem too early to be out in the garden.  But tidying up and ensuring fences are in order can make a big difference in a short space of time.  It also means that you can be ready to start planting and enjoy your outside space once the warmer weather arrives.  Maintaining boundaries is a vital part of looking after your property – especially when it comes to the sale of your home.  If a boundary that needs repairing isn’t yours, start discussions with the owner early and don’t just leave it.  When you do come to sell your home it might cause more of a problem than you think.

Time for a Spring clean

Yes it isn’t quite Spring yet.  But if the weather leaves you stuck inside then why not take the opportunity to tackle some of those jobs like cleaning carpets and curtains or daring to look behind the sofa.  With those out of the way you can make the most of the better weather when it comes.

Spring is still traditionally one of the busiest times on the property market so if you feel you are ready to show a new property some love then please give us a call on 01252 819725 or email us at info@check4houses.co.uk.  We would be happy to give you a free, no obligation valuation of your home.  At Check 4 Houses 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, giving you more to lavish on your new home.

hand signing a sales contract

Do you know what you are signing? Always check the small print of the sales contract

The first few weeks of January have been super busy for us here at Check 4 Houses.  Paul has been out on lots of property valuations.  Clearly local people in Fleet, Farnborough and Aldershot are keen to maximise the Spring sales window.

We love getting out and about meeting people and supporting them on the journey of selling their property – which can be stressful.  We are often reminded, as we have been this week, that even just choosing which estate agent to use can be a real minefield.

On the one hand, the rise of online agents has brought greater competition into the estate agency market and helped to bring down prices.  On the other hand it seems to have led to increased confusion.  In the old days, perhaps you knew what you were getting.  But now with so many agents available, all with slightly different packages, it can be difficult to know which to choose.

Cutting through the clutter

At Check 4 Houses we do our best to make things simple.  We urge people to always check the small print of the sales contract.  Ask the questions about any nagging doubts and make sure you really understand what you are signing up for.  For example, many people do not realise they have signed in to long exclusivity deals, leaving them stuck with what they might feel is an underperforming agent for months.  In a property market such as ours that could cost you valuable time and money.  Some online agents (especially those advertising heavily on TV) might seem like they offer a great deal, but do you realise that you may have to do viewings yourself?  Some people might be very uncomfortable with this, having to deal with buyers directly.

No sale, no fee?

Another area of confusion is around ‘Buy now, pay later’ options.  For years the estate agency market was based on no sale, no fee.  You only paid an estate agent once your house sale had completed.  So if a sale fell though (which unfortunately it sometimes did), you hadn’t lost anything.  This gave you security that you were only paying the money to the agent when you had it – once the property had sold.  Then came online agents (including ourselves) offering much lower fees if you paid upfront.  “Pay just £499 now and save yourself thousands compared to standard agency fees.”  Of course there was a risk that the property wouldn’t sell and you would lose your money.  But for many people the risk was well worth taking based on the financial gain.  For example, we sold one property in Wokingham last year for £850,000.  The owners had decided to pay upfront and use our standard package.  As a result they saved themselves nearly £15,000 in fees.  A third option has now appeared with some agents suggesting that you can ‘Pay Later’, meaning that you can still take advantage of a low sale price without having to pay it up front.  However what some people don’t realise is that pay later does not mean pay once the property has sold.  If you change your mind and do not sell the property then you still have to pay the fees.  It isn’t the same as a no sale, no fee option, even if it might appear to be.

Knowing which way to turn

So how do you navigate this minefield if you are thinking of selling your property in 2017?  Here are our top questions to ask prospective agents:

  1. What is the fee and what is included?
  2. When do I have to pay the fee?
  3. Do you do accompanied viewings or do I have to?
  4. Does the fee include a For Sale board or not?
  5. Is there any limit on the number of photographs you take, or websites you will advertise my property on?
  6. Am I tied in to using any of your other services, such as an EPC, solicitor or mortgage broker?
  7. What happens if I change my mind?
  8. What is the notice period?
  9. Please can I read the full Terms & Conditions of the sales contract?

Asking these questions of each agent should ensure you have a level playing field to assess the agents on.  You can then choose the right one for you.

At Check 4 Houses we aim to offer the best of both 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+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

Street of houses

New Year’s resolutions: Buying a new home?

2017 is finally here.  Christmas celebrations are behind us and January is in full swing.  Are you feeling enthused and persevering with the first few days of new year’s resolutions?  You might have chosen to give up smoking or drinking alcohol.  Perhaps you resolved to eat more healthily, or make other lifestyle changes such as looking for a new job.  Buying a new home could even be on your agenda.  Are you looking for more space for your growing family? Or to relocate for employment reasons?

Get Ahead, Get Ready, Get Prepared, Get Savvy

If you are looking for a new home in 2017 then we have four top tips to help you ensure it is one new year’s resolution you actually manage to keep.  Our suggestions will help you get your existing property ready for sale and on the market as quickly as possible, in the most cost effective way.

These tips are published in the latest issues of handy local guides Farnborough and Fleet Connection magazines.

Please click on the image to read the full article.  For any more tips or a free, no obligation valuation of your house, flat, apartment or bungalow please give us a call on 01252 819725 or contact us.   We can sell your property from as little as £599 or 0.5%+VAT, saving you thousands.

Article on buying a new home in 2017

Contract terms and conditions word with pen

Always check the small print of the sales contract

When it comes to selling your house it can be difficult to know which estate agent to choose.  There are so many options out there, from traditional high street agents to modern online agents.

You may have been recommended someone by a neighbour or friend.  You may have seen that an agent has recently sold a property in your road or area.  Whatever your reason for choosing an agent, we always recommend you get at least three agents around your house or flat to give you their valuation and talk through their sales approach.

We suggest you prepare and ask questions of each of the agents.  It can be easy to be dazzled by high valuations and compliments on your lovely home, but selling your house is an expensive business and you need to make sure you get the best value for money.  That value for money will be made up of a number of factors:

  • The personality of the people you will be dealing with (bear in mind this is not always the one who comes to value your property)
  • Their fees – in terms of either % or £
  • Their contract length – how long will you be tied in for?
  • Their valuation – how much do they (realistically) think they can sell it for?
  • Their reach to potential buyers – both on and off line

Before you sign on any dotted line to instruct an estate agent we always recommend you read and read again their Terms and Conditions.  The contract small print might seem a lot to read and some of it technical or not relevant, but these terms and conditions can be used to input clauses you might not expect -such as a minimum £ fee.  You might think you have agreed to a percentage deal, but occasionally a minimum fee will be inserted into the Terms and Conditions that you were not aware you had agreed to.  Don’t be caught out by signing up to something you didn’t realise was there.

If you are thinking of selling your property and buying your next home then we would be delighted to 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.

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