Monthly Archives: December 2018

Buyers Warm To a Real Fire

FireThe fireplace was traditionally the heart of every home, but changing lifestyles over the past four decades have relegated many of them to the scrap heap, with many families choosing to huddle around the TV instead.

However, the fireplace has seen a huge resurgence in popularity as a design feature among buyers, so if you are considering selling, it might be worthwhile investing in a fireplace or revamping your old one before going on the market. There’s a huge choice.

If you are replacing a bricked-up chimney breast with a fireplace, here are a few things you may wish to consider:

• Check that the chimney actually works. Many have been capped, and in some cases the chimneybreast on the upper floors has actually been removed altogether.
• If you don’t have a chimney-breast, a solid fuel stove can sometimes be installed, even using a horizontal flue through a ground floor wall.
• If you live in a smoke-free zone, make sure you buy the appropriate fuel.
• Don’t feel you necessarily have to find an old fireplace for an old house. Many people feel that contemporary fireplaces can complement traditional surroundings.
• A fireplace in a large bathroom is a particularly luxurious selling point.
• An instant and more practical alternative to solid fuel is a real-flame gas fire using ceramic coals. Note that you may need to line your chimney and have the emission levels professionally checked.
• How about a gel fire? This recent innovation using bio-fuel can usually be burned safely in a fireplace even if the chimney itself is sealed as there are no toxic fumes.

So why not embrace the pleasures of a real fire that gives warmth and comfort and is a more sociable alternative to the TV as the focal point of any room? It could help you sell your home!

Leave a comment

December Market Comment

December Market CommentAs we approach the end of the year we find ourselves in politically turbulent times, with the Brexit debate continuing to undermine confidence, but only slightly. Certainly there are some scary concepts being tabled, not least the Governor of the Bank of England suggesting that a no-deal Brexit could trigger property price falls of up to 35%.

Far be it for us to argue with the Governor, but this rather dramatic suggestion relies on a) a no Brexit deal and, b) drastic falls in transaction volumes which are already relatively low as there are very few speculative sellers in the market. Most current sellers have a genuine reason to move – marriage jobs, divorce, children, debt, etc, and these situations are unlikely to be especially affected by any Brexit outcome. In fact, anyone likely to be affected by the long-running Brexit confusion already has been. There are still far more prospective buyers than sellers (especially as it is generally cheaper to buy than to rent) and this is unlikely to change unless money supply were to dry up. This is very unlikely as banks are becoming increasingly competitive to secure any potential fall in mortgage business. Remember, prices only fall when there is an over supply of stock in relation to demand.

Sales to first time buyers, especially, continue to rise and now represent over 23% of the market.

In terms of house prices, whilst Prime Central London may have already dipped by nearly 15% in the past four years, these properties are being sold by extremely wealthy individuals for whom a dramatic price reduction that enables a quick sale is hardly painful, but gets the job done! For everyone else, it’s business as usual, although potential wobbles in market confidence suggest that sellers would be well advised to listen to the advice of a trusted agent – not one who seeks to flatter with an over-optimistic asking price.

Certainly this is the wrong market to be sitting on a property that goes stale on the market, as buyers seek to take advantage of negative media reports, whether of not they turn out to be true! We always find that those properties that sell first tend to achieve the best price too. It is also essential to ensure that your agent is particularly strong in their buyer qualification and sales progression activities; glitches down the chain in a nervous market must be avoided at all costs.

Confusing times? Maybe. But hey, Christmas is round the corner and we look forward to helping our clients take advantage of the traditional spike in buyer activity over the festive season. Happy Christmas to buyer and seller alike!

Leave a comment