Category Archives: Estate Agents

Redstones Residential Sales

Top 5 tips for selling your home

If you’re planning to sell your home in 2017, here are Redstones’ top 5 tips for ensuring your sale plans are a success:

  1. Consider adding value

To achieve a good price for your property, it may be worth investing first. Adding double glazing, an extension, a loft conversion or a new kitchen could be successful tactics to contribute considerable value to your property.

Whether you want to sell now or if it’s more of a long-term plan, such modifications make a real difference to buyers.

  1. Be realistic

The price at which you sell should reflect your plans and reasons for moving home. Some people need to move quickly and others have less pressure and can take their time with a sale. Your circumstances to some extent should reflect your pricing. An expert estate agency such as Redstones can advise on this.

  1. Ensure your home is marketed effectively

First impressions count! Potential buyers will make a judgment on your home very quickly, which is why high quality images are so important. This is an area in which Redstones excel. Our marketing techniques include social media, advertising on all relevant portals, SEO and Pay-Per-Click. Vendors are able to sell their property quickly through 3D floor plans and walk through technology.

  1. Be fully prepared for viewings

Before every viewing, ensure your property is clean, fresh and clutter free to present it at its best for potential buyers. They need to imagine living in your home. Also, feel free to ask your estate agent for feedback after viewings, as often any negative feedback can be easily addressed.

And finally:

  1. Choose your estate agency wisely

This is a very important point because the agent that suggests the highest asking price for your home may not be the one you want to work with. A realistic price tends to work best and it’s also important to work with a trustworthy agent who will be honest with you. Selling your home can present challenges and therefore, picking the agent who you genuinely feel will be the most helpful through your journey is essential.

We believe we’re the agent for that job! Request a valuation with Redstones and find out more about the selling process.

Redstones Lettings

Reviewing your plans for 2017 as a landlord

Many landlords will have benefited from their property investments over the years but given the changes introduced in 2016 and beyond, assessing your position is always a good idea. As we start a new year, Redstones recommend that landlords review their investments.

2016 presented challenges for landlords, which included an increase in running costs due to Right to Rent checks that made sure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms (where required) were fitted. Also, in 2016 an extra 3% stamp duty land tax on second homes was introduced and the automatic annual ‘wear and tear’ allowance disappeared.

In addition, from April 2017, the reduction in mortgage interest relief for higher rate tax payers will begin, meaning that finance costs can no longer be deducted from rental income. Unfortunately, this means that some landlords will have to pay significantly more tax.

However, the good news is that although profit margins may be tighter for investors, property prices have generally gone up in most areas and some landlords have been in a position to increase rents. This helps to offset some of the increases in tax and other costs. Other ways of offsetting these costs include re-mortgaging, with many landlords now taking advantage of historically low interest rates.

Furthermore, the number of tenants looking for high quality properties continues to rise. This is not only due to affordability, there are many other factors now at play. For example, with Brexit throwing the economy into some uncertainty, more people are considering flexible employment and a flexible lifestyle.

Managing Director of Redstones Manjit Virdi states, “The beginning of the year is a great time to review financial plans and goals. Redstones believes that the private rental market in the areas we serve still represent excellent investments and we’re on hand to help landlords with their property plans in 2017.”

Find out more about the exceptional lettings and property management service at Redstones.

Redstones Residential Sales

Property market buoyant as lending booms

In 2016, mortgage lending hit its highest level in 8 years, which can mainly be attributed to low interest rates.

Proving that the property market remains buoyant, the Council of Mortgage Lenders has confirmed that with a lending total of £246m last year, lending has increased by 12% on the total amount lent in 2015. Mortgage approvals for both purchasing property and re-mortgaging rose in December 2016, showing that this trend is likely to continue into 2017. In fact, since 2008, remortgaging has grown year on year by 30%.

Therefore, despite Brexit and higher stamp duty for buy to let investors, many people have clearly been taking advantage of low interest rates to move up the property ladder. However, despite banks being keen to do business, in some areas, there is an ongoing shortage of properties on the market nationally and house price growth is expected to slow.

Manjit Virdi, Managing Director of Redstones explains, “We’ve got off to a very busy start in 2017 across the board, in terms of both property sales and lettings. We have a very high quality supply of properties right now too.”

He continues, “The positive situation with mortgage lending means that this could be the ideal time to buy your first home, move up the property ladder or continue expanding an existing property portfolio. We’re finding that for many people, it makes sense to start the new year by strengthening property investments.”

We offer innovative services in both sales and lettings such as Switch Agent and Redstones Platinum Total Care, which are very popular with our landlords.

Find out more about the great service Redstones has to offer.

Make buying your first home a reality in 2017

Is 2017 going to be the year you buy your first home? Whether it feels impossible or achievable, here are some simple, practical steps you can take to get that bit closer to becoming a home owner:

Investigate monthly outgoings – When saving for a deposit, every pound counts! Getting into good habits now will lead to increased levels of monthly savings, taking you closer and closer to your first home. Think about areas where you could be saving money, whether the amounts are small or large. Perhaps you’re not fully utilising that monthly magazine subscription or gym membership?

Keeping a record of your spending may help with this. Investigate regular costs and see if savings can be made on items such as food, clothing or entertainment.

Improve your credit rating – Consider setting up direct debits on any regular expenses such as credit cards and utility bills to improve your credit rating. Also, ensure you’re on the electoral roll too, as lenders may conduct these types of checks.

Set up a savings account – Putting away a fixed amount of money each month into a savings account where access to the account is restricted is a great, disciplined approach to saving that will help you build up the deposit you need more quickly.

Get the mortgage that suits you best – There are so many mortgage products and deals on the market that it’s worth thinking very carefully about what will suit you best. Think about how long you may want to live in your property and whether a fixed or variable rate mortgage will work for you. With interest rates being low, it may be worth considering a remortgage in a few years’ time. If mortgages leave you feeling confused, it’s well worth speaking to a mortgage advisor and family, friends and relatives about their own experiences.

At Redstones, we appreciate that this is a lot for you to consider and plan for. We’re therefore always keen to advise first-time buyers any way we can. Whether you’re looking to buy or rent right now, find out what Redstones can offer.

Redstones West Midlands House Head Office

Centre of Operations

This new office will be the centre of operations for the companies expanding lettings and estate agency franchise, as well as serving landlords, tenants and property sellers and buyers in the Willenhall and Walsall areas.

Manjit Virdi, founder and Managing Director of Redstones, said, “It is an exciting time for our company. As well as moving to our new Willenhall base, we will be revamping our website and online presence. We feel we can utilise our online platform to spread the reach of our service, and give an even more cost-effective service to our customers.”

“We have continually sought to be innovators in the UK property letting and management industry. Our Platinum Total Care Service, which guarantees rental income to landlords, and our Easy Switch Agents Scheme are two examples of that innovative spirit. 2017 promises to be our best year, and I am excited at what we will be delivering for our customers.”

Redstones services include residential sales, lettings, and property management. The nature of the property market is developing, with over 80% of all property searches now carried out online. Redstones utilises this to present property in the best manner, including 3D floor plans, providing a  “walk through” experience.

Whilst fully embracing the internet, and the latest technology, Manjit Virdi feels Redstones have a particular advantage in the property industry. “We never forget that this business is about people,” he says. “Although we may be dealing with bricks and mortar, at the end of the day we are helping people. That may be taking the pressure off a property owner by managing their property and tenants, or getting the best possible price for someone selling their property.”

“Our people make the difference too. We call ourselves the ‘local’ property experts, and the knowledge we have of our communities and the local property markets, means we can add extra value for our customers, that some of the big box agents struggle with.”

Redstones Property Management

How to ‘winter-proof’ your property

As a tenant or home owner, it’s worth thinking about how you can ‘winter-proof’ your property, so that you are well-prepared regardless of what the unpredictable British weather decides to throw at us!

Here are 5 easy to do tips:

  • To prepare for the expense of Christmas, why not compare utility providers to see if you can get any better deals? Remember that bills are always higher in Winter and good deals are available.
  • Are any of your rooms prone to damp? Before the cold weather really sets in, move all furniture away from walls to allow air to circulate better.
  • If your garden furniture or any other objects such as potted plants are still in the garden, make sure you keep them covered in a garage or shed to avoid the ravages of winter weather.
  • Cracked and burst pipes can be prevented by ensuring an even temperature in your home. Set your thermostat at a lower temperature when nobody is at home and set it to gradually rise just before the evening.
  • Consider draught excluders to keep the heat in for doors or even a draught-excluding letter box!

Here are some bigger tasks that are worth considering too:

  • Get your boiler serviced, clean the guttering from leaves and bleed your radiators if necessary before it gets too cold.
  • Don’t forget to check your roof! Cracked or broken tiles let water in, leading to damp, so it’s worth getting a professional in to check if you’re concerned.
  • Ensure that your home is as well insulated as it can be to keep the heat in and to save money. Windows and doors should be double-glazed and the walls and loft could benefit from cavity insulation. Keeping damp and mould at bay is the key.
  • To prevent too many leaves from falling or even branches falling onto your home or car as the weather gets very cold, prune back any large trees that reside close to your property or driveway.

Some forward thinking and vigilance is all you need to assure yourself that you’re keeping your home warm and safe.

Alternatively, if you’re considering a new home to buy or for renting this winter or beyond, Redstones has a great selection available.

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!

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 - The Green Deal

How a garden can increase the value of your home

If you are selling your home, it’s worth considering the impact of your garden in increasing its value. A recent study by the Home Retail Group stated that in Britain, we spend £80 billion on our gardens and two fifths of us would refuse to choose or consider a home unless it had a sufficient garden.

In fact, one in seven homeowners believes that their garden has added more value to their home than their original investment.

If you wish to enhance the value of your home, use plants, flowers, furniture and lighting creatively, keeping the garden well-lit and maintained to add potential value. It needs to look easy to maintain if you’re planning to sell in future. Good quality garden furniture, a patio and well maintained grass are all attractive. Selling in summer is a good idea too, as buyers will be able to picture themselves relaxing in the garden.

Keep fences well maintained and create privacy. Another good tip is to create defined spaces, such as a set area for a barbeque, an area for seating and a greenhouse/shed area.

Conservatories also help to create additional space and offer the best return on investment when upgrading your home, as does your garden and any extensions. Conservatories create space without the need for planning permission depending on their size and they are exempt from building regulations. Many can also be constructed at a reasonable price of £5,000.

With a pleasant garden being a key selling point for many homes, it’s time to give it your full attention now!

At Redstones, we are pro-active at offering you valuable tips that will help you present your property at it’s very best when selling. Discover some great reasons to use Redstones.

Redstones - The Green Deal

Reasons to buy a new build home

If you’re looking for your next property, is a new build home something you’ve considered? Here’s Redstones guide to why it could be an attractive option for you:

Modern lifestyles – In contract to some older properties, new homes are very much designed with modern lifestyles in mind. This includes homes with open family space, space for a home office or a city apartment.

Peace of mind – New build properties usually come with a warranty and insurance of 5-10 years.

Flexibility – You will be the first owner, so you can decorate the home in your own personal style. There’s no need to attempt to fix the DIY disasters of the previous owners and there will be little costly maintenance and repairs to complete. If you buy a new property ‘off plan’, your new home can be reserved before it’s even built, meaning that you can choose your desired plot and personalise the house to your requirements.

Lower running costs – Generally, new homes will include efficient heating systems and higher levels of insulation, helping to reduce carbon emissions and significantly decrease heating bills.

Property chain – Often, with a new build, the length of the property chain is reduced as only the buyer is at the end of the chain.

Great incentives – The many incentives available include the Government ‘Help to Buy’ scheme. Some developers have their own schemes, such as part exchange or an assisted move that may involve part-funded deposits, payment of stamp duty or help with removal costs.

If these advantages appeal to you, it would be worth including new homes as part of your house search. It’s always best to keep your options open and at Redstones, we have many exciting new properties for sale. Just use the ‘Search’ function on our Redstones website homepage.