Category Archives: Uncategorised

Check 4 Houses: Lockdown 2.0 – Helping you move safely

Following the government’s announcement of a further national lockdown set to run from Thursday 5th November – Wednesday 2nd December 2020, we’re pleased to report that the English housing market will remain open.

The government has confirmed that you can still move home. Estate and letting agents, and removals firms, can continue to operate during the lockdown period as long as all parties involved in the home moving process follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering.

We’re incredibly pleased that we’re able to continue to support our clients and continue with accompanied viewings and valuations at this time, of course as an online business, we’ve worked remotely since the very first day we started, therefore it’s business as usual for the Check 4 Houses team.

As always our client’s wellbeing and safety are of paramount importance to us. We’ve taken time to re-review all relevant government advice to ensure the safety procedures we’ve implemented as a business to keep both our clients and us safe during this time are in line with national guidelines and ensures we operate as safely as possible.

To clarify all appointments undertaken must be carried out under the strict procedures listed as follows:

Viewings/Valuations

  • Strictly by appointment only
  • All interested parties (to include both members of the household being viewed, and all members of the household undertaking the viewing) must be in a position to proceed, i.e not showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating.
  • Viewings confined to buyers only, no friends/relatives at the initial viewing stage.
    Ideally, no children to accompany on viewings.
  • All parties to follow safe social distancing rules – minimum 2-metre distance maintained throughout the viewing/valuation.
  • Owners to vacate the property.
  • Owners to leave all internal doors open and all lights left on where applicable and open as many windows as possible.
  • All parties should wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible.

*Check 4 Houses team will be wearing face-masks and gloves at all appointments.

We would like to reassure you that we’re closely monitoring daily developments and all relevant government guidelines on home moving, these guidelines of which are available to review at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Should you need any further information on this matter, or wish to discuss arranging a valuation or viewing please do not hesitate to call Check 4 Houses on 01252 819725.

Stamp Duty Cut – take advantage of the savings before it’s too late

Homebuyers have just over five months left to take advantage of the government’s stamp duty break on properties under £500,000, with the stamp duty deadline requiring you to complete on your sale before 31 March 2021.

Recent reports confirm the market is fuelled by lots more potential buyers and homeowners keen to sell before the payment holiday ends, particularly in the South East and London region, with higher average house prices guaranteeing buyers in this region the biggest savings. But time is of the essence, particularly when you take into consideration the average time it takes to complete on a property once an offer is accepted.

To avoid missing out on the stamp duty savings, Rightmove one of the UK’s leading property portals advises prospective home buyers should start their property search by the end of the month at the latest. There is still plenty of time to get moving, and the Check 4 Houses team are on hand to help you make the right move, but what can you do to help get things moving? – we’ve come up with a few steps to become a smart seller and help speed up your house sale.

Stamp Duty recap

Stamp Duty is a tax payable when you buy a residential property or land in England and Northern Ireland. In July Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to raise the Stamp Duty threshold on which buyers start to pay the levy from £125,000 to £500,000 valid until 31st March 2021. Therefore if you’ve previously owned property or you’re a first-time buyer, up until 31st March 2021, you WILL NOT have to pay Stamp Duty on your main property costing up to £500,000.

Don’t delay, value and list your property now

If you’re not already on the market, you must take steps to do this as soon a possible as if you leave it too late and you could place yourself under a lot of pressure later down the line or even miss out. Start by appointing an estate agent today. Check 4 Houses would be delighted to help you on your property journey, we’ll arrange a valuation of your property asap and take all the necessary steps to successfully market your property to sell, as well as advising on realistic pricing and timescales.

Prepare your paperwork

One of the most important things a seller can do is to make sure all their paperwork is in order. During the conveyancing process, there will be a fair amount of administration to undertake. Therefore, it’s a great idea to start gathering all the necessary documents from the outset to save time in the long run. And if you want to move through to completion quickly and with ease, be sure to remain responsive and available throughout, make yourself available to sign contracts when needed and return completed documents as soon as possible.

Documents required include proof of identity utility/bank statement, drivers licence/passport, completed property information questionnaire, covering everything about your property from title information to boundaries, ground rent, service charges and more, FENSA certificate for windows and doors, replacement boiler records – such as gas safety certificate/service history, alterations and extensions information where applicable a copy of the building regulations certificate, leasehold/shared freehold documents like copy of lease or share certificate and an energy performance certificate (EPC).

Get the legal process underway

Get ahead of the game and instruct a solicitor as soon as the first offer is received or better still once your house is on the market. Confirm your solicitor’s details with your estate agent as soon as possible. Being legally ready from the outset with the right people in place can speed up the conveyancing process significantly, a big plus point when you’re selling a leasehold property as these transactions on average take longer than freehold sales. Not sure which solicitors to instruct? Check 4 Houses can put you in touch with the right legal professionals.

Making sure everything is in order will help to maximise your chances of completing ahead of 31st March. Should you wish to take advantage of the stamp duty savings, and wish, to get your property on the market Check 4 Houses would be delighted to help. We’re a reliable and experienced local online agent, offering everything a traditional high street agent would and more, including unbeatable pricing options starting from as little as £699 + VAT or low 0.5% + VAT selling fee.

If you would like to arrange a FREE no-obligation valuation or would like to find about more about what we do, please contact us on 01252 819725, check out our website or visit our Facebook page.

Stress-free house move? It does exist! Check out our 11 clever moving house hacks to make your life easier!

Moving house is a happy and important part of life and something which we will all encounter at least once in our lifetime, but that’s not to say it doesn’t come with its challenges. Moving house is a notoriously stressful process, ranked just after divorce when it comes to the top most stressful life events.

But it doesn’t have to be a disaster, we have compiled our top tips and clever home moving hacks to make your move easier, stress-free and dare we say enjoyable! Sounds too good to be true? Read on take advantage of these great moving hints and packing tips for yourself!

Declutter

First and foremost, declutter. Put simply the less you pack now, the less you will have to unpack at the other end. Be ruthless you may well have decluttered when you staged your home to sell, but that does not mean there is not more work to be done. We’ve all been there, keeping things because of sentimental value, but learn to let go of the sentimental items you don’t need, you are not your stuff, give to friends, donate to charity, sell or even throw away. With larger items, think about where these might go, be sure to take measurements of your new home, any items that don’t fit or you think you’ll not going to use, get rid of them now.

Assemble your moving supplies

Preparation is key. If you’re going to go to war and tackle the packing you need to assemble your army of packing supplies. Let’s talk boxes. To pack up an average three-bedroom house, you’ll typically require a box count in the region of 25-30 medium boxes, 15-25 large boxes, and 10-12 extra-large boxes. This number will vary slightly depending on the size of the rooms and the volume of items you have to pack. Invest in good quality, packing boxes, these are relatively inexpensive, but with the added durability and strength that used boxes picked up from a supermarket lack. Buy online, or from local hardware stores, DIY stores or nationwide self-storage providers. Also, as they come in standard industry sizes, it makes it easier for professional movers to quote overall costs for moving day.

Other supplies to gather include: packing tape with a dispenser to save time and effort, marker pens, at least 20m of quality bubble wrap, and other useful protective items like plastic mattress covers.

Start early

As soon as you have a moving date set, get to work with the packing. The sooner you get packing, the more organised you’ll be when moving day comes around. Make a plan and stick to it, a good starting point is making a room by room checklist, listing what items you need to pack, and what packing materials you think you’ll need. One of the best ways to begin packing is to start with packing items in the rooms you use least, like the loft, garage or spare bedroom, pack, all non-essential items think Christmas decorations. Leave items that you use every day to the very last minute. Sounds simple it is.

Pack savvy

Always consider the size and weight of the items you’re packing. Pack heavier bits into smaller boxes like books, magazines and small appliances and lighter items into larger sized boxes, like soft furnishings, bedding and towels. This technique prevents the boxes from becoming too heavy to move and minimises the chance of the box buckling under the weight, which is key if you decide to do the heavy lifting yourself. Get creative, fill your laundry baskets to transport items, pack your clothes into your travel suitcases and wrap breakables and fragile items with your soft clothing, linens and towels, for larger items use cushions for padding. If you have kitchen plates to transport, instead of individually wrapping in bubble wrap, buy a pack of disposable foam plates used for parties, to place in between each plate.

Colour code

Save time with your box labelling and colour code your boxes to correspond to each different room and areas of your new home. By colour coding your belongings, it makes the moving process not only easier for you but for the professional movers or friends or family you draft in to help on moving day. At a glance, you’ll be able to quickly and easily identify what needs to go where. Use different coloured packing tape, coloured stickers or coloured marker pens. Place a corresponding piece of the coloured tape on the doors of the rooms of your new house so that the boxes can be placed easily in the right place at the other end. If you choose not to colour code, be sure to label each box clearly with where it needs to go, include a brief description of the contents and mark weight if heavy or fragile.

Take a picture of your electronic setups

It can be tricky to remember where all the wires go, so don’t forget to take a picture of your electronic device setups like the back of the TV so that you can refer back to it when needed.

Pack a first-night essentials box

After a long chaotic day of moving, you’re likely to be surrounded in a sea of boxes, the last thing you want to do is hunt around for your essential items likely to be spread across multiple boxes across many rooms. Therefore, it’s a great idea to put all those items you may need for the first night in one handy box. Include items like toiletries – toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower gel, tissue, towels, pyjamas, bedding, blow up bed if your bed is unable to be assembled straight away and a change of clothes for the next day. Other useful items include medication, pet supplies, electronics and corresponding chargers as well as kitchen necessities, a box cutter and first-aid kit. Label box clearly as first-night essentials and open me first.

Cut triangle holes into boxes

To transport boxes safely, if not already provided, carefully cut out triangle-shaped holes on either side of the box for easy lifting.

Bag up your hanging clothes

Save time and use suit bag carriers or bin bags to bag up your hanging items, fasten with an elastic band. Or if your budget allows, purchase wardrobe boxes which contain an inbuilt rail and allow for easy transportation. Once at the other end, uncover and hang quickly and efficiently back into the wardrobe.

Don’t empty all your drawers

Instead of wasting time unpacking items from dresser drawers, and packing them into boxes, leave them where they are and secure the drawer by wrapping in plastic wrap. If the dresser is not too heavy, leave the drawers in the dresser and wrap up the dresser itself in plastic wrap. Be sure to remove either fragile items and items that may spill on transportation or wrap with extra sheets of bubble wrap to protect if leaving where they are.

Bag up your bolts and screws

When disassembling bedroom furniture place bolts and screws in a small sandwich bag, label clearly and tape the bag to the furniture to which it belongs. This way, when you come to put the furniture back together, everything you need, is close to hand.

July ‘mini-boom’ drives house prices up

House prices rose to a record high in July following the gentle reopening of the property market after being put on hold whilst coronavirus took its unruly grip on the country.

According to Halifax’s most recent house price index published last week, a sharp increase in July has pushed house prices to the highest they have ever been since the index began. This so-called mini-boom has driven houses prices up in July to 1.6% higher than the previous month, on a monthly basis, and 3.8% higher than his time last year.

However, quarterly, houses prices were down by 0.2%, with Halifax reporting that ‘uncertainty remains with likely greater downward pressure on prices in the medium term’ with other significant lenders and industry experts like Nationwide Building Society and Rightmove reporting similar.

Halifax’s Managing Director, Russell Galley commented that the data adds to the emerging view that the market is experiencing a surprising spike post lockdown. He further cited that pent-up demand from the period of lockdown, and a low supply of available homes was likely the reason behind this bounce back in prices.

Mr Galley further recognised that the government’s recently announced stamp duty cut was likely to provide support in the shorter term, with evidence from agents and households that confidence continues to build, with ‘the immediate future for the housing market looking brighter than many might have expected three months ago’.

However, he warned that ‘looking ahead, there is still a great deal of uncertainty around the lasting impact of the pandemic’ and made it clear that as the ‘government measures wind down, the resulting impact on the macroeconomic environment, and in turn, the housing market, will start to become more apparent.’  Referencing the labour market conditions, Mr Galley expressed a ‘weakening’ in this area, would lead us to expect greater downward pressure on prices in the medium-term.

Other key indicators of interest highlighted in the report include:

  • HMRC Monthly property transactions data shows an increase in UK home sales in June– up by 31.7% from May following the lifting of COVID-19 lockdown measures. Quarter-on-quarter transactions were approximately 47% lower than quarter one 2020.
  • Mortgage approvals rose in June, 40,010, compared to 9,273 in May, representing a 331% month on month rise. The June figure brings the quarter two total to 65,139 – down 68% from the previous quarter and also down 67% from the same period the previous year.
  • Results from the latest (June 2020) RICS Residential Market Survey point to a recovery emerging across the market, with indicators on buyer demand, sales and new listings rallying following the lockdown related falls. New buyer demand has moved to a net balance of +61% (compared to -7% and -94% in April and May respectively). New instructions also rose firmly to a net balance of +42% (compared with -22% in May). Newly agreed sales net balance has moved into positive territory for the first time since February, with a net balance of +43% (from -34% in May).

Stamp duty: How much could you save?

On Wednesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his Summer Statement announcing his plans to raise the Stamp Duty threshold on which buyers start to pay the levy from £125,000 to £500,000 until 31st March 2021.

With a bid to spark growth and boost jobs throughout the UK economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, this news is well-timed for the housing market, particularly as the post-lockdown surge in activity, is expected to level off, as pent-up demand falls. And with Rightmove reporting traffic to their property website spiked by 22% within the first 30 minutes of the Chancellor’s speech, this may be the restart the property market needs.

So whether you’re a first-time buyer, second-stepper or an older homeowner looking to move this year, with stamp duty slashed to zero for nearly 90 per cent of homebuyers across the country, it means you could make significant savings up to £15,000 in tax when buying your next home. Read on to see how much the Stamp Duty holiday could save you.

What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty is a tax payable when you buy a residential property or land in England and Northern Ireland. Other parts of the UK work differently, in Scotland, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax must be paid on purchased properties or land, while in Wales a Land Transaction Tax must be paid for sales that were completed on or after 1 April 2018. The changes made only apply to buyers in England and Northern Ireland, at this stage, it’s unclear whether Scotland and Wales will follow suit with similar tax relief options.

How much stamp duty will I have to pay?

Whether you’ve previously owned property or you’re a first-time buyer, up until 31st March 2021, you WILL NOT have to pay Stamp Duty on your main property costing up to £500,000.

Previously you would have paid 2% Stamp Duty on the property purchase price of £125,000 upwards, rising to 5% above £250,000, or if you were a first-time buyer, you would have paid no Stamp Duty up to £300,000, the current measures seek to replicate the relief previously afforded to first-time buyers.

For properties costing over £500,000, you’ll be taxed at a graduated rate on the amount above the thresholds starting at 5% for property purchase prices between £500,001 to £925,000, rising to 10% between £925,001 and £1.5 million, and 12 % above £1.5 million.

Stamp Duty on your main home

Property Purchase Price SDLT Rate
£0 – £500,000 0%
£500,001 to £925,000 5%
£925,001 to £1.5 million 10%
£1.5 million+ 12%

Stamp duty on buy-to-let and second homes

For those buy-to-let investors and those buying a second home, an additional 3% in Stamp Duty is payable on top of the revised rates for each band up until 31st March 2021.

Although the changes made don’t make as much of a difference on Stamp Duty bills for second homes and buy-to-let properties, it does make property purchases temporarily cheaper (given usual surcharge is between 5-8%). The increased rate does not apply to property transactions below £40,000.

Stamp Duty on your second home and buy-to-let

Property Purchase Price SDLT Rate
£0 – £500,000 3%
£500,001 to £925,000 8%
£925,001 to £1.5 million 13%
£1.5 million+ 15%

The Stamp Duty Holiday started on the 8th July and runs until 31st March 2021. It’s hoped the changes made will make it a lot easier for people across England and Northern Ireland to purchase a home, particularly those who’re looking to buy homes at the lower end of the market, with the average stamp duty bills expected to fall by £4,500. If you want to find out exactly how much Stamp Duty you will pay, click on the government’s Stamp duty Calculator to find out more

If the Stamp Duty cut has piqued your interest about moving house, Check 4 Houses is a local, award-winning online estate agent who’d be delighted help you make the right move. To book a free valuation, or to find out more about what we do or about what the Stamp Duty holiday could mean for you, please give us a call on 01252 819725 or visit us at www.check4houses.co.uk.

Navigating the process of selling your home

According to research conducted by Bosch, by your eighteenth birthday, you would have moved twice, before living in three different houses during your twenties. However, for some people, moves take place a lot less often, Zoopla, one of the UK’s leading property portal and property websites found that Britons move home on average every 23 years. This lengthy national home moving average will not come as a surprise to many given the various political and economic uncertainties the country has faced over the years, it’s no wonder people have chosen to stay where they are.

However these figures do vary from region to region, take for example homeowners in Powys, Wales, who’re content with where they live and stay living in one home for the longest, at just over 33 years whilst the Scots, those particularly living in the Midlothian region are the most frequent movers, where properties are changed up in just under 15 years, less than half the time of those living in the Welsh region.

Moving a little closer to home, last year we sold a home for a client in Farnborough, who had purchased her home back in the late 1990s – well over two decades ago and we’ve dealt with many more similar instructions since. If you haven’t sold your property for a while, then it can be an extremely daunting prospect, particularly intensified with the recent effects of the pandemic on the housing market. However don’t be deterred if you’re thinking of dipping a toe in the water, here we try to demystify the process with our simple guide to selling your home.

Select an estate agent

There are a now a huge variety of options for selling your home, from using traditional high street estate agents through to cost-effective online estate agents, to even selling your home yourself. Think carefully about what type of support you would need and get valuations from at least three different estate agents.

Prepare your home

Your estate agent will prepare full details of your property, which should include unlimited photographs taken by a top-spec SLR camera and ultra-wide lens. We’ve touched upon this idea before (for further advice check out our previous articles ‘Selling your home: 5 Expert tips to prepare your house for a Spring sale’ and ‘Boost your home’s kerb appeal in 7 easy steps) but a little tidying up and decluttering can go a long way in making your property more appealing.

Arrange an energy performance certificate

All properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) within 28 days of going on the market. Your estate agent can usually source an assessor for you, or you can find a provider of your choice online. Check 4 Houses can for as little as £85 + VAT arrange a Domestic Energy Assessor to provide an EPC for your property at a suitable time for you.

Secure a sale

Your estate agent will receive an offer(s) from prospective buyers and will negotiate with them on your behalf to agree on a price that is acceptable to you. Once you have agreed on a price and the offer is proceedable, (i.e they have nothing to sell, or have already sold) you will need to instruct a solicitor who will handle the legal side for you.

Hand over to the solicitors

The rest of the process will be handled by a solicitor with your estate agent keeping fully abreast of progress. The Solicitor will conduct various searches (like a Local Authority Search) prepare contracts and keep you informed throughout. Once the majority of the legal work is completed, your solicitor will contact you to advise that you’re ready to exchange contracts and agree on a date for completion. At the point of exchange of contracts, the purchase becomes legally binding, and deposits (usually 10%) are paid.

Complete the sale and move house

Before the completion, you’ll need to provide the solicitor with the remaining balance for any property purchase you’re making. On completion day, the sale of the homes in your chain will move through sequentially, and your solicitors will also receive any additional mortgage funds directly from your bank. Your solicitors will pay any stamp duty owed directly on your behalf.

You’re then free to pick up the keys and move in!!

Here at Check 4 Houses, we go out of our way to provide you with the best advice and guide you through the whole selling process. With the knowledge of a local high street agent, but the costs of an online estate agent, Check 4 Houses can sell your home for just £699 + VAT or 0.5% + VAT and save you thousands.

For any more advice or a free valuation of your home, then please give us a call on 01252 819725, we’d be delighted to help.

Business photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Check 4 Houses: Helping you move safely

Following the government’s announcement this week that the housing industry can resume work, we’re extremely pleased to report that we’re able to support our clients with accompanied viewings and valuations once more.

As always our client’s wellbeing and safety are of paramount importance to us, so it’s important that we get this right, that’s why in the last couple of days Check 4 Houses Ltd have taken time to review all relevant government advice and have implemented a variety of new safety procedures for both us and our clients to follow to ensure we operate as safely as possible.

Therefore all appointments undertaken must be carried out under the strict procedures listed as follows:

Viewings/Valuations

  • Strictly by appointment only
  • All interested parties (to include both members of the household being viewed, and all members of the household undertaking the viewing) must be in a position to proceed, i.e not showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating.
  • Viewings confined to buyers only, no friends/relatives at the initial viewing stage. Ideally, no children to accompany on viewings.
  • All parties to follow safe social distancing rules – minimum 2-metre distance maintained throughout the viewing/valuation.
  • Owners to vacate the property.
  • Owners to leave all internal doors open and all lights left on where applicable and open as many windows as possible.
  • All parties should wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible.

*Check 4 Houses team will be wearing face-masks and gloves at all appointments.

We would like to reassure you that we’re closely monitoring daily developments and all relevant government guidelines on home moving, these guidelines of which are available to review at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Should you need any further information on this matter, or wish to discuss arranging a valuation or viewing please do not hesitate to call Check 4 Houses on 01252 819725.

Boost your home’s kerb appeal in 7 easy steps

When we talk about maximising kerb appeal, we’re talking about first impressions, and what we can do to enhance our homes overall attractiveness from the outside. When it comes to selling your home, by boosting your home’s kerb appeal, it helps generate initial interest, entices buyers in from the outset, encouraging buyers to see what the rest of your property has to offer and look at the interior as well as contributing to achieving a top-selling price.

In a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Homeowners Alliance, out of 2,000 homebuyers surveyed, over 68% of people felt that kerb appeal was important in their choice of home. The kerb appeal features that people were most searching for included well-maintained roof and windows, a tidy front garden, and well-maintained pathways and fencing, and a nicely painted frontage. Other features of interest included a well-lit exterior, clean gutters and concealed wheelie bins.

Whilst you may have a little more spare time on your hands at the moment, now is the perfect opportunity to embrace kerb appeal and see what improvements you could easily make, to your home. A little work goes a long way, and we have good news, most of these improvements are simple to do, take only a couple of days, are generally inexpensive, with no tradesperson help required. 

Here are our top tips for boosting kerb appeal:

Give your front door a little TLC

The front door is the amazing gateway, to your cherished home, it’s the one thing that stands in the way of prospective buyers getting in and taking a look around, make them want to knock on your door and come straight in. No one wants to knock on an unloved door, 51% of people surveyed by YouGov said that when it comes to kerb appeal features, a well maintained and attractive front door makes all the difference.

Take advantage of this great weather and give your door a fresh coat of paint, pick a classic colour like racing green, pillar box red, or navy to catch the eye. If your door can’t be painted and is plastic or a composite door variety, consider restoring whiteness by using specialist products, easily purchased online. Polish up your door knockers and letterboxes, and consider replacing tired door numbers and signs.

Maintain exterior and windows

Want to go even further, and have the ladders, paint, and time to do so, consider refreshing the house’s exterior, to include repainting weather-beaten wooden window frames and sills. Windows being in top condition (free from rot and flaking paint) topped the homebuyers poll when it came to which aspect contributed most to kerb appeal. And don’t forget to give your windows a good wash, gleaming sparkly windows allows more natural light in and gives your home a welcoming feel.

Clear gutters and check roof

Consider cleaning and fixing any gutters that may be hanging off their fixings, make sure they’re free from blockages such as leaves, dirt and brick moss. Homebuyers are looking for a roof that’s in good condition, check to see if your roof has any obvious missing, cracked or loose tiles if so, consider replacing them.

Freshen up your patio, driveways and pathways

Out of all our solutions, this by far is the easiest and cheapest, breathe life into tired patios, driveways and paths by thoroughly cleaning surfaces with a simple jet washing machine, and don’t forget to clean your rendered surfaces such as patios and decked areas out the back of your property too. Consider replacing cracked paving stones, draft in a professional if you need to, costs start from £100 – £500 depending on the extent of damage and type of surface.

Pay those boundaries some attention

Make those all-important boundary lines clear and neat to prospective buyers by revarnishing wooden fences for an instant facelift, repaint any metal fencing and gates and make sure they’re all in good working order. Trim hedges, prune bushes and planting and cut back any unruly foliage which may be obscuring pathways.

Green appeal

A tidy front garden with no weeds is a must-have for homebuyers, shows that you take care of the house, an overgrown front garden is a massive no-go and sure to put people off from the start. Make your property look more inviting by keeping your front lawn short and manicured, and consider adding a splash of colour with seasonal planters, simple window box or a well-placed hanging basket to cheer up the frontage. Regularly sweep your pathways, and collect up any fallen leaves or rubbish.

Think of the larger picture

Whilst beyond the front of your property is not part of your responsibility, rubbish lying strewn across the road, or pavement does not create a great first impression, you want prospective buyers to get a good feel for the area as well as the house, so make sure it’s as tidy as possible. Similarly, with regards to rubbish, make sure it’s out of view, consider concealing your wheelie bins with a simple willow wheelie bin screen, available at most local DIY or garden stores for a reasonable price.

Should you be considering going on the market in future, and you’re looking for more advice or a free valuation of your home, then please give us a call on 01252 8197725, and we would be delighted to help. We pride ourselves on our local knowledge and highly personalised service, helping you through every step of the moving process. Make the right next move with Check 4 Houses by selling your home for just £699 or 0.5% + VAT and save thousands.

What to think about when downsizing your home?

For many of our clients, there comes a time when they look to downsize their home. It could be that the children have flown the nest, and a bigger house is surplus to requirements, that they’re looking to release equity from their property, want to move to a better-served location, move closer to loved ones, an unforeseen change in circumstances or perhaps they need a property that is easier to manage and move around in.

Whatever the reason, looking to downsize effectively means using a different mindset to ensure you make the right choice about your next home. Downsizing is becoming increasingly popular among a wide cross-section of the UK’s population, and it’s not just confined to the over 50s. A change in personal and financial circumstances may lead individuals, couples and families to pursue this route. However, for those of an older generation, it may well be their last move, so it’s vitally important to get this right.

Here are the top tips we share with clients about how to approach a downsizing move.

Begin with an open mind

When thinking about your new home, it may help to view a wide range of types and styles of property. You may have certain requirements such as a bungalow, ground floor flat, but looking at different locations and types of building will give you an idea of what you can afford with your downsize budget and what feels like the right next move for you.

Have a clear-out

Knowing that your new home is most likely to be smaller than your existing one, it makes sense to think about what you really need in your existing home. You may want to keep things, but can they be boxed up and put into storage? Will you need all of your existing furniture? Local charities will be very pleased for any donations and groups like the Lions Community Store will collect furniture and white goods from you (which makes the logistics easy) and subsequently put them to good use. If this is something that you wish to explore further, please visit www.communitystore.org.uk or call 01252 616998 for further information.

Clearing out your existing home can also help it sell for the best possible price, as well as making it easier to see how you might live in a smaller home.

Remember why you’re doing it

Moving, and in particular, downsizing can be stressful but remember you have good reasons for downsizing your home, which is part of a bigger picture for the next stage of your life. Don’t lose sight and forget what your priorities are and why you started the moving process in the first place. Always keep the pros in mind, in most cases downsizing means a move to a smaller property, therefore, cheaper to run with lower bills and maintenance costs, perhaps downsizing is an opportunity to maintain independent living or to even see friends and family more.

Maximise your money pot

For many of our clients, downsizing is financially driven, to release equity for retirement, to pass on funds to family members or to adjust to changes in income. With the average cost of moving reaching almost £30,000, to include estate agency fees, legal fees, surveys, stamp duty, removal fees and more, it’s a move you have to get right. Getting the best price for selling your existing property at the least cost is the first step to downsizing as you’re maximising the funds you can make available for the next stage in your life.

To make your move worth it, and to significantly reduce the sum cutting into your equity release, consider not just instructing local estate agents but also online estate agents like Check 4 Houses who can sell your home for as little as £699 + VAT, giving you thousands more in your downsizing pot. If you’re looking for any more advice or a free valuation of your home, then please give us a call on 01252 819725 we would be delighted to help. We pride ourselves on our local knowledge and personalised service, helping you through every step of the process of selling your home.

Make the right next downsizing move with Check 4 Houses.

What to look for when upsizing your home?

We’ve guided prospective buyers and sellers for over a decade now, and as a local estate agent within an area so popular with families, every day, we meet lots of local people who’re looking to upsize their home with their next move. Of course, there may be lots of different reasons for wanting to upsize, from second steppers, mostly couples and young families who’re moving on from their first-time buyer flats to new baby arrivals, to established families coming together, we’ve even met the needs of three-generation households.

But, all these prospective buyers enjoy something in common, they’re seeking more space to accommodate their growing needs. And whilst accommodating a growing family and more room appear as key drivers in upsizing, reflected by research conducted by Lloyds Bank where some consider the ‘dream property’ a detached four-bedroom house with a garage, driveway, and kitchen/diner, upsizing doesn’t always mean you have to technically buy a larger property for more money.

When upsizing you could also look for a property that grows with you, and we’re not only talking about homes that have space for extra growth, like the potential for extensions, and conversions, we’re talking about looking at homes with more potential than your current home, from a garden if starting a family might be on the distant horizon, to a home that better accommodates a new home business venture or maybe you’ve decided now is the time to go for that aspirational home you’ve always had your heart set on, now that you’re financially capable.

Whatever the reasons for upsizing, the quest for more space, in particular, will usually mean the need for more money and household budgets can often become squeezed. Here are some of our top tips to get the best value for money from your upsizing move.

Secure the best price for your existing house first for the least cost

This concept may seem obvious, but investing a little of your time (and sometimes money) to prepare your existing home for sale can pay dividends. It also pays to choose your estate agents wisely, so, consider online estate agents such as Check 4 Houses, who’ll sell your home for as little as £699 or 0.5% + VAT, saving you thousands, leaving you more to spend on your new home.

Consider your priorities

Choosing a new home often requires some form of compromise. So it’s useful to sit down and decide what you consider a priority. For example, is it the number of bedrooms, overall space, garden or driveway parking, or even the catchment area of local schools. Consider your reasons for moving so you know upfront what you’re looking for and also think about which criteria you’re prepared to compromise on and which are non-negotiable. Interestingly, according to the same report conducted by Lloyds Bank, over 28% of people surveyed, confirmed they’re unwilling to compromise on their own list of must-have features, and those that were willing to compromise, listed the conservatory, closely followed by a garage as the first features to go.

Get to grip with your budget

Now is the time to sort out your budget. Go through your finances so you have an understanding of what the costs might be when running a bigger home. Things to think about include council tax rates, utility bills, as well as an increase in mortgage payments. Find out in advance what the maximum mortgage you wish to take is and confirm a lender will offer it to you so that you’re in a position to move forward.

Consider the costs of moving, agency fees to sell your existing home, solicitors fees, and stamp duty for buying your new home, so you’re able to set a realistic budget for your new purchase. Also, remember when viewing a property to think about the amount of work that may be required and the extra costs involved in this, and simple practicalities involved, like by increasing in size, comes additional furnishing and maintenance costs.

Keep an open mind

You may have always loved the charm of a character property or the spaciousness of open plan living, but if schools and the number of bedrooms are now your biggest priorities, then you may need to consider different styles of home. Viewing a wide range of properties will give you a realistic expectation of what’s affordable to you and what is the right next move to meet your needs.

If you’re looking for more advice or a free valuation of your home, then please give us a call on 01252 8197725, and we would be delighted to help. We pride ourselves on our local knowledge and highly personalised service, helping you through every step of the moving process. Make the right next move with Check 4 Houses by selling your home for just £699 or 0.5% + VAT and save thousands.