Full width project banner image

The Blog

  • Show all categories
  • Buying Advice
  • Selling Advice
  • Tenant Advice
  • Landlord Advice
  • Buying Process
  • Selling Process
  • Renting Process
  • Lettings Process
  • Lettings Advice
  • Sales Advice
  • Success Story
  • Howard's Latest News
Nov 9, 2022 When is the right time to sell?

There are a lot of myths surrounding the best time to sell your home or property: You should wait until spring to sell; When you get an offer you should make the potential buyer wait; Price it high then reduce it if it doesn’t sell quickly. Although many myths can be easily dispelled, how do you tackle the one about when is best to sell your home? At Howards, our mission is to get you moved, so we put together this article to guide you. Spoiler, there is no one size fits all for the best time to sell a property — but that’s where our expertise comes in. Our agents use their local knowledge of your area to make sure you get the best sale possible. They know the best time to sell for you. That being said, here are some factors to take into account when you are thinking of selling. Which season is the best for selling your home? When you start researching, spring is often suggested as the best season for house selling. Winter becomes tricky as Christmas takes up a lot of people’s time, and summer is a time that families (and indeed everyone else) take for travelling abroad or taking a holiday at home. Spring is when the days begin to get longer, so you get plenty of natural light, plus the garden can look its best during spring as flowers bloom. Although it isn’t impossible, summer isn’t statistically the best time to sell. School holidays mean that if you are trying to sell to a family they might not be around much. Even if they aren’t taking a holiday abroad, childcare will be taking up a lot of parents’ time over summer. Autumn is when things tend to pick up a little after the summer lull, but once October is over people are starting to think about Christmas and not about moving home. Thinking of selling? Read our guide How to Sell Your Property Different times of year suit different types of property Your home may suit a certain type of person better than others. For example, a first-time buyer isn’t likely to purchase a three bedroomed detached house, they are more likely to be looking for a flat or single bedroomed property. According to The Advisory, an independent site that supports people looking to sell their house, January-February and September are the best times to sell to first-time buyers and younger couples. Why? Just after Christmas they will be ready for a new start, especially if they are still living at home After the summer holidays finish, they are looking to be in their new home before Christmas If you are selling a 3-4-bedroom house, your target buyer is going to be more likely to have children or be looking to start a family. For this reason, avoid the school holidays for putting your home on the market. Check when the longer holidays (summer, Easter, Christmas) are for the schools in your area. For bungalows and retirement homes, your buyer will be older or people looking to downsize their home. Older buyers are more active during the warmer months of the year. How does the region your house is in affect a sale? The seasons affect the entire country, but there might be certain regional differences that will determine how quickly a home will sell. Things such as: Council plans to change an area — check local planning permissions. Is the area going to have a lot of work going on? Selling a house during this time might not be the best idea. Supply and demand — you need plenty of people looking to buy, and few competing sellers looking to sell. Check with your estate agent to see if the balance is in your favour. You can also perform a search on Rightmove as if you were a buyer looking to buy a property like yours, or visit the National Association of Estate Agents to view their monthly report on the market. How ready should I be to sell? Make sure that you are ready to move on from your property. That’s both financially and emotionally. Take time to prepare your home for viewings. Read our guide on how to do this here. It's better to be on the market for a shorter length of time because the longer it’s there, the more buyers may see it as having potential problems. So, avoid putting your house on the market before it's ready to go. Adding value to your home doesn’t have to be expensive either. Selling your home? Let Howards help. Get in contact with your local branch today.

Aug 2, 2022 10 ways to add value to your home

If you’re thinking of selling your home what can you do to set your house apart from all the others? If you’re looking to make the move up the property ladder it’s important to explore the different ways you can maximise the value of your existing home. Here are some ways you can do this: Fix structural defects First things first, fix all major structural problems. That means: Cracks to walls Missing/broken roof tiles Leaking roof Growing damp Do this before moving on to making cosmetic enhancements. Fixing these issues may be pricey but ensuring these are taken care of is crucial in terms of adding value. Then fix all existing minor structural problems. While these don’t directly affect the value of your home, they can put potential buyers off. Fortunately, they’re easy fixes. Examples include: Door handles/locks and catches that don’t work Dripping taps Loose tiles Cracks in ceiling/plasterwork Windows Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. First impressions You need to get buyers through the front door and first impressions can be lasting. The outside of your home must look its finest. Consider a fresh lick of paint, cleaning the windows, unblocking the gutters and clearing the driveway. Hang mirrors in the hall because a cramped, cluttered corridor is often the first thing potential buyers will see. Hanging mirrors can visually enlarge a corridor or hall and reflect light, brightening it up. Thinking of selling? Read our guide How to Sell Your Property. Attract the right buyer Try to establish your most likely type of buyer. A family? A professional couple? Once you know who your viewer will be you can decide on how best to present a spare room. You might decide to showcase it as an office for professionals, or a play room for a family. Other options include a gym, reading room or games room; how you sell the space is up to you. Add space to the property Adding an extra bedroom or bathroom is one of the most effective ways to boost your property’s value. There are a couple of ways to do this and the easiest one is often a loft conversion. It’s a cheaper and more practical option than converting a basement, but you still need to make sure that the benefits will outweigh the costs. Another way to add space is a conservatory. Although not a bedroom or bathroom, a well-built conservatory can add around 5% to the value of your home. If you decide to go all-out and add an extension, they can add around 10% to the value. Unless you use it all the time, transforming the garage into an extra room is also a great way to increase space. Make sure the new room is properly linked to the main body of your house for the most financial gain. Pave your front garden If you live in an area where parking is difficult (common in more urban areas) consider maximising every inch of exterior space. As well as paving over a front garden you will need to drop the kerb to allow cars up and onto the drive. This project is likely to need planning permission, so make time for this. Put in central heating If you don’t already have this, it can add a lot of value to a property. It can cost between £1,000 and £3,000* but could boost your home’s value by £5,000. Bring the outdoors in Create flow between your garden and the home, place some plants and greenery around the rooms or simply light up your garden with some twinkly lighting to make it look appealing. Make sure your garden looks its best too by trimming the grass and cutting back any overhanging trees or bushes. Update windows and doors You should opt for windows that suit the age and style of your property. Don’t choose metal windows when they should be wood and vice versa. If the windows need replacing, it’s a worthwhile investment. Double glazed PVC windows can also add value to a property and are easy to maintain, secure and very energy efficient. It might be surprising, but a front door refurbishment can add value too. It’s all part of the first impressions your house makes on a potential buyer. You can smarten it up with a new doorknob, brass letterbox, or new door number (choose stainless steel for long lasting shine). Invest in the kitchen, keep the bathroom simple Whether we’re preparing dinner, hosting parties, doing homework or watching television, the kitchen is one of the important rooms in the house. Many buyers look out for the perfect kitchen when searching for a new home, and valuation surveyors place a great deal of importance on it. Your aim is to create an attractive and hygienic looking kitchen, with excellent work surfaces and easy access between its three main areas: the sink, fridge and cooker. Ensure all equipment that’s installed is up to date but take care that your choices won’t be outdated in 10 years’ time. Other kitchen features worth considering include: Lighting – ensure there’s plenty of light throughout Extractor hood – to remove cooking smells Flooring – it should be hygienic, easy to maintain and fitted properly Your bathroom’s important but you don’t need a big overhaul to make a difference to the space. New taps, towel rails, shower heads and a glass door or screen instead of a standard curtain will suffice. Be sure to add decorative touches for a wow factor – fake plants that require no maintenance can look great in a bathroom setting, as can candles and colourful bath mats. Plan accordingly Plan for any projects you are undertaking to add value, especially if you are hiring a builder. The bigger the building company, the faster the job will be done, but the higher the price. Hire a smaller firm to save on costs and factor in the extra time it may take them to complete the job. Listen to friends, colleagues or family who are singing the praises of their builder or contractor. That way you are more likely to trust the work they will do and their way of doing it. A note on planning permission Applying for planning permission doesn’t mean you have to spend the money on an extension, it’s simply another way of adding value to your property. It erases any doubt in the buyer’s minds on whether the council would allow the work to be done on the house in the future. *Prices are correct as of July 2019 Selling your home? Let Howards help. We can answer your questions about buying or selling so go ahead, contact us today.

Aug 2, 2022 How Much Is My House Worth? Your House Valuation Explained

There are a few different reasons why you might need to know the value of your property, including for property insurance, investment analysis, selling, and taxation. We’re going to take you through the valuation process for selling your property. Before you can put your house on the market, you need to have it valued. But what exactly happens at a valuation? How is a property valuation done, and what steps should you take afterwards? Read our guide to finding out what your property is worth. Selling your home? Get in contact with us today and let Howards help. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. How important is a property valuation? So, you have made the decision to sell your home. An accurate valuation is vital if you want to get the best price for your property. It tells you what your property could be worth if you decide to sell and takes into account numerous factors including: What similar properties in the local area are selling for The condition of your property The current performance of the national housing market Can I get an online house valuation? It is possible to get an estimate online, but having an experienced agent visit your home and prepare a valuation of your property is always recommended. They will have received specific training to assess your home. You will get an accurate valuation from someone physically seeing your property rather than the limited information an online valuation takes into account. If you would like to get an idea of the value of home, use our instant valuation tool now. How much does an estate agents’ valuation cost? With Howards, you can get a free valuation of your property. Some other agencies may charge a small fee or require you to use their services to market their property following a home valuation in order to receive the valuation for free. Other types of valuation could cost more. For example: A chartered surveyor's valuation (a service you would usually get when buying a home) usually costs around £250. A HomeBuyer Report costs around £400. When a lender needs to check the property you are buying is worth the price you are paying, they conduct a mortgage valuation survey. The cost varies depending on the lender and is based on the size and value of the property. It can range from £150 to £1,500. What happens during a house valuation? An agent will arrange a valuation appointment to come and view your property. They will walk around it, with you if you prefer, and make notes on the rooms. They will take measurements and ask some questions. These may include: When were the windows last replaced? How old is your boiler? Is the property leasehold? If so, who owns the leasehold and how long is left on it? What special features make your house unique? Is it a sole or joint ownership? Are there any issues with the home e.g. structural or maintenance? What do estate agents look for during a house valuation?   Agents conducting a house valuation will be looking at how your home compares to similar properties in the local area, such as the condition of the property, how much refurbishment or modernisation it requires, and if it has any unique features. They may also ask about neighbours and local amenities, but their expert local knowledge will have already helped them to know information like this about your local area. We advise you to answer all questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge to help the agent to assess your home’s value. At Howards, we also like to get to know you and why you are looking to move which helps us to understand how we can best help. Does the estate agent take photographs during a valuation? Most agents don’t take photographs at the valuation appointment; this can be arranged later, giving you time to make the necessary arrangements and make your property look its best. We've created a simple guide packed with useful information on how to prepare your home for viewings. Avoid putting your house on the market before it's ready to go. Adding value to your home doesn’t have to be expensive! How should I prepare my home for a valuation? There is a difference between a home valuation and a viewing. The valuation is being undertaken by a professional estate agent, not a potential buyer. So, don’t worry about trying to make your house a show home yet. A good agent will see your property’s potential, despite minor clutter or small jobs you may want to finish before the house goes on the market. At Howards, we like to give you some information to look over before your valuation, so to find out more about this please talk to your local branch. Does the estate agent take photographs during a valuation? Most agents don’t take photographs at the valuation appointment, this can be arranged later giving you time to make the necessary arrangements and make your property look its best. Need more information on how to prepare your home for viewings? Read our guide here. Avoid putting your house on the market before it's ready to go. Adding value to your home doesn’t have to be expensive! What questions should I ask during my home’s valuation? Most questions you will want to ask are about the current condition of the property. You will want it to be in its best shape for selling, but it can be tricky to know how much it is worth investing in it to do so. Some frequently asked questions from house valuations include: Should I complete any small decorative jobs before selling? Should we re-carpet or not? What fixtures and fittings are we required to leave? A Howards agent is expertly placed to provide advice and will know what demand is like for your type of property in that area. They will be able to advise you on what to do and what not to do when getting your property ready for the market. How long does a property valuation take? The length of time a valuation takes will differ from property to property. It will, of course, take longer to value a three bedroom detached house than a one bedroom flat. If there are any unique features to your home, these may take a little longer to evaluate. To make sure the valuation is accurate, try to have a clear enough schedule that won’t rush an estate agent. Allow up to an hour but standard valuations normally last around 15-20 minutes. What happens after a valuation? Your estate agent will be in touch with a value if you haven't been given this during the valuation. You don’t need to do anything immediately and even if you do decide to sell your home, Howards can guide you through each step and tell you how the whole process will work. How quickly will I know how much my house is worth? Howards want to get you moved. Our agent aims to provide an accurate valuation of your property at the valuation appointment, which will be confirmed after the appointment. We can make a recommendation on how it should be marketed and make sure you are 100% happy with our thoughts. With over 100 branches nationwide we can help you buy or sell. Get in touch with us today. Request a free valuation If you want to know how much your property is worth, Howards offer a free, up to date, no obligation valuation carried out by one of our team of professionals. It gives you a better idea of what price you could achieve for your home.

Aug 2, 2022 Fixtures and fittings forms

When you’re in the process of moving home, there seems to be a lot of forms and paperwork. One of these is the fixtures and fittings form. This guide is to tell you exactly what this is, why you need it, and help you to fill it out with confidence. If you’re unsure about any part of the moving process, don’t forget Howards has an entire guide to selling your home, from finding the right agent to that all-important completion date. What is a fixtures and fittings form? This paperwork is completed when buying and selling a property as it tells each party exactly what is and isn't being included in the sale. The form will contain a list of fittings and contents within the property, such as furniture, curtains, shelving, flooring, and light fittings and state whether or not these items will be left in the property upon completion of the sale. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. The purpose of the form is so that both the seller and the buyer of the property are completely clear on what is and isn't going to be left behind in the property, so no disagreements can arise. Some items may be included but only if the buyer pays an extra fee, for example for curtains or carpets to be left. Ultimately, this form prevents any surprises on moving in day where a buyer walks into the property and finds things missing or left behind when they weren’t expecting it. What is the difference between fixtures and fittings? Fixtures are items which are ‘fixed’ to the property itself, such as a tiled floor, bathroom suite, or a fitted kitchen. Unless the seller has clearly stated otherwise, these are usually included in the sale of the property, as they are clearly costly to remove. Other examples include: Plumbing Electric sockets Satellite dishes Boilers Radiators Fireplaces Doorbells Fittings, on the other hand, are items which are not fixed to the property itself, including things like standalone wall cabinets, pictures or shelves hung on the wall, or loose rugs. Curtains and curtain rails, shelving, and items in the garden like patio furniture. Some more examples are: Beds Sofas Curtains Blinds Tables Paintings Mirrors White goods (fridges and freezers etc.) Lamps So, the general rule of thumb is that fixtures are included in the purchase price whereas fittings and contents are not, unless there’s an agreement between the buyer and seller. However, to avoid any confusion, the fixtures and fittings form is used to clear up any doubt about what’s included and what is not. What is included in the fittings and contents form? The form is divided into 11 sections, listing out all items that you would commonly expect to find in a home. For each item, the seller check a box to say whether the item is fitted or freestanding and whether it is included or excluded from the sale. There is also an option for if the item is not present in the property, as some sales may be newbuild and not currently occupied. The form covers: Basic fittings like the boiler and central heating system, light switches, sockets, insulation, and doors. Kitchen including appliances. Bathroom including the suite and taps (this section even counts smaller items like toilet roll holders and shower curtains.) Sellers must leave a note of which rooms have them and if they are being left. Curtains and curtain rails. The same as for carpets. Light fittings. If the seller is taking any light fittings with them, they must be replaced with a basic fitting and bulb. Fitted units. Covers fitted cupboards, shelves and wardrobes in each room. Outdoor area. This includes any outdoor space connected to or part of the property, so balconies count as much as a garden. Television and Telephone including any existing TV or phone infrastructure, such as the TV aerial, satellite dish or telephone receiver. Stock of fuel. This section is for properties with fuel-burning appliances like a log burner. The seller has to say if they are leaving any fuel behind when they move. The last section is marked as ‘other items’ in case there’s something in the property that doesn’t easily fit into the other categories. It’s important that everything gets covered on the form to avoid any confusion. At Howards, we believe it’s always best to talk with us in person, so find your local Howards branch and get in touch to see how we can put our expert local knowledge to work for you.

Aug 2, 2022 Choosing A Removals Company

Congratulations on the move! Whether you are relocating, moving into a bigger home nearby or downsizing, it’s time to think about the moving day. Even if you live in a smaller property, or don’t own many things, it’s always worth hiring a professional removals company to help you move your belongings to make things less stressful on moving day. Of course, there may be things you might want to pack up yourself, but there is a certain art to packing and transporting the more fragile items, so they are well protected during transport. They can also calculate how much weight they can carry safely, so you can avoid getting hurt. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. How do I choose a removals firm? Check that your removals company is a current member of the British Association of Removers (BAR); because this means they have the correct training, expertise, experience, insurance, and professionalism to properly carry out the removals process, giving you peace of mind. For those who value recommendations and reviews, Which? Trusted Traders endorsement scheme can help find you a removals company which you’re comfortable with. Companies included in their scheme have all been carefully audited, involving credit, reference, and admin checks. It’s also a good idea to speak to your local Howards branch. We have expert local knowledge and can point you in the right direction of local firms we trust. Is hiring a removals company expensive? Various factors can affect the total cost of hiring a removals company, particularly what’s being transported, as well as how far they need to travel and how many staff are required. A quality firm will lay out their charges in detail and explain how you may be able to lower the cost. You could receive a discount if you provide your own packing materials and help with the packing. How many moving firm quotes should I get? Try and get at least three quotes from different firms; try and contact those who will visit your property instead of those who just provide an over the phone estimation, so they can inspect your property and see if there’s anything that might affect the moving process, such as tight stairways, hallways and outside access. When dealing with companies that cannot visit your property, be as up front as possible when listing your possessions (and don’t forget anything!). Will I need insurance? Make sure the removals company you choose has sufficient insurance and check what the process of claiming on their insurance is after the move (if you need to). If you own any objects of high-value, find out whether they require special packing and if they’re covered by insurance. In an effort to save money you might be tempted to pack some things yourself, whilst we would always encourage you to save money where possible, we do advise leaving the fragile items to the removers. Remember that anything you pack yourself isn’t covered by the firm’s insurance. How do I instruct a removals company? When you’ve chosen your removals company, create and send a briefing sheet to them to make sure you’re all on the same page come moving day. The sheet should include: Challenging items i.e. a piano or larger sofa/table Special items i.e. photos, antiques, and valuables – so they know what to take extra care of Large items that require dismantling i.e. wardrobes and beds Any carpets and curtains that you wish to take Objects you’ll be moving yourself – so they know what to ignore Room layouts – so they know which boxes belong in which rooms Howards can help get you moved We can market your property using our unique blend of expert staff and technology. Get in touch today and see how we can help you.