Wed 01 Apr 2020
Mark Bridge, Managing Director
As our business adapts to the current environment we all find ourselves in, we will regularly update this page to provide all our clients clear guidance and assurance on our current service status.
First and foremost, we continue to monitor Government advice daily. We are fully supportive of the orders and guidance they issue and our current service status meets Government instruction and Public Health England guidelines.
Secondly, we have a duty to continue business activities to support our clients. Some of whom are elderly, vulnerable and key working. We also have a responsibility to our hard-working staff to ensure they continue to have employment now and in the future when normality returns.
SALES Department Services
Stockton Heath Office
For the moment, we have temporarily closed our branch for your safety and ours. Almost our entire team are now working from home, equally effectively, using the latest equipment and cloud-based infrastructure. We are answering your calls and emails promptly as normal. But if you prefer face to face, we also use Facetime and WhatsApp.
Whilst we cannot offer you an in person viewing of a property at this time, we can offer a fantastic alternative: Virtual Viewings! This is done by online appointment. A variety or ways we can offer virtual viewings include: 360 VR, Video, Facetime and WhatsApp.
Property sales valuations
Much of our valuation work is done by our Property Consultants from their home office. We study historic market values, current market values, demand in your area and we access our database of pre-qualified buyers. A visit to your property is usually then required to ascertain its condition and unique aspects. For your safety and ours, we can accomplish this using digital means. We can agree a day and time for a Facetime or WhatsApp video call where you can take us on a tour around your property. We can then discuss our conclusions with you face to face via video call.
Listing new property for sale
Rightmove and Zoopla are recording their biggest ever traffic figures to their portals. With so many entire families at home, for what is expected to be many weeks, growing families are beginning to feel that their homes are too small. With interest rates so low, and expect to be long after this period has passed, people are itching to move as soon as non-essential movement is permitted again. We will work with you to get your property listed at this key time whilst many are looking. And of course, we will do this within Government safety guidelines.
Making offers to buy
We continue to receive offers to buy and delighted to put these to our vendors. Non-essential movement is prohibited right now, but with the average sales progression taking 14.5 weeks from offer acceptance to completion, we do expect you will be able to move upon completion. If we're listing your dream property, call us! Banks, Building Societies, Mortgage brokers, Surveyors, Solicitors and, of course, ourselves will continue to provide service to you during this period.
As Bank rates are at a historic low, there has never been a better time to look at reviewing your mortgage. The challenge at the moment is there may be increased application times due to reduced bank and building society staff that are available to work from home. So, whether you are buying now or thinking of buying later, why not make that application sooner rather than later? Once things return to normal there could be an increase in demand for applications. Now is an ideal time to get a mortgage agreed in principle which would be valid for 6 months. Call us on 01925 377202 and we'll arrange for Sam our Mortgage & Protection adviser from Mortgage Advice Bureau, to call you and discuss the mortgage deals currently on the market.
You may have to pay an early repayment charge to your existing lender if you remortgage. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances. The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.30% of the amount borrowed.
Detailed surveys cannot be done at this time on properties that are occupied. This will cause some delays but don't let this stop you: Surveyors are taking instructions now to perform surveys as soon as restrictions are lifted. Don't wait for restrictions to lift as you'll find yourself at the back of a very long queue.
Sales progression is what we do to manage a sale from acceptance of offer, right through to completion and key handover. The task involves keeping buyers and sellers up to date and pushing along other parties connected with the sale such as: Banks, Building Societies, Mortgage brokers, Surveyors, Solicitors and Local Councils. Our sales progression work continues as normal from our homes, and you can continue to expect regular updates from us.
Completing the sale and Key collection
Much of the work completing a sale is electronic, and between the Solicitors and Banks.
Collecting keys from ourselves upon completion will be done in a manner that protects everyone's safety and meets guidelines set out by Pubic Heath England.
Some removal companies are on hold at the moment. However, some have put measures in place to achieve this safely. We believe these firms are currently operating:
Once movement is less restricted, expect removals to be in high demand so its advisable you book a firm at the earliest opportunity.
LETTINGS Department Services
St. James Office
For the moment, we have temporarily closed our branch for your safety and ours. Our entire team are now working from home, equally effectively, using the latest equipment and cloud-based infrastructure. We are answering your calls and emails promptly as normal. But if you prefer face to face, we also use Facetime and WhatsApp.
For safety, we cannot offer you an in-person viewing of a property at this time, we can offer a fantastic alternative: Virtual Viewing! This is done by online appointment. A variety of ways we can offer virtual viewings include: 360 VR, Video, Facetime and WhatsApp.
Property rental valuations
Much of our valuation work is done by our Property Consultants from their home office. We study historic market values, current market values, demand in your area and we access our database of pre-qualified renters. A visit to your investment property is usually then required to ascertain its condition and unique aspects. If your property is vacant, you just simply drop your keys off at our office and we can confirm rental value and whether your property meets the latest regulations and is ready to let.
Listing new property to let
Rightmove and Zoopla are recording their biggest ever traffic figures to their portals. With so many entire families at home, for what is expected to be many weeks, growing families are beginning to feel that their homes are too small. People are itching to move as soon as non-essential movement is permitted again. There are also key workers that need to move closer to where they are needed. We will work with you to get your property listed at this key time, whilst many people are looking. And of course, we will do this within Government safety guidelines.
Making offers to rent a property
We continue to receive offers to rent and delighted to put these to our Landlords. Properties we list are vacant, and providing your offer is accepted and you pass referencing, your new home awaits! If we're listing your next home, call us!
Moving in to your new home
Once referencing is complete, you make an appointment with our office to call in and collect keys. Social distancing will be observed during this process, keys will be sanitised.
Rental payments and collection
Rent continues to be paid in full. If you are struggling to make ends meet and pay your rent, firstly discuss this with your bank and credit card company to extend their lines of credit to you. You can also contact your local council to assess if there is any assistance through the benefits office. There are a few Landlords that may be able to offer you a temporary reduction in rent. Any reduction would need to be repaid later, therefore it's important you pay as much rent as you can to avoid repayment trouble later. However, many of our Landlords rely completely on the rent they receive to feed their family, pay their bills and maintain your home (e.g. boiler breakdown). They may not be able to grant you a reduction. Should you have difficulty paying your rent, call us to discuss your circumstances and we will try and assist you and your landlord come to a mutually agreeable payment plan.
In line with Government Advice, each repair request is risk-assessed and a balanced decision is made as to whether the work is more essential than the risk of infection. Generally, we will attend to boiler repairs, water leaks, gas leaks and electrical safety issues. Appropriate precautions will be taken with any work undertaken. Other works will likely have to wait until the Government gives further guidance. During this time, availability of contractors is reduced, but we will do are absolute upmost to attend to essential repairs as quickly as possible. Please bear with us.
In line with industry guidelines, property inspections of occupied properties has been suspended due to the high risk of infection. There may be some inspections that are necessary, subject to risk assessment and suitable safety measures put in place.
Should you have any comments, or need advice on Buying, Selling, Letting or Renting, then please contact us using the methods above. We'd love to be of service to you!
p.s. Are you curious what your property could be worth? Find out in around 53 seconds. Click here.
p.p.s. Download our eBook on how to get the best selling price for your property by clicking here.