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07Aug

There are still some remarkably old-fashioned estate agents out there who believe that their website has perfectly connected them to the digital age. Yet, on closer inspection, some agents’ websites can actually alienate their customers.

We spend a fortune on attracting and nurturing the right buyers. So we make sure that our website is fully responsive and completely in synch with today’s multi-platform-enabled consumer. In other words, there is no point in having a website that works well on Internet Explorer, but crashes in Google Chrome. Or, when a buyer sees a property on his work computer and excitedly shares the link with his wife, she cannot view it on her iPad.

Or what about those times when buyers, standing in a queue or waiting for a colleague to arrive, simply want to check out the latest properties on their smartphone? Unless an agent’s website is fully responsive and mobile-enabled so that it works beautifully on any device, it could appear clunky at best and unworkable at worst. Our responsive website tppuk.com is already one of the leading sites in the area, however we don’t stand still and we listen to customer feedback.  We will soon be launching our mobile first 2020 version.

We are passionate about helping people move, and we never let technology get in the way of relationships, or indeed a sale! Nevertheless, we proactively embrace those technologies that help us to do our job efficiently. A fully responsive website is the bare minimum any agency should have in place. So when considering who to use to sell your property, a good starting point might be to see how easy it is to look for beautifully presented properties on several devices before picking up the telephonic one - ideally to us!

31Jul

As part of the lettings process, landlords are required to ensure that their property has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) available to all prospective tenants (including existing tenants renewing their tenancy) with a minimum performance rating of “E”. This will extend to existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.

An EPC is a certificate issued by an authorised Home Energy Assessor, and is valid for ten years. The certificate is illustrated by two graphs that highlight the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the building in question. These are very similar to the graphs found on a new fridge or car. Rated from A-G, where A is the most efficient and G the least efficient, the graphs are designed to raise awareness of the environmental issues associated with the property in an effort to help us become more environmentally responsible.

The certificate also contains recommended ways of improving the property’s energy performance, and landlords would be well advised to take advantage of the various grants available to landlords wishing to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, especially where the verifiable work involved would cost in excess of £3,500.

The implications of not having an EPC of “E” or above go beyond any potential cost saving as a result of efficiency improvements, with civil penalties of up to £4,000 per breach being imposed, starting at £200 per day for failure to have such a certificate. Details of landlords in breach may also be published.

According to ARLS The number of properties which are EPC rated F or G fell from around 700,000 in 2012 to 300,000 in 2018, but this is still a significant number of properties that are legally unable to be let until they have achieved the correct rating.

We are always aware of our responsibility to help our landlords comply with the increasing burden of legislation. So why not ask us to arrange your EPC today in order to avoid any potential liability. Please feel free to contact us on 01248724040 for further information.

© Copyright 2019 Williams & Goodwin The Property People LTD

24Jul

There are numerous surveys and research that seek to prove how various home improvements add a certain percentage to the value of a property.

There has recently been a marked increase in the number of people undertaking improvements whose motivation is specifically to increase the value of their property prior to a sale. If you are considering such improvements, you should approach such surveys with caution.

For example, the public’s response to a recent survey as to which home improvements were most likely to add value were at odds with the view of a panel of property valuation experts and Chartered Surveyors. The public’s view was that a new kitchen would add more value than either a loft conversion or an extension. Certainly, whilst a new kitchen might be the most impressive of the three and has the greatest initial impact, we would agree with the expert view that an extension, closely followed by a loft conversion, would generally contribute more to a property’s value than a new kitchen.

This is because, unlike a kitchen, an extension of some description actually increases the size and hence usability of the property. This means that it is likely to appeal to more buyers and therefore generate a higher price for your home. This is especially true where the additional space means that your property falls into the category of buyer above that in which it stood before it was extended. For example, a two-bedroom cottage suddenly appeals to the family market once a third bedroom and second bathroom are added.  

There are numerous factors to consider when deciding how to enhance your property’s value and saleability, but it is a specialist field, so please feel free to call us if you would like to discuss your own plans with an expert.   

© Copyright 2019 Williams & Goodwin The Property People Ltd.

16Jul

It is interesting to note that some sellers are not as committed to moving as they might be, and are prepared to remain on the market until what they regard as an acceptable offer comes along.  

Likewise, some buyers, whilst generally remaining committed to a purchase, do not exhibit a great deal of urgency, and believe that they are entitled to submit a relatively low offer in the hope that the seller might just take it.

There are two issues here and we would advise caution to buyer and seller alike. Firstly, if, as a seller, your house fails to sell for whatever reason and you are on the market with a proven good agent, then it is probably priced too ambitiously for the current conditions. If you allow it to remain on the market at that price, it could become stale on the market, resulting in an inevitable fall in price greater than a minor repositioning effected now.    

From a buyer’s perspective, we suggest you focus on securing the right home for your needs, within your budget, more than on finding the greatest bargain. A percentage off the asking price is irrelevant if the asking price is too much to begin with, but a well-priced property is always in demand. Unless you act decisively, you could miss out.  

So the rule of thumb is this; if you see a property that you can afford, which offers you the accommodation you need in an area you like, and you could be happy there, then snap it up, as the chances are that most of the other buyers in your price range will also want that property. Good value is good value - in any market.

©Copyright 2019 Williams & Goodwin The Property People Ltd

10Jul

A covenant is a term you might hear when discussing a property during the conveyancing process. Covenants are a form of legal obligation that is binding on the owner of a property and passes from owner to owner whenever the property is sold. They form part of the deeds of a property and are recorded at HM Land Registry.  

A covenant is usually established by the builder or original owner of a property and seeks to ensure that certain things happen or do not happen. For example, a covenant might be an obligation to paint the house regularly. A restrictive covenant would prevent you from painting it purple! These types of covenant might exist in for example an exclusive development of homes where the developer and indeed other residents wish to maintain a certain standard of the whole street in perpetuity.

Some covenants are more severe in their restrictions. For example, you may be prevented from parking a caravan or trade vehicle on your drive or not “trading” from your property, which could be difficult to define in practice. Flats often have a covenant stating that you must not create noise or in other ways be a nuisance to your neighbours, any of whom could file an injunction against you through the courts if you are in breach.

Of course, many of the covenants relating to older properties are unlikely to be problematic, unless of course you wish to graze sheep, display charms on a Sunday, or keep a horse inside your house! There have been examples where you are not permitted to change the name of a house or grow a certain type of plant in the garden but these are rare.

Your solicitor will advise if any covenants affecting a property you are buying is especially onerous but as with all these issues they need to be seen in a realistic context and it’s up to you to make the decision as to whether any covenant is acceptable or not, as it will be almost impossible to remove.  

In any event as your local property professional we are here to help.

© Copyright Williams & Goodwin The Property People Ltd.

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Williams & Goodwin The Property People are members of the Guild of Property Professionals, National Association of Estate Agents, Association of Residential Lettings Agents, National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers and are Chartered Valuation Surveyors we are members of a National Network of approximately 800 independently owned and operated Estate Agents.

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