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What adds the most value to a home?

What adds the most value to a home?

Many people believe the only way to add value to a property is by making extensive renovations or even remodelling entirely, which in itself can cost tens of thousands.

While adding an extra bedroom or extending by a few metres can certainly see your home’s value increase quite significantly, this isn’t the only way to add a few extra £s to your potential asking price.

Due to Brexit-related uncertainty, many homeowners are choosing to stay put and make improvements to their homes in a bid to increase their value — instead of selling up and moving on. To help you decide whether sprucing up or getting out is the best option for you, we’ve pulled together a list of the top ten things that can add value to your home — ranging from big projects that require quite a bit of work to some small additions that won’t break the bank.

Big Budget Home Improvements

Fix structural issues

This one may seem like a given, but many fail to prepare before putting their house on the market. Selling your home with structural problems could see potential buyers offer much less than your asking price or significantly lower their offer once surveys reveal the extent of these issues. This can result in a much lower price than you might have imagined, as you may either have to concede significantly on price or foot the bill to make the fixes and keep the interest of the prospective buyer.

Before putting your home on the market, ensure your roof is in a good state, along with windows and doors, as these are the elements that a new homeowner is unlikely to want to take care of themselves. A decent roof will add value to your home as it’s “ready-to-live-in” appeal increases and there will be fewer issues for the survey to inevitably uncover. However, before making any large changes, you must gain planning permission. Without it, you may negatively impact the value of your property.

Even a few loose tiles or some clogged guttering can act as a red flag to a buyer as small problems can give the impression that bigger issues such as leaks could be a problem. According to research by The Eco Experts, the average cost of a roof repair in the UK varies from £120 to £205 for a small number of replacement roof tiles, up to £1,956 to £3,125 to replace soffits and fascias. To entirely replace a tiled roof, the average cost is £4,952. But, according to thisismoney.co.uk, fitting a new roof when selling up could see a return of up to 63% on your initial investment. Of course, this will depend on the problem and the extent of the work required, but these figures help to give a rough idea of the costs and returns involved.

Install a New Heating System

One of the biggest costs that can catch a homeowner off guard is a broken boiler — a common problem that can cause a lot of inconveniences. Boiler issues may have been something missed by prospective buyers in the past, but today it’s common to question the state of the boiler and heating system when viewing a home. So expect buyers to be negotiating on price if your system is old.

Installing a new heating system can appeal to prospective buyers with foresight because this means they won’t have to replace it for quite some time. On average, it costs £500 to 1,500 to install a new boiler in the UK and the boilers themselves vary from around £800 to £1500. 

Replacing a boiler in the same location as the previous one will usually be cheaper, so this is something to bear in mind when getting a quote. But no matter how good the deal is, replacing a boiler is a significant cost for a new homeowner. By doing so yourself before selling, you could achieve an increase in the value of your property and save yourself from being squeezed on price.

Create an Open-Plan Layout

An open-plan layout can create the illusion of a bigger, lighter, living space, particularly when your decor is the same throughout, as the eye flows naturally around the entire area. An open-plan layout can create a real wow factor for your home. According to Which? adding a new open-plan kitchen could add 6% to your property’s value, at the cost of around £8,000. Open-plan living is increasingly popular and makes each living area a more flexible, social space that will appeal to almost everyone —  from first-time buyers to families. If this isn’t an option, consider adding concertina doors to give the feel of a more open layout. The cost will be significantly less but create a similar, airy effect.

Invest in a Loft Conversion 

A loft conversion can cost anywhere from around £15,000 to over £40,000 depending on the rooms added, whether structural changes will be necessary and what type of access you use. A loft conversion is likely to be the renovation that will cost you the most if you’re looking to add value to your property — but it could also provide a significant return on investment. Depending on the work carried out and where you live in the UK, a loft conversion can add around 20% to the value of your property. However, when you compare this profit with the fact that adding a regular extension to your home can add 23% to its value, you may rethink whether the cost is worth it.

Add a Bedroom or Extension

Adding an extension to a property can create serious appeal and add a significant amount of value to your home in comparison to other, unextended properties in your area. The cost of extending, whether it is an extra bedroom or otherwise, is on average around £1,000 to £2,000 per square metre, depending on the contractor and materials you choose. These costs, of course, don’t factor in the further costs of decorating, fitting and furnishing the room as desired. To put this into context, the average size of a double bedroom is around 4 metres squared — meaning it will cost up to £8,000 to build.

Are Big-Budget Home Improvements Worth It? 

So, if you were to make all these improvements to your home, how much roughly would it cost? Taking the higher end of each budget, we calculate each of these home renovations combined would set you back around £70,000 and could potentially return just £15,000 when selling — according to the ROI percentages gathered throughout the piece. Naturally, you wouldn’t be expected to make all of these improvements, but this may put costs into perspective somewhat.

Small Budget Improvements

Depending on time and budget, you may be better making just a few small adjustments to your home to improve its appeal. Here are some cost-effective ways that could help sell your home quicker — saving you money on the costs that come with a delayed sale.

Tidy up the Exterior

First impressions count. When someone comes to view your home, the first thing they will see is the outside of the property. Ensure this area is neat and tidy — de-weeding pathways, planting some flowers and giving your fence or front door a lick of paint are all great ways to increase kerb appeal. According to Property Price Advice, keeping a neat and tidy garden or adding a small decking could see as much as 20% added to the value of your home. Better still, this is simply a matter of aesthetics and won’t set you back very much at all.

Install a Shed

The garden feature that adds the most value to a property is a shed. This is because it’s a great bit of extra storage space to keep the things you wouldn’t want in your home. An article by Property Price Advice states 82% of estate agents surveyed agreed a garden shed is a top contender when it comes to adding value through the exterior of your property. 

Small Decorations

Giving the interior of your home a makeover with a fresh lick of paint in neutral tones can brighten the property up, create the illusion of a bigger space and ensure the property appears modern and well presented to potential buyers. Decorating is a small job to undertake but can make a home far more inviting, giving the impression it is well looked after and saving the new buyer the task of redecorating if the neutral decor is to their tastes. If budget allows, you could go a step further and add some new carpets or flooring to the space to make it feel that little bit “newer” for the prospective owner. According to Ideal Home, if done right, painting and decorating can add up to 5% to your home’s value. 

Remove Clutter

Decluttering can also create the illusion of a much bigger space and shows viewers a home is looked after. This doesn’t mean you need to throw everything away, as often a property with a homely vibe can appeal far more. A recent article by The Express revealed that similarly to painting and decorating, decluttering can add up to 5% in value to your house sale price. Other than a few trips to the tip or the charity shop, this one won’t cost you a single penny and you could even make money by selling some of the items you’re getting rid of — a good return on investment indeed!

Consider plug sockets 

Lastly, it’s no surprise in the digital age that adding a few strategically-placed plug sockets around the home can make a real difference. Buyers can be put off if your home appears to have few electric outlets, particularly in the kitchen where they’re likely to have an abundance of appliances to plug in. Opt for chrome or clean white sockets, as these aesthetically pleasing pieces can improve the buyer’s perception of the suitability of your house. This one won’t add thousands to your asking price or be the deciding selling point, but it is a small tweak that may just help in achieving a sale that bit quicker.

So there you have it — these are the things you need to do to get ahead in a competitive property market and increase your house price. But if the big cost home improvement projects are out of your reach or you’ve made all the small changes that time and budget allow and you’re still struggling to sell your house, why not talk to us? We will buy any home, in any location, in any condition at all, for cash. Get an initial cash offer today, just simply begin by entering your postcode.

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House Buyer Bureau: The House Viewing Checklist

The Essential 2020 House Viewing Checklist

Whether you’re a first-time buyer looking for your dream home, a prospective tenant looking for a rental property, or simply interested in climb further up the housing ladder — viewing properties can be an exciting milestone in your life. However, while house hunting may seem like a painless, simple task, it can quickly grow into a confusing, stressful process — particularly if you have little or no experience when it comes to what things you should be looking out for.

Here at House Buyer Bureau, we recognise the importance of choosing your new home carefully, as it’s likely to be one of the biggest investments of your life. We’ve created our ultimate house viewing checklist to guide you on what you should be looking out for. The property viewing checklist below offers tips room-by-room, advises on which important questions you should be asking your estate agent/landlord and general points to keep in mind as you assess the overall suitability of your new home.

What Should I Look for When House Hunting?

Utilities

One of the most straightforward things buyers or tenants forget to double-check when viewing a property is that all the general house utilities are in good working order. As your guide moves you from room-to-room during a viewing, take several minutes to ensure the following utilities are in a good, functional condition — and if not, be sure to question why.

  • Plug sockets and light switches
  • Radiators
  • Water pressure and temperature
  • Do the taps work and how long does it take for hot water to come through?
  • Check the built-in kitchen appliances work (e.g. the oven, hob)
  • Are fireplaces functional — do the chimneys work and when were they last swept?

After making a note of the working utilities, there are several other factors to consider when observing the interior of the property, so be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

Inside each room:

  • Is the flooring in good condition?
  • Are there any visible signs of damp or mould?
  • If you can’t see mould — can you smell it?
  • Are there any exposed wires or other dangerous issues?
  • Are there cracks in the walls or ceilings?
  • Do the windows open and close easily?
  • Are the windows double/triple or single glazed (this can affect things like condensation, noise and your heating costs)?
  • Do the locks work on the windows and does the homeowner have the keys?
  • Are there signs of condensation?

Top tip: We recommend you pay particular attention to the bathroom and kitchen areas, as these tend to be the most used areas of the house, so you will need everything to be in working order.

Space and Storage

Another factor to consider when house hunting is that properties you view may be tidied and re-arranged to look welcoming and spacious. Unless you’re viewing a rental property with existing tenants and their furniture present, chances are the property will be stripped back, so it’s as minimal and appealing as possible. This is an especially important factor to consider if you’re downsizing from a larger property.  The layout of your prospective new home may appear spacious — but realistically fitting your belongings into space may be an issue. 

As well as making a mental note and envisioning where your belongings may go and what you would use each room for, check the amount of storage space on offer in each room. Are there built-in wardrobes? Can you check inside them or are they locked? While it may be awkward, it is worth checking the inside state of built-in furniture. If you are unable to see inside, consider organising a second viewing after forewarning the current occupier. 

Sometimes properties are refurbished for a sale and a very small room may be listed as an additional bedroom. Ask yourself whether you could actually fit a bed and storage inside that room — and if not, what would you use the room for? If you’re planning on moving furniture to-and-fro, it’s probably worth taking a tape measure with you and having a list of your furniture measurements handy to ensure they fit in the new space. 

If you are going to be renting the property on a part or fully-furnished basis, ask the agent for a full list of the furniture included in your tenancy agreement. Sometimes tenants will have added items to rooms that they will be taking with them when they move out. 

The Exterior of the Property

While the exterior of the property may not seem as important as what’s inside, exteriors can identify problems with structure, roofing and more. These are things that could end up costing you if you were to proceed and purchase the property. For a tenant, exterior issues could cause potential disruption or tenancy delays in the future. Be sure to walk around the outside of the house. Look for signs of damp, hairline cracks in the walls, missing or possible loose tiles across the roof and issues with guttering.

If you identify signs of a growing problem, ask the agent, or landlord, as many questions as possible to find out what the cause of the issue is, if they are aware of it, and what they can do to amend the situation. If they promise to resolve any problems you spot, it is not unreasonable to ask for this in writing and also ensure you are aware of any timescale and likely disruption to you as either a new homeowner or tenant. 

Exterior checklist: 

  • Are there cracks in walls or brickwork?
  • Does the house have render? If so, are there any cracks in it? Render can often hide deeper structural problems.
  • Are any plants growing from (or up) the brickwork — or roof?
  • Are there any loose or missing roof tiles? If the house is thatched, when was it last re-done?
  • What condition is the guttering in? Are there any apparent blockages or leaks?
  • Are there any signs of Japanese knotweed or any other invasive or hazardous natural damage?
  • Is the garden south facing? What time of day will you get sun on the garden or into the rooms?
  • How overlooked is the garden or property?

The Surrounding Area of the Property

As house viewings are fairly quick and typically last around 20-30 minutes, it’s important to spend some time outside the property surveying the surrounding area,  as you may identify problems that could lead you to consider looking elsewhere. These problems may only be identifiable in the evening or at certain times of the day. For instance, you may have noisy surrounding neighbours, a loud or busy road during the commute or school run times. 

We recommended taking a stroll around the surrounding area to assess the proximity of local amenities, such as nearby transport links, parking spaces and more. If you have children — or plan to have children — then it is also worth checking out the local schools or childcare facilities as your catchment area will affect your choice. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when it comes to viewing the surrounding area of your property:

  • Is the property located near any main roads? Will there be a chance of disturbances?
  • How close are the transport links? Are there nearby trains or bus stops?
  • Is the area outside your home permitted for parking spaces and is there sufficient space for your parking needs?
  • Is the local area safe? Check the crime statistics — this may affect things like your car insurance costs
  • Where are the nearest supermarkets, is there a doctor/dental practice close by?
  • Have any planning applications been submitted or approved for developments nearby?
  • What are the nearest schools like — what rating does Ofsted give them?
  • How noisy is the area surrounding the property at different times of the day?

Questions to Ask the Landlord / Estate Agent

Build a rapport with the seller, landlord and estate agents — this is your chance to ask a variety of questions not covered on the initial listing specification. It is also worth keeping in mind that letting agents and landlords may use the viewing as an additional way to judge your reliability as a tenant  — this is especially important if renting in highly competitive areas where multiple tenancy applications per property are commonplace. Similarly, if the existing owner of a house is showing you around, if they like and trust you to look after their home, this can sway some people who have an emotional attachment to the property— especially if they have multiple offers. 

Asking questions will help tailor your offer, or buying/renting strategy if you do decide to pursue the property. While the estate agent or landlord may not be in a position to disclose certain information, any information you can find out is a good starting point and you should follow it up after your viewing, asking any questions that weren’t answered. Below are some of the key questions you should consider asking while you are shown around a property: 

  • How long have the current owners/tenants lived in the property for and what are their reasons for leaving?
  • Have they made an offer on another property — and if so, when are they likely to be moving out?
  • How long has the property been available on the market for and how many viewings has it had?
  • Have the current owners had any disputes or issues with surrounding neighbours or the general area of the property?
  • Would the seller or landlord be likely to accept an offer below the asking price? You may not get a definitive answer, but this can help you gauge whether there is room to negotiate.
  • What council tax band is the property and how much does that work out as monthly? 

If you’re reading this post as an interested seller looking to identify issues that potential buyers look out for, why not consider selling your property with reputable house buyers, House Buyer Bureau? Regardless of your property’s current condition, we buy all types of property, in any shape and location — and offer a fair, genuine cash offer.

There are no legal, valuation or estate agency fees to pay with us, along with no viewings or unnecessary delays — just the certainty of a quick and efficient sale with a competitive cash offer. Get in touch with our team of buying experts today or take a look at what our customers say for further information on our buying process.

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Why Can’t I Sell My House? Mistakes to Avoid

Selling your home can be a daunting task, especially when you’re doing it for the first time, or for the first time in a long time. There is very little room for error and mistakes big or small can easily be made without you being immediately aware of them. These mistakes can be detrimental to you achieving a fair price on your home and may result in a failed house sale. Almost half of all house sales fell through before completion in England and Wales last year. For those of you who are wondering ‘why can’t I sell my house?’, we’ve put together this guide. We’ll cover the most common mistakes made when selling a property and share advice on how you can avoid making them yourself.

Entering the housing market without conducting any prior research

We all know that the housing market has been somewhat uncertain recently, due in part to the General Election in December and Brexit looming this month. Entering blindly into an unstable housing market could cause you to make the mistake of putting your property on the market at a particularly bad time. Before it comes to selling your home, you should look into the state of the property market in your area and neighbouring areas to scope out the latest stats. Remember to look at the asking and sold prices of homes similar to your own (same type, number of bedrooms, bathrooms or of a similar layout) and how long they have been on the market, as this will give you an idea of supply and demand. It can also be a good idea to look for trends over longer periods to see if there have historically been any consistently good or bad periods in which to sell.

Choosing the wrong method to sell your home

When it comes to selling your home, many people only choose the most ‘traditional’ route – selling through an estate agent. However, it is important to consider all approaches when putting your house on the market, the pros and cons of each and then pick the route that suits your needs. Approaches and their pros and cons include:

High Street estate agent

Pros:

Local knowledge

  • Formal approach
  • Take care of advertising the property
  • Some will handle viewings on your behalf
  • Can negotiate on your behalf

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • A home may still be on the market for some time
  • Viewings still need to take place
  • Not discreet – home advertised heavily and ‘for sale’ sign erected outside your home

Online estate agent

Pros:

  • Cheaper fees, often around £1,000
  • A greater amount of choice between online agents
  • Sellers have more control over the sale of the property

Cons:

  • Fees often need to be paid upfront
  • Online estate agents will not conduct viewings so sellers will have to do so
  • Unlikely to sell a house fast; a home may still be on the market for some time
  • Marketing may only be undertaken for a fixed period, with more costs incurred if your property hasn’t sold before then

Sell to a cash buyer, such as House Buyer Bureau

Pros:

  • No viewings
  • Discreet – no for sale signs erected
  • No fees
  • No survey costs
  • Guaranteed fast house selling (property is certain to sell and in as little as 7 days)
  • Cash buyers, so cash will be in your bank as soon as the sale completes

Cons:

  • You’ll receive a competitive price, but it won’t be the asking price for your property. To receive a free cash offer for your property, enter your postcode here.
  • It can be tempting to try to go it alone to avoid expensive estate agency fees, but it’s worth remembering that selling your property will then be mostly down to you, leaving you with a lot of work to do. That’s why it’s worth carefully considering the above pros and cons and getting a no-obligation cash offer from a property buyer such as ourselves, as this is the only way to be armed with all of the information you need to decide how to sell your home.

Check out our Guide to Selling Property Without Estate Agents here.

Making your asking price too high

Average house prices are becoming more and more accessible, so if your initial asking price is unrealistic, your potential buyers are likely to be aware of this and therefore not pursue your property. In fact, in some cases, offering your property for less than its marketed value can result in a higher final sale price, as it encourages competition between buyers who may increase their offer in order to outbid other interested parties.

Not taking care of maintenance issues

Most, if not all, homes require at least some form of repair or maintenance at the time of putting the property on the market and its worth remembering that buyers will be turned off by any problems you leave for them to fix. As the potential buyer will have a survey carried out, there will be no hiding these repairs and it could cause them to make you a lower offer. If you want to sell a house that needs repairs, save yourself money and time in the long-run by ensuring all repairs and maintenance are taken care of first.

Failing to prepare your property for photography and viewings

These days, most homebuyers begin their search online and so having photographs that showcase your home in its best light is crucial to immediately catch their attention. You must also ‘stage’ your home for viewings. This means positioning everything in the most flattering layout, getting rid of any clutter and ensuring all surfaces are clean and tidy. The staging element of your property is even more important if your house will be vacant at the time of viewing, as you want the potential buyers to see it as a home for themselves, not just an empty shell.

Lack of advertisement and marketing of your home

Gone are the days of a simple classified ad and an image in the newspaper or estate agent’s window being sufficient to sell a house. If you’re putting your property on the market using a high street or online agent then it’s important to double-check that your property is being marketed as widely and as well as possible. Ensure your property is listed online, in a variety of places such as Zoopla and Rightmove, as well as on your chosen estate agent’s site. The listing should include top quality imagery and as a bonus, you could even include a virtual tour of the home. This may come at a cost, but your estate agent might be able to help you with this.

You should ensure you have visible for-sale signage outside of your home and generate word of mouth too. Shout it loud and wide ‘I want to sell my house!’

Working with a poor estate agent

Don’t stick with an estate agent that is performing poorly and doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere with shifting your property. An underperforming estate agent could cause a host of issues, from inaccurate pricing and time-wasting buyers to bad marketing and unprofessional viewings. If your estate agent isn’t working for you, then move on. Don’t bide your time and lose out as a result, especially as the longer your property is on the market, the less it is likely to sell for as buyers pay attention to ‘time on market’.

Underestimating the costs involved

It can be a costly feat to sell a home and there are many expenses to consider before you put your property on the market. Firstly, you must bear in mind the fees and commission charges of your chosen estate agent (whether considering an online or high street estate agent). The average fee charged by traditional estate agents in the UK is currently 1.42% of the final selling price, inclusive of VAT. Online estate agent fees typically end up costing £1,000 for the UK’s average home.

Then, on top of this, there are any necessary repair costs, expenses of moving your belongings to your new property, taxes, insurance, closing costs and also any costs included in buying if you are purchasing a new property. Having an accurate estimation of how much it will cost to sell your home will be imperative to ensure the process goes smoothly and doesn’t leave you in a difficult financial situation.

If you’re wondering how some of these costs add up, take a look at the table below which shows the costs of using a traditional estate agency compared to selling to us at House Buyer Bureau.

Selling to us means the price achieved isn’t as low as you think!

£120,000 Example Cash Sale Traditional Estate Agency
Asking price example £120,000 £120,000
Average agreed purchase price £95,000 £110,000
Final agreed price after survey £95,000 £108,000
Estate Agent fees £0.00 £1,980
Estimated cosmetic repairs to prepare your house for sale £0.00 £1,500
Solicitor fees £0.00 £1,000
Estimated bills (During the sale process) £0.00 £1,200
Estimated mortgage payments (During the sale process) £0.00 £2,700*
Time taken off to see Estate Agents and Lawyers £0.00 £300**
Net price achieved £95,000 £99,320

*£450 per month based on 6 months to sell.

** Based on £75 a day and 4 days off work.

Ignoring kerb-appeal 

If you’re selling through an agent and putting your home on the open market then kerb appeal needs to be addressed. It’s possible that potential buyers could be passing by your home frequently while it’s on the market and you want to catch their eye. The exterior should entice buyers to be curious about the inside and interested enough to walk-in during open-house showings. You don’t need to make big changes, just simply spruce it up a little with a quick coat of paint, getting rid of weeds and cleaning the pavements, keeping any grass neat and tidy and placing some flowers or greenery around the entrance.

Remaining emotionally attached to the property

This one is the most commonly made mistakes, and it is only natural having made a home out of your property over the years that you have spent there. It probably holds a lot of memories and you may have put your heart and soul into making it your own. Once you decide to sell, however, you must learn to let go of this and become objective about your reasons for selling. Try to look at your home the way potential buyers will to ensure you’re covering all bases for viewings.

Additionally, if buyers catch a hint that you’re emotionally invested in the property, it could put them off making an offer for fear of you backing out at the last moment. You should also avoid letting your emotions rule negotiations. View your property as a commodity that will soon be owned by someone else.

Luckily, when you sell to House Buyer Bureau, you don’t need to worry about any of the above. We buy your property regardless of how it looks, its condition or its location. We can even do it in a timescale that suits you, or in as little as seven days.

We remove all the hassle of maintenance, repairs, viewings, marketing and advertising, expensive estate agent fees and property market uncertainty. We can offer you a fair and competitive price for your property and we won’t lower this once the formal offer has been made.

We are a genuine cash buyer with the funds readily available to buy your home. If you want a fast and easy way to sell your home without the worry of making mistakes, get in touch with us today, or simply enter your postcode on our homepage to receive an instant cash offer for your property.

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How to Sell Your House Quickly When Moving Abroad

If you’re moving abroad, then chances are you are trying to sell your house as quickly as you can so that you can start getting organised for the big move.

With it taking 12 weeks on average to sell a home (from day one on the market to offer accepted – not completion), chances are you need to get things moving a little faster than that. So how do you sell your house quickly? At House Buyer Bureau, we specialise in buying houses quickly so that our customers can move on with the next chapter of their lives, so we’ve compiled our top tips for those looking to sell their house fast in order to move abroad.

  • Declutter and Un-Personalise  

If your house has your personality stamp all over it, with bright paints, patterned wallpapers and lots of accessories and general clutter – then start by having a huge clear out. It’s important that a potential buyer can visualise themselves in your home, so make it a blank canvas.

  • Make Some Home Improvements

As well as clearing out your personal items and removing extra clutter, it’s also important to consider any quick home improvements you could make to improve the chances of your house selling. This could be minor improvements such as painting and decorating, or more significant changes such as updating kitchen or bathroom tiles, flooring, kitchen worktops, replacing a dated bathroom suite or clearing out an overgrown garden.

It’s also important to consider what issues could be flagged in your survey that would put off a potential buyer and cause any future sale to fall through. Things like damp, roofing, electric or plumbing issues can ring alarm bells to buyers because they tend to be expensive issues to repair once they complete on your property, often causing them to pull out of the purchase.

  • Make a Lasting Impression

First impressions count – and this is never more important than when trying to sell your home. If you have pets, then consider moving them to a friend, neighbour or relatives house during viewings and remove any obvious signs in the house that you have animals as this could put off potential buyers.

You can also make a good first impression by making the house feel very homely. Lighting candles, fires (if you have one), buying fresh flowers and generally ‘dressing’ your home for sale can significantly boost the chances of your home selling quickly.

  • Lower the Price

If you think you’ve done all you can to spruce up your home for sale but time is now of the essence, then the fastest way to sell your home is by significantly lowering the asking price.

  • Sell Your House to House Buyer Bureau

Of course, the big drawback with significantly lowering the asking price and continuing to sell via the traditional route using an estate agent is that your home still may take some time to sell. You will also still have to pay your estate agent fees, and once you have accepted an offer, you are completely dependent on the buyer following through with the whole process.

At House Buyer Bureau, we specialise in buying houses within as little as seven days, or at a time frame to suit our customers. Better still, we buy houses in any condition, so there’s no need for you to redecorate or patch up any issues.

If you need to sell your house quickly in order to move abroad, then get in touch with our team today, or simply enter your postcode on our homepage for a free cash offer for your property.

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The Danger of Fraudsters When Buying and Selling Property

With the rapid increase of bank transfer fraud taking place across the UK, the process of buying and selling a home is becoming ever more risky. Falling victim to fraud when buying or selling a home can put you in great financial danger, as well as causing the risk that you will no longer be able to move to a new home.

What is Bank Transfer Fraud?

This is where email correspondence is intercepted between yourself and your solicitor by a cyber-criminal. The fraudster will then contact you under the pseudonym of a member of staff at your solicitors firm (including adopting the same or a very similar email address), asking for the correct sum of money you have actually agreed upon. They may also falsely state that should you not send the funds, then the sale of your home or purchase of your new home will fall through.

This is where the scam becomes something so sophisticated that even the most clued-up person can fall victim to it – let alone someone going through the emotional process of buying and selling a home. The criminal will then provide you with their own bank details instead of those of your solicitor. Once you instruct your bank to make payment, you have authorised it and little can be done. These scammers often quickly withdraw the cash, so that by the time the scam has been flagged and investigated, it is too late to retrieve the funds.

In 2017, bank transfer fraud victims lost £236m in total, and banks were only able to pay back £60.8m of this. The scary thing about bank transfer fraud is that because you have authorised for the payment to be sent to the fraudster, you have absolutely no rights to be reimbursed once you have recognised you’ve been scammed. The banks are currently not entitled to do anything further than try to retrieve the funds from the recipient’s account.

A Real Life Nightmare

One of the worst cases of this type of fraud saw Essex couple lose a massive sum of £120,000 after transferring the money to what they thought was their solicitor’s bank account. The recipient then proceeded to withdraw this money in sums of £20,000 every day for six days. By the time the banks had recognised the fraud, the money was in cash and no longer possible to retrieve. The couple were left feeling failed by their bank as there was no way to reimburse them.

The fraudster had hacked into the email account system of the solicitor, retrieving all of the couples details including the exact amount of money agreed by both parties. This way they were easily able to intercept the correspondence without arousing suspicion.

New Legislation

However, banks being unable to help may be about to change as a consumer report from Which? calls for them to take better action on behalf of victims. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) have now been investigating how banks deal with this type of scam and plan to implement an early version of a code of conduct to provide new protection for victims this month.

The Financial Ombudsman service will also be able to take this code into account when investigating new claims about this type of scam. However, this code will not be brought into legislation retroactively, meaning the sufferers of the huge loss in just 2017 alone will never see the remainder of their funds returned to them.

Even with this code in place, you could still suffer the consequences of falling victim to a bank transfer scam, as banks will only uphold their end of the deal and reimburse you if you meet a certain criteria.

As we are genuine cash buyers at House Buyer Bureau, we would absolutely hate the thought of the money you receive directly into your bank from us in exchange for your home ending up in the hands of one of these cyber-criminals.

Several Ways to Avoid This Scam:

  • Keep in mind that just by knowing your name, address and security details does not make the person contacting you genuine.

  • Trusted organisations and banks won’t ever contact you by email asking for you to make a payment.

  • Trusted organisations and banks won’t ask for any of your security information by email.

  • Just because the email you have received has come from the same email domain as your solicitor, do not automatically assume the person contacting you is actually part of the organisation.

  • If you are asked to make payment via email, be sure to call or visit your solicitor in person to ask whether this was really them and ask them to confirm their bank details.

  • Check with the bank that when you are transferring the sum that the name of the account holder registered to the account number and sort-code details you have provided match the name of the payee you intend.

  • Don’t ever click on links in an unexpected email or text as they too could be a scam.

  • If you fear you may be a victim to this type of fraud, action it with your bank, the payee’s bank, the Financial Ombudsman and the police as quickly as possible. Explain the severity of the situation and ask for it to be actioned in a timely manner to avoid the suspect withdrawing your cash before it is too late.

House Buyer Bureau can quickly and simply purchase your home in as little as seven days. The cash will be deposited into your bank in a timescale to suit you, so you can still go ahead with the purchase of your next property while you deal with retrieving the funds lost to the scam.

Not only could you, yourself fall victim to this scam, but the buyer of your home is at risk of becoming a victim too, ultimately causing them to no longer be able to go through with the purchase. Should this happen to you, you don’t need any further delays in selling your home. At House Buyer Bureau, we can pay cash for your home in a timescale to suit you or as little as seven days. Get your free cash offer now.

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New law for homeowners with Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed has been described by the Environment Agency as the most destructive, aggressive and invasive plant in the country.

Two home owners in Wales recently won a court case when they sued Network Rail after Japanese knotweed spread into their gardens.

Each man was awarded £15,000 in damages after the court decided that Japanese knotweed is a ‘nuisance’ and ‘natural hazard’ that land owners must keep under control.

In this hot summer weather it will grow rapidly, by up to 10cm a day pushing up through cracks in concrete, cavity walls and drains. The longer it is left, the further its underground root system will spread and the more costly it will be to tackle.

Japanese knotweed will quickly spread and become established if left untreated and can cause damage to buildings and render them unsellable, resulting in a property unable to be sold on the open market until a treatment plan is implemented.

You could also face criminal charges if you try to hide the presence of Japanese knotweed when selling a property. There is a requirement to disclose its presence on the Law Society’s TA6 form. According to Environet, an estimated 2% of properties in the UK are directly affected by knotweed, this could result in approximately 1,000 cases each year of knotweed concealment during property transactions.

House Buyer Bureau will purchase your property even if it has Japanese Knotweed.  Selling privately would mean you would have to pay for the expensive removal or allow time for treatment, whereas selling to us means you can walk away and leave us to sort out the problem.

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Gazumping – The New Trend to be Aware of and Why Position is Everything

Gazumping is when the seller of a property accepts an offer from one buyer and then just before the sale is fully complete, goes on to accept a higher offer from another.

With no laws in place to prevent it, this is something that happens all too often in England and Wales. According to a survey of 2,000 people conducted by Market Financial Solutions in January, 15% of adults in London have had a property purchase fall through as a result of being gazumped, with a national figure of 5%.  

An offer is not legally binding until the written contracts are exchanged, which happens towards the end of the buying process when a whole bunch of other costs have already been incurred; arranging a property survey, having a solicitor conduct the necessary searches and receiving your mortgage offer.

Not only is it a massive disappointment to lose out on what perhaps was your dream home, but it can also leave you thousands of pounds out of pocket. Instructing a solicitor will cost anywhere from £500 to £1500, along with a fee of around £300 for searches to be submitted to the local council to check if any planning or local issues could affect the value of the property.

Then there is the cost of the house buyer survey, which – depending on the value of the property – could cost anywhere from £350 to £950. So, at the higher end of the average costs, you could spend upwards of £2,750 before you can begin to officially secure the property.

“We have just had the [property] survey done and I was idly checking Zoopla to see it was still being marketed by the other estate agents.

I got a friend to call and dig for info and she found out that the vendor had accepted our offer ‘very reluctantly’ and that he was continuing to market [the property] in case he gets a higher offer.

This has made me feel totally sick. We’ve just forked out on solicitors fees and a survey and the vendor is likely to drop us at the first opportunity!” – Sammisatt, Mumsnet.

The Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid announced a call for evidence in October to improve the experience of house buying, stating that moving the point in which a sale becomes legally binding is an option to prevent gazumping, as well as considering mandatory “lock-in agreements” to increase the trust between buyer and seller. These new house buying rules are due to come in to place very soon and could make the prevalence of gazumping even higher in the meantime.

If you are unable to increase your offer or unable to guarantee a quick, chain-free, mortgage-free, pain-free process for the seller, then you could well lose out.

Beware, there is also the potential for you to be ‘ghost gazumped’ by your seller, meaning they falsely tell you they’ve received a higher offer to see if they can squeeze anymore out of you.

Being gazumped can leave you victim to the chain, resulting in being stuck in your current property. You can avoid this, secure your dream house and save thousands by selling to a cash buyer such as ourselves.

As a cash buyer, selling with us can leave you chain free and in a great position to buy. There’s also absolutely no fees to pay – no legal fees, estate agency fees, survey or valuation fees, potentially saving you thousands.

If you think we could help you to sell your home, visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer.

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Buyers & Sellers: Beware Agent Upselling

Earlier this year the Telegraph ran a piece entitled ‘the dodgy estate agent tactics that leave buyers and sellers out of pocket’ – referring to a new upselling strategy being implemented by estate agents across the country.

At House Buyer Bureau, we understand how important it is to feel in control of the buying and selling process. That’s why we’re 100% transparent with our customers throughout the sale process and we’ve drafted this blog post so that you can find out exactly what ‘agent upselling’ is and how to avoid its potential costs.

What is Agent Upselling?

Rather than making income only from selling fees, estate agents increasingly profit from mortgage broking and conveyancing services, causing buyers and sellers to lose out.

It’s understandable to think that upselling mortgage and conveyancing services may simply mean that the buyer is left out of pocket, but the seller may lose out too.

The reason for this is that there has been an increasing amount of pressure put on estate agents to upsell these products to the buyer, but if they are successful in doing so, it is also arguably in their interest for that buyer to be successful when they make their offer.

Because most people only sell homes two or three times in their lifetime, the stress of the process means that the seller puts their complete faith in their estate agent to work on behalf of them to find the right buyer at the right price for their home.

However, with the agent’s interest also pulled to a buyer that will take a mortgage and conveyancing through their agency, they may be inclined to sway the seller to accept an offer from that particular buyer. This may mean they miss out on a higher offer from a buyer that has sourced their mortgage and conveyancing independently.

In the Telegraph article, Jenny (name changed), an estate agent from London with 10 years’ experience, explains:

“It’s all about selling mortgages these days, [sellers] put this blind faith into their estate agent and that is being abused, pure and simple,”

“Most people only go through this process two or three times in their life. They don’t know enough to understand what is being done to them. Most people for the sake of a couple of thousand pounds will go with the [offer] they’ve been told has more certainty.

“So you just put both offers to the homeowner and say: ‘This one offered £2,000 less but they are doing everything in-house and it is far more likely [the sale] will go through. If you go with the person who’s offered £2,000 more, they are using their own solicitors and their own mortgage services so we can’t make any guarantees.’”

How to Avoid Agent Upselling – The Signs

Sellers – although it can be tempting to ask your agent to only pass on ‘financially verified’ offers, this gives the agent the right to dismiss offers from buyers not using their mortgage services automatically.

Buyers – buyers can be told they will become a ‘hot buyer’ if they use the estate agent’s mortgage broker, giving them special access to an exclusive list of houses only available to them. In reality, this just limits the market to the seller, and having a conversation with a mortgage advisor within earshot of an estate agent is a no-no, as there is a risk the agent could learn enough about your financial situation to encourage the seller to wait for a higher offer.

At House Buyer Bureau, we understand how important it is to feel in control of the buying and selling process and we’re 100% transparent with our customers throughout the sale process.

Get in touch with our team or visit our homepage for an instant, online cash offer for your property.

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Beware the Hidden Factors Stopping Your Home from Selling

You’ve cleaned and tidied your home from top to bottom, you light candles and spray air freshener to prepare your home for viewings, there is no sign of your pets and your home has never looked better – so why hasn’t it sold?

In this blog post, we look at the hidden reasons why your home might not be selling…

  • The Area

Unsightly neighbouring properties with structural damage or unkempt gardens might impact the chances of your own home selling – no matter how perfect your property is.

Equally, the issue might not be as obvious as a neighbour’s garden. It could be the overall appeal of the area in general.

  • Is there a lack of parks nearby?
  • Is the road too busy?
  • Are there good transport links?
  • Is your home outside the catchment area for a good school?

These ‘hidden’ factors have become increasingly important to house buyers, and sadly, there is very little you can do if your home is based in an undesirable area.

If you’re fed up with waiting for a buyer to come along for your home, get in touch to get a cash offer for your property and you could be moving in as little as seven days!

  • Planning Permission

You might not be aware that someone nearby has applied for planning permission, but this may be common knowledge to others which could be impacting your chances of selling.

Nearby planning permission can impact your home in the following ways which would put a buyer off making an offer:

  • Make the road area near your home much busier (e.g. building a new supermarket, school or new road system)
  • Cause your property to be overlooked (e.g. by a neighbouring extension)
  • Cause noise / light pollution (e.g. change of use of a nearby business to a nightclub / bar, or plans to erect floodlights or new street lights near your property)
  • Make it clear that any homebuyer would not get permission to extend your property post-purchase (if others have been denied permission for extensions nearby that a prospective buyer would want to make).

To find your local council website and search for planning permission submissions in your area, visit https://www.gov.uk/search-register-planning-decisions

At House Buyer Bureau, we buy any property. If you think planning permission has severely impacted your chances of selling, get in touch with us to see how we can help.

  • Signs of Structural Wear 

When you see something every day, it’s easy to overlook subtle changes that buyers might see as warning signs. Broken or missing roof tiles, wear and tear (that may be viewed as a sign of age and structural issues) and signs of damp can quickly cause potential buyers to rule your property out.

Any potential buyer is likely to get your property surveyed before committing to the purchase, so it may be worth getting a survey done yourself so that you can be in-the-know about underlying issues.

You could sell your home in as little as seven days. If you’re in need of a swift sell, why not visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer on your home.

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Why Selling Your House With Us Could Save You £1,000s

Selling your home can cost thousands. On top of all the fees, the longer your house is on the market for, the more bills and mortgage repayments you have to pay.

So how much does it cost to sell the average home in the UK? 

The average UK house price was £218,000 in January 2017, according to the ONS, so we’ll use this figure in our working example.

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And how much does it cost to sell your house with House Buyer Bureau?

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When you add up agency fees, solicitor’s fees and the extra mortgage and bill payments you have to make while your house is for sale, the average cost of selling a house in the UK sits somewhere between £7,000 and £10,000.

When you sell your house with House Buyer Bureau, there are no fees to pay – no legal fees, estate agency fees, survey or valuation fees, potentially saving you thousands.

If you think we could help you to sell your home, visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer. 

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5 Reasons We’re the UK’s Favourite House Buying Service

We’ve had over 500 customers review their experience selling their property to us and we have consistently achieved a 95% or above customer satisfaction rating.

So, what is it about the service we offer that has made us the UK’s favourite house buying service? Collecting information from our customer reviews, we’ve listed the five most common reasons those customers gave us five stars:

  1. We’re fast!

We may not have broken any Olympic records, but if you need to sell your property quickly, we can certainly deliver.  

With us you can sell your house in as little as seven days. Or, if you need a little more time, we can adjust timescales to suit your needs exactly.

Pauline, Swansea – 

The service was excellent, it was very, very quick, I found that if I put it on for sale with an estate agent it would take too long and a flat came up that I really wanted. 

Dean, Pontefract – 

From start to finish everything was done on time, we needed an extension to our changeover date as our new property was not ready, and even after everything had been signed, even this was no trouble for this company.
I would recommend House Buyer Bureau to anyone without a shadow of doubt, once again, thank you and well done.

  1. No hidden fees

Many firms offering quick-sale services may charge fees which are hidden to customers, who then feel pressured to pay these unexpected charges.

Unlike these firms, we do not charge any fees. Valuations are free of charge and even if you decide to pull out before exchange of contracts, there are no costs. No pressure and no fees!

Andrea, Truro –

There are no solicitor’s fees to pay, no estate agents fees, in fact no fees at all! This suited me very well as I wished to move quickly to secure my new let, and with no upfront fees I was able to do this.
Many thanks to all involved.

  1. Value and Offer Transparency

Sadly, some unscrupulous house buying firms will reduce the price offered for a property at the last moment, hoping that the customer will be emotionally and financially committed to the sale and agree to the new price.

Our ‘Formal Offer’ will never be reduced unless there is adverse information that comes to light from the RICS survey or Report on Title (legal report).

Margaret, Tynemouth – 

The sale was handled efficiently and there was complete transparency surrounding the valuation and offer process. As promised once the sale price was agreed it was adhered to. The team were helpful and understanding especially as my mum was selling her home of many years as she had had to go into a care home, which was an emotional decision.

  1. Customer Service

Selling your house can be a stressful and emotional process. Although our service is designed to make the whole process stress-free, it can still be an emotional time.

That’s why we focus on delivering an exceptional and personal customer service. Each house is unique as are the circumstances behind each sale. We work with you to understand your needs and deliver our service to a timescale that suits you.

Jane, Walsall – 

Excellent service. Dorothy went above and beyond with her superb care and efficiency. She was with us every step of the way. The whole process took just 3 weeks. Dorothy handled all issues and kept us informed at every stage of the transaction. We cannot speak highly enough of her. I would certainly recommend House Buyer Bureau to anyone wanting a quick, easy and stress free sale. 

John, Rhyl – 

From the moment I approached House Buyer Bureau regards to the sale of the property I received a very professional and outstanding service.

Rebecca Tait, who dealt with the sale, is an extremely polite lady. Rebecca kept me informed at all levels regarding the sale of the property. Explaining the procedure in depth and in a friendly and easy to understand manner. Thank you Rebecca.

I would certainly recommend House Buyer Bureau to any potential house seller who wants and quick and easy house sale.

  1. Genuine cash buyers

Many house buying firms falsely claim to be cash buyers.

We’re the genuine and professional alternative to an estate agency sale offering competitive cash prices and completions from only seven days. You can see over 500 examples of our recent transactions here.

Anthony, North Yorkshire – 

House Buyer Bureau are very upfront in telling you how much you are likely to get after a visit from two local estate agents and possible adjustment after a valuation by a chartered surveyor. I was pleased to be able to make a quick sale and not be responsible for the house as I wanted to move into a retirement bungalow. House Buyer Bureau are genuine cash buyers. Some that claim to be are not. I thoroughly recommend them.

If you think we could help you to sell your home, visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer.