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Do homes sell better in Spring? We separate property fact from fiction

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There’s no shortage of advice on how buyers, sellers, renters and landlords can get the best out of the housing market.

Conversations about property at dinner parties (remember those?) and programmes like Homes Under The Hammer and Location, Location, Location have made us all experts, or so we think.

But are some of our certainties just old wives’ tales? We asked the real experts . . .

Conversations about property at dinner parties and programmes like Homes Under The Hammer and Location, Location, Location have made us all experts, or so we think

Conversations about property at dinner parties and programmes like Homes Under The Hammer and Location, Location, Location have made us all experts, or so we think

YOUR HOME WILL SELL FAST

Verdict: Fiction.

Estate agents may tell the owner that their home will sell quickly in order to win the instruction to market the property.

‘Until you’ve had viewings there’s no way of knowing. Many properties will sell at the right price, but to get to that may take a little longer than anticipated,’ says Chris Mullin, of estate agency Hamptons.

ONLINE AGENTS ARE CHEAPER

Verdict: Fiction.

Although you’ll pay less in charges to an online agent, you are likely to get a lower price for your property, which more than outweighs the saving in fees. 

Property information service The Advisory, calculates that bricks and mortar firms typically achieve a 5 per cent higher price.

BUYERS DECIDE QUICKLY

Verdict: Fact.

Studies show buyers make an in-principle decision to bid for, or reject, a property fast – often within 30 minutes or less. That’s why a smart exterior can set the tone for a successful viewing.

COFFEE AROMA WOOS BUYERS

Verdict: Fiction.

Quick decisions on purchases tend to be based on visual impressions, not smells. ‘Not everyone warms to them. 

In Covid times, fresh air wins hands down. And at this time of year, if you have a fire, light it,’ says Sarah Cull, of Strutt & Parker.

ODD NUMBERS SELL FOR MORE

Verdict: Fact.

Many agents report more people want odd numbers, especially traditionally ‘lucky’ three and seven, outweighing unpopular 13. 

Higher demand pushes up prices, and comparison website GetAgent says analysis shows odd-number homes sell on average for 2 per cent more.

MY STREET STARRED IN A FILM

Verdict: Fiction.

‘People are so switched on, they’re unlikely to pay more for a property that’s been on the large or small screen,’ says James Greenwood, of Stacks Property Search. ‘A property linked with horrific events may make it harder to sell.’

FLAT CONVERSIONS ARE TINY 

Verdict: Fact.

Minimum government space standards don’t apply to many homes converted from old offices. ‘A 13 sq m flat – the area of a typical double bedroom – is not uncommon. Some are even smaller,’ warns a HomeOwners Alliance spokesman.

REJECT THE FIRST OFFER

Verdict: Fiction.

‘If they offer the asking price and are in a great position – no chain and finances in place – then don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,’ advises Paula Higgins, HomeOwners Alliance chief executive.

PRICES ALWAYS RISE

Verdict: Fiction.

House prices dropped about 20 per cent between 1989 and 1993, and during the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 they fell almost as much. 

However, the average UK house price in late 1980 was almost £21,000 when 40 years later it hit £245,000 – nearly 12 times the amount.

HOUSES SELL WELL IN SPRING

Verdict: Fact.

The Advisory calculates that a home put on the market in March will take 57 days on average before the seller accepts an offer. The typical time on market rises to a peak in October of 79 days on average.

STAMP DUTY USED TO BE HIGH

Verdict: Fiction.

Stamp Duty was only 1 per cent and applied only to homes costing over £60,000 until 1997. It’s been rising ever since and before the current stamp duty holiday (until the end of June), buyers of some properties had to pay 18 per cent Stamp Duty.

On the market… solid investments 

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The Cotswold house being sold with a 94-year-old tortoise

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This pretty period property in the Cotswolds has an unusual feature that is being included in its sale. 

While new homes may occasionally try to tempt buyers by including additional items for sale, such as furniture or even a car, this Grade II listed property is on the market for £825,000 with a more unusual – and elderly – offering.

It has a 94-year-old resident tortoise that resides in the garden of the four-bedroom detached house in Wiltshire’s Box.

A 94-year-old tortoise is part of the sale of this stunning four-bedroom home in the Cotswolds

A 94-year-old tortoise is part of the sale of this stunning four-bedroom home in the Cotswolds

Resident Hercules is a local village celebrity and is an impressive 94 years old

Resident Hercules is a local village celebrity and is an impressive 94 years old

The property is called the The Old Diary and is bursting with character features. But its most charming feature is arguably Hercules, the tortoise.

After moving into The Old Dairy in 2007 and becoming custodian of the then 80-year-old resident tortoise, the current owner of the property soon discovered that Hercules is folklore in the village of Box and somewhat a creature of habit.

The current owner – of both the property and the tortoise – has lived in the property for the last 14 years and reports that Hercules can be expected to begin hibernating around 20 October, until emerging again on or very close to 20 April the following year in line with the start of warmer days. 

This is a feat they have seen repeated annually with complete accuracy.

When not hibernating, Hercules is a low-maintenance garden resident who enjoys a diet of lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes.

While it’s no secret that Hercules is a local village celebrity, a less well-known fact about this four-legged garden friend is that following a visit to the vet in the 1970s, it was confirmed that Hercules is in fact female.

Beyond the walled-garden where Hercules resides, there is plenty more outdoor space to be enjoyed.

The property is full of character features including wooden beams and an Aga in the kitchen

The property is full of character features including wooden beams and an Aga in the kitchen

The property is for sale via estate agents Hunter French, in Corsham, with a price tag of £825,000

The property is for sale via estate agents Hunter French, in Corsham, with a price tag of £825,000

The inside of the period home spans three floors and includes this living room with a cosy fireplace

The inside of the period home spans three floors and includes this living room with a cosy fireplace

The ground floor of the property also includes this large and bright conservatory that leads to the garden

The ground floor of the property also includes this large and bright conservatory that leads to the garden

To the front of the house, there is a gravel driveway and lawned garden bordered by flowers. 

Also in the garden is an outbuilding that was once use as a double garage, but now offers itself as a space with potential for new owners to explore as it was previously transformed into a charming café.

Inside, the period home spans three floors. To the ground floor, there is a kitchen and breakfast room that can be accessed via the tiled entrance hall and boasts a blue Aga.

The formal dining room has access to the cellar and provides the perfect setting for entertaining, while the sitting room is centred around a cosy open fireplace.

Currently a working-from-home space, the third reception room is the oldest part of the property and completes the ground floor, alongside a utility room, cloakroom, and a conservatory.

As well as the family bathroom, there are three bedrooms on the first floor, while the fourth bedroom on the top floor has an ensuite and living space.

The outdoor space includes a driveway and an outbuilding that was once used as a double garage

The outdoor space includes a driveway and an outbuilding that was once used as a double garage

The character property in Box has four bedrooms including a main suite on the top floor

The character property in Box has four bedrooms including a main suite on the top floor 

The top floor includes additional living space that can be used to accommodate extra guests

The top floor includes additional living space that can be used to accommodate extra guests

Helen Whiteley, of property website OnTheMarket.com, said: ‘It certainly isn’t every day you come across a property for sale with its very own resident tortoise.

‘At the age of 94, Hercules has so far lived through two World Wars as well as the reign of four British monarchs, George V, Edward VIII, George VI, and Elizabeth II.

‘If she could, I’m sure she would be able to tell some of the most amazing tales. As it stands, now both the property and Hercules are seeking their next owner to act as their custodian with each full of character, albeit in rather different ways.’

The current owner - of both the property and the tortoise - has lived in the property for the last 14 years

The current owner – of both the property and the tortoise – has lived in the property for the last 14 years

There is plenty of outdoor space that Hercules uses, including a lawn and flower beds

There is plenty of outdoor space that Hercules uses, including a lawn and flower beds

The outbuilding offers the potential for new owners to explore as it was once a charming café

The outbuilding offers the potential for new owners to explore as it was once a charming café

Lauren Walsh, of estate agents Hunter French, in Corsham, – which is handling the sale – said: ‘The Old Dairy is an incredibly charming home filled with character and would make for a wonderful family home looking to make their next move.

‘While Hercules the tortoise is undeniably one of the most popular characters in the local village, Box itself has a lovely sense of community and offers great places to spend days out with family and friends, whether this be in the great outdoors or at one of the welcoming pubs or restaurants on offer.’

The outbuilding could be used as guest accommodation or as a bed & breakfast option

The outbuilding could be used as guest accommodation or as a bed & breakfast option

The inside of the outbuilding could be transformed to help produce an additional income

The inside of the outbuilding could be transformed to help produce an additional income

The village of Box is on the southern slope of the ByBrook valley and in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,

Many of its buildings are made from the natural Box stone which has been quarried in the surrounding area since at least the 8th Century.

The average price of a property in Box is almost double the £329,735 national average at £601,284, according to property website Zoopla.

Peter Gabriel established his state of the art ‘Real World Studios’ in Box and this has helped to attract people from the entertainment industry to settle in the village.

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Ireland’s data commissioner loses sole regulatory oversight of Facebook in Europe

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Europe’s top court on Tuesday endorsed the power of national data watchdogs to pursue big tech firms even if they are not their lead regulators, in a setback for Silicon Valley companies such as

Facebook. The EU Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling could encourage national agencies to act against US tech companies such as Google, Twitter and Apple, which all have their European Union headquarters in Ireland.

Many national watchdogs in the 27-member European Union have long complained about their Irish counterpart, saying that it takes too long to decide on cases.

Ireland has dismissed this, saying it has to be extra meticulous in dealing with powerful and well-funded tech giants. The ECJ got involved after a Belgian court sought guidance on

Facebook’s challenge against the territorial competence of the Belgian data watchdog’s bid to stop it from tracking users in Belgium through cookies stored in the company’s social plug-ins, regardless of whether they have an account or not.

“Under certain conditions, a national supervisory authority may exercise its power to bring any alleged infringement of the GDPR before a court of a member state, even though that authority is not the lead supervisory authority with regard to that processing,” the ECJ said.

Under landmark EU privacy rules known as GDPR, Facebook faces oversight by the Irish privacy authority because it has its European head office in Ireland. – Reuters

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Evo Industrial acquires London warehouse (GB)

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Bradda Capital has sold a prime last-mile logistics site in southeast London to Evo Industrial for over €9.3m (£8m). The 3.4-acre site, One Church Manorway, is located in an established industrial area in Erith and has significant development potential. In September 2020, Bradda obtained planning consent to demolish the current 37,662ft² warehouse and to construct a new 60,687ft² facility with a BREEAM sustainability rating of “Very Good”.

 

David Phillips, managing director of Bradda Capital, said: “We are delighted with the level of bidding interest in the site, which reflected the strength of the logistics real estate market. It is an investment that we bought 10 years ago for income with an eye on the growing demand for warehousing in the London area. With leases at expiry, we realised the potential for adding significant value by securing planning consent for a much larger facility of more than three times the volume”.

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