WHAT IS AN EPC?
September 23rd, 2023
What is an EPC?
If you are putting your house on the market or looking to rent it out you’ve most probably heard your agent mention you will need an EPC.
EPC stands for ‘Energy Performance Certificate’. This is a document that details how environmentally friendly a property is.
EPC ratings were introduced in 2007 and demonstrate to tenants or buyers how energy efficient a home is. Having a good rating will make your property far more attractive, so it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re putting time into improving this.
An EPC lasts for 10 years, however if you are renting a property a new EPC is required on the change of tenancy.
You are legally obliged to have an EPC before placing your home on the market unless your property falls within the exempt category, but don’t worry if you are selling your home through me I will discuss this with you and instruct an EPC assessor if necessary.
Interested to know what your home energy rating is or at least if you have a valid EPC then click on the link below and pop in your postcode.
Need some advice on selling your home then complete my simple “contact me” form and I’ll be in touch to discuss your needs
or alternatively telephone me on 01373 476440
Ps Landlords EPC legislation is changing are you up to speed? Need some help then get in touch.
9 Staging Secrets to Get Your Home Sold
May 30th, 2023
Staging your house for sale can make a huge difference to the offer you receive and the length of time it sits on the market. In fact the latest statistics suggest a staged home will sell on average 25% quicker than one that hasn’t been.
So, here are 9 staging secrets to get your home sold:
Declutter Your Spaces: When you say declutter to someone the first thing that springs to mind is clearing out wardrobes or kitchen cupboards. But have you ever thought of decluttering your furniture? A professional stager actually removes half a homeowner’s furniture to make a house look bigger. So have a look around and see what you can throw out, pack away or pop into storage for a few months.
Group Your Furniture:
A common staging misconception is that pushing your furniture up against a wall instantly makes the room look bigger. However, the truth is, to make your room look bigger and more inviting then it’s best to float your furniture in each room away from the walls. Just remember to make sure that your furnishings are placed where traffic can still flow through the room.
Transform Spare Rooms:
Get rid of that spare room that has only ever collected boxes or other junk and turn it into something functional. Make it into an extra bedroom, a home office or reading room. Buyers want to see themselves living in the property and this helps them to do that.
Great lighting is a must when you’re staging your home for sale. You can flood a room with natural light if you put mirrors on the walls opposite light sources. Also, make sure you include table lamps and floor lights in your rooms as that creates ambient lighting. Never use the light in the middle of your room as your main source of light as it won’t show your room off to its best.
If you’ve a bright pink room or have invested in wallpaper that has a unique pattern then a fresh lick of paint can go a long way. Off-white, creams and neutral soft greys can transform your home into a modern fresh canvas for a potential buyer. If you do want to be a bit bold then please make sure it’s only on a feature wall.
Use Your Garden:
Fancy flowers and floral arrangements can be pricey but you can get the same effect with a simple bunch of flowers from the supermarket or by picking some flowers from your garden. Just keep the arrangement simple and throw in a little bit of colour. Flowers can instantly bright up a room.
Quick Kitchen Facelift:
Give your kitchen an instant facelift by painting cabinet doors or drawers or by vinyl wrapping them. It’s a cost effective solution and the results can be incredible. Also, tackle your bathroom by freshening up the grouting or sealant for quick results.
Finish Those Repairs:
Unfinished home repairs can really put off potential home buyers. If you need to touch up the paintwork on a chipped banister or replace a wonky door handle then please do it. Don’t give a buyer ammunition to negotiate a lower price for your home. So finish those repairs you’ve been meaning to do for years and you’ll reap the rewards.
Clean Your Home:
We’ve saved the best for last because this is the most important tip- clean your house from top to bottom. A dirty house is a massive turn off for potential buyers. Make sure your home is spotless, scrub the kitchen and bathrooms and eliminate any odours- especially if you’ve pets or smoke. If you can afford it then get professional cleaners to come in and blitz the place, as buyers want a nice, fresh welcoming home they can see themselves building a life in.
So, there we have it, just a few simple, affordable tips that can make a huge difference to the sale of your house.
Thinking of selling? Get in touch today for a FREE home valuation.
How Can You Add Value To Your Home?
March 15th, 2022
Add Value To Your Home With These Low Cost Improvements
Your house will almost certainly be more attractive to buyers with some general sprucing up and cleaning. Larger projects such as loft conversions, converting a garage or adding a conservatory may reap high rewards if you have the time and money. But small things can make a surprising difference too.
Redecorate and complete easy upgrades
Redecorating is the most popular home improvement and giving your home a lick of paint and doing some general maintenance can be done at a very low cost. Fresh paint in modern colours can go a long way to giving your home a new lease of life, so do not be afraid to pick up the paintbrush.
It’s also best to fix all superficial defects. While unlikely to be the clinching factor in a house sale, small problems and defects can create an impression of a house being run down or not well cared for. Things to look out for include:
- Peeling paint
- Dirty walls, especially near doors frames and around switches
- Dripping taps
- Squeaky floors, doors or stairs
- Mouldy sealant in kitchens or bathrooms
- Limescale built up on kitchen and bathroom fittings
- Badly fitted laminate flooring
- Broken lightbulbs
First impressions count. Make sure the outside of the house is welcoming the front door of your home can say a lot about the rest of the house to viewers seeing it for the first time. If you cannot afford to replace the door, make sure it looks new by giving it a power wash or a fresh lick of paint. Even a new doorknob, house number or name sign can help.
Try to make your front door look smarter than your neighbours’.
Makeover the kitchen
Kitchens are often the focus for many buyers, so it may be the first thing they look to replace if they can’t imagine living in yours. It’s no surprise that 65% of homeowners have renovated their kitchens before selling up. You may not be able to afford a whole new kitchen, but there are many smaller ways to improve what you already have.
For a relatively small budget painting units or replacing cupboard handles or doors are a cheaper way of refreshing kitchens. Good lighting and clutter-free, clean surfaces will make a big difference to the feel of the house
Buyers may be willing to pay more to save themselves the hassle of buying a new kitchen.
Adding or updating a bathroom
In the bathroom, re-grouting, eliminating all limescale and replacing taps are a good option. Bathrooms need to be fresh and hygienic looking, so paint the walls a neutral shade, and ideally replace a shower curtain with a new one or a simple glass screen. 29% of homes sold in 2019 had a new bathroom fitted, so a full update might be the key to selling fast and earning more.
An attractive, tidy, well-designed garden can add a great deal of value to a property. It is essential to trim borders, clear pathways and cut back any overgrown trees or bushes.
The garden should feel like an extra space for entertaining or relaxing, rather than an expanse of grass. An area of decking gives buyers a sense of having a bigger usable living space and 3% of homes sold in 2019 were even found to have had a summer garden, giving owners more space to relax and entertain in sunnier weather.
Bigger issues such as damp should not be covered up. It will show up on a survey and is likely to come back to haunt you later on.
Double glaze the windows
Noisy roads can impact the value of a property. Double glazing will keep the home warm and keep the noise out, even if it’s near a main road.
Opening up space
Opening up living space is becoming more and more popular, particularly for the kitchen and dining room. Combining the two into one large room creates a sociable space, great for the whole family to enjoy. Remember the practicalities with this though, as many consumers still like the ‘front room philosophy’ that can be used for special occasions or to be used for privacy by the adults.
Look smart and be energy efficient
Smart home technologies are increasingly important to buyers – just advertising the presence of fibre optic cables in your area could be enough to encourage buyers. Statement systems like multi-room music platforms can also make a difference.
Smart technology such as Hive, which gives mobile control over heating systems, is a feature worth considering. If it moves your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) up a band, it could add thousands to the sale price. Only 2% of homes sold in 2019 had smart technology installed, so by being ahead of the game, you’ll be offering a unique selling-point and future-proofing for any potential buyers.
Create a driveway
In some areas of the country, the ability to park close to your front door comes at a huge premium and therefore, if you have the room to add off-street parking, you are sure to increase value.
Big projects could include a loft conversion, adding a conservatory, converting a garage or installing a whole new kitchen or bathroom. In fact, 22% of homes sold in 2019 had an extension added; increasing a property’s value and making them more appealing to buyers.
A survey by NAEA Propertymark shows that half of estate agents think that adding a bedroom – usually a loft conversion – adds the most value, while a third of agents thought a new kitchen was the best choice.
Whatever you choose to do, it is a good idea to speak to a local estate agent about the sort of features that make the most difference when selling homes in your area.
Even if you can’t afford an extension or conversion, it might be worth obtaining planning permission to do so at a later date. You would have to spend money on drawing up the designs and getting a survey, but it would remove a big element of doubt from a potential buyer’s mind if they know the council has already approved an extension.
You might also want to think about your target audience and try to reflect their needs. For example, is your house most likely to appeal to young professionals? A room could be set aside as an office or you could add an extra shower room. If young families are the most likely buyers, could you turn the adjoining garage into a playroom?
The Boxing Day Bounce
November 30th, 2021
If you’re not familiar with the term, it refers to the huge spike in people searching for their new home on that day. In the immediate run-up to Christmas, the market will understandably be quiet. Things to do, people to see, plans to make.
But when Christmas Day is over, the property market takes on a new lease of life as interest skyrockets. Homeowners have renewed optimism and energy to make a move. So much so, that according to Rightmove, around 30 million people look for a new home between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.
If you’re thinking of selling anytime soon, the increased exposure that homes get over this period cannot be ignored. Waiting until the New Year increases the chance that many buyers will have already found their ideal home, weeks earlier.
There’s something else to consider.
Choosing which estate agent to instruct isn’t simply a matter of picking ‘any one from three.’ It’s always a risk when a vendor must make a decision without all of the facts. Without understanding what relevance those facts have on the eventual selling price.
According to Rightmove, 60% of vendors choose the wrong agency and end up having to instruct a different agent, before finally selling their home.
There are plenty of competent estate agents out there, some very competent, but it’s not enough. Estate agency is often perceived as a commodity and unless an agent has competence and integrity, in equal measure, vendors might find that what they were promised for Christmas wasn’t what they got on the day.
Now is the perfect time if you’re planning to take advantage of The Boxing Day Bounce. Time to find your new home, time to choose a great agent and time to prepare for those eager Boxing Day Buyers.
How long will it take for my property to sell?
October 13th, 2021
The most common question I get asked as an Independent Estate Agent is “How long will it take for my property to sell?” It is a bit of a ‘How long is a piece of string’ type question, but there are a few key indicators to look for…
The average house takes 10-12 viewings to sell (depending on the market conditions) and the average property has around 3 viewings per week
With this very simple formula, that means the average house, has a buyer within around 4 weeks.
So the next questions are; have you been seeing 3-4 viewings per week, or have they been lower?
If they have been floating around 3-4 a week, then why has no one ‘bitten’? Has the agent been following up viewings? Have they been encouraging offers? Have they been putting viewers off when showing them round (perhaps not intentionally, but sub consciously?)
If your viewings are lower than the numbers above, why’s that? Do you have maximum coverage on ALL portals & social media channels? Has every lead been dealt followed up? Is the property presented well?
Other things to consider are how does your planned asking price compare to the other property sales in the area? Does it seem a little on the optimistic side? Is it in keeping with the recent sales in your street? Or does it look like an absolute bargain?
Then there’s the style of property – quirky homes may take longer to sell, as do upside-down houses, extended bungalows and homes with converted rooms. The more ‘usual’ your home, the faster (generally) it will sell.
Lastly, there’s the location to consider: is there anything nearby that might cause a buyer to reject your property outright? Is it next to a bus stop, pedestrian crossing or takeaway? These and other disadvantages may mean your house sells more slowly, so it’s worth bearing this in mind.
For me, after 4-6 weeks, you should be really questioning how your agent is helping you find a buyer…
I’d love to have a chat with you about the saleability of your home. If you’d like some free, friendly advice, contact me today!
Want to get on the property ladder? Check out these four ways to save money for your first home.
August 6th, 2021
Saving money to buy your first home needn’t be a chore. Here are 4 ways to make it easier to land you dream property:
✔️ Each month transfer a fixed amount into your savings account
✔️ Stop partying- On average 26-30-year-olds spend £70 on a night out
✔️ For a couple of years skip big and costly holidays
✔️ Downgrade your phone and broadband packages and cancel any unused subscriptions and that includes your gym membership
You may think these actions sound extreme but it won’t be forever- what’s more important a week on the beach or buying your forever home?
Celebrating Armed Forces Day
June 25th, 2021
What is Armed Forces Day?
Armed Forces Day (formerly Veterans’ Day) in the United Kingdom is an annual event celebrated in late June to commemorate the service of men and women in the British Armed Forces. Veterans’ Day was first observed in 2006. Although an official event, it is not a public holiday in the UK. The name was changed to Armed Forces Day in 2009. Armed Forces Day has so far been observed on the last Saturday of June.
The Armed Forces
The UK Armed Forces defend the UK and its interests. They are busy working around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers, providing security and fighting terrorism.
A veteran is anyone who has served in the HM Armed Forces at any time (including National Servicemen, Regulars and Reserves). Armed Forces Day celebrates their continued role within the military community.
Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their civilian life with a military career to ensure that should their country require them, they would be ready to serve.
The Cadet Forces (Sea Cadets, Army Cadets, Air Cadets and the Combined Cadet Force) currently support over 130,000 young people in more than 3,000 locations across the UK. Cadets learn life and career building skills as well as gaining vocational qualifications.
Showing our support?
Just like last year, Mendip District Council will be celebrating the day virtually and will raise a flag at its Shepton Mallet head office on Armed Forces Day, Saturday 26 June. There are many ways for people, communities, and organisations across Mendip to show their support and celebrate the many men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from those currently serving, to Service families, veterans and cadets.
Some areas across the country Physical events are being held to mark this year’s Armed Forces Day.
The latest COVID-19 Government guidance for mass gatherings can be found on gov.uk:
Government backed 95% Mortgage
April 22nd, 2021
Following the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge last October to help renters become buyers, the new government-backed mortgage scheme has launched in the UK which will help first-time buyers, or current homeowners, secure a mortgage with just a 5% deposit.
This new reform will make the biggest expansion of home ownership since the 1980s when the right to buy policy was brought in my Margaret Thatcher.
It will form part of a variety of home ownership options to help people get on the housing ladder, amid a rise in demand during lockdown. More homes were delivered in 2020 than in any year since 1987 say official statistics.
What are 95% mortgages?
95% mortgages mean that first-time buyers or current homeowners can secure a mortgage with just a 5% deposit for a house up to the value of £600,000.
The UK government will offer lenders the guarantee they need to provide mortgages that cover the other 95%, subject to the usual affordability checks.
The scheme is intended as a temporary measure in response to the pandemic and will be open for new mortgage applications from April 2021 to December 2022.
The government will compensate the mortgage lender for a portion of the net losses suffered in the event of repossession. The guarantee will apply down to 80% of the purchase value of the guaranteed property.
It will also review the continuing need for the scheme towards the planned end date and determine whether extending the period of eligibility for new mortgages would continue to deliver benefits for prospective homeowners.
Why have they been launched?
The new scheme has been launched to help make home ownership more affordable and accessible for aspiring home-owners.
In the March budget chancellor Rishi Sunak also extended a stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has led to a reduction in the availability of high loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage products, particularly for prospective homebuyers that only have a 5% deposit therefore leaving many households unable to get on to the housing ladder.
Low-deposit mortgage availability has decreased since the pandemic hit the unfortunate rising unemployment, increased lender caution and record high property prices.
Earlier this year the Treasury said there were only 8 low-deposit products available nationwide in January 2021.
Your Independent Property Agent
“Va Va” Frome does it again!
March 29th, 2021
Once again Frome has been named as the Best Place to Live in the Southwest of England in the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide.
Frome is a picturesque town with cobbled streets, a stream running down Cheap Street depicts its Medieval history and you will certainly need some stamina to climb Catherine Hill it’s not for the faint hearted but your heart will love it’s Artisan Quarter. The centre is home to over 300 listed buildings and beautiful Architecture and an abundance of Independent local shops, some of which are nicely old fashioned.
Well known for its vibrant arts scene and the annual ten-day Frome Festival in July, which in recent years has included more than 160 events held at various venues in and around the town. The town is host to a number of artists, many of whom open their studios to the public during the Festival.
There are a variety of cultural & community events that have become regular features of the town’s life throughout the years, we recently saw the Covid Safe Window Wonderland festival of light and colour, where people transformed their windows and neighbourhood into a gallery of magical displays. There is a real feel of community spirit amongst the locals in this sociable town, this is shown by the large number of local groups, organised clubs and classes so whether you fancy walking, dancing, singing, wildlife or photography no matter how old you are you’ll be sure to find something for you .
Frome is also home to the UK’s first Community Fridge, the original fridge and larder are based on the Market Yard car park, food comes from local businesses which would have gone to waste and the fridges are filled with the help of volunteers, there is now a second community fridge and larder located next to Christchurch School on Feltham Lane .
Whilst Frome may not be the most convenient location, it is fine for daily commuters working in Bristol and Bath. The railway station serves a largely rural area of the county of Somerset and is situated in the town on Portway. The station is located on a 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long branch line which loops off the main line railway, which carries services to London Paddington, both the Reading to Taunton line and Bristol to Weymouth route. Visit the GWR website for the train timetable.
Whilst Frome is named best place to live what is the housing market like right now?
According to the national estate agency figures reported in The Sunday Telegraph at the end of 2020, last year saw a 90% increase in demand from house-hunters for country and rural locations. With lockdown starting to lift demand is higher than this time last year despite the pre lockdown market, we are seeing prices pushing up by around 1.5% in value, so if you are thinking about selling then now is a good time to do so. Buyers be warned though don’t hang around as you may find yourself in a bidding war!
Your Independent Property Agent
Welcome News for Homebuyers with Budget Announcement
March 12th, 2021
The Stamp Duty tax break has helped to drive a boom in property prices, and a number of homebuyers have long been calling for the measure to be extended so it was welcome news when Chancellor Rushi Sunak confirmed the long-awaited extension to the stamp duty holiday which he outlined in his Budget earlier this month.
Under the scheme, introduced by the Government in July last year, anyone who purchases a property only has to pay tax on the amount over £500,000 and with the extension now in place to 30 June 2021 it is inevitable the property market will be in demand as within minutes of the extension being announced, there were signs of house hunters rushing to see the properties available online..
What is stamp duty?
Stamp duty, also known as Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), is a tax on property or land bought in England and Northern Ireland.
The rate of stamp duty ranges from 2 per cent to 12 per cent of the purchase price, depending upon how much the property costs, the purchase date and whether you are a first time buyer or multiple home owner.
England and Northern Ireland have the same rates, while Scotland and Wales have their own taxes on land, which are called Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and the Land Transaction Tax (LTT), respectively.
There are a number of helpful Stamp Duty calculators to help you work out how much you could be liable to pay. For example you can try this one from the Money Advice Service.
When does the Stamp Duty holiday end?
The stamp duty holiday was set to end on 31 March 2021, with its popularity leading to a backlog of sales waiting to be completed.
When Mr Sunak announced the extension in his Budget speech, he cited “the sheer volume of transactions” as a motivating factor.
He therefore announced that the £500,000 nil rate band will remain in place until 30 June, giving buyers three more months to complete.
After this date, “to smooth the transition back to normal,” the threshold will be reduced to £250,000 until 30 September. The stamp duty nil rate band will then return to its previous nil rate band of £125,000 from 1 October.
It comes as the average UK house price hit a new record high of £231,068 in February, according to figures from Nationwide.
Your Independent Property Agent