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Make Hay While The Sun Shines 

July 2020 News Estate Agency

Lynne Lancaster, head of estate agency, assesses the Chancellor’s stamp duty changes, designed to stimulate the property market. With demand for property at a welcome high level, one thing…

Make Hay While The Sun Shines 
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Make Hay While The Sun Shines 

July 2020 Estate Agency

Lynne Lancaster, head of estate agency, assesses the Chancellor’s stamp duty changes, designed to stimulate the property market.

With demand for property at a welcome high level, one thing was needed to help create what could be the most active market since the great recession and that was greater affordability.

The Chancellor has gone a long way to help through his mini-budget. From 8th July 2020 until 31st March 2021 there will be a temporary stamp duty holiday on the first £500,000 of all property sales in England and Northern Ireland. This does not affect Scotland and Wales, which have their own property transaction tax regimes.

Under Sunak’s change buyers of second homes and buy-to-let properties will also benefit, but they will still have to pay the existing 3% extra duty due on the entire price. During this tax holiday, the average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500, and almost nine out of ten people buying a main home this year will pay no stamp duty at all. Anyone buying a home for around £475,000 will save almost £14,000 in tax.

We in the property industry have long called for the government to review this tax as it has become a serious hindrance to buyers. Although seen as unfair by many, the government’s annual return from stamp duty is around £12bn – roughly equivalent to 2% of the Treasury’s total tax income. However the Prime Minister has said in the past that he wanted to review duty up to £500,000 and reduce the top rate – on homes costing more than £1.5 million at a suggested reduction from 12% to 7%.

The new stamp duty level and the increased desire by many to make a lifestyle change mean this is the best time for years to buy a property and as any farmer will tell you, make hay while the sun shines.

If you would like any further information, please contact your local PFK office. https://estates.pfk.co.uk/contact/

PFK Open The Doors

June 2020 News Group

PFK are pleased to be re-opening to the public their Estate Agency offices in Carlisle, Penrith and Cockermouth from 10 am Monday 1st June, strictly adhering to current Government…

PFK Open The Doors
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PFK Open The Doors

June 2020 Group

PFK are pleased to be re-opening to the public their Estate Agency offices in Carlisle, Penrith and Cockermouth from 10 am Monday 1st June, strictly adhering to current Government guidelines. The Estate Agencies worked remotely throughout lockdown and more recently have been assisting clients and buyers with safe physical viewings when these recommenced.

Lynne Lancaster, Head of Estate Agency said:

“We feel the time is right to re-open these offices and, of course, we are doing so with safety as our number one concern. We have taken a little time to re-design our offices to deal with Covid-19 operating requirements and, of course, we are using PPE as safely as possible.”

The property market is now very active with Rightmove reporting its busiest ever day on 27th May, with six million visits to its listings.

Lynne adds:

“We are seeing a lot of interest in the market and our staff have been extremely busy both with new listings and dealing with existing properties. As you might expect we have been working extremely hard on our digital offerings and virtual viewing tours have been very popular. It really is now a case of, From Mouse to House!”

During the pandemic a core team of professionals operated the Estate Agencies remotely and staff have been brought back from Furlough as the business restrictions have been eased.

Andrew Green, Director, comments:

“Our Estate Agency staff have done a sterling job during lockdown and, whilst our virtual viewings and tours have been very well received, we are looking forward to seeing a little more of our clients as the “new normal” begins.”

PFK’s other departments have adapted well to the new working regime. PFK’s Land Agency (which advises mainly farmers and landowners) has worked remotely “as normal” throughout the pandemic. PFK Land and Development (which assists clients with property deals and planning) has been operational throughout with staff operating remotely, as has Surveys.

PFK Auction House and Saleroom has been operational throughout carrying out extremely successful and widely acclaimed Virtual Auction Sales to an international net of buyers on-line via the Web.

For more information contact Lynne Lancaster on 07503 636555/lynnelancaster@pfk.co.uk or Andrew Green on 07711 912019/andrewgreen@pfk.co.uk

Mortgage Lending Tips – FAQ’s

May 2020 Blog Estate Agency

PFK refer customers to Pollard Scott for mortgage advice and they have answered some of the frequently asked questions below.  If you would like to speak to them regarding any…

Mortgage Lending Tips – FAQ’s
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Mortgage Lending Tips – FAQ’s

May 2020 Estate Agency

PFK refer customers to Pollard Scott for mortgage advice and they have answered some of the frequently asked questions below.  If you would like to speak to them regarding any mortgage advice you require, then please contact the relevant PFK  branch via estates.pfk.co.uk/contact/

Surveys/Valuations
Surveyors are back at work and booking appointments, there may however be a slight delay due to the back-log created over the last couple of months.  Where possible lenders are trying to do what is called a Desk-Top Valuation, however this is not always possible.

Can you BUY a house if you are furloughed? – YES
Lender criteria varies, however all will want to assess affordability based on current income, which if you are furloughed is more than likely to be 20% lower than usual; unless of course if your employer is making it up and then there are some lenders who will accept your full pay as long as written confirmation can be obtained from the applicants employer.  HOWEVER, the maximum mortgage loan to value at this time is 90%, therefore an applicant will have to put at least a 10% deposit down.

Standard evidence would still be required regarding Payslips, Bank Statements, ID, Proof of Address and Existing Lenders Mortgage Statement 

Can you re-mortgage if you are furloughed ?– YES
Lender criteria varies, however all will want to assess affordability as mentioned above.

Standard evidence would still be required regarding Payslips, Bank Statements, ID, Proof of Address and Existing Lenders Mortgage Statement 

Can I re-mortgage or look at buying a new property if I have taken a Payment Holiday? – YES

Taking a payment holiday should not affect a person’s credit record and therefore there should be no problem in sourcing a new deal.

I am a First Time Buyer, will it be difficult for me to get a mortgage? 

Whether you are a First Time Buyer or Mover all lenders will assess affordability and the applicants credit record, so being a First Time Buyer won’t stop you getting a mortgage.

FTB will need at least 10% deposit and be able to meet the lenders criteria and credit scoring.

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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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Is the Market Moving?

May 2020 Blog Estate Agency

Within a day of the government announcement that the home buying and renting process could re-start, the telephone calls and emails began – and we have not stopped since. People…

Is the Market Moving?
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Is the Market Moving?

May 2020 Estate Agency

Within a day of the government announcement that the home buying and renting process could re-start, the telephone calls and emails began – and we have not stopped since.

People who, have decided in lockdown to make life changes have now joined those who were already on the house moving path earlier in the year. In the new year we saw a Brexit bounce and now it seems we have a double bounce.

We are speaking to dozens of buyers keen to escape city & town environments or in need of a lovely outside space. Then there are those looking for properties with room for a dedicated workspace. We have heard from people who have re-evaluated their relationship with their home and now want something different.

Our commitment to those who have suffered during this period with ill-health or other issues is steadfast. Our team’s years of experience and in-depth local knowledge are already aiding those who need the support and commitment of sympathetic but practical property professionals. Those who are in difficulty with property matters are not alone in this. We are here to help and we know how to help.

We are taking all the precautions recommended to keep customers and our colleagues safe.  If you need to make a move safely and wisely please contact your nearest PFK office.

Paul Doyle, Carlisle Branch Manager.

A personal account of a Great-Grandfather's bravery during the Second World War

May 2020 Group

This year the 8th May marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. For the vast majority of us, this day is predominantly symbolic as we have no…

A personal account of a Great-Grandfather's bravery during the Second World War
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A personal account of a Great-Grandfather's bravery during the Second World War

May 2020 Group

This year the 8th May marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. For the vast majority of us, this day is predominantly symbolic as we have no personal experience of the Second World War (WW2). But we are able to gain a greater significance from those who were there and are willing to share their stories and experiences of WW2.

I was asked by PFK to share a story of my family connection to WW2. I am Harriet Simpson, and I am the Manager of the Penrith office at PFK. My great-grandfather was Sir Robert Heatlie Scott, and he endured experiences I could not even begin to comprehend. He was a great public servant and a legendary figure of the Second World War in Singapore, where he was working with the Consular Service. At the beginning of the Second World War he was conducting British propaganda in Japan but in 1941 was transferred to Singapore to set up a branch of Ministry of Information. As the crisis deepened in Singapore he became a member of the Governor’s War Council. When Singapore fell in 1941 he attempted to get away on the last boat to leave. His wife, my great-grandmother, had gone on ahead to Australia. They had no idea then, that they were not to see each other again for four years. But his ship was intercepted by a Japanese destroyer, and there were few survivors. Robert succeeded in reaching Sumatra where he was briefly in hiding until he was returned as a prisoner to Singapore. After a period in solitary confinement he was put in Changi jail, where for weeks he was terribly beaten and tortured (he was always regarded with suspicion by the Japanese who equated the Ministry of Information with intelligence and spying).

In the summer of 1943, the Japanese became apprehensive about activities within the camp and were planning a dawn raid, but in late September matters came to a head when a commando reached Singapore from Australia undetected and blew up tankers in the harbour. The Japanese mistakenly thought that the raiders had accomplices in the camp. Robert was assumed to be the ring leader and he was found to have a radio. For weeks he was yet again beaten and tortured but no confession was ever obtained. He was put on trial by the Japanese and eventually sentenced to six years in prison.

During part of his time in Changi, he was held in solitary confinement at the top of the prison tower where from time to time he could be seen by his fellow prisoners below. He became known as the ‘man in the tower’ and was a symbol to the British and Chinese of defiance and resistance.

All this time, my great-grandmother was unaware of his fate and drew a widow’s pension, although she never believed he was dead, and each year on his birthday she made a cake and sang happy birthday with her children.

When the Japanese surrendered, the prisoners in Changi made their own way to the harbour as best they could. After his release he returned to the UK, and was at last reunited with his wife. He went on to work in the Foreign Office, and was sent back to Singapore as Commissioner General for the UK in South East Asia – a regional post with civil and military responsibilities. By a cruel trick of fate his only son, a Royal Marine Officer, was drowned in a training accident on the day of his investiture.

His unusual experience of both civilian and service affairs persuaded the Government to appoint him in 1960 the first civilian head of the Imperial Defence College. He was highly successful and moved on naturally to the Ministry of Defence in 1962 as Permanent Under-Secretary.

While Robert was not part of VE day, he would have been part of VJ day (Victory in Japan) at the end of WW2 had he been well enough to know, but he was so ill with disease and the lasting effects of malnutrition and torture, he wouldn’t have even known. Millions of families had someone like Robert in their lives. Not all of them were lucky enough to have them return home safely. Through telling our relative’s stories, not only do we gain some understanding of the true cost of war, but we see the greatness and courage in others. Robert was and forever will be a hero to his loving family.

Getting in Gear

May 2020 Blog Estate Agency

Seven weeks into lockdown, Lynne Lancaster, Head of Estate Agency, looks at how coronavirus has affected life in the property market. Throughout the lockdown, our team have been working remotely.…

Getting in Gear
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Getting in Gear

May 2020 Estate Agency

Seven weeks into lockdown, Lynne Lancaster, Head of Estate Agency, looks at how coronavirus has affected life in the property market.

Throughout the lockdown, our team have been working remotely. At first we thought there would be little to do. How wrong we were.

The past few weeks have been frantic. First there were all the property sales we had to get past the finishing post. Even in lockdown we have been able to do this within strict government guidelines. Then there are the deals that we had only just tied up when the lockdown began. It is astonishing how many buyers and sellers have been keen to keep to their plans – even though they will have to add weeks to transaction times.

But now we are also busy working with those who are already planning new lives beyond the pandemic. We are advising on marketing and pricing through virtual valuations – subject to final inspection. We also have many keen buyers who have pencilled in viewing appointments for when the lockdown is over.

Of course, it isn’t fun. None of this is for anyone. The virus has changed our lives and the lives of everyone with whom we work. But despite working remotely our team is working together. We are working with our clients, our buyers, our central London marketing team and working together is what sets us apart.

Working through the pandemic is like riding a bike up a very steep hill. We have had to change gear. We will probably change gear again before this crisis is over. But one thing is very certain; we will be in the right gear when it’s all over.

Lynne Lancaster – Head of Estate Agency.

Looking ahead

April 2020 Blog Estate Agency

Lesley Waugh, of the Whitehaven branch of PFK, looks ahead to a time when we can all move freely from our homes. In houses and apartments all over the country…

Looking ahead
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Looking ahead

April 2020 Estate Agency

Lesley Waugh, of the Whitehaven branch of PFK, looks ahead to a time when we can all move freely from our homes.

In houses and apartments all over the country those in lockdown are thinking about life after release. Even now, at the height of the pandemic, people are dreaming of post-virus life. We know they are because they are telling us so.

If this period of isolation from our families, friends and familiar routines has taught us anything, it has taught us about the value of home. No matter how small – and for those in tiny properties without outside space the lockdown has been much harder than for most – our homes have kept us safe.

But that is what homes do and have always done, it is what they are designed to do. They keep unwanted intruders out. Over the past few decades this side of home ownership seems to have taken a back seat to investment and capital growth. That thinking will change. Security, affordability in crisis, comfort in lockdown and space appropriate to need will jump into the driver’s seat – with location, location, location in the passenger seat.

This time in lockdown has given many of us the opportunity to re-evaluate where and how we live. Our shopping habits will have changed further, and so will our methods of communicating and streaming entertainment. In future lots more of us will work from home, having realised that many can be just as effective without a daily commute. Some will want more substantial homes, and some will have decided to downsize or rightsize. Many will elect a lifestyle change, choosing to move to a more rural location, to the coast or to a bustling and lively city centre close to all amenities.

Our needs for what a home gives us will change, but it will not alter the local property market.  Coronavirus is a health issue: it is not a property issue. This virus has reminded us what a wonderful and helpful community we inhabit and the true value of living here.

When we are over this emergency, PFK will be here to understand your property needs and offer suitable and attractive solutions, because if there is one thing we do know a great deal about, it is the value of home.

Lesley Waugh – Manager of PFK Estate Agency, Whitehaven.

Notes from My Lock-Down Diary

April 2020 Blog Estate Agency

Have you ever found yourself backed into a corner? Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea? Between a rock and a hard place? With no place to go?…

Notes from My Lock-Down Diary
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Notes from My Lock-Down Diary

April 2020 Estate Agency

Have you ever found yourself backed into a corner? Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea? Between a rock and a hard place? With no place to go?

We’re ready with the folk-euphemisms when we’re really perplexed about what to do, but when doing nothing is not an option. So what do we do? Having a G&T or two might paint a rosy glow over the problem for a few hours but – surprise, surprise – it’ll still be there in the morning.

This is the moment we need to be creative, to be inventive, and if I can use another cliche, to think “outside the box”. If we’re stuck, we need a new perspective and some lateral thinking, and it usually helps to find someone to talk about the situation with. You might be surprised to learn that an Estate Agent – yes, really – can help you think “outside the box”. In the recent lockdown situation we’ve found ourselves in, this has never been more relevant.

We were handling a sale which was showing signs of slowing down in the current situation, solicitors were on furlough leave and communication was ever more difficult . The vendor wished to move into a new house but the build was delayed, again as a result of Covid-19. The purchaser wished to push ahead as their intention was to holiday let the property and receive the income from it, as a long term investment. What’s to do? Let the transaction fall apart with both parties starting again, with all the wasted time, opportunity and costs that would entail? Or, with a small dose of lateral thinking, why not let the sale proceed and arrange for the vendor to stay in what was their house but as a tenant of the new owner. Of course there were things to arrange, such as a tenancy agreement, insurances and permission from any lenders involved, but these were mere details when compared to the sideways step out of the box!

If you feel a chat might help you out of a corner, please get in touch on 01768774546. Now, I think I will have that G&T.

Hannah Sims – Manager of PFK Estate Agency, Keswick.

You asked, we answered...

April 2020 Group

We have understandably been asked quite a lot of questions in the past few weeks and thought it would be beneficial to share a select few with you.  Can I…

You asked, we answered...
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You asked, we answered...

April 2020 Group

We have understandably been asked quite a lot of questions in the past few weeks and thought it would be beneficial to share a select few with you. 

Can I still sell my house?

We are unable to visit your home for a valuation in the current circumstances however we can offer a virtual valuation and I would suggest you contact the relevant PFK office to discuss this further.

I have sold my house what will now happen?

The government provided information on Friday 27th March 2020 in relation to house moving during Covid19 outbreak.  There are workarounds in relation to how you proceed and agree dates so yes it can still proceed however there may be a delay with moving dates.

Can I have a valuation?

We are providing virtual valuations these can be done by video call and it will enable you to show us round your property so we can then give you an idea on asking price.  We will also be able to discuss what we can do for you as an agent and essentially what our service provides plus the current situation with Covid19, government guidelines and how to move forward.

Can I view a house?

Some of our properties are providing virtual viewings if our clients have agreed to do so.  Therefore if you are interested in this service contact the relevant PFK office and we will see what we can do for you.

I have applied for a rental house what will happen now?

The government provided information on Friday 27th March 2020 in relation to house moving during Covid19 outbreak.  We would ask you to email our property management team on PropertyManagement@pfk.co.uk they will look at your specific case and come back to you as soon as possible.

How can I return my grazing licence?

Our Land Agency office is still open, so please either post the agreement or drop it off through our letterbox.

I need to speak to a Land Agent, how can I do this?

All of our Land Agents are working from home, so please contact our main office line on 01768 866611 where your call will be directed.

I have items I want to sell at auction, how do I do that?

In these uncertain times, we are proud to offer PFK Online, an innovative system for the sale of art, antiques and collectables digitally connecting buyers and sellers Nationwide

The first step is to agree a listing price/estimate for your items with our valuers. We offer a free online consultation via Zoom, or alternatively you can email (info@pfkauctions.co.uk) or call us (01768 890781). Once we have agreed a suitable valuation, we can then arrange to have the items sent to us, with free postage on items valued over £50. On receipt, we can market, sell and dispatch your items to buyers, forwarding BACS payment to vendors 21 days after sale. Simple!

I need to have items formally valued for Inheritance Tax, do you offer this service?

Yes we do and, sadly, this service is in strong demand in the current climate. We offer live video consultation, or can accept pre-recorded video or photographs of items to be valued. From this information, we can create a valuation report to forward on to solicitors or private clients as required. Call 01768 890781 for more information.

I need to have items formally valued for Insurance, do you do this?

Yes we do and offer this service by live video, pre-recorded video or photograph, sending a valuation report directly to Insurers or private clients as required. Call 01768 890781 for more information.

Do you offer valuations for Insolvency. My business is struggling.

We recognise in the current climate that many people are financially struggling. We offer valuations for personal or business Insolvency and also are able to sell business assets including machinery, professional kitchen equipment and high-end branded electronics. Call 01768 890781 for more information.

If you have any other queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Coronavirus Update (2)

March 2020 News Group

PFK has thought long and hard about how we safeguard our staff and customers due to current events. With that in mind and for the continuous and ongoing effort for…

Coronavirus Update (2)
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Coronavirus Update (2)

March 2020 Group

PFK has thought long and hard about how we safeguard our staff and customers due to current events.

With that in mind and for the continuous and ongoing effort for the good health and well-being of customers and staff a decision has been made that as of Monday 23rd March 2020 all of our offices will be closed to the general public for the time being.

HOWEVER, our staff will still be on duty to deal with any enquiries that come in via email or phone and we will still be able to provide an alternative valuation & viewing service.

It is paramount to us as a company that you understand we have not made the decision lightly and that we want to continue to work with our customers and provide the best service possible and with that in mind if you have any queries at all please do not hesitate to contact the relevant branch/department on the following numbers and emails:

Carlisle – carlisle@pfk.co.uk – 01228 558666

Cockermouth – cockermouth@pfk.co.uk – 01900 826205

Keswick – keswick@pfk.co.uk – 017687 74546

Kstephen –  kstephen@pfk.co.uk – 017683 71235

Penrith – penrith@pfk.co.uk – 01768 862135 (Option 1)

Whitehaven – whitehaven@pfk.co.uk  – 01946 695535

Property Management – propertymanagement@pfk.co.uk  – 01768 862135 (Option 2)

Admin – admin@pfk.co.uk – 01768 862135 (Option 4)

Land & Development – landanddevelopment@pfk.co.uk – 01228 586805

Surveys – surveys@pfk.co.uk –  01900 821411

Land Agency – landagency@pfk.co.uk – 01768 866611

 We will keep you posted as soon as things change and we hope that everyone stays safe & well.

PFK

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