News

Lettings Negotiator Epsom

We’re Hiring! Lettings Negotiator Required

Published on 20th March 2015

We urgently require another Lettings Negotiator to help our busy Epsom office, this is a fantastic opportunity to become a part of our successful team.

Experience is preferred, but not essential. The candidate must be a dynamic and hard-working individual. A driving licence and car is essential. Basic plus commission.
Please contact ria@thepersonalagent.co.uk to find out more.

 

Posted in TPA News |
Surge Lettings Market TPA

Looking at the Surge in the Lettings Market

Published on 19th March 2015

With the increase in the number of people renting and the amount of people looking to let out their properties following suit, we’ve looked at what’s driving the surge in popularity and why more and more people are looking to the private rented sector as their long term means of accommodation.

People Looking for Alternatives to Home Ownership

Due to rising house prices, the amount of time and money it now requires to save for a home and the stricter lending criteria for receiving a mortgage, many have seen renting a far more attractive proposition. In comparison to the housing market, the availability of properties in the PRS is far greater and the barriers to getting the property you want, far fewer, and this has to the rapid numbers of people going down the route of renting.

This trend isn’t just short term either, in a study conducted by Slater Gordon, they found that over 51% of people between the ages of 25-45 thought they would never own a home. Meaning that rather than simply offering a stop-gap solution while people save toward their main goal of home ownership, renting a property is instead seen as their preferred option in the long run as well with the added flexibility it provides also proving a bonus to younger tenants.

Research by Sequence also suggests that the number of people looking to rent a home increased by 11% in January of this year, with new tenancies growing by 14% during that period as well providing fillip to the market as a whole.

Favourable Landscape for Landlords

The rise in demand for properties in the last five years has also meant greater competition for properties leading to an increase in rents as well. With the cost of renting going up an astonishing 16%. This is at a rate of 3% each year or 0.6% a year when accounting for inflation, all since 2010.

In the last year alone, the average price of renting in the UK rose by 1.7% with two and three bedroom newly let properties seeing the largest increase in monthly rent by 4.5% and 3% respectively. Savills are also forecasting rental growth of 2.5% in 2015 for both prime London areas and its commuter belt.

Not only is there more money to be made for prospective Landlords but there’s also a boost for those looking to get into the market and start letting properties. February saw a sharp fall in the cost of buy-to-let mortgage rates with 10 year fixed rate products at their lowest ever recorded levels with lenders competing to win customers. In addition it’s also become easier to receive a loan with a smaller deposit, meaning lenders are doing everything they can to attract new customers to the market.

With mortgages significantly lower and rents remaining the same or increasing, these new, lower-rate home loan arrangements offer landlords a chance to see an even greater return on their investment. Not only that but it’s also meaning that for those looking to let their property and become a landlord the conditions have rarely been better.

Buy To Let Mortgage Chart

Source: The Telegraph

 

 

 

Posted in Letting your property |
Blue Sky Cloud TPA

Buying or Selling This Spring? Why using an Estate Agent is still Vital

Published on 13th March 2015

In today’s property landscape there’s an ever increasing number of ways to buy or sell your home; with the emergence of online property portals and even online estate agents, many have been quick to cast doubt over the continued importance the traditional agent has in the real estate process. But the reality is that to receive the most effective, professional and – what we consider – the best real estate service, there’s still no substitute for hiring a dedicated agent.

While the internet has become a huge part of the buying and selling process, with house hunters across the country scouring every available portal and listing in a bid to get the edge over their competition, it is the vital role of the estate agent to ensure that all that available information is turned into practical, actionable advice, and ensuring the client makes the right decision and ends up with the outcome they want.

There’s no avoiding that the majority of home buyers are using the internet to carry out the bulk of their research, yet it is still estate agent that plays an indispensable role in finding the actual home that you’ll end up living in and negotiating the terms of the sale. By instructing a professional estate agent to sell your home you’re hiring an experienced company to ensure that almost every stage of the process is taken care of; scrutinising every level of the chain for possible roadblocks and getting rid of many of the more stressful aspects of selling a property.

Whilst online portals and services will undoubtedly give you a broad understanding of what is currently available on the market, a dedicated agent will have an unsurpassed knowledge of that market and this insider knowledge will mean they’ll be able to quickly and accurately relay to you what the latest available properties are and what sort of demand they’re likely to generate as well as things like price and so on. This local insight is key, in getting the most from your search and speeds up what is often the hardest part of selling a home.

This insider knowledge also comes in the form of a wide pre-existing list of people out looking for homes, meaning they’ll be able to pass on the details of your property and arrange viewings with keen buyers almost at a moment’s notice. In addition to helping answer any questions interested parties may have and updating you with how viewings went, what the level of interest was like, and whether there’s anything more you need to do to improve the attractiveness of the home. Maintaining a strong level of interest in your property and guaranteeing that everything that can be done to speed up the sale, is being done.

They’ll also be able to market your property in a way that other services don’t have the capacity or expertise to do. Knowing where and how to best advertise your property to the most relevant audience and channels, namely their website, local branches, newsletters, mobile phone alerts, newspaper listings and more all in addition to local or national property portals.

The modern estate agent is constantly on alert and are virtually always on hand to give you advice and reassurance should you approach any forks in the road, such as difficult sellers, buyers pulling out, or legal or administrative issues holding things up.

And finally when it comes to the business end of the house sale or purchase, they’re also experts when it comes to negotiating with the buyer for you, allowing you to air your concerns privately and allow them to relay that message in a way that won’t jeopardise the successful conclusion of the sale.

So for those looking to buy or sell this Spring, don’t underestimate the value a dedicated estate agent can offer you in your bid to complete a smooth and stress-free house sale or purchase. For more information about our services or for a free valuation visit our website or contact one of our local branches.

Posted in Selling Your House |
TPA Home Buying 2015

How To Find Your Perfect Property In 2015

Published on 6th March 2015

With the increasing availability of mortgages in the New Year, more and more people are now looking to buy again. But in such a competitive environment it’s now become more important than ever for house hunters to find a property that’s perfect for them.

So we’re here to tell you how to find the right property in five easy steps, helping you to speed up the buying process without having to break the bank once you move in.

1. What to Consider

Getting a Mortgage

Before you even think about what home you’d like you’ll need to think about getting a mortgage and finding out what your budget is. Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions that you will have to make in your life; it is a lengthy and complicated process and having your mortgage in place before starting your property search is vital. Knowing your maximum budget and monthly payments is also important in order to make a suitable offer. We work closely with Ignite Financial Services who offer independent mortgage advice and will also guide you through the whole process up to completion of contracts. For further information please visit www.ignitefs.co.uk, email: info@ignitefs.co.uk or call on 01372 940 152.

Assessing your priorities

Once you’ve received a mortgage and know how much you’ve got to put towards a home it’s important to think about what you need from your new home. First and foremost, whether these features are available in the areas you’re looking at and most of all affordable for the budget that you’re working with. Most people have a picture in their head of what they want their home to be, but can prevent themselves from getting the home that’s right for them sooner by holding out for a property that may not be realistic or in their price range.

So start by considering the essential features you’ll need, things such as:

  • What type of home you’re looking for? A detached home? A studio apartment? A town house? A bungalow?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms will you need? Are there enough rooms for children or visiting guests and/or relatives? Are you looking at homes with more space than you’re likely to make use of?
  • Do you need a private garden? Are you looking for a home with a conservatory? Is it worth waiting now and saving for one later?
  • Are you in need of off-road parking? Do you require a double garage?

Brainstorm the parts of your new home that you feel are must-haves and separate them from those you may be able to live without. Weigh these factors against the price of the home and their probable added cost.

So whilst it would be wonderful to own a home with a 5 acre garden and multiple swimming pools, you’ll need to think carefully about what you deem is a necessity and what you can do without to ensure you get the most for your money.

Once you’ve established the features you’d like to have, think about what things you definitely wouldn’t. Are there any potential deal-breakers lurking? Are there are any negatives in a property which may affect your purchasing decision. Does the property need any repairs? If so how much are you prepared to spend? Are there any signs of damp? Is it next to a major road? Will the neighbours be too noisy? Again list what you want to avoid in your new home as well.

Now that you know what you do and don’t want, you’re ready to start looking at areas to live.

2. Finding Potential Locations

Research the Market:

Check the Land Registry website to get a rough idea of the average house prices in different areas and see which ones are likely to fall into your price bracket. When looking at average house prices it’s important to remember that regional averages aren’t always an accurate reflection of some of the house prices in those areas which can fluctuate from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. From there you can look at any additional costs like what Council Tax Band the property falls into.

After you’ve found some promising neighbourhoods you may want to narrow your search down a little to include area specific factors which may influence your decision. You may want to consider things like:

Schools – Which schools fall within your catchment area? How have they performed in the league tables? Are these schools up to your standards? Bear in mind the catchment areas can change from year to year so it’s a good idea to look at which postcodes were eligible for which schools from the previous year.

Local Environment – Are there any environmental factors you may want to take into account? Is the area a flood risk? Check for risk from rivers, surface water or reservoirs. Is there likely to be noise pollution from a nearby motorway? Are you downwind of a waste disposal plant?

Transport – Do you rely on local transport? If so is the property close to local bus routes? Are you looking to be nearer to or further away from the town centre? If you commute, are you a reasonable distance from the motorway or train station? What is the traffic usually like in the area?

Crime Rate – Is it a safe area? Check the neighbourhood’s crime map for an idea of reported crime statistics. Contact the local neighbourhood watch to get more information on what the area is like.

Neighbourhood – What are your neighbours like? What do they think of the area? Are they going to be too noisy? Does the Local Planning Authority have any work listed which may affect your property?

Local Facilities – What is the local medical practice like? How well regarded are their GPs? If you don’t want to do a lot of driving, are there shops or supermarkets nearby, which you can reach easily?

Highlight properties in those areas:

Once you’ve highlighted an area that fits the bill, it’s time to start scouring the market for the homes that meet your requirements. Visit your local estate agent, let them know what you’re looking for, ask to be alerted to any properties that match your list of essential features.

Browse the local newspaper listings; property portals also provide a useful way of doing some initial research into the homes available in that area as well as letting you get an idea of the types of houses are available and what you can expect to get for your money.

However, it’s important to remember that the information they show is also available to everyone else, meaning you won’t have any distinct advantage when using that service to find a home.

This is why having a good relationship with your agent becomes so beneficial, as many properties can already be sold by the time they’re listed, whereas a dedicated estate agent can alert you to the latest and best properties as they become available.

Consider the resale potential of the property. For example if you’re looking at an area whose homes are likely to increase in value, then these could be excellent places to buy in the long run should you wish to relocate in the future. Areas that people commonly move to after being priced out of other regions such as inner city London, are likely to contain houses that will appreciate in value especially if they are on a main commuter route.

In addition, if new transport links are being discussed, this can also dramatically improve the outlook prospective buyers have on an area, and drive up the value of the homes in them as a result. People are moving more and more, so it’s important to bear in mind that if ever you were to need to move, that you would be in a strong position should you choose to sell.

So once you’ve narrowed down a list of potential homes, it’s time to take a look around.

3. Viewing Properties

What To Look Out For

Now that you’ve targeted some properties you think show promise, it’s time to start inspecting them in person.

Despite the many useful property tools available, there is still no substitute for going out and viewing a property yourself, as often there are things that don’t become apparent on a property listing that can completely change your opinion of a property once you get there. So it’s important to go out and inspect the home yourself, as even then it can take multiple viewings for you to be completely certain about it.

When browsing properties with your estate agent remember to ask plenty of questions. Things like how many viewings the property has had, how many offers it’s received, the length of time it’s been on the market, whether there have been any renovations carried out and what is included in the sale.

Take lots of photos of the homes you look around. First impressions of a property can differ greatly from the real thing and pictures are a useful way to compare properties objectively once you’re at home and have time to consider the pros and cons more carefully. View the property at different times of the day if possible to get an even clearer picture of what it’s like to live there.

Once you’ve browsed plenty of homes and have settled on one that you think is right, then it’s time to seal the deal.

4. Clinching Your Property

Making an Offer

Having found your perfect home, it’s time to make an offer. Make use of the research you’ve done into the properties in that area to decide on what you think is a true reflection of the property’s worth. If you’re a first time buyer, or don’t have a chain then this puts you in a good position as you won’t have to wait to sell your home first before making an offer.

When deciding your offer, consider things like if the seller has had the house on the market for a long period of time, is the seller under pressure to make a quick sale or looking for a sale with the minimum of hassle? Is the seller using multiple agents, if so they’re more likely to be swayed by a lower offer to get the commission over rival agents.

Whilst it’s best to start low, it’s generally not advisable to go too low as this may not sit well with the seller. At the same time it’s also important to be aware of your own budget and not go too high as going overboard trying to secure your dream home will leave you in a tricky position in the long term.

Decide your maximum offer from the start and don’t go above it. If you make an offer and the seller is still holding out for more than you can afford, then it may not be worth putting yourself in a difficult position financially and time to start looking elsewhere for a property that is in your price range, as tough as this can be at the time.

Once you’ve put in your offer and you’ve it’s accepted, politely ask the seller to take the property off the market to avoid anyone putting in a better offer – however, be aware that this is not a requirement of the seller.

5. Tying Up Loose Ends

Conveyancing

The final step involves finding a conveyancer to deal with the legal aspects of finalising your purchase.

Your conveyancer will deal with things like paying Stamp Duty, liaising with the Land Registry, preparing a “Report on Title”, checking guarantees on the property, finding out whether there are any developments planned, arranging a registration of title in your name and getting any final answers you may for the seller such as who owns what areas of the property and whether there have been any previous disputes.

Once that’s taken care of it usually takes 6-12 weeks between the offer being accepted and the rest of the paperwork being completed. Then it’s up to you on whether you want to have a survey carried out to highlight any structural issues that may be present in a HomeBuyer report.

After the Chartered Surveyor and the conveyancer have completed the necessary checks, then all that remains is to exchange contracts and pay the deposit.

Roughly two weeks after you exchange contracts, they should set a date for completion, the conveyancer will inform you that the money has been transferred and you will be able to collect the keys and move in. Remember to book a Removal Company several weeks before the moving date and that’s it! You’ve successfully found your dream home, now to spend your time making it the dream home you imagined, enjoy!

 

Posted in First Home Help, Moving House, TPA News |

We are Hiring!

Published on 6th March 2015

Experienced sales negotiator required for our busy Epsom office!

Due to our continued success, we are seeking to hire an experienced sales negotiator for our busy office in Epsom.

The perfect candidate must have a proactive approach and a strong desire towards securing new business, whilst always providing outstanding customer care.

Ideally we are looking for an experienced Estate Agent, however we would also consider somebody with a proven sales background in another field.

We offer great career progression opportunities and excellent on target earnings for the right applicant.

Having your own car is essential.

If you think you could be the right person for the job please send your CV to: rupert@thepersonalagent.co.uk

Posted in TPA News |
TPA Race for Life

We’re Up And Running For This Year’s ‘Race for Life’

Published on 17th February 2015

We’re pleased to say the ladies in our lettings office will be taking part in this year’s Race for Life charity event, which is helping to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Cheryl, Ria and Lily will all be joining this year’s event which has been running since 1994 and has had over 5.4 million participants, raising over £362 million. You can read about their reasons for taking part on their page at JustGiving as well as showing them your support by making a donation.

Race for Life is one of the nation’s best loved fundraising events with thousands of women taking part each year. The event raises vital money for the life-saving work done by Cancer Research UK each year in preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.

The Personal Agent’s aim is to raise £500 for the charity and we’ll be donating funds raised from the 5K marathon in Epsom as well which we’ll be taking part in on the 28th June. There will be a link on our website where you’ll be able to donate, promoting the initiative as well. Race for Life is for everyone who wishes to help beat cancer sooner rather than later, so if you want to help raise money for this incredibly important cause then please click on the ‘donate’ button below and help to make a huge difference.

Remember that if you’re a UK taxpayer be sure to tick the ‘Gift Aid’ box as this will see your donation increased by at least 25% at no extra cost to you.

For more information on the event, how you can get involved, and how much money we’ve raised so far, then visit our JustGiving page or like us on Facebook for all the latest news and updates.

Posted in Letting your property, Local Events/News, Local Focus, TPA News |

Property News Round-Up!

Published on 13th February 2015

Here’s our collection of the latest news from the world of property and the private rented sector including the rise in demand for properties inside the commuter belt, the £22 billion invested in buy-to-let properties last year, what effect the election is (or isn’t) having on the property market and the return to growth in house prices in January.

Properties in London and the Commuter Belt see Rise in Demand

The next 12 months are set to see the price of prime rental properties in the capital and commuter belt rise by 2.5% according to research carried out by Savills. Whilst over the next 5 years an increase of 17.1% is expected in London and 15.9% for the areas surrounding the capital.

Savills highlighted that in 2014 the price of rents in the commuter belt rose by 2.7%. The strongest results were recorded in smaller homes, with 1 bedroom properties rising by 3.1% and 2 bedroom properties seeing their rents increase by 2.7%.

£22 Billion Invested in Buy-to-Let in 2014

Almost £22 billion was invested in the UK’s Buy-to-Let sector during the last 12 months a study from the National Landlords Association has shown.

Carolyn Uphill, the chairman of the NLA said: ‘These figures really hammer home just how much money private landlords put into providing much needed homes for the UK’s estimated nine million renters, especially if we consider that such a large proportion are single-property or smaller portfolio landlords.’

Ms Uphill went on to outline the importance of investment in this sector in providing housing when governments have neglected to incentivise the developments of new properties.

General Election in May having ‘Negligible’ Impact on Property Market

The upcoming election in May has had a ‘negligible’ impact on the property market according to the advisory service CBRE.

“Conventional wisdom suggests that property markets slow as a general election approaches. Elections are uncertain, with the forthcoming election more uncertain than most,” said Miles Gibson, head of their UK research team.

He went on to say that the property market often remains largely unaffected in the time before general elections with little changes to the market being recorded. With only specific policies, such as the proposed mansion tax, having any measurable impact.

CBRE’s data spanned the last 30 years, looking at the months directly preceding elections and concluded that there was little to suggest that they caused a slowdown in property sales or affected house prices.

House Prices Up 8.5% in January

House prices rose in January by 8.5% compared to the same period in 2014 according to findings by Halifax.

The research showed that property value increased by 2% compared to December and was up by 1.9% compared to the previous three months.

Martin Ellis, Halifax’s housing economist attributed the growth in prices to the rise in mortgage approvals in December.

“These improvements may indicate that the recent declines in mortgage rates, the reform of stamp duty and the first increases in real earnings for several years, are providing a modest boost to the market,” said Mr Ellis.

Posted in TPA News |
TPA Stamp Duty Screen thumb

Download Our Free Stamp Duty Calculator!

Published on 28th January 2015

We’ve recently launched The Personal Agent’s Stamp Duty Calculator, a free App that is designed to help you quickly and easily calculate your stamp duty price. If you’re looking to buy a property in the area and would like a quick and easy way of working out how much Stamp Duty Land Tax you’ll have to pay under the new legislation, then download our Stamp Duty Calculator from the App Store.

This App was created as a result of the recent tax reform introduced in December 2014 and the increased interest from part of our clients. We have received numerous enquiries on the new stamp duty taxes people were facing after the changes and how would that affect their budgets. Since the topic was very popular we have decided to introduce a new, free app that will calculate the price of the property you are after on your phone without having to worry about internet connection, once downloaded. It is particularly convenient when you’re out viewing properties and wish to find out the government charges you’ll be facing at the reach of your phone. The App works on the basis of charging you different amounts based on which band the price of your home falls into.

The new tax bands are as follows:

  • 0% worth up to £125,000
  • 2% between £125,001 and £250,000
  • 5% between £250,001 and £925,000
  • 10% between £925,001 and £1,500,000
  • 12% above £1,500,000

To download the calculator from the App Store, click here, or here for a close up of the App.

Posted in TPA News |
On The Market Logo

OnTheMarket.com Is Here!

Published on 23rd January 2015

With the New Year has come the launch of a major new UK property portal called OnTheMarket.com, which will compete head-on with Rightmove and Zoopla.

At The Personal Agent, we pride ourselves on being progressive in our approach and we are delighted to have joined thousands of other prominent national, regional and local independent estate and letting agents in supporting the most important new venture of its type in many years.

We have reviewed our overall digital strategy and firmly believe that OnTheMarket.com will rapidly become a major player in the market and a “must view” destination for serious property-seekers.

OnTheMarket.com has launched with a multi-million pound marketing budget which will include sustained and heavy-weight TV advertising on the main terrestrial and digital channels. In addition, it is running in a high-profile press campaign in titles such as the Daily Telegraph, Times, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Scotsman, Glasgow Herald and Western Mail as well as in key magazines such as Country Life, The London Magazine and Fabric. There will also be a very heavy digital display and pay-per-click campaign.

The central OnTheMarket.com campaigns will complement local promotional activity by thousands of estate and letting agents across the country who are supporting the new portal.

More and more agents are moving all their properties to OnTheMarket.com from other websites. So now, neither Rightmove nor Zoopla will be able to claim their property listings cover the entire market because many estate and letting agents will be leaving them to having chosen OnTheMarket.com as the best platform to display their properties in the clearest and simplest way.

As it is a mutual organisation, OnTheMarket.com has no external shareholders. It is able to plough profits back into improving the property-searching experience and into efficiently connecting motivated buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords.

We are now proudly displaying all our instructed properties at OnTheMarket.com.

The state-of-the-art website will provide the most uncluttered, user-friendly and modern UK property search service.

There’ll be no distracting ads for other products, no spam mail, no information over-load – just a pure focus on properties, with hundreds of thousands of homes to buy or rent at all price points all over the UK.

Because the technology is new, OnTheMarket.com will adapt seamlessly to whichever type of device and screen size its visitors use. All screen space is used to present the properties looking their best.

In the words of Rupert Briggs at The Personal Agent:

“We look forward to supporting the launch of the new OnTheMarket.com property portal this month. It will offer prospective home-buyers and tenants a greater level of choice. While we shall not be renewing our contract with Zoopla, we shall continue to market all of our properties on Rightmove, which remains the UK’s largest property portal.

“After extensive analysis of web traffic and the quality and quantity of leads generated for our selling and letting clients’ properties, we have decided that this combination of portals best serves the best interests of our clients in reaching the best quality prospective buyers and tenants.

“We shall also continue to market our instructed properties on our own website, www.thepersonalagent.co.uk, as well as working as closely as ever with our valuable database of registered buyers and tenants.”

Posted in TPA News |
blog image

A Letter From The Mayor!

Published on 20th January 2015

After the success of The Personal Agent’s 10 Year Anniversary Prize Draw, where we gave away a Fiat 500 to one happy customer, we were delighted to have received this letter from the Mayor of Epsom, Councillor Robert Foote, thanking us for the day.

Councillor Foote, who had kindly agreed to announce the winners of the Prize Draw, also gave his thanks to The Personal Agent for its contribution to Epsom during the last 10 years as well as recognising the excellent work we have been doing by donating to the Mayor’s Charities which help to support the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the Epsom & Ewell Citizens Advice Bureau and the Foodbank.

The Prize Draw was held to thank everyone throughout Epsom for the incredible support we’ve received during our 10 years and as well to give The Personal Agent a chance to celebrate the enormous success we’ve enjoyed during that time.

Once again, a big thank you to everyone who attended our anniversary celebrations and to Mr Foote for his kind words.

Posted in 10 Year Anniversary, Local Events/News, TPA News |