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Searching for a home is exciting, but can also be stressful at times.  For most of us, buying a property is not something we do regularly, and so we follow the path that we believe is best.  At {Name of Agent}, we see buyers making the same mistakes – we don't want you to fall into these traps.  Why not take a moment and check if you are making any of these mistakes in your search for a new home?

 

Focusing on the detail

 

When you walk into a property, it is easy to be seduced by flashy finishes and ignore what’s really important, the quality of the bones and its structure.  Yes, the granite worktop and designer accessories may melt your heart, but are you taking everything else into consideration?  It could be the best house in the wrong location, and instead of focusing on the area, you are being swayed by bling.

There is always a deal

 

Every property is priced to sell, each agent will have different strategies for how they approach it.  Sometimes there is room for negotiation, or an agent might price to attract multiple offers in the hope of getting an asking price offer.  If you have done your research on the area and what is available on the market and has recently sold, you will have an idea of what the property is worth, but what is it worth to you?  Playing the 'deal' game in the hope of grabbing a bargain can very easily backfire and leave you out in the cold.

 

Judging the cover

 

Are you looking for a specific style of property?  Have you thought that what it offers you inside could be the key?  A particular style of property may not provide you with the space and lifestyle your family are seeking.  Just because from the outside a property may not grab your attention, don’t ignore what the interior could provide you. 

Neglecting the resale

 

You may be looking for a dream home that will be with you for life, but circumstances and plans change, and at some point down the line you could be looking to sell the property you are about to buy.  Lots of things about a property can be changed, but there is one that definitely can't, and that is the location.  Buy for location rather than focusing on getting a good price.

 

The grass is greener

 

You start your search and early on you walk into a home that completely steals your heart – what do you do?  The sensible buyer will put an offer down then and there to secure it, but sadly many buyers start to wonder if the grass is greener down the road.  Who knows when another property will come on the market that could deliver the same reaction. Could any home live up to the pedestal you have now placed this one on?  Trust your instinct; you will know when you have found ‘the one’ even if it is the first door you walk through.

 

Ignoring potential

 

Everyone can find something that they don’t like in a property; it could be the décor, the colour of the kitchen units, or even that avocado bathroom suite.  When viewing a property, you need to try not to be distracted by the things that can be changed and start to see the potential of the property.  Could knocking down a wall give you more space than you ever imagined?  Is there potential to extend?  What a house looks like now is just the beginning.

Armchair viewing

 

Simply put, you cannot view a property from behind a computer screen.  Nothing can match the feeling you get when you take a step inside a property. The floor plan will give you a guide to its layout, but walking through the rooms brings a diagram to life.  You can experience the flow from the indoors to the garden; you can see the view from the bedroom window; you can discover that handy cupboard for hiding all your bits and bobs. Don't be fooled by online listings, let us take you on a physical tour of what homes we believe have what you're looking for, we know you will be excited by what we present to you.

 

Doing it alone

 

Many buyers don’t tap into one of the greatest resources out there for finding a property, and that’s us.  By understanding your needs, we can look for your next home, which may not even be on the market yet. We're here to do the work for you, so what are you waiting for?  Give our team at KMJ Property a call today on 01892 5151 88.

Watching fireworks, especially for children, with all their sparkles, unexpected flashes and colours can be extremely exciting, but for your dogs Bonfire Night and fireworks is like living through a horror movie.  Pets can often react by running away as a way to escape the noise, but there are things you can do to help to reduce your pet’s stress levels.  With organised events in {Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough and the surrounding areas, and family parties and the nights getting darker sooner, there are bound to be celebrations this autumn and winter that will involve fireworks. This is why our pet loving team at KMJ Property have put together some advice on how to support your furry friend through Bonfire Night.

Create a place they can feel safe

Firework fright has been known to see dogs jump over or dig under fences, and even shatter windows – this is why it’s important to keep your dog in an area of your home where he or she feels safe and sheltered.  Having a designated place to hide that is dark can make your pet feel more secure. The minimum you can do is to keep your windows and doors closed, but a sheet draped over a table can be a great solution. 

Dogs that have their own crates should not be locked inside them, as this can make things more stressful for them, but again place a blanket over the top and keep the door open so they can decide when to go in and hide. One thing you should try not to do is confine them to a room, they may feel happier curled up in their favourite space rather than being told where they can or cannot be.

We tend to create a cozy den for our cats during this time, a little cubby hole with blankets so they have somewhere they can feel safe.

Plan if you can

The last thing you want to be doing is taking your dog out for a work when fireworks are going off.  Therefore, where possible, take your dog for a long and energetic walk before night draws in as the fireworks’ loud noises, flashes and even the smell of smoke can all send your pets running.  If you can, tire your dog out before events and displays start and keep their final toilet trip for when the quiet returns.

You also don’t want your pets escaping due to their anxiety, so lock your doors and keep them safe, and if possible in an area of your home where the sounds outside are minimalised.  They could become destructive if stressed, so you may wish to remove things that can be damaged or be harmful if chewed.

My in-laws have been preparing for firework night buy showing their pup some fireworks on the TV to see how he reacts and to get him used to the sounds before they happen for real. This could help you to understand how your furry friend is going to react during this season.

Distract them

One of our friends always puts classical for pets on their Alexa when they leave the house, this soothing music is believed to help to reduce your pet’s stress.  Other pet owners like to leave the TV on, but anything you can do to drown out the sound of fireworks to distract them can only be a good thing.

It isn’t just background noise that can distract your fur baby but also a long-lasting chew, or a toy that keeps them occupied. If you dog has a favourite long-lasting chew, get one ready for the night, so they can enjoy a delicious treat whilst they enjoy Netflix.

Keep it normal

A lot of pets are so in tune with their owners, they can sense when you’re stressed, feeling ill or unsettled, so act normal, and no matter what is going on outside keep your normal routine.  Being overly attentive to your pet and even following them around your home can make them even more confused. Encourage them to play with a toy with you, or let them cosy next to you on the sofa, but just let them make the decision on what they will feel happy to do and when.

Keeping everyone happy

We know as pet parents how you can worry about your beloved furry family member on Bonfire Night, but we hope our advice will ensure you can try to keep everyone happy and safe from fireworks.


If you have any property questions, our team are always happy to help: give us a call on 01892 5151 88

 

Everyone with children knows that the point between calm and chaos is often virtually non-existent.  You could have made your home look like perfection and behind you, the little darlings are unravelling your hard work. Living in a home you’re selling is never easy and, we have to admit, it’s an even bigger challenge when kids are involved.  This is one reason at KMJ Property we have put our heads together to find five ways to turn chaos into calm when selling your home with children.

 

  1. Get your selling head on

 

It’s only natural that this property that you call home is filled with countless memories, but you have decided it’s time to move on and therefore you have to put a certain amount of sentiment aside.  Yes, it’s your home for now, but it’s also a property for sale and, as such, the decisions you make have to be made with this in mind. 

 

  1. Appeal to all

 

This may be hard to hear but there will be buyers who will turn their noses up at your daughter’s princess bedroom.  Not everyone who views your home will have children, or they may not be the same gender as yours, so themed bedrooms could be a deal breaker.  When a buyer steps into your home, they are trying to see how they can make it their own; bold and specific colour schemes can prevent this from happening.

Neutral colour schemes are always the best way to appeal to all, as you are creating a blank canvas from which the buyers’ imaginations can do the rest.  As much as it may niggle to paint over all your hard work, remember this now a home for sale and, as such, your mind needs to be focused on the future and not on your past.

 

 

  1. It’s a family affair

 

Moving home is something you are going through as a family; you know your children and how best to approach the move.  Some children prefer to be involved whilst others may be too young to understand the situation.  Try and include your children as much as possible so they feel part of the process, from sorting out their rooms to viewing houses.  The more they understand what is about to happen, the easier they may find all the changes unfolding around them.

  1. Organisation

 

We don’t think anyone actually realises how much stuff you acquire when you have children, it seems to pour out of every inch of your home with wild abandonment.  For buyers, rooms filled with your kids’ paraphernalia, from toys to teddies, cause a distraction and make it hard for them to picture themselves living there.

 

You want to create organised spaces, as clutter can make your home look smaller and mess is very off-putting.  Storage needs to become your friend, keep all toys in boxes to make rooms look tidy and clutter-free.  As much as you enjoy seeing your children’s art work and recyclable material creations on display, they won’t get the same reaction from buyers, simply pop these away for viewings. 

Stacey Solomon brought out a fantastic book with organisational tips for decluttering a child friendly home! 

  1. Make it multi-purpose

 

Many families turn a space into a playroom, we can completely understand this and why it works for you.  But just like any other room in your home, you need to make this space appeal to as many buyers as possible, so we suggest you give it a multi-purpose feel. 

As before, use storage to tidy away as many of your children’s toys as possible and keep the decoration neutral.  Little fingers have a habit of creating marks and artwork in unwanted places, so give the room a fresh coat of paint and, if the space allows, add a small sofa.  Try and keep the space as open as possible, it makes it easier for buyers to start seeing the possibilities rather than its one static use.

 

At KMJ Property we want all members of your family to have a good experience when moving home.  If you would like more advice on how to present your home for buyers and how to prepare for a viewing, contact a member of our team today on 01892 5151 88.

The damage caused when your home doesn't sell quickly.

 

What a year it has been for the property market in Tunbridge Wells and its surrounding areas: the Stamp Duty holiday causing a frenzy, the pandemic changing people’s perspectives on what they want from a home, and a constant lack of properties coming onto the market. With buyer demand still high, the prospect of your home not selling fast has probably not crossed your mind, especially when you see homes in your area come on the market one day and sold the next. But what damage is caused when your home doesn’t sell quickly?

 

The first 8 weeks

 

As you know, many homes in Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough and the surrounding areas are selling well within the first eight weeks of being placed on the market, but did you know how crucial these first eight weeks are?  This is the period when your home is launched by your estate agent, buyers become aware and viewings are abundant.  Your expectations will be high, and your estate agent should be working tirelessly to market your home effectively in a variety of ways. They know that what they do within this first two months can impact the speed of your sale, it’s the optimum time to make things happen.

Here at KMJ, we will have (with your permission) given sneak peeks on our social media platforms, before we even go live with your property, we will have contacted any applicants we believe might be interested in your home based on their specific criteria. Then once it is live on our website, it goes live on OnTheMarket.com, before going live on Rightmove.

What happens after eight weeks?

 

After eight weeks you could see enquiries and viewings dwindle. A good agent will be constantly reviewing their marketing and looking for new opportunities to attract potential buyers.  They will also be having an honest conversation with you on why they feel that your property is not appealing to buyers. Here at KMJ we are always talking about ways we can drum up interest on properties that haven’t sold quickly, whether that is trying a new marketing style on social media, putting an ad out in the newspaper or marketing your property to a different audience.

 

But does the fault lie with you or your agent?

 

A buyer’s perspective

 

Homebuyers are savvy, they know all the tools to help them find their next home. They will no doubt have alerts on property websites so they are informed as soon as a new property in Tunbridge Wells hits the market.  When they start to look they will be doing their research, and one thing they will always note is how long a property has been on the market. 

What would you think if a house was still not under offer after eight weeks?  Like most people, you will no doubt be wondering what is wrong with the property if it hasn’t been sold yet.  You may decide to view the home, but even before you have walked through the door you will already be in the mindset of making a low offer, because there must not be any real interest.

This is not to say that you need to accept a lower offer!

Here a KMJ we will have pre-empted this situation and suggested moving photos around or reducing the price by 2% in order to refresh your property on all the portals.

 

Price

 

We can not stress enough how price can have such an effect on the attractiveness of your home to buyers.  Your home, as soon as it is listed, will be compared with other houses within a similar price bracket, and if your home seems overpriced it will be noticed instantly. Of course it is alluring to have an estate agent tell you they can sell your home for a wonderfully high figure, but is that an actual fact based on their ability with recently sold properties in the area? Could be. Or is it a tactic to try to win your business?

 

At KMJ Property we are not here to list properties, we sell homes. We use our experience in the local property market, understanding which streets are on the up, and those areas that are falling out of favour. When we appraise your home we take so many factors into account, including condition, presentation, location and up-to-the minute data. We always aim to achieve the highest possible price for your property, and we will not inflate that to win your business.

Overpriced homes will sit on the market longer; you will probably find yourself frustrated when the agent requests you lower the price a few weeks later.  More reductions could follow and the quality of the offers you receive could be a lot lower than you had ever expected. Choose an agent who can back up their figures with their actions – do your research to find the right fit for you and your property.

 

Presentation – do the work

 

If you have been browsing property websites in the search for your next home, you will notice those sellers who have put in the work to ensure that their property is looking its best for potential buyers. You will also notice those who haven’t, and often there could be something off-putting, such as a cluttered room, an untidy bedroom, an unloved garden, that can put you off going to view.

 

Unless your house is a project you need to make sure it is presented properly using home staging methods. Ensuring your home is clean and organised is a great start, but it isn’t just about having an immaculate home but projecting the lifestyle that your home gives.  You only have to watch house programmes, or flick through home magazines to see home staging in action: a loaf and breadknife stylishly placed on the kitchen work surface, a thoughtfully placed throw on a bed with a book at its side; these little touches add warmth and personality to your home.

Having the mindset ‘buyers will see past …’ will never win. They may view your rooms as small due to the amount of stuff inside them. ‘Too much work to do’, could be another view point if the décor is tired, and a couple of odd jobs are spotted.  And these views, and more, are made whilst looking at your property online. Why place your property in a challenging position when with some work, you can attract buyers easily.

 

Get it right from the start

 

You need to get everything right when placing your home on the market: the price, the presentation and also your choice of agent. We are often contacted by sellers who have had struggles selling previously, and come to us for a fresh approach. Get it right from the start by calling us on 01892 5151 88 today.

The last few years have made many of us re-evaluate our situation and what we want in a home, and for some buyers in Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough this means large oak beams, stone fireplaces, unexpected nooks and a fascinating history.  It’s easy to get swept away by the romance of owning a period property and it’s a dream of many. But before you rush in, you need to know understand that, like all properties, it isn’t always a bed of roses, which is why our team at KMJ Property want to give you some guidance.  Here are our top tips for buying a period property in our beautiful town.

 

A period property doesn’t always mean beams and stone fireplaces, art deco homes with their striking angles, and geometric lines, have also made an architectural impact as are a number of post war buildings.

 

  1. Is it listed?

 

Hearing that a property is listed can often make people fearful of taking it on, but it isn’t always as scary as it sounds.  Just because a property is old and has some stunning unique features, doesn’t mean it’s listed, which is why it’s always good to check before you make assumptions.  As you are no doubt aware, there are different categories of listings for period properties; the most common, accounting for 92% of listed properties, is Grade II.

With all listings, you will be able to understand what specifics of the home fall under the listing and what works you are envisioning that you will need to gain consent for. The higher the grade, the more features of the home will be classed as listed and require consent. Those properties given the highest significance, for their ‘special architectural or historic interest’, are Grade I, followed by Grade II*.

 

Just like every home, each listed property is unique in its own way, which is why what’s covered by the listing can vary widely.  If you have specific questions, we would advise checking with the local planning office.

 

  1. Costs

 

When you fall in love with a period home it’s essential to know what you are taking on.  A lot of old houses have higher maintenance costs than those for a new build home, whereas others have significant issues that could be a financial drain if you’re not prepared.  This is why having a survey conducted is a must for anyone considering buying such a property; the type of survey should be determined by the age and condition of the home.

 

Should the property need some major renovation or be listed, a structural survey will highlight any major repairs or issues. Knowing about these in advance will help you make the decision on whether this property is right for you at this time.  Depending on the age of your property and its features, the cost of maintenance and replacement due to wear and tear could be higher – that is, if you wish to keep those features alive – as you may require the skills of an experienced artisan who specialises in a specific historical craft.

 

 

  1. Structural concerns

 

One of the things an appropriate survey will highlight is if there are any structural concerns with the property.  These can be anything from simple fixes to more substantial issues.  From weakening door lintels and joists to roof rafters, rot can be the cause of many a structural problem.  One warning sign is when cracks and bulges appear on the walls inside and out of the house, as well as in the corners of windows and doors.  Just because the property has cracks, doesn’t mean it is a sign of a major issue – check with the owners, as they may have already had the problem assessed by an expert.

One thing many period property devotees love is their imperfections. Just because you a can see a number of blemishes, doesn’t mean the house is filled with disasters; it could just be another quirk that adds to the property’s charm and character, and another reason you want to make it your home.

 

 

  1. Damp

 

If you’ve lived in an older home, you will no doubt have experienced damp. Like structural issues, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have a major problem, so get it checked before you make any assumptions.  It could be something as simple as blocked gutters, especially at this time of year with the beautiful autumn leaves finding their way into many a drain.

 

 

  1. Energy efficiency

 

Not all period homes are held hostage in the dark ages; over the years, people have added modern features such as air source heat pumps and underfloor heating. So even though  it may have a year or two on its newer counterparts, the period home you’re looking at could be quite energy efficient.

 

But as we know, this is not always the case, and some period homes can have a very poor energy efficiency rating.  This means you need to budget for higher energy bills, especially in the colder months, unless you are able to improve the home’s thermal efficiency as part of your plans when it becomes yours.  Remember, if the property is listed, you will need to get any works approved prior to starting.

  1. Knowing its heritage

 

What’s the story of the home?  Every home has a history and, understanding the property’s archaeological heritage is not only fascinating but extremely beneficial.  You will get to know what materials have been used in its construction and if any modern-day techniques could be harmful to its fabric.  One of the best resources you have should your property be listed is your local conservation officer, you can also expand your knowledge by speaking to experts on the era.

 

  1. Let the battle begin

 

The biggest battle you may encounter is not with listings, surveys or experts, but something a little closer to home, your mind.  Buying any home is always a battle between your head and your heart, and we know from our own experience at KMJ Property that this only intensifies when it comes to purchasing a period property.

 

Your heart will be swept away by the unique features,  the property’s charm will have hit you the minute you walked through the door, and its character has stayed with you from the moment you left.  Everything inside you says this is the one, whilst your head is screaming, “don’t ignore the costs and potential issues”. 

In many ways, you need your head to be in charge, because any home will have its challenges, but can you financially and emotionally survive this?  We’ve all seen the families on Grand Designs, Restoration Man and the like who have been dragged through the ringer because of things they didn’t anticipate or expect.  Now this is, of course, the worse-case scenario, but it’s something that you need to seriously consider.

 

Keep it alive

 

For many who take on a period property, they see themselves as custodians of our heritage. By preserving their home, they are preserving the past for future generations to enjoy.  A period home can bring you so much joy, but no matter what age of home you decide to buy, our team at KMJ Property can offer a wealth of advice to help you find that dream home you seek.

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