SPRING SELLING TIPS for 2020: How to prepare and present your home for prime selling season
Spring is usually the time of year when the largest numbers of buyers start registering with estate agents to find their next home. And with two long school holiday periods on the horizon – Easter and Summer – family friendly locations like Dunfermline, Glenrothes, Leven, Cupar, Kirkcaldy, East Neuk and St Andrews see a lot of property market activity. Continue reading SPRING SELLING TIPS for 2020 in FIFE
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.
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.
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.
As we head towards the Winter months, now is the optimum time for landlords to prepare for the potential issues that may arise from the harsher weather. Spending a little time and effort now may well save money further down the line in the event of an accident or repair cost. Here’s our list of essential landlord checks:
The number one priority for every landlord should be checking that the boiler in your property (or properties) is in good condition, as repair costs can be extremely expensive. Book a boiler service to ensure that everything is working correctly and safely as boilers can break down with the surge in gas consumption that comes in the colder months.
Protect the Pipes
Adding lagging to your pipes (specially designed pipe insulation) is an inexpensive measure which will give you peace of mind knowing that your piping will not burst due to freezing and splitting. Focus on pipes in external areas and lofts which may be subject to the most extreme temperatures and you should avoid any problems as the cold sets in.
Smoke and CO Alarms
In line with regulations interlinked smoke alarms must be installed in each hall on each floor including every reception room and a heat detector in the kitchen – now is the perfect time to double-check these are in good working order and that your tenants are safe in your property. If your rental property has a fireplace (or solid fuel appliance) or central heating system then an additional carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted within one meter of the appliance in the same room, as the chances of these items being used increase astronomically in winter.
One of the key pieces of advice that we can give to protect your property through the winter is to create healthy dialogue with your tenants. As they are living in the property day-to-day, they will be able to tell you about any smaller issues so that you know how to avoid any larger issues. Make sure your tenants know where the stopcock is in the property, where the fuse board is located and who to call in case of an emergency. This could be invaluable in saving you time and money.
Protect the Roof
Chipped, cracked or dislodged tiles on your roof could lead to significant water damage and in cold temperatures this can lead to structural issues with water freezing and expanding. Double-check that your roof is in tip-top condition, and whilst you’re at it take the time to clear out your gutters to avoid blockages when the inevitable rain falls.
Bricks and mortar have always been a bolthole for people looking to invest their money in a safe place and, despite recent changes to the lettings market, buy-to-let remains a popular investment avenue. If you are looking to become a buy-to-let landlord, then the results can be fruitful – follow our five tips below to start your journey!
The first port of call if you are considering becoming a buy-to-let landlord is the mortgage market; either with your current mortgage provider if you are looking to convert a current mortgage into buy-to-let, or to the general marketplace if you are looking to buy a new property for lettings purposes. Ensure that you shop around for your buy-to-let mortgage as the marketplace is currently extremely competitive in terms of lending, which should help you to obtain favourable rates. If you are converting your mortgage, ensure that your lender has granted you “Consent To Let” before you move any tenants into the property.
Managed or Unmanaged?
With the recent surge in tenant and landlord legislation, managing your own property may seem like a daunting prospect. If this is the case, then look for a reputable estate agent who will manage the lettings process for you – this will take a lot of the stress out of letting a property for you. If you are more confident, then you may want to work with an agent to list your property and find tenants, but then manage those tenants independently – if this is the case then seek as much advice as possible and keep legislation at the top of your list as a landlord.
When it comes to buy-to-let properties, you will need to make sure that you are covered for every eventuality. Specialist landlord insurance is a must, as well as buildings insurance, and if you have furnished a property then contents insurance may also be required. Speak to your chosen estate agent about their recommendations in terms of insurers and remember that spending a little on comprehensive cover may save you a lot in the long run.
Once you have your buy-to-let mortgage in place, you have your tenants in a fully-insured property and you are reaping the rewards, one of the key steps will be filing your taxes correctly. With buy-to-let being an investment source, you will have to pay specific taxes regarding the property and the profit which you are making from that; speaking to an accountant will help you to get your finances in order. Further to this, you will be able to offset some of your expenses and costs against tax – don’t miss out on these opportunities.
It would be easy once you have your investment property in place to then sit back and relax. One of our recommendations would be to keep your finger on the pulse of the lettings market and adapt your property accordingly. Currently, the student lettings market is extremely popular and the potential rental yield extremely high, therefore it could be a good market to position your property within currently. As the economy changes, families may be the driving market in lettings, or indeed young professionals, therefore stay flexible with your offering and you may well be able to increase your portfolio.
Fife Properties Lettings Director, Richard Cook commented: “This is a market that we are leading in and with over 50 years of combined experience and track record it speaks for itself. Letting a property is not for the faint-hearted because it is not about getting the tenant in the property it is making sure you have the right tenant that has undergone proper vetting and after this, it is the 50 pieces of legislation you have to contend with next to make sure you are doing it right. If you are not sure then it pays to get the best advice first on all of the points about and more. This is where we excel.”
Fife Properties currently offer a FREE initial consultation service which not only provides an idea of the current rental value of your property but gives extremely useful advice on maximising your return of investment when renting. To book click the link: https://www.fifeproperties.co.uk/property-valuation/
Good schools, good commuter links and a good kitchen; traditionally, this is what has been considered to be the magic triad of priorities for buyers. However, new research has suggested that this is no longer the case. Read on to see what buyers are prioritising whilst on the hunt for a new property…
A poll from a regulated property buyer has shown that a budget supermarket has ousted the school catchment area for one of the top spots in buyer priorities, with almost 40% of those surveyed stating their desire to live within close proximity to an Aldi or Lidl. School catchment areas remain high on the wish list of buyers with 29% saying that they would move home in order to be in a specific catchment area.
The desire for good-value shopping could be linked to the need to economise after purchasing a new property, so it is no surprise that it is the younger generations who rate the budget supermarket highest; some 54% of 18 to 24-year olds want to live near to one. This figure gradually declines to 34% of over 45s sharing the same view.
The outright top spot on buyer priorities, however, is for a scenic view with 44% of people preferring a property with scenic surroundings. Budget supermarkets follow this in second place, and local bars and restaurants come in at third in the wish list of buyers.
“Everyone has their own priorities when moving to a new house, but it’s interesting to see how the overall patterns are changing. Budget supermarkets are definitely growing in popularity, especially among the younger generations, and their presence in a region is now making a place more desirable to live,” said Ross Counsell, director at Good Move.
Once a property move is completed, research also revealed what people first investigate once they have moved to a new area. Public transport links are the first item which people look into with 21% of people researching this immediately, followed by local schools, crime rates and broadband speeds.
Fife Properties Group Office Owner, Jim Parker said, “It is no surprise that budget supermarkets are moving up the list of priorities as people realise every penny counts. So it is just as important to get the best mortgage deal and that means a specialist to check you are better off. Often it far outweighs the fee for arranging the mortgage itself”
The recent Budget has ramifications for all of us – with the Chancellor setting out levels at which we pay income tax, fuel duty prices and the all-important “sin taxes” around cigarettes and alcohol. What, therefore, does the Budget 2018 mean for property?
Stamp duty has been abolished for all first-time buyers of shared ownership homes (whereby the buyer purchases a share of a home, with the local council or housing association owning the remainder) up to a value of £500,000. The policy will be retrospectively applied from the 2017 budget meaning those who already bought a shared ownership property within the past year will also benefit from the change. Further to this, first-time buyers do not pay any stamp duty on homes below £300,000.
Stamp duty rates in Scotland are now as follows:
First £145,000: 0% (£175,000 for First Time Buyers)
£145,001 to £250,000: 2%
£250,001 to £325,000: 5%
£325,001 to £750,000: 10%
£750,000+ : 12%
Help To Buy Scheme
There are a few changes being made to the Help to Buy scheme, one of the key points being that the term has been extended to 2023. Further to this extension, the new iteration of the scheme from 2021 to 2023 will only be available to first-time buyers rather than to all, as is the case with the current scheme.
A new tax will be introduced for overseas investors, the revenue from which will be used to tackle homelessness across the country. Overseas investors will face an extra charge of 1% to 3% when they buy a UK property, in addition to current stamp duty charges. As well as using the revenue to tackle the increasing problem of homelessness, the intended effect is to dissuade some of the rife competition from the London market which is making purchasing increasingly difficult in the capital.
Although the Help to Buy scheme is being extended by two years, there are fears that the cessation of the scheme will slow down new-build homes as there will be fewer buyers able to purchase. The government is intending to give an extra £500 million to councils through the Housing Infrastructure Fund in order to promote the building of new homes and avoid any slowdown in the production of new properties.
Transformed High Streets
As part of a billion-pound boost to the UK’s struggling high streets, the Chancellor has announced a £675 million fund to help councils support their retail zones through this difficult period. An unexpected result of this could be the redesigning of empty retail units into homes – with the chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Brian Berry, estimating that as many as 400,000 new homes could be created by making use of empty space above shops on high streets.
Group Office Owner Jim Parker said: “Stamp duty is one of the biggest cons in the government’s history. Raising taxes on what is a necessity while not actually adding any value to the transaction at all or putting anything back into the system. Plus the 3% extra duty on 2nd homes has not solved the initial problem at all, which was to stop overseas buyers.”