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The Best UK Property Apps Of 2014

Flappy Birds? We still remember Snake on the Nokia 3310!

When I was a ‘young’un’ we were limited to 1-bit graphics, mobile phones that had 2 games maximum, and our ‘apps’ were usually a calculator, notepad and calendar!

Times are changing fast in the world of technology, with tablets and mobiles getting more advanced, smaller, thinner and lighter it is no wonder that it is difficult to keep up with the ever changing marketplace. The apps market is said to be worth a record £10 billion and there are really no signs of it going away.

We all need to adapt and move with the times, or we will be left behind, even when it comes to buying or selling property. More and more people are using the various apps and technology that is available for their property sales and purchases.

Apps can get you access to available property much faster than traditional methods, can keep you organised when it comes to selling, and can even provide you with lists of houses to view that are tailored to what you may like!

That’s not to mention the various mortgage apps that are around to show you the best rates, latest deals and up to date current information.

Below we have listed our top 5 favourite apps in the UK property sector for 2014.

1. Around Me
Available for: iPad, iPhone
Cost: free
When you first move to an area, especially if it is somewhere you aren’t used to, it is always a good idea to familiarise yourself where your nearest hospital is, where you can go for a tasty meal, or where to get your petrol from. With Around Me you can do just that.

2. Mortgage Assistant
Available for: iPhoneCost: free
This nifty free app allows you to view the lastest mortgage deals from across the UK. With up to date latest rates, and calculators to work out various costs it’s a great place to start your mortgage applications. Obviously you will still need to speak to a human at some point, but for intitial costing ideas it’s a great, useful tool.

3. Mobile Phone Coverage App
Available for: Android
Cost: free
There is nothing more annoying than moving into your dream home, only to find that your mobile phone doesn’t work unless you are 100 yards at the top of the garden! With this great little free app you can find out right away how good your signal is going to be. I wonder how much influence it will have on your purchase price?

4.HouzzAvailable for: Android, iPad, iPhone
Cost: free
If you have decided on your dream home, received the keys and ready to go shopping, it’s always an idea to get some idea of what is going to work and what is not furniture wise. With Houzz you can prepare mood boards and add scraps and images to create your perfect environment.

5. Zoopla
Available for: Android, iPad, iPhone
Cost: free
What better place to start your property search than Zoopla, the UK’s smarter property search. With latest listings, rental and sales, as well as property sale history it’s a must have for any investor or home buyer.

We hope you have enjoyed our top 5 apps of 2014, and if you have any suggestions feel free to add them in the comments box below.


Competitor Set To Launch Against Rightmove And Zoopla

UK estate agent’s in their masses have joined forces in rebellion to the ever increasing costs of advertising on Rightmove and Zoopla, with a plan to create a new online platform to advertise their stock.

Over 500 agents have signed up to what is being called Agent’s Mutual, and some of Britain’s biggest agents have declared an interest in the website. The battle for the UK property portal market has always only had 2 players, Rightmove and Zoopla, but with ever increasing costs from the two, it is no wonder estate agents who are already on tight profit margins are standing up against the giants.

Some estate agents have seen rises of 50% in costs for advertising over the past two years, and industry specialists are claiming that now is the time for an uprising.

Together the group have put together £6M in an attempt to create and brand the new service, as well as promote it to the general public.

Douglas & Gordon executive director Ed Mead said: “Agents’ Mutual will be a search engine purely designed for searching for property.

“No ads and the knowledge of thousands of agents to get the very best experience for the consumer.

“Actually using the existing duopoly’s sites is not good, and all of data they use as their own research is ours.”

Zoopla currently operates its own site and powers other domains using property searches, such as national and regional newspapers.

Mr Mead said the new co-operative will benefit from its on-the-ground knowledge.

“We wish to control it, which is not unreasonable, and use it to produce coherent and consistent data,” he said.

Do you think there is room for another property portal in the UK? Do you think £6M is enough to tackle the huge advertising budgets of Rightmove and Zoopla? Leave your comments below!


Sell House Your Soon! Market Is ‘Volatile’ States Halifax?

Latest research from Halifax, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, has shown that house prices are predicted to grow at a rate of £13,500 this year alone, meaning that the average UK property will be valued at £187,000.

With property prices rising by £10,000 on average last year, this year is expected to see property price increase even higher, and like that of 2007, Halifax are expecting a further property boom in the UK.

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However, it’s not all good news from the lender, Halifax also expressed a concern that the market is currently ‘volatile’, and they also found with independent research that 51 per cent of people asked believe that 2004 is the best time to sell a property, as opposed to just 39 per cent believing now is not a good time to sell.

Our belief is that now is a great time to sell your house, and we are paying more cash for property than ever before. Our offers are outweighing all cash buying companies in the market, and whats more, our service is completely free. Find out how much we will pay for your home now for a cash price. Just enter your postcode in our system!

Buyer confidence is back in the market place, and it can be seen with the amount of property that is being sold. The huge concern from most experts is that we are in a property cycle, and most homes are going to be out of reach for first time buyers if the price increase continues. This is especially apparent in the city centers, and in London in particular.


Is NOW The Best Time To Sell Your Property?

We are already 9 days into January, and already industry experts are looking at how much house prices will increase over the month, however, we need to also realise that prices can’t continue to grow and at some point we will start to see a decline.

Some industry leaders are predicting a ‘housing bubble’ created by the governments controversial Help To Buy scheme, which would lead to a market disaster if it came about.

Nationwide have conducted a study to show that house prices have grown almost double the rate they did last year fuelling the argument that a housing bubble is imminent.

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One thing that we often get asked by our customers is whether now is a good time to think about selling their property. Our opinion is that there has never been a better time. If you think about it, because the market is currently at it’s peak, if you sell now you are going to avoid any threat of a bubble and secure a great price for your home.

Selling Your House For Cash Doesn’t A Mean 70% Discount Anymore

When most people hear ‘quick house sale company’ they instantly assume that the company is going to want to take 30-40% of the equity in your property in order to get a quick cash sale. However, this is no longer the case.

In fact, we pay 83-90% of market value every time, and yes that is for cash, and yes, IT IS IN YOUR BANK in 7-10 days time.

If you had your property valued by a genuine cash buying company in the past 6 months and they made you an offer on your home which at the time you though was unacceptable, now could be the time to get a second opinion based on the current economic climate.

Remember, the price of property is currently much higher than 12 months ago, so if you thought about selling for cash then, your offer now could be as much as 20 per cent higher now.

The easiest thing to do is get a free valuation on our website, to see what we would likely pay for your home. You are under no obligation to sell, and our service is completely free every step of the way.


New Year Time To Sell?

We are now in to 2014, and although 2013 ended on a high with all time property prices rising above expections, the outlook expected this year is not as good, with many property expects expecting a ‘housing bubble’ any time soon.

So what is a ‘bubble’ and what does it mean to the average seller? Basically speaking, a when house prices rise too quickly down to ‘speculation’. The media has been extensively covering the housing situation, especially with the governments introduction of Help To Buy.

The worse case scenario is that once all of the hype and speculation dies down, the property prices will also die with it or stagnate.

If you are selling your property it could mean that you will need to take a considerable discount in order to sell your home. Let’s look at an example:-

Mr and Mrs Smiths property in Colchester valued at £150,000 in December 2012 just before we started to see the housing bubble start. By the end of 2013, the value of their property had increased to £190,000 purely down to demand for the area, and a lack of new build homes.

If there was a housing bubble now, the value of their property would probably sit in the region of £100,000 to £125,000 – as the negative media and doom dwellers would take it below the original price in 2012.

If you are selling a property and you are concerned there is going to be a housing bubble, it is essential that you get the best price for your home, and sell quickly before anything does happen. Of course this is all purely speculation, but a number of property experts have predicted it from statistics, so if you were considering selling anyway, now is the time to do so.


Case Study: Mr And Mrs Blackburn

From time to time it is always a good idea to hear from other property sellers on how they have overcame obstacles when selling their property. One of the most common problems faced by sellers today is finding a buyer when they need to sell quickly. Mr and Mrs Blackburn from Swansea had this problem when they were trying to sell their 2 bed semi-detached house. Below we have looked at their situation in full detail so that you can make your own mind up whether this option may be suitable for you if you ever decide to sell your property in the near future and need to sell it fast.

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How we sold our house online using a cash buying company by Mrs Blackburn.

“When it was time to sell our house due to myself and my husband retiring and my husband being unable to climb the stairs, we searched the property market and found a lovely bungalow that suited us perfectly. However, the problem came when we needed to sell our property. The seller of the bungalow was looking for a quick sale, and wanted someone in a position that could move quickly.

We decided to try various methods to get a quick sale, as we really didn’t want to lose our dream property. We advertised in newspapers, reduced our offer with the estate agents, but all we seemed to get was time wasters. Then my husband decided to go on the internet to check out what he could find and if any services could help up get a sale.

I was at first a bit apprehensive, as you hear so many negative stories about cash buying companies, and the media portrays them as money ‘vultures’. This did seem to be the case after a few phone calls to the main companies that were advertising on the internet.

However, we found one company (Better Price Paid) that said they were ‘genuine’ cash buyers. Again, I was dubious but their credentials all checked out, they were registered with the property ombudsmen and they provided an address, land-line number, and had good reviews online.

With some of the other companies asking for fees upfront, and demanding we pay for our own valuation, this company was completely free every step of the way (apparently), so we had nothing to lose.

We got a valuation done, and the valuer turned up 2 days later from our first conversation. The figures came back to us of what the company would pay, and we decided it was right to sell.

We got the cash in the bank in 9 days in total, and it put us in a position of being cash buyers. We even cheekly asked for a discount from our bungalow for being cash buyers – which was accepted.

All I can say to anyone deciding to sell for cash – don’t judge everyone the same. Some companies genuinely are out to help you. Shop around and you will find the right buyer for you.”

If you are interested in hearing more from Mrs Blackburn’s property sale, feel free to email us directly and we will put you in touch with the company she sold her property with.


FAQ: Property Valuations – How They Work And What They Cost.

Sometimes we get asked by our customers about valuations and costs involved. There are 3 different types of valuation, an estate agents valuation, online valuations and a RICS valuation. Estate agent valuations are normally free, and they will come out and make a valuation – usually on the basis that you will sign up with them. The major flaw in this is that agents will tend to overvalue your property in the first instance purely to get you to sign up with them instead of another agency. This doesn’t give an accurate valuation of your property, and you may have to reduce your asking price later on.

Online valuations are really not to be taken literally and are purely for a very rough estimate. They work by taking statistical data from previous sale history in your area. The problem is that the data is generally 6 months to 1 year old.

The other type of valuation is a RICS valuation. RICS stands for Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, who are an independent body that value property for mortgage purposes. This is the only type of valuation you can trust and will give an accurate value of your home. This valuation does however come at a cost of around £500.

Some cash buying companies will make you pay in full or contribute to a RICS valuation if you decide to get an offer from them. However, if you decide to get an offer from Best Prices Paid, we will pay for your valuation. If you aren’t happy with our offer based on that valuation, you are free to walk away without spending a penny. You can get an indicative online offer on our website now to estimate what we think your property may be worth. Remember, it’s free!


Do you need an estate agent?

With the property market booming, and an abundance of buyers available through the ‘Help To Buy’ scheme, we are now questioning whether or not you actually need an estate agent?

Complete this simple quiz now to find out whether or not you could cope without an estate agent and sell your property yourself!  We will be posting the results of this market study on our blog in a few weeks when we have collected enough data.


Quick Sale Companies – Exposed.

We’ve all seen the amount of ‘cash buying companies’ that have started advertising in national newspapers, radio, television and most commonly the internet – but what you may not realise is that the majority of these companies are scam artists, looking to trick you one way or another.

In fact, the OFT (office of fair trading) have recently launched an investigation into the industry to try and get rid of the scams that are currently going on. As a direct result of this investigation 3 companies are under full investigation.

If you have spoken to us, you will know we are sincere and genuine, and we have your best interests at heart. If you want a cash offer from us, it will be just that – an offer. We don’t see the point in giving you an unrealistic price in the first instance, only to drop our offer at the last minute.This being one of the biggest scams that are currently being practiced.

Below we highlight the scams that you need to watch out for.

No funds to buy.The most common scam practiced is that the company doesn’t have funds to buy. They are either investors, or estate agents. They may even ask you to pay money up front. Always ask any ‘cash buying company’ if they can provide you with proof of funds. If they try to fob you off with excuses like they need to see the property first, or they don’t have the funds just yet, it’s likely a sign that they aren’t a cash buyer.

It’s just an estate agent.
This ties in with the above point in that estate agents don’t have funds to buy property, however, a number of companies are advertising that they can ‘buy any house for cash’ but in actual fact don’t have any funds to buy. This in our opinion is completely false advertising and needs to be stopped.

They are illegal.
A number of shady companies and individuals practice shady selling tactics in order to drain as much equity and profit from your house sale as possible. They will try to convince you that it is ok to lie to mortgage companies or surveyors, and they will have no morals. Avoid.

100% market value.
Realistically, no one is ever going to pay 100 per cent market value for a property. Even on the open market, everyone likes to put in a lower offer. For cash sales, it’s really no different. Cash buying companies like ourselves are taking a risk in that we have to wait for your property to sell again. We are also a business, and we need to make a profit and pay our staff. Without making you a genuine and fair offer for your home based on a RICS valuation, we wouldn’t be able to operate.

Just remember if it sounds too good to be true, the likelihood is … it is! If you need a genuine quick sale, and would like the cash in 7 – 10 days, we can help you.