Category Archives: Sales

Redstones Houses

Speeding up the home selling process

When you’re selling your home, often the last thing you want is for the process to take a long time. So, what is the best way to improve your home’s ability to sell? Redstones recommend that you try these top tips:

Understand the market
One of the main reasons for a house not selling is because it’s priced too high. Despite the money you may have spent on the property, you need to go with what the housing market in your area dictates. Look at the prices of comparable homes and ensure your home is priced competitively.

‘Fixer upper’ homes can be difficult to sell
Nowadays, more people are looking for homes they can move into quickly, without conducting significant repairs. Avoid making your home look like a ‘fixer upper’ by fixing any damage, painting the home to freshen it up or tending to the garden to make your home an inviting prospect.

Location, location, location
The location of your home is vitally important to a buyer. Emphasise the good points about your location to buyers, including access to amenities, schools or even strong broadband access!

First impressions count
Keep your home neutral, simple and uncluttered. When buyers come around for viewings, it’s important that they can imagine it as their home, with their belongings.

Always be flexible
Just like you, remember that buyers are busy people. Always be flexible about when you can show them around your home. Also, to compete with other homes in the area, make sure you are prepared for viewings by keeping your home clean and orderly to make the best possible impression.

If your home isn’t selling as quickly as you would ideally want, why not give some of these tips a try? Alternatively, Redstones offer tailored advice to help. Discover even more about the home selling process with Redstones.

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How will the Brexit affect property prices?

It’s a question that many buyers and sellers are asking us right now – how will the Brexit affect property prices? Redstones have been following the latest developments carefully.

Expert views are all mixed. George Osborne has made public comments about mortgage rates rising and house prices plummeting post-Brexit by an estimated 18%, causing concern for some who may be downsizing but perhaps not for first-time buyers. The ratings agency Moody’s has stated that first-time buyers would benefit from a vote to leave the EU, as a decrease in house prices would make it more affordable for people trying to get onto the property ladder.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) have stated that Brexit would depress future price rises, leaving the average UK house worth £2,300 less in 2018. These leading industry bodies also state that rental amounts may fall if Britain exits the EU.

Interestingly, a KPMG poll of 25 global real estate investors has revealed that two thirds believe a Brexit would result in less investment into property in Britain. This is because, in times of uncertainty, investors feel more comfortable to sit tight.

A lack of investment could affect the rate at which house building occurs, which will only make the current housing shortage worse. Furthermore, a shortage of workers from abroad to work on house building projects could also occur. However, some believe that uncertainty for investors and developers may prop up property prices, which have already jumped nearly 10% in the UK in 2015.

Although nobody quite knows the outcome of the referendum vote yet and the resulting impact on the property market, the potential impact is yet another consideration for the public to take into account.

Redstones Houses

Ultimate Guide to Moving House

At Redstones, we fully appreciate the complexities of moving house. From understanding who to notify once you’ve moved in to the actual move itself, moving house is real work!

Although it is a truly exciting moment in your life, moving home can sometimes seem difficult and time consuming. Wouldn’t it be great to eliminate the stress and the hassle? Well, organisation and some great advice can certainly help.

Recently, we’ve been very impressed by some PDF guides that have created by our friends at Wayfair.co.uk.

Offering an inspirational Ultimate Guide to Moving House, they have produced a series of great, easy-to-use guides. These include a Moving House Timeline, Who to Notify Checklist, Health & Safety guide and Important Questions to ask your Removal Company.

The guides are essential for anyone who wants to make the process of moving home a whole lot easier.

Access the guides via the Wayfair website.

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3 simple steps to improve the quality of property leads

If you’re looking to sell your home or you’re searching for rental leads, an important marketing approach nowadays is to display property on property portals. However, how can you ensure that this practice will lead to high quality leads? Here are Redstones top tips:

  1. 1.       Be selective

Be selective when focusing on property management lead generation. By advertising on the wrong portals, low quality leads can be the result. At Redstones, we use only the leading property portals, which have been proven to generate high quality leads. Online advertising is invaluable but that doesn’t mean advertising everywhere.

  1. 2.       Focus on photography

Whether you are trying to sell your property yourself or looking for rental leads through lettings agents, we’ve seen some images that are far from professional! Despite the quality of smartphones nowadays, using the camera function of your phone is not recommended. If you really want to present your property at its best and attract the right interest, professional photography involving the use of a wide angle lens is essential. It’s important to remember that buying a home is aspirational for most people and quality photography should reflect this to attract buyers. See our great example of photography being used at its best to truly ‘sell’ a property.

  1. 3.       Excellent descriptions

As part of an effective marketing approach, excellent, well-written descriptions are required that accurately describe the property. It’s always useful to use dimensions and include all advantageous features of the property. This may seem to be an obvious point but at Redstones, the use of poor quality descriptions amongst even professional estate and letting agencies never ceases to amaze us.

Ultimately, property management lead generation is about adopting a truly professional approach to marketing efforts, in order to gain high quality leads. This is a real area of expertise for Redstones.

Discover more about our other recommended approaches.

Stamp duty changes explained

We recently blogged about the new surcharge on buying second homes.

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty

Essentially, from 1st April 2016, stamp duty is increasing by 3% for a second home. The increase will impact landlords and private individuals interested in buying a second home.

The new charge is levied on all properties over £40,000 and it applies to the entire price of a property.

Want to calculate what this could mean for you? Here’s our quick guide:

Stamp duty for buy-to-let and second home buyers

Bands

Rate pre 1 April 2016

Rate from 1 April 2016

Up to £125,000

0%

3%

£125,001 – £250,000

2%

5%

£250,001 – £925,000

5%

8%

£925,001 – £1.5m

10%

13%

over £1.5m

12%

15%

 

As the cost of buying and selling property rises, at Redstones, we are proactively advising our clients on where costs can be minimised and our own charges are extremely competitive too.

We also work hard to achieve the best possible prices for our properties. Find out more about which services attract clients to Redstones.

Day in the life of an agent

How to be organised when buying a home

Buying a home can often take longer than you may think! That’s because the home buying process consists of various stages and the length of time involved is often elongated if you have a mortgage or are part of a chain.

Of course, the process all starts with finding the home of your dreams. This leads to making an offer, usually made through the estate agent, which will always be subject to a survey and written contract.

In anticipation of your offer being accepted, speak to a mortgage broker or lender as early as possible to organise your mortgage application. This will involve quickly showing them evidence of your income or cash in your account.

A solicitor is required to conduct a number of searches with the local council to uncover any planning issues. This is important due to the saying ‘buyer beware’. Always take the time to understand any issues you may face later on.

Further checks include a property survey to value the property, which can be completed by your mortgage lender and another survey to determine the condition of the property.

If there are no problems at this stage, contracts can be signed and exchanged with the seller and a deposit on the house of at least 10% will need to be paid to demonstrate your commitment. Bear in mind that this deposit is non-refundable.

The final stage of the process is known as completion, when your new keys are handed over. The timing of when you can move in will depend on several factors, such as giving notice on a rental property or waiting for the current occupiers to move out.

The entire process can take over 6 weeks in total but as long as you act as quickly as you can to help your mortgage lender and solicitor, as well as ensure you have finances organised, you will be moving into that dream home before you know it!

Here’s Redstones overview of the buying process and further information on how we can help during this time, to make the process as quick and stress-free as possible.

Redstones illuminated sign

New surcharge on buying second homes

If you’re a landlord or an individual interested in buying a second property, the new 3% Stamp Duty surcharge which comes into force on 1st April 2016 will be relevant to you.

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty

If you want to avoid the surcharge, you must complete on the purchase of a second property by midnight on 31st March 2016, unless you’ve already exchanged on or before 25th November 2015.

The charge applies to additional residential properties, covering buy to let or holiday homes. In contrast to Stamp Duty, the 3% surcharge is not a tiered tax where you only pay the rate above any threshold. It applies to the entire price of a property.

At the moment, the Government is considering whether professional landlords, companies or individuals who own 15 or more properties should be exempt from the surcharge.

However, the 3% surcharge does not apply to properties that are inherited or second homes under the price of £40,000.

So has this created a rush to buy investment properties? The truth is that many properties may have been inflated in price, as buyers rush to buy during the first three months of 2016. Therefore, if you are interested in buying a second property, it may even be cheaper for you to wait until after 1st April, as inflated prices could be more that the additional 3%!

Please note that all details will be finalised in the next budget, which is announced on 16th March 2016.

It’s not all bad news though! At Redstones, we proactively advise our landlords and help them to save costs wherever they can. Whether you’re a professional or first time landlord, Redstones are always on hand to help and advise on property management.

Redstones Residential Sales

5 essential steps for your property search

Are you committed to finding a new home in 2016? If so, we have lots of valuable tips at Redstones to help save time and to make your search more efficient.

1. Focus your property search
There really is no point in viewing properties unless you are clear on your budget, the type of home you are looking for and your desired locations. Obviously, budget is the central factor and you will need to see if the available budget offers you the type of home you desire, in the location of your choice.

2. Determine your budget
If you’re unsure of the budget for your next home, gain some professional advice from an independent mortgage broker. Make sure the budget is realistic and that you will not be over-stretching yourself. The budget will be influenced by your salary or joint salaries, monthly outgoings, outstanding debt and the level of deposit you can put towards a new property.

3. Make a logical list of requirements
Sometimes, when you are viewing properties either online or in real-life, it can be difficult to keep track of your requirements. We therefore advise that you actually list your requirements. This should include the type of home, number of bedrooms, bathroom/kitchen requirements etc. Other factors include local schools, the garden and the commuting time to work locations. Also, note how important each requirement is to you. It’s vital to understand that you may need to compromise once you embark upon your search, so ensure you appreciate which requirements you are unwilling to back down upon.

4. Don’t underestimate the expertise of local agents
At Redstones, our expert staff acquire local knowledge of the property market every day, which we always want to share. Once we understand your detailed requirements, we focus all of our efforts into finding you the right home and can provide lots of helpful tips to help you sell your existing property – fast!

5. Always keep refining your search
Once you begin the process of viewing properties, you will discover so much more about what you are truly looking for and will learn much in the process. Each viewing is a way to clarify your ‘wants’ and ‘don’t wants’ and enables you to become closer to finding your dream home.

There’s plenty of ways we can help with your property search, so get in touch with Redstones for further advice.

Redstones Buyers

Buying a home is no longer out of reach with Help to Buy

Recognising the difficulties many people experience in regards to buying their own home, the Government created their Help to Buy scheme to help hard-working people buy their first home or move up the housing ladder.

Help to Buy makes it possible to buy a new build or existing home valued at up to £600,000 for only a 5% deposit, making home ownership more of a reality than a dream.

With Help to Buy, the Government offers an equity loan of up to 20% of the cost of a property, so that a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage is required to comprise the rest. Additionally, fees are not charged on the 20% loan for the first five years of owning the home. Please note that these rules apply to newly built homes with a price tag of up to £600,000. Within the scheme, sub-letting or part-exchange deals for old homes are not permitted. In addition, an applicant must not own any other property at the time they buy a new home with a Help to Buy equity loan.

Part of Help to Buy is their mortgage guarantee scheme, which works as any other mortgage would, except that the Government offers lenders the option to purchase a guarantee on mortgage loans. This means that participating lenders are able to offer home buyers higher Loan to Value mortgages (80-95%). Therefore, if an applicant has a 5% deposit, they will need to take out and repay a 95% mortgage.

Other options under the scheme to help people become home owners are shared ownership (part buying or part renting) and Help to Buy ISAs, where the Government helps first time buyers to save for their first home through boosting their savings by 25%. These ISAs are due to launch on 1st December 2015.

Right to Buy is also under the scheme, which enables a council tenant with a least five years’ tenancy to buy their home at a discount.

At Redstones, we regularly advise our clients on how Help to Buy can benefit them as we can see its immense value in helping enhance lifestyles, whilst providing a fantastic new home and valuable asset for the future.