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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

It is well documented that we, as a nation, have had some particularly challenging times in the last few years including covid, gas and electricity prices going sky high, interest rates going up, rents going up, to mention but a few! The fact that gas and electricity prices have risen so much has had an impact on people’s energy usage and this has meant that people have not heated their properties as much as they would ordinarily do, due to being afraid of the enormous bills these would create.

As a result of this, there has been a huge increase in the amount of condensation that is in people’s homes, which has, in turn, been detrimental to their standard of living and in some cases their health. There is a real lack of knowledge when it comes to things like condensation and black spot mould but the rise in it has meant that we, as a Company, are finding ourselves trying to inform and educate people what causes it and how to treat it. It is understood that there are other types of damp such as rising damp and water ingress, which are entirely different things and would need a specialist to investigate further.

The most common type of damp found in properties is caused by condensation. As you can imagine, just by living in a property, moisture is created by cooking, bathing & showering, washing & drying clothes and even breathing! Condensation occurs when moisture laden air is cooled to a point where it can no longer hold all its moisture and it will then go to the coldest part of the house, which is invariably an external wall that does not open to the elements. Over time, the condensation can then start to turn into black spot mould, which can be dangerous to health if the spores are inhaled in sufficient volume. Unbelievably, there are 100’s of species of mould that are carried in the air that can settle and grow if the conditions are right.

The best way to keep the levels of condensation down is to produce less moisture by following the tips below:

  1. Cover saucepans whilst cooking & do not leave kettles boiling.
  2. Do not dry your washing inside the property.
  3. Always close the bathroom door when showering / taking a bath.
  4. Always close the kitchen door when cooking.

It is also particularly important to heat the property but sadly some homes are only heated for part of the time; this can result in condensation occurring when the rooms are unheated. This has been a huge issue over the last 18 months or so due to the energy crisis, which has impacted people’s affordability to use their heating. Keeping the whole home consistently warm will reduce condensation. This is better, and may be cheaper, than having intermittent heating to higher temperatures of parts of the home.

As well as heat, it is also imperative that properties are well ventilated, which will help remove the moisture from the atmosphere. Please see some tips below, which will assist in keeping the air moving:

  1. Ventilate kitchens and bathrooms when in use. After use open the windows wider to remove the remaining moisture.
  2. Keep windows on “air lock” or ensure the windows “trickle vents” are open (if fitted).
  3. Ensure that any extractor fan you have in the kitchen or bathroom is switched on when the rooms are in us and for approximately 20 minutes thereafter (they are usually set to a timer for this).
  4. Ensure that your tumble dryer is vented outside (if applicable).
  5. Wipe off wet surfaces, for example, where condensation has formed on windows or after using the shower.
  6. Use a dehumidifier if you have one available to you.
  7. Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes. Avoid putting too many things in them as this stops the air from circulating. Where possible, position wardrobes and furniture against internal walls.
  8. Leave a space between the back of the wardrobe and the wall.

In simple terms, if you see black spots around your window or on your walls then that is black spot mould, which is caused by a lack of ventilation coupled with a lack of heat. It is our enemy, so immediately wipe it away and then introduce both heat and ventilation to the room. I am sure you have seen some horrific examples on the news, but these are the extreme and it is usually a combination of condensation, water ingress and even some rising damp. Nevertheless, it is important to keep on top of the issue but if you feel it is getting out of control then speak to a specialist to see if there is an underlying cause.

Hello again folks and welcome to autumn. Did you know that according to researchers, autumn is the least liked season of the year, colour goes from the garden, days get shorter, wetter and the temperature goes down. Well, the current housing market is just the same as autumn, it gets harder to get good photographs of properties due to the changing weather conditions, any vacant properties that do not have electricity on have reduced hours to view them due to the darker evening creeping in, and the prices, like the temperature, are going down.

I have been keeping a close eye on the available properties either already on the market or the new ones that are coming to the market over the last six weeks, it seems to me that there is a clear downward trend in the prices that the properties are coming on at but what is more concerning is the number of properties that other agents are having to do “Price Reductions” on. Some agents that are so proud of having hundreds of properties on their website are now having to slash the prices of their available stock.

Could this be because they over valued in the first place, probably. When choosing an agent to sell your property, remember that if an agent has more that 100 properties on its own website, then it obviously cannot be selling many at all. If an agent claims to have multiple offices selling your property for you, if it is a corporate agent, why would the lead office allow another office to claim a selling fee? I used to work for a corporate and this was never allowed to happen, as the offices are all in competition with each other but they still use this tactic to try and win your business.

When you see the properties appearing at the top of Rightmove listings, look carefully to see if it is actually a new listing or whether it has had a price reduction instead. The reason I say this is more than 50% of the top properties on Rightmove searches that I have done in recent weeks have all been price reductions and not new properties coming to the market.

When reading this blog, you may think it is coming across as negative, I would disagree. The market will always change, sometimes daily, but one thing remains the same and that is experience. An experience, and dare I say, a qualified estate agent will be used to these changing times and will be able to advise you accordingly to suit both your expectations and the reality of selling in a downward facing market.

This week, Cross Keys Estates had two enquiries from potential vendors both with differing needs. One family that did not live in Plymouth but had an older relation based in Ivybridge that needed to move into an assisted living property, as she was about to come out of hospital and her own property would no longer be suitable. We attended the property to value it, spoke in great detail on the phone and came up with a bespoke marketing plan. The property was placed on the market and enquiries came in straight away, a viewing was carried out within 24 hours of the property going live which led to the property being sold immediately towards the top of the guide price, meaning that the assisted living property was able to be secured for them.

The other vendor had been on the market with another (corporate) agent and tried their “Modern Auction” experience, they had tight timescale needs as they are moving abroad and had a date set for this move. The auction was a complete failure and didn’t generate nearly enough interest needed to gain offers on the property. A good neighbour of theirs recommended that they come to see us for a much more traditional and proven way to sell their house, after they popped in to our office and talked everything through in detail, we came up with a marketing plan, placed the property on the market and sold it within 5 days of the initial meeting in the office and at a price that exceeded the original agreed bottom line price.

There is a simple truth to this blog, if you have a need to sell your property, you also need to see a fully qualified and time served experienced agent. As the property market gets tougher, this experience will be what get you the results that you need. If you are unsure about which agent to choose, look them up on www.allagents.co.uk or if you want to be a bit more thorough, you could also look them up via PropertyMark to see if they are qualified, you can put your postcode in to their website and this will tell you if an agent is qualified or not.

In this day of scam artist and rogue traders, you could also try Companies House to see if the company that you are thinking of using is legitimate or not, you might be surprised at what information you can find on this website. When all is said and done, you cannot beat a good referral from someone who has been or is in the same situation as yourself and has been through the entire process.

I would also like to point out that as it stands with the current interest rate, properties that are currently on the market for prices over £300,000, are being affected by the higher cost of borrowing. If buyers are putting down a 10% deposit on £300,000 (£30,000), for a 2-year fixed rate 25-year term mortgage, the cost of borrowing £270,000 is now roughly at £1,500 per month. I got these figures from Compare the Market website. I am also sure that we will see more interest rate rises before Christmas which will push the property market prices down further.

The last thing that I wanted to point out is this, if you are selling and buying on in the same market conditions then your sales price is always going to be relative to your purchase price. In other words, if you are having to sell for a few thousand pounds less than you could have got a year ago, it does not matter, as the property that you are buying will also be a few thousand pounds cheaper as well.

Please feel free to call me, pop in to our office, or email me with any questions you may have or any advice that you may need with regards to your property buying or selling journey, as I am always only to happy to help.

Hello again folks, and thank you in advance for reading my blog. Sometimes I need to say things that may not be so positive or easy to hear, but they must be told. Speaking the truth is not always easy, and truth speakers are sometimes not the bearer of good news. This is indeed the case now. This blog covers what you should expect from the property market in the next few months.

Last week most of the high street banks pulled their lower rates mortgage deals from the table, and before the Bank of England announced a general interest rate rise to 5%, the lenders had already put their borrowing rates up to over 6% now, with the average (75% loan to value, 25% deposit) being at 6.44%.

If you are looking at a house purchase of around £250,000 with a deposit of £50,000 (20%), the average variable repayment is now well over £1,500 a month. This, of course, is harming the housing market already. Buyers are getting cold feet on properties that they agreed to purchase a few months ago and are already re-evaluating the cost implications and how much of their income will now be swallowed up by mortgage payments, let alone the fact that we are still in a cost-of-living crisis with inflation hovering just below 9%.

The more mature people out there (no, I am not being ageist) that have been through this process before will not necessarily be the ones that are worrying about mortgages as they may well have either paid them off or have a lot less borrowed. Still, younger buyers or first-time buyers will be reconsidering their options.

When the property market finds itself in this position, we find ourselves in shark-infested waters. This is when some of the less scrupulous agents out there start resorting to less respectable methods to keep their available stock levels high.

Now, this is where other agents will protest, but we have been here before, and we’ve seen it before, and we know the warning signs to look out for.

  1. Has an agent given you a surprisingly high valuation that you weren’t expecting – This is what we in the trade call buying an instruction; the agent knows full well that your property has no chance of achieving this price but also knows that if they can persuade you that they can achieve the impossible than they stand more of a chance of gaining your business.
  2. Has the agent offered you a generous low fee – again, any proper business person knows full well that all companies are facing increased costs for absolutely everything that they pay for, from electricity to phone calls, petrol, paper, envelopes, websites, staff wages, photocopiers, membership to recognised bodies to the tea boat in the office, so if they are offering meagre fees, you know that they are not anticipating selling your property, just using you to make their property stock look better than their competitions and make other potential sellers want to use them.
  3. How quickly do they ask you to reduce your price after coming to the market – On one of the property portals that we use, there is a tab that shows us which agents are bringing the asking prices of their properties down (Price Reductions), here in Plymouth there are the usual suspects. Still, there is always that special one that must rely on price reductions consistently to try and gain any credible interest in their stock of properties; quite often, though, this has the opposite effect and will deter potential buyers from putting in offers as it can come across as negative marketing. If you keep seeing properties that are dropping in price, do you ask the same question as me? What is wrong with it that it needs to keep coming down in price?
  4. Multiple Agent Listing – This is where you feel you have no choice but to list your house with more than one estate agent. If your agent recommends listing your property jointly with a specific agent, maybe this is not the right thing to do. As with the previous point, buyers will question the necessity for your property to be advertised with more than one agent when if you chose the right agent, then your property could have gone under offer already.

There are obviously some exceptions to these general guidelines, but any good, proper, qualified agent should have already factored in these shifts in the market; they should also know what is expected in the coming months and have worked out and planned around this for selling your house.

If the agent reacts to the market, they must be more proactive.

The last thing that any seller wants to be is chasing a down-turning market, as this usually leads them to achieve a much lower selling price than they could have if they planned the marketing price by the changing state of the market. This is a clear case of age and experience, combined with qualified and regulated service, winning against youth and enthusiasm, usually married with the more corporate companies (or companies who try to emulate corporates) who rarely keep / pay for their more experienced staff, as this invariably cost them much more in staff wages.

As usual, I will end this blog positively; last week, we achieved marvellous sales levels across all different market price ranges. We regularly call our clients and let them know what is happening to the property market so that we can change/amend their marketing ahead of the competition and still achieve the best possible outcomes. Cross Keys Estates prides itself on the honesty and integrity of the advice given to our clients by all of our staff, and this is why we are a multi-award winning company with over 1,500 5 star ***** reviews on www.allagents.co.uk from our clients, making us the best estate agent and the best-letting agent in Plymouth for many years in a row now.

If you would like to pop into our friendly office for a chat or call us on the phone (01752 500018) for any help or advice or to book a valuation on your property, please rest assured that you will be in the best possible hands in this industry.

Cross Keys Estate Agents Sales Office Graphic Cross Keys Estate Agents Lettings Office Graphic

Properties of the Week

Cross Keys Estate Agents Sales Property of the Week 1

Sales Property 1

Langstone Road, Peverell

£300,000 to £330,000 Guide Price

3 3 1

Click to view details

Cross Keys Estate Agents Sales Property of the Week 2

Sales Property 2

Sylvan Court, Stoke

£140,000 to £150,000 Guide Price

1 2 2

Click to view details

Cross Keys Estate Agents Lettings Property of the Week

Lettings Property

Monroe Gardens, Pennycomequick

£900 pcm

1 2 2

Click to view details

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