Rochester 01634 400 922   -   Strood 01634 294 864   like us on facebook    
telephone us
email us
like us on facebook

Property Search

instant valuation



Whether you are a Medway landlord looking to liquidate your buy to let investment or a homeowner looking to sell your home, finding a buyer and selling your property can take an annoyingly long time. It is a step-by-step process that can take months and months. In fact, one of the worst parts of the house selling process is the not knowing how long you might be stuck at each step. At the moment, looking at every estate agent in Rochester for example, independent research shows it is taking on average 37 days from the property coming on the market for it to be sold subject to contract.
But trust me ... that is just the start of a long journey on the house selling/buying process. The journey is a long one and therefore, in this article, I want to take you through the standard itinerary for each step of the house selling procedure in Rochester.
Step 1 – Find a Buyer
You need to instruct an estate agent (of course we can help you with that) who will talk through a marketing strategy and pricing strategy to enable you to find a buyer that fits your circumstances. 37 days might be the average in Rochester, yet as I have said many times, the Rochester property market is like a fly’s eye, split up into lots of little micro markets.
Looking at that independent research, (which only focused on Rochester), it was interesting to see how the different price bands (i.e. different micro markets) are currently performing, when it comes down to the average number of days it takes to find a buyer for a property in Rochester.
Asking Price (Rochester)
Average Time to Find a Buyer in Rochester (days)
Under £100,000
24
£100,000 to £200,000
40
£200,000 to £300,000
33
£300,000 to £400,000
49
£400,000 to £500,000
48
£500,000 to £1,000,000
53
Over £1,000,000
149


Interestingly, I thought I would see which price band had the highest proportion of properties sold (stc)... again – fascinating!

So, now you have a buyer ... what next?
There are a variety of distinctive issues at play when selling your property in Rochester, together with the involvement of a wide and varied range of professionals who get involved in that process. That means there is are enormous differences in how long it takes from one property to another. Moving forward to the next steps, these are the average lengths of time it takes for each step to give you some idea of what to expect.
Step 2  - Sort Solicitors (and Mortgage)
Again, something we can point you in the right direction to, but it will take a good few weeks for your buyer to apply and sort their mortgage and for your solicitors to prepare the legal paper work to send to the buyer.
Step 3 – Legal Work and Survey
Once you buyer’s solicitor receives the paperwork from your solicitor, then your buyer’s solicitor applies for local searches from the local authority (to ensure no motorways etc., are going to be built in the back garden!).  These Searches can take a number of weeks to be returned to the buyer solicitors from the council, from which questions will be raised by the buyer’s solicitor to your solicitor (trust me – you don’t see a tenth of the work that goes on behind closed doors to get the sale through to completion). Meanwhile, the surveyor will check the property to ensure it is worth the money and structurally sound. Overall, this step can take between 3 and 6 weeks (sometimes more!).
Step 4 – Exchange of Contracts
Assuming all the mortgage, survey and legal work comes back ok, both the buyer and solicitor sign contracts, the solicitors then perform “Exchange of Contracts”. When contracts are exchanged, this is the first time both buyer and seller are tied in. Before then, they can walk away ... and you are probably 4 or 5 months down the line from having put up the for sale board – this isn’t a quick process! BUT hold on ... we aren’t there yet!
Step 5 – Completion
Between a week and up to six weeks after exchange of contracts, the buyer solicitor sends the purchase money to the seller’s solicitor, and once that arrives, the keys will be given to the buyer … phew!
To conclude, all in all, you are looking at a good four, five even six months from putting the for-sale board up to moving out.
If you are thinking of selling your Medway home or if you are a Medway landlord, hoping to sell your buy to let property (with tenants in), either way, if you want a chat to ensure you get a decent price with minimal fuss ... drop me a message or pick up the phone.

One place for more information is my Medway Property Market blog. If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Medway property market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Medway, then it is well worth reading. You can also email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office which is based at Station Road, Strood, Kent, ME2 4WQ
 
 


Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Medway Property News. 

Blog – http://www.medwaypropertyblog.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DocksideP/

LinkedIn– https://www.linkedin.com/in/spencer-fortag-medway/

Website – http://www.docksidekent.com/

The combined value of Chatham’s housing market has risen by £291,855,520 in the last 6 months, meaning the average value of a Chatham property has increased in value by an average of £11,120.  
This is great news for Chatham homeowners and Chatham buy to let landlords, as property prices have risen despite a slight hesitation in the market because of the uncertainty over Brexit. As I have always said, investing in Chatham property, be it for you to live in or as a buy to let investment, is a long-term game.
The RICS’s latest survey of its Chartered Surveyor members showed that nationally the number of properties actually selling has dropped for the 16th month in a row. Locally in Chatham, certain sectors of the market are matching that trend, yet others aren’t. It really depends which price band and type of property you are looking for, as to whether it’s a buyers or sellers market.
The RICS also said its member’s lettings data showed a lower number of rental properties coming on to the market. Anecdotal evidence suggests that (and this is born out in the recent English Housing Survey figures) Chatham tenants over the last few years are stopping in their rental properties longer, meaning less are coming onto the market for rent. I have noticed locally, that where the landlord has gone the extra mile in terms of decoration and standard of finish, this has certainly helped push rents up (although those properties where the landlord has been remiss with improvements and standard of finish are in fact seeing rents drop). Chatham tenants are getting pickier – but will pay top dollar for quality. So much so, I believe there will be a cumulative rise of around fourteen to sixteen per cent over the course of the next five years in private rents for the best properties on the market.
Back to the Chatham Property Values though …
The fact is that over the last 6 months 376 properties have sold for a combined value of £94,455,712. 6 months ago, the total value of Chatham property stood at £6,586,040,010 (£6.59bn), and today it stands at £6,877,895,530(£6.88bn).
In the short term, say over the next six months and assuming nothing silly happens in Korea, the Middle East or Brexit negotiations, it will be more of the same until the end of the year. In the meantime, the on-going challenges ensuring we as a Country build more homes (although the Office of National Statistics figures released in July showed nationally the number of new homes started to be built over the second Quarter of 2018 had dropped dramatically)makes me think that Chatham (and Nationally) property value is likely to maintain an upward trajectory as we go into 2019.

Two final thoughts, firstly for all the buy to let landlords in Chatham (and indirectly this does affect all you Chatham homeowners too). I do hope the recent tax changes towards buy to let landlords don’t bite as deep as it is possibly starting to with certain landlords I know.  We talked about this in an article a few weeks ago and I know why the Government wanted to change the balance by taxing landlords and providing a lift for first time buyers .. however, this may well come at the expense of higher rents for those Chatham tenants that don’t become first time buyers, as the appeal of buy to let potentially weakens. Secondly, even though values have increased, realistic pricing (i.e. the asking price) is still the key to achieving these figures… so if you are considering selling in the next 6 months – please bear that in mind.
One place for more information is my Medway Property Market blog. If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Medway property market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Medway, then it is well worth reading. You can also email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office which is based at Station Road, Strood, Kent, ME2 4WQ
 
 


Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Medway Property News. 

Blog – http://www.medwaypropertyblog.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DocksideP/

LinkedIn– https://www.linkedin.com/in/spencer-fortag-medway/

Website – http://www.docksidekent.com/

 
Over the last twenty years, there has been a shift in the way the Gillingham (and the UK’s) property market works. In the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, a large majority of twenty somethings saved up their 5% deposit, went without life’s luxuries of going out and holidays etc., for a couple of years and then bought their first home with their hard earned savings.
By 2000, 54.7% of Gillingham 25 to 29 years owned their own home (compared to 46% Nationally (and 76.4% of Gillingham 30 to 34 year olds in 2000 owned their own home – again compared to 64.2% nationally) whilst the remaining youngsters mostly rented from the Council and in some rare cases, privately rented.
Now it’s 2018, and those levels of homeownership have slipped dramatically and now only 29.2% of Gillingham 25 to 29 year olds own their own home and 51.4% of Gillingham 30 to 34 year olds own their own home (interestingly mirroring the National picture of 24.5% for the younger age cohort and 64.2% for the older 30 to 34 year cohort).

  

There was concern in Government since the late Noughties that this shift from homeownership to private renting wasn’t good for the well-being of the Country and things needed to change, to make it a more level playing field for first time buyers. House prices needed to be more realistic and there needed to be a carrot and stick for both landlords and first time buyers.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, interest rates were the weapon of choice of Government to cool or heat up the UK housing market – and it did work – up to a point. It’s just interest rates also affected so many other sectors of the UK economy (and not always a in good way). The policy of interest rates to control the economy is called ‘Monetary Policy’. Monetary policy is primarily concerned with the management of interest rates (and the supply of money) and is carried out by the Bank of England (under direction from the Government).
It’s just in this post Credit Crunch, Brexit environment, the use of higher interest rates wouldn’t directly affect landlords (as around two thirds of buy to let properties are bought without a mortgage). Therefore, an increase in interest rates would have hardly any effect on landlords and hit the first time buyers - the people the Government would be trying to help!
Also, given muted growth of real income (i.e. real income being the growth salaries after inflation) in the past few years, an uplift in interest rates (from their ultra-low 0.5% current levels) would have a massive effect on Brit’s household disposable income. Yet, over 90% of new mortgages in 2018 being taken are fixed rate and with such low rates, it has made buying a property comparatively attractive.
Instead, over the last 8 years, the Government has encouraged first time buyers and clipped the wings of landlords with another type of economic policy – Fiscal Policy (Fiscal Policy is the collective term for the taxing (and spending) actions of the Government).  First time buyers have had the Help to Buy Scheme, Stamp Duty Exemption and contributions to their deposit by HMRC. On the other side the coin, landlords have had the way they are able to offset the tax relief of their mortgage payments against income change (for the worse), an increase in Stamp Duty (for the worse) and they will be hit with additional costs as the Government will be phasing out fees to tenants in the next 12 to 18 months.
So, what does this all mean for the 4,383 Gillingham landlords?
The days of making money in Gillingham buy to let with your eyes closed are long gone. There are going to be testing times for Gillingham landlords, yet there is still a defined opportunity for those Gillingham landlords who are willing to do their homework and take guidance from specialists and experts.

It’s all about looking at your Gillingham portfolio (or getting a property professional to do so) and ascertaining if your current portfolio, mortgage and gearing are designed to hit what you want from the investment (because that is what it is – an investment) in terms of income now and income in the future, capital growth and when you plan to dispose of your assets.
I have seen many Gillingham landlords (both who use me and my competitors) to manage their rental property or find them tenants – and on many occasions recently, I have told them to SELL – yes sell some of their portfolio to either reduce mortgage debt or buy other types of property that match what they want in the short and long-term from their investments. I know that sounds strange – but my role isn’t just to collect the rent  .. it’s also to give strategic advice and opinion on the landlord’s portfolio to help them meet their current and future investment goals.


The opportunities will appear in the Gillingham property market for Gillingham landlords from gentler growth in property values linked with a restrained Gillingham property market, meaning if you put in the time, there will be deals and great bargains to have. Many landlords in Gillingham (both clients and non-clients) send me Rightmove links each week, asking my opinion on the suitability of the investment. Some are exceptional – whilst others are duds. The bottom line is, private renting will continue to outgrow first time buyers in the next 5 to 10 years and as we aren’t building enough homes in the UK, which means rents can only go in one direction – upwards!
One place for more information is my Medway Property Market blog. If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Medway property market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Medway, then it is well worth reading. You can also email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office which is based at Station Road, Strood, Kent, ME2 4WQ


Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Medway Property News. 

Blog – http://www.medwaypropertyblog.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DocksideP/

LinkedIn– https://www.linkedin.com/in/spencer-fortag-medway/

Website – http://www.docksidekent.com/

 



Living in our own homes or owning buy to let property in Chatham and the surrounding areas, it’s often easy to ignore the regional and national picture when it comes to property. As a homeowner or landlord in Chatham, consideration must be given to these markets, as directly and indirectly, they do have a bearing on us in Chatham. 

Locally, the value of property in Chatham and the number of people moving remain largely steady overall, although looking across at the different regions, there are certainly regional variations. Talking to fellow property professionals in the posh upmarket central London areas of Mayfair and Kensington, the number of people looking to buy and registering interest with agents is continuing to climb after 18 months in the doldrums, whilst in other parts of the UK, there is restraint amongst both buyers and sellers in some locations. 

The things that affect the national property market are the big economic numbers. Nationally, over the last few months, thankfully, the economic forecast and predictions have improved, notwithstanding the Brexit uncertainties. Inflation has mercifully throttled back its high growth seen in 2016 to the current level of 2.1% (from 2.7% average last year), coupled with marginally stronger wage growth at 2.5%. Unemployment is at a 42-year low at 4.2% and UK consumer spending power rose to an all-time high last month to £331.04bn – all positives for consumer sentiment. 

Look further afield, a resilient property market depends on the UK's economic health with the outside world, so if Sterling weakens, that makes imports more expensive, meaning inflation increases, and this matter I talked about a few weeks ago in my blog article ... interest rates could be raised to bring inflation under control, which in turn could seriously affect the property market. On the assumption Brexit negotiations are successful, economic growth should continue to be upward and positive, meaning confidence would be increased ... which is the vital element to a good housing market.

Looking closer to home now, Chatham landlords and Chatham homeowners might be interested in the how the regional and Chatham markets have performed over the last 20 years (compared to the National picture). Let’s look at the regional picture first, 

Medway has outperformed the South East housing market by 15.19%...
...whilst nationally, Medway has outperformed the country by 35.21%
That means a Chatham homeowner has profited by an additional £92,258 over the last 20 years compared to the average homeowners across the country.

I found it interesting to see the ups and downs of the Chatham, South East and National markets in this graph. How the lines of graphs roughly go in the same direction, with Chatham following the regional trend more closely than the national trend (as one would expect), how the 2007/08 property crash timings and effects were slightly different between the three lines and finally how the property markets performed in the post-crash years of 2011 to 2014 ... fascinating!



So, what does this all mean for Chatham homeowners and Chatham landlords?
Well, house prices going up or down are only an issue when you sell or buy. In the last 12 months, only 1,076,288 (let’s call it’s a straight million between friends!) properties changed hands out of27.2 million households in the UK in 2017, meaning only 3.7% would have been affected if property values had dropped in the last year.
Property values in Chatham are 363.18% higher than the summer of 1998
Yet this has been a long-term gain. The number one lesson in property is that it is a long-term game.  The biggest issue in property isn’t house values or prices ... it’s the number of homes built, because the number of households nationally has only increased by 6% since 2007, whilst the population has grown by 7.6%. That doesn’t sound a lot, until you express it another way…
If the UK population had had only grown by the same percentage as the percentage growth in UK households in the last decade, there would be 1,000,000 less people living in the UK today

The final thought for this article is this, apart from central London, over the last 20 years it hasn’t mattered what part of the UK you were in with regards to the property market. Be you a landlord or homeowner, property is a long game, so look long term and you will win because until they start to build more homes, from the current levels of 180,000 new homes built per year to at least 250,000 households built per year, demand will, over the long term, outstrip supply for owning and renting!

One place for more information is my Medway Property Market blog. If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Medway property market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Medway, then it is well worth reading. You can also email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office which is based at Station Road, Strood, Kent, ME2 4WQ
 
 


Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Medway Property News. 

Blog – http://www.medwaypropertyblog.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DocksideP/

LinkedIn– https://www.linkedin.com/in/spencer-fortag-medway/

Website – http://www.docksidekent.com/

Should you, as a landlord for buy to let or for personal occupation, buy a brand-new home?
Well, let’s start by looking at the numbers …
Over the last 10 years, 3,125 new homes have been built in the Medway area
That is a lot of bricks and mortar! Roll the clock back twenty years in the Medway property market, and there were two distinct camps of property buyers - folks who would only contemplate living in period character properties with their original fireplaces and beams, and those people who preferred the low maintenance of a new home. Old period homes were ridiculed as money pits by new-home aficionados, while new-home owners were accused of buying boring boxes, all vanilla, all the same, homogenous and bland.
However, it’s not as black and white as that anymore – or not as I see it in Medway. New homebuilders are now trying to change their cookie-cutter uniform rows of suburban boxes into developments that are as individual as the families that love in them, thus increasing their appeal. Nonetheless, whether you choose a stone cottage, archetypal Victorian semi or terrace, 1970’s/80’s functional home or a untouched new home, whatever home you buy, it can result in supplementary costs that are often not taken into math’s when buying by potential homeowners or buy to let landlords.
So looking at the numbers in greater detail, let’s see what type of new homes people have been buying in the Medway area ..
Number of New Homes Built in Our Local Authority in the last Decade
New Homes Built in Our Local Authority in the last Decade as a Percentage
New Homes Built Nationally in the last Decade as a Percentage
Detached
574
18.4%
29.2%
Semi
540
17.3%
21.9%
Terraced
770
24.6%
26.6%
Flat
1,241
39.7%
22.3%
I thought the mix of what was built/bought locally over the last 10 years when compared to the national figures was fascinating … it’s interesting (but not surprising) to see a greater proportion of flats built locally and fewer detached homes being built, when compared to the national averages. This is because of the nature of the Medway area, its position in the country, the availability of building land, planning restrictions by Medway Council and the price of building land.
 
 
So, should you buy a new home (because a lot of people locally have over the last ten years)?
Well if you are considering new, take care when buying one, as often the show home isn’t the actual property you end up buying. It’s like visiting the car showroom and falling in love with the model in the showroom (which is spec’d up to an inch of its life) – only to get the base model when handed the keys. Look out for things like curtain rails, tv aerials (or lack of them), kitchen appliances, carpets and curtains … and outside – make sure you aren’t unwittingly buying a square piece of earth instead of the manicured landscaped gardens.
New homes are a lot more efficient on energy consumption compared to the old drafty, high fuel bill Victorian semis, as their owners can testify. Older properties will have maintenance issues, with 100yo brickwork and roofs that might need replacement and extra insulation, rotten wooden windows and a dodgy central heating boiler (all sounding rather a strain on your bank balance if you weren’t aware). The point I am trying to get across is open your eyes and don’t assume .. ask questions and get a surveyor to make a detailed inspection of the property so you know what you are getting yourself into.
Next, I also wanted to break down the new home stats to each individual year in our local area to see if there was a pattern to when people bought a new home. As you can see, apart from a drop in 2014, the general trend of new home sales has remained steady. Looking at the much larger second hand housing market in Medway over the same 10 years, the coloration between the new homes market and second market has been quite strong – which shows the new home builders don’t make (or break) the Medway housing market – just follow it (although with the planned building locally in the next 10/20 years – who knows if that will continue to be the case?).
 
 
So, should you buy brand-new or second hand? If price is your sole motivator, then new homes are always CHEAPER when the economy is bad. However, in normal and good housing market conditions, you will pay a ‘new build premium’. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors admits that this can be as high as 10% extra, when compared to a similar second hand property – so be aware of that (it’s like paying extra for a new car and losing a bit (or a lot) of money as soon as you drive off the forecourt). Although, it’s not always about pure pound notes.
Older houses are bigger (more room) yet take more money to heat. Older houses have bigger gardens (to enjoy) – but you will spend more time tending to them. Older houses are in more established areas (with more facilities), whilst everyone is starting afresh on new homes. It all comes down to personal opinion. One final thought though, at least with new homes there is no gazumping or no upward chain to ruin any sale completion dates …

The choice as they say … is yours!
If you are a Medway landlord, irrespective of whether you are a client of mine or another agent in Medway (or even you do it yourself), feel free to drop me a line or pop into the office for an informal chat on the future direction of the Medway rental market and where opportunities may lie.
 
One place for more information is my Medway Property Market blog. If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Medway property market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Medway, then it is well worth reading. You can also email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office which is based at Station Road, Strood, Kent, ME2 4WQ
 
 


Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Medway Property News. 

Blog – http://www.medwaypropertyblog.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DocksideP/

LinkedIn– https://www.linkedin.com/in/spencer-fortag-medway/

Website – http://www.docksidekent.com/
Property Portals