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Sales surge after stamp duty holiday extension: Rics

for sale

There was a sharp increase in sales agreed during March, following the chancellor’s extension to the stamp duty holiday, according to the latest index from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

A net balance of +50 per cent of the surveyors questioned reported an increase in sales, which is the strongest reading since August last year. 

Respondents are anticipating sales activity will continue to rise over the coming three months, with a net balance of +35 per cent forecasting increases, the most upbeat reading since January 2020.

New buyer enquiries also surged, with a balance of +42 per cent of respondents recording an increase compared to 0 per cent the previous month.

This was the strongest figure since September 2020. 

But the pace of new instructions did not match the jump in interest from buyers, leading to a gap between supply and demand and rising prices.

A net balance of +29 per cent of surveyors reported that appraisals were up on the same period last year, suggesting more new instructions should come onto the market in the coming months.

Meanwhile, +59 per cent of respondents reported a rise in prices over the past month.

Surveyors responses suggest rising prices across all parts of the UK, with the strongest momentum in the North West, Yorkshire & the Humber and Northern Ireland.

This upward trajectory is expected to continue with +42 per cent of surveyors predicting prices will increase over the next three months and +60 per cent saying they will rise over the next year.

In the rental market, +36 per cent of respondents recorded increased tenant demand, up from +26 per cent in February. 

New landlord instructions were down according to a net balance of -25 per cent, resulting in upward pressure on rents. 

A net balance of surveyors +47 per cent expect rents to rise. 

The only part of the UK where rents are expected to remain flat or fall was London.

Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn says: “The results show that the decision of the chancellor to extend the stamp duty break and then taper its expiry has had an immediate impact on the housing market with all the key activity indictors rebounding in March. 

“However the headline numbers as well as the anecdotal remarks from respondents clearly demonstrate that across much of the market, demand is outstripping supply and that as a result, prices continue to move upwards.

“More worryingly, this is also being reflected in the price expectations data both at the twelve months horizon and beyond.

“Meanwhile the lettings market is displaying a broadly similar characteristic in terms of the relationship between demand and supply according to theRics data with the notable exception of the numbers for London. 

“Significantly despite rents moving higher, contributors continue to point to the less favourable environment for investors in the market as playing a key role in fuelling this imbalance.”

Wayhome chief executive Nigel Purves says: “While we are seeing a new-found confidence among many buyers and sellers, sadly this just isn’t the case for a large proportion of aspiring homeowners across the UK.

“Even with the stamp duty extension for an extra three months spurring on hopeful home buyers, there are many who find themselves overlooked and ignored due to their household income not meeting a mortgage lender’s criteria. 

“This is despite them already having a deposit saved and being able to afford the equivalent of mortgage repayments in rent each month. More needs to be done to level the playing field and provide people with alternative routes into home ownership.”

Metlife head of individual protection Rich Horner says: “Thanks to the chancellor’s extension of the stamp duty holiday, and the introduction of the 95 per cent mortgage scheme, it’s been another positive month for the housing sector – one that could have suffered severely had the stamp duty holiday ended abruptly.

“In the months ahead, we should continue to see a surge in homeownership, particularly as the new 95 per cent mortgage scheme will make buying a home a reality for more first-time buyers. 

“We’re also seeing more lenders offering their own competitive mortgage deals. “Despite the success of the measures, potential buyers need to be wary of their affordability and ensure they’re not living above their means, particularly as homes up to the value of £600,000 are eligible under the scheme.”

Original Article from Mortgage Strategy 08/04/2021

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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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Supply shortage worsened by eviction ban, claims lettings chief

rentals

The head of a lettings agency says there are up to 60 enquiries for every rental property he lists – and those enquiries typically all come on day one.

Jeremy Miller, director at Millerson in Cornwall, has told the Cornwall Live news website that demand for rental properties in the county was far outstripping supply, with up to a third of enquiries coming from as far afield as Bristol and London.

“There is currently a colossal demand for rental properties and added to that is the fact there is not a lot of rental properties coming to the market. Part of that at the moment is that tenants know that they have protection from eviction as they normally would” he believes.

Miller adds that the working from home habit means people move further, even for rented accommodation. 

“Since May last year at the end of the first lockdown, there’s been an incredible demand for rental properties from both people living locally and nationally” he adds.

“The rental market is very strong at the moment. One of my colleagues put a property in St Austell on the market to rent and by the time they’d returned to their desk they had 68 emails before the property came off the market again within hours.

“This, in turn, is increasing the prices of properties going to rent, because there’s so much demand for what is available people are often willing to pay more.”

The situation is worsened by landlords selling up, deterred by existing taxes and the threat of Capital Gains Tax change.

Miller says the government is making an enemy of small-time property investors due to heavy legislation and punitive taxation making it more difficult for small landlords to operate.

Original Article from Letting Agent Today 12/03/2021

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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

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BUDGET 2021: Stamp duty holiday extended

stamp duty

The chancellor’s decision to extend the stamp duty holiday beyond the end of this month has been welcomed by most homebuyers and estate agents.

A phased end to the stamp duty holiday will turn “generation rent” into “generation buy”, Rishi Sunak claimed yesterday.

The scheme was due to come to an end on 31 March but now there will be a tapered extension until 30 September.

The tax break introduced last year will continue to apply to properties for sale up to a threshold £500,000 until 30 June. Rishi Sunak added that the nil rate band for stamp duty would subsequently drop to £250,000 until the end of September, returning to the standard cut off rate of £125,000 from 1 October. Sunak said the decision would help many buyers who would not meet the original deadline and to continue to stimulate the property market.

Yesterday’s stamp duty extension is not just welcome news for thousands of homebuyers-in-waiting and agents, but also provides “a tonic” for thousands of conveyancers, according to Andy Sommerville, director of Search Acumen.

“Conveyancers have been under pressure to complete due diligence on an industrial scale against a pressing deadline, and risking burnout at a time when businesses are still under government instructions to work from home,” he said. But he also warns that extending the stamp duty deadline is delaying the inevitable cliff edge.

The stamp duty holiday has once again shown the flaws in traditional working practices and flagged the need to future-proof the property market with a data-driven approach to drive transactions through to completion.

While the stamp duty holiday extension gives current buyers more time to benefit from the tax relief, Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at online mortgage broker Trussle, is urging the government to consider adopting a more tapered ending to the scheme from September. “This would guarantee the stamp duty holiday to buyers who have received a mortgage offer before a certain date,” he said. “Not only would this prevent a shock to the market, it would also shield buyers from the damaging costs of a collapsed purchase. A late stage collapse costs on average £5,439.80 in estate agent fees, valuations, surveys and legal costs.”

While it is positive to see the government listen to the views of agents and conveyancers on the coalface, as well as the property-buying public, more consideration should have been paid to calls for a more specific tapered end to the tax cut, according to Bryan Mansell, co-founder at Gazeal.

Original Articles used: Property Industry Eye, Best Advice, Mortgage Strategy

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Government set to announce 95% LTV mortgage guarantee scheme

95

The government is set to announce a new mortgage guarantee scheme during Wednesday’s Budget.

The scheme will offer incentives to lenders which have “virtually disappeared” during the pandemic, the Treasury said.

The scheme is set to launch to lenders from April and will allow both first-time buyers and current homeowners to purchase properties up to £600,000 with a 5% deposit.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Owning a home is a dream for millions across the UK and we want to help as many people as possible. Saving up for a big deposit can often be difficult, and the pandemic has meant there are fewer low deposit mortgages available.”

The government first announced plans for a new scheme to increase the number of 95% LTV mortgages last October. Boris Johnson reportedly asked ministers to design the plan, which he said would involve removing stress tests for mortgage applicants, instead extending “a form of state guarantee” to lenders to de-risk the loans.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, commented:“Turning ‘generation rent’ into ‘generation buy’ has been a focus for Boris Johnson for a while so the return of 95% LTV mortgages for first-time buyers doesn’t come as a complete surprise. This, coupled with the extension of the stamp duty holiday, will result in a Budget which is a real boost for buyers.

“It is positive news for first-time buyers, particularly as it is not restricted to new homes, although critics may argue that it will only aid house price inflation. But without such a scheme would developers be so keen to put spades in the ground? The supply of new housing is nowhere near where it needs to be to satisfy demand.

‘”For those with little in the way of deposit, finding a 95% LTV mortgage has been pretty much impossible in recent months. The odd building society here and there has offered them, with Saffron building society launching at 95% in June but it only lasted a matter of days. Furness BS also has a selection of 95% products but these are restricted to certain postcodes.

“The only other current option to obtain a mortgage at this level is to call upon a third party, typically a parent, to provide extra security in the way of deposits or equity within the ‘guarantor’ property. Not everyone is in a fortunate position to do so.

“The last time there was a mortgage guarantee treasury scheme was via Help to Buy. The mortgage guarantee offering closed to new loans on 31st December 2016 (the equity loan continues, albeit in a revised form today) but by then, many of the high-street names had removed themselves from the scheme and ‘self-insuring’ their 95% offerings.”

Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser at NAEA Propertymark, added: “A government backed mortgage guarantee scheme will help first -ime buyers get on the housing ladder at a time when for many owning a home seems an impossible dream. Alongside the potential extension of the stamp duty holiday that we have been calling for, this new scheme will go some way in giving some hope to first-time buyers at a time when the size of deposits required means they fall at the first hurdle.”

Original Article from Financial Reporter 01/03/2021

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5 Ways to Spruce up Your Home for Spring

Spring home

If there was ever a good time of year to freshen up and update your home in Chelmsford, then it would be the springtime. After a long and cold winter, the sun is finally starting to shine, the flowers are beginning to flourish, and you no longer have to wear three layers of clothing just to leave the house. 

Spring has sprung and you are feeling upbeat, motivated and ready for action. It’s the perfect time to update your home and embrace this year’s latest interior design trends.

Not sure where to begin? 

Keep reading to discover five simple ways to spruce up your home for spring, and don’t worry, it won’t cost you the earth! 

Embrace natural light 

One of the simplest ways to make your home feel more spring-like is to ensure that you are making the most of any natural light within your home. It can be as basic a task as moving the furniture around a bit so that the key areas in each room are basked in sunshine. 

For example, try moving your sofa to the sun facing part of your living room, as close to the window as possible. You no longer need to worry about draughts as the warmer weather is well on its way. 

Alternatively, if you have a little money to spend, why not consider installing a roof light? Not only will this massively increase the amount of natural light let into your home, but it will also help to cut your energy bills and make your home more attractive to potential buyers if you decide to sell.

Colour me beautiful 

If you want a quick and easy way to update your home for spring, then you can’t go wrong with a fresh coat of paint on the walls. With this spring’s trending colours being muted pink, baby blue and mint green, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to redecorating your home. 

On the other hand, if you prefer to keep your walls neutral, you could incorporate the above colours into your furniture and home accessories instead. Think freshly painted dining room chairs, a newly acquired mint green sofa or a few muted pink lampshades. 

Clear out the clutter

Nothing says spring quite like a thorough spring clean of your home. It is almost a rite of passage for transitioning from the cold weather to the warm; it just has to be done. 

Now, if the thought of clearing out all your cupboards and drawers, not to mention the space under your bed where you stash everything and anything that you want out of sight, brings you out in a cold sweat, then don’t worry, you are not alone. 

Why do you think Mrs Hinch, the crazy cleaning lady, is so popular?  

Homeowners want a quick fix when it comes to ways to spring clean their home. They want hacks. They want miracle cures that will turn their dusty home into a sparkling paradise. 

Thankfully, for those of you who are not so keen on spring-cleaning, it can be done in just one day. 

Firstly, you need a checklist of the cleaning tasks you want to complete and then you simply need to systematically work your way through each room. A slap dash approach is not going to cut it if you want to be done in a day. 

Be thorough but don’t get bogged down with one individual task. Create a checklist to spring clean your home and systematically work your way through it. 

Be fabulous with flora and fruit 

Another simple, yet highly effective way to update your home this spring is with the art of flower arranging, and you don’t even have to spend a lot of money buying expensive flowers from your local garden centre. Just head outside to your garden and take your pick. 

Most people have a variety of spring flowers growing in their gardens, from daffodils to tulips to gladioli. All of which will look stunning arranged in a spring-inspired vase or two. 

Another great tip is to fill a bowl with lemons – choose the unwaxed variety – and place in your hallway or on your dining room table. Not only will they instantly brighten up any room, but they will smell fresh and amazing and look quirky too. 

Adopt spring-inspired accessories

If you want to completely transform the look of a room without having to make any major changes, then home accessories are the way to go. Luckily, the shops and supermarkets are awash with spring-inspired home furnishings; from cushions emblazoned with cute animals that come out at this time of year, to throws adorned with flowers and decorative, light-weight rugs. 

Spring is the season of opportunities, so be sure to seize yours, especially when it comes to sprucing up your home in Chelmsford.

If you are planning on moving to the Chelmsford area soon, why not telephone us or call in. We’ll be happy to advise you on our available properties in the area. Contact us on 01245398466 for more information.