• How Homeowners Can Beat the Blue Monday Moods
    Posted on 10 January 2024

    How Homeowners Can Beat the Blue Monday Moods

    Next Monday is, according to social scientists, the most depressing day on the calendar.

    It even has a name. Such is the doom and gloom attached to it – Blue Monday.

    It’s the perfect storm of wintry weather, festive spending credit card debts coming in, New Year’s resolutions falling by the wayside, and Christmas being a memory that’s fading fast.

    We all feel down from time to time, and it’s important to share with people we trust how we’re feeling.

    All our relationships here at Pinkertons are built on trust, and we like to think that’s why we know what gets home sellers feeling blue.

    The good news is we have the answers to the five main things that get people involved in property transactions feeling down.

    1 – Home won’t sell – A home that’s been on the market for a long time is a headache for the seller. It’s usually because the price is unrealistic or it is being poorly marketed.

    2 – Apathetic agents – Choosing an estate agent to sell your home is a big call. And when you get it wrong, it can be the source of a lot of stress and anxiety. Look for local agents who know the local property market, are experienced, and have good reviews and testimonials.

    3 – Slow solicitors – There’s no getting away from it, an inefficient conveyancing solicitor can hold up your sale and cause no end of frustration. Always go with recommendations from people you trust who have successfully used the solicitor themselves.

    4 – Vanishing buyers – There’s very little in the property selling business as annoying as buyers who make an offer you accept only to vanish for whatever reason. The best way around this is to work with an agency that properly qualifies every offer to see if the person making it is in a position to actually proceed.

    5 – Overvaluations – This goes back to point two and highlights the importance of choosing the right agency. A common tactic used by unscrupulous agents is to deliberately overvalue a property to get the chance to sell it. More often than not, a price reduction follows as the property won’t sell and attracts little interest. Ask for clear, comparable evidence to back up an agency’s valuation of your property.

    If you have anything property-related weighing on your mind this Blue Monday or any day come to that, give us a call. We’re here to make selling a home a happier experience.
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  • Four New Year’s Resolutions Landlords Should Consider
    Posted on 1 January 2024

    Four New Year’s Resolutions Landlords Should Consider

    And landlords are not immune to wanting a fresh start. January always sees us have plenty of enquiries from landlords keen to improve the way they do things.

    Below are four resolutions we can help landlords make, but more importantly, keep.

    To make more money
    This one is a balancing act. You want to be profitable without being mercenary. A popular way to improve your bottom line is to review your buy-to-let mortgage rates (when was the last time you did this?). You can also look at all your other costs, including insurance and maintenance plans and see if any savings can be made.

    To have less stress
    Being a landlord is a fantastic way to build a passive income and lay solid financial foundations for your future. But it can be stressful if certain things aren’t in place. You have plenty of responsibilities, and these can all add up over time. Working with an experienced letting agent can help you overcome any challenges and make your life easier.

    To get better tenants
    This goes hand in hand with our thoughts on having less stress. A bad tenancy is a nightmare. The good news is when you work with an experienced letting agency, the risks of these are massively reduced. Rigorous referencing and cross-checking of prospective tenants are perhaps the most crucial tasks that need to be done, professionally, if you’re to get a better standard of tenant.

    To stay safe and legal
    We’ve mentioned that mountain of rules and responsibilities all landlords face. Falling foul of these are costly, stressful, and in worst-case scenarios, can put you behind bars. Unfortunately, ignorance isn’t a defence when it comes to rental property law. By working with a letting agency that knows their stuff regarding the legal side of things, you are protecting yourself, your tenants, and your investment.

    If improving the way your rental properties perform in 2024 is a resolution you’re making, get in contact with us today, and we’ll help you stick to it.
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  • Time to get organised for the New Year!
    Posted on 14 December 2023

    Time to get organised for the New Year!

    We can show you how tackling your home organisation could be the new year refresh that you need, so take a look through our top tips for sorting out your home and getting it underway in the best way possible…

    Find a new way to store your storage
    Tupperware and other forms of storage containers are some of the most popular items in the kitchen. Not only do they make sure that we can keep leftovers fresh, but also that we can put food away in the fridge neatly. The trouble with storage containers is that they themselves can cause a bit of a mess problem. There are a number of inventive ways online that you can try and organise your food storage and make sure that your kitchen looks neat and tidy.

    Repurpose your magazine file
    Do you have a magazine file that now seems to be distinctly lacking in magazines? If this is true for you then you might want to find out a way to repurpose it. One great idea that we have found is to use these files to store hair straighteners, curlers and hair dryers. All of which slot in neatly and keep these electric items neat and tidy.

    Think about garage and shed storage
    For many of us, the garage and sheds at our properties can become messy and unkempt over time. After all, they are mainly just for storage, so it can seem as if it doesn’t matter whether or not they get messy. But it does! Not only does this make things tricky to find when you do need it, but it also means that you are losing valuable space too. If you are concerned about the space that you have in your garage then you can always consider off-floor storage, such as high shelves and even using the ceiling for storage too.

    Create a drop spot
    Do you hate the fact that everyone just throws their stuff on the floor when they get through the door? Does it seem that no matter what you say it still happens? If this is true for your house, then perhaps you should create a designated drop zone. This only needs to be a tub close by the front door, but the idea is that you have created a central zone that will minimise the mess throughout the rest of the house.

    As you can see, there are plenty of ways that you can tackle the organisation in your home. Not only will this make your space feel bigger and neater, but it will also help to set up you for the year ahead and maybe even feel ready to tackle some home improvement projects too.
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  • 2024: the year of the smart home purchase
    Posted on 12 December 2023

    2024: the year of the smart home purchase

    If you snooze you lose
    Trying to call the bottom market with any degree of certainty is a gamble that will almost certainly end up robbing you of capital growth potential. When markets turn, they tend to do so very quickly in a “V” shape, and those who buy on the way down without waiting for the absolute bottom are generally considered to be the clever ones. If you do happen to call the market at its lowest ebb, count yourself lucky, but you can’t build a strategy on luck alone.

    Establish a fair market value
    Research the most recent selling prices of comparable homes in your chosen area, not the asking prices, but the offers that were finally accepted. Local agents and in-the-know neighbours can be tapped for this kind of information.

    Stay flexible
    Think about what negotiation nuggets you have to offer that will sweeten the deal in your favour – most vendors will, for example, be amenable to a price cut if they know there’s no chain, you’re able to move quickly and can provide supporting evidence of comparable ‘under-value’ sales in the area. To check property price movements in your neighbourhood, review favourite listings on a weekly basis on Rightmove. If sales are picking up, it’s time to get back in the game.

    Get agents on side
    It’s not just sellers that have to launch a charm offensive to get their property sold. Agents worth their salt are excellent ‘all round’ schmoozers, because the more they know about you the buyer, your property requirements and your finances, the easier it is to flog you a house. Getting agents on side early on is a wise move – you can plug them for information on the best properties. But be careful about how much you divulge and stay tight lipped about your budget limit (remember they represent the seller).

    Sum up the potential
    A property’s capability is all about its income generation potential – this could be through rentals, tax benefit deductions, grants for renovation, as well as the property’s long-term appreciation potential; the ultimate goal being to sell at a higher price per square foot than originally. Your plans for the property also have a bearing on its value. Does the house come with planning permission to extend, the option of acquiring additional adjoining land or converting outbuildings? Any room for improvement that builds a property’s value increases your future profit margin.

    Want to ‘sell smart’ in the coming year? Get in touch today.
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  • What’s on the Cards for Trendy Homeowners in 2024?
    Posted on 10 December 2023

    What’s on the Cards for Trendy Homeowners in 2024?

    If the past couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that no one really knows what’s going to happen in the future.

    But we’ve dusted down our crystal ball (with the help of some Google searches) to discover the trends forecasted to shape the way our homes look, function, and feel.

    Below are five trends that style and design experts are predicting will become a hit in our homes next year.

    1)     Natural colours – We’ll all be going back to our roots – well, kind of. White, ivory, taupe, and grey will be must-have colours, along with the bounce-back of beige. Shades of green are being widely tipped as next year’s number one colour.

    2)     Flexible spaces – As the pandemic highlighted, rooms in our homes now need to be multi-purpose. Home offices are still on the rise, and with a bit of careful planning, that space in the corner of your living room could be turned into a study/work/play area. This could spell the end for the man cave as it will be under pressure to become a family den.

    3)     Good for the planet – As climate and sustainability feature more highly in people’s thinking, our thoughts are predicted to apply this mindset to our homes. Long-lasting materials such as stone, glass, onyx, marble, granite, and light wood will become more popular as furniture and features of home decoration. Indoor plants are also forecasted to experience a boom.

    4)     Built to last – Has fast fashion hit its peak? Because fast furnishings seem doomed to being consigned to the past. Instead, interior design experts are predicting we will start buying better-made, longer-lasting furniture. It’s a bit like choosing a good estate agent to sell your home, it may cost more, but you won’t regret it in the long run.

    5)     Going to extremes – In keeping with the theme of cutting down consumption, some experts are confident that extreme minimalism will become increasingly popular. The focus will be on functionality – if you haven’t used an item for a while, it’s time to lose it and create more space in your home.

    Whatever happens in 2024, we’re confident that the home moving market will continue to see a lot of activity and price growth.

    How your home looks and feels helps you enjoy its full potential, and that’s something that’ll never go out of fashion.

    If you have a property question you need an expert answer to, get in touch.
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  • 10 home projects to tackle in 2024
    Posted on 8 December 2023

    10 home projects to tackle in 2024

    1 – Kitchen
    If you have been living for too long with an outdated kitchen, make this the year that you replace it. However, before you start to get carried away by kitchens in glossy magazines you should decide on a realistic budget. The many elements of a kitchen can soon add up and you may have to compromise on some decisions. Start by measuring your room and then you can use an online planner to start to get some initial ideas and prices.

    2 – Bathroom
    A beautiful bathroom is near the top of most homeowners wish-lists. However onerous the task of replacing your bathroom might seem it doesn’t have to be that way with careful planning. Begin by thinking about what you really want from your bathroom? Do you want a beautiful minimalist wet room or is your requirement a good quality family bathroom? When choosing your fittings do remember that you probably won’t redo it for many years. Don’t be tempted by fittings that are too fashionable – you will soon tire of a bright red basin however great it looks in a showroom. Start by measuring the room, choose the fixtures and fittings you like and you can then calculate the cost.

    3 – Extend your home
    Start to plan your extension now and you could be enjoying the extra space when Summer arrives. Due to changes in the planning regulations, you do not always need to apply to the local council for planning permission to extend your home. However, the Permitted Developments rules can be complicated so seek advice from your council first, and if your home is Listed or in a Conservation Area different rules will apply.
    Once you have established if planning permission is needed you should draw up some plans of your proposal. An architect or interior design firm can do this for you. These plans are essential before you start any work, so the builder knows exactly what they are building.

    4 – Decorate exterior of house
    Exterior decoration is an often-neglected aspect of home maintenance. However, as these elements of your home can be exposed to harsh weather conditions it is essential that you regularly maintain them. Spring is a good time to do this once the air is less damp and the days longer. The key to a good finish on any decoration project is the preparation. The frames will need to be rubbed down and prepared before you start any repainting. Ensure any holes are correctly filled and also check that there is no evidence of damp.

    When you are ready for the final topcoat make sure you use exterior paint – this paint is designed for longevity in all weathers and should always be used for exterior woodwork.

    5 – Refurbish your windows
    Many UK homes have Victorian Sash Windows while the remainder will have a variation on a casement style window.
    Sash Windows are lovely, but they do let in a lot of air around the edges. In addition, the majority are single glazed. The gaps themselves can be fixed by the installation of brush strips. If you look at your window you will see that there is a strip of wood running around the edge of the inner window (the one facing the house) this is the retaining bead, and between the windows is the parting bead.  These need to be removed and replaced with ones with brush strips.  Search the web for “Sash window repair kits” and you will find what you need.

    Casement style windows can either be replaced in their entirety with sealed double-glazing units or refurbished. Search the web for a trade joinery company and ask them to make some up for you much cheaper than a double-glazing company.

    6 – Add a master bedroom ensuite
    Adding a bathroom to your bedroom to create a master suite is a reasonably easy task if you have sufficient room. If your home currently only has one bathroom that is used by all the family an ensuite allows you to create space just for your use. The new bathroom could become a spa like room for you to escape the pressures of modern life!
    Unless the available room is very large it is often best to install only a shower in this room, especially if the main bathroom already has a bath. You will then need to choose a basin and a WC and allow for adequate storage. Wall hung furniture is also a good option if the new bathroom will be small as the room visually appears larger. Choosing simple tiles to complete the look wile ensure that the new room doesn’t look crowded and adds a very valuable room to your home.

    7 – Landscape your garden
    With inside space often at a premium, you should ensure you make the most of any exterior space available. If you start to plan your exterior space now you can plant it up in the Spring and have a wonderful space to enjoy this Summer. When planning your garden consider your lifestyle and how you want to use the garden. If you have little time and want a garden for entertaining, a large patio and low maintenance landscaping will be important. However, if you want to spend time tending the garden you can choose different plants and maybe even include a lawn.

    8 – Renew or renovate your flooring
    Over the last 10 years many homes have had carpet removed and wooden flooring laid. This has totally changed the character of our homes, but floors have moved on from when this trend first started and are now better quality. In addition, a floor laid a few years ago will have begun to look tired. Laying a new floor or resurfacing the existing one will breathe new life into your home and is an easy task to be carried out.

    9 – Convert your loft
    If you have a good-sized loft space this is often the best choice for increasing the space in your home without moving. A simple conversion can often be done under Permitted Development but if you want to change the roof line or shape you will need planning permission.

    Once the potential has been proved you can think about what you want to use the space for – a kid’s playroom/den or maybe a new master bedroom suite? Both of these options would require a proper staircase so can this be achieved? If you just want additional storage you may be able to do a basic conversion to provide extra space. Plan every aspect before you start and your loft conversion should be a painless process.

    10 – Plan a new colour scheme for your home
    One of the easiest ways to refresh your home is to plan a new colour scheme. Recently the trend has been to move away from a very neutral palate and introduce more colour into our homes. If you are still living in a very neutral 90s home grab yourself a colour wheel and plan a more exciting scheme for your home.

    If your budget is tight you could just add colour through the accessories. The high street now carries a great range of soft furnishings – and the low prices also mean they can easily be changed when you tire of this year’s colours and want to update the look.

    Want more advice on setting your home up to sell successfully or what the value might be once a project is done? Get in touch!
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  • Why You Should Prepare Now for a Post-Christmas Sale
    Posted on 6 December 2023

    Why You Should Prepare Now for a Post-Christmas Sale

    There’s one day of the year when the stars align for sellers and it’s not too far off.

    If you’re planning on selling up anytime soon, you’d be mad not to capitalise on this opportunity.

    Keep reading to find out more.

    Behold the Boxing Day home hunters
    You may think the festive season, with its public holidays, boozy lunches, and family gatherings, isn’t a great time to take a property to market – but you’d be wrong.

    Internet traffic booms on property portals on Boxing Day.

    Why? On Boxing Day, people have time to think about their future and look at what’s on the market.

    But that’s not all
    Importantly, those who are perusing property portals on Boxing Day are motivated to move.

    Christmas sets all sorts of big life decisions in motion. Some couples decide to cement a relationship by moving in together; others conclude that it’s time to part ways.

    Meanwhile, some families recognise that they need more space, while others admit it’s time to downsize.

    With this pool of keen buyers, you’d think there would be an abundant supply of sellers. But surprisingly, many people delay putting their property on the market until the New Year.

    This means the savvy sellers who get their act together in time for Boxing Day enjoy maximum exposure but less competition – it’s a win-win.

    Do something now if you’re serious about selling
    Before you put your Christmas decorations up (they’ll date your marketing photos), get your ducks in a row now.

    Choose your agent (perhaps one who has suggested such a smart move like getting ready now for all those Boxing Day home hunters?) and organise your property’s paperwork.

    Leave the photos, floorplans, and marketing strategy to the agents.

    Then enjoy the run-up to Christmas, knowing you’ve done the hard yards and that you’re not missing a trick.

    With everything in place, you can simply tell your agent when to launch your property to the market to bring it to the attention of all those serious, post-Christmas buyers.

    To find out more about this way of making the most of a great window of opportunity, contact us here at Pinkertons.
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  • For a successful 2024 sale, now’s the time to start planning!
    Posted on 4 December 2023

    For a successful 2024 sale, now’s the time to start planning!

    The time to start planning and researching is now. Statistics by Property News & Property Pal have consistently shown that from Boxing Day throughout the beginning of the year, the number of people looking to buy rises steeply.

    If you want to move in 2024, can you afford to miss out on this prime selling time?

    You might not have time between Christmas parties and visiting the in-laws to have a good de-clutter and clean, but have you thought of doing your homework before you start asking estate agents around for a valuation? You can do that while you are waiting in the queue at Waitrose, or while sitting on the train on the way to work.

    Use the Internet to get a handle on property prices
    Fill your down time with a good trawl of the internet to see what properties are available in your area - it helps to see what competition your property would be up against and to get an idea of a what a realistic asking price might be. This bit of research is also worthwhile before you invite an estate agent around for a valuation – a good valuer should be well informed about what is available and should be able to compare notes with you about what is currently listed.

    Sold Prices
    There may be a big difference between the price a property is marketed for and the sale price it actually achieves.  Sometimes we see sale prices below the asking prices, so make sure you check the homes which actually sold!

    Nothing better than a bespoke valuation
    No matter how good your online research skills may be, there is no replacement for an experienced estate agent's valuation.  A good estate agent should be able to provide you with what are called "comparables" – properties that have sold in your area that are similar to your own.  If an agent is not able to provide comparables they may have simply not done their homework.

    What your Internet research could reveal when choosing an estate agent
    While doing your Internet searches, take the time to register with an estate agent who can provide you with expertise and professionalism. It’s also great to check that they offer extensive marketing for your property and will keep you updated at every point in the process so you feel comfortable and listened to.

    When the Queen's speech is over there will be nothing left to do but start getting buyers through the door.

    Even if you are not ready to start getting people through your door right now, we can start lining up buyers and promoting your property while you celebrate the holidays and then you can get on with your big moving plans when you are ready in the New Year.

    Get in touch today to get started!
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  • Has your property let stalled?
    Posted on 20 October 2023

    Has your property let stalled?

    If there isn’t much interest in your rental, what can you do?

    If you are struggling to rent out your house and it is sitting lonely and unloved on the market, there is a reason for it. Either the rent you are asking is too high and / or the condition of the property is not attractive to potential tenants.

    Is your rent too high?
    The asking rent is absolutely critical. A property is only worth (in sales and in rentals) what someone is willing to pay. So in most cases, if there is no interest, then the rent is too high and it needs to be lowered.

    Of course, this is easy to say and harder to accept. It is particularly painful when the rent is near the mortgage repayment level and you risk having to top it up each month. However, the harsh reality is that some income is better than none – it is better to lower the rent, accept a 6 or 12-month tenancy and be left with 5% of the mortgage to pay rather than 100%.

    The condition of the property is paramount. Tenants have high expectations. They want bright, light, clean and modern interiors; and that is why its essential to ensure decoration is at its best, and maintenance is done regularly. Tenants will pay for the best properties and they walk away from tired homes. The properties in the poorest condition let the slowest.

    You need to be realistic about the condition of your property. Often, landlords are too close to the property: they like it, so they feel that tenants must like it too.

    However, you are not the tenant. You are not the target market. If properties are struggling, they need to be sorted out. The changes you make could be minor (mowing the lawn, replacing vinyl in a bathroom) or substantial (damp-proofing a basement or re-styling the interior).

    Two other factors may be at work: your soft criteria and the hard criteria.
    The soft criteria are your preferences for how you let the property – whether you let furnished or unfurnished, whether you allow pets, children, etc. We have dealt with landlords who refuse to take their furniture out of their family house even though all of the potential applicants for that property have their own furniture.

    The hard criteria are issues such as parking and availability dates. If the property is only available for six months, that makes it harder to let. If there is no parking available, it makes it even harder.

    Conclusion: Listen to the feedback from the viewings and take action. The more flexible and decisive you are, the more successful your letting will be.
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  • Discover the surprising impact the colour of your front door could have on the value of your home.
    Posted on 20 October 2023

    Discover the surprising impact the colour of your front door could have on the value of your home.

    As the saying goes, you don't get a second chance to make a good first impression and judgements are often made in just a few seconds. So there isn't long to capture the attention of the perfect buyer for your home.

    Perhaps this is why studies have shown that the colour of a front door can actually affect the value of your property. If the colour is off-putting, you may never get the potential buyer across the threshold, and your chance to sell your home to them is lost forever.

    What does your front door say about your home?

    The secrets hidden behind a door hold endless possibilities and can build curiosity. Will it be a stylish, contemporary home or a cosy, lived-in family space? Does that door lead to a new life where treasured memories will be made?

    Since the Georgian period, we've been obsessed with doors. The entrance to a property represented the occupants' wealth and social standing, so you could see from the outside how influential the owner was.

    The fancier the doorway, the better, so they added stained glass, ornate door frames and even columns to show off the elaborate decorations that they could afford.

    We all know that a household's income is not represented by a doorway anymore; some of the wealthiest people in the world are the least ostentatious. But perhaps a lot can be learned about a homes' interior from the first impression that the door gives.

    What does your front door say about your property? And more importantly, could it be affecting the value?

    Colour is a fundamental consideration. It can evoke a particular perception of what lies behind the door.

    Is it a stylish, executive property, a quirky, artistic house full of fun and vibrancy, or a calmly sophisticated home?

    Bright, bold colours, such as turquoise, pink and yellow, imply a contemporary, fun home and really capture the attention of buyers. With an almost childlike joy and a sense of innocence, these colours appeal to creative arty types and possibly those with a young family.

    You would expect muted pale grey, cream or sage green shades at a country home. Lovely colours that are calming and welcoming.

    Black front doors are executive and sleek - but ever-so-slightly "Downing Street". Most likely, one would expect to uncover a sensible, sophisticated interior to a property with a black door.

    Like a post-box or a London bus, a red front door is very British and conveys a vibrant, passionate personality. Bold interiors with strong accent colours and a modern design, although not too contemporary, is what would be expected in a home with a red door.

    Traditional heritage colours are synonymous with period homes. This is a somewhat safe option as you will certainly not divide the opinion of buyers with a conventional heritage colour: think British racing green and royal blue. Still, it will not stand out much against other homes on the market. These deep jewel tones will neither attract nor repel buyers; they are the front-door equivalent of magnolia. Perhaps this is why Royal blue is the most 'valuable' colour. Because it appeals to the broadest range of people?

    It is said that having a blue front door can actually make up to £4000 difference in the price of a property! Whereas, sadly, a brown door can actually negatively impact the value of your home, shaving off approximately £400.

    Before you all rush off and buy some blue paint, think about the home on the inside. Does your front door reflect the interior? Maybe you could change the colour to more accurately depict your style to attract the perfect buyer for your home?

    If you have an unusual coloured front door, let us know. We are interested in properties of all types and love finding out more about the home hidden behind the front door.
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