As we enter a new year, thoughts often turn to new starts and fresh beginnings. For many, buying or selling a home will be high up on their list of New Year’s resolutions.
But, if you’re planning on selling a home in the year ahead, what do you need to know?
Below, using our experience of operating in the busy, lively south-east London housing market, we take a closer look…
Now is a good time to sell
For a long while now, the post-Christmas boom in property market activity has been something to hang your hat on – reliable and guaranteed. Interest and hesitant buying plans formed over the festive period are now enacted upon, leading to a very busy period for the property market in the first three months of the year.
The property portals typically enjoy record traffic in the time between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, with people using the extra free time at their disposal to browse for properties or tentatively put their home-buying plans into action.
Figures for this Christmas suggest that Rightmove experienced record visitor numbers on Boxing Day, some 25,147,701 pages viewed according to a tweet by the property firm.
What’s more, the Daily Mail claimed that more than two million people trawled through multiple Rightmove listings on Boxing Day, while the paper also said there were 40 million online viewings of homes, compared to 38 million on the same day in 2017.
Put simply, the number of eyes on your property at this time of the year is likely to be much higher, which in turn will improve your chances of selling with relative ease. If you haven’t already listed your home, now is a good time to act to take advantage of the traditional surge in buyer interest at this time of the year.
Brexit certainty could bring market stability
The uncertainty caused by Brexit has undoubtedly had an impact on many parts of life, and property hasn’t been immune from that. A RICS report released just before Christmas suggested that many buyers and sellers were electing to sit tight until the position over Brexit became clearer, while there has been much talk about the dampening effect the political turmoil in Westminster has had on house prices, particularly at the higher end of the London market.
Although the property market has largely batted off political and economic issues in recent years – taking a business as usual approach even in the face of referendums, snap general elections and prolonged withdrawal negotiations – it is still one that thrives more when certainty and stability are the order of the day.
For now, it’s little surprise that some buyers and sellers are holding back, but greater clarity over the final withdrawal agreement would no doubt lead to a more confident, assured sector. The current situation is still highly unclear, with everything from a no deal Brexit to a second referendum still on the table, but hopefully we will know more once the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal has taken place (scheduled for the week starting January 14).
On the upside from a seller’s point of view, the fundamentals of the market remain the same – with demand still hugely outstripping supply – which means that sellers are still in a good position when it comes to negotiating on asking prices, especially in London.
Prices should continue to rise
Despite the B-word hanging over all aspects of life, most property experts are predicting house price rises in 2019 – or at the very least no change.
That should particularly be the case in property hotspots such as Canada Water, a part of South East London which is being hailed as one to watch out for in the year to come thanks to substantial regeneration works in the pipeline.
Long in the shadow of near neighbour Canary Wharf, the former dockside area had been rather neglected until recently. Now, as well as being home to excellent transport links, easy access to the Thames, foodie hubs such as Hawker House and close proximity to London Bridge, Borough and Elephant & Castle, it is also becoming a commuter hotspot.
The Canada Water Masterplan, which we outlined in a previous blog, is driving the area’s increasing popularity, and its status as one of the Mayor of London’s Opportunity Areas is also helping to attract buyer interest.
This, of course, can be used to your advantage if you are selling a home in the local area. Ensure that you make use of the exciting redevelopment it is undergoing when trying to sell your home. The great transport links on offer (not just Jubilee Line, but London Overground services too) should also play a key role in your sales pitch to prospective buyers.
It’s not just Canada Water, either – the other areas we operate in (Bermondsey, Surrey Quays and Rotherhithe) also have plenty going for them and plenty to attract those looking for London living slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the capital’s busiest areas.
How much could your property be worth this year?
Here at Living in London, we provide instant online valuations to give you an idea of what your home is currently worth.
In 2019, like any other year, it’s important that you set your asking price at the right level to avoid putting off would-be buyers or selling yourself short.
It’s also vital that you work closely with a reputable local estate agent to ensure you avoid overvaluing, which could prohibit your chances of securing a sale.
If you would like to discuss your options in greater detail, you can contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002.
After being awarded the Best for Sales in South East London in December 2018, we’re delighted to announce that we’ve also won the ‘Best Property Letting Agency of 2019’ award!
Agents, investors and small businesses gathered at the 2018/2019 Global Business Insight Awards to celebrate business leadership, investment and sector success, with some of the biggest industry names in attendance.
Votes are gathered all-year round via a number of digital channels and then evaluated by an experienced team. The categories included: Business, Investment, Finance, Professional Services, Women in Business and Finances, Mergers and Acquisitions and Technology – each with their own sub section.
Living in London was awarded the ‘Best Property Letting Agency Award’ after being recognised for our customer service, local area expertise and bespoke approach to each client, which has allowed us to maintain lasting relationships in our community.
Another award win for Living in London
Awards should matter to a business, as they help to highlight and identity those that are performing well in their respective industry.
At Living in London, we strive to exceed the expectations of our clients. Winning this award, as well as the others we have accumulated over recent years, showcases our unrivalled commitment to customer service and putting our clients first.
On the move in 2019?
If you’re looking to buy, sell, rent or let a home in Surrey Quays, Bermondsey, Canada Water and other South East London areas, then it’s time to get in touch with Living in London.
As you can see, we take customer service very seriously and this is reflected in the awards we’ve won in recent months.
For people making property decisions this year, the expert knowledge of a professional and dedicated agency will be hugely valuable.
Once again, the whole team at Living in London is excited to be recognised for our hard work and the effort we put into our services. Here’s to a successful 2019!
For more information on the services we offer, get in touch with us on 020 7231 0002.
We also provide instant online valuations so you can see how much your property is worth on the current market.
It’s safe to say 2016 has been unpredictable. The UK surprised the world with its decision to leave the European Union, leading to uncertainty for the UK property market, and now with yet another twist, the USA has elected Donald Trump as their new President. So for those of you sat there thinking “what next?”, don’t give the seasonal weather a chance to take its toll on your property. Each year, icy temperatures lead to millions of pounds in claims for damage to cars, homes and businesses. Here at Living in London, we’ve come up with 10 tips to prepare your property for winter, to help you sail through the rest of 2016 with no nasty surprises or unexpected costs. We’re even offering free winter inspections so you can feel safe in the knowledge that your property is taken care of.
1. Don’t let the pipes freeze
Frosty the snowman and pals have it in for your pipes. The icy weather can cause pipes – especially those close to external walls - to freeze, which can then burst and flood your home when they thaw. The best way to prevent this is to constantly have the heating on low during cold spells. Another thing you can do to keep your pipes toasty is to invest in lagging, which is a foam that coats the pipes, reducing heat loss and insulating them to stop freezing. Keep an eye out for any new damp spots and make sure your tenants know where the stopcock is so the water can be turned off in a hurry if necessary.
2. Clear the gutters
Now in the midst of Autumn, it’s only a matter of time before fallen tree leaves start forming blockages in your gutters. It’s important at this time of year to ensure guttering is completely free of debris to prevent a build-up of foliage. This may not sound like something to worry about now but it can become a massive problem if left unattended by causing water to back up and leak into the roof and walls of the house. Another precaution you can take, is making sure that any trees near the property are thoroughly trimmed back.
3. Crack down on damp
When internal walls become wet, they are a breeding ground for damp and mould. Unsightly, odorous and potentially harmful to the health of residents if left to spread; it’s vital that any sign of damp is tackled as early as possible. This means checking your property regularly and asking tenants to report any issues as soon as they are spotted. If you do notice damp, dry the affected area with dehumidifiers to stop condensation, as too much moisture can damage the paintwork and lead to black mould. There are also a few preventative measures you can take, including advising tenants not to hang-drying washing in any ‘at risk’ rooms, regularly airing the property out, and not letting the property get too cold. Providing tenants with a tumble dryer will also mean they’re less likely to hang-dry washing in the property.
4. Sweep the chimney
If your property has a chimney, clear a path for Father Christmas – nobody wants a sooty beard! Apart from helping out old Saint Nick, getting your chimney swept by a certified chimney sweep will prevent build ups of debris which can be potential fire hazards when bad weather strikes.
5. Insulation is key
Now we’ve talked briefly about insulating pipes to prevent water freezing but don’t stop there. Double glazing, wall insulation and loft insulation are pretty common place in homes these days, so if your property doesn’t have these, you may find yourself with a poor EPC score and struggle to place tenants. You may find it even harder to retain tenants in an unnecessarily cold property with subsequently high heating bills. About a quarter of heat is lost through the roof so make sure loft insulation is extra thick.
6. Bleed the radiators
If your radiators are warmer at the bottom than the top, you may have trapped air. Don’t worry, this is an easy fix. Use a radiator key to ‘bleed’ the radiators, letting any excess air escape through the valve. This will cause heating to spread more efficiently in the property and save money on energy bills.
7. Deal with draughts
“Through every nook and every cranny, the wind blew in on poor old granny.” Poet Spike Milligan must’ve known all about horrible draughts when he wrote ‘Granny’. If your property has draughts around windows and doors, you might want to seal these with self-adhesive draught strips or something similar. Apart from saving on the bills, a warm home is a happy home.
8. Check the boiler
If there’s one thing you and your tenants don’t need, it’s a broken down boiler in winter – especially during the Christmas period. A poorly maintained boiler runs the risk of breaking down but also, wasting energy and costing more. By law, under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, it's your responsibility to get a Gas Safety Certificate every year, but it’s also advisable to get boilers professionally serviced at least once a year to prevent things like this from happening. If your boiler is particularly old, investing in a new unit could save you money in the long run and give you peace of mind.
9. Talk to your tenants
Having a good relationship with your tenants is essential when letting a property. You want your property to be well looked after and you want to keep the tenants happy so they renew the tenancy. Talking to them about any issues they notice and getting these fixed as quickly as possible is the best way of doing this. It’s especially important over the winter period as any issues are more likely to lead to greater damage. If your tenants are away over the winter period, make sure they know to leave the heating on low to prevent frozen pipes and damp forming.
10. Play it safe
If you’re unsure of the state of your property, get it professionally checked. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. At Living in London, we’re offering free winter health inspections by way of schedule of condition, complete with a detailed report. To see if you qualify for a free inspection click here.
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