October is National Home Security Month and is a good time to consider your property's safety. Richard Bocock, Network Property Sales Manager, said: "As we move further into autumn and winter, the days and nights of course get darker. It is important to adopt a practical, common sense approach in assessing safety measures in your existing or new home, which can be a target for opportunist thieves."
1. Lighting. Consider installing motion-sensitive lighting fixtures above front doors, porches, garage doors and entrances to back gardens. Fit timers to indoor lights when you are out for the evening or going on holiday.
2. Codes. If you are moving into a new property, familiarise yourself with the alarm and set a new passcode. And above all, don't forget to use it!
3. Locks. Securely bolt or padlock side/back gates. Fit window locks to all downstairs windows, and to easily accessible upstairs windows. Remove any ladders that could be used to gain access through upstairs windows or a flat roof.
4. Be letterbox aware. As vehicle theft becomes more sophisticated, and often to order, thieves turn to letterboxes to obtain keys.
5. Make sure you put these and other valuables out of easy reach and sight of the front door.
6. Valuables. Put your mark on valuables with a UV pen - a discreet way to identify your items if they are stolen.
7. Sheds. Many sheds are used to store cycles, garden equipment and tools. Ensure you have a sturdy padlock on your shed door. The same goes for your garage.
8. Vision. If possible, don't allow the front of your home to be obscured by trees or hedges that may provide hiding places for thieves.
9. Personal information. Don't get caught out online. Be careful about what personal information you divulge on social media.
10. Opportunist thieves often turn to Facebook and Twitter to target unsuspecting victims, so don't divulge information regarding your whereabouts. And never reveal that your property is empty.
11. Neighbourhood Watch. Be a good neighbour and join the local Neighbourhood Watch group. If you are new to the area, this is also a great way of getting to know your neighbourhood and meeting new people.
12. Ensure that you have adequate home and contents insurance.
Have you met Jade Grant? Find out more about her here!
I had the pleasure of joining Bishop & Company back in 2016, after a career change from working with horses which I had been doing since leaving school in 2010. This was a big step but working with such a supportive team made it less daunting. I started as a Property Administrator and have thoroughly enjoyed working in an office environment as it has helped me increase my confidence. Since joining the company, I have progressed to become a Trainee Sales Negotiator which has recently become my main role in the office.
What I enjoy about working at Bishop & Company is the possibility to keep progressing and understanding what is involved in the house-moving process. I enjoy learning about all aspects of the estate agency business, and assisting our customers in finding their ideal properties. It is great that everyone in the office has the same goals as I think this is what makes us such a good team. I am excited about my future here at Bishop and Company!
So you’ve walked round approximately 10 houses and, much like when you were dating, finally met ‘The One’. Now comes the nerve-wracking part: offer, negotiation and starting the next stage. How can you make sure you get to the next stage of instructing solicitors?
Katie Griffin, President, NAEA Propertymark says: “Finding your dream property is no mean feat, but when you do eventually find it, the biggest task is keeping hold of it. It’s really important to try and connect with the seller or agents involved, but keep a clear head and make a strong case for why the seller should choose you. An ideal buyer will show that they have done their homework, are clear about how quickly they can move and that they are taking the process seriously.”
Do your homework
The key to starting any process is preparation. There’s a lot of information out there about how it all works. These videos, aimed at first time buyers, are very useful for an easy way to gain or refresh your understanding. Do your homework before you place an offer so you go into the process comfortable and confident. Also, there is plenty of information about houses nearby to the one you love so you can compare prices and be confident you’re in the right ball park.
Speak to an independent financial advisor
There’s nothing worse than finding the home of your dreams and discovering afterwards that you can’t afford it. If you’re not sure who to speak to, contact us and we can recommend people out there who will best suit you. Independent financial advisors have the edge over just going straight to your bank as they can see the whole market place and make recommendations based on your circumstances. You’ll need ID to make an offer nowadays too so get your passport and utility bill ready to show the estate agent, along with your mortgage promise.
Are you in a great position?
If you are a first-time buyer or have no chain for other reasons, make sure this is made clear as part of your offer. This might mean that you’re able to move in a timescale to suit (within reason!) the seller of the house you want. This could well give you the edge over other potential purchasers.
Relationships are important
Independent estate agents like us have a wealth of information at their fingertips. Advice from family and friends on solicitors, mortgages and even surveys can be out-dated unless they have bought a property within the last few weeks! It’s a fast moving market! Not only that, if you’ve spent time discussing your needs with your estate agent, they’re more likely to think of you before other people when they hear about something that will suit you. Contact us about becoming one of our Early Birds.
If you like it, offer on it. If you don’t, the person that saw it yesterday will and you’ll be pipped to the post.
Pick a price
You might be given all sorts of advice about how to offer. One top tip is to not start too low. Sellers can be offended and not want to deal with you, or don’t believe you can even afford it. Someone else can come in with a more sensible figure and you end up losing it. Most people tend to deal in round numbers so try avoiding them so you don’t make the same bid as another buyer.
Make a friend!
If you need anything at all, even if you're not buying through us, please just get in touch if there's any questions you have!
How do you get your home photo-ready?
Getting your home ready for the photographer is a very important part of the marketing process. One of the key aims is to de-personalise it. This allows people to picture their own items within the rooms and ensures they don’t get distracted by looking at your things. A lot of these points, like pet bowls, you return to situ after the photos but removing accessories on tables or photographs also gives you the opportunity to start packing. Beginning this process helps you to start emotionally getting ready for the move too.
If you have any questions or would like a second, no obligation, opinion just get in touch. We’ll be happy to help.
Remove fridge magnets and have nothing hanging on the refrigerator (kids’ art work, invitations, etc.)
Remove kitchen towels that are hanging
Clear counter tops-no clutter
Clear away small appliances such as toasters and blenders
No pots or pans on stove top
Remove trash can
Note: Removing clutter helps to make your home look larger and helps a potential buyer to picture their own belongings in your home.
Bathroom & Laundry
Remove toiletries from vanity and shampoo bottles etc. from shower/bathtub-no bath products out.
Remove laundry baskets and trash can
Either remove bath mats or match with towels
Have towels hanging neatly on towel rails
Close shower curtain
Toilet lids down
Remove any photographs - minimal accessories on tables
Remove baskets/containers that have magazines, throw blankets, etc.
Remove some furniture and rugs if in a small space. It will make the house appear seem bigger
Remove any items than might offend potential buyers (political, animal heads, etc.)
Replace any missing light bulbs throughout the house
Remove pet bowls, bedding, kennels, litter trays, etc.
Beds are to be made
Pack away any kids’ toys
Clear any table tops of toiletries, photos and clothing
Remove any valuable items such as jewellery and put in a safe place
Remove everything from bedside tables except bedside lamps
Open drapes or blinds
Note: When it comes to accessories on a table - less is more. No more than 2 per table.
Garage doors closed
No cars in driveway or in front of house
Put bicycles, hose, garden tools, pool toys in garage
Put rubbish bins out of sight
Arrange patio furniture neatly
Add seasonal plant pots for splash of colour (Lidl often have a good cheap selection if you’re keen to not spend too much!)
Here's a little intro to one of our team here at Bishop & Co, Elyse Church-Ford.
I joined Bishop & Company as an Administrator for the Mortgage Centre in 2016 after completing my A-Levels the year before at Midsomer Norton Sixth Form. At the beginning of 2017, I was given the opportunity of learning the Lettings side of the business through being trained as a Lettings Assistant. More recently, I have become more involved with the Sales aspect of estate agency as I have recently been promoted to Trainee Sales & Lettings Negotiator. Alongside this role, in my own time and with the support of the company, I am simultaneously training/revising for my CeMAP exams in order to become a qualified Mortgage & Protection Advisor.
I have been very fortunate in that Tony Bishop has given me every opportunity to learn as much about the various components of estate agency. My aim is to be confident in all areas of the business so that I can provide our customers with the best service I can in all respects.
I enjoy working for Bishop & Company because of the professional but friendly environment. I like working with people who share the same goal – to give our customers the service we would hope to receive ourselves.