Do you remember the excitement you felt when buying your first home? The moment it caught your eye, the viewing when you fell in love, and the joy as your offer was accepted…  We are sure your first home has brought you much happiness over the years, but has the Chancellors announcement of temporary changes to stamp duty got you thinking?  Maybe lockdown has uncovered some frustrations in your home which you hadnt noticed before, or a desire for more or less space has got you searching for a new abode.  You have bought a home before, but selling a property is a whole new kettle of fish, which is why our team at Deakin-White has put together some essential advice for first-time sellers.

Whats your motivation?

Homes have a sneaky way of tugging on our heartstrings, they can draw you in with those features that you first fell in love with, and it can be hard to let go.  But if youre making the decision to move, its good to focus on your reason why.  If youre looking to take advantage of the temporary stamp duty changes, you know that you have only a few months to get moving.  When you focus on the benefits of what youre looking for in a new home, its easier to walk away from your old one.  You will need to make decisions along the way to benefit your sale, and if youre all loved up, it makes those decisions that much harder.














Reality check

You will probably have undertaken some work on your property over the years, you may even have extended or put in a new kitchen or bathroom.  As such, you might have some ideas about your home is now worth, but are you right? Its the current property market that determines the value of your home right now, so its worth doing some research to see if NOW is the right time to sell your property. 

By using tools on the property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla you can see those houses sold recently, and the sales price they achieved. Please bear in mind that this is only a guide, as there are many factors that are taken into account when valuing a property including the condition and presentation of the home.

Do the numbers add up?

A desire to move is only the first step, as you need your finances to work too.  The world in which you bought your first home is very different to the one we are currently living in.  Yes, the raising of the stamp duty threshold may give you some breathing space, but there are many other things that you need to consider.  What is the situation with your mortgage? Are you able to transfer, or would you be required to pay penalties? You also need to budget for the other costs, such as legal fees – remember, these will be higher as you will have a purchase and a sale this time, as well as other expenses including your Energy Performance Certificate and moving costs.
















Get your home ready

Before you start calling estate agents to value your property, you have some work to do.  If youve already been having a nosey online to see what properties could potentially be your future home, youll know that some instantly grab your attention and others… Well, you swiped that quick you cant even remember what they looked like.

You now need to look at your property through the eyes of potential buyers. By taking a step back you can make the changes that will transform it from being your home, into a home for sale.  Buyers want to walk in and be able to see themselves living there – this can be difficult if its still screaming of you.  A clean, organised, de-personalised and elegantly styled home will always win with buyers who want to be able to just walk into a property and make it their own.















Get your home on the market

Your home is your biggest asset and yet many sellers dont take the time to really research who they should entrust with selling it.  Invite a number of estate agents to offer you a valuation on your property, and dont be afraid to interviewthem for the job.  At Deakin-White we always welcome the opportunity to show you our worth and explain why we are the best agency to sell your property.

When valuing your home, we have a strategy in mind to ensure you achieve the best possible sales price. But this is just the start; you need to feel confident that the estate agent you choose will be proactive throughout the sales process, so you know whats happening when and can prevent any delays.  Read your contract carefully, what are you being tied into?  Have you asked for recommendations from family and friends? How have they made past clients feel – check their reviews.  You need to choose the right agency for you and your home.














Prevent delays

Do you remember when you were buying your property?  There may have been times you were itching to know what was going on, frustrated that it was taking too long, and if time was dragging maybe a doubt or two could have popped into your mind.  Delays are dangerous for property transactions, which is why making sure you have things in place ready for when theyre needed can be a huge help.

Where is all paperwork for your property?  Can you quickly lay your hand on Gas Safety Certificates, documents related to any building works, and even your deeds?  Dont wait to be asked, put them to one side as soon as you can, and youll be helping your sale to move swiftly and smoothly.

Think before you accept

An offer is more than the figure being offered, its also tied up with the situation of the buyers, so before you get excited and accept in haste, ask questions. At Deakin-White we will negotiate on your behalf and will always get a clear picture for you of the situation of each buyer.  Are they a first-time buyer like you were? The joys have having someone with no chain should never be overlooked, but can you match your timescale for moving?















Choosing a solicitor/conveyancer

Just as you took time to research which estate agent you should use, the same must apply to choosing a solicitor/conveyancer to manage the legal side of your sale and purchase.  You want one that can act swiftly, will keep you informed at every step to stop frustrations creeping in, and will fight your corner to ensure that everything is in place.  Ensure that you get a quote for their services so you know what costs are involved in advance – cheaper isnt always better. 


Every decision you make when selling your home will impact on your experience, and we want to ensure you have a great one. At Deakin-White we are always here to offer advice, so if youre thinking of selling, why not come and chat to a member of our team?  


8 reasons why your home sale could collapse

There is always an air of excitement when you accept an offer – you’ve found your new home and you can’t wait to move in and make it your own.  But now you’re entering the sales process, that period of time where wobbles happen and stress levels rise, but even worse – the stuff of nightmares – what if the sale falls through?  Trust us, at Deakin-White this is the last thing we would ever want you to experience and we will be doing everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen.  There are so many parties involved in a chain, to help you avoid disaster here are 8 reasons why your home sale could collapse.

  1. Gazumping

At Deakin-White we are not a fan of this practice, but sadly it does happen.  You have been searching for your next dream home, and finally you’ve found it.  It won your heart at hello, and after some negotiation your offer was accepted.  The champagne is opened but before you have finished your glass you get a call to say that even though your offer was accepted, the seller has had another, higher offer and so this dream home is no longer going to be yours.  Yes, we’re afraid to say, you have been gazumped!!

Unfortunately, as a buyer, there isn’t a lot you can do, as frustratingly in the UK the sale isn’t official until the contracts have been exchanged.  You may decide to renegotiate but by doing so you could be stretching yourself more than you should, financially.  To try and minimise the risk of this happening to you, make sure you ask for the property to be taken off the market and that viewings are ceased as a condition of the offer.  Most sellers are happy for this to happen as they are overjoyed to have a sale, but should they refuse, that should be a huge flashing warning sign telling you something is not quite right. Also stress the positives of your position; in other words, make sure you sell yourself as a buyer. 

  1. Financial situation

We all know what we’ve been through with the pandemic and it’s certainly made many mortgage lenders more cautious in recent months.  Your financial situation is so essential to a successful sale; it may have changed during the pandemic, so before you make an offer be 100% sure that you have an up to date mortgage in principle.  If your mortgage offer is not recent you could discover your lender has rescinded it, which could mean you lose the home you wish to purchase if you cannot find an alternative offer. 

Your buyer could also find themselves in this same situation, which is why it’s essential to check the validity of their mortgage offer. At Deakin-White we will always check that your buyers’ mortgage offer is Covid-proof 

  1. Mortgage survey 

Before you get confused, the survey undertaken by your mortgage lender does not tell you about any defects of the property you wish to purchase.  A mortgage survey is for financial purposes only; your mortgage lender is checking that the sale price matches their own valuation of the property.  A mortgage lender will not lend 1 penny more than they think the property is worth, and if they value it less, it is known as a down-valuation.

In this case, the buyer could renegotiate with the seller, or the buyer could find the difference between the mortgage survey valuation and the agreed sales price.  You can try to avoid this by keeping an eye on the current market and what similar properties are selling for so that when you make an offer you know that it is in line with current sale prices in the area.

  1. The chain

 Our guts have a way of making decisions for us when we become unsure about something, so if there’s a niggle, buyers and sellers alike could have a change of heart.  Chains are fragile things, with so many people tied up in each part of the chain, from buyers to sellers, to mortgage brokers and conveyancers.  When you have so many parts it only needs one link to break for a sale to collapse, leaving a lot of people out of pocket.  There are many reasons a chain can break, but if you have a strong estate agent such as our team at Deakin-White and a solid conveyancer they can more often than not resolve any issue, working hard to keep everyone happy and each link connected.  Also, consider the length of the chain before you decide to accept or make an offer, as you may save yourself a lot of frustration and possible heartache.

  1. Survey results

This is where you get down to the nitty gritty of the property you’re looking to purchase or when a buyer discovers the truth about your property.  A home survey can uncover a wealth of issues, from small cosmetic details which are easily fixed, to major structural problems that could be costly.  We know that some buyers skip having this survey done to save costs, but we strongly advise against this as you could be setting yourself up to purchase a property that requires extensive works.  To avoid any surprises, always get a survey undertaken by a RICS surveyor; as a seller, you may wish to have a survey done before you place your property on the market.  This way, you can seek advice on any issues raised and get them fixed so that buyers will stay.

  1. Are you ready?

The property market is extremely busy at the moment, and you too have made the decision to move, but did you make it in haste or has it been completely thought through?  You may, sadly, be having to sell due to a change in circumstances; a move that has been forced upon you can be particularly hard.  Regardless of why you are selling, if you want to achieve the best price for your property and have a positive experience, you need to put your personal feelings aside and see the situation in black and white.  This was your home, now it’s a house for sale.  If you are unable to emotionally detach from your property you may make decisions that are not in the best interest of the sale, and sabotage the process.  If you don’t feel ready, stop, breathe, and focus on the future – your new home may not be the same but it will offer you a new start, one which you probably need right now.

  1. Delays

The curse of all property sales and purchases is delays.  Why?  Delays have a unique tendency to plant doubts in people’s minds. Why are they taking so long to hand over the boiler certificate?  Why are they not returning calls? Every delay rings an alarm bell. Some buyers and sellers may be determined to go the whole way no matter how long it takes, whereas others may see it as ‘a sign’ and, even if they lose money by doing so, decide to walk away.  This is easily resolved by being on the ball at every stage, returning calls, handing over paperwork and ensuring you’re doing everything you can to keep the chain together and the sale moving.

  1. Just life

No matter how many plans you put in place, if this year has proven anything, it’s that life has a way of surprising us by throwing a pandemic in our laps.  Well, it may not be a pandemic, it could be a change of job meaning a new location, a health issue, or something else which has caused you to assess whether a move is right, and if it’s right now.  Before you jump away, please chat to a member of our team; even if we can’t alter the outcome, you never know, we may be able to help clarify things for you or even offer you an idea you hadn’t considered. 

Keep it together

The value of a good agent is always seen in the sale process, as our role is to keep every single link in the chain happy, resolve issues and proactively manage your sale and purchase to ensure that your home sale is too strong to collapse.  If you’d like to find out what you can do to keep your sale together, contact our team at Deakin-White.


Our home is a place where we should feel safe and able to relax. As we’ve been confined to our properties for such a long time and we need them to be a space of calm.  Our homes are more than where we live, they are now schools and workplaces too, and it’s important that they support our mental health.  Designing your home with this in mind will also make it extremely attractive to potential buyers, as they will experience a feeling of ‘home’ when they are viewing.  That’s why now is the perfect time to design your home to help your wellbeing.

Getting the lighting right

Light can impact how we feel: natural light helps concentration levels, maintains good eye health and also reduces the need for artificial light.  Natural light is wonderful as it can transform spaces and make them seem bigger, which will no doubt appeal to potential buyers, so let in as much light as you can by opening blinds and curtains.  You can also use a mirror opposite a window to reflect and maximise the natural light in a room.  A bright and airy home will not just appeal to buyers, it has health benefits too, as it can help to regularise your sleep pattern and allow your body to follow its natural circadian rhythm.

When natural light isn’t enough, you need to use a variety of lighting solutions so you can adapt the light levels in each room depending on your mood or the time of day.  Lamps in corners always create a homely and relaxing look in the evening, whereas a ceiling light is better during the day.  If you have a viewing when the day is a little grey, combining natural with artificial will ensure you maximise the light in each room.

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A room to live

Your living room should be a space where you feel comfortable, where you can spend time together as a family, and where you can relax and restore.  Although there is a trend for open-plan living, having a separate living room will aid your mental wellbeing.  Think about how you furnish this room, make sure it’s clutter-free as mess doesn’t induce a sense of calm.  Noise can be reduced by using thick curtains and the soft furnishings you choose will help to enhance a relaxing atmosphere, as well as keeping those potential buyers happy. 

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Defined spaces

As many of us are having to work from home, space to do this is a feature that buyers are now looking for, so it’s essential that you create defined spaces for working and relaxing.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have a spare room or garden building where they can create a bespoke working space away from family life.  By ‘zoning’ your home you can create a defined space, even if it’s not in a separate room, a desk and a stylish office chair carves out a working space that works for you.  Try and keep it away from your calming spaces, such as your living room and bedroom, but simply by having a designated place to work means you can walk away and hopefully switch off at the end of the day.

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Add some plants

It is well documented that gardens have a restorative effect, and indoor plants can help anxieties and create a home that enhances wellbeing.  This is because particular house plants are able to improve your home’s air quality and studies have also found they can help to reduce anxiety and, if you work from home, you will be pleased to know they also aid attentiveness and productivity.

In your workspace we would recommend you place succulents; they really are a stress-free plant as they’re hard to kill.  These little plants are known to help reduce anxiety but can also improve your concentration, productivity and mood.  In your living space, plants like lavender and jasmine are fantastic, both have relaxing qualities with their calming scents that can also help you sleep a lot better.  Indoor plants bring the outdoors in; they also make your home happier and healthier – what more could a potential buyer want when looking for a home.

Happier home

When you design a home that benefits your wellbeing, it is bound to make a positive impression on others.  For more advice on selling your home, contact our Deakin-White team. 

We are delighted to introduce Scott Willmott who has recently opened a franchise in St Albans & Hatfield for Deakin-White Real Estate.  Scott has been working in the St Albans & Hatfield property market for almost 20 years.

At Deakin-White St Albans & Hatfield, Scott can offer you a bespoke selling service for your home and he has access to some great technology to help you achieve the best price and speed up the moving process.

Scott said ‘I am really excited for this new venture and I’m looking forward to helping people move, I believe clear communication is so important and I pride myself on this and helping my clients from start to finish’

If you are looking to move in St Albans or Hatfield, Scott can be contacted on 01727 620 131 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Life has a funny way of showing us what’s important, and the coronavirus pandemic and recent research has shown that homebuyers’ priorities have certainly shifted.  Your home will have been a crucial factor in determining your experience of this crisis; it’s not only been your home, but possibly your place of work, and your playground.  You may have fallen completely in love with your home all over again and decided to give it a makeover whilst you’ve been in confined.  Or its flaws may have grown so big in your eyes that they can no longer be ignored and you are screaming inside to find a new home.  But just how has coronavirus changed homebuyers’ priorities?

Change in the top 5

According to Rightmove, the top five types of property searched for by buyers has changed over the last few months, with houses and bungalows becoming the most sought after.  As early as January, two and three-bedroom flats were included in this list but, when analysed in May, this had changed. The top five most searched for property types has now shifted, with flats being replaced by four and six-bedroom houses.  At Deakin-White we anticipated that a lack of outdoor space could be turn off for buyers, after gardens have become a sanctuary for many over the last few months.

Space has always been something that most buyers crave, especially if they have a growing family, so it’s no surprise that searches for homes with gardens had increased by 42% in May from last years’ figures.  We expect the weather has also played a part in increasing our desire for a garden; whether you are looking for a space that is maintenance-free or a landscaped paradise, being able to enjoy the sunshine and relax has been a blessing for our mental wellbeing.

The new workplace

Not everyone has been able to work from home, but for those who have, many are wishing to make this more permanent, whether it’s a couple of days a week or full-time.  We have already seen the requests for space for a home office increase dramatically, and we expect this to continue to rise in the coming months.  Employers have found that people have been more productive working from home, even with the pressures of home schooling and self-isolation.  As such, businesses are rethinking how they operate in the long run, Twitter recently announced that should an employee wish to continue working from home, they can do so forever!

To meet this most essential need, buyers will be looking for homes that have superfast broadband and strong mobile signal to ensure communications can continue without issue.  Those buyers wanting a home with a home office will be seeking a property with a designated space, whether this is a spare room or a purpose-built or transformed garden building.  Offices in the garden are highly desirable as they give distinct separation from work and home life; not only that, being able to look out over the garden can make you more productive.

If you’re looking to sell your home, it’s worth seeing where you can create a private workspace before placing it on the market.  Maybe you have a box room that could be easily presented as a tranquil place to work, or you could already have an office but a quick lick of paint might transform it into the kind of home office a buyer cannot resist. 

Yet to come

At Deakin-White we have been frantically busy with people looking to move.  You can be assured that the buyers out there are serious, so it’s in your interests to do everything you can to attract to today’s buyers, from enhancing your outside space to offering them a place to work.  If you would like advice on how you could increase the appeal of your home before you place it on the market, please contact a member of our team on 01582 343 548 for Dunstable & Houghton Regis or 01727 620 131 for St Albans & Hatfield.


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