Posts filed under ‘Buying & Selling’

Phil Spencer’s property tip of the month – Preparing your property for sale for the New Year market


While the housing market typically slows in December as potential buyers put their house-hunting activities on hold to focus on the festive period, this is also the perfect time for sellers to get their homes ready for the seasonal pick up in the New Year.

January is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for the housing market and properties that are well-presented are likely to reap the benefits by securing an early sale to a motivated buyer.

From ensuring children’s toys are kept hidden in storage boxes, to removing pet smells, there are some relatively quick and inexpensive steps that can help you to present your property in the best possible light to a buyer.

1. Clear your property of clutter: Be ruthless in clearing items out of view, whether its old letters stacked up on a windowsill or multiple pairs of shoes gathered under a desk. Less clutter is important as it allows buyers to envisage how their furniture and belongings would fit into your property.

2. Give your home a Spring clean: Use some of the cold and dark winter evenings to give your home a thorough dusting and vacuum. Not only is it more appealing to potential buyers, but shiny surfaces can help to bounce light around, making your home seem brighter and bigger in the low-light months.

3. Make it smell nice: Bad smells can be off-putting to potential buyers, who may be deterred from staying too long if the smell is particularly unattractive. It means avoid cooking a meal the night before a viewing that may have a smell that will linger. Using flowers and pots of herbs can not only look attractive, but can also help introduce pleasant fragrances.

4. Remove all traces of your pets: This is particularly important in kitchens where some buyers may not like the idea of food and pets mixing. Elsewhere, vacuum sofas and make sure dog or cat hairs are not lingering on any surfaces. If possible, try to confine pets to one room while viewings are taking place.

5. Finally, stage your home: Imagine your property is about to be in a magazine shoot when your agent takes the photographs that will be used in the sales particulars. Freshly baked cakes and a dining table set ready for a party are just a few ideas that can help to create the right impression of a desirable place to live.

So, if you are thinking about moving in the New Year, try to use some of the time during this festive period to prepare your home for sale. It can help secure that all-important buyer later on in the house selling process.

November 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM 2 comments

Struggling to get a mortgage? Eight top tips to help.


According to recent research from, UK homeowners are expecting house prices to rise by 4.5% over the next six months – a sign of significant confidence returning to the housing market. Couple this with other research from Zoopla that reveals that the number of properties currently for sale that have been reduced in price since first coming onto the market has fallen to its lowest level in almost three years and we have a positive picture emerging.

Despite this, buyers are struggling to secure a mortgage. Jessie Hewitson gathers eight handy tips to get you on the right track:

1. Speak to a good independent mortgage broker – get an idea of what is available and what you can afford, then get all of your financial documents in place. Said documents include pay slips, bank statements and contracts of employment – the vital pieces of paper that are only ever found by rummaging around in cardboard boxes at 11pm at night.

2. Mortgage agreed in principle – “I strongly recommend buyers – in particular first timers – get their mortgage agreed in principle before starting looking,” says John Phillips, director of financial services at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward. “Having this in place will mean that you know for certain how much money you can borrow to and you can get the process of purchasing moving quickly. With such a competitive marketplace for first time buyers, doing your homework, having your documents in place and being able to agree your mortgage quickly will give you the best chance possible against the competition.”

3. Perform a credit record MOT – suggests Ashley Brown, director of independent mortgage brokers Moneysprite. “Check and clean up your credit record. Also, if you’re not registered on the electoral roll that can seriously hamper your chances of getting a home loan. When a lender does a search on an applicant and discovers they aren’t on the electoral register, their immediate reaction is to wonder why and whether they might be hiding something”.

4. Talk to your parents – known for the purposes of this article as the bank of Mum and Dad. We don’t need to tell you how insanely difficult it is to save for a deposit and if your parents can’t help with cold hard cash they may be able to use the equity in their home – speak to your broker about this – or act as a guarantor. “Some lenders also offer deals where parents use their own savings to reduce the deposit required,” adds Brown.

5. Get a credit card – having no credit history makes lenders twitchy – best to use a credit card and repay in full each month so you can prove you can manage credit responsibility.

6. Don’t go over your overdraft limit for your current account for at least three months if possible – show you’re in control of your finances, which means no bounced cheques.

7. Get your paperwork in order –  If you’re self-employed, be prepared to be treated as a second-class citizen by the banks, who haven’t yet caught on to the notion of freelance employment as being a viable model. It’s likely you’ll need to provide more paperwork and answer even more questions. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need to show that you’ve been gainfully self-employed for two to three years before a bank will even consider you – a good mortgage broker who knows the best pro-self employed banks to approach will be worth their weight in gold.

8. Don’t get trigger happy and keep applying for mortgages – If you do over a short space of time, these applications can impact your all-important credit rating.

May 24, 2013 at 12:32 PM 1 comment

REVEALED (again by @Zoopla ): The location of the 2013 Apprentice House

photo 6

The 2013 Apprentice House, revealed by, with an estimated property value of £9,658,713

Another year and another set of Apprentice hopefuls come up against a bit of ear bashing from Lord Sugar and his advisers…yes the BBC’s Apprentice is back on our screens!

We love it. We love the show, but we also love it for another reason. It gives us the chance to do what we do best…a little property research. We love a challenge and using the tools on to help us sniff out where the Apprentices lived for 8 weeks. The properties are always exceptional and this year is no exception.

After a little studying of the first episode of this series, a few screen shots later and a little local knowledge from a colleague, we were able to pin down the street via Zoopla and once again this year’s property lives up to expectations – a stunning multi million pound property.

The 2013 Apprentice pad is situated on Lincoln’s Inn Field (number 6) in Holborn, London and we estimate its property value to be £9,658,713 – the most expensive house used in the last three series. Lincoln’s Inn Field, is which is said to be London’s largest public square has few residential premises these days but what were once private homes are now homes to businesses such as the Queen’s solicitors, Farrer & Co and the John Soames Museum.

photo 3

Lincoln’s Inn Field

The property, which appears to have been on the market back in 2011 when it was listed for sale at £7,950,000 (according to the Zoopla Property Archive)  and may have failed to sell, is a newly refurbished Grade II listed with 5/6 bedrooms, with a bespoke kitchen, double height floor to ceiling windows with an internal courtyard and superb views over Lincoln’s Inn fields.

photo 1

In terms of local property values the average residential property value on Lincoln’s inn Field is £508,009, however the turnover of stock is low with just one residential property (of ten available) being sold on the square in the last five tears. In the wider WC2A postcode the average residential property value is £850,280.

So, how does this year’s house compare with the previous two houses, which we also revealed? For s start is is the most expensive.

The 2011 Apprentice’s took residence at a well-known Welsh singer’s home in East Sheen, in South West London (pic below) which we estimate has an average property value of £5,217,619. It was reported that she was paid £50,000 ‘rent’ during the 8 weeks the show was filmed. More on that house here.

The 2011 Apprentice House – estimated value of £5,217,619 by

Last year the 2012 Apprentice’s were treated to a Central London location on Porchester Terrace (pic below) in the Bayswater area of London and lived in a property that we estimate to have a current property value of £8,047,540. More on that property here.

The 2012 Apprentice House – estimated value of £8,047,540 by

As always, please feel free to share and use this info, all we ask is that you credit the source as and link to Thank you.

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May 15, 2013 at 9:30 AM Leave a comment

Properties to buy in Huddersfield and Harrogate

Four properties to buy in Harrogate, West Yorkshire

3 bedroom end terrace house for sale £199,950

Torrs Road, Harrogate HG1

Torrs Road

5 bedroom semi detached house for sale – offers over £425,000

Kent Bank, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1

Kent Bank

2 bedroom flat for sale Guide price £315,000

Imperial Mansions, Royal Parade, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1

Imperial Mansions

2 bedroom flat for sale Offers in region of £349,950

Otley Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG2

Otley Road
Want to know what the market is doing in Harrogate? Check out our area property stats page

Four properties to buy in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

5 bedroom detached house for sale offers in region of £595,000

St Helen’s Gate, Almondbury, Huddersfield, Kirklees HD4

Huddersfield St Helen's Gate

2 bedroom flat for sale £389,950

Stoneleigh Pavillions, Bryan Road, Huddersfield HD2

Stoneliegh Pavillions

4 bedroom terraced house for sale £234,950

Gledholt Road, Gledholt, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD1

Gledholdt Rd

2 bedroom flat for sale £190,000

Beech Hollow, Edgerton, Huddersfield HD3

Beech Hollow

Want to know what the market is doing in Huddersfield? Check out our area property stats page

May 1, 2013 at 7:00 PM Leave a comment

Soho, Kate Moss and The Look of Love

Flat where Kate Moss was photographed in the living room for a cover photograph in Vogue.

Jessie Hewitson takes a look at the property market in the once-seedy area, now home to Michelin-starred restaurants

The streets of Soho are currently being featured in The Look of Love, a biopic about Paul Raymond, the Liverpool-born “King of Soho”. Raymond started his career as a mind-reading novelty act and opened the UK’s first strip club in 1958. By the time he died, in 2008, he amassed a gigantic property portfolio, around 60 acres of land between Shaftesbury Avenue and Oxford Street.

Soho Zoopla SmartMap SmartMap of Soho

The property market of the area has changed unrecognisably since Raymond’s heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. “Since we began selling and letting property around Soho in the mid to late Eighties, the edgy ‘Sohemian’ atmosphere and rougher sides to the area have changed considerably,” says Laurence Glynne, partner at LDG agency .

While the seedy underbelly is still very much in existence in places, particularly in Brewer Street, much of Soho has moved out of the red thanks to a clear-up spearheaded by Westminster City Council. Now, in the place of the strip clubs and brothels, Michelin-starred restaurants have popped up – Quo Vadis, Arbutus, as well as the Soho Hotel – populated by media and creative-types who love nothing better than to base themselves in a formerly run-down area.

Soho has three distinct quarters says Glynne: the stylish office and residential area around Broadwick, Lexington and Carnaby streets; the “livelier” atmosphere (read: be prepared to be woken up at night) around Old Compton Street, Brewer Street and Shaftesbury Avenue, and the fashionable food quarter of Greek Street, Frith Street, and Dean Street. The jazz scene and pop music influence is more apparent in Frith and Dean Street, most notably at Ronnie Scott’s.

Soho’s (relative) affordability as a zone 1 location is driving popularity, according to buying agent Roarie Scarisbrick, partner at Property Vision. “You can buy a half-decent flat in Soho for £1,000 per square foot, whereas the base price in Mayfair would be at least £2,000 as a starting price.” See here for Zoopla’s Soho property stats page.

This doesn’t mean Soho is a cheap place to live: a typical one-bed rents for £374 per week, according to Phin Twiselton, an agent with Hurford Salvi Carr, and a two-bed for £600 per week. For sales, a one-bed in a period block costs around £550,000 and a two-bed starts at £775,000. LDG is currently selling a 602 sq ft one-bed flat in Brewer Street for £675,000. The property is formerly owned by photographer Corinne Day, who snapped Kate Moss in the living room for a cover photograph in Vogue.


Formerly owned by photographer Corinne Day, who snapped Kate Moss in the living room for a cover photograph in Vogue.

Buyers are often young, arty and at home in an Soho’s urban environment. Properties close to Golden and Soho Square are among the most covetable – small pockets of green in which to retreat from the hustle and bustle.

Property for sale in Soho in our new Grid view on

April 26, 2013 at 4:15 PM Leave a comment

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