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Apr 1, 2022 Buying Process - Stage 3 - Making an offer

When you find a property that you really like, even love, it is time to make an offer. Before you make an offer Before making an offer on a house you should do some research and have some fundamental things in place: A mortgage agreed in principle Unless you are a cash buyer, you should have accepted an offer on the property you are selling – sellers won’t take you seriously otherwise (unless they’re desperate) Find out how much similar properties in the local area have recently sold for Ask how long the house has been on the market, or how quickly the sellers want to move. They may be prepared to accept a low offer if they want a quick sale or the property has struggled to find a buyer. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Things to consider when making an offer Keep your emotions in check when viewing a house – if a vendor knows that you have fallen head over heels in love with their property, they are more likely to hold out for a higher offer from you. Don’t let your heart rule your head. If you have a budget stick to it.  Offering more than you can afford may get you your dream home, but it could turn into a nightmare if the bills are too much. How to make an offer on a house How much should you offer? The research you have done will help you get a feel for the level to pitch your offer. If the estate agent has told you that other buyers are interested, you might feel that you want to offer close to the asking price. If you think there is less competition for the property or the sellers want a quick sale, it may be worth offering 2-3% lower than the asking price. Making an offer before selling your property It is possible to do this, but unless a seller is desperate to accept an offer they are unlikely to consider yours. Not having your property under offer means that you are not in a position to proceed with a purchase. Estate agents and sellers may only allow you to book a viewing if your property is under offer. If there is high demand for a property ask yourself why a seller would choose to accept your offer? How to submit your offer It is usual practice to make your offer for the property over the phone. An estate agent will usually ring you soon after a viewing anyway. You could confirm your offer in writing via email, but this is not necessary until an offer has been accepted. What happens after the offer? After submitting your offer an estate agent will contact the vendor and get their response. The agent will let you know very quickly whether it has been accepted or not. If it hasn’t it will be up to you to decide what to do next; whether to make an improved offer or to end your interest in the property. Frequently asked questions Can I make an offer without a mortgage in principle? Again, it is technically possible to make an offer a house without having agreed a mortgage in principle with a mortgage lender. However, it is seen as more or less essential by sellers when reviewing offers. It confirms that a lender thinks that you can afford the repayments on a mortgage and is willing to offer you a mortgage in principle for the amount required to buy the home in which you are interested. Can I make multiple offers on different houses? You can do this, but again it is fraught with ethical issues. What if the offers on both properties are accepted? Assuming you only want to buy one house, it won’t go down well with one of the sellers if you withdraw from one of the prospective purchases. Although nothing is legally binding until you exchange contracts, buying a house brings with it certain responsibilities. If the sellers are in a chain other parties are involved, potentially spending hundreds of thousands of pounds, so you will not be very popular. It is always best to focus your attention on one property at a time when making an offer on a house. Can I offer over the asking price? There is no science to making offers on a property. Most opening bids will be lower than the asking price, but you will have to judge whether the property is priced fairly, how much interest it is attracting and how much you want it. Starting your bidding at over the asking price could encourage the seller to reject your offer – not because it is too low, but because they think they can get more from you. Should I get a mortgage in principle before making an offer? It is always advisable to have made an initial application with a mortgage provider. It proves that you can afford to fund the prospective purchase and indicates to the seller that you are serious and not wasting their time. Next steps: Once the offer has been accepted You should ask the agent to take the property off the market as soon as your offer is accepted. Check that they have done this. If they are still marketing the property you should ask why. You will need to instruct a solicitor and make a formal mortgage application. Contact your local Howards branch for help with your property search If you are interested in buying a property contact your local branch today. 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

Feb 27, 2022 Buying Process - Stage 2 - Viewing a property

Viewing a property is exciting and key to finding the right home for you. However, there are still some essential things you need to look for to make sure it is right for you.  Here are our top tips: Remember to thoroughly look over the outside of a property as well as the interior; Even if you are buying alone, take someone with you on a viewing to get another pair of eyes looking for things you may miss; Check for damp. It can be a big concern and expensive to remedy if you miss it. Look out for mould, musty smells or dark patches on walls and ceilings; Don’t forget about the structure of the property. Keep an eye out for cracks, even hairline cracks, on the walls, around windows and doors and on the ceilings. These may need further investigation. If in doubt, get a full structural survey carried out on the property to put your mind at rest; Many people think that having a mortgage valuation means they have had a full structural survey carried out on the property. Unfortunately this is not the case. Take a look at the different property surveys available; Allow yourself plenty of time, not just to view the property but also to look around the local neighbourhood and the amenities available in the area; Have more than one viewing so that you can see anything you may have missed on the first viewing and ask any further questions you may now have. It can also be helpful to view the property at different times of the day to see any changes in different lights or surrounding area noise and traffic levels; If there is any ambiguity over anything, such as rights of way, parking availability, ownership of the garden etc., ensure any answers to your queries are answered in writing. Are you looking for mortgage advice?  Have a look at the Just Mortgages website for more information. Next steps: Offer accepted. What's next? Take a look at our quick guide to Offer accepted: What's next? 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

Feb 26, 2022 Buying Process - Stage 1 - Getting started

Searching for that perfect property? There are many advantages to both new homes and purchasing older properties. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Howards have some brilliant search facilities to assist you in narrowing down the search results to find exactly what you are looking for. These include: Being able to search by your current location; Searching by your budget; Search by property type; Set a minimum number of bedrooms to determine size of property you are interested in; Prioritise results by selecting the features you require in a house, such as a garden, garage etc. You can also enter your own features you are looking in the keyword search; You can also search by Leasehold, Freehold, chain free and properties that are holding an open house; Click on the map view to find a property by searching for properties near a particular school, transport links, shops or food and drink outlets. Carry out a property search today. If you need mortgage advice get in touch with Just Mortgages who have mortgage advisors who can assist you with any queries. Next steps: Viewing a property Take a look at our quick guide to Viewing a property 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

Feb 25, 2022 Tips for Sellers

Once you’ve decided to sell your home, knowing what to do next can be a daunting task. There’s a lot to think about when moving to a new house, so choosing the right estate agent is an essential way to make the process easier. Howards has a team of experienced sales negotiators in your area who have expert knowledge about the locality and know what types of properties sell for what price. Our agents have a database of potential buyers and give realistic advice designed to help your move progress. Handing over the sale of your home to us means we do all the hard work for you in terms of showing people round and checking out that they are serious buyers. Howards is part of the UK's largest independent estate agency and our customers have access to the latest online marketing tools, including the property portal OnTheMarket.com, plus social media, traditional print advertising and ‘open house events’ to boost buyer interest. Our phone lines are open from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Making your home attractive to a buyer Get inside the head of your buyer and think about the aesthetic appeal of your property. Visiting a show home before you sell is a great way to get inspiration and understand how best to market your property. Ensure that the outside of your property is tidy and that the building looks safe and secure. Repainting your windowsills or front door, cutting the grass and putting away unfinished DIY projects can improve your property’s kerb appeal and encourage prospective buyers to venture inside. Make it easy for prospective buyers to see the potential in your property. Decluttering and tidying up rooms creates a blank canvas and helps people viewing your property to imagine themselves living there. Homes sell quicker if a buyer can imagine themselves sitting on a sofa watching the TV, lounging in the back garden, or having dinner at the kitchen table. Staging your home so it appears in its best possible light can also help achieve a successful sale. Removing large or bulky items like a sofa and replacing them with smaller versions helps to make rooms appear more spacious. Hanging mirrors in more confined spaces can also help create the effect that rooms are larger than they appear. Likewise, on darker days simple acts such as turning on lamps and sidelights can create a cosy and enticing atmosphere for prospective buyers to walk into. Ensure all unpleasant smells, like cigarette smoke or blocked drains are banished by fully airing your property and installing air fresheners or diffusers. Consider some home improvements When we value your home, they can also make recommendations for ways you can improve the value. Planning and obtaining quotes for renovations before you sell is always a good idea. Updating a dated kitchen by replacing tiles, units or cupboard doors can help encourage prospective buyers. Kitchens are the focus for many people during a property viewing, and many buyers could be willing to pay more to save themselves the hassle of buying a new kitchen. Similarly, and if your budget will allow, updating the tiles or taps in the bathroom can also help encourage buyers and ensure a speedy sale. If your budget allows, consider adding a garage or loft conversion. According to OnTheMarket, a recent nationwide study found that a loft conversion which added an extra bedroom and en-suite bathroom would add an average of 21 per cent to the value of a property. If this type of renovation isn’t achievable right now, consider having someone draw up the plans for these improvements and, if necessary, obtain planning permission. Know your budget Before you sell, know what you can afford and determine a price range of properties to look at. Find out the outstanding debt on your mortgage, then find out how much more you can borrow and whether you can afford it before you start looking at properties. Notify your solicitor that you plan to sell so they can provide you with the list of things that you need to collect together, which might include: any guarantees for work you have had done on the property including replacement windows or damp-proofing; filling out a form that details what you intend to leave in the property; if it is a leasehold property you will need to prove you are up to date on your monthly maintenance payments. Agree on the sale of your home before you start looking for the next move as you then become an attractive buyer to another vendor. If you’re not planning on buying straightaway, renting can act as a stopgap and reduce the stress of being involved in a long chain. Throughout this process, you’ll need the right legal representation. Howards offers a complete service from conveyancers to mortgage advisers, surveyors and insurance. List of moving expenses Moving is an expensive process, and nothing could be worse than finding your dream house and being unable to make it a reality. We’ve created a shortlist of the things to remember to ensure that you're not making a costly mistake: Your current lender’s fee if you are making an early repayment Legal/solicitor’s fees Estate agent’s fees The cost of an Energy Performance Certificate Removal costs Capital Gains Tax if the property you are selling is not your main home If you’re thinking about selling your property, speak to your nearest branch or request a valuation. If you have questions about your mortgage, or want some advice, take 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

Feb 25, 2022 Tips for Buyers

Here's our Top Tips for you to ponder in your quest for your next perfect home

If you already have a home and plan on selling it in order to buy another, we know that it may be a long time since you last went down this route and it’s possible that you may have forgotten some of the tasks ahead of you to ensure smooth plain sailing. So we’ve put together some points for you to ponder in your quest for your next perfect home: Let your solicitor know that you want to move We deal with conveyancers all the time and they tell us their frustration with clients who make an offer on a whim and create hold ups in the chain because they take a while to provide their solicitor with the relevant information to put together a ‘seller’s pack’ in preparation for the sale. If you are ready to hand over your sellers pack to the vendor’s solicitor from word go you can remove a whole layer of stress in what could be a long chain, which will put you on a good footing with them and ensure you remain an attractive buyer to them. Find out the remaining balance on your current mortgage It may sound obvious, but if you have had your mortgage for some while you may owe less than you think. You need to know the remaining debt to help you find out what you can afford in your next move. Scrutinise your finances Be sure you know what you can afford. You don’t want to get up the hopes of a vendor and incur any costs before you discover that, actually, you didn’t do your homework and you can’t afford to move. It is always a good idea to know your budget range and to hold on to your emotion when you are negotiating a price. You might have fallen in love with that property, but if the reality means you will be eating baked beans and buying from charity shops once you move in you might live to regret it. List your expenses  When it comes to talking to a new mortgage provider, especially if you want to increase your mortgage debt, ensure you have compiled your list of expenses as your lender will want to know how much you spend on groceries a week, utility bills and many other expenses. It is a good exercise to do this before you make any offer so that you can be sure that you can afford to move into and run your new property. Find out what the seller is leaving The vendor’s solicitor will have provided them with a “fixtures and fittings” document that they should complete. This document sets out to you, the new buyer, what the home comes with and what they intend to take with them. So if they plan on leaving that integrally fitted new fridge freezer that will save you the expense of upgrading your current one. Ensure the seller passes over the guarantees If the vendor has made home improvements to the property you are buying they will need to dig out the guarantees that come with replacement windows or damp proofing as they should be transferred into your possession. Establish what it will cost to move Your new mortgage and running costs won’t be the only expenses involved in this move. You need to factor in moving costs including any estate agency fees involved if you are selling your current property plus factor in the legal costs, removals costs and survey fees. Watch out for Stamp Duty If the property you are buying is valued at between £250,001 and above, you will need to pay Stamp Duty, so be sure to know what your legal obligation is here. Shop around for a mortgage  We strongly advise you to shop around for your mortgage if you are not tied into a deal with your current lender. haart has a nationwide network of advisors through its Just Mortgages sister company and there has never been a better time to take one out as interest rates are at an historic low. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Our typical fee for arranging a mortgage is £495.  The actual amount payable will depend on your circumstances. Choose the right estate agent There are hundreds of estate agents on the market but cheap doesn’t necessarily mean you will get good service. So if you are buying a property but need to sell your current home, we can market your property across a range of platforms. If you have a property to sell ensure your estate agent will expose your property to the maximum number of potential buyers. Howards customers have access to the latest online marketing tools, including the new property portal OnTheMarket.com, plus social media traditional print advertising and ‘open house events’ to boost buyer interest. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. So here’s a quick summary: Let your solicitor know Find out the remaining balance on your current mortgage Scrutinise your finances List your expenses Find out why the seller is leaving Ensure the seller passes on home-improvement guarantees Establish what it will cost you to move Watch out for Stamp Duty costs Shop around for a mortgage Choose the right estate agent 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

Aug 26, 2021 Armed Forces Covenant in Action

Among those who’ve already put their talents to good use within the company are IT Infrastructure specialist David Skingley, 55, who joined Spicerhaart in 2017, having completed a 26-year military career, followed by 13 years in commercial and government roles. He had risen through the ranks to become a Warrant Officer in the Royal Corps of Signals and is now a member of the IT Infrastructure team responsible for managing Spicerhaart’s data centre servers, networking, computers and IT security. He said: “As an ex-soldier, the Armed Forces Covenant is close to my heart, and therefore it is great to see the Spicerhaart group getting so involved. “When you first leave the forces, it can be extremely daunting because you don’t necessarily realise you have the skills that businesses are looking for. “Having worked in IT during my service, it was more of a straightforward transition for me than others, but I’d encourage anyone else searching for a new role to take a look at what estate agency has to offer. People will be surprised at the variety of different roles that are available with the key element of training to support the transition from the services.  There are a number of other ex-service personnel who are already integrated into the Spicerhaart Group that are also forging successful careers."