Tag Archives: Top tips

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 contract such as an estate agent 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

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.

Money saving tip: Forego the For Sale board

Moving house can be an expensive business. There are estate agents’ fees to pay, solicitors costs as well as removal vans.  That’s all before you even start on the costs of buying a new home – with stamp duty being the biggest cost.  Adding all those up can significantly impact on the size of your budget to buy your dream home.

But there are ways you can save money during the house selling process and foregoing the For Sale board is one of them.  Here you can read our article where we evaluate the possible savings and benefits of this approach.  The article was published in the latest issues of Farnborough and Fleet Connection magazines.

Please click on the image to read the full article.

Article on moving house money saving tip: forego the for sale board

Money saving tip: Conduct your own property viewings

Moving house can be an expensive business. There are agents’ fees to pay, solicitors costs as well as removal vans.  That’s all before you even start on the costs of buying a new home – with stamp duty being the biggest cost.  Adding all those up can significantly impact on the size of your budget to buy your dream home.

But there are ways you can save money during the house selling process and conducting your own house viewings is one of them.  Here you can read our article where we evaluate the possible savings of this approach.  The article was published in the latest issues of Farnborough and Fleet Connection magazines.

Please click on the image to read the full article.

Advertorial money saving tips for buying a home

What to look for when upsizing your home

As a local estate agent in an area so popular with families, we meet a lot of local people who are looking to upsize their home with their next move.  From couples moving in together, new baby arrivals to established families coming together – and even three generation households, these prospective buyers are all looking for more space to accommodate their growing needs.

Read our top tips for to get the best value for money from your upsizing move, in our recent article in Farnborough and Fleet Connection magazines.  Please click on the image to read the full article.

Article on upsizing your home in Connection Magazine
Connection Magazine article July 2015
Estate agent for sale boards

Is having buyers ‘on the books’ the key to an estate agent selling your home?

For years estate agents have claimed that having buyers registered ‘on their books’ is the key to selling your home.  They say they have a stock of buyers whom they can pick up the phone to within minutes, who they know will want to buy your home.

For some people this can be very persuasive.  The business of buying and selling your home can be a stressful one and if an estate agent says that you might not even need to worry about advertising it, then this might seem like the perfect answer.

In some cases this approach can work out perfectly but in the majority of situations, getting your property advertised as quickly as possible to the widest audience is the best way to generate maximum interest in your property, giving you the best chance of securing the highest possible price.

The way we search for property to buy and sell has now changed for good, with the vast majority of house searches starting online.  Many serious buyers are signed up to property alerts from the major property portal websites like Rightmove and Zoopla and are ready to pick up the phone the minute they see a suitable property come through.

Of course personal contact is still important and automated search can never completely replace the work of an estate agent.  However it does do a vital job of advertising your property to the most amount of people.  The personal contact then kicks in to ensure viewings are accompanied and handled professionally, that negotiations can be conducted and both sellers and vendors supported by one personal point of contact throughout the whole process.

If you are looking to sell your home then why not check out our competitive packages.  We can sell your home from as little as £499 or 0.5% + VAT, saving you thousands in estate agency fees when compared to high street agents.  Yet we offer all the personal, local service you would expect and can rely on. Please contact us on 01252 819725 for a free valuation or drop us an email and we’ll be in touch.