We are a nation of DIY enthusiasts and we have splashed out a total of £48bn doing up our homes over the last five years – an average of £8,000 each. The most popular changes are redecorating (72%), adding new flooring (42%), landscaping the garden (40%), and a bathroom refresh (34%).

1. Redecorating and easy upgrades

Redecorating is the most popular home improvement; for a relatively low cost, you can give your home a lick of paint and do some general upkeep. Fresh paint in modern colours can go a long way to giving your home a new lease of life.

2. Makeover the kitchen

Potential buyers often put a lot of their focus on the look and feel of a kitchen, and it may be the first thing they look to replace if they’re not satisfied with what is already installed. Painting units or replacing cupboard handles or doors are a cost-effective way of giving your kitchen a noticeable refresh without spending too much money.

3. Adding or updating a bathroom

In the bathroom, replacing tiles and re-grouting, eliminating all lime scale and replacing taps are all options worth considering. Bathrooms need to be fresh and clean, so make sure the walls are a neutral shade, and ideally replace a shower curtain with a new one or a simple glass screen. Pinterest is a great platform to find ideas and inspiration.

4. Garden appeal

A tidy and well-designed garden is an attractive selling point for any property. Before any viewings, trim the borders, clear the pathways and cut back any overgrown trees or bushes.

5. Double glaze the windows

Double glazing is an essential for many house hunters; it will keep the home warm and keep the noise out, even if it’s near a main road.

6. Open space

Open living space is hugely popular, particularly for the kitchen and dining room. Combining the two into one large room creates a great sociable space and is perfect for families. However, it’s important to remember that many homeowners still enjoy the ‘front room philosophy’ that can be used for special occasions or for privacy by the adults.

7. Replace doors

The front of your home can say a lot about the rest of the house to viewers seeing it for the first time. By replacing or sprucing up the front door, you will give potential buyers a great first impression.

8. Convert the loft

A loft conversion is a more expensive improvement, yet it offers a great return on investment. Most lofts can be easily converted and expanding the house upwards offers homeowners an extra bedroom for growing families, or space for extra storage.

Sometimes, it’s worth getting a professional valuer to visit you at your home to give some simple advice as to what areas could be focused upon to help sell your home, or add value. It’s also useful to know what ceiling price is achievable so as to ensure you don’t overspend. Mount & Minster offer this service free of charge. Contact us for further information.

The popularity of detached homes in the East Midlands has increased over the last decade. Most local home-movers aspire to either continue to live in a detached property, or to own one for the first time. The average price of this type of property is set to rise further.

The average price of a detached house in the UK was £252,473 in January 2009. Today, a detached property will set you back, on average, £377,945 – that’s an increase of £125,472 or 50% in a decade.

For value, our region has always been popular with buyers from outside the area. The increase is similar, however the average value for a detached dwelling in our area is now £212,000. This is rising fast and is far outperforming other areas of the UK which, in comparison, are deemed to be a bit expensive and less attractive.

Unsurprisingly, London is the most expensive region with the price of an average detached property up 87%, or more than £420,000, since 2009. The average price now stands at £906,825.

If you wish to get a more detailed idea as to your property’s exact value, Mount & Minster estate agents offer free valuations and consultations. Contact us and we’d be happy to help.

New research has analysed the seasonal impact of the East Midlands property market and if there is a connection between warmer weather and how much buyers are paying for a home.

The extent of research was carried out by looking at sold prices from the Land Registry, analysing the difference in price achieved over the four seasons, how this breaks down by month and what impact rising temperatures have on the price buyers are paying for property.

There is an obvious pattern where the warmer weather and longer evenings bring a spike in market activity, while at the same time the seasonal changes also bring a higher average sold price. In winter last year the average sold price was £291,810, increasing to £293,347 as spring arrived. This then increased further to £301,321 over the summer season before falling to £289,833 during the autumn.

When looking month to month this seasonal spike remains prevalent, but it would seem that the change in temperature also plays it part where house price growth is concerned.

The data shows a direct correlation with prices cooling between January and February as the average temperature also cools. Then between February and July consistent increases in the average monthly temperature also coincide with consistent increases in the average sold price of property. Then as the temperatures begin to cool from August through to December, so too does the average sold price.

When quantifying the monetary impact, sold prices increased £2,150 for every one degree change in temperature.

The seasonality of the national property market is widely discussed, as patterns of buyer and seller behaviour dictate market activity and ultimately the price achieved. However, it seems that something as external to the property as temperature itself also has a direct correlation.

With spring now officially sprung and summer on the horizon, we should start to see the Brexit price growth freeze thaw, but for those that remain sat on the fence until a higher degree of certainty returns to the market, holding out until summer could see them achieve that little bit extra as temperatures continue to rise.

Once you have acquired your first investment property, there are are many things to consider for first-time landlords. If you’re planning to rent out your property, here are a few top tips from Mount & Minster letting agents. 

The private rented sector (PRS) shrunk from 4.7m dwellings in 2016-17, to 4.5m in 2017-18, increasing the demand for landlords. Renting your property is a big decision and it’s important you understand what being a landlord involves. We’ve put these tips together to ensure you understand your responsibilities as a landlord, know how to protect your property, and keep your tenants happy and dealing with any issues that may arise.

Do your research

As a first step, get to know your market. Research similar properties in the local area and find out what rents they are achieving each month. A good estate agent will be able to advise you on this. Market the property at a competitive price and aim to keep it filled at all times to minimise rental voids.

Check-in with your lender

If you’re looking to rent out your privately owned home, you go from being a home-owner and occupier to a landlord. Check if your mortgage allows you to let out your property as some agreements include caveats to prevent homes from being rented. If you are unsure, speak to your mortgage lender and they will be able to advise you accordingly.

Management

Being a landlord is a 24/7 job, so you should be prepared to receive calls from your tenant at any time during the day or night. Some issues will need immediate attention and unless you have a managing agent, you are responsible for all repairs and maintenance. There are extensive legal responsibilities you should be aware of (see below). If you’re not up to speed then you could face considerable fines or even a custodial sentence. If you’re not sure, use a reputable letting agent, such as Mount & Minster.

Get the property rental ready

Make sure your property is clean and any modernisation or DIY projects are finished. It will be more attractive to prospective tenants if it’s had a fresh lick of paint, all repairs are done and if necessary, new flooring has been installed. You should also think about the type of tenants your property will be best suited to; for example, young families, students or single professionals. This will determine whether you should let it furnished or unfurnished. If possible, offer both options, so the agent can market your property to a wider audience.

Sort out the insurance

Your existing buildings and contents insurer must be made aware of your intention to let your property, as your policy will probably need to be amended. While specific landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it’s advisable as the policy will protect the building, your tenants and your investment as a whole – some policies will also pay out if your tenant misses their rent payments.

Legal requirements

When it comes to being a landlord, there are more regulations to comply with than you can shake a stick at. To put it into perspective, there are currently around 150 laws that landlords need to adhere to while letting a property. At the start of a tenancy agreement, you must carry out Right-to-Rent checks in line with immigration laws, protect deposits and have all the essential paperwork in place.

While it isn’t a legal requirement, it’s a very good idea to have a written tenancy agreement so both you and your tenant understand your rights and responsibilities.

The safety of your tenants is very important, so you must also arrange a Gas Safety check every year. It’s also a good idea to make sure all electrical appliances and wiring are tested regularly too. Finally, it goes without saying that your rental property should be fitted with smoke alarms on every floor and carbon monoxide detectors where necessary.

By law, your property needs to have an EPC (energy performance certificate), and it needs to be Band E or above. You won’t be able to market the property unless you reach this standard and have a certificate to prove it, so get it sorted as soon as possible – they’re valid for 10 years.

Regular inspections

It’s important to undertake regular inspections of the property, although remember you can’t enter the property without your tenants’ permission. This is classed as trespassing and is illegal. Give them at least 24 hours’ written notice, and this should be stipulated in your tenancy agreement.

Choosing the right agent

If you want to make the process pain and risk-free, use an agent to manage your property and guide you in the right direction. A good agent will take away the stress of finding suitable tenants and will ensure your property complies with any regulatory changes. Mount & Minster are Propertymark Protected agents, having been recognised as experienced and trained professionals who work to a code of practice in order to help landlords manage their homes.

For further information of for a FREE CONSULTATION, either contact us or call 01522 716204 or 01476 515 329.

Common perceptions dictate, that if a home doesn’t sell, there must be something wrong with it. That’s a true statement. In a market that is moving, there is something wrong with a home that doesn’t sell. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not always location or condition. 

It could be that you’ve chosen the wrong estate agent. Not just because their marketing strategy is ineffective, but more likely due to the fact they’ve given you the wrong advice; Price.

Why Buyers Don’t Make Offers on Overpriced Listings:

1. Buyers don’t want to offend the seller. It goes against human nature to offer substantially less than the asking price to a seller. It’s insulting to the seller and embarrassing for the buyer.

2. Buyers tend to believe that the seller knows the home is overpriced. They then believe that if a seller would be willing to sell for less, the seller would simply lower the price.

3. Buyers also assume that the seller must have turned down lower offers from other buyers because surely someone, somewhere would have offered a reasonable price to the seller. Many times, there are no offers at all.

4. Most importantly – buyers are offering on the “more competitively priced” properties available, surrounding the overpriced home INSTEAD!

How Mount & Minster get the best price for our selling clients:

We spend every day studying local markets and have found that our carefully organised viewing structure is very effective and our guide price strategy get the attention a property deserves, often selling for a higher price. After-all, the value of the property is what someone is willing to pay for it. If someone really falls in love with it, they’ll pay what they think it’s worth to them. If this is more than the guide price, so be it!!

Go too high from the start, you’ll burn your bridges and go stale. There’s a good chance it will eventually sell, but for less than what it should have gone on the market for originally.

To find out more about you can benefit from an award-winning  and high impact marketing plan, feel free to contact us for your FREE market appraisal.

MOUNT & MINSTER HAVE ONCE AGAIN BEEN EXCLUSIVELY SELECTED TO REPRESENT THEIR LOCAL CLIENTS AND HOME-SELLERS IN THIS YEARS LONDON & COUNTRY PROPERTY SHOW IN CHELSEA. 

The only local agent to be showing, selling and displaying prominent local properties that are available for sale in the East Midlands, we are pleased to be attending this increasingly popular property exhibition at Chelsea Old Town Hall on the King’s Road, Chelsea on the 14th May 2019.

This high-profile event, held in conjunction with Country Life magazine, is specifically targeted at those currently living in the south east and London who are seeking to move away from the capital. These sought-after buyers are often in a cash position and often pay more for properties which are comparatively much better value compared to where they currently live.

The East Midlands is becoming more and more popular with southern buyers who are attracted by our stand-out properties which are easily within their reach financially, as well as our proximity to superb transport links, fast rail connections and highly regarded local schools.

Last year, Mount & Minster successfully sold the majority of the properties they pushed at the show and are once again promoting an exclusive collection of properties to this special and targeted demographic.

If you think your property would suit a London or southern buyer and you would like to know more about the Show and attract a premium price then please feel free to contact anyone of our Chartered property professionals in either the Grantham office (01476 515329) or the Lincoln office (01522 715204). Alternatively, contact us here to learn more about this exciting opportunity.

We show hundreds of people round houses every year. As estate agents, we pick-up on what buyers are focusing on. When it comes to spending your hard-earned cash on home improvements, are you focusing on the right things? It only takes seven seconds for someone to make a first impression, it’s no wonder people take so much notice of the things they see first.

The top five things people notice about your home on arrival are:

1. Front door / porch (30%)
2. Hallway/entry hall/staircase (30%)
3. Driveway / front garden (27%)
4. Overall decor / Interior design (25%)
5. Living room (23%)

Although the entrance to a home is ranked the most noticeable, only 2% of people focus on this area of their own home when they first move in, with the majority confessing they chose to fix up their kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms first.

Looking at the difference between the sexes, 28% of women notice the overall décor of a home compared to just 21% of men, and strangely, women are also quicker to notice the smell of a home compared to men (20% for women vs 13% for men). When it comes to the ages, the under 35’s are quick to notice integrated technology compared to just 2% of over 35’s.

So what can you do to make the best impression, help sell your home and possible even add value? Our top tips are:

1. Front Door

It’s no surprise that the front door is the first thing that people see about your home, and it is now often seen as a reflection of your taste and lifestyle. Entrances should feel protective yet warm and welcoming. Achieving this with a bog-standard front door can be difficult. Consider what impression you want to give to your buyers.

2. Hallway

Homeowners themselves don’t spend too much of their time in the hallway or stairwell, so it’s often forgotten, but it’s arguably the most important part of the home. Sitting in the centre and leading off into other rooms, the hallway can be a busy area, and is the second (30%) most noticeable thing about your home, so it’s important to keep it looking its best.

There are multiple ways of dressing up a hallway with a quick splash of fresh paint or a new runner on the stairs. For wooden stairs, painting the vertical side of each step can liven things up, and add heaps of personality. Laying down new floor tiles will dramatically change the look and feel of a hallway, and adding typical hallway furniture will make any hallway more inviting. A cheaper alternative to add personality is with a picture gallery leading upstairs, giving guests an insight into what is important to you.

However, it’s also important to remember that the hallway is a very functional space, so don’t do anything that could sabotage that, such as laying a luxurious carpet that is bound to get ruined by dirty shoes.

3. Front garden

It is possible to achieve a low maintenance garden which has maximum visual impact; bay trees on the patio will look smart, or even invest in a few shrubs or colourful pots to keep your garden looking healthy and green during the winter months. Ten years ago, astroturf was hardly ever seen and now it’s the norm in many properties.

Highlight your front garden’s best features using lighting. The great thing about garden lighting is that you can focus attention away from your garden’s more unsightly aspects, such as your bin shed, and toward your front door- as if to say, ‘come on in!’.

4. Overall decor

With so many different rooms to change, changing the overall decor of a home is harder than it sounds. If you don’t have an eye for interior design or have an unusual style, sticking to a soft colour scheme and adding your personality in with your own furniture and homeware is always a safe bet.

A simple way to freshen up your new home in the early days of living there is to add artwork. Framed in coordinating frames, artwork will add fluidity between the rooms and instantly add personality, making the space feel like your own until you have the time and the budget to tackle larger projects.

5. Living room

Living rooms are all about a welcoming atmosphere. Building charm and character aren’t always the easiest, especially in newer homes, but there are some ways to get around this. Architectural lighting work particularly well, something that stands out and creates a focal point within the room. Feature wallpaper in neutral colours can also be used to create strong accent walls, and give character to space.”

For more bespoke advice or to arrange a FREE Market Appraisal or Consultation, please feel free to contact us on 01522 716204 or 01476 515329

We’re hiring!

Due to a fast growing and expanding business, Mount & Minster are now looking to recruit a secretary or admin assistant to work as part of an established team in the busy Grantham branch.

This exciting role involves:

  • Assisting and reporting to the Managing Partner
  • Working predominantly in the residential department with some of the finest and highest value properties
  • Registering applicants for sales and lettings properties
  • Booking appointments
  • Attending meetings and taking comprehensive notes
  • Carrying out accompanied viewings of prominent private homes
  • Preparing and sending legal documents
  • Working closely with the team in other offices and departments
  • Being part of an enthusiastic and driven team, working towards common goals

The Person

Ideally you will already have some experience of working in property, however this is not essential and we are keen to hear from applicants with a strong, administration, customer service or sales background.

Possessing a clear passion for property and a good knowledge of the local area, you must have:

  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Good IT skills, including knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel
  • A keen eye for detail
  • Confident and able to work alone, as well as be part of a team
  • A willingness to go the extra mile
  • A full UK driving license

The Reward

Salary dependent on experience + discretionary bonus
Training and support
Excellent career prospects

This is a fantastic opportunity for the right individual to join an established firm with an enviable reputation. Call 01476 515329 or email your CV to ralph@mountandminster.co.uk

Lots of people wrongly assume that selling a house is easy and doesn’t take any preparation. The reality is, selling a home involves specialist skills and knowledge from the best estate agents, however there are some things you can do to help to ensure an easy and stress-free experience, as well as getting a better price.

  1. Pricing your home right from the beginning is imperative. Price your house too high and you’ll miss out on offers and reduce your pool of prospective purchasers. If your property has been on the market for some time, people will begin to wonder whether there is something wrong with it. Don’t let it go stale. Listen to your agent and remember that the highest valuation may not prove to be the best advice.
  2. It’s important to enhance your kerb appeal. First impressions matter and you only get one chance. Consider what the outside of your property looks like to people driving up for the first time. Your property should at least look better than your neighbour’s. Revamp your front door, add a security light, plant some flowers and declutter any exterior porches. Remember, people love a healthy lawn.
  3. Exaggerations will only disappoint in the future. Take what you have and accept it. Don’t try to force the value. If you have a tiny spare room that barely fits a single bed, don’t describe it as an extra bedroom but instead be honest and explain that it would be better renovated into a walk-in wardrobe or storage room.
  4. Shop around for the best estate agent. It’s one of the biggest decisions of your life so make sure you choose the best company to do it. A lot of estate agency business is done through referral and word of mouth so ask around to find a recommended choice. The best is rarely the cheapest so stay clear of low-value ‘pay-anyway’ call-center agents. Going away with more money in your pocket is more important than low fees. Cheap is not best value.
  5. Depersonalise and declutter. Whilst a house should feel homely, you need to allow the potential buyer to imagine thier own family in the property. Remove all items that largely relate to your political and religious beliefs and get rid of any trace of pets. You may love your cat but some buyers won’t.
  6. The kitchen and bathroom always come first. Typically, these are the rooms that buyers want to see the most so they shouldn’t look as if they need a huge renovation. If you do decide to update these before selling then remember that neutral colours always work best and always renovate up to the worth of your home. There is no point installing a bathroom for £30,000 if your house is only worth £200,000.
  7. There isn’t a best time to sell your home. Rumours have it that spring is the best time to sell but houses do sell in winter, autumn and summer too. February and March particularly stand out as exceptional times of year to put your house on the market as there’s usually little available to buyers (low supply), therefore giving them fewer options or alternatives other than your property. Prices therefore tend to be higher. Sell when everyone else does and the market will be saturated and you’ll have to be more price sensitive. Sell in March and you’re more likely to achieve a premium on the price.

Selling and buying houses is a very personal journey but with a little research and the right agent, hopefully you’ll be on your way to making that property dream, a reality. If you have any questions, then please get in touch. 01522 716204 (Lincoln) | 01476 515329 (Grantham) | 02078 390888 (London)

New house price data released by Lloyds Bank has shown a regional divide across the county in sales of prime property, with Lincolnshire and the East Midlands doing very well.

According to Lloyds data, the sale of property priced at over a million pounds in London has seen a decline of 8%, a trend that that the East Midlands is countering with more southern buyers considering our more affordable and therefore attractive properties.

Lloyds revealed that there was a 67% increase prime sales in the East Midlands.

The picture was less positive in other areas of the country. The biggest drop was in the North East, which saw a 38% fall in the sale of million pound plus homes (from 13 in the first half of 2017 to 8 in the first half of 2018).

Yorkshire and the Humber also saw a decrease in the sale of million pound plus homes with a 27% drop, from 55 in the first half of 2017 to 40 in the first half of 2018. The region also experienced a significant decrease in average property prices, with average prices falling from £1,452,252 to £1,367,672.

The sale of million pound plus homes in London continued to decline, down 8% from 3,940 homes in the first half of 2017 to 3,628 in the first half of 2018.

Changes to Stamp Duty on second homes, introduced in 2016, are a likely contributing factor to this decline. Sales in London were at their peak at 4,371 in the first half of 2014, dropping to 4,238 in the first half of 2016 and then continuing to decline in subsequent years.

James Ward, Partner at Mount & Minster comments, “Yet again, our area is coming under the watchful eye of more savvy buyers who realise that there are certain areas in which people can enquire a good sized property with land for very little money compared to down south. Our transport connections at Newark and Grantham drive not only commuters, but those who only need to be in the Capital once every couple of weeks or so. The amount of applicants seeking something special between £1m and £2m has increased significantly and currently the lack of stock available to such a buyer allows many of our clients to sell for a premium due to a lack of supply and high demand.”