• 7 Tips to Sell Your Home in Winter

    If you’re ready to move, you might be wondering whether to put your home on the market now or wait until the spring. Well, although winter may traditionally be a quieter time for home-moving than spring and summer, the market is still very much open for business and selling your home in this colder season does have its benefits.

    As those who aren’t in a hurry to move tend to hunker down and focus on festivities, buying and selling activity usually dips a little over the winter period. That gives motivated sellers who push ahead with marketing two advantages:

    1. Although you may get fewer viewings overall through the winter, those who make the effort to look at potential new homes despite the inclement weather, are generally committed buyers who are serious about making offers.
    2. If there is a slight drop in the number of homes on the market, there’s less competition. That means you should get a higher proportion of buyers viewing your home and, with fewer houses for them to choose from, they should be quicker to make an offer if they like what they see!

    Remember, even if there’s a howling blizzard outside, the internet is always up and running. House-bound potential buyers will have plenty of time to browse through online listings, and estate agents’ doors and phone lines are still open.

    So, if you’re keen to secure a sale this winter, it’s time to revitalise your marketing for the season and prepare to show buyers that your home is a wonderful one to live in – whatever the weather’s doing outside!

    With that, here are our top 7 tips to help you sell your home this winter:

    1. Style for the season

    Work with the colder weather and shorter daylight hours by styling your home so that it reflects the season and creates a cosy atmosphere.

    Refreshing soft furnishings and accessories is a simple way to transform the look of a room, so replace light cushions and throws with heavier fabrics and deeper colours. Pillar candles in storm lanterns cast a lovely light and can make a great focal point on a coffee table, sideboard or kitchen countertop. Winter-scented candles – think cinnamon, spiced pumpkin and orange – can also help create a welcoming seasonal vibe.

    Low-maintenance green plants, such as peace lilies and Boston ferns will add life and are easy to look after, and potted orchids should give you long-lasting flowers and just a hint of spring around the corner.

    Finally, if you’re wondering whether you should put up Christmas decorations, we’d say yes – as long as they’re not overpowering. Festive décor can add a lovely, cheery feel to your home, but you don’t want to detract from the natural space. So, even if you usually dress every room from head to toe in Christmas trim, hold back a little this year!

    1. Maximise light

    Low natural light in winter can sometimes make interiors feel dull, so make sure you let as much daylight in as possible when you have viewings. Pull back the curtains, make sure blinds are fully rolled up and clear window sills of any large objects that might block light from getting into a room.

    Another thing to consider is how you could change the lighting to show off the size of each room – emphasising the height in particular can make a huge difference to how spacious rooms feel. Investing in some higher-wattage light bulbs is a simple way to brighten up your whole home, and have plenty of lamps throughout to add a warm and welcoming glow.

    1. Turn your garden into a winter wonderland

    With fewer daylight hours for potential buyers to appreciate the outside of your home, install some pretty garden lights to inject a touch of ‘winter wonderland’. There’s a huge range of all-weather options for exterior lighting – from strings of fairy lights for trees and summer houses, to stakes for lawns or borders and spotlights for pathways. And many of them are solar powered, so once they’re up, you don’t need to think about plugs or timers.

    If you have a terrace or other outdoor seating area, you could add solar-powered lanterns and why not consider investing in a heat lamp or fire pit that you can take with you to your next home?

    1. Refresh your photography

    The best way to keep your home looking fresh in adverts is to ensure the photography is always in line with the season. So, if your current photos were taken in the summer, speak to your agent about updating them.

    Have the interior shots taken once the styling has been refreshed for winter, but before you put up any Christmas decorations, as they would make the pictures a little too time specific. And for the exterior, make sure the photographer gets some shots at twilight, with plenty of lights on – inside and out, so your home glows and the garden twinkles!

    1. Stay on top of maintenance

    With higher levels of rain and wind – plus frost and possibly snow – you may have a few more jobs to do than usual to keep your home looking its best through the wintertime. But it’s worth doing a daily maintenance check because even if you don’t have a viewing booked, you never know when potential buyers might be passing by to check out your home from the outside.

    Three key things to stay on top of:

    • Keep paths free of leaves, snow and other debris
    • Make sure drains are clear so rainwater doesn’t pool or flood
    • When it’s icy, salt the driveway and paths

    Also, you may want to keep a close eye on how clean your windows look, as low light can be unforgiving and you want your home to sparkle!

    1. Get set for perfect winter viewings

    When it’s chilly outside, you want to welcome potential buyers into your home with warmth on all fronts. So turn the heating up a few degrees ahead of the viewing, light fires and candles for a cosy atmosphere, and make sure every room is well-lit.

    Check the garden and other exterior lights are on, so people can clearly see where they’re going, and make sure there’s somewhere to hang up coats and leave umbrellas and boots. If you don’t have a porch or hallway, it’s worth popping a coat stand by the font door – and don’t forget a clean doormat.

    A nice touch is to offer viewers a warm drink and even a seasonal nibble – perhaps a mince pie or some gingerbread. The more welcome you can make people feel, the more positive they’re likely to be as they walk around your home, hopefully leaving them with a happy memory of the viewing and your home.

    1. Discuss the festive period with your agent

    Find out what your agent’s business hours will be over Christmas and New Year, and make sure you keep them posted on your own plans – any specific days when you’re going to be entertaining or hosting family and friends and when viewings wouldn’t be convenient.

    If you’re going to be very busy over Christmas, you could simply consider taking a short break from selling for a couple of weeks. The best thing to do is have a chat with your agent and come up with a strategy for the festive period, so you can relax and enjoy yourself, while making sure you don’t miss out on a potentially perfect buyer.

    If you’re keen to sell and are ready to start marketing your home this festive season, get in touch and we can discuss the best strategy for finding you a buyer this winter. And if you’re already on the market with another agent but haven’t had any offers yet, we may be able to help you secure a sale ahead of Christmas – so give us a call! Phone on 01706 356633 or email us on enquiries@reside.agency and we’ll get straight back to you.

  • 8 simple steps to buying your first home.

    Our simple steps to buying your first home, hopefully helping you to demystify the process and help you feel more in control.

    Being a first time buyer can be daunting, feeling like you don’t know the processes involved mixed with a mass of emotions and excitement at getting on the first rung of the property ladder.

    If this sounds like you now or soon to be then we have put together this short piece to outline the steps and the basics you need to do.

    Follow this advice and buying your first home will be as stress free as can be and we will have you looking forward to your new home.

    Estate agents

    When buying your first home you can’t choose your agency, you’re stuck with whichever agency the vendor has chosen. However there are things you can do to help the buying process. Get to know the area’s estate agencies. Call in, say ‘Hi’ and give them a run down of what your ideal home would be, you never know to whom they have just spoken.

    Estate agencies get lots of enquiries from prospective vendors checking out if they’re the right agency to sell with. They maybe trying to sell the the exact house of your dreams, a fact no one would know if you hadn’t gone in to chat.

    It also means that they can point you at suitable properties already on their books. A good agent can also talk with you about your dream home and tailor your expectations. You may have your heart set on a 6 bed detached property with pool in Bamford for £30,000, the agent has the best knowledge to help you avoid disappointment.

    Equally they may point you at an area you hadn’t considered because the properties are on budget and there are many of the type you require.

    And don’t feel, because you are new at this, that you are wasting their time, this is what they do and they know that if they make a good impression on you and maybe when you come to trade up your house you will look to them to sell it.

    Mortgage

    In the current climate very few first time buyers are cash buyers so you’re probably going to need a mortgage. You will need to get your mortgage offer, at least in principle [usually up to a maximum the lender will offer], before you start looking and certainly before putting in an offer on a property. You can put an offer on a property without having a mortgage in place but having a mortgage offer always smooths the process and if you end up in a ‘bidding war’ with another buyer, having a mortgage in place may swing it in your favour.

    You will also need to provide documentation and information about your financial situation, including outgoings, spending habits and dependants. For a full list of what you need to get your mortgage with the minimum fuss click here.

    We can help you with a mortgage here at Reside, so always worth calling in for a chat for advice as well as registering your interest in looking for a property.

    Time to make an offer

    So now that you have found that your special place its time to make an offer. You don’t have to offer the asking price so it’s time to do a little research if you can. What have similar properties gone for? How is the market at present? has the house been on the market for a while? Using this information you can judge whether you are going to offer the asking price to ensure you get it or put a cheeky offer in at first?

    Once you put the offer to the agent they are legally required to put the offer to the vendor in writing. However in practice, before they do this they will often call the vendor to get a speedier response. Hopefully the vendor will accept your cheeky offer and take the property off the market.

    Of course the friendly, professional team at Reside will help guide you through the process, we are here to make it easy for people to buy and sell houses.

    Your offer is accepted!!

    Yay! You can relax now, from here on in it is mainly procedural and an awful lot of paperwork. For the best reasons acquiring a house is a very legal process. You are dealing with large amounts of money – for both parties – it is probably the largest single purchase anyone of us will make, so care is necessary.

    It’s not just having an offer accepted then heading off to IKEA, you have to deal with deeds and the mortgage and lots of other stuff. Here is the point where we recommend you use another professional and instruct a solicitor. They can represent you throughout the process, deal with legalities and often help you avoid any pitfalls.

    Legal stuff

    Get a solicitor. When buying your first home there will be a pile of legal paperwork and the best advice is to leave it to the legal professionals. You still need to check contracts and the like before you sign. However, you should be safe in the knowledge that from a legal standpoint your solicitor has done everything to protect you and your interests.

    Your solicitor is going to check for claims on the house, other building plans etc that may effect your quality of life or future value of your property.

    Get a survey

    There are three types of survey and you will be required as a condition of your mortgage to get one of them. Which you choose is usually down to your choice and the type and age of the property you are buying.

    The three types are: Condition report, Homebuyer report and Building/Structural survey. They go up in cost and detail of the report. Often people buying a new or nearly new home opt for the Condition report and those buying an older or less standard home invest in the Building/Structural survey.

    One thing the second and third reports do is possibly give you some leverage on price with the vendor. If they pull up work that will need doing you can use that as a bargaining point to get the value of the house reduced to cover the future costs. However the main reason is to highlight any problems or failings with the property either current or will cause a problem in the near future.

    Exchange contracts

    Your surveyor and solicitor will tell you when they have completed what they need to this point and that you are okay to go ahead and sign and exchange contract. You will be asked for a deposit at this point, often 10-20% of the agreed price.

    This means that both parties are locked into the sale at this point. If either party now backs out you could lose your deposit and you will still have to pay the professional services fees owed to your solicitor and surveyor.

    Completion

    And it’s all over! You have completed, you have the keys, you have the deeds, the property is yours, you’ve successfully navigate buying your first home! However, there will still be more fees to pay; solicitors, conveyancing, stamp duty [a British Government tax on property] will all need paying and are usually arranged by your solicitor.

    You will also need to have paid the remaining balance of the property – the difference between your deposit and the final agreed price – which again should be organised between your legal people and the mortgage lender.

    Move in!

    Now the fun starts!

     

    If you’re looking for buying your first home please call in for a chat and a coffee or click here to see the new properties we have listed.

  • Three simple tips to quickly letting your property

    Letting your property can be a stressful business, especially if you are new to letting. This often leads to landlords rushing the process and taking on the first tenant who crosses their path. STOP!

    It’s not the only answer to getting your property let quickly and having reliable tenants. Picking the wrong tenant can cause many problems further down the line, which is why having a professional lettings company on your side can really help.

     

    Use a professional lettings agency

    Picking the right estate agency from the start can make all the difference to your lettings experience and save you heartache and possible legal action in the future. Getting Reside on board from the beginning means we can bring all our experience to bear on things such as vetting your tenants, making sure you are on the correct side of the law and that your property is up to current standards. If there are any problems we will highlight them before they become a problem and guide you to a successful and profitable let for your property.

    We are also the experts when it comes to marketing property. We can be open when ‘you’re not’ and are able to do guided viewings which also gives us a good chance to explore the tenants further. We market across all channels extensively which includes using social media to get the maximum amount of viewers for your property and achieving it’s market value.

    Don’t forget we are here to help with your let from day one so we can do inventories, collect rents, arrange maintenance – we do as much or as little as you wish, our lettings service is completely bespoke.

    With Reside you get a quick let, for the best yield and complete peace of mind.

     

    Maximise your property

    Letting a property in many ways is no different to selling one. It needs to have kerb appeal that means prospective tenants can ‘see themselves’ living there. It maybe worth having a look at our blog post on 5 Tips to selling your home – you can find it here.

    Most tenants won’t be able to modify the property so they need to see that it is just the place they want as soon as they walk up to it. The main thing you can do is make it tidy and presentable. Tidy the garden; a bit of strimming and hedge trimming and weeding the driveway or path can make a huge difference. Think of it as laying out a green carpet instead of a red one for the tenants.

    The same goes for the inside of the property, take some time to tidy, dress and stage the scene, we can help you with this if you aren’t sure or are letting from a distance. It’s not a big job to move clutter off work surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom. Tidy the lounge, make the beds, vacuum and dust – simple things which can make the difference between a let and not.

    If you need to fix things such as decorating then go for neutrals and if you are wallpapering avoid anything too trendy, brash and avoid ‘Anaglypta’ style wallpapers. Replace failed bulbs and don’t forget if you have any electrical equipment it will have to be tested show it is safe.

    These things will not only reflect on the price you get but also the quality of tenant.

     

    Why use Reside to manage your property?

    In a word, experience. Whatever level of service you require from an agency we can provide it and have provided it for hundreds of satisfied clients. We are able to provide a full and professional service whether you are a first time landlord or have a portfolio of properties.

    We can effectively market your property using a multi-channel approach, to make sure that no matter what the current market is like, you get a quick let at the best market rate, with no hassle.

    All our staff are professionals in letting and so can deal with all the paperwork, legal stuff and anything that arise during the tenancy.

    If you are thinking of letting a property please give us a call to discuss how we can help. Alternatively click here to find out a little more.

    Get the Reside effect working on your property now!