What do downsizers, a growing force in the housing market, want? Check out this two-minute read to find out.

Downsizers are emerging as increasingly influential players in the property market, with a growing number of over-55s selling up and buying less expensive properties.

Last year, 181,000 people downsized* – the highest number in five years (source: Hamptons, 2021).

Why downsizers are important

Downsizers help keep the property market ticking over as they tend to free up bigger family homes. Given the shortage of good quality housing stock, this is good news for first-time buyers and families looking for more room.

Why do people downsize?

Free up equity – Often, people downsize to fund their retirement or help their children get on the property ladder. The Hamptons study found that, on average, downsizers were £256,800 better off after making their move – so there’s probably also spare change for a cruise or swanky holiday.

Reduce maintenance – As we get older, looking after a large property can be a real burden. Downsizing means fewer cleaning, gardening and general maintenance chores.

Lower heating bills – With energy prices skyrocketing, paying to heat a large and predominantly empty home makes no sense.

Mortgage-free – Many downsizers want to work less or retire and hence want to be done with mortgage repayments.

Family ties – Many downsizers want to live near to children and grandchildren.

What downsizers want 

There are always exceptions to the rule, but downsizers tend to want:

Low-maintenance garden – Rickety fences, leaky sheds and large swathes of lawn that need mowing are likely to be turn-offs.

Little or no DIY – Downsizers are often reluctant to carry out major refurbishments, so doer-uppers are a no-no.

Good storage – If you’ve lived in a spacious home for years, you’re bound to have amassed many possessions. Even after a ruthless declutter, you’re still likely to have beloved objects with which you can’t bear to part.

Proximity to amenities – They may want a quieter pace of life, but many downsizers still desire access to shops, leisure facilities and public transport.

*Downsizer definition: someone who purchases a property that is at least 20% cheaper than their previous property and has at least two fewer bedrooms.

If you’re looking to downsize and would like some tips about how best to market your property, get in touch with me here.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

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When selling your home, you might notice that costs start building up. Paying out for repairs, buying storage to hide away clutter, legal costs, commission fees; there’s a fair bit to budget for, and you haven’t even moved yet. 

So, how can you save money? 

The answer is definitely NOT by cutting out estate agents and going it alone. While many people are tempted by online-only agencies and their promises of fixed fees, free listings, and guaranteed sales, sometimes it really is just too good to be true. 

In this three-minute read, I look at reasons why you should get an agent to sell your home. 

Expertise

Estate agents live and breathe property. They know what sells and to whom. They know the area and how to make your property more attractive to buyers. They provide a valuation of your property based on current market demands and will measure rooms to create accurate floor plans.

A good agent won’t just list your property and wait; they’ll be proactively trying to find a buyer for your home. 

Marketing 

Of course, you can list your home online and cross your fingers, but what if you don’t attract any potential buyers? 

A huge advantage of working with local agents is that they have access to online portals plus a database of hundreds of buyers looking for homes. They offer professional photography services to get your property looking its best and produce hard copies of sales details, so buyers can keep your home in mind after a viewing. 

Viewings 

Sure, you can show your property to potential buyers – after all, you live there and know it best. However, viewings are more than just opening the door and showing people round. They take a lot of organising and can be time-consuming. And if you work full time, or have other commitments, who can you trust to show potential buyers around? 

Estate agents arrange individual viewings as well as open days. They manage potential buyers for you and provide information about your home without the emotional attachment you’ve formed to it. 

Negotiating 

Unless you work in sales, you might not be an expert negotiator. Can you really risk losing out on the best purchase price for your property? 

The best agents are driven to achieve the best sales price for their clients and deal with the back and forth between you and your buyers professionally and quickly. 

Admin 

If you’ve got a lot on your plate, some estate agents can also liaise with conveyancers on your behalf. This saves you time and hassle.

I like to go the extra mile for my sellers and am always available to answer questions and provide advice. Give me a call on 07919 526786 to see how I can help.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet was the only choice when it came to selling our beloved family home. She managed to quickly secure the best buyer for us and whilst she makes it look very easy she works very hard indeed to keep everyone happy in what is a very stressful and emotional time. She is without doubt the best in the business.

Quite simply the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic estate agent I’ve come across in thirty five years! All of my dealings with Harriet have been, so far, as a buyer or a would be buyer and the sheer level of service I’ve received has been faultless. It makes me wonder how she could possibly improve her standards when I come to sell and at that point I’ll actually be a fee paying client! You’ve set the bar very high Harriet…Thank you!

We have recently bought in Salcombe through Harriet. She is everything you would want from a modern estate agent, extremely knowledgeable, very efficient whilst also being considerate to both parties involved. A pleasure to have used her services – highly recommend.

Refreshing approach to estate agency, Harriet remains calm, considered, sensible and pragmatic all through the process. No Drama’s here and a pleasure to deal with. I would certainly recommend Harriet George.

The only agent who has ever earned their commission. We have had lots of experience with all angles of estate agency, agents big and small in various parts of the country. Dealing with Harriet is a breath of fresh air, she is responsive, knowledgeable and professional and we couldn’t recommend her enough.

Find out how you can impress buyers by making each room in your home look as spacious as possible. A two-minute read.

Whether you’re marketing a one-bedroom flat or a seven-bedroom mansion, the same rule usually applies – big is beautiful.

We’re talking about big rooms, of course! It’s well known that a home that feels spacious will always fetch a higher price than a similar property that comes across as cramped and crowded.

The good news is you don’t need to go crazy with a sledgehammer knocking down walls to make a home feel roomier – a few clever adjustments will do the trick.

Here are five ways to make your home look bigger.

Ditch the clutter

Carry out an audit in each room of your home and identify any items you can live without for a few months during the marketing process. Put the ones you want to keep in storage and ditch the rest (some have probably been gathering dust for years). Don’t be precious; no one’s passing judgement on your hobbies or interests. Just give buyers what they want: a blank canvas that they can put their own mark on.

Get the furniture right

Perhaps you have a huge sofa that’s fab for family film nights but swamps your living room, or a 14-seat dining table that you only use at Christmas? Put super-sized items of furniture in storage and hire or borrow pieces that are in proportion with the room.

Use mirrors

Mirrors reflect light and make a space look bigger. Positioning a large mirror at the rear of a room is a great way to make it look roomier.

Go neutral

Dark walls and bold patterns make a room look smaller (and don’t even get me started on dark-coloured ceilings). Interior designers suggest painting the walls and ceiling the same light neutral tone to make a room feel more spacious.

Let there be light (artificial and natural)

Always open your curtains or shutters before a viewing to allow natural light in. Also, dot lamps around the room to generate more light. A variety of lighting creates depth (and hence a sense of space) in a room.

For more tips about marketing your property, contact me here.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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This two-minute read explains how to identify a great estate agent – one who’ll land you the best deal for your home. 

What separates a mediocre estate agent from an exceptional one? It’s not what they say; it’s what they do.

While some agents talk a big game, in reality they just go through the motions. But great agents go all out to get the very best deal.

That’s because top agents know that now, more than ever, every extra pound added to a sale price matters to sellers (and can be put to good use to cover DIY or furniture in their new home).

So, how can sellers spot a great agent from a run-of-the-mill one? Here’s what to look out for.

A comprehensive marketing plan – The great thing about the internet is you can see if an agent means business. Top agents use professional photography, floor plans, and sparkling copy to showcase properties and engage buyers. They also regularly update their website and post live feeds, video tours, and property sneak peeks on social media. Contrast this with the coasters who throw a few shabby images on a property portal and then wait for the phone to ring. Who do you think achieves the best result?

Negotiating skills – People often overlook the importance of negotiating skills in the selling process. But when you’re close to sealing a deal, a savvy negotiator can really make a difference on price. A great agent has soft skills – the ability to listen, read body language, and interpret the dynamic between couples – along with industry nous.

Has a rapport with buyers – To know if a buyer is serious and how much they are willing to spend, a great agent needs to be personable and have good communication skills.

Can explain their valuation – A top agent doesn’t just pull a figure out of the air; they do their homework. So, when a potential buyer pushes for a price drop, a great agent can justify their valuation and stand their ground.

Honest feedback – A great agent won’t just tell you what you want to hear but what you need to know. If your house needs decluttering, or you need to improve how you stage it, they’ll be straight with you.

I’m serious about delivering for my clients. Get in touch to learn more about mysuccessful selling track record.

For more information about the property market, get in touch with me here.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

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If you’re taking out a new mortgage or about to refinance your property, have you considered a green mortgage? No? Never heard of it? Well, that’s what I’m here for. 

A green mortgage is not actually new. In fact, the concept was first launched about 30 years ago but wasn’t used much. However, in the last few years, green mortgages have been gaining momentum, and are being offered by more and more high-street lenders.

What is it?

It’s basically a mortgage that rewards energy efficiency. Borrowers buying energy-savvy new-build properties or undertaking green improvements are offered better rates by their lenders. 

A green mortgage works in the same way as a standard mortgage, but it’s cheaper. Borrowers are incentivised for being more energy efficient and are encouraged to reduce their overall energy usage. 

Am I eligible?

Most lenders require a property to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of A or B to be eligible for a green mortgage. And that’s not easy to achieve.

The current EPC rating scale goes from A (the most energy efficient) to G (the least). In 2019, it was estimated the average UK property EPC was just a D. 

If you’re buying a new-build property, it might be worth exploring a green mortgage with your lender. Newer homes are typically more energy efficient than older properties which often need a lot of work to meet the higher rating requirements. 

Why are green mortgages becoming more popular? 

It’s all to do with the government’s aim to reach net zero emissions by 2050. 

Currently, it’s estimated that 15% of the UK’s climate emissions are produced by residential properties. So, the government has said lenders must have an average EPC rating of C across their mortgage portfolios by 2030. 

In simple terms, the government hopes that the target they’re imposing on lenders will trickle down to consumers who will make green improvements in return for lower mortgage rates. 

How can I improve my EPC? 

Unfortunately, if you own an older property, achieving a higher EPC rating could cost quite a bit. Some big green improvements include draught-proof doors and windows, roof and loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, insulated solid walls, a new boiler, and a low-carbon heating system. 

You can check your property’s EPC rating here. 

Thanks for reading.

For more information about the property market, get in touch with me here.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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This two-minute read looks at parents’ integral role in helping young people get on the property ladder.

There’s one financial institution that never seems to go out of fashion, and that’s the dear old Bank of Mum and Dad (or BOMAD for people who like acronyms).

About half of all first-time buyers (FTBs) last year relied on BOMAD, with parents dishing out a record £9.8 billion to help their offspring get on the property ladder.1 The average contribution was £58,000.

And in the past ten years, BOMAD has coughed up £54 billion, assisting 1.4 million buyers.2

What’s driving the trend? 

There’s certainly been a lot of talk lately about millennials and their spending habits.

TV property presenter Kirstie Allsopp sparked debate with her suggestion that young people ditch their gym memberships and Netflix subscriptions if they want to become property owners. (Ironically, Kirstie received a helping hand from BOMAD when she bought her first flat in 1996.)

Twitterstorms aside, there’s no doubt that wage rises have not kept pace with property prices over the years.

The average house in the UK now costs more than eight times average earnings. In the mid-1990s, house prices were around four times average earnings.3

FTBs are also getting older. These days, the average FTB is 31. A decade ago, it was 29.4

Other influencing factors

Things were particularly tough for FTBs during the early days of the pandemic because of changes to mortgage availability.

Most lenders withdrew their 95% loan-to-value products, heightening the need to call on BOMAD for help getting the deposit together.

However, the situation has since eased, and many 95% loan-to-value deals have been reintroduced.

This news has been tempered by rising gas prices, interest rates, and inflation, so it’s swings and roundabouts for FTBs.

How do they find the money?

While some parents draw on existing savings, a growing number are downsizing and releasing some equity to their children in the process.

Rather than bequeathing all their wealth, many parents are deciding to share some funds sooner rather than later.

For up-to-the-minute news on the property market in the South Hams, contact me here.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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1 Source: Savills

2 Source: Savills

3 Source: Schroders/Bank of England, 2020

4 Source: Halifax Bank, 2021

Property portals have revolutionised the market, but can an algorithm replicate an astute estate agent’s experience, empathy, and enthusiasm? A two-minute read.

Here’s a statistic that sums up just how integral the internet is to buying and selling property these days: 98% of people start their home search online. (The other 2%, we presume, are still wondering what happened to Ceefax and Amstrad computers.)

There’s no doubt property portals have revolutionised things. Buyers relish the ability to instantly conjure up a selection of properties that meet their criteria, meaning platforms such as Rightmove and Zoopla generate millions of viewers a week.

If you’re a seller, you may wonder if it makes much difference which estate agent you go with to market your property. Won’t the internet do most of the legwork anyway?

Let me answer that question for you.

Market insight

Property portals provide a good general view of the local market, and an indication of asking prices. But a good agent knows what properties actually sell for. They’ll help you get the asking price right, so you don’t go too high (and deter buyers), or too low (and short-change yourself).

Genuine buyers

There’s no doubt property portals generate phenomenal web traffic. But there’s a difference between someone having a nosy at your home online and a buyer putting in a genuine offer. A proactive agent has a register of active buyers who are ready and serious, not time-wasters.

Thinking outside the box

Portals show buyers all the properties that meet their chosen criteria – but that’s it. A good agent encourages buyers to think laterally and look at properties that, with a little bit of imagination, could suit their needs. If you’re selling a property with ‘potential’, this is what you want.

Getting the sale across the line

Accepting an offer for your property is only the start of the process. Having a proactive agent who keeps the sale moving along until it’s completed will save you time and stress.

Conclusion

Savvy sellers who choose an estate agent with a good track record can enjoy the best of both worlds. The best agents utilise property portals, but they’re not the sole focus of their marketing strategy. Experienced estate agents use a host of strategies to get you the best possible price in a timeframe that suits you.

To find out more about my successful sales track record, get in touch with me here.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

View the properties that Harriet George currently has on the market here

In this two-minute read, I look at the advantages of buying a new-build home. 

When you visit a show home, it’s easy to imagine yourself sitting at the beautifully laid table, sinking back into the comfy sofa or settling in for a night’s sleep in a luxury bedroom. Every room has been set up to tempt you. But is a new-build home really the right choice for you and your budget? 

I’ve explored some of the plus points of a new-build property. 

1. Shiny and new

The main advantage of a new-build is exactly that: its newness. Breathe in that fresh paint, smell and enjoy the soft fluffy carpets. Everything is pristine, there’s no 1970s wallpaper to contend with and you don’t have to make endless rounds of tea for builders (milk, two sugars, and don’t forget the digestives).

2. Make your mark 

Depending on what stage of the build you buy at, most developers offer the choice of fixtures and fittings as part of the purchase price. So, you can choose your kitchen or bathroom tiles without the hassle of spending every foreseeable weekend shopping for furniture. 

3. Warranty

New homes are covered by a 10-year warranty (as per NHBC regulations), so you’re also buying peace of mind. The warranty should protect you against any structural issues, but always read the small print so you know exactly what’s covered. 

All appliances will be newly installed and will have their own guarantees, too. 

4. Built to meet all current safety standards 

Developers must incorporate safety measures such as smoke alarms, fire resistant materials and circuit breakers, making life easier when you move in. 

5. Chain free 

The two words every buyer loves to hear! With no other parties to contend with, the buying process should be easier to navigate. Also, once you’ve reserved your new-build, it will be taken off the market. 

Also, developers often include various incentives when buying a new home such as offering to pay your stamp duty or legal costs. 

6. Energy efficient 

Build techniques have been developed to keep new properties warmer for longer with things like cavity and loft insulation – making them cheaper to heat and reducing your future bills. They should also be damp resistant, double glazed, and draught proof, keeping you cosy in those winter months. 

For more advice about the property market in the South Hams, please get in touch.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Absolutely first class service. Nothing was too much trouble and the attention to detail was remarkable. Would thoroughly recommend Harriet George to anyone looking to sell or buy a property in the area. Thank you!

I have recently moved to the South Hams and Harriet has made the move so much easier! She is very knowledgeable about the properties in the area and is super helpful with any questions or queries we had. We viewed several properties with Harriet and she was always very honest and professional. I couldn’t recommend Harriet enough and if we ever decide to sell our property in the future we will 100% be contacting her. Thank you!

Can’t rate Harriet enough. If you want an estate agent who cares just as much as you do about selling your home and finding a new one then she’s your lady.

Harriet is the best in the business! Her professional approach is also complimented by her pro-activity, knowledge and skills at marketing and her judgement is spot-on. The sale of my house went very smoothly largely thanks to the amount of time she invested in building a relationship with me and also the buyers. This allowed the process to proceed with confidence for all. Putting my trust in her was the best thing I did. Being an independent agent means that you know she will dedicate her time to your sale/purchase. I recommend her most highly to both sellers and buyers.

Professional, knowledgeable, extremely helpful and a pleasure to deal with during a stressful time of life. Would definitely recommend Harriet’s services to anyone looking for property in the South Hams.

This two-minute read looks at the, sometimes inevitable, part compromise plays in many property transactions.

When it comes to buying a home, there’s a word that buyers don’t like to hear, but it really is a critical element of any property purchase.

And that word is ‘compromise’.

People often expect to step inside a property and know that they’ve found The One. But in most cases, the home-buying process is more complicated than that.

Most buyers, no matter how substantial their budget, usually have to knock a few things off their wish list and compromise.

It’s a dilemma that provides the narrative in almost every TV property show. (Kirsty and Phil spend half their time telling sulky buyers their expectations are WAAAYY off-target.)

Priorities

Every buyer has their own set of priorities. These may include:

  • Location
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Outdoor space
  • Home office
  • Transport
  • Spacious kitchen and living area
  • Off-street parking
  • Access to good schools.

But what happens if a buyer can’t get everything they want within budget?

Get real

This is where a good agent steps in to help a buyer reappraise their priorities. They’ll suggest a buyer: 

  • Looks beyond their current needs and imagines what their life could be like in five or ten years.
  • Identifies their absolute ‘deal-breakers’ – the things that are non-negotiable.
  • Figures out where there is wiggle room (after all, the market waits for no one). This could mean being more flexible on location or opening up to the possibility of doing renovation work. 

What it all means for sellers

Many companies encourage sellers to do a lot of the leg work – including viewings – themselves. But it pays to use an expert.

A good agent can tease out buyers’ true priorities. They’ll filter out the time-wasters, meaning you’re less likely to get bogged down with buyers who later get cold feet.

A savvy agent will also recommend your home to buyers who may not have considered it – or even seen it. Many buyers type their preferences in a property portal and rely on an algorithm to show them the relevant options. As a result, they only ever get a narrow view of what’s on the market.

An agent can think more laterally about the process and explain to buyers the potential of a property, even if it doesn’t automatically tick all their boxes.

For more advice about the property market in the South Hams, please get in touch.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

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This two-minute read looks at how to trim down your energy bills.

Householders were hit with budget-busting energy price hikes in 2021 – a trend that looks set to continue well into the new year.

Here are some ways to claw back some cash on your heating bills and help the environment at the same time.

Small steps

Individually these measures offer modest gains but put them together, and you’ll notice the benefits.

  • Use energy-efficient light bulbs.
  • Switch off appliances at the socket when you’re not using them.
  • Turn your boiler down by a few degrees.
  • Wash your clothes on a cold-water cycle or use a quick wash or eco mode. 
  • Use draught excluders (like the ones your granny used to have) to stop warm air from escaping under doors.
  • Clean your tumble dryer filter to ensure it’s working efficiently.

Big-ticket measures

To see real bang for your buck, invest in making your home more energy efficient. You’ll incur some costs upfront but reap long-term returns.

Smart thermostats

These clever gadgets give you more precision over how and when you heat your home.

While traditional boiler controls are blunt instruments (allowing you to turn all the radiators on or off), smart thermostats allow you to heat specific rooms (handy if you work from home and only need one room to be toasty).

Most are operated via an app, so you can adjust your heating when you’re out, which is great if you forget to turn it off before you leave home.

Insulation

If your home isn’t insulated, what are you waiting for? Loft and cavity wall insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to cut your fuel bills.

If your insulation is several decades old, consider upgrading it. Older-style loft insulation is often far thinner, and therefore less effective than modern-day insulation.  

Install double-glazing

Ill-fitting single-pane windows let the heat escape – and cost you money. Double-glazing will cut your heating bills and add value to your home.

Upgrade your appliances

Consumer champions Which? say installing an energy-efficient dishwasher could save you £32 a year, while a new model fridge could save you £76 annually.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe and stay warm.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

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Harriet is without doubt your ‘go to’ person if you are looking to buy/sell property in Salcombe. She is extremely professional, trustworthy and properly knows her stuff so I couldn’t recommend her more highly.

Harriet came highly recommended and I have to say that she didn’t disappoint. I have bought and sold many properties over the years, and never have I had such a professional service. Harriet has a wealth of local knowledge and knows her market place inside out. She is professional, proactive, and importantly, helpful. I have already recommended her to other sellers who are now using her and would never use any other agent if I were to sell again.

We used Harriet to value our property, and she was excellent! The service was swift, professional and friendly, and Harriet is clearly knowledgeable about the market, her local area and the housing market in general. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Harriet for anything property related!

In this two-minute read, I share how homeowners thinking of selling can avoid feeling down in the dumps on the year’s most depressing day.

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 my relationships are built on trust, and I like to think that’s why I know what gets home sellers feeling blue. 

The good news is I 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 me a call. I’m here to make selling a home a happier experience.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

View the properties that Harriet George currently has on the market here

This three-minute read looks at the property-related issues that arise after a relationship breaks down.

A survey of 2,000 Brits found that there’s only one thing more stressful than getting divorced – and that’s moving home.*

Spare a thought then for people who sell their home when their long-term relationship ends. They find themselves dealing with two of life’s most challenging moments at the same time.

Here are some property-related tips to help people navigate such a scenario.

Get good advice

Seek good, independent legal advice. Many factors can influence how assets are divided, such as the length of the relationship, each party’s income and responsibilities, and if children are involved.

Consider your options carefully 

Could you buy your ex’s share of the property (or vice versa)? Or would it be best to sell up altogether? If you and your former partner can’t agree, a court will decide for you (and you’ll have to abide by the decision).

Notify your lender

Discuss the situation with your lender; they’ll have seen this type of thing before and will be able to advise you. Remember, if you and your ex-partner have a joint mortgage, you’re both liable for any missed payments – even if one of you has moved into alternative accommodation.

Don’t short-change yourself

Beware of home-buying companies that swoop in and purchase properties at lightning speed from people in tricky situations. In return for a quick sale, these operators will hammer you on price. (You’ll kick yourself later for accepting a measly sum.) The more you make from the sale of your home, the more you’ll have to put towards starting the next chapter in your life.

Get an independent valuation

Whether you’re doing a deal with your ex or selling on the open market, always get an independent valuation from an experienced estate agent. Never rely on a figure given to you by a quick-buy company or your former partner.

Be realistic about future costs

If you plan to buy a new home post-divorce, you’ll need to budget for a removal firm, stamp duty, and legal fees (all good reasons to maximise the price you get for your home).

Communication

If possible (and we accept that in some circumstances, it’s just not), try to keep the lines of communication with your former partner open. If you can work together to present your home at its best, you can achieve the maximum price.

Work with an experienced agent 

Choose an agent with a good track record. They’ll streamline the process as much as possible and minimise stress and disruption.

For confidential advice about selling your home, get in touch with me here.

*Survey conducted by Yopa in 2019.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

View the properties that Harriet George currently has on the market here

In this three-minute read, I explore the growing trend of multigenerational living. 

Remember when you were younger and you couldn’t wait to move out of your parents’ house, rent your own place and live independently? Well, times are a-changin’, and being an adult with your own bills, mortgage payments, and countless other expenses has lost its charm for many. 

In fact, more and more people are going back to their roots, moving in with their parents, in-laws, or other family members to cut down costs and maximise space. 

For many cultures, multigenerational living is the norm. It’s not uncommon for three or even four generations to live in one household, but this was a rarity in most UK households, until now. The Office for National Statistics has found that since 2001, households containing three generations is on the up. 

Older adults are moving back in with their parents, elderly grandparents are moving in with their kids and grandkids, and many 20 – 30 somethings have no choice but to stay put in their childhood homes due to lack of funds. During the pandemic, many families decided to move in together to prevent isolation, provide support, and just be together. 

These days, the traditional granny annexe won’t always do, as savvy grandparents want more space. Designs for granny flats (or student studios) are more self-contained, ensuring people have their own private space and retain a sense of independence. 

As more downsizers move in with extended family, research from CBRE predicts that multigenerational living is set to increase over the next 20 years. 

Typical ways families are joining together include:

  • Merging finances and buying bigger properties
  • Moving out of cities to take advantage of more space in rural areas
  • Extending properties to build an annexe 
  • Adapting properties to create separate entrances and facilities

With the growing trend of multigenerational living, and more than 1.8 million households currently adopting this lifestyle, housebuilders are also getting in on it. New developments are popping up with ready-made granny flats or studios for multigenerational family set-ups. 

Factors to investigate when considering merging households include matters such as council tax, planning permission, wills, and inheritance issues. 

If you’re planning on creating a new multigenerational household, talk to me to see what’s currently available in this area.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

View the properties that Harriet George currently has on the market here

In this two-minute read, I look at why it’s so important and enjoyable to buy from local, independent stores.

Today, Saturday 4 December, is national Small Business Saturday.

The campaign, which was begun by American Express, is in its ninth year and has grown steadily.

In 2020, a record £1.1 billion was spent with small businesses on Small Business Saturday and 15.4 million people chose to make a big difference by shopping small and locally. 

It’s a day which traditionally kicks off the Christmas shopping period across the South Hams and entire UK.

There has never been a better time to look locally for your festive items, presents, and anything else that makes it ‘the most wonderful time of the year’.

When we buy locally, we support our neighbourhoods and give them the best possible chance of remaining lively, sustainable, and successful.

Below are five ways you can support the local economy (and probably bag yourself a bargain in the process).

  1. Buy local or bye local – Remember, Christmas is a crucial period for independent traders, especially post-pandemic. We need to use them, or we could lose them.
  2. Vote with your wallet/purse – When you buy from a local business you are showing that what they bring to the community is valued by you.
  3. Get social – Tag the store you bought from in a social media post. 
  4. A form of thanks – Many small businesses and shops get involved with supporting community projects and events over the year. A purchase from them, no matter how small, shows you’re grateful for their local involvement.
  5. Do a review – One of the best things about shopping from smaller, independent businesses is that your purchase really matters to them, and the service is often superior to larger, national retailers. Let the world wide web know if your experience with a local shop or business has been a positive one by leaving a Google review or similar.

I’d love to know which local shops you’ll be buying from in the run-up to Christmas.

Let me know by mentioning and tagging them in the comments below.

Together, we can make a big difference.

Happy Shopping!

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

View the properties that Harriet George currently has on the market here

In this two-minute read, I look at reasons why a property may be classified as unmortgageable. 

Selling a property can be tricky at the best of times, but when a property is deemed unmortgageable things can get complicated. 

‘Unmortgageable’ means lenders won’t allow a potential buyer to borrow the money they need to buy a property. For many sellers, this can be a knockout blow and can significantly reduce their options.  

Here are five common reasons why lenders won’t finance a purchase.

1. The property is uninhabitable 

This applies to derelict properties, buildings that have been abandoned, that pose safety risks or are considered not weatherproof. In addition, properties without a kitchen or bathroom may also be classed as unmortgageable.  

As a buyer, you may have big plans to restore a dilapidated property, but a lender may take a different view. If this is the case, always seek financial advice to learn how else you could finance the purchase. 

2. Structural problems 

If a property resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa, chances are it’s got a bad case of subsidence – another big no-no for lenders. Other structural issues affecting whether or not a property is mortgageable include severe damp, dry or wet rot. 

3. Short lease 

If you spot a flat on the market for well below market value, it may have a short lease (under 70 years). A short lease knocks thousands off the value of a property as a buyer may struggle to get a mortgage (if they can get one at all). They’d also have to pay for a lease extension. This is costly (and can take ages) and there are often restrictions around how long you can own a property before applying for a longer lease. 

4. Proximity to commercial or industrial sites 

Lots of people live above shops so obviously these properties aren’t unmortgageable, but they aren’t always given regular residential mortgages. Particularly if they are above shops such as dry cleaners or restaurants (where there’s a high risk of fire/smoke damage). Similarly, if you buy near a factory or industrial site, a lender may be more reluctant to provide a mortgage as it may be difficult to sell on. 

5. Doesn’t comply with building regulations or have a 10 year new build warranty

Sometimes extensions or building work is carried out without the necessary approvals, or doesn’t meet strict building regulations. This can hamper a sale as a lender will need to see the necessary permissions/certificates to provide a mortgage. 

Speak to me to find out how I can help you sell an unmortgageable property.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

View the properties that Harriet George currently has on the market here

In this three-minute read, I look at how to gauge if an agent is giving you an honest property valuation.

The first question a seller always asks an estate agent is: “How much can you sell my property for?”. The second is: “What is your fee?”.

This focus on price and fees makes perfect sense; understandably every seller wants to get the best possible property deal.

But before you jump in and choose an agent based solely on these two things, ask two more questions to determine if an agent is telling you the truth or a load of porkies.

Before you sign a contract, ask:

  • If there is a tie-in clause in the contract? If so, how long is it?
  • If you can terminate the agreement if you’re unhappy with the service?

Unfortunately, many sellers skip these questions, and it’s not until things go awry that they realise they’re locked into an unfavourable deal.

Tie-in periods

Some agents don’t do tie-ins at all, while others will ask that you commit to allowing them a minimum period, usually a few weeks, to market the property.

Other agents go so far as to lock you in for 24 weeks (with a 28-day notice period on top of that).

It’s up to you to decide what length of tie-in is reasonable – but make sure you understand from the outset what you’re getting into. 

Overvaluing a property

It’s also worth questioning why an agent wants a 24-week tie-in. If they genuinely believe in their pricing strategy, why do they need nearly half a year to shift the property?

Unless, of course, they’ve deliberately overvalued your home to secure your custom. They know that eventually you’ll have to drop the price, but they don’t care – they’ve got you cornered.

The whole thing is a ploy to get your business. It wastes time and can jeopardise your next purchase, especially if you’re in a chain.

Bad service

Also, be wary of long notice periods. Some contracts not only commit you to an extended tie-in but require that you serve notice if you want to terminate.

So, you get to the end of a long tie-in, and think ‘hallelujah, I’m ditching these cowboys’ only to discover you’re still locked in.

Often, the longer the tie-in and notice period, the worse the service because the agent knows you can’t go elsewhere.

Top tips

  • Always do your research before choosing an agent.
  • Never sign a contract you haven’t read. 
  • Remember, you can negotiate tie-in periods. They’re not set in stone, even if an agent tells you otherwise.
  • Go with a local agent with a reputation for excellent service and delivering on their promises.

Thank you for reading.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

View the properties that Harriet George currently has on the market here

In this two-minute read, I look at why getting the marketing material for your property sale finalised now is a savvy move.

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.

Zoopla, for example, recorded a 70.5% spike in activity on 26 December last year. And Rightmove and the rest of the portals report similar surges.

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 me on 07919 526786.

www.harrietgeorge.co.uk | 01548 856992 | 07919 526786 | harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

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Harriet George – Matching people with property

View the properties that Harriet George currently has on the market here

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