Category Archive: Residential

New Build Housing: Why Knowledge is King

It’s no secret that housing developers, or new build housing, are now nationally recognised as a solution to the UK housing crisis, and if executed correctly, they can deliver sustainable new communities.

Executing a successful housing development, large or small, is a tricky business with many factors to consider, such as identifying appropriate sites, planning and design justifications, right through to the sale of plots. Our team of experts argue that stumbling blocks tend to appear when a developer hasn’t received sound advice on the market and needs of the people surrounding the acquired land at an early stage.

New Build Housing

Speaking about the importance of market knowledge when looking to build new build housing, Gemma Miller, Residential Sales Manager at George F. White said: “For any housing developer, knowledge is king; we cannot stress that enough. You might have a fantastic vision, but does it fit the market in the area you’re looking to build? The agency team at George F. White work closely with our planning, investment and site finding teams, ensuring that private investors and developers are looking at the bigger picture, and are better advised on a market before progressing with new build development plans. We’ve seen it too many times before where a developer has come to us for advice after they’ve already progressed through the architectural and planning stages and are ready to commence the development, or when a new build is complete and ready for sale, only to be disappointed that there’s no demand in the area for the style of home they’ve created, or that the profit margins they hoped to achieve are not feasible for the area.”

“It’s extremely important for a developer to be in touch with a local estate agent in the early stages of a new build project to fully understand the market, constraints and motivation they’re working with; if this stage of the development process is cut, it’s more than likely that the developer will lose out financially. I would strongly suggest speaking to your local estate agent within the first phase rather than at the point of marketing.”

Motivations for new build housing differ depending on location; however, a report by the Joseph Roundtree Foundation found that the majority of new build buyers are largely influenced by both internal and external design, stating that buyers prefer developments where there’s more flexibility on bespoke design and where there’re a larger variety of property types available. That’s certainly a factor that we’ve found to be vital for a housing development to be successful.

Gemma continued: “As modern living continues to progress; we’ve found that selling housing plots off plan has become more popular as it is giving buyers the option to design their home to suit their lifestyle. There’re so many housing developments now with specific blue prints; buyers want to be able to make a property their home, therefore offering that flexibility prior to building increases the attractiveness and likelihood of a swift sale.”

“We are lucky to have a team of in-house estate agents, planners and architects, allowing us to ensure that each of our developments is executed professionally and to an excellent standard. It also means that our clients are dealing with the same people but with the individual that has the most relevant expertise, meaning they receive the same level of service from beginning to end.”

If you’re considering developing housing opportunities, be it a large or small scale project; get in touch with your local team today to find out more about how we can help you.

Home Farm Open Weekend

Home Farm Open Weekend, 6th and 7th April, 11am – 4pm

On the 6th and 7th of April, we will be opening the doors to Home Farm; Luxury London property developer, Jerry Ellis’ first exclusive Northumbrian development in Ellingham, showcasing spacious accommodation and high specification interiors.

The site features a mixed arrangement of detached, semi-detached and terraced dwellings ranging from £300,000 to £580,000 with choices of three, four or five bedrooms. The properties make gorgeous family homes in a village that – like much of the North East – is seeing an influx of younger families attracted by the lifestyle and the proximity of the A1 and East Coast Main Line.

Jerry Ellis is an experienced developer, operating mainly in London and the South East. His super prime property CV includes numerous prestigious residential projects, notably a spectacular £50m house in Chelsea that was completed and sold in 2016.

Ellis said: “I have family connections to Northumberland and have always thought of it as an unspoilt and underrated part of the UK. Coincidentally, my business partner Tom Bell is from the area and is now leading the project with local expertise and local craftsmen. When the site was launched to market, I jumped at the chance to develop quality rural homes in an idyllic location”.

Home Farm Open Day, 6th and 7th April, 11am – 4pm, click to view on a map

To view the available properties, click here

To download the Home Farm brochure, click here

To get in touch with our Agency team, please call 01665 603581 or email.


Spring Property Market: why wait?

Victoria Linsley explains why you shouldn’t wait for Spring to sell and why our advice is that now is the time to launch your property to the market.

We’re hoping that there’s light at the end of the wintery tunnel and that spring is within reach. Flowers are breaking through, the grass us turning and we live in hope of brighter weather. However, this year’s no different from other years… again, we ask sellers holding out for the magic of Easter/spring; why wait to compete against a flood of new property in the market?


Our general advice is that now is as good a time as any to sell your property. However, we still hear the same comments from cautious vendors. They feel the best time of year to market their property is the spring.

What’re are keen to stress is that buyers don’t wait until the spring before starting their search. Generally, buyers will also be selling, and will tend to move for reasons other than because they fancy a change. The most common reasons we see for house moves, in the present climate, is to be nearer to family, relocation due to work or up/downsizing because the property no longer meets their requirements. These factors are present at all times of the year, which tells us that there’s no particular merit in waiting for good weather (if indeed it ever arrives!?) especially when that’s when you will have the highest levels of competition.

There’s a certain amount of caution in the market, given the political situation, however, whilst funding is still readily available, buyers will still move and we’re experiencing a lot of activity day-to-day in terms of enquiries, viewings and offers.

That said, we do acknowledge how important it is to wait for the right time for you. If you rush your property to the market without preparing, it may not be presented in the best way and when the point comes to agree on, or complete, a sale you may have a change of heart, delaying or damaging the marketing process.

We’re amazed by the amount of scaremongering in the media when it comes to property prices and state of the market! This often stems from reports on the London housing market; something quite different from that of which we are accustomed to. Even though there’s a slight decrease in viewing numbers, the number of offers being received is still comparative to this time last year and there’re a number of people enquiring on a daily basis who can not find what they are looking for due to a lack of properties being offered for sale.

We’re always happy to chat over ideas and give general advice if you are thinking about selling or letting your property, please feel free to contact our friendly and professional team at George F. White, Harmire Enterprise Park, Barnard Castle on 01833 690 390.

Building Survey: Would you buy a property without one?

Buying a property is quite possibly the biggest financial investment you will ever make… James Cullen, Head of Building Surveying, explains why you should instruct a full building survey before acquisition.

What is a Basic Valuation Survey?

  • Required by the Mortgage lenders prior to approving a loan;
  • Confirm to the lender whether or not they can recover their investment if the property be repossessed;
  • This survey is not completed to provide detail on key structural and maintenance issues.

Pitfalls of Basic Valuation Surveys…

I have often been reminded that Basic Valuation Surveys are completed in less than 15 minutes… some of which do not incur a site visit or even involve entering the property or the roof space.

Similarly, with the rapid uptake of lump sum pension payments; there are a number of buyers on the market purchasing buildings outright without additional sources of finance. In this case, there is no minimum valuation survey requirement.

Consequently, purchasers are often exposed to a high level of risk. They are liable to commit the funds to maintain and repair the properties under their ownership. More often than not this liability is realised when it is too late to digest and plan for such issues.

Building Survey

Why Instruct a Full Building Survey?

According to research undertaken by consumer group ‘Which’; at a time when a purchaser is already expending funds, a survey can seem like another painful expense.

Typically, 20% of property buyers fail to commission a building survey prior to going ahead with a property transaction. This alarming figure identifies that the majority of property buyers run the risk of buying a property that could present major and costly defects which are unidentifiable to the untrained eye.

It is far better to be aware of any issues before purchasing a property so that informed decisions about how much the property is worth can be made and that the cost of any repair works can be considered at the outset.

This detailed survey can often be used to negotiate the purchase price down with the vendor, or can be set aside as a useful plan to target repairs, budget and recourse in the future.

Why instruct George F. White?

We pride ourselves on offering high quality, detailed and informed Building Surveys to reassure purchasers and identify the clear concerns with any building and where to target resources for repairs in the future.

Only the highest level of RICS compliant building survey is offered to our clients for the very reason that their security and protection is our highest priority. Moreover, this saves the unnecessary expense of revisiting and undertaking further investigation works which are often referred to in surveys such as a homebuyer’s survey.

For more information, a friendly service and advice tailored to meet your requirements, please contact James Cullen.