We’ve all seen the numerous programmes on daytime TV, where savvy business people and/or keen amateurs buy run down houses and ‘flip’ them for a sizable profit. We may even know friends who do this professionally or as a bit of a hobby. It seems a very attractive way to earn a substantial one off payment, or even a living, and these shows make it seem so simple! What could possibly go wrong?

tips on renovating a house

Well, it NOT simple naturally, and there are a myriad considerations to take into account. Here’s a quick guide to some important things to consider before you embark on a renovation project of your own. Please remember that this is NOT exhaustive! If you’d like any more detailed advice please get in touch.

 

Choosing the Right Property

Properties in need of renovation go on the market in two ways:

  • Through auction (please take a look at our guide here.
  • Through an estate agent

It is wise to contact estate agencies in your chosen areas, making it clear that you are interested buying a renovation project. That way agents will alert you when suitable properties come to the market, you will are the first person they call when they take on a relevant property.

Auctions require less waiting but they can be more competitive. Unconverted properties are highly sought-after by investors so guide prices can quickly be exceeded.

 

Check, Check, Check!

  • Is the property listed or in a conservation area? Certain parts of Old Harlow for example, (near our offices) are in a conservation area, meaning that fencing or exterior appearances cannot be altered.
  • Have a chat with any neighbours before your plans are drawn up. This will save unnecessary objections later and you may also find out stories of previous renovations in the area, and what has been approved and/or rejected.
  • Research the area. What are similar properties selling for when they are in good condition? Could you achieve even more with a new, clean finish? How long does it take for properties of this type to sell?
  • Don’t renovate without the relevant plans or consent – councils are well within their rights to removed buildings that have been changed without permission.

 

flipping a house – where do I start?

Before You Start….

  • A lot. Many ‘flipped’ properties are inadequately planned, which can lead to higher costs and a lower-quality finish. Making changes part way through the work will mean certain steps have to be re-done. It is worth hiring the services of a professional at this stage.
  • Consult professionals before you start renovating: town planners, contractors, attorney, project managers, and the bank.
  • Investigate funding options. Work out how much money you have to spend and where it is coming from. Also consider an emergency backup fund in case the project runs into difficulties, such as requiring a new roof or boiler.
  • Unless you absolutely have to (or you’re a professional builder yourself), don’t complete the work yourself. A lack of professional can lead to a poorer quality finish.
  • Don’t under estimate how much work and energy is required. Even if you’re not doing the work yourself, organizing contractors and making endless decisions is very tiring.

 


Once you’ve Started

  • Get three quotes for every job to ensure that you are getting a good price.
  • Sometimes offering tradespeople a bonus if they complete work on time (or even early) can be beneficial. Regardless being polite and friendly to your tradespeople is obviously beneficial.

decorating your home for a quick sale 

Finishing touches

  • Who is your buyer? If they expect luxury, spend a lot, if they’re a first-time buyers, basic appliances will be acceptable.
  • Decorate to a high level but keep it neutral. This means the buyers are able to put their own stamp on the home. White walls are a must.
  • Instruct a Guild agent to sell the home. These are local property experts who know the market, so they can advise on the best time to sell.

If you need further help, get in touch with your local Estate agent to explain your plans, ask for advice, and remember to invite them around for a valuation when the project is completed. They can also give guidance on the types of properties that are most popular at the moment.

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.

 

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

So, you’re looking to move – perhaps you’ve found your dream home or location already or perhaps you’re simply ‘testing the water’ to see how much interest your own property might generate. Either way marketing your property at the right price is really important. 

how much is my house worth?

Rumour and gossip is always rife in neighbourhoods when it comes to property value. We’ve all heard stories of a ‘Joe’s house that only went for £xxxxx’, or ‘Susan’s place, which is smaller than yours, was sold for a whopping £xxxx!’ And to a point it’s crucial to start by doing some research into properties recently sold in your area to get an idea of how much you could expect to achieve. But remember there are always variables. Joe’s house may have had structural problems and Susan’s might have been wonderfully decorated and had a new extension, for example.

Before inviting an agent to value your property, take a look at our online valuation tool to get an idea of an estimated value.

best local agent in Harlow

So, who to use? Well, it’s common wisdom that you should use an agency with a good amount of local knowledge. A valuation will take a lot into consideration, including market conditions and a knowledge of the local area and recent sales. This is before the evaluation of your property – it’s condition, any additions or features etc.

A reputable agent will be objective when it comes to appraising your property, so try not to be too emotionally involved. The valuation should be based upon the property and not on the financial investments you have made over the years. So don’t be tempted to choose an agency based solely on the highest valuation. An agent may suggest a higher price to win your business, for example.  And remember, overpricing your house is very likely to deter prospective buyers – people are unlikely to arrange a viewing if the price seems over-priced. An over priced property is very likely to be on the market for a long time – which can cause frustration and cost you money in the long term.

If you do receive an offer, the buyer’s lender will discover if the house is over-priced anyway, and will probably refuse them a loan.

 

Find a reputable, local agent who will give you a reasonable and realistic valuation. And good luck!!!

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.  

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Way back in the distant mists of time, when men were real men, women were real women and even estate agents were respected as serious professionals, the Nation’s first, and perhaps only celebrity agent appeared on the TV and radio. He was the inimitable Roy Brooks, raconteur, wit, chum of the rich and famous, and libidinous centrepiece of the French House with his great friend Jeffrey Bernard.

Roy Brooks was a complicated sort of bloke – an avowed communist and revolutionary, he nonetheless became extremely successful as an estate agent in London’s West End. His success was based on a very unusual secret – he was crudely and often hysterically candid:

estate agent humour

For over thirty years Brooks’ articles would appear in the Observer and The Sunday Times to the great amusement of the bourgeoisie and the louche London classes, who would wonder who’s house he was describing. The working classes loved him as he ribbed their ‘betters’ with merciless abandon:

Desmond Wilcox had a story he used in the foreword of a book on Brooks in 1985. Even being Brooks’ personal friend did not protect him from awaking one Sunday to read that the bar in the corner of his own lounge had been described as: “a white painted brick feature for holding exotic drinks. Rather theatrical and in keeping with the pretentious style of the owner”.

Becoming wealthy from the enormous fees thrown at him by London’s upper crust never sat comfortably with Roy however, and he would occasionally be seen loading his Rolls Royce with a 1000 pairs of shoes that he’d drive to Russia, ‘for old times’ sake’.

We may never see his like again…

-Alan

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents


If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

 

Despite everything that’s happened thus far in 2020 (and let’s be honest we won’t be totallysurprised if an asteroid hit before Christmas) the property market seems preposterously buoyant. We detailed in a previous blog post how well sales were going in our area here in Harlow and the Villages – but it seems that this trend is happening nation wide.

moving home to harlow or old harlow

Despite a slow start when it first re-opened the property market is expecting a boom. A new poll carried out by Miller Homes showed that buyers are very active at the moment with a very large proportion of them hoping to move this year – many before the end of summer.

According to Judy Johnston in the Daily Express: “(Miller Homes) polled 750 potential property buyers around the UK, with surprising results. It found that more than two thirds of buyers are itching to get moving and still hope to do so in 2020, despite the uncertainty. It found that 69 per cent were still determined to make the move to a new home by the end of the year.”

The survey was conducted in May as restrictions were being lifted, which may of course have swayed the results a little, however of those polled a huge 36 per cent of people were hoping to move by the end of the Summer.

 working from home, harlow essex

As you may have seen, here at H&B we introduced virtual tours during the lockdown period, which have proven to be extremely popular. So much so, indeed, that we intend to keep producing them into the future. The use of virtual tours is in accordance with government guidelines of course - and although safe viewings (with social distancing provisions) are now acceptable it remains important to stay safe in this difficult time. This means, of course, that fewer viewings are possible, slowing the whole procedure down.

It has been estimated that 450,000 buyers and renters in the UK had to put their plans to move on hold during the lockdown. 

Chris Endsor (chief exec at Miller Homes said: “It’s encouraging to see that so many people are still keen to push forward with their property plans as soon as possible. With everyone spending so much more time at home during the lockdown, many people will have taken the opportunity to re-evaluate their current living arrangements and this may prompt increased interest in moving home.”

best estate agent in harlow, sawbridgeworth

Life has changed for a large majority of us over the last few months especially when one considers family life, work routines, expenses and family finances. It’s very positive to see that people are still very keen on moving and finding their dream property

That said, it is crucial to remember that the virus hasn’t gone away. Please stay safe and be responsible. We certainly intend to at Howick and Brooker.

The Howick & Brooker Partnership - is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents

 

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

 

So lockdown continues to ease and even us Oldies are getting out and about and back to work. Our estate agency, Howick and Brooker, has emerged phoenix-like after a decent slumber to a near avalanche of new interest and sales. Naturally, February through May were very slow, but the housing market seems very buoyant now – nothing like three months locked in your old house to make people keen to find a new one!

buying and selling property in Essex

I’ve been ruminating a little (as one does) as to why we are doing quite so well since agencies like ours were allowed to open a few weeks ago. I’ve decided that there are four main reasons:

  • We’re pretty damn good at what we do. Slightly hubristic, I know, but we’ve been in practice for many years and have a little experience when it comes to buying and selling properties…
  • As we’ve been present in Harlow (Old Harlow) since the mid 1970s our name is pretty well-known in the area and we do like to conduct ourselves in a professional but also friendly manner.
  • We did make a big effort to be visible and helpful during the lockdown period. It’s very important to work with the community at times like this – so inn association with our friends at Your Harlow.com we shared a plethora of local news. James, the fruit of my loins, used social media (whatever that may be) to share articles on home schooling and childcare etc. I’m led to believe this was all very well received.
  • Cricket…

estate agents, Harlow, Essex

As some of you may know, I’m a little keen on cricket, so you can imaging my devastation with the lack of play over at the Marigolds ground thus far this year. The prospect still remains of course, but it has been decidedly odd not partaking in a glass of Chablis and listening to the sound of leather on willow.

Harlow CC has been building up a lovely community following over the last few years, and it’s been rather depressing that we’ve been unable to gather in the Pavilion with the local families who have made the place so ‘buzzing’ over the last few Summer’s.

That said, over the last few weekends members of the HCC Vice Presidents Club have been working like Trojans preparing the southwest corner of ground into a quiet garden space. With the approval of the club’s committee this area is where the former clubhouse stood between 1953 and 2018. Hopefully it will retain a few happy memories for those of us who spent many happy hours there. Look at my magnificent trousers!

quality estate agents in Essex

The project included the levelling of the area (thanks to our Chairman, Simon Radbourne), the removal of weeds and as many plastic remnants from the old nets, the planting of seven silver birch trees and the creation of a new paved ‘slab’ for two new benches which are to be kindly donated by those wonderful chaps at Branson’s Leisure. All whilst socially distancing, of course!

The costs involved have been organised by the HCC VPC with kind donations from the Pamela Whitby 90th birthday fund and local solicitors Harris Cuffaro & Nichols. Its getting very green already, so thanks to our groundsman Cliff for scattering grass seed along with anything that is green that grows wild over this corner. 

At Howick and Brooker we are always grateful to the local community who have given us so much over the past 45 years or so. It’s important I believe, to give a little back every now and again, and hopefully this ‘memorial garden’ area will give a little pleasure to cricket lovers, or to people who just want to take a sit down on a warm say in a tranquil location. 

-Alan

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership - is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.

buying a property in Harlow

 

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

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