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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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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Harriet George – Matching people with property

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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

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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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Harriet George – Matching people with property

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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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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

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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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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

In this two-minute read, I give you a quick checklist to make sure your project is as pain free as possible. 

Got your eye on a property that needs some major TLC? Whether a rental investment or a new home, there’s lots to consider when buying a run-down property.

Finances

First things first, is the property mortgageable? Or is it so run-down that no one will lend you money? If it’s the latter, you may have to think of other financing options such as a bridging loan (a short-term loan), cash (if you have the money available), or a joint venture (if you have an investment partner). 

And while we’re talking money, before exchanging any contracts, you need to budget, budget, and budget again. A property renovation is costly at the best of times but restoring a dilapidated property can feel like a black hole of endless expense. Make sure you set yourself a sensible budget and have a contingency fund in case of unexpected costs. 

Survey

Getting a surveyor to inspect a potential property seems obvious, but when buying a run-down property, you’ll need more than a basic condition survey or HomeBuyer report. To be extra safe and to understand exactly what you’re buying, organise a Building Survey. This will examine the structural make-up of the property and make recommendations for repairs and potential costs. Don’t skimp on this stage of the purchase, as a surveyor can uncover issues you weren’t aware of and save you thousands of pounds. 

Planning permission

If you’ve got plans to extend your doer-upper, be sure to do your research. Some properties are sold with planning permission while some benefit from permitted development. If your purchase has neither, keep in mind that planning is a time-consuming (and expensive) road to travel. This could hold up your renovation dreams, so you need to get the process started as soon as you exchange. 

Top tip: Look at neighbouring properties to see what type of extensions have been given permission in the past. 

Quotes and professionals

Whether you’re hiring a contractor to manage the renovation or want to project manage yourself, get the right team on board. Meet different builders, ask lots of questions, and make sure you outline exactly what you want done. Heed professional advice, they know what they’re doing. You may also need an architect’s advice and it might be worth speaking to the local planning department for extra information. 

For any more advice on buying your dream restoration project please get in touch with me on 07919 526786.

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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 how to select the best estate agent to sell your home.

When it comes to selling a property, it pays to do your research before choosing an agent to manage the sale.

Now you might think that all agents are much of a muchness (they all flog homes, don’t they?), but you’d be wrong!

A great agent won’t just sell your property; they’ll sell it for the highest possible price (which is the whole point, obviously).

A mediocre agent will go through the motions and probably secure a sale – it is a seller’s market after all – but won’t go the extra mile to get the absolute best deal.

Given that you’ll most likely only sell a property a few times in your life, why wouldn’t you go with someone who will secure the best transaction for you?

Here are six things to look for in a good estate agent.

Track record. Go with an agent who has a good local reputation and experience selling properties like yours. And don’t just take the agent’s word for it; a good agent will have client testimonials.

Fees and costs. It may be tempting to go with the agent with the lowest fee – but be wary. Low-fee agents skimp on marketing and photography (it’s the only way they can do the job for such a low price and stay afloat). That might be good for their business model, but it’s terrible for your bank balance.

Professional marketing. Buyers do so much of their research online that an agent must have a professional digital presence. Compare how local agents in your area present properties for sale. Look for good quality photography and well-written property descriptions.

Read the fine print. Be wary of agents who want to tie you in for an excessive period. It suggests they don’t have confidence in their own abilities.

Valuation. If an agent vows to sell your property for a sum that is jaw-droppingly higher than market value, be suspicious. Most likely, they’re over-promising to lure you in and will have to drop the price later when savvy buyers don’t fall for it. This tactic just wastes time. Go with an agent who is optimistic but realistic.

Gut instinct. Do you trust the agent or feel like they’re pulling a fast one on you? Follow your instincts.

For a free property valuation or to find out more about my selling track record, contact me on 07919 526786.

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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 analyse what the most popular home improvement trends tell us about the market.

The pandemic didn’t just trigger an exodus of city slickers moving to the country, it also kick-started a multi-billion-pound home renovation boom.

UK property owners spent £110 billion on home improvements* last year – a 30% increase year-on-year.

While some people kept things simple by giving a few rooms a lick of paint, others embarked on major projects resulting in a 25% increase in planning applications for home extensions.**

What kind of renovations are popular right now? Let’s examine an analysis of planning applications compiled by Barbour ABI.

Most popular home improvements

Garage developments  

Applications to develop garages (and turn them into home offices or additional living space) soared by 25%. The trend was most notable in Scotland, where applications rose by 50%.

Garden buildings and works 

There was a 7.5% hike in applications, reflecting our growing desire to spend more time in our gardens connecting with nature. (This only represents a small proportion of the garden rooms that were installed, as many did not require planning permission.)

Extensions 

Far and away the most popular type of home improvement requiring planning permission, extensions accounted for 81.7% of all applications – and were up by 4.3%. 

Out of favour 

Conservatories

It seems the conservatory may have been eclipsed by the garden room/home office as there was a 21% drop in the number of planning applications for conservatories.

Loft conversions

Applications for loft conversions dropped by 9%. Historically, loft conversions have been popular in areas such as London, where people develop upwards because they don’t have the space to build outwards. But last year, many homeowners with families left the capital, which might explain why this type of development waned in popularity.

Conclusions

The pandemic has brought about a re-evaluation of how we live, with many people wanting more space – but not just any sort of space. People want the ability to work from home, but to get away from children and distractions, hence the rise in garden rooms and garage conversions instead of more open plan style spaces.

For expert advice about adding value to your property, get in touch with me on 07919 526786.

*Powered Now

**Barbour ABI

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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 what homeowners can do to reduce the risk of their property sale falling through.

I’m about to banish a myth that many people still believe about selling a home.

The misconception is that once you’ve accepted an offer for your property, the hard work is done.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Yes, it’s fabulous to receive an acceptable offer you’re delighted with, but there are still lots of potential twists and turns along the road to selling successfully.

You don’t want your sale to hit roadblocks that slow the moving process down and raise the chances of it falling through and sending it back to square one.

When that happens, it’s frustrating, stressful, and time-consuming.

The good news is that you can do simple things to raise your chances of getting the sale through to the finish line in a timescale you’re happy with.

The tips below can help speed up the process by up to two months.

Tip 1: When looking to instruct a conveyancing solicitor to handle your sale’s legal side, pick one who agrees to give you a weekly update. Ask your agent for recommendations of conveyancers who communicate consistently.

Tip 2: Before putting your home up for sale, get ‘market ready’. It’s a great idea to fill in a Property Information Questionnaire (a good agent will be able to provide you with one). It’s a form that asks several questions your conveyancer needs to know. This will help them review the information you have supplied and help you resolve any issues or replace missing documents. Doing this before your home is under offer (or even on the market) will significantly speed things up when a deal (subject to contracts being exchanged) has been agreed upon.

Tip 3: Remember that the conveyancer is working on your behalf and should be responsive to your calls for updates.

This isn’t an article bashing conveyancers – quite the opposite. Good conveyancers work wonders with agents and for their clients.

A communicative conveyancer AND a proactive estate agent are often the differences between a successful sale carried out in a quick timeframe or a slow, frustrating experience that raises the risk of a fall-through.

If you have any questions about the selling process, get in touch with me on 07919 526786 and I’ll answer them expertly and honestly for you.

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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 BIG reasons why your home needs to be up for sale at the very least before you start seeking a new one.

Picture the scene.

You’re house hunting and have been trawling the internet for what seems like forever. Then one day your eyes are drawn to a beautiful looking home that ticks all your boxes.

You visit the property and boom, fall head over heels with it. It’s the one.

You make your offer and start dreaming about waking up in this place you’d love to call home.

If this all sounds too good to be true, it’s because, in this scenario, it often is IF you’re making that offer without your current home being on the market already.

Why?

In my experience, when people start looking for a new home before their existing one is under offer it creates several potential issues that can mean being thousands of pounds out of pocket.

When you see a property you love, you can be blinded by emotion and pay over the odds for it.

And while you may be smitten with it, sellers usually find buyers who already have their homes under offer much more attractive than those who don’t.

The downside

The real downside in this scenario is you may feel pressured to accept less for your current home because you don’t want to miss out on the one you’ve fallen for. However, if you pay more for your new place and get less for your old one, you can see how that creates a crater-like dent in your finances.

So, here’s my advice for homeowners on why it’s a wise move to sell first and seek later.

First, put your home on the market with an agent who has a clear plan and strategy to achieve the best possible price for your property.

Once your property is under offer, it puts you in a much stronger position when offering on a new home. This is because you now fall into that attractive buyer category in the eyes of sellers.

And you won’t have that pressure of being in a rush to sell your home and potentially accepting under asking price offers because you’re desperate to move to the new place you love.

I’m on your side

I’m here to help you make the best decisions when it comes to moving home. And I’d gladly give you advice on buying and selling.

To discuss your move, please give me a call on 07919 526786 or send an email to harriet@harrietgeorge.co.uk

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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 the critical role social media plays in reaching out to potential buyers.

When choosing an estate agent, it pays to channel your inner Miss Marple or Sherlock Holmes and do a little online sleuthing.

As we all know, many estate agents are known for having the ‘gift of the gab’. You’d be hard-pressed to find one who doesn’t claim to have a strong community standing, good track record, and proven marketing formula.

But how do you know if they’re telling the truth? Social media is a good place to start.

We’re not suggesting you believe everything you see on the internet. But a quick online snoop will provide plenty of clues as to how proactive an agent is, and whether their claims marry up to reality.

Top tips for online sleuthing

Step into a buyer’s shoes

Even if you’re not a big Facebook or Instagram user, many people – including potential buyers – are, so peruse the social media of local agents and analyse what you see. The best agents are dynamic, professional, consistent, and personable – qualities that should come across on their social media channels.

Presentation of properties

Compare how different agents market properties. Look for an agent who uses high-quality images or video footage of clutter-free rooms and informative and engaging property descriptions. Steer clear of agents who use grainy snaps of darkened rooms. In our image-focused culture, dodgy pictures are a huge turn-off for buyers.

Engaging content

Top agents do more than just market properties on social media – they engage with the local community about a range of issues. Look for content about the area, shout-outs to sports clubs and charities, and articles about important topics of the day (these might cover property-related matters or more general talking points). Savvy agents use social media to build a following so that when they have a property to market, they have a ready-made audience.

Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials can give you an idea of an agent’s strengths and weaknesses. Feedback from sellers, buyers, and other professionals involved in the property chain, such as conveyancing solicitors, can provide useful insight.

Do they have personality?

Ideally, an agent’s social media will give you some idea of what motivates and drives their business. Why does this matter? Selling your home is one of the biggest (and possibly most stressful) transactions of your life. Better to go through the experience with someone you feel comfortable talking to and whom you trust.

For an example of how an experienced agent uses social media effectively, go ahead and follow me on Instagram and Facebook @harrietgeorgeproperty

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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 the growing popularity of garden rooms as places to work and play.

Garden room. Man cave. Home studio. Shoffice (shed/office). Call it what you will but having a standalone space in the garden where you can work, unwind, or pursue a favourite hobby is one of the fastest-growing property trends in recent years.

Now, garden sheds are nothing new; Britain’s first shed was built in 1481. But a ‘garden room’ is far more than the old-fashioned lean-to your granddad used to store the lawnmower.

Garden rooms are high-spec spaces with plenty of mod cons: mains electricity, heating, and WiFi. They also often include full-height glazing, a kitchenette, toilet, hot tub, bar, or home cinema.

If you’re considering investing in a garden room, here are some tips to help you get it right.

Identify its purpose

Start by having a clear idea of how you’ll use the space. Will it be an office, yoga studio, gym, or games room?

If you don’t have a strong vision, your garden room could turn out to be a glorified storage cupboard, crammed with boxes and odds and sods.

Find the right location

If space is tight, your options will be limited. However, if you have a big outdoor area, give careful consideration to the location and orientation of your garden room.

If you’re creating a mini music studio, opt for a location some distance from the house so that noise isn’t an issue. On the other hand, a children’s playroom might be best near the house, so you can keep an eye on the little ones.

Also, remember that:

  • An east-facing garden room will catch the morning sun (ideal for early bird, work-from-home types).
  • A west-facing garden room will get the afternoon sun (perfect for a post-work parents’ chill-out space).
  • A south-facing garden room will catch lots of sun (great in the winter months) but will get quite warm in summer, so consider adding a louvred canopy.

Insulation

Keep your garden room cool in summer and warm in winter (and save money on heating) by opting for insulated walls, roof, and flooring.

When architects, builders, and manufacturers talk about insulation, they use the term U-value. The lower the U-value, the better (the best insulating materials have a U-value nearing zero).

Landscaping

It’s called a garden room for a reason, so make sure your space is surrounded by lush greenery – being close to nature is good for your mental health, after all.

Plant trees, shrubs, and bushes around your garden room so that it feels like an integral part of the space.

Planning

Before you get started, always seek confirmation from your local authority about whether any outbuilding you’re thinking about needs planning permission.

For more advice about how to add value to your property and market trends, get in touch with me on 07919 526786.

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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 how sellers can fast-track property transactions.

We’ve all heard horror stories about property sales that drag on for months or even years, leaving the seller frustrated and frazzled.

But the sales you don’t hear much about are the ones that rattle through quite efficiently without any drama.

As a seller, you can’t control every element of the process, but you can influence the progress of a transaction.

By being proactive and accepting that selling a home takes a little effort and energy, you can minimise delays.

Here’s how to speed up the sale of your home.

Declutter

A home that is piled high with boxes and bric-a-brac is a turn-off for buyers. Have a good clear-out and put bulky items in storage (or take them to the tip). Decluttering will allow you to market your property at its best – and achieve the maximum possible price.

Have a good clean

Roll up your sleeves and get scrubbing or get professionals in to help. Either way, make sure your home is sparkling clean from top to bottom.

General repairs 

Fix wonky fences, broken cupboards, and dripping taps. Address all minor maintenance issues before you show buyers around.

Dress your property

Present your home so that it appeals to your target market. For example, if you’re marketing your property as having a home office, set the relevant space up with a computer, keyboard, desk, and chair.

Choose a solicitor

Instruct a solicitor (ideally one recommended to you by your estate agent, as they will have the most up-to-date knowledge and experience). Knowing who you will use for conveyancing will save time later in the process.

Be prompt with paperwork

Expect your estate agent to ask you to fill out a property information questionnaire detailing your home’s features, recent building works, etc. Meanwhile, your solicitor will need to see ID (as part of their anti-money laundering checks) along with deeds, notices, and lease information. Provide all relevant documents and complete all paperwork swiftly.

Be flexible

Once your property is on the market, respond to queries promptly. Whether it’s your estate agent, solicitor, or the buyer’s surveyor, be as efficient and amenable as possible.

Want more advice on achieving the best possible price for your home? Please get in touch with me here.

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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 ways to present your property to achieve the best possible deal.

Presenting a home in its best light can significantly bump up the selling price and speed up the transaction. So why don’t all sellers dress their property for a successful sale?

Surprisingly, many people don’t change a thing before they put their home on the market (a decision that hits them in the back pocket). People who take this ‘warts and all’ approach to home-selling tend to fall into three categories.

  1. Sellers who have a strong emotional attachment to their home and can’t bear to change a thing.
  2. Sellers who think they have brilliant personal taste (often debatable) and can’t put themselves in the shoes of buyers.
  3. Sellers who just can’t be bothered.

Whatever the reason, take it from us: a little elbow grease and a small financial outlay can reap serious rewards.

We’re not suggesting that plush cushions and tasteful throws can make up for structural issues or a poor location. But most buyers are driven by emotion; they want to step inside a property and fall in love with it.

So woo them! Set your emotions aside and think about what will hit home with buyers.

Top tips for dressing your property.

Declutter

Bin old furniture or knick-knacks that have seen better days. Sell items that you no longer use (treadmills or exercise bikes often gather dust in the corner of spare rooms). Put bulky possessions that you just can’t part with into storage. It’s all about creating space.

Tidy

Ensure paperwork, photos, toiletries, and washing are out of sight. The same goes for shoes, coats, phone chargers, dog beds, and cat litter trays.

DIY blitz

Draw up a list of odd jobs that need doing and work through it. Fix broken cupboard doors and rickety fences and blitz carpet stains, mould, and damp. Give tired walls a lick of paint in a neutral tone.

Identify your target demographic

If you’re selling a four-bed home with a garden, it’s a fair bet families will be your target market, so make sure the outdoor spaces are welcoming and safe. If you’re marketing a sleek studio, target young professionals and dress the property accordingly.

Don’t send mixed messages

If you’re marketing a four-bed home, make sure each bedroom has a bed in it (even if that means borrowing or renting one). Similarly, if you’re trying to pass a small room off as a study, put a desk, chair, and lamp in it. Never load up rooms with odds and sods like gym equipment, fishing gear, or bikes. This only confuses buyers.

Don’t overlook outdoor spaces

Dress the garden just as you would any other room. That means taking any junk to the tip and installing garden furniture and a few colourful blooms.

For more advice about how to market your home, get in touch with me on 07919 526786.

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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

If you found this article interesting please share it on social media and tag a friend or forward it to them.

Harriet George – Matching people with property

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

In this three-minute read, we look at what sellers can do to avoid their property sitting on the market.

Making a bad impression

We’ve all heard the adage that first impressions are the most important. This is definitely the case when it comes to selling your home. Smart presentation is a must as it sets the tone for the whole viewing.

First things first – kerb appeal. Does your property entice strangers to want to peek inside? If it doesn’t, make a difference by tidying up the outside of your home. Maintain the same level of pride throughout your home. Make sure you’ve cleaned and tidied and the space is smelling fresh. Clutter can be distracting, making it difficult for prospective buyers to imagine how to make your property their home.

Poor state of repair

It’s critical to make sure the basic fixtures in your home are in good working order. You may not need to replace whole bathrooms and kitchens before you go to market, as any modernisation required will be reflected in your sale price. But minor issues can create doubt and concern about what further essential work might be needed.

Fix broken door handles, attend to areas of damp and replace faulty fittings. A little bit of pride goes a long way.

The price is too high

Sounds simple, and it is. Pricing your home is not about how much it’s worth to you, it’s about being realistic. Consider the strength of the market, the area, and what similar properties around you have sold for recently.

Naturally, buyers are always looking for a bargain and there’s a fine line to tread, but take the guidance from your agent seriously. If you’re overpriced, you’ll struggle to get viewings, never mind offers.

Poor photography

Great photography of your home will make all the difference online. True first impressions begin here and if you think about how many property listings the average buyer scrolls through, it’s crucial to stand out.

TOP TIP: Remove any unnecessary objects as the eye will be drawn to these first. Dishcloths, bathroom products, piles of toys, and clutter should be out of sight for pictures – even if it just means hiding them for the photographs.

It may sound like a cliché, but fresh flowers can lift a room by their mere presence. Remember, you are creating a lifestyle that accompanies the home so your accessories should reflect that.

Human interaction is key and the right agent can make all the difference. Here at Harriet George, I create demand and a buzz around your property rather than solely waiting for it to be discovered online. Call me on 07919 526786 to find out more.

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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 give my best recommendations on how to find your dream home.

Searching for your next home can be an exciting process, but it can also feel daunting and even frustrating at times. Use these suggestions to ensure that when you’re house hunting you remain as calm as possible.

Get your ducks in a row

There is little point going shopping without your wallet. The same thing applies to property. Before you even begin looking for a property, make sure you have spoken to an independent financial adviser first. They will help you uncover the possibilities and ensure you’re starting your search with a realistic budget in mind.

Use the internet

This is nigh on a moot point as the internet is such a ubiquitous force in all our lives nowadays. Many people begin their online browsing many months before making a move. This gives you a good impression of what’s available in your price range. Try not to limit your ‘must-have’ features using the online filters. You could miss something simply because of an input error.

Speak to estate agents

The best way to find out about the best properties for you and your needs is to speak to the experts. The estate agents that cover your preferred area will hear about properties coming to the market long before paperwork, photos, videos, etc. are done and finally put online.

Also, estate agents are trained to hear the ‘needs’ in your description of your dream home. When we search for ourselves, we can struggle to find what we really need because we’re too focused on what we ‘want’.

Be patient

It can seem really tempting to go looking at properties before your house has sold, or before your inheritance has landed, or however you’re funding the purchase. This is the quickest way to heartbreak.

If you aren’t sold or able to proceed with the purchase straightaway, the seller is unlikely to take it off the market. You then will lose out to someone who was in a better position than you. Wait to view homes ‘in the flesh’ until you’re ready to buy. It saves you a lot of time and heartache.

Don’t lowball

When you find the right property and you’re in a position to make an offer, don’t start your negotiations with a low offer. It’s normal to try a ‘cheeky’ offer but if you start really low, you risk offending the sellers. Once that’s happened, people’s defences are raised and even if you offered over the asking price, they might not want to sell to you on principle.

If you really want the property, just pay the right price.

If you’re looking for your dream home in the South Hams, get in touch with me on 07919 526786 and we can chat through your ‘must-haves’, ‘would-likes’, and the whole process.

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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 two-minute read will help you learn about conveyancing solicitors and how to find the right one for you.

Whether you instruct a conveyancer or a solicitor, they essentially do the same thing when it comes to dealing with a property transaction. The terms are often used interchangeably by people who aren’t working in the industry. This is the person who does the paperwork for you when you are buying or selling a property.

Cheap is rarely cheerful

You know the old adage: you can have fast, cheap, and good; but you can only have two at any one time. This is very true for conveyancers. ‘Fast’ isn’t always the best word to use as there are multiple variables that may slow down the process. ‘Efficient’ is what you’re looking for.

There’s no template

When getting quotes from different solicitors for the work, bear in mind that there isn’t a set template for how those quotes are presented. There can easily be hidden costs. Ideally, you’d find a solicitor who offers a guaranteed fixed fee and a ‘no sale, no fee’ promise. Otherwise, the whole deal can fall through, for whatever reason, and you still have to pay the solicitor.

Get recommendations

And then take them with a pinch of salt. Buying and selling property is something that happens so infrequently in most people’s lives. They may have had a good experience in the past but you don’t know what’s happened in that firm. Maternity leave, staff changes, even holidays can mean that a previously great firm takes a dip for a few months.

TOP TIP: Your estate agent has a great overview of the whole market. They deal with solicitors all day, every day. Ask them for their advice.

Different properties need different work

The advantage of asking your estate agent for a recommendation is that they’re used to dealing with the variety of properties in your area. Flying freeholds, chancel repair liability, coalman’s accesses: these are all things that are completely normal to deal with for some solicitors.

Others have never dealt with them before and can cause massive delays. Even worse, they can advise their clients that it’s a risky issue, simply because they don’t understand the nuances, even causing them to pull out from the purchase.

If you’re looking for a conveyancer or solicitor to help you to buy or sell a property, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I can chat you through the options.

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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

If you found this article interesting please share it on social media and tag a friend or forward it to them.

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 a devious dupe that fraudsters use to rip off homeowners.

Fraudsters will go to great lengths to make a buck – and that includes trying to steal a home from under the owner’s nose.

Now, this may sound far-fetched, but this type of crime – called home hijacking – is real. 

Last year, the Land Registry beefed up its fraud management systems in response to the threat. It also paid out £5.5 million in compensation for fraud and errors within its register.

House hijacking

The scam can work in various ways.

1. The crook changes their name by Deed Poll to your name. They obtain ID in your name and put your house on the market. 

They claim they need to sell quickly, so ask for cash buyers only and market the house themselves on an online portal at a low price. A gullible purchaser then acts swiftly to grab the ‘bargain’. 

The house ‘for sale’ is often empty (it may be a second home) or in the process of being refurbished.

On other occasions, it’s rented out, and the tenant, or someone else with access such as a cleaner or gardener, cheekily takes the marketing photos and handles the ‘viewings’.

By the time the buyer realises they’ve been duped, the fraudster is long gone with their money. The genuine owner of the property finds themselves caught up in this tangled mess and has the stress of trying to rectify the situation.

2. The fraudster assumes the owner’s name and identity and then takes out a loan against the property. Mortgage-free properties are common targets. The property owner usually only discovers the loan when they get a letter from a lender about missed repayments.

How to protect yourself

If you’re a buyer

  • Treat any ‘bargain’ that you spot online with suspicion, especially if it’s not marketed by a reputable estate agent.
  • Insist on viewing a property in person.
  • Never allow a seller to convince you to cut corners in the transaction process or pressure you to ‘pay up today’.
  • Always seek independent conveyancing advice.

If you’re a homeowner

  • Be aware that properties that don’t have a mortgage or have not been sold or mortgaged since 1998 are more at risk.
  • Check your property is registered with HM Land Registry.
  • Sign up to receive an alert from the Land Registry every time someone carries out an application or search on your home. 
  • Put a restriction on your title. This stops HM Land Registry from registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies you made the application. If you live in the property, this costs £40. If you don’t reside in the property, you can do it for free. 

For more advice about buying or selling a property, contact me here.

Copyright Harriet George 2021

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

If you found this article interesting please share it on social media and tag a friend or forward it to them.

Harriet George – Matching people with property

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

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