Low Maintenance Garden Ideas: Your Guide to Effortless Gardening

June 19th, 2024

Whether you’re a green-thumbed enthusiast or a self-proclaimed non-gardener, the allure of a stunning garden is undeniable. Outdoor space is also, unsurprisingly, one of the things home buyers want!

A garden brimming with buzzing bees swarming around fragrant lavender, delicate butterflies gracefully resting on buddleia bushes, and the refreshing scent of freshly mown grass can take you on a journey of relaxation, tranquillity and contentment. If you have a property for sale in Birmingham, a beautiful garden could also help sell your home.

But, gardens take work, and low-maintenance garden ideas are always welcome!

A beautifully manicured garden need not be a challenge. To prove this, we’ve put together a series of low-maintenance garden ideas so you can create a year-round, stress-free outdoor haven.

Let’s Unleash Your Creativity

Allow your imagination to soar. Start by creating a mood board, either on Pinterest or using a pinboard, filled with captivating ideas from gardening magazines, social media and nearby outdoor spaces that inspire you. Let your garden become a canvas where you can express your creativity.

Explore Birmingham and look at your neighbour’s gardens for inspiration. Take note of the types of shrubs, flowers, bedding plants, and design elements they have incorporated into their landscapes. You’ll be amazed at how easily you can adapt ideas to suit your taste.

Indulge in the abundance of gardening shows available on television. From floral extravaganzas to cosy patio garden makeovers, these programmes can offer a treasure trove of tips and tricks from seasoned gardening experts. Regardless of your budget, you’ll find valuable insights to help you transform your garden.

Gardeners to the Rescue

If gardening feels overwhelming or time-consuming, consider professional help to bring your dream garden to life. Hiring a gardener or handyman can alleviate the stress of laborious tasks and provide expert guidance on garden landscaping and planting for a large or small garden.

A seasoned gardener will help you navigate the world of horticulture, suggesting the best low-maintenance plants for your climate, soil type, and personal preferences. Their keen eye for design will ensure that your garden layout maximises the available space. Whether occasional help with low-maintenance garden ideas or ongoing assistance setting up raised beds or drought-tolerant plants, having a gardening partner can make your dream a reality.

Perennials – The Time Saver

Time is a precious commodity, but with perennial plants, you can savour the beauty of your garden year after year with minimal effort. Unlike annuals that require replanting each season, perennials are nature’s gift that keeps on giving, and perfect for low maintenance gardens.

Choose various perennial flowers that bloom in different seasons to maintain a vibrant display throughout the year. From stunning daylilies and elegant coneflowers (echinacea) to charming salvia, your garden will become a symphony of colours and textures.

When selecting low-maintenance perennials, consider their hardiness and ability to withstand the climate in your garden. With proper care, these resilient plants will reward you by effortlessly accentuating the beauty of your outdoor space.

Wildflowers – Wildly Easy

Wildflowers are the answer if you yearn for a natural, low-maintenance garden. Delicate yet hardy, wildflowers are masters at adapting to their surroundings, making them a perfect choice for creating a charming garden.

Purchase packets of wildflower seeds and scatter them randomly throughout your garden borders. Then, watch as the wildflowers begin to bloom, filling your garden with an array of colours.

These native blooms require minimal care and attract wildlife, from bees and butterflies to songbirds and hummingbirds, enriching your garden’s ecosystem.

Family Garden Fun

Gardening is a joy that can be shared with the whole family, creating cherished memories and a love of nature and the outdoors in your children, whether gardening with them or watching from your relaxing garden outdoor seating area.

Start with simple activities that engage their imagination and spark their interest. Have them scatter wildflower seeds or plant a small herb garden they can tend to with pride. Teach them the wonder of watching plants grow and the satisfaction of nurturing living things.

As they see the fruits of their labour bloom, their connection to nature will grow, and your garden will become a beautiful family space.

Watch Your Garden Flourish

Creating a beautiful, low maintenance garden in Birmingham is not so daunting for non-gardeners after all! Use our low-maintenance garden tips, and watch your garden become a sanctuary for relaxation, rejuvenation, and connection with the natural world.

What Next?

For more garden and property information, our team at Dean Coleman Estates Limited would love to help. Contact us on 07581 875215 or email us at dean.coleman@exp.uk.com. As expert estate agents in Birmingham, we’re looking forward to helping you.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Creating a Low-Maintenance Garden

Do I need to hire a professional to design a low-maintenance garden?

No, but a gardener can advise on plant selection, layout, and ongoing care. Explore DIY ideas or consult gardening shows for inspiration.

Are there any alternatives to planting flowers for a low-maintenance garden?

Yes! Consider ornamental grasses, which are low-maintenance and provide year-round texture. You can also use gravel and paving stones for low-maintenance pathways.

What are the best plants for a low-maintenance garden?

Perennials are a great choice! They come back year after year and require minimal effort. Wildflowers are another option – they’re easy to grow and attract pollinators.

How can I make my garden a family-friendly space?

Create a seating area where you can relax and supervise children. Involve them in planting activities like scattering wildflower seeds or growing a small herb garden.

Low Maintenance Garden Ideas
6 Budget Planning Tips for First Time Buyers in Birmingham

June 12th, 2024

Working to get your foot on the property ladder in Birmingham is no easy task, but now could be the perfect time to buy your first home.

There’s a lot to consider, like which area to choose and what type of property in Birmingham to buy, but above all else, your budget should be your top consideration. The last thing you want to do is to purchase something beyond your means and end up in a financial crisis. 

If you’ve seriously started considering buying your first property, you should also be considering how you can afford it, so here are the best six budget planning tips for first-time buyers from Dean Coleman Estates Limited. 

6 Tips Any First-Time Buyer Should Know

1. Stop renting

Paying rent every month is almost equal to paying monthly mortgage fees, except you’re not gaining anything! It can be especially difficult to save a deposit for your new home if you’re paying so much rent each month. If you are willing to give up your own space for roughly six to 12 months whilst you save your money, you are then likely to have enough for a deposit. You will be a homeowner much sooner than if you were trying to save money and pay rent. Moving back home with family may sound like a last resort, but you will be able to save a lot more. 

If moving in with family is not an option and you must rent, there are ways to work around this so you can still pocket some money for a deposit. You can always find a cheaper place to live, but bear in mind that this may mean a smaller property. You could also consider opting for a house share rather than renting a property of your own to help lower the cost of your rent, giving you extra money to put away for a deposit. 

2. Put your savings to work

Why have money just sitting in an account when you could be earning money on those savings? If you have a decent interest rate, you can reach your savings goal faster, but picking the right account is dependent on how you’re saving. If you have money to put aside each month and want to set up regular payments, a standard savings account might be your best bet. If you need more flexibility with the amount you put away, for example, if you save in lump sums whenever you can rather than on a fixed schedule, an instant access savings account might be the better option for you. 

3. Research areas and locations

As a first-time buyer, deciding where to buy your first home is just as important as saving for your deposit. If you haven’t picked the area you want to purchase your new home in yet, do some research to find out what you can afford and if the area fits your lifestyle and needs. You can speak to our expert team here at Dean Coleman Estates Limited to help guide your choice, but ultimately you will need to determine which areas fit your budget before anything else. Be sure to check out what the prices are for the type of property you want to buy, as well as council taxes and any other costs that need to be factored in such as travel or parking fees for example. Once you have an idea of what the cost of your property will be, both when purchasing and when actually living there, you can start to properly budget to save for a specific goal.

4. Budget for your monthly mortgage payments

Getting a mortgage means you will be required to pay a monthly amount to your lender to cover the amount you have borrowed, so it’s vital you speak to a lender or financial adviser to ensure affordability. Here at Dean Coleman Estates Limited we will be delighted to assist or recommend a financial services professional – simply ask us for details.

5. Budget for other home-buying costs

There are more costs to consider once you’ve had an offer accepted on your first home, so you should make sure your budgeting plan includes enough to take care of these when you complete on your first property. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re short of cash and are barely making your mortgage payments. These other costs can include:

  • Solicitor fees
  • Survey costs
  • Mortgage arrangement costs
  • Estate agent fees
  • Buildings and contents insurance
  • Furniture and decorating requirements
  • Necessary renovations or maintenance 

You may also be interested to read House Moving Costs: Are There Additional Fees?

6. Take advantage of ‘help’ schemes

Although the government Help to Buy scheme has now ended, there are still other options available to help buyers get onto the property ladder.

Shared Ownership

Shared Ownership is when buyers pay a small deposit to purchase a share of a property with a mortgage. The rest of the property is owned by a local authority or housing association. The buyer pays rent on the share that they don’t own. 

The buyer has the option to increase their ownership stake in the property over time. Then, once they own 100% of the property, they won’t have to pay rent any longer.

Mortgage Guarantee Scheme

The government’s Mortgage Guarantee Scheme was originally scheduled to end on 31 December 2022, but has been extended until June 2025. It was introduced to increase the supply of 95% loan to value (LTV) mortgages and to make them cheaper.

This scheme sees the government guarantee part of the mortgage, so making it less risky for the lender. The guarantee also compensates mortgage lenders for a portion of any net losses suffered if the property is repossessed at any time.

A 5% deposit and a mortgage with a participating lender is required to use the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme. The property being purchased must also be £600,000 or less. 

Current lenders participating in this scheme include Royal Bank of Scotland, Natwest, Barclays, Lloyds and Halifax.

What Next?

Let Us Help You Find Your Dream Home

We hope you find these six first time buyer budgeting tips helpful. For further no-obligation expert advice please contact Dean Coleman Estates Limited on 07581 875215 and we will be delighted to assist you.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Your First Home

Can I use any bank account to save my deposit?

The best account depends on how you save. Regular savers might benefit from a traditional account, while those saving in lump sums might prefer an easy-access option. Talk to your bank about the best fit for you.

Should I get a mortgage pre-approval before looking for a property?

Absolutely! Knowing your budget beforehand allows you to focus on realistic options. A mortgage lender or financial advisor can help with pre-approval and ensure affordability.

What are the benefits of seeking independent financial advice?

An independent advisor can provide unbiased guidance on your overall financial picture, including mortgages, savings plans, and investments.

Has anything replaced the Help to Buy scheme for first-time buyers?

There are other government programs and mortgage products available. It’s wise to explore all options with a mortgage lender to find the best fit for your financial situation.

6 Budget Planning Tips for First Time Buyers in Birmingham
First Time Buyer? 4 Easy Ways To Improve Your Credit Score

June 5th, 2024

When you take out your first mortgage, as with any financial product, you’ll have to go through a credit check to ensure your credit limits are appropriate. It’s normal to feel apprehensive about this process, as let’s face it, few of us have perfect credit.

That’s why it’s worth trying to improve your credit score in the months before you apply for a mortgage. A better score within your credit accounts can mean lower rates and a wider choice of lenders.

With this in mind, here are four ways you can improve your credit score if you’re considering buying a property in Birmingham.

4 Ways to Improve Credit Scores

1. Get a copy of your credit report

There are lots of free and paid for credit report services in the UK, enabling you to access your information. We recommend you go directly to the three main credit reference agencies; Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit).

When running your credit check, your lender or broker will usually use one or a combination of these services.

Once you have your credit report, check it carefully for errors. It’s important to do this well in advance of applying for your mortgage, as it can take a while for changes to take effect. Some things that could be dragging down your credit rating include:

  • Not being on the electoral register
  • Late or missing bill payments
  • Taking out a lot of credit in comparison to income
  • Being financially linked to someone with bad credit, i.e. an ex partner

Whilst you can’t erase a bad credit history, you can draw a line under it and become better with money, as well as correcting any mistakes that are bringing down your score.

2. Borrow responsibly

There’s one thing that can be just as worrying to lenders as a bad credit history, and that’s having no credit history at all.

If you live with your parents and have never had a loan, credit card or car payments, then it’s possible you may have barely any credit history.

This may seem like a good thing to you, but the reasons why lenders might find this troublesome is that they don’t know if you’re any good at handling money! If you’ve never had to balance a budget and pay off a utility bill every month, then how do they know if you can cope with making mortgage payments?

The simplest solution to this is to borrow small amounts and pay them off monthly, before the interest charges kick in. Get a credit card* and use it for your day-to-day expenses, paying it in full each month. This will help you build a credit score. Just be careful not to be tempted to overspend.

*The information above is for your general information and is not intended to address your particular requirements. In particular, the information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by Dean Coleman Estates and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making (or refraining from making) any financial decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision. Any arrangement made between you and any third party is at your sole risk and responsibility.

3. Don’t max out cards – and do pay more than the monthly minimum

When you apply to borrow money, whether it’s a credit card or car finance, you get a credit limit, which is the maximum amount a lender will be willing to lend you.

It’s important to realise that this is a limit, not a goal, so never go over it. Try to pay down any credit cards and loans as much as possible before you apply for a mortgage, as having cards close to their limit instantly lowers your score.

You should also make sure you pay more than the minimum each month on credit cards. If you pay the minimum, you’re just paying off the interest, so your debt never really goes down.

There are online calculators that you can use to work out how long it will take to pay off your cards, so take a look at what a difference an extra payment of £10 or £20 per month can make to your overall balance.

4. Pay on time

If you’re the type who pays their bills whenever they remember, and regularly misses payments by a few days, then get out of bad financial habits now.

Draw up a spreadsheet of your outgoings and which day they are due, and make sure that you pay bills a few days before this to allow the payments time to go through.

If making manual payments is a pain, then consider setting up direct debits that debit your account soon after payday, so there’s no excuse to miss any.

Getting a Good Credit Score can Improve Your Chances of Buying Your Dream Home

Getting a better credit score can help you, as a first time buyer, enter the mortgage market. It shows that you’re responsible with money and gives you a better opportunity to see the best mortgage deals.

Many first time buyers only have a small deposit, so may be looking to borrow 90-95% of a property’s value, and to get these kinds of mortgages, you’ll need a great credit rating and no adverse credit on your file.

Frequently Asked Questions About Improving Your Credit Score

Do I need to pay to check my credit report?

No, there are free credit report services in the UK via a credit reference agency. You can access your report directly from the three main credit reference agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Callcredit.

What can negatively impact my credit score?

Missed payments on bills, having a high credit card account balance, and not being registered to vote can all lower your credit score.

How can I build a credit history if I’ve never borrowed money?

Consider getting a secured credit card*. These require a deposit but function like a regular credit card, helping you build a positive credit history.

Will paying my bills a few days late hurt my credit score?

Yes, consistently missing payments or making late payments from your bank accounts can significantly damage your credit score. Set up automatic payments from a bank account or reminders to avoid missed payments.

What Next?

For further help with buying your first home, please contact us and we will be happy to advise and recommend. If you’re looking to buy a property in Birmingham, or if you’re thinking of selling your property get in touch with Dean Coleman Powered by eXp. I would love to hear from you.

Email dean.coleman@exp.uk.com or call 07581 875215. I’m looking forward to helping you achieve your next move.

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*The information in this article is for your general information and is not intended to address your particular requirements. In particular, the information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by Dean Coleman Estates and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making (or refraining from making) any financial decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision. Any arrangement made between you and any third party is at your sole risk and responsibility.

First Time Buyer? 4 Easy Ways To Improve Your Credit Score
Selling Your Home? Here’s How to Get Your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

May 22nd, 2024

Since 2007, anyone who sells their home in England and Wales needs to get an Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC. An EPC is a rating of energy efficiency, which runs from A at the most efficient, to G, the least efficient. 

This helps homebuyers work out the rough cost of energy if they move into your property, and with many people now concerned about environmental matters, an efficient home can be a selling point.

Here’s how you can get your energy performance certificate and ensure the best possible rating.

What does the EPC tell you?

Not only do energy performance certificates include the current energy efficiency rating from A to G as well as 1-100, but they also show the potential rating the property could achieve if certain improvements were carried out. This is useful for those selling homes as fixer-uppers, as it allows you to show the home’s potential.

Included in the EPC is the environmental CO2 impact rating, which gives you an idea of the amount of CO2 that will be produced when heating and using hot water in the home.

Do I need to get an EPC?

Most residential properties up for sale since 2007 have needed an EPC, and if you’re renting out a property, you’ll need to get one produced every 10 years.

There are a few exceptions that might apply, although most exemptions are for commercial or religious buildings. If it’s a mixed-use building, such as a house that is part of a shop, if it’s less than 50m2 or if it’s used less than four months a year, for example, a holiday home, then you may be exempt.

How is an EPC generated?

EPCs are produced by expert assessors who’ll arrange to visit your property in Birmingham once you’ve decided to sell. The assessor carries out a number of inspections, such as:

Loft insulation

Boiler

Double glazing

Hot water tank

Radiators

Once they’ve noted down some information, this is entered into specialist software which helps them calculate how energy efficient your home is, as well as its environmental impact.

These measurements are easy to carry out, there’s no drilling or noise, and it’s non-invasive, so there is no risk that things will get damaged.

The homeowner is the one who pays for the EPC, but the good news is that it’s not expensive. It’s easy to compare prices online, and you can use any assessor to do the report, as long as they’re certified.

Improving your EPC

Your report will include a number of ways that you can improve your EPC rating. These will be specific to your property, so it’s worth having a read through them and deciding whether to take action before you sell your home in Birmingham.

If your EPC is particularly low, you may find this puts off potential buyers, so you may want to follow some of the suggestions, for example:

Adding more loft insulation: Topping up existing insulation can give you a few extra points.

Adding wall insulation: Draughty walls can make a home feel much colder and can lead to energy wastage as you keep turning up the heat.

Upgrading your boiler: A newer condensing model could add up to 20 points to your EPC rating, especially if your current boiler is very old.

Switching to renewable energy: Solar panels and small wind turbines in rural areas can boost your rating. The solar panels will usually give you the most points.

Sealing chimneys: Whilst open fireplaces are a nice feature, if there’s a draft, then this can lower your EPC rating. Consider adding a log burner instead.

Keep documentation: EPC assessors only carry out a visual assessment of your insulation, so if you have insulation in inaccessible areas, keep documents when it’s installed to show the assessor.

If you’re moving out soon, you may not want to get too many improvements made, as you won’t personally reap the benefits of them.

However, a low rating can put off potential buyers, as they may worry that the house is poorly maintained in general or will be very expensive to heat. It’s better to make changes that will improve your rating the most, such as installing a new boiler.

Looking to Sell Your Home?

When it’s time to sell your home in Birmingham, an EPC is a legal requirement, but luckily, it’s a quick, easy process to get your grade, and is something your estate agent can advise on.

Although it may seem like a pain when you have a million things to do, it’s easy to find an assessor to provide energy reports, and you may find it useful to have some tailored suggestions on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency and improve your existing EPC.

What Next?

For further help with your EPC, please contact us and we will be happy to advise and recommend. If you’re looking to buy a property in Birmingham, or if you’re thinking of selling your property get in touch with Dean Coleman Powered by eXp. I would love to hear from you.

Email dean.coleman@exp.uk.com or call 07581 875215. I’m looking forward to helping you achieve your next move.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Energy Efficiency Requirements

What is an EPC rating?

An EPC rating, or Energy Performance Certificate rating, assesses the energy efficiency of a property on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). It indicates the potential energy costs and environmental impact associated with heating and hot water usage in the home.

Do I need an EPC to sell my home?

Yes, it’s a legal requirement to have an EPC when selling a home in England and Wales. The certificate provides valuable information to potential buyers about the property’s energy efficiency and potential energy bills.

What are the energy efficiency requirements for selling a property?

When selling a property, it must meet a minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES). This standard ensures that homes meet certain energy efficiency levels, contributing to reduced energy costs and environmental impact.

How can I improve my EPC rating?

Improving your energy rating with accredited domestic energy assessors can involve simple measures like installing low-energy light bulbs, adding insulation, upgrading your boiler, or even considering renewable energy sources like solar panels. These improvements not only enhance the property’s energy efficiency but also reduce potential energy bills for future occupants, improving property performance and reducing energy usage.

Selling Your Home? Here's How to Get Your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Ways To Protect Your Home In Birmingham (Plus Statistics All Homeowners Need To Know)

May 8th, 2024

With the lighter evenings here, and as we approach the summer season, where inevitably we open our doors and windows wide to let the fresh air and sunshine in, everyone hopes they won’t become the victim of a burglary. Unfortunately, home break-ins can and do happen. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to protect your home, deter intruders and prevent your home from becoming a target.

You may be wondering what is the best way to protect your home, so the team at Dean Coleman Estates Limited want to share (and answer) some common home security questions.

We also have some statistics to help you understand potential risks. This means you can take steps to ensure greater protection for you, your family, and your property in Birmingham.

Read our Living in Birmingham guide here

Q: When do most burglaries take place?

The majority of home burglaries occur during the daytime

A fact that surprises many homeowners is that burglaries tend to occur during the middle of the day, not at night. There’s a common misconception that burglars only come out during darkness when people are asleep, but this isn’t the case. A significant number of home break-ins take place during the day between 10am and 3pm since most people are at work, leaving their homes empty.

Q: What is the best way to protect your home during the daytime?

Secure your doors and windows: Even if you’re away for just a few minutes.

Install a security system: Home security systems can deter potential burglars and alert you if someone attempts to enter your house. Some systems have remote monitoring capabilities, so you can check on your property from anywhere.

Establish a relationship with your neighbours: Close-knit neighbours can look out for each other. If you’re away from home, they can report any suspicious activity.

Install security cameras: Visible security cameras can deter would-be burglars. Some allow real-time surveillance through your smartphone.

Q: Is it safe to leave a spare key outside my property?

No! Yet over a fifth of people leave spare keys “hidden” outside their home!

A surprising 21% of people still leave spare keys to their home in a “safe place” outside the property. While this may be convenient, it’s also an easy way of inviting criminals into your home.

  • 7% hide their key somewhere in their garden.
  • 6% put their key in their shed or garage.
  • 6% put their key underneath the door mat.
  • 2% of people leave their spare key underneath a plant pot.

None of these ‘hiding’ places are very imaginative – and could prove to be a security risk.

Tip: Consider installing a coded key box to safely leave your key. It’s one of the easy ways to protect your home.

Q: Are burglaries usually planned?

No! Almost half of home burglaries are opportunistic

Many people worry that their home was specifically targeted if they become the victim of a burglary. In fact, almost 50% of break-ins take place opportunistically, with no planning involved at all. For this reason, it’s essential to take precautions to ensure your home’s security.

Privacy is key: Don’t leave valuable items in plain view from the outside. Use curtains or blinds to prevent burglars from window-shopping for laptops, games consoles, phones and electrical goods.

Q: Do burglars avoid breaking into homes that are occupied?

Worryingly, in a third of break-ins, somebody is at home

An especially upsetting statistic is that in almost 30% of cases, somebody is inside the property at the time of the burglary. Criminals today are more fearless than ever, and if they’re determined to break into your home, not even your presence will deter them.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure your doors are locked, and windows are closed if you are in the garden, and to turn on the security alarm before going to bed. Security cameras, alarm systems and RING doorbells are very useful installations if you’re concerned about people lurking outside your property.

Remember, the key to home security is using multiple ways to protect your home. The more deterrents you put in place, the safer your property in Birmingham will be.

What Next?

If you’re looking to buy a property in Birmingham with excellent security measures in place, or if you’re thinking of selling your property and are wondering which security upgrades would make your home more desirable, get in touch with Dean Coleman Powered by eXp. I would love to hear from you. Email dean.coleman@exp.uk.com or call 07581 875215. I’m looking forward to helping you achieve your next move.

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Ways To Protect Your Home In Birmingham (Plus Statistics All Homeowners Need To Know)
Property Matters: What’s Happening In The UK Property Market? May 2024

May 1st, 2024

With the first quarter of the year now behind us, last month brought a positive forecast as some of the uncertainty of the past 12 months is starting to ebb away. Thanks to the latest developments in the economy, the property market is looking brighter for the next few months as we move forward towards summer.

Inflation Set to Impact Mortgage Rates

According to the Office for National Statistics, March saw the Consumer Price Index fall to 3.2%, taking the UK’s economy ever-closer to the target of 2% set by the government. This looks like good news for the property market, thanks to the influence it will have on mortgage rates.

The most up-to-date data from the Bank of England shows that the flurry of initial activity seen at the beginning of the year has now begun to calm. February saw a significant increase in the number of mortgage approvals as mortgage rate cuts prompted market activity. However in March, the number of agreed sales dropped to 2% above 2017-2019’s average, down from February’s 13% above.

Since mortgage rates now are almost back to the same level as seen in late December, it looks unlikely that the pace of activity seen so far this year will be maintained into the summer months.

Possible Action on Leasehold Maintenance Contracts

Homeowners locked in private new-build communal area maintenance contracts have a glimmer of hope on the horizon as over 40 Conservative MPs call for a ban. As the Leasehold Bill slowly works through Parliament, the Housing Secretary is now under pressure to include a “Fleecehold” ban to help the millions of people living under this model and facing steep estate fees.

The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has also recently recommended bringing an end to this model too, putting forward a proposal that local councils be required to adopt new housing estate public amenities once complete. According to the housing minister, the government is now paying careful consideration to this report, which also suggests introducing a property agent regulatory body to address leasehold issues and raise standards across the industry.

With news of homeowners facing shocking increases as high as 274% in their annual service charge bills for 2024, the prospect of the some positive change in the status quo can only be cause for cautious celebration.

Potential Stamp Duty Cut on The Cards?

The Government is allegedly considering lowering stamp duty in the Autumn Statement as part of its bid!

A recent report in The Times suggests that the Treasury is considering moving the stamp duty threshold from £250,000 to £300,000. This would mean that nearly half of all people buying homes would have no stamp duty to pay, saving up to £2,500!

New stamp duty plans were rumoured to appear in the spring budget statement, however, plans were removed due to worries about fuelling inflation.

However, as inflation is now expected to fall, Government officials could now be reconsidering this as a “pre-election giveaway” to drum up support ahead of the general election.

A year is a long time in politics though, so it’s important to understand that current stamp duty will remain in place until March 2025. Current fees mean that home purchases under £250,000 will not be subject to stamp duty, a 5% fee applies to homes from £250,001 to £925,000 5%, 10% for homes up to £1.5m and 12% for homes thereafter. This gives some certainty for homebuyers in the short term. 

As we move further into the second quarter of the year, time will tell how the property market will develop. Traditionally, spring sees more homes being listed for sale, so we will wait with anticipation to see what May has in store!

What Next?

We are delighted to bring you our property market updates each month. If you are thinking of selling your property in Birmingham then get in touch with Dean Coleman Powered by eXp. I would love to hear from you. Email dean.coleman@exp.uk.com or call 07581 875215. I’m looking forward to helping you achieve your next move.

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Property Matters Latest Property Market Update May 2024
House Moving Costs: Are There Additional Fees?

April 18th, 2024

Picture the scene. You’ve worked your socks off, saved as much money as you possibly can, and now you have just enough to put down a deposit for your dream home in Birmingham , based on the property price.

Then suddenly, you realise that moving house costs much more than you first thought.

The upfront costs can be demotivating when they hit you from out of the blue. Especially costs that get overlooked, such as taking time off work if you’re self-employed! But you can avoid this nasty shock by understanding what costs you will have to pay beforehand.

Here, Dean Coleman Estates Limited will provide you with an insight into all the moving costs that you need to be aware of so that you can prepare for your move stress-free.

House Moving Costs

The Legal Costs

First off, the legal stuff.

Aside from the actual cost of the house and the mortgage repayments, one of the first things to do is think about the legal fees, as they can have a significant impact on the cost of moving house.

Conveyancing companies and solicitors are the ones who focus on property. Many have almost instant conveyancing quotes on their website. You will need to key in basic financial figures, and they’ll tell you roughly how much it will cost in legal fees.

They will also look at searches that will be needed, such as local authority searches, existing planning permissions and specific things such as mining reports and building regulations.

Your legal people should also highlight other costs, such as the Land Registry fee, which comes in when the property is registered in your name.

Estate Agent Fees

If you’re selling your house, then your estate agents’ costs will need to be factored in. Fees will vary, and it’s important to remember that the cheapest fee doesn’t necessarily mean the best service! Call us on 07581 875215 to speak with us about our services. Our dedicated team have the experience and passion to guide you through the process of selling your property. 

House Removal Costs

If you’re lugging a lot of furniture from your old house to your new one, chances are that you will need a removal company to help you, even if you already live in the Birmingham area.

The cost of this will vary because removal companies will calculate such things as how many bedrooms, the distance between houses, and whether specialist services are required.

It could be as little as £400 to well over £1,000 if you don’t pack boxes yourself. We advise that you decide precisely what you need and then shop around to get quotes and see what the customer service is like. You can also use our tips for how to pack when moving house! Have a look at online review sites, too, as these could give you a good indication of how good a company is.

At Dean Coleman Estates Limited we are well-respected and experienced house estate agents in Birmingham , and we can also help our customers find the ideal removal company.

And don’t forget about storage costs if there is a gap between moving out of your current home and moving into your new house.

Stamp Duty

If you buy a property or land in England that’s over a certain price (currently properties over £250,000), you have to pay Stamp Duty. How much you pay depends on several factors, but you should expect to pay a certain percentage of the value of the property as below:

Up to £250,000Zero
The next £675,000 (from £250,001 to £925,000)5%
The next £575,000 (from £925,001 to £1.5 million)10%
The remaining amount (above £1.5 million)12%
*Correct at time of publication

For example, if you are moving home and purchasing a £500,000 property, this would mean a Stamp Duty payable of £12,500. There are a number of websites that offer a Stamp Duty Calculator , and the Government website www.gov.uk will tell you what it’s all about. If you need help, we can help you work out how much to ‘set aside’.

Mortgage Costs

Most people will have to obtain a mortgage to buy a house. Rates and payments will vary depending on the lender, but there are a number of typical costs associated with a mortgage.

There will be booking fees and arrangement fees, and because the lender will need to know the value of a property, you’ll need to arrange for an independent valuation, too.

Booking fees can be between £150 and £300, arrangement fees might be around £2,000, and a mortgage valuation fee could be anywhere between £150 and £1,500, depending on the lender and the property. It’s worth noting that low rates might not mean low fees, so be careful to look at the details.

Home Insurance

When you’ve completed, you’ll quickly get the keys. It’s an exciting time, and you’ll have packed everything. The removal van will be ready, and you probably can’t wait to get into your new home.

Something you need to do straight away, though, is the insurance. Once the property is yours, it needs to be insured.

You’ll need building insurance to cover the bricks and mortar and contents insurance, too, as this will cover your belongings and possessions.

The cost of this will vary because no two properties are the same, and each purchase has a different property value, possessions, and other factors. The key is to do your research and get everything in place before the day, and then it should be a case of pressing the button.

Final Thoughts on Estate Agents Fees and Other House Moving Costs

As you can see, even when you get a great deal on your property compared to the average UK house price, there are still many other costs to consider, depending on your circumstances. Use our moving home checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered.

What Next?

If you are thinking of moving home in Birmingham then get in touch with Dean Coleman Powered by eXp. I would love to hear from you. Email dean.coleman@exp.uk.com or call 07581 875215. I’m looking forward to helping you achieve your next move.

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Frequently Asked Questions About House Moving Costs

What factors influence house moving costs?

The distance of the move, the volume of belongings, and additional services like packing contribute to the overall cost.

Are there ways to reduce moving expenses?

Downsizing possessions, scheduling a mid-week move, and obtaining multiple quotes from moving companies can help cut costs.

Do moving companies provide insurance for belongings?

Yes, reputable moving companies typically offer various insurance options to protect belongings during the relocation.

Are there hidden costs associated with moving?

Some potential hidden costs include packing materials, additional fees for bulky items, and charges for delays or changes in the moving schedule. It is also worth checking whether your council tax band will change or if you need to pay ground rent when purchasing a flat.

House Moving Costs Are There Additional Fees?
Property Matters: What’s Happening In The UK Property Market? March 2024

April 3rd, 2024

Now that we’re moving into Spring, the UK property market is looking set for a buoyant year to come. Home movers in Birmingham appear to be more active as we enter the new season, which is a cause for cautious optimism, although pricing homes realistically is still going to be essential for some time to come.

Asking Prices On The Rise

According to figures from Rightmove, the first two months of 2024 have seen typical new seller asking prices rise by £3091, equivalent to 0.9%. That means average prices have gone up year-on-year by 0.1% following the annual falls that have been experienced since summer 2023. This takes the average asking price for a UK property to £363,839.

Yet, while this appears to be a promising indicator or a return to buyer confidence, it is important to keep in mind that price-sensitivity is still strong amongst prospective purchasers. Moneyfactscompare.co.uk reports that currently, it is taking 16 days longer for sellers to secure a buyer when compared with this time in 2023, since buyers are taking extra time to consider all their options carefully.

On the upside, though, plenty of properties were listed on the market over the past few weeks. In fact, the figure is up on last year’s numbers by 7%. Not only that, but buyer enquiries have also increased by 7%, which suggests a boost in market activity is on the way. You can view our latest listings here

Mortgage Rates Falling

Stability is wavering in the mortgage marketplace, with mortgage products’ typical shelf-life having seen a dramatic fall from a high of 28 days at the beginning of last month – the highest number seen since this time last year – to just 15 days at the beginning of March – the lowest figure seen for 6 months.

Furthermore, as lenders are adjusting the deals that they are offering on a regular basis, the average interest rates for five-year and two-year fixed mortgages rose over the last month for the first time in six months, bringing the run of consecutive drops to an end. Currently the typical 2-year fixed rate has gone up to 5.76% from 5.56%, while the typical 5-year fixed rate has gone up to 5.34% from 5.18%. The Bank of England has also announced that the base rate will hold at 5.25% for a fifth consecutive time.

More Mortgage Products On The Table

The good news for borrowers is that fixed rates are still lower in March than they were at the beginning of the year and there is no shortage of good options on offer. In fact, the number of mortgage deals now available is at the highest level seen since early 2008. At the beginning of this month there were no less than 6004 different products to select from. This is up from 5787 a month ago, and 4372 this time last year.

For borrowers looking for a high LTV deal, there are more products to choose from today than at any other time in the last four years. Those who have a deposit of 10% can select from 761 products, while those who can afford a deposit of 5% have a selection of 318 products.

Disappointing Budget Does Not Deter Buyers

Recent studies showed that just over 80% of prospective buyers were holding off on their decision to purchase a property until after the Spring Budget in the hope that some kind of pro-buyer announcement would be made. Sadly, despite rumours of the return of the 99% mortgage, no such policy found its way into the chancellor’s speech.

Nevertheless, despite the discouraging news from number 11, buyers haven’t been deterred from the housing market. 78% of would-be purchasers are still saying that they plan to carry on with their home buying plans, even if Jeremy Hunt didn’t deliver the goods this time. Only 14% are now choosing to delay their decision, while just 8% are cancelling their plans completely following the government’s disappointing news according to propertyreporter.co.uk.

Looking Forward To Spring And Beyond

As Spring gets underway, the market is looking increasingly positive. Metrics for sales, new instructions, and buyer demand are all looking good, and buyers are enjoying a greater range of options, since more properties are being listed. As long as serious sellers present their properties to their best advantage and price them realistically, they should be able to secure a purchaser for their home this Spring.

What Next?

We are delighted to bring you our property market updates each month. If you are thinking of selling your property in Birmingham then get in touch with Dean Coleman Powered by eXp. I would love to hear from you. Email dean.coleman@exp.uk.com or call 07581 875215. I’m looking forward to helping you achieve your next move.

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Property Market Update March 2024
The 10 Most In-Demand Things Home Buyers Want!

March 27th, 2024

Are you selling a property in Birmingham? You’ll know that it can be a daunting task to attract viewers and get offers on your property because how do you know what buyers want when searching for a new home?

To help you, as an estate agent in Birmingham, I’ve come up with a definitive list of the things home buyers want. So, if you’re looking to sell your home in the near future, read on to discover the ten most in-demand features buyers look for in a new home!

The 10 Most In-Demand Things Home Buyers Want

1. Open-Plan Living Spaces

Gone are the days of compartmentalised living. Today’s home buyers are on the hunt for spacious, open-plan designs that allow for flexibility and flow between rooms. The modern homebuyer’s preferences have evolved from enclosed rooms and defined spaces to open layouts.

Whether it’s to accommodate a growing family, entertaining guests, or to encourage a more communal style of living, these versatile spaces are adaptable. Large spaces with natural light allows easy supervision of children, improved sociability and the feeling of spaciousness.

2. A Home Office

With remote working now commonplace, a dedicated home office is a necessity. Buyers prefer a dedicated space that’s well-lit and quiet, offering a productive environment away from the hustle and bustle of family life.

Buyers now consider home office design details including storage options and a door or divider to separate the workspace from the living area, as this promotes better focus and allows for a healthier work-life balance.

3. Outdoor Spaces

You might have noticed a surge in garden renovations and patio makeovers in the past few years. That’s because outdoor space is a premium feature.

Buyers want space for children to play and explore safely, and they also want to be able to eat and entertain outside, using their gardens as an extension of their interiors. Buyers are also seeking low-maintenance gardens with landscaping and smart use of space.

4. Energy Efficiency

The increasing costs of utilities have led to a surge in the popularity of energy-efficient homes among buyers. They are now seeking features that not only help save money but also contribute to a greener and more sustainable living.

Some popular energy-efficient features include double-glazed windows, solar panels, and smart home systems that offer innovative control over energy consumption from a smartphone or other device. Additionally, buyers are looking for efficient insulation, energy-saving appliances, and advanced heating systems, which all contribute to a reduced carbon footprint and lower utility expenses.

5. A Modern Kitchen

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. And what buyers want is a kitchen that’s not just functional but also modern and stylish.

But beyond that, they’re also seeking top-notch appliances which contribute to the kitchen’s overall look and feel. Innovative storage solutions, like pull-out pantry systems, are also high on buyers’ wish lists.

6. En-Suite Master Bedroom

Who wouldn’t want a hotel-like experience right in their bedroom? An en-suite master bedroom offers that extra bit of privacy and luxury that can make all the difference in your daily routine.

Buyers value a spacious master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom equipped with modern fittings, such as a large shower and a high-spec finish. Additionally, ample cupboard space or a walk-in wardrobe is desirable.

7. Location, Location, Location

Whether it’s being in a top-rated school catchment or a stone’s throw away from amenities, location is and will always be important to buyers.

Proximity to local amenities such as supermarkets, restaurants, parks, and healthcare facilities increases a property’s appeal, considering the convenience and lifestyle benefits it offers to potential homeowners.

Additionally, properties in quiet neighbourhoods, those with stunning views, or situated near public transport links are highly sought after.

8. Ample Storage

Let’s face it: we all have too much stuff! Ample storage solutions, such as built-in wardrobes and loft spaces, are high on the list for potential buyers.

In addition, potential homeowners also appreciate other clever storage solutions. These include built-in shelves and pantries that make the best use of available space. A shed or a garage is also appealing.

9. Pet-Friendly Features

With pet ownership at an all-time high, features like a mudroom for your four-legged friend and a securely fenced garden are fetching a premium. A securely fenced garden provides not only safety but also a free space for pets to run around, play, and get their daily exercise.

Additionally, it gives pet owners peace of mind knowing their furry friends can enjoy the outdoors without wandering off.

10. Smart Home Tech

From video doorbells to smart thermostats, technology that simplifies life is a major selling point for today’s home buyers. These advancements provide added comfort, convenience, security, and even energy savings – all wrapped into the modern smart home experience.

Video doorbells, for instance, not only provide convenience with features like contactless deliveries but also enhance home security by allowing homeowners to monitor their front doors remotely via smartphone apps.

Similarly, smart thermostats let residents control temperature settings based on their daily routines and preferences, optimising comfort while increasing energy efficiency.

Wrapping It All Up

When it comes to what are the things home buyers want, these are the top 10 features home buyers in Birmingham are craving! If you’re in the market for a new home, consider this your ultimate checklist. And if you’re considering selling, think about how many of these you can offer!

What Next?

If you are thinking of selling your property in Birmingham then get in touch with Dean Coleman Powered by eXp. I would love to hear from you. Email dean.coleman@exp.uk.com or call 07581 875215. I’m looking forward to helping you achieve your next move.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Prospective Buyers Demands

Are smart heating systems a popular feature among homebuyers?

Absolutely! Smart heating systems are in high demand as they provide residents with convenient temperature control, energy efficiency, and the ability to tailor heating preferences to their daily routines.

How crucial is parking space for property seekers, especially first-time buyers?

Parking space remains a key consideration for first-time buyers in Birmingham, adding both convenience and long-term value to a property, especially in urban areas where parking is often at a premium.

Do double glazing and storage space significantly impact the preferences of potential homeowners?

Absolutely! Double glazing enhances energy efficiency and reduces noise, making it a sought-after feature. Additionally, ample storage space, including built-in wardrobes and clever storage solutions, is highly valued by prospective buyers.

Is additional living space or a renovation project more appealing to first-time buyers?

It depends on individual preferences. Some first-time buyers in Birmingham seek properties with additional living space for immediate use, while others are attracted to a renovation project for the opportunity to customize and add value over time.

The 10 Most In-Demand Things Home Buyers Want!
How To Pack For Moving House In Birmingham

March 20th, 2024

Sealing the deal for your new home in Birmingham is about as exciting as it gets. It’s the chance for a fresh start and the opportunity to put your stamp on a completely new property.

However, before you can pop open the champagne and raise a toast to your new home, you first need to get your head around how to pack for moving house. Make this part of your moving home checklist!

Very few people, if any, enjoy the process of packing, especially the lengthy ordeal of having to pack up everything you and your family own in the whole world into small boxes and plastic bags when moving home.

Unfortunately, though, it has to be done. However, there are ways in which you can make this undertaking a little bit easier, quicker and less stress-inducing.

From using a colour-coded labelling system to picking the right large boxes. Systematically making your way through your home works! Keep reading to discover our top packing tips on how you can effectively pack for moving house and avoid any potential packing disasters.

Start by Decluttering

Everybody has items in their house that they no longer want or need. They may have been hidden in a drawer or under a bed for some time and you may be surprised at just how much unwanted clutter you have squirreled away. These items should be thrown away or donated immediately as you do not want to have to pay a removal company to deliver things to your new property in Birmingham that you don’t even want.

Make sure you are thorough with this process and clear out your entire home, including your loft, basement, garden, garage, and any other exterior spaces, and have a very clearly labelled essentials box to ensure that it doesn’t accidentally make its way to the charity shop!

Scrutinise Your New Floorplan

You may have been provided with a brochure containing a floorplan of your new property when you originally viewed it, complete with the exact dimensions of all of the rooms. This is a handy document to keep as you can then inspect this plan and use it to help you decide which furniture you can comfortably take to your new home, plus you can check measurements for elements such as curtains, blinds and rugs.

The earlier you undertake this task, the sooner you can sell any items that will not fit or are not needed in your new home.

Make an Inventory List

Our next packing tip is to make a detailed inventory list. You should make a comprehensive list of any of your valuable and smaller belongings that you will be taking to your new home.

This is important for ensuring that nothing gets lost while being transported, as well as helping to work out how many and which type of packing boxes you will need. It can also help you identify how much paper or bubble wrap you need for packing fragile items.

Pick a Reputable Removals Company

You can choose to rent a van and carry out your move yourself. However, be warned, this is a tough job, especially if you have a lot of heavy or delicate items to move. Therefore, most people will decide to save themselves from the stress and outsource this job to a local removal company.

As you are entrusting all your worldly possessions to this company, you will want to ensure that you pick a reputable one that has received a lot of positive reviews. If in doubt, ask family and friends for recommendations.

Start Packing

Now, you can actually start packing up your belongings. It is a good idea to purchase high-quality packing materials, including sturdy boxes, bubble wrap and tissue paper, to avoid any breakages. You can also utilise scrunched-up paper to prevent items such as TV and computer screens, mirrors and picture frames from becoming scratched.

You should work your way systematically through your house, starting at the top of the property and completing each room before you move on to the next, as this will help prevent you from forgetting any items.

The most effective labelling system is using colour-coded labels to identify different rooms in your home, such as blue for bathroom items, yellow for kitchen accessories and so on. This will make the unpacking process in your new home a lot simpler.

Other packing tips include:

  • Pack heavy items in smaller boxes
  • Clearly label boxes that contain breakables or valuable items
  • Utilise blankets and pillows for packing delicate items
  • Pack important documents such as passports, marriage and birth certificates in one box together

Prepare an Overnight Bag

You may not want to start unpacking straight away when you arrive at your new home, especially if you have had a long journey. Therefore, you should pack an overnight essentials bag so that you have clean clothes and toiletries on hand without having to start opening securely taped boxes.

In your overnight bag, you may want to include the following:

  • Clean clothes
  • Nightwear
  • Essential toiletries
  • A kettle with coffee/teabags
  • Snacks
  • Plates, cutlery, mugs and a cloth
  • A first-aid kit
  • A torch
  • A small tool kit

It is also a good idea to pack a small bag for the journey that includes any important documents you may need such as the details of your removal company, bottled water and a selection of snacks and in-car mobile phone chargers.

What Next?

Want Expert Moving Advice From a Local Estate Agent in Birmingham?

For expert home moving advice, contact Dean Coleman Estates Limited on 07581 875215 or via email at dean.coleman@exp.uk.com. I look forward to helping you with your next move.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Packing to Move House

How should I pack hanging clothes for moving?

To pack hanging clothes efficiently, leave them on hangers and group several garments together with a plastic bag tied around the bottom. This method keeps them neat and allows for easy unpacking in your new wardrobe.

Is it advisable to use the same box for different room items?

It’s best to pack items from the same room in one box to streamline the unpacking process. Colour-coded labels on boxes can further help identify specific rooms, making the organization in your new home more efficient.

How many cardboard boxes do I need for a typical house move?

The number of boxes required depends on the size of your home, but as a general guide, estimate around 10-20 boxes per room. Keep in mind the need for extra boxes for fragile or small items, and don’t forget to label each box with its contents.

What’s the best way to wrap delicate items when packing?

Use packing paper or bubble wrap to wrap delicate items individually. To add extra protection, consider placing wrapped items in small boxes and filling any gaps with crumpled packing paper or cardboard to prevent movement during transit.

How to pack for moving house in Birmingham