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Moving home is one of the most exciting things that we can do in our lives. It signals a shift, whether we’re just buying our first ever property or looking for somewhere to spend the rest of our life in.
As such, getting your move right is essential. Doubtlessly you’ll have some indication of what you want; the number of bedrooms, the general location and even smaller wishes like off-street parking might be in your mind, but what about the little details? When you’re viewing a house, you’re doing more than just getting an emotional reading on a building – it’s the perfect time to really investigate a property.
So, what questions should you be asking yourself on that viewing?
- Is it damp? - Easy to spot, but not so easy to deal with, damp is a real pest. The main giveaway is the mouldy smell, flaky plaster and watermarked walls or ceilings. As you walk around, take a close look at the ceiling and around the skirting boards or check to see if a room has recently been repainted – a commonplace tactic for hiding mould.
- Is the wiring new? Old wiring in a property is not only dangerous, but it’s also expensive to replace. If the current occupier has lived there a long time, there’s a good chance they’ve never bothered to replace the old, out of code wiring. Ask about it, or have a survey done if you’re serious about buying the property.
- Is it structurally sound? – When you’re buying a property, a full survey should be carried out to ensure the property you’re buying is structurally sound, but you can do some simple visible checks before it gets to that stage. Look for big cracks where extensions join, bay windows and end-of-terrace walls. Smaller cracks shouldn’t be too much to worry about.
- Are you thinking practically? – One of the most common mistakes that people make when they’re viewing a house is to get lost in the romance of a place. We begin to imagine our lives inside a house, ignoring the gritty practicalities of a place. Think sensibly; does it have enough space? Are the rooms going to be big enough? Things like this might not be fun to think about, but they’ll help you protect yourself from making a mistake in your purchase.
- How old is the roof? – It might seem like you’re getting a little ahead of yourself asking questions like this on a first viewing, but it’s important to get as much information as you can. Replacing roofs is very expensive, and many only have a life expectancy of around 15-20 years.
- Is the property on a floodplain? – If recent years have taught us anything, it’s that flooding can cause massive issues for homes across the UK. Figuring out whether the property you’re looking at is in an area liable to flooding can save you an incredible amount of money and heartache down the line.
- Is the plumbing up to code? – It’s not glamourous, but plumbing is a vital part of a property. Check the water pressure and ask whether they’re lead or not. Lead pipes must be replaced. Also ask how old the boiler is and whether all the radiators are working – you’ll be thankful you did it!
Selling up and finding your dream home is now easier than ever. Agent Online are a leading online estate agent that will help guide you every step of the way without you even having to leave the house.
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There’s a reason why nobody likes moving house - and it’s not because of the cleaning! Packing up a property is one of the most stressful, labour intensive and tough jobs involved in moving house, so when the big day rolls around, you need all the help you can get.
As a leading online agent putting sellers together with buyers, we’ve helped facilitate countless moves, and in that time we’ve picked up a raft of essential tips and tricks to help the whole process go as smoothly as possible. Let’s get started.
Before anything else
Get prepared. Moving house might be something you do on the last day, but packing shouldn’t be. Here’s some tips:
- Consider what you don’t need and recycle or sell it before you move, no need to shift useless furniture and trinkets to your new property, only to get rid of them once they’re there.
- Make a priority list for packing
- Calculate how many boxes you’re going to need well in advance. Get yourself boxes of all sizes and stock up on the packing tape, newspaper and bubble wrap – you’re going to need far more than you think.
- Check that your contents insurance covers damages and breakages during the move.
- Pack a box with just the “essentials” for comfort. We’re talking about essential bathroom and kitchen supplies so you can eat, drink and go to the toilet in comfort as you shuttle back and forth between your two properties.
- Organise messy spots in your home, like your attic or garage. You don’t want to be spending half your moving day getting this sorted out.
On the day
- Start early and start with a plan. Packing always takes longer than you think, so get to it as soon as possible.
- Just like washing a car, start at the top and make your way down through the house. A scattershot approach will only lead to wasted time.
- Pack your heaviest items in small boxes, that way they’ll be easier to carry and you won’t overload a large box with big, heavy items you can’t move.
- Label every box to its corresponding room and keep each set of boxes together, it’ll greatly simplify your move at the other end.
- Take care to wrap up fragile items before you move. The banging and rolling of a car might not seem like much to you, but one slip can mean the destruction of some prized possessions.
- Pack heavy items at the bottom of boxes and lighter items to the top.
When you’re unpacking
- Go in order of priority. If it’s late in the day, work out what you’re going to need to make dinner and get comfortable in your bedroom – the rest can wait until the morning.
- Get your boxes in their corresponding rooms. Carrying individual items up and down stairs is far from efficient.
- Take the time to work out where items are going to go in each room, if you can avoid moving them repeatedly you’ll save serious time.
Get in touch to find out how an online estate agent can make selling your property a lot easier for a fraction of the price.
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Thankfully, the UK is largely free from the high levels of pollutants and smog that are witnessed in several countries around the world, but that doesn’t mean our air quality is perfect. In fact, in some parts of the UK, air pollution is bordering on dangerous levels.
The World Health Organisation has warned that 80% of the cities around the world are currently failing to meet their guidelines on safe levels of air quality. The WHO say that as air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and chronic and acute respiratory conditions rise, making air quality no laughing matter.
It is said that ambient air pollution, made up of high concentrations of particulate matter is the greatest environmental risk to health, causing more than 3 million deaths worldwide.
Now, the WHO have named and shamed towns and cities across Britain and Ireland for breaching safety levels for air pollution. Included in the list of worst offenders is predictable entries like Port Talbot and London, though surprising entrants like Eastbourne and Oxford are also considered to be amongst the worst. Here’s the full list of cities breaking the guidelines:
- Longford, Ireland
- Port Talbort
- Bray, Ireland
- Leamington Spa
- Galway, Ireland
- Dublin, Ireland
Naturally, this is a source of great frustration for the World Health Organisation, who have been battling to improve air quality worldwide for decades. Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO’s assistant director general for family, women and children’s health, said: ‘When dirty air blankets our cities, the most vulnerable urban populations – the youngest, oldest and poorest – are the most impacted.’
However, even though urban air pollution is rising, awareness of the issue is rising too, with more cities monitoring their air quality and making changes.
Does air pollution affect house prices?
At present, the air quality of our towns and cities isn’t yet recognised enough to affect house prices, but it does have the chance to affect your life. If you suffer from conditions like asthma or lung infections, it could mean the difference between comfort and discomfort.
Should I try to buy outside of polluted areas?
So, should air pollution stop you buying property in one of these areas? The answer, of course, is no. Air pollution is an issue for towns and cities around the world, but it’s not one that we can avoid unless, of course, we’re comfortable living far out into the countryside. Instead, by living in these places, putting pressure on the local government and making changes of our own, we can contribute to improving the air quality for everyone else.
Equally, you shouldn’t worry about selling your home if it’s within an area with above average air pollution.
For more help with selling your property and finding the best place to move, get in touch with Agent Online.
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Selling your house has never seemed more complicated than it has today. A raft of so-called innovations in the estate agency world has meant that buying or selling a property has become something of an ordeal for a great many of us. However, one shift in the way that people interact with the housing market is poised to stick for the long haul – online only estate agencies.
Currently accounting for around 10% (but rising fast) of all home sales in the UK, online estate agents have come from nowhere to lodge themselves as a legitimate threat to the hegemony of traditional, high street agents.
But what are the differences between online and traditional estate agents? Read on to find out.
Starting out with the most obvious, both online and traditional estate agents are there to help you sell your property as quickly as possible and at the highest price.
Equally, both will value and market your property for you, alongside helping to arrange viewings. Many will also accept and negotiate offers on your behalf, liaise with a conveyancer, counterpart estate agent and buyer until the sale completes.
With that said, there are some significant and valuable differences between online and traditional, high street agents. They are:
- Fees: One of the major driving forces for the growth of online estate agents has come from the fact that fees are, broadly, much lower than that of a high street estate agent. With Agent Online, you pay a flat rate of £779 and we take care of marketing your property on major portals, taking professional photographs, arranging viewings, obtaining feedback, negotiating on your behalf and instructing legal advisors. It goes without saying, that’s drastically cheaper than a traditional agent, who typically charge around 1.3% on the sale of your house, which works out at £2,833 on the average property.
- Viewings: Unlike a traditional estate agent, who would send staff to your property to conduct viewings, online agents like us let you do the viewings instead. It’s part of the reason why online agents are able to offer such low fees, but it can also be a huge benefit. Nobody knows your property as well as you do, so with just a little confidence and a few pointers, you can help sell your home quickly and easily.
- Expertise: With more people than ever using the internet to browse for a home, it is now so important to have an estate agent that knows how to optimise your property's visibility online. As specialists, online estate agents understand the web market place better than anyone, which will be invaluable in finding you a buyer for your property.
So, what are you waiting for? With low risk and huge potential gain, you’ve got nothing to lose by listing your home through an online estate agent.
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There comes a time in all of our lives where we feel that it’s time to stop moving and to move somewhere for the longer term. Some call it settling down, others call it putting down roots, but whatever you call it, it’s about more than just staying in one place for a while.
Putting down roots involves hard work, but if you’re just taking your first steps, it’s not uncommon to be a little lost. That’s why we’ve put together this step by step guide for putting down roots, filled with ideas to help you settle into a community.
- Be prepared to stay in the area for a significant period of time – It’s perhaps an obvious point, but you’ll struggle to put down roots if you’re planning on only staying for a short time. Putting roots down is about patience.
- Go and speak to your neighbours – Community spirit is something most feel is lacking in their life, but it’s easy to put the foundations in. Simply by going to your neighbours and introducing yourself, you can help bring that feeling of community back into your life. Offer your help if they need anything and you’ll find that community spirit never disappeared, it simply needed a nudge.
- Check out the local papers – Local papers serve a number of valuable functions, but of primary interest for you will be the local adverts. There are always charities in need of help or community events listed, so lend a hand. You’ll find that by taking part in a community, you quickly become a recognisable face.
- If you’ve got kids, get involved in the school – Having kids is a fantastic excuse for involving yourself in the community. Your local school’s parent teacher association is a great place to meet new people in a town, as well as have a say on your child’s education.
- Make an effort to find new friends – Putting down roots is all about the relationships that we create in an area. We only ever truly feel at home in a place where we have friends as well as family, so getting out there and making new friends is an essential part of the experience. Of course, it’s never as easy as that, but given time and visibility, you’ll find yourself making the kinds of friends you can trust with your life.
- Be true to your promises – Reputation is something that you don’t get to announce, it’s something that’s earned. If you’re planning on putting down roots in an area, be mindful of the fact the promises you make (and those you break) will define you down the line.
With these tips in mind, you can start to build the relationships that will mean you become an essential part of the community, and the lives of those around you. Roots are about more than just living somewhere, it’s about becoming part of the area.
If you are thinking of selling up and settling in a new home, using a fixed-fee, online estate agent will save you thousands.