Full width project banner image

The Blog

  • Show all categories
  • Uncategorized
  • Buying Advice
  • Selling Advice
  • Tenant Advice
  • Landlord Advice
  • Buying Process
  • Selling Process
  • Renting Process
  • Lettings Process
  • Lettings Advice
  • Sales Advice
  • Success Story
  • Brand's Latest News
  • Howard's Latest News
Apr 5, 2022 Selling process - Stage 5 - Viewings of your property

After all the hard work you have put in, you’ll need to be ready for the people who want to view the property. Just like when you made it look its best for the photography, this is all about preparation: Make sure the front of the house is tidy and neat. Depending on the location of your property, clear space for viewers to park their vehicles. The property should be clean, tidy, well aired and well lit. If you have pets it might be best to arrange for them to be cared for during a viewing. Some people may not like dogs or cats etc. and they can serve as a distraction. If it is cold, ensure the heating is on so the property is warm and comfortable. The devil is in the detail The above points are the major considerations, but serious potential buyers will want to see every room and might want to look in any storage areas such as built in cupboards under the stairs. Every space needs to be as accessible and tidy as possible. There are a lot of articles written about extra things you can do to make your home appealing – from baking treats to create pleasant smells to placing fresh flowers on the countertops. Ultimately, a clean and tidy space, even without the extras is the best way to show off your property. After all, a viewing is a chance for someone to imagine themselves in the space, not overwhelmed or distracted by how it currently looks. Your estate agent Where possible, it is useful if an estate agent accompanies the viewers as they are the property experts and know how to sell a property. You can also provide the estate agent with a key to your property so that they can conduct viewings if you are out. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Make sure the estate agent has everything they need for the viewing, including access information. Should you need any advice on conducting viewings or what you should do in advance, speak to your estate agent for their hints and tips. Open House Events If having lots of viewings at different times is not convenient for you or if you need a quick sale, it can be beneficial to have an Open House Event. Open Houses are a very successful service with Howards Estate Agents. What is an Open House Event and how do they work? An Open House Event is a single appointment where a number of potential buyers can view the property at the same time. These can be an appointment that lasts for an hour, a couple of hours or a whole day. At Howards, we will arrange the Open House for the best possible time period for your property and your requirements. Howards manage the entire process for you. We discuss it with you first to work out how quickly you would like the event arranged and then iron out the details around that. From sending out invitations via email campaigns and SMS, contacting potential interested buyers, advertising in local press and social media to conducting the Open House Event on the day at your property, haart co-ordinate the entire event for you. Benefits of an Open House Event You only have to prepare your property for one appointment. It creates a competitive atmosphere that can cause the value of offers made to increase. Having an Open House Event may increase the number of potentially interested buyers as people may be more inclined to attend an event led by the estate agent. You can gauge the level of interest in your property by the number of people who attend the Open House. Once viewings are taking place, the estate agents should be in touch once they have received any offers from potential buyers. Next, read our tips on Receiving offers on your property.

Apr 5, 2022 Selling process - Stage 4 - Get viewings, not just views

First impressions really do count. At Howards we can help your property get viewings and offers. We use unique technology that matches your home’s best features with the things your buyers love, so they’re more likely to click, arrange a viewing and make an offer. Here are some things that you can put in place to make sure your home looks its best: The front of the property is the first thing people will look at, especially if you are going to have a ‘For Sale’ board outside. Make sure it is neat, tidy and well-kept. Keep the grass cut, clean the driveway – all the little things that make a big difference. Are there any areas (inside or out) that could do with a fresh coat of paint? It really can make all the difference in presenting your property as fresh and well-kept. Where possible, select a neutral colour to appeal to as many people as possible. Make sure the inside of the property is clean and tidy. Tidy up cluttered areas to make the property appear spacious Have as much natural light as you can (open curtains and blinds etc.) A well-lit home looks bright and homely. Give your carpets and upholstery a professional clean if you can. Open the windows to give the rooms a chance to be well aired. Complete any maintenance jobs such as replacing light bulbs and fixing doors or finish any DIY projects you had started. Gardens are an important selling aspect. Make sure yours is tidy, weeded and the grass freshly cut. Get plenty of notice of when the photographer is coming to give yourself time to prepare. The photos will be extremely important in generating interest of your property. Nailed it! Our new Best Price Promise The marketing of your property haart will help you get maximum exposure of your property to generate as much interest as possible. Keep in mind this checklist of things that will help get your home seen on and offline. The marketing of your property needs to include: Good quality, full colour property details which include a floorplan of the property and the Energy Performance Certificate. Listing on the estate agent’s website. These listings should include a detailed write-up of your home, the rooms the property features with dimensions, quality images, location map and a streetview of the area around your property. Listing on major portals such as Rightmove and OnTheMarket.com including a detailed write-up of the property particulars and a good range of good quality images. Email and SMS property alerts to potential buyers who are interested in a property like yours in the area. Professional signboards to promote your home at all times, should you agree to have one displayed. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Are you ready for viewings of your property? Click through to our Property viewing guide for some tips to assist you.

Apr 5, 2022 Selling process - Stage 3 - Should I choose a solicitor or conveyancer?

A solicitor or conveyancer will be needed to transfer the legal ownership of your property to the buyer. There is a difference between the two: A conveyancer focuses on residential property as a specialist in property law A solicitor is a qualified lawyer – as well as property law they will have training and experience in other matters such as divorce or medical malpractice A solicitor may cost a little more than a conveyancer, but if you feel the sale will be more complicated than usual a solicitor may be better placed to advise you on further legal matters outside of property law. In most cases a conveyancer will be able to see the transaction through to completion with no issues. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. What does a solicitor or conveyancer do? Choosing a solicitor or conveyancer is an important factor of the successful sale of your property. They need experience in property conveyancing as well as a solid understanding of the property marketing in your area. The solicitor or conveyancer will usually be responsible for the following: Drawing up and reviewing the contracts Conducting the local searches Corresponding with the Land Registry Managing payments, including stamp duty charges Managing the collection and transfer of funds Providing you with legal advice as and when you need it. What tools can I use to help me value my property? Questions to ask before choosing a solicitor or conveyancer Most estate agents will have solicitors or conveyancers they can recommend to you, however, here is a quick guide to what to look for when choosing: Find out how much experience of conveyancing and local knowledge they have. It’s not always the best idea to select the cheapest. Make sure the quality of their work meets your standards. Different solicitors will charge in various ways. Get all the costs upfront where possible and work out what you can afford to pay and when. Positive reviews. What better way to find out if the solicitor provides a good service than to listen to recommendations from friends, family, testimonials or review sites? High quality service. Solicitors and conveyancers are likely to be busy, but still need to provide you with a high quality service. A good conveyancer will check you have understood all the details of the sale of your property. Easy to contact. It can be extremely frustrating to not be able to reach your solicitor during the selling process. Get at least one contact number and email address for you to be able to get in contact with your solicitor regularly. Opening hours. As part of making contact as easy as possible review the solicitor office hours, so you stand a better chance of getting in contact when you need to. For more details on solicitors and conveyancers, from their processes to how to decide on one for your sale, the Home Owners Alliance has a wealth of information. Three is a magic number At a minimum, it is useful to get at least three quotations and research each of these firms or individuals so you can make the right choice for you. Do your research and make a choice that’s comfortable for you. Want to book a free valuation? Contact Howards today. Next up - Help your home sell itself. Make the best first impression with advice from Howards.

Apr 5, 2022 Selling process - Stage 2 - Choosing the right estate agent for you

Choosing an agent can be a bit overwhelming. Especially if they are all promising the same things! An estate agent can help you to sell your property for the right price at the right time. However, the process of finding the right one for you can be a bit overwhelming, especially if they are all promising similar things. Use our tips to help you navigate this part of selling your home, starting with the important considerations for finding your estate agent: The important questions There are plenty of questions to ask a potential estate agent, but for a start you’ll want reassurance they can do the best job of getting you the right price for your home or property. If you have done your research, and have an idea of the price you want, be sure that this matches up realistically with what the agent puts forward. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Questions to ask to ensure a good relationship with a potential estate agent are: Are they professional in their approach? It’s important that you feel comfortable with your agent. If they are over-friendly or don’t seem invested enough, trust your gut and move on. Do they have any testimonials on their website so that you can see what other customers think of them? Other people’s experiences could help you to weed out agents that may not be what you’re looking for from your shortlist. How well known are they in your area? The more experience and expertise they have of the location, the better. Do their opening hours suit you? It is no good instructing an agent who is only open when you are at work. You might also want to establish a preferred method of contact – do you want them to call you or email you throughout the process? What fees do they charge and when are they due? You can also ask about the applicants already registered with them – are there any that may suit your property? How quickly will the agent get in touch with them to notify them that your property will be on the market? All this information will give you a good idea of if the agent is the right one for you. One extra thing to remember is that an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be arranged before a property can be marketed. Will the estate agent be able to carry this out on your behalf? The Howards team are available 8am – 10pm, seven days a week. Call us today! Marketing your home The more people that see your property the better, but it also needs to reach the right people. Which of the agents will get the best exposure of your property? Your property should be exposed to people looking in your area and price range, not just a blanket-catch to all listings. Ask the following questions: Will the agent be promoting your property on their website? Will they include major portals such as Rightmove and OnTheMarket.com? How will they market your property? Social media, email campaigns, newspaper advertising – are they going to ensure your property is seen by the right people? Have a look at some examples of the properties they are currently marketing on their website – do the pictures look professional? Do you like the way the property descriptions are written? Let Howards help Howards will provide a free, up-to-date valuation, carried out by a member of our team of fully-trained professionals. We will show you the marketing we can provide and our expert local knowledge of the property market in your area. Howards has the tech to get it seen and the people to get it sold. Want to book a free valuation? Contact Howards today Howards prides itself in being transparent with our customers. For example, you can look at the Howards website to see how many properties Howards is selling in your area compared to other agents. We listen to your requirements and provide solutions to help them sell your property. We can set up open house events, accompanied viewings or set times for viewings. Our award-winning off and online marketing techniques include: Advertising on portals Rightmove and onthemarket.com. Social media Email campaigns Property alerts through email or SMS Newspaper and magazine advertising Dedicated PR Community-based events Homes with Howards Our agents focus on the reasons why you’re moving, so they understand how to help you best, and will negotiate hard on your behalf, to get the result you need. We know the housing market inside out, but you know your home better than anyone. When you instruct us, we’ll ask you what makes it special, what work you've had done, and why it’s fun, unusual or great to live in. By learning all about your home, we can find the right buyer – and get you the best possible price. Don’t run the risk of an estate agent skipping valuable details when they are marketing your home. Once you have chosen an agent, it’s time to choose a solicitor. Take a look at the next step in our guide: Should I choose a solicitor or conveyancer?

Apr 5, 2022 Howard's jargon buster

Think moving house is stressful? Then all of the added jargon that goes with the house buying and selling process can make it quite daunting. Our handy guide details some common terms and what they mean. Acceptance - If you wish to accept a lender’s mortgage offer, this document will need to be signed and returned to the lender. Amortisation - The gradual elimination of a liability, for example, a mortgage through regular payments over a set time period or the amount paid by way of capital or principle repayments on a loan annually. Annual Equivalent Rate (AER) - A notional rate that is often quoted on interest paid on savings and investments. It aims to demonstrate what your interest return would be if the interest was compounded and paid annually instead of monthly (or any other period). Annual Percentage Rate (APR) - The APR is a figure that is used to compare different mortgages. Defined by law, it includes repayments on the loan plus any fees such as booking, arrangement or redemption fees. The APR shows the true cost of borrowing, and should appear on all mortgage illustrations and quotes. Applicant - The name given to a potential purchaser, often used by estate agents/auctioneers. Appraisal Value – Property value as estimated by a surveyor. Appreciation – Increase in property value as a result of market condition changes. Arrangement Fee - This is a charge levied by the lender to cover the costs of administering and reserving the funds for certain types of mortgage. May be paid separately or added to the loan amount. Assured shorthold tenancy (ASTs) - This is the most common form of tenancy.  A tenancy can only be an AST if you are a private landlord or housing association, the tenancy started on or after 15th Jan 1999, the property is the tenants' main accommodation and you do not live in the property.  All of these must apply. Auction - A means of selling a property whereby it is listed at an auction and if the property does not reach the reserve price then it is not sold. If it does, then when the auctioneer's hammer falls that represents an exchange of contracts and the successful bidder is legally obliged to pay a 10% deposit and sign a memorandum of sale before leaving the auction. Completion usually takes places 28 days later and the buyer is not in a position to re-negotiate any of the stipulated terms and buys the property "as seen". Structural surveys and searches would have to be made in advance by a bidder. Base Rate - The lowest rate of interest a bank will charge when it lends money, used as a benchmark to set interest rates for borrowers. This rate is set by the Bank of England and is reviewed several times a year. Lenders will charge borrowers a margin above the base rate. Bridging Loan – A loan that is used to cover the overlap between the purchase of a new property and the sale of an old one. This will be a short-term loan. Building Survey – Full inspection of the property, carried out by a chartered surveyor. A detailed report will follow highlighting the condition of the property and any issues/defects. Buildings Insurance – An insurance policy that pays the cost of repair or rebuild in the event of your property being destroyed or damaged. This needs to be purchased before completion of your new property. Buy-to-let Mortgage – A type of mortgage specifically for those purchasing a property with the intention of letting the property out. Capital – Amount of money either put into buying a property or the deposit placed on a property. Capital Appreciation – Growth in the value of a property over time. Capital Gains Tax – A tax on profits above a fixed level made from the sale of financial assets such as property or shares. Capped-rate mortgage – A mortgage that sets a maximum rate on interest that a lender can charge for a specified period. Chain – Where a buyer is reliant on the completion of sale of their current property before they can complete on a purchase of a new property. Commission – An estate agent’s fee for selling the property. Comparative Search – The search that looks at sale values for similar properties in the same area as your property. Completion Date – The date of which the money is transferred from the buyer’s to the seller’s solicitor. The buyer will also become the legal owner of their new property on this date. Conditions of Sale – Details that set out the rights and duties of the seller and buyer. Contents Insurance – Insurance that covers the contents of your home such as your furniture, carpets, equipment like laptops and televisions. Conveyancing – The legal process surrounding the transfer of ownership of a property from a seller to a buyer. Covenants – The rules and regulations governing a property – these are contained in its Title Deeds or Lease. Deeds – The legal documents that prove ownership of a property. Deposit – Initial funds used as a payment upfront to a bank/financial institution in the purchase of property. Also known as mortgage deposit. Detached – A property that stands alone, and therefore not attached to another property. Disbursements - Fees paid by the solicitors on the behalf of a buyer. Examples include land registry and search fees and stamp duty. Also known as Legal Fees. Discharge Fee – Paid to some lenders for releasing their hold over a property once you have paid off you loan. This often occurs if you pay off your mortgage early before the standard term has run out. However, this is not always the case. Down Valuation – Where a lender restricts the amount you can borrow as a result of a surveyors valuation report indicates the property is not worth the sum sought. Draft Contract – A preliminary version of the contract drawn up when the sale is first agreed. This is uncorroborated version that will need to be confirmed by the seller’s solicitor and set out the conditions. Draft Transfer – A legal document issued by the purchaser’s solicitors setting out the terms and conditions of sale. Early Repayment Charge – A charge issued by the lender as a penalty if a mortgage is paid off within a specific period. Endowment Mortgage – Interest-only repayments combined with monthly premiums into an endowment policy. This is designed to pay off the loan at the end of the term. Energy Performance Certificate – This certificate measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A to G. It is now a legal requirement to have a valid EPC before a property can be marketed. Equity – The amount of money either put into buying a property or the deposit placed on a property which exceeds the amount of any money borrowed against the property. Exchange of Contracts – The point at which confirmed and signed (by both purchasers and sellers) are physically exchanged. Both the buyer and the seller are now legal bound to the sale and purchase of the property at the agreed price. Fixed Rate Mortgage – A mortgage in which the interest rate is fixed/set for an agreed term or period of time. Fixtures and Fittings – These are the non-structural items included in the purchase of a property. These can include (but not limited to) light fitments, central heating boilers and radiators, bathroom suites, kitchen units, TV aerials and satellite dishes. Flexible Mortgage – An arrangement whereby you can increase or decrease your mortgage payments. Freehold – Where the owner of a property also owns the land that it is built on. Gazumping – This occurs when a seller accepts a higher offer on a property when they have already agreed on an offer from someone, prior to the exchange of contracts. Gazundering – This occurs when a buyer reduced their agreed offer prior to exchanging contracts. An example could be that the buyer has discovered some issues with the property following a survey report that was carried out, and therefore reduces the offer agreed accordingly. Ground Rent – A charge from the freeholder to the leaseholder. Guarantor – Someone who promises and signs to agree to pay the borrower’s debt or rent is the borrower or tenant defaults. Higher Lending Charge – An upfront, one-off charge to a lender to protect them against the borrower defaulting on the loan. This usually occurs on mortgages that are over 75% of the property value. Houses in Multiple Occupancy – A building of three floors or more that is occupied by three of more people. These people live as more than one household but share the use of facilities such as bathrooms and cooking facilities. Individual Savings Account Mortgage (ISA) - Interest-only mortgage linked to an ISA fund, which is designed to pay off the loan at the end of the period. Inflation - The rise in prices over time. Interest Charges – The charges that banks make on a loan, calculated as a percentage of the borrowed amount. Interest-only Mortgage – Now only offered with very strict lending criteria and aren’t available to everyone. A type of mortgage where the borrower only repays the interest on the loan for the duration of its term and repays the full loan amount at the end of the mortgage period. Joint Tenants – A form of ownership of land or property where there are two parties. If one of them passes away, their share of the property will transfer automatically to the remaining party which then gives them full ownership. Land Certificate – This document is issued by the Land Registry to the owner of the registered land as proof of ownership. This land document will include a copy of the register and the plan showing the extent of the land. Land Registry Fee – To be paid by a solicitor on behalf of the buyer to register ownership of property with the Land Registry (if freehold). Therefore once you purchase the property, you are the legal owner of the land. Land Search – This is where a formal application of an inspection of the Land Registry register. A certificate will be issued to show the current situation of the land in question. Lease – The legal document by which the Freehold or Leasehold owner of a property lets the premises or a part of it to another party for a specified length of time. Once this expires, the ownership reverts to the Freeholder. Leasehold – Where a person(s) owns a property but only for a set number of years. When the lease expires, the property returns to the freeholder. This is most common with flats; however, houses can also be built on leasehold land. Legal Fees - Fees paid by the solicitors on the behalf of a buyer. Examples include Land Registry and search fees and Stamp Duty. Also known as ‘Disbursements’. Listed Building – A building which has special architectural or historic interest which is officially listed so that it cannot be demolished or altered without prior local government approval. Maintenance Charge – Also known as service charges. These charges are the cost of repairing and maintaining external or internal communal parts of a building. These costs are charged to the tenant or leaseholder. Maisonette – An apartment, usually over one or two floors, which is self-contained and in a larger house. It will have its own entrance from the outside. Mortgage – An amount of money advanced by a lender (usually a bank or building society) on the security of a property. This is repayable over a long period of time. Mortgage Payment Protection – Insurance designed to pay your monthly mortgage for a limited period if you are unable to work due to illness, redundancy or disability. This is usually for a year. NHBC Scheme – A building guarantee that is available on some new build homes. Under this guarantee, any defects that occur within a specified time after construction are remedied. Negative Equity – When a property has decreased in value to below the level for which a loan was secured on it. Offer – The sum of money a buyer offers to pay for a property. Offer of a Loan – A formal document approving the mortgage you have requested and detailing the Terms and Conditions that apply. Office Copy Entry – The official document from the Land Registry which confirms the ownership of and borrowings against a property. Open House Event – A day or period of time of a day where a property for sale is open to a number of applicants to view at the same time. Open Market Value – The price a property should be able to achieve where there is a willing buyer and seller. Re-Mortgage – This is the refinancing of a property either by switching a mortgage from one lender to another or by taking out a second mortgage to take advantage of any equity gained by the rise in value of the property. Redemption – When a mortgage is fully repaid. Repayment Mortgage – A mortgage where the monthly payments are used to repay the interest and reduce the outstanding capital.  This means that each month you’re paying off a small part of your mortgage. Repossession – This occurs when a mortgage lender takes possession of a property due to non-payment of the mortgage the property is secured against. Retention – Where a lender has the ability to hold back part of a mortgage until certain conditions are met. Searches – A request or enquiry for information about the property held by a local authority or by the Land Registry. Semi-Detached – A property which is joined to one other property – this will be a house or bungalow. Service Charge – These charges are paid by the owner to cover the cost of providing various services which include (but not limited to) maintenance or repair of the building, communal areas, heating, lighting or security. Share of Freehold – Where a limited company owns the freehold on which a property stands and the shareholders of that limited company are the owners of the property. Short-term Tenancy – Occupancy of a rental property that starts at one day and can last for a few weeks or a couple of months. Sitting Tenant – This refers to a tenant who occupies a rental property when there is a change of landlord or the landlord decides to sell. Sole Agent – When the seller has agreed to sell their property through one estate agent only. Stamp Duty – A government paid tax to be paid by the buyer on a property. Usually expressed as a percentage of the purchase price and will vary depending on the value of the property. Standard Variable Rate – Mortgage lenders standard rate of interest. This can go up or down in line with market rates such as the Bank of England base rate Surveys – Inspection of a property and reports that comments of the structural conditions and more depending of the survey of survey you commission. Studio Flat – A flat which consists of one room that contains the cooking, living and sleeping areas with a separate bathroom or shower room. Tenancy Agreement – A contract between a tenant and landlord. The tenancy agreement will outline the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. Tenure – Conditions on which a property is held, for example leasehold or freehold. Terraced House – A property that forms part of a connected row of houses. Title Deeds – The legal title documents that prove ownership of a property. These are transferred to the new owner on the sale of a property and a copy is held by the mortgage lender. Title Insurance – The insurance policy which a buyer can take out to allow a sale to complete where there is a potential problem with the documentation in proving legal ownership of some part of the land they are buying. Title Search – An investigation carried out by a conveyancer or solicitor into the history of ownership of a property. This search will check for liens, unpaid claims, restrictions and any other problems that may affect ownership. Tracker Mortgage – A mortgage where the interest charged by a lender is linked to a rate such as the Bank Of England base rate.  This means your payments can go up or down. Under Offer – A status of a property that is for sale and the sellers have accepted an offer from a buyer. This is the status given before the exchange of contracts. Valuation – A basic survey of a property which estimates the value of the property for mortgage purposes. Mortgage lenders will need to see this before lending. Variable Base Rate – The basic rate of interest charged on a mortgage. Vendor – The seller of a property. Yield – The income from a property that is calculated as a percentage of its value.

Apr 4, 2022 Selling Process - Stage 1 - How to sell your home: a complete guide

From getting a valuation and arranging viewings to instructing a solicitor and exchanging contracts, selling your property is a time-consuming and sometimes complex process. Here is our guide to the various stages of selling a house. Deciding to sell your property Is it the right time to sell? It always seems like the house market is booming and prices are rising, but there will be local variations. It might not always be the best time to sell your house. Check property market guides and reputable news sources to help you. The HomeOwners Alliance has up to date Media & Reports including a House Price Watch. What research should you do before you sell? Before you decide to sell your property, it is worth doing a bit of research yourself before contacting agents. What are similar properties in the area to yours selling for? Use this guide figure to help you get a rough idea of what your property is worth. A more precise valuation can come later. Finding the true value of your property Use the online valuation tool for an instant estimate or book a valuation when one of our local experts will arrange an appointment to officially value your property. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. The stages of selling your house Choosing an estate agent There are plenty of questions to ask a potential estate agent. You will want to be reassured that they can do the best job of getting you the right price for your home or property. Are they professional in their approach? How well known are they in your area? Do they have testimonials on their website or Google reviews? Decide how much to sell your home for The valuation you receive from a local estate agent will be the best guide to the price you should put your property on the market for. This doesn’t have to be the sale price. Get an EPC A valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a requirement before you can sell your home. Check if the EPC for your home is still valid, or needs to be updated – for example, you might have improved its energy efficiency by installing loft insulation or replaced a boiler. You can arrange a survey from an EPC assessor in your area. Prepare your home to be put on the market You want your home to make the best possible impression on potential buyers. Give your property some kerb appeal by tidying up the front garden, cleaning the porch or perhaps even repainting your front door. Inside, decluttering is a good idea. If your home looks untidy, take this opportunity to give it more of a neutral feel, or a blank canvas. Some sellers also like to ‘stage’ their home, creating an illusion of space that they hope will seduce a viewer; swapping large sofas for smaller ones, or hanging mirrors in more confined spaces. Choose a conveyancer or solicitor Choosing a solicitor or conveyancer is an important part of selling your property. They need experience in property conveyancing as well as a solid understanding of property marketing in your area. The solicitor or conveyancer will usually be responsible for the following: Drawing up and reviewing the contracts Conducting the local searches Corresponding with the Land Registry Managing payments, collection and transfer of funds Providing you with legal advice as and when you need it Complete the necessary paperwork You will need to provide some initial documents for the legal side of the sales process, such as proof of address, proof of identity, any guarantees that exist for appliances or building work, service records and electrical certificates. Once you have accepted an offer on your property you will need to complete a TA10 ‘Fittings and Contents’ form and provide the title deeds. Arrange viewings Property viewings can be arranged by yourself or by the estate agent – it depends on what you have agreed. They can be conducted by the estate agent or by the seller. If you are on a tight budget arranging and conducting viewings yourself can be a good way to save some money in the house selling process. Make sure your property is in a clean, tidy condition for each viewing. It does not have to be pristine, just a comfortable state for potential buyers to imagine themselves living there. Here are a few tips for what to do to prepare for a viewing. Accept an offer Once you have received an offer you are happy with, inform your estate agent. Make sure you discuss all the details and agree estimated dates for exchange and completion. It can be useful to put this in writing for the estate agent and the buyer – it will not be a legally binding contract, but helps to make sure everyone is in agreement. One element to confirm is whether the property will be taken off the market following the acceptance of the offer – some sellers prefer to keep the property on the market for a while. Completing the sale Negotiating the contract After accepting an offer, there will be a few details about the contract to finalise. This usually involves what is included in the sale price and what isn’t. A Fittings and Contents form should be completed to confirm these details. Your estate agent is responsible for writing to all parties to confirm the agreed price and any conditions of the sale. Exchange and completion Exchanging contracts and completing are the final steps to selling a house and where things become legally binding. A deposit of 10% of the sale price is paid by the buyer at exchange. After this point neither party can pull out without being liable for significant compensation. Exchanging contracts usually occurs once the following has been conducted and agreed upon by both parties: Preliminary enquiries and local searches conducted Fixture and fittings to be included listed and agreed The buyers have a confirmed mortgage offer The completion date is the day the buyer and seller agree that all funds are to be transferred and the sale confirmed. This date will be influenced by the size of the chain you are in and the availability of your removals company. Moving out The completion date will usually (but not always) be the day you move home, and if you are buying a property, into your new home. You will need to move out of the property and ensure you have left it in the state agreed in the contract, and left all the fixtures and fittings included in the sale. Once moved out, ensure the estate agent has all the keys to the property to hand over to the buyer. Contact your local Howards branch for help selling your home If you are ready to sell, get in touch with your local Howards estate agent today and we can get the ball rolling for you.

Apr 1, 2022 Buying Process - Stage 7 - Final stages of buying

Exchanging contracts can be so exciting – it is that point when the property becomes yours! Unfortunately it can also be very stressful. So we have some tips and advice to help you. Until this point, either yourself or the seller can pull out of the house sale without incurring any penalties. Only once the identical contracts between buyers and sellers is signed and formally exchanged by the solicitors, is the sale legally binding. Either side can still pull out after contracts have exchanged, however, there will usually be large penalties to do so. Nailed it! Our new Best Price Promise Contracts typically exchange between 5 and 28 days before completion (however, on some occasions, especially where cash buyers are involved, exchange and completion can sometimes occur on the same day). Everything needs to be in place at the time of exchanging contracts, therefore the following should be completed: Offer, including fixtures and fittings, has been agreed; All mortgage valuations and chosen surveys completed; Formal offer received in writing; Funds for mortgage deposit confirmed; All relevant searches completed by your solicitors; Buildings insurance purchased as you are now liable for the property; Funding for the contract deposit is now sorted; Date of completion agreed between the buyer and seller. This will need to be confirmed in writing and written into the contract. Please make sure you read the contract carefully and fully understand it before you sign. Once this checklist is completed, you are ready to agree on a date and time to exchange contracts. This is usually handled by your solicitor. Final steps to completion You have gone through a lot to get to this point. Just a few more big steps and you are done – you will be ready to take possession and move in. Here is the checklist you need before completion: Visit the property again before you complete to make sure all is in place – including your fixtures and fittings; A copy of the title deeds will need to go to your mortgage lender; If your property is a leasehold, you will need to inform the freeholder that you will be completing on the property; Notify the utility companies that you are now the owner of the property; Inform your banks, credit card, place of work, mobile phone company and the DVLA of your new address; Set up your a post-redirection; Arrange a time with the estate agency to pick up your new keys. Are you looking to move and need mortgage advice?  Have a look at the Just Mortgages website. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE. Howards introduce to Just Mortgages Direct Limited which is an appointed representative of The Openwork Partnership, a trading style of Openwork Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Just Mortgages Direct Limited Registered Office: Colwyn House, Sheepen Place, Colchester, Essex, CO3 3LD. Registered in England No. 2412345

Apr 1, 2022 Buying Process - Stage 6 - Surveying services

Once your offer is accepted, it is really important to have a survey carried out on that property to assist you in understanding the condition of that building and to establish if there are any problems that need to be addressed – i.e. whether the property you are going to buy is a good investment without structural faults. You are also likely to need a valuation report from the mortgage lender: Valuation report – Mortgage providers usually insist on a valuation report before they will agree to lend you the money. This is to confirm that the property is sufficient security to cover the loan. If your home is still being built, the mortgage provider will carry out some checks on the builder and development. They will usually release the mortgage in stages, handing over the final money once the home is finished and can be valued. There are three main types of survey, and it can be confusing to decide which type to choose. It predominantly depends on how much detail you require from the survey and the age of the building. Condition report: The most basic of the three surveys and most suited to newer, more modern houses in a good condition. Typically costs £150-£300. Provides an overview of the property’s condition and focuses on things like the roof, walls, windows, floors and stairs. Highlights significant problems but does not go into detail, therefore further investigation will be needed. Provides the condition of each element in a clear ‘traffic lights’ ratings, identifying problems that need varying degrees of attention. It does not include a valuation or insurance reinstatement. Homebuyer’s report: The most popular of the three surveys and is suitable for modern properties as well as older properties that are deemed to be in a reasonable condition. Typically costs between £250-£600. Will include maintenance advice as well as necessary repairs that are needed. A useful report for issues such as cracks, damp or subsidence. Highlights any areas that do not meet building regulations. Non-intrusive report so will only look at parts of the property that are readily available - not behind walls, loft space or under floorboards. It is worthwhile paying extra for this report if there are some concerns you have about the property you are going to buy. Buildings survey: This report is useful for older properties, rare or unusual properties, properties in a poor condition, properties in which you are planning significant work or for any major concerns you have with a property. Typically costs between £500 and £1,000. Provides a breakdown of the structure of a property and the condition. Provides detailed information on how the property has been constructed, the materials used, the condition of the foundations, roof and walls. Provides advice of the maintenance as well as necessary repairs are needed. A more intrusive report that will look at the loft/attic space as well as under the floorboards. For new build properties, a survey is not likely to be needed, however, for peace of mind you can ask for a New-Build Snagging survey to be carried out. This will be carried out by an independent inspector and typically cost between £150-£200. After deciding which type of survey is best for you always write to your surveyor to confirm your choice with details of the property and area. New homes often come with a guarantee such as Buildmark that insure against major defects resulting from the builder’s failure to carry out the guarantor’s requirements. If your new home does not come with a warranty, or you’d like the peace of mind that a structural survey brings, you could decide to commission a homebuyer’s report. When buying a very expensive home, it may be worth your while to arrange for a full structural survey. The cost and time to complete your survey will depend upon which type of survey you have commissioned, and the size, condition and location of your home. It is best to get two or three quotes from different surveyors in the area to assess market rate. You may also wish to speak to your estate agent about typical costs in the area. Next steps: Final stages of buying Take a look at our quick guide to the Final stage of buying YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE. Howards introduce to Just Mortgages Direct Limited which is an appointed representative of The Openwork Partnership, a trading style of Openwork Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Just Mortgages Direct Limited Registered Office: Colwyn House, Sheepen Place, Colchester, Essex, CO3 3LD. Registered in England No. 2412345