Redstones Houses

The impact of school performance on property prices

Nationally, figures have been released that reveal that house buyers are prepared to pay more to live near high performing schools. This could also offer landlords great opportunities, if they take this into consideration.

Research from Lloyds Bank has revealed that parents pay an average of £53,000 extra to live in such areas. This figure has increased by 31% or £13,000 on 2015. Where pupils are achieving the strongest GCSE results, average property prices have soared to £366,744.

The research demonstrates that average house prices in areas with a state school in the top 30 of exam results have soared by £76,000 since 2011 and seven of the areas covered in the survey have seen house prices rise by over £100,000 since 2011.

Parents who manage to secured a place for their child at a leading school have seen prices rise from an average of £290,683 to £366,744 over the last five years. This represents a significant increase of 26%. This is in contrast to average house price increases in England, which have increased by £42,145 over the past 5 years from £240,208 to £282,353. This is an increase of 18%.

Of course, the popularity of areas close to high performing schools means that some buyers will be ‘priced out’. However, for landlords or buy to let investors, it could represent a great opportunity.

Director of Redstones, Manjit Virdi says, “This research shows the importance that parents place on living near top performing schools. For any landlords with properties in such areas, this should be reflected in their rents and for landlords looking to expand their property portfolios, checking academic league tables as part of their research would be a wise move.”

Making house moving run smoothly

It is very rare to hear from anyone who didn’t find the process of moving house stressful. However, being prepared and making sure you don’t miss anything will be the key to making the process run as smoothly as possible.

Here are some of our top, tried and tested tips!:

  • Ensure that you have cancelled all bills and let all banks, insurance companies, the DVLA etc. know of your house move a few weeks in advance. Redirect post in advance too, in order to protect yourself from identity theft.
  • Research the best value utility contracts for your new property well in advance and remember to read the meters in both properties on your moving day
  • Use a good removal firm. Seek recommendations from friends or members of the British Association of Removers. Confirm the time and date of your move with the company in advance too.
  • Save time and cost by doing as much of the packing as you can yourself, clearing your diary to ensure you leave enough time to pack your belongings
  • Make sure that everyone who is helping you move is aware of the journey between your old and new property
  • Mark all boxes that you pack with the content and the name of the room in which they belong
  • Make arrangements for food and refreshments on moving day, keeping tea, coffee, milk and the kettle to one side!
  • Try to avoid Mondays and Fridays for your moving days, which are the busiest days on the roads
  • Be considerate to the new owners and explain how crucial items work (perhaps leave out instructions) such as your burglar alarm, boiler switches or a built-in oven. Also, provide details of who currently provides utilities at your property
  • Check all windows and door are locked and that utilities are turned off before you leave

These are some essential tips but as you get ready for the big move, it’s worth keeping a notebook close by and making any notes to remember that you feel will make the move more effective. Being as organised as possible is sure to miminise your stress on moving day!

Redstones Houses

Important considerations for choosing your next home

Determining what you want and need when choosing your next home is vital. Buying a new home is an expensive and long-term decision, so it’s worth thinking through all of the considerations.

The first set of considerations is what you may want from the property itself, in terms of number of bedrooms and bathrooms, parking provisions, a private garden or conservatory. Consider the amount of time or money you are willing to invest in refurbishment or redecoration too. If you speak to an estate agent such as Redstones, let them know what elements you would be willing to compromise on and what you don’t want.

A major decision will be whether or not you wish to consider a new build property. Some buyers want the challenges of refurbishing an existing property if it offers them other attractive features they desire, such as ample space or a conservatory. However, new builds are growing in popularity because they require less money and time to redecorate or repair. They are often more energy efficient than traditional properties and mean that they will be no upward chains upon purchase, making the process of exchange quicker and less stressful. New homes also come with a National House Building Council (NHBC) 10 year warranty.

Another big consideration is the area you will be moving into. Research is crucial to see whether the area suits your lifestyle. Information to gather includes house prices, school performance in the local area, public transport links and other amenities. Use Government websites to check council tax bandings in the area and information on population, crime, health and housing. The Highways Agency website provides information on road transport links and plans for future development that may impact house prices. In addition, the Environment Agency offers data on pollution or flooding, if this is a concern.

Managing Director of Redstones, Manjit Virdi says, “The bottom line is that if you’re looking for your next home, thorough research really pays off and will ensure that you make the right decision. Redstones are always on hand to advise home buyers as we know our local areas extremely well, so we always welcome questions from potential new home buyers who are trying to make the best possible decision they can.”

Redstones Red Cup

Brexit leads to a boost for the Buy to Let market

Buy-to-let activity has seen a boost in August, despite Brexit, with research revealing that buy-to-let valuations were up by 12.7% in August compared to the previous month.

From a landlord’s perspective, it has been a tough year, as the Government has introduced many changes to try and create a level playing field between homeowners and investors. These changes include the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge in April 2016 and the abolishment of the 10% Wear and Tear tax relief for landlords who rent out furnished homes has been abolished, so they can only claim the amount that they have spent. Also, mortgage tax relief is set to be phased out from 2017.

Despite these changes, buy-to-let activity has increased sharply. An encouraging economic outlook, high levels of employment and fading fears of a recession have been positively received, despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit. The Bank of England’s decision to cut the base rate for the first time in seven years also seems to have stimulated property investors.

Despite legislative changes, the buy to let sector seems to remain buoyant and resilient. Manjit Virdi, Director of Redstones says, “We are still regularly liaising with property landlords that wish to expand their portfolio, despite the political and economic climate. As well as helping them identify the right next property for their portfolio, we help them manage the often time-consuming burden of being a landlord.”

Redstones offers a wide range of property management services, from credit control to meter reading, repairs and maintenance, gas certificates and much more.

At the same time, house sellers are taking advantage of reports that house prices will increase following Brexit by getting their properties on the market. With new properties always becoming available, keep your eyes peeled on the local market by checking the search function on our website or registering your details with your local Redstones office.

Reducing stress levels when selling your home

Selling your home may seem stressful, especially if you’re buying another house at the same time but there are ways in which you can make the process less difficult.

At Redstones, our top tips for sellers include:

Speak to a mortgage advisor as soon as possible. Before putting your home on the market, work out how much you will be able to afford in relation to your next property. Talk to an independent mortgage broker before you even start your search.

Find the right estate agent who will target the type of buyers likely to buy your home. Ask about their marketing methods and see how they will help you sell your home fast. At Redstones, there are many ways in which we can help.

It will really help the sales process along if you work with a good conveyancer or property solicitor. This doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest. Check that they have the capacity to take you on and are not over-run with work. Recommendations from friends and family usually works best.

Take your time to pick the best buyer. If they’re a chain-free first-time buyer you may be able to move more quickly and there will be fewer parties will be involved. Check whether they have a mortgage in principle, as this proves they can afford your property. This is particularly important if you’re lucky enough to have multiple buyers, as minimal fuss (as well as the highest offer) is the goal.

We all hear about the difficulties of property chains, but rest assured that at Redstones, we carefully vet buyers and ensure they are in a strong position to move forward with the sale.

Finally, be organised, so that you’re not rushing around at the last minute. For example, complete any DIY work on your house before putting it on the market to increase the likelihood of a fast sale.

At Redstones, we pro-actively help our sellers achieve their objectives. Here’s our useful guide on the selling process.

Redstones Lettings

Longer tenancies supported by Government

Great news for landlords – the Government is now backing longer tenancies. The idea has been backed by the new Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, who is trying to make longer-term tenancies available to tenants who want them.

His department has drawn up a model tenancy agreement which encourages longer-term tenancies and the Government is now working with the private rented sector to promote the scheme and identify any obstacles. This agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, as a benchmark for tenancy agreements and outlines the ways in which families would benefit from longer agreements.

Manjit Virdi, Director of Redstones says, “I know that many of our landlords feel that long-term tenants make greater efforts to maintain their home and many tenants like the security of remaining in one property, so I believe this scheme will be welcomed by many.”

Interestingly, a recent report showed that the average tenancy agreement for a residential property in England stands at just 18 months, reflecting a short-term approach but clearly, some tenants will be happy to settle in one property for a longer period depending on their circumstances.

There are many stresses that come with being a landlord and finding new tenants once your existing tenants have left is just one of them. Although the average annual void period in the UK currently stand at 22 days, Redstones work pro-actively with our landlords to minimise void periods and identify longer-term tenants where possible.

Not only do we attract the right tenants, we pro-actively help our landlords manage their properties. Our uniques services for landlords include Redstones Platinum Total Care, which ensures that the rent is paid on time, every time and our Switch Agents Programme, which makes it very easy to switch to us if you’re dissatisfied with your current letting agent. This high level of service is what makes Redstones stand out in the lettings market.

Redstones join leading UK auctioneers Network Auctions

Redstones Auctions

Redstones Auctions

Leading Walsall based sales and letting agents, Redstones, have joined forces with UK auctioneers and NAVA auction house of the year, Network Auctions, to offer regular auction sales under the branding Redstones Network Auctions.

Redstones offer a comprehensive range of sales and letting agency services across their multi office network and by joining forces with Network Auctions are now able to offer clients a market leading auctioneering service with the benefits of local expertise and national coverage.

Redstones Network Auctions will be holding regular auction sales from their Central London auction to room at the Grosvenor House Hotel which, in conjunction with local marketing, provides sellers with access the largest market possible.

Network Auctions enjoyed a superb year at the rostrum in 2015 with sales in excess of £30 million going under auctioneer Guy Charrison’s gavel at their six London auctions.

2016 has also been very positive with four record breaking auction sales so far completed. The next auction is scheduled for 19th October.

Manjit Virdi, Director of Redstones said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with Network Auctions and look forward to providing a comprehensive auction service to clients in the Walsall and surrounding area and subsequently extending our auction service to our other network branches.

With a national network of like-minded partner agents and a London auction room, clients can be assured of maximum exposure and the best opportunities for a sale on any lot they enter into our auctions.
The experience and local knowledge of Redstones combined with the wide coverage and auctioneering expertise of Network Auctions is undoubtedly a winning combination.”

Network Auctions auctioneers Guy Charrison and Richard Worrall are highly respected practitioners and the huge databases of investors and other buyers that Network Auctions have at their disposal greatly increases the chances of a successful sale.
Toby Limbrick, Managing Director of Network Auctions added: “Redstones are a fantastic addition to our network and their expertise and knowledge of the Walsall and surrounding marketplace is a great asset to our ever growing rank of partner agents.

We very much look forward to including more lots from the Walsall area in our forthcoming auctions.”

The next auction is on 19th October at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane.

If you are thinking of disposing of a property by auction, can be contacted by email at info@redstones.co.uk or by phone at 01922 235 350

Redstones illuminated sign

The advantages of running your own property franchise

Have you ever considered running your own property franchise, helping home buyers purchase their dream home or working with tenants and landlords?

As well as being your own boss, becoming a Redstones franchisee has many advantages:

A trusted brand name – Working with a brand name such as Redstones, which has already proven its credibility in the property market has many benefits. By adhering to a tried and tested business model, franchisees have increased security that their new business will flourish. Banks and financial institutions are also more likely to fund franchises that have established their success. The security and reliability of working with a well-known brand therefore offers more access to loans to help franchisees with their start-up costs. Proven systems and a respected business reputation will also put you ahead of many other independent businesses.

Continuous help and support – With our property franchise, you never need to feel as if you’re on your own. We offer a structured training programme and continuous support to get you off the ground, helping you to establish the correct administrative systems, as well as offering marketing support.

Reflecting on our vital hands-on approach, Dean Caldon of Redstones Brentwood says, “We were able to speak directly to Manjit Virdi, the owner of Redstones, which gave us greater insight into the business.” This is in stark contrast to other franchises, who only offer quick visits or telephone helplines.

Defined territory – The British Franchise Association (BFA) states that a defined territory is one of the main reasons that franchising is such an attractive option. Location is everything in the property business and unlike many other property franchises, Redstones offers access to large territories to maximise profitability.

Our territories are comprised of at least 100,000 households, with low set up costs and opportunities to expand. When a Redstones franchise is in a position to grow, our business acquisition experts advise franchisees on how to effectively build their business portfolio.

These are just some advantages of becoming a Redstones property franchisee. For further information, visit our Franchise website, call 01922 235 350 or email franchise@redstones.co.uk