How to sell your home quickly during the Summer

In this month's packed edition, we're full of helpful tips for those looking for assistance in becoming a buy-to-let landlord, with designing a children's bedroom or those looking for a quick Summer sale for their home.

There's also good news across the market this month; mortgage approvals have hit their highest levels in over two years, the Government has relaxed planning laws to make extending your home easier and finally, traditional estate agents have been found to provide their customers with good value for money. 

A Guide to Designing your children's bedroom

Designing a child’s room can be tricky; there are a number of factors to consider so it is hard to know where to begin. Design trends are forever changing and your child is constantly growing, so it’s important that you consider a few things before starting.

Striking the balance between fun and practical is a challenge and designing something that your child does not grow out of too quickly is not easy, but by taking the time to think it over, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and create a space that is fun for them and easy for you to manage.

Draw Up A Floor Plan
Before you start buying all sorts of cute and colourful furniture, it’s important to remember that depending on your child’s age, this room could have a variety of functions.

Have a think about what the room will be used for and draw out a plan. If the room just needs to be a comfortable place to sleep then you should have plenty of freedom; however, if it also needs to be an area to play and study, you’ll require a good amount of floor space and maybe a dedicated corner for a desk.

Everyone’s home and preferences are different but you want to get as much out of the space as possible, so take a moment to consider the role that the room will play and how it may change over the next few years.

Choose the right colour
It may be tempting to simply ask your child what their favourite colour is and then start buying paint or wallpaper.

While it is a good idea to include your child in the design of their room, if their favourite colour resembles a highlighter pen, then your best option is to go with the more neutral shade of that colour.

Your best strategy is to aim for a colour palette that nicely blends with a variety of furniture and will not look so childish once your child turns into a teen. Save yourself a redecoration job in 18 months by picking a colour that will age well with the rest of the ever-changing décor.

Decide on the flooring
When it comes to flooring you have a few options, all with their pros and cons, so you just have to decide which will be best for you.

Carpet helps keep the room a little warmer but is vulnerable to stains. Hardwood is much more durable and easy to clean but does not provide much cushion for a child that is a little more clumsy than most. You could also opt for rubber flooring that does offer the benefits of both carpet and hardwood; however, it is the most expensive option of the three.

The flooring that is best for you is dependent on the age of your child, but research your options while keeping your budget in mind and make sure your choice of flooring compliments the room and doesn’t break the bank.

Getting the furniture right
There are two key things to keep in mind when choosing your furniture: functionality and lifespan.

We’ve already established that space is a valuable commodity so finding multifunctional furniture can be a real lifesaver.

Beds that have storage built in underneath are quite easy to find and the extra storage they provide can go a long way, as well as free up more of the room for other essential items. This also gives you an opportunity to get a little creative and look for ways to combine 2 items into one such as adding some padding to a desk or dresser so that it also can be used as a changing table.

The other consideration for furniture is its lifespan. A lot of cute miniature beds, tables and chairs might look great, but you must remember that your children will grow out of them quicker than you think. A good strategy would be to buy some furniture that they can grow into. Their small clothes may not justify full sized dresser just yet, but it will not be long before you are looking for extra storage space and their feet are hanging out of the end of the bed.

Add character through accessories
Now that your room has been planned out, you have chosen your colour palette, had the flooring fitted, assembled and placed the furniture, it’s time to add character.

The great part about this phase of designing the room is that because the rest of the room's features were kept neutral and timeless, you can now give your child a good amount of freedom to add their own personality to the room from accessories.

Whether it’s action figures, bed covers or posters, you can basically style the room however you want and the best part is, these accessories can be easily replaced and changed over the years at the same rate as your child’s taste in décor shifts from one thing to the next.

Government relaxes planning laws to make extending your home easier

A formerly temporary right that gave homeowners the ability to extend their properties up to eight metres without formally seeking planning permissions has now been made permanent, amidst a package of planning reforms from the Government.

If you have been thinking of adding some extra space to your property, then this will come as welcome news, as the protracted permissions can now be avoided altogether. Under the new legislation, terraced or semi-detached homes may add a single-storey extension of up to 6 metres and detached properties see this increased to 8 metres.

Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP said: “These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape.

“This is part of a package of reforms to build more, better, faster and make the housing market work – and sits alongside our drive to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.”

Further to changes for the housing sector, business owners are also privy to favourable planning rules; shops are now able to change to office space without the need for a full planning application. These business reforms build on changes which now allow businesses to change the use of buildings from takeaways to new homes without the need for a full planning application.

Planning permission can equate to a minefield of red tape for homeowners looking to add space to their current property, often being a key factor in a decision whether to extend or not. Interestingly, 15% of Britons state that they are unable to remember whether they have the correct planning for amendments to their properties which could cause headaches when they decide to sell up and the requisite paperwork is demanded. With over 100,000 extensions completed under the previously temporary rules since 2014, an increase in home improvements could now be seen as sellers take advantage of the newly-embedded legislation.

How to sell your home quickly during the Summer

With plenty of buyers motivated to move before the winter months set in, summer can be the perfect time to sell your property. If you’re selling, or considering selling, then read some of our pointers to help you sell quickly this summer…

Kerb appeal
As is always the case with selling properties, a first impression can make or break a sale with a poorly presented property often putting off buyers before they have even set foot in the home. In the summer this is especially important as buyers will often drive or walk past a property before they decide to book a viewing. With the summer sun shining a light on any less-than-perfect parts of the exterior of your property, you should ensure that flowers are planted, weeds are pruned and lawns are mowed. Extra attention to details, such as ensuring that the front door has been cleaned and the windows are streak-free will pay dividends in your selling process.

A neutral interior will appeal to a mass market and increase the scope of your property in terms of potential buyers, but if you are looking to make the most of the summer then don’t be afraid of colour. Using accessories to add pops of colour around your home that reflect the brighter summer season – such as burnt orange and lemon – will make your property stand out from the crowd in those all-important photographs.

When we think of summer, we all first think of sunshine and brighter evenings – so make the most of this light when presenting your home for sale. Get rid of heavy curtains and dark blinds, which can make a room feel smaller and prevent the light from entering a room. Buyers want to feel that rooms are bright and spacious, so if possible, have windows and doors open throughout the house to create a light, airy feeling (as well as bringing in those fresh summer scents).

Set dress
Set dressing refers to the arranging of a room or space in order to paint a picture of the kind of lifestyle which could be enjoyed in your property. Never is it more important to set dress your garden than throughout the summer months, with potential buyers wanting to know that they will be able to enjoy the outdoor space which your home provides. Tempt potential buyers by showing off your outdoor spaces with garden furniture, fire pits and barbecues.

Viewing times
During the summer months, many people like to start work early and leave early in order to benefit from the longer evenings; make sure that you can accommodate as many viewings as possible by being flexible with your viewing times. Allowing people to view your home early in the morning, as well as in the afternoon will help bring more people through the door as well as showing off your property in favourable light.

Interesting in becoming a Buy-to-Let landlord? Read our guide

Bricks and mortar have always been a bolthole for people looking to invest their money in a safe place and, despite recent changes to the lettings market, buy-to-let remains a popular investment avenue. If you are looking to become a buy-to-let landlord, then the results can be fruitful – follow our five tips below to start your journey!

1. Mortgage Matters
The first port of call if you are considering becoming a buy-to-let landlord is the mortgage market; either with your current mortgage provider if you are looking to convert a current mortgage into buy-to-let, or to the general marketplace if you are looking to buy a new property for lettings purposes. Ensure that you shop around for your buy-to-let mortgage as the marketplace is currently extremely competitive in terms of lending, which should help you to obtain favourable rates. If you are converting your mortgage, ensure that your lender has granted you “Consent To Let” before you move any tenants into the property.

2. Managed or Unmanaged?
With the recent surge in tenant and landlord legislation, managing your own property may seem like a daunting prospect. If this is the case, then look for a reputable estate agent who will manage the lettings process for you – this will take a lot of the stress out of letting a property for you. If you are more confident, then you may want to work with an agent to list your property and find tenants, but then manage those tenants independently – if this is the case then seek as much advice as possible and keep legislation at the top of your list as a landlord.

3. Landlord Insurance
When it comes to buy-to-let properties, you will need to make sure that you are covered for every eventuality. Specialist landlord insurance is a must, as well as buildings insurance, and if you have furnished a property then contents insurance may also be required. Speak to your chosen estate agent about their recommendations in terms of insurers and remember that spending a little on comprehensive cover may save you a lot in the long run.

4. Financials
Once you have your buy-to-let mortgage in place, you have your tenants in a fully-insured property and you are reaping the rewards, one of the key steps will be filing your taxes correctly. With buy-to-let being an investment source, you will have to pay specific taxes regarding the property and the profit which you are making from that; speaking to an accountant will help you to get your finances in order. Further to this, you will be able to offset some of your expenses and costs against tax – don’t miss out on these opportunities.

5. Target Market
It would be easy once you have your investment property in place to then sit back and relax. One of our recommendations would be to keep your finger on the pulse of the lettings market and adapt your property accordingly. Currently, the student lettings market is extremely popular and the potential rental yield extremely high, therefore it could be a good market to position your property within currently. As the economy changes, families may be the driving market in lettings, or indeed young professionals, therefore stay flexible with your offering and you may well be able to increase your portfolio.

Mortgage approvals at highest level for over two years

After months of stifled activity caused by Brexit uncertainty, the UK property market continues to show signs of rude health. The latest example of this comes from mortgage approvals, which according to reports reached their highest levels in over two years during the month of April.

Industry body UK Finance have released figures detailing that British banks approved a total of 42,989 mortgages across the month of April. This was an increase of almost 2,500 from March’s total and marks the biggest annual increase seen in the market since March 2016. Remortgaging approvals also benefited from an increase, with a 5% rise from March to April and an 11% year-on-year rise.

The much-publicised delay of Brexit isn’t the only factor in this rise; unemployment levels across the country fell to their lowest levels since 1974 during the month of March and strong earnings growth alongside low interest rates have also played their part. Still, the delay of our exit from the European Union appears to have galvanised house buyers and encouraged them to proceed with their property purchases

“April’s marked rise in mortgage approvals suggests that housing market activity may well have got at least some temporary support from the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March,” said Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club, an economic forecasting group.

It will be difficult for the market to sustain such numbers, especially as the year wears on and October draws nearer. Consumer confidence across the country isn’t as strong in comparison to France or Germany for example, according to the European Commission’s data, but given the shifting nature of the market over the last year, this certainly doesn’t represent a surprise.

Traditional estate agents found to be good value for money

With recent changes to the landscape of estate agency, including online-only providers and new fee structures, it may come as a surprise to some to see that traditional estate agents are considered good value with regards to fees and value-for-money, estate agent comparison site GetAgent has found.

The review site has found that 84% of home sellers who purchased a property over the last year decided to use a traditional estate agent, with 69% of those feeling that the fee which they paid was good value for money. It would seem, therefore, that when making one of the biggest decisions that many of us will ever make, the traditional method of building a relationship with an agent who then leads you through the buying or selling process is still heavily favoured.

Colby Short, founder and chief executive of, said: “We’ve seen some big changes to the sector over the last decade through the rise and fall of the online agent and this consumer learning curve has led to an adjustment in opinion when it comes to the fee charged to sell a home.

“While a low fixed fee may have seemed like the future of home selling and many may have sold successfully via that model, a number of high-profile company collapses along with a consistent string of customer service failures has seen the market share of online agents fail to live up to expectation.

“Previously, the commission fee charged by traditional agents was seen as too high, I think the consumer is now starting to realise that you get what you pay for.

“To pay a few thousand pounds in commission to achieve a higher sold price while securing a buyer in current market conditions is ultimately much better value for money than a few hundred up front and no sale achieved at the end of it.

“Of course, the current lethargy plaguing the market is not ideal and has evidently had an impact on the price achieved and the time it’s taking to sell, but I think it has helped demonstrate the worth of a good estate agent which is a silver lining for the industry at least.”

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