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05Jan

The new year encourages many of us to make positive changes in our lives. A popular choice is pledging to do more exercise, while some people might decide to learn a new skill. But if you were one of the many sellers who put their home on the market last year and you haven’t yet found a buyer, this new year you’re probably resolving to get that sale!

 

As estate agents, we find that pretty much every new year brings with it not only a flood of requests from homeowners for valuations, but also a steady stream of enquiries about homes for sale. That means as we make our way through winter towards the spring, the market is usually buzzing.

 

So, how can you best take advantage of this activity and make sure your home attracts and secures the perfect buyer?

 

Here’s our round up of five positive steps you can take right now to revamp your marketing strategy and ensure this is the year you move on and make a fresh start in a new home.

 

 

  1. Take a brief rest from the market

In our experience, a home tends to generate the greatest interest from buyers in the first two to three weeks that it’s on the market. When your home appears as a new listing, buyers who are registered with online portals should receive a link to the details, and your agent should be sending out the brochure to their own database of potential buyers.

 

But after that initial flurry of activity, things often settle down on the viewing front, and we find that the longer your home is on the market, the less likely it is to attract the perfect buyer. As those who have been looking for a new home for a while keep seeing your listing, the fact that it hasn’t sold yet may make it less desirable to them, and you’re more reliant on new buyers who are just starting their search.

 

So, if you’ve been advertising for several months, it could be a good idea to take a break just for a few weeks, in order to reignite interest. Give the market time to move on a little bit – let some sales of other homes that are comparable to yours go through and wait for new buyers to enter the mix – then you can relaunch your home with some fresh marketing.

 

And while you’re temporarily off the market, you can use the time to review your sales and marketing plan with your agent and take some positive actions, beginning with a review of what buyers who have already seen your home have said about it.

 

 

  1. Review feedback from viewings

Feedback from potential buyers who have viewed your home can often be incredibly useful. Finding out what they liked and what didn’t appeal so much helps both you and your agent understand what could be discouraging people from making an offer.

 

For instance, if viewers thought some rooms felt a little dark or smaller than they’d hoped, could you change the lighting or perhaps rearrange some of the furniture to maximise light and space? Or, if the feedback was that certain rooms felt dated or needed some work, would you be prepared to spend a little money on upgrades or redecoration, to help achieve the best possible price for your home?

 

So, discuss with your agent the feedback people have given so far, and if several buyers have highlighted the same points, look at whether there’s anything you can do to change those things and make your home more attractive to buyers. And feel free to contact us for some advice – we’re always here to help!

 


 

  1. Style your home for the spring

Some simple restyling can be a great, cost-effective way to give your home a new look for the new year, and you might be surprised what you can achieve with just a few accessory changes.

 

Pack away any dark-coloured or heavy cushions, throws and rugs – all the touches that helped make your home feel extra cosy through the winter – and replace them with lighter fabrics. Invest in some crisp white bed linen (which will also brighten up the bedrooms in your new home when you move!), and make sure curtains and blinds are well drawn back to let as much daylight in as possible. Breathe new life into each room with freshly cut flowers and leafy plants, and swap large pillar candles and storm lanterns for just a few more subtle, light floral-scented candles. You can also check out the latest issues of home magazines for more current style tips.

 

Finally, think about how the furniture is positioned – could a different configuration make a room feel more spacious and inviting to potential buyers? And don’t forget, you can always ask for some help with this. We know ourselves that it can be tricky to look at your own home objectively, so maybe ask a friend to cast their eye over it and give you an unbiased opinion.

 


 

  1. Ask your agent to take new, professional photographs

Professional photographs can make all the difference to the success of your home’s marketing. Great eye-catching photographs don’t only show what’s in a home, they tell a story and illustrate a lifestyle that really grabs the imagination of potential buyers, making them want to live that life themselves.

 

For example, a professional sitting room photograph might feature a roaring fire and some glossy magazines next to an afternoon tea on the table, conveying a sophisticated, yet warm and relaxing feel. And a bathroom shot might show a steaming bubble bath, surrounded by candles and soft lighting, to give the feeling of a luxurious spa.

 

A photographer who’s experienced in shooting homes for magazines and sales brochures will know exactly how to capture each room looking its absolute best – from the angle and lighting to incorporating the finest lifestyle features into the shots.

 

 

So, once you’ve revamped the styling of your home, ask your agent to have some new, professional photographs taken. Not only will that ensure your images look current and in line with the season, but if you’ve taken a break from marketing, it means you can relaunch with an entirely new portfolio of stunning shots and potentially attract buyers that might not have noticed your home before.

 

  1. Update your brochure

Take another look at the brochure your agent’s been sending out to prospective buyers. Are you happy with the quality, and do you feel it properly reflects the value of your home? It should showcase a desirable lifestyle that will grab buyers’ attention and entice them to view – does it do that?

 

Once you’ve had new photographs taken, your brochure will need updating anyway, so this is your opportunity to make any other changes that could help attract that perfect buyer. So make sure:

 

  • The front cover features a striking photograph of the exterior – we find a twilight shot with all the interior lights on often makes a stunning first impression
  • The order of the interior photos takes buyers on a logical journey through the home, as they might see it on a viewing
  • The written copy has an enthusiastic tone and is full of descriptive and emotive adjectives to capture the buyer’s imagination
  • There is a floorplan that includes room dimensions and the overall floor area and shows the orientation of your home.

 

Of course, depending on how your agent responds to your suggestions and how happy you are about your experience with them to date, you may feel it’s time for a complete change of approach with a new agent. In that case, take a look at our blog‘Thinking of changing estate agents? – Our smooth move guide’ - https://bit.ly/3m3z9TP

 

And if you’re ready to step things up a gear so you can get moving this new year, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch and we’ll be delighted to take you through our bespoke marketing approach and discuss how we can help you achieve a successful sale at the best possible price. Just call on01364 652652

 

or emailkatie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk

 

and we’ll get right back to you.

15Dec

 

Selling a home might not be an exact science, but there are a number of factors that will make a huge difference to how successful your sale will be.

 

Our experience has shown us that homes that sell quickly and for a good price tend to have certain key things in common, so we’ve developed a checklist that we can use to analyse the saleability of any home. We rate various elements of your marketing approach across five categories, awarding up to a maximum of five points for each element to give your home an overall ‘Saleability Score’.

 

Using our scorecard, you’ll be able to see for yourself where there may be room for improvement in your marketing. Once you’ve identified which areas aren’t as strong as they could be, you can discuss those points with your agent and work together to turn things around so that your home makes the right impact on buyers.

 

 

So, if your home has been on the market for a while and perhaps you haven’t had quite as many viewings as you’d hoped, run through our Saleability Scorecard and see how your marketing stacks up. Set aside a couple of hours, and make sure you have your printed brochure and online listing to hand. Think about every question carefully, and try to look objectively at your marketing materials and how your home is presented. Then give your answers in the form of points, awarding from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 5 for each bullet point listed under each element below:

 

1. Your estate agent

Communication and feedback are key to helping you understand how the marketing is going and reassuring you that your agent really is doing their best to sell your home. So:

 

 - Do they call you regularly – at least once a week?

 - Do they accompany every viewing?

 - Do they give you detailed feedback after each viewing?

 - Have they made any suggestions around how you might be able to generate more viewings – other than dropping the price?

 

 

2. Your brochure

Your brochure needs to convey the quality of your home, setting a standard and value before the prospective buyer sees it in person. And the photographs have got to showcase a desirable lifestyle, grabbing buyers’ attention and enticing them to view.

 

 - Does the brochure fully represent your home – we usually recommend 16–20 glossy pages – and does it have a luxurious feel?

 

 - Are your photographs professional, and do they sell a lifestyle? The features of each room should be shown in crisp detail, and the images should convey an aspirational feel. In a sitting room, for instance, fires and candles should be lit, fresh flowers put out, and lights switched on to ensure the room looks spacious and bright, but cosy and inviting at the same time. A gently bubbling bath with flickering candles is selling a relaxing and luxurious lifestyle, not just a bathroom. And for kitchen photographs, some fresh baking will bring the image of the room to life and stimulate more than just the buyer’s visual senses.

 

 - Is the written description enthusiastic in tone and full of emotive adjectives? The copywriter should be conveying a narrative that really captures the buyer’s imagination and makes them want to experience your home for themselves.

 

 - Does the floorplan include dimensions and the overall floor area and show the orientation of your home?

 

 

3. Your online advert

This is your virtual shop window, and with the possibility of hundreds of other homes appearing in search results, your listing needs to stand out.

 

 - Does your main photograph grab a buyer’s attention and encourage them to click for more information? We find that a twilight shot with all the interior and exterior lights on can be a particularly striking image and is often the best one to use online.

 

 - Does the listing have a punchy, eye-catching headline?

 

 - Is the description concise, while still selling the best features of your home in a flattering way?

 

 - Is there a good-quality image of the floorplan, and brochure download button available?

 

 

4. The price

If a home is marketed at too optimistic a price, it tends to sit on the market for longer. So you must make sure your home is advertised at a price that both reflects its true value and attracts buyers.

 

 - Is your asking price a round figure, e.g. £950,000, not £949,999?

 

 - Does your home appear at the top of a search in your price range?

 

 - Do you know how your price per square foot compares to that of other similar homes in the area?

 

 - Have you stuck to your asking price, even if your agent thinks you should drop it?

 

 

5. Preparing your home for viewings

You must do all you can to make buyers fall in love with your home – from the moment they first see it on the market to the end of their viewing.

 

 - Do you style and tidy the outside – both the garden and your home itself?

 

 - Do you have fresh flowers inside?

 

 - Do you dress all the beds?

 

 - Do you switch on lamps, light candles and have fresh coffee or baking to create a homely and welcoming atmosphere? For more inspiration, take a look at our blog, ‘6 simple steps to prepare your home for viewings’. 6 Simple Steps to Prepare Your Home For Viewings

 

 

Now, add up the points.

 

If you have a Saleability Score of more than 80, well done – that suggests both you and your agent are on top of your home sale! Just take note of the areas where you might want to make a few tweaks, and if you still find you’re not getting enough viewings, then get in touch with us.

 

If you’ve scored between 50 and 80, there are probably quite a number of areas that you and your agent could work on. The good news is, this means there’s every likelihood that if you can just make the right improvements to your marketing, you should be able to attract much more interest and start to get some offers coming in.

 

However, if you have under 50 points, it’s probably time to consider a full marketing makeover. And if your current agent hasn’t already addressed the various challenges, it could be time to switch to one that’s more proactive and professional in their approach. We would be more than happy to discuss how we can help you with this, so please feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

 


 

And if you’re 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. So it’s time to grab the bull by the horns!

 

The first port of call is to speak to your agent, show them our Saleability Scorecard and find out whether they agree with your ratings. It may be that they have their own ideas about the kinds of changes that could be made and are keen to work with you to turn things around.

 

However, if you don’t get the response you were hoping for, give us a call – we can review your marketing ourselves and give you our expert opinion on what needs to be done to secure a successful sale. Then, once we’ve visited your home to appraise it fully, we’ll 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’d like to discuss your current situation and find out how we can help you and your home get the sale you deserve, just give us a call on01364 652652 or 01626 852666

– or emailkatie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk

 

– and I will get right back to you.

02Nov

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 front 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 01364 652652 or 01626 852666 or email us on katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and we’ll get straight back to you.

11Oct

As a landlord, it’s important to be able to assess whether a property is likely to be a good investment before you buy it. Then, once your property’s rented out, it’s helpful if you can check periodically to make sure the basic rental return is keeping up with – and hopefully beating! – the average for your local area.

Although there are a few different measures you can use to work out how well a property investment is doing (or is likely to do), gross yield is the figure that’s most commonly quoted in the lettings industry.

Gross yield is the annual rent expressed as a percentage of the value of the property. It’s a basic indicator of how good an investment a property is from a rental income perspective, and it allows you to quickly compare one property with another. Then, if you want a better idea of how much profit a property will generate, you can deduct costs to make a net rental yield calculation.

If you’re not used to working out yields, or you’re unsure about how they can help you compare investments, you’re in the right place!

 

Here’s our step-by-step guide to assessing rental yield:

Step 1: Know the property’s current value

The value of the property is the first figure you need in order to make the yield calculation. If you’re in the process of choosing a property to buy, you can take the asking price as the value. If you want to know the current value of a property you already own, you can check the price of comparable properties online or contact us any time for an up-to-date market appraisal.

 

Step 2: Know the annual rental income

Secondly, you need the annual rental income amount. If you already own the property, simply multiply the monthly rent you’re currently charging by 12. If it’s a property you’re considering buying, you can look online to see the advertised rents for similar properties or, for a more accurate figure, speak to one of our lettings team.

 

Step 3: Calculate the gross yield

Using the property value and annual rent figure, you can then calculate the gross yield. That will tell you how good the rental income is versus the property value, and it’s a good basic way to compare properties to see which could give the best return for your investment. A simple example:

  • A property is on the market for £100,000 and would generate £5,000 a year in rental income

(£5,000 ÷ £100,000) x 100 = a 5% yield

 

Once you know the yield of a property, you can compare it with the average for the area, the country or the whole UK. And where it becomes particularly valuable for you as an investor is when you’re comparing properties to buy, especially when they have different purchase prices.

For example:

  • Property 1 is £180,000 with potential annual rental income of £7,500
  • Property 2 is £210,000 with potential annual rental income of £8,500
  • Property 3 is £170,000 with potential annual rental income of £7,000

At first glance, it’s clear that the more you pay, the higher the rental income, but it’s harder to see which makes the better investment from a rental perspective. That’s where the gross yield calculation comes in:

  • Property 1 = 4.16% yield
  • Property 2 = 4.04% yield
  • Property 3 = 4.11% yield

So, property 1 looks as though it may be the better investment from a rental income perspective.

 

 

While gross yield is a helpful basic indicator that allows you to compare any number of rental properties, what’s often very useful for you as a landlord – particularly when you’re deciding between properties to buy – is to work out the net rental yield. This takes into account all the costs associated with an individual property, so you get a much better idea of which will give you the most relative rental profit each month.

 

Step 4: Know the ongoing costs associated with the property

In order to calculate the net yield and profit figure, you need to know all the ongoing costs associated with your rental property. Older homes, leasehold properties and properties with more land, for example, tend to have higher running costs. So, while different properties could have the same gross yield, the net yields might vary enough to affect your decision about which one to buy. Key annual costs you should investigate include:

  • Ground rent and service charges for leasehold properties
  • Approximate costs for general maintenance and likely repairs to the property
  • Garden maintenance costs
  • Servicing costs for fireplaces, log burners or specialist heating systems
  • Septic tank maintenance charges
  • Any shared access costs

 

And don’t forget to include the monthly mortgage payment, which may vary according to the purchase price.

 

 

Step 5: Calculate the net yield

Calculating the net yield is important, as it indicates how profitable a rental property is. The gross yield simply tells you the income in relation to the property value, but the net yield is about how much money you’re making. The calculation is similar to the one for gross yield, but it uses the annual rental profit figure, rather than annual rental income. For example:

 

  • A property is on the market for £100,000 and would generate £5,000 a year in rental income
  • The annual property costs are £2,200, giving a rental profit of £2,800
  • (£2,800 ÷ £100,000) x 100 = a 2.8% yield

 

Now, let’s say you were deciding between two quite different types of property:

 

Property 1: A modern leasehold flat, worth £175,000, with an estimated rental income of £10,200 a year (£850 pcm). The interest-only mortgage cost is £4,500 a year and the other costs around £2,300. That gives a gross yield of 5.8% and a net yield of 1.9%.

 

Property 2: A Victorian semi-detached house, worth 180,000, with an estimated rental income of £9,960 a year (£830 pcm). The interest-only mortgage cost is £4,560 a year and the other costs around £1,400. That’s a gross yield of 5.5% and a net yield of 2.2%.

 

So, although Property 1 appeared the better investment from a gross yield perspective, when you take into account the ongoing costs, it’s actually Property 2 that gives a better net rental return, even though it’s slightly more expensive and has a lower annual rental income than property 1.

 

 

Note: Check how advertised yields have been calculated

Generally speaking, the average yields published by companies like Nationwide and quoted in the media are gross figures that use the same basic calculation as we’ve detailed. However, some companies – and particularly new-build developers – have their own standards for what they call ‘gross’ and ‘net’ yields.

 

For instance, for the ‘property value’, they might include renovation costs or simply use the price originally paid, rather than the current market value. And for the ‘net rental income’ figure, they may simply have deducted the average mortgage payments, but no other costs. So, always make sure you’re clear on how other sources have calculated the yield they’re quoting; then you can make sure you’re comparing like with like.

 

Of course, rental yield is just part of the picture when you’re assessing the quality of a property investment. There’s also the annual return on your invested funds to consider and capital growth to factor into your profits over time. But if you know how to calculate gross and net yield, you’ve always got a reliable tool that will allow you to assess the level of rental return for any property.

 

If you have any questions about rental yield or you’d like to find out which properties and locations in your area tend to achieve the best yields, please get in touch with us. We’re always happy to share our experience and help landlords achieve the best possible returns. Call us on 01364 652652 or email katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and we’ll get right back to you.

06Oct

Are you thinking about making a change to where you live? If you no longer need all the rooms in your home, you might have decided to downsize into something smaller. Or perhaps it’s the opposite – you need more space, in which case, it could be time to upsize into a new place. On the other hand, if you love your home and it’s in the perfect spot, maybe you’re toying with the idea of getting the extra room you need by extending.

report from UK Finance found that people stay in their homes for an average of 20 years, and selling and buying does tend to take time, money and effort. So, before you set the wheels of change in motion, try to look ten years ahead and think about how your needs might change over that time.

Whether you’re looking for more or less space, the clearer you can be about what you want and need from your new home – and why – the easier it will be to narrow down your options and find something that’s going to suit you well for the foreseeable future.

So let’s explore some of the options out there and what you need to consider as you move up or down the property ladder. You might even discover a great solution you hadn’t thought of before!

 

Extending or converting your existing home

If almost everything is perfect about your current home, but you just need a bit more space – perhaps a room you can use as an office, a bigger dining kitchen or extra bedrooms – it might be worth seeing if you could extend or re-jig the accommodation.

Two key things to consider here are:

  1. Would the cost of transforming your home be reflected in an increase in value? You might not have any intention to move in the foreseeable future, but at some point you may want or need to sell. So, once you’ve got a good idea of what changes you’d like to make, it’s well worth asking a local agent to give you their opinion on how much the work could add to the price of your home. We’re always happy to help with this – just give us a call on 01364 652652.

 

The best way to add value is to increase the amount of usable space in your home, perhaps by extending to add a reception room and bedroom above, or converting a garage or loft into living space. But bear in mind that your immediate local area will have a ‘ceiling’ for market values – that’s a price that a home is unlikely to sell above, simply because of the size and type of other homes around it.

For instance, if you live in a road of mainly three- and four-bedroom homes with one or two reception rooms, it might not be worth increasing your accommodation to five bedrooms, three reception rooms and a granny flat. If that’s the kind of space you need, moving to an area that has more homes of a similar size might be a better option. Again, come and speak to us to find out what’s likely to be the best investment from a resale perspective.

And remember that the best extensions feel as though they’ve always been there, so if you do go ahead with works, it’s advisable to choose an architect who has experience in designing for your particular age and style of home. While you may need to pay a bit more for the best solution, it’s well worth the investment to keep a good flow and feel to the home.

 

  1. How disruptive are the building works going to be? If you’re converting the loft, it might not be too intrusive, but if you’re extending, then parts of your home might be unusable for weeks or even months. In that case, you may want to think about moving out while the improvements are being made. Bear in mind that if you have to pay for an alternative temporary home, that’s going to add to the overall cost of the project.

 

Something else to consider is whether you could gain the extra space you need by building separate accommodation in the garden – assuming it’s big enough. If what you’re after is an office or guest annexe, there are some excellent self-contained units on the market that you could have up and running in under a month. Going down this route could be easier, cheaper and quicker than carrying out works on your home.

With any building project, it’s important to check with the local council whether planning permission is required and what building regulations you’ll need to comply with. And bear in mind that it could take up to eight weeks for the council to consider even straightforward planning applications, so factor this into your timescale.

Moving up the property ladder

If you need a bigger home and you’re ready for a change, or it’s not possible to extend where you live at the moment, then you’ve got a pretty open book of options. There could be plenty of homes for sale that are the right size, but how do you make sure you pick the one that’s really right for you?

Well, when you’re moving for a specific reason, it’s important to be led by your head and not your heart. It’s all-too easy to fall in love with a beautiful kitchen, a fabulous view or the perfect family room, but if you let your emotions chip away at the square footage you know you need, you could end up running out of space again in just a few years.

This is where an estate agent can really help. It’s worth spending some time speaking to them before you start viewing potential new homes, to explain exactly why you’re moving and the number of bedrooms, reception rooms and other spaces you need. Then they can make sure all the homes you view at least meet your minimum requirements, and you can be confident that anything you’re tempted by already ticks the size box. Give us a call and we can take you through what we’ve currently got on the market in your range – maybe one of them will be the perfect fit for you!

And if you’re prepared to do some work to turn your next purchase into your dream home, again, be clear with the agents you speak to about how much of a project you’d be happy to take on, and they should be able to show you a variety of homes with potential.

Downsizing to a smaller home

At the other end of the moving spectrum is downsizing. Maybe you’ve spent years having friends to stay, entertaining and making full use of all the rooms in your home, but now that whirl of activity has come to an end, and you just don’t need all the space you currently have. You might be moving to a much more expensive area for work or lifestyle reasons, and your money simply won’t stretch as far, or it could just be that you’ve decided you’d prefer a smaller home.

If you are looking to downsize, you might also want something you won’t have to spend much time and money maintaining. So, even if you’ve enjoyed living in period homes until now, it may be time to consider something modern that has guarantees and warranties and will be low-maintenance and energy efficient.

It’s also important to think about whether you want this downsizing step to be your last move. If so, it’s worth planning ahead and making a wishlist of everything you think you’re going to want in your new home. Although compromises sometimes have to be made when you move, if this is your ‘forever’ home, it should be as perfect as possible – even if it takes a little longer to find.

Whatever your reason for downsizing, it can be the trickiest move to make. Even though it might feel like the natural ‘next step’, the reality is that you’re not going to be able to take all your furniture and possessions with you. So, as well as cutting back on living space, you have to work out which things you really want to keep and what won’t be making the move with you. There are plenty of house clearance companies and auctioneers who will be happy to value the items you’ve decided to part with; then you can choose what to include in the sale and what you’d like to sell separately. And make sure your agent has a full list of fixtures and fittings with prices, so they can negotiate with buyers and hopefully help clear one job off your moving list!

Whether you’re upsizing, adapting your current home or downsizing, we’re always very happy to chat through your options and lend our expertise to help you make the right move. Just give us a call on 01364 652652  or email us on katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and we’ll get right back to you.

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