Top places to live in Somerset

Deciding where to live can be one of the biggest and most difficult decisions in the home buying process. Do you choose to live close to family and friends? But what about close to your work? Or how about you pick somewhere completely different and start a fresh?

When you can pick anywhere in the world, where do you choose?

Well, here at Windsor Hill Mortgages although we help clients all over the UK our office is based in the lovely Southwest county of Somerset so it is no surprise that we think Somerset is a great area to consider. If you are struggling for inspiration, we have picked a few of our top favourite towns and villages within Somerset to give you some ideas.

 

Frome

Having recently been crowned The Sunday Time’s best place to live in the Southwest 2021 it is no surprise that the quirky town of Frome has made it to one of our favourite places in Somerset. Based in the eastern part of the county with great transport links to both Bath and Bristol, Frome is also in a great location for commuters who are looking for house prices slightly cheaper than the two cities.

Aside from Frome’s charming history and beautiful architecture there is also a thriving community of independent and specialist shops lining the cobbled streets throughout the town. There are regular markets hosted in the town centre including the renowned Frome Independent Market that attracts thousands of visitors from all over the UK. This market showcases a collection of the best food, drink, produce, plants, designers, collectables, street entertainment and many more.

Schools: Hayesdown First School, Selwood Academy, Frome College

 

Catherine Hill, Frome town centre

Bruton

The quaint village of Bruton located on the A359 between Frome and Yeovil and has been identified as one of the most in-demand countryside living destinations in England. Although nestled in beautiful Somerset countryside the village is brimming with independent shops including delicious cafes and restaurants providing the perfect balance between urban and rural.

Located in Bruton countryside is the stunning and very well-known country estate, The Newt. This magnificent estate boasts acres of woodlands, gardens with so much to see and do including Cyder tasting and Beeswax lip balm workshops.  As well as garden eateries and farm shops the estate is also home to a breath-taking hotel for anyone who might fancy a Somerset staycation.

Schools: Westbourne School, King’s Bruton, Bruton Primary School, Bruton School for Girls

 

Wells

Wells’ claim to fame is that it is the smallest city in England. Home to a humble 12,000 inhabitants Wells is classed as a city due to the famous 13th century Cathedral encompassed within the city’s centre. As well as the stunning Cathedral, Wells is also home to many other historic gems including the moated Bishop’s Palace, St Cuthbert’s Church and local museum.

Within Wells there is a busy city centre and just a stone’s throw away from the city are the famous attractions of Cheddar Gorge, Wookey Hole, Glastonbury Abbey and Stourhead among others. Street is a short car drive away where you will find a large shopping outlet village, Clarks Village which is home to over 90 designers and high street brands.

Schools: Stoberry Park School, Wells Cathedral School, The Blue School

 

Wells Cathedral

 

Keynsham

The rural market town of Keynsham is a town located between Bath and Bristol, being a mere 8 minute train journey from Bristol Temple Meads it is the perfect location for commuters working within Bristol city centre. Apart from the great transport links, Keynsham also has a lot to offer with a monthly market showcasing the high-quality produce local businesses have to offer. There is also a large memorial park extending 26 acres which in the summer months is a hub for Keynsham Music Festival which is one of the South West’s top music festivals.

However if you prefer to be away from the hustle and bustle, Keynsham is also close to the River Avon and the Avon Valley Woodlands. Along the canal are a number of cosy pubs that you can stop off at for a quick bite to eat or enjoy a refreshing drink in the sunshine. If you fancy a longer walk in nature, Avon Valley Woods is over 139 hectares of stunning wildflowers and a wide variety of tree species all brimming with wildlife.

Schools: Wellsway School, St Kenya Primary School, Castle Primary School

 

Bath

Unsurprisingly Bath is one of the most sought-after areas to live not only in Somerset but within the whole of the UK, with attractions to suit all ages it’s not difficult to see why the city of 100,000 residents can have in excess of 5 million visitors a year.  In Bath the obvious attraction to visit is the Roman Baths, but aside from the beautiful history Bath is full of fun, modern and contemporary activities to enjoy. The list of places to eat in Bath is endless ranging from Michelin starred restaurants, craft beer ale cafes to some well-known budget friendly pub chains, there is a wide selection for everyone to enjoy.

For sport loving fans there is a huge rugby community within the city with regular games at The Recreation Ground. Throughout the year there are plenty of other events on including festivals, carnivals and of the course the popular Christmas Market.

Schools: Oldfield School, King Edward’s School, Royal High School, Prior Park College

 

Bath city centre

Chew Magna

The quaint village of Chew Magna is based in East Somerset, although small in size with only around 1,200 residents the village is home to two schools, three churches, four pubs and a number of shops. Chew Magna is draped in history with many listed buildings within the village that was once a fundamental part of the wool trade in the Medieval times. Chew Magna is located on the B3130 road only 10 miles from Bristol and Bath so it is in a prime location for individuals who work within these cities.

Venture to the South of the village to Chew Stoke and you will encounter Chew Valley Lake. A reservoir stretching 1,200 acres, the landmark is a hub for wildlife and has been classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with a wealth of wildlife being drawn to the site throughout the year there is never a bad time to visit. Nearby nature reserves such as Burledge Hill and Folly Farm are also less than 4 miles away. Similarly, less than 2 miles away is Stanton Drew Circles and Cove located in the village of Stanton Drew. The Stanton Drew Circles are the third largest complex of standing stones in England and are estimated to have been laid 4,500 years ago.

Schools: Chew Magna Primary, Chew Stoke Church School

 

Minehead

If seaside living takes your fancy you may want to consider the coastal town of Minehead, located between the wild landscape of Exmoor National Park and beautiful beaches you can get the best of both worlds. A textbook seaside town with a lovely promenade and busy harbour, Minehead attracts visitors from all over the country. There are a whole host of activities to take part in including; sailing, windsurfing, rugby, cricket, golf as well as the UK’s longest walking trail that stretches all the way to Poole.

Despite the peaceful surroundings of this Somerset seaside town Minehead is very easily accessible via A39 and A396. For those commuters Minehead is in easy travelling distance of some neighbouring cities including Bristol and Exeter which also gives access to some great nightlife for visitors.

Schools: St Michael’s C of E First School, Minehead First School, Minehead Middle School

 

Dunster, Minehead

 

Bishop Sutton

Bishop Sutton is a village located on the northern facing slopes of the Mendip Hills within the affluent area of Chew Valley within Somerset, lying East of Chew Valley Lake. Similarly to other villages we have mentioned, Bishop Sutton also has great transport links to Bristol and Bath for those who enjoy working or socialising within a city whilst also enjoying country living.

Bishop Sutton is surrounded by a wealth of attractions and landmarks meaning that you would never be short of things to do. As mentioned previously Bishop Sutton is located very close to Chew Valley Lake meaning easy access to the reservoir to observe the incredible wildlife. Nature reserves such as Folly Farm are also within easy reach of the village.

Schools: Bishop Sutton Primary School, Bishop Sutton Pre-School

 

Cheddar

The picturesque village of Cheddar lies just a mile away from Cheddar Gorge and is a flourishing community with busy tourism, farming and quarrying sector providing a wealth of jobs for residents and locals. Unsurprisingly there is a lot to do in and around Cheddar. Firstly the spectacular Cheddar Gorge which draws thousands of visitors to the area every year, there are miles of foot paths to follow and you can even join a guided tour of the Gorge. Not too far away from the Gorge is Cheddar Reservoir, a 2 mile stretch around the 1350 million gallon lake it can be a nice gentle afternoon stroll.

Around the village is lots of shops and cafes where you can purchase the famous cheese and local cider. Cheddar is also home to an adventure golf course and soft play arena to keep children entertained, for more adventurous individuals there are also caving and climbing tours of the Gorge.

Schools: Cheddar First School, Fairlands Middle School, The Kings of Wessex Academy, Sidcot School

 

Cheddar Gorge

Langford

A pretty village nestled in the heart of North Somerset situated on the edge of the Mendip Hills, Lower Langdon is encompassed in miles of beautiful hilly paths to explore. Lower Langdon has a pub at the centre of the village which acts as a hub for the community, there are also a small number of other amenities including a memorial hall and a hotel. Lower Langdon is also home to two lovely churches, St Mary’s and Langford Evangelical Church which run a number of Christian Orientated children’s clubs.

Schools: Churchill C.E.V.C, Churchill Academy & Sixth Form

 

 

Somerset Countryside

Finance for building your own dream home - Grand Designs Edition

Ever thought about building your own dream home? Or developing a property to sell on? Chances are that you will have seen Channel 4’s series Grand Designs.

Grand Designs follows ambitious individuals along their self-build journey from the very start all the way to completion of their dream home.

Windsor Hill Mortgages have aided with development finance for projects similar to those appearing on Grand Designs. Our advisors can help you with getting development finance and bridging loans including self-build mortgages.

For development finance we act as introducers only.

Why is it important to make sure that you get the right financial advice from qualified advisors?

Grand Designs – Lighthouse Project

In 2009, Edward Short and his family appeared on Grand Designs with their ambitious plan to build a white art-deco lighthouse on the side of a cliff in Devon’s seaside village of Croyde. Over a decade on from the start date of the project, the property is still unfinished despite initial plans aiming for the build to be complete within 18 months.

Throughout the build, financial problems delayed the progress of the project again and again, with construction having to completely stop around 3 times due to the funds drying up. The lengthy time that the project took has put many strains on the family and not just financially. The project’s lengthy construction time has also caused problems with members of the wider community with many other residents in the area complaining of the ‘eyesore’ left on the side of the cliff.

Grand Designs revisited the property back in 2019 to catch up with Edward Short and to get an update on how the property had been progressing. However, when presenter Kevin McCloud arrived at the site he was sadden to see that the building remained significantly unfinished and even referred to it as “the bare bones of a house and more like a desolate carcass”.

Despite the project being the dream home that the family had always hoped for, due to the lengthy timescales and financial problems faced with its construction even when the building is finally completed it will have to be sold.

Croyde Bay, Devon

Windsor Hill Mortgages Development Finance

At Windsor Hill Mortgages we have contacts with some of the most reliable lenders and we have a case by case approach so the service is always personalised to you and the project that you have in mind. This means that we can introduce you to the best development finance providers for your project and reduce the risk of setbacks.

How can we help you?

  • Do you own a plot of land and are thinking about getting planning permission?
  • Have you got a plot of land with planning permission and are thinking about building on it?
  • Have you seen an area of land for sale and think it could be a good development opportunity?
  • Do you have a disused or derelict property you would like to rebuild?
  • Do you have a disused or derelict property you would like to save and renovate?

If you have a development finance project in the pipeline and would like to discuss through your options with an experienced advisor visit our contact form or call us on 01225 962 456.

The FCA does not regulate Development Finance and some forms of Bridging Loans.


UK house prices increase at the fastest rate since 2004

UK house prices in April rose at the fastest rate in 17 years. According to Nationwide annual house price growth went from 5.7% in March to 7.1% in April. This sees house prices jump 2.1% month-on-month, resulting in the biggest monthly increase since 2004.

Why?

Just as we saw a slowdown in house price increases in March with the anticipation of the stamp duty holiday ending, the announcement of an extension has inevitably prompted a reacceleration. The stamp duty holiday extension has encouraged buyers to take advantage of the potential to save up to £15,000 and could have therefore contributed to this housing price increase.

Although the stamp duty holiday extension is mostly being blamed for the increase, research suggests that other factors may also be having an impact. Nationwide’s research suggested that at the end of April, three quarters of homeowners surveyed that were either moving or considering moving home would have still done so without the stamp duty holiday extension.

Nationwide’s Chief Economist, Robert Gardner explains that although the stamp duty holiday is having some effect on the timing of housing transactions, for most people it is not the main motivating factor.

The low costs of borrowing and changing housing preferences during the pandemic are also likely to be contributing factors to this trend.  The market is also being boosted by the re-introduction of 95% mortgages encouraging first time buyers onto the property ladder.

What does this mean for the future?

The future outlook for the market is quite uncertain at the moment. There is the chance that unemployment could rise sharply towards the end of the year which could mean a slowing in activity. However the shift in housing preferences could also mean that the activity within the market continues.

This change in housing preferences has seen people reconsidering urban locations such as London and take a look at moving to more rural areas where property prices tend to be cheaper and property sizes are bigger. The shift has come as the pandemic has likely caused a change to priorities when purchasing a property with outside space and generous property size being more important now than location within a city, especially with the sudden increase in people working from home they no longer have to worry about a daily commute as much.

How much is my property worth?

Although it is useful to have an understanding on the current market trends for the UK it is important to know what is happening within your local area before you plan to buy or sell a property. House prices can vary street by street so it is important to research thoroughly and ensure you utilise reliable sources. Some useful sources include:

Property websites: Websites such as Rightmove or Zoopla have features that can provide you with an estimate of your house value based on the sales history and other local property sale prices.

Land registry data: It is possible to find out the sold prices for other properties in your local area and when these properties were sold. This can give a good indication to the prices that properties are actually selling for and not what the asking prices are.

Please note these sources should only be used as a guide. To find out the most accurate value estimate of your property it is best to contact estate agents who will be able to undertake a valuation of your property.

 

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.


Conveyancing

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the term given to the legal transfer of home ownership to the buyer, from the seller. The process begins when the offer on a house is accepted and it ends when the buyer receives the keys to their new home. In addition, conveyancers manage the transfer of funds during the purchase of a property, see in featured image the transfer of funds and how conveyancers fit within this chain.

Homeowners who are remortgaging a property will also need a conveyancer if they are switching lender to manage the legalities of removing the original lender’s interest from the property to the new lender. Conveyancers are also involved with the transfer of funds between the new lender and the old lender to clear the previous debts.

 

Who does conveyancing?

Key professionals that carry out conveyancing are, solicitors, property lawyers or licenced conveyancers but many conveyancers are solicitors who have chosen to specialise in conveyancing only. Homeowners are legally allowed to undertake the conveyancing process without specialist support however the process can be very complicated and time consuming if you do not have the knowledge or experience. Some lenders will request professional conveyancing services are carried out in order to protect their investment. This is because there will be a greater risk of the process falling through without trained professionals conducting the conveyancing.

 

What does a conveyancer do?

Conveyers carry out a range of different administrative and legal duties to enable the process to progress smoothly. These include:

  • Matching requirements with timescales
  • Organising appropriate searches for the property – See more below in ‘What searches do conveyancers do?’
  • Working with sellers’ solicitors to progress the transaction
  • Making enquiries on the buyer’s behalf to sort out queries
  • Checking mortgage offers and dealing with special conditions
  • Reporting back providing key information and important updates
  • Arranging dates for exchange of contracts and completion
  • Submitting a tax return and transferring funds for any stamp duty

 

What searches do conveyancers do?

A key part of the conveyancing process involves a set of legal property searches that are carried out to identify any issues that you should be aware of. Some searches will be recommended by the solicitor and others will be required by the mortgage lender.

 

Local authority searches- these provide detailed information about the property and surrounding areas for example, if there a plan for a new busy road right next to the property.

Environmental search – highlights potential issues including; flooding risk, landslips, subsidence, radon exposure and contaminated land from landfills/waste sites.

Water authority searches – identifies who the water supplier is and requiring confirmation that the sewers, drains and piping are maintained by the supplier. Also finds out whether there are any public drains on the property that could pose problems with regards to future extensions or building work.

Chancel repair search – if the location of a property is within the parishes of a church it is important to identify whether you are liable for contribution towards the cost of the repairs to the church.

Optional and Location specific searches – occasionally extra searches are required or recommended based on the location or type of property which can raise concerns with the buyers. Examples include mining searches, additional local authority details e.g. public paths, common land, noise abatement zones.

 

What can hold up the conveyancing process?

As there is a lot of administrative and legal work that goes into conveyancing which means that there is the chance of it holding up the whole buying process. Similarly, conveyancing can be delayed by external factors including:

  • Missing documents
  • Long chain of buyers involving lots of properties and circumstances
  • Adverse search results meaning further investigations are required
  • Buyers pulling out of the process

 

How can you reduce the chances of delays?

Although sometimes there are delays that are due to reasons out of your control it is important to remember there are steps that you can take that may help the process progress more efficiently.

  • Provide relevant ID evidence promptly
  • Provide relevant evidence of funds promptly
  • Sign and return documents in accordance with requests promptly
  • Provide prompt payment for searches when requested

 

Finding the right conveyancer

Here at Windsor Hill Mortgages we work regularly with a number of qualified and experienced conveyancers, therefore we are able to recommend professionals that you can be assured will be proactive with getting the process completed smoothly. Speak to one of our advisors on 01225 962 456 to discuss your conveyancing options.

The FCA does not regulate conveyancing and solicitors.


The Return of 95% Mortgages

What is a 95% mortgage and how does it work?  

Since the pandemic wiped low deposit deals clear from the mortgage market it has made saving for a deposit seemingly even more impossible.  Due to uncertainty that came along with COVID-19 lenders began to see these options as high-risk, hence why majority of them were withdrawn. The average cost of a property in the UK is around £230,000, making saving up for even a 10% deposit a daunting task for many.

To help combat this, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced during the March 2021 Budget a new mortgage guarantee scheme that will allow house hunters to borrow up to 95% of the purchase price of the property that they want to buy. This means that the buyer will only have to cover the remaining 5% in deposit form, opening up the possibility of owning a home to a wider number of people.

Are you eligible for a 95% mortgage?

Although these new lower deposit mortgages may be especially helpful with getting first-time buyers onto the property ladder, you do not have to be buying your first home to make the most of the scheme. As long as you are looking to purchase a house with a value of up to £600,000 that you intend to live in yourself there is the chance that you are eligible regardless of whether it is a new build property or not.

It is important to understand that having a 5% deposit amount does not guarantee you being accepted by a lender for the mortgage. Buyers will still be subject to affordability and credit checks.

The scheme is intended to run from April 2021 – December 2022.

What are the advantages?

The main advantage to a 5% deposit is that potential buyers do not need tens of thousands of pounds sitting around in their bank account to get on the property ladder. As buyers are not having to save up for larger deposits it lowers the risk of housing prices rising at a quicker rate than people can save.

What are the disadvantages?

Interest Rates

The larger the percentage being borrowed of a house’s value usually results in higher interest rates. This means 95% mortgages normally come with higher interest rates than lower percentage mortgages so it can mean that saving up a larger deposit may be a better option. However, it is important to identify whether you can save funds quicker than house prices are rising.

Difficulty Remortgaging

Starting with a low percentage of equity in your home means that it can take time for your loan-to-value (LTV) to reduce. This means that it can take you a while to qualify for the more competitive remortgage rates.

Negative Equity

Holding just 5% of the value of your home means that there is a high risk of ending up in negative equity if property prices go down. Negative equity is where you owe more on the mortgage than the house is worth. As you begin paying off your mortgage the likelihood of this slowly decreases, similarly putting down a larger deposit will also reduce the risk.

Lower Maximum Loan Amounts

There is a cap on how much you can borrow with a 95% mortgage for some lenders. Occasionally there can be maximum loan amount regardless of your income or credit rating which can limit the type of property you will be able to afford.

Higher Lending Charges

Having a high LTV means there is a chance you will have to pay a higher lending charge (HLC).  The lender will take out insurance on your loan known as a mortgage indemnity guarantee using the HLC. This is a contingency to protect the lender in case the house is repossessed and sold at a loss.

What other alternatives are there?

Help to Buy loan

For buying new builds there are the other option of Help to Buy equity loans. This involves putting down a deposit of a minimum of 5%, the government then loans you a further percentage of the property cost (ranging between 15% - 40% depending on the property location). Therefore you only need to take out a mortgage for the remaining value. You do not pay interest on the equity loan until after 5 years, after this point you will be paying interest until the loan is repaid.

Shared Ownership

This involves buying a 25% - 75% share in a property under shared ownership and then paying rent on the remaining proportion of the property. It is only necessary to take out a mortgage for the share of the property that you own meaning you might be able to borrow at a lower LTV and qualify for better rates.

Guarantor Mortgages

Some lenders offer guarantor mortgages which means a close family member provides their home or savings as security against the loan. In certain cases, it may be possible to borrow 100% of the property value based on the guarantor’s offering. With this option however it is important to consider the impact and potential strain on relationships.

Contact Us

Looking to find out more about the 95% mortgages available to you? Get in touch with one of our advisors by calling 01225 962456


Our Lions 2021 Dream Team

We have picked our Lions South Africa Tour 2021 Team!

Here at Windsor Hill Mortgages our team are big supporters of rugby, with the South Africa 2021 Lions Tour due to start in early July we would like to introduce our men’s dream team. Tell us what you think, do you agree? Have you got a better team in mind? Let us know on our Facebook!

One of our key insurers that we use for clients’ protection insurance has announced a new partnership with The British and Irish Lions. Royal London will be a Global Partner of the Castle Lager Series 2021. The announcement comes as Royal London also becomes the Principal Partner of the Women’s Lions Programme enabling them to fund research into the possibility of a Lions Women’s team.

The world of sport has been impacted greatly by COVID-19 and Royal London are dedicated to supporting The Lions commitment to deliver the Castle Lager Lions Series 2021.


Do I need a separate survey when I buy a property?

Considerations when buying your home

Buying your home is most likely going to be the biggest outlay you are ever going to make, so being fully aware of the properties condition is crucial. A survey of the property prior to purchase will help identify any work that may need to be carried out to the property before you buy it. A survey is basically a health check on a property and helps to ensure that the amount you're paying is fair and correct based on the condition it's in. It can also put you in a position to negotiate with the seller before you proceed with the purchase particularly if any issues arise from the inspection.

The type of survey you will require will be based on the details of the property and its age. You should ensure that your surveyor is a member of a recognised governing body such as the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) or Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor, we are more than happy to put you in touch with a company that can review this for you.

As a buyer there are three main types of survey to choose from:

Basic Survey

This type of survey describes the condition of the property, identifies any risks and potential legal issues and highlights any urgent defects. It’s most suitable for new-build and conventional homes in good condition; no advice or valuation is provided in this survey. A Condition Report is a very basic ‘traffic light’ survey.

Home Buyer Survey

A home buyer survey reports on defects in the property, its condition, and actionable repairs. They are designed to cover all aspects of the property, however this is an abbreviated version of the full buildings survey. The Home Buyer Report doesn’t look beyond the floorboards or behind the walls. This type of survey report is generally suitable for more modern type property built after 1950’s.

Full Building Survey

This type of survey provides a more detailed report than the home buyer survey. It is recommended for older properties and those in need of work, or simply for peace of mind. These types of survey aim to provide the most comprehensive feedback and advice. The surveyor will look at the complete property and give a detailed information regarding the state of every single aspect of the building. It is particularly suitable for; older properties, properties which have had major alterations over time or presents an unusual structure, properties which have a thatched roof or timber frame, those which are listed, or properties which appear to have problems that require further investigation.

To sum up, having a survey is not a legal requirement when buying a property however it could prove invaluable even though it can feel like an unnecessary expense, it could actually save you money not to mention a lot of stress particularly if it uncovers an issue with the structure of the property.

It is important to note that if you are buying a new-build home, you should get a 10-year warranty from the builder which largely negates the need for a home-buyer's survey although a snagging survey can prove helpful in identifying any issues.

Bear in mind that, if you are buying with a mortgage, the lender will carry out a basic valuation which is completed primarily to identify the value of the property and make sure that the property is suitable for a mortgage with the lender that you are applying with.

The FCA does not regulate Surveyors


Family Protection Advisor

The need for personal protection

Most of the time the first you will hear about the need of personal protection is when you first look at buying a home, however it can also be important for people renting or even living with family who are wanting to make sure that if anything happens to them that they have some form of financial security, but also they can provide that for their family too.

Whenever you go through the process of getting a mortgage the topic of personal protection will be covered with your adviser, a lot of the time most people don’t know enough about it other than that it can be an unpleasant topic to approach and we occasionally see the view of ‘I am young and healthy and haven’t been unwell yet’.

There is no denying that Covid-19 has opened a lot of our eyes to the fact that we are not invincible, and that in term can lead to financial implications for our loved ones. All you have to do is look up facts about diagnostics to realise that illness is a part of life for many of us.

For example:

  • Cancer Research states that 1 in 2 people in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime and that approximately 50% of the people diagnosed with Cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more.
  • Diabetes UK states that 1 in 10 over 40 in the UK now has Type 2 diabetes
  • The charity MIND states that 1 in 4 people experience mental health problems each year
  • The British Heart Foundation states that 7.4 million people are living with heart diseases in the UK
  • The stroke association states that there are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year and it is the fourth biggest killer in the UK, with more than 400 children having a stroke every year in the UK and a third of stroke survivors experiencing depression post-stroke.

This is without looking at the impact of bowel-related diseases, multiple sclerosis, and many others.

More and more research, money and support services are being implemented by our NHS and amazing charities to continuously improve the level of treatments and survival rates. However, quite regularly it is the financial worries of still having to pay our mortgage, utilities, vehicles, phones, and other debts and commitments whilst seriously ill that can lead to very high levels of unnecessary stress that can lead to further complications and even reduce the rate or chances of recovery.

None of us want to delve too deep into this as it can be very painful and is not something that we want to dwell on, nevertheless, it can be one of the most important conversations of our lives to make sure that if anything happens to us or our family that we could have the financial support that allows us to focus on what is really important, and that is the wellbeing of our family.

If you want to discuss what may be suitable for yourself then get in touch on 01225 962456 or drop us an email on info@windsorhillmortgages.o.uk so that we can run through a review or contact us through the website.


Ways to improve the value of your property during lock down

For many, life in lockdown has meant that we are working from home, with a significantly shorter commute to and from work and the ability to work in a far more flexible manner, in many cases providing us with time that quite frankly we may not have seen for years and years. Then there are some of us who have been Furloughed and simply are not allowed to do their work.

For the first few weeks, maybe even months that seems great. However, there is only so much of the News and Netflix we can watch.

 

If you are considering selling your property, then perhaps this is your chance to make good use of that time to see if you can increase your property value. After all, first impressions can be the difference between someone wanting to buy your house, or purchasing another. Simple things like a well-kept garden, pathways and fences go an awfully long way, not to mention a freshly painted front door.

 

When you enter a property it is very easy to say 'look past the mess', but for many it is not always that easy and mess can lead to negative thoughts that in turn can reflect badly on the saleability of the property. Even if you are just chucking all of your children's toys or your clothes in the bottom of a cupboard, at least it will be out of sight.

 

If you take a look around any sinks, baths or showers, then quite regularly you will find that this can become a bit of an eyesore, and again it can add to the concept of a lower value. Most of the time to redo the grouting in the tiles or the silicon around the sinks is not a huge cost, more than anything it is the amount of time involved that can put people off sorting it.

 

It is not exactly the best time to consider a new kitchen being installed with the Covid-19 situation and this is highly associated with the risk of overdeveloping your property. However, a far cheaper option could be a new splash of paint to brighten the place up and create that warm feeling that most people desire when they are searching for their home.

 

Chris Hood ANAEA, Branch Manager of local agents Cooper and Tanner says: ''When showing a prospective buyer around a property, first impressions are everything. Within a few minutes, a buyer often decides whether the property could be their next home, therefore it is essential to create a clean, tidy and inviting home. To maximise the chance of achieving the best possible price, we advise sellers to de-clutter as much as possible and allow in as much natural light as possible. A newly painted room, mowed lawns, clean carpets and even adding some fresh flowers can sound obvious, however, putting in the effort prior to house viewings can be the difference between securing an offer or not.''

 

More than anything it is a matter of getting your property ready, putting that extra time and effort in that you now have to make your property an easier yes to potential buyers.


COVID-19 Somerset Mortgage Advisor

The impact of Covid-19 on the Housing Market

Prior to the Covid-19 forced lockdown, we had seen the housing market going from strength to strength, with house prices rising by 0.8% in March according to Nationwide, which was the largest monthly increase since early 2018 and resulted in the prices increasing by 3% compared to March 2019.

If you had your property on the market before lockdown commenced on 20th March 2020, or you had planned to put your property on the market this spring or summer, then you are likely to be questioning whether you should hold off until next year.

The Financial Times state that ’experts predict transactions will fall by 60 per cent or more in the three months to June, with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors predicting sales to drop to the lowest level seen in 20 years’. With the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government clear guidance to those buying or selling, essentially stating that if you’re in a position to delay the purchase of your property then you should, it is very hard to see anything but a fall.

The bigger question is what will happen going forward when Estate Agents can open again. According to Zoopla the Covid-19 lockdown has put £82 billion of home sales on hold. Since then many people involved in these purchases will likely have been subjected to a reduction in incomes and will be facing the tough decision of whether to proceed or not.

We have never experienced this before as a country, let alone planet! However, as we are all in the same boat here the market is likely to be more understanding that the process may be taking longer than the industry standard.

For many potential buyers, the question is whether you will be able to obtain a mortgage, with many lenders having to make significant changes. Rightmove believe that it will take the following to kick-start the market again once lockdown is eased:

  • Continuation of mortgage lending on the same terms as before the lockdown, aided by government incentives to encourage moving as a key part of the economic recovery.
  • Forbearance by lenders to limit forced sales until employment levels recover.
  • Social distancing measures may still be needed for some time to come, so safe viewing procedures will require innovation by the property industry.

Yes, the mortgage market did have to take significant measures to ensure responsible lending. Nonetheless, we are seeing lenders changing their criteria on a daily basis. More and more lenders are now accepting automated valuation, providing products at higher loan-to-values that allow first time buyers or people with smaller deposits to proceed. Not only this, but lenders are looking forwards with the understanding that a drop in our incomes now does not represent a trend going forwards. With the Bank of England base rate being 0.1%, the lowest ever level recorded in the history of the Bank, we are finding some of the rates are exceptionally low.

Now more than ever it is important to talk to an adviser who can help you understand your options in a rapidly changing market. If you have any questions just get in touch via email or phone. info@windsorhillmortgages.co.uk or 01225 962456.

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.