Carl Eastwood, a director at Nicholas Percival, offers property advice

PUBLISHED: 10:57 02 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:57 02 September 2014





Carl Eastwood is a director of Nicholas Percival Limited, an independent property practice established in 1986 and located just on the edge of Colchester. The company has an impressive breadth of diversity covering a wide range of property matters including residential sales, lettings and property management, commercial agency and management, advising on development land and acquisitions and also structural surveys and professional valuations. Carl has been an estate agent for more than 20 years and specialises in sales of everything from townhouses to cottages as well as country houses across the Essex and Suffolk borders.

Get Two Steps Ahead on the Property Ladder

The property market is sailing through slightly unchartered waters at the moment. On the one hand, prices are rising, the economy is on the up and the sentiment towards property is at its best for the last seven years. However, salaries are not keeping pace with inflation, lenders are making it more difficult to borrow and are asking for larger deposits and the costs of buying a house are at an all-time high.

Given the circumstances it would be prudent for potential buyers to take a longer term view with regard to property ownership, rather than a quick way to make a profit. Due to the excessive costs of moving, it is worth thinking longer term and trying to buy a rung or two above where you initially planned to be on the property ladder. This doesn’t necessarily mean overstretching your budget, but rather thinking laterally. If you can afford to buy a slightly larger house than you need – do it. This particularly applies to those planning to have a family; it is much easier to make such a large investment before having extra mouths to feed. Look at all opportunities. Anything that can be renovated or preferably extended, thus adding value, is a sensible way to keep ahead of the game. Even if you don’t need the extra space initially, you can phase the extension work as required. Adding to the size of the property is a fundamental way of increasing its value.


n Look at the potential of a property. Is there room to extend, have neighbouring properties added an extension? If they have, this is a good indicator that you will be able to do the same.

n Make sure that you have access to the funds to carry out the extension and improvement work. Ensure the budget is adequate to cover the works and do allow a contingency fund for any unforeseen works. It is extremely rare to come out on budget when extending properties.

n Think ahead. Most people do set out some sort of strategy when it comes to getting onto the property market. If you can reduce the number of moves you can make over your lifetime, the considerable savings that can be made can be used to pay off more of your mortgage.


n Assume that you can automatically obtain planning consent to extend. Some properties may have already been extended and have had their permitted developments rights removed. Check with the Local Planning Authority and if necessary speak to a good planning consultant.

n Be careful about investing too much money in unnecessary frills and luxury items. These may be very appealing to you but they won’t necessarily be to a future buyer and you may risk over-capitalising on the value of the property in relation to your investment.

Picture This

Pound House and 1 Crepping Hall Cottages are prime examples of properties that have the opportunity to renovate and extend, and are situated in stunning rural locations overlooking farmland in the Colne Valley. Both properties attracted an enormous amount of interest and were sold within 10 days of coming onto the market. For more information please contact Carl or a member of the team at Nicholas Percival on 01206 563222

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