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9 Tips to Improve Your Chelmsford Home for Under £100

Renovations

Overhauling your Chelmsford property can be a lengthy and costly task.

Limited time and finances often mean we renovate our homes at a slower pace than we would like, but of course, this also allows for careful consideration to go into each room.

Improving your home in Chelmsford doesn’t have to be expensive though. There are many budget tricks you can use to spruce up your home.

Here are 9 of our favourites with their approximate costs.

1. Tidy Up the Front Door

Whether preparing your house for sale or simply trying to smarten the family home up, a fresh front door is always a good idea.

You don’t need to invest in a whole new door. With some decent paint and a little elbow grease, you can completely transform your existing door. The front door is the first thing your guests or viewers will see, so a little TLC will go a long way. Cost: £30

2. Add a Coat of Fresh Paint

Although an obvious solution, repainting your walls can have a considerable impact on your property’s overall finish. It is not until you begin to paint, that you will realise quite how many scuffs and marks are covering the walls.

Painting is especially relevant when your home is on the market, with fine margins separating you and the local competition.  

When trying to sell your home, be sure to freshen up bathrooms and kitchens as a priority and stick to a neutral palette to attract the broadest range of viewers. Cost £50-£100

3. Convert a Dedicated Office Space

With so many of us now working from home, there has never been a better time to turn an unloved space into an office.

The initial transition to home working left many of us hunched over our kitchen tables. But, buyers are now expectant to see a dedicated workspace in every home they visit.

A fresh coat of paint and a proper office desk and chair can transform any space. While a brand new office set up can often amount to hundreds of pounds, instead, search second-hand stores and online marketplaces to stay within your budget. Cost: £100

4. Revamp Your Handles

Fitting new door handles throughout your house can give your property a cohesive and stunning finish.

The choices are endless, and you will be sure to find a style that matches your home’s personality. If you love the vintage look, check Facebook Marketplace and eBay, where you can find some hidden gems for significantly less.

Alternatively, revamp your drawers and cupboards by simply replacing the handles. Carrying this idea through to your kitchen can give your cabinets a whole new lease of life, transforming your kitchen at a fraction of the price. Cost: £20-£50

5. Tidy Up Your Garden

When selling your home in Chelmsford, the garden may be the first glimpse of your house that viewers get, leading to immediate make or break decisions.

There are a few simple tasks you should carry out in the garden that cost next to nothing.

Ensure any decking or patio areas are jet washed and free from weeds. Trim back any shrubs or conifers that border the property, and give the grass a good cut. This is particularly important in the spring, when the garden has been neglected over the winter months. Consider also planting some bright edging flowers that will add life and vibrancy to any garden. Cost £10

6. Add a Budget Stair Runner

New stair carpets are expensive.

If you are lucky enough to have decent floorboards lurking beneath a tired staircase carpet, pull it up and add an inexpensive runner to completely transform the space. Cost: £100

7. Consider Your Home Security

This might be as simple as having the locks on your front and back door changed to more secure options.

Alternatively, improving your home security may involve purchasing motion sensor powered lights for around the perimeter of your home. This can be a clever and inexpensive deterrent for those looking to take advantage and a plus for potential buyers looking at your home. Cost: £25 – £100

8. Replace Tired Curtains or Blinds

Providing you have had blinds installed before, the cost of new ones should not break the bank. Replacing your tired blinds with some fresh new ones can drastically brighten up the room. Sales are constantly on rotation, so keep an eye out to grab yourself a bargain. Cost: £50-£100

9. Replace Your Kitchen Backsplash

Protect your walls and inject a new lease of life into your kitchen with a budget backsplash in the form of stickers. These can simply be applied over your existing wall or tiles and are a fun way to add colour and pattern to a bland room. For something a little more permanent, a solid backsplash can be purchased. These are easy to install and look surprisingly luxurious, considering the relatively inexpensive nature of the product. Cost: £20-£50

Thinking of selling your home in Chelmsford? Call Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 or email us at sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk to arrange a free valuation.

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Moving Home in Chelmsford: Who Should I Notify?

moving home

Moving home can be the wonderful fresh start you need. A new place, new location, new neighbours and new friends we just haven’t met yet. You may have got all the financials in place, instructed the lawyers and got the removals company all booked in.

But wait! Who needs to know you are moving home in Chelmsford and why?

Here, we at Essex Homes And Lettings identify some of the people and organisations you should be notifying about your move. And don’t forget, we can help you create a list if you need a little bit of extra help.

1. Don’t Bank on Them Knowing!

Financial institutions, such as banks and building societies, should be informed as soon as you can. The same goes for pension companies or credit card providers. Firstly, their paperwork has to be correct, and they often use it as a security check – think of how you get a new bank card or PIN numbers. Secondly, imagine if your bank details and personal finance arrangements are sent to the wrong address and end up in the wrong hands.

Top Tip: Take time to write a list of organisations you bank with or have some sort of financial agreement with. Do this when you’re moving home and try to keep it updated as it’ll save you time in the future.

2. Motoring Into the Future

Driving off to a new home? Make sure the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency are kept informed once you’ve moved. They need to have the correct address for you and your licence, and for your car.

Top Tip: The DVLA is one of many government organisations, such as HMRC, who will need to know your new address. Think about other governmental organisations who have info about you and make sure they all know the changes.

3. Power to the Utility Providers

You will have been paying for your gas, water and electricity bills, and it might be that when you move, you’ll have new suppliers. Make sure your old suppliers have updated details for the property you have moved out of – after all, you do not want to be paying someone else’s bills. Remember to update your TV licence and TV companies too.

Top Tip: Don’t forget to take your meter readings when you move so that you are billed for what you have used, and no more.

4. A Health Checklist

Whether you have a medical condition or are as fit as a fiddle, you will have a doctor and the GP surgery where you are registered must have your updated details on file. This goes for the dentist too, and the optician, and any other medical services provider to whom you are registered.

GPs often use addresses for identification purposes too, so it’s a security requirement as well.

Top Tip: Communicate with your medical providers as soon as you can. You don’t want important letters going to the wrong address.

5. Education and Employment Matters

These two areas are aligned as education and employment are often linked. It’s a good idea to deal with them together, so you don’t forget. Schools, nurseries, training providers, and employers all need up to date information as they will all need a record and be able to communicate with you via letter if they need to.

Top Tip: Group your thinking together. There’s less chance of missing something then.

6. Council Tax

Love it or hate it, we all have to pay council tax on the property in which we live. Worked out by several factors and set by the local council, it’s vital that you pay what you need to pay. If you don’t let the council know you’ve moved, you might get a notice to pay for a property that is no longer yours.

Top Tip: There are various ways to contact your local council with your new details, from phone to live chat to email. Whichever method you choose, it a priority to let them know.

You might also want to let family and friends know – or you might not if you’re having a fresh start!

We hope this gives you a clearer idea of who you need to notify! Still looking for the perfect property in Chelmsford? Call our team on01245398466 or email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk, and we’ll get the conversation started.

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How to Keep a House Chain Progressing Smoothly

House chain

Buying and selling a property in Chelmsford can be a super stressful time, and our responsibility is of course to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.

Perhaps you’re ready to move, but the people buying your house need their buyers to get up to speed. And those buyers also need their buyers to press the pedal down on the transaction!

Before you know it, suddenly you’re getting into a long old property chain, and we know that sometimes chains can break, taking with them your hopes of a move into a dream property.

This can be absolutely heartbreaking. Consumer body Which? surveyed 2,000 homemovers, and discovered “around three in 10 (28%) people have experienced a property purchase falling through”.

There are several reasons why a property chain breaks. But, the good news is, you can do something about it and play your part in making sure the chain keeps moving.

So, here are our top seven tips on how to keep your house chain moving. 

1. Choose a Chain-Free Buyer

This sounds so simple, doesn’t it? You may get a few offers on your house, but only one may not be part of a chain. This means they don’t need to rely on something else happening in order to move. So, if you are lucky enough to get two or three people offering on your property (and the price is right), choose the one who you think will cause the least trouble!

Top Tip: This is where you can rely on us, your trusted estate agent in Chelmsford to do our job and find out more about your potential buyers.

2. Set Goals

When you are right at the beginning of the process with a potential buyer, make sure you stipulate, through your estate agent, your preferred timescales. Things may not always stick to plan, but if you are all aware of a date you are working towards, it will focus minds.

Top Tip: Be realistic. You may want your move to progress at lightning speed, but selling your home can be a complex process and take so much longer than you anticipate.

3. Be Prepared

When you’re thinking about property chains, it’s easy to think about what all the other parties are doing, and focus on how they can stop your chain from breaking. But don’t forget, you’re part of the chain too, so don’t be the one who holds things up! Make sure your paperwork is in order, finances organised and mortgage offers are on the table.

Top Tip: Make sure your paperwork is to hand to refer to, whether you’re at home or in the office. If a query arises there won’t be a delay in you responding. 

4. Respond Well

Keeping the chain moving takes good communication from all parties, and that includes you. Your conveyancer may need information quickly or an email response before close of business on a particular day. Be accessible, and make sure everyone has the correct contact details for you.

Top Tip: Respond to any queries promptly to avoid delays in clarification. If you need to seek out information that you don’t have to hand, don’t put it off!

5. Use Experienced Professionals

You’re selling your house – probably your biggest asset – so you should ensure that you have professionals doing the job for you. Choose your estate agent, not necessarily on their fees, but on their experience and ability to keep things moving. You want them to be progressing and chasing where necessary, and making the calls and sending the emails.

Top Tip: Draw up your shortlist of reputable, local estate agents and speak with each of them. You need a good relatiosnhip with your agent so making sure you are on the same wave-length and you get a good vibe is important. Remember, how they act with you is also how they will act with potential buyers!

6. Think Outside the Chain

If there’s a problem with the house chain further up, consider selling your property and renting somewhere to live until the right property comes up for you rather than risk losing your own buyer. This might not work, of course, if you’ve got your heart set on somewhere in particular, but it could be an option.

Top Tip: Renting doesn’t have to be forever. You can usually enter into a short-term tenancy agreement which will give you time to look around and find somewhere new to call your own home.

7. Be Agile

Should a property chain break, and you lose the property you were going to buy, make sure you can move quickly when it comes to other alternative properties. Is it possible for the chain to discuss the issues and come to an agreement, perhaps to negotiate on prices? 

Top Tip: If you’re ready for all eventualities, then a broken chain may not lead to your heart breaking too. It really doesn’t have to be a dead-end.

If you want expert help on buying and selling or any advice regarding being in a property chain, then simply get in touch with us, Essex Homes And Lettings. Call us on 01245398466 or email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

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7 Home Selling Myths…Busted!

Myths

When it comes to selling your home in Chelmsford, there’s a lot of overwhelming information and old wives tales out there, and it can sometimes be difficult separating the fact from the fiction.

Advice often comes from well-meaning friends or family members who are just trying to be helpful, but in reality, they are not property experts!

Our team at Essex Homes And Lettings are all experienced property professionals with many years of experience between us. So, to ensure you are in possession of the correct information, here are seven home selling myths you’re likely to hear and why they’re not to be believed.

1. Overpricing Your Home Will Lead to Better Offers

Unfortunately, many sellers believe that by overpricing their house to start with, it leaves more room for negotiation and ultimately a better offer. That’s why we often see sellers marketing their properties with the agent who has simply come in with the highest valuation! 

However, this is entirely false.

When buyers are looking at properties, they’ll search within their price range. If your property price has been inflated, then it’s going to be competing against other properties that appear to be far better value for money, rather than sitting in the price bracket it should be in! This potentially means it will sit on the market for longer.

Buyers whose budget doesn’t stretch to the higher price range will miss out on seeing your property altogether as they’re not even looking in that price bracket.

You’ll attract more offers and sell your property more quickly if it’s been priced fairly. It gives it a chance to stand out among other properties in its price range, rather than being a poor relation in the higher price category. And you’re more likely to see interested parties competing upwards rather than knocking you down.

2. Getting an Immediate Offer Means it’s Priced Too Low

If you’ve resisted the urge to overprice your home and an offer comes in straight away, it’s tempting to think that you’ve missed a trick by not marketing it at a higher price. After all, if you had done, then you’d be a few thousand pounds better off surely.

Again, this is false. Most buyers scour the market for a couple of months, waiting for the perfect property to come up, and there’s a good chance that they’ve jumped in immediately to avoid missing out.

Remember too that if you’d overpriced it, there’s a chance they wouldn’t have found it in the first place.

3. A Better Offer Will Come Along if You Wait

This is another all too familiar trap that sellers fall into. After all, if you’ve had an offer on the very same day your home has gone on sale, then surely there’s likely to be a whole queue of buyers lining up for it?

No, not necessarily. You might just have been lucky enough to have the right buyer come along at the right time. If you receive a fair offer, then it’s usually best to accept it whether your property has been on the market for hours, days , weeks or months.

4. The Estate Agent With the Lowest Commission is the Best Option

While you’ll naturally want to earn as much money from your property sale as possible, it doesn’t mean you should sign a contract with the estate agent who offers the cheapest fees.

Selling a property can be a very stressful process. A good estate agent will help make it run as smoothly as possible while communicating effectively and providing outstanding service, so it’s crucial you weigh up what’s included in their fee.

Although it’s tempting to cut costs as much as possible in the short term, you might come to regret it over the longer term, especially if your property isn’t selling.

5. Major Renovations Will Offer the Biggest Return on Investment

Many homeowners are under the impression that if they spend a few thousand pounds on a conservatory, a swimming pool or a landscaped garden, they’ll just be able to add the cost of it to the house when they come to sell.

Sadly, it’s not quite as simple as this. Not all buyers will want to maintain a pool or require the space that a conservatory ultimately takes away from their garden, for example. Many buyers prefer to start with a blank canvas too, so they can add their own renovations.

That’s not to say that a major renovation is a bad idea, but if you’re only doing it to see a return when you come to sell, then it might be worth considering the type of renovation or extension that will bring you the best returns.

6. It’s Not Worth Fixing the House up at all

If you’ve decided to sell your property, it’s understandable that you won’t be thinking about spending even more money on it. After all, it won’t be you seeing the benefits long-term.

This logic is flawed, though, and it could cost you when it comes to getting the full asking price. A property that’s well maintained and looked after is far more appealing to buyers. Fixing broken fences and gates, tidying the garden, replacing broken windows or doors and giving any tired rooms a fresh lick of paint will go a long way towards selling your property for its true value.

7. Online Valuations are 100% Accurate

Online valuations are a fantastic tool and we are most definitely in favour! However, a quick online valuation of your property should be used as a guide. Online tools don’t always take into account the condition of a property or the extra value you may have added. They’re simply using other similar sized and types of properties in your area as a guideline.

The best way to get your property valued is always to contact an experienced, local estate agent who will come and value your property in person.

Essex Homes And Lettings are your local property experts for the Chelmsford area. Call us on 01245398466 or email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

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3 Tips for Staging Your Chelmsford Home on a Budget

home staging

When the time comes to sell your home in Chelmsford, you want to do everything you can to make it look appealing to potential buyers. Fixing up any aspects of your home that needs maintenance is one way to go, as is renovating or modernising some rooms to increase your home’s resale value, but if you have already finished these or aren’t planning on making any major renovations before the sale, how do you attract buyers? 

Here at Essex Homes And Lettings we know that staging your home is a crucial element to the home selling process. It allows people to imagine their lives in their potential new home and gives them a chance to see what it would be like if they lived there themselves. Homes that aren’t staged have less chance of being sold quickly because it’s hard to imagine how you would fit into a new home when there’s no furniture and you have to picture it all in your head. It helps improve your online property listing as well as helping with open house events. Not only that, but it also can increase your sale price by an average of one to five percent if you implement home staging tips before putting your home up on the market. 

Home staging can be pricey if you hire a professional and rent furniture to make it look picture-perfect but don’t give up on the idea if you don’t have a big budget to work with. You can easily stage your home with a low budget. Whatever you do, try not to leave your home completely empty. 

So, how can you make your home look appealing to buyers without spending a small fortune? Here are three tips for staging your home on a minimal budget. 

1. Tidy up everything

The first step is to clean like mad, both the inside of your home and the outside. The exterior of your home matters as well because it’s likely the first impression most people will get when they see your property either online or from the street. You want to have good kerb appeal to draw people inside to see more, so your first task is to straighten up your garden. Keep your grass cut, remove any debris like fallen branches and leaves, and make sure your hedges are trimmed and maintained. If you want to improve it further, plant some flowers or display hanging baskets where you can. 

Now for the interior of your home. Staged homes look incredibly neat and tidy, free of clutter and junk. Everything is carefully placed and organised. Start by packing up some of your belongings in each room – roughly 30 percent of each room should be packed up before putting your home on the market. This will make every room in your home feel bigger. Once you’ve removed some of your things, you should do a walk-through and de-clutter as much as you can. The tip here is to get rid of it, not stash it somewhere you think is hidden. Potential buyers will be opening cupboards to see how much space they have, so keep that in mind (and remember to clean out and organise your wardrobes too!). Countertops and bookshelves should be sparse except for a few purposeful decorative items. Also, it’s important to neutralise your home in terms of taste and personal belongings. Think of the buyer: what would they want to see? Take down some family photos to make it easier for buyers to picture themselves living there. 

Once this has all been done, it’s time to go from room to room and give everything a good deep clean, making sure to take extra care in the bathrooms and kitchen. Open windows for some fresh air (avoid spraying air fresheners in case people have sensitivities to the scents or chemicals) and try to vacuum before all viewings or open house events. 

2. Maximise your space

Staging your home with your existing furniture is easy when you consider making it function less like a home that serves your needs, and more like a show home. Focus your efforts on the rooms people spend the most amount of time in, like the living room, master bedroom and kitchen, and spend extra time staging rooms that are smaller so you can quell potential buyers’ fears of not having enough space for their furniture. Move your furniture around so there’s an obvious social space and still room for foot traffic. Potential buyers will want to walk around and check out the space, but it’s also good to help them imagine living in a space where they can easily have conversations and entertain friends and family. 

3. Re-invent your space with the right decor

The trick to staging your home on a minimal budget is to use items you already have to re-create your space to make it feel cosy and homely, as well as stylish and attractive. Every room should be inviting and warm, so consider some tips like placing plants near features you want to draw the eye to – like a fireplace or entertainment unit – strategically hanging mirrors to make the room look bigger and brighter, and using vases to add a pop of colour where needed.

For more advice on selling your home and to arrange a free valuation, contact our professional team of experts at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466.

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Tough new fire regulations for HMOs and multi-tenancy buildings

fire safety

Landlords and managing agents of HMOs could face unlimited fines following new measures being brought in to strengthen fire safety, the Home Office has announced.

Exact details are awaited but the new measures, announced as part of the government’s response to the Fire Safety Consultation, will apply to HMOs and other multi-tenancy premises only.

They will come into force as part of the legislation in the Building Safety Bill – probably some time in 2022.

The measures will amend the Fire Safety Order and will include a requirement for fire risk assessments to be recorded for each building and improve how fire safety information is handed over throughout the lifetime of a building.

Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh says: “Everyone should be safe in the buildings where they live, stay or work.

“Our new measures will improve fire safety and help save lives, but will also take firm action against those who fail in their duty to keep people safe.”

And Roy Wilsher, National Fire Chiefs Council Chair, adds: “We want to see safer buildings for residents and are committed to working constructively with the Home Office and other partners on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations and other key fire safety policy areas.”

The government says the new measures will:

– improve the quality of fire risk assessments and competence of those who complete them;

– ensure vital fire safety information is preserved over the lifespan of all regulated buildings;

– improve cooperation and coordination amongst people responsible for fire safety and making it easier to identify who they are;

– strengthen enforcement action, with anyone impersonating or obstructing a fire inspector facing unlimited fines;

– strengthen guidance issued under the Fire Safety Order so that failure to follow it may be considered in court proceedings as evidence of a breach or of compliance;

– improve the engagement between Building Control Bodies and Fire Authorities in reviewing plans for building work;

– require all new flats above 11 metres tall to install premises information boxes.

Original Article from Letting Agent Today 18/03/2021

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How to get on the Property Ladder in Chelmsford

Property ladder

Taking your first step onto the property ladder can seem like a daunting prospect, especially considering that a typical deposit is usually between 10% and 20% of a property’s value.

We often get asked by first-time buyers: “How do I get on the property ladder” and we always tell them that it is achievable with some patience, hard work and dedication to make it a reality. 

If you are a first time buyer, our useful tips on how to get on the property ladder could help you make your dreams a reality sooner than you think!

  • Start Saving Early

The sooner you start saving, the sooner you’ll be able to get your foot on the ladder. And not only that, but the earlier you start saving, the more it will become a habit, meaning you’re less likely to take lump sums out of your account for impulse purchases.

A great way to maintain consistent savings is to set up a direct debit from your bank account to your savings account every month. Try to achieve a regular transfer of a specific amount each month on payday. That way, you won’t miss the money each month as you stash it away!

  • Stay With Your Parents if you can

It can be tempting to move out and be independent at the very first opportunity, and of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

However, if you’re serious about owning your own property, then forking out at least a few hundred pounds a month on rent is not the best idea. Those monthly payments could instead add up to a substantial deposit over time.

So if you’re still living at home then don’t be in too much of a hurry to leave, as staying with Mum and Dad could help you buy your own place much quicker.

  • Make Sacrifices and Prioritise

Be sensible about how you spend your money. If buying a property is your focus, then you may need to make a few small sacrifices to reach your goal.

It could just be missing the odd night out, or not buying an expensive pair of trainers you’ve got your eye on. Any chance to save money is an opportunity to get a little closer to the first rung of the property ladder, so think twice before making any impulse purchases.

  • Be Realistic and Flexible

It’s unlikely that your first property will be your dream home, or your forever home, and the location might not be your first choice either. However, if you’re serious about buying a property, there needs to be some room for compromise.

It might be that you choose a smaller property, for example, a one bed flat instead of two, or you find an ideal sized property but with a slightly longer commute than you’d like.

When it comes to your first property, the most important thing is just getting on the ladder.

  • Speak to a Mortgage Advisor Before you View any Properties

When you’re in a position to put down a deposit, arrange meetings with a couple of mortgage advisors to find out exactly how much you can borrow.

Mortgage calculators on banking websites aren’t always an accurate indicator, and you may be able to borrow slightly more or less than you think. Therefore, it’s essential to know exactly what budget you have to work with so that you don’t view the perfect property, only to find that it’s out of your reach.

  • Save Your Money Wisely

Keeping your savings in the right place can make a big difference to the time it takes to achieve your deposit.

It’s best not to keep your savings in your current account. Not only will you gain little or no interest, but you’ll be far more likely to dip into them when you fancy a treat.

Instead, consider opening a Lifetime ISA. These accounts allow you to earn a 25% annual bonus from the government up to a maximum of £1000.

So for every £1000 you save, you’ll receive a £250 top up until you reach the maximum savings amount of £4000 per year.

  • Look into all Your Options

There are many different initiatives available to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder, and while some of them might not seem ideal solutions, they can help you get there more quickly.

Help to Buy is one example of a government-backed scheme that allows you to buy a property with just a 5% deposit, with the government lending you 20% interest free for five years.

Alternatively, you could look into shared ownership. This allows you to own a percentage of the property while paying rent on the other part.

Again, it’s worth speaking to a mortgage advisor first, who will go through all the options with you.

Essex Homes And Lettings are your local property experts for the Chelmsford area. We can also recommend mortgage experts to help you with your finances.

Call us on 01245398466 or email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

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7 Must Ask Questions When Viewing a Property for Sale in Chelmsford

Ask questions

Buying a house in Chelmsford is likely to be the most expensive purchase you will ever make. Yet the decision to make an offer on something worth hundreds of thousands of pounds is made, on average, in just 25 minutes. Some people can spend longer than that deciding whether to purchase a £49 pair of shoes!

So, as the buying decision is usually made with such speed, it’s vital that when viewing a property you ask your estate agent as many questions as possible in order to make an informed decision and avoid the dreaded “I wish I’d asked…..” scenario.

Whilst a property may indeed have the ‘wow factor’, sweeping you off your feet as you cross the threshold, don’t be blinkered by the aesthetics of a property. Instead delve deeper and consider asking the following questions:

How long has the property been on the market?

If the property has been for sale for more than three or four months, it’s worth investigating why. The average time it takes to sell a property in the UK is usually around 12 weeks, however there is no ‘one size fits all’ timescale as there are so many factors involved. This includes price, location, economy and so on. That said, it could be an issue relating to the property itself that other potential buyers have spotted, and you have not, so it is always worth asking.

How much interest has there been in the property?

If you’re already getting feel good vibes about a property as you pull up on the driveway, its likely other viewers have felt the same! Ask how many viewings have taken place and if any offers have already been made – your estate agent can advise you but cannot disclose the actual offer amounts. This will give you an indication of its popularity.

How long have the current owners lived in the property?

If the owners have only lived in the property for a short period of time, it’s vital to discover why. There could be a perfectly legitimate reason such as an unexpected job move or family reasons, but asking the question gives you a chance to suss out any other potential issues such as neighbour disputes (which sellers are legally obliged to divulge) or problems with the house or land itself.

What is Chelmsford like?

You may already be familiar with the area or have carried out some independent research, but if not, aim to ask pertinent questions about local schools, accessibility to facilities such as doctors, hospitals, vets and supermarkets. You can even ask your estate agent if they would be happy to live in the area. What’s important is you bear in mind that whilst you can easily renovate a property – you cannot pick it up and move it to a new location!

What is the water pressure like?

Is it rude to turn on the taps and the shower when you’re viewing a property? Opinions vary but imagine waking up after the first night in your new home and discovering that your beautiful shiny shower looks great but barely produces even a trickle of the wet stuff! As you view a property, check the water pressure and plumbing. It may appear to be a trivial thing and may even not be a deal breaker for you, but it’s good to know exactly what you’re getting before you make an offer.

What are the running costs of the property?

Think about council tax, gas and electricity bills, water rates and other utilities as these can all add up. Ideally, it’s best to get an exact cost from the vendor so you can ensure your monthly budget fits. And, on the topic of utilities, you may also like to ask about broadband speeds in the area, particularly if you work from home and rely on a strong internet connection.

When are the vendors planning to move?

In other words, have the sellers found their next property? If so, how far through the buying process are they? No-one wants to be in a long chain as this can create complications and delays, and of course the ideal situation is that the property is chain-free although this is not always possible. Knowing that the sellers are organised and keen to move quickly can reassure you that the sale will be efficient!

The Final Checks

Love the sun? Check which way the property faces! If there is a beautiful terrace but it faces due North, then there won’t be too many opportunities to soak up any golden rays!

Want to make improvements or renovate? If it’s an old property check whether it’s listed or in a conservation area as restrictions may apply.

Keep your nose trained! Fresh paint could mean the sellers are covering cracks or damp – or they may genuinely want the property to look it’s best!

Remember, most properties are purchased through a mixture of head and heart, so stay objective!

For more advice when buying a property in Chelmsford speak with a member of the Essex Homes And Lettings team on 01245398466 today!

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The Conveyancing Process Explained – A Step by Step Guide for Home Sellers in Chelmsford

home selling

Selling a property can be a very confusing and lengthy process but having a good solicitor or conveyancer will help it to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Here is an easy step by step guide to the whole conveyancing process.

Find a Conveyancer

The conveyancing process formally starts when you’ve accepted an offer on the property.

However, it’s recommended that you have a conveyancer in place before accepting an offer so that they can get the process started immediately and avoid delays.

When it comes to choosing a conveyancer, speak to two or three and get some quotes before deciding who to go with. Speak with our team at Essex Homes And Lettings as we will be able to recommend too. Alternatively, if you have friends or family who have recently moved, find out who they used and if they were happy with them.

Don’t just go for the cheapest option, it could cause major issues further down the line if they cut corners!

Sign the Conveyancer’s Letter of Engagement and Verify Your Identity

Once you’ve chosen a conveyancer and discussed the fees involved, you’ll need to sign their letter of engagement. It’s only at this point that you commit to using their services. You will also need to verify your identity and address in the form of a passport or driving licence and supply a mortgage statement or utility bill for example.

Complete Questionnaires

Your conveyancer will send you some forms to complete, including a Property Information form and a Fittings & Contents form.

It’s vital that you complete these honestly, as failure to do so could lead to delays later in the process.

The Property Information form is where you tell the buyer about any changes that have been made to the property, such as extensions, solar panels or a loft conversion. You’ll also need to provide any supporting documents you have, so if your double glazing is still under warranty or you have paperwork to show that your boiler has been serviced in the last 12 months, you will need to provide copies.

When it comes to fittings and contents, you don’t need to decide what you’re leaving behind at this point, you can confirm later or leave it open to negotiation. Your conveyancer will be able to advise how to complete the form if you get stuck.

Speak to Your Mortgage Provider

Assuming that you have an outstanding mortgage on your property, you will need to contact your mortgage lender and inform them that you’re in the process of selling. They’ll be able to advise you about paying off your outstanding balance when the sale goes through, or porting your mortgage, which essentially means transferring it to your new property.

Draft Contracts

When your conveyancer has received your completed forms, they’ll draw up a draft contract to send to the buyer’s conveyancer.

The contract will outline which fixtures and fittings are to be included, along with copies of all the supporting documents you’ve provided.

It will also give a date for completion, which is typically around two to four weeks after the exchange of contracts.

The draft contract stage is usually the point where most of the negotiations take place, including the final price of the property.

It’s also at this stage where you’ll need to allow for the buyers to have a surveyor come in and inspect the property. Depending on the answers you’ve given in the questionnaire the buyer may also want other professionals to come in and carry out inspections, such as a plumber or electrician.

They may also request that you pay for the costs of any further inspections or repairs, but you will be under no obligation to agree to this. However, it’s at this point that a buyer may try to renegotiate on the final price of the property to take the extra costs into account.

Exchange of Contracts

Once the buyer is satisfied with the condition of your property and a final agreement has been reached on the price, including all fixtures and fittings, your conveyancer will exchange contracts with the buyer’s conveyancer.

Between Exchange and Completion

At this point both you and the buyer are fully committed to the sale of the property. You’ll receive the buyer’s deposit and if either party pulls out, they’ll open themselves up to legal action.

Completion

This is the day on which you hand over the keys to your property. The completion date is usually around two to four weeks after the date of exchange, but you can ask for this to be extended, or in some cases, shortened.

The date of completion is also the date on which you’ll receive the outstanding balance for the property from the buyer.

If you are planning on selling in the Chelmsford area soon, why not telephone us on 01245398466. We’ll be happy to advise you and help with your conveyancing needs.

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Surge in online property searches following stamp duty holiday and 5% deposits announcement

houses

Rightmove saw an immediate spike in activity on Budget Day following the chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement of an extension and tapered ending to the stamp duty holiday and the introduction of 5% deposits, as the portal recorded its busiest day ever.

Rightmove says that visits to its website on Wednesday 3rd March surpassed 9 million for the first time, overtaking the previous record of just over 8.5 million visits recorded last week.

In total, home-hunters spent a record 71 million minutes on the Rightmove website.

There was a significant increase in the number of potential purchasers contacting estate agents on Wednesday, up 82% on the same day last year.

Currently the average time for a seller to find a buyer is 65 days nationally, and Rightmove estimates that it is currently taking a further 126 days to go through the legal process to completion.

Based on this, sellers should be looking to come to market by Tuesday 23rd March if they want to make sure their buyers can make use of the tapering end to the stamp duty holiday by the end of September, according to the portal.

In some areas of the north 99% of properties are up for sale for £250,000 or less, compared to just 5% of properties in London available for £250,000 or less.

Rightmove’s director of property data Tim Bannister said: “It’s clear from our record-breaking traffic numbers that the Spring Budget has introduced buyers into the market who were not perhaps able to consider moving until now or who were waiting to hear what was going to happen to stamp duty.

“The stamp duty holiday extension, coupled with the introduction of 5% deposits, has given many people the certainty they have been looking for to press ahead with their home-moving plans. We expect this to help spring market activity and could encourage more sellers to come to market especially in the areas where property prices are lower.

“Many people who may have been delaying a move for a whole multitude of reasons now have the impetus and encouragement to take their next life step – whether it’s getting a foot on the property ladder as a first-time buyer or trading up for more space and a bigger garden.”

Areas in England where there are at least 99% of properties up for sale at £250,000 or less

LocationAreaAvg asking price% of properties up for sale for £250,000 or less
FazakerleyMerseyside£124,233100%
WalkerNewcastle upon Tyne£115,940100%
WaltonMerseyside£109,700100%
KimberworthSouth Yorkshire£137,54099%
EvertonMerseyside£107,26399%
BentleySouth Yorkshire£114,23399%
BurslemStaffordshire£102,41799%
NethertonMerseyside£121,51699%
GortonGreater Manchester£144,57199%
BootleMerseyside£106,09199%
LitherlandMerseyside£129,08299%
BeestonWest Yorkshire£119,81599%

Original Article from Property Industry Eye 05/03/2021