Homefinders' Blog | Homefinders

Homefinders' Blog

24 May
2017
by
Haydar Sehri
As much as you love your home, it’s time to move so you have an estate agent over to value your property. They come in, tell you how lovely it is and much to your surprise value it for a hefty chunk over what you expected for it. You’re delighted. A few months later after agreeing to their high fees and you still haven’t sold with the few viewings you have only generating one offer for well below asking price.  What has happened to that hefty chunk the estate agent promised and why won’t they let you leave your contract to go with another agent that has buyers waiting?   The above is quite a...
23 May
2017
by
Haydar Sehri
In the right hands, gas is safe, however if things go wrong gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous substance produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-based products, such as natural gas and liquid petroleum gas (LPG). This happens when a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked. Carbon monoxide is known as the Silent Killer, because you can’t see it, taste it or smell it and it can kill quickly with no...
16 May
2017
by
Haydar Sehri
  Prices in Dalston could be up by as much as £126,000 by 2020 Dalston has shown its mettle in the last few years and remains a particularly buoyant and robust part of the UK property market. In the aftermath of the credit crunch, some parts of the UK saw prices fall by as much as 8% (2007 vs 2009), but here in E8, prices held steady and have risen consistently since 2000. For that reason, we are confident that house prices in our area will see a strong growth up to the end of the decade. Since 2000, prices have increased by 21.6% per year, and if that pattern continues for the next...
16 May
2017
by
Haydar Sehri
It’s getting harder by the year to be a bad landlord and rightly so. From the day of Charles Dickens and the age of reform where landlords could get away with murder (quite literally) to today where increasing regulation helps weed out the worst of us.   The most recent tool against rogue landlords and agents is from the Housing and Planning Act 2016, in particular, rent repayment orders.   As with most punitive action this hits landlords where it hurts; in the pocket.  A landlord may be forced to repay up to a year’s worth of rent to tenants if they:   Use violence to secure entry to the...
16 May
2017
by
Haydar Sehri
Not everybody has the luxury of wealthy parents to help them buy their first home and with house prices usually going up faster than wages, the government has stepped in to help first time buyers and to a certain extent, house builders. There are currently two schemes available, equity loans and a help to buy ISAs.   For the equity loan, the government will lend you up to 20% of the property value (capped at £600,000 for the total purchase price) interest free for five years. All you need do is find a 5% deposit and arrange a mortgage for the remaining 75%. If you’re in London, they will lend...
16 Feb
2017
by
Haydar Sehri
The Government has hit landlords hard over the past 12 months with changes to the tax they pay and can claim back. Here we outline the tax rules which landlords need to consider. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) From 1 April 2016 anyone purchasing an additional residential property (that is not their only or main residence) for £40,000 or more must pay an extra three per cent stamp duty above the current Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) residential rates. The current rates mean that you pay SDLT on increasing portions of the property price above £125,000 when you buy residential property. For instance,...
16 Feb
2017
by
Haydar Sehri
Home identity scams are becoming more frequently reported in the mainstream media, with multiple prominent cases recently coming to light. In a recent high profile property fraud case, Laylah De Cruz and her mother, Dianne Moorcroft, duped property professionals into a fraudulent application for a £1.2 million bridging loan on a vacant home in Kensington. On 16 January, both were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by Southwark Crown Court and are currently awaiting sentencing. Dianne Moorcroft changed her name by deed poll and posed as the registered proprietor of the home. She...
19 Jan
2017
by
Haydar Sehri
Rightmove has released its latest analysis of the 2016 rental market and what they expect in 2017 to look like.   In 2016, outside of London recorded rental increases of 3% with inner London seeing a 5.2% drop in asking prices and outer London seeing a more modest 2.5% decrease in asking prices. The decrease in London was due to more availability of stock as around 32% more properties came onto the market when landlords rushed to beat the stamp duty hikes that came into force in April.   The main winners for 2016 in rental increases were Swansea with an 11.4% annual increase in asking prices...
19 Jan
2017
by
Haydar Sehri
“Tax doesn’t have to be taxing” was the strapline for an advertising campaign run by Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC) not so long ago. Unfortunately for many of us around this time of year it is taxing both financially and mentally. With around two weeks left to go until the 31st January deadline to file your tax, it’s important to get it right.   To help make life easier for you, HMRC has set up a webpage detailing what you need to know and do. Most importantly, it tells you what records you should be keeping, what expenses you can claim for and what you can’t. It also runs through...
22 Dec
2016
by
Haydar Sehri
Budgets have been very hard on the buy to let landlord as explained in the following article 2015-16 removal of wear and tear allowance For many years’ landlords who let property which was “fully furnished” have been able to claim an allowance each year equal to 10% of the rental income to reduce their tax liability. A higher rate tax payer with rental income of £20,000 per year has been able to save £800 per year or 4% of the total rental income because of this. This has always been a very generous allowance which for some landlords was the difference between having to pay tax or not.  The...
15 Dec
2016
by
Haydar Sehri
George Osborne left several gifts for landlords before vacating the treasury. The first has already come into force which is the increase in stamp duty for the purchase of a buy to let property. The second is a reduction of tax relief that landlords can claim against mortgages.   As it currently stands, say you’re rent is £10,000 a year and mortgage is £9,000 a year, you make a £1,000 profit. A basic rate tax payer would pay 20% (£200), higher rate 40% (£400) and top tier 45% (£450) to HMRC.   This is going to be reduced and for 2017/18 this will 75% of your mortgage interest that is tax...
15 Dec
2016
by
Haydar Sehri
In April this year, it came into law that tenants can request landlords carry out improvements to a property’s energy efficiency which a landlord must not unreasonably withhold. In the not too distant future, it is going to become law that properties with a low energy performance will not be legal to let.   If your property is E or above in your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), there is no cause for concern, if it is F or below, it may well be worth considering improvements because as of 1st April 2018 it will be unlawful to grant a new lease of a property with a rating of E or below.  ...
14 Jan
2016
by
Haydar Sehri
energy eficiancy
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards Landlords to Provide Tenants As part of the Energy Efficiency Ratings Regulations of 2015, from 1st April 2016 tenants may request landlords carry out improvements to a property’s energy efficiency which a landlord must not unreasonably withhold. Tenants whose homes are an F or G rated by an Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) can request the landlord bring the property up to an E rating. If you own a rental property, it is most likely you have an EPC and in it there are usually recommendations as to how your property can be improved for energy efficiency...
14 Jan
2016
by
Haydar Sehri
passport control
Landlords to Conduct Right to Rent Checks on New Tenants As part of the Immigration Bill of 2015/2016, from February 2016, landlords must ensure all new tenants have the right to reside in the UK before letting their properties to them. Evidence must be seen, copied and held for 12 months after the tenancy has ended. Acceptable documents include: A passport or national identity card for the UK, EU countries or Switzerland A Home Office document granting indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen Passports or...
22 Nov
2015
by
Haydar Sehri
section 21 eviction
The section 21 notice is a notice served on tenants requiring possession of your property back and gives no cause or reason as to why (such as for rent arrears or antisocial behaviour which is a section 8). A section 21 can lead to a mandatory order for possession and if served correctly cannot be successfully challenged by the tenant. As part of the Deregulation Act of 2015, there are a number of important changes as to how and when you can issue a section 21 on tenants to end the tenancy. These changes took effect as of 1st October 2015 and for all new assured shorthold tenancies the...
20 Oct
2015
by
Haydar Sehri
Retaliatory Evictions
    “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned” - Buddha   The fact that retaliatory evictions have been legislated on as part of the Deregulation Act (2015) shows that there are some landlords out there with both poor business judgement and a lack of empathy. It is usually a lot cheaper to fix a problem than pay to evict a tenant and then risk void periods with no rent coming in or a new tenant that makes the same complaint. As of 1st October 2015, if a tenant complains about disrepair that is not dealt with...
19 Oct
2015
by
Haydar Sehri
The government has introduced the Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Regulations (2015) to ensure that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are installed at the start of each new tenancy. This took effect as of 1st October 2015. The law applies to all landlords letting a property to a tenant who occupies part or all of the property as their main place of residence. You need to: Ensure smoke alarms are fitted to every floor where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. A room could be considered a bathroom or a stairwell leading up to a flat. A carbon monoxide...
22 Oct
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Below is an article from Jessica Alomankeh, LLAS/UKLAP Projects Coordinator, that will interest landlords: “HMRC is offering a range of support and advice for residential property landlords who want to bring their tax affairs up to date. Landlords are being offered online training in tax matters from HMRC. The computer-based tutorials will make it easier for you to understand when and how to pay tax on property you have let out. The training pack is part of HMRC’s Let Property campaign, aimed at people renting out residential property who have not registered to pay tax, who have under-...
01 Oct
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Revenge Evictions Bill
There are many unscrupulous agents and landlords out there and regulation to stop shady practices is always a good thing, but sometimes it can go too far and benefit unscrupulous tenants. A new bill is currently going through parliament aimed at preventing landlords evicting tenants who ask for essential repairs to be carried out. If passed, the bill will prevent landlords evicting tenants for up to six months after they have asked for a repair to be carried out. I have yet to come across a landlord who would rather pay to evict a tenant and then have to do a repair anyway to re-let their...
17 Sep
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Good News for London Landlords
There has been good news this month from the Office of National Statistics, average house prices have returned to 2008 levels which is about the time the property crunch happened. Even better news for Londoners, of the 6 regions that are above 2008 levels, London of course leads the way at a 19.1% increase since 2008. The full breakdown is as follows: UK: £272,000, annual rise of 11.7 per cent  England: £284,000, up 12 per cent  Wales: £171,000, up 7.4 per cent  Scotland: £198,000, up 7.6 per cent  Northern Ireland: £139,000, up 4.5 per cent  North east England: £156,000, up 9.5 per cent  ...
02 Sep
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
NEW RULES FROM 2016 – LANDLORD MUST CARRY OUT ENERGY IMPROVEMENT MEASURES
As most landlords are aware, to rent out a property you must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in place. This piece of paper is easy to ignore, especially when you don’t live in the property but in just over a year it will become quite important. As of 2016, your tenants will be entitled to ask you to carry out recommendations to improve energy efficiency on the EPC and as a landlord you will be legally obliged to do so. Most measures on an EPC are relatively cheap to do but in certain instances it may be quite costly. If your property is single glazed, can you afford to double...
18 Aug
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Increasing Your Rent
You find a good tenant, receive the rent on time and hear nothing from them for a year until contract renewal which you happily do to as a paying and non-complaining tenant is worth their weight in gold. Do this two or three times in a row and you’re quite possibly losing out on a significant amount of income. It’s easily done. Some landlords are friendly with their tenants and feel uncomfortable in raising rents, but renting out a property is a business. You may be friendly with your local supermarket cashier but it does not mean she takes a pay cut because of that relationship and the same...
31 Jul
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
The Chinese Investor
I have blogged before about foreign investment into London but earlier this month I watched a BBC programme called Inside Out London, The Great Property Race. This programme put a human face to the Buy to Leave investment trend. A staggering £3.5 billion has flowed from China into the London property market in 2013. This has led to many developers setting up offices in China and new build apartments often being sold off plan at “expos” to Chinese investors before they are even released to the UK market. As an investor said on the programme about reasons for buying in London “It’s cheap. It’s...
15 Jul
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Are You a Drug Dealer or a Landlord?
After last month’s blog about landlords being held responsible for immigration checks on their tenants, it would appear the Home Office would also like landlords to be drug enforcement agents! With over a million cannabis farms discovered in the past 2 years, the government has in no uncertain terms made clear landlords are responsible for how their properties are used and under section 8 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, anyone connected to a property who knowingly allows it to be used for the growing of drugs faces up to 14 years in prison.  Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, landlords could also...
01 Jul
2014
by
admin
Are You a Landlord or Border Control Agent
In May this year, Royal Assent was given to the Immigration Act 2014. The government is getting tougher on illegal immigration and part of this legislation uses landlords to do so. From October, if you rent a property or room in your house, you must ensure that the tenants have the right to reside in the UK, failure to do so could result in a penalty of £1,000 per adult residing in your property. If you are a letting agent, the price is bumped up to £3,000 per adult. The good news as far as I can see is that children are free! The legislation takes effect from October so you need not worry...
24 Jun
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
ARLA SUPPORTS DCLG ‘HOW TO RENT’ GUIDE
The Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) supports the Department for  Communities and Local Government (DCLG) ‘How to rent’ guide, launched today. The guide  provides a helpful checklist for people who are looking for a house or flat to rent, offering  guidance through every step of the lettings process.    At a time where rental properties are highly sought after, ARLA fully supports the  Government’s initiative to ease the process of renting to tenants, and sees anything which  can support people in the rental market as a step in the right direction. The guide outlines  the...
18 Jun
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Interest Rates to Rise?
When the Bank of England held interest rates at 0.5% at the start of this month, it was widely expected. Later on in the month, the picture changed when the governor Mark Carney said in a speech just over a week later that a rate rise “could happen sooner than financial markets currently expect”. Cryptic as always, but an indicator things are going to change. How and when will this affect homeowners on tracker mortgages? If we look at an interview given by the outgoing deputy governor of the Bank of England in May to the BBC, Charlie Bean said "The bank rate averaged about 5% in the decade or...
17 Jun
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Signs The Property Bubble Will Burst
If you were to read any news article about house prices, it is generally encouraging for homeowners and landlords. Property prices are continuing to rise, rents are increasing and demand is still there. How can we tell when the market has bubbled and is close to bursting? The surveyors and valuers Connells has said that in April of this year, valuations fell by 15% compared to March. That’s quite a drop and could be due to tighter mortgage regulations that came in as part of the Mortgage Market Review or it could be buyers are no longer willing or able to pay rapidly increasing asking prices...
17 Jun
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
DISREPAIR CASES and COMPENSATION
Over the last few years we have had a number of compensation claims due to disrepair where landlords refused to or delayed work needed that was their legal responsibility. This has mainly been from tenants on low income who have access to legal aid with nothing to lose but everything to gain on their part. Solicitors advise tenants not to talk to the agent or the landlord and wave about inflated compensation figures to raise their hopes. In one case a tenant received £1,000 compensation and their solicitors got £15,000. There was a small fire in the hallway of the building and the tenant...
19 May
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Extending Your Way to a Greater Sale Value, NAEA Reveals Most Desirable Home Modifications
SOURCE: NAEA Website As the housing market continues its recovery, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) today reveals the home extensions most likely to add value to a property ahead of sale.   Research conducted as a part of NAEA’s latest monthly housing market report revealed that almost half (49%) of estate agents say adding an extra bedroom usually by converting loft space is the best way of adding value to a property.   While an additional bedroom fundamentally changes the description of a property, other less drastic changes can also have significant, positive effects on...
14 May
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Open Day Bonanza
London is booming. With such an increase in demand, we now hold regular open days on properties for sale and usually have an offer accepted the same day which exceeds our seller’s expectations. As well as being successful, these days have also been entertaining. On one open day in Beckton, I had a three bedroom terraced house for sale and several local residents keen to buy for their extended family members. They were desperate with such a shortage of houses on the market and when telling them it will be an open day when I meet them and not an exclusive viewing, they couldn’t hide their...
28 Apr
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Gazumping Is Back
Gazumping may sound like an exotic African mammal, but unfortunately its true meaning is not so romantic. Gazumping is the act of a property seller taking a higher offer for their property from an outside party despite already having agreed a sale with another buyer for a lower amount. With property prices on the rise, this is an all too common occurrence unfortunately. The original eager buyer has all their belongings ready to go, have a buyer for their own property, planned local schools for the children and their journeys to work, forked up solicitor and mortgage fees then suddenly boom,...
25 Apr
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
What to do if a house purchase falls through  NAEA offers advice for buyers facing disappointment in a competitive market
Losing out on a dream home can be a difficult experience, but there are steps that can be taken to  maximise a buyer’s chances of concluding their next purchase successfully, according to the National  Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).    NAEA’s latest research reveals that there are, on average at a national level, over eight buyers for  every property that comes to market. With this level of competition, buyers are increasingly left  disappointed, even if their offer has been accepted.  Under the rules of the English conveyancing system, the seller or purchaser is completely free to pull...
25 Apr
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
How to beat the rental crowd and secure your dream home  ARLA guides prospective tenants through the process of renting
Renting a property can be a daunting process, especially as demand for rental property continues to  outstrip supply*. Market conditions in many areas mean prospective tenants need to be prepared  and ready to make an offer as soon as they are happy, or face losing their dream property.    Susan Fitz-Gibbon, President of the Association of Residential Letting Agents said: "Many agents are  currently low on stock and tenants could risk losing out if they are inefficient in their bid.  Competition is fierce, so it is important that you are in the best position possible to successfully  secure a...
14 Apr
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Mortgage Rules to Change
Following the Mortgage Market Review by the Financial Conduct Authority, the process of getting a mortgage is likely to get harder with potentially less money available to people to borrow. The new rules are designed to protect borrowers from taking on more debt than they can afford and lenders will now be looking in more depth at borrowers’ finances. From the end of April, all monthly payments and household expenses such as utility bills will be looked at and validation of these may be required. Bank statements will be gone through with a fine tooth comb and questions may be raised about any...
04 Apr
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Rise in property sales leads to reduction in potential rentals
ARLA report shows reluctant landlords may become a thing of the past  Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) research reveals that the number of people letting out properties because they have been unable to sell has dropped to a record low. According to ARLA’s latest quarterly report, the percentage of letting agents seeing an increase in rental property entering the market because it cannot be sold has fallen to just 13%. This figure represents the fourth consecutive fall, and is far below the 94% high recorded when the question was first asked at the start of 2009, during the...
01 Apr
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
The Bank of Mum and Dad
With the average house price in the UK being £254,000 and £500,000 in London, the average salary of £26,500 isn’t anywhere near enough to cover buying a home. Even if you go in with a partner earning the same, there is still around a £50,000 deposit required get a mortgage. Many find it hard to scrape together living costs, let alone save for a deposit when living away from the parental home. Thankfully the bank of Mum and Dad is there for many. Around 80% of first time buyers under 30 get financial assistance from their parents according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. That’s a...
14 Mar
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Beware The Non Paying Tenant
In 2013, just under 40,000 tenants were evicted from their homes by court appointed bailiffs according to the Ministry of Justice. This is the highest number since records began and is exasperated in London where rents are rising faster than wages. If people lose their jobs or their unsustainable lifestyles catch up with them when their credit supply stops, how can you protect against loss of rent? The simple answer is landlord insurance. Before the tenants even sign a tenancy agreement, a comprehensive reference check should be carried out looking into their last tenancy to see if they paid...
18 Feb
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
London - Safe as Houses
With just under 8.2 million people squeezed into 606 square miles, London is one of the most populous places in the UK and 24th in the world. All these people need a place to live. London is often in the top 5 of the world’s most expensive cities to buy property and in 2013 it was number 2 just behind Monaco. Why are London prices so expensive and tipped to continue rising? The simple answer is that it is the financial capital of Europe and quite possibly the world. From the City of London to Canary Wharf, vast sums of money exchange hands each day with bankers, insurance brokers and lawyers...
12 Feb
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Two Homefinders Estate Agency Branches Named Amongst Best in London
The London estate agent Homefinders has been named amongst the best in London by industry experts AllAgents. The largest directory and review website for the property industry, AllAgents is a professional rating engine. It has named two of the Homefinders branches as being amongst the best in their area for 2013. The accolade comes as the family run company, which has a number of locations throughout East and North London, continues to garner five star reviews from clients. The two branches recognised as being one of the top three in the area were the Homefinders Hackney office in the E8...
12 Feb
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
London's Hotspots Revealed
A property consultant called CBRE has recently published a report listing London's property hotspots for investment. Factors such as population increase, new infrastructure projects and regeneration were taken into consideration to work out which areas would offer the best return. Top of the list is our very own Hackney. Having seen house prices double in the past decade, it is home to many entrepreneurs, creatives and those priced out of the city. The area has seen vast regeneration across its borders with new transport links such as the east London line improving access to the rest of...
17 Jan
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Don't Be Lazy With Your Mortgage
Not so long ago the governor of the bank of England, Mark Carney, said that interest rates would not rise until the unemployment rate hits 7%. At the last count it had gone down to 7.4% and all indicators point towards a continuing decrease. When unemployment does hit 7%, this will not mean an instant hike in the bank base rate (currently 0.5%), but it will become an option. Many economists expect this to happen towards the end of this year or the start 2015. If you were fortunate enough to come out of a fixed rate mortgage when the rates started to decline at the end of 2007, your mortgage...
09 Jan
2014
by
Haydar Sehri
Is the Green Deal Really a Green Deal?
A year ago the government launched an initiative for householders to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and hopefully save money through loans to install measures such as insulation, heating, draught proofing, double glazing and renewable energy such as solar panels. Has it been worth it? No seems to be the overwhelming response for private homeowners but it is a different matter for landlords. The principle of the scheme is sound where you pay for an energy assessor to visit your property and based on recommendations, borrow the money to pay for energy and money saving works to be...
30 Oct
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Getting Personal Through Technology
The opportunities opened up by technology in estate agency have been enormous, yet many local agents simply use their website as a glorified shop window. Like any agency window, the properties displayed need to be regularly updated and presented in a way that inspires buyers to take things further. But a good estate agency website is more than a simple property search tool. If that’s all it did, it would be a bit like only being able to get the news on TV! The first thing many prospective sellers do is check out local agents’ websites. Does the home page give a clear impression of the “...
30 Oct
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
The Power of Pre-Marketing
There is a strong argument for creating maximum exposure for a property during its time on the market, and much of our effort and resources are spent achieving the right exposure in the right places. However, one of the most powerful ways of securing a fast sale at a high price can actually result from minimal exposure – or rather exposure only to a select few! It works by taking advantage of the fact that people enjoy being offered something on an exclusive basis, especially when it is a property that is “just about to come onto the market”. So we often offer our new instructions “off-market...
30 Oct
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Quick Response Property Marketing
You may have noticed that we are among the first local estate agents actively to use QR (Quick Response) codes, and with good reason. A QR code is the increasingly familiar black and white square matrix you see alongside our property adverts and window displays. As progressive estate agents we have always been keen to embrace technological innovation, but not for its own sake. QR codes are a great example of smart technology being used to the tremendous advantage of both our buyers and sellers. QR codes are used by the people with smartphones such as iPhone, HTC, Samsung, Sony etc. ...
30 Oct
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Help to buy
In March 2013, the government started the Help to Buy scheme which offers one of two options for new homebuyers or home owners looking to move. The first phase was a mortgage equity loan and the second phase rolled out in October 13 is a mortgage guarantee. Both require that the property value does not exceed £600,000, the property is to be your sole residence with no other properties owned and you must take a repayment mortgage. Mortgage Equity Loan This is only available for new build properties You must provide 5% of the property price as a deposit Government will provide 20% towards a...
01 Oct
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Do I Accept the Offer?
When you are planning to move house it can be tempting to accept the first buyer who comes along with an attractive offer. However, buyers come in all shapes and sizes, and it is important to assess your purchaser’s ability to perform before accepting any offer, especially in this market. We often receive offers from people who themselves have a property to sell that is not yet under offer. Depending on the circumstances, our advice is generally not to accept such an offer. The main reason is that by doing so, you would effectively be linking – and possibly reducing, the saleability of your...
20 Sep
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Why Students Need to Use a Letting Agent
Going to university is an exciting time. This is the first time most will have lived away from home and it’s a chance to learn more than just the course. It’s an experience of the wider world outside the home, a chance to make new friends and of course (and most importantly) drink cheaply in the student bar! Finding a place to live is the second item on the list after having got into university. This is where many have fallen down and learnt a disturbing lesson which is quite simple; some people are dishonest and will steal your money. An increasing number of students have paid hefty deposits...
02 Sep
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
With You All the Way
Many estate agencies simply act as a broking service that matches people to property. However, we are acutely aware that there is far more to successful selling than this alone. Indeed, over 30% of property sales in this country fail to reach completion, falling through for various reasons. One of the main reasons is that a buyer simply gets cold feet and withdraws as a result of “buyer remorse”. This is a familiar phenomenon to estate agents and occurs when a buyer feels overwhelmed by the apparent enormity of the decision to buy and takes the more comfortable “low-risk” option and does...
28 Aug
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Relative Values
In any market, the conversation often revolves around the likely future of house prices. Will they go up, will they go down, will they remain stable? Even the most credible authorities tend to disagree on the direction of property prices and sales volumes, so where does that leave the humble consumer? Baffled! The problem is the source of data that is used to make assumptions about the market is fickle. For example, you could look at the latest Land Registry figures. These record the volumes and prices of sales that completed up to a year after the sale was arranged. But a lot can happen in...
08 Aug
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Are You Getting Enough?
Most buyers use the internet in their search for a home, so you need to be sure that your property is found and promoted quickly and easily. It is therefore important that your agent subscribes to the most effective property portals because this is how buyers are directed to your property.   A recent survey by home.co.uk of 14,660 estate agencies reported that 7% of agents don’t use any portals at all, and just over 20% only use just one portal – mostly Rightmove. Yet further analysis shows that the agents that advertise most widely have by far the lowest typical time-on-market figures. Hence...
26 Jul
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Aside
The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) legislation was introduced into the lettings sector in October 2008 and as part of the lettings process, landlords are required to make an EPC available to any prospective tenant. An EPC is a certificate issued by an authorised Home Energy Assessor, which is valid for ten years. The certificate is illustrated by two graphs that highlight the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the building in question. These are very similar to the graphs found on a new fridge or car. Rated from A-G, where A is the most efficient and G the least efficient,...
22 Jul
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
The Advertising Myth
It would not be unreasonable to assume that as a property comes on the market, the instructed estate agent will post the property details on various property portals and wait for the enquiries to roll in. However, this approach is somewhat simplistic! We take a much more strategic and proactive approach to handling new buyer enquiries. There is a fallacy surrounding adverts in that many people think that a property sells as a direct result of the publication of its corresponding advertisement. This is simply not true in most cases. In fact, the overwhelming majority of buyers who enquire...
17 Jul
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Buying on Instinct
Recent research concurs with our own view that most buyers buy on instinct, typically viewing their eventual home no more than twice before making a decision to buy. Buying a property certainly appears to be a decision of the heart over the head. In other words, the “I’ll know it when I see it” approach turns out to be quite reliable. Despite the detail offered about their property by sellers when they instruct us to market their home, buyers actually register their preferences with a very broad brush indeed. They seldom, if ever, ask what type of boiler is at the property, or if there is a...
22 Jun
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Time for You
Selling your property is easy. Just advertise it on line and wait for the buyers to flock to your door!! If only! Sadly, too many estate agents rely on this approach, which inevitably results in disappointment. Indeed, in some respects finding the buyer is the easy bit. But, when you think about it, there is far more to moving than simply finding a buyer. At the refreshingly different estate agency Homefinders , we believe in helping you move, and this means going far beyond the service offered by most estate agents. It all starts with the amount of time, commitment and personal...
15 Jun
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Pick a Letter
There are many styles of estate agency operating in the East London area, and picking the right one to sell your property can be daunting. Over this series of articles we have made reference to a number of issues to consider so that you can make an informed choice when the time comes for you to sell. Different agencies provide different services, yet some people are not aware of the indirect benefit that apparently unrelated services can offer. For example, choosing a selling agent who also does lettings could be the make or break of your sale! There are several reasons for this: Firstly, as...
13 Jun
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
How Serious is my Buyer
As the internet has become the first port of call for most prospective buyers, estate agents can feel somewhat swamped with buyers. The issue is not a lack of enquiries, but which of those enquiries will turn out to be serious. This is because many estate agency websites are simply an invitation for buyers to register on line, yet all too often this results in huge numbers of poorly qualified “window shoppers” applying. Whilst this is a good service for the buyer who is “just browsing” it can be difficult to assess the seriousness of genuine buyers from their basic requirements alone. This is...
02 Jun
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Will the Internet Replace Estate Agents?
There can be nothing better suited to the internet than property, and hits to property websites far outnumber those of any other industry. The ability to be able to search in the comfort of your own home, usually without having to provide any personal details, is certainly attractive and has transformed the way the public begins to look for their new home. So will the internet replace contemporary estate agency? It would certainly seem not. Ultimately property search portals are regarded by buyers as a supercharged local property newspaper, with a fairly comprehensive selection of homes on...
25 May
2013
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Haydar Sehri
Something to Shout About
Every town has a variety of styles of estate agent, from the soulless “corporate” agency driven by figures, to the one-man band; from arty-contemporary to pushy-salesy. Each type tends to appeal to a specific sector of the property-owning community, and rightly so – buyers and sellers alike need to be comfortable working with an agent that reflects their own values.  So perhaps it’s time we actually spelt out exactly the type of approach we strive to adopt. Certainly many have commented that our office design and website has a pleasant contemporary feel, but what does this actually say about...
15 May
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Quick Tips to Maximize Your Sale
First impressions are not only important when selling your home, they are absolutely critical. When people come to view a property for the first time, they are unlikely to be scrutinising the unseen. They are simply trying to get a feel for the property. They will be bombarded with mostly visual impressions, many of which you can manage. For example, if your kitchen is looking tired, it can easily be spruced up with new cabinet doors. Even just replacing the handles can look good, or you could even go further and fit a new worktop. Kitchen flooring which may have passed its best is also...
05 May
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
What Does Viewing Feedback Really Mean?
Sellers often approach us after an unsatisfactory experience with another agent, particularly in relation to poor levels of feedback following property viewings. Surely prompt and constructive feedback should be a fundamental part of any estate agent’s service to their clients! Only when agents understand what buyers think of a property can they deliver practical advice that will enhance its sale prospects. The agent and the seller should be working hand-in-hand to achieve the desired outcome, based significantly on buyers’ comments. We also understand the seller’s anguish in simply not...
25 Apr
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
How Many Should We See?
When looking for a property, it is natural to want to see as many as possible before making the “right” choice and common sense dictates that you should view a handful of alternatives before buying. Our job as professional estate agents is to help you arrive at a decision that’s right for you, your situation and your lifestyle. So, if you are struggling to balance the merits of No.33 with its new kitchen against No.16, with the better garden, here are some pointers which might help: First, there is a place for instinct, and sometimes the heart should be allowed to influence, if not rule, the...
14 Apr
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Buying at Tender
After weeks of looking, you have found your perfect home. It seems to have everything you wanted – desirable location, great accommodation, beautiful garden and excellent condition. The vendor obviously knows they are selling a highly desirable proposition. They have priced it attractively which makes you think that you might be onto a good thing. However, the seller is inviting “best and final” offers from interested parties – known as “Sale by Tender”. What should you do if you want to be the successful purchaser? Buying by tender is a bit like buying at auction. Decide on your maximum...
10 Apr
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Selling by Tender
If you are selling an especially popular, rarely available, or unique property, you may be in the privileged position of having several buyers clamouring at your door, each hoping to become the lucky owner of your special home. However, whilst it is natural to want to take the highest offer, it is always worth considering the position of the buyer in context. When a property initially comes to market, there is inevitably a lot of interest from several buyers who have been waiting for just such a property to become available. This is especially true where you have been wise enough to quote a...
01 Apr
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Agents' Skills in Demand
As property prices rose through the past decades it became almost a foregone conclusion that whichever agent you chose to sell your property, a buyer would be found within a few days. So vendors became less discerning over their choice of agent and were understandably tempted to appoint the agent who charged the lowest commission percentage. However, in this market, this approach usually turns out to be a considerable false economy, as the difference between a good agent and a mediocre one can be highly significant. First, if the difference between the cheapest and the most expensive agent is...
22 Mar
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Might Sell, Might Not!
Despite what you might read in the press, the current market is as near a “normal” market as experienced estate agents have known for years in terms of the balance between properties available for sale and the number of registered buyers. However, unlike most “normal” markets, some sellers are not as committed to selling as they might be, and are prepared to remain on the market until what they regard as an acceptable offer comes along. Likewise, some buyers, whilst generally remaining committed to a purchase, do not exhibit a great deal of urgency, and believe that they are entitled to...
12 Mar
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Selling an Unmodernized Property
Last week’s article focussed on issues to think about when buying an unmodernised property. However, sellers should also be careful when considering the sale of a property in need of renovation. Firstly, unmodernised is unmodernised! It is usually a waste of money to make improvements to a property on which people will want to do their own thing, and you could well fall between two markets. Certainly clear away an overgrown garden and remove whatever debris you can from the house. Preventative maintenance such as repairing a leaking gutter (miniscule cost to repair, but huge consequences if...
09 Mar
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Buying an Unmodernised Property
There are about a dozen property-related programmes on TV every week. Some of these track the progress of a wreck to a finished home, or at least highlight a property’s potential. We have certainly noticed an increase in the number of enquiries from people specifically wishing to buy a run down property, and this has had a positive effect on the price we have been achieving for such properties. However, a word of caution here to buyers of unmodernised homes. Firstly, be careful not to get sucked into a scarcity-induced frenzy – particularly if you are buying at auction. Such buyers often find...
01 Mar
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Why landlords should choose an ARLA agent
ARLA, the Association of Residential Letting Agents promotes itself as the only professional self-regulating body to be solely concerned with lettings and letting agents.   ARLA provides a professional trading standards platform and redress system for letting agents, tenants and landlords alike.  From a landlord’s point of view, there are any number of good reasons why you should choose an ARLA registered agent, but here are 5 main ones: When you choose an ARLA registered agent, your are sure that your agent is covered by the ARLA Client Money Protection Scheme.  This means that if your agent...
05 Feb
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Eros the Estate Agent?
As we approach Valentine’s Day it would seem that there’s a fair bit of love involved in estate agency! Estate agents are, if anything, matchmakers after all. And just as people fall in love with the right person, so buyers also need to fall in love with a property if the sale is to succeed. Just as a good matchmaker will not just put people on a database and expect them to enter into a long term loving relationship, so our job is far more than a simple broking service. That’s why we go to great lengths to understand our buyers’ needs, preferences, hopes, desires and aspirations in respect of...
01 Feb
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Growing Need for Family Accommodation in the Private Rented Sector
According to recent information published by the Building and Social Housing Foundation, an astounding 15% of the British population were living in the private rented sector.  At the time this revelation was made (in 2010), this amounted to almost 4 million households in total.  While this in itself may not be surprising, it is the increasing number of families living in the private rented sector that is worthy of note. Over the past decade or so there has been a marked increase in the number of families living in private rented accommodation.  Following research carried out and presented (...
01 Feb
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Three Branches - Our Secret Weapon!
One could argue that the more offices an agent has, the more exposure your property will enjoy. But would you really benefit if your agent has a branch in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Cardiff and Southampton as well as London? Highly unlikely! Don’t be impressed by the sheer size of an agency – the only buyers that matter to you are those who may be interested in buying your property and no-one else’s. However, we find that one of our most effective “secret weapons” is the fact that we cover three adjacent areas each from its own dedicated but interconnected branch. The way the offices work together...
30 Jan
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Floorplans
Our research has shown that buyers overwhelmingly prefer floorplans on property details in addition to the usual description and written dimensions. There are several good reasons behind this preference, which is why we always feature floorplans on our particulars: Firstly, where several properties are competing for a buyer’s attention, the particulars that include a floorplan always make an immediate impression. The layout of a property is a major consideration when choosing a new home, and cannot adequately be described by words and room sizes alone. It is the relationship between the rooms...
23 Jan
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
Other Forces at Work
There was a day when a slight shift in the bank base rate or change in stamp duty could have a profound effect on property market sentiment. Yet the Bank of England’s continuing consensus to maintain interest rates at their lowest rate ever recorded is possibly the strongest signal to date that the British property market is actually driven increasingly by factors other than such things. The general economy, employment targets and global issues have now largely replaced house prices as a driving force in the interest rate balancing act. Until recently, most of us ignored the fundamentals of...
12 Jan
2013
by
Haydar Sehri
A Qualified Agent?
It seems amazing to us that almost anyone can open up an estate agency and commence trading without any training, qualifications, proof of minimum standards, or certificate of competency. The sale of your property is far too important to entrust to just anybody. Those who claim to work on your behalf may simply be out to claim the commission from a lacklustre sale which might have happened without their involvement, where there is no accountability, commitment or care.  Their objective might only be to secure a sale at any price, as long as they can claim a commission. One has to ask the...
20 Dec
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
Clutter Costs
In the current market it is more important than ever to ensure that your property is a highly saleable proposition, rather than one that makes another house look good by comparison. Of course, there are several basics that should be in place. The price needs to be as attractive as the décor, and you should aim to be flexible on things like fixtures, viewing times and completion dates. You need to be with a pro-active estate agency – not just one who simply lists your house and then waits for the market to deliver a buyer to your door. But there are other things that you can do, which have a...
10 Dec
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
Taken for Granted?
Houses, cottages, flats, apartments, maisonettes, studios, detached, semi, terraced – these are terms we as estate agents hear every day of our lives. They are the lifeblood of our business, but the common theme is they all represent the concept of “home”. We are privileged to be a nation of homeowners. Property is right up there with the weather when it comes to conversation fodder, especially this year! We can’t get enough of it, along with the perceived personal security offered by bricks and mortar that has long been a creator of wealth. Either way, we are all the lucky ones! Because...
03 Dec
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
Who's Choosing Your Home
An Englishman’s home may be his castle – but it is usually a woman who chooses it! 94% of estate agents polled in a recent survey confirmed that, in most house-hunting couples or families, it is the woman who has the last word in choosing which home they buy. Two of the most important factors that attract women in a home are a modern kitchen, and a his-and-hers en-suite bathroom, with 91% of agents questioned saying that a good kitchen is the single feature most likely to clinch a sale. 95% say it is the woman, rather than the man, who is more inclined to want a his-and-hers en-suite bathroom...
03 Nov
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
Should Your House Have Sold by Now?
We are often asked to look at properties that really should have sold, but haven’t, and we understand the disappointment of vendors whose experience of the sales process has fallen short of their expectations. This disappointment can sometimes be the result of simply not knowing where you stand. We find that enthusiasm and good communication must be maintained throughout the sale if you are to enjoy peace of mind. Of course a steady flow of buyers also helps!  So if you find yourself with a property that appears to be sticking, you might like to ask yourself the following questions: Is my...
01 Nov
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
Personal Accountability
Many properties in the Newham area are as unique and distinctive as the people who buy them. So when selling yours, it is most important that your estate agent has a thorough understanding not only of your property, but also of the needs and preferences of every buyer who views it. It is simply not good enough to load the property onto “the system” and hope for a sale, especially in this market. The promotion and sale of every property requires kid gloves and a highly personal approach. This is why I am personally interested and involved in every sale handled by Homefinders Estate Agents. My...
24 Oct
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
Making Moving Easier
Moving day can be stressful enough, but a bit of forethought can go a long way. For example, many people take the opportunity to clear any unwanted junk out of their homes and lives. Charity shops, car boot sales, and friends can be grateful recipients of some items, and hiring a small skip for a couple of weeks (about £80-£120) can be liberating!   Our advice would be to have a clear-out early in the process – ideally before you even put your property on the market. An uncluttered house with tidy cupboards and a clear garage all improve the presentation of your home tremendously, thereby...
20 Oct
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
Competing in Today's Market
Buyers currently have a large selection of properties from which to choose. This canmake them indecisive and prompts them to be selective and cautious before settlingon the “right” property.   If you are selling, this puts a huge onus on you to ensure that your propertyabsolutely shines in relation to other properties that are competing for your buyers’attentions and, ideally, affections. This is not the time to listen to the fawning estateagent who tells you what you want to hear, particularly in relation to your askingprice, in order to secure your “valued instruction”.   If your property...
13 Oct
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
A Proactive Approach Essential
Estate Agents are generally an up-beat type. Selling property, to the right buyer, quickly and at an impressive price requires a “can do, will do” approach that is unlikely to be found in a pessimist. Agents with a positive attitude are more likely to be able to identify opportunities on behalf of our clients. Combine this with a strong focus on proactivity and hard work and results tend to follow. To this end we have found that embracing the following activities at a time when some agents are blaming the market pays real dividends: Encouraging former vendors to consider relisting their...
30 Sep
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
The Case for Letting your Home
The continued difficulties in the mortgage market have created opportunities for vendors who are understandably tempted to consider letting as a lucrative alternative to a sale. The continued dearth of mortgage availability has meant that fewer would-be purchasers are able actually to buy. They are therefore forced to rent if they cannot secure the mortgage they require. This in turn has driven up demand for rental properties and rents have consequently risen to record levels, delivering excellent returns for landlords. The continued low rate of interest on mortgages for those who are credit-...
25 Sep
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
The Fish Pond Incident
One of our tenancies came to an end and the client had decided to keep hold of the property rather than re-let it. He was thinking of selling and asked to pop round before the tenants moved out. We had inspected it a few months prior to the move out date and the tenants had been looking after the place, or so we thought. I received a call from the client on site. “They’ve put a pond in the garden. It’s about five feet across and they say it’s about four feet deep in the middle” he paused “there are fish in it”. A short period of silence followed while I tried to work out if he thought the...
15 Aug
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
Criminalisation of Squatting
Squatting’s a contentious issue in the UK that causes serious problems for landlords and property owners. On September 1st the government made a debatable decision to criminalise squatting in an attempt to appease the public furore the media have been stirring up for the past year. It’s incredibly rare to find a situation that’s as black and white in reality as it appears in the press, squatting is one of those issues. I’d hope nobody reading this would begrudge a person in need living in an empty commercial building, or a vacant housing estate. I would expect everyone reading this to object...
08 Aug
2012
by
Haydar Sehri
Accidental Lawyers
After one of our tenants refused to vacate upon expiry of two months’ notice (Section 21), their landlord decided to apply for a possession order. We drafted papers on behalf of the client, they checked them, signed them, and we forward them to the court along with a cheque to assign the expense against the client’s property. It’s a fairly straight forward process and, after a few months of forms pinging back and forth from the client and the court, results in a possession order. Or at least it always used to be. We received a letter from Bow County Court asking us why we were conducting...