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A recent property market survey, conducted by estate agency organisation Relocation Agent Network, reports an increase in the number of properties coming onto the market. A staggering 87% of survey respondents have seen the number of sellers entering the market increase by up to a fifth so far this year, when compared to the same period in 2012.
This is great news for prospective home buyers who will be using the upcoming Bank Holidays to house hunt. For those thinking of selling, as a member of Relocation Agent Network, we can offer sellers an additional channel of buyer – one that no other local competitor is able to offer.
How? Relocation Agent Network is a national network of independent estate agents and invites the very best agents to become members. Network members work together to provide a unique referral service to their customers, so if for example, our fellow member in Newcastle is selling a property for a couple moving to East Northants, we can help that couple find their new home. It costs the buyer nothing and saves them time, effort and money in looking for a new home, in an unfamiliar location.
As Relocation Agent Network’s appointed ‘Local Expert’ in Wellingborough & Irthlingborough, we can guide you through the selling process. Our Network membership means that we have access to potential out of town buyers moving into the area, providing an additional avenue for you to sell your home. Visit www.relocation-agent-network.co.uk for more information on what our membership really means.
We are helping to raise funds for a friend, Neil Burton, a 32 year old father of three children who in 2009 fell ill with two rare conditions called Transverse Myelitis & Guillain Barre Syndrome which attacked his nervous system.Four years on he is paralysed from the neck down, confined to a wheelchair and still reliant on a ventilator for his breathing.
Neil is severely disabled and requires 24 hour care. Neil has been an inspiration to his family. Despite the pain and the obvious frustrations he has to deal with on a daily basis he has continued to work in his IT job (via speech recognition software) and provide for his family. He has three wonderful small children which he adores. Tragically Neil does not have the use of his arms so can no longer give them a hug and play with them.
We are helping to raise £25,000 so Neil can undergo stem cell treatment which may result in him being able to move again, even if he can move this arms and hands he will be able to cuddle his kids, operate a wheel chair, go outside and do so many things we all take for granted.
With Spring just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about selling your home as traditionally, the next few months are very popular amongst potential buyers. Below are a few tips on how to prepare your property for a sale:
1. Our very top tip is set a realistic asking price! A recent survey amongst estate agency organisation, Relocation Agent Network reported that 97% of its members (including us) indicated that setting a realistic asking price from day one on a property is the most important thing a seller can do.
2. De-clutter. A prospective buyer needs to imagine themselves sitting in your living room, watching TV or making breakfast in the kitchen. But it’s difficult to do that if there’s photos of strangers everywhere or personal ornaments, so put them away ahead of viewings.
3. Spread the word. Tell family and friends that your house is on the market. Word of mouth is a great tool for finding potential buyers.
4. Kerb appeal. The very first impression a buyer makes of your property, is based on what the exterior looks like. Take the time to check outside and make any repairs before you enter the market, it will show the buyer that the property has been well maintained.
5. Heart of the home. The kitchen can often be one of the most important rooms for buyers to see. If yours is relatively new, great, if it isn’t then consider fitting new cupboard doors and handles to freshen the room up.
6. Make the best of your bathroom. If it’s looking a little tired, consider getting your bathroom professionally cleaned. You could also replace the tiles to improve appearances, or if the budget won’t stretch to re-tiling, then re-grout instead.
7. Lick of paint. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to enhance a room’s appearance, but remember not to pick a colour that is too bright or too dark.
8. Green fingers help. Remember to tidy your front and back gardens. At most viewings, the buyer will see the front garden first, so a broken fence or cracked paving slab, will not make a good first impression. Back gardens are fast becoming an additional room for buyers, so make sure yours is tidy and well kept. If you have a patio, put out the garden furniture to show buyers the potential for al fresco dining!
9. Get the feather duster out. Don’t just give a quick vacuum, your property should be the-Queen-is-coming-to-tea clean!
10. Ask us! As a member of Relocation Agent Network – a national network of independent estate agents – we’ve been selected as the best agent in our area for customer service and local expertise, so if you have a property-related question, get in touch.
This is a helpful acticle published on the BBC website.
Over the past few years the perils of the mortgage market have been graphically illustrated, with the prospects of obtaining a home loan changing dramatically from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Now the state-backed Funding for Lending scheme, operated by the Bank of England, has started to breathe some life back into the market.
The mortgage rates now available have plunged and lenders are beginning to compete again.
What is more, there are signs that this competitiveness is not just in the areas where a large deposit is needed.
Products that only require a deposit of 15%, 10% and even 5% of a property’s value are starting to appear once more at affordable rates.
All this means that first-time buyers are beginning to cast their eye on the market once more, especially as rents are getting more expensive.
So, the question is, how do you safely navigate through the mortgage maze, finding out what types of mortgage are out there and what is best for you?
Although competition among lenders is increasing, most are still choosy about to whom they lend. Preparing for a mortgage starts early, so make sure your documentation is in order.
Make sure you are on the electoral roll at your current residence. If you have never had any credit in the past it can be worth taking out a credit card and using it sparingly, making sure it is paid off in full at the end of each month. This helps to build your credit score.
Lenders like to see your address history for the past three years – with no gaps, payslips from the past three months, and your last P60 or three years of accounts, your last three months of bank statements, and full details of any loans or credit cards you may have.
Providing this information on day one can speed up the process no end.
Agreement in principle
To make sure you have the best chance of securing the home that you make an offer on, you should secure a mortgage “agreement in principle” (AIP).
Different repayment methods can be chosen depending on your circumstances
This will involve a full credit check by the lender and confirm in writing how much they are prepared to lend to you, subject to them checking the information you have given to them. This AIP can then be used to confirm your credit worthiness and seriousness as a bidder to the seller of the property.
The basis of any mortgage, whether you opt for a fixed, variable or tracker rate, is how you intend to repay the loan. In essence there are two repayment options:
Capital and interest, or repayment, mortgages work as standard loans do. The monthly payments include not only the interest due on the loan, but also little bits of the capital balance. As the loan begins to reduce, slowly at first, so the interest element becomes smaller while the capital repayments become a larger part. Therefore at the end of the term, providing the repayments have been made every month, you know the loan will be paid off without risk.
Interest-only. This loan does not include any capital repayment at all, so the capital does not reduce unless you overpay each month, or you set up some other savings, such as an individual savings account (Isa), to grow over the years to repay the loan. There is a risk involved in this method as if you do not have sufficient funds available to repay the loan at the end of the term, you may have to sell your property.
In recent years, many borrowers took out interest-only mortgages without setting up savings accounts to work alongside their loans.
Instead, they relied on the growth in value of their properties. As property prices stagnated, or even fell, this created numerous issues, so lenders have recently moved away from interest-only mortgages.
Lenders have now changed their criteria for interest-only mortgages. Many only permit interest-only for those with 50% equity, for loans above £300,000, or those with a proven existing repayment plan.
For most borrowers now, budgeting on a repayment mortgage basis is essential.
Fixed, tracker or variable?
Once the repayment method is decided, there are lots of individual rate choices.
It is important to work out which product would be best for your circumstances and often the cheapest looking products may have the highest fees or not have the flexibility required. All this could cost money in the longer term.
Fixed rates are as simple as they sound. This is where you agree to fix at the same rate for a set period of time, normally two, three or five years. This can give some much needed piece of mind as there will be no changes to your mortgage payments, allowing you to budget accordingly.
There are normally tie-in penalties, or redemption penalties, within the fixed-rate period that mean you are unable to repay the whole loan without a cost penalty being imposed. For example, with a five-year fixed rate repaying the loan early could involve a fee of 5% of the loan amount being charged on top of the amount you owe.
For many people, this is not an issue as the security of the fixed rate saves on sleepless nights worrying about interest rate increases.
Tracker and variable means the rate can change at any time owing to decisions by the Bank of England or by your lender.
The most popular type of variable rate is the tracker mortgage. These track the Bank of England base rate over a certain period of time, from two years to the whole length of the mortgage. For example, if the product is set at 2% above the Bank rate, which is at 0.5% now, the initial rate would be 2.5%.
However, if the Bank rate increased to 1.5%, payments would then be based on 1.5% plus 2% which equals 3.5%, hence the greater risk element. Of course this can also move downwards, reducing your current rate.
Some trackers do have more flexible options than fixed rates, such as the ability to cap the amount that rates can rise, or to offset your mortgage with any savings you may have, or to simply repay larger amounts without penalty.
“The next few months could be the best time to take a fixed rate for a generation”
These were usually seen as being cheaper than the insurance of the fixed rate. However, now that interest rates have hit a historical low, with not much expectation of further movements in the short-term, lenders have moved their attention onto fixed-rate products.
Buoyed by the Funding for Lending scheme, there is now a highly unusual situation where some of the cheapest products are fixed-rate deals rather than tracker products.
In the past many borrowers who should have taken the security of a fixed rate were tempted by lower tracker rates, but the tables have now turned.
The next few months could be the best time to take a fixed rate for a generation.
For most people a mortgage is the biggest loan that they are ever going to take out, lasting between five and 35 years, so it is important to make sure that the product chosen suits you. What is right for your friend or colleague may not necessarily be the right one for you.
I would argue that taking independent advice from someone who knows every single product on the market is essential to avoid being caught out by small print or inflexible contracts that effect later life choices.
Being stuck in the middle of the mortgage maze is not much fun, especially when your home is at risk, but it can be easily negotiated with the help of a suitably qualified professional.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by the BBC unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation.
The UK property market appears to have had a good start to the year, with nearly three quarters of estate agents from Relocation Agent Network reporting an improvement in market activity compared to the same time in 2012.
A recent survey conducted by estate agency organisation, Relocation Agent Network has found that 72% of its members, who responded to the survey, have seen an increase in buyer enquiries and sales agreed in January 2013, when compared to the same time last year. Almost two thirds of respondents reported up to a 15% annual increase, with an additional quarter of agents seeing up to a 30% increase in market activity.
When asked why they thought there had been an improvement in January 2013, compared to 2012, the majority of respondents (68%) indicated that people had more confidence in the market. A ‘more accessible mortgage market’ was the second highest reason (25%) attributed to the improvement in market conditions.
The reported improvement in the number of buyer enquiries and sales agreed is fantastic news for those thinking of entering the market this year. As we approach the spring months – traditionally a popular time to move home – we anticipate that more people will begin to enter the market.
So if you’re looking to buy or sell in 2013, as a Relocation Agent Network member, we go that extra mile to ensure you receive a personal service backed by exceptional local knowledge. Moving out of the area? We can put you in touch with a fellow Network estate agent in the place you’re moving to, one that can offer you local expertise and first-class customer service.
Relocation Agent Network raised £5,000 for children’s charity, Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK during their national launch day.
The Network launch, which took place on Wednesday 30 January 2013, saw member estate agents across England, Scotland and Wales, collectively help to raise £5,000 for the deserved cause. The charity grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening medical conditions.
Richard Tucker, Managing Director of Relocation Agent Network comments on the launch day, “We are delighted that our launch day was used to benefit such a well deserved cause such as Make-A-Wish Foundation. The day marked the Network’s rebrand and is part of a new initiative to promote our organisation as one made up of relocation specialists. As a division of Cartus, the world’s premier provider of global relocation services, Relocation Agent Network is uniquely positioned to provide access to a global network of agents that together, relocate over 153,000 customers every year.”
In addition to having access to a whole new channel of buyer through Cartus, Network members work together to provide a unique referral service to their customers. This enables customers who are moving out of the area to contact members in the location that they are relocating to, for information about local neighbourhoods, nearby amenities and even school catchment areas. It costs the customer nothing, saving them time, effort and money in looking for a new home, in an unfamiliar location.
The Richard James team really got involved in the day’s fundraising events and we are proud to have helped raise £5,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation. The day also gave us the opportunity to let our customer know about our unique Relocation Agent Network membership, which means – in the Network’s opinion – we are the best estate agency in. Whether you are looking to buy, sell or rent, as a Relocation Agent Network member, we go that extra mile to ensure that you receive a personal service backed by exceptional local knowledge. Even if you’re moving out of the area, our Network membership means that we can put you in touch with a fellow member in the location that you’re moving to. Contact us today to find out more.
Today we held a Tea & Cake Event to mark the offical National Launch Day of Relocation Agent Network.
Lovely cakes have been offered in return for a donation to Make-A-Wish Foundation and the guarantee of clicking on www.relocation-agent-network.co.uk to generate a further 50p.
Relocation Agent Network are looking to raise £5,000 for Make-A-Wish by having 10,000 visitors to their website by 9pm today, it costs nothing to click on the site, so please get clicking….
It’s official! A new ‘gold standard’ for estate agents across England, Scotland and Wales is being introduced, with the launch of Relocation Agent Network, of which Richard James is a member.
As part of the Network’s launch, taking place on Wednesday 30 January, members UK-wide will collectively raise a fantastic £5,000 for children’s charity, Make-A-Wish Foundation®. The charity grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening medical conditions. To hit our £5,000 target, members have just one day to encourage at least 10,000 people to visit the new Relocation Agent Network website, www.relocation-agent-network.co.uk – SO GET CLICKING!
Relocation Agent Network is a membership organisation of around 600 independent estate agents and our launch highlights the scope of services that members like us can offer our customers. It’s not just about selling homes, it’s about the ‘added value’ that we can offer you. But with so many estate agents on the high street, why pick a Relocation Agent Network member?
1. By invitation only. All Network members have been invited to join after they have met strict criteria including quality of service, local knowledge, board counts, market share and overall professionalism. They only pick one agent per area, which means – in Relocation Agent Network’s opinion – we are East Northants leading estate agency in terms of customer service.
2. The world’s leading relocation company picked us, why wouldn’t you? As a division of Cartus, the world’s premier provider of global relocation services, Relocation Agent Network members help to find properties for those Cartus customers moving into the local area. So we can offer our sellers an additional channel of buyer, that no other agent can.
3. The Relocation Agent Network Referral Network. If you’re relocating, we can refer you to one of our fellow members in the area you’re moving to. For example, you come into the office to sell your property and mention that you’re moving to Newcastle. We contact our member there, who can help you find a new home and provide local area information too.
We received our accreditation at the 2012 Relocation Agent Network Conference, which took place at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in Central London on Friday 16 November.
The annual event officially launched the Relocation Agent Network, formerly known as Home Sale Network. The organisation of independent estate agents changed its name to reflect the scope of services that each member offers their customers. No longer just an organisation selling homes, network members like us are Relocation Agent experts in their local areas
We have been handpicked to be a member of Relocation Agent Network based on strict criteria such as quality of service, local knowledge, professionalism and mystery shopper feedback. As an affiliation of Cartus, the premier provider of relocation services, Relocation Agent Network members help Cartus assist relocating families, offering our customers an additional channel of buyer when selling their property.
In addition, Relocation Agents also help their customers through their ‘Referral Network’, which allows us to help people who are looking to move out of the local area by referring them to a Relocation Agent in the location they are moving to.
Now in its 19th year, the annual Conference culminated in a glittering black tie Awards Dinner and ceremony, which was endorsed by leading UK relocation magazine Re:locate. The evening was hosted by BAFTA-winning comedian and impressionist, Rory Bremner.
Relocation Agent Network Managing Director, Richard Tucker said of our recent accreditation, “We are delighted to have launched Relocation Agent Network and to have re-accredited each of our members, including Richard James. As a selected member of the Network, in our opinion, Richard James is East Northants Local Expert for buying and selling.”
We are delighted to announce that we have won Relocation Agent Network’s prestigious 2012 Best Agent Central Regional Award at the Network’s 19th Annual Conference, held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London on Friday 16 November.
The annual prize gives the winning Network member the title of ‘Best Agent in the Central Region’ and is awarded on a number of criteria measuring the agent’s overall contribution to Relocation Agent Network, their ability to achieve customer satisfaction, a strong market share locally and a proven record of helping relocating buyers move both in and out of the area.
We received our award at the Conference’s glamorous black tie Awards Dinner. The evening was hosted by BAFTA-winning impressionist and comedian, Rory Bremner, who presented us with our accolade.
We are proud and delighted to be named the region’s best Relocation Agent Network estate agent. For Richard James to have won the Best Agent Central Regional Award is recognition of the hard work and combined effort of all our members of staff.
This year’s Conference officially launched Relocation Agent Network, formerly known as Home Sale Network. The network of independent estate agents changed its name to reflect the scope of services that each member offers their customers. No longer just an organisation selling homes, Network members are Relocation Agent experts in each of their local areas.
Richard Tucker, Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director said, “As members of Relocation Agent Network, a national network of independent estate agents across England, Scotland and Wales, our members promote their individual brand, but they are also encouraged to promote the Network as a whole. The 2012 Best Agent Central Regional Award is significant because it recognises the agent that has most successfully demonstrated great customer service, independent business initiatives, local market share and their commitment to the Relocation Agent Network principles.”