Tag Archive: North East

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.

Doddington Dairy

Doddington Dairy are, undoubtedly, one of the most recognisable locally produced food brands in the North East, they are also one of Northumberland’s very few remaining dairy farms. Their are sought-after across the length and breadth of the country, and over the years, it has received some of the highest industry accolades.

Doddington

It was almost 25 years ago, that brother and sister Neill and Margaret Ann Maxwell, who farm at Doddington near Wooler in Northumberland, realised that they needed to add value to their milk. After much research and training, they launched Doddington Cheese. In 2000, Neill and his wife Jackie went on to launch Doddington Dairy Ice Cream.

When they developed and marketed their cheeses, they were certainly ahead of the trend in terms of diversification. They were one of only a few companies in the UK producing hand-crafted, unpasteurised cheeses. When they launched their ice creams, they became the only farm-based ice cream producer between Aberdeenshire and York. Today, Doddington is one of the very few dairy farms left in Northumberland, they employ in the region of 20 members of staff in the dairy and on the farm, making them one of the largest employers in the Wooler and Glendale community.

The Maxwell family are passionate about their products and their local provenance. They have always used, and will only use, natural ingredients. Both cheeses and ice creams are still made from their own milk. As a high profile North East brand, where possible, in making their ice creams, cheeses and yoghurts, Doddington Dairy collaborate with other local producers and brands synonymous with the region; the most famous being Newcastle Brown Ale as well as Heather Honey Ice Cream, using Honey from The Chainbridge Honey Farm near Berwick, and Alnwick Rum Truffle Ice Cream.

Doddington Dairy is a progressive company and the Maxwell family work very hard to extend and improve their products. They don’t stand still and are always looking for new and innovative ideas to increase the range of both ice cream and cheese. They were the very first company in the UK to produce a beer ice cream, Newcastle Brown Ale ice cream. This took the media and the people of the North East by storm, so much so that it was even enjoyed by Jonathon Ross on BBC Radio 2. Continuing on their passion and pride for the North East, three years ago, to commemorate one of the North East’s greatest heroes, Grace Darling, Doddington launched their first Blue Cheese – Darling Blue. The team also celebrated the Sage Gateshead’s 10th anniversary and their tenth year of producing their own speciality labels for the award-winning music venue, they celebrated with a bespoke Strawberry and Champagne ice cream.

Today, alongside their collection of six cheeses and extensive range of luxury ice creams, Doddington also produce a range of yoghurts. Both plain and with fruity bottoms, the price remain as they did when the launched. They to, are handmade on the farm and use only the finest natural ingredients.

Doddington Dairy’s quality products have gained both regional and national recognition on many occasions. They have quite literally scooped dozens of awards. Their cheeses and ice creams have been tasted and enjoyed by countless celebrities, politicians, and members of the royal family. However, there has been one award which really stood out, the BBC Radio 4’s Food Producer of the Year, this was awarded for both the company’s exceptional quality products along with their commitment to their tremendous team of staff and the local community. As the only company in the North East ever to have scooped this accolade, it was quite literally the topping on the cone!

Looking to the future, Doddington aims to capitalise on the trend for online purchasing and are about to launch an ecommerce site to sell and promote their cheeses and cheese hampers.

Talking about the challenges the farming industry faces in the future, Neill said: “We face the biggest overhaul in the rural economy in 45 years; farm policy is being dictated by farm policy makers who have little or no understating of the rural business and life. As dairy farmers in England’s most Northern corners, and with fluctuating milk prices, we currently have little to be positive about. We are not in a renowned UK dairy farming area, so for us as a company producing both milk and dairy products, it is key that we work closely with our neighbouring dairy farmers to ensure the long–term future and sustainability of our enterprises”, says Neill.

David Hume, Senior Farm Business Consultant, says, “At George F. White, we understand the challenges and uncertainty that farmers and rural business owners face, whether that be with Brexit, general government policies and even the weather. We make sure to set time aside to research, attend conferences and we feed that information back to our clients. It is extremely important to us that we keep our clients up to date.”

Doddington cheese is available throughout the UK. The original cheese, Doddington, is one of the most popular for customers of ‘speciality cheese’ in London’s Neal’s Yard. The ice creams are available in delicatessens, speciality food shops, attractions and theatres across the North of England and Scotland. Yoghurts, still very much in their infancy, are also widely available across the North East.

For anyone who really wants to live and breathe the true taste of Doddington, a visit to their iconic Milk Bar (on Route A697) at Wooler is a must. What better way to enjoy a trip out than to have the finest of Doddington cheese in a cheese scone, followed by a cone of delight in a Doddington Dairy ice cream?

Click here to read more of Field Notes.

Forward Ladies National Shortlist: Sally Hart

Operations Director, Sally Hart, has been named on the regional shortlist at this year’s Forward Ladies National Awards, in the Corporate Leader category. Forward Ladies is one of the country’s leading organisations for the promotion of women in business and the National Awards are one of the most respected accolades for business women in the UK.

Sally Hart Forward Ladies

Commenting on the news, Sally said: “It’s an absolute honour to make the shortlist of such a prestigious event and to share the finalist list with some very talented and hard-working women, championing North East female entrepreneurship. Reaching the final is also great recognition for promoting younger female board members across business as, when I am not helping to run George F. White, I work with many professional women across a number of industries providing them with support and mentorship. I firmly believe we need to promote and celebrate women in business as much as we can.”

Sally’s heat takes place on Friday 14th September, which brings together finalists across the North East, Yorkshire and Scotland. Such values promoted by the awards ceremony are similar to the ethos of George F. White and its focus on the importance of a people-driven organisation where women have a number of senior, leading roles within the business.

Robyn Peat, Managing Partner at George F. White, added: “I am delighted for Sally and her shortlist nomination in what is a highly competitive award. She’s a huge asset to the business and has transformed key operational activity since she’s come on board which has benefited not only the business but the team too. For example, Sally has been instrumental in implementing a new strategic direction which has focused on creating a sustainable and adaptable business that is centred around its people, using the resource and talent we have within the company to the best of its ability. Good luck, Sally!”

Forward Ladies

 

For more information about the event and shortlist please click here.

Why the right support network is vital to your farm

It’s less than 12 months until the UK leaves the European Union, a key political shift that will have sweeping changes for farmers across the region. To manage and adjust to the challenges this will bring, and ongoing uncertainty, financial resilience is vital.

farm

Farmers need to focus on improving productivity, in order to increase future sustainability and, given the expected changes in funding and grants, the farming sector needs to move away from relying on subsidies and prepare for a future with reduced financial support by investing in new technologies, creating new revenue streams through diversification and concentrating on succession planning to ensure the longevity, and security, of their farm.

Having in place the right support for your farm business is therefore vital, not only to help you through these uncertain times but also to help maximise the health and profitability of your farm during good times too. Being proactive, and planning ahead, is more important than ever before and a good farm consultant helps farmers to push their business forwards, strategically plan for peaks and troughs all year round, and capitalise on opportunities that would greatly benefit you and your farm, helping to meet your personal and business objectives.

George F. White is one of the largest farm consultancy teams in the North and we’re currently working with a wide range of farms, large and small, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, reviewing the overall health of the business and proposing solutions to farmers to help them overcome the challenges they face. We understand that each farm is unique, and each farmer receives a bespoke service tailored to their specific needs and requirements.

We often hear that consultancy services are for huge farms, or those facing difficulties, but this really isn’t the case. What’s important is that you and your farm have the right support structure, whatever size or type of farm. What matters is developing a close working relationship with your consultant so that you trust them to advise you appropriately, to help you achieve the best outcomes for you personally and also your business.

Desk based consultancy isn’t going to achieve this, which is why our farm team have lots of face to face contact with clients, visiting farms regularly, looking at stock, crops, and machinery and assessing its strengths and challenges to decide where next to take the business, or strategically advise on what it needs at that time, whether that’s preventative measures, business planning and cash flow management, or preparation of funding briefs and farm budgets.

We’re not just a fair-weather consultancy either – we offer all year-round support to help you overcome business and financial hurdles, to maximise profitability. We understand it’s often difficult to let an outsider in, which is why establishing a strong, close relationship is vital from the beginning, working together proactively and planning ahead to help you get the farm business to where you want.

To discuss our farm consultancy services in more detail, contact Elliot Taylor on elliottaylor@georgefwhite.co.uk.

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