8 TIPS FOR AN EASY MOVE

Get Rid of Clutter Before You Move
The more items you can clean out before you move, the better off you’ll be. Decluttering and getting rid of unused items means you will have less to physically move on moving day, which means you will be less tired and stressed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by how much stuff you have, try the 12-12-12 rule. Donate 12 things, throw away 12 items, and return 12 items to their proper place. It’s an easy, laid-back way to declutter your space quickly.

Pack for a Successful Move
It is essential to pack your boxes well to ensure that all your items arrive at your new place in the same condition they left the old one. To reduce shifting and to maximise space, pack your plates, dishware, frames, and books vertically. Keep clothes on hangers and wrap rubbish bags around a bundle at a time. This makes them easy to carry without falling on the ground. For your beautiful accessories, thread delicate necklaces through a straw and fastening the clasp so they don’t get tangled.

Colour Code and Label Everything!
When packing you need to be thinking about the unpacking process when the items arrive at your new place. Make it as easy for yourself as possible and label boxes with things you will need straight away with “Unpack First.” Load these labeled boxes into the truck or storage container last. When taping up your boxes, buy different coloured tape and assign a colour to each room. This will make unloading and sorting in your new home easier.

Take Photos of Your Audio & Video Components
Take a photo of your electronics wiring configuration before you pack them so you’ll be able to reconnect them at your new place. There are tons of apps, like Evernote, Sortly and Google Keep that let you take images, record audio, and create checklists.

Purchase All Your Moving Supplies Before Moving Day
Stock up on box tape, rope and any other moving supplies you may need before moving day. Make sure you securely pack all of your belongings and have your big items covered in the moving truck or container to avoid damage and minimise shifting. Moving bands are also a great way to wrap blankets around soft furniture, like couches and mattresses, before you tie them down.

Hire Packers and Loaders
Trusted moving and storage companies should be able to provide you with contact details of people that can help you move. Before hiring any help, check their reviews, social media, and ask friends for any recommendations as well. Hiring professional, reputable moving help can be the icing on the cake when it comes to planning an easy move.

Maximise Your “Cubed” Space
Rather than used bags, pack as many of your items into boxes as you can. Boxes stack well and can give you a tight fit in your storage container or van. This makes all your belongings more secure and allows you to efficiently fit more stuff in a smaller space.

For Moving and Storage – Think Outside the Van
Portable storage containers allow you to have unlimited time when loading and unloading your belongings. Stay organised and in control by loading your boxes into your container as soon as you pack them. If you label them properly, this will eliminate confusion and spare you from drowning in a sea of boxes inside your home.

Value vs Marketability

The first distinction to make when listing a property is the difference between the actual value of the home and its current marketability.  There are numerous elements that determine a home’s value, just as there are aspects that impact a home’s marketability in the current economic environment and phase of the market.

While the value of a property is determined by looking at things such as its type, size, features and configuration, marketability is more about the readiness of the property to be sold. It relates to aspects such as the home’s condition and aesthetic appeal.

Value

The value of a property is largely determined by the supply and demand in the market, along with buyer’s personal preferences. For example, when demand for housing is greater than the supply of properties currently listed on the market, the perceived value increases. The opposite is also true, in that when there are more homes for sale than buyers – home values can stagnate. There is a definite link between property prices and demand – the value of a property is not established by the homeowner, but rather the prospective buyer. Essentially what this means is that value is largely determined by what buyers are prepared to pay in the current market.

It is important to note that while renovations or alterations will affect the price of the property to some degree, it does not always mean that the value of the property will increase. Why is this? If the home is renovated with the view of selling, it is important to be aware of the current trends in the market and what buyers are willing to pay more for. A new kitchen or bathroom upgrade will make the home more attractive to buyers, but will they be willing to pay an increased amount which is equivalent to the cost of the renovation?

Another consideration is over-capitalising. If the improvements to the home are beyond what the value of the area dictates, it will negatively impact the property’s saleability. Why would a buyer want to pay more, when they can get a similar home in the same area for less?

Marketability

Considering that the marketability of a home is largely determined by how ready it is to sell, preparing the home before it is listed will increase its marketability and ensure that it attracts a greater number of potential buyers. Essentially increased marketability can result in a higher price for the property. If a home is clean, neat and well-maintained, it will be far more appealing to prospective buyers. The marketability of the home increases by ensuring that it is in the best condition before it is placed on the market. Although adding a coat of paint and having the garden landscaped won’t necessarily increase the home’s value, it will increase its marketability and make it more appealing to a larger number of potential buyers – even though the actual features of the home have not changed.

Staging the property will also have an impact on its saleability. It is advisable to de-clutter and remove unnecessary items, but keep the home furnished. It can often be more difficult to sell an empty home because it can look bare and it will be potentially difficult for buyers to see themselves living there. An experienced estate agent will be able to provide valuable advice regarding staging the home and making it more appealing during viewings.

While there is a distinction between value and marketability, both aspects should be considered to ensure the maximise potential selling price is achieved.

Find out an estate agent that can help your home stand apart from the crowd in this competitive market.

School Ratings Impact Property Prices

Regardless of whether you have children or not, if you are looking to purchase a property, it is best to choose a home that is near a well-rated school. Why? Because school ratings affect demand and have an impact on property prices.

According to a study published in the Financial Times, an increase in a school’s Ofsted rating inadvertently boosts property prices in the area. The data revealed that homes located in well-heeled areas received an immediate increase in their value when a local primary school was awarded a higher Ofsted rating.

The Ofsted rating is used by parents across the country to determine school performance and assess whether they would want to send their children to that particular school.  The rating is given more weight by parents than any other school performance measures such as exam results. Schools with an “Outstanding” rating are in high demand among parents, which in turn increases the demand for property within an easily commutable distance. As demand increases, so does the value of the homes in the catchment area as buyers are prepared to pay more to live there. In certain circumstances, buyers have been known to offer between 5% and 10% over market value for the right home within the right catchment area.

The findings of the study, which looked at the ratings of 8,000 primary schools in England, found that prices of properties located in affluent areas where a school’s rating had been improved by one notch, rose by as much as 1.5% on average. The impact on home values in less-affluent or disadvantaged areas was not as apparent, with prices in those neighbourhoods only increasing by approximately 0.5% on average. This could be a result of other factors in those areas negatively affecting demand in those areas.

While an improvement in the Ofsted rating had a positive impact on housing prices, the opposite held true when a school was downgraded with home prices taking a knock in those areas by the same margins.

With Ofsted having such a bearing on the property prices in an area, property search portals have introduced a ‘school checker’ feature which shows a school’s most recent rating, the catchment area and the distance from the property.

At the end of the day, it is clear that people are willing to pay more for a home if it means they have given their children the opportunity at a better-quality education.

A great real estate agent will be able to provide insight on the schools in the neighbourhoods where you’re looking to buy. Find one to work with here.

9 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN RENOVATING YOUR BATHROOM

Giving a fresh new look to an outdated bathroom can modernise and add value to your home. Renovations and contemporary remodelling of bathrooms are known to boost the marketability of a home and, also, bathrooms and kitchens are the two areas of a home where the cost of the renovation can be largely recouped on the sale of the property.

Over the past few years, bathroom renovations have become extremely popular with many opting to renovate their bathrooms before any other room in the home, because bathrooms and kitchens are major focal points that buyers look at before they put in an offer to purchase a property. Additionally, bathrooms are smaller than other rooms in the home, so the cost of renovation can be managed more effectively.

Here are some important things to consider before you begin renovating your bathroom.

Select Elegant Fixtures.

Subtle changes can make a big difference to the overall feel of the bathroom. Selecting the right fixtures will be key to transforming your bathroom. An elegant sink with a curvaceous shape will exude beauty much more than a bulky vanity unit.

If you have a large bathroom, decorative feet on a freestanding bath can be a subtle design feature that adds character and elegance to the space. However, you don’t need a huge bathroom in order to make it special.  Accessories like robe hooks and soap dishes can be just as effective in revitalising the room.

Don’t buy a bath until you sit in it.

A 1500mm bath accommodates most people, however, assuming it is the right fit for you by sight can be a mistake you will live to regret. It may raise an eyebrow or two, but before you buy a bath, sit in it, lie down in it and pretend you are having a bath.

Things to think about is whether it provides you with enough room for you to stretch out and be comfortable, as well as whether it provides a strong foothold. First, try it, then but it.

Choose Durable Flooring.

Out of all the floors in your home, the bathroom floor needs to endure the most strenuous daily treatment.  Ideally, the floor needs to be made of a hard-wearing, water-resistant material such as ceramic, marble or stone. The floor will also need to be sealed to ensure that water doesn’t get under the flooring and cause damage. The right floor will prolong the life of the bathroom and ensure you are enjoying it for years to come.

 Mirror, Mirror On The Wall.

Both practical and beautiful, mirrors are a crucial element to any bathroom. A well-designed mirror can be the focal point of the room while proving the illusion of space. A mirrored cabinet is also a great way to add an elegant feature to the room, which is ideal for hiding away an unsightly mix of toiletries.

Floor Space Is Considered Good.

Storage cabinets on the walls are a functional way to save floor space. To avoid cluttering the room, the cabinets should have an interior depth of at least three inches and a door flush with the wall.

A Built-In Shower Area.

A great way to add value to the property is with a built-in shower area. Steer away from the confinement of a traditional shower with an open shower area which eye-catching and will set your bathroom apart.

Good Lighting Is Key.

Lighting sets the overall mood of the room and can make all the difference in creating the right atmosphere. If the lighting doesn’t work with the space it can really undersell a bathroom, so make sure you get it right.

Purchase A Quality Throne.

The toilet is an essential part of the bathroom, which is why it is so important to get the right one. Apart from its aesthetics, it is best to opt for a well-built toilet that is made to last than buying a cheap one out of convenience. Also, make sure it is the right height and size for the space.

Indulge Yourself.

If you have space, make the room a luxury haven where you can escape to and relax. Add a few indulgent elements such as a television, fireplace, some exercise equipment or even a large comfortable occasional chair. The room is yours to create – enjoy it.

5 Budgeting tips to help you save for a down payment

Here are a few tips to help you on your journey to becoming a homeowner:

1.Track Every Pound

Find out exactly where your money goes each month by keeping track of every single you purchase over 30 days. Review your card and bank statements to categorise where you spend each pound.

2. Rate Every Purchase

Using the month of expenditures, rate each item or service you bought as a “want” or “need”

3. Set Savings Goals

Using your “needs” and “wants” list determine where you can realistically cut spending. Use the budget to set monthly and yearly savings goals.

4. Set Aside Funds

Create a separate savings account for your down payment. It’s not only easier to track but blocking off funds may make you think twice before dipping into that money for something other than your future home.

5. Save Automatically

Set up a “down payment” savings account and have a set amount automatically transferred each month.

Spring clean to help sell your home

As the temperatures rise and more buyers venture out to look for homes, the warmer months are the ideal time for would-be sellers to spring clean their home and prepare for listing on the market. There are a few things that homeowners can do to get their property ready for sale and ensure that it stands out from the competition.

Make the first impression count – It takes as little as eight seconds for a buyer to decide whether they like a property or not.  You only have one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it counts in the right way. If a buyer has to choose between two homes within the same price range and area, both offering similar features, then the distinguishing factor will be the look and buyer’s overall first impression of the property.

The first impression of a home is created by the potential buyers’ sensory perception of the property. It will be based on what they see, hear, smell and feel when they first enter the home. All of these elements contribute to and influence the overall feel of the home, which will generate an emotional response. If this experience is positive and results in a favourable impression, it is more likely that the buyer will feel compelled to make an offer.

Get an objective second opinion – Homeowners often have an emotional attachment to their home, which can make it difficult to have an objective view. Because of this, it’s advisable to call in a trusted second opinion about what improvements might need to be made to get the home ready for sale. You might be tempted to avoid input from others, however, an objective second pair of eyes can help you see your home from an outsider’s perspective. Seek out honest opinions that focus on both the home’s good points as well as the bad. If you are worried about possible conflict with friends or family, a trusted estate agent will give their honest and direct opinion about what should be done to make the home more marketable.

Spring cleaning is not just about cleaning – Once the areas of improvement are identified, it is time to put in the work and clean and make the necessary changes to the home. Apart from washing and scrubbing the home, spring cleaning also entails decluttering.

Attention should be paid to every detail in the home, ensuring that even the slightest cracked window pane is replaced. Buyers will be keeping their eyes open for things that are wrong with the home.  Remember that the home is competing with others on the market, so it is imperative that every effort is made to ensure the home is in its best condition.

Allow buyers to picture themselves living there – Make buyers feel as welcome as possible in the home. Potential buyers need the space to be able to view the home at their leisure and be able to visualise themselves living in there. Packing away personal items and photos will make buyers feel more at ease and will help them envisage themselves in the home. It is also best to decorate or paint the home in neutral, muted colours with only a few well-placed items to add interest and warmth. For example, a vase with some fresh flowers or potpourri in the bathroom will aesthetically enhance the home and make it smell good. Home decor magazines are a great resource for tips.

Do away with bad odours – Unpleasant odours will potentially drive buyers away so ensure that the home smells inviting. Traces of food, pets or smoking and other disagreeable odours can kill deals fast. Having the carpets professionally cleaned, for example, will help remove bad smells and will enhance the look of the home.

Ensuring the home is market ready will be a vital element in setting the property apart from others in the neighbourhood and will give you an advantage in today’s competitive real estate market.

Elements to look for in any neighbourhood

Packing up and relocating to another city, or for that matter, another country, is a major undertaking, so it is imperative to do the necessary research and weigh up all the options before making the final decision. Whether it is as big a decision as immigrating or moving across the country, there are essential aspects that should be assessed in every prospective neighbourhood to ensure that you will feel at home.

Transport

Location is of utmost importance in real estate and proximity to reliable public transport can have a positive impact on the appreciation of the home’s value over time. The majority of people spend a fair bit of their day commuting to and from work every day, so it is important to consider the distance from the neighbourhood to the office. Other considerations would include whether there is access to public transportation, service hours, route and stops.

Studies have shown that home values tend to rise faster in areas that are close to bus, train and underground stops. A tube station within 500 metres adds £42,000 to the price of a London house. If the walk to the station is just another 250 metres – the price drops by more than £10,000, and if the station is a mile away, the price premium disappears altogether.

Local businesses

Consider the retailers and businesses that you often frequent, such as the bank, pharmacy, and grocery store. Are these shops conveniently located within proximity to your prospective new home? While a gourmet deli and coffee shop is a great place to meet up with friends, being near to a grocery store that stocks your daily staples is far more practical. Ensure that the businesses are reputable and that their prices are reasonable. Much of the legwork can be minimised by reading online reviews.

Schools

For a family with children or a couple planning to have children in the future, the quality of the schools in the area is an essential element to consider. In fact, even if you don’t plan on having children it is an important consideration because it will have an impact on the home’s potential appreciation in value. Homes close to schools that are highly sought-after will sell for higher prices. According to government research, being near to a top-performing primary school in London can add £38,800 to the average house price. A study by the Department for Education (DfE) has found prices are 8% higher near the best-performing primary schools and 6.8% higher near the best secondary schools.

Amenities

While proximity to amenities is important because it will influence the home’s investment potential, there is another element that relates to the buyer’s personal needs and wants. Someone who rates culture very highly will want to be near to art galleries and theatres, whereas someone who enjoys the nightlife will want to be close to restaurants, pubs, or dance clubs. A sports enthusiast would want to know the distance to the stadiums and athletic arenas in the area. There is also the matter of free entertainment, such as parks, museums and libraries.

Economy

Not the country’s economy, but rather more specific factors that are influencing a certain area, such as a high crime rate. There will be telltale signs if an area is experiencing a financial decline, such as houses in need of attention, rundown parks, littered streets, and businesses closing down. Many people will want to move out of the area, so look for a prevalence of ‘for sale’ signs.

Using these guidelines will assist you to find the right neighbourhood that will meet all your needs, regardless of whether it is in the UK or abroad.

RE/MAX name used in online scam

 

RE/MAX has received reports of an international online rental scam using the RE/MAX name.

The scam begins with an apartment listing on a classifieds or apartment-listing website. After exchanging several emails with the apartment “owner,” the potential tenant receives wire-transfer instructions to transfer rental deposit funds to RE/MAX or a RE/MAX-branded company.

In one instance, the apartment owner used a false name and provided documents such as pictures of the apartment and his passport ID in an attempt to verify his credibility. However, those operating the scam could use other tactics to lend legitimacy to their operation.

If you are approached online by one of these scammers, please do not send money.

RE/MAX brokerages, offices or agents are not involved in these scams. As a general rule, never send money for an apartment you haven’t seen or to a person you haven’t met. If you believe you’ve been involved in a scam involving the RE/MAX name, please report the matter to abuse@remax.net. In addition, contact the apartment-listing website where you found the ad and report the issue.

If you ever have any questions about the legitimacy of a real estate transaction with a business or agent using the RE/MAX name, please call RE/MAX London at +44 (0) 20 3142 7288. You can also email abuse@remax.net to report any suspicious emails, offers or websites that feature the RE/MAX name, RE/MAX logo or RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon logo.

Unfortunately, the criminals behind scam and phishing schemes are skilled at recreating authentic-looking documents and websites. You may be contacted by a scammer posing as an agent on the phone or receive emails from a fraudulent email address. Once again, the best way to check if you have been approached by a scam operative is to contact RE/MAX London at the information listed below.

+44 (0) 20 3142 7288

abuse@remax.net

http://www.remax.co.uk/important–scam-notice

Carry on renting or buy?

Deciding whether to stay in the rental market or buy is a choice that many people struggle with. Purchasing a home is one of the largest financial decisions you will ever make, so it stands to reason why so many are apprehensive about getting it right. Weighing up the pros and cons will help you make up your mind and know what the right choice is for your current situation.

So what are benefits of getting your foot in the door?

  • The sooner you get into the market, the sooner you can pay off your mortgage and have a home you can call yours. Once the mortgage is paid off, the home is yours for as long as you want it.
  • You will benefit if your home increases in value. Over the long-term property will appreciate in value, creating equity that can be used to help to buy a bigger home or fund your retirement.
  • Decisions regarding the home are yours to make. You don’t have to ask a landlord’s permission to spend money improving the home. Also, spending money on the home will help increase its value, which will benefit you directly.
  • Depending on the situation, it can be cheaper to pay a mortgage than the rent.

While the benefits of owning a home are appealing, there are cons to being a homeowner.

  • A property purchase should be viewed as a long-term investment. It is a big commitment, so you need to be sure you are ready and can afford it for the term of the
  • If the interest rate goes up – so do your mortgage repayments. There needs to be some financial cushioning in the budget if this happens.
  • As the owner, you are responsible for all maintenance costs. Ideally, you should have a contingency fund saved up to assist with emergencies such as a broken boiler.
  • There is also the matter of additional services charges when purchasing a flat, which you won’t incur if you are just renting.
  • Depending on the market, you may have to hold onto the property for longer than you initially intended to.
  • There is less flexibility when you own a home. Moving involves possibly selling, which means more money and planning.

When considering whether purchasing a home is the right choice, a major factor is affordability. Does buying a home make financial sense for you in your current situation? It is important to remember that there is more to being able to afford a home than paying the mortgage. Here are some other costs you will need to factor in during the home-buying process:

  • A deposit – on average first-time buyers put down a deposit of between 10% and 20% when buying their first property. If you opt to use a Help to Buy or shared equity scheme, the deposit requirements will typically be around 5% with the government or developer loaning you the remaining 15%.
  • Survey costs – a survey will let you know of any possible repair costs you can expect to pay in the future. It will give you an idea of how much you will need to invest in the home after you have bought it. Surveys vary in price from around £500 to £1,500 depending on the type of survey and the amount of detail you require.
  • Stamp Duty – any residential property or land purchased in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that costs more than £125,000 (£40,000 on a second home) will incur a Stamp Duty. The amount of Stamp Duty liable will be based on a sliding scale depended on the value paid for the property over the £125,000 threshold.
  • Legal costs – there are a few ways in which solicitors charge their fees, such as a fixed fee, an hourly rate, and a percentage of the property price.
  • Ongoing monthly costs – Council tax, gas, electricity, phone line, etc.

If your goal is to ultimately ditch the rental market and own a home, but you can’t afford it at the moment – save, save, save. If possible, find ways to curb your spending and set up a savings plan that will help you reach your goal. Depending on your career and financial situation, there are also help to buy schemes that will assist buyers to purchase their first home.

Open houses – Are they worthwhile?

Open houses and their worth has caused some debate among estate agents over the years. While some don’t see the significance or need, others see open houses as an intricate and necessary part of marketing a home successfully and achieving the best possible outcome.

It is interesting to note research shows that often open houses have generated more leads than the online listing. There have been a number of occasions where a property has been sold from a lead generated at an open house – a lead that would have been missed if the home was merely listed online. What does this say? Rather than doing away with traditional home selling methods and purely focusing on the online platforms, it would be advantageous to both the agent and the seller to integrate elements such as open houses into their marketing plan. Using a variety of platforms will increase the home’s exposure to a greater audience, which will result in the optimum outcome.

Some of the advantages of having an open house are visibility and accessibility. It is also possible for open houses to save both the agent and the seller some time, as numerous prospective buyers can view the property on the same day. Regardless of which brand is represented by the sign outside the property, buyers will stop in at an open house to see what is on offer if they are interested in buying a property in that area. Another positive aspect is the fact that buyers have the opportunity to personally interact with the agent and ask them any questions they may have regarding the property. The interaction will also open up the chance for the buyer to be put on the agent’s database or make appointments to see other homes within their portfolio of stock.

In certain instances, open houses can be less stressful than a view by appointment strategy. This is because the cleaning and tidying are only done once a week, rather than numerous times to accommodate the potential multiple viewings in the course of the working week. The seller is also not inconvenienced by constantly needing to be home at a certain time or wait around to let in buyers who want to view the property.  An open house can sometimes be easier from a logistical point of view.

When it comes to formulating the statistical success rate of open houses, it is very difficult because there is different feedback depending on the area and type of property. Every neighbourhood has a unique demographic and dynamics, which emphasises the importance of working with an agent who understands the micro market. Certain agents say that the majority of their sales come from buyers who viewed the home during an open house, while others have not sold a property using this method for quite some time. It largely depends on the area and what works there.

Other simple but effective methods of marketing a property are ‘For Sale’ boards, flyers and print advertisements. Many agents have also embraced the marketing power of social media networks to enhance their connectivity to buyers in the market.

Irrespective of the method used to sell a home, it is vital that sellers use a reputable agent who has working experience in their area. The right agent will find an effective method to successfully sell the home for the best possible price and within a reasonable timeframe.