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06Aug

We are well into the summer now and more than halfway through the year! As the old saying goes “Time flies” so, if you're thinking of making a move in 2022, we recommend that you start searching now so you can be moved in to a fabulous new home in time for Christmas.

But be aware, there is a lot that goes into a move, and several factors play into the total time it takes from start to finish. That includes finding a new property, getting your mortgage approved, undergoing building surveys, conveyancing and finding a good removal company to help you on the big day to name but a few things you are likely to need to sort out to get yourself ready.

On average it takes around 18 to 22 weeks for that all exciting completion day, which is around 50 days LONGER than in 2019.

With this all in mind, we have put together  a few tips and tricks to ensure that your sale progresses smoothly and as quickly as possible!

 

1.      INSTRUCT YOUR SOLICITORS EARLY TO GET SALE READY

One reason for long delays is that there is a backlog in the conveyancing processes (the process that deals with your contract, local searches and buying your new home. The middle part between offer being accepted to receiving the keys to your new house). Get yourself ‘legally prepared’ when your property hits the market and instruct your solicitor BEFORE you agree a sale. Then, whilst your home is being marketed, they can gather together all the necessary paperwork, so that when your house sale is agreed, your solicitors are ready to send the draft contract straight over to your buyer’s solicitor. (This can speed matters up by up to 2 weeks).

 

2.  APPOINT AN ‘ON THE BALL’ FINANCIAL ADVISOR

One of the other delays in moving is often the mortgage offer! Lenders are becoming increasingly slow at carrying out their necessary background checks and surveys, especially since the recent interest rate increases. It can be frustrating when you’re waiting for answers or left on hold trying to get through to the bank!

But working with an experienced financial advisor will ensure you get the best advice so that you have all the necessary information to hand when needed. They’ll also be responsible for chasing the survey and mortgage offer, so you don’t have to!

 

 

3.   COMMUNICATION IS KEY

 

It can be very stressful moving house with many built-in uncertainties. Try and reduce your stress levels by not having unrealistic expectations about how quickly you can move. In almost every situation there will be something unexpected that comes up. 

By using a professional, proactive estate agent, you will be notified of any delays within the chain of house sellers. It’s our responsibility to liaise with the other estate agents within the chain, to ensure ALL the sales are moving at a similar pace and so that we can try to foresee any potential issues, which may delay matters.

Then, even where there is an additional delay, so long as everyone in the chain is aware of the reason, the stress levels will reduce and expectations are managed. Keep asking for regular updates and make sure your solicitor and other parties know your ideal completion timescale from the beginning. We liaise with all parties and keep you in the loop regularly and help to pave the way and ease the stress – we have all moved house ourselves having bought and sold so we understand exactly what it takes to smooth the move.

 

4.      REMOVE THE STRESS OF REMOVALS

Don’t leave it until the end of the process to shop around for removals. When the solicitors start discussing dates for moving into your lovely, new home, you don’t want a last-minute panic about about researching the cost of packing and moving services. Get this information and a chosen firm sorted early. Your solicitor will then be able to advise when to pay the deposit to your removals company.

We are on hand to advise and guide you through the whole move, from start to finish and have created a handy guide of experienced professionals who we work with like solicitors, conveyancers, financial advisers and removals - -just ask us for your copy.

Interested to know MORE about the property market ? Or do you need other advice on how to prepare your home ready to go on the market? Either way, we’d love to hear from you! Simply call us for a chat on 01364 652652 or send us an email at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk. No matter what your question is, we’re always more than happy to help

02Jul

 

Whilst the market has been exceedingly buoyant and sellers have seen prices rise considerably when the market starts to change there is almost always a surge in reduced properties.

Many homeowners have been delighted with the rise in value of their beautiful homes.  However, with this upside there can also be a downside.  Whilst many have benefitted from an increased value of their home there have been some homeowners excited to get their property on to the market being flattered by an estate agent with a very high valuation. Whilst overvaluing is nothing new, this practice is becoming more common, leading to stress, heartache and untold frustration as a higher percentage of homes are now not selling AS QUICKLY – even with current market conditions - there are signs of more choice for buyers, with the number of properties coming onto the market for sale up by 7% compared to this time last year.

Overvaluing is being used more and more to get properties on the market. For estate agents, it's not sales that are the most important thing, it’s having a healthy register of available properties and sadly many will tell you whatever you want to hear at the expense of giving you honest advice and guidance.

Without a constant stream of new listings for their website and the property portals, estate agents’ enquiries can dry up. This can leave them with an out-of-date list of potential buyers. Overvaluing properties to get them on the market is a low-skill, unethical and yet highly-effective method of gaining stock.

The ramifications if it doesn’t sell can mean price reductions and stale marketing periods often meaning properties can end up selling for less money than they would have sold for had they hit the market at the right price in the first place.

Consequences of asking too much:

Unrealistic expectations of your home's value can often make you feel angry and frustrated. 

Time is vital when selling a property, an over valued property will not get the traction it deserves when it launches to the market.  After time your home will become lost in the endless listings online. This can then also create the impression that something is wrong with the property.

Down valuation at the survey stage -  there's a high risk of your home being down-valued by a mortgage lender or surveyor. This can lead to sales falling through or hefty renegotiations on your price that could threaten your purchase by shrinking your budget.

 

How to tell when a valuation is inflated

· The home is overpriced compared to neighbouring houses

· The price does not match the neighbourhood 

· It has been on the market for a long time

· The home has too little viewings 

· There are too many upgrades and home improvements

· The home’s overall condition 

 

What can you do to overcome this ?

It is worth doing a little of your own research on the estate agent to see if their performance matches what they're telling you: 

●       How many sales do they achieve at the asking price or above?

 

●       How many of their listings have been reduced in price before they have sold?

 

●       How long are their homes on the market before going under offer?

 

●       What percentage of their properties get withdrawn?

 

If you do decide to go with the estate agent who has valued your home the highest, here are a few tips for you: 

 

1 - The average time to agree to a sale is currently around four weeks. You don't therefore need to sign up to a long contract. Check your notice period and get all agreed changes in writing.

2 - If an agent truly believes their high valuation is achievable, they'll have no trouble amending their terms. If they insist on signing you up for several months, you'll have an insight into how confident they really are.

3 - Agree a weekly catch up or check in call so the estate agent can update you on interest in your home.

4 - Make sure your agent provides you with a Marketing plan - this should be bespoke for your home and illustrate how your home is going to be marketed. 

5 - Insist on quick feedback after viewings - this way you will be able to react and adapt your marketing to reflect the up to date response from potential buyers who usually are not backwards in coming forwards with constructive criticism !

6 - Continually refresh your marketing, make sure you estate agent is proactive in taking new photos and keeping your home fresh in the minds of buyers.

And if you are on the market and feeling a little disheartened by your result, be encouraged by the fact that there are plenty of things you can do to make your home much more saleable – with the right agent on board. The important thing is that you take action right away. If you don’t, your home will simply sit on the market, leaving it at risk of possibly going ‘stale’, which is likely to reduce your chance of getting a good sale price. When buyers see the same home being advertised in the same way, week after week, it gives the impression that something isn’t quite right.

We can assist in reviewing your marketing and give you our expert opinion on what needs to be done to secure a successful sale at the right price.  Once we have met with you we will come up with a bespoke marketing strategy that focuses on promoting all the best features of your home and relaunch it onto the market in style!

If you would like to find out how we can help you and your home get the sale you deserve, just give us a call on 01364 652652 or 01626 852666 or email me at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and I will get right back to you. 

 

06Jun

Nine times out of ten, where is the first place a potential buyer will see your home? You guessed it – in a photograph! Whether it be online through a laptop screen or mobile phone, or on the street in an estate agent’s shop window, that small viewing frame should be treated as the place to showcase all the best angles of your home and have people longing for the lifestyle they see at the end of the lens.

 

This, of course, applies to any house marketing photography. But with a high-value home, that features plenty of space and unique aspects, going above and beyond standard imagery will really set your house apart. And that’s where our expertise is on hand to help!

 

Differentiating your house from the rest of the market with creative and considered expert photography is our speciality. So, we’ve collated our best ideas for how to showcase your home in – quite literally – the best light!

 

 

Prep the space 

Any professional photographer knows that before the shutter clicks, there’s an element of house preparation required – and this involves a little help from the homeowner. So, to provide the photographer with a clean slate on which to work their magic, make sure the house is spick and span, both inside and out. In your outdoor area, clear any vehicles and bins out of shot for the day, use a bit of elbow grease on the windows to get them sparkling, and make sure the lawn is mowed and any weeds are removed.

 

Next, turn your attention to the inside of your house. After tidying the rooms, consider giving lacklustre walls and any worn-out furniture a fresh lick of paint. Studies show that decorating can make all the difference in the eyes of a potential buyer and will add up to 5% more to your home’s value. This is definitely something that a top-quality camera will highlight on screen too, so you can be sure it’s well worth going that extra mile.

 

 

Set the scene

Subtle styling and expert photography go hand in hand, especially when it comes to lifestyle imagery. Considered style choices will help to establish that emotional connection between the house and a potential buyer, enabling a thoughtfully framed lifestyle shot to provide a welcoming feel and give people a chance to truly envisage themselves in the space.

 

So, once the house is prepped, you and the photographer can work together to add a few stylish touches to really give your home a lived-in – but carefully curated – look. Bring colour to the kitchen with fruit-filled bowls, set the dining table with your best crockery, hang fresh neatly folded towels in the bathroom, place fresh blooms in coordinating vases onto sideboards, and cosy up the bedroom with luxurious woven throws and scatter cushions. These style-savvy touches will highlight the real potential of your home in imagery and give it a well-loved feel. For outdoor specific styling advice, visit our garden blog here

 


Get the light right

Cold or clinical lighting is something to avoid when it comes to home photography, especially with a sizeable one that might look unwelcoming as a result. So, making sure the mood of the rooms are set to warm and inviting is key. This atmosphere can be achieved with photos taken on a dry day at around dusk to cast a naturally soft and calming glow.

 

However, we know relying on the weather – especially British weather – isn’t an ideal option! So, you’ll be pleased to know that this isn’t the only way to capture the warm and welcoming look. Today’s post-production technology is your friend in this scenario. With a combination of accent and ambient lighting switched on around your home as well as an arsenal of subtle sepia-tinted filters, professional photographers can easily craft that sought-after early evening glow.

 

 

Capture the scale

Framing a shot to reveal the true size of your home is crucial when it comes to giving an accurate depiction of the space – and there are a few clever hacks to capture it. A whizz with full-frame cameras and an ability to experiment with varying perspectives, an expert photographer will have all the necessary equipment to hand to ensure large rooms and outdoor spaces give viewers a real representation of your home’s footprint.

 

Showing where your house is situated in its surroundings is also a great way to indicate the true length and breadth of your home. So, if you live on a hilltop with plenty of countryside around, or you want to show the size of your garden by highlighting boundary hedges and fences, then elevated photography, perhaps with the help of a drone or aerial mast, is another useful route to take.

 

Framing shots from a higher perspective will give scale and dimension to your house and highlight your proximity to stunning views or local Amenities that may otherwise not be realised. In the eyes of a potential buyer, elevated photography can take a modest cottage to a rural marvel, or a humble townhouse to the heart of a historic centre.

 

 

Show the local area

Location, location, location – we can’t emphasise this enough! When investing in a new home, most people aren’t only interested in the house itself, but also in the place that surrounds it – and rightly so.

 

Showcasing snapshots of the local area, whether it be well-known landmarks, a quaint nearby shop, pet-friendly parks, walking trails, or picturesque views, now is the time to bring all of these aspects together and paint a picture of what life could be like living in your home.

 

 

 

Would you like to find out more about the specialised photography services we offer? Or are you searching for more advice on how to prepare your home to go on the market? Whatever your query is, we’re here to help! We’re but a call or email away – simply contact us by phone on 01364 652652 or send us an email at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and a member of our friendly team will be on hand to guide you.

 

15May

What does your garden mean to you? For us, it can be summarised in three simple words: entertainment, enjoyment and peace. With it being such a pleasurable, versatile space, it’s no wonder several studies show that it’s within the top three priorities for a potential buyer. Surrounding your house at both front and back, it’s a large area that requires just as much pre-viewing preparation as any room inside – and that’s where we’re here to help!

Tidying the garden is one thing, but styling it is another – it’s the finishing touches you add to the space with considered layouts and accessories that will take it to the next level. So, after you’ve trimmed the hedges and pressure-washed the patio, the fun can truly begin! By bringing a flourish of style to the garden, you’ll be surpassing the viewer’s expectations, showing them the true potential of the space.  

Read on for 6 tested tips that will finesse your garden with a dose of charming style. 

1. Frame the front door

The first area viewers will see when they arrive is the front door, so it’s worth thinking about the inviting impression you want to create. After refreshing old letterboxes, handles and knockers, consider defining a pathway to the door with flanks of flower beds or potted plants interspersed with post lights.  

When it comes to the doorway or porch, draw the eye by framing it with hanging baskets and climbing plants. Alternatively, use candle-filled lanterns of varying sizes either side of the door – mix these in groups of three for visual appeal.

 

2. Get in the zone

Before you start accessorising the back garden, we suggest dividing it into different areas that are suited for particular purposes. Not only will this make your space feel bigger, but it will also be more organised, allowing you to show the garden in its best light.  

A few cleverly positioned dining and seating areas will help to subtly delineate your garden and enable potential buyers to envisage themselves in the space. Define the centre of the main entertainment area with a weatherproof rug, and use comfy furniture to outline the borders. For a balance of cosy and sophisticated style, use a glass-topped table and cushioned dining chairs made from natural-looking materials such as all-weather wicker or Lloyd Loom.  

If space allows, channel relaxation in another corner of the garden with an outdoor sofa or swing chair and a timber coffee table. To complete the snug look and feel, add a gas or electric heater.  

3. Light the way

Come rain or shine, illuminating your outdoor space with thoughtfully chosen lighting that looks just as good in the daytime as it does at night will add warmth and style. Consider the theme of your interior, and expand this into the garden. A set of bronze- and copper-toned fixtures will give an aged, antique look that’s in keeping with period houses and cottages, whereas matt black and silvered patinas will coordinate with the contemporary feel of a modern home.  

If you have a decking area, consider installing recessed floor lighting – for house viewings during darker months, this it will add an uplifting glow to the space. Alternatively, intertwine streams of festoon lights around an awning, hang them along the eaves of a shed or car port, or wrap them around a tree or two to enhance the relaxed atmosphere.  

4. Play with mirrors

An outdoor mirror or two is ideal for bouncing light around the garden and, if you position them in a clever way, they can also make the space feel bigger. When placing a mirror outside, consider what you want it to reflect. Fixing it against a fence or wall to reflect flowers and foliage is much preferrable to a view of trailing drainpipes!  

Think about the shape and size of the mirror, too. Going large will have the most impact, so when it comes to oversized mirrors, add one to your seating area to bounce light and reflect your table styling skills. Whether your garden style errs on the classic or modern side, a Crittall window mirror will suit the space. Give an arch-shaped one pride of place in an elegant countryside garden, or use a straight-framed square version in a more contemporary area.

 

5. Lift the space with colour

When it comes to nature, feel free to play around with colour to make your garden feel cheerful and inviting. For easy decorating, bring in container plants – they work especially well on a paved area or courtyard space where colour might be lacking. And if the flowers aren’t in bloom yet, then you can still add bright hues in the form of plant pots and baskets grouped together in coordinating colours.  

For quaint, older houses, a fast-growing climber such as wisteria or clematis set against a wall or fence will give your space a real ‘wow’ factor. Or for a modern home, use trailing plants housed in hanging baskets to create a living wall of foliage for a more minimal approach. Wooden or galvanised metal step ladders are also a creative way to make a fun floral display.  

If you have any bare patches among your flower beds, then now is the time to fill them. Bring in a selection of easy-to-maintain perennials that look good all year round such as hellebore, libertia, liriope muscari and cranesbill.

6. Keep it low-key

Remember, you don’t need to go OTT with styling or make it appear high maintenance. Keep it depersonalised by opting for furnishings that highlight texture over pattern and, unless it’s in the form of flowers or plants, accessorise with calm, neutral colours so you don’t overwhelm the space.  

Keen for more tips on how to style your garden? Or do you need other advice on how to prepare your home ready to go on the market? Either way, we’d love to hear from you! Simply call us for a chat on 01364 652652 or send us an email at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk. No matter what your question is, we’re always more than happy to help.

01Apr

Spring is a wonderful time to sell a home – the buds are budding, gardens are springing into life, and a little bit of sunshine makes everyone’s home look better. Plus, buyers have traditionally always started home searching in the spring, and the property portals tell us this is still the case today.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, or your home is on the market right now, you may have some questions about how to make your move a success. Here are some of the questions we get asked at this time of year by many of our clients:

 

“My house has been on the market since wintertime – now my garden is flowering, should I get new photographs taken?”

Winter garden photos can look a little, well, sad. Bare trees and shrubs, bare earth and leaf-covered, muddy lawns can all be a bit off-putting to buyers. So when your garden starts coming back to life, it’s a really good idea to get some fresh and colourful images taken to showcase it to buyers. At Sawdye & Harris we offer new foliage images free of charge to our clients, to make sure their images online are always current and as attractive as possible. Why not ask your agent if they can do likewise?  

 

If I get an offer now, when should I expect to be moved by?”

Nationwide, the current time from accepting an offer to handing over the keys is around 12 weeks, but this can vary hugely depending on your buyer’s position, finance needed, any complications with your sale and much more. If you have a straightforward sale, no chain and your buyer doesn’t need a mortgage, then you should be moved by the summer, or around 10 weeks. Any complications or chain delays can more than double this, so ask an expert about your specific situation. We’re always happy to offer our advice on timescales and what to expect. Just give us a call on PHONE NUMBER and let’s have a chat.  

 

I don’t know how I’m going to keep my house tidy during the Easter holidays! Should I take a break from the market?”

We feel your pain! Selling a house with children off school is never an easy task, but there are some things you can do to help make your viewings successful and stress-free:

  • Encourage (bribe) your children to tidy up and keep tidy. Daily inspections with reward stickers for younger children and cash for older teens usually does the trick.
  • Keep the children out of the house as much as possible, so your home stays tidier!
  • Takeaways or eating out if you have an imminent viewing booked will save you having to clean your kitchen.
  • Resist the urge to do ‘messy’ playtime with the kids if you have viewings arranged – no finger painting, Play-doh or baking!
  • Make sure you’re out of the house for viewings, so you don’t feel stressed – being under pressure to have perfectly-behaved children will not result in an enjoyable viewing, for you or your buyers!
  • If you have a real house-full and really would rather not have to cope with viewings during the school holidays, tell your agent. They’ll be understanding if you want to take a break from the market until the kids go back to school.

 

“I’m thinking about moving home – is now a good time?”

A great question! We’re sure you’ve heard it’s a ‘seller’s market’ right now, and has been pretty much since the start of the Pandemic. But things are starting to change. More homes coming to market means more competition for buyers, and that creates downward pressure on house prices. We expect prices to remain strong for at least this year, and probably into next year, but we think the days of huge scarcity are now behind us. What does this mean for you if you’re thinking of selling? Well, if we’re right and property prices have peaked, you can feel confident you’d be selling your home at the top of the market. Whatever your situation, selling now when you know it’s a strong market is going to give you a more predictable sale price than waiting until next year and facing an unknown property market.

 

What are most buyers looking for right now?”

Some homes are inevitably in more demand than others – our buyers are looking for specific features, like work-from-home space, and often want a home with potential to extend. Bungalows seem to be very popular right now, as are homes with land. Whatever your home has to offer, we’d love to have a chat with you and tell you whether we have buyers registered who are looking for a home just like yours. Just give us a call on 01364 652652 or drop me a line at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk to get the ball rolling.  

 

I thought this was supposed to be a seller’s market, but my home still hasn’t had much interest. What can I do?”

It’s hugely disappointing when you’re excited to put your home on the market, and no one seems interested. Especially if neighbouring properties are selling fast around you. The three key drivers of any successful property sale are presentation, price and promotion: how well your home is presented to the market, and whether it competes on how modern rooms like its kitchens and bathrooms are; whether the price is competitive and not over-optimistic; and finally, but probably the most important of the three, how your home is marketed. The images, written description and brochure are more important than most people assume, and just improving them can have a dramatic impact on how much interest a home receives. We’ve taken on , styled them and changed the photography, and sold them straight away without changing the price at all! So if you’re not sure if your marketing is really showcasing your home, we’ll be frank, and tell you honestly if it is. Send me a link to your home at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and I’ll tell you how you can improve your marketing and attract the right buyer.

 

“Our garden is looking lovely, but it’s still a bit muddy. Can we ask viewers to take off their shoes before they view our home?”

Yes! We always take off our shoes before going into a home, and so we expect the viewers to, too. Carpets with muddy footprints aren’t attractive to buyers, so let’s make sure yours stay clean!

 

If you have any questions at all about any of the points raised in this article, or you’d just like a friendly, no-strings chat about your house sale, we’d love to help you. Call me on 01364 652652 or email me at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk or WhatsApp me on 07768 065532 and let’s get you moving.

 KATIE GRIFFIN, proud owner of Sawdye & Harris

Covering Dartmoor and the Teign Valley

 

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