• Congratulations on getting your home on the market
    Posted on 22 September 2023

    Congratulations on getting your home on the market

    Homes are sold for tons of reasons and now that yours on the market, there is the need to make sure that you are doing the right things, checking the right boxes that would make your sales experience an amazing one. So, what are the things to do when your home is finally on the market?

    Make it look fabulous: As typical or as obvious this may sound, people often fail to recognise the need to put their houses in the most perfect state they can manage when it is on the market. This is not just you sorting general cleaning; this requires you to go the extra mile. Check out the windowpanes and make sure they are cleaned thoroughly and are adequately covered with appropriate curtains or blinds, you should get some new ones if necessary. Use plants and fresh flowers to bring life into separate rooms.

    Good smells only! Good smells are inviting and gives a sense of comfort to your buyer that your home has been well taken care of so far. You do not want to have the space that you have put up for sale smelling bad. To rid yourself of bad smells, find the source and fix it! Clean your kitchen properly and dispose of bins, wash off dishes and clean countertops till they sparkle. Baking soda in bins and on mattresses is a great way to neutralise smells.

    Fresh paint: You will be amazed at how much a fresh brush of paint could transform your home. To get people interested, you have to show them that there is something to be interested in. The best part about painting these days has to be the fact that you can do it yourself. There are tons of DIY videos on the internet with inspiring ideas on how you can change the outlook of your house just by painting one wall, or a small portion of your home.

    Presentation: To help your property generate interest, you have to present it in the best light. Ever seen a hotel with shabby pictures online and you still go ahead to book a room? Me neither. As you have gotten your home on the market, take pictures which flatter your property, get a professional to do it if you feel your photos do not tell the story you want it to.

    Now that your house is on the market, these are things you want to do and more! This list is in no way exhaustive, you need to make your buyers feel welcome, declutter the inside of your property, get air into the house by opening windows and keep it clean at all times.

    If you find yourself generating little interest, feel free to contact us, and we can help shed some light on where you might be going wrong.
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    Posted on 19 September 2023


    In Northern Ireland, tenant safety and well-being within rental properties is to take centre stage with the introduction of two significant pieces of legislation. The Private Tenancies Act (NI) 2022 has paved the way for these changes, set to take effect by the end of 2023. These legislations, namely Section 8 and Section 10, bring with them a host of updates designed to ensure a safer and more secure environment for tenants across the region.

    Section 8: The Smoke, Heat, and Carbon Monoxide Alarms for Private Tenancies Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024

    Section 8 of the Private Tenancies Act (NI) 2022 introduces The Smoke, Heat, and Carbon Monoxide Alarms for Private Tenancies Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024. This set of regulations aims to elevate the safety standards within rental properties, focusing primarily on the installation and maintenance of alarms. Let's delve into the specifics:

    Scope of Application:
    These regulations will apply to any residential property that utilises gas heating, oil heating, bottled gas, open fires, or gas/wood burners. In essence, if your rental property has any of these heating systems or appliances, these regulations will concern you.

    Implementation Timeline:
    Property owners need to be proactive and ensure compliance within two months from the commencement of Section 8 of the Private Tenancies Act. Failure to adhere to this timeline could result in fines of up to £2,500.

    Alarm Requirements:
    For properties with a fixed combustion appliance (think gas boilers, open or gas fires, or stoves powered by coal, oil, gas, or wood), specific alarm installations are mandatory:

    • Smoke Alarms: Every living room must have a smoke alarm, with the exception of open-plan kitchens. Furthermore, smoke alarms must be installed in every hall and landing.
    • Heat Alarm: A heat alarm is a requirement in the kitchen.
    • Carbon Monoxide Alarm: This alarm should be installed in the area where the fixed combustion appliance is located. This includes garages if the boiler resides there, and if the garage is integral to or connects with the house.

    Alarm Maintenance:
    Landlords shoulder the responsibility of ensuring alarms are in proper working order at the start of each new tenancy. During the check-in process, tenants are to confirm the condition of these alarms. In the event of any faults, alarms must be promptly replaced, and this should occur before their manufacturer's expiration date.

    Interlinking and Installation:
    • Smoke and heat alarms must be interlinked to ensure a synchronized response in case of emergencies.
    • Alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated (sealed), or a combination of both. This offers flexibility to meet various property configurations.
    • Electricians play a pivotal role in guaranteeing that hardwired smoke alarms comply with building control standards.
    • Importantly, if a boiler is located in a bathroom, it should be clearly marked. Additionally, the carbon monoxide detector should be fitted outside the room, positioned as close to the boiler as possible.

    Cost Implications:
    The Department of Communities has provided cost estimates for landlords to ensure compliance:
    • For properties equipped with battery-sealed alarms, compliance is expected to cost landlords around £170.00 every 10 years.
    • For properties with hardwired alarms, the cost of compliance is estimated to be approximately £710.00 every 10 years.
    • Property renovations require all alarms to be hardwired to meet the requirements effectively.

    Section 10: The Electrical Safety Standards for Private Tenancies Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024

    Now, let's shift our focus to Section 10 of the Private Tenancies Act (NI) 2022, which introduces The Electrical Safety Standards for Private Tenancies Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024. This set of regulations is primarily geared toward enhancing electrical safety within rental properties. Here's a closer look at the key aspects:

    Rationale for Implementation:
    These regulations come into play for several significant reasons:
    • Alignment with UK Standards: To harmonise with the minimum electrical safety standards already established in other parts of the UK. This ensures that tenants across the entire UK experience consistent safety measures.
    • Addressing Compliance Gaps: Presently, only 15% of properties in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) have undergone Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs). These regulations aim to bridge this compliance gap and ensure more rigorous electrical safety assessments.
    • Enhancing Fire Safety: In 2022, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) identified 466 fires in rented homes where electrical faults were the primary cause. These regulations seek to mitigate such risks and enhance fire safety measures.

    Landlord Responsibilities:
    Section 10 places several responsibilities on landlords:
    • Pre-Tenancy Safety: Before a tenancy commences, landlords must ensure that the property meets the required electrical safety standards.
    • Periodic Testing: An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) must be conducted and renewed at least every five years, unless the property experiences frequent turnover, in which case more frequent testing may be necessary.
    • Tenant Notification: Landlords are obligated to provide tenants with a copy of the EICR within 28 days of the inspection or at the start of the tenancy, whichever comes first.

    Prompt Remedial Action:
    In cases where the EICR reveals the need for remedial work, landlords must ensure that such work is carried out within 28 days from the date of the inspection or as specified in the report if it's less than 28 days.

    Penalties for Non-Compliance:
    Landlords who fail to comply with these regulations may face fines of up to £5,000. These fines serve as a powerful incentive for landlords to take electrical safety seriously.

    Confirmation and Reporting:
    Upon the completion of remedial work or further investigation, landlords must obtain written confirmation that the necessary actions have been taken to meet electrical safety standards. This confirmation must then be reported to the tenant within 28 days.

    Certificate for Prospective Tenants:
    Prospective tenants must receive a certificate demonstrating compliance with these regulations within 28 days of submitting a written request. For landlords, this means that obtaining the necessary certification should be prioritised before advertising the property.

    If you find yourself with any questions or would like to delve deeper into these important regulatory changes that impact your role as a landlord or tenant, we encourage you to reach out to us at Pinkertons. We are here to provide clarity, guidance, and support on all matters related to these new legislations. Your safety and compliance are paramount, and we are committed to ensuring your rental experience remains secure and hassle-free. Don't hesitate to contact us at 028 91 479393 or info@pinkertonsni.com. 
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  • Getting Value for Money When Selling Your Property
    Posted on 15 September 2023

    Getting Value for Money When Selling Your Property

    We all know there’s money to be made from selling property, but there are agency and legal costs associated with this, too. Consider these costs as an investment in steering your sale in the right direction.

    You Get What You Pay For
    When it comes to selecting the estate agent entrusted to sell your property, human nature may see us gravitate to the one with the cheapest rate. After all, these can differ wildly from a fixed fee right up to 2% of your sale price. But, as the old saying goes, you really do get what you pay for.

    Find An A* Agent
    A lot goes into selling a house. It’s not just about uploading to property portals, contrary to popular belief. Listen out for agents who talk about pricing strategy, presentation of your property, and how they will create demand for your home. These are the agents who will get you the best price for your property and will be worth every penny of their sale fee once the transaction completes.

    Your Solicitor
    It’s not just a great estate agency that makes a big difference to how successful and smooth your sale goes. You also need an experienced and professional conveyancing solicitor to handle the legal stuff. Again, not all solicitors operate at the same level so look for recommendations and check out their reviews. Focus brings a proactive and efficient approach. Conveyancing solicitors who are committed to the job and work on your behalf are what you want!

    For more information about how to get the best value from your estate agent, give us a call on 02891 479 393.
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  • Clever storage suggestions to declutter and organise your home
    Posted on 15 September 2023

    Clever storage suggestions to declutter and organise your home

    Moving into a new home?
    If you are looking for a new home to move into, carefully assess the property before buying. Think about your storage and lifestyle needs, so you’re sure that you are choosing the best option for you. If necessary, write down everything you need from a home or consult a professional to help you out.

    How to avoid piling up
    Before you start creating in-house storage spaces, think about your home for a moment. Do you really need that extra space? Many families often have a lot of items that have piled up over the years and that take up a lot of space in their homes. So, before you start building, try decluttering your home first. Do it systematically, room by room, so it doesn’t overwhelm you. Get rid of all the items you don’t really need or use, and then you can see the true space situation in your house.

    To avoid piling up, include decluttering into your regular monthly clean, or do it once a year. You wouldn’t believe how much space you can get by doing this! Furthermore, forgetting to declutter before packing for a move is one of the most common moving mistakes.

    What to do with the items you don’t want anymore?
    Depending on the condition of the items, you can either sell them online, donate or recycle. Try to make the best use out of them, rather than just simply throwing them away.

    Creating in-house storage spaces
    After you go through your rooms and remove all the items you don’t need, it’s time to consider creating in-house storage spaces and ways to maximise your tiny haven. With all the unnecessary items and furniture out of the way, you have a clear idea of where you can install more storage and how much you need.

    Hallways are one of those rooms in the house you often forget about when it comes to storage and organisation. And yet, they can be incredibly useful. First, think about your shoes – are they scattered around the floor all the time? If the answer is yes, you need to think about creating in-house storage spaces dedicated to your shoes, since they can be a big clutter problem. Here you can think vertically, and get a shoe rack or two, that will help you organise the shoes and get them out of the (hall)way. Organise your shoes by season, and keep those you don’t use now somewhere else.

    Another way to add more storage space in your hallway is by buying a console combined with a shoe rack. It can be used for several different items, such as winter/summer accessories like scarves, gloves, sunglasses, umbrellas, etc.

    Under the stairs
    The understairs space can be used for many different options. Some of the best under stairs design ideas include creating a bookshelf, space for your bikes, shelves for the different fragile items, and even a TV station as an extended part of your living room. Basically, the options are endless, yet this part of the home is often not used well. So, be sure to think about what you need this space for the most.

    The bedroom is not only for sleeping
    Bedrooms can have other functions in addition to providing comfort at the end of a long day. Since you need more space for all your clothes and don’t want to take up space with wardrobes and other bulky furniture, you can try to create more space with what you already have. For example, if you don’t travel that often, fill those suitcases and use them as storage space. Think about having a storage bed/ottoman bed, which can be a great space for storing beddings, sheets, etc. If you have some free space under the bed, you can buy made to purpose drawers to go underneath it or get plastic boxes that can store a lot of your clothes you don’t use right now.

    Extra tip: When it comes to storing seasonal clothes, a big space-saver are vacuum bags. They can minimise the space your coats, jackets, and thick sweaters take during summer months.

    You need to think vertically when creating in-house storage spaces. Shelves are the perfect way to add some additional space almost anywhere in the house. Think about all the free walls, recesses or any similar spaces that could be filled with shelves. This system can lift many things you have off the floor and make a big difference to your space.

    Attic and cellar
    Since you don’t use these rooms all the time, utilising them could be an amazing way of creating in-house storage spaces. However, these need to be prepared for use and have the proper balance between insulation and ventilation. This way, you will be sure that the items you store here are protected from humidity and very high/low temperatures in winter and summer.

    Need tips for maximising your space or what a buyer looks for when it comes to storage? Get in touch!
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  • Let there be light: how to fill your new home with natural light
    Posted on 15 September 2023

    Let there be light: how to fill your new home with natural light

    Depending on your budget and time limitations, harnessing sunlight isn’t beyond your reach. Some remedies are quick fixes; others may take a weekend. Or you can go full-throttle and make some major changes to enliven dark rooms and create a natural flow through your new home.

    We’ve broken our sunlight solutions down into these three levels of effort. Try these tricks and let there be light!

    Quick fixes:

    •      Move any furniture that resides in front of your windows. This ensures the light that does drift in has room to roam.

    •      Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors! Placed in strategic locations, mirrors can bounce light into gloomy corners. Hanging a mirror of the same size directly across from a window can even give the illusion of two bright windows!

    •      Do a quick scan of each room in search of shadows. Anything that casts significant shade should be moved so its shadow isn’t as obvious.

    •      When decorating, choose furniture with delicate frames so light can move easily around it. Tables and decor made from glass, lucite or reflective metals can also help your space feel sunny.

    Weekend projects:

    •      Wash your windows frequently. Although we sometimes can’t see it, a film of dirt can collect on windowpanes ever so slightly filtering the sunlight. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference this can make!

    •      Install airy window treatments to diffuse the uneven beams during peak hours and offer privacy without cutting sunshine out completely. Sheer white curtains can help, and window shades are another great option. Solar shades are an excellent choice for adding privacy but keeping the light: They filter out UV rays while preserving your view to the outdoors, and all the light that comes with it.

    •      Keep your decor choices light in colour so they reflect the natural light. This goes for paint, too! Shiny finishes, like satin paint, will help bounce brightness around the room.

    •      Trim any bushes or boughs that may be obstructing your windows. This might even widen the range of hours that light can reach into your home.

    Big jobs:

    •      Feeling brave? Remove any unnecessary doors that close off rooms and block the flow of light, or just replace them with glass doors. Frosting door panes is a fantastic option for rooms like studies or dens that needs a little privacy and more light. You can always widen doorways, too!

    •      Remove non-weight bearing walls between common rooms allowing daylight to reach further into your home.

    •      The sky is the limit if you decide to install skylights or tubular daylight devices! With some careful planning, this option can bring natural light into even the most surprising spaces. Skylights are the perfect choice for dark bathrooms and bedrooms as they offer the utmost privacy and a gorgeous glow.

    Natural light in your space can improve your mood, productivity, energy, and your overall health. If you’re buying a home or have recently purchased a new home that lacks natural light, you now know how simple it can be to bring it in.

    Get in touch for more tips, or advice on brightening a space!
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  • Solo buyer? Bring life to your new home without breaking the bank
    Posted on 15 September 2023

    Solo buyer? Bring life to your new home without breaking the bank

    The sting of deposits, bills, and solicitor fees can leave many first-time solo buyers with little leftover in the bank for decorating. To help you spruce up your space on a budget, we’ve got some simple tweaks that won't cost the earth. Take a look below...

    1.     Pick your colour scheme
    Once you've picked up your keys, decide on a colour scheme for each room. From daring bold hues to sugary shades, think about how each paint colour will work in various rooms. Often, the lack of natural light can complicate your choice of colour scheme, so choose carefully before painting walls.

    Colour can be the most impactful element of interior design, so choosing a colour palette for each room is a great place to start. It's important to develop a coherent colour scheme that flows naturally throughout your home. As well as personal preferences, you'll want to consider factors like the size of each room and the amount of natural light present.

    2.     You don't have to buy brand new
    You might have a new house, but don't be afraid to get your hands on second-hand goods. From Facebook Marketplace to Gumtree and eBay, there are heaps of resellers listing bargain furniture finds in your area. Not only will you save a pretty penny, but it's also a great way to reduce your personal environmental impact.

    Before you move in, make a list of everything you need — and see if friends can help. If your parents have been thinking about getting a new sofa, for example, there is every chance their old one is still in perfectly good condition and could tide you over until you've saved up a bit.

    Many furniture shops also implement regular discounts and offers, so if you have a particular item in mind, it's worth making sure you shop around and don't make any hasty decisions if you could find something similar much cheaper elsewhere.

    3.     Get organised
    Furniture and decorating costs can rack up quickly if you're not careful, so it's always best to budget before you get the keys. Write a list of everything you need, including furniture, pots of paint, new flooring, and essentials to help you work out what needs saving for.

    Make sure you have an idea of the maximum amount you can spend per item or room and give yourself the option of allocating more budget to the "bigger" items. This will help you spread the cost of decorating and stay on top of the urgent things still needed.

    4.     Personalise your space
    Little touches go a long way to making a brand-new space feel like a welcoming home. Prints, whether artwork or family photos, can instantly add personality to any room. While some frames can be expensive, a great way to save some money is to make your own using websites like Canva. Simply choose your desired images, print, and frame!

    5.     Experiment once you've moved in
    Decorating takes time, so don't worry if it's not perfect right away. Starting slowly will help you plot and plan what style, scheme, and colour to go for.

    Move your furniture around frequently to find a layout that works best for you and your personal routine. Plus, there is also the added benefit of feeling like you're living in a new home every time you rearrange a particular room or area.

    Thinking of buying solo or worried about what you can afford? Get in touch for expert advice and help!
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  • How to boost interest in your property
    Posted on 15 September 2023

    How to boost interest in your property

    It can be hard to know the best way to make sure that your home appeals to those potential buyers. But to help you try and get the most interest, the most viewings and then hopefully the most money for your property too, we have put together our top tips for boosting interest in your property.

    Try and make your property neutral rather than personal
    Your home is your castle and there is nothing wrong with making it as personal as possible while you are living there. You might love your home, packed with a lot of photos and objects, but if someone is coming to view it, then chances are that this will put viewers off.

    The best idea is to try and stop thinking of it as your home, but rather as your property. Remove as many personal things from each room as you can. Pack them away and leave them for when you move into your new home.

    Make an effort to ensure that your property looks the best that it can
    It might sound superficial, but people will judge your property on how clean and tidy it is. So, if you can, then it will really benefit you to give your house a good old fashioned clean and tidy. Try and pack away anything that you don’t desperately need and pop it into storage.

    Your home will benefit from being tidy and organised and you can also free up space to give it a good hard clean too. Both of which will make it as appealing as possible to your viewers.

    Be prepared for short-notice viewers
    Whilst an estate agent will do their best to give you as much notice as possible that someone is going to be viewing your property, this isn’t always possible. You may not be keen on agreeing a last minute viewing as it doesn’t give you much chance to get your home ready, but if you can accept them, then do.

    The best thing to do is to make sure that you are prepared for last minute viewings as well. You should have already done most of the things that are going to help you get your home ready, so this shouldn’t be too difficult to do and you never know; a last minute viewer could be the one that puts an offer in and buys your property!

    As you can see, there are plenty of things that you can do to make sure that your home generates the most interest when it comes to selling it. The main thing is to try and make it as neat as possible and also try to remove as many personal items as possible, as this will make it more appealing as possible to those viewing it.
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  • Wondering why your home sale has fallen through?
    Posted on 15 September 2023

    Wondering why your home sale has fallen through?

    There are several reasons that may contribute to the falling of your house sale deal. Some of the most common include;

    Blunders made by the real estate professionals
    The sellers
    The buyers
    The mortgage professionals
    Or even a combination of all these.

    Read the following section below, to understand how the above-highlighted parties can fault to the failure of your home sale deal.

    Incompetent/inexperienced real estate agents
    Whether you are a property buyer or a house seller, hiring a competent real estate agent is a critical factor to consider. An experienced realtor must be able to conduct timely follow-ups with their clients. Also, some of the on-time deals that a competent housing agent can perform, ensuring that the deal does not fail may include;

    Fruitfully negotiate through the inspections
    Confirm bank evaluation reports
    Ensure that probable home buyers get approval
    Follow up with the attorneys, ensuring that all the closing documents are under review and preparation.

    The buyer’s inability to sell their home
    Selling and buying a home at once can be a tough ordeal. Each and every home has its value, which marks it as “salable”, however, due to each house’ reasons, some may take a long time than others. One of the reasons as to why many home deals fail is because almost all the potential house buyers depend on their house sales.

    It is essential to comprehend that if you are a home seller, depending on your house sales to buy a new home, upon receiving an offer from a potential buyer, do not above-highlighted on that buyer walking with you through the closing table.

    Inspection issues
    It is always advised that as a home buyer, to take a thorough inspection before signing into a contract. Every house has some issues, and the main aim of the buyer is to find a house that at least fits his/her expectations; with fewer deficiencies. Some of the major deficiencies that could lead to your home sale falling through may include;

    Pest infestations
    Roof leakages or damages
    Structural/foundation issues, etc.

    The rejection of the potential buyer's mortgage
    The rejection of a mortgage is a common case in our today's world due to a number of reasons, some of them may include;

    Loss of the buyer's job
    Buyers hardships or health issues
    The buyer's separation with their spouse, etc.

    Whichever reason it may be, this could have a negative effect on the home sale deal.

    Other reasons
    Bank appraisal issues
    Issues with the closing documents, etc.

    As highlighted above, some of the reasons as to why your home sale deal may fall through can be avoided, while some are simply inevitable. With this in mind, always have realistic expectations all through, and work on each reason that can adversely affect your house sales. To have the best odds for your house sales, always consider hiring a competent real estate agent.
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  • Successfully timing a purchase and a sale
    Posted on 15 September 2023

    Successfully timing a purchase and a sale

    In an ideal world, you’d sell your home the minute you put it on the market and then have all the time you need to find your next dream home while your buyers wait patiently until you’re ready to move.

    Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world and in most cases, you’ll find yourself in a chain. While not uncommon, property chains can cause significant headaches, so if you’re planning to buy and sell at the same time, make sure you’re prepared.

    • Get your property valued

    Before you start making plans to buy your new home, you need to get a clear idea of how much your current home is worth. Find a fantastic, knowledgeable local estate agent and get them round to do a home valuation.

    • Work out your finances

    Start by getting your head around your finances; how much can you afford to spend on your next house? How much equity do you have in your current home?

    Then there is the chain to consider. When you exchange contracts on the property you want to buy, you’ll need to pay a deposit. Ideally, you should exchange on the same day as your buyer exchanges, and therefore be able to use the deposit they pay you to pay your deposit on the property you’re buying.

    However, if your new house is more expensive than your current house it’s likely that the deposit required will be more than the deposit you receive, so you’ll need to find the extra cash. It’s worth checking to see if you’re financially able to do this before you start the process.

    You should also bear in mind additional costs such as stamp duty. You should be able to absorb this into your mortgage borrowing – but it’s a substantial cost so it’s always good to be aware of it.

    • Speak to a mortgage broker

    If this is bamboozling you already, then a mortgage broker can help guide you to finding the right solution. That may involve re-mortgaging or porting your mortgage. The latter involves transferring your existing mortgage to your new property. Either way, they’ll be able to advise you on the best option for you.

    • Instruct your estate agent

    When you have worked out your finances and are ready to start the process of buying a new home, you will want to instruct your estate agent and get your current property on the market.

    • Be prepared to wait

    Buying a property should generally take around 6-12 weeks from having an offer accepted to completion – although things can and often do go wrong, leading to delays. When you’re buying as part of a chain, however, things can take much longer. According to Zoopla, the average sale time in a chain is six months so be realistic with your expectations for when you’ll complete.

    • Maximise your negotiating power

    While you’re perfectly entitled to put in an offer on a property when your own house is still up for sale, your offer will be taken more seriously if your own property is under offer. Indeed, depending on the market your offer may not be accepted at all. You’ll also be in a better position to negotiate a good price if your property is already under offer.
    • Find a property and do your sums

    Once you’ve found a property you like and have had a property survey, work out the sums. Consider what work, if any, you’d need to do on the property and the associated costs and consult your broker again. Perhaps the survey has flagged up issues or perhaps you want to rip out the avocado bathroom suite (remember those?) as soon as you move in. Once you’ve done the math, if you’re happy it works out, make an offer.

    • Get a good conveyancing solicitor

    This critical part of the buying and selling process can be long and drawn out. Your conveyancing solicitor will need to conduct numerous property searches before any contracts can be exchanged. Unfortunately, this process can take even longer if you have a solicitor who is less than proactive.

    Shop around for your conveyancing solicitor, get quotes from and speak to a few and read reviews before instructing them. The process should move smoothly but if you aren’t happy with the level of communication or speed of the process, get in touch and consider asking for a new case handler if things don’t improve.

    Make sure you read, sign and return any paperwork sent to you quickly and either hand deliver or use a special delivery service to ensure they’re received on time. Increasingly, conveyancers scan documents and share them on an online system you can log into. Make the most of this but don’t hesitate to speak to your solicitor on areas where you want clarification.

    • Get your estate agent involved

    If you don’t have the time to get involved with nudging everyone along, then here’s where your estate agent can help. They will want to get you swiftly from accepting an offer to exchange of contracts. According to the Property Ombudsman Code of Practise for estate agents, their obligations to you at this time include monitoring progress, assisting you where they can and reporting information deemed helpful to bringing the transaction to fruition. In most cases, this role will be carried out well but if you don’t hear anything from your agent, then discuss the level of their involvement with them.

    • Set a completion date

    Once everything is tied up, surveys and local searches are returned and any issues ironed out, you’re ready to set a completion date and contracts can be exchanged. This is the date on which the funds will be transferred and the keys will be given to the new buyer. It’s important that all parties co-ordinate a completion date that works for everyone. This will take some correspondence – via your solicitor and those of the other members of the chain – and you’ll need to be prepared to compromise.

    There you have it – your date is set, and you are ready to move out of the old, and into the new. If you need any more advice on buying and selling a property or want to take the first step of getting your home valued, get in touch today and we’d be more than happy to get things moving for you or offer expert advice.
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  • North Down & Ards Housing Market Overview
    Posted on 11 September 2023

    North Down & Ards Housing Market Overview

    Over the past three years, the housing market has experienced significant fluctuations. It all began with the sudden COVID-19 lockdown in the spring of 2020, closely followed by the Stamp Duty Holiday, which generated substantial demand, especially in our picturesque region. City dwellers sought a change in lifestyle, moving to smaller towns and villages in search of a better quality of life. It even brought those who had left the area for England previously, to return to the shores of Northern Ireland.

    Many businesses also realised the potential of remote work, allowing their employees to save commuting time and enjoy the perks of North Down and Ards – great schools and beautiful scenic walks made our region exceptionally appealing.

    This sudden surge in housing demand, coupled with limited supply, led to dramatic price spikes that exceeded what one might consider normal market conditions. These price increases were not just unusual but also unsustainable, indicating an eventual market correction.

    The catalyst for this correction came in September 2022 with the mini-budget presented during Liz Truss' government tenure. This move generated economic uncertainty and eroded confidence, causing a drop in property demand throughout the final quarter of 2022. The Bank of England, in response to surging inflation, raised interest rates, subsequently affecting mortgage rates.

    On a positive note, the housing market has demonstrated its resilience to change. Starting in February 2023, we witnessed a resurgence in both buyers and sellers, all resolute in pursuing their personal plans. Approximately forty percent of our buyers no longer require mortgages, thanks to strong employment prospects in our area, allowing them to comfortably afford their homes without significant lifestyle compromises.

    The increased supply of available properties reflects buyers taking their time to make well-considered decisions, leading to an average price drop of 5%. However, these values have not fallen below pre-pandemic levels. Planning delays in the new homes market have provided homeowners with opportunities to list their properties with less competition.

    Life continues its course in our area, marked by the constants of death, debt, and divorce, as well as the happier moments of couples buying their first homes, families expanding with the arrival of babies, and the need for more space as children grow into teenagers.

    Selecting a residence often coincides with choosing good schools, and after children leave the nest, homeowners may seek to downsize and enjoy a more peaceful life or invest in other opportunities, such as travel and retirement.

    So, where do you find yourself in this journey? If you're contemplating your next move, we possess the tools and expertise to craft a personalised marketing strategy. Our proven 7-Step Plan has helped numerous clients realise their dreams. Our goal is to secure a sale within your desired timeframe or at the best possible price.

    If you're staying local, please share your preferences, and we'll ensure you're the first to learn about new listings before they hit Property News and Property Pal. Join our exclusive VIP Buyers Club today.

    Being the first through the door gives you a competitive edge. We can also make you 'Market Ready' by creating a professional brochure with photographs, floorplans, and an EPC, along with your insights on
    "what the vendor loves." This allows us to kickstart the marketing process as soon as you're ready, putting you ahead of the competition and adding a personal touch to attract buyers.

    Our friendly team of agents is eager to assist and answer any questions you may have. Don't hesitate to reach out today.

    Victoria Pinkerton
    Managing Director
    Read more
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