Thinking of buying a house in Gillingham? What should you expect in 2022?

When it comes to the Gillingham property market in 2021 and the UK in general; words like crazy and frantic spring to mind. It was a year where the number of properties on the market was low and yet demand was overwhelming at times. Where house prices reached record highs at times; and many buyers were left out in cold and even struggling to get viewings. As we are heading to the end of the first month of the year, what is it like out there for buyers? What should you expect if you are looking to buy a home in Gillingham in 2022?

What has been happening

Competition for homes from buyers was fierce at the end of last year; which has been confirmed by data from Propertymark (the leading membership body for property agents). “Our Housing Market Report for November revealed an average of 29 potential buyers for every available property per branch – a 21% increase in competition from October, however, despite a rise in the average number of potential buyers, a record low supply of properties was recorded, with an average of just 20 homes per branch – 50% less than in November 2020,” stated Nathan Emerson, CEO at Propertymark.

With the end of the stamp duty holiday last year, it was predicted that things may settle down this year; but this has not been the case. According to recent data from Rightmove; the number of buyers enquiring about homes is 15% higher than the same time last year. Yet, before you start to panic and wonder if you are going to face the same challenges finding a home as last year; there may be some light on the way for your search.  Rightmove figures show that the number of requests for home valuations during the first working week of 2022 was up by 44% on the same time last year, and up by 48% on the same period in 2020.

What this means is that we should start to see more homes coming on to the market; giving you more choice as a buyer. At Century Residential, we are seeing an increase in the number of enquiries by potential home sellers, who, due to a steadier return to normality, have increasing confidence about making that move which they have been considering for a while. There will still be competition for properties; and there are things you can do to make sure you are in the best position should you find that home of your dreams.

What you can do?

Buying power is what you need if you’re looking for a home in the next couple of months; and that can start with thoroughly understanding your financial situation.  Playing the guessing game on presumptions and out-of-date agreements; is going to place you on rocky ground before you have even begun your property search.  You also don’t want to fall in love with a property; and start to plan where you will put your furniture, only to discover that you can’t afford it.  Do a full financial audit, make sure your credit rating is in a healthy place; and then seek professional advice from a mortgage adviser; if you unsure who to ask, we can certainly recommend a mortgage broker who has helped many of our clients.

We all have a vision of what our next home will look like; but what you think you want and what you actually need can often be very different. Sticking to an ideal and not being willing to be open to ideas; or being able to compromise will make your search virtually impossible. Often it can be those properties that you had discounted for one reason or another; that end up being the ones that steal your heart.

If you are selling a home as well as buying; in this market it is essential that you find a buyer for your property first, before you start to search for your new home.  You don’t know the position of other potential buyers; and having a buyer for your property will place you in a strong buying position. Additionally your offer will be considered stronger as a result.

You are not on your own

Many buyers underestimate the value an estate agent can bring to their search. Give our team a call today and let them know exactly what you want and need from your next property. You never know, the next home we are called to value could just be that one you are looking for. For more advice on the Gillingham property market, and how to navigate it as a buyer, give our team a call today on 01634 570057.

Content contributed by The Federation of Independent Agents.

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Avoid these exhausting mistakes when moving home in Kent

There is nothing more exciting – or stressful – than seeing your moving date start to rush towards you.  You have been looking forward to the day you can step foot in your new home; but you also look around you and feel overwhelmed. How will you be ready in time?  It is always advisable to plan ahead and we have some great tips that will make moving home in Kent less stressful by helping you to avoid some common and exhausting mistakes.

Don’t wait until the last minute

Have you started to prepare for your move?  It is never too soon to get started; there are things you can do even before you place your home on the market.  If you do a little here and there, the whole process won’t feel so insurmountable; and as your moving date approaches, you will feel a lot calmer. No matter where you are in the sales process; one thing you can do now is start organising your move by decluttering.

Start decluttering now

Whether your home is yet to be placed on the market or you are in the midst of the sales process; it is never too early to start decluttering. We all accumulate a wealth of stuff over the years. From things that have moved into the attic never to be seen again, to drawers full of mystery; and do we mention those clothes that you’ll never wear again?  Do you really want every tiny thing in to find its way to your new home, only to be stuffed away again?

This is a job you can do little by little; you may have a spare 10 minutes to sort out a drawer, or an afternoon to organise a bedroom. Sort things into:
Keeping – will need before we move
Keeping – but can pack it now ready for our move

When you start to put things back, you will have less to do; which will help should you be looking to stage your home for sale. You will have some boxes already packed for your move, which means less to pack when the time comes.  Make sure you label your boxes clearly, as this will make things a lot easier when you’re unpacking at the other end.

Forgetting to measure

You are no doubt taking a lot, if not all of your existing furniture, from your current home to your new one; but have you checked that it will all actually fit?  It’s funny how our minds can play tricks on us and resize spaces or furniture when the reality can be a little bit different. If you haven’t already done so, organise a time to view your new home again but this time with a tape measure.  This way, you will know for sure what furniture you can take with you; and what pieces you may have to get rid of before your move.  This is far less stressful than arriving with a van full of your belongings and realising that the vision you had in your head cannot be achieved. Then being left with things that won’t fit whilst you’re trying to make your new house feel like home.

Not organising your change of address

In the UK, we are lucky that Royal Mail can redirect post for a set amount of time, thus giving you some breathing space to check that you have changed your address on everything.  As great as this is, it is still advantageous to plan your change of address in advance, even if companies won’t actually let you do it until after your move.

Start by making a list, from banks and subscriptions to the electoral roll. When you have a list to work through, it can make the process a lot easier and less time consuming. It is worth starting your list sooner rather than later as some organisations may only communicate with you a couple of times a year, whereas you may hear from others monthly. 

Doing everything yourself

The idea of doing the whole move yourself can be attractive, especially if you’re only moving a short distance; but there is a lot more work than you could imagine.  Yes, moving your possessions yourself could save you money compared to hiring a professional removal company, but it isn’t an easy job.  Friends may offer to help you with your furniture; but bear in mind life happens and you could get let down at the last minute.

Moving home furniture isn’t easy, and you will be moving a lot of it. Plus boxes and general ‘stuff’ throughout the day. As the day moves on and you begin to tire; you will be more susceptible to injuries, or even an accident where something gets broken. There is knack to packing a van. Knowing what to place where and how to make the best use of the space, to protect belongings and ensure nothing is damaged in transit. A removal company will have the right equipment to protect any expensive furnishings; and will make sure everything is packed correctly.

There are a wealth of removal companies in Kent, our past clients can share their thoughts and ask on Facebook pages for recommendations.  It is worth investigating as this is one easy way of eliminating a physically and mentally exhausting moving mistake.

Not preparing to move with kids and pets

Moving day will be stressful enough without the added worry of what your children and pets are up to and if they are safe.  It will be difficult to keep them occupied whilst your attention is taken in another direction. Can your pets be cared for at a pet day care facility, and your children left with a friend of relative? They can have a day of fun and you can focus on your move. 

A smoother move

At Century Residential we want to ensure that when your moving home it isn’t exhausting and stressful, but smooth and enjoyable.  If you’re looking to move, we can make sure you have a wonderful experience from start to finish. Call our team today on 01634 570057.

Content contributed by The Federation of Independent Agents.

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Classic fibs we tell ourselves when buying a home

Welcome to the emotional ride that is buying a home. When you are spending so much money, you want to make sure you choose the right investment. The process is exciting, complicated and, let’s face it, a little bit scary at times.  Your mind is bound to be racing with so many things – wants, needs, location and lifestyle, compromises and must-haves.  We all have those little fibs we tell ourselves to make things feel a little easier. Here are some fun classic fibs that many homebuyers tell themselves when looking for a new home.

1. I’m going to keep below my budget

You know that it’s essential to establish your budget before you start looking at houses. For one, you don’t want to be disappointed should you be able to afford less than you thought, but also if you have a mortgage in principle this places you in a stronger position when it’s time to make an offer.  With your budget in hand, we know many home hunters have a deep desire to stay below that figure, but the reality is many don’t.  Now this isn’t through lack of trying; they just discover that those extra pennies can often get them the home they really want. 

One strong word of warning: if you know that your budget will be stretching you financially, lower it to something you are more comfortable with.  You may have to make a compromise or two; but you will be happy you did when you feel more financially stable.

2. It’s fine if they don’t accept my offer

This is such a typical way of trying to prepare yourself for disappointment; because deep down you know that you absolutely want this house, and you will be shedding a tear or two if you don’t get it.  But telling ourselves a fib like this makes us feel a little better. As does the relief when the offer is accepted and we can finally be honest!

3. I’m happy to do some work

It is always tempting to look at properties that need some work because, at the end of the day, you can turn them into exactly what you want and add value along the way.  But what you think you’re up for now may not be the reality. We have seen many cases over the years where would-be renovators end up standing inside a project house looking like bunnies caught in the headlights. Be honest with yourself, when you say, “I’m happy to do some work”. Do you really mean, “I don’t mind painting the walls but knocking one down and doing any kind of building is a little out of my depth”?

4. I’m not in any rush

Now we wouldn’t say searching for a new home can become addictive, but it’s funny how you start off with intentions of not rushing – and then suddenly that changes.  You avidly check any new listings daily. Okay, maybe hourly – to try and get in there first. Calling the agents quickly to arrange a viewing because you don’t want to miss out by only sending an email. Pretty soon you’re ‘not in any rush’ mentality is replaced by a quest that you can’t seem to walk away from.

5. The house will still be available in a few days

Or will it?  We would love to tell you that you have some thinking time after a viewing, time to see other properties and check out the location, but the fact is, in the current market, waiting is a sure-fire way of missing out on a property you love.  Houses are flying right now, but that doesn’t mean you should make a rash decision.  Try and do your research on the location and similar properties and understand what it is exactly that you need, so that when you attend a viewing on a property that gives you the overwhelming feeling of being your future home, you are ready to act, and act fast.

Buying a home

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or just unsure about the best way to start your property search, our team at Century Residential are always here to help.  We know the area intimately and can help you drill down to what’s important in your next home. As well as explaining the best way to approach the sales process.

Are telling yourself the classic fib ‘you can do this on your own’? Let us show you the difference it makes to have a great local estate agent by your side. Give our team a call today on 01634 570057.

Content contributed by The Federation of Independent Agents.

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FOMO, Hot tips for buying a house in today’s market

If you’re thinking about buying a house in Kent at the moment you may have a ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ (FOMO), and who could blame you?  With a distinct lack of properties on the market and an abundance of buyers all wanting to find a home, it’s like the Wild West out there on the housing front. In March, HMRC announced that UK property transactions were at their highest level since records began in 2005. In fact, there were 180,000 sales, that’s double the number seen in March last year. So if you are a buyer trying to navigate this market, how can you ensure your FOMO doesn’t become a reality?

Get ready

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a buyer is to start your search before you’ve got yourself in a viable position. In other words, do you have a mortgage in principle?  Having an up to date mortgage in principle is important. This demonstrates to both the homeowner and the estate agent that you are able to proceed with the purchase. Your offer will be considered serious. Meaning that in cases where demand for viewings on a property is overwhelming, you will be considered over someone who doesn’t have this in place. If you haven’t taken the steps to speak to a mortgage broker, we would suggest you do so as soon as possible.

Be transparent

If you want to be taken seriously, you need to be transparent when speaking to an estate agent about what you’re looking for and your maximum budget.  We know that by placing all your cards on the table you may think you’re putting yourself in a weaker position when it comes to negotiating. But stating that you don’t have a maximum budget doesn’t ring true. This can make it difficult for an estate agent to help you find your dream home.

Take advantage of virtual viewings

Virtual viewings are a great way of touring a number of properties to see what you like and don’t like.  It can help you to solidify your wish list and work out where you’re willing to compromise.  Within a virtual tour not only will you be taken around the property, you will also get to ask questions. This means that when you are sure of what you want you can focus all your time and energy on properties that could be the perfect match. 

Be clear

Buying a house is a massive investment. However, it’s a decision that many rush into, and we don’t want you regretting a purchase down the line.  Before you start to physically view properties, think about all the things that are important to you and not just the property itself.  As the country starts to open up to some kind of normality, what can the neighbourhood offer you? Your work situation could be different, perhaps involving work from home days, so is commutability as important as it was? Or, do you want walks, shops and bars in walking distance? Remember, a home can be changed but a location can’t. It’s easy to be swayed by a stunning interior and exterior, but is it the right ‘home’ for you?

More haste, less speed

This market requires a clear and level head. If you snooze you will lose, but your decisions shouldn’t be rushed either.  Set up alerts with property websites so you’ll know as soon as a new home in your chosen area comes onto the market so that you can book a viewing as quickly as possible. Don’t forget to do your research before you go if it’s an area you’re not familiar with.  Make a list of questions so these can be answered whilst you are viewing the property.  Try and view the house without rose-tinted glasses, because this could be your home – will you be happy living there? Don’t wait to make an offer if this house is for you. As you can be assured that others who have viewed it will no doubt be doing the same.

Do you want this house?

Any offer you make has to have an impact. Yes, we all love a bargain but when homes are going for close to or over their asking prices at the moment in Kent, making a low ball offer will seem like an insult to the homeowners.  You want your offer to be taken seriously. Don’t forget to remind the estate agent of your position – are you a first-time buyer, chain-free, your property already sold? Knowing more about you and your position could make your offer more attractive; not all sellers take the highest figure. Some wish their home to go to a local family, not an investor, or prefer a buyer for other reasons. 

No more fear

With these hot tips, you may still have a little fear of missing out. However, you’re taking steps to place yourself in a strong position so you can not only find your dream home, but buy it too.  If you’re looking for a new home in Kent, come and chat to our team to see how we can help you.

Call our team today on 01634 570057.

Content contributed by The Federation of Independent Agents.

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