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There’s no denying that selling a home involves paperwork. When preparing to sell, you’ll need to declare various things to your estate agent. While you may be worried about having to share potential issues from the past, it’s important to remember that what you disclose won’t necessarily put buyers off. An old building can be seen as an ‘opportunity for modernisation’. Planning permission from neighbours can be recognised as ‘potential to extend’. Plus, a good estate agent can find the right buyer no matter the circumstances.
To prepare you for the sale, here are seven of the most important things you’ll need to declare to estate agents about your home.
1. What you plan to take and leave
When you sell up, you’ll need to complete a ‘fixtures and fittings’ form. This will tell buyers what you plan to take with you when you leave, and what will be left behind for them. It’s important to establish these things as early as you can, as it can be a top question asked at viewings.
2. Renovation work
While this is a legal requirement, it’s also a great selling point. If you’ve recently renovated the kitchen, had an extension put in, or remodelled the bathroom, then you’ll need to declare the renovation work to estate agents.
3. Planning permissions in the area
Usually, you’ll get a letter from your local council informing you about the planning permissions requested by your neighbours. If you’ve had one of these letters recently, or if you get one during the sale of your home, then it’s important you declare it to your estate agent.
4. Denied planning permissions
If you applied for planning permission yourself and it was denied, it’s important that you disclose what you applied for and why it was declined to your estate agent.
5. Disputes with neighbours
If you’ve had a long-standing dispute with any of your local neighbours, you need to tell your estate agent about it. They are obligated to inform prospective buyers about the issues you’ve had with the people living around you. While it may seem trivial, if a buyer finds out later that you lied, it can be a very serious issue.
6. Pests or Japanese knotweed
Even if it was a problem long ago, your estate agent will need to know whether there was a pest invasion in your home, or if you’ve ever experienced Japanese knotweed in your garden.
7. Green deal loans
If you have one of these loans, you’ll definitely know about it. It’s a government loan that allows you to make improvements to your property and repay the costs using your energy bill savings. If you move, these debts get passed on to the new owners, so it’s absolutely essential to declare them to your estate agent.
We’re here to help
Even though it may sound daunting, with our help, we can make the selling process as easy as possible for you. At Alex Jones, we provide expert help, guidance and support every step of the way.
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Photographs are an essential step when selling your home and are integral to an effective marketing strategy.
Your photos need to look fantastic and stand out in a busy market. The images need to be an accurate and honest representation of the property, which is why staging your home before the professional photographer arrives is crucial.
If you are not hiring professional home stagers, there are some simple steps you can take to prepare your home in the best possible way before we send our professional photographers out to capture your home at its best!
Pay Attention to the Front of The Property
Even the nicest of cars cause distraction. Remove your vehicle from the driveway to give the viewers the full impact of the outside space and an unobstructed view of the front of the property. Additionally, ensure garage doors are closed. Small changes will make a significant impact on the overall quality of the photography.
If you usually keep the bins at the front of the property, ensure they are hidden away out of any shots. Thoroughly clean windows and windowsills to provide that the all-important front image of the home is immaculate.
Take some time to tidy the front garden, giving the best first impression. Mow the lawn, trim back any hedges and remove any empty plant pots that may be lying around.
Make Your Gardens Attractive
Gardens are often a huge draw for potential buyers, both those who are breaking free from the rental market and those climbing up the property ladder. Gardens are subject to personal taste, but neat lawns, clean decking, smart patios and clearly defined eating areas are what buyers want, so take time to prepare them before the arrival of your photographer.
Showcase Your Bedrooms
Remove any signs that may be stuck on bedroom doors, especially common for children’s rooms. Store away any children’s toys which may eliminate part of your target audience. If you don’t have the storage room, hide them in the car while the photographer is working!
Make all the beds and plump up the pillows. If any cushions are looking past their best, hide them out of shot. Items like this can do more harm than good and make the whole room look tired.
Add Sparkle to Your Bathroom
Bathrooms and kitchens are the main rooms that can really draw viewers to a home. Simple hacks in the bathroom can drastically elevate your photographs. Simply make sure the toilet seats are down, and mirrors are sparkly clean with no watermarks or smudges.
As bathrooms are often small, create space by being as minimal as possible. Store away cosmetic items such as shampoo, lotions, or razors. The bright colours of the bottles can be unattractive and distracting when photographed.
Remove Kitchen Clutter
Kitchens are the heart of the home, and a beautiful kitchen is often the factor that convinces unsure potential buyers. Clear all surfaces, leaving minimal appliances in view. This will prevent clutter from causing distraction and give the illusion of a bigger and fresher space with plenty of work surfaces.
Don’t Distract with Electronics
Turn off the TV and any computers and make sure there are no loose electronic devices left on countertops, which are distracting for people viewing the images. The last thing you want to see are beautiful images of your home with a distracting TV show in the corner of the otherwise perfect image.
Let in The Light
Open curtains and blinds wide to let the natural light flow through the home. Your photographer will then be able to manipulate the light to show your home in the best, most natural way possible. If you have blinds, open them tilted upwards. This will push the natural light towards the ceiling, allowing it to illuminate without being too harsh for photography.
Give Your Pets a Day Out!
Although you love them, it is best to keep pets out of your listing photographs whether it is a cat, dog or hamster, if possible, remove the pet from the home for the whole day, as this will give you an excellent opportunity to clean, ready for staging, and prevent them from getting in the way of the photographer.
In addition to the pet itself, make sure any pet toys, food bowls and beds are out of shot. Furthermore, tidy up the garden, ensuring no waste or pet toys are lying around.
Call the friendly team at Alex Jones now on 01612929223 – we use professional photography as standard!
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Alex Jones joins national customer service award scheme recognising the best property professionals in the UK.
Alex Jones Estate Agents, the Ashton Under Lyne based Estate Agent has entered The ESTAS Customer Service Awards. The ESTAS is the national award scheme which recognises the best estate and lettings agents, mortgage advisors, conveyancers and suppliers to the residential property industry. Winners are selected purely on feedback via ESTAS Customer Review platform which generates thousands of reviews from customers who have experienced the full service delivery from a property professional. Last year over 45,000 customers completed an ESTAS survey helping firms taking part to gain valuable feedback which enables them to improve their services for the future.
Founder of The ESTAS Group Simon Brown said “ESTAS has become a community of forward thinking property professionals who are committed to delivering great service and in turn changing the perception of the sector by the general public. The fact is 99% of agents, conveyancers and mortgage advisors do a fantastic job for their clients, our review platform and awards provide a kite mark of service excellence for any property professional involved in the home moving process.”
The ESTAS Awards take place every spring at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Phil Spencer, the country’s favourite property expert and ESTAS brand ambassador, announces the winners in front 1,000 of the UK’s top property professionals.
Spencer says “I think it says a great deal about a firm who takes part in The ESTAS. They care about their reputation and they care about their customers. Companies who sign up to The ESTAS are committed to giving customers the best possible service they can.”
Alex Bowden, Director at Alex Jones said “We take our levels of customer service very seriously because we know clients have a choice. We have always been very proud of the personal service we provide and this is great way to demonstrate how good we really are.”
Alex Jones Estate Agents
0161 292 9223
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The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on just about everyone in the UK, and the national lockdowns have undoubtedly changed the way we live during the past year, and possibly forever.
Homes Are Now Doubling Up As Workplaces
Arguably the single biggest change that has occurred almost overnight, is the number of office-based workers who now work from home full-time.
For a lot of smaller start-ups, especially in the tech industry, this has been the norm for some time already. However, prior to the pandemic, many large companies had started to take tentative steps towards remote working, with staff working perhaps one or two days a week from home.
This trend has now become a full blown shift to permanent remote working for a lot of people, with major companies in various industries, including banking, travel and technology all announcing that employees can work 100% remotely, even after the pandemic is over.
With homes now doubling up as workplaces, this has naturally had a big knock-on effect on the property market as buyers and renters seek out more space.
Properties With Gardens And Offices Have Seen A Huge Spike In Demand
The biggest effect of lockdowns on the property market has been a shift in what buyers and renters want from a property now and in future.
As more people are working remotely, houses and flats with office space have seen a big increase in demand, while property listings website Zoopla confirmed that the most-searched term on their website in 2020 was ‘garden’.
This strongly suggests that the lockdowns have increased people’s desire for some outdoor space, having been cooped up indoors for months. Add to that, the long-term closure of bars, pubs and restaurants over the past months, and homes have increasingly become dining and entertainment spaces for many people too.
The other big change in buyer’s behaviour is the increased interest in houses instead of flats. Again, the potential extra space for a desk or a garden has clearly played a part in the minds of buyers and renters, as they spend more time at home and seek out larger living spaces.
Rural Areas Are The New Property Hotspots
The desire for more space, coupled with the shift to full-time remote working has opened up new property hotspots around the UK, with people no longer needing to be so close to their workplace.
For example, some areas of Wales and North West England have seen property prices climb around 15% in the past 12 months, whereas London has seen a far more modest rise of around 2%, with some parts of the capital even seeing a fall in prices.
The most likely reason for this shift is the change to remote working for many people, and also the fact you’ll generally get more for your money if you move further away from London.
Socialising Has Changed Dramatically
With bars, restaurants and nightclubs being closed, there has been a significant cultural change when it comes to entertaining, with increasing numbers of people choosing to host events at home.
This has contributed towards the growing trend of buyers looking for extra space from their property, particularly outdoors.
As restrictions ease it will be interesting to see if this new way of socialising continues, or if there’s a flood of people heading back to bars and nightclubs en masse. One thing’s almost certain though, and that is the number of workers who’ll be spending five days a week in the office is very likely to drop significantly, meaning city centres are likely to be less busy than before.
Build To Rent Is a Fast Growing Trend
Another trend that has taken hold since lockdown is the rise of the ‘Build To Rent’ (BTR) sector of the property market.
While home ownership is still an important goal for many people, the UK’s rental sector has doubled in size in the past 20 years, with BTR seeing a big increase since lockdown started.
There are BTR projects around the UK, and some of these have been boosted by the sad decline of the retail sector as developers swoop in on vacant out-of-town shops for their latest all-in-one residential developments.
One of the things that is making build to rent developments so popular is the ability to have everything in one place, meaning renters are getting the benefits of city living, without having to be in a city centre.
For example, many developments come with co-working spaces, cinema rooms, on-site salons and bars, so tenants have everything on their doorstep without the need to commute.
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Autumn Jobs: How to prepare your home and garden for autumn
A rare warm breeze is a playful reminder that we are now into autumn, the summer months having passed us by.
Blue skies peppered with clouds will seemingly quickly turn to rain. Mornings start with wet ground underfoot, while the nights are already drawing in and the streetlights in and around Ashton Under Lyne will be glowing earlier. Children are collecting conkers, and while some of us relish the walks through the fallen golden leaves, others might be looking forward to snuggling down at home in the warmth.
It’s the perfect time to get our homes and gardens in order, ready for the rest of autumn, the slow onset of winter and the cold, snowy weather it often brings.
So, we’ve put together six things you should be doing right now to prepare your home and garden for the weeks ahead.
Store your garden furniture
You may already have been prepared and put all your summer items away, but some of us just haven’t got around to it yet, reluctant to say goodbye to the slim chance of just one more warm and sunny day! It’s a job that must be done though, so make sure that your patio furniture is stored away in a garage or a shed, or at least has a protective sheet over it. Chances are, you will have spent a few pounds on the furniture so you should look after it.
Top Tip: Give your garden furniture a good scrub before storing, as not only will it mean things are clean, it means you won’t have to spend time doing it when you bring your furniture out of hibernation in spring next year.
Don’t leaf it too late! (Sorry! We couldn’t resist!)
Many trees and plants have now shed their leaves, and you might love the look and sound of those crunchy piles as they mount up against a wall or fence, but it’s best to sweep all the fallen debris up before it begins to rot and leaves an unsightly mess in your garden. Similarly, ensure your gutters are free from mud, leaves and twigs.
Top Tip: Invest in a composter. That way, you have somewhere nearby to put garden clippings and leaves in, and, if managed carefully, you’ll have the beginnings of great compost.
Check your pipes and drains
As the days become colder, it makes perfect sense to make sure that you don’t get any headaches from broken pipes or blocked drains. With drains, ensure that they are not blocked by leaves or soil. With pipes, it’s best to ensure that they are well insulated. It’s also recommended that you keep your heating at set temperatures, even if you are away from home so that pipes don’t keep contracting and expanding, making them prone to damage.
Top Tip: Landlords who let out properties have a duty by law to have gas safety checks and boiler checks, but it’s easy for homeowners to skip an annual service. It makes sense to us here at Alex Jones for every homeowner to make sure their heating and boilers are in good working condition. It’s safer and more efficient, saving the pennies.
Ensure insurance is in place
No matter what you do, sometimes things go wrong, and it can prove costly. Through no fault of your own, harsh weather conditions in winter can mean leaks, breaks and cracks can happen. Check that your insurance is in place and that it covers you for everything you need.
Top Tip: As you’re checking your insurance cover, take the time to do an audit of other bits and bobs of paperwork too. Perhaps your car insurance needs looking at, or you need to renew policies or update your will. Seriously, spending time doing essential paperwork can save you money and heartache.
Sound the alarm
With the coming cold weather, chances are you’ll be spending more time indoors – the kettle is on, the fire is roaring, candles are lit, the heating’s on. While you’re indoors, you need to know you are safe, and that if anything should happen, you will be quite literally alarmed. Get a smoke alarm fitted, and a carbon monoxide alarm too. A few pounds spent could save your life.
Top Tip: If you’ve got your alarms sorted, do you have a plan of what happens if one sounds? Make sure you and your family know what they should do in the event of a fire or other emergency, including escape routes.
Seal up for winter
No matter how new your house may be, a little gap here and there can let in drafts – and allow heat to get out. Make sure your insulation is good and do any work to make sure doors close properly, or gaps in window frames are sealed. It’ll keep you warm and save you money.
Top Tip: A nice draft excluder by the front door can actually add to your decor. If you’ve got children, perhaps they would like to make a draught excluder out of old clothes and textiles as a fun project!