house valuation

Why video valuations might be here to stay

  1. We have recently seen the reintroduction of physical property viewings in England, reopening the property market which had been on pause since lockdown began.

However, this isn’t the end of digital services in the property industry, especially when it comes to getting a house valuation…

Introducing video valuations

In the weeks following the introduction of tight lockdown measures, some estate agents are offering virtual viewings and valuations and valuations to keep the property market afloat. Using platforms such as Zoom or Facetime to tour the property, property owners can go through with a virtual house valuation without having to travel to the location.

While in-person property visits are allowed by following social distancing rules, there is still a restriction on the number of viewings allowed per day. And as agents have a backlog of valuation appointments made before and during lockdown, virtual alternatives will help keep the market running.

“They’ve been really successful for us,” said Steve Brown, branch manager of Winkworth Blackheath. “In the last two-and-a-half weeks we’ve done 27, in a few different ways.”

How many valuations should I get?

Typically, most homeowners receive 2-5 valuations before their home is listed for sale. It will come down to how long the property has been on the market, whether the seller is familiar with recent local sales prices and whether their expectations are in line with those of buyers in our current climate.

Desktop mortgages

A desktop mortgage is a mortgage approval based on automated house valuation and can vary from lender to lender. Some will offer a mortgage restricted to 75-85 per cent loan-to-value. The mortgage valuer will look at the property market value group, as well as recent sales in the area and other factors.

Desktop valuations aren’t always available if the property has too many variables that cannot be determined without a home visit. Common property types that may not be eligible include new-builds, flats, and properties in unique or up-and-coming areas.

“Re-allowing surveyors to enter homes as long as a distance of two metres is maintained means that physical valuations can get going again,” says Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at online broker Trussle.

“Some lenders, such as HSBC and Virgin Money, have already confirmed that valuations are starting to be booked in.”

For the latest developments during and after lockdown, get in touch with Joules Estate Agents today.

Read More

uk rental market

Rental market activity shows signs of recovery

Since the lifting of lockdown measures last week, there has been a significant increase in the number of rental properties hitting the market. According to analysis from rental stock figures sourced from Rightmove and Zoopla, the number of rental properties coming onto the market has surged by up to 44 per cent in some cities across the UK. This comes as landlords and letting agents find themselves able to resume business meaning that the UK rental market is improving.

The research by Howsy shows that the number of rental properties currently listed across the major portals after lockdown restrictions were eased across the UK property market before this was compared to the number of properties listed in April.

The data reveals that across 23 major cities in the UK, the number of properties available for UK tenants to rent has seen an instant uplift of 5 per cent on average. This increase has come from only seven cities, while the rest have seen further declines in rental stock levels.

The largest increase based on the sheer number of properties have been in London. The city has seen an additional 6,838 immediately hitting the portals, a rise of 15 per cent. However, in terms of percentage increases, Edinburgh faced the largest influx with an uplift of 44 per cent. Cambridge followed with 19 per cent, while Aberdeen has seen a 16 per cent increase.

Glasgow (6 per cent), Oxford (5 per cent), and Manchester (0.2 per cent) have also seen a rise in rental stock levels.

Some cities, however, are yet to see recovery on the market. For example, Bristol has seen stock levels fall by 22 per cent since April. What’s more, both Bournemouth and Plymouth have seen a loss of 17 per cent each.

Callum Brannan, founder and CEO of Howsy, said: “Many in the rental sector will be breathing a sigh of relief with such immediate green shoots of market activity returning to a number of cities following an ease in lockdown market restrictions.

“Of course, other pockets of the market will take longer to see this positive trend emerge as agents and landlords find their feet operationally.

“We’re certainly not out of the woods yet and the ongoing financial and health implications facing many tenants and landlords will continue to be an obstacle. However, now that we as an industry are able to facilitate them on a greater scale, we can at least start to rebuild momentum in the sector.

“Now, it’s vital that landlords receive the support and protection they need from us as an industry, to ensure confidence in their investment and to maintain a suitable level of rental stock to meet demand from tenants who rely on these homes in order to live.”

For more home investment advice during Covid-19 pandemic contact Joules Estate Agents today.

Read More

Covid-19 update

As we are sure you will have heard, the Government have announced that businesses within the housing sector can begin to open their offices, conduct viewings and carry out market appraisals.

Whilst the news is very welcome, we also have to ensure the safety of all of our clients and staff, whether you are wishing to view, or inviting us to value your home. Our office will open on Monday 18th May 2020 but please contact us to make an appointment before visiting. By doing this we can monitor the number of visitors to our office at any time and ensure their safety.

We are currently arranging viewings in line with Government guidelines and are being mindful of our vendors’ wishes and safety. We will be asking additional questions before booking in any appointment. The safety of everyone is our primary objective so we would request that there only be 2 adults per viewing maximum, with no children present. Please make sure that when on a viewing that you do not touch anything within the house.

We look forward to welcoming calls and getting back to business again.

Thank you for your patience whilst we adjust to the new ‘normal’.


Read More

the rental market

Rental market update during Coronavirus

As lockdown continues to impact the property market, the latest Goodlord Rental Index shows a significant drop in the rental market in 5 out of 8 UK regions throughout April. At the same time, the dip in void periods has fluctuated across the UK.

According to the data, there was a rapid drop in the volume of new and completed tenancies leading up to Easter, before rebounding and finding balance towards the end of the month.

The majority of regions monitored by Goodlord saw a drop during April, with the average rental costs across the UK falling by a collective 2 per cent, from £878 to £861 per property per month.

The biggest drop in rental costs was found in Wales and the West Midlands. Both regions recorded a loss of 6 per cent. The North East saw a 4 per cent dip, followed by a 2 per cent drop in the average rental costs for Greater London and the North West.

The South West prices remained steady, but the South East and East Midlands saw a 1 per cent rise in average rental costs.

In terms of void periods, there were records of marginal increases for three days in the North West, two days in the South East and five days in the South West. However, East Midlands, Greater London and the North East saw a two-day drop.

Tom Mundy, COO at Goodlord, said: “Everyone in the industry is doing what they can to cope with an unprecedented set of challenges.

“With restrictions on movement continuing, it’s no surprise that market activity is significantly down year-on-year and that rents and void periods are fluctuating across the regions.”

It’s not all bad news

There is some positive news to come out of the latest data. According to Mundy, Goodlord’s letting activity tracker appears to demonstrate a new level of consistency in market demand over the past week.

He added: “Whilst a halving of activity year-on-year remains a crippling statistic for the industry, we also believe a huge amount of pent up demand will be released once lockdown lifts.

“Agents who are able to plan ahead for this and can ensure their strategies adapt to the new normal of social distancing will be in a strong position to capitalise on that surge.”

Let Joule’s help you find a tenant for your property

If you are looking to rent out your property in the Heaton’s in Greater Manchester, Joule’s Estate Agents is here to help. Though we understand that leaving the home may not be an option at the moment, we are working from our homes to help landlords and homeowners find the right people for their property. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch.

Read More

how to take good photos of your home

How to take high-quality photos of your home using your phone

Joules prides ourselves on our photography & we utilise the service of, Jamie Felix who owns Felix Media & photography. Jamie is a celebrated photographer & the work he has done for Joules has resulted in Joules selling homes that other agents have been unable to. Unfortunately, during lock-down we can’t offer that facility but the next best thing is to experiment with producing your own. So, we’ve put together some guidelines with the help of Right Move to help produce the best response possible in the circumstances.

According to research from Rightmove, “great listings” achieve 93 percent more leads than “average listings”. But what makes a listing “great”? High-quality images of course! While now may not be a good time to be hiring a photographer for your home, there are many other strategies for how to take good photos of your home using your phone.

How to take high-quality photos of your home using your phone -start with a declutter

Before you take any photos, you must make sure your home is clean and tidy. This means decluttering each room, remove cars and wheelie bins from view, open all curtains and turn on the lights to brighten up the property, and remove any signs of owning pets (this can be off-putting to some buyers).

Taking photos using your phone

Now it’s time to grab your phone and start taking photos! Modern smartphones and tablets come with fantastic cameras. Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of your camera:

·         Each image should be 3MB to 6MB in size

·         Images should be saved as JPG or PNG (PNG is the highest quality the image can be)

·         Shoot at an aspect ratio of 4:3, which is usually the default

·         Turn on HDR mode if possible

·         Turn off Live mode or Motion stills to ensure the image keeps still

Weather & time of day

British weather means there is no guarantee that the weather will be easy to predict. And as lighting changes throughout the day, even on the best days, the challenge will change as the hours’ pass. Bright sun is the trickiest to shoot under, so it helps to take photos when the sun isn’t out. If it is out, make sure the sun is behind you when taking external images. It also helps to shoot when no dark shadows are being cast that will negatively impact the image.

How many photos should I take?

It helps to have anywhere between 8 and 24 images depending on the size of your property, but it helps to take photos of everything you can. You know your home better than anyone else, so it’s always worth taking a photo of any details you think people might be interested in.


The angle you shoot from and the composition you choose play an important role in getting a great image. Here are some tips to make sure you get it right!

·         Shoot in landscape, not portrait

·         Crouch to shoot from waist height to reduce the illusion of leaning walls

·         Shoot externals from an angle for depth

·         Shoot internals from a corner or doorframe to get the most space

Sharing your photos via WeTransfer

It may seem like a good idea to send images via email, but this method can compress the quality of the image! We recommend using WeTransfer for sending images to your estate agent as it’s free and safe. Here’s how:

·         Head over to the website on your mobile device

·         Tap Send a file

·         Select your property photos

·         In Message, enter your name and property address

·         Select “Send an email”

·         Enter your agent’s email and your email

·         Tap Transfer

Using phone images to sell your home with Joules

And that’s it! Everything you need to know about taking high-quality photos of your home using your phone. If you are currently thinking of selling your home in the Heaton’s, then let us help. At Joules Estate Agents, we have the know-how on what makes a property sell and are experts on the local area. If you would like to learn more, get in touch.

Read More