Category Archives: Vendors

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.

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 Property Management

The importance of maintaining your home

If you’ve just moved into a new home, whether you have bought it or you’re renting, congratulations! But as you get settled in, don’t forget the importance of maintaining the home. If you’re a landlord, maintenance will be crucial to you too.

By completing a few easy, inexpensive and regular checks, you can assure that your home stays comfortable all year round. Vitally, regular checks help to prevent larger maintenance costs from incurring. Winter is often the time that issues can occur, so being vigilant of maintenance in spring or summer is a great practice to get into.

A key tip is to keep windows clean. If you have wooden window frames, check them for rot too or ask your window cleaner to. Ask for recommendations to reputable window cleaners from Redstones or look out for adverts in local shops, online or a local newspaper.

Boiler repairs can be costly, so ensure that yours is serviced annually. Also, legally, all rented homes must have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms installed but they are a must if you’re buying too. Always test these alarms regularly and replace them if necessary, as they can literally save lives!

Examine any areas of your home that are unused, such as a loft, basement or spare room and address any problems urgently, such as damp or mildew.

Of course, it’s essential to check externally too. Check for leaks, loose tiles or broken guttering, preferably before winter sets in. Often, leaves can block gutters and lead to damp patches internally. Moss and split tiles are other issues to check for. Fix any cracked pipes and drains immediately, as they can lead to problems with damp and also look unsightly.

Getting into the routine of making a few regular checks, such as these, each year will prevent problems and minimise maintenance and repair costs. Maintenance will also ensure that the pleasant feeling of moving into a new home remains throughout the years!

Redstones Refer a Friend

Refer A Friend To Redstones!

The private residential lettings/sales industry is a buoyant market and like every lucrative business sector, it attracts rogue lettings agents who give the whole industry a bad name. Finding an ethical agent can frequently present a challenge for property owners.

Redstones prides itself on providing outstanding customer service which is reflected in the number of recommendations, referrals and repeat business we enjoy from our existing clients.  In recognition of this loyalty we are delighted to announce the launch of our ‘Refer A Friend’ scheme.

With effect from 1st February, Redstones will make the following referral payments:-

  • For vendors/purchasers : £100 for every referral on the completion of a sale.
  • For landlords/tenants : £50 for every referral once a tenancy agreement is signed and the property rented out.. 

For more information on how to submit your referral and the applicable terms and conditions please visit the Redstones Refer A Friend section of our website.

Redstones is committed to:-

  • Superlative customer service.
  • Raising the awareness of landlords of their legal obligations to tenants and the ongoing changes to rules and regulations affecting the lettings sector.
  • Helping our customers to let or sell their property in the shortest possible time at the best possible price.
  • Providing a ‘one stop shop’ for a range of services to the residential lettings and sales sector.

Our ‘Refer A Friend’ scheme is in addition to the following services which we offer for the benefit of landlords, vendors, buyers and tenants:-

Redstones Financial : Whether it’s house insurance when moving home or individually tailored insurance for landlords, Redstones Financial has the answer. Our service extends across a broad spectrum of financial services needs.

Virgin Media : Redstones Walsall has recently entered into an agreement with Virgin Media’s Connect Partnership. This new venture offers exclusive discounts to our clients on telephone, broadband and entertainments services when moving house. We will be extending this offer across all Redstones offices over the next few months.

Utility Warehouse : The management of household budgets is much simpler with our membership of Utility Warehouse. With ongoing concern about the cost of managing energy bills, Utility Warehouse gives residents the option of making one single payment every month to cover gas, electricity, mobile, broadband and landline telephone costs.

In addition to these services, landlords and vendors can also take advantage of our range of offers uniquely developed to address a number of challenges.  These include our Platinum Total Care Service, Switch Agents option and Online Auction facility.

In addition, for your peace of mind, Redstones is accredited by:-

  • NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents)
  • ARLA (Association Residential Letting Agents)

We are also members of The Property Ombudsman and fully compliant with The Deposit Protection Service.

At Redstones we are fully committed to adhering to best practice while not only upholding but setting the standards for exceptional customer service across the residential lettings and sales sector.

For more information on our range of property management or residential sales options or to refer a friend, contact us today.

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.

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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?