Posted on

The conveyancing industry at breaking point?

conveyancing

When Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered the 2021 Spring Budget on 3 March, the property sector listened with bated breath. We were eager to find out what approach the Government would take: would it continue with temporary relief measures to support homebuyers amid the pandemic? Or would it choose to bring these policies to an end in order to focus on tackling public debt?

Of course, the Chancellor opted for the former. Most notably, Mr Sunak announced that the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday would be extended until 30 June. This means that for three more months, homebuyers are able to take advantage of the tax relief if purchasing real estate in England or Northern Ireland.

Introduced in July 2020, the stamp duty holiday has certainly kicked the property market back into gear, and the extension has fuelled activity further. According to MoneySuperMarket, first-time buyer enquiries increased by 472% in the first week of March when compared to the first week of February. Rightmove also received over 9 million site visits on the day the extension was announced – the highest volume of daily traffic recorded.

This is welcoming news for the Government. After all, the aim of the holiday was to ensure the market was buoyant and there was a boom in transactional activity, which should improve the health of the wider economy as the country transitions out of lockdown. The big challenge now, however, is ensuring that as many buyers as possible can actually complete on their transactions before the holiday deadline.

There is understandably a great of focus at the moment on the delays many buyers are facing when applying for mortgages. However, we should not overlook the strain being felt by those involved elsewhere in the property transaction process – most notably, conveyancing.

Under pressure

In the early months of 2021, it was clear conveyancers were under significant pressure to complete as many property transactions as possible prior to the original SDLT holiday deadline on 31 March. The extension provided some relief, but in reality, this has only delayed the inevitable bottleneck of sales that conveyancers will have to manage prior to end of June.

The effects are already on display. An in-depth analysis of public data by GetAgent.co.uk revealed that the total time to sell a property – from the initial listing to the completion of the sale as recorded by the Land Registry – is now sitting at an average of 295 days. It also noted that while sales are being agreed to, the delays arise at the closing stages of the transaction when the necessary legal work needs to be completed. Suddenly, a three-month extension of the holiday does not seem that long.

As with any line of work, the introduction of high demand and tight deadlines can drastically increase the chances of human error. What’s more, given the number of parties involved in a transaction, delays at one stage of the buying process can lead to frustrations and mounting pressure on other stakeholders. The fallout is significant – in the worst-case scenario, a buyer could ultimately miss out on tax savings of up to £15,000 if their purchase is not completed by the end of the SDLT holiday.

From a policy standpoint, it would make sense to extend the SDLT further or initiate policy so that sales agreed to prior to the 30 June will still qualify for the tax relief, even if the sale is not finalised until after this date. Unfortunately, this does not look like it will be the case.

For conveyancers, then, they must look elsewhere for a solution to the problem. Specifically, they must openly embrace technology to ensure they can streamline existing processes and communicate transparently and effectively with all parties involved in the transaction. By doing so, they will also reduce the chances of human error or unforeseen complications. Fortunately, the adoption of technology by conveyancing firms is not a new phenomenon; it is a trend that had already taken hold prior to the pandemic but has since been accelerated due to Covid-19.

Embracing technology at a time of need

As with large sections of the property industry, conveyancing firms have slowly been coming to realise the benefits of technology in delivering a superior service or achieving efficiency gains. The initial resistance to technology by conveyancing firms was not a stance taken by choice. Rather, I believe it was more of a consequence of these firms simply not having the knowledge.

Yet the pandemic, in preventing human interactions and travel, has driven home the value of technology. For example, eSignatures and automated communication can shave days off a transaction. Client onboarding, which typically takes around two weeks, can now be completed in as little as 40 minutes by embracing digital solutions. 

Taking all this into account, technological innovations like these are permanently transforming how conveyancers function. And the timing couldn’t be better, with the SDLT holiday naturally making it near impossible for conveyancers to meet demand if relying on outdated practices.

All that being said, I call for the property sector to be understanding of the pressures faced by one another at the moment. Every organisation is doing what it can to ensure transactions are completed before the deadline, even with the obstacles posed by the pandemic. That’s why InfoTrack is backing the industry’s ‘call for kindness campaign’, which asks solicitors and conveyancers to be mindful of their peers. We live in extraordinary times, and these coming months are set to be a busy period for everyone.

Overall, buyers and sellers are seeing first-hand just how technology can be used to simplify all parts of their lives. Naturally, these expectations are spilling over into the property and finance sectors. That’s why it is safe to assume that we will be seeing significant investment into technology beyond the SDLT holiday period by conveyancers. Doing so will ultimately serve to benefit the property sector as a whole.

Original Article from Financial Reporter 06/04/2021

Posted on

The factors that are to blame for conveyancing delays

delays

It has been a year since the country entered its first lockdown, a milestone none of us could have envisaged back then. It also marks what was the start of one of the most tumultuous years the property market has ever witnessed.

From the initial drought that the first lockdown brought, to the flooding of the market in July post-lockdown, all aspects of the industry whether they be estate agents, conveyancers, or lenders have had to demonstrate flexibility.

Since the start of the first lockdown, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers has been regularly surveying our regulated community to see how the firms we regulate are managing and adapting through this period. It has also provided snapshots of how the wider market has been performing. In November we provided an overview of how the industry had fared over the previous eight months. Now, a full year on, what are the continuing effects of the pandemic?

As we are all very aware, the much-vaunted Stamp Duty holiday had the desired effect of boosting the property market, to the brink of collapse if you’d believe all the media hype around it. While it is true that that market did quickly become flooded overnight, our experience of speaking to our firms, in November, showed that less than half (46%) told us that they had to turn work away.

More recently, the backlog of transactions, in part, prompted the Chancellor to extend the holiday until September, a move welcomed by the industry. In November, 78% of our firms were concerned about a steep drop off in work come the end of March and said they would welcome a phased exit from the SDLT holiday. So, has this phased exit helped eased case-loads?

In our latest survey, which ran in February, just 41% of firms said that high caseloads are causing matters to take longer than usual. In fact, just over three quarters (76%) of our firms told us that it is delays arising from the impact of the pandemic on third parties such as local authorities and HM Land Registry that are causing delays. While 65% of firms told us that lender response times are also contributing to delays.

22% of firms surveyed said their current levels of work are at 100-125% of the level in February 2020, with 17% of firms saying work levels were at more than 126% of the February 2020 levels. These increases appear modest. We always encourage firms to be mindful of the levels of work they take on, to ensure that it isn’t more that they can manage, and the data seems to be bearing this out. We hope that the tapering effect of the SDLT extension will also allow firms to more effectively manage their workloads, and reduce risk.

In November when we spoke to firms about their financial situation, 42% had used the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with the highest proportion being those with a turnover of £1-3m and £3-5m where 67% and 75% respectively had utilised the financial aid. When we spoke to the same firms again recently, 61% said their debt levels were now unchanged from this time last year, 23% said their debt levels are currently higher, but 10% said they were actually lower.

Seemingly, stronger financial positions alongside a more gradual withdrawal of the SDLT holiday have contributed to an uptick in industry sentiment. A very heartening 93% of our firms told us that they feel very or quite confident now about the future. This is certainly good news, and really quite telling. This is an industry that has had to adapt very quickly and demonstrate flexibility and innovation in order to not just survive but thrive.

In November, we said that the industry has much to be proud of in its handling of the crisis to date, a statement we stand by as estate agents, conveyancers and lenders alike have shown resilience in their navigation of the crisis to date.

The survey ran from 14 to 28 February and asked conveyancers about their work in the week ending Friday, 5th February. 150 firms participated.

Stephen Ward, is Director of Strategy and External Relations at the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.

Original Article from Property Industry Eye 29/03/2021

Posted on

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.

Posted on

Allow agents to undertake conveyancing to make transactions ‘smoother’

Gazeal

More needs to be done to improve the “antiquated” conveyancing system in order to speed up property sales, according to Gazeal.

The PropTech supplier says that the additional pressure on the conveyancing process caused by the stamp duty holiday has highlighted its shortcomings and that evolution is needed as soon as possible.

Bryan Mansell, co-founder of Gazeal, believes that the conveyancing process could become a lot smoother if it followed a similar path to the lettings system where the agent stays with the tenant and landlord from start to finish.

At the moment, tenants find properties in the same way as buyers with a similar viewing, offer and negotiation process, but that is where the similarities end, according to Mansell.

He said: “During the homebuying process, once the offer has been accepted, buyers and sellers go off independently which is where many of the problems start.

“Of course, the lettings process will always be faster than sales as a title is not being transferred, but the way in which letting agents are plugged-in to the whole process has a range of benefits.

“If more of the conveyancing work could be carried out by agents, with them able to guide consumers through the process, transactions could become smoother and more efficient.

“In the lettings sector, there is an onus on agents to provide documentation and information to both sides of the transaction. This moves the process along and ensures everyone knows where they stand.

“There is plenty more to be done to improve the conveyancing process, but mirroring some of the most effective parts of the lettings system could be a good starting point.”

Mansell says that improving the knowledge of the conveyancing process among homemovers would also have a positive effect and help to minimise issues.

He continued: “With people moving home less frequently, their knowledge of the conveyancing process is understandably patchy. It would make a huge difference if movers had a better understanding of what they need to do when it comes to providing upfront information and instructing solicitors as quickly as possible.

“What’s more, the language and complexity of documents used by agents and conveyancers is counter-productive as it scares consumers and adds to their confusion.

“The other issue revolves around the price of conveyancing services. If consumers were better educated not to choose their representation solely on cost, this could prevent fall-throughs and reduce the chances of buyers and sellers running into problems before they’ve even started.”

With the stamp duty holiday deadline fast-approaching, Gazeal says the conveyancing system is likely to struggle in the coming weeks as the rush to complete transactions continues.

As well as the unusually high number of transactions, the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the resources of local authorities continues to cause delays.

Mansell added: “The conveyancing system has been struggling to cope with demand during an unprecedented period. However, even before the pandemic, there were still significant issues with fall-throughs, delays and confusion,” adds Mansell.

“Post-April, there is still likely to be a huge backlog of transactions in the pipeline and a high level of activity could be sustained thanks to an economic boost associated with a successful vaccine rollout.”

Original Article from Property Industry Eye 26/01/2021

Posted on

Stamp Duty rush causing mental health issues for conveyancers

Mental health

Solicitors’ leaders say members of their industry are suffering mental health problems as a result of the workload to meet the March 31 stamp duty deadline.

They are also urging house movers to have realistic expectations about whether they will or will not complete their transactions ahead of the looming deadline.

“Solicitors are working under pressure around the clock to help their clients move both in time for Christmas and ahead of the SDLT deadline” says Law Society of England president David Greene.

He insists solicitors are struggling to cope with the large volume of emails and telephone calls from clients and estate agents all of whom are understandably anxious to know the current position “but the time spent dealing with such enquiries prevents solicitors from progressing matters.”

Greene says the Law Society has lobbied the government twice on this issue in recent months, urging some kind of extension to cope with the workload.

“The next few weeks are going to be very busy with people wanting to complete their desired move before Christmas and our members know an even busier and more stressful time awaits them up to the end of March.

“Consumers must recognise that it is increasingly unlikely that if they sell or buy their house now, that they will complete by the March 31 deadline. The solicitor is often the last link in the move, and it is only when the solicitor has all the pieces, which they are dependent on obtaining from others, that buyers and sellers can move.”

Greene says the conveyancers are limited in their ability to act by the information they get from other sources, also under pressure – delays in the issuing of search results, delays in mortgage offers being issued, problems in the chain and with dependent transactions.

He adds that these are usually outside the control of the conveyancer.

“It is important that law firms prepare in advance for the avalanche of work that conveyancers are likely to face as the deadline approaches” urges Greene.

“Firms should manage the expectations of new clients hoping to move before the SDLT holiday ends and support must also be provided to solicitors whose mental health is under strain as they work long, unsociable hours.”

Original Article from Estate Agent Today 14/12/2020

Posted on

8 Essential Tips That Can Help You Sell Your Home in Chelmsford

Keen to sell your home in Chelmsford as quickly as possible? Worried that your Chelmsford property is still on the market? 

Although finding the right estate agent is a crucial part of getting your property sold, there are a few things you can do yourselves to help move the process along. Try these tips and it won’t be long before you have a few good offers pouring in and you can enjoy the search for your next new home! 

Read on for our eight essential tips to help you get your property off the market, quicker: 

1.Declutter 

Let’s start with the simplest (albeit slightly tedious) thing you can do to help stage your home for viewings. It’s time for a deep decluttering session! 

We’re not clutter-shaming. Getting rid of all the clutter allows interested buyers to see the full potential of the space during viewings. And not only will it make your property look more spacious, but it’ll also mean that your eventual packing becomes much easier. Bonus. 

2.Put some of your personal items away 

Although you don’t want your home not to look like a home, you also don’t want it to look too much like your home. You want potential buyers to walk in and be able to easily picture themselves living there. Removing family photos and more personal items can help make that possible. Viewers will be able to walk around and envision themselves and their own families living there.

3.Invest in professional property photography

As much as you may fancy yourself as a good iPhone photographer, now’s the time to turn to an expert. Trust us, a professional photoshoot will go a long way in helping your online property listings get a lot more interest. Many good estate agents are affiliated with a skilled property photographer and can offer this service. They’ll light up your home to make sure it’s showcased in the most visually appealing way. No filters necessary.

4.Ask your estate agent to create a video tour

While excellent photos are a ‘must have’ for property listings, few listings up until very recently also have a property video tour. These video tours can really help bring a property to life and are likely to capture more engaged leads. 

Ask your estate agent whether they offer this service to help your online listing stand out. If they don’t, see if you can find a professional videographer who’d be happy to create a short video of your property for a small budget. We wouldn’t recommend creating this yourself – but you should definitely share it on social media once created! 

5.‘Neutralise’ your furnishings

Another way to make it easier for viewers to picture themselves in your home is to create a more neutral setting. Turn to more muted colours for things such as your bedding and curtains. Remember, loud colours and bold prints may not necessarily be to everyone’s taste. 

An easy way to give your home more mass appeal is to strip any wallpaper and give it a fresh lick of neutrally coloured paint. Opt for lighter colours to reflect light and make your home look more spacious. 

6.Add some homely touches 

We know, we just asked you to remove personal items and make your home more neutral. But hear us out. 

Although many of the little decor changes mentioned above will help turn your property into a more neutral living space, you don’t want to strip it of all personality. Add little touches such as soft throws, scented candles and fresh flowers. These are safe options which can help your home look homely without alienating any potential buyers.

7.Use social media to share your property listing 

Although it’s your estate agent’s job to advertise your property, there’s no harm in you sharing the online listing. We recommend sharing the listing in your network. You never know, someone on your Facebook Friends list may always have had a crush on your home! 

8.Hire a great estate agent 

We’ve saved the most important tip for last. The estate agent you choose will make all the difference to how quickly your property gets sold. Although you may be tempted to go with the one with the lowest fee – don’t. Interview and research any estate agent thoroughly before you opt for them. Find out more about their experience and marketing strategy, and ask which property portals they will list your home on. 

Asking all the right questions when vetting estate agents will save you a lot of time (and money) and ensure your property is off the market before you know it!

For no-obligation advice on buying or selling your home in Chelmsford please contact our expert property team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466. We look forward to helping you.

Posted on

Stamp Duty Holiday: Everything You Need to Know

There has been much excitement here at Essex Homes And Lettings following the Chancellor’s announcement that stamp duty has been abolished for properties under £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland.

This is excellent news for the property market in Chelmsford, so we wanted to update you on everything you need to know if you are thinking of purchasing a property in Chelmsford.

What is Stamp Duty?

First up, let’s go back to basics for a moment with a concise explanation of stamp duty to bring you up to speed. When you’re buying a property, the term Stamp Duty will almost certainly come up and should be budgeted for in the early stages as you’re looking at your finances. So, historically, Stamp Duty has always been an important factor for homebuyers.

In England, Stamp Duty was actually introduced way back in the late 1600s, and it was initially a way for the monarchy at the time to raise much-needed funds to fill their war chests as they fought battles against France.

While we may not be at war with France, Stamp Duty still exists in the property sector, and it’s easy to see why, as it enables the Government to swell its coffers by billions of pounds each year.

So, whatever the history or the rights and wrongs of it, Stamp Duty has always been an important factor for home buyers.

Who Pays Stamp Duty?

The rules state that Stamp Duty must be paid when someone “buys a property or land over a certain price in England and Northern Ireland”. That “certain price” has previously been £125,000.

Rules on the Government website state that Stamp Duty is payable when you buy a freehold property, “buy or extend an existing freehold property”, buy through shared ownership, or if you are “transferred land or property in exchange for property”.

But, there have always been exceptions. For example, first-time buyers didn’t have to pay anything on the first £300,000 on the price of their new home. If the property price was above that, but below £500,000 they would have paid Stamp Duty of five per cent on the proportion above £300,000.

What’s changed?

Previously, you would have paid Stamp Duty on properties above £125,000, with the amount payable being calculated based on varying thresholds above that price.

Under the new rules announced by the Government, Stamp Duty has been abolished for properties under £500,000.

Above that figure, and you’ll pay five per cent for the next £425,000 and then 10 per cent on the next £575,000, then 12 per cent for the amount above £1.5m.

The good news is that these new rules apply to both first-time buyers and people who have owned property before.

The Chancellor himself predicts that on average, savings will be in the region of £4,500.

This move by the Government will, without doubt, get the housing market moving again, in that buyers will have more money in their pockets that they can potentially use as deposits.

Investors looking to buy a second home will also benefit because the Stamp Duty holiday will mean those who purchase through limited companies will be exempt, again, up to £500,000. But, the Government has chosen to retain the three per cent surcharge on these types of purchase.

When will the stamp duty holiday happen?

The new Stamp Duty rules apply to residential properties that are purchased between July 8, 2020 and March 31, 2021 (inclusive). Currently, the changes are not intended to be permanent as the Government has stated that after the Stamp Duty holiday period, previous rates will resume, although this of course could change.

How much will home buyers save?

Your savings could be in the thousands! If you’re buying a house in Chelmsford that is less than £500,000, then you will pay zero Stamp Duty.

Compare this to just a few days ago when you could have been hit with a Stamp Duty bill costing you thousands. For example, under the previous system, if you purchased a house worth £175,000, then you would have paid Stamp Duty of £1,000.

If the property was £400,000, then you would have expected to pay about £10,000 in Stamp Duty. Now, neither will be subject to Stamp Duty, so it’s happy days for you!

According to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, this will help nine out of 10 buyers.

The changes by the Government have been welcomed by the team here at Essex Homes And Lettings, because we know that it will potentially be a significant help to you in your next property purchase, so our team are on standby to help you find your dream home.

Call us on 01245398466 or email us at sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk and we will be delighted to speak with you!

Posted on

Which is better, renting or owning a home?

To buy, or to rent, that is the question

Whether you’re going to rent, or if you’re planning to buy, your next move in Chelmsford is a personal choice. There are pros and cons for both, and some thinking will need to be done before making a decision.

But first, let’s look at a couple of statistics.

According to the government, just over 60 per cent of households in England owned their own homes (in the two years from 2016 to 2018). It has also been estimated that more than a quarter of people will rent their home by the end of 2021.

While many people want to own their own home in Chelmsford, for others renting is the best option for them.

It’s not just younger people who are renting either. A large proportion of renters are those who cannot yet find enough money for a deposit to get on the first rung of the property ladder, but there is also a growing number of older people who are renting as they downsize or move to be near family.

But what are the pros and cons of renting or buying?

What should you consider?

Here, we look at some of the things you should be thinking about.

Renting to keep costs down?

It could be said that renting doesn’t cost as much as buying because you don’t have to find a deposit for a house. This is indeed true – but not always! Monthly rents are sometimes cheaper than monthly mortgage payments but this is not always the case. You will need a deposit (which is protected by government-backed schemes), and you will usually need to pay a month’s rent upfront. This however, is still a lot lower than having to find upwards of a 15 per cent deposit to buy a house.

Renting may initially be cheaper, but you will not be on the property ladder and you won’t be investing in bricks and mortar and the potential profits that can accumulate as a property’s value rises.

What about maintenance costs?

This is often a tricky question to answer. Why? Because as someone who rents, your landlord will be expected to keep the property well maintained, and legally they have to make sure that the house is safe to live in, with regular electrical and gas safety checks.

But, as the person who rents, you will need to look after the property and there is an acceptance by many that it is up to you to keep the property in good condition. If you break items, the likelihood is that it is in your contract to replace like for like.

Of course, if you own the home, then all of the maintenance will come down to you and you will incur the costs – but on the plus side it is your home and you are investing in it.

Top Tip: Think about your finances and whether or not you can afford to keep your own property in tip-top condition.

It’s flexible

Renting is a way for you to live somewhere where you may not be able to afford to buy, or where work means you have to live. Renting can be a good option in this case because if you have to move often due to your work, you’re not going to want to go through the selling and buying of a property multiple times.

This is a real benefit to renting, but please be aware that if you are tied into a contract for a specific length of time, then you may not be able to get out of it easily.

Top Tip: If you can, specify the length of your rental contract. If you think you may only be somewhere for six months, make sure you are not tied in to a contract with a no break clause.

When it comes to renting or buying, it’s best to take the time to make a list of all the pros and cons. Circumstances may mean that you have to rent, but if you look at the figures, you might think it better to get on the property ladder.

You will need to do all the financial calculations based on your circumstances to get the answer to these particular equations, but we at Essex Homes And Lettings can offer you our professional advice to help you make an informed decision.

Give us a call on 01245398466 for more advice. We might even have a house for sale that is perfect for you!

Posted on

Let Essex Homes And Lettings Negotiate the Best Deal on Your Next Property in Chelmsford

When you find your dream property in Chelmsford you don’t want anyone else to have it, so it’s quite normal to want to jump straight in with an offer, but here at Essex Homes And Lettings naturally we want all our clients to be happy and so that involves always negotiating the best price whether we are involved in the sale or purchase of a property. It’s always worth taking your time to negotiate the best deal – and here’s how we do it.

We know the local property market

Simply jumping in with a random offer, because you think that’s what the house is worth, can mean that you won’t get the best deal. We research the market thoroughly and keep a close eye on property prices. We make it our business to find out what other properties in Chelmsford were listed for versus the price that was eventually paid. And we note how long homes stay on the market.

We work for you!

We are always working for you and it’s in our interest to achieve the best price for your property if you’re selling and negotiate the deal you are happy with if you are buying.

We can advise you regarding your ‘buying position’

We’ve been in business a long time and can sniff out certain types of sellers who are on the lookout for buyers in strong positions, such as:

  • Cash buyers
  • Buyers with no chain
  • Clients who are keen to buy quickly with their own property sold
  • First time buyers who have their mortgage funding secured
  • Buyers who are renting or have some sort of flexibility in their move

If you can show that you’re in a good position to move and can complete the process quickly, then in our experience, sellers will offer a little more flexibility. Nobody wants to be stuck in a chain or waiting for someone else’s house to sell for the sake of a few thousand pounds, so this can invariably make an offer attractive.

We are professional and friendly at all times

We know that selling your family home can be an emotional experience, and some sellers will feel highly attached to their properties. After all, you may have spent years living there there and have lots of memories. Negotiations are always easier when empathy is shown and we pride ourselves on always being willing to work with our clients to reach an agreement whatever the situation.

We will work to secure the best deal

In many cases, negotiations initially start with a firm no on first offer! However, this is perfectly normal. If your first offer is rejected, we will work with you on a second offer and advise you if any counteroffer is forthcoming, liaising with the seller throughout.

We understand that buying a house can be a stressful process, and sometimes when you find the right property, it’s easy to get carried away. However, it’s advisable to speak with us regarding your budget before commencing negotiations so that we can handle this for you, allowing you to get the best deal on your dream home.

Call the team at Essex Homes And Lettings today on 01245398466 and let us negotiate the best deal on your next home.

Posted on

Essex Homes And Lettings and our responsibilities to you during COVID-19

At Essex Homes And Lettings we take the health and safety of our staff and clients extremely seriously. We are staying up to date with, and taking advice from the Government, Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer as the COVID-19 situation progresses.

Given the current level of concern, we want to reassure all our clients that we have taken and will continue to take the appropriate and necessary steps to ensure our levels of service and quality are maintained, without risk to staff and clients and without loss of service whilst adhering to recommendations.

We will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and we will provide updates accordingly.

We have already taken the following steps and are confident that we can and will operate with minimal disruption through the next phases of the coronavirus outbreak whilst meeting the needs and requirements of our clients and the wider public.

Office

As per current guidance, we have asked that most of our team members work from home. We have a limited number of staff working from our office, but we request that you do not attend our office unless it is absolutely essential. Please also do not attend without prior arrangement. 

We will be avoiding handshakes and asking anyone who visits our office to wash or sanitise their hands.

Staff still situated in our offices understand their responsibility to report immediately any change in their health, family health or circumstances.

We have provided hand gel on all staff desks and do not allow staff to share phones or equipment.

All door handles, phones, keyboards and other office equipment is cleaned regularly.

Clients

Where possible we are offering the following:

  • 360-degree viewings
  • Video call viewings
  • Recorded video viewings

All of our communication channels – telephone, email, text messages, messenger and social media are all operating as normal and all staff members are contactable. 

Buyer and Seller Information

We have introduced new procedures and guidelines in the event of viewing requests. These will be reviewed as the situation evolves but our foremost concern is to keep staff and clients safe. Please talk to our staff on 01245398466 or email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk with regard to this.

We are here to help and support all of our clients and we hope you, your friends and family remain safe and healthy for the duration of COVID-19.

Thank you for your patience, support and understanding during this challenging time.