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A day in the life of a Sales Negotiator

December 2019 Blog Estate Agency

Our day promptly starts at 8.45am, everyone will sit down together and discuss the agenda of the day. We will talk about the previous days appointments with our valuer…

A day in the life of a Sales Negotiator
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A day in the life of a Sales Negotiator

December 2019 Estate Agency

Our day promptly starts at 8.45am, everyone will sit down together and discuss the agenda of the day. We will talk about the previous days appointments with our valuer Hayley and discuss pressing issues to be dealt with immediately. Our branch manager Paul will then allocate jobs to the team to ensure all aspects of enquires are dealt with and then we can positively start the day knowing what we are doing. The first job of the day typically includes checking our mailbox for any enquires and dealing with anything that has been sent through from the night before. If any new properties have become live, we print off a window card and rearrange our window display to include it, do a mail-out to all matching applicants on area and price and finally contact any buyers we know would be interested in viewing the property and send them the details to encourage early viewings.

We would then go through all the previous days viewings, contacting the people who have been to see a property and asking for their general feedback. We view this as a priority of the day as it is so important our vendors and landlords know the feedback on their house and that they are kept updated throughout the process as it can be quite a stressful time for some people. We then come to look through our vendor and landlord checks for the day and make arrangements to follow up on any previous notes, for example any registers of interests who are to be contacted or any previous offers to be looked into before calling the vendor with the latest updates.

We aim to contact our vendors every two weeks to ensure the best relationship possible with open communication. After speaking with our vendors, we will then look at contacting our individual buyers to discuss their matching criteria, what they are looking for in a property and hopefully arrange some viewings for them. We do try to be as proactive as possible and always encourage our buyers to book in a viewing – sometimes people can be pleasantly surprised and may then consider something they thought they couldn’t consider before viewing a property. If a buyer has a property to sell, we will then encourage them to book in a free, no obligation valuation with Hayley for the best advice on their house too.

If there are any accompanied viewings arranged for the day we will attend them and do our best to sell the house in person. Upon returning to the office we deal with all email and telephone enquiries from buyers/tenants, registers of interests, vendors, surveyors and of course in office visits to the best of our abilities. A huge part of the job is of course negotiating! We aim to find the middle ground between the purchaser and the vendor, landlord and the tenant to ensure everyone reaches a happy outcome and people feel like they can buy/sellor rent with confidence in us as their agent. We can also arrange for any help for a purchaser and vendor where needed, including solicitor quotes, survey quotes and mortgage advice through our trusted partners who we know will make the sales process as smooth as possible, that’s why we recommend them!

Any agreed rental applications, move across to our property management team who oversee the application process and any properties that are sale agreed, move to our sales progression category where each negotiator personally deals with each house sale until exchange of contracts. We chase solicitors for weekly updates and then feed the latest update back to everyone involved. This gives continuity of service and are important factors when selling, buying or renting a property.

We aim to take the stress out of moving for everyone and always ensure to help in any way we can to achieve simple results for all.

Alex Weir – Sales Negotiator of PFK Estate Agency, Carlisle.

A day in the life of a Branch Manager

December 2019 Blog Estate Agency

After working as an Estate Agent for the most part of 10 years in varying roles from Lettings Negotiator to Sales Negotiator right through to my current role as Branch…

A day in the life of a Branch Manager
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A day in the life of a Branch Manager

December 2019 Estate Agency

After working as an Estate Agent for the most part of 10 years in varying roles from Lettings Negotiator to Sales Negotiator right through to my current role as Branch Manager/Valuer at our busy Whitehaven branch, you would think I would have seen it all. This week I have been conducting interviews for a Sales Negotiator for the office. Speaking to candidates and explaining to them what exactly the role entails has really made me think again about just how varied a day working as an Estate Agent can be.

A typical day:

8.45am to 9.15am – It is really important that our office begins the day with a staff meeting. It will usually involve discussing any new sales and lettings instructions, updates on pending offers and generally catching up on how sales are progressing.

9.15am to 10am – This is a good time to prepare for any valuations I have that day, looking at recent comparable sold properties on Rightmove and considering any similar properties that we have been to and/or sold. The team will be catching up on emails and enquiries which can be anything from arranging viewings, taking and negotiating offers and handling sales progression queries. This can admittedly take longer than 45 minutes!

10am to 12pm – This is a popular time for viewings, valuations and listing appointments. A typical valuation lasts around 1 hour, I will give the owner my opinion on market value and explain more about our services and it is a good opportunity for them to ask specific questions they have about the sales process.

12pm to 1pm – A break from appointments is a good opportunity for the team to grab some lunch whilst ensuring that any calls and walk ins to the office are dealt with. I find this a good time to browse on Rightmove as it is always beneficial to know what is happening in our local market. This can also be a busy time for our Sales Negotiators as potential purchasers will book viewings in across their lunch.

1pm to 3pm – This is usually where I will take time to prepare paperwork and draft sales particulars for properties which are about to come on to the market, editing photographs and preparing detailed information about the property which will soon go onto our website, Rightmove and other property portals as well as social media. The team will gather viewing feedbacks from the previous day and speak to vendors about the viewing updates to their properties and ideas to increase viewing levels. Keeping customers updated is an essential part of our service.

3pm to 5pm – The end of the day is a good time to contact solicitors for updates on sales which are currently going through and checking that any issues which may have come up are now resolved.

The most important part of my day is making a list at the end of it with tasks that I will pick up the following day as there will be many days where lists are put aside as an issue or several issues crop up which need to be resolved urgently. And that really epitomises why I love working as an Estate Agent, no day is the same! There are always different people, different tasks and different properties to keep you busy. Every day you learn something new.

Lesley Waugh – Manager of PFK Estate Agency, Whitehaven.

Property is moving!

December 2019 Blog Estate Agency

PFK has seen a noticeable increase in the number of properties coming to the market in excess of £350,000 and that despite continued economic and political uncertainty these properties are achieving sales within a quick timescale. The North West in general continues to perform strongly and there are a good level of buyers out there waiting for their dream home to come to market. So, if you are thinking of selling your home and…

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Property is moving!

December 2019 Estate Agency

PFK has seen a noticeable increase in the number of properties coming to the market in excess of £350,000 and that despite continued economic and political uncertainty these properties are achieving sales within a quick timescale. The North West in general continues to perform strongly and there are a good level of buyers out there waiting for their dream home to come to market. So, if you are thinking of selling your home and the idea of Brexit makes you feel somewhat reluctant, don’t be! Plenty is going on in the UK housing market and at PFK!

PFK have had a close relationship with The Mayfair office in London for over 20 years. Historically London has played a central role in the sale of many of the UK’s finest houses. Today PFK’s Mayfair Office carries on this tradition providing a source of UK-wide property marketing expertise whilst forming the hub of a national and international network of the leading firms in the industry.

Located just a few minutes’ walk from Oxford Street, and with a prominent window, our Mayfair office is in the heart of London’s West End and ideally situated for the capital’s buyers and investors.

Our London office team have strong contacts with all the national property journalists and achieve an enormous amount of editorial coverage in the major national titles. Properties on the market with PFK are regularly included in articles and features, providing valuable free national publicity for our sellers’ homes.

Our London office can be found at Cashel House, Thayer Street, London.

Clare Birkbeck – Manager of PFK Estate Agency, Kirkby Stephen.

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PFK take part in Tiger Boat Challenge at Derwent Water Marina

September 2019 News Group

This was an opportunity for teams of 10 sponsored paddlers to raise money for their chosen charities and have some competitive fun at the same time. Each team participated in…

PFK take part in Tiger Boat Challenge at Derwent Water Marina
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PFK take part in Tiger Boat Challenge at Derwent Water Marina

September 2019 Group

This was an opportunity for teams of 10 sponsored paddlers to raise money for their chosen charities and have some competitive fun at the same time. Each team participated in a number of races. Points were awarded for a win, a draw or even a lose.  At the end of the day, cups were presented to the winning team, the runners up and the best fancy dressed team. There was a BBQ, plus a bar and a soft-drinks/cakes stall on site.

Each team raised money through sposnsorship from friends, work colleagues etc . Rotary then apply for Gift Aid which increases the amount raised by 25%. From that new total, 50%  returns to the team for their chosen charity and 50% is retained by Rotary for their chosed charities. Since 2008 over thirty teams have competed and raised over £70,000 for local charities.

In 2017, the event raised from team sponsorship, just over £7,000. Of this, from the Rotary share which is split equally between the 2 clubs, some £3,000 was donated to charities chosen by the 2 clubs eg Calvert Trust, Cancer reserach UK,  Workington Lifeboat appeal. From the teams’ shares, substantial donations were made to Cockermouth and Keswick Mountain Rescue Teams, Calvert Trust, Teenage Cancer Trust & West Cumberland Hospital whose staff are supporting a hospital being established in Tanzania, among others.

New Prime Minister

August 2019 News Estate Agency

Whether you are over the moon or underwhelmed, Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister of the UK, and Esther McVey has been appointed as our new Housing Minister. We are…

New Prime Minister
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New Prime Minister

August 2019 Estate Agency

Whether you are over the moon or underwhelmed, Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister of the UK, and Esther McVey has been appointed as our new Housing Minister.

We are in favour of anyone who is going to improve sentiment or confidence in the housing market. Current economic data is fairly strong and we are selling more properties than we did this time last year, but the uncertainty of Brexit has caused some stagnation in the market. Going forward with Boris as Prime Minister, I would welcome any positive move on stamp duty or the additional taxes on landlords. Prohibitive stamp duty charges have long been a challenge for those on all rungs of the property ladder, and so both buyers and sellers will now be eagerly awaiting confirmation from Boris and his party on how he decides to address this. Transactions could slow in the aftermath of his victory as buyers halt activity until the policy introduction, so he needs to move quickly.

We wholeheartedly support the government’s most recent proposals for regulating the industry, giving consumers greater confidence that whether buying (re-sale or a new home), selling, letting or renting a property, they are dealing with a professional agent and there is a clear route to redress in the event of a dispute.

The countdown to our Brexit due date is back on and we will see a confidence return to the market. We would urge Boris to do all he can to encourage buyers and sellers to the market during this time, and to make sure that the UK can maintain its status as a homeownership democracy.

Step by step guide to buying a property

July 2019 Blog Estate Agency

1. Decide if you should sell first. If you are already a homeowner, it can seem risky to sell first, but there are upsides. In particular, you will be able…

Step by step guide to buying a property
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Step by step guide to buying a property

July 2019 Estate Agency

1. Decide if you should sell first. If you are already a homeowner, it can seem risky to sell first, but there are upsides. In particular, you will be able to pounce quickly when you find the house of your dreams, and won’t be trapped in a chain.

2. Decide on your budget. This might be dependent on how much of a deposit you can get together. Don’t forget the variety of one-off and ongoing hidden costs, these can put an extra 15% on the cost of your home; more if you are doing serious building work.

3. Get your finances in place. Ask your agent for recommendations of financial advisors. A mortgage broker can be particularly helpful if you would like advice and to scan the full range of mortgages, or if you have special circumstances such as being self-employed. Work out how much of a deposit you would have. While you can’t get a mortgage before you buy, you can get a mortgage in principle, which will put you in a stronger position.

4. Choose a specific property. Research the area, and make yourselves familiar to ourselves and other estate agents. Visit as many properties as possible, ask questions, and make sure you understand whether the property is freehold or leasehold.

5. Make an offer – and get it accepted. Make sure you’re in the strongest possible position as previously mentioned. Decide how much you want to pay, make your offer, and it will be referred to the vendor straightaway.

6. Arrange a mortgage. Ideally you have your finances in place – see step 3. If so, you now need to go back to your mortgage company with the agreed offer and complete the process. You will need the lender to make you a formal mortgage offer before you can exchange contracts.

7. Hire a solicitor or conveyancer. They need to handle the legal work to transfer ownership of the property to you. Ask your estate agent for recommendations of reputable local firms, however your lender may require you to go with one that is on their panel. The solicitor or conveyancer will do the searches, such as with the local authority and Environment Agency, to ensure there are no major problems with the property. Please note that local searches are taking some time at present, and does not happen overnight.

8. Decide if you want a survey. Your mortgage lender will require a valuation by a surveyor. This is a simple survey. You can get the valuation upgraded to a full survey, or commission your own. Unless you are very experienced with property, it is worth getting a survey done.

9. Exchange contracts. When you exchange, you become legally committed to buying the property – and the sellers are legally committed to selling it to you. You can only exchange contracts after the solicitor/conveyancer is satisfied with the searches, a formal mortgage offer has been received (unless it is a cash purchase), and arrangements made for the deposit. You need to ensure you take out buildings insurance from the date of exchange, as you are responsible for it from then on.

10. Complete the sale. This is when you pay for the property and take ownership of it. It normally happens between 12pm – 2pm. The money is transferred and the deeds of the property are transferred, between each side’s conveyancer.

11. Pay stamp duty and solicitor/conveyancer. After completion, your solicitor will send you an account, covering all their costs, as well as the purchase price of the house and stamp duty. They will normally pay the stamp duty for you, and ensure that the change of ownership is registered with the land registry.

Revamping Made Simple - 5 tips on how to spruce up the tired parts of your house

May 2019 Blog Estate Agency

1. Get your grout on! Even if your shower is already as clean as possible, grouting can get discoloured over time so regrouting will make the shower look fresh and…

Revamping Made Simple - 5 tips on how to spruce up the tired parts of your house
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Revamping Made Simple - 5 tips on how to spruce up the tired parts of your house

May 2019 Estate Agency

1. Get your grout on! Even if your shower is already as clean as possible, grouting can get discoloured over time so regrouting will make the shower look fresh and clean, even almost brand new! You could also get new chromeware fitted, which will make the shower look brand new without ripping the whole thing out.

 

2. Check out those cupboards! The bottom shelves of cupboards can often become marked and stained, especially under the sink where bottles of cleaning products are stored and little water leaks may have happened. Get some peel-and-stick tiles to cover up these marks and make the cupboards look new. Wallpaper is also a great thing to line drawers with, and can add some interest if it has a nice pattern or colour. Check out these tiles: https://www.diy.com/departments/b-q-white-marble-effect-self-adhesive-vinyl-tile-1-02m-pack/307353_BQ.prd

 

3. Get stuffed! You don’t have to spend loads to improve your sofa and armchairs, simply get them re-stuffed to add some life back into them. It’ll stop them looking so saggy and make them comfier as well; win-win!

 

4. Get a handle on it! Are the kitchen cupboards looking a bit old? You don’t need to replace them, or even replace the doors! If you just get some new handles for them, and maybe paint the doors too, it’s a really easy job, as well as saving time and money. You could even replace the handles on your chest of drawers and wardrobe too, to give the bedroom a new edge as well. Have a look at these handles https://www.homebase.co.uk/hot-bed-handle-black-140mm_p47441 and this paint http://www.johnstonespaint.com/paint-types/johnstone-s-revive/cupboard-paint

 

5. Throw the towel in! Maybe the towels in the bathroom are a bit faded? Perhaps there’s still that one with a make-up stain on you couldn’t quite shift? Not to mention that one that you spilled bleach on that time, yikes! A new set of towels hanging up in the bathroom can do wonders to improve it and make the room itself look like new. Also, there’s nothing better than the feel of a soft new towel! You don’t have to ditch your old towels into landfill – keep them to use as dustsheets, to mop up spills or to help with other mucky jobs. Have a look at Dunelm’s collection here: https://www.dunelm.com/category/home-and-furniture/bathroom/towels

Hallways Made Simple - 5 tips on how to improve the entrance to your home

May 2019 Blog Estate Agency

1. Keep it light! Paint the walls a neutral colour to make your hallway light, bright and welcoming. You don’t want to overpower visitors with highly patterned wallpapers or…

Hallways Made Simple - 5 tips on how to improve the entrance to your home
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Hallways Made Simple - 5 tips on how to improve the entrance to your home

May 2019 Estate Agency

1. Keep it light! Paint the walls a neutral colour to make your hallway light, bright and welcoming. You don’t want to overpower visitors with highly patterned wallpapers or too bold a colour the second they walk in. Dulux Timeless is a good choice – it’s not a boring white, and it’s not cream either, which can sometimes be old fashioned. It’s the perfect balance! https://www.dulux.co.uk/en/colour-details/timeless

 

2. Focus on the floor! Flooring is important in a hallway. Again, it’s important to keep things simple and welcoming to match the walls, but you can either go for carpet or hard flooring. Hard flooring isn’t for everyone, but it is practical for the room where people come in with their shoes on, or pets run inside from their walk with muddy paws! However, if carpet is more your style, you can still get a nice light-coloured carpet but keep it clean by putting a doormat at the front door to catch the dirt. A fitted doormat is good because it won’t slip, move or get caught on the bottom of the door. Have a look at this selection: https://www.makeanentrance.com/entrance-door-mats/mat-well-mats.html

 

3. Keep it bright! Adding a stylish light fitting can add a nice focal point of a hallway. It also helps make the room bright and welcoming. It’s also a good idea to get a light fitting that points in different directions to make sure the whole room is well lit. Just make sure it doesn’t hang too low – I went into someone’s hallway recently and bumped my head on the large chandelier! This one from B&Q is neat and stylish: https://www.diy.com/departments/mantus-chrome-effect-3-lamp-ceiling-light/1702671_BQ.prd

 

4. Make it bigger! We don’t mean that you should start knocking out walls and physically extending, but if you add a large mirror to one wall then it will make the space seem loads bigger with minimal effort. It’s also a handy thing to have in the hall so you can check you look fabulous before you leave the house! Have a look at this one:https://www.therange.co.uk/home-furnishings/mirrors/full-length-mirrors/sophia-lean-to-mirror/#120136

 

5. Keep it tidy! Hallways can sometimes get cluttered and messy, especially when shoes get piled up. There are many types of shoe rack available, but we love the pull-down cupboard style. It organises the shoes while also keeping them out of sight, which keeps your hallway looking neat and stylish. You can then use the top of the cabinet as a place for a letters, keys and other hallway essentials. This one from the Range is inexpensive and fits up to 10 pairs of shoes – perfect for a big family and guests too!https://www.argos.co.uk/product/6197429?clickOrigin=colourSwatch

 

*Featured hallway image is from a beautiful property we have for sale with our Carlisle office. Click here to view more of ‘The Beeches, Tarraby.

 

 

 

Gardening Made Simple - 5 tips on how to spruce up your garden

May 2019 Blog Estate Agency

1. Out with the old! Be ruthless and get rid of any plants that aren’t their best any more. Plants don’t last forever, so dig the old ones…

Gardening Made Simple - 5 tips on how to spruce up your garden
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Gardening Made Simple - 5 tips on how to spruce up your garden

May 2019 Estate Agency

1. Out with the old! Be ruthless and get rid of any plants that aren’t their best any more. Plants don’t last forever, so dig the old ones up and you will have improved your garden instantly. If you put a new plant in their place then you will improve it even more!

2. Make it lush and green! The lawn is often the main area of the garden, so make sure you keep it mowed nicely, and also invest in some lawn food for when it gets a bit brown and neglected. If you water your lawn, do it in the early morning or evening too so the water will evaporate slower. Your lawn will look perfect in no time! This lawn food gets rid of most weeds as well as feeding the lawn: https://www.hayesgardenworld.co.uk/product/scotts-lawn-builder-lawn-food-100sqm

3. Do some border control! Plant some colourful shrubs in borders or raised beds, and ensure they are kept trimmed and neat so you don’t feel like your garden is a mess. Adding some lavender is a good idea as then you also have that lovely smell, and it will last all year round too.

4. Grow your own! You could start by planting some common herbs such as parsley, rosemary and thyme in plant pots near the back door, then they’re handy for just trimming bits off to use in cooking. If you want to start a little vegetable patch, you can get some raised planters to make it easier to tend to them and keep them contained. Check out these 200 litre raised beds: https://www.primrose.co.uk/200-litres-the-chamberlain-wooden-raised-grow-bed-lacewing-100cm-h20cm-p-6357.html?cPath=2_11728_679

5. Light it up! Outdoor lights are a lovely way of making the garden a useful social area even into the evening, as well as adding decoration. A lot of them are solar powered, so you don’t have to worry about having a nearby plug or replacing batteries. You can get string lights which are perfect over the patio, lights that stake into the ground to light up a path, or these simple lanterns which you can either hang, place on the ground or set on the table. https://www.therange.co.uk/outdoor-living/outdoor-lighting/solar-lights/solar-silver-lantern#606154

Patios Made Simple Read - 5 tips on how to improve your outdoor seating area

April 2019 Blog Estate Agency

1. Clean up! Patio slabs can get really mucky, more than you’d realise. Give the patio a blast with a pressure washer and you’ll realise how clean it…

Patios Made Simple Read - 5 tips on how to improve your outdoor seating area
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Patios Made Simple Read - 5 tips on how to improve your outdoor seating area

April 2019 Estate Agency

1. Clean up! Patio slabs can get really mucky, more than you’d realise. Give the patio a blast with a pressure washer and you’ll realise how clean it can be! It will also shift most of the debris that gets stuck between the slabs, so it can be easily swept away. Pressure washers can be inexpensive, or alternatively they are available to hire, or you could borrow a friend’s. Check out this one from B&Q: https://www.diy.com/departments/pressure-washer-1400-w/1581255_BQ.prd

 

2. Put on a fresh coat! Old faded wooden seats, benches and swing seats can make the whole area look tired too, so get a tin of varnish or even some nice bright outdoor wood paint, and paint your old seats to give them a new lease of life.

 

3. Keep it green! Pot some evergreen plants to pop on your patio. This will keep it looking full of life all year round, and also evergreen plants are often easy to look after. Junipers, boxwoods and Bosnian pine trees thrive in containers and are really hardy so will last all winter.

 

4. Turn up the heat! A chimenea or firepit is a wonderful addition to a patio. You can then make use of the patio on cool summer nights and the cold winter months – and you could even toast some marshmallows! Check out this traditional clay chimenea: https://www.diy.com/departments/blooma-diogo-cast-iron-steel-chiminea/1829825_BQ.prd

 

5. Cover up! Invest in garden covers for your outdoor furniture. This will protect them from getting battered by the weather, and prevent them getting covered in dirt and bird poo, so you won’t have to clean them every time you want to sit outside. Argos has a good selection here at very reasonable prices:https://www.argos.co.uk/browse/home-and-garden/garden-furniture/garden-furniture-covers-and-cushions/c:29395/type:furniture-covers/

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