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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.

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.

Find out more
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.

Find out more
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.

Find out more
Submitting a planning application?

Free, no obligation consultation

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

Find out more
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.

Find out more
Fortnightly auctions

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
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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
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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.

Choosing an Estate Agent

February 2018 Blog Estate Agency

So, you’ve decided you are going to sell your house. Perhaps you’ve outgrown it, perhaps you need to move for work, maybe you have decided to downsize and…

Choosing an Estate Agent
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Choosing an Estate Agent

February 2018 Estate Agency

So, you’ve decided you are going to sell your house. Perhaps you’ve outgrown it, perhaps you need to move for work, maybe you have decided to downsize and travel the world – whatever the reason, you are now in a position where you need to find an estate agent who will help you achieve your goal. Your first step is to ensure you have done all you need to prepare your home for selling (see our previous post for 10 tips on how to ensure your home looks it’s best).

Do your homework
Which agent is selling homes similar to yours? This is a good reason to pick an agent as they will have expertise in your particular type of property and should have a good database of potential buyers. Which agent sells the most in your area? It’s important to differentiate here between putting properties on the market and actually selling them. Look out for sold boards and change your filter on Rightmove to include SSTC properties to give you more information on who is actually selling properties in your area.

Go undercover
What are the local agents like? Go into their offices and register as a buyer. Who keeps in touch with you and is proactive about sending out properties and suggesting viewings? How were you greeted when you went in? How did you feel about each individual agent after you visited? This is such an important part of the process and many vendors don’t do it. After all, the team in the office are the people who you will be dealing with on a day to day basis and the ones who are actually tasked with selling your home.

Go compare
How do your local agents compare with an online agent? Many offer a temptingly low headline fee but check what is actually included – will they carry out viewings? What is their communication like – is it easy to get hold of someone when you need to? Do you feel they are knowledgeable about your property and could answer questions from a potential buyer?

It is always a good idea to have at least 3 valuations from different agents. They should be able to tell you exactly what is included in their fee with complete transparency. Any agent can give you a price for your property but a great agent will be able to explain how they have arrived at that figure and back it up with comparable evidence. Ask them what their success rate is – how many properties have they sold recently in your local area? Talk to them on the appointment and see what their market knowledge is like. You will soon see the difference between a passionate, knowledgeable, local expert and someone who is unfamiliar with the area.

It’s Good to Talk
Communication is absolutely key to a successful property transaction. Choose an agent who communicates effectively, otherwise you will spend your life on the phone chasing them up and becoming increasingly frustrated. Save yourself some stress and make sure your agent will keep you up to date – ask about their plans to keep you informed, if they obtain feedback after viewings and how they will be proactive in managing your sale.

Presentation, Presentation, Presentation
How will the agent present your property to potential buyers? Do they have examples of their photography and is it of a good quality? Houses are now predominantly sold online and you have approximately 10 seconds to grab someone’s attention. A beautiful image and the right wording are of utmost importance. Will they advertise in the newspaper? A recent Zoopla survey showed that 70% of people now use portals (eg Rightmove and Zoopla) in their search, but this still leaves 30% of the market who are looking elsewhere. Does the agent have this covered?

Fees, Ts and Cs
Make sure you are comparing like for like. You may have a quote from an agent which is much cheaper than everyone else but are they going to do the same job? Many cheaper agents give a Ryanair type service where everything except the bare minimum service is an expensive add-on. Check the contract – are you tied in for a period of time? What is the notice period? Be wary of agents who claim sole selling rights in their contract; you may be liable for fees even after withdrawing from the contract. A good estate agent will have a clear contract which sets out their fees and tells you exactly how much the final cost will be.

And Finally
You need to feel reassured that your chosen agent will work with you to achieve your goal. This feeling comes from several different places, but ultimately you need to have confidence in the agent to help you achieve the best possible price for your property while helping you navigate the process.

As always, your local PFK office is there to give advice and assistance in helping you move, so please get in touch if you are thinking of selling. You can email us at hello@pfk.co.uk or call in to any of our offices to learn more about how we can help.

Top tips when viewing a property

January 2018 Blog Estate Agency

Although it's very exciting it can be a little nerve racking buying a house, after all it is one of the biggest financial transactions of your life. You perhaps…

Top tips when viewing a property
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Top tips when viewing a property

January 2018 Estate Agency

Although it’s very exciting it can be a little nerve racking buying a house, after all it is one of the biggest financial transactions of your life. You perhaps don’t have any knowledge or experience about buying a house, don’t know what you should be looking out for and what questions you should be asking when viewing properties.

Hopefully this post will help you along the way.

Try to find out why the owner is selling – this could give you an indication about whether they will accept a lower offer. It might be because they are moving away for work and are in a hurry to sell. Alternatively, it might be because of an issue that will affect you.

Use the following checklist as a starting point for questions to ask and things to look at:

  • Is there adequate parking?
  • Is there enough or too much garden? Will you be able to maintain it?
  • Can you see or smell damp, and is there any condensation or mould anywhere? Don’t be afraid to ask to move furniture or check under rugs. Check for flaky plaster or water marks on the walls or ceiling.
  • Will any of the rooms need redecorating or need new flooring?
  • Has any redecorating work recently been carried out, and if so, why? Are the sellers trying to cover up damp or cracks?
  • Check the loft/attic – is it easily accessible, is there storage space, and is it insulated?
  • Ask to see the Energy Performance Certificate so that you know how energy efficient the property is.
  • Find out where the boiler is, how old it is and when it was last serviced.
  • Check the electrics – when was the consumer unit or fuse box last checked? Are there any exposed wires?
  • Are there smoke alarms and burglar alarms, and do they work?
  • Are the windows double glazed, do they open and close easily, do they have good locks?
  • How secure are the doors and locks?
  • Are there enough power sockets and phone points in convenient locations?
  • Is there enough storage for all your belongings?
  • Can you get a mobile phone signal in the property?

These questions shouldn’t necessarily stop you purchasing a house, but they might stop there being any surprises after you have bought the house – It might also help you to justify a lower offer.

If you would like anymore advice on this please don’t hesitate to contact your nearest PFK office.

Lakeland’s most beautiful lakeshore walk - stunning views of the Ullswater Valley and Helvellyn Range

November 2017 Blog Group

Starting Point: Glenridding, Howtown or Pooley Bridge ‘Steamer’ Piers Parking: At Glenridding Pier, in Glenridding village or in Pooley Bridge village. Poor parking facilities at Howtown Distance: 7 miles /…

Lakeland’s most beautiful lakeshore walk - stunning views of the Ullswater Valley and Helvellyn Range
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Lakeland’s most beautiful lakeshore walk - stunning views of the Ullswater Valley and Helvellyn Range

November 2017 Group
  • Starting Point: Glenridding, Howtown or Pooley Bridge ‘Steamer’ Piers
  • Parking: At Glenridding Pier, in Glenridding village or in Pooley Bridge village. Poor parking facilities at Howtown
  • Distance: 7 miles / 11 km
  • ‘Steamer’ Options: Walk to Howtown and catch the ‘Steamer’ back to Glenridding OR cruise from Pooley Bridge to Glenridding, walk to Howtown then catch boat back to Pooley Bridge
  • Difficulty: Moderate – Easy
  • Terrain: Undulating path with up and down hill stretches and some slightly rocky parts
  • Duration: 3 to 4 hours average, depends on your pace and whether or not you stop for a picnic! Footwear: Boots/sturdy shoes
  • Clothing: Waterproofs during wet weather
  • Toilets/Refreshments: Glenridding or Pooley Bridge Pier Houses or villages, on the ‘Steamers’ or in the Howtown Hotel Public Bar & Beer Garden (open March to October). Also the Lowther Barn Tea room, halfway from Glenridding to Howtown. Always check the weather forecast and boat times before your walk. Take plenty of water, especially on hot days!

1. Walk to the Glenridding Pier car park entrance and through the gate on the left, signposted Patterdale and Howtown Walk. Follow the lakeshore path until you reach the gate to the road. From here EITHER turn left and walk along the road OR cross straight over and take the off-road path towards Patterdale. After ½ a mile or so you’ll reach St Patrick’s Church and the road bears right. (If you need any supplies for your walk this is your last chance to continue along into Patterdale to get them.) After this bend you should cross over and take a left turn signposted to Side Farm (just before the George Starkey Hut). Follow the farm track all the way to Side Farm itself, walk through the farmyard and turn left. The wide wooden gate takes you on to the lakeshore path.

2. You can stay on this path for quite a distance, initially with a dry stonewall on your left before the path rises at Silver Point and then descends around Silver Bay. There are some great picnic spots around here – both at the point and, if you carefully divert from the path down to the lakeshore, on the beach at Silver Bay. Looking back from the higher stretches of path, you get great views across towards Helvellyn and also down towards the lake’s 4 islands and Silver Bay. Although it undulates reasonably gently, there is a steep side to the following section of path, so be careful. There are also good views over to Gowbarrow Fell, which is very imposing on the opposite side of the lake. You could also look out for Lyulph’s Tower, a Sixteenth Century castellated building nestled towards the bottom of the fell.

3. The path continues to have short stretches of uphill and downhill as it follows the lakeshore directly along towards Howtown. As you walk down and around Long Crag, you’ll cross a small wooden bridge and pass an old barn – remember to look out for Scalehow Force waterfall up to your right, this marks a geological fault line between soft and hard rock that runs across the lake and through Aira Force – a larger waterfall which is hidden behind the left side of Gowbarrow Fell. Follow the path, great views of Hallin Fell and Martindale stretching out in front of you. With a dry stonewall on your left the path takes you to the small village of Sandwick. When you reach the tarmac road turn left and walk down the slope. If you need refreshment visit the Lowther Barn Tearoom.

4. From here, bear right and follow the sign set into the wall Footpath to Howtown. Go through the gate, across the bridge and take the path to the left marked Footpath After 30 metres follow signpost Public Footpath up to the right. Skirt the wall (notice the great views across the lake) and pass through several gates, always keeping the lake on your left and following the signs for Howtown. The path gets a bit rocky as you pass through Hallinhag Wood (look out for Red Squirrels here!) but you’ll soon reach easier ground after approx. 1km as the path rises up and around into Howtown bay. You’ll pass a bench on your right and there are stunning views up the lake towards Pooley Bridge from this area – Dunmallard Hill at the tip of the lake, the Pennines in the distance and the Sharrow Bay Hotel prominent on the right-hand lakeshore about a mile away. Follow the path all the way until you reach a swing gate on your left taking you down some steps to another gate and out onto a tarmac road***.

5. *OPTION: If you are early for the ‘Steamer’ then bear right along the road here and head up to the Howtown Hotel Public Bar for a drink or snack. The hotel is just a few hundred metres from the pier. Open March to October

6. In about 30 metres you will reach a swing gate accessing the short stretch of lakeshore path that leads up to Howtown ‘Steamer’ Pier. Cross the wooden bridge, turn left and you are on the pier. There is a ‘Steamer’ timetable in the pier hut.

Ten ways to prepare your home for selling

November 2017 Blog Estate Agency

If you’re thinking of selling your home it’s a good idea to make some preparations for selling. Look round and try and see it through your potential buyer’…

Ten ways to prepare your home for selling
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Ten ways to prepare your home for selling

November 2017 Estate Agency

If you’re thinking of selling your home it’s a good idea to make some preparations for selling. Look round and try and see it through your potential buyer’s eyes; how do you think it looks? Would you buy it? Is there anything which would put you off? It’s hard to be objective when you have lived somewhere for a while but try not to think about it too personally. If it’s time for you to move on you need to start thinking how the property would work best for someone else to live in.

1) Think about what first attracted you to the property
If those features are still there then you need to make the most of them. If you bought it because it had a beautiful garden, make sure the garden looks its absolute best. If the property has spacious rooms, make sure they don’t feel cramped by lots of furniture. Decide the top three points about the property and make sure you tell people what they are.

2) Declutter!
Every single one of these guides says to declutter, but it cannot be said enough times. It makes your home feel spacious, helps buyers to imagine themselves living there and means you have less to pack up when moving day comes, surely a winning situation whichever way you slice it. Use Freecycle to move items on for free and sell what you can on Facebook – there are no fees to pay on either site.

3) Finish off those outstanding jobs.
If that loose tile has been annoying you for months, get it stuck back down. Fix that kickboard in the kitchen. Re-attach the curtain rail that your three-year-old pulled down. Sand down the skirting board your cat has been using a scratching post. Tiny jobs can feel like they add up to a lot to potential buyers and it is well worth getting everything ship-shape before you market.

4) Freshen up the décor where needed.
There are two options if your house is looking a little dated. You can either price accordingly and let the buyers put their own stamp on it, or you can make sure the place is decorated to a reasonable standard throughout in neutral colours. You might not notice the scuff marks from 15 years of family life going through your hallway but a potential buyer will add it to their list of things to do (and their offer is likely to reflect this!)

5) Do your homework.
Have you looked at other properties similar to yours online with an objective eye? As agents we know it’s completely understandable that sellers will extol the virtues of their property when compared to another on the street (we have a bigger garden, we have a conservatory, we’ve just decorated throughout). Put yourselves in the buyer’s shoes – they just see two properties which are very similar but possibly priced very differently. If you were a buyer, which property would you (honestly!) go for and why?

6) Look outside.
Does the front of your property look smart and welcoming? Small things like weeding the driveway and putting a few tubs of flowers out can brighten things up even in the depths of winter. Make sure the front door and windows are clean as well, it all adds up to a positive first impression.

7) Get to grips with the garden.
Think about your potential buyers – do you have the sort of home where buyers are likely to be keen gardeners or do you have a family home where the buyers are unlikely to have the spare time to do huge amounts of gardening. Either way it’s a good idea to have the garden looking tidy – whether you are selling it as a project for someone or a low maintenance space for a busy family.

8) Go round your house with a critical eye.
Is all the furniture in the best position to show off the room? Can all doors be opened fully? Many guides suggest taking photos down and completely depersonalising it but we generally find buyers don’t mind it feeling like a home – we often get feedback that they felt a property was a bit spartan if there’s nothing at all left out. Just perhaps stash that jokey apron in a drawer for the duration of a viewing.

9) Clean.
Clean like your life depends on it. Clean under things, on top of things and behind things. Go top to bottom in every room, light fittings, switches, all surfaces and skirting boards. Don’t forget to de-cobweb absolutely everywhere. No potential buyer has ever come away from a viewing and complained the house was too clean. Many, many buyers have been put off by a mucky carpet and an overwhelming grubby feeling.

10) Prepare yourselves.
Not strictly part of preparing the property but it’s so important to think about everything before you sell. Think about what type of property you are moving to and how that will impact the price needed for your current home. How much flexibility can you have (the more the better)? What are you willing to compromise on? What are you leaving in your house? Have you investigated costs for every aspect of the move? It can be a very stressful time but preparation can help make things less difficult and reduce the likelihood of unpleasant surprise costs.

If you are thinking of selling soon we’re happy to give you whatever advice you need to successfully achieve a sale. We understand the stresses that moving brings and we are here to help, whether it’s providing you with a valuation from a local agent who understands the market in your area, advising you of any changes it would be beneficial to make or devising a marketing strategy for your home to ensure it is seen by the right sort of buyers. If you would like a free, no-obligation valuation please do not hesitate to contact your local PFK office or email hello@pfk.co.uk

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