Homes with glorious gardens

Gardens are a major selling feature at this time of year for buyers, as flowers bloom, plants thrive and greenery flourishes, but outdoor space as a whole has shot to the top of a buyer’s house hunting list. This is due to the pandemic where we all found a new found love for our gardens, whether it was for al fresco dining, creating interesting play areas for the children or for a bit of horticulture from homebound green thumbs. We believe this is a trend that is set to continue for the rest of the year, especially during the warmer months, so with that in mind we have selected some of our homes for sale with gardens to suit a variety of requirements…

Chapel Lane – Barrowden, Rutland

Spring has definitely sprung at this charming Grade II listed house in a popular Rutland village, as the tulips bring gorgeous colour into the walled garden. The sunny and barely overlooked garden is deceptively large as it turns the corner at the back into a more secret, secluded area. With plenty of places to sit in the sun or shade, the garden retains structure all year round with box balls, hedging and topiary. Read more

Red House Farm – Donington, South Lincs

The grounds at this beautifully presented farmhouse largely consist of the lawn to the front (ideal for children’s trampolines, slides and swings perhaps?) delineated by a striking, curving walled haha, beyond which stretches the post and railed paddock of about one acre. Read more


College Farm – Moulton, South Lincs

The attractive gardens at this Georgian farmhouse are mainly lawn with an area to the front divided by a high, old wall behind which is a brick shed and a private, sheltered, paved area capturing the sun from late morning onwards. Evergreen hedging borders the garden and divides it up into sections. At the back, a delightful triangular box garden has been clipped to create sculptural forms for year round interest, and a timber trellis arch leads you down to further lawns where a greenhouse is to one side. Read more

Find Out More? 

Contact Jan or Ildi on 01780 750 200 – we would be delighted to show you round one of these glorious gardens.

Why is Spring an excellent time to sell?

Chapel Lane, Rutland

Spring is traditionally one of the best times of year to sell a country house. People are feeling happier with blue skies, lighter warmer days and a bit more sunshine in their lives rather than the dark cold days of winter. Families also begin their house search in time for the new September school year. Combine this with today’s very active market as a result of ‘pandemic buyers’ flocking to the countryside, Spring 2022 is a great season to be selling …

Buyer demand is still very strong causing record prices

Demand over the last two years has been truly remarkable, causing far more buyers than there are homes for sale. Rightmove have recently reported there are twice as many buyers as there are sellers and when compared to this time three years ago, sellers are twice as likely to find a buyer within the first week of launching. Meanwhile, house selling weather forecast, PropCast, has found buyer demand is very strong in our area. Anything over 50° is considered a very hot sellers’ market so in Grantham for example, the market heat temperature is 74°, meaning 74% of homes for sale are under off or subject to contract. In Stamford it’s 73°, The Deepings it’s 72°, in Rutland it’s 67° and in Bourne it’s 67°. This indicates sellers in our area have a very good chance of selling their home quickly – as long as you make sure your chosen estate agent has priced and marketed your home correctly of course.

As a result of demand outweighing supply, house prices keep on rising. Rightmove’s latest Index says the average house coming onto the market jumped by 1.7% last month to £353,545, in the biggest month-on-month increase since the mid-noughties. Meanwhile Nationwide reports annual house price growth increased 14.3% between February and March this year. 

Beautiful gardens

Your garden is more important than ever before now, being a big priority for those looking for a country house. The joy of this time of year is that gardens are starting to look very pretty with lots of colour and greenery. This makes for a stunning setting not just on viewings but also in photographs. If you’re lucky enough to have a south facing garden as well, prospective buyers will be able to see just how much sun they can enjoy during the day if they live there themselves.

More light and warmth

This time of year brings longer days, which is great news when selling a home. This is because a brighter home has a much better chance of selling than a darker one. Our professional photographer can really maximise the natural light to create amazing photos as well. Also, given the choice between moving home in the freezing cold and pouring rain, or the warmth of the sun, most buyers will choose the latter. 

Families are looking for schools now

The new school year starts in September and for some families, this means their children are starting at primary or secondary level. With school places now secured, such buyers are now looking for a family home close by, usually within a twenty minute drive. We are very lucky in our part of the country as the region boasts some outstanding schools such as Oundle School, Uppingham School, Casterton College, Oakham Primary, Prince William, Spalding High and Grammar and Stamford Junior and High School. Homes with three plus bedrooms, two bathrooms house and a good sized garden close to these schools are highly sought after. 

Find Out More? 

Contact Jan or Ildi on 01780 750 200 – we would be delighted to explain further the benefits of selling in Spring.

Buyer demand remains very strong in Rutland, Stamford & South Lincs

Chapel Lane, Rutland

Buyer demand is still going strong in our local area according to recent findings by house selling weather forecast, PropCast, with Grantham leading the way.

PropCast analyses buyer demand across England to see what percentage of homes for sale are being snapped up, and we thought we’d see how some of the areas we sell country houses in are performing. Here are the results in order of market heat… 

LocationMarket HeatType of Market
Grantham74°Very hot sellers’ market
Stamford73°Very hot sellers’ market
The Deepings72°Very hot sellers’ market
Rutland67°Very hot sellers’ market
Bourne67°Very hot sellers’ market
Spalding62°Very hot sellers’ market

Source: PropCast

So what does this all mean for local sellers? 

The PropCast tool calculates ‘Sold STC’ and ‘Under Offer’ properties as a percentage of ‘total stock’ for sale, down to postcode district level. The temperature metaphor is often used when describing property markets and so using artistic license, the tool uses a degree to express a percentage.

Markets states are designated as follows:

·  0° – 25° = very cold / extreme buyers’ market

·  26° – 34° = cold / buyers’ market

·  35° – 49° = hot / sellers’ market

·  50° -100° = very hot / extreme sellers’ market

Using Grantham as an example, PropCast says it has a market heat of 74°. This means 74% of homes for sale are under offer or subject to contract, indicating a very hot sellers’ market where it is much easier to sell a property, and quickly. The results for Stamford, The Deepings, Rutland, Bourne and Spalding are just as impressive. 

We too have seen how hot our local housing market is right now. The country house market has certainly thrived over the last two years, and it is still going strong despite a rise in energy costs and mortgages. Our homes are attracting buyers soon after they launch whether off-market or on the open market, with both local and London buyers being a key part of those transactions. Some buyers are a little bit more cautious about how much they spend now, but we are still going to sealed bids and bidding wars due to the volume of people liking what they see.

For example, in the Rutland village of Seaton, one home went to sealed bids with the winning bid being 13.7% over the asking price, whilst we agreed a sale on another house two days post launch at 7.6% over the asking price. In a small village just outside of Stamford a buyer paid full asking price within a few days of launch. Meanwhile our Oundle office secured a sale on a house 3.3% over the asking price before it hit the open market, whilst in a small Lincolnshire village we had an open house where the buyer instantly paid full asking price.

Find Out More 

For more information about how our Fine & Country team can help achieve success for you in any of these locations, contact Jan or Ildi on 01780 750 200 or e-mail stamford@fineandcountry.com.

In The Press… Country & Town House

One of our new instructions has appeared in Country & Town House’s round up of ‘the best country homes for sale.’ We can understand why they chose College Farm! It is a charming Georgian farmhouse overlooking open fields in the South Lincolnshire fens, and not far from the pretty village of Moulton. It’s presented in excellent order and brimming with character. Key features include four bedrooms, attractive farm outbuildings ripe for conversion, a cottagey feel, high ceilings with a wealth of beams and large windows allowing in a great deal of natural light.

Find out more about this delightful home here.

We have won ‘Best Real Estate Marketing Europe’ at The International Property Awards

Fine & Country Rutland & Stamford were honoured to have been awarded ‘Best Real Estate Marketing Europe’ at the International Property Awards, which was held at The Savoy Hotel on 25th February 2022.

You may recall that in November last year we announced that we had won nine awards at The United Kingdom Property Awards 2021, which included Best Estate Agency Marketing United Kingdom and Best Estate Agency Single Office United Kingdom. These award wins meant that we were automatically entered into the shortlists for the same categories in the international regional heats, where we competed against other industry professionals across Africa, Arabia, Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the UK. 

This is only the second year we have ever entered, so we really are over the moon to have our commitment to adopting a lifestyle marketing approach recognised at an international level so quickly – the best in Europe! How we market our homes to buyers is integral to our selling strategy for clients, with elements including professional photographs, engaging tiktok videos, PR endorsements in the national press, stunning brochures and more, so we truly understand the importance of sophisticated presentation when selling a house.

Widely known as one of the industry’s largest and most prestigious award ceremonies where only the highest quality of products and companies are allowed to enter, we are thrilled to have had our hard work recognised in this way. These awards are in their 28th year and the winners represent the highest levels of achievement in both the residential and commercial sectors. As always, the International Property Awards were judged by an independent panel of over 80 industry experts, focusing on design, quality, service, innovation, originality, and commitment to sustainability, with the expert judging panel being chaired by Lord Caithness, Lord Best and Lord Waverley who are members of the House of Lords in the UK Parliament. 

Our first ever Apprentice receives double distinction in her exams

As one of hundreds of A-level students across the UK who had their exams cancelled during the pandemic, local high school student Molly Thomas, decided to embark on a new academic journey by becoming a Level 2 Junior Estate Agent Apprentice with us in December 2020. 

Over the last thirteen months or so, Molly has been working very hard with our team to learn what it takes to be a successful estate agent, which culminated in a two-part exam last month. And after what felt like an agonising few weeks of waiting for the results, we are delighted to confirm that Molly secured a distinction in both exams! This means that her apprenticeship is now complete, and we have offered her a permanent position as a Property Sales & Marketing Consultant.

To add to her achievements, Molly also secured her first sale from start to finish just five months after her apprenticeship began – at full asking price too. The property was a stunning three bed house in Fleet Hargate, where she was responsible for booking in viewings, giving feedback to the seller, assisting in the negotiation process, and progressing the sale through to exchange and completion. 

It has been so rewarding supporting Molly in her journey and taking her first steps onto the career ladder. She has developed a lot of key skills very quickly across all areas of being an estate agent, so we couldn’t be prouder of what she has achieved in such a short amount of time. We look forward to progressing her career even further as the business grows.

Molly said on her achievements: “I have had such fun with Ildi and Jan at Fine & Country, and have learnt so much from them and the monthly one-on-one zoom lessons I had with my tutor. I have been involved with pretty much everything an estate agent would do, to include learning how to manage enquiries, conduct market appraisals, book in viewings, create stunning property brochures, creating fun tiktok videos for buyers to see, responding to press requests, keeping sellers up to date and progressing the sale to completion. I have also loved visiting beautiful properties, and the feeling you get when you can hand over the keys to a buyer after you have found them their dream home is just amazing. This apprenticeship has given me such a wonderful opportunity to learn and be in the workplace at the same time, so I couldn’t be more thankful for Fine & Country’s support. I continue my journey with them with more confidence and key skills that I never dreamed of having at such a young age.”

Want to be an apprentice yourself? Do you like the idea of being an apprentice at our Fine & Country branch in Rutland? If so, do get in touch by e-mailing Ildi and Jan at stamford@fineandcountry.com. We’d love to hear from you!  

‘Sale’ through to completion this Spring

Holwell – Stamford

The first signs of spring are starting to appear… daffodils are poking through the soil, the sun is shining a little bit more and what a joy it is to have lighter evenings again! It’s also a very exciting time to be selling your home, as traditionally Spring is one of the busiest times of year, especially if you own a lovely country home with gorgeous gardens. So now is the best time to be preparing your home for sale so that photographs can really emphasis them in their full glory. 

However, once you have an offer accepted on your home, nothing is guaranteed until you exchange. The gap between exchange and completion is relatively small compared to pre-exchange, and although most buyers and sellers wish to exchange quickly, sometimes complications can arise which can make the process take months, causing a lot of unnecessary stress for everybody involved. 

Here are some top tips on how to make the process between exchange and completion less painful this Spring… 

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, exchange of contracts means when the buyer and the seller sign legal contracts, and the buyer pays a deposit. Once this has happened, everything becomes legally binding so nobody can back out of the transaction. Most people need to sell their own property first in order to pay the deposit, which can cause a delay – especially at the moment when buyers are struggling to find houses for sale. However, there are many other factors too. A good estate will of course be chasing things up on your behalf, but here’s a few things you can do to help you on your way too… 

Use an excellent solicitor

Also referred to as a conveyancer, they will be your legal representative who deals with the transfer of property on your behalf. They are crucial to the whole process, so ask around for recommendations for firms known for their fast turnarounds. 

Start your buying search asap

There’s still an inbalance between supply and demand, which is making it a lot harder for buyers to find houses because they are up against a lot of competition. Don’t leave your property search to the last minute. Start the process as soon as you possibly can, because one of the leading causes of delays is because the seller can’t find another house to buy.

Have a written mortgage in principle for your next property

If you’re buying something else, many estate agents will only work with proceedable buyers now due to how intense demand is, so start applying for a mortgage at the beginning of your search, if not before. 

Be on top of paperwork

Various forms need to have been filled in. For example property information form, fixtures and contents form, necessary certificates and service reports I.e electrical certificates/boiler service report.

Book your removal company 

Most removal companies are being booked out well in advance at the moment, so make sure you have yours arranged the moment you know your completion date. It may even be worth checking when they are free before agreeing to a completion date, otherwise you risk changing it because you can’t find anybody to move your belongings.

Have costs covered 

Have all the necessary funds in place for all the costs involved in the moving process.  

Always be available 

Make sure you are easily contactable and around to sign the paperwork and contracts. I.e don’t go on holiday! If you know that you need to be away then plan ahead by signing paperwork before you leave and give power of attorney to your solicitor so the process can move forward regardless you are unavailable.

Find Out More 

Despite it being a really strong housing market here, there are numerous things to think about to attract significant interest quickly, and then ensure a smooth ride to exchange and completion. For more information about Fine & Country can help, contact Jan or Ildi on 01780 750 200 or e-mail: stamford@fineandcountry.com

Why use an estate agent to sell your home ?

Little Farm – Rippingale

With Rutland, Stamford and South Lincs seeing a booming housing market over the last couple of years (which is predicted to continue throughout 2022), it may be tempting to try and sell your home yourself. However there’s more to selling a house than saying it’s for sale, not to mention a long list of risks for not using an estate agent.

Most people do use an estate agent to sell their country house. There are plenty of reasons for doing so… Selling requires good preparation. It’s also stressful, time consuming and a world of mind boggling laws, processes and local market knowledge. A good agent can be critical to reducing stress levels and securing the best possible price in a timely scale. Find a good one, and their fee is worth every penny. Here’s a few reasons why you should always instruct an agent… 

Property knowledge

Unless they’re an estate agent themselves, sellers won’t understand how the local market is performing, how their type of house sells, who buys them, how best to market them to that target audience and how much something is realistically worth. Get this wrong and you won’t sell quickly for the best possible price. A good estate agent has all of the experience necessary to give you the best chance of selling quickly and for the best price.

Setting the price right from the offset

We may be in a hot sellers market at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can wack a huge premium on a house. It will only be worth what a buyer is prepared to pay. Last year demand was very intense, and whilst we expect there to be an inbalance between demand and supply again this year, buyers may be more cautious about how much they spend due to rising energy prices and the bank rate. 

Registered buyers

Estate agents have a good pool of serious registered buyers, especially at the moment because there are far more purchasers than there are available homes for sale. 

Conduct viewings on your behalf

We always recommend sellers don’t conduct viewings themselves. This is simply because it tends to make buyers uncomfortable, risking putting them off altogether. Agents are in the best position to arrange the viewings, conduct them and answer any questions. They will always update you afterwards as to how the viewing went.

Various marketing platforms

Sell via an estate agent and you will have access to all of the marketing platforms they use to promote houses to the widest possible audience – not just locally. For example: we advertise locally, we have a press office securing editorial around our houses in the national press such as The Times and Country Life, we list our homes on all of the main property portals, an interactive website, we have global exposure as a result of being part of a huge international network, we have a window display in Mayfair at Fine & Country’s HQ and we appear in Fine & Country’s luxury magazine each month.  People buy as much into lifestyle of a property and its location as they do the bricks and mortar, so we utilise sophisticated, intelligent and creative marketing that provides the type of information buyers need to see.

Good negotiation skills

Negotiating with buyers is not for the faint hearted, and something estate agents are highly trained in doing. They are the best equipped to negotiate on your behalf to get the best possible result. It can be time consuming, stressful and complicated – especially if there are bidding wars or sealed bids going on.

Keeping updated on progress

A good estate agent will keep an eye on everybody’s involvement in the process, from others in the chain through to solicitors. Remember, our job is to manage the sales process from beginning to end to ensure a smooth sale for you. 

Mercia Lodge & Cottages – Spalding

Find Out More 

Despite it being a really strong housing market here, there are numerous things to think about to attract significant interest quickly, and then ensure a smooth ride to exchange and completion. For more information about Fine & Country can help, contact Jan or Ildi on 01780 750 200 or e-mail: stamford@fineandcountry.com