Real Estate

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Internet automation is a great thing, most of the time. But, at Victor Michael we understand the value of having the best people and the best knowledge possible, so that we can do the very best job when it comes to selling your home. With that in mind, here are just a few of the things that make Victor Michael different from the purely online only competitors out there.


We know the areas we’re selling in.

This is the single biggest thing to factor in when selling your home, because it affects everything else. Ultimately, without the best possible knowledge and experience of the area, it’s impossible to have an easy time selling your home. So, Victor Michael balance having a national database of statistics and clients with also having more local knowledge than you can shake a stick at. Our estate agents come with years of experience and local knowledge which we further develop and enhance. They’re then trained to a nationally consistent standard and pushed to know more and more about the areas they’re selling in. Our agents know not only what other properties in your area have sold for, they also know what can be done to maximise your home’s value. And, although some online agents claim to be in touch with ‘local experts’ there’s no way to know that you’re dealing with the best people possible. Often, with online agents, you never meet the person or people looking after your account, there isn’t the option to go in and speak in person. We know how reassuring it is when there is someone who can offer you a cup of tea and a word of advice.


We don’t leave you to do the viewings.

At Victor Michael we liaise with you the entire time, and this is crucial with viewings, because we know how frustrating viewings can be, and not just for the time it takes you to prepare your house. With online agencies, not only might you have to organise and attend all of the viewings, but there’s also no way to figure out who is truly interested in your property. Because potential buyers deal with us directly, we’re able to make sure that only highly interested parties come to see your property and take up your time. Above and beyond all of this, we accompany every viewing to your home. This way, you can rest assured that your home is being displayed by experienced salespeople, who know how to market your home to its highest potential.


We won’t make you do the legwork!

We know that selling your home can be a stressful time, it’s a big move to make, and it’s not just the practical side you have to deal with — there are a lot of emotions too. Whether it’s help with negotiating your offer or dealing with solicitors, Victor Michael are here to make your sale as smooth as possible throughout the process. So we’ll take charge of communications with the buyers and even offer advice when working with your solicitor, something online agencies don’t always do. Having us do some of the negotiating takes out a lot of the stress involved when selling your home.


 We will get you the best price for your home.

There is no real motivation for online agents to get you the best possible price for your home. Though many claim to get 99% of the asking price, research suggests that some of the most popular agents only secure the initial asking price for between just 30 and 50 percent of sellers. Part of this ties back to the very first point we made, online agencies simply don’t have the experience of the local area you need and deserve. Without a deep understanding of the local area, it’s almost impossible to give you an accurate valuation of your home, which you need to get the best price later on.


These are just some of the things that set Victor Michael apart from online agencies, and trusting anyone with your property is a big step, we know that. So if you have any other questions, if you’re not quite convinced, just drop into your local Victor Michael branch today and ask us — we’ll always be happy to help.

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We’re not going to lie and pretend that selling a home doesn’t come with certain filing requirements. However, if you’re well prepared and allow plenty of time to get your affairs in order, you’ll avoid any last-minute panic. Follow our guide to discover more about what documents you need to move home and make the house-selling process that much easier.


Property title deeds

If you don’t have the property title deeds for your home, don’t worry too much. However, you will need to produce the deeds to prove that you do own the home you’re selling. You’ll be able to obtain these from the solicitor you used when originally applying for a mortgage or buying your existing property, or failing that, you can contact the Land Registry.


Energy Performance Certificate

All domestic and commercial buildings must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and it needs to be available to potential buyers as soon as you put your house up for sale. It is a useful document, which gives information about how energy efficient a property is, according to a rating of between A (very efficient) and G (inefficient). Only accredited Domestic Energy Assessors can produce valid EPCs.


What if my property is leasehold?

If your property is leasehold, you will need to provide a copy of the lease and complete a seller’s leasehold information form. Don’t forget that if you pay a management fee for services and maintenance you will also need to send off for a Management Information Pack. Your solicitor should be able to obtain this on your behalf.


Fittings and contents

Sometimes referred to as the Schedule of Fixtures and Fittings, the Fittings and Contents Form (TA10) specifies what the seller is including in the sale of the home and what will be removed.
In addition, anyone selling a property is required to fill out a Property Information Form (TA6). This is a questionnaire which gathers information about, for instance, planning consent and building regulations.


Anything else?

When dealing with a solicitor you will always need to provide proof of identity, so make sure you have a passport and recent utility bill to hand. You should also collect details of your existing mortgage, along with your account information and the amount outstanding.

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If you’re about to tackle the big task of downsizing your home, start by easing yourself into the right mindset. This may be the most important tip, so if you do nothing else, at least do this first step.

The right attitude can make a big difference, which is why you shouldn’t bother starting until you understand this: it won’t be easy, but getting rid of some belongings can actually feel great.

Photo source: Eulerr

Make sure what you keep is really something you can’t live without. 

Is everything you own worthy of a space in your home? Is it useful like a toaster, or a great pair of shoes? Is it something that you find beautiful or inspiring something you love? Or is it something with great sentimental value one of a selected number of things you keep because of the sentiment? If it’s not any of these things, then perhaps it’s something that you can part with, and let it go to another home.


Regarding the sentimental stuff

Sometimes it works to take a picture of an item, and let the original go. Keeping antique furniture that does not fit your decor, style or taste for sentimental value will always stick out like a sore thumb. If no other family member is interested, keep the picture of it and donate to a good cause.


For children’s art projects and schoolwork: 

Be selective in what you keep, or this stuff can overrun even a large space. Your children may have opinions on what they want to keep, too. In general, keep the essay about “My Family” but maybe not the ones about less personal topics. Keep a few wonderful original drawings, but perhaps not the ones where your child coloured in a form.


Pick your storage containers wisely. 

Square or rectangular pieces make better use of limited space than do round containers. Wicker baskets are attractive storage containers that can be slipped under things and stacked on shelves. Cubes can double as storage, extra seating and as a coffee table.


Sell, donate or dump?

Sell, recycle or donate, but try not to dump goods in your wheelie bin. You can probably sell the vast majority of items you no longer need, perhaps at boot sales or online via websites such as eBay or Gumtree.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of selling things, charities will be happy to take most stuff off your hands. They’ll welcome clothes, bedding and other items you may feel aren’t good enough to sell or give away.

Certain items will be more difficult to get rid of. Charities may be unwilling to take electronic devices, such as TVs, on health and safety grounds, so unless you can sell them, you’ll need to offload them another way. Call your local council and ask their advice, or take them to your nearest council recycling centre.

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Looking for ways to spruce up your home without putting yourself in the doghouse? Whether you’re getting ready to sell your home or want to spiff it up inexpensively for your own enjoyment, we’ve got 10 good strategies for you to consider.

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The actual cost and payback for each project can vary, depending on both your home’s condition and overall real estate market values in your region of the country.

  1. Make your kitchen really cook.

The kitchen is still considered the heart of the home. Potential home buyers make a beeline for this room when they first view a home for sale, so make sure your kitchen looks clean and reasonably updated. For a few hundred pounds, you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones. If you’ve got a slightly larger budget, you can give the cabinets themselves a makeover. Rather than spring for a whole new cabinet system, which can be expensive, look into hiring a refacing company, many companies can remove cabinet doors and drawers, refinish the cabinet boxes and then add brand-new doors and drawers. With a fresh coat of paint over the whole set, your cabinets will look like new.


  1. Buff up the bath.

Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They, too, can be improved without a lot of cash. Even simple things like a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are easy for homeowners to install, and they make a big difference in the look of the bath. If your tub and shower are looking dingy, consider re-grouting the tile and replacing any chipped tiles. A more complete cover-up is a prefabricated tub and shower surround. These one-piece units may require professional installation but can still be cheaper than paying to re-tile walls and refinish a worn tub.


  1. Step up your storage.

Old houses, particularly, are notorious for their lack of closet space. If you have cramped storage areas, add do-it-yourself wire and laminate closet systems to bedrooms, pantries and entry closets. In the end, your closets will be more functional while you’re living in the house and will make your home look more customized to potential buyers when you’re ready to sell.


  1. Add a room in a week or less.

If you have a three-bedroom house with a den, the only reason the den can’t be considered a bedroom may be because it doesn’t have a closet. If you add a closet to that room, you’ve now got a four-bedroom house. That adds a lot of value.


  1. Mind the mechanics.

It’s often very worthwhile to hire an electrician and plumber for a couple of hours to look over your electrical services, wrap or fix loose wires, fix any faulty outlets, and check for and fix any water leaks, those details tell a buyer that someone has really taken care of the home and can really influence its price.


  1. Look underfoot.

Carpeting is another detail that can quickly update a home and make it look cleaner. A professional carpet cleaning is an inexpensive investment, especially if your rugs are in good shape and are neutral colours. If your carpet is showing serious wear, cover it with inexpensive, strategically placed area rugs. Unless it is truly hideous, most real estate agents don’t suggest replacing wall-to-wall carpeting right before you sell your house. The new homeowners may want to choose their own carpeting after they move in.


  1. Let there be light.

If you have boring recessed lights in your dining and living rooms, consider replacing one of the room’s lights with an eye-catching chandelier. Home stores offer a wide range of inexpensive, but nice-looking, ceiling fixtures these days.


  1. Reframe your entry.

Do you have a flimsy little knob on your main entry door? If so, spring for a substantial-looking handle-and-lock set. A nice, big piece of hardware on the front door signals to newcomers that this is a solid home.


  1. Consider curb appeal.

Although it sounds obvious, a nicely mowed lawn, a few well-placed shrubs and a swept driveway makes a great first impression. What buyers see when they first drive by your home is tremendously important. If you don’t have a green thumb, consider hiring a landscaper to install some new sod, plant a few evergreen shrubs and give your front yard a good cleanup. These kinds of changes can instantly change people’s perception of your home and, therefore, increase its value.

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February ended with a rise in property prices, as the data reveals. We were interested in finding out which of the regions were best seen by buyers…

From the prices table, we can see the leaders that peaked the charts:

North West

East Midlands

South West


South East and London have had prices raise by 2.5%, as this article on Property Reporter states.

It leaves the average value of a home in England & Wales at £299,556, up £1,512 compared to one month earlier, and £1,700 compared to a year ago.

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Anybody in contact with the real estate market in the UK might have noticed until now that the housing crisis. The main issue is the huge gap between supply and demand, but specialists argue that there is more than meets the eye.

However, politicians have stepped in and initiated a couple of measurements that are supposed to increase supply on the market by creating new homes in the future years.

The government’s policy was clearly outlined today during Theresa May’s speech and the main target points seem to be:

  • The creation of up to FIVE New Towns between Oxford and Cambridge to create the UK’s own ‘Silicon Corridor’, an apparent ‘Brain Belt’.
  • Supporting transport infrastructure including an expressway and enhanced rail services between the two cities.
  • The removal of decision making from local councils that continually fail to build adequate homes with the introduction of minimum housing targets for each area and a tough enforcement approach based on the delivery of those homes.
  • A focus on providing geo-targeted ‘affordable’ housing for key workers where there is a shortage of such stock.
  • Continued Green Belt protection.
  • An encouragement for developers to ‘build upwards’ in cities.
  • A ‘use it or lose it’ policy on land owned by developers with planning permission.

All of the above are detailed and commented in a very good summed-up article on Property Reporter.

It seems promising… now let’s hope for the best! And, moreover, let’s hope these measures will suffice for the refreshment of the real estate market.

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Whether a flood is caused by ground water, falling water, or home water system malfunction, there are some best practices you’ll need to employ within the first 24 hours after the flood to ensure the safety of your home and family and give you the best outcome possible with your insurance company.

Photo source: Wikimedia

Safety First

The first step in any major home disaster is to remain safe. You may be forced to leave your home if the flooding is bad enough. Make sure you are also safe when you return to your home to begin dealing with the aftermath. This may include turning off the power, as water and electricity obviously do not mix. Be sure to wear protective clothing–such as rubber boots and gloves. Not only will you be dealing with the water itself, but also whatever else the water has been in contact with, namely debris or even sewage. It is best to protect yourself against whatever harmful chemicals and items the flooding may have washed in.

Be sure to never eat food that has been contaminated by flood waters, or even in close proximity to the water for an extended period of time. If the water was high enough to reach your refrigerator or any of your pantry cabinets, it is safest practice to go ahead and throw the food away and just buy more. Be sure to thoroughly wash any dinnerware, glasses, and flatware that might have been caught in the house flood before you use it again.


Take Pictures

Before you remove any water or make any repairs, fully document the damage for your insurer by taking photos or video. Digital versions are best, because they can be stored electronically and easily copied. If you start removing water or making repairs before you photograph the damage, you could potentially decrease the extent of your coverage, he says.


Drying Out Your Home

Even if you are successful in removing all of the standing water from your home, everything will remain damp and wet, especially if heavy rains have increased the humidity in your area. If you have power, use your air conditioning and portable fans to help dry the wet areas of your home.

Dehumidifiers are also a big help, especially in closed off spaces such as basements or crawl spaces. Dehumidifiers work by removing excess moisture from the air. This is the easiest way to dry out your home and minimize the potential water damage you might be dealing with, as it does not require you to actively clean. However, in the case of a house flood, dehumidifiers are only supplemental, and you are likely to need multiple methods of action. Dehumidifiers are recommended for anyone who lives in a damp climate or an area that experiences longer rainy seasons, as they can prevent some of the problems associated with this type of weather, both for you and your home.



The aftermath of a house flood can typically take the longest amount of time. You may have broken windows from the water rushing in, flooring that may need to be replaced and broken possessions in need of repair. After your insurance company pays out for qualified damages, you can hire a contractor if one is needed. Be sure to board up any broken windows and remove any harmful debris from flooded areas.

If you have electronics that were submerged in water or were damaged in the flood, make sure to have them checked out by a professional before plugging them back in to a power source. This includes your television sets, stereos, game consoles, computers, and appliances.

If you are unsure about what your first steps for home repairs should be when your house floods, then hiring a construction company that specializes in flood or natural disaster repairs can be helpful. They can determine if walls need replaced or if your floors have been compromised by the flood waters. A professional construction company can help you safely enjoy your home once again.

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Selling a house or putting it up for rent will get the owner through some trouble. One thing you should consider is raising the property’s price before you make any of these real estate moves.

Depending on the budget, one can choose any of these types of easy-to-do improvements:

#1 Revive the faded colours of the walls

#2 Give the windows a bold new look

#3 Make partial updates to the kitchen…

#4 And a few tweaks to the bathroom

#5 Wipe and polish everything in sight

#6 Sanitise and deep clean carpeted areas

All the details (with tips & tricks!!!) of these low-budget steps are in this complete article on Property Division.

11 Low-end and High-cost Ideas to alter the Value of your Property

We can only guess that the second part of the article (the high-budget improvements) were made by the owners of the priciest home sold in January, though!

Priciest home sold in England and Wales in January was almost £38 million

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UK landlords face more pressure with costs rising over the last few months. Latest studies show that the market is almost at half the average in UK.

Number of homes for rent in London is 46% below the national average

The buy-to-let is one area in which landlords feel the high pressure, since the costs here have been continuously rising.

Each side of the coin is equally affected: the landlords and the tenants that are swimming in a cold market.

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Photo source: Wikimedia

Working in London and living in the countryside? Maybe you’re one of those who are willing to spend some time on the road just to enjoy the quiet landscapes of areas outside London like Windsor, Surrey Hills, Colne Valley, Epping Forest, Lullingstone Country Park, St Albans or Brentwood?

Top 7 places to escape to and find your dream home

These would be our recommendations, too. What would you suggest we add on the list?

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