With the rapid expansion of the internet and online technology, the way we learn, communicate and shop has been revolutionised. This paradigm shift has allowed companies to adopt new, dynamic business models that allow them to function purely online, without the need for a physical location. This change has had a major effect on the property industry, where we can now search for potential homes via a website or property app, all from the comfort of our own living room. As well as giving homeowners more choice and freedom in terms of choosing their next move, it also means that house sales no longer have to start at an estate agents’ office!
This has led to a new way of selling your house fast, via a house buying company. They are able to purchase your property directly without the need for you to use an estate agent to find you a buyer on the open market. One benefit to this is that it saves you time, and you don’t get caught up into a complex property chain that slows down your sale.
Firstly, it is advancements in technology that has supported the rise in companies that can buy your house. They are able to exist purely online and using a combination of historical and recent property data, they can efficiently and effectively provide a seller with a quick offer for their home, normally within 24 hours and can even complete a purchase within 7 days. This has resulted in a more streamlined house selling process and for many, a less stressful experience.
This new method of selling is possible because most house buying companies are proceedable buyers, meaning they are not stuck in a property chain and as independent organisations, they already have the necessary funds in place for an immediate sale. As professional property buyers, companies like Vivo do not need to sell to buy (to raise funds), so there is never an onward chain.
Therefore, this addition to the property-selling market gives homeowners more choice in how they can go about selling their home. As well as going down the traditional route (which still may be the best option for them) and wait for a buyer, they can also go out and seek their own buyer by contacting a house buying company online. This is particularly useful for those in urgent need of a quick house sale. Whether they’re under the threat of repossession, their property chain is broken or their house sale has fallen through, companies like Vivo can help. There is no perfect, one-size fits all way to sell your home, but the increase in options is definitely a good thing
You may be faced with different ways to sell your home, all of which have their benefits and potential drawbacks. Our table below highlights several key differences between traditional estate agents, their online counterparts and house buying companies like Vivo Property Buyers:
|Aspect||Traditional Estate Agents||Online Estate Agents||House Buyers|
|Fees||Estate agents charge around a 2% commission fee (+VAT) and you will need to pay for legal fees too.||Fees are fixed and you usually pay upfront, ranging from £500 to £1,000||Homeowners don’t have to pay any fees, which are handled by the property buying company.|
|Viewings||They will arrange and conduct several house viewings, showing prospective house buyers around your home.||Most viewings are conducted by the homeowner (you). Some online agents offer this service for an additional fee.||Most will buy your house sold-as-seen, streamlining the house viewing process.|
|Contact||Estate agents from both sides will handle correspondence, and it is unlikely you’ll communicate directly with your buyer.||Owners will have direct communication with buyers (especially with viewings) while agents deal the negotiation stage.||As they are buying your house, you can have direct dialogue with your buyer!|
|Timelines||There is no set timeframe, it depends on location, competition and buyers in your chain, but an estimate is between 5-6 months (including legal matters).||Your home may gain more visibility by being online, but the timelines are similar to the traditional method.||House buying companies tend to provide an offer in 24 hours and can complete the sale in 7 days.|
|Guarantee||House sales can fall through at any moment on the open market. Issues with the property chain can mean that buyers are no longer able to buy – there really are no guarantees.||Using an online estate agent, the risks associated with traditional estate agents still apply.||Using an online estate agent, the risks associated with traditional estate agents still apply.|
You can get an offer within a day and sell your property usually within a fortnight, something that isn’t possible in the open market
Once you’ve accepted a formal offer, your sale price is secured with no last-minute surprises. You’re in capable hands.
Many house companies won’t buy the house to live in, so you can often agree a moving out date in the future to help you plan your next move
A fast, secure sale can help against the threat of repossession, smoothen sudden relocation needs, or sell an unwanted inherited property
One of the most disappointing and frustrating aspects of the rise of house buying companies was the malpractice of some firms at the start of this new industry who were not truthful and transparent about their services.
As a result, organisations such as The Property Ombudsman (TPO) were established, setting up rules and regulations for property buying companies to ensure fair practice and quality service is provided. Also, companies such as the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) were established to ensure you’re in safe hands with your house sale by using their members. Always review the companies you plan to contact first. See if they’re part of the NAPB or TPO and browse online reviews of the company for previous customers’ experience. We always recommend trusting third party review platforms like Trustpilot as they are more likely to be authentic.
When we founded Vivo, we wanted to create a company that is helpful, honest and transparent with its customers, a company that we’d want to work with ourselves. It’s important that we’re fair to our customers and that we’re trustworthy (just check out our Trustpilot score) and our ethics are something that we hold dear. As well as being part of the aforementioned NAPB and TPO, we’re also members of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and as a family-run business, we’re registered with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
House buying companies that are worth their salt, buy your house outright. However, some companies claim to be able to buy your home but it’s not as straight forward as that. There are three ways they can be involved:
As you can see not all property buying companies are the same. There are those such as Vivo who are pure house buyers, using our cash while some may advertise as cash buyers but once a price is agreed they then allocate the property to one of their investors to complete the purchase – this may slow down the process if you require an urgent quick sale. Overall, understanding their intentions will help you make the best decision for yourself. Additionally, some house buying companies don’t visit the properties they buy, rather they just send round an external surveyor and a local agent to inspect the property. With all of our clients, Vivo visits the property once so we can meet the owner and ensure the vendor knows who they are dealing with.
In the UK an offer being accepted is not legally binding. Your sale isn’t guaranteed until you’ve exchanged (or if the buyer fails to complete, then you get to keep the 10% deposit paid upon exchange). House sales can fall through at any moment during the sale process on the open market. Once a buyer has been found, the legal work takes around 3 months and only then, the exchange takes place.
While sales via a house buying company can be quicker, you should make sure you’re dealing with one you trust. A tactic used by unregulated companies is to offer up to 100% market value to entice you to choose their services. However, this is an empty phrase and rarely will you receive that figure. Typically the industry buys at 80-85% market value in exchange for a quick sale. Therefore, be wary of initial offers that appear ‘too good to be true’. Sometimes an organisation can lock you in with an initial offer, then gradually reduce the price as things ‘pop up’ in the survey, or wait until moving day where they reduce it even more and prey on your desire to move.
Additionally, if you are asked to pay anything upfront or to sign in a ‘lock-in’ contract where you can only sell to that company, politely decline and avoid them. Always make sure you get your formal offer in writing and don’t feel pressured to accept. The great initial offer is very enticing but the final offer is the most important one.
In terms of fees, as part of the services companies like Vivo pay all the fees associated to the sale. Therefore, ensure before you start the process that this is the case and there are no hidden fees related to the survey or even a ‘cancellation fee’ if you change your mind. As part of our ethics, once you have accepted our formal offer, your house sale and price is secure with no final changes.
Knowing these key details can help you make the right decision for you.
We certainly believe so; as well as house buying companies that are purely digital, estate agents are increasingly moving their operations online as homeowners are changing their search habits. Maybe looking through the window of an estate agents’ office will be an alien concept to our children’s generation!
As our UK-wide survey revealed, selling your house is one of life’s most stressful events and was ranked even higher than having a baby or getting married! Often, you feel emotionally connected to your home and if you’re not finding offers flooding in for it, it can be easy to take it quite personally. If you feel that you just can’t sell your house, take heart as you’re not alone. It’s a common occurrence and happens for a multitude of reasons. You may want to sell your house quickly due to relocation or perhaps you’re struggling to shift an inherited property, finding yourself stuck on the open market. In some cases, people become accidental landlords – renting out their property as they’ve been unable to sell. Here we look at the most common reasons why you can’t sell your home, from not appealing to your target buyers to issues with the open market itself, and what you can do to make the exchange day a reality!
The time of year that you put your house on the market can have a big impact on whether you’re able to sell it quickly. To give yourself the best chance of a swift turnaround, it’s important that you put your house up for sale at a time where there are lots of people looking to buy. School summer holidays are a difficult time to sell as buyers are unable to commit to the process due to family and holiday arrangements.
The obvious answer is to wait till the appropriate season arrives. Springtime is considered to be the best time to sell a house fast as it is normally linked to an increase in demand. However, if waiting is not an option, think of the things you love about your house in each season and make sure this is reflected in online property portals and during house views. For more information on the best time of year to sell, read our guide here.
Another key reason why you may not have sold your house yet is due to your asking price. While everyone wants to secure the best price possible for their property, your price may be dissuading buyers from furthering their interest in your home.
First of all, make sure that your asking price is reasonable. We recommend that you look at data for similar houses sold in your area to price your house fairly and correctly. Ultimately a true judge for how much your house is worth lies in what a buyer is willing to pay for it.
With the correct asking price, your negotiating approach could be sabotaging a successful house sale. Don’t abruptly reject offers for your home that are below your desired price. Often buyers may start low, but ensure you politely decline the offer and make a counteroffer. Consider the buyers’ position and then decide what your minimum price is. For a cash buyer, for example, you may be happy to accept a slightly lower price as it should be a speedier sale. Your counter offer should be slightly higher than what you are willing to accept. If the buyers have a serious interest in your property they may come back with an offer close to or the same as your counteroffer. However, holding out for the highest price can often cost you money in the long term with council tax and utility bills.
With the rise of selling online, people will often first see your home on a property website or app. There are benefits to this approach, for example, the breadth of properties that are available to view can really help yours stand out from the crowd if marketed well. However, this could also work against you as users can see the length of time a property has been listed, which may have a damaging effect if it’s longer than average. In addition, a primary issue that stops awareness of your listing turning into interest is the photos of your property. Ensure that they are professionally taken (not blurry) and the rooms are well presented – no clutter or outdated Christmas decorations. Poor photography can often terminate a house sale before it has even begun.
The key to having a profile in a property portal that sells is to always keep the buyer in mind. From the text to the images, you should consider what you are communicating to the potential buyer. Profiles that look clean and provide all the relevant and useful information in a concise way will be easily digested by the readers, and if they are paired with professional and attractive pictures you’ll have a winning combination. There are plenty of tips on the internet and specialised photographers that can help you make your profile standout. Even if you are not the person in charge of your profile, you can always look up your property on the internet and give your agent some feedback!
Do you get house views that don’t result in any further interest? A poor viewing experience (from the buyer’s perspective) can ruin chances of selling your home. Factors such as over-excitable pets, messy children’s bedrooms and cluttered gardens can instantly turn off a viewer, so make sure your house is presented for the person buying.
Try to help people imagine themselves living there and emphasise the potential of the property. Remember, prospective buyers aren’t judges of how you’ve made this house a ‘home’, they want to see what they could do with the space! Over personalisation of the property is a big turn off – prior to reaching the viewing stage look to decorate your room in a neutral way. Quirky chairs may not be for everyone:
Another potential reason that your property may not be receiving offers is that it is simply out of fashion. Property trends fluctuate and features that were once popular when your house was built or refurbished may be now undesirable. Some of the most common outdated features are wood panelling (very 80s), dark, brooding kitchens (light and airy kitchens are currently on-trend), pebble dash exterior walls or adjoining bedrooms for families. In addition, situational aspects such as the location’s attractiveness change with times. The increase in technology now plays a part in your house’s ‘worth’ – consider whether your area has poor 4G coverage, or ability to receive high-speed internet. Perhaps the Ofsted rating of your nearby school has fallen foul and is no longer an attractive place for those relocating to raise a family. Remember people are looking for the ideal ‘whole package’. With this in mind, you will need to consider the above when setting an asking price for the property as it will have an impact of its value.
Depending on the extent to which the unfashionable elements are embedded into the house, refurbishing could help you to not only make your property more attractive but also raise its value. But it’s not always necessary to go to that extreme, old-fashioned properties can be turned around into quirky or houses full of charm with some minor changes. You can get some inspiration from design magazines and give your house a new feel.
Turning the focus away from just your house, the open market is a common reason why you can’t sell your home – and often it has nothing to do with you! As we have discussed before, having a broken property chain can stall the progress of your sale. A potential house purchase on the chain may have hit a snag or completely fallen through, which can delay or totally derail your sale. Perhaps your buyer’s buyer pulled out due to a structural issue raised in the survey or an agreed sale down the line was gazumped (a seller accepting a higher offer elsewhere). Situational instances such as divorce or illness can impact everyone involved in the property chain, so there really are no guarantees until you’ve exchanged.
If you are tired of having your house fall through and you want to sell your house fast, you can try a fast property buyer. Vivo buy houses in 14 days but, more importantly, once you accept our formal offer, the house sale is secure. This means that you can feel safe that you have finally sold your house and there will be no more surprises. Learn more about what to do if your house falls through here
Your buyer’s ability to secure the necessary finance to purchase a property is another reason why you may be struggling to sell your home. Depending on your property type and situation, you may be selling to a first-time buyer and with the downturn in the economy, securing a mortgage is more challenging than 10-15 years ago.
To avoid the pain of a house sale falling through, accepting offers from ‘pre-approved’ buyers is the best chance to see a successful sale.
One of the biggest (final) hurdles is the concept of buyer’s remorse which is said to affect over 50% of all house sales! Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases in a person’s life and often homeowners will get cold feet which can result in them withdrawing from the sale. Maybe they feel that they need a bigger house or are unsure about the area they’re moving to. Sometimes this hesitancy leads to gazundering and they offer a lower amount than previously agreed.
Make sure your buyer is aware that you are not open for a price reduction and that if they are unable to proceed at the agreed price, the property will go back on the open market.
Fast property buyers offer a price below the market in return of a speedy house sale. This option is particularly attractive because most of the reasons why you aren’t being able to sell your house will not affect fast property buyers. See how Vivo can help you sell your house in 14 days securely.
The market doesn’t seem to want you to sell your house, maybe you should rethink your strategy and find tenants that will provide you a reliable source of income. Although you’ll need to rearrange some plans, this option could stop your house from being a financial burden and you will always have the chance of putting it for sale in a better moment. Take a look at our guide on becoming an accidental landlord
Consider it a soft house sale. Some buyers have problems making up their minds and this can be a way of getting their foot on your door! Generally, it will also mean the tenants will pay a higher than average rent to have the option of buying the house at the end.
Struggling to sell your house can be a particularly unpleasant experience, especially if your plans are on hold until you have sold. At Vivo, we understand what a difficult situation this can be. Vivo was established to offer an alternative to an open market sale; a guaranteed fast sale, removing any insecurities which go hand in hand with an open market sale.
As specialist fast property buyers, many of the aforementioned circumstances do not apply and we’d be happy to see if we can help you in your situation. Firstly, Vivo Property Buyers buy property in any condition and because we’re chain-free, this means that we’re proceedable! Once you have accepted our final offer, your house sale is guaranteed with no last-minute changes. Our flexible approach to home buying means that you can stay in your property for an agreed time after the sale so that you can organise your next move in your own time, stress-free.
If you’d like to find out more about our service, please call us on our free-phone number or fill out our quick form below.
Selling your home in London can be a daunting and challenging prospect. The process is lengthy and complicated, with a variety of associated fees and an everpresent risk of having your house sale fall through due to endless property chains. However, it doesn’t always have to be like this. You could simply get an offer from Vivo, the best rated fast property buyer in Trustpilot, and sell your house in as little as 7 days, avoiding many of the pitfalls that are inherently connected to selling on the open market in London. But why are quick sales so hard to come by in the Capital?
Selling your home in London can be a daunting and challenging prospect. The capital’s property market is somewhat different to the rest of the UK, so it’s advisable that as a homeowner you know the factors which influence it before attempting to sell. This is particularly true for first-time sellers as the process can be a bit overwhelming as it involves multiple steps, each with varying degrees of complexity and associated costs. Here at Vivo Property Buyers, we look at what makes the London property scene unique, why it may be difficult to sell on the open market here and look at your options should you decide to pursue an alternative house selling method.
The open market in London is slower than the rest of the UK
It’s vital to treat the London housing ‘bubble’ separately from the rest of the UK. According to Post Office Money, it takes an average of 102 days to sell a house in the UK and it becomes 24% longer when it’s in the capital.
But what can you do when you need to sell your house faster? Maybe you need to get rid of an inherited property, or are in risk of repossession, or need to split assets after a divorce? For circumstances likes these, Vivo can help you break the slow cycle. You can get a no-obligation offer in 24 hours and full payment in less than 3 weeks. This is not only faster than the average, but faster than real estate agents and auctions. Here are the main reasons why Vivo can work for you:
Get a secure London house sale
One of the main risks of the open market is that no house sale is guaranteed until you’ve exchanged. With Vivo, once you have accepted our final offer, the house sale is locked-in and secure. No last-minute snags, just a quick and stress-free way of selling your London house fast, from Croydon to Barnet, from Romford to Hounslow.
We pay all legal fees and costs
The excitement of selling your house can sometimes make you forget that estate agents charge a percentage of the final selling price, meaning that a proportion of the payment you receive is taken. Adding to this are all the other costs that accumulate like solicitors and legal fees. Here at Vivo Property Buyers, we pay for all the cost associated with the house selling process, including the removal of unwanted furniture and a professional house clean, so there are no nasty surprises or hidden fees when selling to us. Not only that, we even pay for you additional legal advice if you feel you should need it.
You may save money in the long run
In order to conduct a quick sale Vivo offer 85% of your property’s market value. But with the slow nature of the property market, especially in London, you can actually get more for your money in the long run.
The process of selling a house can be very stressful, even more when we are talking about a house in London. Even if you are at a state where you are not sure a fast property buying company is the service you need, get in touch with us to hear some honest and impartial advice – if we don’t feel like we are the best option for you, we will let you know!
|Sales process||6 months Open market||7-14 days Vivo Property Buyers|
|Market value (advertised price)||£400,000||£400,000|
|Agreed price (average 5% discount)||£380,000||£340,000|
|Final price after post-survey negotiation (average 3% discount)||£368,600||£340,000|
|Estate agent fees (2% + VAT)||£357,542||£340,000|
|Solicitor fees (average £2,000)||£355,542||£340,000|
|Cosmetic repairs to property||£354,542||£340,000|
|Council tax & utility bills (£400 per month)||£352,142||£340,000|
|Monthly mortgage repayments (£2,100 per month)||£339,542||£340,000|
|Gas safety certificated||£339,442||£340,000|
|Risk of sale breaking down||High risk||Secured sale|
|Final Price £339,442||Final Price £340,000|
Use our form to tell us about your property in London. Knowing the adress, the property type and the number of bedrooms, we’ll be able to estimate an offer for your house
You’ll receive a no-obligation Full Offer Package 24h. This offer will include price and timelines that suit you, and all that is included in our quick sale service
If you are happy with our offer, we will then arrange for an independent RICS surveyor to carry out a valuation of your property in London. The cost of this is paid in full by Vivo.
Once you have accepted the Formal Offer, the sale, the agreed price and timescales are locked in and secured and the appointed solicitors get to work. No surprises.
From the instruction of solicitors, it is possible to get the deal done and receive full funds within 7 days, but our process is flexible and we will work towards your desired timescales.
Now that we’ve seen how selling to Vivo can make the complex and stressful process of selling your house quicker and simpler, let’s take a look at London’s unique property market. London is one of the capitals of the world and therefore plays by its own rulebook. Keep on reading to understand the context in which you will be selling your house and why acting now can help you avoid a lot of headaches.
London is a fascinating city, one that attracts around one-quarter of UK’s university graduates every year, drawn in by good career prospects and progression. As a result of the large influx of young professionals looking for accommodation in the capital, rent prices have risen significantly which has subsequently caused a knock-on effect for London house prices which, according to the UK House Price Index, is 125% higher the national average. While this may be good news for those looking to rent out their investment property it has become a huge obstacle for many London property buyers (particularly young families) looking to get their foot on the housing ladder.
House prices vs income
In addition, London for some can be a chaotic place to reside. It has seen many people begin to sell their homes for pastures new and a slower pace of life, relocating to areas surrounding the capital’s commuter belt, such as in Kent and Surrey. Properties here tend to offer greater space and value for money. Moreover, a recent study by the ONS indicated that more than 340,000 families moved out of London in 2018/2019, a record number since the organisation started collecting this data from 2012, and with the average price of a semi-detached in the capital being £740,908, it can be viewed that this figure is far above the budget of many first-time buyers. To further illustrate the disparity between income and house prices, data from the ONS shows that in areas such as Camden and Fulham median house prices were 21 times earnings, making home-ownership an unrealistic goal for many local residents. If you add in the detail that lending criteria has been getting tougher recently, there has been a reduction in ‘ready buyers’ which is bad news if you’re looking to get a quick buyer for your property.
Are you one of the lucky ones?
However, if you own a home in one of the more affordable areas of London such as in Tower Hamlets, Croydon or Newham you are more likely to succeed in getting a relatively quick London house sale with prices still being affordable to most of the general population. You have to be fast, however, as up-and-coming areas of London often don’t stay cheap for long. This can sometimes result in the London house buyers being far pickier than in other areas of the UK, with potential buyers seeking value for money. Unfortunately, this can hold up the process (a buyer may be selling to someone, who is selling to someone…) and house chains can get quite long meaning that there is a high risk of the house sale falling through.
Now, if you’re one of the lucky ones who has managed to buy in London and are now looking to sell to move to a larger house in the city or to another location all together, you will need to consider the best method to do so which will work to your needs. We previously found that the house selling period can be one of the most stressful periods of your life. So, it’s important to understand all the common problems and how you can deal with them to have a better chance of selling your home.
The process of selling a house on the open market can be incredibly complicated and requires a high level of organisation and coordination from every party involved, and although the London property market moves quickly, this method can make for a lengthy process. One of the first hurdles which can affect timings is finding the right buyer- one who is willing to pay close to your asking price and is committed to push the sale through quickly. Even after you have found a suitable buyer, there still remains a number of legal hoops that you have to jump through, which can often be complex and time consuming, making it hard to sell your house fast in London.
Even after all the back and forth the sale still isn’t set in stone and no one is legally tied in until they have exchanged. It’s not unheard of that even after months of legal work the sale falls through at the final stage, leaving you back at square one. Due to the issues that can arise from an open market sale, it is worth exploring all the options available to you for selling your house in London before you rush into anything.
This remains the most popular method of selling a house in London but it can be difficult, costly and drawn-out. If you have decided that this is the route you’d like to take, the first step before choosing an estate agent is to look at their cost structure – find out if they charge a fixed rate or a percentage based commission. If you do opt to go with an estate agent that charges a percentage rate, try to negotiate it down as most commission rates aren’t set in stone.
Furthermore, estate agent contracts can be wordy and a bit confusing. Read through everything carefully and if you are not happy with certain aspects, ask the agent if they can negotiate on this. Also, ensure not to sign a ‘sole selling rights’ agreement and only opt for ‘sole agency contracts’ or ‘multiple agency contracts’. By signing a ‘sole selling rights’ agreement, you are only allowed to sell your property via the agent. This means that even if you find your own buyer, let’s say a friend wants to buy your property, you will still have to pay the agent their commission. Similarly, a ‘sole agency agreement’ means that you are only allowed to sell your property via the appointment, however, if you do find your own buyer, there is no commission due to the agent. Finally, a ‘multiple agency contract’ means that several agents can have a go at selling your property, giving you more flexibility.
The bulk of the cost associated with a house sale comes from estate agent fees, therefore you could save money if you decide to opt for a private sale. A private sale is when the seller deals directly with the buyer, bypassing the conventional method of using an estate agent. The obvious caveat that comes with removing an estate agent from the house sale process is that most of the leg work around legalities and contracts now falls on you. It’s these details that add to the complexity of selling your house privately.
In addition to learning the legalities surrounding a house sale you also need to learn about your local property market so you can price your property correctly. Once you have a better feel for the dynamics of the local housing market it’s time to find a willing buyer. This is the longest part of the process beginning with choosing the right platform to advertise your house and scheduling time out from your daily routine to arrange viewings. This stage is made more difficult as you are not able to advertise on property portals where most house buyers search such as Rightmove, Zoopla or Primelocation as this is only for agencies to advertise one.
Auctions have become increasingly popular amongst owners looking to sell their house fast. This process can be particularly attractive if the property in question is not selling in the open market due to structural issues or undesired features, as many auction buyers are looking for houses they can reform and sell for a higher value. It also has the advantage that a bidding war by two or more interested buyers can raise the price of the property way above the initial price.
However, attempting to benefit from these advantages can be risky and come at a cost. To start with, despite being faster than real estate agents, the average house sale can take up to three months, and that’s as long as you manage to get your house sold. There is always a risk of getting no bids and thus having your property go through the whole auction process, and paying for all the fees, without ever getting a potential buyer. In this case, you will end up with an unsold property and a hole in your wallet of the size of an auction entry fee, typically around £500-£1000. If you are looking for speed and minimum risk, take a look at how Vivo’s service compares to auctions in this detailed table.
With this overview of London’s property market and its main characters, you should now be equipped with enough knowledge to give your next steps. If you have decided that it is time to accelerate the process and get a quick secure sale of your property in London, submit your details and get a no obligation offer in 24h.
The number of ways in which you can sell your property has grown in recent years. More and more often, homeowners are bypassing the traditional route of using high-street estate agents in favour of online estate agents as well as a more independent option, by taking matters into their own hands and selling their home privately.
Private house sales differ from using an agent as you deal directly with the buyer yourself, however, this means taking on a lot of extra responsibilities to secure the sale. If you choose to sell your house privately, you will be involved at every stage, from advertising the property to conducting viewings as well as drawing up relevant documents, it requires a degree of proactivity and self-motivation.
However, if you have enough time to deal with all the admin side of things, private sales are a fantastic option, particularly if the property market is thriving.
As private property buyers, we buy independently on a regular basis, so let us inform you of the benefits and processes involved.
Estate agents charge a commission, which can be around 2% +VAT of your total sale
Selling your house can be stressful, but by avoiding middlemen, you’re in total control with full communication
More people now search for their next property online, no longer restricted to estate agents’ offices
The first step in selling your home privately is deciding how much it is worth. Try to keep emotions out of it and base your valuation on fact – look at similar properties available on the market in your area and determine if yours offers more or is more modern. However, don’t get hung up on what the properties are being advertised for; make sure you research sold prices too to see what people are actually willing to pay for similar properties in your area. A realistic asking price is better than an over-ambitious price if you want to sell your house fast. To make this process easier, on Rightmove.co.uk, (one of the most trusted property portals) you can find all properties in your area which are for sale and see recent sold prices. You can pull reports about house prices in your area and carry out a huge amount of due diligence in just one place.
Inviting over 2 or 3 local agents to value your house may give you a good indication of value as well, however, be aware that often these valuations tend to be on the high side as, understandably, they are trying to get your business.
Once you’re set on a price, it’s time to get your property ready for viewings. Make your house presentable by freshening up the paintwork, dealing with any broken fixtures and ensure everything is in working order. Avoid too many ‘personal touches’ around the property as buyers prefer a neutral environment, this includes not having any pets to welcome them on their visit! Furthermore, as most people view your home online before deciding to book a viewing, you need to take quality pictures, put together a floor plan and compile a detailed guide of every room, including dimensions and unique features (think original fireplace, hardwood floors – the kind of features you would read on a Rightmove listing) to attract potential buyers. Finally, EPC certificates are required to sell your home, so make sure you get it sorted before advertising. You can find reputable assessors in your area here.
Next, you must decide how you are going to get your property in front of potential buyers. Think about what your budget will allow and look for costs of advertising in local papers, as well as online portals which allow private sellers; unfortunately, Rightmove and Zoopla do not allow people to add private sale listing to their sites. You should also research the legalities around putting your own For Sale sign up as there are regulations on the size and content of your board.
Now, this is an important stage; get it wrong and it could cost you the sale. Before any viewing, make sure that your house is tidy! Remove clutter and clean your home to give potential buyers the best possible impression. This also extends to your garden; simply mowing the lawn can smarten up any garden – check out our quick gardening tips to help your house sell fast.
With viewings, you should always greet any potential buyers at the front door to give a good first impression and whilst showing them around, allow them to enter all rooms first so they can see themselves in it. You should also remain positive throughout – don’t go around pointing out the flaws or moaning about your neighbours! Instead ask questions to work out if you can give them any useful information, for example, the local schools, the best restaurants or any other morsels that they may find comforting and useful.
Finally, if you are going to conduct the viewings yourself it is always worth having a friend or partner with you, after all, you are inviting a stranger into your home!
Before starting the process of selling your house, determine an offer value which you would be happy to accept. Even if you do have to reject an offer, be friendly about it and try going back with a counter offer – they may increase!
Once you have accepted a formal offer both verbally and in writing, you must instruct your solicitor to carry out the legal side of things. Ensure that you have one in place before you start marketing your property as this will require some research and paperwork and you do not want this to delay your sale. Make sure you pick a well-reviewed one; look at their online ratings as well as talking to friends and family to see if they have had a particularly good experience with a firm.
Just be aware that at this stage your buyer may come to you with a reduced offer if the mortgage valuation down-values the property or a property survey sheds light on any issues. In these cases, get a copy of the survey to see if their claim is valid – if so, it is common to split the cost of the issue.
Finally, your private house sale will have completed once you have signed contracts, funds are in the relevant accounts, exchange has taken place and keys have been handed over – congratulations!
If there are lots of buyers looking for new homes, the increase in demand makes it easier to conduct private house sales
Selling privately can be time-intensive. Consider how much free time you have to dedicate to this important transaction
You’ll have to set up your house online. Not being computer literate may risk you failing to market your property correctly
You must ensure your sale compiles with property law. Complicated leasehold issues may be tricky to manage
If selling your house privately sounds like too much hassle and effort, fear not; there is still a way to keep it private! As fast property buyers, selling to us also bypasses any estate agent fees as well as survey costs; in fact, there are no fees at all!
Not only that, we can buy your home in as little as 7 days, meaning an even more stress-free way to sell your home. If you are interested in Vivo buying your house, please feel free to complete our simple form or get in touch. As private house buyers, we’d be happy to discuss your situation to see if Vivo is a suitable route for you and your house. Also, why not check out our reviews to see just how happy our previous clients have been!
For the latest in our series on property advice, we look at the concept of negative equity. For any homeowner with a mortgage, having negative equity can be problematic. Here, we’ll look at what the term means, what issues may arise from having negative equity and how to work out if you have it. Finally, we’ll let you know what you can do if you find yourself in this situation. But first…
Before delving into negative equity, it is best to first understand what is meant by ‘equity’ in relation to property. In short, your equity is how much of your property you actually ‘own’. This figure is a combination of:
So, if you bought a house for £100,000 with a £10,000 deposit, you would immediately have a 10% equity in the property. If you paid off a further £40,000 through mortgage repayments, your total stake would be £50,000, bringing equity to 50%.
While your home is where your heart is, it’s often overlooked that buying a property is an investment and, unlike owning shares in a company for example, many people forget that their investment (house) may be subject to fluctuations in value. A fall in value can result in your equity becoming ‘negative’.
Negative equity occurs when the current value of your property is less than what you have left to pay on the mortgage for it. This is a problem if you want to sell, because you may not recoup the remaing cost of your mortgage through the sale. For example, if you bought a house for £200,000, with a £175,000 mortgage and the house is now worth £150,000 – you would be in negative equity as your mortgage value is £25,000 more than the property value.
However, not all price drops automatically result in negative equity. Returning to our former example, if the property you bought for £200,000 on a £175,000 mortgage was now valued at £180,000, you would still be in positive equity (£5,000) as the existing value is greater than the mortgage.
Negative equity can seem quite a scary prospect, but why does this happen?
Like any investment, a property’s value fluctuates over time, so the primary reason for negative equity is falling house prices. Secondly, since acquiring a property is the biggest investment for most of the UK’s population, the state of the economy and house prices are intrinsically linked. As the Bank of England controls interest rates, it is easier to secure mortgage financing when the economic forecast is good. When more people are able to buy, house prices go up. Conversely, when the economic outlook is more pessimistic, borrowing becomes tougher and mortgage approval levels fall – meaning fewer buyers on the market. Thus, the drop in available buyers causes property prices to consequently fall.
Problems can also arise when confidence in the economy is strong and there are lots of buyers on the market, causing a ‘property bubble’ to form as prices surge. Unfortunately, nothing is guaranteed in this sector so the bubble will eventually burst or ‘crash’. A result of this is that many homeowners could have overpaid for what their property is truly worth during the ‘bubble’ and end up with a hefty mortgage and property prices that are set to fall.
Negative equity became a massive issue in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, which saw house prices plummet, leaving thousands of homeowners in negative equity as their mortgages were much higher than the value of their home.
Interestingly, this recession was directly influenced by activity in the property industry; you may remember it often being referred to as the ‘credit crunch’. This is because banks became over-confident with the continued rise of property prices and did not expect it to stop. As a result, getting a mortgage became easier for homeowners, with banks accepting more and more high-risk mortgages. People who wouldn’t normally be able to secure the necessary finances, joined the property ladder with up to 100% mortgages, meaning they started off with minimal initial equity and large repayments.
Since the crash, banks have been a lot stricter about who they are willing to lend to which has resulted in fewer buyers on the market. In addition to this, the gap between the prices of property compared to average income has massively increased over the past couple of decades which has also made it harder for people to secure finance, resulting in a lack of first-time buyers. Fewer buyers on the market indicates a drop in ‘demand’ resulting in property prices still not recovering fully from the 2008 drop.
Finally, another cause of negative equity regards a type of mortgage available to some homeowners. As well as conventional mortgages, you can also take out an interest-only mortgage. This means you do not have repayment instalments to gain equity but only interest – paying the full amount at a later agreed date. This puts you at risk of negative equity as you don’t continually make payments to reduce the debt.
Contact your lender to find out how much you owe on your mortgage and how much equity you’ve acquired on your property.
Get an understanding of the current value of your property. You can do this by getting local estate agents or surveyors to value your home (this may incur a cost).
If the current value of your property is lower than what you owe (mortgage) you are in negative equity.
A fictional example is below:
If your LTV ratio is positive it means you’re in negative equity.
Homeowners with negative equity can face a tricky situation if they now want to sell their property. This is because the existing value of it is less than what they paid for and it is unlikely they’ll be able to recoup the amount that they have remaining on their mortgage. In this situation, it is unlikely that their mortgage provider will sanction a sale for less than the previous purchase amount.
Therefore, if you proceed to sell your house for less than the mortgage you have secured on it, you are responsible for making up the difference to your lender. You may need to dip into your savings to make up the difference. You can take out a negative equity mortgage where you handover the remaining negative equity onto your new deal, but they are very rarely approved.
Another difficulty is that it is hard to remortgage your property. Lenders are unlikely to agree to a fixed rate or cheaper deal for people in negative equity.
Wait for prices to rise
If you’ve just recently bought your home (under three years) you may be in negative equity due to the small amount of mortgage you’ve paid up to this point – it is usually a 25-year repayment plan. This means that your equity is primarily made up of your deposit which is 10-20% of the house value. If you’re in a position to be patient, try to sell your property when house values have risen as the selling price will most likely to be higher, helping to come out of negative equity, plus you will have added equity with the repayments made during this time.
Can Vivo help you right away?
If you have negative equity and need a quick sale, using a fast property buying company like Vivo may not be the right step for you. Generally, we can’t help homeowners that have owned their property for less than three years and was bought with a mortgage – even if house values have remained the same or increased slightly. The reason being is that we tend of offer 85% of the estimated market value, and with people generally paying a 10-20% deposit, you’d be unlikely to recoup your losses. If you’d like to know more about your options in this situation, please take our house selling quiz or call us for some free, impartial property advice – we’d be happy to help.
Take action to increase value
If you’re not able to wait, you can look to increase the value of your property to secure a price that does not leave you in the red. This can mean renovating key areas of your property that add value such as the bathroom or kitchen, or potentially expanding your property with an extension. While this means you have to spend more up front, it may enable you to command a higher price and remove the negative equity. You can also do something unique, like adding a home office!
If your finances permit, look to increase the equity you have in your property by overpaying your mortgage with early repayments. This will reduce the amount you owe and can help remove the negative equity. You will need to agree with your provider, so check your agreement.
Rent out your property
Another option, if you can agree with your lender, is to rent out your existing property and then live in a rented property in a cheaper area. While not ideal, this will allow you to gain additional income to reduce your negative equity.
Know how much you can afford to borrow and the types of repayment structures you could do.
If the property market is booming, you can pay an inflated price for the house, so consider buying at a quieter time where prices tend to be lower.
The more initial equity you own and it reduces your chance of falling into negative equity early on.
Selling a house at a price that both the buyer and seller are happy with is often a challenging task. And if on top of this you add the requirement for the sale to happen fast, the complexity grows significantly and the likelihood of all boxes being ticked gets pretty low.
According to BBC News, over the last few years, the UK housing market has been described as “subdued” with sluggish property chains making it harder to sell your house fast. Even when a sale reaches the final agreement in principle, it can often fall through.
In the last five to ten years, property affordability has become an issue and for many people looking to buy a house, committing to such a purchase has become all but impossible. And it’s not at all surprising that Brexit and the current political instability have caused people to feel even more reluctant about spending large sums on significant purchases like a house. The impact of this is a palpable drop in demand with fewer buyers on the market who are also being extra cautious with their decision.
As well as this, as trivial as it sounds, we should never discount a buyer’s common sense and human nature. Along with the economic uncertainty, selling a house fast is challenging because it is high-involvement decision making, much like buying a car. These purchases are normally expensive and very important for a buyer in the longer term; hence they take their time to properly weigh up their options. With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that buying a house can cause anxiety, stress, or post-purchase regret. That’s why it is so important to choose a trusted, knowledgeable and truly caring estate agent, to assist in this important journey, bringing peace of mind to both seller and buyer.
With all these factors slowing down your sale what can you actually do to speed it up? Read our three tips to see if they could help you to sell your property faster.
Nowadays, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to property agencies – from traditional high street agents to online and hybrid versions, and big established names to family-run or boutique – they are all ready to assist you with selling your house. Their promise is always bright and bold: to buy fast, make it stress-free, and ultimately, offer you the best deal. Is the promise always a reality though? How do you choose the right agent for you?
When selling a house, there are many things that can slow down the process, and even lead to a house sale falling through. No one wants to get stuck in a scary and stressful property chain as just one person changing their mind or slowing things down can cause the whole chain to collapse.
The good news is that you don’t need to be stuck in a property chain. There are many ways to avoid the misery and here are the main pieces of advice we would offer someone looking to sell their house fast:
Anyone who has sold their house knows the importance of pricing research to help form realistic pricing expectations. The main things to take into account when doing your house price analysis are to compare market prices for similar properties as well as understand the current conditions of the housing market. Obviously, when fewer properties are being sold and bought and you want to sell yours fast, you need to be more flexible with your pricing expectations. Either be prepared to drop your price if you need to sell as soon as possible, or choose a fast property buyer to help you sell at a reasonable price, avoiding property chains.
Here are some useful tips to help you work out a realistic selling price for your house:
However, if you choose to sell to a property buying company, they would normally cover all external costs for you (at Vivo we always do!). For instance, if you sell your property to Vivo, we will make sure everything is covered and will make you an offer of roughly 85% of what is believed to be the current market value of your property. Whilst this is a bit below market value, you won’t have to worry about any surprise fees; from paying all your legal fees to the removal of unwanted items and cleaning, we take care of all the costs. Besides, we also buy the property as seen – no viewings or improvements needed – which will save you a lot of time and money.
Read our Guide to house selling fees to equip yourselves with more knowledge in this area.
Aside from being able to buy quickly, avoiding fees and not needing viewings, our clients always commend us on our personal and attentive approach to communication as well as our trustworthiness and professionalism. We often deal with clients who have previously been stuck in a chain which has delayed their sale, only for it to fall through; we have been able to offer them an alternative solution which has allowed them to sell quickly and without stress. Read what our clients’ say about us on Trustpilot.
Are you currently stuck in a sluggish property chain which is preventing you from moving forward in your life? You’re not alone. With an estimated 300,000 house sales each year breaking down due to complications involving property chains, we can imagine that you’ve had enough of waiting and want to break free.
It’s a demanding, frustrating and expensive experience and being stuck in a chain can cost on average up to £3,000 with legal costs and fees.
Right now, you may be seeking a swifter and simpler resolution to selling on the open market, avoiding the pitfalls that come with it. On average it takes five months to sell via this route, and it’s been revealed that the outlook for the UK’s property market in the first three months of 2019 is the worst since 1998 – making things even tougher. With confidence in the market low, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has estimated that 28% of house sales will fail.
One of the most common reasons for house sales falling through is the unreliability of property chains. As the success of each property transaction on the chain is influenced by activity further along the chain, if something goes awry, it can affect your sale – from grinding progress to a halt, to causing a complete collapse.
Right now, the property market is very diffident with banks tightening their lending criteria due to property prices falling and buyers biding their time before committing to a purchase – particularly with Brexit looming. This has directly impacted the efficiency of the property chain. Furthermore, according to This Is Money’s research, 8% of all failed deals were a direct result of chains collapsing while almost half of concerned buyers either changing their mind or sellers feeling their deal isn’t progressing quickly enough:
|Cause of sale falling through||% of cases|
|Buyer changed mind/seller felt sale is not progressing quickly enough||46%|
|Buyer or seller wanted to renegotiate after initial deal had been agreed||23%|
|Buyer unable to secure sufficient funding from mortgage provider||12%|
|Property survey highlighted issues that caused buyer to pull out||11%|
|Collapse in property chain||8%|
Whether you’ve found your dream house and can’t complete the transaction until you’ve sold or are keen to sell to free up some funds, it can be tough to sell in these current conditions. However, it can be equally frustrating just waiting for the increasingly unlikely to happen. Fortunately, the inefficiencies of the property chain have led to several alternatives for home-sellers.
As specialist fast property buyers, we can buy your home in as little as 7 days. No more waiting on the chain, just clarity and peace of mind that comes with a guaranteed sale from chain-free buyers. But how are we able to do this?
We’re happy to offer sellers an escape route from their chain, allowing them the chance to move on with the next stage of their life. If you’d like a chain-free resolution to your house sale, get a free, no-obligation offer from Vivo in just 24 hours. Perhaps, you’d just like some friendly advice from us on your situation, and we’d be happy to help too, just call our freephone number 0800 773 4922. We look forward to hearing from you.
As the number one rated fast property buying company on Trustpilot, check out our reviews below and discover how we’ve helped people in a similar position, such as Roberta below:
I needed to sell my property quickly as 2 chains had fallen apart and I had already moved in to another house so was paying double costs. After doing a lot of research on line as I was obviously cautious about using a property company, I contacted Vivo which turned out to be the best thing I could have done and wish I had chosen this option sooner. They are completely professional and most importantly, honest. A surveyor came and gave an accurate valuation, a realistic offer was put forward and at no time did they ever look at reducing this price or try to renegotiate. The whole process took under 3 weeks and I was kept informed the whole way through. I would (and have) happily recommend Vivo. Thank you.
Happy Vivo customer
Selling your home is a major life event, full of new horizons for you and your family. It involves changing the property that you live in, often in a completely fresh location – it’s a new start!
Amidst all the excitement surrounding your move, selling a property on the open market can be expensive. From estate agent fees to removal costs, they can all dent the profit made from your sale. Moreover, some of these expenses come right at the last minute or are sprung upon you whilst you’re busy making plans – leaving a bitter taste after you’ve finally exchanged.
To help you understand these outlays clearer, we’ve outlined the most common house selling fees, explaining when and why they occur on the open market.
Estate agent fees
Traditionally, when you’ve decided to sell your house the next step is to visit and work with an estate agent. They help to set the value of your home, marketing your property, conducting house viewings and managing the negotiations between buyer and seller.
While these activities are important in finding you a buyer, this service comes at a cost. Estate agents tend to work via commission, and this can be anywhere from 1-3% of the property sale price +20% VAT.
According to the January 2018 UK House Price Index report, the average price of a house in the South East of England is around £323,000. As a result, you may be charged between £3,000 – £8,000 in estate agent fees over the course of your sale.
For the price you are paying, you want to make sure you know exactly what’s involved – especially as a fee of £8,000 may feel quite expensive! It is a legal requirement that your estate agent discloses what their service fee includes, so ensure you know what you’re paying for and why.
When selling a property, you will need to have a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to carry out the legal work. Their job is to review the title, the contract, the mortgage, and the transfer documents.
They are there to advise you throughout the whole process and keep your best interests at heart. They represent only you, while your buyer has their own representation at their own cost. There are two ways of negotiating a fee here, you can either pay a flat rate (typically £850 – £1,500) or a percentage of the value of your property – which can be around 2.5%.
Ongoing running costs
Another expenditure worth considering with an elongated house sale is the ongoing running costs of your property during this period. Besides mortgage payments, utility bills such as energy, water and broadband will begin to add up as well as council tax during the months when your house is up for sale.
With the primary fees covered, there are also a few other costs that occur when selling a property that is worth bearing in mind – they all add up of course!
Firstly, if you’re putting your property on the market, it must have an assessment to get on the Energy Performance certificate register. This is used to measure the energy efficiency of your house, whether it meets the area’s criteria, and if it can be improved. On average this will cost you around £60 to £120, depending on your local assessor’s prices.
Staying with energy costs, you would also need to get a Gas Safety (up to £35 to £150) and Electrical Safety certificate (£100 to £250). These are credentials buyers will be made aware of, so this would be a welcome addition when selling your property.
To get the best valuation of your property, you will perhaps spend money on repairing your house. Minor repairs can cost around £700 (replacing uneven floorboards, fixing cracked walls), while major renovations can go up in tens of thousands of pounds.
Either to initially attract buyers or before they move into your house, you need to ensure that it is aesthetically pleasing and unblemished. This would usually require a full-professional cleaning service, which on average can cost you £285.
When it is time to move, you’re most likely going to need a removal company to transport your possessions. The cost here is variable, the factors that will affect this fee are:
For example, the cost of moving from London to Manchester can be in excess of £800, considering the distance and volume of furniture.
Lastly, one of the most overlooked costs of selling your house is mail redirection. As the name suggests this is essentially telling the mail services that you are moving to a new property -which can cost anywhere between £32 and £63.
As you can tell, there are many house selling fees associated on the open market, some are to be expected, for example, solicitors fees, while others may not be initially accounted for (such as transportation of goods). Looking at the aforementioned, for a house sale of £323,000 you could be paying up to £12,000.
|Estate Agent Fees||£8,000|
|Energy Performance Certificate||£120|
|Gas Safety Certificate||£150|
|Electrical Safety Certificate||£250|
Is there a way to sell a house without paying all these fees?
As you can imagine, the cost of selling on the open market can quickly add up – eating into the profit margins from your sale. However, Vivo Property Buyers are there as an alternative by offering a guaranteed sale away from the insecurities of an open market sale. We strive to make selling a home a stress-free experience.
Firstly, all costs and fees which usually go hand in hand with a property sale are covered by Vivo. From legal fees to professional clearance and cleaning. Naturally, there won’t be any estate agency fees either, so expect no surprises down the line.
In addition, unlike many cases in the open market, once you’ve accepted our formal offer, your house sale (and price) is guaranteed – with no last-minute surprises. As specialist fast property buyers, you can have the funds in your account in as little as 7 days – far quicker than the traditional house selling method which can take on average 3-4 months.
We also buy sold as seen – this means you don’t have to spend time or money on property renovations which may delay your sale. Lastly, we understand that this process may be quite speedy, so we work in a timeframe to suit you. This includes a period where you can stay in your property rent-free after you have received your full funds, to help you manage your move better and make it a less stressful experience.
Sound good? Get in touch!
If you are looking to sell your property but you’d like to avoid stress, the unknowns and the fees associated with an open market sale, contact us today and receive a no-obligation offer for your property in just 24 hours. If you’re still unsure about using a house buying company, take this short quiz to see if Vivo is the right fit for you!
Over the past few years, online estate agents such as Tepilo and Purple Bricks have become increasingly popular, rivalling traditional agents. Why? Well in short, online estate agents tend to be more affordable and transparent with their pricing than high street agents. However, before diving in head first, you should be aware of what you could be missing out on by shunning the traditional route.
Firstly, opting for an online sale means you will miss out on the local area knowledge you would get from a high street estate agency, which is often key to pricing your property correctly and selling it quickly. Not only that, traditional agents will often show your property to buyers who are looking at similar properties, meaning much more targeted exposure to highly interested people. If you chose the online route, you should also be aware that you will be responsible for a lot more than usual, for example, you will have to conduct viewings yourself unless you pay more (getting you closer to the fees of a traditional agent). And the caveats don’t stop there; high street agents are also turning to the internet to market their client’s properties so the only real benefit to selling online is the price.
Most reputable online agents will offer a fixed price for marketing your property, regardless of the asking price and this cost can vary from £300-£1,500. Not only that, some companies only ask for payment if they sell your property, making it risk-free. However, there are a lot of things this won’t include, such as getting the agent to do the viewings, so don’t get romanced by the low basic price as this is likely to add up.
In contrast, if you were to go via a traditional estate agent, the fees could range from 0.75% – 3% +VAT of the agreed selling price of your home (1.5% is the average), making the fee amount less certain, but that includes everything you’d expect, including the all-important local expertise.
Whilst we wouldn’t recommend selling your house online, it still might suit some people and their specific situation. If you’re still interested in finding out more about the process and what is involved, we have outlined the steps involved below.
When it comes to choosing your online agent, don’t just take affordability into account, make sure that they are someone you’d trust to look after your house sale – it’s a pretty big decision after all! Therefore, ensure that you also read third-party reviews and other people’s experiences to ensure the company is reliable and you won’t get any nasty surprises. You should also check what is included in the package you go for. Things to consider are a for sale sign, floorplans, photography and advertising on top property portals like Rightmove.
Be sure to understand the cost of any additional services you think you might want to boost your chances of a quick sale and ensure you can afford them. Extras tend to include Energy Performance Certificate (a legal requirement, but you may already have one), accompanied viewings and premium listings on Rightmove or Zoopla that give your property extra visibility.
Finally, you should ask them if the marketing is unlimited or if it is for a fixed term; if they struggle to sell your home, you don’t want to bit hit with an unexpected charge to continue marketing.
Your online agency will price your property for you, with the majority coming to your home to get the best idea of what it is worth. However, keep in mind that they are unlikely to have local knowledge like your high street agent in your village or town would, so it is worth getting opinions from a few local ones too for a balanced view. This will ensure you market your house at a price that will get you an offer you are happy with on a reasonable timescale.
Upon choosing the online estate agency you’re comfortable with, they will send someone over to take photos of your home, put floor plans together and prepare your EPC to make your listing shine. They will also put together the description of your property but in most cases (if not all) will give you the opportunity to put your own spin on it, for example, including information about local amenities, useful transport links or the beautiful fauna you have in your garden to attract buyers with green fingers. All in all, most companies get this turned around in about a week so they can get your house on the digital market as soon as possible.
Your agency will distribute your listing across all of the major property portals ready to find you a buyer. They should allow you to change anything during this period if you’re unhappy and, if you aren’t getting much uptake, you can always pay a little extra to get a premium listing. Premium listings put your property at the top of searches, or make them stand out more and the cost of this is usually much cheaper through your online agent than if you were to go it alone. While this is an extra cost, the increased visibility of your property may be worth it in the long run, particularly if it helps to attract a suitable buyer in a shorter time period. Not only that, online buyers can see how long your property has been listed for, which may suggest an issue with the property (even if there isn’t one) or invite cheeky offers well below the asking price.
This is probably where selling your house online differs the most from traditional agents – you are going to be responsible for conducting the viewings yourself. There are a couple of exceptions to this – you can pay extra for the company to do it or opt for a hybrid agent which offers an online service with local experts to conduct the viewings. If you are going to pay extra for this service, check whether there is a limit on the number of viewings the charge covers so you know exactly where you stand. However, you should be privy to the fact that selling a house online tends to require a more ‘hands-on’ approach from the seller.
Usually, they will first check when you’re available and then book viewings in using an online management portal which you will have access to.
Once viewings have taken place, you should check in with your rep to make sure they pass any feedback on to you; you never know, buyers could be put off by something which you can easily fix or change. Be aware that conducting house viewings is a skill and you should read up on it to help showcase your home in the best way. Why not check out our house viewing checklist for some help on what potential buyers may be looking out for!
After showing potential buyers around your home, you will have hopefully found someone willing to put an offer for your home. Negotiating any offer you receive will usually be the responsibility of the agent who will assess the potential buyer to make sure they have the funds and are a proceedable buyer. They will advise you on the negotiation (much like a traditional agent) and manage the communication, however, most are open to you having direct contact with the prospective buyer to run this yourself.
Naturally, your agent will help with the sale to give you the best chance of completing and they will be involved as much or as little as you want, however, you will have to deal with the paperwork yourself with the help of your solicitor who will provide you with legal advice.
This process will mainly be in the hands of your solicitor, however, your agent will help you agree on a date of completion with the buyer and, as most online companies ask for payment at the start of the process, there will be no surprise costs to deal with.
Selling your house with an online estate agency can offer you a great deal of flexibility as well as transparent pricing, which has contributed to its growing popularity. However, as explained, you will miss out on important things such as local knowledge and it is much more work, so make sure you understand all of the risks before choosing to sell online.
If you want the best of both worlds where there is very little effort required on your part, no strangers snooping around your house and absolutely no fees, then it is worth considering using a fast property buyer, like Vivo. Check out all of the benefits of selling your house to a property buyer and if you’re interested, get in touch now to get a no-obligation offer for your home. You could be sold in as little as 7 days, although we will work to any timescale which suits you!
Has your property seemed smaller recently, does it feel cramped rather than compact? Is an extra bedroom, a bigger garden or a second bathroom starting to become more important to you as you grow older? It might be the right time to upsize.
With time, homeowners’ lives will change and so will their housing needs and you may decide the time is right to move to a larger home. Whether you want to move to start a family or children have already entered the picture, perhaps you’ve just decided the time is right to get a family dog, upsizing is a big and important decision in your life.
While this is an exciting period, this change isn’t always straightforward. Upsizing can get difficult as you need to be a proceedable buyer to buy another property, and very often people need the funds of their current home in order to buy the next. Failure to be in this position as well as the issues of the unpredictable property chain, where you’re relying on countless other buyers and sellers, could grind your upsizing dream to a halt. So, if you’ve decided it’s time to bigger and better things, read our upsizing guide for more information on this life-changing moment:
Why are you upsizing?
This may seem a simple question but when it comes to choosing the right home, having a clear idea in your head of what’s needed, rather than what you want is crucial. Take time to define
what it is that your current property is lacking and what features your new home needs to have? It can be easy to be enamoured by the look of new properties especially if they’re at a good price, but what was the core reason for your move? Rather than being swayed by smaller factors that catch your eye, concentrate on the bigger issues, such as the number of bedrooms the house has. If you’re unsure of what to look for, check out our house viewing checklist.
Choosing the right location is essential
As well as the property you’re moving to, its location plays a big role in the upsizing process.
Factors like the availability of suitable jobs and the quality of schools in the prospective area will have a massive effect as time goes on. Especially if you’re looking to start a family, you want to ensure you will all be settled and happy in your new location.
Another big reason why location is so important when upsizing is that the area that your property is situated in will impact the resale value of the home. If transport links are growing and town redevelopments are ongoing it’s common that the house prices in these areas will be increasing in line with these changes. Areas in and around major cities (see our commuter towns series here) are most likely to see improvements due to their proximity to economic hubs, like London for example. Having an idea of where the price of the property may go will have a strong impact on your retirement, potentially leaving you with a reasonable profit, so it’s important to look towards future implications
Looking to the future
Your decision to upsize is a forward-thinking one as you look to move to a house that suits your changing needs as well. Factors that are growing in popularity with new homeowners, such as good network coverage should be considered, as the use of smartphones and tablets becomes more common, the ability to use them without Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly important. Investigate whether the area you’re looking at has suitable network and 4G coverage to ensure you’re not caught out when you leave the house and need to use the internet. Another factor that has grown in importance is pollution. With the relentless growth of major cities and the infrastructure that comes with them, air pollution can become more of an issue. The negative effects of air pollution on health mean that choosing areas that have cleaner air can lead to a better quality of life for you and your family.
The financial impact of upsizing
When you’re looking to upsize into a larger home, as well as moving your mortgage to the new property it’s likely that you’ll need to apply for a bigger mortgage. Your current income, expenses and whether you plan to start a family will be considered by your lender among other factors, to make sure that loan is right for you. The next step would be to decide whether you can afford the new mortgage and the costs that come with a larger property. It may be worth thinking about refinancing, this can be done for a number of reasons, the main one being to lower your payments. Shop around to see whether sticking with your current mortgage structure suits you or if it may be time for a change. If your application for a larger mortgage is successful you’re likely to be required to make larger mortgage repayments than you were previously. Having a clear idea of how much you can afford to pay monthly will give you a good picture of what payments are realistic for your particular financial situation.
On top of mortgage repayments, you should consider the other expenses you’ll incur and what current expenses may increase, such as stamp duty. Only first-time buyers are exempt from this tax, and the price of this is calculated as a percentage of the property’s value. For example, if the price of the property is £250,001- £925,000 you’ll be required to pay 8% of the property’s value on top of the price. You can find out exactly how much your stamp duty fee will be with an online calculator. Furthermore, a larger house means more money spent on utility bills, insurance and council tax. On top of this, there is the cost of time, having a bigger home and garden means more time spent cleaning and gardening unless you pay to have it done for you.
Understanding what factors you should focus on when choosing a home to upsize into, and what costs you’re likely to incur will help you make the right decision when moving into a family home. If you’re looking to upsize but still have a property to sell, using a specialist house buying company could help you move to your dream home much faster without relying on an unpredictable property chain too. For more information on our services please visit our How it works section or check out our blog.
Finding a large sum of money for a house deposit can seem like a daunting task for potential homebuyers. Even after years of careful budgeting, the housing market is always changing which makes saving enough for a deposit even more difficult. Over the past decade conditions for those looking to purchase a property have been tough, particularly for first-time buyers, with the number of 25-34-year-olds owning a home falling from 59% to 38% over the past 13 years. However, UK house price rises have been slowing down, with reports of properties in London even losing value. This is positive news for those looking to buy a house, considering that the deposit needed for a mortgage is relative to the property’s value. So you might be asking yourself how much deposit do I need to buy a home?
How much is a deposit for a house?
When buying a property, most people have to secure a mortgage through a bank or building society. Whilst it’s possible to put down a deposit that’s 5% of the value of the property, you should look to put down 30% or more to secure the most competitive mortgage rate. To most first time buyers 30% will seem unrealistic and is not essential; in a survey by Which? the average deposit for first-time buyers was 17% of the property’s value. This means, if you were looking to buy a property that costs £300,000, you would need to save £51,000 for your deposit – which is still a considerable amount.
A deposit required for any London homebuyers is likely to be much larger than most other parts of the UK due to the increased house prices in the Capital. Therefore, to get a clearer view on the deposit size you might require, look into the prices that similar houses were sold for in the area you’re looking buy, then find a percentage value of this price for a deposit that suits your needs and financial capabilities. If you’re looking for information on house prices in certain locations, Zoopla is an online property information portal that detail average house price values depending on location.
Benefits of a larger deposit
Those saving for a deposit may think that the sooner they’re on the property ladder the better, and look for a mortgage at the lower end of the scale (5-15%). However, this, in turn, can have a detrimental effect as your repayment rates reflect your deposit size. If your deposit size is larger, it helps to build confidence with the lender which generally results in more favourable rates. Moreover, having a more substantial deposit can help avoid the risk of your application falling through and your property experiencing negative equity.
The other side of property buying concerns getting a mortgage. A mortgage is essentially a property-specific loan given by a financial provider that allows you to buy a house with the remaining % not covered by your deposit. There’s a wide range of options available to those applying for a mortgage.
The process: what to expect
With hundreds of thousands of pounds potentially being borrowed, it’s no surprise that the application process for a mortgage is quite comprehensive. When you’re trying to secure a mortgage your financial and social situation will be scrutinised by the bank or building society that you’re applying to. Questions may vary from whether you plan to start a family to whether you gamble and how much money you spend socialising. This is to make sure that you’re capable of paying back the money that’s being lent. On top of this, there are various fees to consider such as the arrangement fee and stamp duty (unless you’re a first-time buyer).
What kind of mortgage is right for you?
There are also different types of mortgages that are available, the two main ones being a fixed rate mortgage and a variable rate mortgage. A fixed rate mortgage means that the interest you pay over time stays at a fixed level. It has the clear benefit of being predictable, providing more financial stability. A variable rate mortgage means that the interest rate you pay is subject to change. This option comes with more risk, however, the rate can go either way and over time you may be paying less than you were previously. Which rate you choose will depend on how comfortable you are with risk and whether you can cope financially if your variable rate mortgage becomes more expensive over time.
Should you use a mortgage broker?
If the process of selecting and applying for a mortgage seems challenging or unnecessary in your current situation, there is the option of hiring a mortgage broker. Although you’ll incur more costs through the process of acquiring a mortgage, there are considerable benefits. Mortgage brokers are liable to put your best interests first, this means that their advice should protect you in the long term. If you go straight to a high street mortgage lender they’re not obligated to give you the most suitable deal which could put you at a serious disadvantage in terms of unfavourable rates.
Help to buy schemes
Although it may seem like a difficult task to raise the money for a mortgage, the government offer help to buy schemes that help those with smaller deposits buy a house. New buyers with deposits from 5% to 20% can benefit from special mortgages or interest-free help to buy equity loans. These schemes have made a substantial difference to those looking to get on the property ladder who previously would have found it a lot tougher. Understanding the options available to you through these schemes could be the difference between securing the right property or not.
We hope it’s now a little clearer regarding how house deposits work and what options are available. Thinking about the long-term effects of the size of your deposit can have a massive effect over time, saving you a lot of money. Moreover, understanding the support that the government can provide can make the idea of buying your dream house more realistic. Although saving enough for a deposit may seem like an uphill struggle, understanding which path to take can put you in good stead for the future.
Are you looking to sell your house before buying a new property? Vivo are the UK’s best rated fast property buyer on Trustpilot and can buy your property in 3 simple steps. You can find more information about our services on our How it works page or visit our blog.
In the first of our series about London’s property hotspots, we look at Neasden – a quiet suburban neighbourhood in North West London that is on the brink of exciting new developments, and it is this combination that makes Neasden one of the best places to buy a home in London. Here we’ll look at what it’s like to live in Neasden, what types of properties you can buy here and what the future holds for it.
Where is Neasden?
Neasden is located in the London Borough of Brent, roughly 7.5 miles north-west of Charing Cross, with properties here either part of the NW10 or NW2 postcodes. Neighbouring areas include Willesden to the south, Wembley to the west and Dollis Hill to the east.
Meaning ‘Nose Hill’ in Old English, Neasden was a sparsely populated hamlet with few properties, earning the nickname ‘the loneliest village in London’. However, with the introduction of the Metropolitan Railway and increased car ownership, Neasden isn’t so ‘lonely’ anymore, yet it still remains a peaceful residential part of London. Thanks to its abundance of spacious homes, the area is a popular place for families to live, with the neighbourhood providing a gentler pace of life that is often hard to find in the Capital. Overall, Neasden is well positioned to allow residents quick access to central London whilst also providing a suburban feel, being well enough connected to major roads to escape to the country too. Such convenient transport links have seen Neasden become home to a couple of London ‘firsts’ including the first McDonald’s drive-through in 1986 and the first IKEA store in 1988.
Transport in Neasden
A primary attraction to living in Neasden is how well-connected it is to London and beyond. Neasden tube station (Zone 3) is part of the Jubilee Line, so direct routes to major London destinations such as Baker Street (16 mins), Waterloo (26 mins) London Bridge (29 mins) are all within a quick and easy commute. Furthermore, the Jubilee Line is part of the Night Tube, providing residents with a 24-hour service on Fridays and Saturdays. If you would be looking to commute from Neasden, annual travel cards for Zones 1-3 are £1,548. If it’s the Overground you’d need, Neasden’s nearest stations would be Harlesden to the south, which gets into Euston in under 20 minutes.
For private transport options, Neasden’s abundance of family-sized homes afford residents ample off-road parking, making car ownership an easier option here. This is even more attractive, with the M1 motorway just a five-minute drive away, providing quick access to the Midlands. The North Circular is nearby too, making ventures to North and East London a breeze.
What kind of housing is there in Neasden?
What makes Neasden an attractive place for London homebuyers is the availability of expansive, family housing. The area has a wealth of 1930s-style homes with sizeable gardens as well as large Edwardian properties, notable for their high ceilings and good-sized bedrooms. The spaciousness of properties here also provides great opportunities to extend and develop, bringing them in line with modern tastes.
As Neasden is slightly further out from Central London, larger properties are far more affordable, with the average semi-detached home costing around £834,000, while terraced houses come out at £776,000. If you have a greater budget, the median price for detached homes is around £1.25million. In terms of other property-related costs, Band D council tax for houses in the Borough of Brent is £1,425 per year. Although slightly more expensive than the rest of London, this shouldn’t overshadow the fact that you can get more value for properties than in nearby areas like Queen’s Park.
What is there to do in Neasden?
As well as housing and travel in Neasden, the neighbourhood is close to many great leisure facilities and amenities that also contributes to making it a great place to live. A benefit of its suburban location is the proximity to lots of green spaces, particularly Gladstone Park. A real family-favourite, Gladstone Park features 86 acres of pleasant parkland with two playgrounds, free tennis courts and a cute café with beautiful views of London. A short drive away (and continuing with the outdoors theme) is Brent Reservoir: a picturesque location for peaceful walks, even featuring its own sailing club!
Overall, there is a real ‘local’ feel to Neasden and its immediate surrounding area. There are many charming, independent restaurants and shops that keep the community spirit thriving – from quirky cafes such as Mezzoroma and Deli Beira, to O’Farrell’s Traditional Butchers and Willesden Salvage (a revered vintage antique shop). Neasden is also proudly multicultural and boasts the largest Hindu temple outside of India: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.
As well as a strong community feel, Neasden is also home to larger retail destinations. Close by is Brent Cross Shopping Centre, ‘North West London’s premier shopping destination’, which includes brands such as the Apple Store, John Lewis and Marks and Spencer’s.
If you’re a sports enthusiast, Neasden enjoys Wembley Stadium on its doorstep, which is home to world-class sporting and entertainment events. The nearby Wembley regeneration scheme has also encouraged improvements to and investments in the area, and there is a profound sense of optimism amongst locals. This positive mood shows no signs of disappearing, with Neasden next in line to benefit from exciting development projects.
Is Neasden ripe for redevelopment?
While Neasden is already a pleasant place to live, there is a sense that things are set to get even better, with regeneration proposals aplenty. Recently, No.60 Neasden Lane was granted planning permission for London Square developments to build over 120 news flats in the area; great news for renters and young professionals alike. This development, which will be replacing former light industrial buildings, will also include office space as well as a 196 bedroom hotel. This will hopefully attract further investment and new amenities for Neasden, to complement the pre-existing independent shops and services.
The recent growth of investment can also be found in nearby areas such as the Wembley Park redevelopment project, which includes the London Designer Outlet. Featuring a new cinema as well as an array of eateries and shops, it really is an exciting time to live in this part of North West London. Moreover, Wembley Park is the location for London’s next BOXPARK (opening late 2018). This is set to be bigger than the Shoreditch and Croydon editions and is certain to appeal to a younger audience!
What type of homebuyer would Neasden suit?
The combination of new developments and traditional family properties means that Neasden appeals to a variety of homebuyers. From young professionals looking to rent stylish new apartments, to couples looking to upsize with their families, Neasden ticks many boxes. The area is on the point of regeneration, offering good value for money for this part of West London, contrasting with areas like Maida Vale and Notting Hill that are often pricing people out. Moreover, the convenient transport links benefit the Central London and those who need to be near major roads to travel in and out of the Capital. So, as London property buyers, we feel that Neasden is on the cusp of something really exciting and a true up and coming part of London.
A study by Which? found that 3 in 10 UK house sales fell through in 2016, leaving thousands of potential sellers frustrated and unsure how to proceed. This situation can be an unpleasant experience too, you may have finally found your dream house to buy or maybe you need to relocate for a new job, so a sale slipping through your grasp can be particularly stressful. After such a setback it can be difficult to find the motivation to get back in the buying and selling process, which is unsurprising considering that selling a property has been found to be one of life’s most stressful experiences. So, why do house sales falling through happen so frequently and what options do you have if you find yourself in this situation?
Unlike in other countries, offers are not legally binding in the UK. A sale is only guaranteed once you have exchanged contacts which generally tends to be 3 months after you have accepted the offer. A lot can happen during this time for a sale to fall through. To begin, it’s important to understand that house sales on the open market are often part of a property chain. When an individual is looking to buy a property it’s likely that they’re selling their current home at the same time too. More often than not, the buyer’s ability to purchase your house will depend on whether they can find a buyer for their own house, and this pattern can repeat itself along an extensive property chain. There are exceptions to the chain, such as first-time buyers (who do not need to sell a property first) or sellers that are not looking to buy again (no-onward chain) but unfortunately, there’s still a lot that can go wrong.
One of the biggest reasons for a house sale falling through is issues with properties within your chain, for example, someone no longer wanting or being able to carry out a purchase, which then causes knock-on effects that can directly damage the progress of your sale. This is frustrating as situations out of your control can impact your sale and can leave you feeling helpless. Other common situations that can result in a collapse of a sale include:
The traditional way of selling a property involves using an estate agent to market your property, they can handle the process can save you a lot of trouble, as well as time.
However, using their services comes with its associated costs and fees, with an average fee being 1.3% of the selling price.
Think to yourself; does paying for this service suit your needs, or does this process need to be quick due to the plans you’ve set in motion? If you have time to spare and don’t mind paying for an estate agent’s services, maybe this option is for you.
This method can seem daunting at first but this route is becoming more popular with homeowners over time. But where do you start?
Those keen on selling their house privately should be motivated and ready to take responsibility for numerous processes, essentially becoming their very own estate agent. To begin, the property will need to be valued, advertised and prepared for viewings. Once these steps have been taken and you have found a buyer for your property you should instruct your solicitor to handle the legal side of things, after which an offer can be accepted.
Sounds like a lot? This option does require considerable attention, however, if you have the time and motivation, selling your house privately can save you thousands in fees.
A fast property buying company can be useful in a variety of situations from inheriting a property to relocation for example, but they’re particularly handy when a house sale falls through. Finding a new buyer on the open market can be time consuming and comes with many insecurities resulting in potentially losing out on the opportunity to buy your new dream house.
This is where a fast property buying company can offer an alternative approach. Using this option it’s possible to sell your home within 7 days, without the hassle of dealing with estate agents or solicitors.
At Vivo Property Buyers, we work with many people around the south-east of England, from residents of commuter belt towns and beyond, and we also buy property in London, where we’re based. We love the Capital and have bought many homes from lots of lovely people from all areas and zones.
Therefore, we find it strange that Londoners are often called unfriendly, with critics claiming that London lacks community spirit and that the fast-paced way of life here means that people do not have time for their neighbours anymore. Therefore, we ran an online survey asking 400 Londoners from all 32 boroughs questions that were related to measuring community spirit and friendliness, to discover which part of London is the friendliest of them all!
So, whether you’re a proud native or looking to move to London, you can find out which area has the friendliest residents. Who’s your money on?
We kicked things off by seeing how people in London interact with their immediate neighbours. Looking at London as a whole, we discovered that 27% of people speak to their neighbours on a daily basis which highlights that the chattiest borough, Merton, contains residents that are seriously good at chin wagging! 67% of Merton’s residents speak to their neighbours on a day-to-day basis, and if you’re from the Tooting part of Merton, we can certainly see why. The Lonely Planet recently ranked Tooting as one of the top 10 coolest neighbourhoods in the world, so we’re sure there’s always plenty to discuss!
While Merton may be the most likely place to find neighbours chatting over a fence, at a bus stop, or at the uber cool Tooting Market, we went a level further and found out how many residents from each borough actively socialise with their neighbours. Here, the north-western borough of Brent came out as winners and it doesn’t come as a surprise. The area is well suited for socialising with a huge variety of local activities close by, from sporting events at Wembley to the trendy bars and eateries propping up at Kensal Green – there are plenty of ways to get to know your neighbours! One respondent from Brent added “I have lived in this area all my life and the neighbours are friendly and helpful” while another quipped “We are like family”. Having a good relationship with your neighbours adds to the welcoming vibe and provides a support network for both the good and bad times.
Finally, we asked whether respondents would like to mingle more with their neighbours. Interestingly, despite already scoring highly for currently socialising with neighbours (80%), 71% of Greenwich residents wanted to spend more even time with them – clearly a friendly bunch! However, no one from Hammersmith or Richmond upon the Thames wanted to socialise more often – maybe they’ve found the optimal level already?
Community spirit and friendliness can often be reflected by locals taking pride in where they live and participating in community activities. In terms of where to spend their leisure time, just over half of Londoners indicated a preference of staying local, which may sound low, but as a global mega-city, there is just so much to do outside of our own boroughs! Nevertheless, it appears that the King’s Road is still the place to be seen in London after all, respondents from Kensington and Chelsea said that they prefer to socialise in their local borough.
As for investing in their community, Havering has the highest percentage of residents that take part in community events – the borough is well-known for its vast amounts of open space so there’s lots of room to put on festivals, such as the well-loved The Havering Show. Held every August Bank Holiday weekend at Harrow Lodge Park, it is a fun, free and family-focused event that attracts over 50,000 visitors annually. There’s a variety of entertainment provided from music acts, wrestlers and even Disney princess singalongs. It is events like these that bring the community together and has helped see Havering come out on top:
The north-western boroughs of Barnet and Camden also scored highly. As they both border Brent, north-west London was proving to be an early front-runner in the friendliest place to live. A respondent from Barnet said that they felt the borough was “friendly, community-minded and close-knit” while another added that their diverse neighbours “make for a really vibrant community”. For any newcomer to London, socialising in community events certainly helps them feel part of the local community and helps make the place feel like ‘home’.
As well as taking part in activities, we were interested to know how people give back to their community, buying locally and supporting independent businesses. Overall, 57% of Londoners surveyed made a conscious effort to support local business over larger chains or franchises (compared to 29% that indicated they do not, and 14% that did not have a preference). The topic of buying locally still appears to be important to Londoners despite claims of over-commercialisation in the Capital, particularly in central regions.
From a borough perspective, as well as socialising with their neighbours, Barnet also buys into the idea of supporting local trade the most. With the Barnet Market being one of the UK’s oldest (operating since 1199), buying local, independent produce may just be ingrained into their DNA:
This preference wasn’t isolated to north-west London, however, with areas such as Bromley, Haringey and Greenwich all scoring highly. One respondent from Haringey added to their response that one of the main reasons they liked the area was the “local shops and restaurants – lots of independent (but not expensive ones)”. Indeed, from local restaurants such as Autograf and Hala in Harringay to cute independent cafes like Coffee Circus and Edith’s House in Crouch End, residents don’t need much persuasion!
Interestingly, in terms of frequency, Islington was the only borough where over 50% people indicated that they use local services daily (67%), with Camden, Enfield, and Greenwich being the next likely (all 40%). Evidence suggests that Islington tops in this category because of the strong local independent restaurants on Upper Street (also known as Supper Street) that keep residents coming back every day!
Another key indication of friendliness and community spirit concerns how safe and welcome people feel in their local environment. The borough of Sutton, which has one of the lowest incidences of recorded crimes per 1,000 people (according to the London Datastore), had the highest percentage of respondents that felt ‘very safe’ in their borough (60%). Greenwich again scored highly with 47% of people feeling the same way and one of its residents claimed “I feel safe. I have a friendly neighbourhood and I’m in peace seeing people around not having any trouble.”
We then asked residents to rate their borough’s community spirit out of 100 – with a higher number reflecting a more positive score. The average score was 57, with Merton and Sutton, (who are adjacent boroughs in south London) both finishing top of the pile with scores of 78. A resident from Merton claimed that they felt it was like living in a “mini village” while a Sutton respondent felt the borough was “family-centric” all of which contributes the sense of belonging and community spirit.
On the other hand, the boroughs of Wandsworth and Newham came last with scores of 42 and 43. Residents from Wandsworth were critical that there were “too many snooty people in the area” and that “children are in general badly behaved”. People in Newham believe that there needs to be “more activities to bring the community together and bond” – maybe they should get in touch with fellow eastern borough Havering and see if they can put on a cross-community event together?
Using the results that we gathered from the respondents, we looked at how each borough fared for each question, ranking them 1-32 (with 32 being the highest score) and gave them an overall ‘Friendly Rating’ out of 100 (using their average score). And, without further ado, with a Friendly Rating of 79/100, the population of London has crowed Greenwich as the friendliest place in to live in London!
This suburban area of south-east London consistently scored highly across all sections making it the perfect all-rounder, from sociable neighbours to feeling safe out and about. Here’s what some residents said about their place:
“It’s very quiet and our neighbours are very friendly, we help each other every day.”
“My neighbours are so friendly to me and the place is also beautiful.”
“It’s near to all I need with the wealth of the experience just beyond. Multicultural and proud of it.”
Greenwich is a fascinating borough, with a relaxed feel whilst also having its own Maritime UNESCO Heritage Site, making it more and more popular with London-bound tourists. Nevertheless, it has still retained its friendly nature and community spirit which makes it one of the best places to reside in the Capital. See how it fared against the average London borough below:
While Greenwich came out on top, you can find out how all 32 boroughs fared in our survey:
|Borough||Friendly Score||Best Ranking||What They Said|
|Greenwich||79||Friendliest place to live in London||“My neighbours are so friendly to me and the place is also beautiful.”|
|Barnet||75||90% of respondents make a conscious effort to support local business over chains||“We’re friendly, community-minded and close-knit.”|
|Merton||73||The borough whose residents are most comfortable with asking their neighbour for a favour or help||“The community spirit is like a mini village.”|
|Kensington and Chelsea||66||All residents surveyed prefer spending leisure time in their own neighbourhood||“It always makes me feel like home.”|
|Croydon||66||75% of residents prefer to socialise in the local area over other boroughs||“All people around me are friendly and caring.”|
|Hillingdon||66||75% of residents have taken an action to improve the community such as sign a petition||“Good neighbours and a nice locality.”|
|Brent||64||87% of residents have socialised with an immediate neighbour in the past year||“It’s a small town feel in a large city.”|
|Westminster||63||73% of respondents want to live in the same neighbourhood in 5 years’ time||“A real community - I have lived in other areas of London that did not have this community spirit.”|
|Bromley||61||77% of respondents actively support local businesses over chains||“It's where I call home.”|
|Waltham Forest||61||62% of residents have taken an action to improve the community such as sign a petition||“I like the friendliness of people and the nice social atmosphere”|
|Lewisham||58||71% of respondents actively support local businesses over chains||“There’s a great mix of local independent shops, traditional pub, and green space.”|
|Haringey||58||75% of respondents prefer to support local businesses over franchises||“There’s lots to do and very homely.”|
|Barking||57||85% of residents have socialised with an immediate neighbour in the past year||“It’s a quiet environment and all my neighbours are very caring.”|
|Hackney||57||78% of respondents indicated they would use local businesses at least once a week||“There are lots of nice indie businesses.”|
|Bexley||57||70% of respondents indicated they would want to socialise with their neighbours even more||“My family and close friends are all local – which is important.”|
|Tower Hamlets||56||71% of residents make an effort to support local businesses over chain franchises||“There’s a diverse community with friendly people.”|
|Havering||55||The borough with the highest proportion (71%) of residents that have taken an action to improve the community (such as sign a petition) in the past 12 months||“I have lots of relatives here and there’s quite a lot of green space for families.”|
|Camden||53||Second highest % of residents that use local services on a daily basis (40%)||“Our community is what makes Camden great.”|
|Harrow||50||69% of respondents indicated that they would feel comfortable asking neighbours for a favour or help||“It is a safe neighbourhood where everyone is friendly and helpful.”|
|Ealing||46||61% of residents desire to live in the same borough in the next 5 years||“There are lots of parks, open spaces and farmers market festivals.”|
|Enfield||44||All respondents indicated that they wish to remain in the same borough in the next 5 years||“I appreciate the community feel.”|
|Kingston upon Thames||43||67% of residents feel comfortable asking their neighbours for help or a favour.||“It’s a good social mixture between town and countryside.”|
|Sutton||42||Top borough for feeling ‘very safe’ (60%)||“The people here are very kind.”|
|Wandsworth||40||71% of respondents indicated that they wish to remain in the same borough in the next 5 years||“It’s quiet and calm.”|
|Southwark||38||62% of residents have socialised with immediate neighbours in the past 12 months||“It feels like home. I feel like I belong here. It has its own distinct community and vibe.”|
|Redbridge||36||59% of respondents felt confident asking a neighbour for a favour or help.||“Neighbours are pleasant and pull together when needed.”|
|Hounslow||36||60% of respondents wish they could socialise with their neighbours more.||“It’s safe and friendly.”|
|Lambeth||36||70% of residents support local trade over larger chain businesses||“The people, they are friendly and helpful, it is comforting to know I can turn to my neighbours if need be.”|
|Richmond upon Thames||30||67% of respondents prefer to socialise in their local neighbourhood||“It feels safe.”|
|Islington||28||Top borough for using local services on a daily basis (67%)||It’s a great mixed community.”|
|Newham||28||56% of respondents have socialised with an immediate neighbour in the past 12 months||“It’s a quiet place with nice houses and green spaces. I feel quite safe as well.”|
|Hammersmith||28||57% of respondents make a conscious effort to support local business||“It’s close to friends and central London for theatre, restaurants, museums, galleries.”|
So how did your borough do? And do you agree with the results?
One of the primary benefits of technology is that way it makes our lives easier, whether when we’re at work or play. As experienced property buyers, we can see how advancements in technology have changed the housing industry for the better too. Long gone are the days when the only way to find a home was by looking in the window of an estate agents’ office. Nowadays, there are estate agents that operate purely online, and with property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, you can discover your dream home without having to leave your front room. The property industry has embraced the digital environment and it has certainly made life a lot easier for everyone in the property world, from homebuyers and sellers to agents, landlords and even renters looking for a new housemate – which is great news as selling a house has been deemed the most stressful life event.
Also, with the fact that the majority of people now access the internet via their mobile device rather than desktop, property-related apps are starting to come to the foreground. Here we look at the top 10 property apps available to help you find your next dream home, from discovering it, finding out more about it, to your moving day!
Trovit Homes is a handy app where users can find a huge range of properties for sale or rent that are listed across thousands of different sites, all in one, simple to use app. As well as the normal filtering options (price range, bedrooms, etc.), a neat feature with Trovit is that you can draw a circle around a map of the location you want to live in and it will show a list of properties in that defined area- perfect if you have specific villages or towns you want to live in. What is perhaps most helpful about Trovit is that it can send you personalised notifications of properties you may be interested in as soon as they become available, saving you the hassle of finding new properties. Plus, it’s available in 46 different countries if you’re looking to relocate abroad!
Available on: iOS and Android devices
While this app does not specifically focus on house buying, Patch is fantastic for those looking to find rental properties in the UK. Each listing features floors plans, map views and integrated images in the listing view for a smooth and friendly user experience. What we love about Patch is that if you find a property you like, you discuss it with friends or family in a group chat and even arrange viewings with agents, all within the app itself. This is great if you’re trying to organise a house-share and are struggling to keep everyone in one place!
Available on: iOS devices
With property listings powered by Zoopla, Knocker is a fun way to search for your next potential home in the UK. Named “Tinder for Houses” by The Sunday Times, the app allows you to search for properties based on your present location or a designated area and you simply swipe through properties until you’ve found one that you’re interested in. It’s great if you’re a casual browser or want to nose about the area and see what’s about. Perhaps you’ve stopped by a café in an area you adore and want to check out the local properties while you wait for your coffee – you can always save a property for later too.
Available on: iOS devices
If you’ve used the previous three apps to find a property you love, it’s now time to start digging deeper into the home itself. Considering all of this can be done on your smartphone, you better check whether where you could be living has a network good coverage! This app regularly tests network call performance and mobile internet speeds – which is really handy if you’re moving to a brand new area. You can also compare coverage in different neighbourhoods in the same area – it could be the difference when choosing between two different properties!
Available on: iOS and Android devices
Sadly, you can’t control the weather when you’re viewing a property, so it may be raining cats and dogs or just a grey day with no natural light. Worry not, with Sun Seeker you can see what the property is like when the sun has got his hat on. Popular with photographers and architects alike, the app provides both a flat compass and ‘augmented reality 3D view’, where you can visualise how long your property gets the sun each day, as well as its equinox, winter and summer solstice paths! You can really get a real feel for the property by checking out how natural light interacts with it, proving that there’s a lot more to a property than just a south facing garden!
Available on: iOS and Android devices
So you’ve checked the network coverage and how much sunlight your prospective property gets, now it’s time to see what’s around the property with Around Me. This app is your local neighbourhood expert and can let you know all the amenities in your current location – from restaurants and supermarkets to banks and bars. It can help give you a better understanding of the area you’re moving to and how long simple, regular things such as filling up your car on the way to work to popping out to get some milk will take.
Available on: iOS and Android devices
Suppose you’ve now found a property you want really to buy, this free property app from Mortgage Brain is a super simple way to search around the UK mortgage market and kick off the house buying process. Within the app, you can even get in touch with a qualified broker for advice and check out a huge range of mortgage rates. Moreover, its Mortgage Calculator can work out how much you can borrow, how much it will cost you and what the effects of changing interest rates will have on your mortgage. This app certainly helps to get the ball rolling on one of the most important aspects of the house buying process.
Available on: iOS devices
Buying and selling property can certainly be hectic and during this process you won’t always be next to a computer. This is why the DocuSign app is so useful as you can store, access and manage important docs securely, anywhere. Therefore, if any important or time-sensitive documents arrive at inconvenient moments, you don’t need to stress! You can also send docs to other people to sign as well. It’s compatible with PDF, Word, Excel and you can even guide your signers with ‘Sign Here’ prompts. Easy like Sunday morning.
Cost: from £6.28 per item
Available on: Android devices
Another useful app on the house buying process regards the move itself! Moving Planner is a great app that works as a moving checklist planner with pre-populated items so you can create multiple lists for the big day, including custom colour coding! You can also use cloud data to share this list with your family or friends for collaborative planning and assign certain ‘lists’ to boxes for when you transport your belongings. Having your big move all in one app makes life a lot easier and it has everything you may forget, such as reminders to transfer internet providers for example!
Available on: iOs and Android devices
Not every aspect of the house buying process should be stressful; you shouldn’t forget about having a bit of fun too. Along with Knocker, another entertaining app is Houzz. It’s a great way to get inspired for improving and decorating your (new) home. You can use the app to discover ideas for your home and save them later for inspiration. Use their Sketch feature to annotate any image and bring your ideas to life. There’s a lot of depth with this app too, you can read expert articles on interior design and use their advice section to get feedback on your projects and ideas from fellow enthusiasts. You can even hire professionals via the app to help make those dreams a reality.
Available on: iOs and Android devices
We hope these property apps help you sell your house faster and easier! If you ever want some impartial advice on your house sale, feel free to get in touch with Vivo Property Buyers for a friendly chat.