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Selling your home is a huge life decision. Finding the right person for the job is one of the most important things you can do.

A good estate agent is honest, reliable, and easy to talk to. They can be the sole reason your home sells at the right price and the right time.

But how do you know who’s good and who’s not? Here are four things you should look for in an estate agent to sell your home.

  1. Communication

Strong communication is one of the most important qualities of a good estate agent. If they aren’t communicating with you from the get-go, this is a bad sign. It’s easy to lose trust in someone that’s keeping you out of the loop. The last thing you want when selling your home is to feel like something shady is going on.

At the point of enquiry, monitor things like how promptly your calls are returned and whether promises are delivered. If an agent says they’ll send you information tomorrow and you don’t hear from them for a week, avoid at all costs.

  1. Expertise

Your home is one of your biggest assets. Selling it is a skill and you want your estate agent to be an expert. That means they should be up to speed on the local area and can answer any questions you have about the selling process. An agent that knows what they’re doing will be able to reassure potential buyers and get you the right price for your home.

To check expertise, quiz your estate agent on things like local crime rates, local schools, nearby amenities and ask whether they have local area guides.

  1. Good Reviews

Good reviews speak volumes. They can provide insight into an agent’s expertise, professionalism, and overall ethics.

Check the agent’s website for links to their reviews, success stories or testimonials. A good estate agent will be proud of their social proof, so they shouldn’t be hard to find. Whether it be Google, or AllAgents.co.uk which is the UK's largest review site for estate agents. 

  1. Listening Skills

When you first enquired with your local agent, who did all the talking? If you couldn’t get a word in, this is a huge red flag. If your estate agent isn’t listening to you or acting very interested in what you have to say, how can you trust that they’ll take concerns seriously? Or that they’ll get things done the right way?

While you should expect an agent to pitch their services and sell, sell, sell, you should be doing most of the talking. A good estate agent will ask you questions and listen intently. It’s a sign that they want to understand your property and how they can help.

About Warren Powell-Richards

At Warren Powell-Richards, we pride ourselves on our high standards. Our team can help sell your home with the expertise and professionalism it deserves.

If you’re selling your home, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us today for a chat.

 

When you’re buying a new home, there’s no denying that the fees can add up. With solicitor charges, new furniture costs and your hefty deposit to pay out for, you’ll no doubt be looking for ways to save money. To lend a hand, we’ve come up with five ways for you to save money when buying a home.

1. Research fixtures and fittings

When sellers are preparing to move, they’ll let you know what fixtures and fittings they’ll be leaving behind. Sometimes, they’ll leave more items if you pay a bit extra. This could be a good deal – but it might not be! Before paying extra, research online to see how much the same items cost second hand. If you find a better deal, you can negotiate with the seller or politely decline to save yourself some cash.

2. Offer wisely

Sometimes, the best way to save money when buying a home is to nab the best offer you can! You don’t want to undercut the asking price too much, but if you research well and make an appropriate offer, you could easily save money. If you think your offer is reasonable, there’s often no harm in giving it a try. If you’re unsure, ask your estate agent or mortgage advisor for advice before going all in.

3. Shop around for a conveyancer

A good solicitor can make all the difference when buying a new home. While it may be tempting to sign a contract with the first one that replies, make sure you get a few quotes first. This way, you’ll know whether you’re being charged an appropriate amount. Just remember that while something may be cheap, you may not get the best service. To secure a high-quality conveyancer, ask your estate agent for a reliable recommendation.

4. Switch energy tariff immediately

When you first move in, your home will still be with the previous owner’s energy provider. But they won’t charge you the same rate the previous owners had. They’ll likely put you on their standard tariff, which can be significantly higher than their other rates. When you first move into your home, take a meter reading and shop around for a new deal as soon as possible to save some cash.

5. Check removal quotes in both areas

If you’re moving somewhere completely new and need to hire removal services, get a quote from a company in your current area and your new area. You might find that a company closer to your new home has a better deal than the one just up the road.

Get help from the experts

Looking for more ways to save money when buying your new home? Here at Warren Powell-Richards, we can help you find the best home for the best price. 

Deciding to put your home on the market is a huge step. But, beginning the process of preparing your property for sale can be completely overwhelming.

Here are eight tips every seller should follow to ensure their home is ready to welcome viewers.

1. Do a Thorough Declutter

A rigorous declutter is essential before you place your house on the market. This will not only make your home look bigger, brighter and more inviting, but it will help massively with the moving process.

The easiest and most thorough way to declutter is to approach each room separately. Empty the entire contents of the room, and split it into three separate piles. The first should be items you adore, which will be joining you in the new home.

The second pile should be items of excellent quality, but belongings that are simply not loved by your family anymore. These can then be sold, given away, or donated to charity.

The third and final pile will consist of items that are no longer any good. These can then be taken to your local recycling centre to be transformed into something new.

2. Clean Rigorously

Your home must be sparklingly clean in the preparation process to allow for the best quality photographs to entice the most viewers.

Consider renting a carpet cleaner to scrub the floors throughout your home. Additionally, take this opportunity to deep clean the blinds and curtains, which will transform any space.

3. Decorate and Depersonalise

Viewers want to look around your home and imagine a place that their family will enjoy. During their visit, they will visualise how their furniture and belongings will sit in each room, which can be challenging if the space is already cluttered.

Where necessary, paint the rooms in light, neutral colours to attract the broadest range of viewers. Remove any large family photos and pictures, which can also be distracting for potential buyers.

However, avoid expensive renovations such as kitchens and bathrooms. These might look fantastic, but it is unlikely you will reap the rewards during the sale.

4. Complete All Maintenance Jobs

There are many niggly things in our homes that we learn to live with. Stained carpets, leaky pipes, and unvarnished windowsills.

Showing your home to a potential buyer with these issues suggests you have not loved and taken care of the property, which can seriously deter viewers. In such a competitive market, your home needs to do everything it can to stand out in the crowd.

These tasks are often inexpensive and quick to sort, so dedicate an afternoon to fixing the issues before you plan to put your home on the market.

5. Switch Around the Rooms

You may use certain rooms in a way that works perfectly for your family, but that doesn’t mean it will appeal to prospective buyers.

For example, you might be currently using your dining room as a playroom. Unfortunately, this may eliminate older couples with no children or those who don’t plan to start a family soon. Remember, buyers quickly glance through the online advertisements, so your home must do everything it can to make the best possible first impression.

Try to squeeze in an office space where possible. More people are working from home than ever before, and a dedicated space for a desk will make a huge difference.

6. Set The Scene

Home staging is the process of ensuring your home looks its absolute best before the photographs are taken, or buyers enter the property. You might decide to lay the table, add new lighting, or even rearrange the furniture to maximise the potential of each space. 

Fill rooms with fresh flowers and reed diffusers before viewers arrive to leave the house smelling beautiful.

7. Freshen up the Garden

The outside space is as important as what’s inside the home for most buyers. Therefore, ensuring your garden is in top condition is imperative.

Before de-weeding the area and mowing the lawn, you should remove any empty plant pots, toys, or general waste. This shows the garden has been cared for throughout your ownership.

Kerb appeal is crucially important too, and viewers often make snap decisions on their first impressions. Therefore, it may also be worthwhile to paint any garden walls or fences, brightening up the area.

8. Arrange a Fantastic Photographer

Once your home is ready to be put on the market, it’s time to hire a fantastic photographer to capture all of your hard work. Your estate agent will usually be able to arrange this for you, ensuring that your home is shown in the best possible light.

 

Warren Powell-Richards are your local property experts

 

There are several reasons why you might be considering becoming a landlord. Perhaps you’re moving away for work but don’t want to sell your home, or you may have inherited a property from a relative and want to generate a monthly income from it.

Whatever your reasons for becoming a landlord, the following guide will help you answer the question of how to get started.

1. Being a Landlord is a Business

Many people find themselves thinking that if they had the money, they’ll just buy a few houses to rent out and live a stress-free life off the income.

While this is great in theory, it’s very rarely this straightforward. Being a landlord and owning rental property doesn’t just mean waiting for the rent to flood in each month. There are taxes to pay, tenants to deal with and maintenance costs to consider.

It can be a great source of income, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s an easy way to make a fortune with very little work. It can be just as demanding as running an actual business.

2. Is Your Property Suitable to Rent Out?

It’s not just a case of buying a property, sticking it online and waiting for the first tenant to come along.

Before you consider becoming a landlord it’s important to do some research into the rental market. Many towns and cities are rental hotspots with potentially excellent returns, while others may be a bit flat with far less demand for rental properties.

On that note, take a look to see how much other similar properties are being rented out, as this will give you a good indication of your potential returns.

Another thing to consider when it comes to suitability is the condition of your property. If you’re planning to move away and rent your property out then you’ll need to make sure all those little odd jobs and minor issues that you’ve been delaying have been fixed before tenants move in.

The last thing you’ll want when you’ve just moved out is to be taking phone calls about broken fences, unserviced boilers or drafty windows.

3. Work Out Your Monthly Costs – Including Void Periods

While rental properties can be lucrative, they can also very quickly become a drain on your finances too, so it’s important to take into account all of the costs that you’ll incur before deciding whether becoming a landlord is right for you.

If the property is mortgaged then this will be your single biggest cost each month, and you’ll need to factor in potential void periods where the property is empty.

During these periods you’ll have costs such as council tax and utility bills to consider, so it’s important that you work out how much all of these expenses will add up to each month.

And not forgetting you’ll need some ‘rainy day’ money put aside for those one off costs, such as a new boiler or windows.

4. Check if You Can Rent Your Property Out

Depending on your mortgage agreement, to be able to rent out your property you may need to switch to a ‘buy to let’ mortgage.

Similarly if you bought your property under a shared ownership scheme then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to rent that out without speaking to the housing association first either.

Put simply, it’s best to check with your mortgage provider in advance, as you don’t want to run into trouble further down the line.

5. Consider How You Want Your Property to be Marketed

Some of the things you’ll need to consider when marketing your property include clauses for pets, whether to allow smoking or vaping and whether to rent the property as furnished or unfurnished.

You’ll also need to decide whether to rent through a lettings agent or do it privately. Using a lettings agent will mean an additional expense each month, but this option has the advantage of taking a lot of the stress out of dealing with tenants directly and finding tenants yourself, so it will ultimately make your life a bit easier.

6. Check Your Legal Responsibilities

Last but certainly not least, you’ll need to be aware of the legal responsibilities that come with renting out a property.

There are several criteria that you’ll need to meet, including making sure the property is fit for human habitation, having a gas and electrical safety check carried out every year, having an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in place and having smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted and functioning.

Want to become a landlord? Warren Powell-Richards are your local property experts

How to prepare your home and garden for autumn

A rare warm breeze is a playful reminder that we are now into autumn, the summer months having passed us by.

Blue skies peppered with clouds will seemingly quickly turn to rain. Mornings start with wet ground underfoot, while the nights are already drawing in and the streetlights in and around Godalming will be glowing earlier. Children are collecting conkers, and while some of us relish the walks through the fallen golden leaves, others might be looking forward to snuggling down at home in the warmth.

It’s the perfect time to get our homes and gardens in order, ready for the rest of autumn, the slow onset of winter and the cold, snowy weather it often brings.

So, we’ve put together six things you should be doing right now to prepare your home and garden for the weeks ahead.

Store your garden furniture

You may already have been prepared and put all your summer items away, but some of us just haven’t got around to it yet, reluctant to say goodbye to the slim chance of just one more warm and sunny day! It’s a job that must be done though, so make sure that your patio furniture is stored away in a garage or a shed, or at least has a protective sheet over it. Chances are, you will have spent a few pounds on the furniture so you should look after it.

Top Tip: Give your garden furniture a good scrub before storing, as not only will it mean things are clean, it means you won’t have to spend time doing it when you bring your furniture out of hibernation in spring next year.

Don’t leaf it too late! (Sorry! We couldn’t resist!)

Many trees and plants have now shed their leaves, and you might love the look and sound of those crunchy piles as they mount up against a wall or fence, but it’s best to sweep all the fallen debris up before it begins to rot and leaves an unsightly mess in your garden. Similarly, ensure your gutters are free from mud, leaves and twigs.

Top Tip: Invest in a composter. That way, you have somewhere nearby to put garden clippings and leaves in, and, if managed carefully, you’ll have the beginnings of great compost.

Check your pipes and drains

As the days become colder, it makes perfect sense to make sure that you don’t get any headaches from broken pipes or blocked drains. With drains, ensure that they are not blocked by leaves or soil. With pipes, it’s best to ensure that they are well insulated. It’s also recommended that you keep your heating at set temperatures, even if you are away from home so that pipes don’t keep contracting and expanding, making them prone to damage.

Top Tip: Landlords who let out properties have a duty by law to have gas safety checks and boiler checks, but it’s easy for homeowners to skip an annual service. It makes sense to us here at Warren Powell-Richards for every homeowner to make sure their heating and boilers are in good working condition. It’s safer and more efficient, saving the pennies.

Ensure insurance is in place

No matter what you do, sometimes things go wrong, and it can prove costly. Through no fault of your own, harsh weather conditions in winter can mean leaks, breaks and cracks can happen. Check that your insurance is in place and that it covers you for everything you need.

Top Tip: As you’re checking your insurance cover, take the time to do an audit of other bits and bobs of paperwork too. Perhaps your car insurance needs looking at, or you need to renew policies or update your will. Seriously, spending time doing essential paperwork can save you money and heartache.

Sound the alarm

With the coming cold weather, chances are you’ll be spending more time indoors – the kettle is on, the fire is roaring, candles are lit, the heating’s on. While you’re indoors, you need to know you are safe, and that if anything should happen, you will be quite literally alarmed. Get a smoke alarm fitted, and a carbon monoxide alarm too. A few pounds spent could save your life.

Top Tip: If you’ve got your alarms sorted, do you have a plan of what happens if one sounds? Make sure you and your family know what they should do in the event of a fire or other emergency, including escape routes.

Seal up for winter

No matter how new your house may be, a little gap here and there can let in drafts – and allow heat to get out. Make sure your insulation is good and do any work to make sure doors close properly, or gaps in window frames are sealed. It’ll keep you warm and save you money.

Top Tip: A nice draft excluder by the front door can actually add to your decor. If you’ve got children, perhaps they would like to make a draught excluder out of old clothes and textiles as a fun project!

These are just a few tips to help you prepare your home and garden for autumn and winter. If you would like any more advice, we will be more than happy to help. Call a member of our team at Warren Powell-Richards

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