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Guide for First-Time Property Sellers

Selling a property for the first time? Here’s a helpful guide to help you navigate the process. A two-minute read.

 

Putting your property on the market can be stressful at the best of times, and even more so if you’ve never done it before. But don’t worry. With planning and preparation, you can avoid some common property pitfalls.

 

Let’s assume that you’ve made up your mind that it’s time to sell. Here are the next steps that you need to take.

 

Do your research

Look at similar properties already on the market and note their asking price and state of repair. How does your home compare? If it needs a spruce-up/declutter, make a to-do list and get started. You’d be surprised what a difference a lick of paint and a few minor tweaks can make.

 

Nail your admin

Go through bank statements and get a clear picture of your earnings and expenditure (no cheating), so you know what you can afford in terms of mortgage repayments. It’s also worth getting together all the paperwork for your home: deeds and details of leasehold or share of freehold arrangements (if applicable). This will speed things up further along the selling process.

 

Money talks

Your big move will most likely involve purchasing another property, so discuss your financing options with an independent mortgage adviser. Be aware that if you have an existing mortgage, you may get hit with an early exit fee if you sell and move mortgages to a different provider.

 

Choose an agent

Recommendations from family and friends can provide a useful starting point but always talk to more than one agent. We suggest you invite three agents around to value your property. Ask lots of questions and be wary of agents giving unrealistically high valuations – they’re telling you porkies to land the listing.

 

Also, steer clear of agents trying to lock you into an extended tie-in (some make you commit for 24 weeks and an additional 28-day notice period). If they need half a year to sell your home, they’re not very good.

 

Instruct a solicitor

It’s useful to have a legal eagle on board before the sales process kicks into full swing. Again, ask around for recommendations and talk to your agent, who will also have contacts. As with choosing an agent, the cheapest isn’t always the best. Go for a solicitor with a good reputation.

 

Get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

You’ll need to get an EPC (it’s a legal requirement), and your agent will help you arrange this.

 

Dress your home

When it’s time for your property’s marketing photos, talk to your agent about how best to present your home. Take their suggestions on board because first impressions really do matter.

 

Here at Silverspring Sales, we have a great sales track record. Get in touch to find out more about our winning formula.

 

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Six Instagram Interior Design Accounts You’ll Love

In this quick read, we’ve pulled together some of the most popular interior design profiles on Instagram to give you some inspiration.

 

Are you fed up with bland magnolia walls, wilting pot plants and tired kitchen cupboards? Then grab your phone and click onto Instagram. It’s a hotbed of aspirational interior design, décor on a budget and tips on how to make the most of small spaces. Here are six of the best accounts to follow.

 

The name of this profile gives it away – beautiful home ideas that are affordable and easy to get hold of.

 

The focus of the account is how to style a room, and it gives great insight into colour schemes, soft furnishings and where to buy budget-friendly items from popular high street stores.

 

Run by interior designer Katy Orme, this account shows the transformation of her South East London home.

 

Simple lines, bold colours and perfectly placed statement furniture pieces have us swooning with envy. Worth a follow if you like a mix of classic pieces with modern/bold patterns.

 

This account was voted one of London’s best interior design blogs in 2016 and is all about bright colours, bold patterns and ridiculously neat and tidy spaces (even the inside of the fridge looks perfect).

 

Curated by Geraldine Tan, an interior design teacher amongst other things, her colour choices might not be for everyone, but are well worth a look if you’re fed up with plain white walls.

 

These two women are not only BFFs, but they’re design, DIY and cleaning gurus. Once you’ve scrolled past the countless pics of their cute kids, they both offer great cleaning and tidying tips, budget-friendly soft furnishings, the most organised kitchen cupboards you’ve ever seen and beautifully decorated rooms.

 

We’ve probably all visited the big blue and yellow furniture God at least once in our lives. Who hasn’t struggled with flat-pack drawers or left the marketplace lugging all sorts of unnecessary bits and pieces? This account is genius. Not only does it style common furniture pieces in unique ways, but it also offers advice and hacks on how to fix everyday problems.

 

At first glance, yes, this is just an account of someone’s shoes on various floors, but it’s also a tile-lover’s haven. From amazing colours to geometric patterns, ceramics to cement, here’s a profile all about making tiles trendy. You’ll be desperate to give your bathroom floor a makeover once you’ve had a peep.

 

Have you got a favourite Instagram home account? At Silverspring sales, we love a bit of interior design, comment below with your top profile.

 

 

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What You Need to Do Now to Be in a New Home by Christmas

Severe conveyancing delays mean savvy sellers must act now to be in a new home by Christmas.

 

You probably think it’s too early to be thinking about Christmas, right? After all, why worry about tinsel, trees and a present for dear old Aunt Bertha when it’s the middle of summer?

 

But if you’re planning to move home and hope to be in your new pad by Christmas, then now is the time to get moving. Let us explain why there’s no time to delay.

 

Conveyancing logjam

There are currently huge conveyancing delays in the UK. As a result, once a sale has been agreed, it takes on average 150 days to complete the purchase*. (To put this into context, this is 50 days longer than it took back in 2019.)

 

Now, some buyers and sellers (especially the ones with proactive agents) might be able to navigate the conveyancing process faster than the average time. But property transactions can be complicated, so it’s essential to work to a realistic timeframe to avoid disappointment.

 

Get the ball rolling

If you hope to sell your home and purchase a new one, the first step is to market your current property.

 

There are many reasons why you should do this before you start searching for your dream home:

  • You’ll put yourself in a stronger negotiating position. Aware of lagging completion times, many sellers are prioritising offers from buyers who are ready to move.

 

  • While the market is experiencing completion delays, sales are being agreed in record time (on average 32 days**). So even if you do shake hands on your dream home, if you’re not organised, there’s a risk that the seller will get impatient and walk away from the deal.

 

  • If you’ve accepted an offer on your property, you’ll know exactly where you stand regarding budget.

 

  • You won’t be tempted to accept a lower offer on your home because you’re desperate to hurry the sale along so that you don’t miss out on your dream property.

 

For advice on marketing your home to achieve top asking price or for a valuation, get in touch with us here at Silverspring Sales.

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Let the Children Play – Join the Scheme Bringing Communities Together

We all know that kids these days spend more time indoors (often on screens) and less time running around outside. If you’re a parent or carer frustrated by this trend, read on to learn how some parents are fighting back through a scheme called Playing Out.

 

What is Playing Out?

Playing Out was set up in 2009 by two mums dismayed that their kids couldn’t play out on the street like they did when they were growing up.

 

The pair asked their local council for permission to temporarily close their road to traffic to allow the children to play, run, skate, cycle and scoot in the street safely.

 

After a bit of paperwork and consultation, the first Playing Out session was held and was such a success that it became a regular fixture.

 

Since then, more than 500 streets in the UK have introduced similar schemes. Here’s how it works.

 

  • To instigate a Play Street scheme, you must ask the council for permission to close the road for a few hours. If your council doesn’t have an official Playing Out policy, you can apply using the council’s Street Party policy.

 

  • Playing Out sessions usually last for three hours. Volunteer stewards patrol each end of the street to ensure a rogue driver doesn’t ignore the road closure signs. If a resident in the street needs to use their car, a steward will walk ahead of the vehicle to ensure it’s safe.

 

  • Some streets have occasional Playing Out sessions. Others opt for monthly events, while some keen beans do it weekly.

 

Playing Out benefits

Health: The scheme encourages physical activity, and with childhood obesity at record levels, that’s got to be a good thing.

 

Friendships: Kids make friends and develop social skills.

 

Sense of community: Residents of all age groups can enjoy a natter and get to know each other better.

 

Top tips

  • The Playing Out website (playingout.net) offers a step-by-step guide to starting your own scheme. Save time by making use of their experience and expertise.
  • Before applying to the council, speak to your neighbours. Discussing your plan with them is important as the whole point of Playing Out is that it’s inclusive.
  • When you notify people about a session, remind parents that they must accompany their children and be responsible for their safety and behaviour.

 

  • To keep things manageable, don’t publicise your Playing Out event too widely.

 

From all of us here at Silverspring Sales, thanks for reading.

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Equity Release: A Great Idea Or Just Another Loan?

Have you heard of ‘unlocking the value of your home’? Do you know what it’s all about? If you’re over 55, chances are you’ve seen or heard this phrase several times from targeted advertising.

 

While ‘unlocking value’ might sound like an elaborate spiritual journey or magic trick, instead, it’s quite dull and refers to equity release.

 

So, what is equity release? Is it a good idea? How does it work?

 

In this quick read, we go through the essentials. 

 

What is equity release? 

In simple terms, equity release is turning some or all the value of your home into tax-free cash without having to sell or move. The amount depends on the value of your home minus the mortgage or any loans you have on it.

 

It’s a long-term loan that is repaid by the sale of your home once you pass away (or enter long-term care). It can be paid in a lump sum or smaller amounts over time in the form of a lifetime mortgage agreement or home reversion plan (when you sell part of your home to a home reversion company).

 

Why get equity release? 

There are many reasons, and often it’s pitched by lending companies as a way to enjoy your golden years.

 

People use the money to fund things such as home-based care, adapting a property to suit changing needs and helping children with property deposits. It’s your choice how you spend the cash that is released.

 

Is it a good idea? 

As with any large loan, equity release has advantages and disadvantages.

 

Advantages include regular cash payments or a one-off lump sum to top up your retirement income and the opportunity to enjoy any increase in value of your property since you purchased it.

 

If you choose a lifetime mortgage agreement, you can still live in the property and be a homeowner.

 

What are the disadvantages of equity release? 

It is a complex and binding financial agreement.

 

It impacts the amount of money the beneficiaries of your will are likely to get once you pass away. Also, equity release can lower the amount of means-tested benefits (such as pension credits and council tax support) you previously might have been entitled to and may reduce the amount of care you are eligible for.

 

If you opt for a home reversion plan, the financial company will part-own your property.

 

What to do if you’re considering equity release? 

If this is something you’re considering, it’s important to consult a financial adviser to understand the full implications. There are many specialist equity release advisers you can speak to, and charities such as Age UK may also assist.

 

At Silverspring Sales, we hope this short guide has been useful. If you are considering selling your home, please contact us.