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81% of buyers and sellers undeterred by third lockdown

sold

81% of homebuyers and sellers are undeterred by lockdown 3.0, according to new research by Benham and Reeves.

The lettings and estate agent surveyed over 10,000 homebuyers and sellers about their feelings towards another lockdown, its impact on their decision to buy or sell and how they felt about the viewing process while Covid remains a high-level threat.

The results found that athird national lockdown has deterred just 14% of buyers and sellers from a purchase or sale in 2021, with 81% intending to carry on as planned.

In London, 18% stated they would now put their plans on hold, the highest of any region, while buyers and sellers in the North East were the least deterred with just 11% choosing not to transact this year.

Just 4% of those already in the process of selling or buying are putting their transaction on ice until the current lockdown has ended, while 91% of those will carry on, likely spurred by the current stamp duty holiday.

Again, London is home to the highest percentage of those deciding to pull out or delay a sale or purchase (6%), while 96% of buyers and sellers in the North East are undeterred.

While many remain keen to transact, the physical viewings process does pose a concern for the majority. 50% of those asked, stated they didn’t feel safe hosting or attending a viewing while 41% did and 9% preferred not to say.

Attending or hosting a viewing was the biggest concern in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the West Midlands, while those in the North East and East of England felt the safest about it.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented: “Homebuyers and sellers remain largely undeterred about transacting despite yet another dose of lockdown restrictions and this is no doubt due to the dangling carrot of a stamp duty holiday that remains in place until March, at the very least.

“Understandably, physical viewings pose a greater concern although the industry remains well-positioned to carry out all stages of the transaction process in a safe and appropriate manner.

For those that are worried, there are things you can do to put your mind at rest. All agents should be sending you their Covid protocols anyway but be sure to request

“Any agent worth their salt will have their house in order where Covid compliancy is concerned. We’ve spent a great deal of time, money and effort to ensure we operate above and beyond the government guidelines as the safety of our clients is paramount. But for those that are still unsure, we also offer the option of video viewings, as we have done for our international clients for the last five years. So while some agents may find it a shock to adapt, we’ve managed to take it in our stride and it’s business as usual as we keep the wheels moving for your sellers and landlords.”

Original Article from Financial Reporter 12/01/2021

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90% LTV product choice doubles as lenders return to market: Moneyfacts

Increase

The number of residential mortgage products has risen for the third consecutive month to 2,893 – the highest availability recorded since April 2020 as the impact of the pandemic was beginning to be felt, the latest Moneyfacts data shows.

The largest monthly growth in availability was at 90% LTV, where the number of products almost doubled, increasing by 72 to 160, the highest seen since June 2020.

Those with higher levels of equity or deposit have also seen an improvement. At 75% LTV, availability rose to 629 deals, the highest level seen since July 2020.

The average two-year fixed rate for all LTVs increased for the sixth consecutive month, rising by 0.03% to 2.52% – the highest this rate has been since January 2019 when it was also 2.52%. This is now 0.08% higher year-on-year and is an increase of 0.53% compared to the record low of July 2020.

The equivalent five-year average fixed rate also increased this month. However, at 2.71%, this remains lower than the 2.74% seen this time last year, but is still a rise of 0.46% compared to the low of July.

Eleanor Williams, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said: “The UK property market remained unseasonably buoyant in the lead up to the New Year, where, perhaps bolstered by the increase in product availability over recent months supporting demand from borrowers, the latest Bank of England data recorded that house purchase approvals had rocketed to the highest level seen since August 2007. Following the sharp drop off in availability in 2020, it is positive to see that we are beginning 2021 with the total number of mortgage deals rising for the third consecutive month. With 111 more deals on offer this month, at 2,893 this is the highest we have seen since April 2020, when the sector experienced mass product withdrawals as the impact of Coronavirus and subsequent base rate cuts began to be felt.

“This month also saw further positive movements at the higher end of the LTV spectrum, with the number of products for those looking to secure a deal at 90% LTV nearly doubling to 160, and at 85% LTV increasing by 43 to 439. As more lenders have returned to these higher LTV tiers, there is greater choice for those borrowers with lower levels of deposit or equity, who spent much of last year with so few options available to them. Furthermore, this has also extended to those who have higher levels of deposit or equity, who may be pleased to note that in the 75% and 80% LTV tiers we have also recorded increased availability, with both brackets now offering the most products they have since July.

“Not only is the increase in product choice a positive for borrowers, but it seems that a measure of competition may have started to return to some sectors as well. At the higher end of the LTV tiers, both the average two and five-year fixed rate deals for those looking to secure a mortgage at 90% LTV saw the largest monthly reductions, dropping by 0.14% and 0.13% respectively this month, while the equivalent rates at 85% dropped by 0.05% and 0.06% respectively, indicating that lender confidence may be returning to this part of the market, despite the still uncertain economic outlook.

“However, not all LTV tiers saw rates fall this month, which has resulted in the overall two-year average rate continuing its march upwards for the sixth consecutive month. At 2.52%, this is 0.08% above where this rate sat this time last year and equals the high this rate last reached in January 2019. Those who are interested in the slightly longer-term stability of a five-year fixed rate deal may notice that this rate, while rising by 0.02% this month, at 2.71% remains 0.03% down year-on-year. Those who are considering securing a new mortgage may feel motivated to explore their options now, before rates potentially increase further.

“This improvement in options for mortgage borrowers has occurred at a time when high levels of borrower demand have been fuelled by those hoping to benefit from the stamp duty holiday and by those who re-evaluated what they want from a home and were part of the unleashed demand that arose after the first lockdown in 2020. As we navigate our way through another period of restrictions, this time the property market is expected to remain open for business. However, with timescales for processing mortgages potentially subject to delays, and with the average shelf life for mortgages remaining at just 28 days, it has possibly never been more vital to call upon the knowledge and help of a qualified adviser to progress any applications and explore what may be the best option for their circumstances.”

Original Article from Financial Reporter 11/01/2021

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Are you Ready to Sell in 2021?

moving house

If you’re thinking of putting your Chelmsford property on the market in the New Year, you’ll want to make it stand out from the crowd and generate as much interest as possible to make sure you achieve the full asking price.

The team at Essex Homes And Lettings are highly experienced in property and will always make sure we give our utmost attention when accompanying viewings on your property, but there are always little tweaks you can make to your home to make sure it’s in outstanding condition and ready for the most discerning viewer!

The Essex Homes And Lettings team have put our heads together and want to share with you the top nine things you can do to get your property ready for a new year sale!

1. Neutralise Your Home

There’s nothing wrong with injecting your personality into your home, but if you’re selling, then garish paint and leopard print feature walls won’t be to everyone’s taste. If this sounds anything like your property then give some serious consideration to some light redecorating, ideally using neutral colours such as off-white, magnolia, greys or pastels.

It’s far more appealing to potential buyers and it will also allow them to visualise their own ideas better if they have a blank canvas to work with.

2. Lighten Up

Following on from our first point, there are some simple lighting tricks you can do to make your home feel brighter, which in turn will make it feel more spacious and appealing to potential buyers.

It can be as simple as putting up a mirror opposite a window to reflect the light, or ensuring you have high-voltage light bulbs fitted. If you have blackout blinds or curtains in your bedrooms then make sure these are open before any viewings, to avoid rooms appearing dark or gloomy.

3. Declutter

We all tend to throw empty boxes in cupboards (just in case) and gather ‘stuff’ as the years pass. If you’ve been hoarding items, then the sale of your property is the perfect time to get rid of unwanted items and declutter. It’ll help your home appear more spacious and there’s potentially the added benefit of making a few pounds selling some of your old belongings.

4. Deodourise

Did you know that your home has its own distinctive smell? Obviously not all houses have strong smells but if you regularly smoke or vape indoors or you have a cat or dog causing a whiff, then no matter how beautiful your house may be, this is likely to be the first thing a visitor notices when they walk through the front door – and it can be very off-putting. If your property has a strong smell to it then give it a good deep clean before any viewings or get professionals in if you need to.

5. First Impressions are Everything

It’s rare that you’ll make a sale on first glance, but you can definitely lose one! If you have an overgrown garden, a grubby front door and a broken gate then it’s time to get your gardening gloves on and tidy it all up.

Kerb appeal is important not only because many potential viewers will do a ‘drive by’ to check out the property before booking a viewing, but first impressions are what always form the basis of someone’s opinion of your property. Things that can damage your home’s kerb appeal include having dirty wheelie bins on display, smeared windows and chipped paintwork, so spend a little time maintaining your outdoor areas and be sure everything is up to scratch before the viewings start.

Adding little extras like a potted plant or a lamp to light up your entrance can make a big difference too. You don’t need to do anything extravagant, just remember, it’s all in the details!

6. Show Off Your Homes Assets

Step room to room in your home and check for little things that may detract the attention of a viewer:

  • If you have a study or a room you are using as an office, make sure your desk is tidy and your paperwork is filed away so that viewers can see an organised workspace.
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s not being blocked by toys or extra bits of furniture that you haven’t stored away so that viewers can imagine themselves cosy by the fire.
  • If you have a dining table – a common dumping ground for pretty much everything – make sure it’s clear of any paperwork or household bits that have been piling up so that viewers can see there is a defined place to eat.
  • If you have a utility room, remove piles of laundry and tidy away detergents so that viewers can appreciate the extra space catering for the needs of a family.

When it comes to our homes it’s easy to take some of the features we see every day for granted, but to a viewer they may be just what they’re looking for in a home, so be sure to highlight all of your property’s best features.

7. Be Prepared

Think back to when you bought your property. What questions did you have for the estate agent? If a buyer were to ask how old the windows are and if they have a guarantee would you know the answer? What about the last time you had the boiler serviced? When was the central heating checked? Be prepared and find your paperwork and service history relating to your home before it’s requested to save time!

  • Service the boiler
  • Check the central heating system
  • Look out any guarantees and warranties
8. Fix up, Look Sharp

Keeping on top of the maintenance of your home is crucial for when you bring your property to market. If you haven’t regularly maintained your home, now is the time to get all those little niggly jobs done. Make sure everything’s as well maintained as possible, whether it’s fixing a damaged fence or just replacing a broken lightbulb, these minor details can make a big difference to potential buyers. It shows that your house is well looked after, and it will give viewers fewer excuses to negotiate. Make your property as flawless as possible – touch up paintwork and don’t forget to check gutters and drainpipes to get rid of leaves and debris.

9. Depersonalise

Buyers want to imagine themselves living in a home, so seeing pictures of strangers all over the house can actually have an off-putting effect, even though it’s your home!

Don’t remove every family photo, you’re still living there of course, but there’s a fine line between making a home look lived in and loved and showcasing it as someone else’s dream home! Think about putting a few photos away before viewings. The space created will allow viewers to get a better idea of what they would do with the space and to imagine it as their own.

For no-obligation advice on buying or selling a home in Chelmsford please contact our expert property team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466.

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New Year…New Agent?

2021

We’ve noticed a trend recently. You love your home, you love Chelmsford, but you’ve also realised that you need somewhere new. Perhaps somewhere larger, somewhere with a bigger garden, somewhere closer to the countryside, or even somewhere a little smaller.

Yes, it appears you’ve got a dose of ‘ready to move’, and what better time than the New Year – a time often linked with new beginnings and fresh starts.

So, how do you find the best estate agent?

What questions should you ask?

As property experts in the Chelmsford area, we at Essex Homes And Lettings thought we’d give you our seven tips so that you can choose the best estate agent for you.

Phone a Friend

Ask for recommendations. Friends and family can point you in the right direction and equally they can steer you away from the agents to avoid! Ask them if they’ve had a great experience with a particular estate agent, and enquire about how communicative, knowledgeable and friendly the agent was. Did the agent get the job done – and achieve the asking price or above?

Tip: Social media is your friend! If you’re a member of a Facebook community group in a particular area, post your questions in that group. And while you’re there check out local estate agents’ profiles to discover more about their local area knowledge and understand how they interact with the local community.

Read Reviews

Check out estate agents reviews online. Facebook reviews, Google reviews and reviews on Feefo can all give you an insight into other customers experiences. Have a read through to get a good idea as to whether or not an agent is worth shortlisting.

Tip: Always have an open mind when reading reviews, because while most will be genuine, some negative ones (and some positive ones) may not be.

Check the Agents Website

If you have a couple of shortlisted estate agents, check out their websites. Compare and contrast the services they offer and the fees they charge. Research where they market their properties and check out their social media feeds.

Tip: If you’re comparing and contrasting, you need to ensure you know what you want your chosen estate agent to do for you. Write a wish list of your requirements.

Check Fees and T&Cs

When it comes to estate agents, each will offer a slightly different service, and each will have a different way of operating. You have high street offices, internet-based offices, and hybrid agencies that blend traditional with the internet. Each has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your individual requirements, but always check the small print and look at the overall service.

Tip: Do some research and decide whether you want a sole agency agreement, or if you would like multiple agents to market your property. It’s important to read the contractual obligations if you choose the latter.

Review your Agent’s Performance

Remember, your estate agent will be working for you, to get your house marketed and sold. But it’s actually a two-way thing and you will need to do what you can to help them do their job too. Your agent should be prepared to communicate with you if they think things should change, like a review of the price for example. And you should feel confident enough to ask about performance and see results or otherwise.

Tip: Have a clear understanding of your expectations and what you will want to review. Is it the number of people shown your property, or is it the number of hits on property websites? Is it about proactive calls made to prospective buyers, or is it to get an offer within a certain timeframe?

Same Difference

When you are narrowing down your shortlist, have a look at the properties that the agent sells.

  • Are they similar to your house?
  • Do they have any experience selling homes similar to your property?
  • Can they talk with good knowledge about the local area?
  • How accurate are their valuations?

All of these are a must because you need to know that your agent knows what they are doing and can convey that to a prospective buyer.

Tip: If you want to know how much similar properties have sold for have a look online so that you are fully informed.

Trust your Gut Instinct

There’s a lot to be said for getting a feel for whether you have picked the right agent to market your property. Something may simply click into place when you’re having a conversation, or you may know immediately that the agent is for you. Trust your instinct as it may well be right.

Tip: While we say trust your instinct, make sure you also carry out the checks and reviews as well!

For no-obligation advice on selling your Chelmsford home, please contact our expert property team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466.

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Extend stamp duty holiday to ensure ‘no sudden collapse in the spring’

stamp duty

Despite residential property prices continuing to increase, there are growing signs that the market will soon run out of steam, especially if the stamp duty holiday is not extended, risking a damaging economic downturn, according to David Alexander, the joint chief executive officer of apropos by DJ Alexander.

He joins various estate agents, surveyors and solicitors in lobbying the government to extend the stamp duty holiday, as buyers rush to beat the 31 March deadline.

Alexander, like many agents, wants the government to phase the stamp duty cut out over six months to a year to ensure the housing market does not hit “a brick wall at the end of March”.

With the SDLT threshold extension set to end in less than three months, Alexander is concerned that there is a serious risk of the market hitting a financial cliff edge which could result in a sudden fall in property values.

If this is coupled with a significant increase in capital gains tax on second homes and investment properties, then much of the recent growth in the market could quickly become dissipated in a short period.

Alexander commented: “The fast-growing property market has been one of the surprises of the pandemic with few predicting that it would be so buoyant over such a prolonged period. The SDLT threshold extension undoubtedly contributed to this boom along with buyers changed priorities and shifting housing demands initiated by owners and tenants’ reactions to the lockdown.”

“The resultant boom has led to substantial increases in average house prices over the last seven to eight months which shows little sign of abating unless the market hits a brick wall at the end of March. It would be a shame, and potentially damaging to the economy, if the gains of the last year were simply lost through a sudden ending of the stamp duty extension.

“The most sensible and balanced approach would be to continue the threshold extension and phase it out over six months to a year to ensure there is no sudden collapse in the spring. In this way we could ensure some continuity and stability in the property market at a time when many may feel that there is very little certainty in employment, finances, or the wider economy.”

Alexander added: “There is much to be optimistic about in the coming year but there is also a balancing act to be struck by the government to ensure that the gains the property market has made in recent months are not simply dissipated in a loss of momentum in the market and unfair and unprecedented property tax hikes in the Budget.”

Original Article from Property Industry Eye 04/01/2021

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Capital gains tax could ‘be brought into line with income tax rates’

CGT

Capital gains tax (CGT) increases could be around the corner as the chancellor Rishi Sunak looks to find the money needed to cover the government’s unprecedented spending and borrowing during the pandemic.

Given that the prime minister Boris Johnson has already ruled out a return to “austerity” in public spending, this money will have to come from somewhere.

There has been speculation for some time that CGT rates would increase.

Anthony Codling, CEO, twindig, commented: “As we enter 2021 chancellor Rishi Sunak is reviewing the structure of UK taxes. The pandemic has been costly in both emotional and economic terms, UK government debt is at an all-time high and eventually, these debts will need to be repaid. Taxes are therefore likely to rise.”

CGT is currently charged at 20%, but there are growing calls that it should be increased to 28% across the board or possibly aligned to income tax rates – at up to 45%.

The government’s tax adviser recently recommended that CGT be overhauled with proposals that could see the number of people hit by the duty increase sharply.

Rishi Sunak, who commissioned the review, is considering proposals by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), a Treasury-based body, to reform capital gains tax in the light of the economic and fiscal impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

The move has the potential to bring in an extra £14bn by reducing exemptions and doubling rates, according to the review.

Codling said: “Our working assumption is that capital gains tax rates will be brought into line with income tax rates, higher rate taxpayers will therefore pay higher rates of capital gains tax.”

Currently, a taxpayer’s primary residence is exempt from capital gains tax, but this could soon change for some homeowners.

He added: “We do not expect this exemption to be taken away completely, but we would not be surprised if the amount of exempt gain was subject to either an annual cap, a lifetime cap or a combination of both. This would be similar to pension relief where the amount of tax benefit in any one year is capped as well as the taxpayers lifetime tax benefit.

“Second-home and buy-to-let property gains are already subject to capital gains tax at a higher rate [28%] than the capital gains on other assets [20%]. We forecast that these rates will be equalised and reflect the taxpayer’s income tax rates.

“This will mean a tax rate increase for higher rate taxpayers and a lower tax rate for those with earnings below the higher rate tax threshold. However, it is likely that a capital gain on a property will move a lower rate income taxpayer into the higher rate tax bands.”

Original Article from Property Industry Eye 04/01/2021

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How to Get More Viewings on Your Property For Sale in Chelmsford

more viewings

The process of selling your home in Chelmsford can be daunting, simply because there is so much to consider and plan. It can be especially stressful if you aren’t getting enough viewings on your property, and when you’ve had your home listed for sale for a while, that stress can rise.

Homes that are well-marketed and presented will get more viewings, and therefore receive offers from interested buyers. The longer your property stays on the market without any offers, the less chance you have of getting any without taking drastic measures such as reducing the price of the property. So, before it reaches that point, there are some steps that both you and the team at Essex Homes And Lettings can take to entice people to view and to get your property sold faster. With this in mind, we have created a handy guide to help you attract more property viewings.

Improve Your Kerb Appeal

The kerb appeal of your property, i.e., the first impression made when standing on the kerb, plays a big role in garnering interest for potential buyers, not just for those who are passing by in person, but for people browsing your listing online. How your property looks on the outside can either deter or encourage people to continue looking at the listing and help them decide whether or not to come and view in person.

You can improve your kerb appeal by taking care of your lawn and front garden. Make sure the grass is cut, weeds are pulled, and flower beds and shrubs are tidy and groomed. Also, make sure to remove any debris like leaves or fallen branches. Fixing any damages can help, too, like repairing roof tiles that have blown away, mending broken gutters, or fixing window shutters. A fresh coat of paint on any woodwork may also be required if the paint is peeling or worn, as it makes the home look refreshed and clean.

Use Professional Staging and Photos

It’s important to keep in mind that potential buyers are looking for a property they can see themselves in and call home. A house empty of furniture doesn’t evoke much in the way of imagining a lifestyle, and similarly, a messy or dishevelled home can give off a bad impression. Clearing away clutter and having a professional stage your furniture can do wonders for your potential buyers trying to imagine a life in their new home.

It’s also common for people using online agencies to attempt to take their own photos of their property for the listing, and ending up with dark, dingy, or even blurry images. Without the right equipment or photography know-how, the photos won’t stack up against other listings. Your photos are a crucial part of the marketing of your property, and they need to be eye-catching and attractive. Your home should be accurately captured in these images; otherwise, nobody will be interested in taking the time to come and see it in person. The investment in professional photography to help sell your home is worth it and here at Essex Homes And Lettings we ensure we always cover the best angles and showcase your property to the highest standards through our photos.

Make Your Property Listing Look Flawless

The fundamentals of your property listing when it is seen online are so important in attracting viewers. At the most basic level, your listing should look perfect – photos should be sized properly for the website, titles should be typo-free, and descriptions should be filled out in full. Furthermore, the title and description need to be well-written and free of marketing jargon.

We understand that interesting and compelling descriptions can make all the difference alongside a strong call to action which will encourage viewers to click to read more or call us to book a viewing.

Consider Premium Listings

People scrolling through property listings are often drawn to the ones that look different or are highlighted, meaning they get more viewings and a higher chance of receiving offers. We invest in premium listings on the property portals which can increase the number of viewings you receive. They will also appear at the top of the search pages, giving your property a consistent chance to be seen before any others.

At Essex Homes And Lettings we work with our clients to ensure we maximise viewings on every property we have the pleasure of marketing. If you would like more viewings on your property in Chelmsford, call us today on 01245398466.

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How to find your perfect home in Chelmsford

find your home

It’s exciting preparing to find a new home and embarking on the next stage of your property journey, but of course, there are many factors that must be considered along the way as you find your perfect home in Chelmsford.

It’s likely you will view many different properties before finally settling on the right one for you. It’s also likely that you will have certain criteria to fulfil and plenty of boxes to be ticked. These might include the need for your chosen property to be situated in a location of your choosing and its ability to meet the demands of your lifestyle, whether that be in close proximity to good schools, shopping facilities, or if you are a social butterfly, close to cafe culture and a vibrant nightlife.

At Essex Homes And Lettings our aim is to help you make the correct choices and best decisions when it comes to finding your perfect home in Chelmsford so to make the experience straight-forward and stress free, we have compiled our top tips to ensure you make the right decision.

Research is the key to the door

What type of property do you require? It’s important to scope out the local area so that you can judge what type of properties are available in which locations and at what cost. For example, Victorian properties may be located at one end of a town, whilst new builds are predominantly at the other end! With this in mind, if you are searching for a large Victorian property in location A, your research may indicate that you may only be able to secure that particular type of property in location B. So, the question is, will you be happy to compromise?

This is the reason it’s vital you research the market thoroughly so that you not only have realistic expectations but are aware that you may need to adjust those expectations in order to find your perfect home in Chelmsford.

Top Tip: Think about what you truly need from your home rather than extras you simply desire, and be honest about it! For example, if you work from home, an office will be a need. If you have children, a garden will be a need. If you have a large family, multiple bathrooms will be a need. Whereas a desire could be a log burning stove, a decked area in the garden, solid wood floors or a conservatory. All of the latter can of course be added to a property with good planning and little hassle.

Location, location, location

Do you need to be close to your place of work, your children’s school or your extended family? Or are you willing to compromise on proximity in order to purchase your dream home in Chelmsford? Think about whether you are prepared to make concessions on some of your specifics, perhaps with a trade-off being a slightly longer commute, living closer to a busy road or a little further from amenities. These factors matter and it’s important you are clear about what is imperative to your happiness in your new home.

Top Tip: The right location is often more important than the right house. You can always alter a house and turn it into your home – however, you cannot change its location. Consider this when seeking compromises!

Enlist the help of an expert local estate agent

Finding your perfect home can be challenging so please don’t attempt to do so alone. Your local estate agent will be able to help you scope the area, arrange viewings of properties that match your criteria, shortlist the properties you love, offer expert advice regarding local schools and businesses in the area and of course assist you through making an offer and negotiating the best price on your dream home.

Essex Homes And Lettings are here to help you

By registering with us and letting us know your preferred location and the type of property in Chelmsford you are looking for, you’ll receive updates as soon as properties matching your criteria become available and you will never need to worry that you’ll miss out on your dream home.

At Essex Homes And Lettings we take on new properties in Chelmsford and the surrounding areas daily, so register with us today and let us assist you in finding your dream home in Chelmsford.

We are ready to help you start the process of finding your perfect home and look forward to welcoming you to our office. Simply call us on 01245398466 to arrange an appointment or drop in and speak with a member of our friendly team. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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Hold the tinsel! Ditch the mistletoe! The house won’t sell…

Christmas

We’re sure agents have been working hard to urge vendors to take it easy on the dodgy decorations if there are viewings taking place at the moment – and here’s evidence of why it pays to be careful.

Bankrate UK spoke with 1,000 people who have been to view homes for sale which have been decorated, and asked for specifics on what tinsel-tactic features put them off the most. 

Firstly no fewer than 60 per cent admitted to having been deterred by decorations in principle, with the biggest specific turn-off (for 26 per cent) being large inflatable Christmas characters.

Another 23 per cent found electronic characters like Waving Santas or Moving Reindeer) the most off-putting.

Then came religious scenes and statues (23 per cent) closely followed by the overall feeling of internal clutter (22 per cent).

Excessive external lights – we’ve all seen them – put off 20 per cent.

Nisha Vaidya, mortgage expert at Bankrate UK, says: “While decorations are wonderful, homeowners looking to sell their property in December should be mindful that buyers may not have the same taste in festive decor. 

“For example, too many decorations can make a property appear small and cramped or can be too distracting for buyers who are trying to envision themselves in the home. Sellers should consider their buyers when decorating for Christmas.”

Agents who may be feeling distinctly un-Christmassy because their vendors have gone over the top with the festive features may want to show them this story…

Original Article from Estate Agent Today 23/12/2020

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Centre Stage: 7 Tips for Staging Your Chelmsford Home Like a Pro

Staging homes

If you are considering putting your house in Chelmsford up for sale, but are not sure where to start, there are methods you can follow to help ensure it is fresh and market ready.

Not just for new build show homes, you should consider staging your home, or to put it another way, setting the scene to arouse immediate buyer interest in your property when it comes to market.

To be truly effective, you’ll need to look at staging both the inside and outside of your home, so here at Essex Homes And Lettings we have put together our seven top tips to get you started and on the road to staging your home like a pro.

Declutter

This is one of the most necessary things you can do. You’re going to be moving home anyway and will have to pack, so it makes perfect sense and is a straight-forward job to declutter and start packing at the same time. Pack up everything you don’t need and store the boxes out of sight in the garage if you have one, or consider temporarily renting a small storage unit. Keeping the look minimal can help sell your home.

Organise

Whilst we don’t like to think of strangers opening our cupboards, the reality is that they probably will. If you have built-in wardrobes, hang similar colours and garments together because this will make the cupboards look bigger. An organized space always appears larger, and you want your cupboards to look as tidy and spacious as possible.

De-personalize

You should de-personalize your home as much as possible when preparing to put it on the market. This is so that potential buyers can imagine themselves and their own belongings occupying the space. This means minimizing and putting away everything you don’t need or currently use. Clear kitchen worktops as much as possible, stash away all those gadgets and appliances and put miscellaneous small clutter in a few attractive baskets or boxes out of sight.

Look from the Outside

Stand on the street outside your property to see the view your prospective buyers will get as they approach your property in Chelmsford. Be aware of any negative impressions they may get such as overgrown borders, peeling paint, broken windows and so on. A poorly maintained exterior will make a prospective buyer think that the house has not been well taken care of. Even if you have spent the time and money to ensure the interior is amazing, it will all be wasted if the prospect gets a bad first impression as they approach your property.

What do you really see?

Step outside your front door and close it; then stand on your step and simply look around for a couple of minutes. This might appear to be a strange thing to do, but it is mimicking the likelihood of your estate agent fumbling around for keys before finally opening the door!

During this time, you will see exactly what your potential buyers will see. So, what is it? Cobwebs on the door frame? Dead plants? A broken lightbulb in the porch? A less than shiny letterbox? First impressions count, so it’s worth taking some time to clean up. If you want to go a step further, consider painting the front door or adding new accessories.

Don’t forget the back garden

A tidy and inviting back garden is just as important as your front garden, so don’t neglect it. Whilst it might not be part of the potential buyers first impression experience, you should make sure it is in the best condition possible. Pull up the weeds, water the plants, do some sweeping and maybe even purchase new furniture or accessories such as plant pots or bird houses. This all adds to the vision of ‘living the dream’ your potential buyer wants.

The biggest tip of all

Simply imagine yourself as a potential buyer looking at your property in Chelmsford for the very first time. See it through their eyes and ask yourself:

  • What impression does the house give you?
  • How is its kerb appeal?
  • Would YOU buy your house?
  • What would you like to see that’s different before you put an offer on your house?

Finally, to stage a home will cost money but you’ll get that back, and often more, when your property sells. Proper staging will help you sell your house in a shorter time and importantly at the price you want.

For expert advice on showing your home in Chelmsford to its full potential, contact the team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 today.