Surrey property with independent search agent Simon English

PUBLISHED: 16:32 19 September 2012 | UPDATED: 20:30 20 February 2013

Surrey property with independent search agent Simon English

Surrey property with independent search agent Simon English

Every month, independent search agent Simon English shares his top Surrey property tips with Surrey Life magazine readers

Every month, independent search agent Simon English shares his top Surrey property tips with Surrey Life magazine readers. Abridged versions of his column can be found below...

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Originally published in Surrey Life magazineSeptember 2012

Keeping up appearances

Its hard to remember when the property market was last in the doldrums for such a long period of time which makes it all the more important that the impression you create when prospective purchasers walk through the door gives your home the cutting edge over the competition. To get off to a good start, make sure that the directions on the sales particulars are clear, especially if there are several approach roads to your house


Originally published in Surrey Life magazineAugust 2012

Olympic heights

Surrey has always been able to aspire to Olympian heights on the property front. The county not only boasts some of the UKs most desirable golden postcodes, but also a host of famous sportsmen and women living in them. However, when it comes to choosing a home, its not just about location, location, location. Creating a lifestyle is also a key factor when finding the perfect place to put down roots. Important ingredients in perfecting the mix include schooling, sports facilities and social activities and Surreys involvement with this summers Olympic and Paralympic Games flags up excellence on all three fronts.


Originally published in Surrey Life magazineJuly 2012

A London invasion?

With the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the forthcoming Olympic Games, the nations spirits are beginning to lift at long last. This bodes well for the property market, as confidence has always been a crucial element when it comes to dictating performance. Since the start of the year, there has been a significant drop in the number of homes coming to the market. This has been caused by a variety of factors. Vendors still have high expectations of the amount they can sell their property for, fuelled, perhaps, by the hope that the continued rise in London prices will miraculously escape and head down the A3/M3 corridor. It hasnt happened yet!


Originally published in Surrey Life magazineJune 2012

Building on Surrey's heritage

Surrey already boasts an outstanding range of historic buildings but it is encouraging to know that, thanks to a number of far-sighted developers, we continue to build on our rich architectural heritage. Traditionally, London has always been the heartland of cutting-edge residential building projects but, in recent years, this trend has spread into the Home Counties with Surrey being at the forefront of much of this new creative energy. Lord Norman Foster and Lord Richard Rogers, two of the leading architects in the country, have been involved in a variety of outstanding projects and they are joined by a number of developers who specialise in providing aspirational homes.


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2012

Agent or auction?

In an age when we do almost everything on-line, there are many sound reasons why, when it comes to buying or selling your home, this is not the time to go it alone. Apart from the money involved, there are so many financial and legal pitfalls that it pays to invest in professional advice and expertise. The majority of properties still change hands through the services of an estate agent.


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2012

Arts and Crafts movement properties

Defined by its quality and attention to detail, the Arts and Crafts movement was one of the most distinctive in the whole of British architectural history. Inspired by William Morris and his intricate wallpapers and fabrics, this international movement stretched from the 1860s to the mid-1930s. A reaction against mass production in the industrial age, it featured simple forms and medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. As every building was created by individual craftsmen, no two Arts and Crafts homes are ever alike.


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2012

Living in a period home

If youre looking for spacious rooms and period features, buying the wing of a larger property can provide an excellent return on your investment and some of the best value for money in the property market today.

Thanks to our great selection of Arts and Crafts properties, Surrey provides a wide range of options, particularly in the south west of the county. What is more, purchasing a wing will cost you 20 to 25 per cent less than the same amount of detached accommodation. This makes a wing particularly appealing to families and those looking to down-size who have been used to spacious accommodation and extensive grounds.


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2012

Buying and selling property pitfalls

Your home is probably your greatest asset but its amazing how many people are prepared to cut corners when it comes to buying and selling.If youre selling, the number one rule is to choose an estate agent who has experience in your type of property. A good starting point is to check the property section of your local paper or magazine to see who is selling what. The right agent will be able to give you an accurate valuation on your home and will also have the expertise to market your Surrey property so that it achieves its full potential. Also, they may already have buyers on their books who are looking for just what youve got to offer. Another important thing to bear in mind is that, although your home should reflect your tastes, its always best to avoid going to extremes. Removing period features, concreting over the garden and installing an off-the-wall kitchen or bathroom can deter buyers and even your choice of carpets and paint has an impact, as dark colours can make a room seem small and cramped...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2012

Living in a converted barn in the country

If you yearn for a truly individual Surrey property, a converted barn could be the answer as no two conversions are ever the same. Barns generally fall into two categories the traditional timber A-frame and the brick-built barn. Each requires a different approach and converting a timber barn is likely to cost more because of the amount of work involved. Whichever type you favour, Surrey offers a plethora of choice, particularly in and around the Surrey Hills. Recent developments include a cluster of two and three-bedroom conversions in Dockenfield near Farnham (Strutt & Parker) and an impressive five-bedroom conversion in Hookwood, south of Reigate (Robert Leech & Partners)...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2011

Organising an open house event

When it comes to selling your home, it might seem that there is very little to celebrate this festive season. However, Surrey has in fact weathered a year of stagnating sales and falling prices in the property market in much better shape than most other UK counties. Prices here have fallen less sharply and more slowly than anywhere outside of London and if you are thinking of a fresh start for the New Year you can take heart from the fact that, when things are this tough, the only way is up. One advantage of a challenging property market is that new and inventive ways are often found to promote sales and, taking a lead from the USA, an example of this is the increasing popularity of staging an open house. In short, estate agents choose a group of similar properties and a specific time and day of the week usually a weekend and advertising and promotion will be focused around the event...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2011

All the family under one roof?

Time was that you waved your children off to university and didnt expect to see them back home again until they returned to visit, some years later, with their own families. Today, however, things are considerably different. Statistics show that 58 per cent of men and 39 per cent of women between 20 and 24 are still living in their parental home and the average age at which people entered the housing market rose from 23 to 32 in less than a decade. For first-time buyers without additional financial help to supplement a mortgage, this figure has now increased to 37...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2011

Extending instead of moving

With a limited number of new homes currently coming to the market and small prospect of change for the foreseeable future, its worthwhile weighing up the advantages of building on before deciding to move out. Extending your home has the obvious advantage of adding value to your property rather than using precious savings to fund non-recoverable costs such as agents fees and stamp duty. Depending on what you are planning, it may involve less upheaval than a complete move but, even if its only adding a porch over the front door, youre likely to encounter building regulations and planning laws...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2011

Why autumn selling trends are unlikely to follow the norm

Traditionally, autumn is one of the best times of year to put your home on the market ... This year, however, is likely to prove an exception to the rule as a number of conflicting trends are affecting the market. Statistics show that only 2.6 million people will have moved since the credit crunch. This build-up of demand, coupled with low interest rates, would normally move the market forwards.Confidence is low, however, as mortgage lending is in short supply and capital growth has slowed to a snails pace. These factors combine to create a sluggish market and London alone is bucking the trend.Fortunately, Surrey, which sits in the A3 wealth corridor, is benefiting from an uplift on the back of Londons continued growth, and overall the county is outperforming the market, with prices projected to rise by up to 28 per cent over the next five years...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2011

Contemporary living in Surrey

In addition to traditional country living, Surrey also offers a wide choice of contemporary properties ranging from purpose-built, eco-friendly dwellings like the Huf Haus ( to chic apartments and bungalow conversions that feature mezzanine levels in their roof spaces.Over recent years, the trend has moved away from cosy reception rooms and herbaceous borders and more towards a continental open-plan living environment that sits within its landscape.This type of home favours fewer, larger rooms and ceiling height is often as important as square footage. Flexibility of use is key and media rooms and games areas are increasingly common features. Upstairs, there may be as many bathrooms as bedrooms and American-style dressing rooms are replacing wardrobes to house the latest designer must-haves...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2011

The outside of a house is as important as the inside

These days, when it comes to buying and selling property we know that not everything in the gardens rosy. Over the past three years, sales in the south have dropped by 42 per cent. Fortunately, though, Surrey has been one of the few counties to buck that trend.Esher recorded the smallest decline in sales down by just 14.6 per cent and Tadworth has shown one of the UKs few increases with sales up 51 per cent between 2009 and 2010. With summer at its zenith, its easy to believe that the reason home sales have held up so well here is as much to do with the outside as it is with the inside. Looking at the big picture, Surrey is the most densely wooded county in England and also boasts a plethora of parks and other open spaces...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2011

Onto a winner with Surrey property

Thanks to our proximity to London, Surrey is in easy reach of one of the worlds most iconic sporting events and, with the ballot for tickets to the 2012 Olympics already opened and closed, excitement is building. When it comes to sport on a more local level, however, whether you are a weekend bowls enthusiast or an avid supporter of the rugby at Twickenham, our county has something for everyone even closer to home. With such a wide choice, it comes as no surprise that local property values are boosted by the broad variety available.Homes in Cobham (the Chelsea football team train at Stoke dAbernon), Virginia Water (the Wentworth golf course) and Wimbledon command a premium for obvious reasons, but there are other less talked about advantages as well...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2011

A home by the river

Surrey is blessed with a wealth of waterside choices. They range from sleek riverside apartments to spacious country houses with plenty of room to moor a yacht (or two!) at the bottom of the garden. Everything from houseboats to wooden holiday chalets can be found along the banks of Surreys three main rivers the Thames, the Wey and the Mole.The benefits of living by the water include beautiful views and lots of things to do. If you are fit and active you can join the local rowing club, jog along the riverbank or, if you prefer a more leisurely pace, you can content yourself with a spot of fishing. In fact, many people find just being by the water is relaxing in itself. Waterside homes do come at a price, so expect to pay a premium for these prime locations...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2011

Thinking about selling your home?

As a property search agent, I spend more time than most simply looking around houses. It often comes as a surprise, therefore, just how little attention people actually pay to those important details that could mean the difference between a speedy and stress-free sale and a property that languishes forlornly on the market for a long period of time sending signals to your prospective purchasers that there might be something wrong with it.Not only is your home probably your greatest asset but research shows that Surrey contains the most valuable real estate in the country with the housing market currently valued at 130 billion. Surely, therefore, it makes sense to show your home to its best advantage?


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2011

Why our county's towns offer the best of both worlds

Overall, Surrey has in excess of 20 major towns, which range from Richmond, Kingston and Staines in the north to Farnham, Godalming and Haslemere in the south. When the Magna Carta was signed in 1215, a town was defined as a settlement with a charter and nine towns in the county can still make this claim to fame, including Chertsey, Dorking, Leatherhead and Reigate.In more recent times, however, town status has been given to communities that have a regular market and, unsurprisingly, today this definition extends to communities with shopping centres as well...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2011

Is village life as we know it a thing of the past?

A country cottage with roses round the door, the sound of wood on willow as the local cricket team does battle on the village green or a friendly greeting from the shopkeeper who sells you your Sunday newspaper these are all images of a traditional village life that many fear is becoming a thing of the past. Encouragingly, however, the rural idyll is thriving here in Surrey. Despite our proximity to London and the increasing growth of conurbations like Woking and Guildford, we boast a total of no less than 62 villages more than Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and East or West Sussex. With our picturesque pubs and well-tended village greens, Surrey villages are also some of the prettiest and most photographed in the country...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2011

Whos who in the property market

So youve decided on a fresh start for the new year and its time to put your house on the market and begin searching for pastures new. When it comes to buying and selling, spring is property prime time. Make sure you start early, and the more you know about what to expect from the professionals you use, the better chance you stand of enjoying a stress-free move. You may also be able to save yourself some money as well there is a common misconception that these services come at a fixed price but many professionals are prepared to negotiate their fees...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2010

Keeping your property on the market through the holidays

If you want to crack the property market at Christmas, then its time to give your home some sparkle! While most of us will be decking the halls anyway, as we get ready to settle down with friends and family to enjoy the festive season, a home filled with Christmas cheer will also be far more attractive to potential buyers. Plus, this is often the moment when other sellers with property already up for sale will decide to remove it until the New Year. Of course, you too may want to be free of visitors tramping round your home when you are trying to put your feet up or, indeed, let your hair down. But, before you decide to do this, think carefully. You could be missing a great opportunity...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2010

How is the Surrey property market faring at the moment?

Its the universal question asked by friends and clients alike and, even with the help of a crystal ball, its still a question that can be answered in many different ways: So, what is the property market doing?The most accurate predictions, however, can be made by looking closely at what is happening in the region, which often doesnt mirror the national trends fed to us by the media. As far as the Surrey marketplace is concerned, this is creating a game of two halves. Latest figures from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors show prices falling at the lower end but holding up reasonably well further up the scale...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2010

How to buy your dream home

Picture the scene. Youve been searching for months. Youve probably already had a couple of disappointments when someone else put in a better offer or you discovered the local farmer had a right to graze his sheep in your new back garden. Then, just when youre beginning to despair, you find it your dream home. Unbelievably, its within your budget and your offer is accepted.As a new purchaser, whether your dream is a country cottage or something grander, you are likely to be in a state of excited euphoria and it can take quite a while before you stop thinking with your heart and start thinking with your head again. Fortunately, your solicitor will be there with a reality check for the big issues rights of way, covenants on the property and planned development in the local area etc. As with everything else, however, when you are buying a home (the largest purchase you are ever likely to make) the devil is in the detail...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2010

How to add value when selling your home

If you needed an incentive to make some home improvements, then the 2.5 per cent VAT increase, which is looming large for next January, should be a good stimulus! Traditionally, September is one of the two annual peaks in the property selling cycle. The next one, in the spring, is just round the corner so theres no better time to add some value to your home. Todays purchasers are looking for less, but with larger rooms offering as much flexibility as possible in terms of how internal spaces are used. Dont fall into the trap of thinking that updating a tired kitchen or bathroom will automatically improve your chances of a sale. Individual tastes differ widely and you might well spot those granite work surfaces, that you installed with such high hopes, in the back of a skip once the new purchasers have settled in. It is better to ensure that internal spaces are well-proportioned and that the accommodation flows well knocking down a wall or opening up an alcove is a clear way to show buyers the potential they are buying into...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2010

Surreys golden postcodes

These days, it isnt only the streets of London that are paved with gold. Our stunning county now boasts some of the most desirable postcodes in the UK, too. In a recent poll, Virginia Water (GU25) came sixth in the top ten, with average property prices reaching 3.4million. Close on its heels were the Kingston postcodes KT10 to KT14, which encompass the exclusive areas of Cobham, Esher, Kingston-upon-Thames, West Byfleet and Weybridge. The average price of a home here is 2.5million, making these some of the most expensive streets in the country. There are many reasons that Surrey finds itself in pole position in the property stakes. Those of us lucky enough to live here enjoy thousands of acres of the most densely wooded countryside in England and sleep safe in the knowledge that the county enjoys the nations lowest crime rate. This sense of security is enhanced by the propensity of exclusive gated communities and private roads such as St Georges Hill in Weybridge and Moore Park in Farnham...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2010

When is the best time to sell your home?

Bringing your house to the market can often take far longer than you think, so careful planning pays dividends, especially as there are several things to bear in mind.For example, Surreys gardens are at their peak in mid-May, when the countys abundance of rhododendrons and azaleas come into their own. So, if you want potential purchasers to see your garden at its best, select your agent in early January and make sure your winter maintenance and spring cleaning are well in hand...


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2010

Owning a period property in Surrey

A house in the country brimming with character and a real sense of history for many of us, its the rural idyll. Certainly, in the 30 years that Ive been in the business, owning a period property is living the dream for many Surrey homeowners. When youre dreaming, however, its sometimes hard to see the wood for the roses round the door and reality can be starkly different. High maintenance costs, expensive repairs and hidden pitfalls often lie in wait for prospective purchasers but, for those who are prepared for commitment and investment, the rewards can be outstanding. If you are looking for a period home, the first question to ask is, is the property listed? If so, you almost certainly require listed buildings consent before you can replace as much as a single roof tile. Currently in Surrey, there are 101 buildings listed as Grade I, 326 listed as Grade II* and 5,907 listed as Grade II, a significant proportion of our local housing stock...


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