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How to get the best from your Estate Agent

July 2018 Blog Estate Agency

It pays to know how to get the best out of your estate agent to maximise your chances of a quick and effective sale, as well as how to choose…

How to get the best from your Estate Agent
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How to get the best from your Estate Agent

July 2018 Estate Agency

It pays to know how to get the best out of your estate agent to maximise your chances of a quick and effective sale, as well as how to choose the right estate agent in the first place. Have a look at our handy tips to make sure you choose the right agent and then get the best from them.

1. Get a few valuations

You will probably have a number of estate agents in your locality, so ask at least three estate agents to come and give you a valuation. The values might be very different and although it is tempting to go with the agent offering the highest valuation, it’s worth double checking that their figures are realistic, as well as taking other aspects into account. You may want to view sold property prices in the area to get an understanding of what prices similar homes have been achieving in your area. There is no point having a property for sale at a price which deters buyers.

2. Choose local

Choose a tried, trusted, long established agency selling property in your area. They know their market inside out; they are aware of the types of properties in an area, the situations of buyers looking for them, the typical values and they have their finger on the pulse of local market conditions which may be completely different to the national picture. They also have an immediate, live register of interested buyers seeking property in the area and they know how to pick up and exploit buying signals. PFK’s seven branches cover an area that stretches along the west coast of Cumbria, covers the Lake District National Park and reaches across to Kirkby Stephen, up to Carlisle and even just across the border into Scotland, and we can share our lists across our branches to find the right buyer for your property.

3. Choose quality

If the agent has been established for a great many years, it is a sure sign that they have been doing something consistently right over that time. PFK has been established since 1876 so we have over 140 years of experience under our belts! It is no good selecting an agent with little experience just because they charge a much lower fee. As with all things, quality often comes at a price and a real estate agent is worth their weight in gold.

4. Test the agent

Before engaging their services, act as a prospective buyer. Assess the mood before you walk in – see if the office looks well organised and professional and each negotiator looks busy and happy, not just leaning back in their chairs looking at their watches! Subtly or mentally make notes of how promptly and enthusiastically you are welcomed, how professionally are you treated and how thorough the questioning is of your requirements and needs. If you leave with a positive list, you can be sure that if you instruct that agent, your buyers will be similarly treated when introduced to your property.

5. Look at their online presence

Aside from the agent’s own website, agents who are listed on Rightmove enjoy two million visitors a month searching for properties, giving sellers the broadest possible buyer base. Since mass use of the internet has come about, there has been a growth in the number of people selling their homes via alternative means to the high street estate agent. Despite this trend, the vast majority of property sales are still handled by professional estate agents – and they make good use of the web as a vital marketing tool.

6. Do they advertise in the local paper?

Rightmove have undertaken some research about their users, and discovered that 70% of people now start their search online – but what about the 30% who don’t? Quality, frequent newspaper advertising is still a key tool when selling a property, as is a physical office with a window to advertise properties alongside a friendly, professional team who can really talk to people and find out their needs.

7. Check your property details and photos

Once you’ve chosen your estate agent and agreed terms, they will draw up property particulars and have photographs taken. They should ask you to check the details and provide a signature to say that they are accurate. Ask to see the photos to check their quality and agree which ones should be used before the agent includes them in the property details.

8. Be ready for viewings

There is much more to selling a property than merely taking a photograph, placing an advertisement in the paper and erecting a ‘For Sale’ board outside. Look for an agent who provides a viewing service and offers you professional, personal advice every step of the way, from the initial valuation all the way through to completion.

Most estate agents will already have potential buyers up their sleeves, so expect viewings pretty quickly. It saves you a lot of hassle if you can let the estate agent have a set of keys so that they can access the property easily, particularly if you’re away from the property most days. It should go without saying that you must leave the house tidy and clean to maximise the chances of a quick and successful sale. Check out our top tips for viewings here http://www.pfk.co.uk/top-tips-for-viewings/

9. Keep an eye on the selling process

Once you have chosen an agent, keep an eye on how they operate to sell your property after being instructed. If things are not right, and get no better when you speak to them about it, you will be able to change agents. A good estate agent should possess all of the following attributes:

  • Communication skills – exceptional English when letter writing, marketing and selling.
  • Tenacity – the ability to deal with sometimes difficult solicitors, surveyors and other professionals.
  • Diplomacy – the ability to tell people bad news but have a solution in place wherever possible.
  • Organisational skills – keeping appointments, making time for clients, corresponding with you effectively.

Good memory to remember all of the above, as well as important titbits of information to help match buyers to properties as quick as possible.

Hopefully, the relationship with your estate agent will be pleasant, professional and friendly. Don’t forget, the estate agent is working for you. You are the client and it’s up to them to fulfil your instructions and help you sell your property.

10. Stay in touch with your agent

Once an offer is made, keep in close contact with your estate agent and make sure that the process is being well managed. Some buyers will ask that the property is taken off the market on acceptance of the offer. PFK will give you advice along the way and check that the purchasers are serious before committing.

11. Get the whole package

There is not just work to be done to find a buyer for your property, but work to be done once a sale has been agreed: keeping all parties informed, progress chasing and managing often tenuous chains. This is often where a truly professional agent comes out on top – and where the online agents often fall down. Look at what an agent offers after a sale has been agreed to distinguish between a quality agent and someone who is merely good at matching buyers to properties.

At PFK, our sales progression service is included in our fee as standard, so you don’t have to chase for updates. Our team will keep both you and the buyer updated on the progress, from the moment the offer is accepted through to exchange of contracts. We as an agent are the pin who holds everything in place for you, so will coordinate mortgage valuations, surveyors, solicitors and so on. If there are any problems, we will liaise with both sides and seek a satisfactory conclusion.

If you are looking to sell or for some advice on any aspect of the selling or buying process, you can contact your local PFK office for a free, no-obligation valuation and expert advice. Get in touch at hello@pfk.co.uk , call your local office or pop in and see us – we’re always happy to meet clients and have a chat about your needs.

Top tips for viewings

July 2018 Blog Estate Agency

It’s an exciting (and often nerve-wracking!) time – someone has booked a viewing on your house and you’re full of hope that they will be the ones to…

Top tips for viewings
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Top tips for viewings

July 2018 Estate Agency

It’s an exciting (and often nerve-wracking!) time – someone has booked a viewing on your house and you’re full of hope that they will be the ones to buy it. It’s completely up to you whether you conduct your own viewings or ask your estate agent to do them. The jury is out on which is the best and if you’re confident enough to do your own it can be great, after all you know your property best and should be able to answer any questions the viewer may have.

On the other hand, estate agents should be well-versed in carrying out viewings and potential buyers may feel more comfortable revealing their thoughts about the property. However, just choose what suits you best. At PFK, we include accompanied viewings in our fee rather than charging extra like so many agents do, just let us know what you prefer and we’ll go from there. If you do decide to do your own viewings, here are our top tips for making sure they go well.

  • Be positive!

Tell your viewers all the great points about your property. Think about what first attracted you to the property when you bought it – chances are it will appeal to your viewers too. Let them know what you enjoy about living there and tell them something about the neighbourhood; are there any outstanding schools, good restaurants or excellent transport links?

  • Be clean and tidy

Make sure your home has been decluttered, the beds are made and your home smells fresh. Have a look at our top ten tips for staging your home to help you out. http://www.pfk.co.uk/top-ten-tips-for-staging-your-home-2/

  • Be prepared

Think about what sort of questions the viewers might ask. Things like how old the boiler is, whether you have you had any work done and which way the garden faces are all common questions, so it’s great to be prepared with the answers.

  • Be pet-free

Ask someone (or bribe a teenager) to take the dogs out and temporarily shut the cats out – there’s no guarantee your viewer will be a pet person. Don’t have bowls of pet food sitting around and make sure the litter tray is clean and put away; there’s nothing more off putting to a buyer than a pet smell. Make sure you also retrieve any dog mess in the garden, your viewers will most likely want to look around the outside of the house and you definitely don’t want them stepping in anything!

  • Be friendly – but not overbearing

Have a chat with your viewers by all means, but try not to hover over them as they walk round. It’s a great opportunity to try and find out a bit more about them and let them know why the house might suit them; if they have school age children let them know about the local schools and if they’re keen gardeners (or the opposite!) let them know more about the garden and why you enjoy it. Don’t worry about finding out what they think, your agent should get detailed feedback the day after the viewing.

  • Be alone

Agree who is going to show the viewers round and then try to get everyone else out of the house. It’s obviously difficult if you have small children but it can be less distracting for viewers if they can look round unimpeded. It’s possible your viewers might feel a bit awkward looking round a teenager’s bedroom if the teenager is in situ, so at the very least make sure everyone is downstairs and corralled into one room.

  • (Don’t) be conscious of the time

Try to let the viewers look round at their own pace. You want them to come away feeling excited at the prospect of living in your house, not with the feeling they have been bundled out of the door in record time and haven’t had a chance to look round. If they’re still round the kitchen table talking to you an hour later then that’s usually a good sign, although at this point you would be forgiven for trying to edge them towards the door at this point!

  • Be on the market with PFK

At PFK we know how important viewings are, which is why they are only ever carried out by knowledgeable sales staff who are well-trained to spot signs that the viewer might be interested in making an offer. We’re happy to work round you – some of our clients like us to do the first viewing and then carry out the second themselves, which can be a great way of approaching it. You might only want us to do viewings if you’re at work, or at the weekend, or on a Friday during changeover on your holiday let. We offer viewings six days a week with totally flexible timings, so we really can offer whatever suits you best.

If you are looking to sell, or want some more information on our accompanied viewings service, you can contact your local PFK office for a free, no-obligation valuation and expert advice. Get in touch at hello@pfk.co.uk, call your local office or pop in and see us – we’re always happy to meet clients and have a chat about your needs.

A guide to quick sale packs

July 2018 Blog Estate Agency

Quick Sale Packs are a fantastic resource for vendors, as it contains the Law Society property information questionnaire which all solicitors should accept, as well as a title plan and…

A guide to quick sale packs
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A guide to quick sale packs

July 2018 Estate Agency

Quick Sale Packs are a fantastic resource for vendors, as it contains the Law Society property information questionnaire which all solicitors should accept, as well as a title plan and lease information if applicable. The advantage to the vendor is that it can take up to two weeks off the conveyancing process and also highlights any potential time-consuming issues such as unregistered land, meaning this can be sorted before a sale is agreed and held up for weeks.

It is always beneficial to get some of the initial paperwork done before the offers come in. Your solicitor can then start tackling some of the administration and things will move faster when you do accept an offer, and it will be one less thing you have to do. Your property will also be more appealing to buyers if they know that you have already prepared your documents for the sale – they can also get a quick purchase.

You will need to fill in initial forms for your solicitor and provide identification for everyone who owns the property. At PFK we offer a quick sale pack for a small additional fee. It’s a great addition to your sales particulars and shows buyers you are committed to a speedy sale, as well as providing them with information about the boundary and any lease information. It includes:

  • Property information form
  • Fixtures and fittings form
  • Title deed from Land Registry
  • Plan from Land Registry
  • Lease and leasehold supplement form (for leasehold properties)

You will need to bring together other paperwork too, such as planning consents and certificates for structural building work completed, so get these ready as soon as you can.

It can also be cost effective to get your quick sale pack from us. When selling your home, it is a legal requirement to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property. An EPC contains information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs and recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money. The EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.

If you do not have an existing EPC, you must order one before you market your property – you can be fined if you don’t get an EPC when you need one. You can order one through us and you can also order a floor plan which will be done at the same time – these are invaluable when selling your home. Check out our previous blog post: http://www.pfk.co.uk/why-have-a-floorplan/

If you order a quick sale pack at the same time as your EPC and floor plan, we can offer you a significant saving on the three together.

If you are looking to sell, or want some more information on our Quick Sale packs, you can contact your local PFK office for a free, no-obligation valuation and expert advice. Get in touch at hello@pfk.co.uk, call your local office or pop in and see us – we’re always happy to meet clients and have a chat about your needs.

Looking for your next home?

The PFK Estate Agency team spans across seven branches, making it easier than ever to find just what you’re looking for.

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Looking for your next home?

Need help managing your estate?

PFK Land Agency has helped with a broad range of land and estate management requirements. You name it, we’ve got the experience.

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Need help managing your estate?

Submitting a planning application?

The PFK Planning team are here to help you navigate the challenges of planning rules and regulations.

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Submitting a planning application?

Free, no obligation consultation

PFK Surveys have an expert team of chartered surveyors who offer free, no obligation consultations.

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Free, no obligation consultation

Fortnightly auctions

PFK Auctioneers hold an auction every fortnight, so if you’re a collector, investor or after a bargain, come along and see what’s for sale.

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Fortnightly auctions

Why have a floorplan?

July 2018 Blog Estate Agency

Floorplans are a relatively new addition to property details, but they have proved to be invaluable when selling a property. Rightmove research suggests that floorplans are one of the most…

Why have a floorplan?
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Why have a floorplan?

July 2018 Estate Agency

Floorplans are a relatively new addition to property details, but they have proved to be invaluable when selling a property. Rightmove research suggests that floorplans are one of the most important aspects of property presentation to buyers and the absence of a floor plan is a barrier. Buyers want to see the room layout, to see where rooms fit in relation to other rooms and to understand the flow of the property. A floorplan is undoubtedly the best way to gather this information.

  • Over a third of buyers said that they were less likely to enquire about a property without a floorplan.
  • 1 in 5 buyers said they would ignore a property listing completely if there is no floorplan, and they would only re-visit it if there was nothing else that caught their eye.
  • 1 in 10 buyers said that they would never arrange view a property if they had not seen a floorplan first, and many more said that they would be less likely to arrange a viewing if there is no floorplan.

The survey also showed that other than the number of images a property has, a floorplan is most important when looking for property. Photos can be deceptive; a floorplan is more definitive. At PFK we are able to arrange a floor plan of your property to be drawn up when we start marketing.

There are three important elements to a floorplan:

  • Too many floorplans often have the measurements missing, or they are only included in the written description where they lack context. The right place for room dimensions is in the floorplan, so that a buyer can see all the relevant information in the same place.
  • Compass marker. This is essential so a buyer can tell which way the front of the house and more importantly, the garden, faces.
  • Overall square footage. This allows the house to be compared with other properties, so that a buyer can instantly see how much house they’re getting for their money.

There are three main reasons why a floor plan is so important:

  • It helps a buyer see how the house works, and therefore whether it is worth a viewing. A buyer, especially family buyers, won’t want to waste time by viewing properties which just aren’t suitable for their needs.
  • A floorplan can help a buyer to visualise the property after the viewing. This can become useful when they may be considering making layout changes, perhaps knocking down a wall or installing an en-suite, and a floorplan is vital for this kind of thought processing.
  • Floorplans can make a house seem larger. It’s very easy when you’ve viewed a house to forget rooms or overlook a part of the house altogether. This is especially true of box rooms or areas that aren’t being fully utilised, like storage rooms. By showing the house in its entirety on a floorplan, it can even add perceived value.

Make sure you have a floorplan on your brochure, and preferably available as a separate image on the online property portals. Ensure it is clear and informative, and that it includes the total floor area. Your buyer will thank you for it.

If you are looking to sell or for some more advice on the floor plans we can arrange for you, you can contact your local PFK office for a free, no-obligation valuation and expert advice. Get in touch at hello@pfk.co.uk, call your local office or pop in and see us – we’re always happy to meet clients and have a chat about your needs.

How to quickly sell your home

June 2018 Blog Estate Agency

Selling your house can often seem an overwhelming prospect, let alone selling it quickly. At PFK we deal with a lot of clients who need to move quickly, however we…

How to quickly sell your home
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How to quickly sell your home

June 2018 Estate Agency

Selling your house can often seem an overwhelming prospect, let alone selling it quickly. At PFK we deal with a lot of clients who need to move quickly, however we do understand not everyone is in a hurry – that’s why we take the time to build a bespoke marketing package that’s right for your property and your budget. We’ve shared our top tips for a quick sale below.

  • Choose the best time to sell

Look at what is happening in your local housing market. Ideally, you want to sell while buyer demand is high, as this generally means there are lots of motivated purchasers in the marketplace. It’s a good idea to be informed of what is happening in your local area – is there anything planned which might boost your chances of selling? New transport links, outstanding schools and super-fast broadband can all improve selling prospects and possibly increase your asking price.

  • Agree an accurate house price

One of the most important things when it comes to selling quickly is to price your home accurately. You need to agree an asking price that will appeal to buyers in the current housing market and this is where local estate agents really provide value for money. Local agents will know the market inside out and be able to tell you where to pitch your price. The best agents don’t just give you a price and walk away. They work with you throughout the whole sale, giving you the advice you need to make informed decisions.

  • Find a good estate agent

A good estate agent will be invaluable in securing you a swift sale. At PFK, we know that selling a property takes effort, knowledge of the neighbourhood and negotiating skills, and our teams put this into practise in everything we do.

We will showcase your home as widely as possible by listing it on property portals like Rightmove as well as our own website, and we also advertise in newspapers and on the high street to capture the 30% of buyers who do not use the internet to look for properties. However, also remember that word of mouth can be very powerful so tell your friends, family and neighbours that your home is up for sale and share the online listing on your social media pages.

  • Instruct a solicitor early

We advise that you choose a solicitor and get started on your initial paperwork as soon as you can – you don’t want to delay things once an offer has been accepted. Your property will also be more appealing to buyers if they know that you have already prepared your documents for the sale – they can also get a quick purchase. You’ll need guarantees for things like double glazing and details of any work you have carried out. At PFK, we offer a quick sale pack which can shave up to two weeks off the conveyancing process, a valuable amount of time if you’re wanting to move quickly.

  • Prepare your house for sale

First impressions really do count so make sure you take the time to prepare your home for sale. Look at our previous blog post http://www.pfk.co.uk/ten-ways-to-prepare-your-home-for-selling/

  • Make the most of viewings

At PFK we will conduct your viewings for you if you would like us to – we don’t charge any additional fees for accompanied viewings, they come as standard with all our packages. Our sales teams have years of knowledge and are well practised in showing potential buyers around, and we can also deal with any awkward questions!

Before one of our team does a viewing for you, you can do a final sweep of the house.

  • If you have a parking space, try to leave it free for the buyer. You want to make your property as welcoming as possible.
  • Put the heating on if it’s cold or open up the windows if it’s a warm, sunny day.
  • Empty bins and air the rooms of any unpleasant odours. Try adding fresh flowers or plants throughout the house. 
  • Choose a swift buyer

When you receive an offer, find out about the buyer. This is essential information if you want to move quickly – if your buyer is in a long chain or hasn’t got their finances in place it is unlikely they will be able to progress quickly to exchange of contracts.

  • Accept the best offer

Once you have accepted the best offer on the table, you are close to securing a sale. You do not want your potential buyer to be distracted by other opportunities so keep in regular contact with your solicitor and estate agent to ensure the buyer is still committed to the deal. At PFK, we offer a sales progression service that is included in our fee as standard, so you don’t have to chase for updates. Our team will keep both you and the buyer updated on the progress, from the moment the offer is accepted through to exchange of contracts.

If you are looking to sell (whether you need to sell quickly or not!) you can contact your local PFK office for a free, no-obligation valuation and expert advice. Get in touch at hello@pfk.co.uk , call your local office or pop in and see us – we’re always happy to meet clients and have a chat about your needs.

Ten ways to prepare your house for a summer sale

May 2018 Blog Estate Agency

Summer is the perfect time to sell – gardens are in bloom, buyers are more motivated and the sun is more likely to be shining down on your property. Check out…

Ten ways to prepare your house for a summer sale
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Ten ways to prepare your house for a summer sale

May 2018 Estate Agency

Summer is the perfect time to sell – gardens are in bloom, buyers are more motivated and the sun is more likely to be shining down on your property. Check out our handy tips for making sure your house is ready to sell this summer.

1. Stand outside your home and compare it to your neighbours’ properties. If you do this and it makes you feel slightly embarrassed, it’s likely that you’ve already failed to impress your potential buyers. Your home needs to have kerb appeal as first impressions really do count.

2. Ensure the lawn is cut regularly and free of weeds, and keep any hedges trimmed neatly.

3. Check borders and flowerbeds for any weeds. It could also be worth a trip to the local garden centre for some brightly coloured flowers to plant in beds, pots or hanging baskets to catch a buyer’s eye, but don’t overdo it!

4. Clean any paved or decked areas. Even if they look alright, it is amazing how much better they will look after being cleaned. If you don’t have a pressure washer, it is worth borrowing one from a friend or hiring one, as they are perfect for this job. Also fix any paving slabs that are uneven or wobbly and remove any weeds that are growing through the cracks.

5. Make sure the gutters are clean and look in good condition.

6. Ensure window frames are also in good condition. Windows are a tell for the condition of the house in general and buyers often pay close attention to window frames for this reason. Don’t forget to clean the windows inside and out and polish them to give them an extra shine.

7. Get rid of any unnecessary clutter outside such as children’s toys, your dog’s favourite ball, bikes, gardening tools and supplies and empty plant pots. Also make sure things like bins, compost containers and pet food bowls are stored where they cannot be seen or, more importantly, smelled!

8. If any woodwork such as fences, benches, sheds or summer houses are looking a bit tired, give them a new lease of life with a coat of wood treatment.

9. Prune any trees or vines that are casting shadows inside the house to make the inside look as bright as possible.

10. Lastly, ensure the house name or number is clearly visible and is in good condition so potential buyers can find your house easily.

If you’re thinking of selling this summer, PFK are happy to help. For a free, no-obligation market appraisal, call your local office, email or drop in and see us. Don’t forget, if you instruct us to sell your property before the end of May you will be entered into our ‘Sell Your Home for Free’ competition (for terms and conditions please see: http://www.pfk.co.uk/sell-home-free/)

Moving day checklist

May 2018 Blog Estate Agency

Before moving day: Get organised well before moving day – ask local shop owners if they have any spare boxes from their deliveries to save you buying all the boxes. Also…

Moving day checklist
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Moving day checklist

May 2018 Estate Agency

Before moving day:

  1. Get organised well before moving day – ask local shop owners if they have any spare boxes from their deliveries to save you buying all the boxes. Also buy lots of bin bags for moving day – they’re useful for a variety of things.
  2. Have a clear out – you don’t want to be moving more than you have to and this is the perfect opportunity for a clear out. Get rid of all your rubbish from the loft and garage and take things to the tip etc. If you have a large vehicle such as a van or pick-up truck you may need to apply for a day permit to take items to the tip. Also get rid of any clothing that doesn’t fit or you no longer want. These can be donated to charity, or you can sell them online to help pay for your move.
  3. Check that the removers know where they are going and have directions. If the property is hard to find, describe useful landmarks such as shops, etc. to help prevent them getting lost.
  4. Ensure boxes are labelled with room names to show where they want to end up – use a thick pen and bold letters and write the room name on both the top and at least one side of the box. You can even colour code by room if you want to get really organised!
  5. Use up food items that are difficult to pack, such as items kept in the fridge and especially the freezer, so there are hardly any to move. Keep the food shopping to a minimum to help do this.
  6. If you have a pet, find out whether a friend or family member could take care of your pet while you move, or look into boarding your cat or dog in a cattery or kennels. Moving home can be very stressful for your pet so it’s advisable to remove them from the situation whenever possible. Also make sure that you update your pet’s microchip and ID tag in advance. If your pet runs away during or after the move, it’s important that you can be contacted immediately.

On the day of moving:

  1. Keep essential items such as the kettle, tea and coffee, commonly used crockery such as mugs and plates and basic cutlery out. Not only will you need these on the first evening and morning, but both you and the removers will want a brew while they work is being done. Once you’re ready to go put these in the car with you so they are easy to find.
  2. Prepare a bag of basic food items – milk, biscuits, and anything else you will need on moving day and before you get chance to do the first big shop for the new place. Reusable supermarket bags are particularly useful for this as they are strong, leakproof and a good size. These should go in the car too.
  3. Ensure your bedding is easily accessible – you don’t want to be exhausted at the end of the day and not be able to find your sheets, duvets and pillows easily.
  4. Pack an overnight bag – change of clothes, toothbrush and toiletries, phone charger – again, you don’t want to be rummaging through boxes looking for these on your first night in the new house. You may even want to pack a larger suitcase depending on how quickly you plan to unpack at the new place.
  5. Make sure the vacuum cleaner and essential cleaning materials are on hand for both properties.
  6. Keep important paperwork, jewellery, and small fragile items separate from your moving boxes to take in the car too.
  7. If you have a pet with you on moving day, try to keep their routine as normal as possible. Keep your pet in one room to keep them safe and keep toys, bowls and bedding in with them as they will be comforting to your pet. Pack these at the last minute and take them in the car with them. If your pet is prone to travel sickness, do not feed them for 3-4 hours before travelling but ensure they always have access to fresh water. If you have a cat that goes outside, you should keep them in from the day before, otherwise you may not be able to find them on moving day. Let the removers know that you have a pet and which room they are in so that they do not frighten them or let them out of the room.
  8. Meet the removers when they arrive and give them a quick tour of the current property.
  9. Swap mobile numbers with the removers.
  10. Make sure everyone else who is helping you move have exchanged numbers too.
  11. Explain what is to go and what is to stay. If there is a lot to leave behind, it may be worth marking this beforehand with bright tape to avoid confusion.
  12. If there is anything that requires extra care, point this out at the start.
  13. Do a final check when the van is loaded to ensure everything has been taken. Check cupboards, drawers and the top and underneath of any units or appliances you are leaving.
  14. Take all meter readings and take a photo of them on the meters also as proof.
  15. Check all windows and doors are locked and the utilities are all turned off.
  16. Take a moment – this is your last time in your old home and it’s worth taking a mental image of it – sounds, smells and feelings cannot be captured in a photograph!

At the new property:

  1. Give the removers another quick tour so they know what rooms to put your items in.
  2. Try putting up signs so they know which room is which – especially where bedrooms are concerned. Printer paper, white tack and a biro should do the trick.
  3. Use masking tape on the floors to show where you want your furniture to go.
  4. If you have a pet with you, keep them in one room with familiar things around them while you unpack and keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible while you are settling them in. You should aim to keep cats indoors for a while so that they can get used to their new surroundings. When you are ready to allow them outside, let them go out and explore in their own time and make sure you keep the door open so that they can come back in if they feel nervous. Let them out when they are hungry so that you can tempt them back with their favourite food or treat.
  5. When the van is unloaded, do a final sanity check to ensure nothing has been left behind.
  6. You’ve done it! It will have been a long and tiring day, so get the beds ready as a priority and put the kettle on! Everything else can wait until tomorrow.

Surveys demystified

April 2018 Blog Surveys

At PFK we provide a range of surveys and valuation reports to meet different needs, backed up by the qualification, experience and local knowledge of a Chartered Surveyor. Buying a…

Surveys demystified
Read more

Surveys demystified

April 2018 Surveys

At PFK we provide a range of surveys and valuation reports to meet different needs, backed up by the qualification, experience and local knowledge of a Chartered Surveyor.

Buying a house is one of the most exciting investments you will ever make and we want to make sure your purchase lives up to those expectations and doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

But what exactly are the different types of surveys? We know it can get a little confusing, so here’s exactly what you need to know.

Property Valuation

This is a brief report which includes our assessment of value taking into account the overall condition of the property and current market conditions.  It is ideal in a wide range of situations where the value forms part of the financial portfolio planning.  The property valuation report is ideally suited for:

  • Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax assessments
  • Probate purposes
  • Family property appraisals and planning
  • Mortgage and bank lending security

Homebuyer Survey & Valuation Report

This is a survey report popular with the majority of home buyers and is produced in a straight forward, easy to understand format under the regulatory umbrella of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

This focuses on the main elements of the property, significant repairs and those matters requiring urgent attention.  It is an ideal report to help you assess whether the property is a reasonable purchase at the agreed price, what actions to take before you exchange contracts and the repairs you will need to attend to once your purchase is complete.  The report includes details of:

  • The general condition of the property
  • Any major faults including structural movement which are a threat to the fabric of the building and may affect value
  • Urgent repairs which require further investigation and quotations before you make that financial commitment to acquire the property
  • Results of damp tests to internal areas
  • The condition of timbers highlighting any issues in regard to woodworm or rot
  • The estimated re-building cost for buildings insurance purposes
  • A market valuation of the property in present condition

Building Survey

Commonly referred to as a structural survey.  This is the most comprehensive survey available.  It provides an in-depth review of the condition and construction of the property within the report. This is detailed and can be designed around your particular concerns.

The report includes details of:

  • A thorough and detailed overall assessment of the condition of the property
  • Serious structural defects which affect stability and safety of the structure
  • Faults both major and minor
  • Essential repairs which require urgent attention
  • Essential repairs which require further specialist investigation, perhaps requiring detailed quotations before you make a legal commitment to purchase
  • General maintenance repairs
  • Matters to be referred to your legal adviser
  • General maintenance advice for sustaining and maintaining the condition of your property through your ownership

We know timescales will be very important to your plans.  An inspection can normally be booked within a few days from receiving your instructions and the completed report forwarded to you following the inspection.

If you do have any further questions about our surveys, please give our survey team a call on 01900 821411

 

 

High street agents are the way forward

April 2018 Blog Estate Agency

A complete service We advise you on the right asking price for your property, and then do all we can to find somebody who offers an acceptable price and meets…

High street agents are the way forward
Read more

High street agents are the way forward

April 2018 Estate Agency

A complete service

We advise you on the right asking price for your property, and then do all we can to find somebody who offers an acceptable price and meets your requirements to achieve a successful transaction in the right timescale. We do everything an online agent does, and much more.

A wealth of local knowledge

In order to carry out an accurate valuation and sell your property effectively, an agent needs to know a lot about your local area. With high-street branches in Carlisle, Penrith, Whitehaven, Keswick, Kirkby Stephen, Appleby and Cockermouth, PFK Estate Agents have a wealth of knowledge about each of these areas, built up over a long period of time, allowing them to make a true valuation and highlight positives to prospective buyers.

On the other hand, online agents who are based miles away from your area often have to rely on research to fill gaps in their knowledge, making valuing and marketing your property more difficult.

We conduct viewings so you don’t have to

Online estate agents often have a hands-off approach to selling compared to high-street agents. An online agent may not have representatives in your area, especially rural areas like ours, so you might need to show buyers around your property yourself. Although some people will be happy to do this, it can be a big ask if you have a busy lifestyle. It can also seem daunting if you’re not a big talker or simply don’t know what to say, whereas our agents with several years of experience will know exactly what to say to prospective buyers to make your property as appealing as possible.

No hidden fees

When selling with an online agent you pay their fee regardless of sale, usually upfront, whereas if you choose a high street agent you will only pay them if they sell your property. A high-street estate agent may charge slightly more in fees, but when payment is reliant upon a sale, an agent will automatically be more motivated to sell your property.

If online agent does not require the fee upfront, you enter into a contract with them, meaning the fee will still have to be paid regardless of if your property sells or not. There can also be additional terms and conditions that are not obvious when you are first attracted to the low fee. This can include an additional fee of over £300 to use your own solicitor instead of one linked to the agent. You can also not defer the payment for as long as it may seem; you have to pay the fee a maximum amount of time from the start date, even if your property it is still on the market then.

You also need to consider why fees for online estate agents are sometimes so low. For instance, would you be happy to pay for and put up your own “for sale” sign? Online agents’ basic fixed fees don’t always include services which are included as standard with high street agents. For example, one online agent charges an extra £300 on top of your fixed fee to arrange and conduct viewings. As a reputable high street agency, PFK offers a completely transparent service with no hidden fees, and you know you’ll get what you pay for.

A personal service

You can meet our staff in person and build a relationship with them as your sale progresses, knowing they’re always on hand should you need them. We have small, friendly and helpful teams at each of our branches, and they are there for you from the moment you decide to sell to when the deal completes. We get to know you during the process and this makes us even more enthusiastic about your property, and we develop the desire to sell it even more.

In contrast, many online estate agents operate out of call centres, meaning there’s no guarantee you’ll speak to the same person each time you call. There may be many people dealing with your case, as opposed to small teams of individuals like ours, making it more difficult for you, and anyone interested in buying your property, to get in touch.

Varied points of contact

When a prospective buyer wants to view a property with an online agency, they often must create an account and make all their bookings and offers over the internet. Whilst many people are confident doing this, a lot of potential buyers don’t have computer skills, internet access or can’t be bothered to create yet another online account.

With a traditional high street agent like PFK, buyers can either call into the office in person or ring and book their viewings immediately, and with PFK you can do it online too.

Credentials

Anyone can create a website and call themselves an online estate agent. Are they legit? What is their complaints procedure like? What are their terms and conditions? These are the important questions you need to ask. You can have peace of mind that a good high-street agent like PFK will be accredited with years of experience, with access to an independent ombudsman.

Planning Application on land at Stoneybeck Roundabout, Penrith

February 2018 News Planning

Update: On the 27th October 2017 PFK submitted an outline planning application for the creation of an employment site for B1 (Business), B2 (General Industry) and B8 (Storage and Distribution)…

Planning Application on land at Stoneybeck Roundabout, Penrith
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Planning Application on land at Stoneybeck Roundabout, Penrith

February 2018 Planning

Update:

On the 27th October 2017 PFK submitted an outline planning application for the creation of an employment site for B1 (Business), B2 (General Industry) and B8 (Storage and Distribution) uses on land at the junction of the A6 and B5035 (Stoneybeck Roundabout), Penrith. The application sought approval for access however all other matters are reserved.

Details of the planning application can be found: http://eforms.eden.gov.uk/fastweb/detail.asp?AltRef=17/0928

During the consultation process of the planning application, the Council was notified that the Secretary of State may have an interest in the application. The Secretary of State has been contacted by the Council in relation to this planning application and they have been provided with notification that the Council intend to approve the planning application.

The application went before members of Eden District Council with a recommendation for approval and on the 15th February the application was debated at planning committee with the resultant decision being that the application was unanimously approved by Eden District Council. However, the Council will wait for confirmation from the Secretary of State that they do not have the intention of calling the application in, to enable the final release of the decision notice.

16th February 2018

Any questions regarding the above can be made to PFK plc Head Office on 01768 862323.

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