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  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide One

    Opening doors to your future Residential Sales and Lettings in the Plymouth area

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Two

    Opening doors to your future Locally owned and run Independent Estate Agents

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Three

    Opening doors to your future Sales and Lettings offices centrally located

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Four

    Opening doors to your future Highly motivated friendly staff

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Five

    Opening doors to your future Established in Plymouth since 2003

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Six

    Opening doors to your future Highest levels of customer service

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Seven

    Opening doors to your future Extensive knowledge of Plymouth and surrounding areas

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Eight

    Opening doors to your future Dedicated to making the process as smooth as possible

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide One
    Opening doors to your future
    Residential Sales and Lettings in the Plymouth area
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Two
    Opening doors to your future
    Locally owned and run Independent Estate Agents
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Three
    Opening doors to your future
    Sales and Lettings offices centrally located
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Four
    Opening doors to your future
    Highly motivated friendly staff
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Five
    Opening doors to your future
    Established in Plymouth since 2003
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Six
    Opening doors to your future
    Highest levels of customer service
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Seven
    Opening doors to your future
    Extensive knowledge of Plymouth and surrounding areas
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Eight
    Opening doors to your future
    Dedicated to making the process as smooth as possible

We have been experiencing some truly barmy weather these last few months, rain and hot sunshine all in the same week sometimes. Record breaking temperatures all across the United Kingdom saw packed out beaches with everyone trying to keep their cool, hot sticky nights leading to sales of electric fans and ice cream sales going through the roof, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the housing market.

I thought I would try to write an upbeat piece for this article and keep it positive and say that everything is just fine but the truth is the market has changed from the madness of high prices, gazumping, record levels of viewings and offers from the spring. As I am sat here writing this, I am wondering how to put a positive spin on it, should I sugar-coat it, perhaps soften it as to not start readers worrying if house prices are about to start falling. The honest answer is “No”, I am not going to change the type of person that I am, nor start to mislead people by telling blatant untruths.

We started to see a change in levels of activity around the beginning of June, at first, we thought it might be because summer was here and that potential sellers and buyers were now concentrating on their holidays and outdoor living rather than possibly moving property, but as the weeks went on, we saw that the levels of internet enquiries, viewings and telephone calls were continuing to decline.

Estate agents do not speak in foreign languages (despite common opinion) but we do know the secret codes that are sometimes spoken between each other, so when you have at least four other local agents ask “So how are you finding the market?” you absolutely know that what they are really saying is “are you struggling with the market at the moment?” and we also know that this means that THEY are struggling with the current market conditions.

Now in order to understand why the residential sales market is changing, we need to look at what is happening not only here in the UK but everywhere. Inflation is rising from Sri Lanka to America and all across the world. Interest rates are rising and are set to continue to rise into early next year with current plans as they are. Usually this means that the value of property would normally start to fall to compensate for this, but as there are a lot fewer properties coming to the market at the current time, property values are holding their own.

As we get nearer to Christmas, on the other hand, and everyone starts to spend their money on the festivities, I predict that we will see more and more people heading in to deeper financial difficulties due to the rise in the cost of living and the fact that absolutely everything is going up in price.

This may be starting to sound like doom and gloom but it is simply another adjustment to bring economies in to line and under control.

If the demographic of people, that I suspect, start finding themselves in financial distress, then these will be the first section of society to start selling off their assets including any properties that they own. Depending on what level of distress they are in, will mean that they may be prepared to sell at lower prices than necessary in order to stem their financial insecurities. That is when we will more than likely see property prices start their downward trajectory.

Governments all around the globe are trying to put things in place to ensure that this is not another recession but unless inflation is brought under control and soon, we may well see the UK head in to recession once again. Inflation in the US rose to 9.1% last month, driven by higher prices for gasoline, food and accommodation. That is well above the federal bank’s 2% target – and the fastest rate since 1981. CPIH, which is the measure of inflation published by the Office of National Statistics, including the rising cost of housing, is officially running at 8.2% in the 12 months to June 2022. However, Truflation’s newly launched UK index shows CPIH running at 13.8% in the 12 months to 24 July – nearly two-thirds higher and 6% more in real terms.

In conclusion to this article, all I can say is, if you are currently borrowing finance, you may want to get them locked in at their current rate for a suitable period to avoid the cost of borrowing becoming unaffordable. If you about to take out a mortgage, personally, I would be looking at a fixed rate product. If you are looking to sell a property then now is the right time to consider putting it on the market as tomorrow’s market will not get you the same price as selling today.

Here at Cross Keys Estates, we are currently seeing levels of new instructions to the market remain steady, but we are always looking to keep the status quo, so please give us a call and see if our honest, nonsense, no faff approach is what you need to help you sell your property and ensure you do not find yourself caught up in the situation outlined above.

Anyone that has been trying to find a property to let recently will know that the rental demand in Plymouth remains high. As soon as a property is listed on our website, our Facebook page, or Instagram we are inundated with enquiries. There is a definite shortage in rental properties which in turn has pushed rents up to an all-time high.  

The competition is ferocious with good quality tenants desperate to secure properties, we as agents feel for applicants and understand the frustration of not being able get their foot in the door. The pace from releasing a property to it being Let Agreed is literally days, sometimes hours.  

My advice to tenants looking for properties is to set up alerts on websites, register with letting agents and when applying for properties provide as much information as possible on your current circumstances to include income details. Have your documents ready, generally letting agents will require proof of ID (passports and driving licences). At Cross Keys Estates we like to give everyone a fair chance and encourage them to apply for properties via our on-line portal.  All applications are acknowledged and viewed by landlords; we will then let all applicants know the outcome of their application.

Landlords are also feeling the pace having to ensure that properties are turned around quickly for new tenancies. There are many considerations for landlords to be aware ensuring that properties are compliant with Gas Safety Certificate, Electrical Installation Condition Reports and up to date Energy Performance Certificates. In October the new legislation regarding Carbon Monoxide Detectors will come into force.  At Cross Keys we help our landlords to ensure that these safety checks are carried out and in place. We are encouraging our landlords to install CO2 detectors correctly now.  

Obviously, the question is can this fast moving rental market be sustained.  We don’t see it calming down anytime soon.  Unless there is a mass influx in rental properties coming to the market in the next month or two, the trend of rents going up and properties letting within hours will continue for some months to come.  So buckle up and ride it out!

Hi Folks, here we are, another month and another blog and this time, on a different topic completely, the law!

Buying and selling a property can be confusing to say the least and that is before you even get to the conveyancing part.

On 21 December 2017 the Government announced plans to tackle the growing problem of newly built houses sold as leasehold rather than freehold, and to limit ground rents on new lease agreements. Leasehold reform was included in the Law Commission’s Programme of Law Reform with the aim of finding ways to make buying a freehold or extending a lease “easier, faster, fairer and cheaper.”

In The Queen’s Speech 2022 “The Government will be taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to improve fairness and transparency in the leasehold market. The Law Commission’s work on leasehold reform is now complete and will become law from 31st May 2022.

There are around 4.6 million leasehold homes in England, according to estimates from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Long leaseholders buy the right to live in their homes for the term of the lease. Around 68% of these are flats, while 32% are houses. Most flats in the private sector are leasehold (an estimated 93% of owner-occupied flats and 73% of private-rented flats). Leasehold houses are uncommon across England, at around 8% of the stock. There’s evidence indicating that developers had started to sell new-build houses on long lease agreements as this can represent a lucrative future income stream.

Leaseholders report a range of problems, including: high service charges and a lack of transparency over what they are being charged for; freeholders who block attempts by leaseholders to exercise the Right to Manage; excessive administration charges and charges for applications to extend lease agreements or enfranchise; and a lack of knowledge over their rights and obligations.

From the end of May, estate agents and other property businesses must include length of lease, amount of service charge and ground rent and whether the property is in a shared ownership scheme when marketing properties. This information is absolutely essential to buyers finding out from the start whether a property is worth pursuing or not (e.g., is the lease so short they won’t be able to get a mortgage).

What does this information include? Perhaps most significant is that details of tenure of the property (how you own a property) must be disclosed, this includes the following categories:

  1. leasehold
  2. freehold
  3. commonhold

Currently most reputable estate agents and property professionals are in the midst of obtaining the relevant information required to comply with this new legislation, however it is not an easy task as some of the property owners are not even aware of what their exact lease terms mean to them. There are some developments in our area that are indeed freehold but also have a leasehold element, including the cost of maintaining communal outdoor areas or the cost of electric and maintenance of gates in gated communities etc: –

what will have to be disclosed when selling a leasehold property are the current ground rent and service charge together with their respective review periods, along with the length of the lease and whether it is a shared ownership leasehold property.

The story here at Cross Keys Estates is no different. We are speaking to vendors and their solicitors to obtain this newly legally required information. The best way is to get a physical copy of the lease, that way we can quote the lease details directly. If a copy of the lease is not immediately available, then maybe either talk to the solicitor that is either doing or committed to doing the conveyancing on the property. Unfortunately, we cannot just take the vendors word for this information anymore as it forms an integral part of the Government’s reform for the housing market.

If you would like a personal chat with me to see if now is the right time for you to sell or rent out your property, please feel free to either give me a call 01752 500018 or pop in to our Mannamead office where I or one of my experienced property consultants will be only too happy to see if we can help.

I get asked a lot “What’s going to happen to the housing market?” I guess that a lot of people would expect a property professional to know the answer, however does anyone know exactly what to expect in these turbulent times.

With interest rates predicted to be around 2.5% by the end of the year and inflation currently at 6.2% and rising faster than predicted, the war in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and many of its oligarchs causing huge distress to the Russian people and putting huge pressure on the cost of oil creating a shortage and associated price increases adding to inflation and causing lots of financial issues for us here in the UK.

As I sit here and write this, I am not too concerned about how houses are selling or the figures that they are currently achieving. Here at Cross Keys Estates, we are still seeing properties going under offer in record speeds and with eye-watering offers. Just this week we have put a property on the market, booked 12 viewings in 2 days and now accepted an offer £20,000 above the asking price in under 5 days since first appearing on the property portals.

“WOWZERS” I hear you say but this is not a one off, in fact, this is happening on many of our properties at the moment. The rush for buyers to climb the next step on the property ladder shows no sign of slowing down, in fact the opposite is happening, people are entering into bidding wars for some of these properties. The exact same thing is also going on with rental properties, we are renting out houses even before they are coming to the market and we also have a growing waiting list of prospective tenants looking for a home.

So going back to the first question, “What do I think is going to happen to the housing market?” In short “I don’t know” but I do have an opinion which is what I will explain to you now. There are a lot of people, especially the younger generation, including many first-time buyers, that have only recently managed to get on the housing ladder. If the financial experts are correct then the increases in living costs, inflation and interest rates on mortgages and loans could prove to be too much for many of these people to keep their finances going.

The last time we saw these signs was in 2007 when financial markets collapsed under the strain of adverse lending and the poor decisions from the banks and other financial institutes, it was at this time that property prices fell between 10 % and some areas even up to 50%.

Now I am not saying that this is what is about to happen, however, here in the UK, we are experiencing one of the highest amounts of borrowing than ever before, mortgages and personal loans have been at the lowest levels of a lifetime and a lot of the younger generation have lived a life on borrowing. If the interest rates rise to above 2% then this level of borrowing will become unstainable and there is no evidence that borrowers have any means to pay the back the money borrowed.

I do think that the rising house prices will level off by the end of the year as will the demand for properties. I do not (at this moment in time) think that the values of these properties are likely to decline. With all of this in mind, now is still a fantastic time to sell your home if you are looking to cash in on any equity that may be in your property.

The demand is high, the values are high and the borrowing costs are still very low. Summer is not very far away and the perfect property right now is any three or four bedroomed houses with good size gardens, preferably with off street parking or a garage.

If you have a property that matches or comes close to this description then please get in touch with Plymouth’s number one (#1) estate and letting agent where we can offer you the best service in Plymouth and the surrounding areas for the best value.

Field of Greens – The Green Taverners’ Suite

Proudly Sponsored by Cross Keys Estates

“Football ain’t what it used to be”. Actually, life ain’t what it used to be! The timing of the play, performed in its spiritual home of The Green Taverners’ Bar could not have come at a better time for anyone that had the privilege to be there and witness “Field of Greens” unfold before them.

The story is of the possible liquidation of Plymouth Argyle Football Club back in 2011 and how a band of fans got together from all walks of life to battle, innovate, fundraise and fly the flag for “our” club in the quest for survival. The story has echoes of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, where the people rose up together to make a stand against their oppressors and showed spirit, determination and grit along the way. Their anthem was “Do You Hear the People Sing”, ours was “The Janner Song”.

On entering the Taverners’ suite, it was obvious that this was not going to be a “tin-pot” production and short measures were not on the agenda, most notably in the content of Gary McGuire’s glass. The stage, the lighting, the seating layout made you feel that you were at the Theatre for the night. There was a buzz that grew as the audience grew before reaching capacity, just before the curtains went up.

The opening scene was a sombre affair at a funeral and was our first introduction to the cast of 14, who largely had never “trod the boards” before in their lives and so began an evening of tears, laughter, nostalgia with a little bit of escapism thrown in to-boot. It was rumoured that even Big Kev “had something” in his eye at one point during the performance.

The writing of the story by the insanely talented Rick was delivered brilliantly by the performers, who clearly enjoyed every minute of what they were doing and this came across loud and clear to an encapsulated audience. It was heart-warming to see Glyn “Chippy” Carpenter rising to the challenge of a serious role and doing it so well throughout the performance, as regular fan-festers will know he is renowned for slap-stick capers usually.

I am now deeply suspicious that there is more than meets the eye with regard to Chippy, maybe he has things in his locker that even he didn’t know about? Another mention for a sterling performance has to be Jo Reynolds-Inman who captured Lena’s positive and upbeat personality so very well.

For me, the performance of the evening was from Sarah Ryder who threw herself into the role of playing Sue with great gusto and came across as someone who has been acting for years and years (maybe she has!). The scenes where Rick and Dave performed at the Fanfest were wonderfully nostalgic and kept the momentum of the play going whilst giving the audience a real “feel good” factor.

Many a footballer would have been very proud to have made such a magnificent debut at Home Park such as Rick and Vince Sutton, the Director, did. It is impossible to write about Field of Greens, without paying attention to the way that it was written so cleverly and sensitively by Rick. There has to be real ability to be able to make people cry as well as laugh, sometimes in the same moment.

To us, the audience, it was a few hours out of our day to go and watch and enjoy but to him it must have been hours and hours of going through every human emotion known to get to the finished product. It goes without saying that it would have been impossible for Rick to do the whole thing on his own, as many contributed but without his creative mind, there would have been no Field of Greens, so next time you see him, buy him a pint of Jail and give him a hug!

A huge well done to everyone involved, it was a triumph and suffice to say you are all now locked into Argyle folk-law forever. Green Army!

Here we are again folks, thank you for continuing to read my blogs. In this one, I would like to try to educate some of my readers as to what some agents say or claim on their media to make you think that they are the top in their class.

I will not name any companies or websites but I think you will recognise enough of them from what I reveal.​

My first myth buster is the online comparison platforms that claim to have the best estate agent in your area. If you put in your postcode, they will show you which agents are at the top of their game and therefore the best ones in your area should you be looking to sell your property. There are a few of these online platforms and they all work in the same way. The estate agent has to pay (quite a lot) money to go on these platforms. ONLY agents that pay end up being represented on these platforms, not all the agents in your area. If an agent decides that he doesn’t want the added expense of going on one of these platforms in order to keep their cost down for you as a client, they are not represented. How can the online platforms possibly claim then that they have the best estate agent in your area for you if there are a lot of agents that will not pay to go on them?

Next myth to be busted is very similar to the first. There are a few online companies that also say that they have personally checked the estate agents in your area and can now let you know which ones won awards for best service etc; some agents then claim that “they have been independently selected as the best estate agent in their area”, again, where is the evidence to back this up? Who were they judged against? Who were they judged by? How much did they pay to join that scheme? Was this a level playing field with ALL the other agents in their area included? If not, why are they allowed to claim to be the best? Maybe they should rephrase it to say ”We are the best of a small selection of estate agents in this area” but of course this doesn’t quite sell them in the best possible light but at least it would be more honest.

Another myth, those “Easy Move” “Smooth Move” “Assisted Move” schemes that say that they make your moving experience much easier and smoother than if you tried to do it all yourself the traditional way. This simply is not the case. The scheme companies again only use the local estate agents in your area that are prepared to pay them part of their potential fee for selling your house. Again, this does not mean that you will be given the best estate agent in your area just that an agent that is happy to give away 25% or more of their fee to the scheme organisers. Does this mean you get the best agent at the best value for you? I think may be not !! My advice is that if you are looking at buying a new build house, you are in a much stronger position to have sold your property privately first or at least be under offer to a buyer. If you are in this situation you are classed as a proceedable buyer and you will be in a much stronger position to negotiate a more favourable purchase price instead of being held hostage by what is essentially “Part Exchange” companies. Trust me when I say that if you use one of these schemes there are many strings attached that you may not see at first glance.

I recently had a case where a really lovely lady (who is now a good friend of mine) was looking to move, she decided to downsize and went for a new build property. As she was dealing with the developer (and an assisted move company), she was pressurised to use one of the agents that was paying away a proportion of their fee to the scheme operator. After a sale was agreed, below my valuation, the process began. Half way through, the buyer decided to reduce their offer by a substantial amount. This lady felt pulled in all different directions by the scheme operator whose only interest was getting paid by the developer, until in the end, she decided to use her life savings to buy the property outright without using her previous home in the deal, (this is very rare that people have enough funds to do this), thus breaking the chain. I was eventually instructed about three months after this fiasco started and sold her semi-detached property for £60,000 more than she would have got if she had carried on with the assisted house buying scheme.

I will end this blog by saying this, please check that if your agent claims to be the best, ask them if they have had to pay for this privilege? If you are using an assisted move scheme, is your agent paying to be on the list of agents that you have to choose from?​

Remember, GOOD estate agents should never need to buy/pay for an accolade, www.allagents.co.uk is a website that genuine customers leave their honest opinion on agents in your area. Trust others that have been in your position before you believe the HYPE.

Happy New Year to you all, I hope that you all had a good one. January has started with a bang as did the year before, but I think this one is rainier than last. I am looking forward to spring with longer days, drier days and hopefully sunnier ones too.

Spring always makes everything seem better, gives you time in the garden, makes you rethink what it is that you want to do for the rest of the year and opens new possibilities. One of those possibilities might be to move to a new house or it might be to do a makeover on your current property or the garden. Whatever it is that you decide to do, spring is normally the time to get started.

I have decided to start this year by trying to lose some weight. Yes, I know it is a cliché, but nevertheless it helps to have goals and mine is to lose weight ready for my impending wedding. Now there are plenty of ways to do this, weight watchers, calorie counting, this diet, that diet and every other diet that you can possibly imagine in-between them. No matter how you look at it, the only way to lose weight is the good old-fashioned way, eat less and move more, as the old phrase goes, 80% kitchen 20% gym.

Now you may be thinking what is he going on about? But stay with me on this, if hundreds of different people tell you that their way to lose weight is the best way and you try them all but still find no success then where are you but back at the beginning, frustrated and unhappy that you have been duped by something that you probably already knew to be too good to be true.

Now let’s equate this metaphor to you and your choice of estate agent. At this moment, there seems to be several high street agents out there that are intent on trying to convince you of many and various other things. Some have fancy strap lines claiming to be the best or even better than best, some are clinging to new ideas like riding on the green band wagon, some have fancy coffee bars or champagne receptions (who doesn’t like champagne) and some agents like to copy the things that made other agents successful and claim that they are the original (even though we all know that they are not).

Wouldn’t it just be simpler to stick with tried and tested methods by the best agent for your needs? Cross Keys Estates are the number 1 award winning “Best Estate Agent” in Plymouth for the fourth year on the trot, that means we were number one in Plymouth for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

I think the reason Cross Keys Estates are so successful is down to the fact that we always stick to the basics and do them at 100%. Customer service has always been at the heart of what we do, no fancy gimmicks, no over valuing, no champagne receptions or coffee stations just keep it simple, honest valuing, fair fees, great customer service, a team of dedicated reliable staff that actually care about doing a good job for you which makes Cross Keys Estates the name you can trust.

I hope that this blog doesn’t come across as indulgent or bragging too much but sometimes it isn’t enough to just tell people that you are the best, sometimes you must shout about and make sure that the message gets through. Please, even if nothing else, remember this, if it seems too good to be true then maybe you ARE being duped!!!

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Properties of the Week

Cross Keys Estate Agents Sales Property of the Week 1

Sales Property 1

Warleigh Avenue, Keyham

£165,000 Guide Price

2 3 1

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Cross Keys Estate Agents Sales Property of the Week 2

Sales Property 2

Churchway, Weston Mill

£240,000 Guide Price

2 3 1

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Cross Keys Estate Agents Lettings Property of the Week

Lettings Property

Gascoyne Place, City Centre

£625 pcm

1 1 1

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Key Notes Blog

The weather may be hot, but the market is definitely cooling

We have been experiencing some truly barmy weather these last few months, rain and hot sunshine all in the same week sometimes. Record breaking temperatures all across the United Kingdom saw packed out beaches with everyone trying to keep...

Read more...

Fast and Furious Rental Market

Anyone that has been trying to find a property to let recently will know that the rental demand in...

Read more...

A Change is Coming (In Law)

Hi Folks, here we are, another month and another blog and this time, on a different topic completely, the...

Read more...

Will Rising Interest Rates & Inflation Calm the Housing Market?

I get asked a lot “What’s going to happen to the housing market?” I guess that a lot of...

Read more...

Field of Greens

Field of Greens – The Green Taverners’ Suite Proudly Sponsored by Cross Keys Estates “Football ain’t what it used...

Read more...
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