Redstones Residential Sales

Is Christmas and New Year Now The Perfect Time To Sell Your House?

Christmas and 2015 is almost upon us and historically it’s been regarded as a quiet time in the housing market. Traditionally, the advice of estate agents – including Redstones – has been to defer putting your home up for sale until after the end of the holiday period.

Does that advice still stand?

Similarly, if your property has been on sale for some time should you remove it from the market until life has returned to normal?

Our response to both questions is ‘no’ and here’s why:-

The way in which houses are sold has changed with the evolution of the internet. Today,  80% of property searches now being carried out online.

Consider the following statistics from Rightmove for the festive period in 2013:-

  • On Christmas Day, 14 million page views were recorded.
  • 10,000 e-mail enquiries were sent to estate agents on Christmas Day.
  • The number of views jumped on Boxing Day, reaching 25 million.
  • On New Year’s Day the highest figures of 38 million page views were recorded.

What does this mean if you are thinking of selling your home?

The approach of New Year is often a time for potentially life changing decisions, from looking for a new job to investing in a franchise – and moving home.

Depending on your local property market, the festive period may be the ideal time to advertise your property for sale as it enables you to attract the attention of prospective buyers before the ‘late comers’ flood the market in the New Year.

If you remove your property from the market only to put it back on again in January, you will have missed out on these potential enquiries and viewings.

Sell your house online with Redstones

With our commitment to state-of-the-art technology, Redstones is ideally placed to take advantage of this growing seasonal trend:-

  • We present properties for sale with the latest in walk-through online technology, large internal photographs and 3D floor plans to give viewers a virtual sense of your home.
  • With our knowledge of the local housing market, coupled with our expertise in residential sales, we aim to secure the best possible price for your property in the fastest possible time.
  • Your property will be advertised for sale across all the major sites including Zoopla, Propertyfinder, Globrix, Findaproperty, Primelocation – and Rightmove.
  • At Redstones we are committed to delivering superlative levels of customer service. We are also accredited by NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) and ARLA (Association Residential Letting Agents).

 

  • For property owners in need of a quick sale, we also offer an online auction service. At Redstones we recommend the modern method of auction rather than the traditional method.  This is more suitable for residential sales as it allows for a longer period of time to complete the sale.  For more information, please refer to our previous article Should You Sell Your Property At Auction?

Is Christmas the right time to place your property on the market?

Your local Redstones office can offer guidance and advice to assist in your decision. Contact us today to arrange a free valuation.

Stay up-to-date with the latest Redstones news over the Christmas and New Year period with our new app.

Redstones Walsall

Fulfil Your Potential With A Redstones Franchise In 2015

The beginning of a new year means a long list of resolutions for many and, for the more ambitious, commitments to life changing decisions.  Some people look for a new job, the more determined and entrepreneurial explore the opportunity to take control of their own life by launching their own business.

Making that step into self-employment alone is not for the faint hearted.  A recent Guardian article reminded would-be entrepreneurs that at least half of all new businesses fail within five years.

The good news is that as a business owner you don’t have to go it alone.  A Redstones franchise offers would-be entrepreneurs the opportunity to become part of a growing network of successful businesses in a buoyant market.

Franchising facts[1]

  • 9 out of 10 franchised businesses survive beyond the first five years compared to less than half of stand-alone start-ups.
  • Over half of franchisees report ‘good profitability’.
  • Franchisees were more robust during the recession operating proven business models and benefiting significantly from support and advice provided by their franchisor.
  • Over a quarter of a million people are employed full-time in the franchise industry with many more additional part-time jobs.

Why Redstones?

Operating in the thriving lettings and property sales market, Redstones is your franchisor of choice for a number of reasons:-

Unique marketing tools for its franchisees : Our franchisees benefit from state-of-the-art marketing tools, including 3D floor plans and a strong online presence supported by robust front and back office systems.  Add to that our premier Platinum Total Care Service and our Switch Agents facility which makes it easier for unhappy landlords to transfer the management of their property to Redstones.

Generous territory sizes : As a franchisee of Redstones, your success is our success. We want to give you the support and the space you need to succeed, which is why our franchisee territories are larger than the industry average. Each one covers a 250,000 population or 100,000 chimney pots.

Hands-on support from your franchisor : Our comprehensive training covers all aspects of what it takes to run a successful lettings agency. Furthermore, to keep your first year overheads to a minimum, our business model means that franchisees can launch their Redstones business from a serviced office rather than a costly high street premises. It all adds up to a more intelligent business model.

Forward thinking and innovative :  2014 has seen the launch of a number of new initiatives at Redstones. These include:-

Redstones Financial – Offering a range of independent financial services, we guarantee the high levels of customer service and attention to detail that our clients have grown to expect from the Redstones brand.

Membership of Utility Warehouse – For cost conscious tenants, Utility Warehouse offers the opportunity to manage utility bills in one monthly payment.

Redstones Mobile App – The beginning of December brought more exciting news with the launch of our new app. Redstones clients can now keep up-to-date with all of the latest developments, request a property valuation and find their local Redstones office via our app.

Take advantage of lower fees until 31st December 2014

From 1st January 2015, Redstones’ initial franchisee fee will increase from £11,995 to £14,995 which still represents an outstanding investment.  For new franchisees who commit to a Redstones franchise before 31st December 2014 the fee will remain at £11,995.

Fulfil your potential in 2015 with your own Redstones franchise.  Contact us today to find out more.

[1] Source : The British Franchise Association/Natwest Annual Survey

redstones houses

Stamp Duty : What Will You Really Save?

This weeks Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne revealed significant changes to the amount of Stamp Duty which it is claimed will reduce the amount payable for 98% for all homebuyers.

Here we summarise what it all means.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty, or Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a payment levied on all purchases of property, including flats, houses, land and other buildings over a certain price.

Before

Under the previous system home buyers would pay stamp duty calculated on a fixed percentage as detailed below:-

Property price up to £125,000  tax free

Price between £125,000-£250,000  stamp duty of 1%

Price between £250,000-£500,000 stamp duty of 3%

Price between £500,000 £1m  stamp duty of 4%

Price between £1m to £2m  stamp duty of 5%

A stamp duty of 7% applied to all properties over £2m.

Under this system, if buyers paid just £1 over £250,000 they were required to pay stamp duty of 3% on the whole purchase price, a system which was often criticised.

After

With the changes to stamp duty announced in the Autumn Statement, home buyers now pay a fixed percentage of stamp duty on each portion of the property price.

The applicable charges for residential properties are now as follows

The first £125,000 of the property price,  tax free

Portion of price from £125,000-250,000  stamp duty of 2%.

From £250,000-£925,000  5%

From £925,000-£1.5m  10%

Portion of price over £1.5m  taxed at 12%.

Under this system buyers are no longer charged a higher rate on the total property price if they pay £250,001, for example.

What does it mean?

Here we haveve provided some illustrations of what these changes will mean in practice.

Property price £125,00 – no change (no stamp duty applicable)

Property price £185,000  previous charge £1,850; new charge £1,200  Total Saving £650

Property price £275,000  previous charge £8,250; new charge £3,750  Total Saving £4,500

Property price £510,000  previous charge £20,400; new charge £15,000  Total Saving £4,900

Property price £2.1m  previous charge £147,500; new charge £165,750– Total Loss £18,750

A stamp duty calculator is available on the government website.

https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax-rates

Early predictions suggest that house prices may rise in some areas where the cost of stamp duty will be lower but fall in regions where stamp duty will increase, typically in areas where house prices are highest.

What will this mean for the housing market?

As an overall guideline the Treasury stated that people purchasing a property for £275,000 (the price of an average family home) would save £4,500 in stamp duty. A purchase of £2.1m on the other hand will see stamp duty rise by £18,750.

While the period leading up to Christmas sees a traditional slowdown in the housing market, it is anticipated that 2015 will see an increase in prospective buyers.

When did these changes take effect?

The changes took place with effect from 3rd December.   For buyers who have exchanged contracts on a property but not yet completed, they will be allowed to select which rules to use.

The new rates of stamp duty will apply across the UK but will be replaced by the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland from next April.

Thinking of selling your house? At Redstones we work hard to ensure a fast sale at the optimum price.  We also offer an online auction for property owners who need to sell quickly. Contact us today to discuss your options.

For more advice and guidance, see our previous blogs:-

Selling Your House? Get Your Timing Right

House Prices Are At An All Time High – Is It Time To Sell?

Redstones Property Management

Landlord Essentials : 7 Tips For Managing Your Empty Property

As a landlord there may be times when you find yourself in possession of a vacant property following the departure of a tenant. While it is not an ideal situation, there are a number of steps you can take to minimise your costs and ensure your property is secure until your next tenant arrives:-

Visit regularly : A number of signs advertise the fact that your property is empty including piles of unopened mail lying by the front door, a house in darkness and an overgrown garden, to name a few. Install electronic timers to switch your lights on at pre-set times and ensure all burglar alarms are working.  It is also advisable to check that bins are both empty and clean for security and hygiene reasons.

Inform your insurers : If your property is likely to be unoccupied for a number of weeks, keep your insurance company fully informed in case of any problems with break-ins or burst pipes. Comply fully with the requirements of your insurance policy, for example, make sure windows are locked and alarms are set. For property owners unhappy with their current insurance providers, Redstones Financial offers a range of independent financial services including house insurance for landlords.

Inform the council : Once the tenants have left a property, landlords become responsible for the payment of council tax.  Properties that are empty and unfurnished may be eligible for a discount for a short period of time but this is at the discretion of the individual council.

Transfer responsibility for utility bills : As a landlord you are now responsible for the payment of all utility bills so it is essential to take meter readings on the day the tenant leaves and transfer the bills into your name.  Once a new tenant moves in, utility bills become their responsibility and a further meter reading will need to be taken.

Carry out repairs : While your property is empty it presents an ideal opportunity to carry out minor repairs and ensure it is ‘fit for purpose’ by carrying out checks on your boiler and smoke alarms for example. Our previous article ‘Is Your Property Ready For Winter?’ provides more advice on your obligations as a landlord.

Turn off appliances : To minimise costs, turn off all of your gas and electrical appliances, including fridge-freezers and switch off plug sockets. While we would also normally advise landlords to turn off hot water and heating timers, the heating should not be left off during winter. A cold spell will leave your property vulnerable to burst pipes if it is switched off for a lengthy period.

For landlords who are away over the festive period, leaving a vacant property unattended is a cause for concern.  Redstones offers a fully property management service which gives our customers peace of mind that their properties are monitored and checked on a regular basis.  With our extensive database we also work quickly to ensure your property is occupied quickly following the departure of a tenant.

Contact us today to discuss the most suitable solution for your property management.

Redstones Wolverhampton

Redstones Wolverhampton Franchisee Achieves ARLA Qualification

Within six months of opening his Wolverhampton branch of Redstones, we are delighted to announce that franchisee Updesh Gidda has passed his ARLA qualification. (Association of Residential Lettings Agents).  This achievement is the culmination of several months of hard work by Updesh in establishing in his new business while working hard to secure his ARLA status.

To attain this status, Updesh was required to clearly demonstrate in-depth knowledge of his industry as well as a commitment to operate to the highest standards. Congratulations to Updesh on a fantastic achievement.

What is ARLA?

As the lettings sector is presently unregulated, ARLA was established to encourage professionals and companies working in the industry to adhere to high standards.

With our commitment to outstanding customer service, becoming a member of ARLA is something that is mandatory for all Redstones franchisees to maintain the high standards associated with our brand.

All ARLA members agree to comply with these requirements and follow a strict code of conduct.  It is also compulsory for all ARLA members to continue with the professional development which Updesh will continue to do as he expands his Redstones Wolverhampton franchise.

Reasons to choose a licensed ARLA lettings agent

Property owners dealing with an ARLA member enjoy the following benefits:-

  • You will be working with a qualified agent who has been assessed as offering professional, up-to-date guidance.  With Redstones, you also have the added reassurance that we provide regular updates on the legal obligations of landlords to our franchisees who are trained to provide superlative levels of customer service.
  • Members of ARLA are covered by their Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.  This means that ARLA can make a discretionary payment for property owners who may suffer any type of financial loss due to the unethical or dishonest conduct of one of their members.
  • All ARLA members have professional indemnity insurance which covers customers who make any claims due to any negligence or poor advice.
  • ARLA members follow their Code of Practice and Rules of Conduct. Failure to do so can result in a fine or the agent in question being expelled from the association.
  • Members must also join an independent redress scheme for additional financial protection of up to £25,000. Redstones is a member of the Property Ombudsman service.

On top of this, as a customer of Redstones, you can be confident in attention to your individual needs which is apparent in our range of services including:-

  • Platinum Total Care Service – our premier service to landlords.
  • Redstones Financial – designed to meet your unique financial needs.
  • Switch Agents service

For your added peace of mind, Redstones is also a member of the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) and complies fully with the Deposit Protection Service (DPS).

At Redstones we pride ourselves on setting the standards in an industry which often has a poor reputation

If you are unhappy with your current lettings or estate agent, our Switch Agents programme enables you to switch your property management or sale of your property to Redstones through an easy to follow process.  Contact us today to find out more.

Redstones illuminated sign

Redstones Launches Its Exclusive New App!

At Redstones, we listen.

We listen to our customers, to our franchisees and to our tenants too.

We listen because we understand that being a lettings agent and sales agent for property owners isn’t about what we want, it’s about listening to the needs of our clients and responding to them.

As a result of recent feedback, we have now launched our new and exclusive Redstones app!

Available now from Google Play Store and App Store, our app enables property owners to:-

  • Arrange a property valuation.
  • Search for the Redstones office closest to you.
  • Find out more about Redstones expanding and comprehensive range of client services.
  • Keep up-to-date with all of the latest Redstones news via social media and our blog.
  • Discover more about what it means to be a Redstones franchisee.

This latest innovation comes hot on the heels of a series of two major new additions to our services during 2014, namely:-

Redstones Financial

One of the most frequent complaints we hear from our customers concerns the lack of independent financial service providers to cover their diverse needs, from mortgages to house insurance and even a will writing service.  After thorough market research and time spent gaining insight into what our customers themselves were looking for, we launched Redstones Financial Services in September 2014.

We apply the same core values to Redstones Financial that are consistent with the Redstones brand – listening to individual requirements and providing an ethical customer focused service.

This addition to our range of services also means our franchisees have yet another marketing tool to help them to secure new and repeat business in a competitive market.

Utility Warehouse

Our recent membership of Utility Warehouse reflects our commitment to our tenants as well as our landlords and property owners.  With continuing concern over rising utility bills, Utility Warehouse rolls the cost of landline telephone, gas, electricity, broadband and even mobile into one monthly payment, making cashflow management more straightforward.

Two of our flagship and most popular services are, of course, still available, namely:-

Platinum Total Care Services : Our elite service gives our landlords peace of mind every month, knowing that their monthly rental payments are being made on time. With this option, Redstones makes this guarantee even if the tenant is unable to make their payments on time. While all of our tenants are reference and credit checked, it is impossible to predict certain situations, such as redundancy or ill-health which leave tenants in financial difficulty.

Switch Agents Service : With our unrivalled range of services that both anticipate and respond to market trends, increasing numbers of property owners are making the switch to Redstones. Switch to Redstones today with our step-by-step service that guides you through the process.

Our innovation doesn’t end with our new app!

We have additional plans and ideas in the pipeline for 2015 and are constantly seeking feedback from our customers to ensure we consistently meet and exceed expectations.

Thinking about selling or letting your property but not sure where to begin? Contact Redstones today or alternatively, download our app to arrange your free property valuation and stay instantly up-to-date with all of our latest news.