Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"Fear over social cleansing in Borough"

One of our tenants today contacted us to say that she had seen a string of comments made on a Facebook Forum, the person making the comments was a local MP who felt the necessity to post images of properties from Rightmove to substantiate and support his headline "Fear over social cleansing in Borough"  which I found really unpalatable as did a number of other people who had made responses to his comments.  One of who was a tenant who we had recently let a property to; she was not pleased by the comments he had made.
Click the link to see the full story

One of the properties he had posted in his FB article was a property we currently have on the market, I always thought that MP’s would do their research first but yet again this seems not to be the case.  Having worked in the area for 20 years and having written many BLOG articles which have also been published in the Thurrock Gazette I would have been quite happy to inform him why the rental market has boomed out of control.  This is not because of greedy landlords or letting agents, it is simply on the basis of simple economics.  The supply of housing is outweighed dramatically by the demand for it, and the property he mentioned was owned by a local person and bought by them on the Right to Buy scheme that funny enough was introduced by politicians. In addition this landlord still lives in the Thurrock area and the person that has taken the property to live in also lives locally, so much for his social cleansing argument!

The problem for those on low incomes who, as I have previously stated in other articles, have a very important role in our economy, has been created by the very politicians that purport that is everybody else’s fault other than those who make the laws, rules and regulations that we are all bound by. History shows us that the problem of the UK housing market has been an ongoing problem created by short termism politicians who are only looking at their own invested interests and not for the people who have elected them.

If anybody would like facts and figures about the South Ockendon and Aveley property market in relation to house or rental values and the reason they have increased, then please contact me and I will be happy to share my knowledge and insight in a constructive way.



Ps People with social influence should act more responsibly.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

November 2016 Property Market Comment

Christmas is already in sight and it might be tempting to assume the market will slow down and that it might be best to wait until the New Year before selling.

However, whilst many agents do indeed shut up shop so they can roast chestnuts over an open fire, we like nothing more than to sneak into the office in our Santa outfits and huddle round the computer rubbing our hands in glee as we see our web traffic stats rocket (by 195% over the festive period according to Rightmove)!

Having been among the first agents to embrace technology and social media in the area, we are fortunate that our website ranks highly in the search engines. So over Christmas we always see a huge spike of buyer activity, as people who are anticipating a move in the New Year start to spend their “time out” browsing for properties. They inevitably fall in love with one of our beautifully presented instructions sooner than expected, so our physical accompanied viewing figures over Christmas aren’t bad either!

We certainly recommend that you avoid falling into the trap of waiting until the Spring to sell. The sheer volume of properties flooding onto the market at the same time in March and April can create an imbalance of supply over demand and prices can actually weaken. Serious buyers are still very active over Christmas, when their time off work allows them to view more properties. So we say, “make hay while the snow falls”.

Also, Christmas is a time when a house really does look like a home and this could just tip the balance in your favour when buyers come to view.  

So if you are thinking of selling in the New Year or even the Spring, why not bring it forward by a few weeks and let us help you take advantage of this surprisingly buoyant time of year. You’ll then be in a strong position yourself as a buyer to take advantage of any increase in supply early next year. Why not call 01708 851999 today to arrange a no-obligation marketing consultation with one of our local experts.  



Sunday, December 4, 2016

£4m paid in Stamp Duty by South Ockendon Residents

“A pound saved is worth two pounds earned . . . after taxes” is what my Grandfather used to say. He loved his irony, yet was always a wise man, and it is tax I want to talk about today, in particular, property taxation .. Stamp Duty in fact.

Apart from some minor exemptions, Stamp Duty is paid by anyone buying a property over £125,000 in the UK. It presently raises £10.68bn a year for the HM Treasury (interesting when compared with £27.6bn in fuel duty, £10.69bn in alcohol duty and £9.48bn in tobacco duty).

In the latest set of data from HMRC, in the MP constituency that covers South Ockendon, property buyers paid £4m stamp duty in one year alone – a lot of money in anyone’s eyes (although not as much as the £220m in income tax that all of us in the same area paid last year).

However, as you may know, George Osborne introduced an additional tax for landlords and from 1st April 2016 they had to pay an additional 3% stamp duty surcharge on top of the normal stamp duty rate when purchasing a buy to let property. There were tales of woe and Armageddon with a report by Deutsche Bank suggesting that the new surcharge could see house prices fall by as much as 20%.

HMRC data released in the Summer for Quarter 2 (Q2) of 2016 did seem to back up those fears as they published some worrying figures; only one in seven properties purchased was a second home or buy-to-let (in real numbers, only 30,300 of the 207,900 properties in Q2 were bought by landlords).

In previous articles, I spoke about the slump of property transactions after the 1st of April (as landlords rushed through their property purchases in March to beat the April deadline). In Q2 of 2016, £1.976bn was raised in Stamp Duty from Residential Property. Of that £1.976bn, £652m was paid by buy to let landlords (£424m in normal stamp duty and £228m in the additional 3% surcharge).

However, looking at Q3, the numbers have improved significantly. Of the 235,000 property sales, nearly one in four of them (56,100 to be precise) were bought by buy to let landlords and of the £2.208bn in stamp duty, £864m was paid in ‘normal’ stamp duty by BTL landlords and an impressive £442m paid by those same landlords in the additional stamp duty surcharge.

The statistics suggest buy to let investors have thankfully not been deterred by the stamp duty surcharge introduced in April this year. The figures also show that 65.4% of "buy to let" purchases cost less than £250,000, 23.7% of properties were in the £250k to £500k range and 10.9% (or 6,100 additional properties) of buy to let properties bought cost over £500k – interestingly nearly one in four (22.2%) of £500k properties purchased in Q3 were buy to let properties.

It just goes to back up what I stated a few weeks ago when I suggested that many investors had rushed to make purchases before 31st March, making figures in the following months (Q2) artificially low when the 3% supplement was introduced, but in Q3 the number of buy to let properties purchased increased by 85%.

It just goes to show you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the newspapers! I can assure you the South Ockendon property market is doing just fine. For more thoughts on the South Ockendon Property Market like this .. visit the South Ockendon Property Market Blog



Ps Have a restful Sunday! I'm off for a couple of hours fishing!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Immigration Act 2016 - What does it mean for Letting Agents & Landlords

“Saw this article today in Letting Agent Today and thought that my readers would be interested to know what the responsibilities of Letting Agent and Landlords are in relation to the Immigration Act 2016”

New parts of the Immigration Act 2016 come into effect today, consolidating the Right To Rent regulations that came into effect back in February.

From today agents acting on behalf of landlords, or landlords themselves if they manage tenancies, will be committing a criminal offence if they have "reasonable cause to believe" that the apartment or house they are letting is being rented by a tenant disqualified under Right To Rent regulations.

From today, if a landlord or managing agent serves a Section 8 notice which does not specifically refer to the Immigration Act 2016, it is regarded as invalid and tenants will have a technical defence to possession proceedings.

It is now also an offence for agents who have "reasonable cause to believe" that their landlord client is letting to a tenant disqualified because of their immigration status, and who go ahead with the management of the property.

The penalties for both offences on indictment are imprisonment for up to five years and/or an unlimited fine; penalties on summary conviction are imprisonment for up to 12 months and/or, again, an unlimited fine.

Source Letting Agents Today Written By Graham Norwood

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Great investment opportunity I Bedroom Flat Purfleet

This one bedroom top floor flat has just come on the market with M&P Estates Ltd South Ockendon branch (01708 851999) and is priced at £155.000. These properties make ideal investment or first time buyer properties. 

I have had the opportunity of viewing this property internally myself and for investment purposes the property would need to be redecorated, but is fitted with a modern kitchen and bathroom. The real bonuses of this flat is that it has loft storage and Purfleet Train Station C2C line is only 0.4 miles away.

So if we have a quick look at the figures you will see that purchasing the property at £155.000 and achieving a rental of £725 pcm will give you a very healthy yield of 5.61%, so I would not delay too long as properties of this size, calibre and location sell very quickly.

If you would like any further information regarding the South Ockendon, Aveley or Purfleet property market why not give me a call on 01708 851999 or drop me an e-mail, I have recently had a number of landlords drop into my office and take me up on my offer of a coffee and a chat about the South Ockendon and Aveley property market, some have actually gone on to buy properties, so why not get in contact.



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

“What About The Children?”

Showing your home to prospective purchasers can be stressful enough, but children add an extra dimension and their needs should be considered.    

Moving house might be logical and exciting for an adult, but the fear of the unknown can be upsetting for children. That room or corner of the garden that has been their special place for most of the child’s life is about to be taken away from them, as they are rocketed out of their comfort zone into unknown territory.

After you have made the decision to move, child psychologists usually advise telling the children as soon as you can. They are certain to find out one way or another and being up front with them will enable you to manage the process better and stay in control.

Parents nevertheless need to be sensitive when discussing the move, and make a point of highlighting the exciting aspects of a new home. Ask your child what they would like to find in their ideal home. They don’t have to have a major influence on your decision, but their apparent involvement in the process will pay dividends.

Likewise, if your children regard the move as a positive thing they are more likely to be co-operative when buyers come to view your property. A stress-related temper-tantrum as the buyer walks through your door is to be avoided at all costs! Indeed, no matter how sweet your children may be, they are more likely to be a distraction to a prospective buyer than an advantage. This is one of the many reasons why we always aim to accompany purchasers around our clients’ property. So our respectful advice is this: ideally, leave the viewing to the trained agent and take the children (and the dog) for a walk! Happy Selling!   

For more advice on any aspect of your move, please feel free to call us on 01708 851999



Friday, November 25, 2016

How will the Chancellors Autumn statement affect the South Ockendon rental market??

The Chancellor in his autumn statement announced the banning of lettings agents charging tenants administration fees, which is an important part of the rental process.  Fees from £200 - £300 cover the tenants' costs for referencing, preparation of their tenancy agreement (the cost of which is shared 50/50 with the landlord) and an inventory which not only does the landlord rely on, but also the tenant, again the cost of this document is split 50/50 between the two parties.

The Government has listened to the pressure groups advocating the banning of letting fees and Shelter the charity for the homeless have been prominent in this campaign.  From an agent's point of view, it is not about the loss of revenue, although this is an important factor as this will have far reaching consequences for staffing levels, on an already over-burdened lettings industry that is dealing on a constant basis of new rules, regulations and intervention.  For an example:-

1)    We have to carry out immigration checks, so we are policing the right to remain of tenants.
2)    Every year under the Finance Act, we have to comply with preparing a list of all of our landlords, how much they have received in rent, and we have to give this list on to HMRC an annual basis.
3)    We are required to implement all the new government legislation that is imposed without real consultation or thought.

All of the above is provided to the government free of charge.  Now, as letting agents, we are told we cannot charge tenants a fee to carry out the administrative work.

These are some of the examples where you are charged an administration fee:-

a)    Buying or leasing a car
b)    Taking out a bank loan
c)     Taking out a mortgage
d)    Remortgaging
e)    Booking a holiday
f)      Booking a hotel
g)    Booking tickets

I think the list would go on and on if you really put your mind to it! However, there is a downside to this and that is the very people Shelter and other pressure groups and the government are claiming to assist are the very people who are going to be affected by it. Indeed, with the new tax changes regarding mortgage tax relief, 3% tax duty levied against anyone buying a second home, have and will, create a real shortage in the private rental sector.  I am sorry to say again that the groups above obviously must have been sick or truant in the GCSE lesson of economics when they talked about supply and demand.

We are already seeing rents rise due to the lack of supply caused by the stamp duty rises and potential tax changes coming into effect from next year.  People in the industry have been arguing this point for some time, but again this falls on deaf ears! 

Having studied social policy more than three decades ago the issue and problems of the UK housing market has been a long term failure of politicians to find a long term solution, as normal they look for short term solutions for their own political gain.  You have to also remember that 20% of everything a letting agent earns is paid in VAT and a further 20% of their profit is then paid to the Inland Revenue in Corporation Tax.  I would argue that if you are going to take this much money out of the system what are you going to replace it with?

There are two issues here and I think that the most important is that the low income families who do important work within the economy are going to be priced out of the private rental market. The measures that have been put in place have been ill thought out and the financial implications of using theoretical models on the cost benefit of implementing the new tax criteria on landlords and the 3% stamp duty on second homes will deepen the housing crisis that we currently face.

I may be wrong in my understanding of the whole situation, a very thought provoking subject at the moment, and the implications are far reaching.  I have written many blog articles over the last couple of years and published many articles in the local paper, I would really like to know what the views of the South Ockendon and Aveley people are on this subject, so please drop me an email to

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

“ A Winter ’ s Sale? ”

There are many reasons why people put off selling their property at this time of year in the belief that there could be a better time to do it: it’s too cold, it’s too wet, it’s too dark, the house is not looking its best, school holidays, Christmas, New Year, etc. At this time of the year many people say they will wait until the spring before putting their home on the market, as that is supposedly the best time to sell.

Whilst properties certainly look more appealing in the spring, there are solid reasons for bringing your property to market during the winter. Firstly, whilst you can choose when you sell, a buyer’s timing is usually more likely to be determined by circumstances rather than the season. Serious buyers won’t let Christmas deter them.

Secondly, many properties come onto the market in the spring thereby increasing supply, meaning buyers have more choice which also puts them in a stronger bargaining position.

It also means that, by the time a buyer is found, you will be able to take advantage of this increase in supply yourself as you seek a new home. Having a buyer for your own property ahead of everyone else puts you in a strong position as a purchaser, with a selection of properties from which to choose in a market of buyers who have otherwise yet to sell.

This time of year usually produces a sharp increase in the supply of qualified buyers who want to conclude a sale by Christmas – and often at top prices too.

So why wait, when you can take advantage of today’s market? If you are contemplating moving, please phone us on 01708 851999 to discuss how our marketing plan could have you sold by Christmas. Your timing might just be perfect.



Ps, There are still plenty of new buyers registering!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

October 2016 Property Market Comment

Powerful opposing forces seem to be keping the property market in check this October, driven by the usual suspects. Demand remains high, but supply is still short. Interest rates are historically low, based on a bank rate of just 0.25%, so mortgages remain cheap, but are difficult to get, with 12% of self-employed applicants being turned down. House prices in the three months to September were 5.8% higher than the same time last year, but down 0.1% down on the previous three months.

The London market, which tends to lead the way for the rest of the country is similarly confused, with first time buyers now almost completely priced out as only 2% of sales in the capital are currently below £150,000. Yet the prime central London market has all but collapsed with just five transactions over £10million, against 35 transactions this time last year. This is despite the falling pound offering exceptional value for wealthy foreign investors.

This same weaker pound has had its effect on inflation, with the latest figures showing a leap to 1% and expected to rise further, based on higher fuel and import costs. Fortunately, wage inflation is currently around 2% but nevertheless, higher costs of living could possibly hit confidence levels going forward, especially when combined with a host of Brexit-related fears.

It’s tempting to over-analyse these things. Despite the above often-conflicting factors, the market remains steady and property, as ever, a reliable investment. The key thing is to ensure that your personal/family/career needs are met in your home. If you need or want to move, just do it! If everyone took this stance, then the supply issue would be addressed, buyers would have more choice and property might become a bit more affordable.

Neverthless, despite the need for more affordable properties, our job remains very much in favour of helping our sellers secure the highest price the market will tolerate, and in that we excell. So if you’re thinking of moving, why not invite us to comment on your own potential sale – you might be pleasantly surprised! 



Monday, November 21, 2016


The story starts on one cold, windy afternoon, the doors opened to our lettings office and in came a very elderly lady who needed some help and assistance.  She sat with my co-director, Sarah Tobias-Gibbins, and told her the problems that she had with two rental properties which she currently had managed by another agent.  Unfortunately for legal reasons I am not able to name that agent, but at the end of this ongoing situation you will understand why, that I felt the need not as a letting agent, but more as a father, son, brother, grandad and uncle that agents like this should be reported to trading standards and closed down.

There have been a number of articles written and protests about agency fees and the hidden costs involved in renting a property.  Money seems such an important thing in the society we currently find ourselves in, but my opinion is that we should direct our focus and energies on ridding our industry of agents and landlords that put tenants at risk!

The lady concerned was extremely concerned and worried that her property had not been maintained and that the agent had asked for large sums of money for repairs that she was not sure if they had been:-

1)    Done
2)    Done adequately

She asked if we would take over these properties which we agreed to do but until we were able to see for ourselves what condition these properties were in, what needed to be done, we were very sceptical.  It was agreed that if M & P Estates were to take these properties on and the landlord would follow our standard practice that the properties were:-

1)    Safe
2)    Habitable

Property A

I was given the task to meet the owner of the other agency for them to hand the paperwork over to us.  On property A there was an invalid gas safety certificate, electric certificate, no smoke detectors, no CO2 detectors and no Legionella’s risk assessment certificate.  Having looked over the property, it was in disrepair, not due to the landlord’s inability to pay for repairs, but the inability of the agent to ensure that work required was carried out to a satisfactory standard.  After meeting with the agent and taking the paperwork from him I ensured that the above certificates and detectors were put in place.

Property B

Two weeks later the same landlord, asked us to take over her second property, again, I arranged to meet the owner of the previous agent.  This property I can only say is potentially the worst property I have ever come across in my 20 years as a letting agent.  This property did not have an electric certificate, the gas boiler was in bedroom 2 in a cupboard, there was a gas certificate for it, how it passed is beyond me as there was no ventilation.  Again, there were no smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, the gas oven was slotted in and the kitchen worktops had no metal capping to stop the wood burning.  The sides of the units were charred, there were numerous trip hazards, broken tiles, water leaking from the bath into the kitchen, the downstairs toilet had not worked for 2 years, there was no toilet seat, the property was suffering with damp/condensation mould.

I asked the tenants why they had lived in the property for such a long period of time without making any complaints.  They felt that if they complained the landlord would evict them and they would find it difficult to find alternative accommodation.  I explained to them it was not due to the landlord and that all of the above issues would be resolved as quickly as possible.

The two properties are not an exaggeration, they are what I have seen first-hand and it is on this basis that trading standards, environmental health and other agencies in relation to housing should ensure and focus their concentration on properties described in this article rather than worrying too much about the fees that tenants are asked to pay!

Again, as stated I cannot name the agent for legal reasons, but believe they have quite a large portfolio in the area I work and surrounding areas.  In addition, I have had numerous landlords come to our office that had read my property blog and articles seeking advice and service after getting bad advice from a number of agents.  This is not to say that all agents within Thurrock are not up to the job, as I know there are a number of extremely good agents who work on the same basis as we do.

Because of the above situation, and if you are a landlord who is unsure about what your agent is doing for you, then I am happy to provide a free health check service  to ensure:-

1)    That your property meets the current legal requirements.
2)    We would carry out a free risk assessment on your property at no charge.
3)    We would offer you advice and support if there are any detrimental findings to your property.
4)    We can check that your paperwork ie tenancy agreement, agency agreement, inventory, Legionella’s risk assessment, gas certificate and electric certificate are up to date and correct.

We are not looking to make money out of assisting landlords with this it is merely that, as I stated, this article has not been written as an agent's point of view, but more of a parent, uncle, son, brother and grandad.  If the job is not done correctly it can be lethal!!!!



Ps. If you need assistance, please email or call 01708 851999 and ask for either Sarah or myself.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


As an Estate Agent I work with many different types of professionals, mortgage brokers, conveyancers, solicitors, surveyors, removal companies, cleaning companies, and any other service provider that you can think of within the house moving process.

As many of my blog readers know I have been working in this industry for 20 years and it still today baffles me why the sales process takes so long, in fact, many sales never make it to exchange because of the “so called professionals have their own way of working” which is sometimes at the detriment to the client who is paying for their service.  This is no way to have a dig at any one firm of conveyancers / solicitors but all I would advise anyone either a purchaser or a vendor is to ask the following set of questions:-

1)    How long will your company take to complete my transaction?
2)    Will I have a named person to correspond with, e mails, telephone calls and letters?
3)    How often will you contact me to keep me updated?
4)    Will you be liaising with the Estate Agents concerned with either my purchase or my sale?
5)    What is your process for purchase or sale and what are the milestones that you work by?

Purchaser – how soon do you send paperwork out to me to instruct you? How soon will you contact the other solicitors acting for the vendor? How soon will you ask me for my funds for searches? Do you wait for my mortgage offer to come in before you apply for searches?

Vendor – how quickly will you send out my forms? At what stage will you send out draft contracts? How will you contact me to answer any enquiries that the purchaser’s solicitors require? If I need any indemnity insurances will you be able to deal with these? If my property is a leasehold when do you apply for the management pack from the freeholder and how long can this take?

You may be asking yourself the question, “Paul why have you not included how much do you charge?”  My answer to that is one in three sales do not make it to exchange because of the delays within the sales process.  All I can suggest is that you find a solicitor who can sensibly answer all of the above questions and give you a time frame.  If you would like a list, as what I see, are good solicitors or conveyancers then drop me an e-mail and I will be happy to provide you with a list of names and contact numbers where you will be able to go online and view each solicitor for yourself.  You may pay another hundred of so pounds for a good solicitor who will get your sale through within a 6 – 10 week period or if you go cheap you could be looking at 16 weeks plus and the longer the sale runs the more change the other parties within the chain may pull out!



PS If you would like any information or assistance in the sales process, whether you are a client or ours or whether you are selling or buying, please do not hesitate to contact me. My e-mail address is – I really look forward to helping you and assisting you in your move.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

House Prices in South Ockendon rise by more than 25% in the last 18 months

Over the last month, the South Ockendon property market has seen some interesting movement in house prices, as property values in the Thurrock Council area rose by 0.1 % in the last month, to leave annual price growth at 19%. These compare well to the national figures where property prices across the UK saw a monthly uplift of 0.42%, meaning the annual property values across the Country are 8.3% higher, this is all despite the constraining factors of Stamp Duty changes in the spring and more recently our friend Brexit.

Looking at the figures for the last 18 months makes even more fascinating reading, whereby house prices are 25.8% higher, again thought provoking when compared to the national average figure of 13.6% higher.

However, it gets more remarkable when we look at how the different sectors of the South Ockendon market are performing. Over the last 18 months, in the Thurrock Council area, the best performing type of property was the semi, which outperformed the area average by 1.13% whilst the worst performing type was the apartment, which under-performed the area average by 1.62%.

Now the difference doesn’t sound that much, but remember two things, this is only over eighteen months and the gap of 2.75% (the difference between the semi at +1.13% and apartments at -1.62%) converts into a few thousand pounds disparity, when you consider the average price paid for a semi-detached property in South Ockendon itself over the last 12 months was £294,700 and the average price paid for a South Ockendon apartment was £161,100 over the same time frame.

I know all the South Ockendon landlords and homeowners will want to know how each of the property types have performed, so this is what has happened to property prices over the last 18 months in the area...
Overall Average   +25.8%
Detached   +25.8%
Semi Detached   +27.2%
Terraced            +26.3%
Apartments +23.8%

So what does all this mean to South Ockendon homeowners and South Ockendon landlords and what does the future hold?  

When I looked at the month-by-month figures for the area, you can quite clearly see there is a slight tempering of the South Ockendon property market over these last few months. I have mentioned in previous articles that the number of properties on the market in South Ockendon has increased this summer, something that hasn’t happened since 2008. Greater choice for buyers means, using simple supply and demand economics, that top prices won’t be achieved on every South Ockendon property. You see, some of that growth in South Ockendon property values throughout early 2016 may have come about because of a surge in house purchase activity, an indirect result of the increase in stamp duty on second homes from April, thus providing a temporary boost to prices. 

However, it may be possible the recent pattern of robust employment growth, growing real earnings and low borrowing costs will tilt the demand/supply seesaw in favour of sellers and exert upward pressure on prices once again in the quarters ahead.

...And South Ockendon property values, assuming that everything goes well with Brexit, I believe in twelve months’ time we should see values in the order of 8% to 10% higher.



Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Sitting in the office on Saturday afternoon where I get a lot of clients coming to see me to ask various questions and get information about the moving process for both sales and lettings, I took a telephone call from a very delightful lady who was phoning on behalf of a friend, who was trying to find out information regarding mortgages and what happens when you are in a fixed rate mortgage and her questions were, can you sell? Are you able to move? Or can you rent the property out?

I frequently get asked these questions when I carry out valuations and as stated when I am in the office on a Saturday.  I always advise people to read carefully their mortgage offer, the terms and conditions, which will specify any penalties and costs involved in early redemption of the mortgage within the fixed period.

The ladies friend had a job move up North and needed to know what her options were.  The option 1 if the lady was moving up North and looking to buy another property she would need to get in contact with her mortgage company to see if it is possible to port her mortgage to another property by selling her existing property and moving to a property up North.  Option 2 If the lady was not sure of the length of time she would be working out of area, then it would be to see whether it would be possible to get consent to let her property for a 12 month period, obviously for this option to be taken up the lady would have to prove she had a job move.  In relation to this option I have found that most mortgage companies have been sympathetic and granted consent to let.

The main point of my advice is always to read your terms and conditions of your mortgage offer and consult with your mortgage provider to see what options are available.



Ps. If you have got a question that you need an answer for, then drop me an email at

Monday, November 14, 2016

“ Distorted Opinions? ”

The issue of house prices is a hot topic and close to every homeowner’s heart. Everyone has their opinion, but even that of experienced estate agents is no more accurate about the future of property prices than that of the layman. Prices are subject to micro and macro economics, employment, lending policies, political direction, taxation, the City, the Euro, the Dollar, and a whole host of tangibles and intangibles that all combine to influence the market.

Of course, a movement in the market can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy when subject to reckless or dramatic media headlines, prompted by the smallest shred of “evidence”.

Fortunately, most people have by now become somewhat immune to media hype and speculation, and look to the fundamentals of the economy to try to gain an understanding of the market – which still eludes most of us!   

Ironically one indicator that is often misinterpreted is the one that is usually hailed as the most reliable source of all property data – the stats provided by HM Land Registry based on completed sales. Although newspapers will highlight the latest released figures, any estate agent will tell you that they are seldom an accurate reflection of current market sentiment. This can really only be measured by the activity levels reported by agents on an almost daily basis, and we can certainly testify that the current market in this area is far rosier than that reported by HM Land Registry.

For example, the latest HMLR figures reflect completions which happened up to three months ago, which reflect exchanges that happened up to six months ago that in turn reflect offers that were accepted up to nine months ago on properties that came to market possibly over a year ago!

When we provide homeowners with our market opinion, we take the fullest account of current buyer activity in the context of available comparable stock across the market, and find this up-to-the-minute approach helps us to secure the very highest prices the market will pay – today!  



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

“The Advertising Myth”

It would not be unreasonable to assume that as a property comes onto the market, the instructed estate agent will post the property details on various property portals and wait for the enquiries to roll in.   

However, this approach is somewhat simplistic! We take a much more strategic and proactive approach to handling new buyer enquiries. There is a fallacy surrounding adverts in that many people think that a property sells as a direct result of the publication of its corresponding advertisement. This is simply not true in most cases.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of buyers who enquire about a specific property do not go on to buy it, but buy something else instead. This is because only limited information can be conveyed in an advertisement, such as price, location, accommodation and condition. Yet the decision to buy is usually much more complex, and is something that cannot adequately be assimilated until the property is actually visited.

So whilst it is important to choose an agent that advertises extensively (eg, we feature our clients’ properties on a number of portals including,, On the Market, etc), it is more important to choose an agent who knows what to do with an enquiry than simply putting the buyer on a mailing list!

A good agent will use good ads to attract buyers, and then use their skill, training and judgement to help the buyer identify the right property – which in all probability will not turn out to be the one about which they enquired. This effective method is one of the reasons why we enjoy such an excellent ratio of new applicants to sales agreed, which is of course to our clients’ substantial advantage.

Why not join them? Please feel free to call 01708 851999 now to arrange a confidential appraisal so that we might provide you with highly relevant strategic marketing proposal.    

Monday, November 7, 2016

What is really happening in the South Ockendon Property Market?

Well its been a few months since Brexit and as we settle into the Autumn with Great British Bake Off, Strictly and the Football season ... the newspapers are returning to their mixed messages of good news, bad news and indifferent news about the Brit’s favourite subject after the weather ... the property market.

The thing is the UK does not have one housing market. Instead, it is a patchwork of mini property markets all performing in a different way. At one end of scale is Kensington and Chelsea, which has seen average prices drop in the last twelve months by 6.2% whilst in our East of England region, house prices are 14.3% higher. But what about South Ockendon?

Property prices in South Ockendon are 19.2% higher than a year ago
and 1.1% higher than last month.

So what does this mean for South Ockendon landlords and homeowners? Not that much unless you are buying or selling in reality. Most sellers are buyers anyway, so if the one you are buying has gone up, yours has gone up.  Everything is relative and what I would say is, if you look hard enough, there are even in this market, there are still some bargains to be had in South Ockendon.

However, the most important question you should be asking though is not only is what happening to property prices, but exactly which price band is selling? I like to keep an eye on the property market in South Ockendon on a daily basis because it enables me to give the best advice and opinion on what (or not) to buy in South Ockendon.

If you look at South Ockendon and split the property market into three equalled sized price bands. Each price band would have around 33% of the property in South Ockendon, from the lowest in value band (the bottom 33%) all the way through to the highest 33% band (in terms of value).

  Nil to £280k                       27 properties for sale and 77 sold (stc) i.e. 74% sold
£280k to £350k                   30 properties for sale and 39 sold (stc) i.e. 56% sold
£350k +                               23 properties for sale and 17 sold (stc) i.e. 42% sold

Fascinating don’t you think that it is the lower South Ockendon market that is doing the best?
The next nine months’ activity will be crucial in understanding which way the market will go this year after Brexit ... but, Brexit or no Brexit, people will always need a roof over their head and that is why the property market has ridden the storms of oil crisis’ in the 1970’s, the 1980’s depression, Black Monday in the 1990’s, and latterly the credit crunch together with the various house price crashes of 1973, 1987 and 2008.

And why? Because of Britain’s chronic lack of housing will prop up house prices and prevent a post spike crash. ... there is always a silver lining when it comes to the property market! 



Ps If you are thinking  of purchasing a buy to let property in South Ockendon or Aveley why not give me a call. I 'm always happy to give you a second opinion! Call me on 01708 851999 or email me