Oasis Esate Agents, 4 Clarence Street, Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey, TW18 4SP
Exclusive Off-market Sales

MEET OUR SALES TEAM

The most rewarding part of my job as Managing Director is encouraging and developing my team and watching as they reach their full potential both individually and together, to maximise their potential. I also thoroughly enjoy welcoming past and new customers to the business.

Steven Harvey Founder & Managing Director

MEET OUR SALES TEAM

I love my job when we hand the keys over to the new buyers, knowing that we have found them their ideal home, and when my clients selling thank me when we have managed to get them moved.

Jonathan Stanton Sales Director

MEET OUR SALES TEAM

As a lifelong resident of Staines-upon-Thames, I love to work within the local area and to play an important role within the community, assisting landlords in looking after their properties and ensuring they are looked after and occupied by excellent tenants.

Simon Goodger Sales Manager

OASiS SALES HELP & ADVICE

OASiS HINTS & TIPS

PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR PHOTOGRAPHY & SALE

Many potential buyers will decide whether or not to view your property based on the photographs they see online and your property particulars, so we will always try to present your home in its best possible light.

We are frequently asked for hints and tips and have created the following guide to showing off your home. It is a guide only. We appreciate that it is not always possible to carry out some activities prior to the shooting of photographs, so we will always help you on the day of the shoot.

KITCHENS & BATHROOMS SELL HOMES

  • Keep sinks clear and clean – clear away washing up, draining racks and bowls. Remove toothbrushes etc in bathrooms and any bright coloured bottles from around the bath.
  • De-clutter and clean worktops – less is most definitely more, so clear away as much as possible.
  • Make appliances shine inside and out – yes, people may well look inside the cooker and microwave!
  • “File” the fridge & microwave – we all do it but try to clear the letters, paperwork, postcards, receipts and the kids’ artwork off the appliances.
  • Dress to impress – make bathrooms relaxing and welcoming, colour co-ordinate towels etc, consider removing mouldy silicon.

AROUND THE HOME

  • Present rooms for purpose – dining rooms for dining in not glorified dumping grounds.
  • De-clutter – again, less is more, so try and clear away as much as possible.
  • Clear surfaces – stacks of DVDs, magazines and chaotic shelves suggest a lack of storage.
  • Avoid busy patterns – if possible, choose neutral covers for duvets etc.
  • Let there be light – clean the windows, remove the net curtains and increase the bulb wattage in dark areas.
  • Consider de-personalising – the images we take will appear on the internet, so you may want to consider removing large family portraits.
  • In the good old days when children only had one toy! –  it’s always difficult where kids are concerned, but try and find a home for the Barbies and Batman.
  • Pets – remove litter trays, baskets, scratch posts, cages etc. Some applicants will simply not view a property that has signs of pets. Take dogs for walks when viewings are scheduled.

OUTSIDE THE HOME

  • Kerb appeal – First impressions count, clear away any rubbish, hide the bins, relocate any unused vehicles to friends, or park on the road if plenty of parking is available.
  • Cut ‘n’ trim – keep lawns cut, trim back hedges, recover flower beds.
  • An extension of the home – treat gardens as if another room and dress accordingly.
  • Invest to impress – plants are expensive, so consider adding colour with “take away” plants in pots.
  • De-clutter garages and sheds – if you have them, they are a bonus, so show them in their best possible light.

AND FINALLY…

  • Living the dream – most buyers will (hopefully) view your home as if it was their own, how it would work for them and their families, so accentuate the positives.

 

For further advice on presenting your home please call the team on 01784 441818

SELLING YOUR HOME

AT OASIS, OUR AIM IS TO MAKE THE PROCESS OF SELLING YOUR HOME AS SIMPLE, RAPID AND STRESS-FREE AS POSSIBLE, ACHIEVING THE VERY BEST PRICE FOR YOU

The first stage of the process of Selling Your Home is to establish a carefully considered and realistic valuation of your home, cross-checked against comparable properties, that reflects the market conditions. This is where the depth and breadth of our comprehensive local knowledge really comes into play.

We will then work with you to create a bespoke marketing strategy, showcasing your property in colour brochures and advertorials, in local and regional advertising, on our website, in the videocasts and across the leading national and international property websites and social media channels.

In fact, because we worked out a long time ago the increasing importance of Selling Your Home online to the estate agency business, we were pioneers in the area in having a website that’s been specifically optimised (sorry for the jargon!) to make it easy for prospective purchasers to view properties not just on PCs but also on tablets and smartphones. Buyers can even arrange viewings straight from our website.

Around a third of our clients choose our Oasis Bespoke solution where listing the property on the online portals is the final phase. We produce ‘teaser’ videos that are released on our hugely successful social media channels and write to local homeowners who may be looking to move upmarket, using sophisticated marketing software – which includes the teaser video in a QR code! We also have strong relationships with motivated buyers in the area which allows us to introduce your home to the most serious buyers and create real competition due to withholding from listing on the property portals. This method gives control back to you as the vendor and us as an agent, allowing us to achieve a premium sale price as we know from experience that buyers pay a premium in order to secure a sale before it enters the open market.

We also offer traditional marketing whereby we list your home on the property portals as soon the details have been prepared. You can expect the same high quality marketing as used in the OASiS bespoke solution with the added comfort of advertising on Rightmove and other property portals from day one.

Another element that makes Oasis different is our unique ‘pooled commission policy’. This ensures that throughout the selling process, not only will you have a dedicated contact at Oasis managing your property, but the whole team will also have been briefed on your details to enable them to offer complete support when selling your home.

This support extends to pre-qualifying each and every applicant before we even send out the details of your property, in order to weed out time-wasters. And if appropriate, that same team will be responsible for organising a ‘launch event day’ to concentrate interest in your property.

From leading in negotiations with purchasers, dealing with surveyors, and our dedicated team of move managers who deal with solicitors and lenders, you can also rest assured that Oasis will be managing your sale smoothly, efficiently and professionally.

SELLING PROCESS GUIDE

YOUR REASONS FOR PROPERTY SELLING

… will be one of the areas discussed at your market appraisal.

If you are looking to up-size (or down-size!) locally, let us know as we may have something on our Property Selling Register which might be suitable that we can arrange for you to view. If you are looking further afield, we can recommend an associate member from the Guild of Professional Estate Agents. Sadly, we know that not all decisions to sell are made out of choice, so making us aware of any sensitive issues is advisable. It may surprise you to know that whilst we are obviously keen to sell your home, if we think you are better advised not doing so, we will do the right thing and tell you.

… and maybe your private reasons for Property Selling

Something else you can’t expect if you use an online estate agency site to sell your home… discretion. There may be any number of reasons why you’d prefer the fact that you’re considering Property Selling to remain quiet, in which case you don’t want your house details broadcast for everyone on the internet to see. Perhaps you’re avoiding the prying questions of nosy neighbours or involved in a family dispute… whatever your reason for demanding a low-key approach to selling your property, you can rely on OASiS to respect your privacy and to pursue your sale through other routes, for instance, ‘the whisper market’ (see below).

MARKET APPRAISAL

When you call us to arrange a market appraisal, the more information you can give us the better, including style of property, number of different rooms, any extensions, recent improvements, size of garden, garages or off-street parking, freehold or leasehold (length of lease). At the market appraisal, we will try and bring a couple of the team to offer two perspectives (click here for more information on how we value your home) and explain our standard terms of appointment.

INSTRUCT OASIS & AGREE TERMS

Once you are happy with the valuation, you will need to decide on the selling package that’s right for you and whether you will follow a sole agency or a dual agency strategy for the marketing of your home. We highly recommend following a sole agency strategy as a dual agency approach can ‘overexpose’ your home and make you look desperate to potential buyers. Like most agents, we prefer to work as your sole agents; however, we can work on a multi-agency and partner agency basis at a higher commission rate.

INSTRUCT A SOLICITOR

Your legal representative can be crucial to the success (and to minimising the stress) of the selling process, so choosing the right one is crucial. It is advisable to appoint one as early in the process as possible so you have time to make an informed decision once an acceptable offer is received. Unless you have chosen a special product such as OASiS’ own ‘Contract Ready’ conveyancing package, you only instruct them to work on your behalf once an offer is agreed.

MARKETING YOUR PROPERTY

The valuer will guide you through the different marketing strategies we have to offer and help choose one that suits your situation and needs. Whether it be our Bespoke Marketing package or through the traditional method, the use of ‘For Sale’ boards are still important as a marketing tool. There are many occasions when a buyer has stated that they will only buy in a certain area and, had the board not alerted them to the property being available, they would have otherwise missed it. We do, however, appreciate that discretion is required on occasions and will work with our sellers on this area.

We will usually arrange for two team members to visit your property and prepare your marketing details. These will form the basis of your brochure and video tour, which features online, both on our website and other portals. We pride ourselves on our photography and will work with you to present your home in its best possible light. Before we arrive, it is worth clicking on our Hints & Tips above to see how best to present your home. Beyond the basic property, if there is anything particularly special about your home that will help make it more saleable (e.g. the history of the property), please let us know. Once you are happy with your property details, we will be in a position to launch your home to the market.

‘THE WHISPER MARKET’

A crucial part of our offering at OASiS is our involvement in something we like to call ‘the whisper market’. It’s a specific area of expertise that only comes from years of hard-earned experience in a specific local area… and as such, it’s a powerful and unique bit of ‘added value’ that the cleverest algorithm on any online Property Selling website can never deliver.

Quite simply, for more than a decade, we’ve been building our own database of satisfied customers who’ve sold, bought, let and rented through OASiS. They’ve become friends of the business, and we like to keep in touch with our friends. So we hear in advance when customers’ interest in the property market is about to re-awaken. Perhaps they’re about to sell a property but are demanding discretion. Perhaps they want to move back into our area. It might be that they’re waiting to move house, but only when the right property becomes available. So when we talk about ‘the whisper market’, we’re talking about a huge and potent wealth of potential customers whom the online estate agents will never even hear from… but to whom we’ve never stopped talking!

We will usually arrange for two team members to visit your property and prepare your marketing details. These will form the basis of your brochure and the content which features online, both on our website and other portals. We pride ourselves on our photography and will work with you to present your home in its best possible light. Before we arrive, it is worth clicking on our Hints & Tips as to how best to present your home. Beyond the basic property, if there is anything particularly special about your home that will help make it more saleable (e.g. the history of the property), please let us know. Once you are happy with your property details, we will be in a position to launch your home to the market.

ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE

This is a legal requirement for the sale of every property in the UK and must be carried out before a property can be officially marketed. OASiS can organise this for you, although you can appoint your own Energy Assessor if you wish.

PROPERTY INFORMATION QUESTIONNAIRE (PIQ) & VIEWING INFORMATION FORM

At the point of instruction, we will ask you to complete a PIQ & Viewing Information sheet. The PIQ will contain a lot of information which will be useful to us during the selling process. It will include factual questions such as current utility suppliers and a basic fixtures and fittings list. The Viewing Information form is a simple two-sided sheet with common questions asked by viewers, as well as more qualitative ‘emotional & lifestyle’ questions such as what you love about your home and what you have enjoyed about living there.

QUALIFIED BUYERS

When we bring prospective purchasers to view your property, we will also have screened them (to weed out the timewasters!) and qualified them as serious potential buyers. We take care to gain important insights into where the buyers currently are in the decision-making process, gleaning information about such topics as their reasons for moving, the number of properties they’ve already seen and – crucially – how they will be financing their purchase.

FULL LAUNCH

The full launch involves going live to the internet and social media channels with your property details. (Not on the property portals if you have opted for the Bespoke Marketing package). If you are an active member of any of these channels, we will ask you to ‘like’ or retweet your own details to give further momentum. We will also email your property details to all the active applicants on our extensive database of pre-registered approved buyers and follow this up with a subsequent phone out to the hottest prospects.

ACCOMPANIED VIEWINGS

Did you know that, statistically, the ‘hit’ rate for converting accompanied viewings into sales is something like 1 sale per 10 viewings? But when sellers conduct viewings on their own without the assistance of a professional negotiator, that rate plummets to something like 1 sale per 44 viewings! For that reason, we pride ourselves on always sending a knowledgeable member of the team out to accompany all of our applicant viewings. We will endeavour to bring all viewing guides to your property prior to the market launch so that they’ve met you and are familiar with your home. We are delighted that our team are all local experts with personal buying and selling experience and tend to be that much more mature than the standard agent! They will also attend with the Viewing Information form you’ve supplied, giving them access to a wealth of information beyond the standard property brochure.

Remember, this attention to detail and superior ‘one to one’ customer service is something you simply don’t get from online estate agents – nor, indeed, from the vast majority of our traditional competitors! – but it’s another area where OASiS is proud to be different.

VIEWING FEEDBACK & ACTIVITY REPORTS

It is our intention to provide you with feedback from your viewings straight after they have taken place if possible, if not then you will receive feedback within 24 hours. On a weekly basis, we will email you (or post if you prefer) an activity report based on the previous week’s marketing activity.

OFFERS RECEIVED, CHECKED & PASSED ON

All offers received on your property will go through a stringent process of due diligence. This will include checking the applicant’s ability to finance the purchase, and if they are themselves selling or involved in a chain, we will assess the position of these associated buyers and sellers. All agents are legally obliged to present any formal offer made, regardless of the ability of the buyer to proceed and the amount of the offer.

OFFER ACCEPTED

Once you are happy with an offer, we will write to both parties to start the legal process. If you have not already done so, you will need to appoint a conveyancer at this stage, as the sale cannot progress without one.

SALE PROGRESSION

Once the sale has been agreed, you might think that we sit back and take it easy, having done our job. And for most of our competitors, that’s true. But at OASiS, the work continues behind the scenes. Our Dedicated Move Managers we will be chasing up surveyors, conveyancers, and checking that all the necessary boxes are being ticked by all the relevant people in the process. And we’ll also be chasing the professionals acting for the people above and below our customers in the chain to minimise the risk of any omission potentially delaying the process further down the line. It’s painstaking, time-consuming work (we estimate that for every sale, the Sales Progression phase will take up a full week’s worth of our Move Managers time!) but it’s another way that OASiS goes the extra mile to deliver the seamless transactions our customers expect. Their expertise in managing and eliminating problems is the single biggest reason for our low fall through rate of 8% compared to the national average of 33%.

CONVEYANCING

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of ownership of a property from one person to another and OASiS offers comprehensive and great value conveyancing packages for sellers and buyers.

SURVEY OF PROPERTY

If your buyer is purchasing your property with a mortgage, then their lender will require a valuation survey to be carried out to ensure that the price at which the property is being sold is fully justified given its size, condition and location. This will involve a surveyor attending your property and carrying out a short inspection; however, if the lender fails to be convinced by the surveyor’s report that the agreed value of the property is fair, this can sometimes result in ‘down-valuing’ of the mortgage offered. This is the number one cause of buyers pulling out and sales falling through.

However, this is also one more area in which OASiS is different in the way that we operate. We make a point of providing surveyors with Properly Prepared Valuation Information, supplying not only the valuation details of three comparable recent local property sales, but also a comprehensive package of accompanying Land Registry information in order to support the price agreed. In this way, we try to solve any potential problems before they even crop up!

Most buyers will also commission a Buildings Survey of some sort, and a further explanation of the different types of these can be found in the Surveyors section of our Mortgages & Professional Services menu. These may be carried out at the same time as the valuation survey or at a different time by a different surveyor.

See our section below on surveys to arrange a quote.

REMOVALS

Whilst we never recommend that you actually book your removals company in advance of the official Exchange of Contracts (see below), it is advisable to have at least done the ground work and secured a trusted, fully-insured company, if only provisionally. See our section below on removals to arrange a quote.

UTILITY COMPANIES & LOCAL AUTHORITY

Once a prospective completion date has been agreed it is advisable to inform any utility suppliers and the local authority of your impending move, following this up with final confirmation once you have exchanged contracts.

ADVISE YOUR KEY CONTACTS OF YOUR NEW ADDRESS DETAILS

Again, when a completion date has been agreed it is advisable to inform any key contacts of your new address details. This includes doctors, dentists, bank, pension providers, friends and family, DVLA, Passport Authority, telephone and internet suppliers, TV Licence and SKY, insurance company. It is also advisable to set up a mail re-direct service at this time.

EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS

Once all the legal requirements have been completed, contracts can be exchanged and the sale becomes legally binding. Your buyer will have deposited 10% of the sale price with their solicitor (this figure may be negotiated down in certain circumstances) and this is then passed to your solicitor. A completion date will then be agreed for the exchange of the actual property.

COMPLETION OF SALE

The sale is completed when all mortgage monies have been received and passed between solicitors. Completion can happen at any time of the day, particularly if the sale is linked to a number of others in a chain. It is worth liaising with your agent who can help agree a convenient ‘moving out & moving in’ time between yourself and the buyer.  You will need to have deposited at least one set of keys with us at OASiS and agree where in the house the remaining keys will be left for the new owner.

BUYING YOUR HOME

Our instant notification service means you’ll receive emails advising you of suitable new ‘instructions’ coming onto the market before they go live on the internet. You can even be the first to view a property, even if there’s going to be a full ‘market launch day’ so be sure to register with us to avoid disappointment.

We also offer a unique viewing booking service via our website – so whatever the time of day or night, you can arrange to view your potential new home.

And because our experienced and award-winning Oasis team is also a genuinely local team, you can expect the best recommendations for our partner professionals, such as mortgage and financial advice, surveying, conveyancing and removals when buying your home.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HELP TO BUY

If you’re looking at buying a new home, the various options available to you might seem a little overwhelming. But whether you need assistance in finding your new home or taking care of your finances, we are here to help!

HELP TO BUY: EQUITY LOAN

With a Help to Buy: Equity Loan, the government lends you up to 20% of the cost of your newly built home, which means you only have to contribute a 5% deposit and secure a 75% mortgage.

The government doesn’t charge interest/loan fees on the 20% loan for the first five years that you own your home either. This gives you the chance to save more money towards paying the loan or even a deposit for another property in the future.

HELP TO BUY: SHARED OWNERSHIP

If you can’t afford the mortgage on 100% of a home, Help to Buy: Shared Ownership offers you the chance to buy a share of your home (between 25% and 75% of the home’s value) whilst you pay rent on the remaining share. Later on, when you can afford to, you can increase your equity in the property by buying more, if not all, of the remaining shares.

You could buy a home through Help to Buy: Shared Ownership in England if:

  • Your household earns £80,000 a year or less outside London, or £90,000 a year or less in London
  • You are a first-time buyer, you used to own a home but can’t afford to buy one now, or are an existing shared owner looking to move.

With Help to Buy: Shared Ownership, you can buy a newly built home or an existing one through resale programmes from housing associations. You’ll need to take out a mortgage to pay for your share of the home’s purchase price or fund this through your savings. Shared Ownership properties are always leasehold.

If you’re looking at buying a new home, the various options available to you might seem a little overwhelming. But whether you need assistance in finding your new home or taking care of your finances, we are here to help!

For further information, please complete our Help to Buy form by clicking here

 

BUYING PROCESS GUIDE

RAISING YOUR DEPOSIT

Undoubtedly, for many people, this is going to be one of the hardest challenges. Ideally, you should aim to be in a position to put down a minimum deposit of 10% or more. However, through equity loans and mortgage guarantees, the Government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme has enabled people to get on the property ladder and move into bigger homes with as little as a 5% deposit! This scheme is available not only to first-time buyers but also to homeowners looking to move, and it can be used on new-build and existing properties up to a value of £600,000.

More information is available online; however, for the full details, why not talk directly to OASiS’ own independent mortgage adviser, Lisa Bravo. You can email lisa@oasisfinancialservices.co.uk or call 01784 415446

STAMP DUTY

In 2014, the government changed the way that Stamp Duty was calculated on the purchase of property. Gone are the old fixed thresholds replaced by a far fairer (for most) sliding scale. The Stamp Duty amount has to be paid to your solicitor at the time of the completion of sale, and obviously needs to be budgeted for.

FINANCIAL ADVICE

Before you get too carried away, it’s wise to confirm your budget or borrowing capacity with a financial advisor and ideally establish some form of ‘agreement in principle’ which should be provided free of charge. If your advisor tries to charge you in advance at this stage, alarm bells should ring! From experience, we would strongly recommend seeking independent advice from a reputable source such as our trusted independent service offered by OASiS Financial Services. You can email lisa@oasisfinancialservices.co.uk or call 01784 415446

REGISTER WITH LOCAL AGENTS

Once you have established the budget for your prospective property purchase, register with as many agents as possible (obviously with OASiS first!) and set up email and text alerts from the online property websites. At OASiS we pride ourselves on getting under the skin of potential buyers, and we’ll get to know you by asking you a range of questions at registration. The more we know about you, the better.

EXCLUSIVE OFF MARKET SALES

When registering with OASiS, you may be given the opportunity to view properties before they are launched to the market (this is something we call Bespoke Marketing). We market many of our properties in this way and agree sales without the need to launch on the property portals, such as Rightmove. Once you are registered with us, we will alert you to such properties. To see our current ‘Exclusive Off Market Properties’ click here. You can also follow us on facebook or twitter to get a sneak peak of these properties.

ACCOMPANIED VIEWINGS

We pride ourselves on always sending a knowledgeable member of the team out to accompany all of our applicant viewings. We will endeavour to bring all viewing guides to the property prior to the market launch to familiarise them with the seller and the home. We are delighted that our team are all local experts, have personal buying and selling experience and tend to be much more mature than the standard agent! They will also attend with the Property Information Questionnaire recently completed by the seller, giving them access to a wealth of information beyond the standard property brochure.

VIEWING FEEDBACK

After every viewing, we will ask you for feedback on the property to give us an opportunity to find out what works for you and what doesn’t, and to fine-tune any future properties we present to you. These follow-ups will also enable us to deliver any information we weren’t able to provide at the time of the viewing. As part of this process, we will always ask you for your feelings on the market price.

APPOINTING A SOLICITOR

Ideally, before you make an offer on a property, you should have at least identified a conveyancer for the purchase of your prospective property. And we’d be more than happy to recommend one of our roster of approved solicitors, all of whom offer a range of specially-priced and great value packages for OASiS customers. For more information from our Mortgages & Professional Services menu, click here.

MAKING AN OFFER

All offers received on our properties go through a stringent process of due diligence. This will include checking the applicant’s ability to finance the purchase and, if they themselves are selling or involved in a chain, the position of their associated buyers and sellers. Having this information available at the point of making an offer will speed the process up. Be aware that all agents are legally obliged to present any formal offer made, regardless of the ability of the buyer to proceed and the amount of the offer.

OFFER ACCEPTED

Once an offer has been accepted by the seller, we will write to both parties and their appointed conveyancers to start the legal process. If you have not already done so, you will need to appoint a conveyancer at this stage as the sale cannot progress without one.

SALE PROGRESSION

Once the sale has been agreed, you might think that we sit back and take it easy, having done our job. And for most of our competitors, that’s true. But at OASiS, the work continues behind the scenes. Our Dedicated Move Managers we will be chasing up surveyors, conveyancers, and checking that all the necessary boxes are being ticked by all the relevant people in the process. And we’ll also be chasing the professionals acting for the people above and below our customers in the chain to minimise the risk of any omission potentially delaying the process further down the line.

It’s painstaking, time-consuming work (we estimate that for every sale, the Sales Progression phase will take up a full week’s worth of our Move Managers time!) but it’s another way that OASiS goes the extra mile to deliver the seamless transactions our customers expect. Their expertise in managing and eliminating problems is the single biggest reason for our low fall through rate of 8% compared to the national average of 33%.

CONVEYANCING

Dealing with the legalities of buying your home can be a confusing, complicated, time-consuming and expensive operation. Choosing the wrong solicitor to look after the whole process (known as ‘Conveyancing’) can be a costly and stressful mistake.

Thankfully, OASiS works in partnership with a dedicated team of conveyancers who know our part of the world well (vital when it comes to dealing with any typical legal peculiarities attaching to deeds in the local area). Our buyers’ service is called ‘Best For Buyers’ and offers a fixed fee as well as a no purchase, no legal fee guarantee and protected searches. It’s designed to give you complete peace of mind and a fast and cost-effective service, which we confidently recommend to all our clients.

If, however, you decide to instruct your own solicitor to do the conveyancing on your prospective purchase, you obviously won’t want work to start until an offer is formally agreed upon. However, it is essential that you have the details of your chosen conveyancer available as early as possible because the sale cannot proceed without them.

SURVEY OF PROPERTY

If you are purchasing your property with a mortgage, your lender will require a valuation survey to be carried out to ensure that the price at which the property is being sold is fully justified given its size, condition and location. This will involve a surveyor attending the property and carrying out a short inspection; however, if the lender fails to be convinced by the surveyor’s report that the agreed value of the property is fair, this can sometimes result in ‘down-valuing’ of the mortgage offered. This is the number one cause of buyers pulling out and sales falling through.

However, this is also one more area in which OASiS is different in the way we operate. We make a point of providing surveyors with Properly Prepared Valuation Information, supplying not only the valuation details of three comparable recent local property sales, but also a comprehensive package of accompanying Land Registry information in order to support the price agreed. In this way, we try to solve any potential problems before they even crop up!

Most buyers will also commission an additional Buildings Survey of some sort, and a further explanation of the different types of these can be found in the Surveyors section of our Mortgages & Professional Services menu. These may be carried out at the same time as the valuation survey or at a different time by a different surveyor.

To arrange a survey quote see our surveys section below.

MORTGAGE OFFER RECEIVED

Your mortgage lender will usually indicate within a week or so whether their valuation of your proposed purchase has been successful. They are likely to initially confirm their decision verbally and follow this up with a formal offer in writing, a copy of which must be received by your solicitor as part of the conveyancing process.

REMOVALS

Whilst we never recommend that you actually book your removals company in advance of the official Exchange of Contracts (see below), it is advisable to have at least done the ground work and secured a trusted, fully-insured company, if only provisionally

To arrange a removals quote see our removals section below.

GIVE NOTICE TO LANDLORD

If you are currently in rented accommodation, you will need to consider what notice period you are required to give your landlord before you can move out. This is an important consideration when deciding on exchange and completion dates, especially if you are planning to use any deposit money held on a rental property as part of your purchase funds. As part of our duty of care to you, we always warn our customers not to give notice until contracts have been exchanged.

UTILITY COMPANIES & LOCAL AUTHORITY

Once a prospective completion date has been agreed it is advisable to inform any utility suppliers and the local authority of your impending move, following this up with final confirmation once you have exchanged contracts.

ADVISE YOUR KEY CONTACTS OF YOUR NEW ADDRESS DETAILS

Again, when a completion date has been agreed it is advisable to inform any key contacts of your new address details. This includes doctors, dentists, bank, pension providers, friends and family, DVLA, Passport Authority, telephone and internet suppliers, TV Licence and SKY, insurance company. It is also advisable to set up a mail re-direct service at this time.

EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS

Once all legal requirements have been completed then contracts can be exchanged and the sale becomes legally binding. You will usually have deposited 10% of the sale price with your solicitor, which is then passed to the seller’s solicitor 10% of the sale price with their solicitor (this figure may be negotiated down in certain circumstances). A completion date will then be agreed for the exchange of the actual property.

COMPLETION OF PURCHASE

The purchase is completed when all mortgage monies have been received and passed between solicitors. Completion can happen at any time of the day particularly if the sale is linked to a number of others in a chain. It is worth liaising with your agent who can help agree a convenient ‘moving out & moving in’ time between yourself and the seller. The sellers will usually have deposited at least one set of keys with their agent and agreed where in the house the remaining keys will be left for you.

SOLICITORS & CONVEYANCERS

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of ownership of a property from one person to another, from the seller to the buyer, and the process is usually undertaken by choosing either solicitors or a specialist conveyancer. At OASiS, we recommend choosing our own ‘Contract Ready’ conveyancing package. OASiS has also teamed up with a national firm of solicitors offering competitive rates for both selling and buying. If you would like a free quote for the conveyancing work for your

CHOOSING YOUR REPRESENTATIVE

A solicitor is a qualified lawyer in all aspects of common law and should be a member of the Law Society. A conveyancer has less general training but specialises in property law, and should be a member of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. In general, a solicitor will cost more than a conveyance, although some larger practices will use a combination of the two to offer a more competitive fee.

Most conveyancing practices are more than capable of acting on your behalf. However, should your sale involve elements beyond property law, for instance, the issue of probate or divorce, then you will need to use a solicitor. Similarly, a solicitor will be required if a lease extension forms part of the sale or a boundary dispute exists.

There is a third option when it comes to conveyancing and that is that you do it yourself. However, the reality is that it is a complex and time-consuming process, and if you are buying with a mortgage, the lender will insist that a solicitor or conveyancer acts for them as well as you on this aspect of the transaction regardless. There is also the danger that you will be considered a less favourable buyer or a riskier seller, so caution is advised.

If you opt not to use OASiS’ own ‘Contract Ready’ service, whichever form of representative you decide on can be crucial to maximizing the success and minimizing the stress of the selling or buying process.

So how do you decide who to appoint? If you have used a solicitor or conveyancer before and you were happy with the service they provided, or one has been recommended to you, that’s great. If you don’t have one then it is worth bearing the following elements in mind.

STAYING IN TOUCH

Throughout the process, OASiS will seek to keep you informed of the progress of your purchase or sale, as well as any related sales if a chain is involved. Your solicitor or conveyancer should be equally prepared to communicate with you – be warned, they don’t all take your calls or answer your emails, and this can be hugely frustrating.

ABILITY TO COPE

At the height of the property boom in 2007, there were 1.67 million property sales* all requiring conveyancing. After the property crash, a large number of firms withdrew from this area of law or disappeared altogether as transactions dropped by almost half to 859000* (2009). In 2013 there were 1.07 million transactions* yet the number of firms offering conveyancing services has not grown at a proportional rate.

Similarly, not all firms can cope with the workload; however, few will admit to this and rarely turn work away. The larger ‘conveyancing factories’ are just as susceptible to capacity fluctuations as the smaller high street solicitor, especially during holiday months, so it is worth asking the question before service levels become an issue. Where smaller firms are concerned it is worth enquiring as to continuity of service during holiday periods.

(*HM Revenue & Customs Annual UK Property Transactions Statistics June 2014)

LOCATION

It is no longer necessary to physically attend your solicitor’s or conveyancer’s offices. Much of the information flow can be done electronically and that has opened up a greater range of choice. You will still need to provide certified identity so this is worth bearing in mind as you could incur additional costs if you chose an out-of-area firm. Some conveyancers will accept certified identification from an agent or a financial adviser, so check with them if in doubt. Some documents will still need to be signed and returned, and we would always suggest these are sent via registered post.

NO SALE, NO FEE

This is an area worth considering and applies equally to buyers and sellers. If for any reason you have to abort a sale or purchase, you could be liable for a percentage of the solicitor’s or conveyancer’s fees depending on how much work has been carried out on your behalf. Some – like the OASiS ‘Contract Ready’ service – offer a ‘no sale, no fee’ guarantee whereby no legal fees are payable in the event of the transaction falling through. This will only apply to recoverable costs and would not include payments for searches or disbursements already carried out.

LENDER APPROVED

If you are buying with a mortgage then your lender might have strict guidelines relating to which solicitors or conveyancer they will work with. If you have a solicitor or conveyancer in mind, it’s advisable to make sure that they’re on the ‘approved panel’ for your mortgage provider.

HIDDEN COSTS

Whether you choose to use a solicitor or a conveyancer, make sure you know the extent of your costs upfront. Most firms these days will charge a set fee for carrying out the basic conveyancing process, with the exceptions to this being lease extensions and boundary disputes etc. Avoid those firms who proffer an hourly rate as this can quickly become expensive if issues arise.

TWO-WAY PROCESS

As a final point, your solicitor or conveyancer is only as good as the information you provide and this is especially true where sellers are concerned. This similarly applies to the speed at which you return paperwork and answer any enquiries; the more you co-operate, the greater your contribution to the overall efficiency of the transaction.

CONVEYANCING PROCESS GUIDE

MEMORANDUMS OF SALE

Once a formal offer is agreed, OASiS will write to the seller, the buyer and both sets of conveyancers to give details of the property, the price and all the parties involved.

CONFIRMATION OF INSTRUCTION

Your conveyancers will then write to you confirming their terms of business. The buyer’s conveyancers will ask the seller to complete a range of client and property information forms, including topics such as boundaries and ‘Fixtures & Fittings’.

CONTRACT OF SALE

The seller’s conveyancer will produce the draft Contract of Sale which will be sent to the buyer’s conveyancer along with the Land Registry documents or, if unregistered, the original deeds, along with the Transfer of Deed form. From this information they will raise enquiries. It is likely that the seller’s conveyancer may require further information in order to reply to some of these.

The buyer’s conveyancer will then request a number of searches to be carried out, including Local Authority Search, Water & Drainage Search, Environmental & Flooding Search and Chancel Search.

MORTGAGES

If the seller has a mortgage secured against the property, arrangements must be made for this to be repaid upon completion.

EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS

Once exchange and completion dates have been agreed between the seller and the buyer, the contracts can be exchanged, with everyone selling within a chain also agreeing on these dates and exchanging at the same time.

COMPLETION

On the day of completion, the seller hands over the keys to the property (the easiest way to do this is to ensure that we at OASiS already have a set) making sure that all other sets of keys are left inside the property. Once the buyer’s purchase money has been received by the seller’s conveyancers, any outstanding monies will be sent to mortgage lenders and any remaining balance to the seller.

WHY BUY A NEW HOME?

New homes are usually built in the up and coming areas, where new communities are being created and it’s great to be a part of that, especially if you’re new to Staines-upon-Thames.

Or it can just be a fresh start – a home that is immaculate, bright, clean, spacious and untouched by previous owners and their dodgy decorating and DIY! It’s a blank canvas you can stamp your own style and personality on from day one.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT

Most new homes are priced to sell quickly and often come with great incentives such as cash back, free appliances and help with moving costs get thrown in as part of the deal – as if you were getting a great value house for your money anyway.

GREENER & CHEAPER

If environmental concerns are part of your moving criteria then a new home will fit the bill – and that bill will be considerably less than you might be used to, as these homes are built to the latest environmental standards. They are much more energy-efficient and generate 60% less carbon dioxide emissions than older homes. This can reduce utility bills by more than £500 a year. Better for the planet and the bank balance.

CHAIN FREE

You can move into a new home as soon as it is complete. There’s no need to wait for existing owners to move out. This reduces the house buying chain and the stress and uncertainty that is often associated with moving, particularly into a second-hand home.

MORE FOR YOUR MONEY

New homes are built to a much higher specification than the majority of older homes so you get more for your money. They have central heating, double-glazing and high standards of roof, floor and wall insulation all included in the price, usually with standard features including fitted kitchens with integrated appliances and stylish bathrooms and cloakrooms.

PEACE OF MIND

With housebuilders providing a comprehensive customer-care service and added peace of mind from the 10-year warranty issued by organisations such as the National House-Building Council (NHBC), there is a great sense of reassurance that comes with a new home.

SPOILT FOR CHOICE

Whether it’s a one-bed apartment or a five-bed detached, there’s usually a new home for everyone and with a 7 day a week showhome viewing service, it’s much easier to find the home of your dreams – especially if you take advantage of a bespoke service to choose the fixtures and fittings to suit your lifestyle.

INSURANCE FOR HOMEOWNERS

OASiS has teamed up with a local insurer and a number of specialist brokers to offer our clients access to some of the best rates of Insurance for Home Owners to be found.

They, like us, are passionate about client service and believe that the best way to support you and deliver real value for money is through their teams of friendly and experienced staff.

As a local business, they specialise in understanding the individual needs of their clients, a factor often missed when dealing with a national or internet-based organisation, and one particularly pertinent to our riverside location.

As well as arranging new cover they are happy to review the cover you already have in place to make sure your current policy is suitable for your needs.

Click here for more information or please let us know and we will arrange for a member of their team to contact you with a quote with preferential rates.

SURVEYS

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With the exception of a Mortgage Valuation which ALL lenders will require, there is no statutory requirement to carry out any form of survey on a property. However, unless you yourself are qualified in this area or have extensive construction experience, it’s always advisable to have some form of survey carried out on your prospective new property purchase.

Surveys in the home buying process generally fall into four categories:

  • Mortgage Valuations
  • Homebuyer’s Survey
  • Full Building Survey
  • Specialist Surveys

MORTGAGE VALUATIONS

If you are buying a property with a mortgage, the lender will require a Mortgage Valuation be carried out on the property to assess its worth against the price at which it is intended to be bought. This survey is effectively for the lender’s benefit to determine the risk to which the lender would be exposed in the event of the mortgage payer defaulting.

At OASiS, we make a point of providing mortgage valuation surveyors with Properly Prepared Valuation Information, supplying not only the valuation details of three comparable recent local property sales, but also a comprehensive package of accompanying Land Registry information in order to support the price agreed and minimize the risk of the lender ‘down-valuing’ the mortgage offer.

This type of survey does not assess the condition of the building, unless there are major defects that would affect the value of the property such as obvious subsidence or lack of basic facilities such as kitchens or bathrooms.

As part of this process, the surveyor will compare the property against others sold recently to gauge its value in the market place. To assist the surveyor with their valuation, OASiS will provide comparison properties and Land Registry data.

HOMEBUYER’S SURVEY

A Homebuyer’s Survey will be a non-obtrusive assessment of the overall condition of the property. The surveyor will follow a predetermined format, as prescribed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and the report will comment on any major issues such as subsidence and rot etc. However, they will not lift floorboards or move furniture; they will simply test for damp and report their readings accordingly.

This type of survey effectively looks at the overall condition of the building in a similar way that an MOT Test assesses a car. They can either be carried out at the same time as a Mortgage Valuation or independently; however, if the Mortgage Valuation is carried out at the same time, the surveyor will likely use the more in-depth findings from the Homebuyer’s Survey in the valuation report.

The survey will include a description of the construction of the property and will give an indication of the estimated cost of rebuilding should this ever be required. The average Homebuyer’s Survey will take approximately 2 hours and cost from £500.

FULL BUILDING SURVEY

Formerly referred to as a ‘Full Structural Survey’, a Full Building Survey is a far more comprehensive survey and will look at the condition of the property in greater depth. As well as covering all the areas looked at by a Homebuyer’s Survey, such as major defects, this type of survey will also indicate minor defects and suggest the likely costs to repair or rectify these issues.

A Full Building Survey will investigate the presence of damp and wood-related issues and will visually inspect the damp proof course, the insulation, the loft space and the drains. Furniture will be moved and otherwise inaccessible areas such as under carpets will be examined.

The average Full Building Survey will be far more extensive and costs approximately £1000. It’s worth noting that both levels of survey will include various caveats and statements deflecting liability from the surveyor, most notably in relation to the electrics and central heating. And they may also recommend further specialist surveys (see below) especially where older properties are concerned or where evidence of historical building modifications have been carried out.

SPECIALIST SURVEYS

As a general rule, most surveys will suggest that some form of further specialist advice is sought in areas that fall outside the normal remit of a surveyor, such as heating, electrics, damp, wood condition and structural issues. In some cases, a degree of common sense will be required; surveyors tend, as a breed, to be ‘belt & braces’ in their approach, and it’s easy for a layperson to read a survey at face value and conclude that what was their property should, in fact, just be condemned! In the event that a further survey is required, OASiS can usually organise this for you.

– Electrical Survey

Nearly every survey will ‘red flag’ or highlight the electrics of a property as an area requiring investigation, as the surveyor is not likely to also be a qualified electrical engineer and therefore cannot professionally comment on this area. Should you wish to carry out an electrical survey, OASiS can organise this for you.

– Central Heating Survey

As with electrical issues, a survey will nearly always exclude this area. In some cases, if the property you are buying has had a recent boiler change or if the property has been recently rented out, then some form of professional certification may exist. Otherwise, OASiS can arrange for a Heating Engineer to attend; however, they will not be allowed to physically investigate the system beyond a visual inspection for fear of creating a potential legal conflict in the event that damage is caused. The cost depends on the size of the property.

– Damp and Wood Condition Survey

Another common area that frequently comes up in surveys, particularly in older properties, is damp. The age of the property you are buying will be a particular factor in the likelihood of damp, due to the type of damp proof course (DPC) in place. Surrounding ground conditions and the provision for the dispersal of rainwater will also play a part and are also worth investigating.

– Specialist Structural Survey and Structural Engineers Report

On occasions, a regular building survey may highlight specific concerns which they suggest need further investigation, the most common areas being subsidence (both historical and current) and the lack of sufficient or evident structural support (usually in relation to the removal of chimney breasts and the provision of support to any remaining stacks). It is usually possible for a building contractor to suggest a likely plan to rectify concerns in this area, assuming the mortgage lender does not stipulate that a more technical survey is carried out as part of the official offer.

REMOVALS

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As a general rule, most professional removals companies suggest that you start planning the removal process around six weeks in advance to give you plenty of time to have a real purge of unwanted items which can then either be disposed of or sold.

As part of the moving process, it’s also advisable to start thinking about who else needs to be informed of your new address and contact details, such as your bank, doctor, dentist, employer, utility suppliers etc. You should also look into having your mail re-directed by the Royal Mail.

There are generally two ways of moving home; doing it yourself or employing a professional removals company to handle the move for you.

DOING IT YOURSELF

Although the cheaper option, there are a number of factors that you need to consider, not least the quantity of items that you will need to move. If you are a first-time buyer, it may well be feasible to hire a van and enlist the help of friends and family to move yourself.

If, however, you are moving to your second or later home, then the likelihood is that you will have acquired a lot more possessions over the years and you should really consider whether hiring a van is a realistic option.

Timings are another important factor to consider if you are planning to move yourself. If you are buying a home involved in a chain, then you are unlikely to be able to move your possessions into your new home until the sale has officially completed.  If you are moving yourself and likely to require more than one trip then you need to consider how this will affect those buying your house if you are delayed at any point.

Damage caused in transit is also another important consideration. If you plan to move yourself it is advisable to contact your insurer to check their position on this, should any of your valuables get lost or damaged in the moving process.

EMPLOYING A REMOVALS COMPANY

Although clearly the more expensive option, the advantages of using a professional removals company are numerous. Most removals companies will offer a range of services from a ‘full packing and move’ to a basic, more cost-effective service where you do your own packing. And they should offer a free consultation and quotation service where various elements will be discussed, including what is to be moved from where, and what challenges the existing and new locations may present. A word to the wise – when you’re selecting your removals company, please check that they are fully insured!

Once you’ve chosen a removals company, they should nominate a ‘Move Manager’ who will be responsible for planning and managing your move. The company will organise a packing team to attend the property and start packing (or supply you with packaging materials if you are planning to do this yourself) and they will also arrange for appropriate insurance for specialist items cover, should this be required.

You will need to have planned for the move day to assist the teams. If there are any parking restrictions at either of the move locations, you will need to plan for these well in advance and organise permits or request parking exemption in the case of yellow lines from the local council. It is always worth arranging for pets and small children to be moved to a neutral location to avoid placing them under unnecessary stress.

If your move involves an item that is directly connected to a mains utility such as an oven or cooker or electrical fitting, then a specialist contractor will be required, especially where gas is concerned. In these cases, you will need to make arrangements for this to be carried out, ideally in advance of the actual move date in case there are any unforeseen issues.

Where valuables are concerned it is advisable to put these in a safe place that is easily accessible by you, even during the move.  Computers should also be backed up to prevent any data loss.

On the move day, the teams will arrive and the removal process will start in earnest. This is when the advantages of using a professional mover will become apparent. Make sure that the room location of all packages is clearly marked up so that they are unloaded into the correct rooms at the new property.

And most important of all… never, ever forget to keep the kettle out of the packing and stock up on tea, milk, sugar and biscuits. Professional removals people work much more efficiently when they’ve just had a fresh brew!

OASiS has been working with the best local removals company for a number of years. They share our commitment to customer service and are renowned for their attention to detail, offering a range of moving solutions from straightforward ‘pack and move’ to international relocations, as well as short- and long-term storage options.

Best of all, they offer highly preferential rates to OASiS customers! For a free consultation or advice, please call us and we will put you in contact.

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