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Once again, it continues to be a busy time in the property sector. The property market is inextricably linked to wider economic issues, so it’s no surprise that government decisions and the pandemic will affect what’s happening locally.
As far as we are concerned, we continue to be busy and we’re still seeing lots of interest in the Tameside area.
At Alex Jones, we always keep up to date with the property market, so here’s a helpful roundup of some of the property market news over the past couple of weeks.
It’s A Moving Business
We often talk about property – which is obvious since it’s our line of buisness – but we thought we’d start this month’s news update with talk from the removals industry.
Today’s Conveyancer recently ran an interview with a couple of businesses in the removals sector which interestingly stated that for one particular company, stats showed “registrations for their removal services in August 2020 didn’t hit the same peaks as they had done in 2019. However, their data showing the first couple of months of 2021 have shown that demand for the services is indeed still at an all-time high.”
This is good news for the sector and correlates with the market we are seeing, which has faced some uncertainty over recent months.
Market Dips, But Prices Stable
The Halifax House Price Index shows that prices in February 2021 were 5.2 per cent higher than the same month a year earlier. The bank says that the market dipped slightly in February but prices remained stable, with the average property price being £251,697.
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, is quoted as saying: “In the longer-term, the performance of the housing market remains inextricably linked to the health of the wider economy. The pace and extent of recovery are still highly uncertain, and much will depend on the ongoing success of the UK’s vaccination roll out.”
We agree that the market is linked to the economic situation, but at the moment, it’s a buoyant market in Ashton Under Lyne .
Stamp Duty Holiday Extension Welcomed
Perhaps one of the most eagerly-anticipated news items of March was the extension of the temporary stamp duty holiday (in England and Northern Ireland), which now runs until the end of June.
The announcement came as a relief to many homebuyers, especially those mid-transaction, and there is little doubt that the holiday gave the market the shot it needed. Indeed, Rightmove’s property data expert Tim Bannister said that the extension “should give tens of thousands of home-movers the chance to complete before the new deadline”.
Echoing these thoughts was Zoopla, the property portal, which said that buyer demand soared, but warned that supply remained tight, thus pushing prices upwards.
Eviction Ban Extended
One for the landlords here, as many news outlets reported, the ban on tenant evictions has been extended. Zoopla says that under the ban, “bailiff-enforced evictions will not be allowed except in the most serious circumstances, such as cases of fraud or domestic abuse”.
Additionally, “the requirement for landlords to give their tenants a six-month notice period before they can evict them has also been extended until the end of May”.
Good news for tenants, but for landlords who have issues with a tenant, it may not be so welcome. If you need help managing your property portfolio, we’re happy to assist. Just get in touch and we’ll have a chat about what we can do to help alleviate the stress.
Key Info To Be Shared Earlier?
This is an interesting one, reported on by Property Wire. The Law Society and its partners are looking at making “key information for home buyers and sellers available at a much earlier stage in the conveyancing process”.
If the pilot currently being rolled out proves to be successful, it means information normally sourced after conveyancers have been instructed will be available earlier in the process via the TA6 form. This is typically information relating to the property to be purchased, for example, parking arrangements, Japanese knotweed and flooding risks.
This could definitely change how things are done and makes a certain amount of sense, informing a potential buyer of the information they need to make an informed decision .
We’ll keep you updated as this progresses.
We’re here to help you get moving.
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Moving home! The very thought of it is probably enough to send shivers down your spine and cause you to break out in a cold sweat, and this is unsurprising as moving home is right up there with divorce and death when it comes to heightened stress levels!
The fact is though, that any kind of ‘change’ creates stress and whether you are moving home within Tameside or relocating from further afield, plenty of planning and preparation will be required.
Moving home, and especially relocating to a new town or city, represents one of the biggest changes you may make in your life and so naturally brings a great deal of stress along with it. This in turn can lead to a double whammy, as stress can often lead to a lack of energy and motivation. So how are you expected to plan and prepare for your home move during one of the most stressful periods in your life?
When preparing to move home there will be an element of multi-tasking required as there are such a lot of elements vying for your attention which need to be done. At Alex Jones we understand this and genuinely want your move to run super smoothly, so with this in mind, we have compiled a handy moving home checklist to help you remain stress free.
At first glance, some of our suggestions may appear to be common sense, but you will be surprised at just how often the simplest of tasks is overlooked or forgotten when the dreaded stress strikes!
Moving home calls not only for exceptional organisational skills, but also proactivity. Grabbing the bull by the horns and completing certain chores well in advance of their deadlines will go a long way to helping you stay ahead of schedule, so the aim of this home moving checklist is to help you accomplish that by concentrating on the basics of planning and preparation.
Get rid of everything you don’t need
One thing you can accomplish efficiently is to sort through all of your ‘stuff’ and get rid of the things you don’t need. Moving unwanted items from your current property to your new property is a great waste of time and effort, so don’t do it! It’s surprising how much more in control you will feel once you start narrowing down your inventory. Getting rid of unwanted items can be done through a car boot sale, selling on eBay or donating to charity.
File important papers and documents together
Since moving home is hectic to say the least, you need to be aware of the exact location of all your important items. These are the things that you absolutely must not misplace and should be hand carried on moving day, not placed in a box for the removal company to transport.
Make sure all of the following paper items are kept together in one secure place such as a document wallet:
- Address Books
- Birth Certificates
- Bank Statements
- Insurance Policies
- Marriage Certificates
- Credit Cards and Statements
- Medical and Dental Records
- Irreplaceable Memorabilia
- Photos and Photo Albums
- Vehicle Documents
- Pet and Vet Documentation
- Any other important or legal documents
Prepare well in advance for the move to your new location
There are many things you can organise before you reach your new home that will help smooth out the bumps of the moving process. In particular, make sure you contact utility companies and arrange for your new services to be connected. These can include:
- Cable TV
- Internet access
Contact your insurance companies too as you will need to have your policies amended ready for moving day:
- Car insurance
- Home & Building Insurance
Prepare change of address forms for all of your correspondents:
- Credit card companies
- Insurance companies
- Magazines and other subscriptions
- Family and friends
Register for new medical providers such as a new doctor and dentist if necessary.
Keep a ‘little black book’
Keep all your important phone numbers written clearly and legibly in a diary or notebook, for both your old and new contacts. This should include banks, doctors, emergency contacts, family members, friends, estate agents, removal companies, pharmacies, schools, storage facilities and utilities.
With proper planning and preparation, the whole moving process will be smooth, and you won’t frantically be searching for a new doctor, pharmacy or important information at the eleventh hour.
With proper planning and preparation, you will have your important documents at the tips of your fingers at all times and you will endure minimum chaos and clutter.
Keep this handy moving checklist safe and get organised or for more home moving planning and preparation advice, drop in and talk to the expert team at Alex Jones or telephone us on 01612929223 and we will be happy to ensure your home move runs smoothly.
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If you are considering putting your house in Tameside 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 Alex Jones we have put together our seven top tips to get you started and on the road to staging your home like a pro.
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.
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.
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 Tameside. 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 Tameside 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 Tameside to its full potential, contact the team at Alex Jones on 01612929223 today.
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There’s no denying that lockdown has been a difficult time for many of us in Tameside.
Now, with a roadmap out of restrictions, things are starting to look a little brighter but with strict limitations still in place for visiting friends and family, or even enjoying time outside in our beautiful location, it has never been more important to transform your home into the haven you deserve.
Whilst big redecoration jobs and renovations are not practical for many of us during this period; there are lots of small steps you can take to transform your home and boost your lockdown mood.
The team at Alex Jones have come up with five ways to boost your mood and help get you through these strange times while also making your home a place you can enjoy.
1. Declutter Your Home
The simplest, yet arguably the most effective way to boost your mood is to declutter. It’s quite therapeutic you know! In the past year, we have all spent more time at home than ever before, and the importance of having a tidy and organised space has never been more important.
Most of us are working, relaxing, sleeping and socialising (virtually) in the same space and no matter the size of your home, it can quickly begin to feel very small!
A thorough, ruthless declutter will work wonders for your mental health, and make your home feel more spacious and relaxing.
Be patient and tackle each room individually – don’t try and do every area at once. Separating your items into four distinct categories is the easiest method.
- Things you absolutely cannot live without
- Items to be resold
- Items to be donated to charity
- Things to be thrown away
- Focus on Scent
Throughout lockdown, especially in the colder months, it can be difficult to keep your home smelling sweet when you can’t throw the windows open wide each day.
So, it is important to consciously choose scents for each room which can make a massive difference to your home overall, as well as your mood. For example, rosemary is well known for being the perfect energy booster.
Research shows rosemary oil can improve memory and fight muscle fatigue, making it the ideal scent for a weekday pick-me-up. Consider adding a rosemary wax melt to your office or workspace. This will get your home smelling amazing, boost your productivity and make you feel happier in general.
2. Use The Power of Plants
Houseplants have grown tremendously in popularity over the past decade.
Particularly beneficial for those with limited access to a garden, houseplants allow us to bring a small element of the outdoors into our homes.
Adding greenery to any room will not only enhance the aesthetics but also leave you feeling fantastic. The beauty of houseplants is that they are interchangeable, and match pretty much any décor. Meaning, you can have fun experimenting with each plant in different areas of your home.
Studies show that the benefits of house plants include reducing stress and anxiety and increasing focus. They also undoubtedly improve the air quality in your home, whilst acting as a natural humidifier.
Most houseplants require very little upkeep. Place them in front of some natural light, water regularly, and they will thrive.
3. Add Some Colour
Many of us shy away from bright colours, especially when it comes to our walls. We tend to opt for neutrals, adding a splash of colour within our soft furnishings if we feel particularly adventurous.
There is a lot to be said for neutrals because they are so versatile, however, there has never been a better time to experiment with a little colour in your home than during lockdown.
Painting is therapeutic. Having a physical task to take your mind away from a screen will do wonders for your mental and physical health. The painting process can be a fun activity with the people you live with, or a solo task to help fill the pandemic days and distract your mind.
Additionally, having a splash of colour in your home gives an instantaneous high. This does not necessarily mean taking the paintbrush to every room in the house. Try an accent wall by simply cheering up one or two walls to completely transform the look of the space. This also does the job of enhancing your mood and making you smile during these trying times.
4. Adjust Your Lighting
Although simply not possible in every home, consider your furniture placement and the natural light.
Natural sunlight is one of the most vital elements for maintaining focus and positive mental health. Whilst bright, sunny days may be few and far between during the winter lockdown in the UK, it has never been more important to make the most of what is available.
Try moving your desk near a window, to allow your mind to reap the rewards of the sunshine.
Additionally, consider investing in a sunrise alarm clock. These clocks cleverly and slowly brighten the room to naturally wake you in the morning, allowing your eyes and mind to adjust to the day gradually. This sets the right tone from the off and gives you an immediate mood boost.
Staying positive during lockdown can be hard, but the team at Alex Jones are here for you.
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Is Boris’ 95% mortgage announcement a good move?
Getting on the first step of the property ladder can seem like a giant leap these days, can’t it? If you’re young and haven’t been able to save up a deposit, it might seem that your dream of home ownership coming true is something that might only happen in the distant future.
Well, we at Alex Jones have some good news for you. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, looks like he is trying to give you a leg up. We were catching up with the digital Conservative Party conference and Boris has declared that he wants to relax stringent rules on deposits and mortgages for first-time buyers.
From “generation rent” to “generation buy”
In the current COVID-19 climate, typically, you’ll need to find a deposit that is between 15 and 20 per cent of the price of the property.
It’s become more difficult just recently, with lenders becoming much more risk-averse, particularly in the first-time buyer market and moving away from low-deposit mortgages.
It’s a shame because many people who can actually manage a monthly mortgage repayment can’t afford a deposit for a property in the first place. So, you may have found your perfect home in Tameside but until you can find thousands of pounds for the deposit, that move is out of the question.
The Prime Minister’s speech seems like a welcome move, and if it works, could turn many people from renters into home-owners – from “generation rent” to “generation buy”.
A solution with a problem?
But, there’s a potential problem. Boris’s words were welcomed by many, although a number of commentators noted that it was short on detail. Yes, it grabs the headlines, but what are the mechanics of it all?
Will you, wanting to buy a house in Tameside be eligible for a 95 per cent mortgage, or will there be some criteria that will still prevent you getting on the property ladder?
Will the banks be expected to take all the risks, or will the Government step in and be a guarantor?
And will banks, who are still smarting from losses incurred years ago, be willing to offer the mortgages in the first place, particularly if they are now lending in a more responsible manner?
Whatever happens, it looks like the Government is trying to do something, but we await the full details.
Help is out there, and it’s been extended
As a first-time buyer, there is still help out there for you.
Help to Buy is a scheme that started with the government lending “first-time buyers and existing homeowners’ money to buy a newly-built home”. It proved very popular when it was first launched, and we saw a few purchases using this initiative, particularly as people only needed a five per cent deposit.
The Government has now confirmed that a new Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme “open to first-time buyers only will be available for two years from 1 April 2021. The Help to Buy scheme will end on 31 March 2023”.
In effect, you put down a five per cent deposit, the Government provides a 20 per cent loan, and you find a mortgage for the remainder.
There are all sorts of different limits based on UK regions, and there are strict rules that come with it.
It might be that as a first-time buyer, you don’t want to get involved in these schemes, and want to do as much as you can to raise a larger deposit.
It takes hard work and discipline to put aside thousands of pounds, but it can be done, and we have seen a few people do it too even though they are getting into property for the very first time.
From saving a percentage of your monthly wages, to selling items online, to taking extra part-time work or even moving back in with Mum and Dad, it can be a hard slog but you have to think of the end result – a house of your dreams that belongs to you.
If you need more advice on this, our team at Alex Jones have plenty of experience, so can offer you some tips.