OPEN HOUSE STAFFORD ARE DOUBLE AWARD WINNERS

We are very proud winners

 

Open House Stafford & Sone are proud recipients of the allAgents Gold Award for the best estate agent in ST17 and the Silver Award for the Best Estate agent in Stafford

What makes these awards different?

allAgents have funded these awards. This means that no agent has been charged an entry fee and allows everyone to be automatically entered. It makes this the UK’s largest FREE customer awards scheme for agents and people working within the property industry.

By keeping these awards FREE ensures that the winners have achieved award recognition based entirely on clients feedback. Their feedback involves rating and sharing their customer service experiences.

Thank you

A massive thank you to all our customers that have taken time to post a review about us and thank you all for your kind words.
My biggest thanks are for my wonderful team of Julie, Amelia, Laura, Emma, Mel and Barbara who are the best. It is they that deliver the brilliant customer service and whose hard work that has been recognised in such a positive way.

Almost two thirds of homes in England and Wales have poor EPC ratings

-Sprift data highlights that 60 per cent of properties have the lower energy-efficiency grades D to G -Improvements to these properties could more than halve their CO2 emissions

With the climate crisis high on the news agenda, recent research highlighting that homes with higher energy ratings are worth more. Property data specialist Sprift has analysed the last decade of EPC data on its platform and uncovered that almost two thirds of properties (60 per cent) in England and Wales have the lower ratings of D to G when it comes to energy efficiency*.

The data

The data confirms that 41 per cent of properties have the average EPC rating of D, and that only 29,293 homes in England and Wales received an A rating, which equates to 0.2 per cent.

Further analysis has identified that this tranche of lower EPC rated properties produced a whopping 77 per cent of all CO2 emissions from homes in England and Wales. However, potential improvements made to these properties, could more than halve (51 per cent) their emissions.

Main areas for improvements

When it comes to making improvements to D to G-rated properties, the following four installation recommendations are made most often:

  • Solar photovoltaic panels 2.5 kWp
  • Solar water heating
  • Floor insulation
  • Low energy lighting2

Matt Gilpin, CEO of Sprift, said: “These figures around how many properties fall into the lower EPC ratings categories, and the amount of CO2 emissions they produce are alarming, particularly against the backdrop of the COP 26 Summit, and target of net zero emissions by 2050.

“When it comes to improving their EPC ratings, homeowners can really play their part. However, we must not forget that for many, paying for improvements will be both unaffordable and unachievable. Following the failure of the green homes grant, the government must look at how it can provide funding to assist with upgrades in order to meet net zero emission targets.

“Interestingly, if some of the A-rated homes go on to make even further improvements then this category of property would be – potentially – carbon neutral (excluding build CO2)!”

Sources: 1* this figure only takes into account those properties with an EPC rating Energy Crisis: Better EPCs boost house values – claim… (estateagenttoday.co.uk)
2 Potential savings switching traditional or Halogen bulbs to LED: Guide to energy efficient lighting – Energy Saving Trust

Sprift: “Almost two thirds of homes in England and Wales have poor EPC ratings”

Guy Fawkes Night – Are Tenants allowed To Host A Bonfire Party

Sounds like a plan! Hot Dogs, a few drinks, friends, a roaring fire and fireworks, of course. But, the question is can you host a bonfire party? If local council regulations are followed , public displays are fine for homeowners. But what about tenants? Well, that depends largely on their tenancy agreement.

In the absence of a fireworks clause, many tenancy agreements will specify that tenants cannot cause any nuisance or aggravation to neighbours, and certainly not engage in antisocial behaviour.

WE ADVISE

Always gain consent from both the landlord and neighbours. If loud noise is inevitable, try and keep it confined to a short, previously agreed, period of time.

Fireworks can be very loud and are known to cause distress to pets and elderly people so don’t go overboard. If guests are attending, make sure they keep noise to a minimum if celebrating into the night.

Be aware of any potential damage, such as damage to the ground, and determine in advance whether you have the budget or resources to repair any damage.

WE ADVISE….

Prior to holding a bonfire night party, tenants should seek permission from their neighbours and landlord. But the top consideration should be the safety of everyone attending, no matter how small the gathering.

Every year, there are an average of 552 fireworks accidents, some of which are deadly. Because of this, the fire brigade always recommends that people attend events that are properly organized.

WE ADVISE….

The distance between your guests and the fireworks or bonfire should be considerable for a fireworks night party. If you can, designate an area for letting off fireworks that is away from your house and any fences or trees in the area.

Are fireworks safe to let off if you have a concrete patio? If they topple once they’re lit, they could shoot into your fence, house or other objects.

While fireworks can pose a threat in enclosed spaces such as a small garden, they are not nearly as dangerous as bonfires. If not properly constructed, bonfires can damage fences, sheds, bushes, and trees, not to mention the people around them.

If children will be present, barriers should be used to keep them well away from the fire.

It is your responsibility to ensure the safety of those attending the event.

WE ADVISE….

In general, we advise that tenants work hard to get the permission of their landlords and neighbours. Giving a small gift or expression of goodwill is a nice way to show your appreciation for the latter. Or you could simply invite them, which would negate the issue altogether.

Practicing common sense at all times is essential. If common sense tells you that hosting a fireworks party is in violation of your tenancy agreement or could be dangerous, you’re probably better off going to the local fireworks display.

What ever you do, have a great time.

Happy Guy Fawkes Night!

 

How to make your home more valuable and sell faster

Preparing your home for viewers, or “staging” as it’s called, is important. It will not only ensure
your property is sold faster but can potentially add thousands of pounds to its value.

Top Tips

Declutter – but don’t depersonalize

• Get rid of all the excess stuff that has accumulated in every nook and cranny. Put it in storage or give it to a friend

• People need to be able to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there. People often find this difficult, so make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering them

• Don’t make it look like a generic hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives unimaginative buyers
suggestions as to what they might do

• People are often buying into a lifestyle as much as a property. Show them the attractive side of your lifestyle

• Consider removing any bulky furniture that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture

A fresh lick of paint

• Giving your walls a fresh lick of paint, neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger

• It will enable the viewers to more easily imagine how they would adapt the rooms to their needs

• It will be easier for the buyers to move in and use the rooms immediately than if the walls were still bright purple or
lime green

• Create a good first impression – give the front door a new coat of brightly coloured paint

Fix and clean

• Make any minor repairs necessary – holes in walls, broken door knobs, cracked tiles, torn or threadbare carpets.
Many buyers want to move in without making changes, so allow for this

• Clean everything until it sparkles. Get rid of limescale, clean and repair tile grout, wax wooden floors, get rid of all
odours, hang up fresh towels. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there

• Tidy up the garden: cut bushes back, clean the patio and furniture of lichen and dirt, and cut the grass. While this
doesn’t add much value to your home it makes it more likely to sell as people visualize themselves using the garden

Update the kitchen
The kitchen is the most valuable room in a house. It is worth the most per square foot and can make the
difference when buyers are unsure

• Consider refacing your kitchen cabinetry. This is much cheaper than installing new cabinetry and often as effective

• Upgrading kitchen counter tops is expensive, but can add serious value

• Declutter the surfaces and just leave a bowl of fruit out. Take out any bulky appliances

• Consider upgrading the plumbing fixtures and white goods, but keep in mind that while that could make your

property sell faster, you will be unlikely to recoup their full value

Light and airy
• Wall mirrors make a room look much bigger and lighter. Consider putting some up, especially in smaller rooms
or hallways
• Clean windows inside and out and replace any broken light bulbs. Making the place feel light and airy makes rooms
feel bigger and the property more attractive
• Ensure that you have lamps on in any dark corners
• Putting a soft light bulb in the bathroom can create a warm glow

Light a fire
• If it’s a cold evening, or even chilly day, light your fire. Consider burning some pinecones for the delicious smell. This
will make your home feel warm and inviting. If you don’t have a fire then ensure the fireplace is clean

Make it look pretty
• Make sure the windows are properly dressed with blinds or curtains as naked windows make a place feel
impersonal and run down. Buy some cheap ones if necessary.
• Plants and flowers bring colour, life and light to a room and they also smell delicious. So does that fruit bowl on your
kitchen counter.

Get the right smells
• Bad smells are the single biggest turn off for prospective buyers. Don’t just cover them up, fix the source of the smell.
Clear drains, wash bins, open windows, air the kitchen from old cooking smells, get rid of furniture that is embedded
with cigarette smoke, and wash any grimy bed sheets
• If you are a smoker, place bowls of vinegar around the house and leave out for three days. Though the vinegar will
smell when you open the windows it will disappear quickly taking a most of the stale cigarette smell out with it.
• Conversely, good smells can make a property feel like an alluring home. While it might be impractical to bake fresh
bread, cakes or brownies for every viewer that visits your home, you could perhaps brew some fresh coffee

Obvious conversions
• If there are any obvious conversions – adapting the garage into extra rooms or going up into the loft – and you have
some spare cash, why not take advantage of this cash cow rather than letting the new owners make easy money out
of improvements. You should usually recoup your money
• If you don’t have enough spare cash to make the conversion, consider getting planning permission anyway.

Updated Stamp Duty Rates from today until 30th September.

Stamp duty is fairly straightforward for most property sales now up until the end of September.

  1. No stamp duty is payable on property purchases under £250,000.
  2. For property purchases between £250,000 and £925,000, 5% of the amount over £250,000 is payable (for example, if a property sold for £260,000, it would be 5% of £10,000 not 5% of £260,000).
  3. Additional amounts are payable for transactions over £925,000
  4. It is important to note that there are different rules for first time buyers (no stamp duty up to £300,000), additional properties (3% surcharge), and non-UK residents (2% surcharge).

The Stamp Duty Land Tax Calculator on the gov.uk website is a helpful tool to use if you or a prospective buyer are struggling to calculate the stamp duty payable on a transaction.

 

Sell your property

Why should you look to sell your home in the winter months

Surely not! The mere thought of it…for goodness sake NO! Come on, its true…I know you will think it.

Christmas is all about focusing your thoughts on other matters such as sourcing the ultimate Christmas Turkey, ensuring the sheets are clean and aired on the spare bed for when Gran comes over on Christmas Eve. The presents….the drinks….the tree and on, and on and on..!

Well get this everyone. Surprise, surprise! (and Cilla isn’t ‘ere), the number of people viewing properties soars over the Christmas period and on into January. Who says so?

Rightmove themselves who show from their graph below (with thanks to your-move.co.uk) that there is a viewing spike for potential buyers between Christmas and New Year (Ok! A bit of a lapse during Christmas day and New Years Eve but that can be expected). Zoopla also announced they enjoyed a peak audience around 9pm on Boxing day.

average page visits on right move when selling your property xmas 2019
Right Move statistics for the christmas period in 2019

Selling your house in January with Open House Stafford & Stone

Here at Open House Stafford and Stone we know that once Christmas is out of the way, people are looking at the New Year for a new diet, new job…. a different this….a different that!. What about those that have their New Year’s Resolution as moving to a new home?!

Yes, its true, people do look at moving home in the New Year and contemplate if its the right time to sell.

Top tips for selling your home in winter

Open House Estate Agents in Stafford absolutely encourage those people who want that new year move to put their property on the market before Christmas.

Now I’m not saying that we would like to photo the tinsel, the baubles and the tree, as those are the things that people do not necessarily want to see when they are assessing the suitability of their future home. We offer some excellent hints and tips in our blog about the house selling process so please give this a read for some helpful advice.

If you can get the property on the market for that peak online viewing time you stand a good chance of selling your house fast and getting an early new year sale.

And then, of course you are in prime position to offer on that dream home you’ve been eyeing up.

What our statistics say about selling your property in January

Looking at the Statistics for Open House Stafford in 2019 – see chart below, you will see that we had as many offers on properties during January than we did in the peak of summer.

open house winter statistics
Open House yearly property statistics 2019

 

We had more property viewings this time of year than we did in February, March, April and May. However, the number of new properties being listed in January was one of the lowest months of the year.

What can we deduce from this? It is clear that the buyers are there ready and willing to view and to even make a quick offer.

However, it is also clear that sellers are less keen to put their house on the market. Perhaps its due to the long-standing misconception by sellers that houses only sell in the summer months.

To conclude

Do not delay if you are considering selling your property in the new year.

Why not call Open House Estate Agents in Stafford today, we offer a free valuation and (being right on Stafford high street, we can get the ball rolling on your property sale before you think too hard about Christmas.

Download your local Stafford Estate Agents brochure:

So which local, Stafford estate agents give the best value? Which Stafford estate agent has an office and also the perfect online solution to market your home? Well, Openhouse Stafford & Stone estate agents have everything that in comparison to all others is exceptional value.

Of course, we would say that, to help you decide if what we are saying makes sense, we have created our Openhouse Stafford & Stone information brochure which includes tips on how to get a property ready for sale and also a detailed guide to the legal process for buyers and sellers.

We have printed copies in the office, come in and ask for one while you are in and around Stafford town centre, or download it from the bottom of every page on our website, including the bottom of this blog page. Go on scroll down and click, or if you would like a copy of the glossy brochure itself, please do not hesitate to pop into our office at 113 Wolverhampton Road Stafford.

Helping you make the right decision, for you.

See you soon, on the website, in our office or at your home.
The Openhouse Stafford & Stone team


Download Our Brochure – CLICK HERE