Selling a property in winter? Here are our tips for seasonal staging.

Winter can be a difficult time to sell a property, but with the right staging, you can turn the season to your advantage. Here are our tips for success when selling your home in winter.

Start from theoutside.

We don’t get a lot of snow in Northern Ireland, but when it comes it can be a hazard, as can the ice that appears more frequently. Make sure you keep your driveway and any paths around the outside of your house clear of snow and ice so potential buyers don’t fall when they come to view your house.

It’s also a good idea to get out and make sure any hedges or outdoor plants are presentable. It’s easy to neglect the garden when it’s cold outside, but taking care of this area will make your house look much more appealing to house hunters.

Don’t forget the windows.

Even in the warmer months, many people forget to take care of their windows, but during the winter it’s especially important to keep them clean both inside and outside. During the winter, windows can accumulate a layer of grime that blocks some of the natural light you’ll want to get in to brighten up your interiors.

Keep your house bright.

Switch the lights on when you have people in to view your house, even during the day. It’s dark enough in winter, so keeping your house well-lit will make it feel more inviting to prospective buyers. Make sure you replace any light bulbs that need changing and add a few lamps to darker spaces.

If you can make the most of what natural light is available by scheduling viewings during the late morning and afternoon, this is worth doing. Keep the curtains open to allow as much natural light in as possible.

Make it warm and comfortable.

If you have a fireplace in the house, light it before viewers arrive. This will help make the house appealing by warming it up and giving it a nice ambience. Turn the heating on as well to keep the whole house a comfortable temperature so people stay long enough to appreciate the property.

Arranging sofas and beds with heavy winter blankets, duvets and cushions will also make the house look like a comfortable place to spend cold winter days. Choosing warm colours will help set the mood as well.

Contact Us.

With so much to do when selling a house, you need an estate agent who will make the process as easy as possible for you. So, if you’re looking planning on selling, take a look at our website or visit us in one of our branches in Templepatrick or on the Lisburn Road in Belfast and find out how we can help you make your next move.

Mistakes first time homebuyers should avoid.

Buying your first home can be a complicated process with a lot of steps to take, several interested parties involved, including the seller, estate agents and solicitors, to deal with and a lot of money involved.

With so much going on, it’s easy to make mistakes that can cost time and money. At Aria, we want to make buying a house as straightforward as we possibly can for our clients, so here is our guide to mistakes first time buyers should avoid.

Not checking your credit rating.

Having the cleanest possible credit report will make it much easier for you to get approved for a mortgage loan and will affect how much money you will be able to borrow, so it’s important that you make sure you access your credit report and take any steps needed to get it ready for a mortgage application. You can read our guide to improving your credit report here.

Not doing enough research.

There’s a lot of information you’ll need to know and understand when you’re buying a house. When it comes to applying for a mortgage there are a lot of questions you need to answer. What mortgage products are available? What deposit do I need? How much can I afford to repay every month? But it doesn’t end there. Make sure you have researched the house buying process and look into the property itself. How old is it? Does it need any work? What is the housing demand like in the area?

Not getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

It‘s not uncommon for prospective buyers to start looking at properties in a particular price range only to discover later that they won’t be able to borrow a big enough mortgage. This can set the whole process back while you reassess your budget and start looking all over again. To avoid this it’s a good idea to contact you chosen lender and ask for a ‘mortgage in principle’. This is a statement from a bank to say that would lend you a certain amount of money and will help you to clarify your budget.

Not getting a survey done.

Sometimes buyers will avoid getting a proper inspection done on a property they plan to buy. Sometimes they want to avoid the expense, other buyers fall in love with a particular property and rush to finish the deal. It is important to get a survey done, however. While the house may look superficially like it’s in good condition, a survey will reveal any hidden damage, like rotting floors, a leaking roof, or rising damp, which could affect the value of the property or cost you more to have fixed.

Underestimating total costs.

We’ve already talked about mortgage costs, but there are many other expenses you might have to cover when you’re buying a house and when you’re living in it. When buying, you’ll need to cover solicitors’ fees, survey costs, mortgage processing fees, and possibly Stamp Duty. Once you’re in the house you’ll have to pay for building insurance, council tax, utility bills, TV
licence and any maintenance costs, which you might not be paying in rented accommodation. Before buying it’s important to work out exactly how much you can afford to pay in living costs and budget accordingly.

Once you’ve checked your credit rating, worked out your budget and spoken to your bank, you’re ready to find your perfect home. Contact Aria Residential online at www.ariaresidential.co.uk
or visit us in one of our branches on the Lisburn Road in Belfast or in Templepatrick and find out how we can help you get your perfect home.

Buying a house? Here’s our guide to the different types of mortgage.

Buying a house can be a complicated process, with borrowers having to make decisions about their budget, the type of property they want, their solicitor and more.

One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is deciding what type of mortgage you want to take. This isn’t helped by the fact that the mortgage products which are available can change.

So, whether you’re a first time buyer, buying to let, or planning on downsizing, here’s our guide to the different types of mortgages available.

Fixed Rate.

Fixed rate mortgages have become increasingly popular with homebuyers. As the name suggests, the interest rate on these mortgages is fixed for an initial term when you take it out. This term can be two, five, or sometimes as much as ten years. A fixed rate mortgage ensures that your monthly repayments will stay the same over this initial period.

The main selling point for fixed rate mortgages is that it offers certainty about what your mortgage costs will be, allowing you to plan your finances more effectively. With speculation mounting that an interest rate rise may be imminent, many mortgage experts are advising customers to fix their mortgage for as long as possible to avoid any unexpected rate rises that may be coming.

One possible downside of opting for a fixed rate mortgage is that you will probably miss out on a more competitive deal if your lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) is lower than the fixed rate, or falls below it.

Standard Variable Rate.

The standard variable rate is set by your lender and varies from one lender to the next, though the average rate is currently around 4.5%. This rate is influenced by the Bank of England’s base rate, but isn’t directly tied to it and the lender can increase or cut this rate at any time.

With the base rate currently low, opting for an SVR can be good value, however, sooner or later this rate will go up and you have no control over when or by how much it increases, so it offers less certainty and security.

Tracker.

Another type of variable rate loan is a tracker mortgage. As the name suggests, a tracker mortgage tracks the Bank of England’s base rate, rising or falling as it does.

Typically a tracker mortgage will follow the base rate at a given margin above or below it. So, if your tracker mortgage were to be base rate plus 1%, that would mean your current interest rate would be 1.25%. Longer term tracker mortgages will usually have a larger margin, for example base rate plus 3.5%.

Tracker mortgages can either be taken as an introductory rate, usually for a period of one to five years, or they can cover the whole life of the mortgage.

With interest rates having been kept at historically low levels for years, tracker mortgages have offered some very good deals, however, interest rates can’t really fall any further and, as we noted above,
speculation is mounting that a rise in the base rate will happen quite soon, so these mortgages may lose their appeal for many borrowers.

Interest Only.

All of the loans we’ve talked about have been repayment have been repayment mortgages, where you pay off the loan itself, plus some interest, every month. You can, however, also take out an interest only mortgage, where you only pay the interest on the loan every month.

This has the advantage of keeping your monthly repayments down, but does mean that you will need to have a repayment vehicle in place so that you can repay the full value of the loan when the term ends.

Interest only mortgages are popular with landlords who want to keep their monthly repayments down in order to maximise their rental yield. For other borrowers, taking out an interest only mortgage can be a risky strategy, as you may find you can’t afford to repay the capital on the loan at the end of the term, which could lead to your home being repossessed.

Contact Us.

With so much to do and so many costs to meet when buying a house, you need an estate agent who will make the process as easy as possible for you. So, if you’re looking for a new home, take a look at our website or visit us in one of our branches in Templepatrick or on the Lisburn Road in Belfast and find out how we can help you find the perfect home.

Is A Shark Promising To Sell My House?

‘Is A Shark Promising To Sell My House?’

There are all manner of reasons which can prevent or delay the sale of a property.

The state of the market, the preponderance of similar properties, the availability or cost of mortgages, the price you are asking and the condition of what you are trying to sell are just a few of them.

At this stage, the cost of mortgages ought not to be an issue. With the base interest rate continuing to creep along the fiscal ocean bed at an all-time low, mortgages have never been more affordable.

Currently the property market is stable, albeit that no-one is quite sure of what the future may hold in the wake of the Brexit vote. Meanwhile houses continue to sell.

So if you cannot attract a buyer, you have got to ask yourself why that might be? Is your asking price unrealistically high? Has it been marketed properly? Is the property in a bad state of repair? Could location be an issue? Honest answers will serve your purpose best at this stage….

If you are divorcing, emigrating, need to clear debts or have inherited a property, you could benefit from selling quickly rather than via the normal estate agent, surveyor, bank/building society, solicitor, route.

A Fast House Sale is carried out much more quickly than that, not least because it is guaranteed to be problem-free.

How?

Simply because the process entails removing all of the intermediary steps and players, thereby enabling a smooth, swift, start-to-finish transaction.

A Fast House Sale minimises the stages at which things can become ground down. The roles of surveyors, lenders and solicitors are eradicated, making for a totally straightforward process.

So for anyone who needs to sell quickly, this could be just the solution for which they have been searching.

Put simply, Fast House Sales respond to your invitation to view the property you wish/need to sell. Having done so – at no cost to you – they will then make you an offer.

Normally this will be in the region of 80% of current market value of comparable nature in the same location. On occasions, however, the offer can be as high as 90%.

That offer price is guaranteed. Fast House Sales pride themselves on their reputation for integrity. That being the case, there are no last-minute subtractions in lieu of previously unmentioned ‘outgoings’ on their part.

With Fast House Sales, what you see is what you get and what you get is what you were offered and promised at the outset. If there are any late extra costs, those will come out of their pockets, not yours.

You may at some stage have had the misfortune of seeing a sale fall through as a result of a would-be buyer having themselves been let down by someone to whom they had been expecting to sell their home.

Again, that does not happen with a Fast House Sale. And that, too, is guaranteed.

The reasons for them being able to offer that assurance are: (a) they are not dependent on money from the sale of something else to finance the purchase of your home, and (b) there is no delay while they await the mortgage application approval of a bank or building society.

Thus, with a Fast House Sale there are no disappointments. They are not required to sell anything prior to buying from you, nor are they dependent on lenders advancing them money to finance the purchase of your property.

Nor will you be required to spend anything on refurbishing and redecorating the home you wish to sell. Since they operate a buy-as-seen policy,  if there is work to be done ahead of them putting the property on the open market at some future date, they – not you – will pay for that.

So, no monetary hiccups, no reliance on anyone else and no make-overs in readiness for viewings as there are no viewings. The only ‘viewers’ will be Fast House Sales team, with whom you are dealing directly each step of the way.

The decorative state of the property is not an issue. If they buy a home in need of substantial repair and upgrading, it will be because they recognise that, with their work and their money, it can become attractive further down the line.

Fast House Sales’ money will be in your account within weeks. In the interim, there will be no adverts or For Sale boards regarding the property, thereby providing you with total discretion. No-one will know you are selling. Nor will they know the price involved.

In keeping with their name, it’s all fast, easy, secure and guaranteed.

So if, for whatever reason, you want money quickly for your property, contact Fast House Sales and let them solve your problem.

How Can I Save Money When I Sell My House Fast?

How Can I Save Money When I Sell My House Fast?

The summer sales are over, though nowadays ‘Sale’ signs appear to be all-year-round facts of life for some retailers.

Of course, if so-called ‘sale prices’ merely tempt people to spend money on things they neither needed nor had planned to buy, it is counter-productive for the buyer.

To spend £800 rather than £1,000 on something you didn’t need is a false economy; rather than £200 saved it’s a case of £800 lost.

But where the price for something you actually require is kept down as a result of reducing the normal cost, that’s a genuine saving.

Take house sales as an example. Here the ideal scenario is a fast turn-around which sees ownership of  a property transferred promptly and the cash for that transaction lodged just as quickly into the seller’s account.

Now some people baulk at the idea of a quick house sale, their reservation seemingly stemming from the belief that if it’s fast, easy and cheap it must be suspect.

So let Fast House Sale NI address those misgivings.

As market-leaders in Northern Ireland, they enjoy an excellent reputation for integrity. In addition, they willingly lay their track record on the line for examination by anyone who might have concerns.

In doing so, Fast House Sale NI readily acknowledge that some other companies, purportedly offering  similar services, may not necessarily adhere to such high standards of integrity and customer care.

But don’t judge the pick of the crop by the poor standard of a few bad apples in the orchard.

So how exactly do Fast House Sale NI manage to cut their customers’ costs in selling their property?

The traditional means of selling a house is via an estate agent  whose role is to market your property in the most productive manner before the widest possible audience in the hope of selling it for the highest-possible price.

In pursuit of this objective, the estate agent will advise you on the value of your home and then advertise it at that price on the open market.

Assuming the estate agent is successful – though this could take some considerable time and may also entail you having to reduce the original asking price – he/she will be entitled to a percentage of the sum for which the property was sold.

As well as providing ‘a wage’ in the form of commission for the estate agent, your costs to him/her  will include those involved in advertising the property, with boards, newspaper ads and on-line.

You, meanwhile, are likely to have incurred some further costs as a result of having carried out a few minor improvements in the course of preparing your home for viewings by those possibly – but not necessarily – interested in buying it.

Examples? New carpet to replace any that are grubby or worn, a fresh lick of paint here and there and a few rolls of wallpaper to cover your teenage offspring’s black bedroom abomination.

To this financial outlay add the time involved in giving the place a general make-over in the form of tidying up the garage and the garden as they, too, will be on view when your potential buyers hopefully start calling.

With the name of the game being to minimise the cost involved in selling a property, it is here that Fast House Sales NI come into their own.

Since they are buying the property there in no need for any estate agent. No fees, costs or commission, then.

And since there is no estate agent, neither is there any need for advertising. You have your buyer – it’s Fast House Sale NI – so you don’t need to market the property anywhere else.

Nor do Fast House Sale NI need to sell anything of their own or await confirmation of a mortgage from a bank or building society before being in a position to buy your home. They are ready to buy, with cash, NOW.

Fast House Sale also minimise the need for solicitors’ involvement, saving you yet more money.

And, of course, selling quickly means you do not have to go on forking out for mortgage repayments, rates or maintenance.

Normally they offer 80% of the current market value, though sometimes this figure reaches 90%. If that offer is accepted by you, there is no back-tracking or reneging on their part.

Nor do any hidden ‘extra costs’ suddenly appear. They pay what they said they would pay. Always.

Completion time? Six to eight weeks from start to finish. But sometimes four.

As well as being quick, it’s totally discrete; it’s sold before anyone even knew it was for sale.

Call Fast House Sales NI now and let them get you sorted.

Should I Sell My House Fast?

Should I Sell My House Fast?

Some house sales drag on for months. Sometimes the process can take years.

So where does that leave the seller who can’t afford to hang about waiting for completion of a sale which may – or may not – materialise?

Fast House Sale NI came into being to help those who want or need to sell quickly, quietly, no overheads, no fuss, deal done, money banked, moving on thank you very much.
The reasons for fast sales are many and varied. But for the individual, couple, family or group intent on selling, the need to do so promptly and discretely is the priority.

They are aware of cases where it has taken forever and they have no wish to become another anxious, frustrated, disappointed would-be seller being charged by agents and advertising outlets and who, despite having forked out good money, cannot get over the line in terms of completion.

Who needs to sell quickly? And why? All sorts of people for all sorts of reasons.
People who are emigrating and just want the whole house-selling issue done and dusted before they leave. A quick sale would be very welcome.

People to whom property may have been left following the death of a relative. They have a home of their own so they don’t need this other one as a residence, particularly as it might need to have work done before they could move in; redecoration at least, but quite possibly something a lot more substantial – and expensive.

It may be a case of a relationship breakdown which has seen both halves of a couple going their separate ways. They don’t want to spend time and money on the traditional house sale route involving estate agents, solicitors and a spruce-up or overhaul in readiness for visits by a stream of viewers, particularly as there is no guarantee of an offer at the end of it all that time, trouble and outlay.

Perhaps they have lost your job and, as a result of being unemployed, they need to get rid of everything they can no longer afford. Top of the list? The house. A quick sale is exactly what they require.

But how do you sell your home quickly? What does a quick house sale involve? Are there hidden costs? And how much could you expect to receive if you chose to follow the fast house sale road? And if you were happy with the price, how quickly could you expect to see the money for the sale?

Fast House Sale NI’s way of doing things is a clear case of ‘what it says on the tin’. It’s a quick sale which means you will not get full market value on the property in the same way you would if you were to go through the normal channels. But it’s a genuine option for somebody who wants good cash quickly.

Typically, Fast House Sale NI will offer up to 80% of the current full market value, though on occasions offers in the region of 85% have been made.And as all of those to have availed of its services decided, better the guarantee of £8 in your pocket right now than the mere dream or vague hope of a full £10 at some undefined point down the line, particularly as you may be substantially out of said-pocket between now and then.

All in all, it’s a quick, easy, no-hidden-costs transaction. An offer is made – and, significantly, it is one which includes Fast House Sale NI picking up all the other tabs normally associated with a house sale.

In other words, the seller does not have to pay for legal fees or foot the bill for an estate agent’s costs. Ordinarily it’s a six-eight weeks start-to-finish process, though there have been examples of completion within four weeks.

In addition to having all the extra costs looked after, further attractions of any such sale include the certainty that it will go through and that the seller is assured of complete discretion. There are no For Sale boards, no adverts and nobody else will be aware of the fact that you are selling, or have sold, or to whom or for how much. All such information is strictly confidential.

Once the deal is done and the handshakes are exchanged, the cash will be in your bank within weeks. Worst case scenario? Eight weeks.

Not only are Fast House Sale the biggest such company in Northern Ireland; they are part of a much bigger entity, namely CD Fairfield Capital, a Belfast-based group of companies who are both proud and protective of their reputation for ethics, integrity and transparency.

Fast House Sale NI guarantee an open market valuation of the property. Nor are they put off by its state of repair or the standard to which it has been maintained.

Even if it has been so poorly looked after that it has reached the point of not being mortgageable, they will welcome the opportunity to take a look with a view to buying it.

If you’re interested in a quick sale – be it residential, commercial property or land – Fast House Sale NI want to hear from you.

The Belfast Property Market

We are in un-chartered economic waters right now, with the international market in a state of flux and the UK and the rest of Europe trying to come to terms with what the Brexit vote is going to mean for ordinary people.

The pound has plummeted against the dollar and the euro, making imports more expensive. Meanwhile the UK’s base interest rate remains marooned at an unprecedented 0.25%. Oil prices are soaring again.

Interest rates may change, the pound may increase – or continue to decrease – in value, greater inflation is probable, a return to recession is possible. In truth, with so many experts interpreting the same facts totally differently and contradicting one another’s forecasts every day, Joe Public does not know what or whom to believe. But come what may, people are going to need a roof over their heads.

So what is happening in the Northern Ireland property market now?
With offices in south Belfast and Templepatrick, Aria have a finger on the pulse, both in the city and 10 miles out into the country. And despite all the post-Brexit uncertainty, they are seeing clear evidence of a market which is strengthening steadily, in a responsible manner and at a sustainable rate. Hopefully the madness of 2005-07 when property prices went crazy has taught everyone a salutary lesson.

Northern Ireland people tend to be conservative by nature, inclined to weigh things up rather than stampeding into risky ventures. That being the case, most will welcome the news that the idea of buying a home simply to make quick money from selling it on again a relatively short time later appears to have had its day. For now at any rate. From working with ordinary people merely trying to sell or buy ‘a home’ – in the true sense of the word – Aria have seen a real change in attitudes. Instead of purchasing in the hope of making money from a quick re-sale, buyers’ decisions are back to being based on how and where they plan to live for some time to come.

So at the moment there is considerable interest in available property and the price it is fetching. Supply is an issue at certain levels, with demand outstripping availability. And that, in turn, is nudging prices upwards – but not in the way we saw in the mid-2000s. Right now you can sell and buy at a good market-based price. While there is an element of ‘wait and see’, particularly at the top end of the price bracket, interest in mid-range properties is encouragingly strong. This, of course, is destined to translate into sales and when it does, the money that produces will begin to filter through elsewhere on the property ladder.

In addition, there is more and more evidence of new-build homes. Those are attracting a lot of first-time buyers – young couples and young single professionals – into the market.
Many of those intent on buying are drawn increasingly to more and more advanced ‘turn-key packages’ whereby the purchaser gets to put their identity on the property from the outset by choosing their own fittings, kitchens and bathrooms, for example.

Meanwhile three-bedroom semis and smaller detached houses are sparking interest, too, particularly from growing families. Aria have discovered that with lenders now much more cautious than was the case a decade ago, in turn would-be borrowers have responded by being prepared to make sacrifices in order to put down the biggest possible deposit.  In the hope of minimising their outgoings, thus leaving a lot more of their disposable income intact, many are continuing to live with their parents.

There are some excellent mortgage products out there and obviously the more a borrower is able to put down, the better the deals and more favourable the rates they will be offered. With huge development sites having been bought in Comber and Newtownards, clearly there are fresh projects on the way, reflecting confidence in the state of the property market.  One reason for this optimism in the fact that the figures are making sense again. Something that, at the height of the boom soared to £200,000 can now be bought for £70,000. An attractive residence, realistically priced and therefore affordable equals genuine interest on the part of buyers.

The approach on the part of buyers and sellers alike is altogether more pragmatic. Growth is sensibly paced. We’re told that the price of houses may rise by up to 7.8% this year!

But the biggest single change is that we are back to a situation where people see their home as being just that – their home, not bricks and mortar out of which to make a vast profit very quickly,
Aria are leading the way in this, by keeping their eyes, and those of their clients, focused on reality – real homes for real people at realistic prices.

Should I Buy A House Or Rent A House? Aria Residential

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the ‘Should I buy or should I rent?’ question.

In reality it depends on what you want to do, what you expect your home to be and its role in all the other areas and aspects of your life.

The current state of the property market – and, as a result, prices – is a huge factor, too, particularly given the fact that prices can plummet as well as spiral, a fact which many tens of thousands in Northern Ireland can confirm in the wake of 2008 and the negative equity crisis that followed. The repercussions of that are on-going, of course – the road to recovery will be a long one.

Finally, and perhaps most pertinently and importantly, is the matter of what is realistic for you in terms of what you need in tandem with what you can afford. To that end, are you thinking in terms of the next 12 months or the next 20 years?

So, let’s go through those points step by step.

Firstly, what do you want your home to be?
Is it as straightforward as a mere roof over your head for the foreseeable future, or do you regard it as being your castle – a good, enjoyable, safe, affordable ‘home’ in the true sense of the word. In other words, the place where you feel you belong and, because of that, love to be?

Or is it, first and foremost, an investment from which you hope to make money? And if it is the latter, in the interim do you see yourself treating that property as your family home and actually living in it for some time to come? Or might you be happy to move on as soon as there is some profit available?

Your attitude as to what a home is or should be will go a long way towards determining how you feel about owning or renting it. If you see a home as being nothing much more than the place to which you go after work and wherein you sleep, that does not suggest any great level of attachment to it on your part. In those circumstances, renting might make more sense at this stage.

Things, however, can change. You would not be the first fun-loving single guy or girl to have changed direction, decided to settle down and begun to view the world through very much more mature and serious eyes!

Note, too, that there is no shortage of owners who never spend a minute of their time in properties they have bought. That’s because they buy a home in which they see investment potential and rental income rather than with a view to ever living at that address themselves.

Note, too, that our fixation with home ownership is not one shared by everyone. Go to continental Europe and you will discover a much higher percentage of people who prefer to rent rather than tie themselves to a long-term mortgage commitment.

Secondly, what role do you see your home playing in the rest of your life? That’s a crucial question and the answer to it is that it depends on what stage you have reached and what hopes and plans you have regarding what happens next. What is your marital/relationship status right now? Do you have children? If so, at what stage are they education-wise? Pre-school? Nursery? Primary? Secondary? For those with children, proximity to school is a big consideration. Living somewhere which is going to entail a long haul to and from their seat of learning Monday to Friday – and Saturday, too, if they participate in sport – is hardly ideal. That one is pretty obvious.

If you do not have children at this point, but hope to start a family at some future date, it is vital that you factor this into your thinking, especially if there is a particular school you would like your offspring to attend.

Of course, location is all-important in each of the other areas of your life, too. How close to work would you be living if you were to buy or rent this property? Shops? Churches? Relatives and friends? Favourite sports club(s)?

Thirdly, what is the state of the property market in Belfast? And, indeed, in the rest of Northern Ireland? Is this an opportune moment to be buying? Or selling, come to that?

And if you plan to buy, how ready for that are you? Do you want or need to do so quickly, or can you wait to see how things unfold a little further down the line? Big questions, as the timing could end up saving – or costing – you a lot of money. Which takes us to the fourth and final point of what EXACTLY you want or need to do NOW.

Do you have to sell a home first in order to buy? Is bridging finance an option or a non-starter? Have you consulted your lender regarding a future mortgage, or sought expert advice about re-negotiating the terms of your existing loan? All things to be included in your thinking.

Or, if you are renting, have you made yourself known to a reputable, results-endorsed estate agency whose track record confirms their standing as experts committed to top-quality customer service and noted for their attention to detail? Their standing is boosted if they are able to add a portfolio of first-class rental properties plus unrivalled back-up and support.

If all of those ingredients are present you have the perfect answer to any property-related problem, whether you are renting, buying or selling property in Belfast.
Aria major in all three – renting, buying or selling – as well as offering bespoke advice and assistance en route to matching the right people with the right property in the right location at the right price.

Whether it is a short-term rental for just a few days or weeks , the long-term purchase of a property which is to be your family’s home or indeed anything else in between, Aria pride themselves on providing more than others by way of service and expertise.

Every customer enjoys that level of support; there are no gradations and no class distinctions based on the amount of money involved. If you’re renting a one-bedroom flat, a two-bedroom terrace house or a top of the range detached home, they undertake to treat you the same.

We opened with the question ‘Should I buy or should I rent?’
It varies from person to person, couple to couple or family to family depending on what you/they need, what you/they want and how much you/they are able to afford.

The answer, however, is the same, whether you rent or buy. For honest advice, genuine help and unmatched attention to detail designed to make renting or buying a stress-free process, contact Aria.

Buy-To-Let, Invest With Aria Residential

Not so long ago, buy-to-let was seen to be a sound property investment – a proven, productive and profitable piece of business.

On an industrial scale this entailed super-rich individuals or large consortia buying houses, apartments or flats, if necessary sprucing them up a little and then letting them out to reliable tenants whose rent covered the owner’s or owners’ mortgage repayments as well as providing surplus to be invested in more property or deposited in a pension pot.

Meanwhile, with property prices seemingly destined to go on rising, the landlords’ investment continued to grow in value.

In the vernacular, a nice little earner from whatever angle one viewed it. But at a much more modest level, houses, apartments and flats were bought by ordinary people, too. They included parents who saw the merits of providing affordable accommodation for their offspring who were studying at university. And they, too, saw that as an investment which would continue to increase in value. Others who entered the world of buy-to-let included young couples who, having previously owned two homes, moved into one when they married. They kept the second, however, turning it into a rental property which more than paid for itself whilst also appreciating in worth.

Then there were those who inherited property following the death of an elderly parent. Rather than rushing to sell the home left to them, they kept it on and rent it out.

It remains to be seen how any of those highlighted above will fare now that Chancellor George Osborne appears to declared war on the UK buy-to-let market which has mushroomed in size in recent years.

With speculators buying up swathes of property for rental in London in particular, he is moving to offset that trend, given that it is threatening to destabilise the economy in general and house prices in particular.

To that end he is in step with the Bank of England which also is acting to head off property speculators at the figurative pass. This follows a series of warnings by the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee about the impact of high levels of mortgage lending to buy-to-let borrowers.

The figures underline the MPC’s concerns; from January 1 to September 30, 2015, buy-to-let lending soared by 10%, compared with a rise of just 0.4% in the owner-occupier sector.

In mid-2015 there were 1.7 million buy-to-let mortgages worth a staggering £201 billion. That translates as 16% of the UK’s residential mortgage market. In 2002 the share was 2%. By 2008 – when things went so disastrously wrong – it had risen to 12%.

As a result of this trend, the Chancellor has signalled his determination to restrict the size of loans to landlords. If he and the Bank of England are united on this one, mortgages advanced to buy-to-let property owners will be assessed strictly in accordance with the value of the property AND rental repayments on it.

That is because a major concern at this stage is that landlords may run into mortgage repayment problems in the not too distant future.  There are reasons for this anxiety, not least because landlords tend to take out interest-only loans. So if, due to them encountering payment difficulties, they chose to sell, that could see the marketplace swamped with for-sale properties, a scenario both George Osborne and BoE governor Mark Carney are very keen to avoid.

Between April 1 and June 30, 2015, a massive 85% of newly-issued buy-to-let loans were of the interest-only variety, so misgivings about that are understandable. Already we have seen the Chancellor make changes which mean less tax relief for buy-to-let property owners. To that he has added an increase in stamp duty, pushing it up by a full 3%.

So banks are becoming noticeably more cautious when it comes to lending for buy-to-let or second property purchases. Again, that is understandable, recent history having shown that buy-to-let mortgages are over two times more likely to end up creating problems for banks than those given to conventional owner-occupiers. To that add the fact bankers believe that landlords will pose a real threat to the economy in the event of a slowdown or downturn in the property market. Why? Because in the bankers’ eyes, when the going gets tough, buy-to-let landlords are much more likely to default than home-owners.

The BoE’s end-of-third-quarter 2015 statement confirmed those misgivings, stating: “Since 2010, rates of credit loss on buy-to-let loans in the United Kingdom have been around twice those incurred on lending to owner-occupiers. Assessed against relevant affordability metrics, buy-to-let borrowers appear more vulnerable to an unexpected rise in interest rates or a fall in income.”

With the rental sector growing quickly, first-time buyers are finding it harder to get a foot on the bottom rung of the property ladder. So that’s the circuit; more buy-to-let borrowers snapping up houses, flats and apartments and by so-doing gobbling up an ever-increasing percentage of the mortgage pie, thereby making it harder and harder for young would-be home-owners. But, in the background, the shadow cast by a bad repayment record coupled with vulnerability to changes in property prices or interest rates.

If you are a landlord worried about any of these issues, now is the time to seek help. Contact our team at Aria Residential, Belfast, phone 028 9059 9599

Can You Sell My House In Belfast?

Selling a property in Belfast

HERE in Northern Ireland there are some things that so deeply embedded in our make-up that now they are taken as being DNA-transmitted. One such example is our fixation with home ownership.

While our counterparts in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and much of Scandinavia may be happy to rent, to those in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, ownership remains all-important.

For years it was said that ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’.

And over the years we have bought into the notion that it also applies on this side of the Irish Sea. Now we too aspire to home ownership. There aren’t too many examples of rented castles…

The numbers of houses for sale in Belfast, and the interest in them, mirror that reality. And although the crash of 2008, the recession which followed and the impact that had on house prices here momentarily derailed the ownership locomotive, little by little it has been getting back on track.

South Belfast in particular is on the up and up with properties in the Stranmillis, Malone and Lisburn Road areas much in demand. Things are buoyant in the east of the city, too, with Ballyhackamore now regarded as being a prime location.

When it comes to house-hunting, of course, much has changed in the past two decades. In terms of house-selling, gone are the days of reliance on an ad in the Tele and a For Sale board in the garden or else nailed to the wall above the front door.

We’re a much more sophisticated, technologically literate lot these days, with social media and on-line searches now our weapons of choice when we set about trying to sell – or buy – a property.

If they are to survive in what is a much-changed, highly competitive marketplace, Belfast estate agents really do have to be up to speed in order to meet the demands and expectations of today’s laptop, smart phone and tablet conversant house sellers and buyers.

Certainly Aria have risen to this challenge by appointing knowledgeable staff who are completely at home in that environment. In addition they have quipped themselves with the latest hi-tech gadgetry and offering 24-hour on-line access. Even their office opening hours eclipse those of rivals still stuck in the 9-5 era.
And they offer a number of additional services, all designed to make the whole house-selling process easy, straightforward, stress-free and successful. Call it a case of positive results via simplicity.

As per Aria’s approach to rental accommodation, attention to detail is everything when it comes to residential property sales. In other words, they insist on every box being ticked, with nothing being left to chance.

“Do that and you will sell the property,” is the mantra.

There is no doubt that trying to sell property can be worrying for those intent on matching their home with the right buyer. That being the case, working hand in hand with an estate agent who minimises the hassle whilst maximising the seller’s return makes sense.

To that end, openness, transparency and honesty are Aria watchwords.

They tell it like it is; their valuation of a property is based on how others of comparable standard in the same locality have sold. They provide evidence of how the prices those homes have fetched, for which reason the seller knows the asking price being recommended is realistic valuation and fair.

No exaggeration, no hopelessly unrealistic assessments, no promises which cannot – and therefore will not – be kept.

Free valuation is part of the service, incidentally.

With more and more people going on-line to find property for sale in Belfast, Aria have invested accordingly. Up-to-date technology, around-the-clock access, national and international marketing and support at every stage of the process are all part of the deal.

Aria offer honest feed-back as to possible modifications and improvements the would-be seller could make in order to boost the prospects of a sale. Again, it’s a case of tell-it-straight honesty rather than tip-toeing around the subject out of fear of causing offence or upsetting the vendor. If that bright red room with the black skirting board is a handicap, Aria will tell you!

In brief, they level with their clients, telling it like it is based on their knowledge of what modern-day buyers want and expect. That way, the desired result is achieved a lot more often – and a lot more quickly.

Because there is no shortage of houses for sale in Belfast, getting the selling process right is key.

The importance of first impressions cannot be over-emphasised, nor can the value-for-money return on an investment in a shampooed – or better still, new – carpet, a freshly decorated entrance hallway, the tidy-up of a garden or the removal of clutter that has been sitting in the back garden for months, or even years, and is never going to be a plus in the eyes of a potential buyer when it comes to selling points.
A for-sale house has to look attractive and here, too, Aria offer advice based on experience.

Having invested heavily in on-line know-how, high quality cameras and some of the latest technology, they are able to show any on-sale property in its best possible light – literally.

This means that if they have taken photographs which do not meet their standards of excellence, they will then take more to ensure that those who see them cannot fail to be impressed. Rest assured, therefore, that photographs which are too dull or show just half a bedroom because the camera used was not good enough to capture it in its entirety will not feature on any Aria site. They set the bar very high for themselves – and their results confirm that such attention to detail yields results.
They know that buying a house almost certainly is the biggest purchase most of us will ever make. For that reason Aria believe that anyone who uses them to enable that is deserving of the very highest level and standard of support.

In furtherance of their aim to be market leaders in Belfast estate agency, Aria also offer help – in purely practical ways – to those on whose behalf they are trying to sell.

If, for example, their analysis of a property for sale in Belfast is that the likelihood would be enhanced as a result of some minor work which will cost comparatively little in monetary terms, but would be very helpful in yielding an overall result, not only will they advise it – they will also arrange to have it done by a team of tradesmen they have at their disposal.

Belfast is awash with homes for sale and estate agents hoping to cater for vendors and buyers alike. Because selling property can be difficult, using those who offer that little bit more when it comes to detail and expertise makes good sense.
No up-front fees coupled with a modern, fully professional, 365-days-a-year marketing strategy and the ready availability of tradesmen capable of making quick, inexpensive, price-enhancing improvements to your property make Aria particularly attractive estate agents.

Lift the phone and let them maximise your asset, your price and your prospects by virtue of the second-to-none service they provide.