What’s on your ‘to do’ list when it comes to buying a house? Is there a note about seeking independent advice? If not, then there definitely should be and here’s why.


Mark Scott, an independent financial advisor with 17 years experience runs his own business, Positive Impact Financial Services, and has worked with the team at Ellis Winters & Co in St Ives for 10 years.


“When we meet with prospective buyers, we always start with the end game in mind,” explains Mark. “Rather than solving the problem of getting the best mortgage, we discuss exactly what buyers want to achieve in the long-term from their property purchase. Where do they see themselves living when they’re retired? Is this a stepping stone property? Is this their dream house? There are lots of life steps to think about and that helps us to find the right mortgage for the job.


Continues Mark: “If I were to survey 100 different people who’d just taken on a mortgage I would estimate that 80% of them will have signed up for a two year fixed rate deal. The reason? It’s an easy sell for mortgage brokers but there’s no solid financial planning behind the decision. What happens after the two years are up? It’s a key question that more often than not the buyer can’t answer.


“That’s why finding the right independent financial advisor rather than someone who can get you the mortgage you think you want or that sounds like a good deal, should be a top priority when purchasing a property. You need someone who can explain all the positives and negatives and support those individual life steps to ensure the end game result is exactly what you want it to be.”


On 23rd September, we held an ‘Alternative Coffee Morning’ at our Chatteris office on Market Hill to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.


Outlines Jan Townsend, director: “We were absolutely delighted with the number of people who popped in throughout the day to enjoy the huge range of delicious home-baked savouries, sandwiches and cakes we had to offer – it was a real feast!


“Many individuals actually came to us for lunch too rather than picking up their usual sandwich so we had a very busy lunchtime with lots of different people to chat to on our lunch break, it was great fun.”


As part of the fundraising, we raffled a hamper of cakes during the event that was won by Erica Mason from Doddington. Needless to say, Erica was over the moon with the prize and had enough cake to keep ther family and friends going for several days!


Concludes Jan: “On behalf of all of us here at Ellis Winters & Co, I’d like to thank everyone who joined us and gave so generously for our chosen company charity this year – Cancer Research UK. Together we raised a total of £460 which is a fantastic result!”


Our director, Mike Ellis, offers an insight into the House Price Index and what it means to local homeowners and buyers.

"The House Price Index (HPI) is just one indicator of how the UK property market is performing and 2016 has so far been a very interesting one when it comes to the price of property coming on to the market.


"Most of you reading this article will be keen to understand how the local and regional property market is shaping up but first of all, it’s good to take a look at the national statistics to provide context and, indeed, a benchmark.


  •        During August, the market show price of a property coming to market feel by 1.2% (-£3,602). This might sound troubling but it’s actually in line with the 1.2% average drop over the last six years during this seasonally quiet time of year
  •        Larger homes have been taking the longest time to sell but first-time buyer and what’s known as ‘second-stepper’ type properties have performed well
  •        2016 is proving to be a year of two halves with activity skewed in the first half with a surge in buy-to-let transactions – 12% higher than 2015
  •        Buyer enquiries were down in July year-on-year as expected in the summer months, so we’re now poised to see an increase based on the traditional autumn market rebound we have experienced for a number of years

Each one of these statistics applies to what we’ve been experiencing here in Cambridgeshire in our local offices in March, St Ives and Chatteris over the last eight months. And if we look at average house prices in the East of England year-on-year, the news is good. The average house price in this part of the world in August 2015 was £309,468. In August 2016 it was £334,951. That’s an increase of 8.2%.

We know that people take a break from buying and selling houses over the summer – it’s been that way ever since I became an estate agent 30 years ago – and Brexit coincided with this seasonal lull. The market then picks up again in the run up to Christmas and that’s what the market is waiting for – how different the two halves of 2016 will be both locally and nationally hang on this traditional rebound.


On a local level, larger homes with four or more bedrooms would benefit most from an autumn pick-up so we’ll keep a close eye on this part of the sector. Meanwhile, first-time buyer (two bedrooms or fewer) and second-stepper type properties (typically three bedrooms) continue to perform the best, with an average time to sell of 58 days. We’ve only seen a ‘time to sell’ increase of three days here in the East of England compared to five days in London.


To conclude, we still have a high demand amongst potential buyers and all of our offices continue to report a large number of enquiries for properties. There are definitely deals to be had and the latest interest rate cut is making already cheap-to-borrow money even cheaper. So, there are lots of reasons for both local buyers and sellers to be confident.


If you live in Chatteris and you’re a fan of looking around other people’s houses via the hugely popular TV show, ‘Escape to the Country’, then you definitely want to tune in to BBC1 on Wednesday 7th September at 3pm because you may spot a local property that you might be familiar with!

Explains Kate Kupyn, senior sales negotiator at Ellis Winters & Co in Chatteris: “We received a phone call from the BBC several months ago to say they’d seen a stunning property we had for sale – ‘The Limes’ – and they’d like to feature it in the Cambridgeshire episode of ‘Escape to the Country’.

“They asked if we could put them in touch with the vendors to see if they’d be happy about participating in the show and, because the owners are so passionate about the property, they were more than happy to oblige. They were delighted that the BBC were interested in visiting their home!

“The couple on the show are looking for ‘an idyllic rural home closer to their family’ and although we obviously know the outcome of the show, we won’t give anything away – enjoy the programme!”


In a series of  ‘Meet the Team’ features, Ellis Winters & Co director, Mike Ellis introduces us to some of the people that make the business tick.  Today, it’s the turn of valuer, Jeanette Duggan.


“Jeanette is one of the most experienced valuers in the area and is our property expert in Chatteris and the surrounding villages.  Having lived in the town most of her life, Jeanette gained her unrivalled experience as both a valuer and a conveyancer to develop an invaluable knowledge regarding the legal side of buying and selling properties.


“She’s had in-depth training and will always tell you the truth when providing a valuation. She is passionate about her job and takes pride in offering excellent customer service 


“When a property is put on the market, the seller is given one point of contact who stays with them throughout the whole transaction; continuity is paramount. 


“The market is busy but it’s changing and experience counts – over-valuing only leads to wasted time and money.  With the wealth of information on sites such as Rightmove, buyers are in a strong position and know how much a house is worth, it isn’t rocket science. 


“Working closely with our sellers, we have regular meetings to discuss all aspects of the sale, from newspaper ads and inter-office referrals, to superior photography and the best way to present your house. Jeanette is able to help every step of the way and has expert support from other, equally qualified staff, including director, Jan Townsend. 


“If you would like the benefit of Jeanette’s experience, please give her a call on 01354 694900 – she’ll be more than happy to help.”


The Rio 2016 Olympics begin tomorrow! To celebrate and raise money for Cancer Research UK, our St Ives office team will be donating £10 for every medal won by the British Olympic and Paralympic teams. So cheer your loudest for Team GB over the next few weeks because medals = cash for this brilliant charity!