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April 2023 Devon Property Market Update: A Fresh Perspective on the Housing Market

Devon Property Market Update Spring 2023 Helmores

Discover the latest trends in the Devon property market, including pricing, mortgage rates, and the market’s transition to a more stable environment. Let’s dive in!

Devon Property Market Statistics

In Devon, the property market is showing positive signs. April’s monthly change is up 0.6%, year-on-year change is up 2%, average days to sell are at 54, and the average price sits at a comfortable £387,415.

National Property Market Trends

Across the UK, the average property price rose by a modest 0.2% (£890) this month. This may be lower than the usual 1.2% increase expected at this time of the year, but it’s a sign that sellers are wisely pricing their properties to attract spring buyers. Despite facing economic challenges, first-time-buyer type properties reached a new record price of £224,963 this month. With skyrocketing rent prices, it’s no wonder buying has become an attractive option for those who can secure a mortgage and deposit.

Mortgage Rates and First-Time Buyers

Speaking of mortgages, the average first-time-buyer mortgage rate for a 5-year fixed, 15% deposit mortgage has dropped to 4.46%, with the lowest rate for this mortgage type currently at 4.19%. Sales agreed numbers have bounced back to match pre-pandemic levels from March 2019, surpassing last September’s figures after a 21% drop following the mini-Budget aftershocks.

First-Time Buyer Sector Leads Recovery

The first-time-buyer sector (two bedrooms and fewer) is leading this recovery with agreed sales now 4% higher than in March 2019. Meanwhile, the second-stepper sector remains 4% behind, and the top-of-the-ladder sector lags by 3%. Sales agreed are still 18% behind last year’s extraordinary market, but we’re transitioning to a more typical level of sales activity.

New Seller Asking Prices and Market Stability

New seller asking prices rose by a mere 0.2% (£890) this month to £366,247, which is significantly lower than the average 1.2% increase for this time of the year. This cautious pricing indicates that sellers are paying attention to the economic climate and adjusting to a slower-paced housing market, reminiscent of pre-pandemic times. Though we’ve had our ups and downs, the number of sales agreed now matches the same period in 2019, defying many expectations.

Attracting Spring Buyers in the Devon Property Market

We have really noticed that sellers are shifting from the frantic multi-bid market mindset of recent years to understanding the importance of enticing spring buyers with competitive prices. This stability is definitely encouraging more sellers to enter the Devon property market, providing buyers with more options to choose from. However, buyers shouldn’t hesitate too long when they find the right home, as properties are selling twelve days faster than in 2019!

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the April 2023 Devon property market shows a really positive trend, especially for first-time buyers. With cautious pricing, a more stable market, and dropping mortgage rates, there’s reason to be optimistic about the future of the property market.

If you’re thinking of selling your property or looking to buy a lovely new home in the Devon area, we’d be absolutely thrilled to hear from you! We promise to do everything we can to help you on your exciting property adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q: How has the Devon property market performed in April 2023?

A: In April 2023, the Devon property market experienced positive growth. The monthly change increased by 0.6%, and the year-on-year change was up by 2%. The average days to sell were 54, and the average price of a property was £387,415.

2. Q: Is now a good time for a first time buyer?

A: Yes! April 2023 showed a particularly positive trend for first-time buyers, with a more stable market, cautious pricing, and declining mortgage rates making it an opportune time for them to enter the market.

3. Q: Are mortgage rates dropping in the current property market?

A: Mortgage rates have indeed been falling recently. For example, the average first-time-buyer mortgage rate for a 5-year fixed, 15% deposit mortgage has dropped to 4.46%, with the lowest rate for this mortgage type currently at 4.19%.

4. Q: How can I stay up-to-date on the Devon property market trends?

A: To stay informed about the Devon property market, keep an eye on local and national property news sources, subscribe to our blog, and consult with us (or your local estate agents) who have in-depth knowledge of the area. You can also keep abreast of stats from Rightmove here

5. Q: I’m considering buying or selling a property in Devon. Can you help?

A: Absolutely! We’d be delighted to assist you in your property journey, whether you’re looking to buy or sell in the Devon area. Our team is committed to providing the support and guidance you need and we’ll do everything we can to help.

If you liked this post you also might like to read this one How the UK Property Market Went Boom & Bust in 2008

* Source of stats Rightmove, UK

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A History Lesson: How the UK Property Market Went Boom & Bust in 2008

Property Market Crash

Today, we’re going to take a fun and casual trip down memory lane to the year 2008. You remember 2008, right? The year when financial markets around the world had a bit of a meltdown, and the UK property market was no exception. So grab a cuppa, sit back, and let’s take a look at why the UK property market crashed in 2008. Fear not, we’re going to keep things light and easy to understand, just like we do here at Helmores!

The Bubble

Before we dive into the details, let’s quickly discuss what a “bubble” is. A bubble is a situation where the price of an asset (like houses) increases rapidly, far beyond its true value. Eventually, this bubble bursts, leading to a rapid decrease in prices. Think of it as inflating a balloon until it pops – that’s a bubble!

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s explore the factors that led to the UK property market crash in 2008.

10 Key Factors That Popped the UK Property Bubble:

  1. Loose lending practices: Banks and other lenders were practically giving money away, with little regard for borrowers’ ability to repay their loans.
  2. Low-interest rates: The Bank of England maintained low-interest rates, making it cheaper for people to borrow money and buy houses.
  3. Excess liquidity: There was too much money floating around, chasing too few assets (like houses), which drove up prices.
  4. Relaxed regulation: Financial institutions were not closely monitored, which allowed them to engage in risky lending practices.
  5. Speculation: Investors were buying houses not as homes but as investment opportunities, hoping to flip them quickly for a profit.
  6. Buy-to-let frenzy: People were buying properties to rent them out, further fuelling the housing bubble.
  7. Media hype: The media played a significant role in convincing people that property prices would never go down.
  8. Fear of missing out (FOMO): Everyone wanted to get in on the property market before prices skyrocketed even further.
  9. High levels of personal debt: The UK population was accumulating huge amounts of debt, which made them more vulnerable to economic shocks.
  10. Global financial crisis: The US subprime mortgage crisis in 2007-2008 spread globally, leading to a domino effect that eventually hit the UK property market.

The Crash:

As we now know, this bubble couldn’t last forever. In 2008, the UK property market finally crashed. The global financial crisis, triggered by the US subprime mortgage crisis, led to a sudden and severe tightening of credit conditions. Banks stopped lending as freely, and people found it harder to get mortgages. This, in turn, led to a sharp decline in property prices, as buyers dried up and sellers struggled to offload their properties. At its worst, the UK property market fell by around 20%.

The Aftermath:

The UK property market crash of 2008 had severe consequences for homeowners, investors, and the broader economy. Many people found themselves in negative equity, meaning their homes were worth less than the mortgages they had taken out. Some were even forced into foreclosure, losing their homes entirely. The knock-on effects were felt throughout the economy, with rising unemployment and a deep recession that took years to recover from.

But fear not! As we’ve seen over time (and as our experience at Helmores can attest), house prices soon bounced back. Negative equity isn’t necessarily a problem unless you have to sell your home. As long as you can afford your mortgage payments and don’t need to move, you can ride out the storm until the market recovers. And that’s precisely what many homeowners did.

By the early 2010s, the UK property market began to recover, and prices started to rise again. Homeowners who were patient and held onto their properties eventually saw the value of their homes increase, allowing them to move on from the negative equity situation.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Was the UK property market crash of 2008 unique?
A: While the circumstances leading to the crash were specific to the UK, similar property market crashes occurred in other countries, such as the US and Spain.
Q: How long did it take for the UK property market to recover?
A: It took a few years for the market to fully recover. By the early 2010s, house prices began to rise again, and the market regained its strength.
Q: What lessons can we learn from the 2008 property market crash?
A: The crash taught us the importance of responsible lending, tighter regulations, and the need for a more cautious approach to property investment.
Q: Can another property market crash like 2008 happen again?
A: It’s difficult to predict, but the financial industry has learned many lessons from the 2008 crash. Stricter regulations and more responsible lending practices have been put in place to help prevent a similar situation from happening in the future.
Q: How can Helmores Estate Agency help me navigate the property market?
A: At Helmores, we pride ourselves on our expert knowledge, transparency, and personalised service. We can guide you through the process of buying or selling a property, helping you make well-informed decisions based on your individual needs and the current market conditions.

Conclusion

The UK property market crash of 2008 was undoubtedly a wild ride. But as the years have passed and the market has recovered, we’ve learned valuable lessons about responsible lending, financial regulations, and the importance of a measured approach to property investment. Here at Helmores we’ve seen the market change many times over the years and we’ve got the experience to help you navigate the ever-changing property market with confidence and ease. So whether you’re a first-time buyer, a seasoned investor, or simply curious about the market, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and our friendly team at Helmores 🙂

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Buy or Rent: A Comprehensive Guide to Help You Decide

Buy or rent?

The age-old question, “Should I buy or rent?” has puzzled many prospective home dwellers for decades. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the pros and cons of both buying and renting, helping you make an informed decision that suits your lifestyle and financial goals. So, let’s delve into the buy or rent debate and weigh our options!

The Benefits of Renting

Flexibility

One of the most significant advantages of renting is the flexibility it offers. If you’re unsure about your long-term plans or enjoy the freedom to move around, renting is an excellent option. With short-term leases and minimal commitment, you can easily relocate for work or adventure without the hassle of selling a property. This flexibility is a key factor in the buy or rent decision-making process.

Lower Upfront Costs

When it comes to upfront costs, renting usually comes out on top. Typically, you’ll need to pay a deposit (usually 4-6 weeks’ rent), along with the first month’s rent in advance. This can be significantly more manageable than saving for a hefty mortgage deposit required when you buy a home.

Fewer Responsibilities

As a tenant, you’re usually not responsible for general maintenance or repairs. So, if the boiler breaks down or the roof starts leaking, you can simply call your landlord or letting agent to sort it out. Talk about stress-free living! This convenience can play a significant role in the buy or rent dilemma.

Easier Budgeting

Renting can make budgeting a breeze, as you’ll only need to account for a fixed monthly rent and bills. There are no surprise expenses like property taxes or maintenance costs that can catch homeowners off-guard.

The Benefits of Buying

Building Equity

When you buy a property, you’re investing in an asset that can grow in value over time. As you pay off your mortgage, you build equity – the difference between the property’s value and the outstanding mortgage balance. Equity can be a powerful financial tool, allowing you to borrow against it or providing a nest egg for the future.

Stability

Owning a home offers a sense of stability and security that renting often can’t match. You can decorate, renovate, and make your mark on the property without needing permission from a landlord. Plus, there’s no need to worry about rent increases or being asked to vacate unexpectedly. This stability is a major factor when considering whether to buy or rent.

Potential for Rental Income

If you choose to rent out a portion of your property or the entire property in the future, you can generate additional income. This can help cover mortgage payments and provide a passive revenue stream, which is a significant advantage when weighing the buy or rent options.

Long-Term Savings

While the initial costs of buying can be higher, in the long run, you may save money compared to renting. Over time, you’ll pay off your mortgage, and eventually, you’ll own your property outright. No more monthly payments – it’s a homeowner’s dream come true!

Conclusion

In the great buy or rent debate, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The right choice depends on your personal circumstances, financial goals, and lifestyle preferences. Take time to consider the benefits of each option and remember that the grass is always greener where you water it – so make the most of whichever path you choose in the buy or rent journey!

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss this or any other property-related subject, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! We’re always here to offer a friendly chat and provide expert guidance to help you navigate the exciting world of property. Good luck in your property journey, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is it better to buy or rent a property? There is no definitive answer, as the decision to buy or rent depends on your personal circumstances, financial goals, and lifestyle preferences. Consider the benefits of both options and evaluate which suits your needs best.
  2. How much money should I save for a deposit when buying a home? Aim for a minimum of 5% of the property’s value, but keep in mind that a higher deposit can result in lower monthly payments and better interest rates.
  3. What are the main financial benefits of renting? Renting usually offers lower upfront costs, easier budgeting, and fewer financial responsibilities, such as property maintenance and repairs.
  4. What are the main financial benefits of buying a home? Buying a property allows you to build equity, potentially save money in the long run, and generate rental income if you choose to rent out part or all of your property.
  5. How can I improve my chances of getting a mortgage? Maintain a good credit score, save for a larger deposit, secure a steady income, and consider obtaining a mortgage agreement in principle before house hunting.
  6. Can I negotiate the price of a property when buying? Yes, negotiation is common when buying a property. Be prepared to negotiate on the asking price to potentially save money on your purchase.
  7. What are the responsibilities of a landlord when renting a property? Landlords are responsible for property maintenance, repairs, and ensuring the property meets safety regulations.
  8. Do I need permission from my landlord to make changes to a rental property? Yes, tenants generally need permission from their landlord before making any alterations or improvements to a rental property.
  9. How can I build equity in a home? You can build equity by paying off your mortgage over time, making improvements that increase the property’s value, and benefiting from potential market appreciation.
  10. What are the key factors to consider when deciding to buy or rent? Some key factors include financial goals, lifestyle preferences, future plans, and the stability of the housing market in your desired location.

If you enjoyed this article, why not check out this one too: Our Stamp Duty 101 Guide

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Stamp Duty 101: Navigating the Tax on Your Dream Home

Helmores stamp duty guide

So, you’ve found your dream property and you’re ready to take the plunge, but wait – have you considered the elephant in the room? No, not the noisy neighbours, but the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).

If you’re buying a property or land in England or Northern Ireland that costs more than a certain price, you’ll need to pay this little beauty.

What is Stamp Duty Land Tax?

SDLT is a tax that comes when purchasing a new home in Crediton, like a house or flat, that costs more than £250,000. The amount of SDLT you pay depends on the purchase date, property price, and whether you’re a first-time buyer eligible for relief.

Thresholds for Residential Properties

Here’s the breakdown of the current SDLT rates:

  • 0% for the first £250,000
  • 5% for the next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000)
  • 10% for the next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)
  • 12% for anything above £1.5 million (the portion above £1.5 million)

For first-time buyers, you’re in for a lucky break, as the rates are discounted as follows:

  • 0% up to £425,000
  • 5% for the next £200,000 (the portion from £425,001 to £625,000)

But, if the price is over £625,000, you cannot claim the relief as a first time buyer.

So an example of this if the purchase price of a property was £750,000, the calculation of the SDLT for someone who is not a first-time buyer and who doesn’t own another home would be as follows:

  • 0% on the first £250,000 (£0)
  • 5% on the portion from £250,001 to the purchase price of £750,000 (£25,000)
  • Total SDLT £25,000

Higher rates for additional properties

But wait, there’s more you should know. If you already own a property, you’ll have to add an extra 3% to the SDLT rates. But don’t worry, if you’ve already sold your main residence, or if you sell it within 36 months, you should be able to get a refund.

How and When to pay Stamp Duty

You’ll need to send an SDLT return to HMRC and pay the tax within 14 days of completion. Your solicitor/conveyancer will usually handle the return and payment on your behalf, but you can also do it yourself. Just be careful, as late payment can result in penalties and interest. It’s like getting a parking ticket on top of paying for the parking meter 😂

To make your life easier, there’s an SDLT calculator provided by HMRC to help you figure out the exact amount of SDLT you’ll have to pay.

Key Points:

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a tax that needs to be paid when buying a property or land in England or Northern Ireland that costs more than £250,000.
  • The amount of SDLT you pay depends on the purchase date, property price, and whether you’re a first-time buyer eligible for relief.
  • The current SDLT rates are 0% for the first £250,000, 5% for the next £675,000, 10% for the next £575,000, and 12% for anything above £1.5 million.
  • First-time buyers can get relief on Stamp Duty Land Tax. The rates are 0% up to £425,000, and 5% for the next £200,000.
  • If you already own a property, you’ll have to add an extra 3% to the SDLT rates.
  • You need to send an SDLT return to HMRC and pay the tax within 14 days of completion.
  • Late payment can result in penalties and interest.
  • There’s an SDLT calculator provided by HMRC to help you figure out the exact amount of SDLT you’ll have to pay.

Conclusion

That’s the basic rundown of SDLT for buying a residential property in England and Northern Ireland. Make sure you understand the thresholds, exemptions, and how much you’ll need to pay before you make your property purchase. Otherwise you could have a nasty shock when you receive the bill!

Please note that like the wind all this is subject to change so my advice is to check the HMRC website or consult professionals such as us in Crediton to get the latest information on SDLT rates and thresholds.

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Crediton: The Perfect Place To Call Home?

Crediton the perfect place to call home

Today, I want to tell you all about the hidden gem in Devon that we live and work in: Crediton.
This charming market town is a true example of the beauty and tradition of the Devon lifestyle, and I can’t wait to show you why it’s the perfect place to call home!

A Rich and Fascinating History

Let’s start with the town’s history. Crediton has a rich and fascinating history that spans back to the Saxon period. It is said to be the birthplace of Saint Boniface, a missionary credited with converting much of continental Europe to Christianity in the 8th century. The town also has a significant connection to the wool trade, which was an important industry in the region during the Middle Ages. Crediton has a wealth of heritage sites and architecture that are a testament to its rich history. For instance, the town is home to Church of the Holy Cross, a beautiful sandstone building with a history of at least 1100 years, and one of the largest parish churches in Devon.

Surrounded by Rolling Hills and Scenic Countryside

The town’s location is also a major draw. Crediton is nestled on the banks of the River Creedy and is surrounded by rolling hills, countryside and farmland, yet is only 7 miles from the Cathedral City of Exeter. This picturesque location provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life while still being close to all the amenities you need. For those who love fishing, the River Creedy is a popular spot for anglers, so you won’t be short of opportunities to cast a line. For golfers there’s a fantastic 18 hole course at Downes Crediton Golf Club which offers a challenging 18-hole course set in beautiful hills. The course provides a unique and enjoyable golfing experience with its natural beauty, undulating fairways and well-manicured greens.

Outdoor Activities and Adventure Around Crediton

For those who love the outdoors, Crediton and it’s surrounding areas is a paradise. With its close proximity to Dartmoor National Park, there are countless opportunities for hiking, cycling, and exploring the beautiful Devon countryside. The town’s parks and gardens are also perfect for picnics and taking in the sun and the beautiful lakes at Shobrooke Park make for a perfect afternoon stroll. Crediton is a peaceful and friendly community, where you’ll always have plenty to see and do.

A Journey On The Tarka Line

A unique experience in Crediton is taking a ride on the Tarka Line Railway. It’ll take you on a journey through picturesque Devon countryside as far as Barnstaple, taking in beautiful views of rivers and farmland as it goes, stopping at various old stations enroute. It’s a very popular attraction for tourists and locals alike, and it’s a great way to spend a day with the family.

A Town that Values Education: A Range of Facilities to Choose From

Crediton is a town that values education, and provides families with school-aged children a range of facilities to choose from and there are 3 main schools:

Landscore Primary School offers a warm and welcoming environment where students can thrive. With a focus on developing literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking skills, Landscore provides students with a strong foundation for future learning.

Haywards Primary School offers a unique Montessori-based education, with an emphasis on hands-on learning and individualized instruction. The school provides students with a personalised education experience that allows them to learn at their own pace and reach their full potential.

Queen Elizabeth’s School is an academy school with a sixth form with a focus on academic excellence. The school offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities, allowing students to explore their interests and develop new skills.

So, if you’re searching for a town that takes education seriously, Crediton is definitely worth considering.

The Heart of Crediton: Independent Shops, Cafes and Markets

Crediton is a town that truly cherishes its local businesses and community. The heart of the town, its High Street, is a thriving hub of independent shops, cafes, and pubs, making it the perfect place for a relaxed and enjoyable day out. Whether you’re in the mood for browsing unique gifts, grabbing a bite to eat at one of the charming cafes, or simply people watching while sipping a coffee, Crediton has got you covered.

But the community spirit doesn’t stop just in the High Street. The Crediton Town Square is a lively hub of community activity and cultural events. Recently revitalized through the “Share in the Square” project, the town square has come back to life with a range of events, activities, and markets. From farmers’ markets, where you can buy fresh, locally grown produce and handmade crafts, to outdoor concerts, there is always something happening in the square that brings the community together.

A Hub for Active Fun and Fitness

Lords Meadow Leisure Centre offers a range of facilities for those looking to stay active and have fun. With a 25-metre swimming pool, a well-equipped gym, and a variety of fitness classes, there’s something for everyone. The centre also offers sports hall activities such as badminton, basketball, and table tennis, making it a great place for families and groups to enjoy together.

Helmores Estate Agents: A Passion for the Community

Finally, I’d like to give Helmores a quick plug and why not, because for over 320 years we’ve been a cornerstone of the Crediton community. As a family-owned business, we take pride in offering a wide range of properties to buy and rent in and around Crediton. Our team is passionate about the area and dedicated to helping those looking to buy or rent a property in the town. With a wealth of experience and a unique approach to showcasing our properties, including video tours and aerial drone footage, Helmores is the go-to choice for anyone looking to make Crediton their new home.

Crediton Really Is The Perfect Place to Call Home!

So in my opinion, Crediton is the perfect place for those who want to experience the traditional Devon lifestyle. With its rich history, stunning scenery, and friendly community, Crediton has something for everyone. Whether you’re a family looking for a peaceful place to raise your children, or a retiree looking for a place to relax and enjoy your golden years, Crediton really is the perfect place to call home.

I invite your thoughts on Crediton – have you lived here before or considering moving here? Share what you love or draws you to the town, and any unique features that set it apart from other Devon towns. I’d love you to leave your comments below.

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How To Deal With Multiple Offers

In this blog post, I look at how to deal with multiple offers for your home so that you can make the best decision for you and your family. When selling your home, you may find yourself in the enviable position of having multiple offers on the table. While this can be an exciting experience, it can also be rather overwhelming if you don’t know how to handle the situation. A good estate agent will provide invaluable assistance and support, but it’s also important to keep in mind some key considerations as you evaluate each offer:

Decide your priorities

Before engaging in a competitive offer situation, you should decide what is most important to you. For example, are you looking to achieve the best price, the simplest sale transaction, or the quickest completion? Make sure to communicate this clearly to your estate agent as soon as possible. For example, the best price might not be so important to you as someone who could move really quickly, and vice versa. You might want the simplest sale transaction so you might want to avoid anyone in a chain for example.

Best and Final Offers

An effective way of ensuring that all offers are being considered is for your agent to ask prospective buyers to submit their ‘best and final’ bids by a set date and time. This way, you can be certain that each party has had an equal opportunity to present their offer without having to drag out the negotiation process and can sometimes end in a bidding war which no one wants. Your agent should ask for bids in writing (or email) also stating their situation (eg renting, sale agreed etc), financial arrangements (eg cash, mortgage etc) and timescale in which they anticipate completing the sale. If a mortgage is required it’s a good idea for your agent to obtain a copy of the “decision in principle” from the lender which confirms that the buyers are good for the borrowing.

It’s not just about price

While getting the highest offer is usually the most important priority for most sellers, it’s also important to consider other factors that may have an impact on your sale. For instance, does the buyer require a mortgage or are they able to pay in cash? A mortgage will add complexity to the process due to extra time needed for lenders appraisals and approvals, whereas a buyer paying in cash tends to be much simpler. Has the buyer got a chain of sales beneath them? If so there’s an additional “risk” for every link in that chain to have problems.

Is “cash and no chain” still king?

In my view, yes, but only up to a point. In most cases a cash buyer with no related sale is the utopia position for any seller. It’s always worth considering an offer from someone in this position but not if their offers are way off the mark compared to buyers with existing commitments. Also, be aware of the source of cash. Some buyers may tell you they have cash available but this is often confused with them using proceeds from their own property sale. Real cash should be readily accessible in the bank or a form of investment that can easily be converted to cash such as shares or bonds, and this is something that a good estate agent will ask proof for when negotiating on your behalf.

Deal with empathy

When dealing with multiple offers for your home, remember that there will be one person who is delighted you accepted their offer, but the other people won’t be so lucky. Remember to deal with empathy! Your agent should keep in touch with them keeping the door open in case anything goes wrong with your chosen buyer.

Need my help with how to deal with multiple offers and other property related advice?

Check out our Selling a Property Advice video playlist on YouTube, there’s some absolute gold there that could really help you, and it’s all for free, so what’s not to like?!

I hope you found this blog post about how to deal with multiple offers useful. Please do feel free to put any comments in the box below. If you are currently considering a move in Crediton or any town or village in mid Devon please do reach out – you can book online or call me on 01363 777999. I’d love to hear from you!

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INTERIOR MOTIVES: START YOUR 2023 IN STYLE WITH OUR GUIDE TO THE LATEST HOME DECOR TRENDS

What are your big plans this year? Fitness, wealth, travel, something else? Change is always in the air when January arrives.

We’re entering 2023 on the back of quite a ride. Lockdowns, Brexit, empty shelves, four prime ministers, working from home, strikes, inflation, and geopolitical turmoil – it’s all been very real.  

With so much external upheaval, it’s no wonder that interior design is seeking to satisfy a desire to feel more in control, something we can all achieve at home with a strong sense of personal style.

As well as giving your rooms a fresh new look, new decor trends can help you add thousands to your home by reflecting what buyers see in glossy magazines and designer showroom displays.

If you’ve been waiting for life beyond cottagecore, farmhouse, Scandi and neutral tones, we’ve got some good news. This year is set for a return to decadence and bold statements through nostalgic glamour, luxurious finishes and vibrant colours.

So for this week’s blog, we’ve pulled together the latest words from the world of interiors to bring you the home decor trends for 2023.

ADD SOME VERVE WITH CURVES

You might remember from our 2022 design trends blog that home accessories were taking on more organic forms. Well, that shapely trend continues this year with softer edges to sharply square furniture for a more relaxed and sumptuous style.

  • Expect to see evolutions of classic designs to sink into and curl up – if you already own a velvet chesterfield, your work is done!
  • Look out for more oval and circular dining tables on cylinder legs or tulip bases for convivial and conversational mealtimes.
  • Get a quick fix with timeless curved accessories like mushroom lamps, arched mirrors, round rugs and circular cushions.

Quick tip if you’re thinking of moving: check if you can make any planned furniture replacements now. By creating a head-turning and current look for your photos and viewings, you’ll add extra saleability to your home.

MAKE AN OLD STATEMENT

The furniture industry didn’t escape supply chain issues last year, and delivery delays saw more people turn to vintage. The result was two new trends that, instead of upcycling and repurposing, celebrate an item’s age, imperfections, and original use. 

  • Meet flawsome design and newstalgia – the art of cleaning, repairing and resurrecting an item to extend the life it was made for.
  • Vintage furniture adds soul, heritage and history to any interior, whether you’re matching the period of your home, or mixing up your styles. 
  • People find joy and comfort in the handmade nature, skilful craftsmanship and solid materials of beautiful things from the past.

A single statement piece like a sideboard, chest of drawers or glass display cabinet gives instant character to a plain wall, and a top designer tip for mixing modern with old is to add just one vintage period to any given room. This helps you achieve a purposeful and striking contrast where your choices shine with a cohesive style.

POP THE CORK & GO OUT ON THE TILES

Sustainable, planet-friendly and feel-good materials are now firmly in our mindsets to reduce the amount of plastic ending up in landfill or the oceans. The big comeback story of 2023 is cork, although not as we know it, while textured ceramics are also set for a revival. 

  • Cork has quietly reinvented itself into a serious alternative to hardwood flooring. Completely sustainable, soft and quiet underfoot, non-slip, and a natural insulator, it also comes in a range of finishes, like the beautiful Camada Corka from The Colour Floor Company in the picture.
  • Hand-made, natural stone and textured tiles bring a stylish and naturalistic look to bathrooms and kitchens – even updating a splashback or a fascia below a breakfast bar can make a whole room feel like new.
  • No need or no desire for renovations, builders and dust? Add accessories like ceramic or cork planters, trivets, table mats and coasters for a warm injection of 2023 style.

As well as being an environmentally conscious choice, introducing natural, durable and sustainable materials into your home creates a sense of longevity for years of enjoyment – it’s also a great selling point for buyers!

MIX MAXIMALISM, MARBLE & MUTED METALS

You’ve probably heard of Avant Garde, but what about Avant Basic? The trend took social media by storm last year with extravagant images of colourful art, fashion and design. For 2023, it’s making its way into homes.

Top marks if you’re detecting a nod to 1920s glamour, and you’ll see plenty of it this year, including:

  • Marble, for its luxurious, timeless and expensive qualities, from the large expanses of table tops and kitchen counters, to accessories like lamp bases, bowls and vases.
  • Muted metals like gold, brass and polished nickel, plus hot new entrant aluminium for its endless recyclability. Think taps, handles, table legs and picture frames.
  • Maximalist designs on wallpaper, rugs, curtains and textiles with vibrant and busy floral motifs on darker backgrounds for a decadent take on nature.

A dash of opulence can go a long way in any home, particularly if you’re styling yours to sell. Just remember that too much glitz can turn into bling – sometimes less is more.

CREATE COLOURFUL SCENES

2022 began with a move away from cooler tones, and 2023 is taking that further. The warm pinks, greens and lilacs of flower-filled meadows are making their mark on home decor, with online searches for colourful living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms up by as much as 200%.

  • Pantone’s 2023 Colour of the Year is Viva Magenta, a vibrant pinky red. Possibly too much for an entire room, but a striking choice for a memorable and photo-friendly chimney breast, alcove, or feature wall.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, Wild Wonder from Dulux is a sandy shade inspired by harvested crops that looks smashing with black metal, white walls and bare wood. 
  • Farrow & Ball’s dynamic colour duo includes the warming Templeton Pink from Winston Churchill’s refurbished former mansion, and the gently green Eddy, inspired by the currents of wild water swimming.

Of course, you don’t need to repaint your rooms to inject some colour; you can use furniture and accessories instead. Try IKEA’s tactile Svartpoppel cushion covers, Whistler dining chairs from John Lewis, or Wayfair’s shaggy gold rug to be instantly on-trend.

Are you feeling inspired?

However ready and confident you are to update your decor, designers often advise evolution over revolution. Introducing one or two elements of a new trend to complement your existing style can create a fresh new feel without feeling faddy or dating too soon.

And if you’re preparing your home to sell, why not get in touch to see what buyers are looking for in Mid Devon? Give us a call on 01363 777 999 or email us at [email protected] – we’re here to help you make the best move.

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BUY-TO-LET OR PENSIONS: WHICH HAS THE PROFIT, FREEDOM, AND SECURITY THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU?

“Being a landlord might still pay better than a pension” – that was the arresting headline in The Telegraph that caught our attention recently.

Pensions have certainly been squeezed, with workplace pension pots shrinking and inflation eating into returns. Meanwhile, buy-to-let is regularly portrayed in the press as no longer viable, despite research from Hamptons revealing that the average rental yield of 6% is 50% higher than the 4% of pensions.

So who and what do you listen to if you want to start planning for your future?

There’s no replacement for hearing things straight from the horse’s mouth, so we’ve gathered some thoughts from our landlords on why they choose buy-to-let. We’ve also included some useful facts that don’t always make the headlines so you can see what feels right for you.

This week’s blog doesn’t constitute financial advice, and you should speak to an expert before choosing a pension or investment. But if you’re on the fence about becoming a landlord or whether to expand or offload your lettings portfolio, we hope you find some clarity to start 2023.

MORE TENANTS ARE CHASING FEWER HOMES

It’s no secret that rents are soaring, with rises of 20% and more in some areas last year accompanied by record-high demand. For several reasons, the rental market is unlikely to cool down any time soon because:

  • many landlords who focused on short-term yields have sold up, creating a huge shortage of rental property and massive competition among tenants
  • economic uncertainty and interest rate rises have convinced more buyers to keep renting for longer, fuelling further demand
  • nowhere near enough new housing is being built or planned, and the chances of anything changing significantly in the foreseeable future look pretty slim.

In short, the rental market needs more homes, and the door is wide open for private landlords to fill the gap. And when you provide high-quality accommodation, you can be sure of constant demand while generating the highest possible rent from the best tenants.

YOUR MONEY NEEDS TO GROW AFTER YOU RETIRE

We’ve all seen how higher inflation can reduce the value of your savings. If you want to maintain a rewarding and comfortable lifestyle in later life, your money needs to keep working to stay ahead of the cost of living.

Some very basic things to remember about income in retirement include:

  • When your pension reaches its maturity date, it’s decision time again. You could leave it alone if you don’t need it, take a cash lump sum (the first 25% is tax-free), or convert it to other investments like shares or annuities.
  • If you feel the stock market is too risky at that stage of life, you could buy an annuity for a guaranteed annual income if rates are good at the time, although you may get back less than you pay in, depending on how long you live.
  • Rental properties carry on working for you as long as you own them, and you can keep expanding your portfolio during your retirement by refinancing to release tax-free equity and fund the purchase of more properties.

Many landlords view a private pension and buy-to-let as the perfect combination. They see their pension as the pot with its sturdy foundation, and their rental properties as the plant with no limits on how high or how long it can grow.

DOES BEING A LANDLORD BUY YOU MORE FREEDOM?

Long-term planning is essential for future financial freedom, but should that mean waiting until you retire to live the life you want? The debate rages over instant gratification versus long-term planning, but there’s no reason why you can’t have both with a mixed investment strategy.

  • Once you start a pension, your funds are locked away until you are at least 55, and the Government has confirmed plans to raise that age to 57 in 2028. 
  • Pensions start paying out after they mature, while buy-to-let gives you rent from the day your tenant moves in and can free up other income to boost your private pension.
  • You control the direction of your lettings portfolio, while your pension or annuity provider makes all the decisions about managing your funds.

For landlords, part of the attraction of buy-to-let is the direct control it gives them, while also providing a balance between planning for retirement and enjoying life now.

IS BUY-TO-LET STILL PROFITABLE?

You can hardly move for stories gleefully announcing the collapse of buy-to-let as something that no longer works, so why are so many landlords still successful?

The answer is pretty simple, so let’s take a look beyond the headlines to understand the bigger picture.

  • Press stories rarely mention that buy-to-let income keeps increasing over time – rents have risen by an average of 30% since 2008, turning a 6% yield on a property bought then, into 8% now.
  • Being smart with how you buy and hold rental properties can significantly increase your tax allowances and profit.
  • Buying unmodernised homes and upgrading them to contemporary standards is a proven rinse-and-repeat formula that creates more equity faster to expand your portfolio.

Given all of the above, it’s perfectly possible to build a sustainable buy-to-let business of one or more homes that becomes more profitable over time.

WHAT SECURITY DOES BUY-TO-LET OFFER?

Security is a massive consideration for retirement, and the standout feature of buy-to-let for many landlords is that property is a tangible asset that can’t simply disappear overnight, or ever.

Some of the factors that make rental property a secure investment include:

  • Regardless of economic ups and downs, having a home is everyone’s first priority,
  • While pensions are managed by highly-experienced fund managers, they’re also invested in stocks and shares that follow the often sudden turns of the stock market.
  • Even in periods when property prices stagnate or fall, rents typically rise as buyers become tenants, which increases competition and pushes up yields.

Whatever the sentiment and realities of the economy, rental homes are always in demand, which is probably why the phrase “as safe as houses” exists.

Could buy-to-let be right for your future?

With the turmoil of the last year or so, having all your eggs in one basket probably isn’t the answer when planning for your retirement. 

There are so many options out there, and speaking to an expert is a great first step. So if you’d like to talk about making buy-to-let part of your strategy, call us on 01363 777 999 or email us at [email protected] for a chat about the rental market in Mid Devon and to see if it’s right for you.

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Selling your home? Here’s my tips on how to SKYROCKET offers!

how to sell your home

Selling your home can seem a daunting task. Everyone wants to achieve the highest price possible for their home and rightly so. But in order to do so you need the right pricing strategy. In this blog post, I discuss how to set yourself up for success and have an abundance of offers pouring in. So whether you’re considering a move, or currently on the market without offers, read on!

So we’re going to start off talking about your asking price (or marketing price) when selling your home

Keep in mind that your marketing price is an essential tool for attracting potential buyers.

The myth that you can “always come down but never up” is simply not true. If your marketing price is too high you will deter potential buyers from viewing.

On the flip side, if a property appears good value, everyone is going to want it. You’ll have a ton of viewings, and the likely hood is, most will offer on it. That competition will drive the price up and you’ll be maximising your chances of achieving the best price for your property.

Granted, there will be some low offers, it always happens, but you’re not going to sell for those low offers, so don’t be offended – just move on to the next one. A good estate agent will be skilled in negotiations, and have an insight into local market conditions which will give you a real advantage.

Pricing too high will also justify a buyer buying a correctly priced property in your town

In other words, you’re helping your competition to sell. If buyers keep offering on the correctly price homes and ignoring yours, then It’s likely that after 6 weeks or so your property will start to stagnate on the market. Buyers will be saying “oh, that house is still on the market, there must be something wrong with it”.

It’s a fact of life, no-one wants what no-one else wants and everyone wants what everyone wants.

The only way to attract buyers now is through a price reduction

So you find yourself motivated to sell and you’re going to have to reduce the price, but there’s an issue. A price reduction from say £525,000 to £500,000 won’t be enough. Your house has stagnated on the market and you’ve missed that prime launch period to get competing offers and therefore the best price. You’re probably going to need to reduce your £500,000 house to £480,000 or £490,000 in order to re-invigorate the marketing and make it appear in searches where people wouldn’t have previously seen it.

So what started out as ‘let’s just try a bit higher and see what happens’ could end up costing you £10,000 or £20,000 and a couple of months of wasted time.

But if your marketing price is set too low surely you could end up underselling it?

Well, no. As long as (a) you don’t sell it to the only person who views it and (b) you’re working with an expert estate agent who will give your property every opportunity to achieve its full market potential. It’s really important when selecting an agent to do your research and check online reviews. Look for an independent with a great reputation and that has extensive knowledge of the local market. Don’t forget to find out from friends and family about their experiences too – this can provide valuable insight into which agents are worth choosing.

Setting the right price is just the beginning when selling your home

You also need to be sure your agent is able to show it off in its best light and ignite potential buyers’ emotions. Successful negotiation skills are a must to ensure the highest possible price is achieved. And, don’t forget that even with a seemingly successful deal, many things can still go wrong – so having an experienced agent on your side to help see the process through until completion is absolutely essential.

If you’re having any difficulties selling your home or considering selling soon, feel free to reach out and book a free marketing advice meeting with us here: https://helmores.com/book-appointment/

Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post – I’d love to hear your feedback from in the comments below on any tips or advice you have when it comes to selling a property too!

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STAYING IN AT CHRISTMAS: OUR YULETIDE GUIDE TO ENJOYING THE FESTIVE SEASON AT HOME

Survived the work Christmas party – tick.

Aced the Christmas shopping – tick.

Overindulged at Christmas dinner – tick.

Now you’ve successfully completed every yuletide tradition, what are your plans for the rest of the year?

If the scrum of the sales and drizzly days aren’t tempting you outside, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the time between Christmas and New Year indoors.

Whether you want to make more space, restyle your rooms, catch up on culture or simply shut off, our blog this week is packed with ideas for fabulous festive fun without ever leaving the house.

CLEAR THE CLUTTER

After all the excitement of Christmas Day, now is a great time of year to treat your home to a cleansing clearout. Instead of squeezing more into straining cupboards and hoarding things you never use, how about creating the space to savour the things you really love?

  • Picture how you’d like a room to look before doing anything drastic – the goal is to have the home you love, so it’s worth giving it some thought.
  • Take it one drawer or cupboard at a time, and you’ll soon start feeling lighter and freer. Make the task more enjoyable with some uplifting background music.
  • Use Marie Kondo’s mantra to decide what to keep by holding each item close to see if it sparks joy. If not, thank it for its service and say your goodbyes.

Charity shops thrive on relieving you of the things you don’t want, so there’s no need to feel guilty about giving things away.

START 2023 WITH A NEW LOOK

Whether you’re decorating to sell or simply updating a room or two, why not get inspired by 2023’s interior style trends? We’ll do a full deep-dive in our dedicated January article, but here are some key looks for next year to give you a head start.

  • Curves are in, from organic-shaped furniture to wavy stripes on textiles, ceramics, and wallpaper – just don’t take it too far!
  • Cork and aluminium are two of the most sustainable materials out there, and they’re set to be big in 2023.
  • Embrace flawsome design and newstalgia: restoring, repurposing, and rejoicing in old furniture and accessories in line with kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery.

Nothing beats eBay and Gumtree for sustainability, so if you’re looking to change up your furniture, nab a stylish bargain as people make space for their new acquisitions from the January sales. What’s more, you can do it all from the comfort of the couch.

CATCH UP ON THE BEST OF 2022

Pick up any newspaper or magazine this month, and you’re bound to come across a Best Of 2022 list. Keeping up with it all can be a challenge in the course of a working week, but with a longer break, why not discover some of what you missed?

  • When did you last get lost in a good book? Whether you like to curl up with Kindle, listen to audio or turn actual paper pages, Sara Cox’s Between The Covers is full of reading inspiration from celebrity guests.

With some wise picks and commitment to the task, you’ll be the go-to cultural guru when everyone returns to work. More than that, you’ll have the best small talk for the coffee machine or Zoom!

DISCOVER OR REKINDLE A TALENT

Is there anything you’ve wanted to try for as long as you can remember? We’ve all got something, and our regular weekly routines can relegate personal passions to second place. But can you think of a better time of year to make a fresh start?

  • Maybe art was your thing at school, but it’s since disappeared from your life. Try an online drawing or painting course from Skillshare or Udemy.
  • Ever since Tom Daly was snapped with his needles at the Olympics, crafting at home has become cool. Knit, sew or crochet – start with a cushion cover or scarf and see where it goes!
  • If you dream of being handy around the home and a DIY wiz, you’ll find YouTube tutorials for every odd job you can imagine.
  • Making food and enjoying it with those you love is about as wholesome as it gets, so grab yourself a copy of Delia’s How to Cook to begin your culinary journey.
  • Make a song and dance by joining a local choir, theatre group, or class to nurture your inner performer.

Having a passion adds spice to life and is food for the soul. Whatever you choose, always remember the most important thing: you don’t have to be perfect to enjoy it.

DISCONNECT & RECONNECT

Sometimes, getting back to basics is just what we need, and the festive break can provide some valuable extra time to rediscover the simple things in life

  • Pick up the phone or make a video date with friends and family near and far to catch up on life and share the gossip.
  • Invite your friends for an old-school games night of cards, board games, or, dare we say it, charades!
  • Give your body and brain some love by downloading an app for yoga, fitness, or mindfulness to relax and recharge.

Alternatively, and if you want to be a true revolutionary, instead of filling every moment of the festive break, how about finding the time to do nothing at all? Treat yourself to turning the phone off, having a long lie-in, or daydreaming on the couch – you deserve it!

How are you spending your Christmas at home?

Whatever you’re doing, wherever you are, and whoever you’re with, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas Day and wish you health and happiness for 2023 and beyond.

And if moving is on the cards next year, we’d love to help you on your way. Call us on 01363 777 999 or drop us a line at [email protected] for a friendly chat about your plans