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The Extras That Home Buyers Look For

by Sarah Halloran

When we’re looking to buy a property there are always going to be obvious factors that are more important than others. The number of bedrooms, the size of all rooms and the style and look of a house should be at the forefront of a property seeker’s mind but what about those added extras?

Is a garage more important than regular public transport links or would you favour high speed broadband access over the nature of your power supply?

A recent survey of 2,000 homebuyers revealed that broadband is now a number one priority and 19% of movers make sure that their service is the first thing they activate when they move in. In fact, one in ten potential buyers have rejected a prospective property simply because it had a slow connection.

“When it comes to buying a home it seems it’s more a case of broadband, broadband, broadband than location, location, location,” said Dominic Baliszewski, of the website

“Broadband has become something people are not prepared to live without, so it’s little wonder it’s now such a major factor for homebuyers.”

Estate agents have also shown that a faster broadband speed will secure more viewers as buyers consider this to be of higher importance than factors such as a garage, off street parking or easy walking access to nearby shops.

The increase of teleworking is undoubtedly at the heart of this growing need. With more people working from home, either on a full or part time basis, a fast broadband connection suddenly becomes essential.

“In this digital age, a fast broadband connection is becoming much more important for home-hunters,” said Miles Shipside of RightMove.

“People don’t just rely on a good internet connection for web browsing, but also streaming television and working from home.

“As the consumer technologies which rely on the internet expand, the need for a strong connection will be added to more home mover wish-lists.”

Once you move beyond the desire for broadband, the more traditional requirements start to emerge. Electricity and gas fired central heating may be more attractive than isolated properties that still rely on oil for their fuel source while garages, off street parking and local amenities are still taken into consideration.

However, it’s Broadband that has emerged as the main requirement in terms of those property ‘add-ons’.

“It is very easy to check broadband speeds in a specific area so we’d urge potential home buyers to do this rather than be left disappointed,” Dominic Baliszewski added.

While it may be easy to check, estate agents are finding that the inclusion of a positive broadband speed on their sales specifications will save time and is also becoming a powerful selling tool.

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Could Downsizing Push the Housing Market Forward?

by Sarah Halloran

A recent survey has revealed that downsizing has become the prime reason for moving house within the UK with one if five people moving to a smaller home sooner than they expected. The findings come from Lloyds TSB who claim that more and more homeowners are moving to cheaper houses, either for relocation purposes or simply to save money.

Within the survey, Lloyds TSB found that around one third of those taking part said that they were downsizing to save money on household expenses while 59 per cent stated that they were looking for dwellings that better suited their needs.

Traditionally, those property owners reaching retirement age have been the main demographic in any downsizing statistics but Steven Noakes of Lloyds TSB said that the findings were continuing to include people from all life stages.

“Downsizers are now playing a key role in the housing market and as the study shows we are starting to see homeowners on different stages of the property ladder considering it as a sensible option as more and more families are looking at ways to save money,” Mr Noakes said.

Many are still option to downsize in order to claim a cash windfall and this is another area where market factors have led to more homeowners selling up and moving to smaller properties. Those planning to trade down have seen the average amount of their cash windfall rise by forty per cent over the course of the last ten years. It’s claimed that trading from a detached home down to a small bungalow in 2012 will earn an average of £97,298 – an increase of £28,484 from 2002.

“While we have seen a significant rise in the potential cash windfall, downsizing can make a lot of sense for a wide range of people, it is important to consider carefully whether trading down is the best solution,” Added Steven Noakes.

“Whether you are looking to lower utility bills, pay for an offspring’s tuition fees, or free up extra cash for retirement we recommend you seek professional advice before taking action.”

For anyone thinking of downsizing, they are urged to weigh up all the advantages and disadvantages and there are more than just financial issues to consider. On the plus side there are factors such as less work and maintenance but some homeowners regret their decision purely because they miss the comfort factor that a larger property can bring.

For whatever reason, downsizing is on the up but will it make any significant boost to the property market over the next few months and years?


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Snap Up a 2012 Property Bargain!

by Alison Feemantle

Any developments in the property sector will bring mixed news depending on your position in the market but some experts are predicting an influx of price reductions as vendors begin to lose patience. The prospect of listing a property for months or even years without the merest hint of a sale is expected to drive down the asking price of some homes and the key for bargain hunters is simply to be in pole position when that figure is dropped.

This may not represent the market as a whole: Many buyers may still prefer to wait, rather than sell for less than they had hoped but in those cases where a quick sale is imperative, there will be some real bargains to be had.

Grainne Gilmore of Knight Frank summed up the issue succinctly in saying that,

“To achieve sales, vendors will have to cut their prices.”

Knight Frank go on to predict a significant fall in house prices in the UK as a whole which goes against many predictions of a static market in 2012. Those predictions include a seven per cent drop in Wales, six per cent in Scotland, northern England and the West Country and four per cent in other parts of Britain. Even in London, where demand for property has increased, a drop of three per cent is being forecast.

The Daily Telegraph is currently highlighting a number of properties where the prices have dropped significantly but these are all listed at prices approaching £1m or above which would tend to suggest that the good news only applies to a certain sector of the buying public.

However, there are healthy price reductions right across the board and property buying expert Tracy Kellett, from the BDI Home Finders buying agency offers advice for any would-be bargain hunters.

“Look for properties that are compromised a little, but can be improved once you’re in. For example, a Seventies house is now out of fashion and tends to be cheap because it’s considered ugly. However, you can transform it by using an architect to add capital value even in this market,” she advises.

However, Kellett did go on to emphasise that those buyers in more favourable positions are more likely to benefit from any price cuts.

“Remember that cash is king. If you don’t need a mortgage, consider buying a property that is hard to get a mortgage on, such as an apartment above commercial premises. And exploit what I call the ‘vendor position’. If the seller is in debt or is in the throes of a divorce, they will want to sell immediately and settle for a lower price,” she concluded.

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Giftwrap Your Home for That December Sale

by Alison Feemantle

Tis the season to be jolly, unless you are an estate agent or vendor maybe!  Traditionally, the festive period always means a drop in house sales and viewings.

However, it doesn’t have to be a completely dry month.  Many vendors are attempting to make the most of the yuletide period and making the sparkly season work in their favour.  If you’re looking to sell your property, you can still attract viewings during the month of December.  It’s all about playing on the season and with romantic notions of the perfect family home.

A house looks more inviting when it’s decorated.  A warmly lit room with fairy lights and candles can really welcome a viewer and give them a sense of what it would be like to live in your home and how cosy it could be.  Christmas trees surrounded with presents and a well decorated fireplace can also add to this effect.  It’s all about gift-wrapping your home and presenting it in a really happy and welcoming way.  All of these individual touches say that your home is very special and hopefully that feeling will rub off on viewers.

It’s important when using this approach that you get the look just right.  Using cheap and tacky decorations could send your viewers running in the opposite direction and even laughing about that ‘awful house we saw the other day’ when chatting with friends.  That’s exactly the opinion you’re not looking for.

Lucy Inskip from The House Doctor, a company that gives advice to vendors on how to dress and present their homes when selling, waned against overdoing the seasonal effect.

‘Avoid the cheap and cheerful approach,’ says Lucy. ‘Things like “Santa Stop Here” signs are great fun for the children, but they don’t exactly entice people to buy your home. ‘Only use white fairy lights and try to create a muted effect.”

This is sound advice as you don’t want to draw attention away from your home too much.  Every room should be tastefully presented with a warm and welcoming hallway, living room and kitchen.  It wouldn’t be going too far even to greet your viewers with a mince pie and glass of mulled wine.  If you’re planning an open house this is a great idea and will really make people feel welcome as they wander around your home.

Whilst you might be sitting there thinking the idea is a bit far-fetched, these approaches do sell houses.  You don’t need to erase December from your year just because it tends to be a little quiet.  Get that For Sale sign up and make your home look warm and welcoming inside and out.  You’ll be surprised how much attention you get!

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Broadband speed will affect your house saleability

by Andrew Potter

In the UK today, according to the Office of National Statistics, 85 percent of the population are regular internet users. With advances in internet technology, individuals and businesses alike are becoming increasingly more reliant on having instant access to high speed broadband.

“69 percent of UK internet users would be put off from purchasing a home if it did not have a high speed internet connection”

How much of a Factor is Broadband Speed in today’s Property Market?

There are all sorts of factors that a buyer will take into account when choosing a property. Typical factors buyers have always taken into consideration when choosing a location to buy a property are distances from key transport links such as the train or tube station, the quality of local schools for those that are parents, the crime rate compared to the neighbouring towns and so forth.

So how much does broadband speed play a part in determining the price buyers are prepared to pay when you come to sell your property ?

A recent survey by found that buyers would be prepared to pay more for homes that have a fast broadband connection. The survey discovered that 69 percent of UK internet users would be put off from purchasing a home if it did not have a high speed internet connection. Furthermore, 74% percent of people surveyed considered having access to broadband to be of ‘critical importance’ which shows the growing demand and dependability on broadband in modern times.

How is Broadband Speed reflected in today’s Housing Market?

In March this year, Rightmove, the UK’s number one property portal announced that it would be teaming up with BT to list the internet speeds of all the properties listed on its website later this year. Broadband speed will be listed alongside other key information such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, reception rooms and room size dimensions demonstrating its importance in today’s property market.

It is expected that other major property portals such as Zoopla, Find a Property and Prime Location will follow suit as the demand for high speed broadband connectivity continues to play a key role in the considerations when searching for a new home.

How much does Broadband Speed Vary across the UK?

Currently broadband speed does vary considerably across the UK which is ultimately why is becoming a determining factor in many cases when choosing where to purchase a property. It has been found that in some rural areas internet connection speed is so slow it can take up to 45 minutes to download a music albums compared to a matter a seconds in city locations. It is clear then for people who are very depend on being able to have access to a fast broadband connection at home, that such rural areas where this is not available would may well be excluded by this latest search criteria.

Broadband speed inequality is set to reduce in the future. The UK Government has committed to spending £830 million of public money to ensure that superfast broadband connection is available to every community.  However, for the time being broadband connectivity speed it is an important factor that home buyers are taking in serious consideration and therefore can affect the saleability of your property.

Author Biography

Andrew Potter has worked in the property and finance industry for the last ten years and regularly contributes his ideas and opinions to the online arena. Andrew has recently launched My Online Estate Agent which is one of the UK’s fastest growing online estate agents and offers all the online tools and guides required to successfully sell or let your property.

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Do ‘Fast House Sale’ deals work?

by admin

Being in the online property media industry you see a lot of coverage and advertising for ‘quick sale’ or Fast House Sale schemes but I realised recently I’d had no direct dealings with them and had always put them down as being a bit dodgy.

Talking to an estate agent friend at a national estate agency chain a few years ago he told me that he has contacts with serial cash buyers who will snap up a property that the seller is willing to sell at a discount for a fast sale – perhaps if they can’t afford mortgage payments or deperately need to liquidate their capital. This is often done outside his remit with his employer who never even sees the property on the books and I’m lead to believe is not uncommon practice among some estate agents.

Many Landlord groups offer advice on buying Below Market Value (BMV) properties as part of their investment strategy – a recent thread on the property forum Singing Pig discusses how to aquire property at BMV. Obviously property can be viewed as below market value for a variety of reasons, but the most common is a distressed sale where the owner is in a position where he must sell quickly and doesn’t have the luxury to advertise and await the perfect buyer at the best price.

The main routes to finding BMV property are:

Specialist BMV firms
Estate Agents
Property Finders
Your own research

So how do the ‘Fast Sale’ businesses work?

Some examples that I looked at today are below, but a google search will bring up many companies hungry to ‘sell your house fast’.

The pitch is that you are desperate to sell your house, whether for divorce, debt, emigration reasons, and the Fast House Sale companies have a database of willing cash buyers sitting in the wings waiting to snap up a bargain.

Fast Sales services are ‘free’ to the seller and don’t require the services of an estate agent or a Home Information Pack so the seller will save on fees in that respect – all contributing to the BMV price.

So is it a useful service to match people in dire need with willing buyers, or is it a practice that falls into the grey area of socially acceptable behaviour?

Your comments please…

Please note that although some of the links in this post are paid affiliate links, is not recommending or endorsing any action or service mentioned above.

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