Category Archives: Sales

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.

Redstones Residential Sales

Our stress free survival guide for moving house

You may have heard that moving house is one of the most stressful experiences you can encounter. At Redstones, we feel that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case – if you’re prepared that is!

On the day you move, you will be very busy and may perhaps feel emotional too. On top of that, there is often a deadline by when you need to move to allow the new occupiers to move in on time.

You can reduce stress during a house move if you follow our advice:

  1. Anticipate stress

Anticipate stress and pack essentials in advance to help you on the day. These could include headache pills, drinks, snacks, paper, pens, scissors, spare light bulbs and any other materials you think you may need during the move.

2. Start early in the morning

Removal men will arrive early and work quickly, so ensure you have everything you need set aside such as a vacuum cleaner and cleaning equipment for a quick clean up afterwards and dust sheets to protect the floor and sofas. Dismantle furniture and disconnect electrical appliances beforehand, ensuring all boxes are clearly labelled.

3. Keep pets and children at bay

With so much activity occurring on the day of the move, if possible, see if a relative or friend can look after your children or pets. This will definitely help eliminate some of your stress, it will be more enjoyable for them and the chance of any accidents will be minimised.

4. Ensure communication is constant

In case of emergencies, keep contact numbers for your estate agent, solicitor, bank, as well as family and friends to hand.

Stay in touch with the removals team or whoever is helping you move, ensuring everyone understands where heavy items and boxes need to be placed in the new property.

5. Be realistic about what you can achieve

Don’t try to unpack too much when you first arrive. The bare essentials such as bedding and cutlery to eat a meal are enough. Once a proper night’s sleep has been achieved, you will have much more energy to tackle the rest of the unpacking.

Staying organised and calm is the key to a successful house move. Remember that although moving house may be tiring, it’s also the start of an exciting new chapter in your life, so congratulations!

Redstones Residential Sales

Is August A Good Time To Sell Your Property?

Traditionally, August has always been seen as a slow month for house sales but at Redstones, we beg to differ. Although house sales slowed slightly in the last month, prices are continuing to rise for the foreseeable future, influenced by the fact that Britain is expected to be one million homes short to meet its housing needs by 2025.

One of the reasons for the slower movement in the sales market is the fact that once property owners have sold their home, they often face a challenge to find somewhere suitable to move on to due to the shortage of properties on the market.

In answer to the question, is August a good time to sell, our answer is yes.

In fact, at Redstones, we believe there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ time to sell your property.

While Spring and Autumn are traditionally believed to be optimum sales periods, our experience tells us otherwise. 80% of property searches now being carried out online, which probably influences the soaring levels of online searches at the end of the year.

Here’s our all year round advice on selling your home.

Check out your local area : Are any long-term building or road works scheduled to be carried out close to your property? If so, our advice is to wait until the works have been completed. Trying to sell while they are underway may reduce the value of your house and deter potential buyers from arranging viewings.

Get your timing right : While the housing market is generally buoyant, certain areas may buck the trend for economic or geographical reasons. Talk to your local Redstones estate agent for insight into your area and to confirm whether now is the right time for you to sell. Our aim is to sell your property in the fastest possible time at an optimum price. Buyers can be wary of houses that are on the market for a long time.

Think it through : If you want to move home, whether to downsize or to accommodate an expanding family for example, it’s essential to select a time that’s right for your personal and financial situation. Consider your options carefully and work out how much you can realistically afford, particularly if you are intending to move to a bigger property. Once you’ve found a buyer it’s important to be able to move quickly and maintain momentum in the sales process.

Fix it up : Your home should look its pristine best before putting it on the market to encourage viewings – and an early sale. That doesn’t mean spending money you don’t have on big renovation projects but carrying out minor repairs to improve the aesthetics will reap rewards. You’ll find more information in our previous article 6 Tips For Presenting Your Property For Sale.

Explore your options : If your personal circumstances mean you have to move as soon as possible, you have a number of options available.

  • Lower your price for a quick sale to attract potential buyers.
  • Consider renting your property as a short-term solution.
  • Sell your property at auction. Should You Sell Your Property At Auction? will answer some of your questions.

Contact Redstones : Considering a move but not sure of your options? With our expertise and in-depth knowledge of your local market, Redstones offers realistic advice on what to expect. Contact us today to find out more about our services.