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When buying a home it’s crucial to get all the information you need to make a fully informed decision. At AP Morgan we endeavour to provide an honest and complete customer service to all of our customers, including answering as many questions about any of the properties we market as thoroughly as possible. Even if you’re viewing through other estate agents, there are several key questions to ask.
Of course, we can’t possibly give you all the information there is about a house on a viewing – not only would it be a complete information overload, but there is simply just not enough time in the day!
We’ve put together a list of the questions we’d always recommend buyers ask when viewing a property.
Why is the owner selling?
Often, moving to a new house can be a stressful time and the seller may not be keen to share this information with buyers if it’s particularly sensitive. Of course, if the reasons are perhaps more straightforward it’s easy to pass this on to potential buyers – this can even become a selling point all of its own. If, for example, you’re moving with no onward chain (for example moving into rented accommodation, buying with cash, etc.) then the allure of a quick and easy purchase can appeal to many buyers.
When do the sellers need to move out by?
Tying in to what we mentioned above, this is an important thing to know. Not only does this let you know whether you’re buying on a realistic timescale, but can also inform you of the status of the chain you may become a part of.
Exactly what is included in the sale?
For example, is the garden shed or the greenhouse included? Any fixtures and fittings, such as curtains? You may also want to check exactly where the boundary is in, as some properties throughout the West Midlands and the Black Country can have some quirks with the boundary lines shared with neighbouring properties and land.
How long have the owners lived there?
To put it simply, the longer the owners have lived in the property, the less likely it is there will be any issues for you. If they have only lived in the property for a short period it’s important to try and find out why – chances are it will be because of a change of circumstances on their part, but on the off-chance it has something to do with the property itself it’s important to know.
How did the valuer come up with the asking price?
Chances are the person showing you around the property will not be the same person that went out to value the property in the first place – at AP Morgan at least, we have specialist members of our team that carry out these appointments. However, the agent with you on the viewing will be able to take you through all the reasons behind the valuation. This can help ease your mind and help you understand not only the knowledge the estate agents have and that you will be in safe hands throughout the transaction.
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Often, when asked the question ‘why do you love living in Hagley’ people tend to say that the schools are a big reason. Even the members of our Stourbridge estate agents team who live or have lived in Hagley agree with this – either they have personally benefitted from the great schools in the area or have children/younger family that are currently benefiting from them.
The department of education has recently released new figures that have officially confirmed what most people in Hagley already know – that our schools are some of the best in the area.
Haybridge High School in Hagley have the best recorded GCSE results in 2018 out of the whole of Worcestershire – they have achieved an incredible ‘attainment eight’ score of 58.5. For those of you unaware as to what an ‘attainment eight’ score is, it’s a score based on how well pupils have done in up to eight GCSEs. The nationwide average is 46.5 – meaning Haybridge have scored 12 points higher than the national average.
It’s also great news for neighbouring Hagley RC High School – with a score of 51.6 they are also well above the national average and ranked as one of the top ten schools in Worcestershire.
So that’s two schools in Hagley achieving great scores, confirming their position as two of the best schools in the county and well above the national average when compared to schools further afield.
If you’re looking at moving and making sure your child can get into a good high school is a priority for you, speak to our Stourbridge branch and some of our friendly local staff would be happy to help.
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As mentioned before on our blog, Halesowen is one of our favourite places in the Black Country. As it’s just a short drive from our Stourbridge office, we often spend a significant amount of time in the area – not just during work as we’re carrying out viewings, valuations, but in our own free time too! As it’s only a relatively short drive from Redditch and Bromsgrove too, our teams in those offices also spend a lot of time in the area as well.
Today is the first day of spring, the spring equinox. As the warm weather finally starts becoming more frequent, we wanted to share some of our favourite spots in and around the local area.
Leasowes Park is a large park located just east of Halesowen town centre. It covers a massive 141 acres, is the home of Halesowen Golf Club, and is now Grade 1 listed. Developed in 1743, the park has remained relatively unchanged over the centuries. Whilst the park does have an incredibly interesting history, even hosting the future 3rd and 2nd presidents of the United States (Thomas Jefferson and John Adams respectively) most of the attraction simply comes from how pleasant the park is to spend time in. Those of us who live locally, and own dogs recommend the Leasowes as one of the best places in the local area to walk our dogs, with the plenty of winding paths and other fellow dog walkers often walking the same route. The park is also home to the beautiful walled garden – a space which up until late 2014 was considered an eyesore and dumping ground by local residents. Since then many volunteers have devoted time and effort to restore the space to ‘a haven of peace and tranquillity’ which is enjoyed by many local residents.
Another great outdoor day out is a little bit farther away – admittedly just outside of Halesowen in Quinton. Woodgate Valley Country Park is a wonderful park, but the real highlight is its Urban Farm. Great if you’ve got children, the urban farm is a spot that many of us have brought our own children too, and many of us were bought to as kids! (One of us even did their work experience here at the age of 16). The farm is a registered charity and is managed and supervised entirely by volunteers. The urban farm itself is small, with a few enclosures and a small gift shop. Just outside of the farm itself, the country park has a café with great food and drink options available.
As the majority of the focus of the farm is working with young people for work experience and providing experience days for younger children, the farm does not position itself as a public facility. They do however allow people to visit and see the animals up close for a small fee of £1 per adult, and accompanying children visit for free! They also offer additional packages for groups such as schools and playgroups. It’s a great opportunity for children to get chance to see farm animals such as cows, pigs, goats, various types of poultry, and more.
We can’t mention the best places to spend time outdoors in and around Halesowen without mentioning the Clent Hills. Whilst a little further afield, they are an attraction people travel far and wide to come and see – and if you live in Halesowen, they’re only a short drive away.
The Clent Hills have been a popular place for walkers and day trippers since Edwardian times, with several mapped walks to help you experience whatever it is you enjoy – be that history, nature, or simply a nice route to walk with your dog.
The hills provide panoramic views across several counties and towns, including Halesowen, Stourbridge, Hagley, and a decent chunk of Birmingham. On a clear day, even the Welsh Black Mountains are visible.
If you want to find out any more about local attractions or get further information on our own personal favourite spots in and around the local area, please feel free to get in touch!
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Location, location, location. It’s a mantra that everyone who has even looked at buying or selling a property has heard. The specific location of your property and its proximity and travel time to shops, public transport links, road networks, schools, and more all have an effect on how appealing your property is to the local market. Of course, you probably already knew this though…
Have you ever considered the impact that proximity to other local landmarks & attractions have on your property’s popularity and attractiveness? Things like being close to parks, having a nice view of the country, and other things can have a surprising effect.
Research that took place in 2016 indicated that many buyers in the UK are willing to pay a significant premium to live as close as possible to their local bit of greenery – especially those living in or moving from large, urban sprawls such as Birmingham. As Stourbridge and Halesowen have plenty of large parks, the demand for property located near to some of our larger parks such as Leasowes Park, Stevens Park, or Mary Stevens Park can be particularly high, especially for those moving into the area from further afield.
Another important thing to consider is proximity to leisure activities – whilst not something particularly high on the list for many buyers when carrying out an initial property search, it can be one of those things that can help a buyer choose your property over another one when otherwise it can be very close – things like proximity to gyms, cinemas, swimming pools and golf courses can all have an effect.
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AP Morgan are well-established estate agents in Stourbridge. From our high street office in Stourbridge town centre we manage property sales (and currently have houses for sale) throughout the Black Country, from Halesowen to Kingswinford, to Brierley Hill, and the surrounding areas. But did you know that AP Morgan also offer an award-winning lettings service.
Our Redditch branch were the first letting agents in Redditch to be awarded an official Gold Award from the British Property Awards – The BPAs are amongst the most prestigious and sought-after awards in the UK. Not only that, but as they judge every agent on a case-by-case basis it’s important to reach their exacting standards consistently and over time. We apply these same standards across all of our branches – and even though our Stourbridge branch is our newest, it is no exception.
Consistency is key and whether or not you’re a Stourbridge landlord looking at our let only service or our fully managed service, you’ll get the same fantastic online property ads, and you’ll get to deal with our specialist lettings team that are able to deal with any and all queries and ensure you are always in safe hands.
Based out of our office in Stourbridge town centre, we are never far away and are always on hand for a phone call or a visit to work with our landlords to resolve any issues and ensure you get the best return on your investment as possible, with the least possible amount of worry and stress.