December 2019 - Fife Properties
Fife Properties

Winter Warmer: tips and traditions

It’s clear to see that we are moving into the winter months. The autumn leaves have fallen leaving an army of frosty branches. We’ve had our fair share of rain and the temperatures have now indeed plummeted. An extra few minutes is needed at the start of the commute to scrape the frost from the windscreen, and gloves are a definite must-have. Christmas is certainly on its way.

A fresh winter morning can make it harder to get up in the mornings, with many of us wanting to sink into our duvets and hibernate. But work must go on, and the best way to do that is to take care of our homes, keep the warmth in, and adopt those cosy habits we’ve been waiting for all year. See below for some tips and traditions for a warm and Merry Christmas: Continue reading Winter Warmer: tips and traditions

New Year New Home: Selling your home in the new year

There is often speculation as to when is the best time to sell your home. Sellers often wait for certain times in the year that may be construed to be better than others. If you feel like you are ready to sell, you should seek a valuation and consider whether it is the right time for you, as it may well be right now.

The imminent general election has caused mixed feelings about the housing market. Many are waiting for the outcome of the election to see whether policy changes (such as stamp duty reforms), will be put in place. However, if you are considering selling your home, now is a good time to put your property on the market. There will always be other circumstances that can affect the housing market, but none of that should prevent you from getting a full market appraisal.

House prices have continued to increase throughout these uncertain times so you may be surprised at how much your home is worth. No matter what time of the year it is, there are a few checks that you can run through to ensure that your home is in its optimum condition. High spec homes are attracting the attention of serious buyers. If your house is well presented and organised, it will help potential buyers believe in your home.


Photos, photos, and more photos! If there was only one thing that could attract potential buyers to your home, this is it. It’s the first time people will see your home, and remember what we said about first impressions! Ensure that photos are of a high specification, in natural daylight and show the full room to its full potential. Check that your home is neat and tidy so that buyers can visualise living in the home themselves.


Leading on from photos, we have Christmas. You should ensure that you have photos of your home without decorations up, so that those viewing can see how the space in the home could look throughout the year. Christmas time is where we can really show off our homes and display how inviting it is, giving viewers a lasting feeling about your home. The festive spirit is a great tool but be mindful to use tasteful festive décor without too many different colours. Everybody has different tastes so a more neutral Christmas touch will work best if you have viewings over the Christmas season. Potential buyers will also be able to see a sense of community and good spirits in the neighbourhood.


Your home needs to be clean and tidy when on the market. This includes the exterior as well as the interior, as you never know when a potential buyer may be driving past the home unexpectedly! First impressions last so you don’t want to tarnish them by being messy, so keep leaves swept off the garden and ensure that doorbells and outside lights are working; this shows that the home has been well maintained. Inside you want to show that there is ample storage space. Ensure that anything that is left out on tables, sides or shelves is there for a purpose, so that potential buyers can see that there is plenty of storage to maintain a tidy home.


Remember all that paperwork that you know is important, so you keep in that ‘safe place’? Well, now is the time to dig it out. Important documents relating to deed titles and guarantee certificates for any work you have had done are essential during the selling process. Collate any paperwork that you have for the home into a folder so that you can show prospective buyers that everything is in order.

First Time Buyers get up to £25,000 loan to Help to Buy their First Home

First Time Buyers get up to £25,000 loan to Help to Buy their First Home.

Every First Time Buyer in Scotland will now get a boost of up to £25,000 towards their deposit on their new home from the Scottish Government through their new FIRST HOME FUND.

This means that the dream home they thought was just out of reach could now be within reach with their help.

Yes, it is a loan of FREE MONEY with no interest or repayments to pay each month and you only pay it back when you sell the house again.

Jim Parker, Fife Properties Managing Director and Neil Bird, Senior Mortgage Adviser at Cara Mortgages discuss it more in this in-depth interview.

To book an appointment to see our mortgage partners please click on the link for contact details via phone, email or online:


Tips for decorating at Christmas

Yes, it really is that time of year again! Decking the halls is practically obligatory for all of us during the Christmas period, and with so much pressure on presenting a perfectly preened pine tree and creating a winter wonderland so festive that reindeer land on your roof, here are a few tips to help you create a Christmas to remember.

The Tree

For many of us, the focal point of the Christmas decorations is the tree itself and that presents a few initial decisions – the first being the choice between real or artificial. In recent years, the difference between real and artificial trees has narrowed quite substantially, meaning that many of us are now opting for the longer-lasting artificial tree. However, if you like the traditional option of a fresh tree then consider delaying putting it up by a week or so to ensure that it is still looking its best on Christmas morning – one traditional suggestion would be to wait until 12 days before Christmas on December 13th.

Chic or classic

The next decision for that all-important tree is around the decorations themselves; do you go for a chic colour scheme straight from the pages of Vogue or for the traditional charm? If you choose to go for a colour scheme, then keep it clean and simple – whites and silvers are understated and elegant, lending themselves to most homes. Also, to ensure that your tree has maximum impact then extend the theme in to its surroundings and decorate the rest of the room in the same colour palette as your tree. If you shy away from ‘fashionable’ trees and colour-matched accessories, then the traditional Christmas accoutrements of home-made baubles, paper snowflakes and vintage accessories are probably more in-line with your Christmas aesthetic. Dust off those tree decorations given to you by friends and family, made by your children or passed down through the generations and showcase them on your tree of choice; just make sure that they are evenly distributed so they get the admiration that they deserve.

Twinkle, Twinkle

When it comes to Christmas decorations, one thing that never goes out of style is a little bit of sparkle! Having lots of reflective decorations around the home really helps to set a festive atmosphere – think lots of candles of different sizes (it’s nice to play with heights of candles for a little more interest) and tealights in crystal glasses. All of the sparkling candles and crystal reflections will set a truly magical tone throughout your home and turn even the most Scrooge-like guests in to Christmas converts.

Stairway to Christmas Heaven

Don’t neglect surfaces such as mantlepieces and staircases, if you really want to have the maximum impact whilst decorating for Christmas. Using offcuts from real trees, lining the handrail of your staircase with branches decants an intoxicating smell of Christmas around your home. When it comes to surfaces such as mantlepieces, use fruit centrepieces to create a feeling of decadence, with very little expense.

Light it up

For many of us, decorating outside of the home seems like an awful lot of effort for such a short period, however when it comes to adding that touch of festive flavour to the outdoors it doesn’t have to be a lighting extravaganza. Thanks to the homemade delights of Kirstie Allsopp, the Christmas wreath is storming back in to fashion for 2018, with ever-more people opting to create their own wreaths. Simply pick out some choice items for your door wreath – such as pinecones, pine tree branches, fruit and ornaments – and adhere them to a wire frame in the shape of a circle and voilà – your outdoor decorations are complete.

Of course, that’s not to say that seeing a home adorned with many a Christmas light doesn’t still stir up that feeling of childhood Christmas excitement in all of us, so if that’s your plan for the exterior of your home, then we insist that you go ahead and light it up!

Tips to sell your home at Christmas

There are some things that the British public simply cannot believe at this time of year; how cold it is, how dark it is and, above all, that it’s nearly Christmas. Nevertheless, Christmas is indeed upon us and if you are selling your home, or thinking of selling your home, you may be under the impression that it’s not the optimum time to bag a sale. Our top tips to sell your home at Christmas will show you that not only is it possible to sell your home during the festive season, it is a doddle.

Picture perfect

The average time that a buyer takes to look at a picture on a property advert is three seconds, so having the perfect image is essential in your quest to sell your home – especially at Christmas. When having your home photographed, it is important to think about the staging; ask yourself whether the clutter around your home has been put away, can you remove some of your personal items in order to create more space or give everything one last polish? Once you’ve ticked off those basics, think about the Christmas factor – do not include heavily decorated rooms in your photographs as they will detract from the space and may age your property if your home remains on the market in to January.

Keep the pine in line

Of course, at this time of year the Christmas tree has taken its place in our living rooms and other communal spaces, but make sure that the tree isn’t dwarfing the space it is in. We can all get carried away with the festivities, but this may not be the year to get the 7-foot Nordic spruce of your dreams – in the same way that cramming a king-size bed in to a single room will make the room appear cramped, an over-sized tree will also make your room seem smaller than it is. Buyers like to imagine their own furniture in potential new homes, so allow them the space to do so.

Serious offers only

Although some may suggest that Christmas is a difficult time to attract buyers to your home, what the period does provide is serious buyers. You can make the most of the serious buyers in December by ensuring that you see each property viewing as the optimum chance to sell – making sure that your home is in pristine shape and you are welcome and positive about the property and the area. Potential buyers can glean an image of what it may be like to live in the area from their interactions with you as the homeowner, so ensure that you are up-to-date about local schools and solely positive when they ask you any questions. Similarly, being flexible may bag your buyer as an accommodating vendor, who allows for viewings at irregular hours for example, could help clinch that crucial sale.

Preparation is key

Being organised could be the key in securing your Christmas sale. Make sure that your fixture and fittings list is put together, you have the legally required energy performance certificate and, if you have had work completed on the house, make sure you have the relevant consents. Solicitors can be the make-and-break in a sale scenario, with a slow solicitor frustrating both buyer and seller, so take recommendations from your estate agent and have an efficient solicitor all lined up, ready for a sale.

Being in a new home by the New Year can seem to be an impossible task, however by showing restraint with your festive decorations, and taking the appropriate steps to being prepared and organised you can certainly sell your home this Christmas and start your 2019 with the perfect gift – a new home.

What do homebuyers value most in a property?

According to recent research, home buyers regard traditional features as one of the most important factors in a property when looking for their next home. With the prevalence of first-time buyers in the marketplace, traditionally important factors such as school catchment areas are decreasing in terms of their importance to buyers.

At the top of the list of considerations for buyers is gardens – either private or shared – with almost a third of those surveyed ranking this as the most important factor when looking for a property. For those currently thinking of selling, the garden may take a backseat in terms of priorities over winter; however, in light of this research it may pay dividends to ensure that your outside space remains as pristine as your home over the coming months.

With the focus on gardens, it may come as no surprise that a private car parking or a driveway was ranked second with people now prepared to travel a little further to get that all-important additional space.

Additionally, the more mature generation look for garages and outbuildings to allow them to pursue hobbies as well as bathrooms, bedrooms etc on all floors to allow for more adaptable living.

Interestingly, in capital cities, good transport links were considered the most important factor, with 31% rating this as priority number one.

Amenities such as shops and restaurants, as well as good transport links, followed in the list of priorities with around 13% of respondents noting the importance of good local facilities.

Jim Parker, Managing Director of Fife Properties, noted that: “Buyers are placing more emphasis on searching for the right lifestyle fit for them and not just the right property, so it’s important to tick all the right boxes when selling your home. Concentrate on why they want to buy more than what they want to buy as this will be a key indicator in selling your home which allows you to stand out from the crowd and get a far better offer in the asking price for your home.”