"Hello, my name is Paula and I am the newest recruit at Hazelwoods Estate agents! I have lived in Four Oaks for over 20 years and have always found there to be a wonderful community spirit here. I enjoy classes at the gym (with a lovely friendly group!) and love to travel. I have always worked in the property industry – from financing their purchase to Insuring, letting and now selling them!
I was so pleased to be offered the position at Hazelwoods having met Harriet because her enthusiasm and commitment to providing a comprehensive customer service which is my passion too!"
- Paula Dyer x
Okay, property owners of Sutton Coldfield you’re ready to sell and make a tidy profit to cash in and move up the property ladder or to bulk up your finances. BUT, and its a big but… if you own a property there is a small chance it could be “unmortgageable”.So, how can you tell and what can you do about it?
The Six Red Flags…!!!
1. No Kitchen or Bathroom....
There are certain ‘creature comforts’ that we need to make a house a ‘home’. Firstly, we need somewhere to eat and make food, secondly for hygienic reasons we need to clean ourselves too. Without this it’s simple, the property will not qualify with the mortgage lenders as habitable so is
REMEMBER, this is also the case if the Kitchens/Bathrooms are in such a state of disrepair that although they are there they cannot be used.
2. Two Kitchens in one house
On the other end of the spectrum, having more than one kitchen in the property might also cause it to fall into the “unmortgageable” spectrum. No joke!
The logic behind this is very simple - if you have an extra kitchen in the property, the thought is that you could easily sub-let it out to another tenant. That’s not looked on kindly by mortgage providers.
This isn’t to say that the property is unmortgageble as many properties can be converted but if they are converted they cannot then be sold as one entirety and must be split lawfully.
3. Short Leases
Not just short leases but leases in general are complicated when it comes to mortgages but the general rule is anything under 60 years isn’t worth buying as most mortgage lenders won’t even consider it.
If you do wish to sit down on a Friday night and google this topic, you will find a few brokers claiming that mortgages can still be obtained but the LTV is usually at such a crazy scale it is just not worth it!
4. Houses made of strange materials
Now, when we look at this issue we don’t mean a gingerbread house but you would be amazed what houses can be built of? Have you heard of the guy who “grew his own house” and built it out of cannabis?
What about building your house from hay bales?
Mortgage lenders look for houses that are stable and traditional; therefore, if your piece of property has some type of unusual or extreme construction, you’re going to have a hard time finding a mortgage lender for a buyer.
Most of the time this type of unusual construction will be in the frames of the property - a concrete prefabrication house, for example, or a metal frame or even a thatched roof.
If you have any of these things in the property, it’s not likely to completely sabotage the process, but it’ll definitely slow it down.
5. Plants are not always pretty!
If you have any invasive plants on the property, such as Japanese knotweed or Himalayan basalm, these can also impact on the mortgage lending process.But, why?
Japanese knotweed can grow up to 10cm per day, and because of this rapid growth, it has been known to cause damage to building structures and substructures by targeting weak points, such as cracks in masonry, and attempting to grow through them which can ultimately put the entire structure of the building at risk.
6. Weak Infrastructure
If there’s a bit of the property that’s fallen into severe disrepair - a crumbling staircase, rot or water damage anywhere, a broken elevator, a flooded-out basement, a wind- or storm-damaged roof - there’s almost no chance of securing a mortgage for the property.
Everyone knows that you don’t get a second chance at a first impression! The first impression that your house makes could be the For Sale board outside your house or your first image on Rightove but both are as important as the other! Your first impression is vital to secure viewings in the first week or your property will start to fall down the pile of options available to buyers.
- Make sure your agents ‘For Sale’ board is tidy, clean and upright.
- Make sure your photographs show your property off to it’s full potential. Instruct an estate agent that uses professional photography (like we do at Hazelwoods!
- Take the estate agents advice – Our director Harriet is always on hand to give our clients tips and advice on how to use your furniture and space to impress your viewers! #toptips
- When they arrive at your house…
- Make sure it looks loved and tidy. Prune the garden, touch up the paintwork, move the dustbins and sweep up the leaves.
- When they walk through the door…
- They want to be able to visualize their life there. Move any personal clutter like abandoned shoes and coats, personal photographs and general bits and bobs. #smellytrainers
- When they are busy walking around…
- Make sure your house is welcoming, well-lit and warm. You want viewers to imagine it as home so create an inviting and cosy environment.
- The Big Impression…
- The biggest impressions are made in the kitchen and bathrooms. An untidy or unclean kitchen/bathroom can be detrimental and leave a very negative lasting memory. A lick of fresh paint may only cost £50 but could cost you £5,000 off your asking price for a “Kitchen that needs replacing” as it looks a little tired. #thatonewiththedirtykitchen
Make the most of your homes curves and edges. Make your first impression a lasting and positive one! #offeraccepted #sold
Good Luck! – Team Hazelwoods x
We have compiled a luxurious little list of what we think can help give your home that ‘million dollar’ look and feel!
- ACCESSORIZE – Mirrors create a sense of a bigger space and open out any room. Or why not add some fancy artwork around your home? Candles and side lamps create an immediate sense of warmth and luxury.
- TEXTURES AND MATERIALS – Adding materials and layers to your room can really make a difference. Rugs and throws make rooms appear more cozy and plush. Use fabrics such as faux fur, leather, silk or velvet and experiment with different materials like wood, metals and marble effect.
- MATCH WITH METALLICS – A hint of shimmer and sparkle can go a long way and metallic is so in right now! Whether it’s gold, chrome, brass, silver or copper, you can tie a room together and add luxury with expensive looking metal accessories or furniture. Get yourself some matching but varying in size metal picture frames.
- WE LOVE CUSHIONS – Cushions add layer, luxury and a homely feel. Larger cushions look more expensive, fluff them up and over stuff makes them look more expensive.
- HANG IT HIGH - Many luxurious homes have high ceilings. Hanging your light fittings and curtains higher towards the ceiling creates a sense of space and luxury.
- LIGHTEN UP – Replace your old dusty light shades and side lamps with modern chandeliers or more eye-catching statement pieces that will instantly modernise your rooms.
- FLOWERS AND PLANTS – Fresh flowers and house plants (or good quality fakes) work in every room and will instantly give the space a fresh and looked after feel.
- MINIMIZE THE CLUTTER – We would all love a show home, although the reality is we all have a lot of clutter. Try to minimize untidiness, unnecessary junk or ‘dust collectors’ as my Mom calls them.
A few small changes and modern twists can certainly create luscious luxury in your home without breaking the bank!
Love Team Hazelwoods x
Do I need to spend money on my house before selling it?
Within estate agency this is one of the more frequently asked questions and whilst we always offer honest answers, we also give realistic advice to ensure vendors achieve the best possible price outcome for their property.
The answer to this question however comes down to two things;
1. Your plans of improvements
2. The current condition of your home before selling
FIRSTLY… if your plans to spend money on your property mean a brand new kitchen or construction for an additional bedroom etc. then you may want to hold off on these plans. Home improvements such as these would be costly and likely to turn into lengthy projects using much of your time and money. Its well known that a new owner will often look forward to putting their own stamp on the property when moving in and during viewings will already be thinking of improvements to best suit their needs! This means they may already have a new kitchen or bathroom development in mind. Keep your hard-earned money for your new home!
BUT… if it has been a few years since you last gave your home a makeover then it may be an effective use of your time to get the paint brushes out and buy a good quality tin of paint. We would recommend that you head for your kitchen, living areas, hallways and bedrooms. Spending time on such tasks will go far in giving tired walls a much needed freshening up and will ensure your home looks clean and well looked after – You only get one chance at a first impression.
DON’T FORGET… different people have different tastes, particularly when it comes to home décor. if you are planning on making any improvements before selling your property you may want to use a neutral colour scheme. Generally, neutral colours allow for natural light and can be seen as a blank canvas for a new buyer to put their own stamp on the property.
A FINAL TIP… from us at Hazelwoods is to try and think back to when you first viewed your property, what aspects did you love about it! This may be of a similar appeal to potential buyers and will allow them to imagine themselves moving in!
If you need more advice on this topic please feel free to ask us, we would be happy to help you in selling your property!
The word ‘Brexit’ has forced its way into our everyday conversation with intrigue, fear, excitement and confusion to name but a few of the mixed feelings true to many at this uncertain time. Financially the consequences are relatively unknown now that Article 50 has been triggered and the departure of the UK from Europe has begun.
Google has been paying particular attention looking at what we (the general public) have been searching for over recent weeks; “How will Brexit affect…?” This has revealed the concerns of the majority of the public; house prices, property, mortgages, the pound, interest rates, the economy and immigration.
At the end of 2016 the immediate effect of the vote left the UK housing transactions down 9% compared to the same period in 2015, according to figures from HM Revenue & Customs.
So… how exactly will Brexit impact on your property and the local property market in Sutton Coldfield?
Sutton Coldfield has always had a very strong and traditional property market, due to the fantastic commuter connections, road links, rail network and outstanding schooling available right across the town. With plans now approved for the construction of around 6,000 homes bordering Walmley and Minworth as well as the approval of a further site set aside for a new industrial developmenst, Sutton Coldfield is well and truly staying on the map and remaining a very key place for business owners, families and first time buyers to put down roots.
London is likely to be most affected by Brexit as houses carry such a hefty price tag. Buyers will remain cautious in an uncertain market with concerns over inflation still hanging heavy in the air. This is evident already as Birmingham property prices continue to rise at 7.4% now overtaking London at 6.4% according to property analysts Hometrack. – Great News!!
As with any big change there is bound to be a slight shudder in the sales market as we all adjust, but it doesn’t just stop there. The government have also made changes in the lettings market too with the upheaval to ensure that fees are more transparent. This has led to further confusion and local landlords are beginning to unburden themselves, releasing further properties to the market for sale boosting the market further.
Everyday people buy and sell houses, we all need somewhere to live and life is never certain. What is around the corner we do not know, but what is certain is the longstanding reputation of Sutton Coldfield!! The demand for housing has always outstripped the supply and this has not changed. So, what will the impact be… a slight shudder and then business as usual!
If you are considering selling your property in 2017 call Harriet Butler directly for a no obligation, confidential chat 7 days a week!
0121 294 6735
Stepping 10,000 steps per day for Cancer!
There is much more to Hazelwoods than just selling houses…
Selling houses is something I really enjoy, helping people take their first step onto the housing ladder, next step up or finding there forever home is fantastic when you see the joy in their faces as you hand the keys over to their new home!
BUT… there is so much more to Hazelwoods than selling homes! Charity work is very important at Hazelwoods and in March we will be stepping our way to success raising money for Cancer Research UK.
During March I am committing to stepping my way to 10,000 steps per day… this is amounts to a whopping 150 miles by the end of the month!
How will I do this:
• Conducting viewings around all of my lovely vendors properties
• Walking around prospective new homes that are looking to sell
• Pounding the street daily leaflet dropping
• Lunch time walks around Sutton Coldfield
Look out for me in the ‘Cancer Research UK’ t-shirt around Sutton Coldfield!!
I will be updating Facebook, Twitter and the Hazelwoods Blog with our progress…
If you would like to donate please follow the link below..
Schools in Sutton Coldfield...
As an Estate Agent covering Sutton Coldfield and the surrounding villages I would say the most common reason for people moving into or within the area is schools. I am always very proud when prospective buyers ask me about schools in the area and I can stand proud and talk about how great they really are.
In a recent league table results TWO Sutton Coldfield comprehensives were placed ahead of their grammar equivalent on pupil progress, whilst Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls and Bishop Vesey's Grammar School are ranked in THIRD and TENTH place ACROSS THE WEST MIDLANDS for GSCE results!
And the good news doesn’t stop there… TWO Sutton Coldfield schools have been ranked in the TOP 50 NATIONWIDE for exam results in a prestigious education survey.
The Arthur Terry School in Four Oaks achieved a whopping 87% of pupils with a minimum of C grades across 8 subjects – Well Done!
And finally, Fairfax School in Walmley is celebrating a number of standout achievements at A-level, including their fantastic achievement for the THIRD BEST SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY in religious studies results and SIXTH BEST NATIONALLY for law results – Well done!
What Colour Should You Paint Your Front Door?
Your front door is the entrance to your home and is seen by some as the entrance to your personality. It is where you can allow yourself to go a little wild with your colours..
Over the years I have seen pink, mauve, bright green (and I’m not talking about a nice shade!), metal like a bomb shelter and many many traditional white doors. So, what is the most common colour? Well taking away the obvious white yellow has come up as the most popular colour when people choose to re-paint their doors after all it is a place where you can express yourself with a colour that you wouldn’t necessarily use indoor.
Next time you think about changing the colour of your door why not consider some of the following colours:
- Pansy Pink
- Bright Yellow
- Ocean Turquoise
-Telephone Box Red
- Mysterious Purple
- Zingy Orange
- Kitchen Garden Sage
- Cosmopolitan Grey
- Or even Dark and Stormy Black!
Enjoy and keep us posted with your pictures!
Are You Investing In Property? - Five Things You Need To Know...
Whether you are a seasoned landlord with a portfolio of properties, an accidental landlord or even if you are only considering your first venture there have been a number of recent changes to the buy-to-let system meaning that investing in property isn't quite as simple as it used to be.
1. Competition is as fierce as ever!
Since Brexit house prices have remained stable with Rightmove reporting an impressive 30% increase from investors between the second and third quarters of 2016. The rumours and hype of a property crash have yet to come true and people are looking to invest into the property market now more than ever.
More landlords = More choice of properties = Lower rental yields? (That’s one theory)
2. CAUTION!! The Mortgage interest tax relief is changing…
Landlords are currently able to deduct interest payments from their income before calculating how much tax they pay. BUT… from April 2017 the tax relief that landlords can claim will be reduced until 2020 to the basic rate of 20%.
Year Rental Income Mortgage Interest Initial Profit Tax Overall Profit
2016 £20,000 £13,000 £7,000 £2,800 £4,200
2020 £20,000 £13,000 £7,000 £5,400 £1,600
Notes: Example based on a rental income of £20,000 a year and mortgage interest payments of £13,000. In 2016, you pay 40% interest on your profit (40% of £7,000 = £2,800), while in 2020, you pay 40% tax on the overall income (40% of £20,000 = £8,000) minus the 20% allowance (20% of £13,000 = £2,600), equalling a total tax payment of £5,400 (£8,000-£2,600).
3. Goodbye ‘wear and tear allowance’
Prior to the changes in April if you were to let a property out furnished you were able to deduct 10% of the annual rent from the profits before any tax was applied. This ruling was allowed even if the landlord did not buy, replace or repair the furnishing at all during the year. This has now all changed, landlords are only to claim for the cost of replacing any furnishing.
4. Stamp Duty is getting more costly
Since April, landlords are now faced with a 3% increase in the stamp duty paid when purchasing an investment property on each tax band. For example, a property that is bought for £200,000 used to cost £1,500 before the changes but would now cost a landlord a whopping £7,500.
5. Right to Rent checks
When renting a property as a landlord you must check that your new tenants are allowed to live in the UK, if they are not you could face a fine of up to £3,000. This ruling will effect private landlords the most as most letting agents will conduct this check for you but always double check!
In today’s property market I hear a lot of murmurs from both vendors and buyers alike, “Why do I need an Estate Agent?” In my eyes this is such a simple question with a simple answer but then again I would say that because I am an estate agent. So, what do we really do for you...
The truth about the work of an Estate Agent:
1. Flexibility – We work during the day, through the evening and even on weekends too so that you can carry on with your busy lives. Whether this is through accompanied viewings or chasing leads. Imagine if you had to do all of this work yourself, would you have the time? In one day when your property is first released to market it is possible to receive as many as 15+ leads from the property portals in just one day. We then take the time to call, leave messages, email and text these buyers again and again until we are able to reach them and arrange the viewing or provide them with the information they have requested.
It is our job to ensure that we get hold of all of these vital and important leads for you.
2. Marketing –We take professional photographs, create a floor plan and property brochure with a compelling write up. We then advertise your property on the UK’s number one property portal as well as our own website that we spend money and time on to ensure that we are attracting more and more prospective buyers daily.
It is our job to show your property off to the best standard that we can.
3. Urgency & Demand –We create urgency and demand by pro-actively marketing your property to all of our registered buyers by email, text and post. At Hazelwoods we also host open days to ensure that your buyers can see their competition.
It is our job to sell your home for the best price in the shortest possible timescale.
4. Professionalism – Accompanied viewings are an absolute must! We distance yourself from your property, buyers like to have space when viewing a property and it ensures that the process remains neutral and that no one is under pressure. We know our buyers and will know what they are looking for, what is the important aspect of their search and how can we show your property off to meet their requirements.
It is our job to present your property as best as we can and to overcome any objections.
5. Negotiation – We keep a cool head to ensure that you get the best price. Most importantly we check the funds of your prospective buyer and ensure that they can afford your property by way of an offer check procedure with our financial advisors.
It is our job to secure the sale of your property and ensure that the sale will go through by taking all reasonable steps.
6. Smooth Conveyancing Process – Believe it or not vendors and buyers do not always like to deal with each other. If everything is going well it seems to make perfect sense to some to pick up the phone and talk to each other but if everything becomes a little complicated during conveyancing a relationship can soon turn sour.
It is our job to chase your sale as efficiently as possible we build relationships with local mortgage advisors and solicitors and have the time and the knowledge to pick up the phone and make those difficult calls to ensure things keeps moving.
So, “Why do I need an Estate Agent?”
I do agree with this question to a certain extent as not all agents are the same. In years gone by the property industry has become a little lazy and haphazard in certain elements and promises in relation to the service that we should and could deliver are not being kept. We are generating our own bad reputation and cutting our fees left, right and centre which is not benefiting anyone vendors, buyers or even us. Next time you hear yourself asking, “Why do I need an Estate Agent?” remember what we should and could be doing for you and choose an agent that will keep to this promise.
“At Hazelwoods we are not just another Estate Agent we are a better Estate Agent.”
Harriet Butler - Director
Whether you agree with HS2 or not it is important to understand how it is, and could affect where you live. The UK Government has already paid out £36million to West Midlands homeowners unable to sell up because the HS2 scheme has blighted their properties. The highest sum paid was £1.75 million for Cuttle Mill Fishery in Wishaw, on the edge of Sutton Coldfield but it is not just high end houses which have been blighted at the other end of the scale, £104,000 has been paid for a property in Birchmoor, near Tamworth. At least 700 people are believed to be applying for compensation for blighted property – even though the final go-ahead for the route has not yet been given.
But, could the HS2 rail link revive Birmingham’s property market? The prospect of journey times being cut to 50 minutes is hoped to entice more prospective buyers to the area. From 2016, Birmingham would be the first stop and for some years the only stop in place. The current two-and-a-half hour car journey from central Birmingham to London is thought to deter people from living in the West Midlands, whilst it is hoped that the prospect of a mere 50 minutes on a train may attract people to the area. Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy labelled HS2, “a huge game-changer” that will “super-charge” Birmingham inevitably bringing more jobs a greater demand for property in and around Birmingham effecting Sutton Coldfield too that was recently described as “Birmingham’s answer to Ascot” by James Way of Knight Frank.
Taking all of this into consideration the question still hangs, do we really need HS2 and if we do build it will they come?