We are delighted to announce exchange of contracts this month on this lovely house in a village location a few miles north of Chichester.  The property is set in two acres with amazing downland views, yet with easy access to Chichester, the coast and train service to London.

Their priority for this client was to settle in this fabulous part of the world from London, in a forever family home that would accommodate their young and growing family.

Whilst this specific patch very close to Chichester is highly sought after and known for having a lack of good quality housing stock with land, we were able to source this home through our network prior to the property entering the open market.

Our thanks go to Mark Astley at Jackson Stops for introducing us to this amazing property.

How things have changed over the past 30 years with our choice of homes.

In the 90’s, top-end buyers only wished for the classic Georgian House with a tennis court, swimming pool, a few acres of land; a grand imposing home in the heart of a village.

This came with a huge maintenance list such as cleaners, gardeners, and permanent trade helpers that were always on hand for endless repairs. It was not unheard of to have a painter permanently on hand that started one end of the house and after finishing, it was time to go around again!

Now, these same buyers are looking at modern, contemporary homes with low energy costs, and as low maintenance as possible. Living needs to be simple now, and that’s the highest priority for all age groups whether upsizing, downsizing or making the city-to-country transition and never looking back.

Edge-of-village locations

In West Sussex, and the Hampshire and Surrey borders we as buying agents cover, there is a premium to have everything. The latest must-have is a home on the edge of a village.

These homes can be gems, as it’s often easier to obtain planning permission to change older homes to the modern way of living. Planning applications can be simpler with fewer neighbours to object, but buyers can still benefit from all the advantages of village life, the gastro pub, open spaces, excellent dog walks, village store, good schools, even good Wi-Fi. The list is endless.

Perhaps the odd negative may be thrown in, like rights of way and farmyard smells to endure, but the general consensus is it’s a small price to pay.

Creating low maintenance homes

I hasten to add, village life doesn’t come without the price tag to achieve this, but we have seen some amazing changes in recent years with architects successfully incorporating the old and new, giving clients the much-wanted character with easy to maintain homes.

If this isn’t necessarily what someone wants, then always remember that if you start again there is no VAT on new build, which at 20% of your home value is a healthy chunk towards something else. If you are building from scratch, the plot will be a lot less expensive than the finished article, which also helps as stamp duty can also eat a huge hole in your pocket.

There are lots of new exciting ways to have your dream home rather than the traditional 1990’s ‘Trophy house’ that was once something we all wished for. 

Labour’s policy to scrap VAT relief on private school fees is a hot topic at the moment, but what impact could it have on the property market? We were pleased to share our thoughts with the Daily Mail, outlining how in our experience, protecting children’s schooling from disruption is one of the most important considerations for any parent. Whilst lots of families paying for private school are financially stretched, many will be willing to pull whatever financial lever necessary to ensure their children can stay put for as long as possible.

 

Those with young children however, will be looking at the additional costs and deciding it’s better to invest some of the money they would have spent on private schooling into buying a house in the catchment area of a good state primary school.

 

Many of West Sussex’s most sought-after villages have fabulous junior schools with old fashioned values and traditions that are already a major draw for families. It’s common for retired professionals who live locally to give their time to help with extra reading and lots of added extras that so many City schools don’t benefit from, making them quite exclusive.

 

Read the full article here if you’re a Mail+ subscriber.

Property Acquisitions Founder and Director Jennie Hancock was delighted to be asked by The Times to author a comment piece on the impact of digital communication on buying and selling homes.

Jennie says, “When it comes to matching people with properties, I would challenge anyone to beat the speed, efficiency and meaningful connection that can be achieved in a single call, compared with a long chain of emails, texts or WhatsApp messages.”

Being a buying agent requires us to step into the shoes of our clients, to really understand what they’re looking for – which is why face to face meetings and phone calls are a vital part of the job.

 

You can read the full article here if you’re a Times subscriber.

Michelle and I had the privilege of spending a day at The Chelsea Flower Show last week with clients we acquired a home for earlier this year. What a fabulous day we all had and we were exceptionally lucky to have the weather on our side, bearing in mind this year’s track record. It was wonderful to see so many fabulous gardens and we both fell in love with the purple poppies!

Delayed completions are becoming more common

West Sussex remains one of the most sought-after areas of the property market. With limited good quality country homes for sale, either on or off market, this strong demand has meant record prices are often still being achieved.

For many sellers this has created a bit of a dilemma, as they may have sold their house for a great price, but they can’t find somewhere else to purchase. As such, I am frequently seeing delayed property completions at the moment, which is aided by good buyers offering flexibility.

What is a long stop completion?

The completion date is the day a buyer legally pays the remainder of the purchase price to the seller, which enables them to collect the keys and move in. This usually happens approximately one to four weeks after exchanged of contracts has taken place and the seller has to vacate their home within that time frame. With a delayed property completion strategy, this period can be extended – which can benefit both the buyer and the seller if managed properly.

Long stop completions are happening because sellers are feeling worried about how long it may take them to find another house with little stock available. Many of the prime country houses are selling off market, therefore not everybody is aware of them – not unless they’re using a buying agent. There are also sentimental reasons for sellers feeling anxious, particularly older people who are leaving behind a family home they have most likely lived in for a couple of decades if not more.

Benefits to sellers

For sellers, having the time to find something else combined with the assurance that their home has already sold, as contracts have exchanged, puts them in good stead as a buyer – which is very appealing. Sellers may accept a lower price for their home if they can find a buyer willing to wait a while.

And buyers too

For buyers, there are many benefits of a delayed property completion. Firstly, it’s an effective negotiating tool for securing their dream country home for a lower price. It also allows time to seek planning permission from architects and builders for any alterations they plan to make. This is especially true now, as often there are delays with planners and good builders are busy with long waiting times.

For buyers moving from overseas, a delayed property completion is ideal should they wish to secure the house via exchange and then wait until they are back in the UK to complete.

Meanwhile, a buyer has more time to secure the funds from the sale of their own home in order to complete the purchase. It can of course mean that a buyer may have to move into rental accommodation temporarily should their own purchaser wish to move sooner, but I’m finding that for the right house, many are prepared to rent.

For example, a recent client who exchanged in January in the Chichester area has agreed a completion date for late autumn 2024 because the vendors wanted time to find something perfect to buy. By being flexible, this meant their lower offer was accepted over other interested potential buyers.

For more information about buying and selling with a delayed completion strategy, contact specialist buying agent Jennie Hancock on jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk.

Detached houses come with a premium because of the space and privacy they provide. An Englishman’s home is his castle and clients often tell us they value being able to walk all the way around their property.

We were pleased to share our insights on demand for detached homes with the Daily Telegraph this week, which reports that demand for detached homes is on the rise.

In our view this is only going to continue, as intergenerational living becomes increasingly common. Children are coming home for extended periods after university because they can’t afford to rent or get on the property ladder themselves, and often staying well into their mid-20s. At the other end, with the cost of care so high and people living longer, families also want to be able to accommodate elderly parents if needed.

You can read the full article here if you’re a subscriber.

When a client asks us for what they think is an almost impossible brief, we often surprise them!  It could be something like a single-track approach, a good pub, a church, easy access to a train station or no road noise – and the list can be longer.

The geographical position can often make a client change their wish list for the perfect house internally and externally, when the ideal location is found. These houses seem to be hiding but are purchased from time to time, mostly off market. This is the joy of using a buying agent, because we are made aware of them before the general public do, allowing our clients the opportunity to purchase these special village hidden gems.

A slower pace of life

Our lives these days are bristling with technology and everything seems to be on the fast track. From shopping online to our work life balance, a lot of us yearn for the slower pace of life. It is difficult to find the ideal place to live with a compromise between the fast and slow pace of life, but these homes exist but perhaps are hard to find on your own.

There can be fun compromises albeit small when you find these special spots. You may be asked to deliver the parish magazine or be on the flower rota or help at the village fete, a small price to pay to be reminded of our parents’ era.

Whatever age we are, we all love something old as well as something new, and you can turn back your clock in one of the special villages that surround us such as The Mardens, Eartham, Graffham, Upperton, River, Heyshott, East Dean, Charlton, Singleton and Chilgrove, The Hartings, Treyford and Redford, whilst enjoying 21st century life.

‘Bygone’ traditions still exist

A recent client recalled when we went to see their property purchased recently, the wonders of a West Sussex village. Some of their stories including the local pub providing home cooked dishes, gardening societies and book clubs. There is a great sense of community too in so many villages, helping the older generation collect important provisions or medication from towns and helping in so many ways. These ‘old school’ bygone traditions are still in existence.

Looking through ‘rose coloured spectacles’ when it comes to where we live, the ideal location often seems impossible to find. However, we as buying agents have enormous pleasure in sourcing these homes for our clients.

It is not easy and sometimes there can be a delay whilst finding them, but they do exist and are absolutely worth waiting for.

For more information about buying a home in and around Chichester, Midhurst and Petworth, contact Jennie Hancock at jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk or Michelle Hendrie at mh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk

Buyers looking beyond the top postcodes are creating a ripple effect, driving demand for new locations where they can get more for their money, reports the Daily Telegraph

We were delighted to share our insights on the West Sussex location where families are securing more bang for their buck.

Townhouses within Chichester’s historic city walls are incredibly sought-after, but many families looking for more square footage, larger gardens and off-street parking are heading just a mile north to Summersdale, which has excellent facilities, bus services and easy access to the city centre on foot or bike.

Buyer can get larger homes on more spacious plots – often with a garage and parking – and if they have a dog, there are miles of open countryside on the doorstep.

You can read the full article here if you’re a subscriber.

We are delighted to have shared our thoughts with The Times ‘Bricks & Mortar’ on activity in the country homes market and the discounts being achieved.

There were a lot of overzealous sellers in the market during 2023 who have had a dose of realism as the country house market has cooled, so the price reductions we’ve seen in West Sussex in the last few months are mostly where properties were seriously overpriced to begin with. 

The main issue buyers face right now is the shortage of homes to buy. Good quality family homes with an acre of land are like gold dust and demand is outweighing supply heading into the spring. 

It’s still early in the season and we expect to see more bargain-hunting London buyers emerging in the next few weeks, but they may well find themselves frustrated by the lack of choice.

You can read the full article here if you’re a subscriber.

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