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April 5, 2018

How to prepare your home to sell this spring

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 3:34 pm

Regardless whether buyers are looking for a manor house in the country or an apartment in the capital, your home only gets one chance to make a good first impression so take stock of our top tips if you are looking to sell your property this spring.

Evaluate your competition

Church Farm is a beautiful Victorian country house, available through our Newmarket branch for a guide price of £1,950,000

If you want your home to sell it’s imperative you take some time to do your research. Before consulting an agent, the first step is to scope out the competition.

Spring is usually the most popular, albeit frenetic, time for homes to flood the market so it is important to understand how many properties similar to your own are currently available in your area and for what price? How long have they been on the market for? If the competition is looking in your favour, the next step is to contact two or three agents who know your property type like the back of their hand. Each of the agents should be asked to bring with them comparable evidence of similar properties they have sold in the last two years to support their suggested guide price as it not recommended that sellers go with the highest value or the lowest agent fee but the one who is most credible.

Seasonal photography

High quality photography that showcases the best features of your home is a crucial part of your marketing toolkit, as imagery will inevitably form the basis of a potential buyer’s first impression of the property. Good photography is the difference between a buyer continuing to walk by the estate agency window without a second glance, or simply scrolling straight past the property online, and actually booking a viewing.

If you first launched your property during the winter does your current photography feature Christmas decorations, a grey sky or even snow? This will all suggest that the property has been on the market for a while and so enlisting new photography is a must.

Get your hands dirty

If your home benefits from acres of sprawling greenery or even a quaint courtyard full of bright potted plants, spring is the perfect time to show them off. A front garden will be the first thing a potential buyer will see so making sure any trees or bushes are pruned beforehand is vital. The back garden is equally important however and should be mowed, free of weeds and boast beautiful full flowerbeds.

Bring the garden inside

Bringing the garden inside can also be a nice touch during a spring viewing. Placing a bunch of freshly-picked tulips or daffodils in the kitchen will not only add some colour to the space but may

This two bedroom split level apartment is available through our Pimlico branch for an asking price of £995,000

even work as a conversation starter when leading potential buyers to the beautiful manicured lawn and flowery borders.

Be sure to keep an eye on them though. While fresh flowers can do wonders to attract the attention of potential buyers, wilting flowers are sure to do the opposite. Check the vases often and replace the water and flowers when required. If you have the space, potted plants will last much longer.

Spring cleaning

Keeping a clean home is vital regardless of the season, but spring is a great opportunity to make any necessary updates that you have been putting off during the winter. Cleaning the gutters and windows, polishing the letter box and checking the doorbell works are all great ways to make a good impression but you mustn’t forget about the interiors, especially if there are rooms that aren’t used frequently. Brush away any cobwebs and replace any worn out furniture. Apartments and smaller homes should also be clutter-free as the last thing you’ll want is a potential buyer tripping over a children’s toy or opening a cupboard door to find it jam-packed with keepsakes. By clearing out all your clutter now, you will also save time when it comes to moving – a win, win situation!

Keep your home smelling fresh

If you don’t have time to bake a loaf of bread or cookies before every viewing open the windows to let some fresh air in and invest in a diffuser or your favourite scented candles. Avoid cooking strong, smelly foods the night before as they can linger on your curtains. You might not be able to smell it but the viewers likely will!

For further advice and top tips on how and when to launch your home to the market this spring, contact your local Jackson-Stops agent.

March 6, 2018

Spotlight on Victoria

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 4:28 pm

Ben Babington, Director of our London Residential Development division, discusses the rapid makeover and changing nature of this desirable London address.

Victoria has been known as an area of faceless office blocks with very few amenities to choose from, which has traditionally hampered investment and diversity within the Westminster district. Yet, the area is now shaking off this connotation by undergoing a makeover that is bringing Victoria straight into the 21st century, which will see improvements to its 156 year old underground station helping to create better accessibility for those travelling in and out of the area.

Property hotspot

Two bedroom apartments at 22 Buckingham Gate start from £2,200,000.

These improvements are making Victoria a much more desirable place in which to live, sparking a number of prime central London’s housebuilders to build developments in the ‘Buckingham Quarter’. Savvy buyers will note that these developments offer the same locational convenience of traditional premium addresses in Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Belgravia, but at a much more compelling price point. Prices typically stand at around £1,600 to £2,000 square foot, but some of the best period properties are achieving over £3,000 per square foot. A great example of a boutique development currently available in the area is 22 Buckingham Gate, which sits behind a beautiful stucco-fronted Grade II listed exterior, but benefits from the very best in modern interiors. Prices currently start at £2,200,000 for a two bedroom apartment.

Local amenities

Top retail brands such as Burberry are also following suit to create a far more contemporary and alluring atmosphere commercially, transforming it from an area many once considered as a ‘walkthrough’ to a destination that people want to stay in. It is also fast becoming a foodie heaven with new restaurants calling the area home in the Nova building, including Hai Cenato – Jason Atherton’s New York-Italian restaurant, cocktail bar and deli, Ahi Poke that specialises in fish and a Thursday lunch market at Cardinal Place. For residents, a whole host of convenience shops are located near the station, while St James’s Park is just a five minute walk away from the station, offering a tranquil spot to relax in come summertime. For the more arty-types amongst us, one of London’s most highly anticipated musicals, Hamilton, recently took up residence in the refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre and is just eight minutes from 22 Buckingham Gate.

The improvements to transport and local amenities have only made Victoria more attractive and is now a hotspot for those looking to easily access the rest of London via the Underground, and indeed other parts of the country via the mainline train station. With Crossrail 2 on the horizon and the arrival of the Victoria line night tube, the area will continue to be a big hit with both domestic and international buyers in equal measure.

If you’re interested in a move to Victoria, get in touch with our sales team on 020 7828 4050 or visit our website for details of properties currently available in this area.

February 23, 2018

Listed homes 101

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 11:49 am

As Listed Property Awareness Week comes to a close this weekend at The Listed Property Show at Olympia London, Dawn Carritt, Director of our Country Houses division, discusses the steps buyers and new owners need to be aware of if they are looking to live in a slice of history:

This Georgian townhouse is Grade I listed and is available through our Country Houses division

Listed buildings form part of this country’s built heritage and not only contribute to the streetscape of our towns and cities but very often form the backbone of our countryside. For many, owning something so special is a pleasure and is often akin to owning an antique – but with a practical use.

According to Historic England, there are more than 500,000 listed buildings in England, including a significant number of churches, public buildings and an increasing number of commercial or industrial buildings. However the vast majority are privately owned houses that rely on owners of all ages to put their hearts and souls into cherishing and maintaining them.

For those thinking of buying or are new to owning a listed building there are a few key things to note.

Firstly, it is still a common misconception that only the exterior of a building and/or the items specifically mentioned in the listing description are covered by the legislation. This is not the case; the listing laws cover both the exterior, the interior and anything that touches the listed property and this can extend to certain outbuildings and garden walls or gates.

Secondly, alterations to the property that affect its character will require listed building consent regardless of whether it is Grade I, II* or II. The law is the same for each category, although changes to a Grade I building may be decided by Historic England rather than the local Conservation Officer. Failure to get consent can result in problems when you come to sell and vendors are required to make a legally binding statement that all necessary listed building consents have been obtained. If you cannot satisfy the next owner and more importantly their bank or building society, the sale may not proceed and if you answer the question incorrectly you could still be liable, even if you no longer own the property. There is no time limit and in theory the legislation can cover alterations going back as far as 1948.

The Forge is a charming Grade II* listed character village house available through our Sevenoaks branch

Thirdly, keep good records. For the most part, like for like repairs do not require listed building consent. However, if the repairs are so good you cannot see the difference it has been known to cause problems. The best advice is to keep a copy of the builder’s quote stating that it should be a like for like repair and take before and after photographs to prove the point – should it ever be questioned.

Fourthy, if you are worried about loss of heat through old windows, speak to your local Conservation Officer and see whether there are any suitable “heritage windows” that are double glazed that would be acceptable. Ideally like for like replacements or repairs are preferable. Do not rush into replacing windows with a modern alternative in the hope that it will not be noticed, it is more than likely to come back to haunt you and probably cost more in the long run.

Finally, if you are considering taking on a building that needs restoration or an extension, get professional advice before you buy. Some Conservation Officers are prepared to discuss what you want to do and will advise on whether this is likely to be acceptable or not. Whether your desire is to add a

This exquisite Grade II listed Georgian six bedroom country house is available through our Wilmslow branch

conservatory or convert an existing outbuilding, be prepared to ask the questions and be open-minded. Do not take it for granted that any extension or addition has to be built in the style of the existing building. Historic England has been known in the past to recommend a more contemporary style extension on a Grade I listed home so that the new addition is clearly a 21st century build phase and not something that could be confused to date back to the 16th or 17th century.

Each listed home is treated individually and there is no exact formula so be prepared to treat ownership of an historic building as a journey and be ready to be patient and flexible. There is an amazing network of owners and experts out there, many of whom are prepared to share their knowledge and expertise. For advice on where to begin your listed building adventure, get in touch with us through our website or call 020 7664 6646.

February 1, 2018

Our top interior trends for 2018

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 4:15 pm

Good design and presentation aids in quick sales and often means homes can achieve a premium. More than 175 million people use Pinterest around the world each month; many of which use it as a useful tool for spotting interior design trends. Sites like Houzz also serve as great platforms for those looking for insight on architecture, design and home improvements to get you in the makeover mood but for some instant inspiration here are our top tips to stay on top of the latest interior trends for 2018.

Comfortable chic

The Clock Tower is available for a guide price of £1,600,000 through our Burnham Market branch.

This year tradition has taken a turn with a design that oozes both comfort and opulence. According to the Homewings Interior Trend Report, residents on the Cornish coast have mastered comfortable chic in their homes but the same can be said for this property in Burnham Market. This magnificent five bedroom converted Coach House boasts an array of warm, earthy tones, mismatched materials and wooden furniture that can easily be switched between seasons. However, the patterns are juxtaposed by full height gothic stone mullioned windows and a sweeping staircase, which leads to an open mezzanine.

 

 

Eclectic metropolitan modernism

If comfortable chic doesn’t quite fit your personality, organised colour and extravagance may be more your bag. Galleried walls and mix and match prints can be found most prominently in South London homes, with residents looking to reflect their vibrant surroundings, according to Homewings. However, Vlad, who runs interior design company

This two bedroom apartment in Knightsbridge is available to rent for £3,150 per week through our Mayfair branch.

GDC, brought this style to his Knightsbridge apartment, which is hidden away behind a traditional white stucco-fronted exterior. The eclectic home comes complete with statement art pieces, sculptures and photography from around the world, in a bid to display a distinct expression of individualism. The design of the house revolves around four main themes; eclecticism, 21st century modernist metropolitanism, mid-century modern, and upcycling, with traditional 19th century features contrasted with striking modernist artwork, such as a cut-out portrait of Lenin. If you want to channel this style, try Vlad’s 10 second rule: if a piece of furniture or artwork doesn’t capture your attention for more than 10 seconds don’t include it in your home.

 

Scandinavian simplicity

This duplex penthouse is on the market for £1,250,000 through our Mayfair branch.

Simple Scandinavian styles have been on trend for a while and we can expect this to continue in 2018, but this year they will be combined by many homeowners with brass features and different stone finishes. The interior design of this two bedroom luxury home, part of a boutique collection of new apartments, is good example of this in play. The penthouse’s interior plays host to an array of ‘Scandi’ features, from the use of light, muted colours and wooden floors to a host of exotic greenery. This is nicely contrasted with a mix of matte black, marble, brass and clean lines that contribute to the chic and elegant style of the home.

December 15, 2017

Jackson-Stops celebrate Christmas Jumper Day

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 4:44 pm

To raise money for Save the Children, our branches celebrated Christmas Jumper Day by swapping their suits for sweaters. From snowmen and reindeer jumpers to an inflatable elf and Santa costume our branches spread festive cheer today across the country.

Last year’s star of the show, Mazel Tov the dog, made another appearance in the Weybridge branch’s Christmas snap, but one of our favourite pictures taken from this year comes from the team on Southampton Row. With an added touch of sparkle, reindeer antlers and a Christmas jumper portraying old Saint Nick stuck down a chimney – you couldn’t get much more festive!

For those unaware of the power of the pullover, your support can protect children from easily preventable yet still deadly diseases.

So far the charity has raised more than £84,000. There is no deadline to donate, but the sooner you make a donation the sooner your money can start making a difference. Visit www.christmasjumperday.org for details on how to get involved.

 

October 20, 2017

Jacobean homes for 21st century buyers

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 8:48 am

Richard Jones, Partner at Jackson-Stops’ Northampton branch, discusses the enduring appeal of Jacobean homes in today’s property market:

 
Jacobean homes date back to the reign of King James I of England, which many believe to be the second phase of Renaissance architecture. Built in the early 1600s, over 400 years later these homes continue to be highly sought-after from local, national and overseas buyers. Valued because of their rarity, decorative features and grand proportions, you would be hard-pressed to find a buyer who doesn’t love a Jacobean style home.

 
Rich, both in history and design, Jacobean properties are often very large, stately homes that boast elaborate and intricate features, such as ornate ceilings and beautifully carved wooden features on fireplaces and staircases. The exteriors are always easy of the eye, with properties constructed from brick and offset with stone mullion windows, gable frontages and tall chimney pots – grand English architecture at its finest.

 
It is rare however to find a Jacobean property that hasn’t be adapted in some way to suit our 21st century style of living. Many of these homes have now been lovingly restored to include luxury modern kitchens and bathrooms, but do still retain key original features such as grand staircases and carved internal panelling which continue to wow and attract potential buyers during a viewing.

 

For those looking for a more affordable way to buy a slice of history, many of these mansion style homes have been carved up into beautiful, smaller properties, such as this two bedroom apartment in Grade II listed, Loddington Hall, in Northamptonshire. This often means that the owner can live in a home that is the right size and style for them, and still benefit from surrounding features such as extensive communal gardens, swimming pools and tennis courts.

 
However, as many Jacobean homes crop up on the land that had been gifted by the king to his courtiers or include important historical features, they do tend to be listed and so renovations can be tightly controlled. This is not to say that changes cannot be made to the property, but owners would need to be prepared to work within the confines of English Heritage. If, as a country, we are to preserve these fascinating pieces of British history, time spent on reconnaissance and assessing the works to be undertaken will rarely be wasted.

September 28, 2017

Director duo help expand Jackson-Stops’ East Anglian offering

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 9:27 am

James Caffrey discusses his and colleague Jamie Stephenson’s new roles as directors at Jackson-Stops’ Chelmsford branch:

With 25 years’ experience in the property industry, ranging from luxury villas in the South of France to the London and international property market, I am very excited to be sharing my insight and expanding Jackson-Stops’ expertise in the East Anglian property market.

Bearmans Farmhouse is an impressive Grade II listed five bedroom home available through our Chelmsford branch.

Jamie and I have worked together for a number of years within an established Country and Village homes division in Chelmsford, and it is here where we developed our detailed knowledge and understanding of the County of Essex, as well as Hertfordshire and Suffolk.

Having both lived and worked in the area for many years it felt like a natural progression for us to become part of a team that has had such a strong presence in Essex and provide the central link between Jackson-Stops’ network of London offices and branches in Suffolk and Norfolk.

We love being situated between London and the East Anglian countryside as it means we get to observe the natural migration of buyers from the City into Essex and advise on which area will best suit their needs.

The Chelmsford branch covers a variety of property types such as country homes, farm and equestrian properties, smaller village and period homes and new build, as well as expertise in land and commercial.

If you would like to find out more about us, the Chelmsford branch or the properties we currently have available, contact us on chelmsford@jackson-stops.co.uk or 01245 806101.

July 28, 2017

British buyers abroad

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 4:22 pm

Annabel Smith, International Sales Manager at Jackson-Stops & Staff, shares her insight on British buyers’ confidence in the European housing market.

Despite the political uncertainty that has dogged the UK since we made the decision to leave the European Union, British buyers’ confidence in the European property market has remained relatively strong. High-net-worth individuals in particular, who are buying abroad simply for the lifestyle, continue to be largely unfazed by current events in both the UK and overseas, and although those buyers at the lower end of the market have found themselves holding off making a purchase in countries such as Italy and Spain, this isn’t down to a lack of confidence in the market. They are simply waiting for the value of the pound to increase against the euro once the political dust starts to settle.

Despite some buyers erring on the side of caution we have seen buyer demand increase significantly over the past year, with the number of buyers ready to purchase abroad at its highest since 2008. Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be much demand in the way of buyers looking to let out their properties to fellow sun seekers or locals. Instead, Brits are buying with the intention of being able to relocate themselves abroad for a few months a year whenever they are in need of a more continental lifestyle.

L’Incontro, a four bedroom family home in Tuscany, Italy, available for €1.15 million through Jackson-Stops & Staff’s International division.

 

The majority of our buyers tend to be married couples in their 40s to late 60s, whose children have flown the nest. Many are about to retire and are looking for the perfect holiday home to relax in with their family during the summer. Areas such as Abruzzo in Southern Italy where, on average, four bedroom homes are selling through Jackson-Stops & Staff for €440,000, whereas in Le Marché in Northern Italy, our similar sized properties sell for an average of €565,000, are particularly appealing to this demographic. Despite our properties in Le Marché selling for around €100,000 more than those in Abruzzo, in recent months the North has proven marginally more popular – thanks to its location, equidistant from the beach and the mountains and similar style properties to those found in Tuscany.

Tuscany is currently Italy’s top hotspot. High-net-worth individuals particularly favour this region because of its grand homes, superb weather and sweeping coastlines. We are selling four bedroom homes here for an average of €1.36 million.

It is still unclear what implications Brexit negotiations will have on British buyers abroad. It is possible that individual European countries could limit the chances of non-EU citizens securing a mortgage or restrict the level of healthcare a buyer retiring to mainland Europe receives. What is clear however is that Britons will continue to aspire to, and be able to, purchase second-homes in locations such as Italy or Spain long after we have left the EU, just as non-EU citizens do today.

July 5, 2017

Jackson-Stops & Staff finds new home for 45th branch in Reigate

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 3:13 pm

Pip Ballard, Partner at Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Reigate branch, discusses the latest branch opening

The Coach House is a stunning four bedroom home in Reigate, offering period features including an inglenook fireplace and cobbled terrace. Available for £1,185,000, please get in touch with our Reigate branch on 01737 222027 for more information.

We are excited to announce that we have opened our 45th branch in Reigate, further strengthening our presence in the Surrey area alongside the Weybridge, Dorking and Oxted offices.

Having lived and worked in the local area for the last 30 years, I have built up an in-depth knowledge of the Reigate market. It is a stunning market town, combining a pretty high-street with an excellent range of shops, easy access to the Surrey Hills and great transport links into London and internationally via Gatwick Airport.

With an abundance of history and culture, the beautiful green spaces of Priory Park, and a host of quality restaurants and bars, Reigate is experiencing considerable interest from prospective buyers looking for that ‘sweet spot’ between the Capital and country life. This is why we decided it was time to expand our offering to this increasingly sought after town and use our expertise to showcase the area’s beautiful for sale homes and unite them with suitable buyers.

Alan King, Partner at our Dorking branch, will also be working closely with me at the Reigate branch. Having spent his whole career in either the Reigate or Dorking markets, he will be offering invaluable knowledge to both sellers and buyers.

For more information on the Reigate branch or the properties currently available, please contact the team on reigate@jackson-stops.co.uk.

 

June 7, 2017

Save on stamp duty by building your dream home

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 11:08 am

Crispin Harris, Director of Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Wilmslow branch, discusses how some buyers are saving on stamp duty

Burdensome stamp duty land tax (SDLT) costs are coming between many buyers and their dream home. Last year our research found that the number of housing transactions fell by 14% annually, partly due to the Government’s decision to introduce an additional 3% SDLT on second home purchases. However, some savvy buyers, particularly those buying at above £1.5million, are considering ways of fulfilling their dream but also saving money in the process.

St Andrew’s House is available for a Guide Price of £2,250,000. A further 50 acres of land are available with a guide price of £15,000 per acre (equating to £2,645,000 for all land). For further information, call Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Wilmslow branch on 01625 540340.

One of the trends we have witnessed is cash rich would-be-buyers building their dream home rather than purchasing it, reducing the amount of SDLT payable significantly. As buyers only pay stamp duty on the cost of the land, and not the eventual built product, building a made-to-measure home is fast becoming a popular way of reducing the property purchase tax bill.

Not only are they able to save hundreds of thousands of pounds, they also have control over the design and specification of the property. With a significant budget, every detail can be tailored and fine-tuned and the highest quality materials used.

A piece of land we are currently marketing in Cheshire comes with planning permission in place for a beautiful country home that would be worth in the region of £10 million once built. In this instance the buyer would stand to save more than an estimated £1.1 million in stamp duty if it is their second home, whilst also benefiting from their very own 9-hole golf course.

We’ve noticed a substantial increase in the amount of interest among buyers for this type of venture and unless the future Government reviews stamp duty restrictions at this level it could have serious implications for the housing market. Lack of fluidity at the top end could stifle the market on several levels. The Government has repeatedly neglected to address this issue so we urge the next Government, once the general election airs clear, to take urgent remedial steps.

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