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October 15, 2018

How to legally prepare to sell your home

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 8:01 am

Time is of the essence once you have secured a sale on your house so ensuring you are aware of your legal obligations before entering the process is hugely beneficial.

Here are some of our top tips for those looking to sell this autumn:

Enlisting a solicitor 

When it comes to selling your home we would advise instructing a conveyancer or a solicitor that specialises in residential conveyancing.

Before deciding on one however, it is important to contact multiple solicitors and conveyancers as you will find there is no set scale of fees. One of our top tips would be to check whether their fee is fixed or whether it will vary depending if more work is required, expenses are added or if charges are made if the sale falls through before contracts are exchanged.

Throughout the process do keep in regular contact with your estate agent and solicitor. If you are dealing with a solicitor remotely and documents need to be sent, ensure you use recorded delivery.

Documenting renovation work

When you come to sell a property which has been altered or renovated in any way, you must be able to provide copies of documents such as the Buildings Regulations sign off, or FENSA certificates for any replacement windows. Conveyancers have a professional duty to ensure that these are obtained. However, if approval was not acquired and the work does not comply with building regulations, then the local authority can issue a notice which will require the current property owner to put right the work.

Keeping up with key regulation changes

Something many people who haven’t sold their home in the last two years might not know is that in June last year the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 came into force in the UK. The updated regulations are designed to reduce the social and economic impact of organised crime and impede the transfer of money to fund terrorist organisations in the UK and internationally. Estate agents must now carry out customer due diligence checks on both their clients and buyers prior to entering into a business relationship with them. Therefore, don’t be surprised if an agent completes a background check on you when you come to sell your property with them.

Obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be supplied free of charge to potential buyers, and be produced by an accredited domestic energy assessor. The vendor and estate agent, where applicable, must seek to ensure the certificate is available within seven days of the property being put on the market.

Since 2013, all sales advertisements for properties should provide EPC ratings. Trading Standards can issue a notice with a penalty charge of £200 per dwelling when not provided. Do also take note that certificates are only valid for 10 years.

Establishing boundaries

When you come to move in to a new home, it is wise to get an idea of where the boundaries for your new property are by looking at its title plan. Title plans are prepared by HM Land Registry when they register a property however, if you live in England or Wales most title plans often only show a red outline and don’t show exact boundaries or provide details such as who owns a hedge, wall, tree or fence between two properties.

We would advise establishing the physical boundaries before you sign the contract, and have a full understanding of who is responsible for what. This will allow you to avoid potential future disputes with neighbours, and any legal costs which may follow.

Exchanging contracts

Once you have exchanged make sure to inform energy and phone companies of your departure, and ask for final meter readings to be made on completion day. Additionally, you should inform the person at the council responsible for council tax that you are leaving the property.

If you are looking for further advice on how to legally prepare to sell your home, get in touch with your local Jackson-Stops agent who can talk you through every step of the way.

July 13, 2018

Sporty homes for tennis fans

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 9:24 am

If you fancy yourself as the next Serena Williams but would prefer to practice your serve in privacy before showcasing your talents at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, having your own tennis court might be for you!

From Woburn to Teddington, here are just a few of the ace properties with tennis courts currently available through our branches.

Historic home with beautiful grounds

The Dower House is an Arts and Crafts style property that was once the home of Danish industrial magnet Sir Ferdinand Michael Kroyer-Kielberg. Built by renowned architect William Curtis Green in 1920, one of the standout features of the impressive six bedroom country home is the stunning floodlit tennis court that can be used throughout the year.

Should tennis not be your thing, the 36 acres of grounds also play host to paddocks. The house is also ideally situated for avid golfers, with Woburn Golf and Country Club just a ten minute drive away, boasting three championship courses.

The Dower House is available for £3,500,000 through our Woburn branch. For more information call the team on 01525 290641.


Modern home for sporty families

Featuring an all-weather Astro Turf pitch that can be used for both tennis and football, Windmill Bank Cottage is designed for the sporty families amongst us. Boasting a large patio area, which is the ideal spot for a barbeque after a big match, there is also plenty of room for a table-tennis table and a pool table.

The five bedroom family house is nestled within the desirable village of Crockham Hill, and boasts four reception rooms, a large kitchen and breakfast room, an orangery and a gym.

Windmill Bank Cottage is available for a guide price of £1,950,000 through our Oxted branch. For more information call the team on 01883 712375.


Communal grounds for competitive neighbours

Apartments with communal facilities can be the perfect solution for those who like the idea of having a tennis court, but don’t have the space or want the hassle of having to maintain one.

With communal gardens running down to the banks of the River Thames, the home also has access to the communal tennis courts and is a great spot for residents looking to challenge their neighbours to a game. And should the game get too sweaty, the competitors can cool off after in the communal swimming pool.

This two bedroom riverside apartment benefits from its own private balcony overlooking the River Thames. Available for £499,950, call our Teddington branch for more information on 02089 439777.


July 10, 2018

Short-term lets in Wimbledon

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 11:36 am

With the oldest tennis tournament in the world in full swing, we would like to discuss the short-term lets market in Wimbledon and the effects the tournament has on the area’s market. The Championships, Wimbledon, is held at the All England Club and is widely regarded as the most prestigious Grand Slam tennis tournament. The commencing of the tournament means tennis players and their coaching teams, alongside tennis-loving fans of all ages and destinations, descend on the southwest London district in their millions. With the influx of visitors and tennis professionals comes a need for accommodation throughout the duration of the tournament.


Demand for short-term accommodation

Wimbledon poses great opportunities for landlords within the southwest London district. As you can imagine, interest for short term lets during Wimbledon increases dramatically. The increase in demand means landlords can often achieve more money on their properties during the duration of the tournament. Our clients can often expect to achieve substantial increases on their standard rental price over the Wimbledon fortnight with a property usually achieving £3,500 per calendar month, having the potential to generate at least £3,500 per week!

Available for sale through our Wimbledon branch, this apartment overlooking the AELTC could achieve up to £3,000 per week if let during the Championships.

Our typical tenant

So, who typically decides to rent our Wimbledon short let properties? In essence, there is a plethora of prospective tenants. Players, coaches, tennis fans, television and media companies, and sponsors all choose the short-let option in Wimbledon. Tenancies normally commence on the weekend before Wimbledon and tend to last throughout the duration of The Championship tournament. Interestingly, some players and coaches may even book a few weeks earlier to aid their preparation for up to a month.



The desired house types

Alike the wide mix of tenants, many different types of properties are rented out. Generally, the location of the home has to be within a 10 minute walk of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and it must be fully furnished. Expected furnishings should include everything from Wi-Fi and television, to bed linen and cooking utensils.


May 31, 2018

The English country garden

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 12:12 pm

Each year the RHS Chelsea Flower Show springs into life and treats us to an array of spectacular designs from The Silent Pool Gin Garden to The Wedgwood Garden. These displays never fail to inspire and encourage homeowners to venture into their own gardens and seek to become green-fingered enthusiasts. In celebration of this fantastic week, we have showcased some of the best properties with beautiful outdoor spaces currently available through our country branches.

This enchanting and partly walled garden is sectioned into six areas, each benefiting from their own unique character and function. From the formal landscaped garden greeting visitors as they arrive and the inviting back lawn with a central ornamental pond to the white picket-fenced kitchen garden with raised vegetable beds, the garden can be enjoyed all year round.

For those who love flowers, a spectacular multi-coloured rose tunnel is a standout feature, while wild flowers can be found at the southern end of the garden. Shipbourne is a five bedroom cottage and is available for £1,175,000 through our Sevenoaks branch. For more information call the team on 01732 740600.

Those looking to escape to a magical setting need look no further than Wilton Castle. The lawned areas at Wilton Castle sit around the Manor House and boast beautiful borders featuring climbing roses and mature shrubs. Within the castle walls, the courtyard garden plays host to ornamental hedges and pathways, with apple, pear, apricot, plum and fig trees growing against the courtyard walls. The gardens are mainly set around the East and West sides of the Castle and run down to the River Wye. During spring time, snowdrops and daffodils cover the grassed banks of the moat, which is now no longer in use.

The Grade I listed 12th century Norman castle provides a significant opportunity to own a home rich in history with grounds stretching down to the waterside. The five bedroomed house is available for £1,495,000 with our Cirencester branch. For more information call the team on 01285 653334.

Cleave Farm’s four acres of grounds surround the property and make for the perfect spot for all the family to enjoy. The grounds include untouched woodland areas and a stream that play host to an abundance of wildlife, a sheltered split level terrace that is ideal for barbecues and al fresco dining, as well as an ornamental fish pond with a waterfall feature.The property is situated in a rural position, in the rolling North Devon countryside and benefits from access to an array of breath-taking walking, riding and cycling routes.

Cleave Farm is a five bedroom home, available for £1,050,000 through our Barnstaple branch. To arrange a viewing, please call our team on 01271 325153.

May 4, 2018

Jackson-Stops takes on Tough Mudder

Filed under: Blog — Instinctif Partners @ 11:15 am

The team of 23 took on the gruelling endurance event, the Tough Mudder Half, which is designed to drag participants out of their comfort zone as they run five miles across a muddy course.

If the mud wasn’t enough, the group had to tackle 13 obstacles along the way, including the Block Ness Monster, a teamwork focused obstacle, which involves lots of pushing, pulling and rolling through slippery rotating barriers, Mud Mile 2.0, a narrow mud-filled trench where no one leaves with a clean outfit, and Shawshanked, a wet and cramped tunnel crawl with a five foot drop to freedom, offering no option of falling gracefully at the end.

The team raised a fantastic £1,200 for their chosen charity, Brain Tumour Research. The charity seeks to improve the outlook for people with brain tumours by funding research that takes forward our understanding of the mechanisms underlying tumour development and helps develop better ways to diagnose and treat these tumours. With just one percent of the national spend on cancer research in the UK allocated to brain tumour research, the charity is determined to change this and so every little helps!

If you have been impressed by the team’s dirty work, there is still time to donate. Simply click here to visit their JustGiving page.



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.


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