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 If you are either selling or buying a property in Maidstone, there are a few reasons why it may be taking some time to sell your Maidstone home or find that perfect place to call your new home. It may be taking longer than you thought to find a buyer for your home because of the current state of the property market or finding that perfect Maidstone home may be taking too long because of a lack of properties to buy.

 

So, taking everything into consideration, all of these factors invite an obvious question; how long is too long to persist in the Maidstone property market?

 

If you are looking to sell your Maidstone property, it may have become infuriating when your home has been on the market for longer than you anticipated. Perhaps the property market is purely in a position where it's challenging to get a property sold quickly, or sold at the price you want to achieve for it. If you do live in a Maidstone home that is towards the upper reaches of the price band, you have to be open to the idea that because it's worth so much more than the average property in Maidstone and so more than most individuals can afford, you will have to wait longer to get it sold.

 

Your Maidstone home might be taking longer to sell because your asking price is simply too high. Even if you are prepared to take a realistic offer, if you have an unrealistic asking price your overpriced Maidstone property will undoubtedly turn off potential buyers from even being inclined to book a viewing.

 

Looking at the market in Maidstone compared to a year ago makes very interesting reading…

 

When it comes to the average length of time on the market, semi-detached, terraced and apartments in Maidstone appear to be taking longer to sell, detached homes have remained the same.

 

The overall average length of time a Maidstone property remains on the market has risen by 24.2%, from 66 days a year to 82 days today

 

The question that remains is, if you are having no luck selling should you leave your Maidstone property on the market or not? This is basically down to your personal circumstances - a big decider has to be if you are moving up market or downsizing.

 

Buyers will compare your Maidstone property to all the other homes on the market using the portals such as Rightmove, On the Market and Zoopla and even if your asking price is realistic, if your marketing (brochures, pictures, even video walk through) isn’t top dollar, they will dismiss your property.

 

Remember, the average buyer only views 4.5 properties before they buy and on average, each buyer will only spend just over 25 minutes viewing each home  …

 

The more properties that are on the market, the greater the choice for buyers (yet more competition for house sellers), so we wanted to look at how many homes were for sale in Maidstone now, compared to 12 months ago.

 

As you can see, there are some differences between the property types in Maidstone.

 

 

12 months ago

Now

Percentage Change

  Maidstone
Detached

236

295

25.0%

  Maidstone
Semi

286

346

21.0%

  Maidstone Terraced/Town House

142

174

22.5%

Maidstone
Apartment

195

203

4.1%

Overall Maidstone
Average

859

1018

18.5%

 

As for buying a Maidstone property, searching for that dream house can take time as you have to consider the needs of your spouse, children, schooling, etc., what you can realistically afford and whether your current location can accommodate you until you find that perfect Maidstone home.

 

Don’t forget that upwards of 10% of homes do not make it to the portals (the portals are Rightmove, Zoopla and On the Market), so don’t just rely on the portals to let you know what is coming on the market. The number of times I speak to disappointed buyers who missed out because other buyers registered directly with the agent for property, whilst they relied on the portals.

 

When it comes to buying a Maidstone home, and so you do not make any decisions you will regret later on, taking your time is always the more practical option. The amount of money that is involved in buying a home and all the costs connected with it means that you should not rush into buying or selling without due consideration.

 

 Yes , that number is staggering isn’t it ….

Of the 11,083 households in Maidstone where the head of the household is 65 years or older, an astounding 8,923 (or 80.5%) of those are owned, which is just above the national average of 74.1%, which sounds great – yet nothing could be further from the truth.

I chat with many Maidstone pensioners who would like to move but cannot, as there is a scarcity of such properties for Maidstone mature people to downsize into.  Due to their scarcity and high demand, Maidstone bungalows on average get a 12% to 22% premium per square metre premium over two storey properties.  To add insult to injury, a recent NHBC reported that only 1% of new builds in the Country were single storey bungalows (compared to 7% in the mid 1990’s).

Maidstone OAP’s are sitting on £3,207.9m of equity in these Maidstone homes

In a survey conducted a couple of years ago by YouGov, they established that just over one third of homeowning people aged 65 and over in the Country were looking to downsize into a smaller home. Yet, the Tory’s over the last nine years have appeared to target all their attention on first-time buyers with stratagems such as Starter Homes to safeguard the youngsters of the UK not becoming perpetual members of ‘Generation Rent’.   Equally though, this doesn’t address the long-lasting under-supply of suitable retirement housing essential to the needs of the Maidstone’s hastily ageing population.  Lamentably, the Maidstone’s housing stock is tragically unprepared for this demographic shift to the 'overextended middle age’, and this has created a new 'Generation Confined’ quandary where older people cannot move.

 

Also, those older Maidstone retirees’ who do live in the limited number of Maidstone bungalows are finding it difficult to live on their own, as they are unable to leave their bungalow because of a lack of sheltered housing and ‘affordable’ care home places.

 

Meaning those older Maidstone retirees can't leave their Maidstone bungalows, younger Maidstone retirees in their larger 2 storey family houses can't buy those Maidstone bungalows (occupied by the older retirees) and those Maidstone people in the 30’s and 40’s can't buy those larger 2 storey family houses (occupied by the younger retirees) they need to for their growing families ... it’s like everyone is waiting for everyone because of the bottleneck at the top.

For those wanting to see the complete stats for Maidstone as whole …

 

Maidstone’s (and the rest of the UK’s) property prices have soared over the last 50 years because the number of properties built has not kept up with demand.  With restrictive planning regulations, migration, people living longer and excessive divorce rates (meaning one family becomes two) we need, as a Country, 240,000 properties to be built a year since the Millennium to just stand still.

 

At the turn of the Millennium, the Country was constructing on average 180,000 to 190,000 households a year, that figure dropped in the five years after the Credit Crunch to 135,000 and 145,000 households a year.  Although we built 217,000 last year, we still have all those 19 years to make up for.

 

The answer …. allow more land for starter homes, bungalows and sheltered accommodation because land prices are stifling the property market as the large building firms are more likely to focus on traditional houses and apartments than bungalows (because they make more money from them).

 

My thoughts for the savvy Maidstone property investors  – until the Government change the planning rules and allow more land to be built on – Bungalows, especially ones that need some TLC after someone has passed away bungalows are a great bet for flipping and even potential rental returns for future property investment as more and more OAP’s will be renting in the decades to come?

 

The average costs of evicting rogue tenants in the UK has risen to over £9,000.00 – to include lost rent and legal costs. Rogue tenants are a landlords worst nightmare and apart from the stress and time consumed dealing with them, the financial impact can be crippling.

I am not just talking about the occasional bad apple that doesn’t pay the last two months rent of the tenancy and maybe leaves a mess. I am talking about people who know the letter of the law and every trick in the book to prevent you from getting rid of them, including how to stall court dates for weeks on end and how to delay bailiffs when they finally call.

This is why I recommend a good rent guarantee and legal expenses scheme. We recommend Goodlord who do our referencing. The benefits are :

£100,000 Legal Expenses

 

No Excess to Pay

 

Up to 75% of the monthly rent paid

 

Cover for loss of rent if the tenant defaults

 

This excellent product is priced at £25pcm with a rental value under £1000, £35pcm if over £1000. Like all insurance policies we hope never to claim ! It is a small price to pay for peace of mind when dealing with what may well be your main investment.

The need for more homes has always been one of the biggest issues with regard to the Country’s housing crisis.  One of the main reasons for families wanting to move home is the need for more accommodation as their families grow and so in 2013 and 2015, the planning permission rules were relaxed to try an alleviate this issue.

 

Initially in 2013, Nick Clegg, as Deputy Prime Mister, brought in temporary planning rules to allow larger single storey rear extensions without the requirement of a full planning application.  The temporary rules allowed terraced and semi-detached homes to be extended by just over 19ft, whilst detached houses were able to add even bigger extensions of up to 24ft.  Since those rules were relaxed six years ago, 109,320 people have taken advantage of the temporary rules (aka “permitted development size guidelines”).

 

Homeowners wanting to extend within these permitted development guidelines, must still inform the local authority of the extension beforehand, and local authority officials still need to then notify the neighbours.  If the neighbours object, the local authority could still stop the extension being built, but only if it is likely to damage the character or enjoyment of the neighbourhood.  The planning process exists for a reason and whilst these relaxed planning rules are popular with property owners, it does mean local authorities have little chance to deliberate the impact of these extensions on their locality.  However, 22,779 permitted developments had been refused in the same time frame meaning, 17.2% of permitted development planning applications have been refused since 2013.

Now these temporary rules have been made permanent recently as the Government believe these measures will help households extend their properties without fighting through the time-consuming red tape of obtaining planning permission.  The government believes this is part of a package of planning reforms to build more households, build them better, quicker and make the housing market work, meaning families can grow without being forced to sell and move… or does it?

 

The average size of a property in Maidstone is 942 sq.ft

 

.. internally (1,078 sq.ft  externally), whilst to the national average 929 sq.ft internally (1,081 sq.ft externally).  Interesting when compared to the average size of a new homes built nationally which is 12.1% lower at 818 sq.ft internally (927 sq.ft externally).

 

These relaxed rules are only for single-storey extensions though, when most growing families don’t need an extra downstairs reception room, they need an additional upstairs bedroom.  This means if families do want an extra bedroom upstairs, they will still have to go through the rigmarole of submitting a full planning permission.  Although, many Maidstone people have used these rules in the last 6 years to build a decent size granny-annex – there are other options less explored out there.

 

There was a second (less advertised) temporary change the Government made to planning rules in 2015, that has also been made permanent recently, many may have missed it, yet it has a bigger potential impact on the housing market.  The new rules make permanent the removal of planning rules to allow office blocks and shops to be converted into residential homes without a full planning application being made.  Since 2013, 11,090 office blocks and 1,750 shops have been converted into residential households.  This doesn’t sound a lot, but in 2017 alone, converted shops and office blocks provided 37,000 new households alone in the Country (or 17% of the new household created in 2017).

 

Over the next decade, more and more office blocks and shops will be converted into residential properties … and this will slowly change the dynamic of the housing market and the high street … and I’m not sure whether that will be for the good or bad ... only time will tell?

FIRST TIME SELLER’S GUIDE- it is not just newbie buyers who need a helping hand- Nigel Harvey Seekers Director reveals how to make the most of your next move.

 

  When should I put my house on the market?

 

 Apart from the Christmas period there is no “bad” time to market your home but there are better times! Spring, Summer & Autumn will have your home looking its best. This is more important in the countryside than in the towns. In the town’s buyer demand tends to be consistent throughout the year.

Your home should be attracting viewings-or even be under offer- before you start putting in offers on a property. If you have not had an offer accepted on your home and you are selling on or below £300,000 then you are likely to be ditched in favour of a first- time buyer with no housing baggage.

 

   

How much is my property worth?

 

 The main on- line portals offer free valuations based on sold prices in your neighbourhood. Many estate agents also have a tool on their web site also giving you a suggested price.  Whilst this will put you in the ballpark, they are only an estimate.  By far the best way to value your home is to invite an Estate Agent in, there should be no charge for this service. Be wary of instructing an agent who overvalues your property to get the instruction. Be realistic on price: the longer a home is on the market, the worse it looks for buyers who will start to think something is wrong with the property. Selling a house is time consuming, so choose an agent who will host the viewings, negotiate the price for you to get you the best deal. Avoid firms that charge extras for certain services such as viewings. Many of the on-line agents do charge extras. Traditional high street agents are unlikely to do so.

 

  

How much will it cost?

 

Traditional Estate Agents tend to charge between 1% & 2 % + vat (no sale no fee). To escape your current mortgage, you may have to pay a redemption fee usually somewhere between £50 & £300. Or you may be liable for an early repayment fee, which is a % of your outstanding mortgage debt. One way to avoid such charges is to port your mortgage over to the next property. This does restrict you in shopping around for the best deal. Obtaining a mortgage is more complicated than it used to be. Some lenders will only take around 60 % of overtime or commission into account. You are likely to have to pay stamp duty- check the HMRC website for the current thresholds. There are also legal fees so get quotes from solicitors as they do vary.

 

 

 What should I do to prepare for viewings?

 

Now for the fun part: getting your house ready for visitors. You are preparing your home for viewing but equally importantly for photography. Most agents use professional photography to maximise impact. Decluttering is essential if you want prospective buyers to be able to imagine themselves in the space. So this needs you to be unsentimental and remove ironic holiday souvenirs! A good way to see your home through fresh eyes is to invite your least tactful friend over for tea to tell you what needs to go.

As with most things first and last impressions count. Weed the garden, maybe paint the front door and garden gate . Give your property kerb appeal. One your home is a sight to behold, it is time to assault your buyers senses. Maybe invest in oil diffuser's or candles- or splash out on a designer room display. After the viewing ensure your agent provides feedback on how the viewing went.

 

 

 When should I accept an offer?

 

Negotiations often come down to circumstance: how desperate are you to move quickly? Is your buyer chain-free ?Are house prices boyant or sliding? An agents’ job is to get their client the best possible price. Don’t leave it to chance. Make sure you instruct a good local agent, read on line reviews and tell the agent exactly what you want to get out of the sale. I attach Seekers 25 point plan to get you the best price for your property.

 

 

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