Whilst self-isolating, one thing a lot of us will have gained is more time. A lot us will not be used to spending so much time at home, so here are some activities that can be done safely (unless you’re competitive like me lol), to curb any boredom.
In order to make the most of being at home, you may be thinking about the current value of your property and whether you may want to sell-up later in the year, or what you can do to maximise the value of your home. Many estate agents are now flexing with the current situation and offering virtual viewings in order to allow you to plan for your property transaction and search for the right property, but how do we value your property without ever stepping foot in your home? Continue reading SOCIAL DISTANCE VALUATIONS: Planning for the future in FIFE
If you’re a first-time buyer and have begun the hunt for your first home, you may think that once you’ve found the right one you simply offer what they ask for; job done! However, when it comes to making an offer on a home, there’s a bit more work that should go into it than simply offering the price advertised.
You need to be confident when making an offer that you’re not going to be stung by an inflated asking price or take yourself out of the running by offering too low. To help you prepare, we’ve put together the following information to help you through this stage of the home buying process.
Flick through the pages of any magazine these days or scroll through the popular Pinterest app and you’re likely to see endless images of chic properties with timeless décor. For those of us that are blessed to be able to colour-match and accessorise effortlessly, this is an entirely attainable vision; however, for the rest of us who are a little more challenged in the decorating department, it can be tough to know where to start. Read through our basic guide to decorating and we will provide you with some guidelines which are sure to help you turn your home in to a real page-turner.
Moving to a new home may be stressful for you, but it’s even tougher on your children. But while adults tend to focus on the practical problems, a child will focus on all the losses that the move causes. This can be the loss of their friends or of a safe and familiar environment.
Children need time to get used to the idea of moving house so don’t put off telling them. Highlight all the positive reasons for the move i.e. new friends, school, closer to family, garden etc. We all know that every child has a natural explorer inside so make the whole experience into a huge adventure.
For a lot of older homeowners today, downsizing can be a great way to have a good clear out after your kids have left home, but also a fantastic way to free up some equity from your home. This financial boost will most likely come with the added bonus of a reduction in running costs as you move to a smaller home.
While there are plenty of benefits of downsizing, moving home can still be a complex and stressful experience, so we’ve put together a quick guide on what to consider to help make your move a much smoother transition.
Decide what you REALLY need Continue reading Top Tips on Downsizing to a Smaller Home
If you have spoken to us on this subject previously, you will know that in the three years since the referendum of the ‘B’ word (that word is banned in our household), we have proved beyond doubt that it (whose name shall remain nameless) has had no effect on the Fife property market (or the UK as a whole).
So one might ask, what does affect the property market locally? Well many things on the demand side include wages, job security, interest rates, availability of mortgages, confidence in the economy, inflation, speculative demand … the list goes on. Yet as my blog readers will note, I like to delve deeper into the numbers and I have found an interesting correlation between unemployment and the number of properties sold (i.e. transactions).
Why transaction levels and not house prices? Well just looking at Fife house prices as a bellwether has flaws. Many property market commentators and economists believe transaction numbers (the number of properties sold) give a more accurate and candid indicator of the health of the property market than just house values alone. The reason is twofold. First most people when they sell also buy, so if property values have dropped by 10% or risen by 10% on the one you are selling, it would have done the same on the one you are buying – meaning to judge the health of a property market is very one dimensional. Secondly, the act of moving is very much a human thing. Property habitually conveys a robust emotional connection with homeowners – a connection that few would attribute to their other investments like their savings or stock market investments. Moving home could be described as a human enterprise, moving from one chapter of one’s life to another. When people move home, it shows they are moving forward in their lives and so this gives a great indicator of the health of the property market.
Looking at Fife’s figures on the graph, you can see an inverse relationship between unemployment and housing transaction levels.
Property transactions in Fife dropped by 55.6%, whilst unemployment in Fife rose by 54.29% during the 2007 to 2009 Global Financial Crash
Until recently, there has clearly been a relationship between conditions in the Fife job market and the number of people who move home … interesting don’t you think?
Now I am not saying unemployment is the only factor influencing the Fife property – but it has to be said there is a link.
As a country (and indeed here in Fife) over the last 40 years, we have seen a shift in the outlook over the purpose of housing and the development of the religion of following house prices (and I appreciate the irony of me writing these articles on Fife – feeding that habit!) Yet, when did owning a home turn from buying a roof over your head to an out and out investment vehicle? I do wish people would stop fretting about their intrinsic value being associated with their Fife home. Now of course, I am not dismissing the current levels of Fife house prices – we just have to take into consideration other metrics alongside them when judging the health of the property market locally.
One final thought, looking on a broader scale in the UK, those towns and cities whose property markets bounced back after the Global Financial Crash had high levels of employment and low unemployment whilst places with high unemployment and relatively low employment have, on the other hand, typically under performed.
So, the next time you are considering a house move or buying a buy to let property in Fife … don’t make your judgement on house price growth alone.
We’re moving into a new decade, and so the last thing that you want is for your home to look dated. Throughout 2019 we have seen some extreme trends in interior design; from the embracing of industrial elements to the resurgence of entirely neutral spaces. We have taken a look at what to expect this year and how to get ahead with your design aesthetic, whatever your budget.
- Colour makes a comeback
One of the key trends this decade has been that of neutral spaces with a few accent pieces to liven up the décor, however this year one of the main inclinations in design will be towards colour; bolder, brighter and braver! Rebecca Breslin, Wayfair Professional design manager, is calling for an end of “Greige, grey and all neutral everything without texture or visual interest” and therefore if you are looking for a change this year then start by adding colour into your home – burnt oranges and deep blues are set to be en vogue throughout the whole year.
- Paper set to tear up the market
A feature wall has been the mainstay of every makeover show and glossy magazine before-and-after shoot since the early naughties, however 2020 is set to end this fad. Rather than a singular wall that is adorned with wallpaper, we are going to see all four walls covered with paper – in line with the brighter aesthetic of 2020. Wallpaper has seen something of a renaissance over the past decade, with designs from Gucci and Dior all the way through to stick-and-peel examples flooding the marketplace, and this isn’t set to end this year. If you want to experiment, then start with smaller spaces such as studies, toilets and guest bedrooms where patterns will seem less overwhelming.
- Cabinet shake-up
The crisp, white kitchens that have been an enduring design staple over the last decade are set to move into retirement in 2020, with colour making its way back into the heart of the home. Kitchen cabinets, more specifically, are to become a real focus in kitchen design – therefore if you are looking to stay on-trend then think about rejuvenating your cabinets. Navy blue matte cabinets with vintage gold handles will transform your aesthetic immediately and mixes the traditional and vintage visuals that are set to be all the rage this year.
- Give art a start
In these modern days of mass production and consumerism, vintage art and antiques are making a huge comeback due to the perceived one-of-a-kind nature of the objects and that they possess their own unique story. If you are looking to make small changes to your home that make it chic, then adding some select pieces of art is a great start – adding pieces to your kitchen walls will add particular interest to an otherwise utilitarian space.
- Soften the edges
Throughout the 2010s, chicness has often been related to strong lines, sharp edges and minimalism, however as we move into the next decade this is set to be turned on its head for an altogether softer look. As well as a nod to 30s glamour (think metallics such as silver and gold, as well as scalloped seating) curves and fluid shapes are set to be popular this year; from circular side tables to rounded-edge sofas.
As any estate agent can tell you, a successful sale hinges on a good first impression. Prospective buyers possess a sixth sense when it comes to viewing a property and if things aren’t up to scratch – inside and out – you can guarantee they will spot it.
In fact, a recent study has revealed that the average house hunter only needs eight minutes to decide if a property is for them or not and six in ten adults will also choose not to buy a property based on the condition of the exterior of the property, without even needing to view the inside.
In comparison, 18% of buyers admitted to buying the very first property they view and 15% said they decided to buy the property before they had even viewed it in person.
This decisiveness extends online, with the average buyer spending eight minutes deciding whether or not to visit a property – highlighting the importance of a good online advert. This comes back to making sure you have a professional photographer to take stunning photos, a professional copywriter to describe and measure the property, emotive descriptions to catch the buyers attention, a correct and not over-inflated valuation for the home report and most of all an agent that’s going to jump on an enquiry regardless of when and what time it comes in. Proactive rather than reactive.
75% also confessed to being irritated upon finding that an advert or online listing does not accurately represent a property when visiting in person.
The study also revealed which aspects of a viewing signalled an early exit for many prospective buyers. The main offender was an obvious damp patch, which 60% of buyers said would put a stop to any future transaction, whilst a house on a main road or cracks in the wall would also put an end to the viewing.
For the buyers who are good at seeking out the problematic finer details of the property, there were some decisive reasons for buyers backing out of the viewing, such as dirty toilet pipes, overflowing bins, wheelie bins left in front of the property and faded or yellowed paintwork.
Some viewers take issue with a sellers lack of preparation for the viewing such as untidy rooms, poor DIY and ashtrays left around the house.
Other reasons included logistical problems such as the size of the rooms being too small for the buyer’s furniture or issues with the natural lighting of the property. The current owner’s furniture cluttering up the layout of a room which preventing the buyer’s imagination from running wild led to over a third of buyers to back out of a purchase.
The list showcases the importance of sprucing up your home, both before putting it on the market and before every viewing. A prospective buyer needs to weigh up the additional costs and work involved in buying a property, so ensure you give your home the most generic makeover possible and organise your possessions and furniture in a way that won’t distract the prospective buyer.
Some of these issues might seem very minor to you but it highlights the need to have an experienced agent that can overcome what you see as minor objections so the buyer does not walk away over something that could be trivial in hindsight.
It’s the start of a brand new year in the market, with buyers and sellers alike preparing to fulfil their New Year’s Resolutions and make their move. Market conditions appear to have stabilised after December’s general election brought with it a majority Conservative Government, but what can you do to give yourself the best chance of a successful transaction? Read our top tips for Buyers and Sellers below.
Research, Research, Research
As clichéd as it sounds, buyers who prepare sufficiently are more likely to end up with a better deal for the home they’re looking for. Once you’ve made the decision to begin house hunting, look into sale and listing prices for properties in the local areas that you’re interested in; this will give you a rough guide as to how much you can expect to spend.
Prepare your mortgage
If you’re house-hunting in a competitive area where properties are quickly snapped up, then getting a mortgage agreement in principle will give you an advantage when you find the property that you want. Having your finances in order and prepared can save time and prove invaluable if the home you want is likely to generate significant local interest.
Check the Home Report
Make sure you check the home report (Scotland) and the surveyor’s comments before you offer. This survey flags up any major issues or elements of the property that require attention, such as urgent defects or structural concerns. Depending on the age of the building, you could find yourself a wildly fluctuating amount of work to carry out, especially if previous owners have neglected its upkeep. Either way, this is an invaluable belts and braces report of the property and will provide peace of mind in any outcome. If it’s more than 3 months old once you have had an offer accepted, insist on the seller getting a refresh so it’s up to date. If a long time has passed since it was first listed it could be there is other issues you need to be aware of that could affect your initial offer price.
Research, Research, Research
Preparation is key for sellers, too! Make sure you know your property’s true value before it’s listed; carry out a full appraisal of your home with a trusted agent and not just an instant valuation to get a clear idea of what your property is worth. Inviting valuers into your home can also provide you with a fresh set of eyes which can be useful in flagging up any existing issues or reminding you of a few flaws that could require attention before going to market, too. Some even provide more specialist knowledge than just a valuation.
Find ways to add more value
If you’re looking for ways to add more worth to your property, then carrying out home improvement projects will certainly aid you. These can be relatively simple tasks, such as installing double glazing or adding extra insulation to your loft, or bigger jobs such as renovating your kitchen. Whilst the cost associated with these projects may be off-putting, it may pay off when it comes to increasing your home’s value. But ask the professionals first if it’s worth doing before doing it.
Declutter and organise
Take a look at each room in your house and you’ll likely find a few easy ways of decluttering and making extra space. This is vital for the viewing process as potential buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in this space, and in some rooms, it’s as easy as clearing a few worktops or mantlepieces.
In today’s market, preparation really is key whether you’re buying or selling. Carry out your market research, get your finances and paperwork and make sure you utilise a knowledgeable and local agent to help you through the process. One that has a consistent track record, years of experience and is an expert in their field. One that embraces and uses new technology and media marketing to hit specific target markets for your property rather than one that will put it on a few big websites and hope for the best. Proactive rather than reactive.