The Property Ombudsman Scheme & Agents Fees

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme is an ombudsman in the United Kingdom; TPO has provided consumers and property agents with an alternative dispute resolution service since 1990. It also provides agents with a code of best practice. This Code of Practice is mandatory for all TPO Members who are entitled to display the above logo and who offer estate agency services. Copies of this Code of Practice and the TPO Consumer Guide should be made available in agents offices, as well as prominently displaying the logo in the window.

When Agents advertise for new business fees should be shown inclusive of VAT alongside a statement confirming that VAT is included. For example £750 +VAT is in breach of the code of practice and is also confusing and misleading to potential sellers.

What Should Your Solicitor be Doing?

WHAT CONVEYANCING SOLICITORS SHOULD DO FOR A SELLER

In a nutshell, they ensure they successfully transfer legal ownership of residential property (freehold or leasehold, registered or unregistered) from you to your buyer.

The skill and efficiency of your conveyancing solicitor can mean the difference between a smooth or stressful process. Conveyancing quality can range wildly by those who offer their services in the market place.

Please remember – It is your conveyancer’s job to get you to an exchange of contracts as efficiently and ideally as promptly as possible.

Whoever you select as your conveyancer, to ensure you know that you are receiving actual quality, you should expect the following, as a minimum:

  • If your deeds are registered at the Land Registry your conveyancer can instantly obtain a copy and dispatch contract papers to your buyers the very same day you instruct them.
  • You can be given your copy of the contract to sign. As a result you are signed up and potentially ready to exchange as soon as your buyers’ solicitor is ready to do so.
  • Early on, your conveyancer obtains a record of the balance owing on your mortgage (if any) and they prepare a statement of the net proceeds owing to you. This avoids any nasty surprises later on, in case you overlooked a deduction (e.g. estate agent’s bill, a second mortgage, early mortgage repayment penalty).
  • Your Buyers will review the contract papers, and if they wish to raise any questions, your conveyancer should attempt to deal with them, but if they require your input then should ideally email or telephone them through to you and request your answers – to keep up the pace of your house move. Post is a slow approach.
  • Once the buyer is happy with the contract papers and replies to their questions, (and your related purchase is ready if applicable), a specific move date is set, and the buyer’s finances are in place, it should be possible to proceed to exchange contracts.

NOTE: Exchange of Contracts is simply a telephone call between the buyers’ and sellers’ conveyancing solicitors to confirm that each party will not back out (as either party can until exchange), and will move (i.e. complete) at a fixed date shortly in the future. This then allows house clearance, carpet ordering (etc) and property removals to be booked without fear of cancellation and lost deposit.

Once Contracts have been exchanged the deal is legally binding. You and the buyer are fully committed to the transaction and cannot withdraw without facing substantial damages and penalties. Exchange of Contracts can be a lengthy and often frustrating process depending on the number of parties in the chain. Your conveyance should aim to shield you from this though the process can only move forward as quickly as the slowest person in the chain.

  • Your moving date, or more commonly ‘completion date’, is normally a week or two after Exchange of Contracts. Your conveyancer will prepare by requesting a final mortgage repayment amount calculated to the specific move date. They will also telephone/email you a day or two before completion just to check you are ready.
  • On the date of completion they receive the remaining sale price from the buyer’s solicitor. On receipt they will authorise the release of keys through the Estate Agents (where there is one). The Buyer collects the keys from the Agents. Any spare keys can be put through your letterbox.
  • They pay your Estate Agents, re-pay your mortgage provider and deduct their legal fees before sending you the net proceeds (or carrying them over to any related purchase).

Source : Trethowans

Top Tips On Getting Your House Ready to Market

Top Tips: How to Make Your Home More Valuable and Sell Faster

 

Preparing your home for viewers, or “staging” as it’s called, is important. It will not only ensure your property is sold faster but can potentially add thousands of pounds to its value.

 

De-clutter – but don’t depersonalise

 Get rid of all the excess stuff that has accumulated in every nook and cranny. Put it in storage or give it to a friend

 People need to be able to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there. People often find this difficult, so make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering them

 Don’t make it look like a generic hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives unimaginative buyers suggestions as to what they might do

 People are often buying into a lifestyle as much as a property. Show them the attractive side of your lifestyle

 Consider removing any bulky furniture that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture

 

A fresh lick of paint

 Giving your walls a fresh lick of paint, neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger

 It will enable the viewers to more easily imagine how they would adapt the rooms to their needs

 It will be easier for the buyers to move in and use the rooms immediately than if the walls were still bright purple or lime green

 Create a good first impression – give the front door a new coat of brightly coloured paint

 

Fix and clean

 Make any minor repairs necessary – holes in walls, broken door knobs, cracked tiles, torn or threadbare carpets. Many buyers want to move in without making changes, so allow for this

 Clean everything until it sparkles. Get rid of limescale, clean and repair tile grout, wax wooden floors, get rid of all odours, hang up fresh towels. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there

 Tidy up the garden: cut bushes back, clean the patio and furniture of lichen and dirt, and cut the grass. While this doesn’t add much value to your home it makes it more likely to sell as people visualize themselves using the garden

 

Update the kitchen

 

The kitchen is the most valuable room in a house. It is worth the most per square foot and can make the difference when buyers are unsure

 Consider refacing your kitchen cabinetry. This is much cheaper than installing new cabinetry and often as effective

 Upgrading kitchen counter tops is expensive, but can add serious value

 De-clutter the surfaces and just leave a bowl of fruit out. Take out any bulky appliances

 Consider upgrading the plumbing fixtures and white goods, but keep in mind that while that could make your property sell faster, you will be unlikely to recoup their full value

 

Light and airy

 Wall mirrors make a room look much bigger and lighter. Consider putting some up, especially in smaller rooms or hallways

 Clean windows inside and out and replace any broken light bulbs. Making the place feel light and airy makes rooms feel bigger and the property more attractive

 Ensure that you have lamps on in any dark corners

 Putting a soft light bulb in the bathroom can create a warm glow

 

Light a fire

 If it’s a cold evening, or even chilly day, light your fire. Consider burning some pinecones for the delicious smell. This will make your home feel warm and inviting. If you don’t have a fire then ensure the fireplace is clean

 

Make it look pretty

 Make sure the windows are properly dressed with blinds or curtains as naked windows make a place feel impersonal and run down. Buy some cheap ones if necessary.

 Plants and flowers bring colour, life and light to a room and they also smell delicious. So does that fruit bowl on your kitchen counter.

 

Get the right smells

 Bad smells are the single biggest turn off for prospective buyers. Don’t just cover them up, fix the source of the smell. Clear drains, wash bins, open windows, air the kitchen from old cooking smells, get rid of furniture that is embedded with cigarette smoke, and wash any grimy bed sheets

 If you are a smoker, place bowls of vinegar around the house and leave out for three days. Though the vinegar will smell when you open the windows it will disappear quickly taking a most of the stale cigarette smell out with it.

 Conversely, good smells can make a property feel like an alluring home. While it might be impractical to bake fresh bread, cakes or brownies for every viewer that visits your home, you could perhaps brew some fresh coffee

 

Obvious conversions

 If there are any obvious conversions – adapting the garage into extra rooms or going up into the loft – and you have some spare cash, why not take advantage of this cash cow rather than letting the new owners make easy money out of improvements. You should usually recoup your money

 If you don’t have enough spare cash to make the conversion, consider getting planning permission anyway.

WHO? Openhouse Stafford& Stone?

Funny isn’t it? Open House has been helping people buy, sell, let and rent online for almost 10 years, yes that’s right for nearly 10 years, and people still ask – who are you?.

Fair enough, we haven’t spent vast amounts of money on national TV advertising, UK wide billboards, Radio campaigns and the overheads of large offices around the UK in that time, so some of you may not have heard of us.

What we have done is focus on utilising appropriate technology that can help our customers in the process of selling, buying, renting or letting property. Looking to reduce the cost to our customers while providing the full suite of services they would expect from both a local estate agent office and all the benefits of online marketing and advertising  their properties.

As your local estate agents at Open House Stafford & Stone, we decided that our customers should have the best of both worlds. We could’ve saved the expense of our town centre office and merely work remotely. However, we felt that providing a team of real people in a traditional estate agent environment, whilst also being an online estate agent, allows us to pass back the savings made which is to the benefit of everyone in our local area.

So to help you answer that question, “who are the estate agents Open House Stafford & Stone? We are a team of real people based in our office and online 24 hours a day, who provide all the things you require, a personal level of service with the added benefits about local and industry knowledge, the infrastructure of a national 10 year old online estate agency business behind us and all at an unbelievable saving for you.

You may start seeing a little more of the Open House brand as we dig deep into our pockets to help those in the Stafford and Stone area be aware that they have a better choice when it comes to selling, buying, renting and letting their properties.

Feel free to pop into offices where we can help you search  the well-known property websites and our website to find the perfect property and location that suits you best We will provide a personal service and take the hassle and costs out of using traditional estate agents and online-only estate agents while saving you money.

Why wouldn’t you? So, who are you and what  we at Open House Stafford can do for you, is the real question!

That’s far too cheap to do it properly, isn’t it?

No!. You might think that, and we could easily put our prices up, but that’s not the point.

The point is, even though this apparently new way of selling and buying (Open House have been doing it for years) saves customers thousands (we agree with that) we can provide everything you need to market and sell your property. All at the best price, efficiently and quickly with real people in an office helping you through the whole process for as little as £579.

Yes you did read that price right! £579 – that’s great value for money.

No shortcuts -no “you do that bit your self”  and you won’t hear us say “You cant meet face to face in an office to discuss your very important, potentially life-changing decision to move”.

Take a look at the expert services we provide for Sellers, Buyers, Landlords & Tenants; it is everything you expect and more and yes, at what seems too be a too cheap to be true price.

No, we are not ‘cheap’, we are at the right price to provide exceptional value for money.

We expected better service

It’s frustrating when you can’t get the service you require from your local estate agent isn’t it!

As homeowners ourselves we appreciate that a lack of support and service can turn what could be an exciting time into a nightmare.  Finding the perfect home to move to, selling your property at the right price, obtaining the best mortgage advice and deal that suits you, are just a few of the things that should be expected from your estate agent.

Many other personal arrangements need to be made all based around the time of moving, making sure the children and pets are cared for, organising removal of your belongings, telephone numbers redirecting post, the list goes on.

Chasing solicitors of both parties and trying to find out if any issues regarding either property may have arisen during the process, has the mortgage been agreed in principle, agreed and finalised. Did they say they would be leaving the summer house or not, it can all get into a bit of a tiz when daily life also has to continue?

Many of our clients have come to us based on previous experience of what they consider to be poor and sometimes none existent service. Our ability and support to not only reduce the stress out of buying and selling their home, but to keep them informed and manage communications between all parties on their behalf.

At Open House Stafford & Stone we pride ourselves on the personal service we provide to all of our clients whether buying selling letting or renting.  With our team at the office in Stafford town centre, we are open and available to assist you in the whole process of moving home. Even in peak times throughout the year, we are here to have a chat, give best advise and help move things along professionally and in your best interests so you can concentrate on the things you need to do.

Perhaps Open House Stafford & Stone provide the unexpected levels of service that some people don’t experience from their chosen estate agents and have to make do with. You don’t want that do you …. do you?

More Positive Reviews

Here’s a few more people who have benefited from our exceptional value for money service :-

”Brilliant service, staff honest, helpful and professional. I got an offer on my property within 17 days and sold for asking price. So pleased I used open house. I would definitely recommend them. I shall be using their services again when I move house in future. Thank you Open House!!!” – Lindsey 03/08/18

”I recently purchased my first home through Open House, in Stafford; the team were all really friendly and helpful. They were brilliant at keeping me updated on the progress of the sale without me having to chase. I would definitely use Open House to sell my property, and would recommend them! Big Thanks to all the team 😊 x” – Sarah 03/08/18

”We can’t thank everyone at Open House enough for all your help with our house move. You are the perfect example of how it should work!! The sale side was so smooth, and you were always on hand to help. Thank you!” – Alison & Danny 02/08/17

Top Tips When Selling

  1. Make Zones of Living – Allow the buyer to picture themselves living in the property by showing them how they can use the space you have, such as moving the dining table to show a clear zone for dining. In a buyers eyes more space means more £££.
  2. Keep it Neutral – Decoration wise keeping the colour scheme neutral not only makes the rooms feel bigger, but also keeps bang on trend with what is popular currently.
  3. Original Features – In Stafford especially there is a wealth of traditional properties boasting original features such as high ceilings, Minton tile flooring, stunning feature fireplaces and the much sought after ‘Scrace’ design. These features add huge amounts of character to a property and always prove popular on the market, so if you’ve got them make the most of them!
  4. Two Main Rooms – Kitchens and bathrooms are the big-ticket rooms which buyers see as huge draws into a property, having good quality appliances and keeping them fresh always helps when selling a property.