Category Archive: Residential

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.

George F. White Agency: A New Beginning

This year, we made the decision to introduce a complete property management service across all of the George F. White offices. Sheryl Sowden, Head of Residential Agency, and Donna Cheney, Head of Lettings, explain the reasoning behind the decision and the benefits to our clients.

Agency

Historically, George F. White’s agency team have offered both residential sales and residential lettings services, however, for the past four years, GFW Letting, a dedicated property management branch of the group, ran residential lettings in Northumberland and Newcastle. The GFW Letting business model has been a phenomenal success therefore; we took the decision to introduce a centralised lettings and property management service to the George F. White brand in order to complete our all-inclusive offering, meaning that we now have dedicated lettings and property management teams in our Wolsingham, Barnard Castle and Bedale offices.

Not only does the introduction of an expert lettings and property management team in these offices benefit our overall service offering, it presents attractive and innovative opportunities to our clients. The prospect of our residential agency and residential lettings team working side by side opens many doors, particularly in regards to knowledge sharing and best practice. Inevitably, we strive to ensure that our clients get the best from their investment, whether that be when they are buying, selling or letting a property.

Sheryl Sowden said: “A prime example of how the two markets go hand in hand, in particular for clients, is to look at reluctant landlords. This is perhaps somebody that has inherited a property that they want to sell but the market won’t accommodate it for various reasons. We have the facility to advise and offer an alternative option within the same branch, with the same trusted advisors. As vacant properties no longer receive any council tax discounts the owner is liable for those charges, and the longer the property is empty those costs actually increase. In addition to this there is the cost of heating the property to ensure that there is no deterioration of condition, meaning that property owners are losing money unnecessarily. In this case we would look into introducing a tenant in order to take the financial weight off the client’s shoulders in the short or long term.”

“If a client ideally wants to market their property for sale whilst it is tenanted, so long as there is good communication between the management team, tenant and sales team this process can also work very successfully, but transparency and a good relationship are critical. This is also facilitated extremely well if the process is managed by one company working closely together”.

Thanks to both our residential agency and lettings teams being housed under the same roof, our clients are dealing with the same people, but the individual that has the most relevant expertise, they receive the same level of service from beginning to end. Buying, selling or letting a property is an extremely significant financial and emotional investment, therefore, professionalism, transparency and trust from all parties is key.

Donna Cheney said: “Now that we have a Head of Lettings and a Head of Residential Agency, we’ve found that it has enhanced our communication and our understanding of how the sectors are increasingly overlapping. A progressive understanding of each area has allowed us to identify our business objectives as well creating a diverse, attractive and innovative service offering for our clients.  We are extremely positive about the future opportunities that this integration and cooperation affords us and our clients.”

For more information, contact your local team or find out more about what we can offer here.

 

Hebden Hall: Unoccupied for Over 40 Years

Hebden Hall, Hebden, is a spacious, semi-detached home, in need of full modernisation and renovation. After being unoccupied for over 40 years, Hebden Hall has been launched to the market and we were fascinated by the items that were found inside…

 

Hebden Hall sits on the edge of Hebden, a picturesque village in the craven district of North Yorkshire. Hebden benefits from a hotel, a tea room, and a community hall, as well as being served by public buses. The market town of Skipton is just a short drive away, with a large range of independent and commercial shops, medical and dental facilities, schools, churches, and a good selection of public houses and restaurants.

The semi-detached family home is ideal for those wanting a project to create their own base within the dales. Benefiting from four bedrooms, the property has a spacious feel throughout and has great potential.

 

Open viewings Saturday 14th July 10am – 11am.

For more information about this property, click here or call our Bedale office on 01677 425301.

Getting the Right Value

We sat down with Andrew Entwistle, partner at George F. White, to discuss the importance of getting a correct valuation on an asset.

I am firm believer that any business or individual cannot make a rational or informed decision without knowing the value of an asset, or the cost consequences of a particular action. In fact, understanding value is the under pinning basis on which professionals advise their clients on a particular course of action.

Value

We have seen, over the last six years, the introduction of Automated Valuation Models (AVMs), particularly into the residential sector. Will we ever see AVM’s being used to value agricultural assets and farmland? I doubt such models could ever achieve even a modest degree of accuracy for farmland. Simply put, rural assets are too diverse for a computer to handle, particularly in the market that we are in. With low supply, demand can be high yet market conditions are showing a distinct patchiness with hot spots where land prices greatly exceed expectations, contrasting with similar quality land in low demand areas struggling to sell at below average guide prices.

I have the perception that most people consider valuations are only needed for either selling or when a bank wishes to take some security for a mortgage. There are many other good reasons to get a written valuation which are often overlooked, or simply guessed at.

The frequent scenario I come across is the case when a farmer dies. In the course of obtaining probate estimates of value are submitted, particularly in the case when Agricultural Property Relief or Business Property Relief applies and there is no inheritance tax to pay. A death forms an important tax point on the value of a farm and subsequently used as a base for future events such as calculating capital gains tax. More often than not, agricultural value is underestimated or simply not recorded.

Dealing with capital gains tax cases, another important relief that is often overlooked in Principle Private Residence Relief, where a main dwelling house can be free of Capital Gains Tax including up to 0.5 Ha of gardens, grounds, and outbuildings. A formal valuation at this point should have some analysis which attaches value to the garden and grounds from the rest of the farm that can minimise a Capital Gains Tax bill.

Another misunderstood concept I come across is Hope Value, where clients attach large values to land on the basis it will developed in the future. Market Value is the standard definition that is used for bank security purposes and reflects the price that the market will pay for an asset at a specific point in time. Research carried out by George F. White shows that developers are unlikely to pay significant sums over existing use value if the land has not got planning consent. A client will view the value of their land with Hope Value differently, taking into the “worth” of the development opportunity in the future them. The “worth” and “Market Value” of land is often significantly different.

Different valuation purposes often have different bases of value, for example tax valuations are have subtlety different valuation base to security valuations that in certain circumstances can give rise to very different values. In the case of matrimonial valuations Market value may not be an appropriate as it would not reflect the existence of a special purchaser.

So will a professional Valuer ever be replaced by an Automated Valuation Model? Only if an AVM can talk to clients and understand their objectives, decide the correct valuation base to use, and work as a team with an accountant and solicitor. I can’t see that happening in my lifetime.

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