13Mar


Award-winning local entrepreneur, Debbie Fortune is at it again, opening another high street office, this time in the busy village of Congresbury.

This office adds to her other two offices, in Backwell and Chew Magna which she has opened since she started her own business in January 2009.

Debbie is a true local success story, now employing a team of over 30 local employees, which includes Reggie, the office dog (seen above). She remains staunchly independent and is determined to resist the advances of corporates or larger firms, a number of whom would aspire to own offices in such prestigious villages.

“We are absolutely delighted to be open in Congresbury,” says Debbie,” right in the heart of the village at Bridge House in the High Street, with loads of parking, and we can’t wait to show off this stunning character office building to all our clients, customers and friends. Bridge House has been empty for three years so we are proud to have regenerated this lovely corner of the village.”

“Our business philosophy is simple, straightforward and very well received by everyone. We simply, professionally and honestly advise on what’s best, whether buying, selling, letting or renting.

“This third office in the country area south of Bristol gives us unrivalled coverage in prime locations, and it also allows us the perfect opportunity to bring our own style of the agency to a wider audience,” she adds.

“Our team is in place,” Debbie continued, “headed up by Board of Management Executive, Neil Drejer in sales, and Lisa Chaplin, also on our Board of Management in lettings.

“The Congresbury office will handle the sale and rental of property in all the local villages including Wrington, Congresbury and Yatton, and in the whole area including the Yeo Valley, the Wrington Vale, The Mendips and Somerset. Effectively joining up with our Backwell office to the North and Chew Magna office further to the East. There truly is no independent agent that covers this prime commuter area better!”

For all your property matters call Congresbury on 01934 862370, email the office on salesadmin@debbiefortune.co.uk or simply call in for a cuppa and a chat.

“Most importantly,” adds Debbie: “You will be guaranteed a warm welcome and always with a smile!”

13Mar

Award-winning estate agent, Debbie Fortune reviews the property market in 2017, where the South-West saw prices rise by over 7 %, and looks forward to 2018.

She comments: “The recent numbers from the Land Registry, released in the December House Price Index, show the number of property transactions in the UK decreased by 8.5% year on year in October 2017 to 83,740, but then started rising towards the end of the year, laying the groundwork for a brisk start to 2018.

“Two things have helped, one being a more positive economic forecast, the second the speculation that this will encourage interest rate rises.

“Combined, these have prompted buyers to get off the fence and commit to moving and we have seen a marked increase in new buyers, particularly those from Bristol looking for good schooling and a more rural environment.

“As a result, the market dynamics are shifting. Last year constrained demand allowed the ‘few’ buyers to make the running, now we predict a more balanced market, where the most important aspect in selling will be accurate pricing and the right agent.

“An experienced agent can provide the seller with all the information and relevant advice ensuring a sale at the best possible price and in a timely manner.

“There really is no substitute for knowledge”, Debbie continued, “and that’s where I am confident that the teams at our three country offices, with their combined decades of experience, represent the best agency standards in the country area south of Bristol.

“So, bearing in mind,” Debbie concludes, “that the Index shows annual price growth improved in December, and we have seen a buoyant start to the year, we have lots of reasons to feel optimistic.”

12Mar



HOW TO TURN YOUR HOME'S WEAKNESSES INTO STRENGTHS

BUYING GPEA 1st March 2018

    Do you want to sell your property? In order for your home to appeal to the widest range of potential buyers, it’s a good idea to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Every property is different. Your home might have beautiful windows and a state-of-the-art kitchen, but be in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint. We’ve identified some common property weaknesses, and how you can turn them into strengths. 

Weakness: The windows in your home are outdated and tired. 

The Fix: Outdated windows can show the age of your property, and even make it look out of date when it isn’t. Hanging new curtains is an easy way to update your property. Install a simple metal rod with decorative finials and hang a neutral curtain with metal rings. Your home will look like a magazine, and what was once a weakness has become a strength. 

Weakness: Your kitchen needs an update. 

The Fix: Purchase new white goods for your kitchen. This will add plenty of value to your home, and keep prospective buyers from being put off because your appliances are past their prime. When you’re updating, think stainless steel. These appliances are popular and modern. 

Weakness: There are lots of small, ‘awkward’ spaces in your home.

The Fix: Hang a large mirror. Mirrors can make any space seem larger, so they’re especially important in an entryway or narrow hallway. Is the space too awkward for a large mirror? A gallery wall of mirrors in different sizes will solve that problem perfectly. 

Weakness: Your house looks old.

The Fix: What do you do when your house has been standing for over 200 years (and looks like it, too)? A fresh coat of paint and a top-to-bottom clean can work wonders to turn a rustic property into a character-filled dream. Highlighting the period features of your property is also a good idea. That way, the house becomes historic, not just ‘old’.

Weakness: There’s nothing in your property. 

The Fix: A few accessories go a long way. While it’s great that your property doesn’t have much in it (an empty canvas makes it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves in your home), having a few accessories (think throw pillows and a light fixture or two) can make a huge difference in your home’s atmosphere. Use neutrals, and try visiting your local charity shop to make your improvements on a budget. 

Weakness: Your home is the priciest home on the street. 

The Fix: Whether you meant to or not, you’ve bought the most expensive home in the area and are now trying to sell. In this situation, take a look at your home. Why is it pricier than other homes in the area? Once you recognize why your home has been valued at a high price, highlight those features as unique selling propositions, or USPs. Turn price into exclusivity, and this weakness quickly becomes a property strength. 

Weakness: You’re extremely close to your neighbours.

The Fix: When you’re close enough to hear the neighbours next door, it can be a problem for potential buyers. Take this time to highlight the amenities that your property has close by. If you have a great relationship with your neighbours, this is the time to mention it. A sense of community is invaluable for new buyers, and proximity to amenities like a corner shop or department store are valuable assets to your property. 

Are you selling your home? Contact us at one of our three country offices based in Backwell, Chew Magna or Congresbury.

26Feb

Can’t wait to open up at my beautiful new office in Congresbury! Love Reggie x

26Feb

Latest blog by The Guild of Property Professionals

THE TOP TEN MISTAKES YOU'RE MAKING WHEN BUYING A HOUSE

BUYING The Guild 14th June 2017
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Buying a new home is one of the most exciting things you can do. Between looking through beautiful new houses and choosing the perfect area, it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of new-home ownership. However, ignoring the details could end up costing you. Our estate agents have seen it all, and have identified the top mistakes that people make when purchasing a new home.

1. Looking at property without setting a budget 

“Taking a hard look at your finances is critical before you begin to look at property”, says Guild of Property Professionals CEO Iain McKenzie. “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen fall in love with a property to realise that it’s out of their price range.” After you look at your finances, consider seeking professional advice, especially when it comes to mortgages. 

According to Steve Thompson of Thomas Morris St Neot’s, “buyers should fully consider their property requirements and get the advice they need to organise their finances and solicitors before they find a property so that they do not miss out.” Do your research before viewing properties, and get a good idea of what you can afford to avoid heartbreak later. 

2. Understand their reasons for moving 
Buying a property is a huge emotional and financial decision, and certainly not one to take lightly. According to Siobhan Jordain of Boyce Brixham, it’s important to make sure that you’re running toward something better, rather than away from something unsuitable. Siobhan encourages serious thought before moving into a different area, saying that “a bit of self-reflection on what you think moving from one area to another will give you can save time and money – perhaps you just need a lifestyle change rather than a location change.” 

3. Buying too quickly
If your property purchase is the direct result of a relocation, Steve Barron of Drivers & Norris cautions against buying immediately. Steve encourages potential buyers to “rent first, and then figure out what you like. Then you know you’ll be buying in the best area for you, rather than simply having to make an educated guess.”

4. Having too many non-negotiables
When you view a property, it’s a good idea to know what you’re willing to be flexible on and where you’re not willing to negotiate. Stick to your convictions, but keep your list small. According to Steve Barron, “it’s best to prioritise what you want, as you’ll never get everything on your wishlist.” Mark Noble of Castle Estate Agents echoes this sentiment, saying “one of the biggest mistakes I see is buyers being too fussy about a property when a few simple alterations could make it perfect.”

5. Being closed off to alternative suggestions 
“One in three people end up buying something completely different than what they thought they wanted,” says McKenzie, “so be sure to broaden your horizons while you’re looking.” The perfect property for you might not be what you think you want, so being open to alternative suggestions is critical when buying a home. 

6. Not using an estate agent in addition to looking online
Steve Thompson cautions: “heavy reliance on the internet to find your home is a mistake. Although it is a fantastic source of information, simple to use and available round-the-clock, the internet will never be able to replicate the local knowledge and expertise of your local estate agent. Build a good relationship with your estate agent, and they will tell you about properties that fit your specifications before they hit the market, search for properties that might now have hit the market just yet, and think of all kinds of out-of-the-box solutions to help you find the perfect home.” 

7. Waiting too long to make an offer
Celeste Hamilton-Parker, Mark Noble, and Iain McKenzie all agree that waiting too long to make an offer on a house is one of the easiest ways for someone else to buy the house of your dreams. If you have a good feeling about a house and it ticks off your list of non-negotiables, then making an offer is the sensible choice. 

8. Negotiating poorly
Negotiating is an important part of the property buying process, and negotiating poorly (or not at all) is one of the most common mistakes estate agents see in buyers. According to Mark Noble, “offering a price that’s too low and then taking too long to make a more acceptable offer is the reason I see many people lose homes they really love.” Iain McKenzie has been in a similar situation. “I’ve have buyers offer the asking price on houses where the seller would have negotiated. Negotiating will almost always result in a better price, especially if you maintain an air of ambivalence at a viewing. Never gush when you view a house, as gushing will make the seller think you’re willing to pay more for the property.”

9. Appointing the wrong property professionals
“Choosing the wrong solicitor or mortgage broker can be a huge mistake for buyers” says Mark Noble. Celeste Hamilton-Parker of Hamilton Parkers agrees, arguing that “a solicitor that’s either online or unfamiliar with the area can delay the conveyancing process, and the whole process in general.” When you buy a property, be sure to choose mortgage brokers that are reputable and local to your area. Local professionals will have a much better idea of how the market in your area works than non-local brokers or solicitors. 

10. Not thinking ahead
“While it’s tempting to prioritise what you need now over what you’ll need in the future, but choosing a home is a relatively permanent decision,” warns Steve Barron. “Be sure you prioritise what you’ll need in the future, as well as what you’d like now.” Siobhan Jourdain agrees, adding that you should “consider a situation where you should have to return to your original home area, and make sure that you can afford to buy back in – this is particularly important if you are downsizing and using equity as pension funding or buying in a cheaper area.”

Are you thinking of moving why not contact us at Debbie Fortune Estate Agents. We have three superb country offices in Backwell on 01275 406880, Chew Magna on 01275 333888, or our new office at Bridge House, High Street, Congresbury, on 01934 862370, or visit our website at www.debbiefortune.co.uk

19Feb

After a slump in residential transactions in 2017, could new official figures indicate the start of the pendulum swinging back in the other direction in 2018?

Award-winning estate and letting agent, Debbie Fortune , trading as Debbie Fortune Estate Agents, with three independent offices covering the sale and rental of property in North Somerset, the Yeo Valley, the Wrington Vale, the Chew Valley, Somerset and The Mendips, reviews the property market in 2017 , where the south-west saw property prices rise by over 7%, and looks forward to 2018.

She comments, “The most recent numbers from the Land Registry, released as part of its December House Price Index, show that the number of property transactions completed in the UK decreased by 8.5% year on year in October 2017 to 83,740.

“Transactions in English regions had been sliding in the previous months, with Yorkshire the only one to see a rise in October, albeit up just 1% to 6,633. London saw the biggest fall in volumes, down 22% to 6,264. Sales in Scotland were also up annually in October by 3.9% to 8,831, while England saw a 10.2% drop to 63,603. Transactions in Wales were down 3.8% to 3,805, while Northern Ireland saw an 8.8% drop to 5,501.’

“Despite the fact that transactions continued to fall across the majority of the country towards the end of the autumn, Debbie Fortune, like many of her professional colleagues can now see reasons to be cheerful.”

She adds: “The rather unexpected and buoyant end to 2017, rather like the mini-boom we experienced in 2010, following the earlier property crash, has laid the groundwork for a brisk start to 2018.’

“There are two things that have probably helped this, one is December’s subtle improvement in sentiment around Britain’s economic prospects and GDP and the second is the speculation that this improvement will encourage interest rate rises and end the era of cheap finance sooner than expected.’

“Combined together , these forces have prompted a number of would-be buyers to get off the fence and commit to moving in 2018 and we have seen a large increase in new buyers contacting us, particularly those moving out of Bristol into the country area south of Bristol, looking for good schools and a more rural setting to bring up their family.’

“As a result, the market dynamics are shifting. Whereas in 2017 constrained demand allowed the limited number of buyers to make all the running, this year the pendulum appears to be swinging back to create a more balanced market, and in 2018 the most important aspect in selling your home will be pricing it sensibly and choosing the right agent.

“That's where you need the experts, who have the experience to provide you, the seller, with all the information and relevant advice so that your home hits the market just right, is marketed in an appropriate way and sells at the best possible price and within your desired timescale.

“There really is no substitute for knowledge,” she says; “and that’s where I am confident that the teams at our three country offices, with their combined decades of experience, represent the best agency standards in the country area south of Bristol.”

Debbie concludes: “So, bearing in mind that the Index shows annual price growth improved in December, we have every reason to be optimistic about 2018, and, as the typical UK property price in December 2017 was reported at £226,756, whilst the South West showed an average property price of £254,081, on balance, we are doing very well in our patch. The only area in the UK that has done better than this is Scotland where a rise of 7.7% to £148,783 was reported in December. London registered the slowest annual growth for 2017, at 2.5% to £484,173 and I believe this to be an adjustment to the meteoric price rises of recent years and the dearth of foreign buyers and buy to let investors.”

Debbie Fortune Estate Agents are a multi-award winning company, handling the sale and rental of property in the Chew Valley, the Yeo Valley, North Somerset, Somerset and The Mendips.

14Feb


Contact our excellent lettings department personnel, Lisa or Kathryn and get yourselves up to speed with the latest regulations on renting your property...

14Feb

12Feb

Anna Honeyfield, who is a sales negotiator in our Chew Magna branch, received a welcome telephone call from The Guild of Property Professionals last week. Anna was delighted to hear that she was to receive a £200 gift voucher won for her referrals of clients to our partner agents, across The Guild’s network.

The benefit of marketing your property with a Guild agent is that you can be assured your property will reach more prospective purchasers through the additional advertising offered through the 800 Guild-member offices involved, including the National Property Centre in Mayfair, London. Our property professionals are motivated to deliver the best result possible for our clients, and Anna’s fantastic results are clearly appreciated by the Guild.

Anna says, “I was surprised and delighted to receive the £200 voucher, I just need to hide it from the children so I can spend it on myself!”

If you need help in selling your property, then why not get in touch with Debbie Fortune Estate Agents with offices covering the whole of the North Somerset area including Wrington Vale, Yeo Vale, as well as the Chew Valley.

29Jan


A lovely couple called into our lettings department at Backwell, to pick up their keys for their new property they are renting from us in Banwell, and were due to move in on Friday. They received their keys and a goodie bag, including a bottle of something to toast their new home with, from Kathryn.

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