News

Why you should consider broadband speeds when moving to West Sussex

The need for fast broadband has never been more important than it is now, with Covid-19 not only forcing many of us to work from home, but also fuelling many Londoners to leave urban life for a rural one in their quest for more space, privacy and a better quality of life. Villages in and around Petersfield, Midhurst, Chichester and Arundel, as well as the towns themselves, have undoubtedly been one of their sought after locations. However, with infrastructure not quite so up to date in the countryside compared to the city, broadband speeds can seem a little slower in some locations, so it’s good to be prepared before you move.

According to a recent article in Sunday Times Home, fast broadband is now the ‘fourth’ utility, on par with water, gas and electricity in terms of importance to property buyers, with 64% of people saying they would be put off buying a home with slow wifi. Ofcom defines anything at or above 30 Mbps as superfast, whilst speeds above 300 Mbps as ultrafast. West Sussex has varying speeds dependent on various factors, but a report released last year by Ofcom revealed that the average download speed for this pretty county is around 43.2Mbps – just shy of England’s total average speed of 43.6Mbs. This means it’s pretty good. Whilst broadbrandchoices.co.uk – an online company who can show you the best broadband deals from all the top providers - claim that West Sussex can actually optimum download speeds of 362Mbps. Although bear in mind, not everybody will be able to access those sorts of speeds.

I was heavily reliant on fast broadband during lockdown in order to keep in touch with my property buyers, and living in West Lavant, our internet speeds are pretty good. However, it’s not just businesses that the internet is used for. Everybody of all ages rely on it now. Listening to songs on Spotify, using smart devices to turn lights on and off, completing the latest console game online with friends, streaming programmes and films on Netflix, hosting Zoom meetings with clients or even revising for GCSE’s or A-levels online are just a few examples… That’s mobile phones, tablets, computers, Alexas, PlayStation and so on all using the internet in some way. Therefore, it’s of no surprise how quickly these sorts of activities can absorb all of your broadband in a household, cutting speeds down substantially. Luckily, our house is adequately set up, but many of our friends and family aren’t so lucky…

So what are your options if you find your dream house in West Sussex, but find the broadband isn’t so dreamy?

Don’t panic. The good news is that West Sussex County Council announced earlier this year that they have approved a £20million fund to support their new ‘Full Fibre Programme,’ which aims to increase ‘full fibre’ and maximise coverage of gigabit-capable broadband services across the county. The £4 billion national scheme aims to target up to eight million business premises too across the UK, as part of efforts to get the whole country onto full-fibre broadband by 2025. As part of the initial stages of the scheme, areas such as Chichester, Littlehampton and Horsham are amongst the latest areas set to benefit as part of the project.

There are also a few things you can do to improve the situation. Mark Pocock, a home comms expert at broadbandchoices.co.uk, provides further guidance:

Know your speed

The first thing you need to do is test your internet speed with a speed checker. This will tell you how fast your internet connection really is. You can then use it again to test your speed when you’ve made your changes and see if there’s any impact.

Secure your Wi-Fi

Make sure you put a password on your wifi and make sure it isn’t easy to guess to avoid your neighbours taking advantage of your wifi and slowing you down. Your router may already have a password set, most providers will now automatically supply one, but there will be an option to switch it to something easier to remember and share with those you don’t want to access it by going into your router settings.

Move your router

Contrary to what you might think, it is actually possible to Feng Shui a better signal. Whilst odds are we have all lifted our phones over our head in pursuit of better receptions, you are less likely to see people waving their router around. The rules are, it’s better to have it higher up and away from anything that might interfere with the signal – think things like baby monitors and microwaves. Try not to surround it by metal objects, and – bizarrely as it may sound – wifi can reflect, so keep them clear of mirrors and reflective surfaces. Thick walls are also a potential obstacle, with the denseness of the concrete itself, and any steel joists having a potential signal sapping effect.

At Property Acquisitions, we can include broadband analysis in our search reports if clients ask us to. A lot of the estate agents I work with actually have a telecoms team who can provide solutions for homes in broadband cold spots too, so most clients who do come across broadband issues can solve them pretty easily.

Meanwhile, if you’re thinking about buying a brand new home, developers have already clocked onto this concept, especially for their more prestigious properties such as large detached mansions. You will probably find that most of these already have fibre optic cables running directly into the house, and if not, they will be going into a cabinet somewhere on site.

Either way, the West Sussex government website has a pretty handy page here for inputting the postcode of a property to see whether fast broadband is available. Many villages have now improved their broadband speeds.

However, should your dream home’s postcode not give you the answer you’d hoped for, there are many solutions, as explained in this article by Sunday Times Home – so don’t let it put you off your house purchase. Options include Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), 4g Router, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), but if you’re feeling rather flush then you can install a 4g mast! If you have a busy household, Sunday Times also recommend installing a second broadband line into the house, or try plugging your laptop or computer into the router with an Ethernet cable…

If you are looking for a house in West Sussex, and broadband connections are important to you, please do not hesitate to telephone me, Jennie Hancock, on 07776 452128 or email me at jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk. I’d be more than happy to help you with all of your research to help you find your dream home (with a dreamy broadband speed too!).

The Cost of Buying in the South Downs National Park.

For those of us fortunate enough to live within the South Downs National Park, we are reminded every day of the reasons we chose to live here: stunning scenery, beautiful countryside on our doorstep and the comfort of knowing that this precious area is protected by its National Park status. But all this does come at a price premium: the cost of buying in the South Downs National Park is second only to the New Forest in a recent survey of average house prices in the UK’s top national parks, but only by £1,756 which is a much closer price gap than it was 5 years’ ago.

Although the average cost of a home in a UK national park is £267,817, already 16% more than the current average UK house price, you can expect to pay an average of £423,982 for a home in the South Downs National Park; this is a hefty 83% higher than the UK average and is edging closer to the £426k average in the New Forest according to latest Land Registry figures.

Not only are house prices in the South Downs National Park competing with London house price levels but are also significantly higher than the West Sussex county average which this month stands at £391,730. Can you believe that back in 1995 the average home in West Sussex would only set you back £65,002? What a difference 25 years makes!

However, even within the South Downs National Park there are areas where you can pay a lot less than the current average price. Although apartments are few and far between, there are certainly smaller village houses available, which were formerly the homes of local tradespeople and farm workers. In addition, if you head west towards the Hampshire borders and east towards Lewes, you can expect to find houses at more affordable prices. It tends to be in the valley villages around Goodwood and from Chilgrove up towards the Mardens and South Harting where the property prices are pushing up that average price to £424,000. Wherever your search within the South Downs National Park takes you, you can be sure of plenty of competition to live in such a unique environment.

For expert advice on buying homes in the South Downs National Park, please call Jennie Hancock on 01243 531133 or email her at jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk

Cost of Buying in South Downs National Park

Is Chichester now officially a Commuter Town?

Chichester has long been considered an easy transition for many families deciding to make their second home here their permanent residence, lured by the unmatched West Sussex lifestyle where you have a thriving City, coast and country in one very attractive package. This decision to make Chichester a permanent base always came at a slight price if the main breadwinner still had to commute to London on a daily basis – many kept flats in London for just this reason. However, in the new post Covid working environment, Chichester most certainly can now take its place as a viable commuter town.

What has changed for commuters?

Employers and employees alike have learned that working from home does not have to mean we are less productive. In fact, the opposite is often true. Some companies have implemented rotating day shifts so only half the workforce are in the office at any one time allowing social distancing. Many senior executives are only travelling for essential face to face meetings, allowing technology to take the strain instead of the rail network. So, a 90-minute commute which might have seemed too much of a stretch Monday to Friday is now easily doable if just on one or two days a week.

Chichester ‘s commuting credentials

You will find many London commuters arriving at Chichester shortly after 6.30am on a Monday morning looking fairly relaxed about their 90-minute commute into London Victoria having enjoyed a full weekend in a spacious country home. Alternatively, they can drive the relatively short distance to either Havant or Haslemere, where you can pick up the London Waterloo line to arrive in London in under an hour.

Why are people moving to West Sussex?

People discovering the area for the first time are always pleasantly surprised at the cultural appeal of Chichester. When theatres return to normal, the Chichester Festival Theatre is the starting venue for many West End productions (without the West End prices) and local restaurants know they are catering to a very discerning market. Chichester is a vibrant city all year round, not just in holiday season and with excellent schools, ever-improving rural broadband speeds, it is increasingly desirable. For those people moving out of London, where they are used to vertical houses with small and overlooked gardens, the space both indoors and outdoors which their money can buy is extremely appealing.

What will increasing commutes mean for West Sussex?

The increased demand may over time drive prices up, but for now at least, West Sussex is offering exactly what people are looking for (more space and a healthier lifestyle in a beautiful environment) at far better value for money than London or even the Home Counties closer to London like Surrey. One thing is sure, Chichester is now definitely on the commuter belt map and there are many stunning villages around the Chichester District, which are perfect for an occasional commute with all the West Sussex benefits.

Please call me, Jennie, on 01243 531133 if you would like to know which are the best villages in and around Chichester for an occasional commute with all the West Sussex benefits.

Property Acquisitions commuting from Chichester

Our Wonderful Gardens

The magic of gardens

Perhaps we have all been looking at our gardens recently, small or large, and have a vision to make something more of our outside space and bring it to life. The gardens and the grounds in which our homes are set have always been an important part of the overall picture. A focal point can be like a painting in a house and catch your eye whatever the size of plot. Pots can also bring colour and interest to a smaller space while they are easy to care for, and of course the ever favourite veg patch is becoming more desirable.

Potager gardens

Having spent years looking at houses, a potager is a great idea and can be achieved in even a small garden. People often say to me they would like to grow their own food at home but a veg plot would look out of place; the answer is a potager. A potager, derived from the French word for a kitchen garden is a space in the garden in which to grow vegetables, set aside from the more formal planted and lawn garden areas. A potager traditionally included vegetables, herbs and flowers all intermingled and originates from Medieval times when the country houses in France had rather less formal gardens than the grand chateaux.

Preserving older gardens

Be careful in old gardens as they are full of special trees, plants and shrubs and some could be as old as the house, so do ensure that you keep those memories alive from past owners who placed them there so that you can enjoy this special sanctuary as the previous owners would have done. A garden should be idyllic and peaceful, and our ever-changing world makes us appreciate this important part of our home now more than ever.

Will your garden efforts be rewarded in the future if you sell?

Property owners and landlords placing their homes on the market are being told to show off gardens in marketing photos as house-hunters search for outside space as an increasing priority.
Photographs of kitchens or large reception rooms had previously been considered key to attracting the attention of browsers; now the garden is more important than ever and rooms which open out onto gardens, such as conservatories and garden rooms, a prized feature. The big question is will it add value, and I believe it will.

Lockdown has changed the priorities of buyers and renters as their number one concerns are now outside space, working from home and the need to enjoy fresh air on a daily basis. It is not a coincidence that the government allowed garden centres to open before almost any other retail outlet.

Finding homes with gardens

In my work over the past 30 years, I have been privileged to see some of the best gardens which West Sussex has to offer. If you would like help finding a new home with a wonderful garden sanctuary, please call me on 07776 452128 or email me on jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk

“A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.” Enjoy Gardening

Property Acquisitions the magic of gardens

Guide to buying a house in probate

Property search agents are often in the rare position of being alerted to local houses which may be offered for sale once probate is granted. However, high quality houses in probate can generate a sense of urgency among potential buyers who may need a steadying hand to guide them through the purchase of a probate property.

For those looking to buy a house in probate here is a guide from West Sussex property search agent Jennie Hancock on how probate works and the key points to be aware of.

What is probate?

Probate describes the administration of a deceased person’s estate following their death. Broadly speaking, it is the process that ensures the terms of their will are executed as written. If there is no will, a legal process is instigated to decide who benefits from the deceased‘s estate.
Applying for the legal right to deal with someone’s property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’) after their death is called “applying for probate”.

The difference between grant of probate and letters of administration

If the deceased left a will, a ‘grant of probate’ will be issued to the named executors of the will. Whereas if the deceased left no will, this is called “intestacy” and ‘letters of administration’ are received by the persons entitled under the laws of intestacy. The assets of a deceased person frequently include property. It is often the disposal of a probate property that gives the executors of the will the most work.

When is probate required?

Usually probate is required when a property forms part of the deceased’s estate but may not be required if it is jointly owned by a living spouse or partner who would automatically inherit the property.

Can I apply for probate myself?

Individuals can apply for probate themselves if they are an executor or an administrator and are in possession of the original death certificate. Alternatively, they can appoint a solicitor or probate expert to do so on their behalf. There is a probate application form PA1P to complete and there is a government Inheritance tax helpline to help you with the forms.

How long does it take for probate to be granted?

The grant of probate is usually issued within 4 weeks of receipt of the application documents. The entire probate process can take up to 6 months to complete but can be longer depending on the circumstances and complexity of the estate. The Inland Revenue can take as long as five months to process capital gains tax and inheritance tax so plans to dispose of assets should only be put in place once this has been calculated.

Can you clear a property before probate is granted?

It is possible to clear a property of possessions before probate is granted particularly if the property falls well below the inheritance tax threshold of £325,00. However, this is often a contentious issue with families where there is more than one beneficiary and legal advice should always be sought before commencing a house clearance.

Can I buy a house before probate is granted?

In certain circumstances a property may be sold before probate is granted. For example, if a surviving spouse or partner of the deceased is a joint owner and wishes to sell the property it can be sold in the usual way. However, if the deceased is the only name on the title deeds of the property, probate will be required before the property can be sold.
The property may of course be marketed, and a property purchase may proceed even as far as exchange in rare circumstances although the property purchase can only be completed once probate is secured.

Can I put a house on the market before probate is granted?

If a person dies without leaving a will, the executors will be unable to market any property until letters of administration have been issued.
However, some estate agents do not take the time to check the distinction between letters of administration and probate and will be willing to market the property if requested. But a sale will not be allowed to take place until letters of administration have been granted.

In order to avoid any complications arising during the sale, it is usually advisable to obtain probate before making any decisions regarding the marketing and sale of any property included in the estate. However, given the length of time it can take to secure probate it is often a good idea to obtain valuations and begin marketing the property beforehand, to allow the sale to take place quickly after probate has been granted.

How to buy a house in probate

The points above are only a guide to what to be aware of when buying a house in probate. The complex issues of probate require specialist legal knowledge and acute attention to detail. We recommend engaging the services of a specialist solicitor who is experienced in the field of probate and letters of administration.

Jennie Hancock of Property Acquisitions is often in an auspicious position to be alerted to probate property, having spent a lifetime dealing with property in the Chichester area. Jennie deals with local solicitors and agents handling estates on behalf of families as well as chartered accountants, and surveyors. She has an impressive network of valuable contacts with local professionals and agents that keep her well informed prior to houses coming onto the market, or probate being granted.

For Property Acquisitions’ clients it can be a great opportunity to learn about quality or rare homes ‘prior to probate’. A further advantage is that there is more time to consider a property, compared to the usual situation when a special house which may not have changed hands for 30 years is offered on the open market. Being at the front of the queue prior to probate is a huge advantage.

If you have any questions or would like advice on buying a probate property, please do not hesitate to telephone Jennie Hancock at Property Acquisitions on 07776 452128 or email her at jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk

Guide to Buying a House in Probate

Investing in Holiday Homes – What You Should Know

The demand for property rentals in UK holiday hotspots has surged as people are understandably reluctant to travel overseas with current uncertainty about possible renewed restrictions. Estate agents are reporting a high level of enquiries for holiday homes, either for owners’ own use at weekends and during the holidays, or as investments to take advantage of the rise in staycations.

Jennie Hancock of Property Acquisitions, a home search company in Chichester, has good advice for those feeling the lure of a holiday property in West Sussex.

When your perfect holiday home becomes a permanent home.

Many people are tempted to own a holiday home. You can head off anytime, with family and friends, or maybe just have a residential investment. Will your holiday home become your home for the future?

I have been helping buyers for years to find their perfect holiday home. How many times have I found a holiday home for a buyer where the owners fall in love with the property and the village and then decide to move in and settle permanently? The draw to the South Downs and Chichester is something that locals totally understand. This my local area, where I have lived since I was born.

Handy Tips for investing in holiday homes

I thought I would share some handy hints with you for your friends and family, should they be considering moving closer to you.

When buying another property away from their main home, the purchase may become an investment. Often when they sell in the future, the next buyer will be someone like them. Their initial plan may change in years to come, so remember this holiday home may turn into a permanent home.

It is also important to understand how the property and the holiday home market works in the village you are investigating, so consider local activities and interests that lure couples or families to the area.

Try and strike a happy medium between buying for enjoyment and buying for investment. Consider the size of garden if you are not there permanently. There is a tendency to prefer an easy-to-maintain garden, though many will choose to enlist someone local to keep an eye out and look after the property when it is left unattended. A good pub or a village shop is a huge bonus.

Different questions and requirements arise for people at different stages in their lives. Decisions are very individual. When buying a holiday home typically buyers look for properties in quiet, rural locations.

Stamp Duty Holiday boost

There is also excellent news from the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the July 2020 budget announcement: stamp duty when purchasing a second home has been changed. Prior to July, you would have paid £26,000 in Stamp Duty on a £450k ‘additional’ property - as a buy-to-let or second home. With the stamp duty holiday coming into immediate effect, now SDLT is reduced to £13,500 until March 2021, representing a substantial saving.

Happy hunting for your friends and family.

Advice on second homes in West Sussex

Jennie Hancock is a local property expert with 30 years’ experience – and is available for a chat if you would like to call her to discuss plans for investing in a second home in the best West Sussex holiday hotspots. Please call her on 01243 531133 or get in touch via the website at http://www.propertyacquisitions.co.uk/content/contact

Investing in Holiday Homes – What You Should Know

Lifestyle and Property Choices in West Sussex

The recent pandemic and lockdown have allowed many people to pause and re-evaluate their lifestyle and property choices. The place we call home has more than ever become the place we live, work, connect with family and seek sanctuary from the outside world. We can see this re-evaluation in the type of enquiries we are receiving at Property Acquisitions.

Why move to West Sussex

At the start of lockdown there were a huge number of people leaving London to escape to the country; a lucky few to their second homes and many others, who rather than wait to sell up and purchase, decided to rent in West Sussex. After two months in this wonderful rural location in properties with more outside space and cleaner air to breathe, people are reluctant to go back to the fast pace of London. This means there are interesting times and changes ahead for the property market. The discussions taking place between couples and families who have experienced a lifestyle change over the past couple of months are now filtering through to property search enquiries for West Sussex.

Property searches in West Sussex

At Property Acquisitions based in the wonderful Downland village of Lavant, I have experienced an influx of enquiries with many clients longing to move from London to West Sussex. The lockdown period has been interesting as we all thought there would be a complete slowdown with the difficulties surrounding viewings and house transactions, but quite the opposite. We have been busier than ever with new clients registering. These clients are serious buyers who employ the services of Property Search Agents only if they are in a position to proceed.

The appeal of a West Sussex Lifestyle

As increasing numbers of people and business owners have been forced to work from home, they have discovered the flexibility of operating outside London. They have experienced a taste of a more peaceful approach to working life, avoiding the intensity of a daily commuter life fighting to reach a city office. They have discovered they are not only working more efficiently but also achieving that elusive work life balance by being able to spend more time with family. In the beautiful environment of West Sussex where you can choose to live in the country or on the coast, people have reflected on what is important during lockdown and are choosing a slightly less pressurised pace.

Property choices changing for all generations

Over recent weeks this changing mindset has resulted in a rush of serious buyers to the Chichester area with all the neighbouring villages offering so many attractions. I have also seen that the traditional ‘weekendies‘ are re-thinking this too with the dread of returning to the Big Smoke late on Sunday. The sinking ‘back to school feeling’ that many adults continue to have, will now change as they update a weekend retreat to a home in the county and a pad in London for the odd day or two of work meetings.

What is interesting is that this change no longer applies just to those with an established career and children, but spans all generations. Successful university graduates starting their own businesses this year and no longer able to access the ‘bright lights of city life’ are able to access the latest technology and a quality of life that is very different from only a few years ago, especially now it has been ‘tried and tested’ during lockdown.

Having experienced the fast track, young families now need more space and time spent outdoors with children. While the slightly older generation after many years of a regimented lifestyle dictated by work and commuting now want to jump off the ‘hamster wheel‘ and find a peaceful home in the country. They will now do exactly this. I wonder whether all this means our roads will be quieter and our lives healthier and happier? I do hope so.

Take your first step to a West Sussex life with Property Acquisitions

I have been helping people move to West Sussex for over 20 years. If you have experienced a different way of life during lockdown and want to make it more permanent please do call me, Jennie on 01243 531133. I would love to hear from you.

West Sussex lifestyle

Property Moves during Lockdown

Although it appears as though we are seeing an effective close down in the property market until the end of lockdown, there is still some light shining through with clients wanting to make things happen. The property headlines are understandably gloomy and the FT earlier this month described the usual spring selling season as turning into a period of extended winter hibernation. While the majority of people have been forced to put their home moves on hold until after lockdown, there are some unique circumstances where the government advises that transactions may proceed and in particular where properties are empty.

Government advice – adapt and be flexible

A London client who had engaged Property Acquisitions prior to lockdown to find a weekend home in one of the downland villages were prepared to adapt their plans and achieved their objective, albeit in a different way. Their plans were to move out of London in the next six months and buy a dream home in the West Sussex South Downs but they decided to bring that move date forward after craving more space during the lockdown period. With some unusual challenges and hurdles to overcome, we were able to help them achieve just this following government advice that moves could proceed if social distancing is observed and where the property being moved to is empty.

The challenge to find a vacant property

Property Acquisitions were able to identify an untenanted period detached house in the village of Stoughton with a wonderfully secluded south facing garden and which was being offered for rent unfurnished. Representing a great opportunity to see if this South Downs location was right for them in the longer term, they decided to rent. In this case, lockdown would provide the time and space to see if this lifestyle would actually suit their needs.

How to move without removal companies

As removal companies are not operating at the same level during lockdown, Jennie Hancock’s clients adopted the “make do” approach which has characterised the UK’s approach to lockdown. By transporting a few essential items themselves, they had the inspiration to just order online the basics for the home. These were delivered observing social distancing and keys handed over indirectly. All this was achieved within a few days and the sunny Easter weekend was spent in the garden in Stoughton rather than at their busy London address. Our clients were fortunate to be in the position to do this and shows some positivity in a rather difficult and frustrating time.

Property Outlook in West Sussex

The Brexit effect on the property market at the tail end of 2019 now seems a dim and distant memory. Now Covid-19 has changed our lives and we have all adapted. Prior to this we were seeing many property owners anticipating a buoyant spring and summer market with estate agents attending many valuations. This gives an indication that when the restrictions are lifted, many properties will once again enter the market and pent-up demand from inevitably cautious buyers will provide much needed stimulus. Time will tell to see when demand will once again exceed supply.

Planning for property moves post lockdown

There are still properties to be sold and although this year will be very different, the sources remain the same. Property Acquisitions remains in touch with buyers looking for these special opportunities, as we are still the first to hear with our inside track and network of local contacts.

For advice on property purchases post lockdown please call Jennie Hancock on 01243 531133 or 07776 452128

Property Moves during lockdown with Property Acquisitions

How Property Finders help Last Time Buyers to Downsize

There has been much government emphasis on first time buyers in recent years with Help to Buy and the Bank of Mum and Dad helping millennials whose salaries have not kept up with house prices. However, a report earlier this year for the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, “The Last Time Buyer: housing and finance for an ageing society” highlighted the increasing importance of incentives for last time buyers to downsize if the whole property market is to start moving again.

The importance of the last time buyer market

The report looked at ways of enabling older people to release the substantial wealth that is tied up in larger properties to free up housing stock for younger families. Some 65% of the national housing wealth (estimates vary between £2.6 - £4.5 trillion) is thought to be in the hands of homeowners over the age of 55. Not only would downsizing help to ease the lack of housing supply, it would also free up funds to support older people with the cost of care in their later years.

Who are the last time buyers?

Typically couples with children having flown the nest, or people living alone. Reports refer to last time buyers in their 50’s and 60’s, but you could argue it’s even older than this. Many 50-year old property owners are still working with school age or newly graduated children at home. With mortgages now available for octogenarians, the last time buyer is certainly not confined to the 50 – 60-year old demographic.

Help for people downsizing

With an ageing population estimated to reach 17.4 million people reaching retirement age by 2040, how do you encourage this sector of the market to downsize and make way for the next generation of home buyers? Jennie Hancock, a leading independent West Sussex property search agent based in Chichester believes the answer is in working through common fears about downsizing and focusing on the many upsides:

Fears of downsizing:

• Costs (stamp duty, selling fees and removal costs)
• Lack of suitable properties and a lack of space
• Reluctance to dispose of family heirlooms.
• Not ready for the retirement development format
• No space for visiting children with grandchildren
• No tax incentive to do so.
• Hard to move on your own.

Benefits of downsizing

• New mortgages for over 55’s and even for over 80s’ making it easier
• Less maintenance in a smaller property
• Improved accessibility for those with restricted mobility
• More energy efficient, warmer and save on bills.
• Release equity which can be invested to fund care costs later in life
• Find housing in an area which better suits a new “retired but active” lifestyle
• Ability to move closer to where children have settled to start families.

Jennie also agrees that greater choice is needed for the last time buyer in terms of design, practicality, energy efficiency and lower maintenance costs. The call to abolish stamp duty for last time buyers has increasing support and could unlock this sector of the property market with benefits further down the housing ladder.

Property search agents help downsizers

An independent property search agent is best placed to help you make your downsizing move. Not only are they likely to have a list of buyers interested in your property, but they will also have an unrivalled knowledge of the most suitable properties for downsizing in the area. So, a property finder can facilitate both ends of the transaction, helping you sell and find your ideal home for the next stage of your life.

Downsizing in West Sussex

Jennie Hancock of Property Acquisitions, the leading property search agent in West Sussex, has over 30 years’ experience in the local property market. With her previous background as a West Sussex estate agent before taking up the mantle of a search agent, clients she has sold property to in the past are now turning to her to find their perfect downsizing home. Jennie offers an efficient, discreet home buying service for buyers whether downsizing or looking for a larger home. To get in touch please call Jennie on 07776 452128 or email her on jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk.

How property finders help last time buyers downsize

The Secret World of an Independent Property Search Agent

We offer an insight into the secret world where property is bought and sold “off-market” bypassing the traditional estate agent middle-man. It used to be that only the super-rich and famous would employ an independent property search agent but there is a new breed of seller who favours discretion over attracting a huge buying audience and an easy transaction over a protracted process handled from start to finish by a local expert.

Why do people sell off-market?”

Most sellers of premium properties know the value of their home will be in its rarity and no longer see the need to have it mass marketed online so that everyone can speculate on their reasons for selling and have a window into the interior of their home. It is estimated that outside London at least 1 in 5 properties over the £1 million mark are sold off market. This number has doubled in the last 10 years.

At times of market unrest, when certain properties take longer to sell, private vendors are increasingly opting for a more discreet selling model. They understand that if they market through a well-known high street estate agent, half the county will know within days that they are selling and more importantly remember how long the property has remained on the market.

How to uncover the “secret” properties

So how to access these properties? Enter the independent property search agent. They don’t have big shouty websites as they rely almost exclusively on word of mouth recommendations and their local networks include solicitors and often well-established estate agents that may have access to properties which they have sold in the past.

Many buyers think that if they are diligent enough about keeping up to date with all their alerts on the major property portals they will see all there is to see. Not so, says West Sussex independent search agent Jennie Hancock. In most of the home searches she has conducted, the properties exchange hands without ever hitting the property portals.

Discreet rather than secretive

Jennie Hancock is well known locally as West Sussex’s best-connected property search agent, having grown up in the area and worked in property for over 30 years. If you need a West Sussex home search, look no further than Jennie’s website at Property Acquisitions. Amazingly Jennie doesn’t just rely on her little black book, such is her encyclopaedic knowledge of the premium property market in and around Chichester. And she’s been around long enough to have an unrivalled network of contacts in the area, ensuring she is the first to hear when someone is considering selling even before the decision is made. Discretion is a property search agent’s guiding mantra. Just because you have heard a snippet of property gossip at a social get-together or local networking event, it doesn’t mean you have to repeat it, but you can most certainly act on it.

Benefits of using a West Sussex home search agent

The other benefit of using an independent property search agent is the speed with which transactions can take place. Everyone knows the painstaking pace of local searches and conveyancing, but Jennie simply taps into her local network to get the information requested far quicker than the average estate agent. Jennie understands the potential sticking points between buyer and seller and navigates her way smoothly through these with the diplomacy of an experienced overseas attaché.

All this doesn’t mean that the role of the estate agent is redundant, but it certainly pays a buyer to have someone onside who knows all the local estate agent teams well enough to have an honest, if “off the record” discussion about a particular seller’s motivations. And estate agents treat buyers who have engaged an independent property search agent far more seriously because they know there is serious intent to buy rather than just an idle enquiry. This relationship takes years to build and the rapport with agents and solicitors are key.

So, what is the secret of an independent property search agent?

In a crowded confused market where estate agents spend much of their time fighting for ever diminishing instructions, the property search agent works solely for the buyer and discreetly taps into their local network to uncover the hidden gems, the properties which remain secret until the deal is done. For Jennie it’s not a job, it’s a lifelong passion and the networking is part of everyday life rather than a 9-5 activity.

To uncover the hidden West Sussex properties, speak to Chichester’s best kept “secret” independent property search agent, Jennie Hancock on 07776 452128. Or email her at jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk

The Secret World of an Independent Property Search Agent