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  WEST SUSSEX PROPERTY BLOG

The West Sussex Property Blog

Two brand new homes of exceptional quality

A fantastic opportunity to purchase one of only two bespoke brand new homes located in a quiet premier lane. These superb properties, each measuring almost 3,000 sq ft, have been finished to an exacting standard and benefit from four bedrooms and three bedrooms together with two reception rooms.
 

Location, location, location

GL & Co Estate Agents are delighted to be launching four fabulous brand new houses set in idyllic countryside on the edge of the very popular town of Horsham. The properties have been built by Quantum Homes who have worked to exacting standards, resulting in high quality luxury homes which take full advantage of natural light and the picturesque setting.  
 

Lucky You

Neil Moore, MD at GL & Co finds lessons to be learnt from Olympic preparation. The fabulous Rio Olympics remind us that dedication, natural talent, great coaching, relentless training, self-belief and a total focus on winning are what creates a gold medalist. Luck comes last on the list, for Olympians can’t rely on luck. Instead they have to depend on things they have control over. 
 

Hexit

Neil Moore from GL & Co takes a look at the post-Brexit property market and offers some sound advice to those selling their homes over the summer months.
 

What's a Wells Cottage?

We take a look at the history of the very pretty Wells Cottages in Sussex which are popular with buyers in the area.
 

Can your tenant rent your property?

Did you know your obligations as a landlord include checking if your tenant can legally rent your property? This new requirement introduced by the Government is coming into force for all new tenancies starting from 1st February.
 

Is your rental energy efficient?

The Government has recently passed legislation called the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. This is aimed at making it easier for tenants to rent more energy efficient properties. With effect from 1 October 2016 all private rented properties must have a minimum EPC of Band E. If the property does not meet this minimum requirement then landlords cannot start a new tenancy without making energy improvements.
 

Stopwatch for Stamp Duty

Even if your property is not directly affected by the latest Stamp Duty increases, perhaps because it is not a suited as a Buy To Let investment, it may be indirectly affected by the changes.
 

What does 2016 hold

Welcome to 2016 and a new era in property. It promises to be an eventful-packed year. The way has already been prepared for a change in April when higher stamp duty rates are applied to properties bought for buy-to-let or second home purposes. So expect a busy time for the next few months as buyers rush to complete purchases before the axe falls. Already buy-to-let purchases are near their pre-crisis levels and the Chancellor may well tighten up lending criteria to stave off any potential problems down the line - 2015 saw buy-to-let borrowing at £38 billion compared with £45.7 billion in 2007. Mr Osborne will further affect landlords as from April as when they will also lose higher-rate tax relief on mortgage interest payments.
 

April Showers

The property market can sometimes seem a bit like the weather. Some days it is fine and sometimes it is rainy. But some days it really does not know what it is doing. The market is a bit like that at the moment. Just when it looks as if there is no momentum there is a surge of interest and then as quickly as it comes it stops - just like an April shower.
 

Renewing a lease

Owning a leasehold property isn’t as secure as owning a freehold property, but you do have certain rights. Most importantly, once you have owned (not necessarily lived in) the property for two years, you have the right to ask for an extension of the lease, or to ask for the option to purchase the freehold. As leasehold properties are virtually worthless without a current leasehold agreement, then it’s vital to keep a keen eye on the remaining length of time on your lease.
 

Selling your home in the country

There is no doubt the internet is a great way to reach buyers from outside our area – especially from London - but sometimes there is nothing better than getting together face-to-face. That is why we are looking forward so much to taking our finest properties to London in September.  On the 27th and 28th of that month Country Life magazine will be holding their first Fair at Fulham Palace in SW6 and we will be there representing our clients.
 

The perfect home?

Neil, our MD, looks at one of the challenges of buying property in this buoyant market. The big challenge with this property market is that there is less time to make a decision to buy. The fewer properties on the market the more pressure there is for buyers to make a choice quickly.
 

A 'flipping' good start

In this week's diary blog we look at what the team have been up in and out of the office and hope that the rain has now gone for good!
 

How to make the most of your outdoor space

With Spring just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about your garden and how to show it in it's best light to potential buyers - here's some ideas how...
 

The North Wind Doth Blow

Guy Leonard & Co's blog - keep your home warm over the cold snap!
 

Not Just for Christmas

Neil, our MD, takes a timely look at a highly seasonal pastime - looking for a new home...Christmas and New Year are actually one of the peak times of year for online property searches.
 

Lights, camera, action - ready to sell?

Neil Moore, MD at Guy Leonard and Company blogs about how to prepare your home for sale this Autumn
 

House buying and solicitors

Guy Leonard and Company blog about buying and selling houses in West Sussex, guest blog on when to start thinking about a solicitor for your house sale or purchase
 

The Spring Property Market

Neil Moore comments on the current property market
 

Property Notepad - helping you buy a home

Guy Leonard and Company this week have a guest blog from Property Notepad, a new website to help you do your research when you buy a home
 

How to make the move out of London

Bee from Life After London is our guest blogger this week, with hints and tips on how to make the move out of the big smoke of London to a new area.
 

Green shoots in the market?

Miles Shipside of Rightmove is telling us there are genuine reasons to be cheerful about the property market in 2013!
 

Jingle bells, jingle bells - Santa's on his way!

Guy Leonard and Company blog about the property market and why now is the time to start thinking about selling
 

All I want for Christmas

Neil Moore, MD of Guy Leonard and Company, looks at the property market as Christmas creeps up on us...
 

Autumn breaks and old fashioned bread making!

A few of the team make the most of the half term holiday and Marion goes to River Cottage ....
 

How do we see the economy in 2013?

Neil gives his thoughts on the economy in 2013 following a conference he attended last week.
 

An Indian Summer perhaps?

Although the evenings are feeling autumnal we are enjoying some lovely September weather ... I think we deserve it!
 

A fantastic Closing Ceremony and what a beautiful county we live in!

So the Closing Ceremony was amazing ... let's keep rocking!!
 

Congratulations Team GB - what an inspiration!

Team GB lift the spirits of us all, sporty or not!
 

Sunshine at last and an Olympic barbecue in West Chiltington.

At last the sun comes out and West Chiltington sees an Olympic Barbecue!
 

Congratulations to Fran and her family ...

A week of celebration for Fran as she receives an award for her charity work and prepares for her daughter's wedding.
 

Planning the Future!

Neil Moore considers the Government's new planning proposals.
 

As we enter a New Year we take a look at what lies ahead for the property market.

As we enter a New Year we take a look at what lies ahead for the property market.
 

What's happening with the current rental market?

Guy Leonard & Co comment on the current rental market in the UK
 

Is confidence coming back into the property market?

Is confidence coming back into the property market?
 

Scramble! The September Property Market

Neil Moore of Guy Leonard and Co Estate Agents posts his latest West Sussex property market comment
 

Walking on sunshine - oooh oooh!

Weekly diary blog from Guy Leonard Estate Agents in West Sussex - this week the team have been enjoying the sunshine at various local events.
 

Turning to the Autumn Property Market

Neil, Managing Director of GL&Co shares his thoughts on the Autumn property market.
 

In the news...London Riots

Following the unrest in London this week, our thoughts turn to friends and family in the area.
 

Chilli Festival and Wasp Stings!

Chilli Festival and Wasp Stings!
 

We are now seeing more and more people accessing our website using their iphones, so we have put together a list of apps to make your house move and search easier because as the saying goes…’there’s an app for that’!

Our top 5 are:

  • Rightmove
  • Mortgage Toolkit
  • listentotaxman.com
  • Crime Map UK
  • Around Me

If you are searching for property to buy, our top of the house hunting apps is Rightmove –  you can type in the area you are interested in, for example, Storrington’ to generate a list of houses for sale locally and then refine your search. Alternatively, if you are standing in say Horsham, you can hit ‘find my current location’ and the app will give you a list of all the flats and houses for sale around where you are in Horsham. This provides pictures and information on the property together with the selling agents details. As this shows properties from all the estate agents on Rightmove, it’s a one stop shop for your property search. 

Mortgage Toolkit is a great little app if you are sorting out the finance for your property purchase. It includes a mortgage calculator and also very handy guides to buying and selling properties. You can review the best buy mortgage list (although we found this a little restrictive, and request a callback from a mortgage advisor as well. Mortgage Assistant also provides you with a best buy list and this one includes deals from all the high street banks and big mortgage lenders. There is also a useful blog feature with lots of mortgage news and updates.

Whilst sorting out your mortgage you may need to some budgeting and calculations relating to your salary, and there is an app for that - listentotaxman.com works out your tax payments and you can add in other deductions as well to work out exactly where you stand each month. It updates in line with budget changes so in theory should always give you the most up to date picture (providing you download the updates!). UK Salary Calculator does a similar job so may also be worth a look.

If you are reviewing the area you are looking to move to, Crime Map UK locates where you are with your phone and then shows a map with pins indicating all the crimes locally – you can then touch to see the type of crime committed. There is a neighbourhood overview, and a camera feature although this costs extra. We’ve have been checking out our local areas of Horsham, Storrington and Pulbrough and its quite enlightening to see what has been going on.

AroundMe is a very informative app to discover what facilities there are locally. Using GPS, the app provides a list of services you may be looking for, from cashpoints to petrol stations to hospitals. You select which service you are looking for to get a list of them together with how close they are to you and exact location. This also covers restaurants, taxis, theatres and the weather – a very comprehensive app. Once you’ve moved in to your dream home, vouchercloud is a similar app, but lists businesses close to you offering deals and discounts using your iphone.

After all that, if you’d like some down time from property searching you could have a go at being an estate agent using the game app Build-a-lot where you have to buy plots, build houses and keep them in good repair and then sell them at a profit – lots of fun and quite addictive! 

 

GL & Co celebrate Christmas

Goodwood Breakfast Club and 999 calls from Guy Leonard & Company
 

Neil Moore comments on how the landscape of property purchase is changing in the post-recession period, and how the spring Budget will bring some cheer to some hard-hit first time buyers.

Neil Moore comments on how the landscape of property purchase is changing in the post-recession period, and how the spring Budget will bring some cheer to some hard-hit first time buyers.
 

Property and Prejudice the continued reticence of the banks to offer sensible mortgages

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single family in possession of a good mortgage must be in want of a house.
 

With romance in the air this February we take a loving look at how we can often fall head over heels with...a house

With romance in the air this February we take a loving look at how we can often fall head over heels with…a house.  
 

Estate agents licensing

I am pleased to advise everyone about the new licensing scheme that has been launched by the NAEA and approved by the government.
 

On Ice

Realistic estate agents are putting the champagne back on ice for a little longer. For a while many people thought that a buoyant property market had returned...
 

A message to the serious seller

A Message to Serious Sellers - what can you do to make your property the 'pick of the bunch'?
 

A Game of Two Halves! Neil Moore comments on the property market after a very busy Spring.

A Game of Two Halves!  Neil Moore comments on the property market after a very busy Spring.
 

The Chancellor Giveth and the Chancellor Taketh Away

The Chancellor Giveth and the Chancellor Taketh Away The 2010 Budget was, overall, rather neutral for the property market.  But there are some winners and losers.  The increase in the Stamp Duty threshold - doubled to £250,000
 

What a start to 2010

What a start to 2010..... thank goodness the snow has gone away....
 

The Truth about Climate Change

The truth about Climate Change!  The question of climate change is one of the great issues of our time.
 

Home owners take advantage of the market.

Neil Moore of Guy Leonard & Company looks into the options presented by the property market this autumn.
 

Wall to wall opportunities

Neil Moore of Guy Leonard & Company surveys the property market landscape and finds that there are good things to look  forward to in 2010.
 

Buy to let is back

According to Susan Emmet from the Times - Buy-to-let is back...There is nothing like a housing market crash to test a landlord's mettle.
 

House price update

According to property website Rightmove, the average asking price for houses in England and Wales increased sharply in the four weeks to October 10
 

More Expansion in Lettings

We believe one of the keys to our success, and something that makes us different from many companies, is the continuity of familiar faces within the letting department. 
 

I know it's bad out there...

But you must remember, this recession WILL end.

Chances are excellent we're more than halfway through. You have to go back to the early 1930s (the Great Depression) to find a recession that lasted longer than 16 months.
Since this recession started in late 2007, it will undoubtedly be the longest since the Great Depression. But, I believe the recession has already hit bottom and will end before the end of this year.

Stock prices typically bottom out in the middle of recessions. This is because stock prices "look ahead." They "see" recovery before recovery actually arrives.

Consumers don't look ahead like this... They are interested in their present situation, which is not good. So while stock prices can bottom in the middle of recessions, consumer confidence typically bottoms at the end of recessions. People don't see things getting less bad... It's a "darkest-before-the-dawn" type thing.

If you look at the history of previous recessions you can see that the stock market follows consumer confidence. I only repeat what I read and there definitely seems a paten forming.

If the November stock-market bottom holds, and the record low in consumer confidence holds, we may be closer to the end of this recession than just about anyone thinks. It's too early to know for sure, but these factors suggest the recession may have bottomed, and things are already getting "less bad."

I believe and hope that's true. If I'm right, you should make a pile of money investing in both stocks and property in 2009.




 

We have a saying in our company about being above and below the line. Being above the line means that you take responsibility for your actions being below the line means you blame others and deny everything

I am going to be below the line,ready, I have not written on this blog for about a month because the market has been so busy. My team has been out valuing taking on new houses and doing many viewings we have been selling lots of houses and seeing them through to a completion. Its like the old days of early 2007 but with one exception the values are not as high. Those vendors that are taking sensible advise on the value of their homes are getting on with their lives and moving sometimes to the house of their dreams.

Values are not going to move up for at least the next 12 months even though the areas in this part of West Sussex such as Horsham, Storrington and Pulborough are pretty resilient they have all been effected by the economic downturn. Of course there are always those unique homes that have something a little special that do achieve incredible values, this could be a house with land in an exceptional location for example.

I am no economist, far from it, I only came away from Bearwood College, Wokingham with a lowly number of o'levels. However I do read a lot and my feeling is that the banks will not start lending significantly for some time, they have to correct there own balance sheets before they start lending to us.

I do think that Gordon Brown and Tony Blair have made a huge amount of errors in guiding this country through the good times but,on the other hand a Captain of a ship thinks things are fine until he hits the rocks, the key is to learn from this. I do think some of the actions taken to correct and shorten this recession has been very successful. I have no patients with those people that say' what about the debt we have built up for our grandchildren'. No doubt when it is relevant to them we will have been through two more recessions done battle with climate change and been producing revenue from jobs that have not even been thought of yet.

The labour party has an  obsession with wanting to appeal to the rich they have divided Britain between the rich and the poor more than ever. I do hope that which ever party gets in next time and there will undoubtedly be a change in the near future learns from our current experiences and plans for the future.

 

An article in the paper today about a resurgence in share prices. A bull market could be returning. The benchmark apparently is the FTSE100 index rose by 1.3pc capping its biggest monthly increase since 2003.  It seems that disappointing news is just being ignored and the markets only want to hear good news. Is it that simple, one wonders if things were not so bad in 2008, after all, perhaps it was just the press that was driving the market! now who said that surely that would not be the case!! Sorry if I am a bit cynical but last year there was still a lot of people with money able to buy houses and invest in the stock market but just decided it was to risky, Why? because the press was driving down the market.

All I can say is, do not let the press turn it into a bull market, otherwise we will be back where we started. 

 

We seem to be having more and more buyers registering saying that they can  not find a house to buy, 'what?' I hear you say, ' we have been trying to sell for ages' 

I know, there are an awful lot of houses that have been on the market, in some cases for over a year and only now are they getting interest, but that is because the prices have come down and the buyers are being very wary of overpaying for property.

The properties that are coming to the market for the first time, as long as they are priced correctly are selling quickly.

The World around us still goes on with more corrupt bankers being exposed and people losing there money.

If I was them I would put all my money into property!

 

 

It is a constant debate within the estate agency industry the value of newspaper advertising. Gone are the days that you would put your new instructions in the paper and get immediate phone calls. The Internet has taken over as the most dominant source of inquiries. In reality newspaper circulation has dropped and the amount of revenue papers used to achieve from there advertisers has dropped which means inevitably the quality of there product will drop to. We all agree it is essential as a local source of information, but serious buyers will be searching on the Internet. 

So do not judge your agent by the amount of times he puts your property in the paper, judge him on the advise and willingness to do a good job for you. Internet, office, boards and the experience the estate agent has is some of the most important things to look for but most of all it is service, service, service. If buyers like the service then they will want to buy through that agent. Our customer survey shows this is what buyers and sellers are looking for.

 

I know, I'm bound to say that! However it is so so true. We are selling really excellent houses at prices that just seem such good value. I can only say that the market activity has picked up since the new year and although we have a long way to go before we get to previous levels of inquiries, if last Saturday's viewing level is anything to go by, we are on our way.

My advise is "If you see something you like, get on and buy it, because it probably won't be there in six months' time"

We have agreed sales on three properties recently to investors, they can only get about 3% interest on capital in the banks and they can achieve 6% on the property they have bought, plus the hope of capital growth in 2 to 3 years time.

I understand from our preferred mortgage brokers (M&M mortgage management) that various deals are around in the mortgage market from 3.99% if you have a reasonable deposit, with rates like these and lower house prices, I suggest people seize the moment. It makes moving house rather attractive.

I understand the difficulty people have with selling there house for less than they thought it was worth and many have spent money on refurbishment etc, but everyone is in the same boat. ' what you lose on the swings, you will gain on the roundabouts'.

If you are reading this and wondering what to do (and it seems quite a lot of people are) contact any of our offices for the best advise, We understand how important it is to know the price that you can achieve in the current market. One agent I heard off has been recommending to clients to put there houses on the market at 25% more than they are worth so they can be knocked down in negotiation,so the buyers think they are getting a bargain, Does he think the buying public were born yesterday?

 

 

 

 

 

Latest interest rate news and great opportunities offered in the current property market.

Interest rates have now been cut to 1.5 per cent.  The last time they were as low as this was 1694 when the Bank of England was established to manage mounting debts.  Nothing changes.

In England at that time William III was on the throne - it was the beginning of the William and Mary period.  Peter the Great was the Russian Czar.  Handel and Bach were young music prodigies, and Isaac Newton was greatly influencing scientific thought.  Following the Pilgrim Fathers, British and Dutch settlers were continuing to colonise North America, where two years before 19 women were hung in the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts.

If history repeats itself it could be 2324 before interest rates are as low again.  This rather suggests that now is as good a time as any to take advantage of these rates and enter the property market.  With prices back to 2003 levels - when there was huge activity in the market - this makes even more sense.

When prices are high the media delight in charting the plight of key public sector workers in nursing, the police, the fire brigade and other essential services who are unable to climb on the housing ladder close to their work.  Well, now is the chance to end that.  Sadly many people are being placed into negative equity by the price downturn - with all the attendant problems this brings.  But for the many hundreds of thousands of people waiting for the opportunity to move out of rented property or their parents' homes this could be the perfect moment.

Yet a large hurdle remains - securing a mortgage.  Mortgages are available, but deposit demands from the lenders remain high.  Wouldn't it be sensible for the government and the lenders to recognise the opportunity this price correction brings, and to start helping first time buyers now through easing mortgage demands or a Stamp Duty moratorium, or preferably both?  This would create the best opportunity to kick-start the housing market and, through the knock-on effect, a significant portion of the service and retail economy.

 

It constantly frustrates me that other estate agents insist on tying their clients into long sometimes 12,16 or even 20 week sole agency contracts.

Every industry that offers a service to the public should stand or fall on the service provided. When will they realise that a happy customer is contented to build on their relationship with the service provider, regular contact and sound advise will maintain client loyalty.

I recently had a very bad experience with an electricity supplier (e-on) who had said that I had signed a contract to supply one of our offices and that they gave me 21 days to change supplier 2 months before the end of the 12 month contract, I admittedly overlooked this correspondence but had contacted them 6 weeks before the contract expired. After a letter of complaint they rang me to offer a discount on my electricity supply (very nice but not what I wanted) I just wanted service and not to be bullied into staying with such a company.  (I have diarised for next year to cancel my contract)

Maybe some of the companies that do this will eventually wake up and smell the coffee. The customer will vote with his feet.

 

 

 

 

What works well in lettings?

Further to my last blog there still has been no 'let up' for the lettings team (pardon the bad pun!) and my Christmas cards remain unwritten.
 

We are delighted to announce a number of new appointments to the team in the last 3 weeks.

Adrian Passingham has joined our Pulborough office to work along side Michael Comyn, Adrian's wife runs a local Barbour shop in Lower street and they know the area well, Adrian brings many years of experience in agency in West & East Sussex.

Martin Hyre has joined us as manager of the Horsham office with nearly 20 years experience of agency in Sussex, latterly manager of Howard Cundey in East Grinsted.

Stewart Cunningham has joined him at Horsham office and brings over 5 years experience in agency and other related fields prior to estate agency.

These new colleagues joining us in the current climate has shown that even in difficult times it is possible to expand.We have proved and firmly believe, that if we offer good sound advise to clients you can achieve a sensible level of sales.

We have time and again bucked the trend in the property market. This has been done by being forward thinking and having the self belief that you can achieve anything if you are tenacious, positive and hard working. Continuing excellent customer service at all times will mean striving for excellence and accepting only complete success.

Welcome to our new colleagues, you will all achieve the un- achievable if you take notice of the above.

 

 

Lending was up by 7% in October to £18.7bn great news and shows that given the opportunity people will buy and and move home for those astute buyers they will be getting into the market at a low point and this will give them the benefit of medium to long term gains.

I firmly believe that if lenders are prepared to free up lending, at these attractive interest rates buyers will continue to make sensible purchases of good value homes.

HSBC took a full page advert in the Sunday Times yesterday explaining how it was going to lend £15 billion in 2009 in new mortgages. well if all the lenders start committing to this the only way is forward.

I can't wait until 2009 excitement is not the word, it will be challenging but we are so focused on the marketing campaigns planned and continuing to build our already successful brand.

The farms department is growing the lettings department has had huge growth in 2008 and the sales department is growing slowly but a big improvement in the last 2 months. Bring on 2009 I say!!

 

With interest rates taking another dramatic step down of I am thinking about the state of the local property market and feel that for many this has become a time of great opportunity.

Many of us will be pleased to see the back of 2008. Certainly most of us in the property sector will be.  Of course no one can be sure how much better next year will be but there are signs that at least suggest some optimism is warranted, especially as the Bank of England interest rate has dropped to its lowest for 57 years.
 
Despite a slow market, I can't think of a better time in years to be buying property.  The choice right now is amazing. In a buoyant market scarcity and time/price pressures lead buyers to compromise.  Here is a market where the need for compromise is much reduced.  There is time to explore the market.

Prices have tumbled. Property that for some was unaffordable two or three years ago is now affordable. Serious sellers are really pleased to discuss offers.  If the mortgage lenders would only begin to lend sensibly - and there are signs that the choke is being released a little - all buying factors would be in perfect alignment.  I can't think of a time when this has happened to such a degree.
 
There will be those who still want to wait.  But wait for what?  Prices to fall lower? They may.  But wait until the optimum moment and it will be too late.  Only by a fluke will a buyer complete on the day the market eventually bottoms out; and the day after is a day too late.  There is no exact science in property.  So it is better to find that uncompromising house of your dreams now. Yes, the value may drop a bit further and, it should be stressed, if you have employment or money worries, this is no time to buy.  But for those in a good position, who are making middle to long-term plans, there should be plenty of time to recoup any short-term losses.

So for buyers now is the moment to find the property you’ve dreamed of rather than the property that you might have had to settle for in different circumstances.  The market is yours.  Make the most of it.  It won’t last.  In the property market nothing ever does.

 

Lettings market as active as ever.

We know that the ups and downs of the property market, whether it be sales or lettings, is something that is close to most people's hearts and is always a conversation topic wherever we go.
 

As we start the day with a new 15% VAT rate I wonder how this will make a difference to the property market and economy. I feel the short answer is none and that it has been brought in by the Government to help with a feel good factor. For a lot of small companies the administration involved in making the changes is a heavy burden and the benefit very small for the consumer.

The market will start to improve when the Government force the lenders to free up lending at sensible rates.  In the meantime the winners of this market are those people that realize that there is still a market and if they buy or sell now they will have moved at the right time benefiting from low values and less borrowing at better interest rates.

Our Horsham office had a fantastic Saturday with 14 viewings carried out and 3 offers to start the week, long may it continue.