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Your Move Property Blog

Thoughts, Opinions & Analysis of the UK Property Market

Meet the Agent – Susan Allan

July 29, 2013 14:49 by Your Move Chris Stonock


YOUR MOVE Chris Stonock's West Denton office is based to the west of the city centre on The Roman Way in West Denton.

Meet our Sales Manager, Susan Allan...


I am married to Richard and we have two daughters of whom I am immensely proud. I am also blessed with three beautiful grandchildren

My first job

When I left college I worked in a junior position in a firm of Estate Agents and Auctioneers.

My dream job

As a child I was in awe of my uncle who is an Archaeologist and Egyptologist and I would sit enthralled listening to his stories about the Ancient world. I still have the same fascination about his work and have visited him but I feel the reality of the day to day living in the desert would be not such a glamorous adventure as I imagined as a child!

My childhood home

My family had a small holding, my father the outdoor life and was a very keen on going sea fishing I can always remember going in to our bathroom to find his catch in the bath!

The first home I bought

I was the very proud owner of a terraced house in Chester le Street.

My ideal home

To have a home that overlooks the sea would be wonderful.

Best buy for the home

My grandchildren love the wooden play house in the garden.

Worst buy for the home

Anything to do with kitchen gadgets somehow they just never get used even though at the time I think I really am going to find this so useful. 

My property tips

Good photography can make such a difference when selling your home and can attract buyers so time taken in preparation and presentation is essential.

The best advice I’ve ever been given

Always stick to your budget and buy a smaller house in a better area as opposed to a larger property in a worse area.

Most useful warning I’ve ever been given

If at first you don’t succeed try, try and try again.

Three words I would use about myself

Caring , honest and loyal.


For information or advice on selling or letting your home, please contact the team at West Denton or your local Your Move Chris Stonock branch

Top 7 Reasons to Get Your Property Surveyed

July 22, 2013 11:59 by YOUR MOVE


Whether you are a first time buyer, or you are a fifth time buyer, getting a survey is crucial before you buy a house.

  1. In some instances it’s an obligatory requirement put in place by your mortgage lender. Your lender will request you commission a survey as part of your mortgage application; this is to ensure the property they’re lending on is a sound investment.
  2. Buying a house is likely to be one of the most expensive purchases of your life. It’s a huge commitment financially and as such should not be taken lightly. Having a property fully inspected with a survey will help you to make a decision on what property to buy.
  3. The costs of not getting a survey can be very substantial and will come as a big surprise if a house is purchased without one.
  4. RICS research found that one in five house buyers who did not bother with a survey ended up discovering faults.
  5. The research also found that the average costs to repair these faults was £5,750 with 17% of new owners having to pay over £12,000 to make sure their new house purchase was inhabitable.
  6. When it comes to property defects some are very obvious to see, you can spot cracks, condensations of woodworm holes or you might have a builder friend who is more observant but the reality is that surveyors are the absolute experts. They train for years to be able to critically assess the condition of a property and are the only ones who can provide a truly extensive and telling report on a property.
  7. If you buy a house without a survey only to uncover that there is a major issue that will be costly to repair then this might not be affordable and leave you with a property not only that you don’t want to live in but also a property that you won’t be able to sell to recoup any loses


What you ultimately have to ask yourself is; can you afford not to get your house surveyed? It’ll give you peace of mind that you’re not buying into a money pit and that your investment will be worth it in the end.


July 19, 2013 13:13 by YOUR MOVE

As we enter the summer holiday period it’s easy to understand why some sellers may fear that activity in the property market may stall a little and that buyers will temporarily become disinterested in the market in favour of holiday time. In the experience of Your Move estate agents, however, that’s certainly not the case and why they have come up with some interesting advice for those still hoping to sell even though they may be going on holiday themselves.  

      1. There should be no reason why a sale should not progress while the seller is away on a summer holiday, provided of course, that they have selected an agent who is sympathetic to their needs and the security aspects of selling an unoccupied property. As a seller it’s important, for example, that neither you or your agent make it known that you are away – ensuring, at all times that your property looks occupied – particularly before a viewing takes place.
      2. This can be done by ensuring that post is removed from the door mat, that plants are not left in the sink or bath, that vases of dead flowers are removed, that curtains are appropriately opened or drawn and that there are no notes or documents left on view that could indicate you are on holiday.  It may also be worth arranging for a car to be left on the drive – perhaps a reliable neighbour can offer support with this - and don’t forget to set timers for lights  – making sure, however, that they are not visible to visitors. 
      3. It’s important that you talk to your agent well in advance of any holiday you may be taking and agree beforehand what the agent should, and should not do, while you are away.  Ideally you should be prepared for viewings to continue and to leave a contact number should an offer for your property arise.
      4. For sellers, this time of year is a great time to present your property in ‘the best light’.  Not only can you draw attention to the internal features of your home but also to the external ones - the garden is a good place to start.   
      5. Don’t forget, for example, to make sure your lawns are in good condition and regularly mown at this time of year and that shrubs and plants are pruned – particularly high ones which may cast unwanted shadows across a garden. You may even consider planting a few annuals to provide an instant burst of colour or spruce a particularly dull area with a few planted containers.   If you have a pond, clear it of any dead foliage and make sure any water features are working properly and are also child friendly.
      6. You also need to make sure the entrance to your property is clear paying particular attention to drives and porches - free them of clutter like bicycles and toys. Patios should also be tidied up and any patio furniture cleaned and then arranged - bearing in mind the views from indoors. Remember also to make sure any faulty fence panels or gates are mended or even consider adding more fences to enhance privacy – something many buyers will be looking for.
      7. Summer, of course, also provides an excellent opportunity to point out any external characteristics of the property, attractive garden features or even breathtaking views you enjoy from your property – often difficult to see in the midst of winter. It’s important to take photographs of such features so buyers who view on less summery days can also appreciate their value to the property.
      8. Buyers will also be more attracted to a property that has paintwork and guttering that is clean and in good repair and don’t forget it’s important to have clean windows from an external and internal viewpoint.
      9. When a buyer comes to view, it’s also worth finding out, in advance, if any neighbours plan to host barbecues or garden parties.  It may enhance the sale but equally it could deter a buyer particularly if the noise level is high.  Dependent on the buyers, children and pets may also be a distraction during the viewing and, as a result, it may be wise to ask a friend or relative to look after them during the duration of the viewing.
      10. Internally, of course, summer also provides a great opportunity to bring light in to a property.  Open curtains wide to light up rooms and open windows or patio doors to bring the fresh summer breezes in  – and further enhance the presentation with vases of fresh flowers.

As is often the case, summer creates many happy memories – usually of holidays and family days out, this year, however, with a renewed focus on presentation, many sellers could also create fond memories of a summer they happily packed their bags for a house move rather than a holiday.  

Most Asked Questions from First Time Buyers

July 18, 2013 11:45 by Your Move Chris Stonock

Most Asked First Time Buyer Questions by Your Move

How Much Deposit Do We Need?

The minimum you should look to save as first time buyers would be 5% deposit. The amount of deposit you have, will determine how good an interest rate you get on the mortgage, so the bigger the deposit the better! Find out how much you could borrow

What is Stamp Duty Land Tax and When Do I Pay It?

Stamp Duty Land Tax is a tax on land and property transactions. The amount of stamp duty you'll have to pay depends on the value of the property.  When you buy a property costing over £125,000 the stamp duty is payable within 30 days of the 'effective date', usually the day of completion. It's your responsibility, but if you use a solicitor when buying the property, they'll usually handle the payment of stamp duty on your behalf. 

What Other Fees do I Have to Pay?

Buying a home is a huge financial commitment and it is crucial for consumers to factor in all the additional costs, as well as stamp duty tax there may also be a mortgage arrangement fee, valuation/home survey fee, legal fees and removal costs.

What Is an EPC?

An EPC tells you how energy efficient a building is and its impact on the environment, it will also recommend methods by which you can improve your home's energy efficiency. Properties are rated on a scale of A-G.

My Offer has Been Accepted, What's Next?

You should agree that the property be taken off the market and the Estate Agent will require the details of your mortgage lender and solicitor. Once this is confirmed the 'Notification of Sale' will be sent to all parties to start the buying process.

Why Do I Need a Conveyancer?

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of a property from one person to another. The majority of people choose to use a conveyancing solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to do this and if you are getting a mortgage your lender will insist you have a professional handle the work.

What's the Difference Between a Home Survey and a Valuation?

A valuation will be carried out by your mortgage lender to make sure the property is appropriate for the amount you want to borrow.  A home survey points out things you'd want to know about as the new home owner but what the valuation might not reveal.

What Does It Mean if I am in a Chain?

This occurs when a number of property transactions are dependent on others – the transactions are like links in a chain. The chain can break if one buyer is unable to sell their home and therefore a link breaks.

How Long Will it Take to Go Through?

On average it takes about three months to buy a house once you've found the property you want, however, this can vary depending on other factors involved.


If you are a first time buyer and need more information or advice, please contact your local Your Move branch.

For mortgage advice our initial consultation is free, however we do charge a fee for administering your mortgage application.  The precise amount will depend upon your circumstances however we estimate that it will be £399


by Your Move Chris Stonock




Letting Agents Are Not Even Regulated!

July 11, 2013 13:35 by YOUR MOVE

Did You know, Lettings Agents Are Not Even Regulated by the 1979 Estate Agents Act?

Anyone can set up a lettings agent and deal with large sums of cash and believe it not, unlike sales agents, don’t have to register for Anti Money Laundering.

It’s difficult for consumers to appreciate the myriad of accreditation in what is an unregulated industry. There are more badges in windows than at a Scout camp.  In fact, there are only 6 providers of client money protection insurance (CMP) in the UK. These are ARLA, the Law Society, National Approved Lettings Scheme, RICS, UKALA and NAEA. Unsurprisingly, many people believe that an agent who is a member of the Property Ombudsman Scheme offers protection. They do not. TPOS is a great organisation but it is a redress scheme and cannot do more than impose a fine, which is not much use if the agent concerned has ceased trading.

Why is This Issue So Important?

Even if your tenants deposit is registered in a custodial scheme, you may think you are protected. Was it properly registered on time? There is also rent to consider, payments for maintenance etc. Further, having CMP requires membership of a regulatory body which, by virtue of the common requirements, offers additional benefits. Member agencies will also have Professional Indemnity Insurance, have their clients account independently audited and subscribe to a code of Practice and be members of a redress scheme. Usually, a Principal, Partner of Director will be accountable for the actions of all their staff.

Additionally, an agent which has voluntarily increased their regulatory burden will be an agent who subscribes to set standards of compliance. Tenancy agreements will be current, notices served correctly and staff will have undergone training. If they get it wrong there will be a specific complaints procedure and should they not comply with the same, you can seek redress.

The Government will not impose regulation and instead have challenged industry to find a solution to protect the consumer and raise awareness following a spate of lettings agents going bust and clients losing substantial sums. All too often, I have been asked for advice from Landlords whose agent has closed owing thousands of pounds. They are astounded to discover that regardless of the reason, it is the Landlord who must repay the tenant and further, may be the subject of further penalties if the deposit is not properly registered. In most cases, when asked, the Landlords concede that the reason they chose the rogue agent in question, was because they were cheaper.

Often agents who chose not to nail their colours to the regulatory mast operate without keeping pace with the constant changes to legislation. Continuing Professional Development is at the core of many regulators requirements as is the need to clear terms of business where costs are flagged at the commencement of the relationship.

If an agent is not a member of one these regulatory bodies, a landlord or tenant must ask themselves ‘Why not?’

In most cases it’s because it simply saves money and red tape, but increasing numbers of prosecutions are revealing a more worrying trend. Deprived of bank facilities from overdrafts and loans, increasing costs and pressure on cash-flow with suppliers being less patient for payment, a client’s account has proved too tempting to resist. Incredibly, there are no checks on this money as it not a company asset. Some companies say that they don’t need regulation as they have been trading for years without any problems. RBS said similar.

Simply, Cheap Fees From an Unregulated Agent Is a Gamble

ARLA is at the forefront of the campaign for all agents to be regulated and to raise consumer awareness of the pitfalls which currently exists.  We are proud to be members and support this campaign.


by Eric Walker - RMD of Your Move - South East. With over 25 years’ experience, 16 of which were in London, Eric has worked in all aspects of the business and was previously Group MD of the highly respected Bushells.  A regular contributor at industry forums, Eric was a founder member of the SAFEagent scheme which has received widespread support from many including the Mayor of London, Trading Standards, The Property Ombudsman as well as being highlighted in both Houses of Parliament.


YOUR MOVE is a multi-award winning estate and letting agent with branches across England and Scotland


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