Tag Archive: Victoria Linsley

Brexit and the apparent impact?

Some time has now passed since the unrest of the recent general election and ‘hung’ parliament and contrary to national reports, the increased sales and lettings activity or “bubble” we are experiencing in our local market appears to remain.

Whilst our business operates primarily in the rural sector we understand fully, the impact on the agricultural fraternity that the recent announcements and turmoil will have.

It is certainly worth acknowledging that a significant amount of our business comes from these clients and most of our offices are situated within these areas. Clearly, with Brexit on the horizon there will be significant turbulence within our industry particularly in relation to farming and agriculture.

Irrespective of this, the trend in the immediate number of residential sales transactions taking place is rising in our branches. Our offices continues to experience high levels of activity in terms of viewings taking place and proceedable offers being received. We have never been more positive in recent times!

We are informed that borrowing is relatively cheap at the present time and that more and more mortgage applications are being granted with relative ease which in turn assist, in the oiling of the cogs within our industry.

The full impact of Brexit remains to be seen, however within the residential sales and lettings market to date in the short term we see no negative impact.

We have the benefit of a variety of professionals within our business who not only can share their knowledge with our residential agency teams but are also on hand to help and advise in this uncertain time on wider issues and would welcome a call should you require assistance.

If you are thinking of selling or letting your property please contact one our professional and friendly teams at your nearest office:

Alnwick – 01665 603581
Wolsingham – 01388 527966
Barnard Castle – 01833 690390
Bedale – 01677 425301

What is an EPC and why do we need them?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) graph looks quite similar to energy labels provided on many household appliances.

The purpose of the certificate is to indicate the energy efficiency of a building. The Housing Act 2004 is the UKs legislation relating to EPCs and introduced the EPC to England and Wales in August 2007. This was initially as part of the Home Information Packs (HIPs) which were later abolished.

An EPC is required for all properties that are marketed for sale or to let across the whole of the UK although there are some exemptions, for example:

  • Listed buildings
  • Temporary buildings with a planned use time of 2 years or less
  • Residential buildings that are intended to be used for less than 1/3 of the year
  • Standalone buildings with a floor area of less than 50m²
  • If the owner can demonstrate that the building is suitable for demolition or redevelopment.*

The above list is not exhaustive.

A rating of between A-G is provided on a certificate with A being the most efficient, meaning fuel bills for the building are likely to be lower.

An energy survey will look at the how the building has been constructed (its fabrication) and its services (heating, ventilation and lighting) and from this survey an asset rating is calculated which reflects the age and condition of the building. It also states what the related carbon dioxide emissions for the property are.

The intention of an EPC is to provide prospective buyers and tenants of a building with a guide to how efficient it will be and practical advice to increase the energy performance of the property. It enables buyers to compare the ratings of properties across the UK.

The EPC includes recommendations to help owners and occupiers to improve the efficiency of the property. The majority of these suggestions are cost effective solutions however in some cases more depth is provided and suggestions go on to outline more expensive ideas. However, there is no statutory requirement for buyers or tenants to carry out these recommendations.
It is common for period properties to have a low rating but often the current and potential rating is more for information only for buyers on what can be done, if anything. Buyers do not put much importance on rating if they want a period property and if the rating is important to them they will often prefer new homes.

On the 1st April 2016 a new minimum standard for properties rented out in the private sector was introduced. From the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for new lets and renewal of properties rented out in the private sector to have a minimum energy efficiency rating of ‘E’ on an EPC. From 1st April 2020 the minimum standard of energy efficiency rating of ‘E’ on an EPC will apply to all existing tenancies therefore it will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum ‘E’ rating, unless there is applicable exemption.

The Energy Performance Certificate is valid for 10 years providing no significant work has been carried out to the property. You can check whether there is an existing EPC for your property by visiting www.epcregister.com.

If you are thinking about selling or letting your property, George F. White are on hand to advise you with regard to Energy Performance Certificates. Please feel free to contact your local team with any questions you may have:

Gemma Miller – Alnwick, Northumberland – 01665 603581
Lindsay French – Wolsingham, County Durham – 01388 529579
Victoria Linsley – Barnard Castle, County Durham – 01833 690390
Sheryl Sowden – Bedale, North Yorkshire – 01677 425301

*Details available from an appropriately qualified agent.

Many people often ask us the question, “how long will it take to sell my property?”

There is never a definite answer to this as we can only rely on our experience and average statistics to give an estimate. Each property will take a different amount of time to sell. Depending on the buyer profile of the property, ultimately who is likely to buy it, and how big the portion of that market is i.e. there are more family buyers in the market than investor buyers in our local market.

2016 saw our Barnard Castle office selling properties on average 8 weeks faster than the previous year, with an average timescale to agree a sale in 2015 being 31 weeks compared to just 23 week in 2016. There are obviously properties that will take far less time than this and properties that will take much longer than the average but it is difficult to predict this until a property is launched to the market and will depend on the individual circumstances of the buyer and seller and how proactive the agent is.

Overall the statistics show that activity from buyers has increased. However, as buyers are now party to a wealth of information online relating to sold prices and available properties and as people become more au fait with using the internet they become more savvy about what they are prepared to offer. In addition to this lenders are far more cautious when approving mortgage applications with surveyors giving strict valuations that stifle the market growth somewhat. We therefore have not seen the sharp rise in house prices in our region that previous historic booms have given us.

That said, it is comforting to know that things in the property world in our region are picking up, which is reflected in our Barnard Castle office in relation to quantity of sales and time taken to sell as we continue to see an improvement  year on year.  However it is important to note that this upturn still relies on the seller taking the correct advice on pricing and marketing strategy in order to create the maximum competition when negotiating a sale.

It is imperative to factor in to timescales the time it takes to complete the transaction once the sale has been agreed. Looking at conveyancing timescales in 2007 the average amount of time the legal process took was 6 weeks which increased drastically to between 14 and 17 weeks following the property crash.

Whilst this was often down to the length of time relevant documentation was taking to come back to the solicitors from third parties i.e. searches, together with the delay from lenders and their more stringent application process, it was also reported that law firms had restructured their staffing to reflect the lack of conveyancing required at that time.

Over more recent years and months we have seen solicitors recruiting to cope better with the volume of sales. Therefore more proactivity from the legal side means sales can reach exchange and completion more promptly.

This again is shown in our Barnard Castle branch where the average time between sale agreed and completion is now at an average of 11 weeks. Whilst is not back to the swift 6 weeks timeframe previously seen, it is promising news for our local property market as we see the cogs turning and turning more quickly.  We hope to see a year of further improvements to the market and are confident that this will be forthcoming.

Should you require any advice on marketing or you would like to understand the sales process in more detail before deciding to sell then please contact us where we would be delighted to speak to you. If you wish to discuss either your sale or lettings queries with us please telephone your nearest office:

Gemma Miller – Alnwick, Northumberland – 01665 603581
Lindsay French – Wolsingham, County Durham – 01388 529579
Victoria Linsley – Barnard Castle, County Durham – 01833 690390
Sheryl Sowden – Bedale, North Yorkshire – 01677 425301

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