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The sale of property is one thing that has not been curtailed during the second lockdown and, as estate agents we have been busier than ever. And we expect this to continue long into the Christmas/New Year season, as there’s a lot of catching up to do for some very keen buyers.
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What a month - with two major news stories within hours of each other that are likely to have a positive effect on the UK housing market: the US election result, and the discovery of a Covid-19 vaccine.
We know that stability and confidence underpin so much in the economy – jobs, inflation, interest rates, mortgage approvals, the stock market, general investment, pensions and of course property transaction volumes and house prices. Increased certainty generates the confidence on which so much hangs.
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Finally, after the pent-up frustrations of lockdown, we have some very good news to report:
Firstly, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced a substantial boost for the housing market with the raising of the SDLT (Stamp Duty) threshold from £125,000 to £500,000. This really is quite incredible and will save buyers up to £15,000 (£10,000 for first time buyers who already enjoy a discounted SDLT rate). If the idea is to kick start house sales then this is certain to do the trick. There are plenty of buyers around, enjoying low interest rates too, but stock is woefully low, with 15% fewer properties available than this time last year. This boost will encourage people thinking about moving to do so immediately, as the concession expires in March 2021.
This additional activity will in turn generate knock-on sales and inspire even more confidence in a market that has come out of lockdown with only slight bruising. Indeed, before the SDLT concession was announced, over 85% of movers said they still planned to move, despite the effects of the pandemic. The survey of over 2,000 movers was conducted by Zoopla, who also predict that annual house price growth will hold at around 2% over the coming months as a result of renewed demand and overall activity.
What will happen as soon as the SDLT holiday comes to an end is yet to be seen, but hopefully it will coincide with people coming to terms with lifestyle adjustments and being able to make longer-term housing decisions. Rightmove has already reported that over 12% of movers are actually doing so as a result of virus-related living/working changes. But for the time being, if you are considering moving up, moving down, moving on or moving out, there will be no better time than right now to do so. And that’s not just bullish agents’ speak - this is exciting! Do let us help you quickly and safely bring your property to this fantastic market and help you secure the very highest price. Put us to the test and call us on 0115 8240235 today. You might be pleasantly surprised!
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Sometimes we have to point out a few home truths if we are to enhance our client’s chances of selling quickly, and for an excellent price! Some homeowners spend thousands of pounds improving their property before going to market yet can be oblivious to issues that prospective purchasers could regard as glaringly off-putting.
This is especially the case when it comes to pets. Just over half of British households own a pet. Six million of us have a cat, 5.1 million have a dog, 4.1 million have fish, 2.5 million have a rodent and 1.4 million keep birds. Just under 1 million of us keep reptiles! *
Yet house buyers seem not to belong to the family of animal lovers, despite the fact that 70% of us lived in a pet-owning household as a child, and buyers can be very distracted when viewing a property that houses a pet.
It may be fear of a large or aggressive dog (66% of dogs are classed as medium to large), concerns about allergies or hair on clothing (there are 9.2 million cats in the UK) or the “stand on a chair” squeamishness about rats and mice. Don’t even mention snakes! Yakking, squawking, or barking can also be an annoyance when a buyer is trying to concentrate on looking at the property – and hopefully like it. Even an unfamiliar whiff of something in a cage can taint an otherwise good viewing.
Not all estate agents have the courage to talk plainly! But if you are selling, please don’t ignore the effect your pet might potentially have on your sale. Take the dog for a walk when your agent brings buyers to view; clean out the hamster cage twice a week and make sure there are no cat hairs on chairs. Freshly cleaned carpets not only smell better than “arôme du chien”, but they look good as well.
Fido might have shredded your slippers – but don’t let him wreck your sale! As for us, we love dogs, and you’ll probably find a dog biscuit or two in our pocket when we assess a home for sale.
* Source of figures: Pet Food Manufacturers Association
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Smart investors are keen to snap up bargains, and the buy to let market remains surprisingly active. However, whilst it is tempting to go out and buy, buy, buy – a word of caution, because it might not be so easy to let, let, let.
Finding a tenant is only one aspect of the venture which some landlords feel can be done independently of a lettings agency. However, we often hear sob stories from new landlords who tried to go it alone - with disastrous consequences.
For example, according to the National Landlords Association, some 50% of landlords have had a property abandoned by a tenant. This usually follows at least one month of rent arrears and can also include substantial repairs bills and cleaning costs, and arrears of electricity, gas and water, which may have accrued without the landlord’s knowledge. So the issue of credit referencing and deposit protection becomes an issue.
Then there is the problem of possession. You can’t just reclaim the property, as the tenants are unlikely to have formally relinquished their occupation. So despite having an empty property, you could still have to gain formal possession through the courts. This can take months and be expensive, especially when compounded with rent arrears and a period of vacancy. And if you re-let the property illegally you can be fined up to 25% of the property’s open market value!
As you might expect from the above, most experienced landlords choose to employ lettings specialists such as ourselves to manage their investment - as well as simply finding a tenant. Our landlords typically agree that this could well represent one of the most rewarding aspects of their investment in the right letting agency.
Why not call Angela for a chat on 0115 8240235. It could pay dividends!