01932 221 331
38 High Street, Walton on Thames
01932 221 331
38 High Street, Walton on Thames
Walton on Thames

Is the housing game changing for first-time buyers?

Over the last few years, home ownership has felt like it has become further out of reach for many first-time home buyers. With rising home prices, a shrinking number of properties on the market, high interest rates making mortgages a challenge, and ever-increasing competition. The Surrey housing market can seem like an unfair game. Recent property market reports suggest that the housing game may be shifting, and with the introduction of new mortgage products, offering more opportunities than ever before. Is the housing game changing for first-time buyers?

The current state of the housing market

In the current slow property market, home buyers are doing everything they can to knock down house prices in Surrey. It's not all bad news for the housing market. According to the Nationwide Building Society, house prices reversed seven months of falls and rose by 0.5% in April. Although this isn't a huge jump, it's a sign that the market is starting to stabilise.

Kim Kinnaird, Director, Halifax Mortgages, said: ‘The economy has proven to be resilient, with a robust labour market and consumer price inflation predicted to decelerate sharply in the coming months. Mortgage rates are now stabilising, and though they remain well above the average of recent years, this gives important certainty to would-be buyers. While the housing market as a whole remains subdued, the number of properties for sale is also slowly increasing, as sellers adapt to market conditions.’

The new 100% mortgages

A revolutionary development in the UK housing market is the launch of Skipton's new 100% mortgage, exclusively for renters. This mortgage is designed to help first-time buyers get onto the property ladder without having to put down a deposit. However, this kind of mortgage has also been compared with the risky loans that led to the financial crash in 2007–8.

The good news is that the mortgage has been structured in a way that addresses some of the risks. According to David Hollingworth, associate director at the broker firm L&C Mortgages, ‘It offers a
measured approach that gives credit for the fact that many tenants will have built up a strong track record of managing their housing costs responsibly.’

This means that the new 100% mortgage takes into account factors like rent payment history and affordability. For example, Skipton will assess applicants based on whether they have paid rent on time for at least 12 months. They will also assess affordability by taking into account factors like income and outgoings. The launch of Skipton's 100% mortgage is a game-changer for first-time buyers. It provides an opportunity for renters to get onto the property ladder without having to save up for a deposit. Only time will tell whether this mortgage will become a popular choice for first-time buyers, but it certainly represents a new era in the housing game.

The new reality for first-time buyers

Another aspect to consider is the competition from other buyers in the market. With more people potentially able to access these 100% mortgages, it could lead to higher demand and subsequently higher prices, which could put first-time buyers at a disadvantage. It's also worth noting that the demand for homes may still outweigh the supply, so there may be limited options for first-time buyers in certain areas.

Finally, there is the issue of affordability. While the new 100% mortgages and other schemes may offer more opportunities for first-time buyers, the reality is that property prices are still very high in some areas. In some cases, it may still be difficult for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder, even with these new options.

What this means for the future

Another aspect to consider is the competition from other buyers in the market. With more people potentially able to access these 100% mortgages, demand for homes may still outweigh the supply, so there may be limited options for first-time buyers in certain areas. Ensuring you are in the best position to proceed when viewing properties is essential.

Speaking to local estate agents can give you a clear sense of the Surrey property market and also what the benefits are of registering with them. Often you will be informed of new homes for sale before they are actively marketed, giving you a head start on your search. Bear in mind to check the terms of the mortgage you have been offered in principle so you know you are within the right price bracket. In addition, your mortgage may not be able to be used on a new build property or have other such limitations.

To discover more about the benefits of registering with James Neave for buying your first home in Surrey, contact our team today on 01932 221 331.

Detaching emotionally from your house when it’s time to sell

Selling your home can be an emotional experience, especially if you have lived there for many years.
It’s hard to let go of the memories that come to life as you reminisce – if walls could talk! When it comes to selling, you need to be able to emotionally detach from the property. Your house sale is a financial transaction and although your personal feelings are incredibly valid, they may hinder your sale if you don’t keep them in check. This is why it is essential to detach emotionally from your Surrey house when it’s time to sell.


When you’re trying to emotionally detach from your home, one of the most effective things you can do is depersonalise the space. This means removing any items that reflect your personal style or taste and making the home as neutral as possible. You want potential buyers to be able to envision themselves living in there, and that can be difficult if your personal belongings are taking up all the property visually.

Start by removing any photos of yourself, your family, and your pets. You may have cherished memories associated with these images, but they can be distracting to potential buyers. The same goes for any souvenirs or knick-knacks you’ve collected over the years. While these items may have sentimental value, they can be seen as clutter by buyers.

Focus on negatives

It may seem counterintuitive, but focusing on the negative aspects of your home can help you emotionally detach from it. This doesn't mean you should start actively hating your house, but rather take a more critical eye to its flaws and imperfections. Take a moment to really think about the aspects of your home that have bothered you over the years. Maybe there's a room that's always felt too dark or cramped, or perhaps you've struggled with an ongoing issue like a leaky roof or a temperamental heating system. By focusing on these negatives, you can start to see your home in a more realistic light, rather than through the rose- tinted glasses of nostalgia and sentimentality.


This may feel uncomfortable or even a bit harsh, but it can be an effective way to distance yourself from the emotional attachment you feel to your home.

Behave as if it’s already sold

One of the best ways to emotionally detach from your home when you need to sell it is to behave as if it’s already sold. This can be difficult, but taking practical steps can help make it easier. By downsizing your possessions, making repairs, and refreshing the décor as recommended by your estate agent, you’re sending a clear message to your subconscious that you’re ready to move on.
Start to seriously look for a new place to live and telling friends and neighbours that you’re moving can make the transition easier. It’s important to focus on the future and what’s to come, rather than getting stuck in the past.

It is a financial transaction

At the end of the day, selling your property is a financial transaction. It can be hard to detach from the emotional ties you have with your home but remembering that it is ultimately a business deal can help you make practical decisions and avoid getting caught up in sentimentality. When it comes to pricing, focus on what the current local market conditions rather than what you personally believe the house is worth. Remember that the goal is to make a profit, not to hold onto the house at all costs.

Keep in mind that you are not alone in this process. Your estate agent, solicitor, and other professionals are there to guide you and help you make sound financial decisions. Don't be afraid to ask for their advice and expertise. Keeping a practical mindset throughout the process will help make the transition smoother and less emotionally draining.

The heart of your move

You have made the decision to sell, one way or another your relationship with your home has come to an end. Therefore, focus on making your new home the heart of your move, remember the process is just a financial transaction and when completed you can look back with fond memories. If you would like advice on moving home in Surrey, call our team today on 01932 221331.

What factors can make or break your home's property value?

When you think about selling your home, there is often a big question on your mind – how much is my home worth? There are a number of factors that are considered when it comes to assessing property values: location, condition, features, and many other aspects of a home all play a role. Understanding the different components that can affect the valuation of your property is key to making sure you get the most out of your home’s worth. In this current price-sensitive market you need to ensure that you property is priced correctly if you are wanting a successful sale.

The Surrey property market

We only have to look at what happened last year and how one decision, the mini-budget, instantly impacted on the economy and, as a result, the housing market. According to Rightmove in their April House Price Index, the mini-budget saw ‘sales agreed initially plunging by 21% the following month as mortgage interest rates rapidly accelerated.’ Over the last few weeks, we have shared up-to-date research on what is happening in the market and how it is showing some signs of stability. It is good to understand the property market so you can have a rough idea of what is happening locally.

The location of your home

Location can have a major effect on the valuation of your home. If you are in a desirable area or on a street that is in high demand, this could increase the value of your home. Many buyers wish to have easy access to amenities such as shops, transport routes, parks, schools and restaurants, whilst others seek privacy and space. Additionally, the availability of jobs and other job opportunities in the area can affect property values. Ultimately, the valuation of your home can be greatly affected by its location and it is the one thing you can’t change.

The size and condition of your home

The size and condition of your home can have a major impact on its value. The size of your home will of course impact on the property price, a two bed will not be the same as a four in the same location. When assessing the size and condition of your home, buyers will consider factors such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and other living areas; the quality of the interior finishes, such as carpets and countertops; and the condition of the exterior.

Properties that are outdated or in need of repair tend to be valued lower, which is why it’s important to invest in repairs and renovations as necessary – especially if you’re hoping to get the best price possible for your property. Homebuyers also tend to appreciate luxury touches, like updated appliances, energy-efficient features, and smart home technology. Investing in such amenities can help make your home more attractive to buyers and, therefore, fetch a better price.
Make sure you take the necessary steps to ensure your home is in good shape and has the features desired by potential buyers.

The potential of your home

When assessing the potential of your home, the estate agent may consider several factors. This includes whether your home has the potential for growth, such as the opportunity to extend. Should your property have space for an extension or a loft conversion it will appeal to buyers who are looking for a long term home. the potential of the garden and outdoor spaces should not be overlooked. There are some homes that have an extremely large garden or additional land; this could also offer a buyer the opportunity to use the property for a small holding or another venture.

The character and features

The character and features of a home can significantly affect its value. Potential buyers are drawn to homes with charm, character, and special features. Many homebuyers are looking for something that stands out from the competition, so having unique features can help increase the value of your home. You can make improvements to your home to add value and boost the appeal. Updates like modernising kitchens and bathrooms, updating the decor and adding landscaping to your gardens can all add to the overall value of your home.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, remember there are several factors that determine your property’s value. For a clear understanding of the value of your home, contact our team today for a valuation on 01932 221331.

Are buyers returning to the Surrey housing market?

Spring is the season of new beginnings; it is no surprise that it can also be a popular time for people to decide to move home. Yet it has been a rocky road to the housing market over the last few months, and therefore, we know you will be grateful for a bit of insight. Thankfully, Zoopla have released their latest house price index, which may help you make decisions on when is best for you to buy or sell your home.

Buyers are returning

Over the last few weeks we have seen buyers returning to the market and new sales are being agreed in Surrey, which is wonderful news. This reflects what is happening nationally: that is, seeing the demand for homes at the highest level since the fallout from the mini-budget last October. Although demand is 16% higher than the same time in 2019, house prices are still 1% lower than they were in October 2022. That being said, overall the housing market is doing better than the doom and gloom predicted for this year, and we are seeing sales starting to pick up.

Choice has been a big issue for buyers over the last year, with the number of properties on the market being low. According to Zoopla, ‘There are now 65% more homes available for sale than there were this time last year.’ More homes means that buyers have more options, but buyers are looking for value for money due to reduced buying power caused by the current mortgage rates. House prices in general are slowly coming down, their House Price Index shows, ’The national average house price has now dropped £1,100 from £260,800 in February to £259,700 in March.’

Sales market

If you have been following the local property market, you may have seen yourself that homes are moving. The number of estate agent signs that state ‘SOLD – Subject to contract’ is an important indicator of a healthy market. Yes, sales agreed are lower than this time last year, by 16%, but they are 11% higher than they were in 2019. What is important in this market is ensuring that your home is priced to match what buyers are prepared to pay.

One thing you must bear in mind is the time it is taking for a home to sell. Zoopla state that ‘from being first listed to going under offer – the average home is now taking 15 days longer to sell than in spring 2022, when we were in a red hot housing market. … New sales agreed, subject to contract, can take 2 to 6 months to turn into a completed sale, when the buyer gets the keys and moves in. Some deals will fall through during this period and often homes are resold to another buyer.’


When it comes to the proportion of homes across the UK that are selling, there has been a clear shift to the cheapest 40% of the market, state Zoopla, with this sector of the market agreeing 5% more sales. This is in complete contrast to the top 40% of high-end homes that have seen a 4% drop in agreed sales. What this data shows us is that those homeowners who are looking to upsize are in a favourable position due to more choice of potential new homes.

The rental market has also had its part to play with the current housing market trends; Zoopla’s research shows that the ‘rapid 11% rise in rental rates in the last year is continuing to support demand from first time buyers, who accounted for 1 in 3 sales last year.’


Are you looking to move?

If you are looking to move in Surrey, whether you’re a first-time buyer, second-stepper or seller, we are here to provide you with clear and constructive advice to help you make the right decision for your future. Give our team a call today on 01932 221331.

How to successfully buy and sell a house at the same time in Surrey (without losing your mind!)

Buying and selling a house at the same time can be an overwhelming experience, but it doesn't have to be. For a stress-free experience, you need to not only have a plan but you also need the right team around you. With the right strategy and some planning, you can successfully simultaneously buy and sell a house without feeling like you're going to lose your mind in the process. 

Do your research

The first step is to do your research. Start by researching the current Surrey property market to get an idea of what is selling and which properties you may be interested in. Check out local real estate agents, take a look at property listings online, and compare prices of similar houses. This will give you a better understanding of what is happening locally, although for the best insight speak to local estate agents. They will know if there are variations from street to street, trends that they can see happening, and will be able to provide you with clear and honest advice that can help you make smart decisions going forward.

Get your finances in order

It is essential to make sure you have all your finances in order before you start. This means having a good credit score and knowing exactly what your budget is. You should also have an idea of the amount you will need for a deposit, as well as any other costs associated with the purchase or sale of a home. If you are taking out a mortgage, make sure you understand the terms of the loan in principal before you commit. Having a clear understanding of your finances from the outset can help to make the sales process smoother and less stressful.

Find the right estate agent

When you’re looking to buy and sell a house at the same time, it’s important to find an estate agent to sell your home who can help make the process as stress free as possible. When searching for the
right estate agent, there are several important factors to consider. First, should also make sure that the estate agent is active in Surrey and has experience selling similar properties in your area. An experienced estate agent will have an in-depth knowledge of local market trends and will be able to provide you with helpful advice and guidance throughout the process.

It’s also important to find an estate agent who is actually interested in you and your home. Ask potential agents questions about their services and pay close attention to how they respond. A good estate agent will be passionate about their work and will be willing to go above and beyond to get your property sold.

Finally, it’s a good idea to ask for evidence that the estate agent gets results. Ask for a portfolio of recent sales and references from happy clients. Check out their marketing strategy: what is the quality of the photographs and videos – do they catch your eye? What are their plans for your property? This will give you an insight into the agent’s track record and will help you make an informed decision when choosing the right estate agent for you.

Put your house on the market

Once you have all the preparations taken care of, it's time to put your house on the market with your chosen estate agent. This can be a nerve-racking process, so make sure you have the right support and advice to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. Before putting your house on the market, make sure that any legal matters concerning the property have been resolved. This includes obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). By putting your house on the market, you are one step closer to finding a buyer and being able to move in to your new home.

Start looking for your new home

Now that your house is on the market, it’s time to start looking for your new home. This can be an exciting time, but it’s important to be realistic. You may have to compromise on some of your criteria for the perfect property. When looking for a new property, consider what is most important to you – is it location, size, style or another factor? Think about the type of property that would suit your needs and wants, and stick within your budget. If your ideal home is outside your budget, try to look at houses that are close to what you want and could, potentially, be updated. Take your time searching for a new home and don’t rush into any decisions.


Negotiation is a key part of the process when you’re buying and selling a house at the same time. You need to ensure that you get the best price for your old home, while also making sure you’re paying the right price for your new one. Your estate agent will be your main negotiator in this process, so make sure you have chosen one with a proven track record of successful negotiation. When it comes to the sale of your current home, the aim is usually to achieve a quick sale at the highest possible price. The most important thing to remember is that while you may want to get the best possible deal you also need to take into account the time it will take to complete the transaction. If you need to move quickly due to other commitments, make sure your estate agent understands this and sets realistic expectations.

When it comes to negotiating the purchase price, it is essential that you are aware of what similar properties in your area have sold for recently. This will help you decide whether or not the asking price is reasonable and if there is room for negotiation.

The sales process

Once you’ve found the right buyer for your home, it's time to begin the sales process. This can be a stressful time as there are lots of steps that need to be taken in order to ensure a successful and stress-free transaction. It’s essential to be on the ball, communication is key to holding sales together, as no one likes to feel left out in the cold.
Ensure that paperwork is sent and returned swiftly, calls are always taken, and emails replied too, with a strong team around you they will iron out any bumps in the road quickly.

Exchange contracts

Exchanging contracts is the process of legally transferring ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer. It is one of the most crucial steps in the house buying and selling process, as this is when
the parties enter into a binding agreement and the buyer pays the deposit. Exchange of contracts marks the point where the sale of a property is legally binding. At this stage, both parties must agree to the terms of the sale and sign two copies of the contract – one for each party. Once exchanged, neither party can withdraw from the transaction without legal or financial implications.

What still needs to happen?

The next step is for the buyer’s solicitor to check that all documents are in order and that there are no legal issues with the sale. This includes making sure that any outstanding payments from the seller have been made and that the seller has met their obligations. When all checks have been completed, the completion date can then be set.

The completion date is when the money is transferred, and you legally complete the sale. You should make sure that you are available on this date so that you can sign any necessary documents and ensure everything is completed correctly.

Once the completion date has been agreed on, you should make sure that you keep communication flowing with all parties involved in the sale. Make sure to stay in touch with both solicitors, as well as the estate agent and the buyer, if possible. This will ensure that nothing gets missed and that everyone knows what is happening at every stage of the process.

Move out and move in!

Once you have completed your negotiations and exchanged contracts, it is time to move. When moving out of your old property, it’s important to leave it clean and tidy for the new owners. Taking the time to deep-clean can make all the difference for your new buyers, and only what you would expect when you arrive at your new home. When moving, organisation is key. Label boxes so you can easily find what you need, and make sure you have an essentials box with all the things you need when you arrive, such as chargers, toilet roll, light bulbs and tools.

Once you’re all settled in, why not make it feel like home? Start unpacking and don’t forget to take regular breaks. It can be an overwhelming process, but it’ll all be worth it once everything is done.

When you are ready to buy and sell in Surrey, please give our team a call on 01932 221331.

01932 221 331
38 High Street, Walton on Thames
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