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In celebration of our launch in Northern Ireland today, we spoke with Ian Wilson, Managing Director of Wilsons Auctions, our first official member in Northern Ireland:

There are several reasons why friendly and sociable Northern Ireland is considered to be one of the happiest places to live in the UK. The country has a lot to offer, from beautiful scenery to a low cost of living and great employment opportunities, not to mention the countless beaches, world famous golf courses and wealth of public parks and forests. All of which make Northern Ireland an amazing place to put down roots. 

On 20th September, The Guild will officially be expanding to Northern Ireland for the first time. With our launch fast approaching, we are on the hunt for the prettiest places to live in Northern Ireland. We are giving away a luxury hamper from Regency Hampers to the lucky winner with the most delightful submission. Simply message us on Facebook or Twitter with a photograph and the location for your chance to win.

With a growing network of almost 800 independent estate agents, The Guild of Property Professionals has enjoyed a strong presence in both England and Wales for 25 years and now believes that its unique offering will perfectly compliment the best independent agents in Northern Ireland. In June this year, The Guild signed independent auction company Wilsons Auctions as the first Member of its expansion into Northern Ireland. Their connections and extensive reach throughout Ireland will greatly enhance The Guild’s referral network and create many business opportunities for Members.  

Most property viewings happen in the first month of marketing a property. What can you do if your home isn’t attracting much attention? 

When you step into a house there is naturally one room which buyers gravitate towards. The important question is, which room convinces you to buy? If you’re looking to sell your home it is useful to know which room to prioritise for open houses, images of the property or facts about your home. 

Between packing your things and preparing for your first night in a new home, moving house takes a lot of organisation, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are some tips to take the stress out of from moving. 

Converting a derelict property into a beautiful home is a dream for many. But what do you need to know before embarking on a renovation project? 

The Guild of Property Professionals is launching in Northern Ireland for the first time.

To celebrate The Guild’s 25th birthday, we are running our first competition! To celebrate the anniversary, we are giving three people the chance to join our birthday celebrations with a delicious cake from the English Cheescake Company. 

The home you purchase isn’t always your dream property, but you can turn your property into the home of your dreams with a few quick fixes. Here are some tips to upgrade your home for less.  

To make your home appeal to the widest range of buyers, identify its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the most common property weaknesses and how you can turn them into strengths. 

Many people forget the first impression comes from the garden. Watch the video to get ideas and tips to help sell your home this summer, as well as make your garden a more enjoyable place to be. 

Are you thinking about putting your property on the market, but aren’t sure when or how? We’ve identified some of the best times to think seriously about selling your property.

Have you ever thought of being an estate agent? There are some skills that will help you in the field. Here are tips from Guild estate agents.

Are you dreaming of building your own home? It can be a complicated process, so here are some top tips.

So you’ve completed on your new home and can’t wait to move. You’ve even started thinking about how to decorate. Although there’s one thing you might have forgotten... you’ve got to move out of your home first. Between packing your things and preparing for your first night in a new home, moving house can seem overwhelming. However, moving from one property to another doesn’t have to be stressful! We have put together a few moving house tips, to remove the stress from your moving experience. You can also read our blog post on ways to stay calm when moving house.

The home you purchase isn’t always your dream property. However, you can turn your property into the home of your dreams with a few quick fixes. Some property additions can even add value to your home. Take a look at our best tips to upgrade your home for less. 

Every seller wants to get as much money as possible for their home. But as a buyer, you want to pay the market price.

Do you need to move to a bigger property? It may be a better time to upsize than you might think. A cooling market means that prices at the top of the market are remaining steady, so you could get more house for your money while achieving a good sale price for your own home. 

Big or small, the villages in England are always a treat. From St. Ives to Castle Coombe, we’ve all seen their many wonders. But what if you’re looking for an experience that’s off the beaten path? We’ve found some of the most charming villages in the UK that you’d never heard of. 

Selling a property can be challenging. Sometimes a property will fly off the market, but in other circumstances, it could take longer to find a buyer. Why not make the process go faster? By home staging your property perfectly, you could attract a buyer sooner. 

Converting a derelict wreck into a beautiful home is a dream for many. But what do you need to know before embarking on a renovation project? Here are some top tips from Guild Members. 

Are you thinking about putting your property on the market, but aren’t sure when or how? It can be difficult to know exactly when you should sell your home. However, there are times and seasons when selling your home is almost certainly the right thing for you. Whether your reasons are personal or market-driven, we’ve identified some of the best times to think seriously about selling your property. 

Housing was briefly mentioned as Phillip Hammond was drawing to close the Spring Statement on 13th March 2018. CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, Iain McKenzie, shares his thoughts on what the government has said, and not said, about the housing market.

Finding your dream home can be a challenge. If your children have left home or if you have too much space, you might be looking to downsize. What are advantages to downsizing in 2018?The main reasons to downsize is to release equity, go mortgage free, or to live in an appropriately-sized home. It will also mean lower running costs, which can be very welcome as the cost of living rises.

On March 13th 2018, Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, will present one of the shortest spring budget statements in years. Plans for: budgeting Brexit, diesel car tax and HS2, benefits and living wages will be touched upon. Most importantly for the property market, are stamp duty and tenant fee bans.

What will happen to the housing market in 2018? There are lots of predictions, from big growths to slight falls in house prices, but overall, most experts predict a slight rise in prices of around 1%. Find out what the big forecasters, RICS, Nationwide and Rightmove, predict in our quick video. Small house price increases mean that it is a good time to move. You can get a good sale price for any current property you own, and there is not a huge rush to buy, so you can take your time to find your dream home.

Before selling your home, most people try to spruce up their property by decluttering and doing a thorough clean. But many people forget the area that gives a first impression is the garden. We all like to get outside and enjoy a sunny summer afternoon, so make sure your garden looks appealing for a potential buyer. Here are some easy tips to follow to make your garden add value to your property.

The best estate agents in the country were commended at The Guild’s annual award ceremony at Westminster Bridge County Hall, right next to the London Eye, in February. 

Do you want to sell your property? In order for your home to appeal to the widest range of potential buyers, it’s a good idea to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Every property is different. Your home might have beautiful windows and a state-of-the-art kitchen, but be in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint. Remember to book a property valuation today, to understand what your property could be worth. We’ve identified some common property weaknesses, and how you can turn them into strengths.

Changes to stamp duty are among the main factors that allowed ‘generation rent’ to obtain mortgages and finally get a foot on the property ladder. The important question for these first-time buyers is, where are the most affordable places to buy? Here is our top 10 list across the UK.

Finding your dream home can be a challenge. You might need a larger property if your family is growing, or if your children have left home, you might be looking to downsize. There are advantages of both upsizing and downsizing in 2018. We asked our Guild agents for their opinions and advice on what is happening in the market that makes it good for either upsizing or downsizing.

A sale falling through can be a seller's worst nightmare. It can set your home search back by months and could cost you money. Thankfully there are some things that you can do to prepare yourself for the possibility and to avoid a sale falling through. 

Putting your home on the market can be an exciting time. But once the floorplans have been drawn up, the photos taken, and the property listed online, what else do you need to do? Being proactive at this stage can lead to a faster sale. 

Across England there are a variety of unique and beautiful places to live and work which offer individuals their perfect lifestyle. We asked our Guild agents their opinions on where the best places to live in Britain with a good quality of life are.

It has been a mixed year in the housing market, but with house prices continuing to rise across the UK and Stamp Duty cuts for first-time buyers, times are changing. What will 2018 have in store for the housing market? Guild Members share their predictions. 

Waiting for an offer to come through on your home can be tense, but there are plenty of things you can do if your house isn’t getting any good offers. Changing the price - this was the number one recommendation from Guild agents. Most people won’t view a property if they think it is overpriced. If your property has been on the market for over 12-15 weeks with at least 15 viewings, it may be time to change the price.

From volunteering at animal shelters to hosting bake sales, the community service and charitable events from Guild agents has been unparalleled in 2017. Guild agents have been hosting events, sponsoring charities and funding community programmes throughout 2017. Take a look at some of the amazing work they achieved this year by our members.

Stamp Duty is changing for first-time buyers. 

Many people think that trying to move house over the festive period is a mistake, but that is no longer the case. People have more free time and motivation to make a change in the New Year, so it can be a great time to buy and sell. Guild agents share their top tips. 

You thought you’d found the perfect tenants, but then you realise that they haven’t paid their rent. What should you do? 

Do you prefer town, city, country or the seaside? It’s a tough choice, often dictated by work, but we have come up with seven questions to help you decide where your heart really lies. Take our quiz to find out.

Portfolio landlords – those with four or more mortgaged buy-to-let properties – now face more stringent checks by lenders when buying additional properties.

What are the common mistakes people make when searching for a new home?

Moving to a new house can be a stressful time, particularly if a sale falls through. Don’t worry if this happens as there are often ways to get it back on track. Guild Members talk about the potential pitfalls to avoid during your negotiations and give tips to help your sale move forward. 

We asked our Guild agents what their thoughts and opinions were on the recent government inquiry: “Government launches consultation into house buying and selling”.

Looking for your perfect property can be an exciting experience. Once you’ve searched online and spoken to your local Guild Member about what you’re looking for, it’s time to start the viewings. But how many should you do before you make an offer? What if your first property seems perfect? Should you keep looking? Guild agents share their top tips. 

Halloween is known for its eerie tales, creepy ghouls and mysterious occurrences. We have put together a collection of spooky stories, inexplicable sightings and things to look out for. Here is a tongue and cheek look at how you know if your house is haunted. 

Most people hope for fast results when their home is on the market. But is there more that you could do to help attract a buyer? Here are some top tips from Guild Members. 

Do you know about the different ways to sell your home? There are lots of different ways to sell your home, but the main two options are paying a flat-fee up front, which is favoured by DIY models, and the 'no sale, no fee' model, that you'll find on the high street. 

Are you thinking of renovating a property? Here are The Guild's top tips to make sure your renovation goes to plan and stays on budget. 

You’ve found the perfect tenants, they’ve moved in without issue, and you’re expecting smooth sailing with the tenancy. But then you check your bank account and find that rent hasn’t been paid that month. What do you do? Guild Members share their expert advice to help in this tricky situation. 

Have you ever seen a property that just seemed to be trying a bit too hard? Over home-staging, or trying too hard when decorating a property in order to sell it, is a surprisingly easy thing to do. Our agents share their stories of homes they’ve see that have been over home-staged, and what you can do to prevent this problem. 

The air is turning cooler, the leaves are falling and the days are growing shorter. There are a variety of jobs you might want to carry out as autumn goes into full swing. Guild agents share their comments on the most important things to do this autumn before putting your house on the market.

Being able to spot an up-and-coming area could be a fantastic business investment. Coming to an area before it has become popular means that prices are low, and have a long way to rise. It also means that you could secure a property in a prime location, giving easy access to improving shops and amenities. 

Are you dreaming of building your own home? Buying land and building a property on it is a dream many people share. But what about the logistics? Buying land and building your own house is uncharted territory for most people. 

Waiting for an offer to come through on your home can be a tense time. Offers do not always follow viewings, and it can be frustrating to feel like you can’t do anything to help. However, this isn’t the case. There are plenty of things you can do if your house isn’t getting as many offers as you’d hoped. If your property sale seems like it’s stuck, Guild agents have some advice for you. 

  Ellie Hudspith, Jan Forster Estates: “Since passing the Associates Scheme it has allowed me to find out things for myself and gain new information that will benefit me and my career. I now have a better understanding of things that I had little knowledge of before.”Passes for the The Associate Scheme Sales: First NameSurnameCompany NameOfficeAlexComptonEdwards Estate AgentsBournemouthAliFletcherTaylor MilburnBraintreeAmandaBricePhilip Laney & JollyGreat MalvernAndrewScoffinsSutherland Reay Estate & Letting AgentsNew MillsAndyWallerRedwell EstatesBexhill-on-SeaAnthonyKeaneDavies & DaviesBradford on AvonArwenSmithOliver Minton Estate AgentsPuckeridgeBeckyDenfordHelmoresCreditonBenWigginsPhilip Laney & JollyGreat MalvernBethanyMackenzieMundysLincolnBradleyMcelroy- ClarkeNewman Estate AgentsCoventryCaroleRoweEmsleys Estate AgentsSherburn-in-ElmetCharlieCarrollNigel Poole & PartnersPershore CharlieLaneClifton & Co Estate AgentsDartfordCharlotteReadEdwards Estate AgentsBournemouthCharlotteGearyDavies & DaviesBradford on AvonCharlotte FrenchMoss PropertiesDoncasterChrisLaughtonMundysLincolnClareRichardsonJan Forster EstatesForest HallDanJonesDavies & DaviesBradford on AvonDanSharpeConran EstatesGreenwichDebbieSampsonJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyDebraNetherwayMarshalls Estate AgentsHayleDominiqueScottSawyer & CoHoveEddieO'MahonyJan Forster EstatesNewcastleElaineRobinsonEmsleys Estate AgentsGarforthEliseDavenportTailor Made Estate AgentsPooleEllieHudspithJan Forster EstatesNewcastleEllisFisherJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyEmmaBoweyMundysLincolnEmmaMetcalfeFenwicks Estate AgentsLee-on-the-SolentFrancescaPryceEdwards Estate AgentsBournemouthGeorgiaLuptonThe Big Property ShopWarringtonHazelCampbellPhilip Laney & JollyGreat MalvernHelenaScholfieldWilkinson Grant & CoExeterHilaryPinheiroNigel Poole & PartnersPershore Holly GowlandJan Forster EstatesForest HallIanHounsellDavies & DaviesBradford on AvonIsobelSmithCharnock BatesHalifaxJamesBirkettCastles Estate Agents & Mortgage Services LtdSwindonJamesStanhopeJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyJamesChalonerHeritage Estate AgentsPortisheadJamesBushRedwell Estates James FarranEdwards Estate AgentsBournemouthJennyWrayJan Forster EstatesForest HallJoeBourneRedwell EstatesBexhill-on-SeaJohnWilliamsJan Forster EstatesNewcastleJoleneDoyleConran EstatesCharltonJonathanGuyJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyJordanDyeKent Estate AgenciesTankertonJuneStocksMundysLincolnKatierRoperHolroyd MillerWakefieldKennedyOvertonCentury Residential Sales & LettingsGillinghamKimAllenJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyKimParkinsonMoss PropertiesDoncasterLindseyHibbertThe Mather PartnershipHelstonLisaCoplestonStevens Property Sales & LettingsAshfordLisaHarrodRedwell EstatesBexhill-on-SeaLizChetwoodPhilip Laney & JollyGreat MalvernLorraineBrooksEdwards Estate AgentsBournemouthMATTHEWCASEYOliver Minton Estate AgentsPuckeridgeMandyBarleyJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyMarkBondTaylor MilburnBraintreeMattWheelerHeritage Estate AgentsPortisheadMatthewHigginsSawyer & CoBrightonMelJamesPhilip Laney & JollyWorcesterMichelleNuttallMoss PropertiesDoncasterNaomiGhafoorJames AndersonEast SheenNatashaAldridgeStevens Property Sales & LettingsAshfordNeilBalcombeKent Estate AgenciesTankertonNichola WallisHolroyd MillerWakefieldNicoleRandleNigel Poole & PartnersPershore OllieStaceyGuild StaffPark LanePaulCalcuttHeritage Estate AgentsWorlePaulAndersonJan Forster EstatesNewcastlePaulaMoneyMundysLincolnPaulineClarkeNigel Poole & PartnersEveshamRachaelMerrittKent Estate AgenciesWhitstableRachelCunninghamMoss PropertiesDoncasterRichardEvansMorris Marshall & PooleWelshpoolRobertoGhirardaniRochills LimitedWalton on ThamesRobynDyerRedwell Estates RogerLuntMorris Marshall & PooleWelshpoolRoisinCunninghamConran EstatesCharltonRyanJefferyMarshalls Estate AgentsHayleSandraRoweMarshalls Estate AgentsCarbis BaySarahWilsonThe Estate CompanySt Johns WoodSarahTupperMarrion & CoWalsallSerenParry-EdwardsMorris Marshall & PooleAberystwythShannonWoodHeritage Estate AgentsPortisheadShelleyBlagdenHeritage Estate AgentsYattonSpencerMckayOasis Estate AgentsStaines Upon ThamesStaceyWrightMundysLincolnStevenDesirCastles Estate Agents & Mortgage Services LtdSwindonSueWoodJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyTaniaPortNigel Poole & PartnersPershore TomBarterPhilip Laney & JollyWorcesterTonySutherlandHarrison-Lavers & Potbury\'sSidmouthVickyStovellWilkinson Grant & CoExeterVictoriaAllen - ElbournMarshallsRoystonWendyKirknext2buy LtdWallsendZoeKentMarshalls Estate AgentsHayledavidMarshallMarshalls Estate AgentsPenzancejoluxtonHelmoresCreditonjuliesaddIconicNorwichPasses for the Associate Scheme Lettings: First NameSurnameCompany NameOfficeAaronStannardSowerbysDerehamAmberRichertEmsleys Estate AgentsGarforthAndrewScoffinsSutherland Reay Estate & Letting AgentsNew MillsAndyWallerRedwell EstatesBexhill-on-SeaAnnaStoreyJan Forster EstatesNewcastleAnna Irving Jan Forster EstatesNewcastleAnnieWrightJan Forster EstatesNewcastleCaroleRoweEmsleys Estate AgentsSherburn-in-ElmetCaroline EdwardsBassetsSalisburyCathlynnHornofJames AndersonPutney HillCharlieLaneClifton & Co Estate AgentsDartfordCraigKirkRochills LimitedWalton on ThamesDanJonesDavies & DaviesBradford on AvonEllaXuerebBassetsSalisburyEmmaRodmannext2buy LtdWallsendGeorgiaLuptonThe Big Property ShopWarringtonHannahWhiteTown & Country MoldMoldHeatherNewsomeJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyJOManceraFAC GroupParJamesBushRedwell EstatesJaneHoldenJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyJanetteOatesJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyJohnWilliamsJan Forster EstatesNewcastleJoleneDoyleConran EstatesCharltonJonWebberBassetsSalisburyKirbyNaisbittKimmitt LettingsHoughton le SpringLaurenNewshamJan Forster EstatesNewcastleLisaHarrodRedwell EstatesBexhill-on-SeaLisaPalmerJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyLisaCoplestonStevens Property Sales & LettingsAshfordLucySinhaJan Forster EstatesNewcastleLukeKenchington The Mather PartnershipHelstonMelanieCadeyJackson Green & PrestonGrimsbyMichelleNuttallMoss PropertiesDoncasterNatashaAldridgeStevens Property Sales & LettingsAshfordPaulAndersonJan Forster EstatesNewcastleRachelCunninghamMoss PropertiesDoncasterRichardEvansMorris Marshall & PooleWelshpoolRobynDyerRedwell EstatesRoisinCunninghamConran EstatesCharltonRyanFreemanJan Forster EstatesNewcastleSamBennettHelmoresCrediton

Selling your property is a big decision, and agreeing on an asking price is key. But how much is your house worth, and how do estate agents come to a final figure? 

Viewing a property is exciting as you judge if it could be a suitable home. It is easy to get caught in a whirlwind as you walk from room to room, without taking it all in properly. It might tick some of your boxes, but does that make it the perfect home for you? Guild agents share their tips to get the most out of a property viewing. 

Are you looking for a home, but are not convinced about purchasing an older property? Buying a new build or off-plan property may be the right choice for you. New build homes, or properties that have been built recently, have been gaining popularity over the past few years for the ease of lifestyle they provide. 

Being involved in the community can bring a sense of belonging, fill your social calendar, and make it easy to find friends. When moving to a new house, it’s important to consider what the community spirit will be like in the new town, village, or borough. How can you find out about the community before you move there? Guild agents share their top tips. 

Choosing the right estate agent to sell your home can be difficult. You need to trust your agent, and choose a company with knowledge and integrity, who can get the best result for you. 

If you’re interested in renting a property, you’re not alone. More people than ever have chosen to rent homes or flats rather than buy them. Over the past few years, the letting market has been changing constantly. In a changing market, staying ahead of the trends is the secret to success. Our agents weigh in on the trends they’ve seen in the rental market over the past few months. 

Navigating the property market can be difficult for anyone, but it is particularly daunting for first-time buyers. There are lots of hoops to jump through, paperwork to be completed, and tense waiting to hear if your deal is going to go through. We asked Guild agents to share their top tips for anyone looking to get onto the property ladder. What should you look out for?

Buying a new home is one of the most exciting things you can do. Between looking through beautiful new houses and choosing the perfect area, it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of new-home ownership. However, ignoring the details could end up costing you. Our estate agents have seen it all, and have identified the top mistakes that people make when purchasing a new home.

There will be a period of uncertainty as the new government forms. We have a good idea of what a Conservative minority government may look like for the housing sector from analysing their manifesto and previous commitments. At a time when instructions are scarce, fees are at an all-time low, conveyancing is taking longer than ever, and tenant fees are to be banned, the housing sector needs a government that understands the housing crisis needs to be a priority. What should we expect from Teresa May and the Conservatives as the largest party in the House of Commons in the housing sector? In a recent report it was alleged that a higher percentage of homeowners thought that the Tories policies were more relevant and sympathetic to homeowners, but do sales and lettings agents working in that sector feel the same? Interestingly, I would be unsure how that debate would conclude, as recent changes to SDLT and proposed changes to lettings agents charging tenant fees, have been very unpopular. So what should we all expect in the next four years? It is very unlikely that the government will amend or reverse changes to Stamp Duty, why would they? It is raising extra income for the treasury. It is also cooling the UK housing market and reducing transactions levels enabling first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder. The proposed tenant fee ban concluded its consultation process on the 2nd June and the outcome will be delivered shortly. All industry experts I have spoken to don't expect any change in direction. The ban has already been implemented in Scotland and Wales and so it appears a foregone conclusion. But the real elephant in the room is the announcement within the Tory party manifesto that they intend to hold a full housing review, with particular emphasis on the cost of moving. They intend to make it cheaper for customers. Although in the short term this may be sidelined by other priorities, at some point this pledge will be delivered.Is there a vendetta against the sector? Or will the Conservatives be considered a party that estate agencies can rely on to produce policies for growth? None of us know the answer to that. All I do know is that when the housing minister is appointed they need to get a holis

Using figures from Land Registry House Price Index data to give an indication of the region’s housing markets, below are 20 top areas with statistics on the total value of all property transactions in the past year.

Are you thinking of moving house soon? Property viewings can be a stressful situation as you need to assess the property and find out if it fits your requirements, all while trying to decide if this is 'the one'. We have made a handy video so you can be fully prepared with the right questions and equipment on your next home viewing. 

Communication with an estate agent before buying a property is always key, and this is particularly important for buy-to-let investors. There are key questions that should be asked, and they can differ from the standard question that a house hunter would think of. We asked Guild agents to share their top tips to ensure that investors have all the information they need before making an offer.

Today, we look at the West Midlands region in our series of property spotlights touching on the average house prices, number of sales and the size of the market around the country. The figures use Land Registry House Price Index data which gives an indication of the region’s housing markets. There is not a single measure which provides a complete picture the UK market, but below are 20 areas with statistics on the total value of all property transactions in the past year.

We take a closer look at the East Midlands region as part of our series of property spotlights, focusing on average house prices, the total number of sales and the size of the market around the country. The figures are based on the latest data from the Land Registry House Price Index which helps to form a picture of the region’s housing markets. While there is no single measure which provides a complete picture of the market, below are 20 areas with statistics on the total value of all property transactions in the past year. This has been calculated by multiplying the average value of homes by the number of sales.

The figures are based on the latest data from the Land Registry House Price Index which helps to form a picture of the region’s housing markets. While there is no single measure which provides a complete picture of the market, below are 20 areas with statistics on the total value of all property transactions in the past year. This has been calculated by multiplying the average value of homes by the number of sales.

These figures are based on the latest data from the Land Registry House Price Index, which helps to create a picture of the region’s housing markets. There is no single measure which provides a complete picture of the market, however below are 20 areas with statistics on the total value of all property transactions in the past year. This has been calculated by multiplying the average value of homes by the number of sales.

With the average UK house price edging closer to £300,000, finding a £100,000 home is becoming more difficult every year. However, first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors can still find good-quality properties with the right research. 

Getting onto the first rung of the housing ladder takes a lot of saving and determination. To help aspiring homeowners get started, we have created a video to share some top tips. 

Slowing house prices combined with rock-bottom mortgage rates are making it more affordable for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder. 

But what are these figures based on? The latest data from the Land Registry House Price Index helps to show the makeup of the region’s housing markets. While there is no single measure which provides a complete picture of the market, below are 12 areas with statistics on the total value of all property transactions in the past year. This has been calculated by multiplying the average value of homes by the number of sales. 

Putting your property on the market is an exciting time. The photos are taken, the floorplans completed, and the home is perfectly presented, so it’s time to start the viewings. But how many should you expect? What if viewings are not as regular as you hoped? We asked Guild agents to share their tips and advice. 

The Prime Minister Teresa May has signed Article 50, starting the two-year process for the UK to withdraw for the EU. After uncertainty in the property market after the Brexit vote in June 2016, what will this new development mean for UK housing? The Guild’s CEO Iain McKenzie shares his thoughts. 

A new chapter has been unveiled for The Guild of Property Professionals, with Iain McKenzie as the newly appointed CEO. The enthusiastic and well-recognised leader in the property industry sets out his vision to expand The Guild into new areas.

Housing was not a focus of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first Spring Budget on 8 March 2017. CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, Iain McKenzie, shares his thoughts on what the government can still do to support the housing market.  

It’s the last spring Budget. What does Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, have planned for homeowners? How will first-time buyers and landlords be affected? Guild Members share their wish lists ahead of the Budget on March 8th. 

Choosing the right agent is key to selling your property. We have seen an increase in online estate agents in recent years and there has been discussion as to whether sellers should sell their home with an online agent or stick with an established high-street estate agent. Here Guild agents share their views on high-street and online agents.

Putting your home on the market is a big decision, so it’s important to make sure that you’re doing it at the right time of year. There has always been debate about the best time to sell a property, so we asked Guild agents to share their thoughts on the prime time to sell. 

The eyes of the property industry recently turned to the Government’s Housing White Paper, which was released on Tuesday 7 February. Now that experts have had time to digest the information, The Guild of Property Professionals have noted that there is style in the report, but little detail to carry out the proposals. CEO Marcus Whewell shares his thoughts. 

UK property prices rose by 6.5% in 2016, Halifax said, while according to Nationwide Building Society’s House Price index, prices were 4.5% higher by the end of the year, having risen by the same rate as in 2015.

Offices from around the UK were commended for their exceptional performance at the Guild of Property Professionals – previously known at the Guild of Professional Estate Agents - gala dinner and annual awards, which was held at The Vox conference centre in Birmingham on Friday 27 January. 

When searching for an estate agent, you want advice and guidance from professionals who are trained and trustworthy, who have in-depth local knowledge and the technology and connections to expedite your sale: in short, you are looking for a Member of The Guild. Our exclusive Membership is awarded to just one agent in each area, selected on the basis of their high standards and professionalism. 

The Guild has got a new look - as well as a new name. Watch our video to see the new look for the brand. 

Lenders have started to announce changes to their buy-to-let policies following the Prudential Regulation Authority’s decision to phase in new stricter rules.

Buying a home can be stressful, so it is always best to research the area before starting a property search. Being aware of how quickly the market moves and what is most popular is key. Not only will it shed light on how long it will take to exchange on a home, but it also lets you know who you will be up against. There is nothing worse than deliberating over a property, only to find that someone else has put in a full-price offer. Being prepared is key. 

Contractors and people who are self-employed can face additional challenges when securing a mortgage, which may sometimes cause delays during the property buying process.

Guild agents take a look at 2017, and comment on what they think we can expect in their respective areas. Ben Whiting, the Branch Manager in Victorstone’s Shoreditch office, comments on what he expects from 2017: While most market commentators are predicting a dip for London house prices as a whole in 2017, London has become an increasingly segregated market as the impact of Brexit has taken hold. While prime central and more mature, high-value postcodes saw prices dip significantly in the aftermath of Brexit, East London, which had been experiencing high growth prior to Brexit, simply saw prices remain stable and are already showing signs of recovery. In recent years, more central East London postcodes have seen remarkable growth, driven by development drawing both overseas and domestic buy-to-let investors with the promise of high yields and tempting capital appreciation opportunities. 2016 saw a significant rise in the proportion of first-time-buyers and other residential purchasers following suit. In 2017, with rents expected to rise, first-time-buyers will not be deterred by potential short-term dips in capital values while faced with increasingly exorbitant London rents. We expect to continue to see increasing numbers of residential purchasers, often helped by down-sizing parents, look to snap up properties in Eastern postcodes pegged for future growth; preferring to risk temporary dips in value than to continue to pour their deposits into the pockets of landlords. Stock levels in East London remain strong, especially in the ex-council bracket, as original right-to-buy owners look to finally realise their assets and invest in freehold properties on the outskirts of London. This gentrification, combined with the continued re-development and completion of transport schemes such as Crossrail, should continue to make the area an attractive prospect to buyers. With interest rates looking more likely to remain stable well into 2017, we expect East London to weather the storm far better than the rest of London as a whole. Kate Howell from Woodhead Oswestry Sales and Lettings, based near the Welsh Border, also sees an increase in first time buyers: I predict 2017 to be the year of the first-time buyer. In a lot of cases monthly mortgage repayments are cheaper than the rising cost of renting.  Low interest rates will help to fuel this and we expect to see the two bedroom properties traditionally purchased by landlords snapped up by first-timers instead.We need every kind of property for waiting buyers and my team are preparing for a surge of activity in the spring market.   Despite the ongoing political uncertainty over Brexit and invoking Article 50, people still want to move home and the new year is an ideal time to do that.  Chris Sawyer, Director of Sawyer & Co Sales & Lettings in Brighton and Hove, expects to see a stable market:Obviously the vote to leave the EU has created some uncertainty with none of us knowing what Brexit will mean to us, particularly in economic terms. There is no precedent for such a situation and if there is any fragile sentiment amongst buyers this could create a drag on price growth. I think we can expect a stable market next year with static or modest price growth. Brighton & Hove will certainly continue to be an extremely popular place to live and invest.

There are almost 800 Guild Member agents in the UK; this Christmas, we thought we would showcase some of the most festive sounding locations and how to get in touch with the nearest Guild agent.Cold ChristmasCold Christmas is a Hamlet in Thundridge, Hertfordshire. Just over ten minutes from Hertford and just under ten minutes from Ware, Thundridge is a great, quiet home for commuters who can be in the capital within the hour. Cold Christmas’ claim to fame is the ruins of Little St Mary’s Church, nicknamed Cold Christmas Church. It dates back to 1086 and is famous for rumoured hauntings! If the paranormal isn’t for you, there is plenty of festive activities to enjoy, including a The Ware Dickensian Evening in early December and the Hertford Christmas Gala at the end of November.  If Cold Christmas has captured your imagination, take a look at Ensum Brown Estate Agent’s website to further explore Ware and Thundridge. St Nicholas Lane, East Lewes Good old St Nicholas has his own land in Lewes, but if you are seeking more than a festive name to send your letters to Santa from, Lewes Estates has a lot going on.

London & Country give you the run down on the latest house price growth news. 

(Released October 2016)

When it comes to Christmas selling, there is no single answer. Your estate agent will be able to advise whether your home could benefit from being on the market over the festive season, or whether it is worth waiting until the New Year.  

On the 23rd November, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, will present his Autumn Statement to Parliament. This will be his first opportunity to define the Government’s strategy for the forthcoming year, and it will be carefully scrutinised given the political and economic uncertainties which have occurred in the last 12 months. So what would we like to see in the Autumn Statement in relation to the property sector, and how will these changes affect you / the property market?Stamp duty
When buying a residential property, you pay Stamp Duty in increasing portions of the property price above £125,000. Reports all indicate that the market has been relatively resilient in the last 12 months in the light of increased economic and political uncertainty, but that activity at the top end of the market in particular has been notably depressed by the higher tax payable. Currently, buyers pay 5% Stamp Duty on homes between £250,001 and £925,000; over that the tax is calculated at 10%. In many instances, this has prevented or delayed people from moving up the property ladder. Higher tax rates can act as a powerful incentive towards developing and extending a current home as opposed to moving house. Therefore, a reduction in rates could give transactions a welcome boost. The following Government website can provide more information about Stamp Duty charges.

Caring for your home in the colder months is really vital. If you are planning on selling your home this winter, the last thing you need is frozen or burst pipes you have to fix and décor to replace.Here are our top 5 tips to help your home through the winter: 1. Gleaming gutteringAs pretty as those falling leaves are, they will collect in your guttering. Designed to prevent damp and leaks, the water should be able to flow through the pipes, well away from your walls. When it comes to selling, shoddy looking guttering can significantly diminish your kerb appeal, but the occasional clean out can make them look as good as new and keep them in good working order.

As the month comes to an end, children Trick or Treating isn’t the only thing to make you jump! If you love the paranormal and are looking for somewhere to live that’s occupied by more than just the living, here's our pick of some of the most haunted places to live in Britain:

Without a crystal ball, how can you possibly know where an up-and-coming area might be? Finding a location that is on the cusp of a boom is not just about finding the trendiest spot in town; the right location which could make a property a much stronger investment for the future. Local estate agents have in-depth knowledge of the local area and are the perfect people to guide your property search. However, there are several pointers to help you spot the next best thing:Retailers When people have a greater disposable income, there tends to be a larger number of independent retailers. Keep your eyes peeled for new boutiques, delicatessen or niche food chains. Bear in mind that for bigger stores there is a significant volume of market research conducted before the expensive of opening a new store is considered – use this as a steer in your search.

As the cost of buying a property rises, three-generational living is becoming more common. These are often short term arrangements where a grown-up child moves their young family in with their parents, or where an ageing parent moves in with their child and family for financial or health reasons. Often the most stigmatised of family members, the in-laws are proving to be surprisingly helpful. With house prices remaining at high levels, the 'Bank of Mum and Dad' now extends to the 'House of Mum and Dad', enabling buyers to reduce their outgoings and free up their money to be put towards a deposit.Relationships with the in-laws can often be viewed as challenging due to differences in values and behaviour but when you get it right, the benefits can be great for all generations. As well as the obvious financial benefits, living with family can often create a closer relationship between grandchildren and grandparents because they get to see each other every day. Having another set of adults under the same roof means that the responsibility of running a house and doing the school runs can be shared for everyone's benefit, so there's plenty to be positive about.

Current statistics suggest that in years to come, renting is only going to become more popular – that doesn’t mean we have to resign ourselves to a life of off-whites. We take a look at ways to give your rented space some personality and style without breaching your tenancy agreement. 1. Plants In a pale colour scheme, a green leaf can really pack a punch. Although often assumed quite complex to grow, an orchid will give your home an elegant touch of colour. For the less green-fingered tenant, an Areca Palm is a full and vibrant green that gives a tropical feel and will grow big enough to be a focal point. Spider plants could be another good option for those with a tendency to kill off their plants. Whatever you choose, plants will really soften a room.

CML figures show an increase in lending 

Tougher rules to be introduced for BTL market

No picture will match what a property is like in reality, but given the majority of house searches begin online these days, you can’t afford to use poor images and hope people decide to visit regardless! This is harder than it seems, as not everyone can take a good picture. So, give house-hunters a compelling reason to arrange a viewing by making your home look its absolute best. 1. Call in the professionals! Estate agents either know how to take the right image or they commission a photographer who does. They also know which areas of your home to put in the spotlight as they will have an idea of the type of buyer your property will attract. 2. Prepare your home first. Before anyone photographs your rooms, make them look their best – dirty dishes in the sink or mucky floors will still be present in a good photo! A thorough clean and declutter will showcase the space rather than your personal items and furniture.  3. Soften your rooms with flowers. Thoughtfully placed vases full of flowers can add a welcome splash of colour or a touch of elegance. Flowers are a good reminder that that not all items are clutter; arrangements can give an impression of delicate fragrances and a loved home. 

It’s no secret that first impressions are vital when it comes to selling your home. So before sprucing up your exterior ahead of selling, consider carefully which might be the most enticing colour to paint your home.  Is it blue, green, pink, yellow or white? Firstly, think about where you live. If your street has a definitive palette it would be wise to stay in keeping; in a line of green houses, a pink one is likely to clash, making it stand out for all the wrong reasons!

The Government Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme (Help to Buy Two) was first launched in October 2013, with the aim of increasing the availability of high loan-to-value mortgages and providing a much needed boost for First Time Buyers struggling to get their foot on the housing ladder.The Chancellor has now confirmed that this element of the initiative will come to a close at the end of this year as planned, stating in a letter to the Bank of England that ‘the high LTV mortgage market has become less reliant on the scheme as confidence has returned’.There is no doubt that over the last 3 years the market for First Time Buyers has improved considerably. At the time the scheme was launched there were very few options for borrowers with small deposits, and the intention was therefore to encourage lenders back to that riskier end of the market. Since 2014, according to the Financial Policy Committee, lending above 90% LTV within Help to Buy has fallen from 70% to 25%, yet total lending at this LTV has not declined. More lenders are now offering a greater range of deals without being reliant on the scheme, and the market is looking healthier as a result.For those who still require a helping hand to get that deposit together, there are other options available. The first part of the initiative, the Help to Buy Equity loan, provides a 20% interest free Government loan for 5 years (40% in London) which buyers can combine with their own 5% deposit. This scheme is only available to those buying new build properties, but is set to continue until 2020.The Help to Buy ISA will also continue to be available. This allows a buyer to deposit their own savings - £1,000 initially, and £200 per month – and benefit from a 25% uplift in the form of a Government bonus when they do decide to buy.

Is a ‘forever home’ a myth? Your personality, or perhaps your finances, may well dictate whether you find a forever home or a ‘for now’ home. There are people who know exactly what they want and stick to it, but it will take a lot to settle on one property and stay with it. To find a property to last a lifetime, consider these 5 main points:  1. FlexibilityBeing realistic is what makes a home last forever – the demands you make on your space will change. The current trend for open plan living spaces could work in your favour as you will be able to zone the space differently according to your needs; dining space can soon become a play area, for example. 

It’s finally moving day! It’s an exciting time, but it can also be crowded and frantic for your beloved companions. Like us, your pets will get used to the move in time, but there are ways you can help them to get used to your new home without overwhelming them:1. Make a plan Planning your move is a good thing. There will be a lot to think about when moving and your pets, however much we love them, may not be the top of your list of priorities – a plan will keep you on track.

A recent report by a leading Insurance Company claims that one in seven tenants break the rules of their leasing agreements.The most common offences include a failure to pay rent on time, smoking and keeping a pet; but perhaps of even more concern is that it is claimed that one in eleven (or almost 10%) of renters are living contract-free.25%    Failing to pay rent on time (or at all)21%    Smoking in the property  18%    Keeping a pet in the property   17%    Damaging or making alterations to the premises  16%    Changing the locks 14%    Caused disturbances or a nuisance to neighbouring properties 14%    Sublet a room without notifying the landlord 13%    Failed to clean accessible windows 12%    Redecorated without permission10%    Failed to check smoke or carbon monoxide alarm The most common sanctions for breaking tenancy rules include losing some or all of the deposit (52%), followed by having to pay for any damages (22%) and in some extreme cases, tenant evictions (4%). However, more than one in five (21%) tenants say that the landlord never found out about their misdemeanours.This lack of transparency can hurt both the landlord and the tenant. The renter risks exploitation and even summary eviction if they do not have a binding agreement to protect them, whilst the landlord is exposed to potential misuse of the property and possibly even a sitting tenant who can’t easily be removed.In a professional world, the tenant’s behaviour is defined and bound by their contract, and a good landlord will actively manage and nurture the relationship to protect their investment.Any failures for both sides to act responsibly can be very expensive; for example, a separate report published last week highlighted the risks taken by landlords who don’t properly deal with repairs requests by inhibiting the ability to serve a section 21 notice.So what should landlords (or their letting agents) do as a minimum? A few simple rules may help:

The July 2016 house price index data for the UK showed a monthly rise of 0.4 per cent, while in England the increase was slightly higher at 0.5 per cent. In London the monthly change was 1.0 per cent but of the English regions it was the North East region that experienced the highest monthly growth with a rise of 2.3 per cent. Falls were seen in Yorkshire and The Humber, the South West and the West Midlands, the latter seeing the greatest fall at minus 0.8 per cent.  

At its mid-September meeting, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee unanimously voted to leave its main interest rate at 0.25 per cent. The Bank halved its interest rate from 0.5 per cent to the new historic low in August with the aim of maintaining the stability of the UK’s banking system following the June referendum on membership of the European Union.  

The latest monthly report produced by the Royal Institution of Surveyors has indicated that the housing market is stabilising in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

When the Bank of England decided to cut interest rates in August, the main aim was to make the cost of borrowing cheaper. A less-reported side effect is that it also helps consumers borrow slightly more.

Saving up to buy your first home can be a challenge, but assistance is at hand in the form of the Government Help to Buy ISA.

Are you in a hurry to sell your home? Or are you feeling impatient now you have committed to selling? There are no guarantees, but here are some sure-fire ways to grease the wheels of your sale: 1. The right time to sellKnowing the right time to sell can depend on many factors. For example, it makes a difference if your property is a three-bedroom home with a garden or a studio flat. The family buying your three-bedroom home could be reluctant to move during the summer holidays – not only are they likely to use that time for their annual holiday, but it would be far easier to pack the house when the children are in school all day!

A good estate agent should be able to answer these questions and suggest whether or not you should opt for an open house style viewing. Here, Guild member agents offer their views on the practicalities of hosting an open house and how successful they can be with the right attitude.Holroyd Miller Estate Agents say: Before you rush out to buy ground coffee and a bread-making machine there is a less extreme approach.

In celebration of London Fashion Week, we take a look at the TOP 10 stylish homes in the capital:Willesden Green

Moving might be commonplace, but the average person doesn’t actually do it very often! It’s surprisingly easy for sellers to get in the way of selling their own home, so here are 10 top tips to keep you on track: 1. First things first; do you really want to sell your home? If you’re putting obstacles in the way of selling, you may have a case of sellers-remorse. Be sure you want to move and then be fully committed – only being 50% sure will absolutely hinder your sale.  2. Overpricing your property is likely to dampen your chances of selling. If you insist on selling your home at the wrong price you may be your own worst enemy. Speak with your agent and agree a realistic figure based on the market, location, condition and so on.

People are always told not to judge a book by its cover, but with property, first impressions are extremely important. Use these top tips to give your property serious kerb appeal:1.    The approach No one wants to stumble through a gate falling off its hinges, unless you are selling a ‘project’. If you are replacing it, choose a suitable gate for your property; does wood or wrought iron work best, for example. If you’re painting your current gate, the aim is to be appealing but in keeping. Think neutral colours for a fresh, palatable look.

The recent cut in the Bank of England base rate may have come as welcome news for many mortgage holders, but for savers it has been yet another hit on their returns.There is light at the end of the tunnel however. At times when homeowners are struggling to make their savings work for them, offset mortgages offer an excellent alternative, and can also be big money-savers.This type of mortgage works by allowing homeowners to ‘offset’ the balances held in their savings and current accounts against the mortgage debt, thereby reducing the amount of interest payable on the mortgage. Put simply, instead of earning interest on their savings, a borrower pays less interest on the mortgage.There are a number of other attractive benefits to offsetting. Because no interest is earned on the savings, there is also no tax to pay, so this can be particularly useful for higher rate taxpayers.

Economic News August 2016

UK HOUSE PRICE INDEX: June 2016 (released 16 August 2016)

The seven-year itch

Leeds Building Society improves its Buy-to-Let criteria 

Fixed or variable?

Bank of England cuts base rate

As Poldark returns to our screens on 4th September, the beauty of the Cornwall and its exquisite coastline is once again in the spotlight. There are plenty of remarkable homes hidden in the Cornish hills, here are ten of our favourites.

If you work in the City but prefer to leave the bright lights of the capital behind as you leave the office, here are 10 of our top places to live outside of London and best of all, they're all within a 60 minute commute by train.High Wycombe, BuckinghamshireHome to the Hellfire Caves, dug by hand in the 1700's, High Wycombe has plenty to offer including the National Trust's West Wycombe Park, showcasing 45 acres of landscaped beauty. Commute time: 33 minutes to MaryleboneAverage house price: £396,984

Bake Off is back! Talented or not, baking is something everyone can enjoy – not every bake has to be a show stopper. From homely scones to delicate and sophisticated sugar work, these kitchens are a fantastic place to start your baking journey. Bethersden, Ashford. £900,000Built in a traditional style, The Woodlands is a newbuild situated in the popular village of Bethersden in the heart of Kent. The open plan kitchen and dining room is light and spacious – and the granite-topped island would be perfect for practising your star bake! The space is great for spreading out your utensils, but the island also allows you to carry on being part of the conversation or keep an eye on small children! There is an Aga as well as an oven and induction hob to meet your big-batch baking needs. The French doors leading out to the garden will keep the space light and cool.

The UK residential property market continues to confound the analysts, as sales and prices hold up relatively well in the first full month after the Brexit referendum.The last four weeks saw a 1.2% (£3,600) fall in the average price of property marketed to £304,222 in August, according to Rightmove, whilst the biggest fall at 2.6% was in London.However, Yorkshire and Humber and the West Midlands bucked the trend, with increases of 1.2% and 1.1%, respectively.According to Land Registry, the volume for lending approvals for house purchases fell by 2.9% in June compared to May, but a word of caution is useful here: year on year increases viewed in isolation can be very misleading, as 2015 saw a post-election fillip to the market in the summer after a relatively poor first quarter. This year looked like a reversal, with the well-publicised stamp duty changes on second homes in April pulling many sales forward to ‘concertina’ buyer activity. Many experts predict that residential sales for this calendar year will be similar to last year, at between 1.0m and 1.1m properties, once again indicating a reasonably steady and predictable market.Average days on the market before being declared ‘sold subject to contract’ rose slightly, with houses with four bedrooms or more taking 74 days, and three bedroom properties selling more quickly at 58 days - reflecting their being in relatively higher demand.The reduction in asking prices may reflect a growing understanding amongst vendors that with an increasing number of properties now coming to market, more realistic price expectations may be required to attract quick offers.It is also widely believed that the property market in the capital may already have been overheating before the vote, and this is therefore just a natural correction after several years of dramatic increases. The 15% depreciation in £ sterling should help attract overseas buyers to take advantage of significant potential savings compared to pre-referendum. Rents have also fallen in London as the number of available lettings properties rises (following the recent stamp duty changes).There are currently a number of conflicting influences in play; many potential buyers are on holiday, and those that remain seem to be trying to drive harder bargains; yet the recent fall in interest rates should embolden potential buyers, especially with the availability of such attractive long-term fixed deals and the continued stability of house prices, albeit with slower annual increases.We can also detect the undercurrent of an important ‘feel good’ factor, with Britain’s strong showing at the Olympics in Rio and a relative late summer heatwave. So far, pre Brexit forecasts of ‘doom and gloom’ have yet to materialise.So the summary is that UK property investment remains relatively attractive for those that can access the necessary funds: if a little of recent sheen has come off, reducing its speculative allure, then this could be a good thing both for first time buyers and the economy as a whole.

Often, the number one priority for parents when moving home is proximity to good, local schools. However, there are other considerations such as sports facilities, woodland walks, cycle trails, museums, libraries, outdoor space, shopping facilities, health centres and crime rates to take into account too. Here are ten of the best family friendly places to live in England and Wales.

If you're planning a stay-cation this year, or even a romantic trip for two, you're spoilt for choice here in Britain. There is an abundence of beautiful villages to relax and unwind in; you can take in the delights of chocolate box villages or head to the coast and revel in the salty air and astounding scenery. Castle Combe, WiltshireTucked away in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Castle Combe is a quintessentially English village, often referred to as 'the prettiest village in England'. This little gem is famous for it's many big screen appearances including Stardust and War Horse and the streets are lined with honey coloured stone wall cottages. Nestled within Castle Combe is S Andrew's church, home to one of the oldest working clocks in the country.

The games kicked off in Rio last weekend and so far, Team GB have racked up an impressive 6 medals in the pool and off the diving board. Fuelled and inspired by their aquatic achievements, who wouldn’t want to dip their toes into one of these ten pools?

With increasing house prices, higher deposit requirements and stricter affordability tests, it is no surprise that First-Time Buyers are choosing to take their mortgages over a longer period of time.Loans have traditionally been taken over 25 years, but figures have shown a significant rise in the number of young buyers who now choose to take a mortgage for longer. A 30-year term is fairly typical today, but borrowers are even stretching to 35 or 40 years, in a bid to keep their monthly repayments as affordable as possible.Taking a repayment mortgage over a longer period of time will mean lower initial payments, and with lenders tightening up their affordability calculations over recent years, extending the mortgage term is the only way for some to get their foot onto the property ladder.Before doing so however, it is important to understand the implications. Payments could be hundreds of pounds cheaper per month by extending the term of the mortgage, but taking a loan over 40 years could ultimately result in thousands of pounds in additional interest over the life of the mortgage.

Buying a property could be the most expensive purchase we will make in our lifetime, so it's vital that we head into the deal fully prepared. A survey will identify the obvious faults but there are lots of things we can do to ensure we know exactly what we are paying for. Here we take a look at some of the simple but effective tasks we can do to protect ourselves and head into the purchase forewarned and forearmed. Uncovering some of the potential issues is not only a useful negotiation tool but, in some cases, could be a deal breaker.Appoint a surveyorA survey could be considered as an investment at a time when it seems like money is flowing out of your bank account faster than it's coming in. If there are issues, you can use the survey results to negotiate on price if you wish to proceed, although in some cases it may be a deal breaker. There are two main types of survey you can opt for, either a homebuyers report or a full structural survey. A homebuyer report is suitable for most properties that appear to be in a reasonable condition, it is non-intrusive and therefore only identifies any surface level issues, including damp or subsidence. The report also offers advice on any necessary repairs and maintenance required. For more unusual or period properties, it's a good idea to opt for a full structural survey. The surveyor is completely hands-on and will check everything. The report will include a list of defects and advice on repairs and maintenance and you can ask for a projection of anticipated costs and timings to make the required repairs.

There are many benefits to buying a property with a friend or family member and in some cases, it may be the only way of getting a first foot on to the property ladder. If your potential property-partner has a higher income and a clean credit history, it will go a long way towards securing you a great mortgage deal. Lenders reserve their best rates for those with sizeable deposits thus opening up a bigger choice of mortgages, so it is worth considering.Here are some of the do's and don'ts to consider when buying a property with a friend or family member.Have an open and honest conversationBuying a property together is a huge commitment. You must have a frank discussion in advance of purchasing anything to agree on your medium and longer term plans. You should only progress with the financials when you are both comfortable with the terms. The conversation should include agreement on the ownership percentages, how any ongoing expenses will be apportioned and what happens when one co-owner wants to sell. If this isn't agreed in advance, you could end up living with someone you don't know or even dislike. Check each other's credit report, income and outgoings to ensure that the mortgage can be covered in the event of a reduction in income.

Brexit is now over four weeks’ past, yet the residential property market is still searching for its mojo.

Ten-year fixed rates

Lenders react to possible base rate cut

UK HOUSE PRICE INDEX: MAY 2016 (released 19 July 2016)

Help-to-Buy 

Economic News - 12th July 2016

Coventry Building Society increases rental requirement

To put it simply, selling a home often boils down to the price. There are a few ways you can quickly identify properties which are overpriced, and this knowledge will put you in a better position when you’re looking to buy. It could well be a refreshing change to find that a property you love is actually overpriced, and not just completely out of your budget!   How long has it been on the market?Typically, the first month on the market is when a property gets the most action. When the flurry of activity dies down and the property has been for sale for six months, it can become stale. An often-quoted statistic is if a home has been on the market for 60 days or more, the chances are it’s not priced correctly. Although, it is worth noting that high-end homes are often on sale for a longer period.

City living and city cycling go hand-in-hand. Choosing cycling over driving will not only reduce your carbon footprint but you will also arrive to work energetic and carefree, having avoided that frustrating peak hour’s traffic. Since most cities now have dedicated cycle routes, and are usually backed by government investment, there are no more excuses! In case you need any help to get on your bike, here are some cycling-cities to try:

It’s no secret that moving house is listed as one of the most stressful things you can do. Choosing a good estate agent who will act as your partner during this process is a great starting point, but what do you do if things get a little overwhelming mid-pack? For some more practical advice about how you can organise your move, which will in turn save some stress, take a look at our Top 10 tips to make your move as easy as possible, for some great advice. No matter how well-planned your move is, stress can still arise. Here are 6 ways to help keep you calm and collected: Make a listThere will be many things which will stress you out when moving, but there are some things which might take you by surprise. You know yourself better than anyone, so if you know that a muddled sock drawer is one of your trigger points be prepared for it! A list is a good way to do this - it can act as an anti-stress to-do list as well as keep you organised. Relaxing activities We are all different and how we decompress varies greatly. Trying some simple yoga moves can help you to centre yourself and shut out your environment. If you are a beginner, be careful since the last thing you need is to pull a muscle and render you out of action. Similarly, meditation can be a good way to reframe your thoughts.

In an ideal world there would be no such thing as compromise – houses would perfectly match our long list of criteria, and fall within our budget. Sadly, the reality is a little more complex. Even within the same household, desires are often mismatched; there may be a good quality pint of IPA within walking distance, but there is no space to entertain friends. Trivial as these things may seem, where we live is an extension of who we are. Of course we adapt and change to our new home over time, but we are always seeking the ideal. Some of us are better at focusing on the practicalities, but moving house has a certain element of fantasy in it; we have to imagine our lives in the space, or how do we choose a new home? Knowing where you are prepared to compromise before you begin viewing properties will make the process that little bit less stressful. Here are some things we suggest you consider: Location Take a moment to think about how important location actually is to you. Be realistic about the distance you are prepared to travel each day – buying a beautiful home but having no time to enjoy it is most definitely not the aim. Are you someone who needs to be near some green space? Do you crave being on the trendiest high street in the area? If location is non-negotiable, be prepared for the likely trade-off when it comes to the property, smaller rooms or no study for example. Evaluate the local schools provision. If you are relocating children who are already in a school, this is likely to be top of your list, but if children are in your future it is still worth looking into. For example, a couple buying a two-bedroom house has the space to grow as a family – it would be sad to find you need to move for a better school. Knowing what the local crime levels is really important, make sure you do your research. Ask your Estate Agent for their comments, they can share their local knowledge with you. 

For today’s First Time Buyers, one of the biggest challenges involved in trying to get a foot on that elusive property ladder is raising the deposit.

Music is extremely powerful; it can stir up dormant memories and emotions and transport us through time and space in an instant. So could you use music to sell your home? It is no secret that marketing relies heavily on music to influence behaviour and, since selling your home is an exercise of advertising, maybe you too could use some melodic help?

Two weeks on, and the world (or at least the UK) seems to be getting to grips with the implications of our historic vote. The trains and buses are running as usual, cash dispensers are still working, and some of the frankly wild speculation is dying down (remember the talk of ‘emergency budgets’?). Marcus Whewell, CEO of The Guild, explores the uncharted territory and some of the more intelligent predictions that are emerging.

After some extraordinary recent market valuations, some financial analysts, such as Jefferies, the firm that advised Zoopla on their flotation, have warned that online estate agent Purplebricks is set to underperform. In a note in early June, Jefferies noted that their business model was about listings, not sales, commenting: “The numbers in the business model look very attractive, however it is our view they don’t add up. With no reward for actually selling a home, all eyes are focused on winning instructions, especially if Local Property Experts want to get close to the advertised On Target Earnings.”

In the last budget George Osborne announced that tax relief for landlords is to be cut, limiting the amount of income they can offset against mortgage interest payments. While the detail is fairly convoluted the basic outcome is that many, if not most, let properties will be less profitable – or indeed make an annual loss (though it’s to be hoped property price growth will ultimately overcome this).

UK HOUSE PRICE INDEX: APRIL 2016 (released 14 June 2016)

At the end of May, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) announced that their second estimate of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2016 would remain unrevised at 0.4 per cent. The report showed that the economy was strongly reliant on consumer spending, which increased by 0.7 per cent over the period, while companies had reduced investment owing to uncertainty over the outcome of the EU referendum. A trade deficit had also detracted from the GDP for the third consecutive quarter. The Bank of England revised its growth forecast for the second quarter of the year down to just 0.3 per cent.

95% loan-to-value mortgages improve

This month sees our beloved British strawberries come into season. Supermarket shelves heave with juicy punnets and 'Pick Your Own' farms are bustling full of people with red, stained mouths. So why not get picking (from a shelf or a farm - your choice!) and make the most of these beautiful berries whilst they're at their peak.When you're picking strawberries, look for unblemished berries with bright green hulls; let them come to room temperature before eating and always wash gently before you tuck in. And if you're lucky enough to end up with a glut of strawberries, here are some berry tasty things to do with them. Simply visit your friend Google to learn the methods and enjoy the fruits of your labour.JamWho wouldn't like to spread homemade strawberry jam on their toast in the morning or enjoy a jam scone as a treat? Why not look out for some beautiful little pots, fill with homemade jam and give to a friend as a thoughtful gift.Strawberry and Prosecco ice lolliesTry combining strawberries with your favourite fizz in an ice lolly mould and freeze. What better way could there be to cool down and get the party started on a beautiful, hot, summer evening...Homemade ice-creamYou don't need fancy machinery to churn out tasty homemade strawberry ice-cream, just be prepared to stir your mixture in the freezer every few hours to achieve a smoother texture. You could combine with other seasonal berries such as blueberries and raspberries for extra fruitiness.Eton messTake inspiration from the old-school dessert and add your own twist, such as a splash of kirsch to turn it into an adult-only version.Chocolate strawberriesWhat's not to love about the sweetness of a strawberry combined with the crunch of a chocolate shell? Delicious!SaladJazz up your salad by a

Currently, the broadcast media are awash with new models that claim to sell your house for a fraction of the costs that you might pay using a more established route to market – such as an independent, bricks and mortar, high street estate agent. Calculations of the potential savings are being distributed with abandon – but the current statistics are that over 95% of current residential sales still use the tried and tested model. So are the new kids in town just starting to attract smarter consumers, or is the enticement of a potentially cheaper fee covering over ‘potholes in the road’ that carry potentially serious consequences for the vendor?

We all think that we have the Best Dad for hundreds of different reasons, from picking us up in Dad's Taxi at silly o'clock in the morning, to standing in the rain cheering us on when we're trying our hardest to get that elusive equaliser. It’s safe to say that our dads will always be there for us just when we need them. With Father's Day fast approaching, now is our chance to make sure they know how much we love and appreciate them and so, we'd like to wish our Great British Dads a Very Happy Father's Day on Sunday 19th June 2016.  

The Government has recently announced details of a consultation, which plans to make switching bank accounts, utilities, and even mortgages easier for consumers, by forcing providers to improve their procedures. L&C, the UK's award-winning fee-free mortgage and insurance expert, helps us understand the switching process within the mortgage industry. 

Time wasters.  Carpet-traders.  Voyeurs.  Serial house-viewers with no intention of buying. It's a rising trend and so it's always a good idea to check the sincerity of potential buyers. We've put together 10 tell-tale signs you could be wasting your time with viewers that will never make an offer. Don't forget to ask questions, listen carefully and watch their body language.

First time buyers still struggling

ECONOMIC NEWS MAY 2016

Tracker mortgages

Is the 100% mortgage back?

LAND REGISTRY DATA: MARCH 2016 (released 28 April 2016)

Good news for older borrowers

The colours you choose for your home will play a large role in determining the feel of each room. When planning an interior makeover you should always choose a specific colour scheme and incorporate this into your design concept. Some people have an eye for colour and instinctively know which colours look good together. However, if you’re not sure what colours work well together, it is a good idea to use a colour wheel to help understand how different colours interact with each other.

If you are after a home with a difference, there are plenty of unusual properties on sale across the country. From a family-run zoo, to historic grand manors and individually designed houses with rare architectural features, there’s something for everyone. We’ve selected our favourite ten unusual properties currently on the market in the UK. 

One of the burning questions in the property market is whether the new ‘online’ models are a passing fancy, or a fundamental disruptor to an industry which has seen little major change in the last 10 years. Marcus Whewell, CEO of The Guild of Professional Estate Agents, discusses what impact they will have on the estate agency industry. 

We all know that Spring is generally the best time to sell your house. The bright daylight will make your home look lovely and people tend to have clear schedules. But what about an exact month? We’ve dug a little deeper than just seasons and have searched out the best month for all different kinds of properties.

Award winning beaches, a 2,500-year-old castle and a number of attractions make Scarborough very popular with families. In fact, people have been flocking to the historic coastal town since the 1600s when the spa waters were discovered, and today it’s still as popular as ever. Thanks to the thriving town centre, community events and close proximity to the beautiful North York Moor National Park, no wonder that so many families choose to live in this coastal town.

When it comes to choosing which estate agent to sell your home, it can often feel like you’re splitting hairs. They all claim to offer the best solution by getting you the best price for your property. But is this all that moving home is about? Good estate agents will take the stress of moving home out of your hands. So how do you find one that you can trust to look after everything for you, while still achieving the best possible price? The answer is simple, look for The Guild badge! Here’s an insight on why your local Guild Member can help you secure the best result.

In recent years, buying a house and getting the keys has reportedly been increasingly difficult. Marcus Whewell, CEO of The Guild of Professional Estate Agents, asks why and considers if the UK needs a new approach how property transactions are governed.

With the government pledging to build one million new homes by 2020, more buyers are being encouraged to buy newly built properties. So what are the perks of buying a new home compared to an older property? Firstly, they are built to the latest building standards and usually come with a 10-year warranty, meaning you’re covered if you have any structural issues. They’re typically more energy efficient, too, meaning they’re cheaper to run and, depending on how close they are to completion, you may be able to add a few of your own specifications.

This month has seen the release of a number of statistics suggesting a weakening of the UK economy. The Office for National Statistics (the ONS) reported that, in February, the UK’s industrial output saw its biggest decline since August 2013, falling by 0.5 per cent from a year earlier. Over the same period, manufacturing output was down 1.8 per cent. These figures were weaker than expected, raising fears over the growth prospects of the UK economy for the first quarter of 2016. Separate ONS figures revealed that the UK’s trade deficit in February was also worse than expected.

LAND REGISTRY DATA: FEBRUARY 2016 (released 30 March 2016)

London is about to vote and select a new mayor – probably one of the 10 most powerful and influential political positions in the country. Marcus Whewell, CEO of The Guild of Professional Estate Agents, examines what impact the London election could have on the capital’s property market.

The largest village in the district, Chew Magna is a beautiful historic village set within the picturesque Chew Valley, in the North of Somerset.

Britain is a pretty amazing place to live, but what made it great in the first place? Well, we reckon it might have something to do with its beautiful countryside, charming villages, gorgeous market towns and picturesque cities. This selection of the prettiest places to live in the UK will have you dreaming of packing up and moving away. Or, if you are already lucky enough to live in one of these places, you’ll be feeling very smug indeed, and so you should!

With its many attractions, including its famous circular tube station, Southgate has a cosmopolitan feel yet a strong residential community. Thanks to the Piccadilly Line’s arrival back in 1933, it only takes a swift 30 minutes before you’re in the delights of glittering Central London. Yet the suburb feels like its own little town with some lovely green spaces, a bunch of handy shops and a plethora of restaurants to satisfy your every taste.  It’s especially in demand at the moment and families are rushing to get their hands on a place to call home in the area.Pubs and places to eat Ye Olde Cherry Tree stands out for many as the pub of choice. It has the perfect mix of old and new, and it serves up some mouth-watering food alongside a selection of delicious beers and wines. For a more country pub vibe, head over to The Woodman, and expect to be greeted by a friendly face.La Paella is an absolute treat and they have a wonderful tapas selection as well as fun flamenco evenings. Green’s Steakhouse & Grill is another favourite amongst the locals and we’re told their gourmet burgers are to die for. Green spaces and leisureOne of the many reasons that makes Southgate a winner amongst families is the number of green spaces which provide that laid-back lifestyle most families living in London crave.Grovelands Park is home to a mansion, a golf course, a café, a putting green, a basketball court and lots of space for walking, running and cycling. Broomfield Park is another popular choice, attracting swathes of families all year round to enjoy the water garden, orchard and 21 hectares of green open space. You’ve also got Cockfosters’ Trent Country Park a short journey away, which plays host to all sorts of festivities throughout the summer. Transport linksThe Piccadilly Line will take you from Southgate into Central London within 30 minutes and there are a number of local buses to help you get around. It’s also close to the M25 for visiting family and friends across the country, and Heathrow and Luton airports are both only about 45 minutes away for jetting off to lands faraway.  SchoolsThere are a number of schools in Southgate, making it an excellent choice for those with little ones. For primary and juniors, there’s Salcombe Preparatory School, Walker Primary School and Osidge Primary. For children aged 11 and upwards, Ashmole Academy and The Compton School are popular choices.  Types of propertyYou’ll find Georgian houses, Victorian cottages and Edwardian homes across the area, alongside lots of 1930s interwar properties. The ‘Meadway’ and ‘Lakes’ estates are generally the most sought-after postcodes. Property marketBennett Walden in Southgate has reported a lack of supply in the area with lots of people looking to buy good houses. Prices have, unsurprisingly, risen, and it’s thought that this is down to the lack of property to meet the market’s high demand.For more information on Southgate and the surrounding area, please contact Bennett Walden on 0208 886 1777.

This month, many new regulations are coming into force that will affect the property market. Marcus Whewell, The Guild's CEO, highlights key laws and discusses what impact these could have on the UK's housing.

If it’s a project you’re after, then look no further. There is a whole host of properties on the market with bags of potential for refurbishment or the chance to completely start from scratch. All of these properties are just waiting for someone to snap them up and transform them into dream homes. Take your pick!Gillingham, Norfolk - £550,000On the Norfolk coast, there are five barns ready and waiting for people to show them some love and attention. Planning permission is already in place and you can choose from five different sized units on offer.

The recent budget confirmed that an additional 3% of Stamp Duty will be introduced on second homes, in an attempt to curb the growth of the private rental market. But what are the potential implications, especially for the vast majority of homeowners for whom purchasing a second property is a faraway dream? Marcus Whewell, CEO of The Guild of Professional Estate Agents, explores the possible outcomes.The immediate impact has been to accelerate investment in so-called ‘Buy To Let’ properties, with a rush to complete before the new tax comes into force. Surprisingly, this has affected homes and flats up to £1.5m in value, not just those at the lower end of the price spectrum.The UK is already suffering a severe shortage of new instructions (with buyer to vendor ratios at record levels), so the immediate impact will be to push up asking prices and limit availability for the remainder of the residential market. But what is likely to happen in the medium term?I believe that the market for ‘Buy To Let’ is unlikely to fundamentally change, for several reasons:-    Despite the tax, yields on rentals remain on average higher than other investment options such as ISAs.-    Rental investments are perceived by many as ‘less risky’ than shares, commodities or pensions.-    House prices are likely to continue to rise faster than inflation, given the long-term imbalance of supply and demand, so equity growth is also highly likely.If you are a Buy To Let Investor…When the cost of buying a private rental property increases, rents would normally follow suit as landlords seek to maintain their margins / returns. For that reason, one likely effect is a rise in prices and rents. Also, many larger landlords (i.e. those with more properties) may now try to incorporate themselves to avoid the extra stamp duty. Longer term, there are other measures being introduced to deter this sector of the market, such as no longer allowing the offsetting of mortgage costs against rental income for tax purposes. This might put off investors, or again just nudge up rents, but it’s difficult to say at this stage.So the long-term trend looks unaltered, but you may need to keep hold of your investment for longer to recoup the additional taxes.If you are a first timer buyer…The extra ISA and saving allowances will help those saving for a deposit, but this could easily be cancelled out by higher rents or continuing house price rises. In fact, the latest statistics from ONS show that there has been an 8.6% rise in property prices in the last 12 months in England. Therefore, on first analysis, it seems there is little here to assist the aspiring homeowner. Overall, what is really needed to make a fundamental difference for the first time buyer is an expansive, affordable housebuilding programme.  Or an existing homeowner looking to move…You are probably the least affected of all the groups. Purchase prices may nudge up a little, but so in the majority of cases will the value of the home you are selling.Fundamentally, barring some significant external shocks from the forthcoming Euro referendum (another story), residential property will remain in short supply against rising demand (growing population, smaller family units. people living longer, people less willing to downsize) – so buying a house, in many people’s eyes, remains ‘a one-way bet’.The one caveat here is potential interest rates rises. Rates are unrealistically low and many mortgagees have no significant ‘rainy day’ savings, especially as they are already stretching their finances to secure the property of their choice. It has been estimated that current rates are between 1% and 2% below long-term sustainable levels, and the unwinding of quantitative easing may start this correction process.So a summary could easily be that the Government has decided to collect some relatively ‘easy money’ to try to help balance the books - but it has missed the fundamental flaw in the property market. To adapt a famous phrase, ’it’s the supply, stupid!’.

When valuing your house, an estate agent will look at both the positives and negatives to determine an accurate figure. It’s very easy to point out all the things you love about your house, but have you thought about what might put buyers off and have an adverse effect on the value? Here’s our list of the top 10 features that can devalue properties the most, and we’ve included a few handy tips to help you turn any negatives into positives. Japanese knotweedThis invasive species spreads very quickly and can cause damage to roads and properties. If you have Japanese knotweed, it can devalue your property due to the risk it can pose to your house. You could also be at risk of prosecution if is spreads to any neighbouring properties. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you remove the weed from your property before you put it on the market in order to avoid devaluing your home. There are lots of trained professionals across the UK who can remove the tough weed effectively and put measures in place to help prevent it from returning. Wind farmsMore and more wind farms have been built over the past ten years as part of a quest to find more renewable energy sources. In fact, we now have approximately 5,226 turbines here on British soil. Although these have a positive impact on our environment overall, they can devalue properties if the farm is very close by, as they create noise and some people find them unsightly. It’s a good idea to find out if there are any proposed wind farms nearby before you buy your next property as it could devalue your house in the future. If you live near a wind farm, explain to your estate agent what impact (if any) it has had on you and focus on the positives. They can use this information when showing buyers round your house.

After saving for a deposit, finding that first home to buy and taking the leap is an exciting step in anyone’s life. These top 20 homes for first time buyers are ideal for those looking to get on the property ladder, and they’re all on the market for under £150k.Gulval, Penzance - £135,000In Cornwall, you can purchase part of this converted Tudor manor house for just £135,000. The one-bedroom property has lots of gorgeous period features and you can use the on-site heated indoor swimming pool, bar, tennis courts and mini golf.

One of the main concerns for anyone selling their property is the price. Achieving the best possible price is essential, as it puts you in a strong position when buying your next property and attaining a suitable mortgage. When we say the ‘best price’, we mean the most achievable price, which comes down to how much a buyer is willing to pay. This figure can be different from buyer to buyer, so it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how to achieve the best price for your property. Sometimes, houses sell for less than their anticipated value, which can happen due to a number of factors, including the current local market, supply and demand, time of year and how effectively the property has been marketed. There are, however, a number of rules you can follow that will help your property attract the buyers who are willing to pay its estimated value.Estate agentsChoosing the right estate agent is essential as they will be the ones finding your buyers, showing them round and advising you on price. Refrain from immediately choosing the agent with the highest valuation as it may be unachievable and it’s likely that you’ll have to considerably lower the price in order to sell. Do some research and find an agent that you feel confident in. You want an agent who’s positive and sincere, as they will be persuasive when it comes to selling. Ask neighbours, friends and family which agents they have worked with and ask how easy they found the buying process. Chances are, if they were happy in the agent’s hands when buying their house, your buyers will feel the same. It’s also a good idea to find out how they will market your home and how they will select buyers, as this is key to finding the right buyers who will pay a reasonable price for your property. PriceWhen deciding what price to market your property at, do your own research as well as taking advice from your estate agent. Decide on a price that’s achievable and then work with your estate agent to determine a strategy that will enable you to fetch that price. It could be by marketing your property at a slightly higher price to leave room for negotiation, or at a slightly lower price and asking for offers over and above that figure. This usually depends on your marketplace and whether there is high demand for property in your area. Check your DIYYou don’t necessarily need to do lots of DIY to achieve the best price, but make sure any improvements you have made are up to scratch. Any sub-standard work might reduce the value of your property and buyers could use this to negotiate a lower price. Target your buyersIn order to achieve the best possible price, you need to make your buyers realise that it’s the one for them, which can require slight reconfiguration. Think carefully about who your target buyers are and tweak rooms to suit their lifestyles. Highlight and downplayNot everything in your house will be a pull-factor and equally, there will be many features that make it a dream home for lots of people. Make a list of pros and cons, and find ways of highlighting the positives and downplaying the negatives. This can be as simple as changing your light fittings to highlight a modern kitchen or neutrally decorating a small room so it seems like a handy extra space rather than a problem.  Flag up the positivesTell your estate agent what you love about your property and the area. Unless you tell them about your great neighbours, the lovely pub down the road and the convenient places to park the car, they won’t necessarily know. Also point out any recent changes you’ve made to the property so they can show off what’s new. Planning permissionAlthough doing any renovation work prior to your sale might be unrealistic and potentially costly, getting planning permission for an extension or conversion can show off the potential of your property. Speak to your estate agent first and find out if this will be attractive to your target buyers.FeedbackDuring the viewing process, always ask for feedback and take any advice on board. You might be able to find solutions to any problems and avoid putting off future buyers. Like this post? Read more on this topic here.

With Easter weekend just a few days away, now is the time to get crafty and adorn your house with homemade decorations. We may not make as much of a fuss of Easter as we do Christmas, but it’s a lovely opportunity to bring family and friends together for a weekend of fun. If you’re the host this weekend and haven’t even thought about decorations, then look no further; these ideas are simple, stylish and shouldn’t do too much damage to your wallet.  BuntingIt’s so easy to make your own bunting. Cut shapes out of card and glue them onto a long piece of string, measuring the gaps in between each shape so they’re evenly spaced. You can go for a classic triangle shape, or make it Easter themed with different shapes such as eggs, bunnies and lambs. Try using cookie cutters as outlines for your shapes to get a neat shape. To make crafting your own bunting as easy as possible, use materials that are already patterned or colourful. Old books, colour charts and magazines work well, or you can glue pretty napkins onto plain card. Hang your bunting above the fireplace, across a window or on a plain wall to make a statement. Easter picturesReplace a few of your framed photographs with Easter pictures. Simply cut out an Easter shape out of patterned card using the outline of a cookie cutter as a guide, and glue onto paper. If you do this to a few photographs within a collection, it will make more of an impact.

The daffodils are coming up, the sun is coming out and the UK property market is poised for action. With Christmas out of the way, lots of people choose to put their homes on the market in spring, so they’re ready to move in summer. This busy property market can present a bit of a challenge for selling your home, as there’s plenty of competition.  Here’s our simple guide on how to successfully sell your home over the next few months. TimingWhen we say spring, we mean March, April and May. So how do you decide when the best month, or even week, to put your house on the market is? This all depends on who is most likely to be interested in your house. If your most likely buyers are families, you might want to avoid the Easter holidays. However, if your property is suited to young professionals, it could be a good idea to market your property during the bank holidays when they are off work and keen to begin searching. Speak to your estate agent to find the optimum time to market your home in order to achieve the most amount of interest.DIY Make the most of the bank holiday weekends that spring up over the course of the next few months and do some DIY jobs. Fixing any problems and doing some light decoration can easily give your house a fresh look. Remember, lots of other houses on the market will have had a quick revamp, so make sure yours looks just as appealing.Spring CleanIt goes without saying that a spring clean works wonders when selling homes. Go beyond a quick wipe round and use the opportunity to have a big declutter and deep clean. And make sure you pay attention to the windows – any streaks will instantly show up when the sun comes gleaming through.

The Guild's CEO, Marcus Whewell, offers insights on the Budget 2016 and what the announcements could mean for the UK property market.George Osborne’s budget was forecast to be relatively predictable – and so it proved (apart from the so-called Sugar Tax).Given his limited room for financial manoeuvre, very few commentators expected any significant giveaways. In reality, the summary was more so-called ‘sin taxes’ and proposed reductions in public sector spending (though a little short on specifics), balanced by help for small businesses and moderate gains for individual savers (via higher ISA allowances and a raising of personal tax thresholds).With regard to the housing market, any (small) benefits will be felt indirectly. The small encouragement to savers (see above) will help buyers with regard to accumulating deposits. Also, the commitment to big transport projects such as HS3 and Crossrail may help to alleviate the severe housing congestion in certain locations by improving commuter times – all assuming the projects survive until completion.The Chancellor confirmed his intention to raise Stamp Duty rates for the buy-to-let market, and also focused on UK taxation on domestic projects for overseas property developers – but this will have little, if any, impact on ‘middle England’. Indeed, these actions may actually drive up rents and reduce the supply of private sector rental properties, which is currently filling the gap left by the dramatic reduction in public sector housing over recent decades, and also the challenged position of housing associations.But perhaps the most significant aspect of the budget for home movers is ‘general sentiment’ – which is an important factor in determining timing and volumes for the residential market. His ‘steady the ship in the face of growing headwinds’ approach reflects expectations of a reduction in UK growth rates, a marked slowdown in China, and uncertainty around the forthcoming European referendum. This should lead to a slight slowdown in house price rises (probably a good thing) - but will do little to encourage increased housebuilding, which is fast becoming a priority for the UK economy and its growing population.It is, perhaps, surprising that such a key component of the economy is effectively left to the vagaries of ‘speculative market forces’. The property market represents an important source of tax revenue - it helps people move to secure new employment, it can determine allocation of school places, and also feeds other important secondary markets and businesses such as solicitors, estate agencies, and DIY / home improvement (buyers and sellers).So, perhaps like the Sugar Tax, there were not too many sweeteners for current and aspirational homeowners!

Economic News 01 March 2016

LAND REGISTRY DATA: JANUARY 2016 (released 26 February 2016)

LAND REGISTRY DATA: DECEMBER 2015 (released 29 January 2016)

With one of the busiest time for property market just around the corner, some of us will be gearing up for a house move this spring. Moving can be a truly daunting experience, especially if you’re relocating for the first time. To ensure a smooth transition from old to new, we’re bringing you some useful tips to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. 

With spring just around the corner, pretty daffodils, tulips and periwinkles will be flowering in gorgeous cottage gardens across the country. There couldn’t be a better time to appreciate the handsome cottages that we have here in the UK. Without further ado, here is a charming selection of some of the most beautiful cottages on the market today.

An increasing number of people are now renting rather than buying. In fact, PwC has recently predicted that by 2025, 7.2m households will be in rented accommodation, compared to 5.4m in 2015.

As of the 1st February 2016, no tenancy can legally commence until the right to rent has been established. But what exactly is right to rent? Here is a very brief overview.

Is Britain truly unaffordable? We searched the country to find the best buys on the property market for you – and the homes all come with more than a friendly price tag!

Monochrome features heavily on catwalks across the world as it’s chic and eye-catching. This fashion statement is equally as stylish in properties and a very easy look to achieve. Simply pare down the decoration in a room to just black and white and then add a few soft furnishings of one bright colour at various points to open up the space.Interesting lighting instantly brings a modern touch to any home. Fitting lights above cabinets will create an unexpected glow, while lights within skirting boards have a particularly luxurious feel. For a quick fix, try replacing your existing lampshades with a modern alternative.Arranging your furniture symmetrically works very well for creating an elegant, classic look that’s pleasing on the eye. In the living room, you could position two sofas facing each other with a coffee table in between for a classic style. In bedrooms, place the bed in the centre of the wall with matching bedside tables either side. In kitchens, this is much more difficult to do, but you can work with how you dress the dining table with symmetrically arranged candles and vases.Free-standing furniture is a key trend at the moment and incorporating a few pieces in your home will help to give it the wow-factor. While free-standing islands in the kitchen and wood-burning stoves in the living room are particularly striking, they can be expensive, especially when you’re looking to move home. To avoid spending too much, consider investing in a free-standing cabinet or mirror that you can take with you. These handy pieces of furniture will look good in any home and are useful for making rooms feel larger, too.If your property benefits from a gorgeous view, make the most of it by drawing the eye towards windows. Dressing windowsills with candles, scent diffusers or a vase of flowers will catch the eye and encourage people to take a look at what’s beyond.It’s also worth paying attention to the front of your house to give it kerb appeal. We like to feel proud of our homes and part of this is down to what is looks like from the outside. Give the exterior of your house the wow-factor by painting your door in a bold colour, placing two box plants either side of the door and buying a new door knocker and house numbers. It’s a good idea to choose items that catch your eye while your shopping as these are the ones that will also catch the attention of your buyers. There are so many ways of making your house stand out from the crowd and a good rule of thumb is to highlight your favourite features, or the ones that caught your eye when you bought the property. If you’re planning on making changes or buying any additions, make sure you do so before the photographer arrives so your home stands out on your estate agent’s website and the property portals.

These days, kitchens are not only used for cooking, but are now the hub of a family social life. So how do you create the perfect kitchen - one that reflects the practical needs of a modern lifestyle yet remains pleasing on the eye, fitting for hosting dinner parties and entertaining?

Often, we feel like we have to compromise on space to find a home in the most desirable locations. Sure, when it comes to living in more lucrative postcodes, especially city based ones, the properties tend to come in smaller packaging. But there’s no need to worry because we have come up with a selection of simple tips that will instantly transform little to large. Keep your home tidyThis is by far the most important rule - mess and clutter make even the largest of rooms feel smaller. The good news is that small spaces are usually easy to maintain, so there’s no need to spend hours sweeping and polishing.Choose clever furnitureOpt for furniture that is proportionally suitable to the size of your apartment or house. By choosing furniture on legs, you can bring a sense of lightness to rooms. Make sure you leave a gap between the furniture and walls to create breathing space.

It’s a classic question: should I sell my current home before buying my next home? There’s no straightforward answer to this complex dilemma. A great deal of your decision depends on your situation and how quickly you need to move.We’ve created a list of pros and cons to help you decide which option is best for you. Remember, there’s no correct way of approaching the property market, and keeping your options open means you won’t miss a valuable opportunity.Selling first - The ProsThe Power of Negotiation – By selling first, you have the advantage of time and, therefore, you shouldn’t have to lower your asking price in order to sell quickly.  Strong Buying Position – When it comes to buying, you will be in a strong position as you can move quickly. This is often attractive to those who are keen to sell, which allows you to negotiate a competitive price for the property. You’re also in a favourable position to other buyers and this can help you to secure your dream home if you’re in competition. Knowing your Costings – Once you’ve sold your home, you know how much you can afford to spend on your next property. This can make your property search much more practical and straightforward.Selling first - The ConsMissing your Dream Home – If you concentrate on selling your home first, you could let your dream home pass you by. It’s advised that you keep your eyes open for properties coming to the market while you’re selling to avoid missing out on that ideal home. Priced Out – If house prices are rising, you might be disappointed with the houses that you can afford once you’ve sold. Use the expert market knowledge of your estate agent so you can stay on top of the market and avoid getting priced out. Renting – In order to keep your buyer, you may have to move into rented accommodation and put some of your furniture into storage if you haven’t bought your next home. This can be costly, but it puts you in a strong position when you want to make an offer on your next property.  Buying first - The ProsHouse Viewings – With no pressure to move out of your existing home, you can enjoy the buying process and take the time to look into different areas and houses. Secure your Dream Home – If you’ve found your dream home, it can be a good idea to buy first to secure the property while you have the opportunity. Rising House Prices – If house prices are rising, you can buy a property while it’s still in your price range and avoid getting priced out of the market. Buying first - The ConsQuick Sale – You may have to accept a lower offer on your existing property in order to sell your home in time.Two Mortgages – Buying first could leave you in the precarious financial position of having to pay two mortgages at the same time if your current home doesn’t sell quickly enough. You could get a bridging loan to cover the transition but be aware that rates can be high. Another option is to rent out your existing home, but this gives you the added pressure of being a landlord whilst trying to move.

From next month, important new regulations are coming into force that all businesses, including estate agencies, need to be aware of and adhere to.

Remortgage borrowing on the rise

Mortgages for the self-employed

LAND REGISTRY DATA: NOVEMBER 2015 (released 30 December 2015)

ECONOMIC NEWS: December 2015/January 2016

Consultation on Stamp Duty for Additional Properties Launched

Base rate to stay low longer. Again.

In early October, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee held its monthly meeting and voted by eight to one to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.5 per cent. Ian McCafferty was the dissenting voice who voted for a quarter-point rate rise for a third month in a row.

LAND REGISTRY DATA: SEPTEMBER 2015 (released 28 October 2015)

Buy to Let continues to grow

Economic News 24 September 2015

Interest Only Borrowers need to plan

LAND REGISTRY DATA: AUGUST 2015 (released 28 September 2015)

Mortgages for older borrowers

With the tougher mortgage rules in place since 2014 getting a mortgage perhaps seems to be a more complex process than ever.

Lenders have always had differing distribution strategies, from relying entirely on mortgage brokers, to having different pricing for branches and brokers, to not accepting introduced business at all.

The hot topic of the moment is once again when will Base Rate start to rise.  That was stoked up initially by the comments by The Governor of the Bank of England that the need to consider an increase would come into “sharper relief” around the turn of the year.

Compared to the Stamp Duty overhaul last time round, the July budget was less dramatic for the housing market but still had a couple of notable changes.

At a time when borrowers are enjoying record low interest rates, but savers are struggling to make their money work for them, offset mortgages can really come into their own. This type of scheme allows homeowners to link their savings or current account balances to their mortgage and only pay interest on the difference between the two.

Fixed rate mortgages have been the most popular type of mortgage by far, which is not likely to come as a surprise given the ultra low rates on offer.  With Bank of England Base Rate at rock bottom borrowers like the certainty that fixed rates offer, especially when interest rates look set to climb at some point.

According to the July 2015 Land Registry data, there was a monthly increase in average house prices across England and Wales of 1.7 per cent. The East region experienced the greatest monthly price rise at 2.8 per cent, followed by London at 2.5 per cent, while only Wales experienced a fall at minus 0.3 per cent.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that in the second quarter of 2015, the UK economy grew by 0.7 per cent, compared to 0.4 per cent in the first quarter. The Bank of England forecasts that, for the year as a whole, the UK economy will grow by 2.8 per cent, maintaining the same momentum as shown last year, when the economy expanded by 3 per cent – its best result since 2006. The Confederation for British Industry (CBI) has also upgraded its forecasts for this year at 2.6 per cent and next year at 2.8 per cent, based on an expectation of increased household spending, robust investment growth and an interest rate increase to 0.75 per cent in the first quarter of 2016.

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