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Top tips for buying a period property in Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough or the surrounding areas.

The last few years have made many of us re-evaluate our situation and what we want in a home, and for some buyers in Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough this means large oak beams, stone fireplaces, unexpected nooks and a fascinating history.  It’s easy to get swept away by the romance of owning a period property and it’s a dream of many. But before you rush in, you need to know understand that, like all properties, it isn’t always a bed of roses, which is why our team at KMJ Property want to give you some guidance.  Here are our top tips for buying a period property in our beautiful town.

 

A period property doesn’t always mean beams and stone fireplaces, art deco homes with their striking angles, and geometric lines, have also made an architectural impact as are a number of post war buildings.

 

  1. Is it listed?

 

Hearing that a property is listed can often make people fearful of taking it on, but it isn’t always as scary as it sounds.  Just because a property is old and has some stunning unique features, doesn’t mean it’s listed, which is why it’s always good to check before you make assumptions.  As you are no doubt aware, there are different categories of listings for period properties; the most common, accounting for 92% of listed properties, is Grade II.

With all listings, you will be able to understand what specifics of the home fall under the listing and what works you are envisioning that you will need to gain consent for. The higher the grade, the more features of the home will be classed as listed and require consent. Those properties given the highest significance, for their ‘special architectural or historic interest’, are Grade I, followed by Grade II*.

 

Just like every home, each listed property is unique in its own way, which is why what’s covered by the listing can vary widely.  If you have specific questions, we would advise checking with the local planning office.

 

  1. Costs

 

When you fall in love with a period home it’s essential to know what you are taking on.  A lot of old houses have higher maintenance costs than those for a new build home, whereas others have significant issues that could be a financial drain if you’re not prepared.  This is why having a survey conducted is a must for anyone considering buying such a property; the type of survey should be determined by the age and condition of the home.

 

Should the property need some major renovation or be listed, a structural survey will highlight any major repairs or issues. Knowing about these in advance will help you make the decision on whether this property is right for you at this time.  Depending on the age of your property and its features, the cost of maintenance and replacement due to wear and tear could be higher – that is, if you wish to keep those features alive – as you may require the skills of an experienced artisan who specialises in a specific historical craft.

 

 

  1. Structural concerns

 

One of the things an appropriate survey will highlight is if there are any structural concerns with the property.  These can be anything from simple fixes to more substantial issues.  From weakening door lintels and joists to roof rafters, rot can be the cause of many a structural problem.  One warning sign is when cracks and bulges appear on the walls inside and out of the house, as well as in the corners of windows and doors.  Just because the property has cracks, doesn’t mean it is a sign of a major issue – check with the owners, as they may have already had the problem assessed by an expert.

One thing many period property devotees love is their imperfections. Just because you a can see a number of blemishes, doesn’t mean the house is filled with disasters; it could just be another quirk that adds to the property’s charm and character, and another reason you want to make it your home.

 

 

  1. Damp

 

If you’ve lived in an older home, you will no doubt have experienced damp. Like structural issues, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have a major problem, so get it checked before you make any assumptions.  It could be something as simple as blocked gutters, especially at this time of year with the beautiful autumn leaves finding their way into many a drain.

 

 

  1. Energy efficiency

 

Not all period homes are held hostage in the dark ages; over the years, people have added modern features such as air source heat pumps and underfloor heating. So even though  it may have a year or two on its newer counterparts, the period home you’re looking at could be quite energy efficient.

 

But as we know, this is not always the case, and some period homes can have a very poor energy efficiency rating.  This means you need to budget for higher energy bills, especially in the colder months, unless you are able to improve the home’s thermal efficiency as part of your plans when it becomes yours.  Remember, if the property is listed, you will need to get any works approved prior to starting.

  1. Knowing its heritage

 

What’s the story of the home?  Every home has a history and, understanding the property’s archaeological heritage is not only fascinating but extremely beneficial.  You will get to know what materials have been used in its construction and if any modern-day techniques could be harmful to its fabric.  One of the best resources you have should your property be listed is your local conservation officer, you can also expand your knowledge by speaking to experts on the era.

 

  1. Let the battle begin

 

The biggest battle you may encounter is not with listings, surveys or experts, but something a little closer to home, your mind.  Buying any home is always a battle between your head and your heart, and we know from our own experience at KMJ Property that this only intensifies when it comes to purchasing a period property.

 

Your heart will be swept away by the unique features,  the property’s charm will have hit you the minute you walked through the door, and its character has stayed with you from the moment you left.  Everything inside you says this is the one, whilst your head is screaming, “don’t ignore the costs and potential issues”.

In many ways, you need your head to be in charge, because any home will have its challenges, but can you financially and emotionally survive this?  We’ve all seen the families on Grand Designs, Restoration Man and the like who have been dragged through the ringer because of things they didn’t anticipate or expect.  Now this is, of course, the worse-case scenario, but it’s something that you need to seriously consider.

 

Keep it alive

 

For many who take on a period property, they see themselves as custodians of our heritage. By preserving their home, they are preserving the past for future generations to enjoy.  A period home can bring you so much joy, but no matter what age of home you decide to buy, our team at KMJ Property can offer a wealth of advice to help you find that dream home you seek.

What a difference a floorplan makes when selling your home in Tunbridge Wells

What a difference a floorplan makes when selling your home in Tunbridge Wells

Oh the days when we could wander around a shop with carefree abandonment. Yet here we are in the Covid era, having to adapt and change from the norm.  The property market is very much open but, as you’ll know, things have changed. Nevertheless, buyers are abundant and eager to view your home any way they can.  From photographs to videos, they soak it all in, trying to visualise every inch of your property. There is one key item they are all keen to digest, and yet not every agent in  feels it necessary. Let us tell you what a difference a floorplan makes when selling your home.

Is it essential?

It always amazes us at KMJ Property that not all agents see the importance of a floorplan. They take the time to take photographs to show the interior of the property, they may even focus in on period features, but what this cannot do is give a buyer the facts.  It’s easy to misjudge the size of a room based on an image – too much or oversized furniture can make a room seem smaller, a shot taken in flattering light and the room looks spacious and empty.  This is where the floorplan takes over, the actual size of the room can’t be distorted by furnishings and camera angles, the facts and size of the rooms are laid bare for all to see.

Room sizes are one benefit of the floorplan, but it isn’t just the space a property provides that appeals to potential buyers, the layout is also important.  Not every buyer will be able to physically view a property, video tours are fantastic and give the best alternative. But when reviewing whether the property is for them, buyers can sometimes get confused about the layout, which is why the floorplan is crucial; it gives them the clarity they need and helps to bring that potential offer even closer.

Does it work?

What we have noticed is how focused buyers are on finding a property that accommodates their lifestyle.  Having spent so many hours in their homes this year, buyers are absolutely clear what they want and need from their next home.  A separate workspace is often on the must-have list, but how far away is this from family spaces? This is obviously essential should there be a need to self-isolate.

Is there an area that brings the family together? A place to cook where a careful eye can watch over children whilst they are doing their homework?  The desire for a wonderful space to entertain, when we can, is at the forefront of people’s minds, we can see the longing to fill homes with loved ones and laughter being a priority when normality returns.

Is there potential?

It can be hard to view your home as anything but perfect, but just as you’ll be wanting to make your mark on your new home, buyers will be wanting to make theirs on yours.  Buyers’ eyes are full of imagination and creativity and they may see opportunities that you never envisaged; the floorplan is key to them envisioning the potential of your property.

Whether buyers have viewed your home physically or virtually, it can be hard to accurately recollect the true size of rooms and where they are positioned.  Working from the floorplan, buyers can start to knock down walls, open up spaces and create new ones.  It is this scope for potential that grabs buyers’ hearts and keeps niggling, and when this happens you know you have them hooked.

Positioning

Just as potential is a consideration for buyers, so is positioning, and where each room is located can be a deciding factor.  There has been an increase in the number of families who are looking for homes that can accommodate an extra family member, whether that be a parent or grown-up child. Can your property provide them with some privacy?  Those with young children may wish to have bedrooms close together rather than on separate floors, and prefer the bathroom to be close by.

What it offers

The floorplan isn’t about what your property offers you, it lays out the facts to enable buyers to begin to explore what it can offer them.

Not having a floorplan hinders buyers’ decision-making, as without the facts they can be relying on assumptions. This is what your floorplan offers them – the facts.  Never underestimate the importance of a floorplan when selling your home.

If you’re curious what your home is worth, contact our team at KMJ Property on 01892 515188

What a difference a floorplan makes when selling your home in Tunbridge Wells

We know that when you decide to put your property on the market the process can feel overwhelming – especially as it can be full of uncertainty. Where do you start?  What do you need to do to your home to make sure it doesn’t linger on the market?  Take this as your quick guide to those simple décor touches that can highlight and hide, and will help to get your home sold.  They will make your house glow and appeal to buyers in the hope that it will be snapped up quickly.

What should you keep and ditch when selling your home?

Keep – Fresh flowers

There is nothing like fresh flowers to make a space feel warm and inviting, it gives the buyer the sense that you care about your home and how it is presented.  Think about adding flowers to key spaces such as your dining table, maybe the kitchen island, the living room. You could even think about artificial or dried flowers, succulents or orchids to supplement your displays – a bunch of lavender on a pillow or in the bedroom is always a lovely touch. But remember, we only want fresh flowers and plants, if they’re beginning to look a little tired, or smell a little aged, ditch them and replace them!

Keep – Mirrors

Any room can benefit from a mirror. They brighten the space and can make it appear larger, which is amazing if you live in a smaller home.  It’s not only hanging mirrors, think about adding some mirrored finishes – perhaps a vase, tiles, or even the odd piece of furniture, as when strategically placed they can easily enhance a room.

It is also worth thinking about replacing works of art with mirrors, as we all have our own tastes and should they not align with a potential buyer’s preferences it could subconsciously turn them off your home.  Use a large wall mirror in a small room, as this adds dimension to the space making it more appealing, and place mirrors near windows so the space can benefit from the reflected light in the room.

Keep – New towels

Ditch – Used towels

Yes, towels. This may seem a strange conversation to have, just like which way the toilet roll should be placed (although the answer is always over, in case you’re curious).  Bathrooms are one of those rooms that can win buyers over; they want to see a haven, a spa-like experience that makes them want to relax and ease their stresses away.  And nothing screams luxury quite like fluffy new towels, which is why we recommend you purchase a couple that can be used for photographs and viewings.

These sacred towels are there for display purposes only – that is, until you move, then you can get the full experience of wrapping yourself in these glorious bundles of softness.

Keep – good lighting

One quick way your home can turn off buyers is to have no light shining in – there is nothing attractive about a dark and moody home.  We would always recommend the rule of three when it comes to lighting your home – by this, we mean having three sources of artificial light per room, such as two table lamps and one floor lamp. Make sure you use clear, incandescent lightbulbs.

In addition, don’t forget to emphasise your home’s natural light – open all your curtains and blinds and cut back any trees that could be stopping light from flooding a room. A light-filled home is welcoming and will sell more quickly.

Keep – Blue

It has been scientifically proven that the colour blue can make people feel more relaxed and calm. That doesn’t mean that you need to grab a paint brush and start adding blue to your walls, as this could see buyers running. You can add blue in a more subtle way, such as adding a blue or teal cushion, a throw or even a planters in your garden.

Ditch – Politics, allegiances

We are all have our opinions, sports teams we support, and groups we may be aligned to. This is great, but not everyone will have the same viewpoint.  You may be lucky and only have viewings from similar minded people, but what is more likely is that someone will view your home and instead of focusing on what your property has to offer, they will take away that you have different opinions.  Where possible, neutralise your home so it can appeal to the widest number of buyers possible.

Ditch – Collections

You may be passionate about vinyl, be Star Wars obsessed or a Lego nut!  But when it comes to preparing your home for sale, find a way to hide your collections or tone them down a lot.  A lot of ‘things’ will not only make your home feel cluttered, making buyers think it lacks storage or is smaller than it actually is, but it will also make it hard for a buyer to envision themselves living there. This is never a good thing when you want to sell.

Ditch – The personal

We all have family photos and portraits displayed in our homes, and they are doing no harm – right?  Actually, they can hinder your sale, as again buyers will only see you in this house and could struggle to picture themselves living there.  It isn’t just photos but also medals, fridge magnets, costumes – anything that reveals too much about your personality or lifestyle. You should make space for buyers to imagine your house as their home by reducing the amount of personal items on show.

Keep – Our number 01892 5151 88

If you’re looking to not just list but sell your home in Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough or the surrounding areas come and speak to an agent who understands that the smallest of details can make the biggest difference.  Our friendly team at KMJ Property are looking forward to your call.

What to KEEP and what to DITCH

What to keep and ditch when selling your home

We know that when you decide to put your property on the market the process can feel overwhelming – especially as it can be full of uncertainty. Where do you start?  What do you need to do to your home to make sure it doesn’t linger on the market?  Take this as your quick guide to those simple décor touches that can highlight and hide, and will help to get your home sold.  They will make your house glow and appeal to buyers in the hope that it will be snapped up quickly.

What should you keep and ditch when selling your home?

Keep – Fresh flowers

There is nothing like fresh flowers to make a space feel warm and inviting, it gives the buyer the sense that you care about your home and how it is presented.  Think about adding flowers to key spaces such as your dining table, maybe the kitchen island, the living room. You could even think about artificial or dried flowers, succulents or orchids to supplement your displays – a bunch of lavender on a pillow or in the bedroom is always a lovely touch.

Keep – Mirrors

Any room can benefit from a mirror. They brighten the space and can make it appear larger, which is amazing if you live in a smaller home.  It’s not only hanging mirrors, think about adding some mirrored finishes – perhaps a vase, tiles, or even the odd piece of furniture, as when strategically placed they can easily enhance a room.

It is also worth thinking about replacing works of art with mirrors, as we all have our own tastes and should they not align with a potential buyer’s preferences it could subconsciously turn them off your home.  Use a large wall mirror in a small room, as this adds dimension to the space making it more appealing, and place mirrors near windows so the space can benefit from the reflected light in the room.

Keep – New towels

Ditch – Used towels

Yes, towels. This may seem a strange conversation to have, just like which way the toilet roll should be placed (although the answer is always over, in case you’re curious).  Bathrooms are one of those rooms that can win buyers over; they want to see a haven, a spa-like experience that makes them want to relax and ease their stresses away.  And nothing screams luxury quite like fluffy new towels, which is why we recommend you purchase a couple that can be used for photographs and viewings.

These sacred towels are there for display purposes only – that is, until you move, then you can get the full experience of wrapping yourself in these glorious bundles of softness.

Keep – good lighting

One quick way your home can turn off buyers is to have no light shining in – there is nothing attractive about a dark and moody home.  We would always recommend the rule of three when it comes to lighting your home – by this, we mean having three sources of artificial light per room, such as two table lamps and one floor lamp. Make sure you use clear, incandescent lightbulbs.

In addition, don’t forget to emphasise your home’s natural light – open all your curtains and blinds and cut back any trees that could be stopping light from flooding a room. A light-filled home is welcoming and will sell more quickly.

Keep – Blue

It has been scientifically proven that the colour blue can make people feel more relaxed and calm. That doesn’t mean that you need to grab a paint brush and start adding blue to your walls, as this could see buyers running. You can add blue in a more subtle way, such as adding a blue or teal cushion, a throw or even a planters in your garden.

Ditch – Politics, allegiances

We all have our opinions, sports teams we support, and groups we may be aligned to. This is great, but not everyone will have the same viewpoint.  You may be lucky and only have viewings from similar minded people, but what is more likely is that someone will view your home and instead of focusing on what your property has to offer, they will take away that you have different opinions.  Where possible, neutralise your home so it can appeal to the widest number of buyers possible.

Ditch – Collections

You may be passionate about vinyl, be Star Wars obsessed or a Lego nut!  But when it comes to preparing your home for sale, find a way to hide your collections or tone them down a lot.  A lot of ‘things’ will not only make your home feel cluttered, making buyers think it lacks storage or is smaller than it actually is, but it will also make it hard for a buyer to envision themselves living there. This is never a good thing when you want to sell.

Ditch – The personal

We all have family photos and portraits displayed in our homes, and they are doing no harm – right?  Actually, they can hinder your sale, as again buyers will only see you in this house and could struggle to picture themselves living there.  It isn’t just photos but also medals, fridge magnets, costumes – anything that reveals too much about your personality or lifestyle. You should make space for buyers to imagine your house as their home.

Keep – Our number 01892 515188

If you’re looking to not just list but sell your home in Tunbridge Wells come and speak to an agent who understands that the smallest of details can make the biggest difference.  Our team at KMJ Property are looking forward to your call.

Why location, location, location is driving sellers across Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough.

Why location, location, location is driving sellers across Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough.

We can all agree that the last couple of years has been an experience. It has seen us separated from those we love, locked into neighbourhoods we don’t love, and opened our eyes to what’s really important.  For many, it has pressed them to make the massive change that is moving house, yet at KMJ Property we have found that there’s been one common denominator when it comes to motivation to move. Yes, some sellers may be looking for more space but what we are told again and again is that location, location, location is more important now than ever before.

The family incentive

Over the years, decades and generations, many things have pulled us apart – a desire to travel, relocating for work, love and lifestyle. As families, we have accepted living miles apart and coming together for celebrations and holidays. Yet the pandemic, as we know, put a halt to all socialising and travel and meant that, instead of weeks, the time between seeing each other in person turned into years.  This has been the driving force for some sellers to make the move to be closer to their loved ones. We have met with children taking the huge step to uproot their lives to settle closer to their parents, and parents doing the same to be close to their children and grandchildren.

This desire for physical closeness is a fierce driver for home moving, and also a very emotional one. These sellers are not moving because their house has become too big or too small, or because they have fallen out of love with their property or neighbourhood. The reality of leaving what they love can make these moves difficult, but, ultimately, they know that at the end of it they will finally be in easy distance of what really matters in their lives – those people they love.

Change in lifestyle

Cities were the hub where all the action happened and, for many professionals, the only place to be should you wish to climb the career ladder. Now there has been a revolution, a change in perspective, a reality check as it were – a realisation that you really can have a work–life balance. With homeworking continuing for many and employers embracing a more flexible working culture, many sellers are leaving the city life to find their calm amidst the chaos.

Lockdown rules encouraged us all to get out and exercise, with many walking more than ever before – according to Tom Platt, of The Ramblers Association, ‘People say they will continue to walk more when the Covid restrictions have ended.’ It is therefore no surprise that we have found that many sellers are seeking a new home close to walking trails.  Whether these sellers are heading for the hills or the beach, they are seeking a lifestyle that is in complete contrast to what they had been living before.

Rediscovering the beauty on our doorsteps

When you are not allowed to travel out of your local neighbourhood, it is amazing how much you discover is available on your doorstep. It’s as though your eyes have been opened to a new world, and the streets you once raced down, you now wander and take in slowly, seeing what each store has to offer and what’s at the end of that path. If you’re house no longer fits, once you have rediscovered the beauty on your doorstop, you may wish a new home but not a new location.

We love meeting sellers who have been reawakened to their little piece of Tunbridge Wells or Crowborough during the last couple of years, and although they feel they are ready to move home for one reason or another, there is one area of their search they will not compromise on, and that is the location.  They have fallen in love with where they live again, and we just love helping them find a buyer who feels exactly the same.

The best position

Understanding why you wish to move is crucial if we are to provide you with the finest service. We can ensure that your location-dictated move becomes a reality and works with the timescale you have in mind. If you’re motivated to sell because of location, location, location, contact the agent in the best position to sell your home, get in touch with our team at KMJ Property on 01892 5151 88

Why now is a great time to sell your home in Tunbridge Wells

Why now is a great time to sell your home in Tunbridge Wells

There are rumblings in the press that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will extend the Stamp Duty holiday deadline until the end of June.  This is fantastic news for all those people who are in the process of completing and have been worried if it will happen in time.  The Stamp Duty holiday certainly fired up the property market last year across the UK, and we saw many people moving as a result.  Regardless of whether these rumblings become reality or not, we still believe that now is a great time to sell your home in Tunbridge Wells

Are there buyers?

Even during a lockdown, the desire to move never fades, and that is proven when you take a look at February’s House Price Index from Rightmove.  The index shows that visits to the property website are up 45% on last year, with those eager house-hunters increasing the number of enquiries by 18%.  At KMJ Property we have really felt this buyer increase; it seems that the prospect of a restriction-free (ish) summer has got people looking to the future, and for many this includes a new home.

What can they buy?

As fantastic as this surge of buyers is, there is a problem: demand is outstripped by supply, there are just not enough houses on the market for them to buy.  This is not an issue limited to Tunbridge Wells; Rightmove figures also show that seller numbers are down by 21% from last year.  In a sellers’ market such as this, it means that any home on the market will receive lots of attention, especially if it is priced correctly and marketed properly.

Where is the supply?

One of the reasons suggested for the lack of available properties is that people have resisted the urge to place their home on the market due to the pressures of home schooling.  If you, like us, are trying to keep your sanity whilst googling ‘how to…’ to help your child with their schoolwork, you are not alone.  Whoever said moving home is one of the most stressful things you can do in life, hasn’t experienced a lockdown with home schooling alongside home working – thank goodness it comes to an end on 8 March.

It is completely understandable that the idea of throwing a move into the mix has been one stress too many for lots of people.  When the little ones are back in school, we believe that the number of homes coming on to the market will start to increase and, as such, start to meet that demand from buyers.  But remember, the more houses there are for sale, the more competition there is to catch potential buyers’ attention.

What do they need?

Today’s buyers know exactly what they want. This last year has given everyone a different perspective on personal needs, and this might now include space to work from home.  Only this week, HSBC have announced that they are letting go of almost half of their global office footprint in favour of a “very different style of working post-Covid”.  They are not the only corporate name to be making this move, and it is believed that the post-Covid working environment will be very different to what it was just over 12 months ago.

This huge change in the global working culture means that now more than ever before, a space to work is essential, whether that’s from home or an office hub.  We have seen over the past year many home offices being built in gardens and in converted garages.  It is therefore worth thinking about presenting an ‘office space’ in your property when you decide to place your home on the market.

A fresh start

There is no doubt that the idea of a post-Covid fresh start is extremely alluring, the idea that when June arrives, you will be able to enjoy your freedom in a wonderful new home.  We know that many of you in Tunbridge Wells have invested in your properties over the last year – the queues at the DIY stores and the difficulty of finding certain shades of paint and materials was testament to this.  All your hard work and creativity may give you some good news when we come to value your property.

Why now?

Why wouldn’t you want to sell your home when there is an abundance of buyers and a lack of properties available?  We can start to do the work now so that when the schools are back and things are a little calmer, we can have your home marketed as quickly as possible.  If you’re thinking of moving, now is a great time to sell your home in Tunbridge Wells.

Give our team a call today on 01892 515188