Our Ultimate Guide to Viewings

Our Ultimate Guide to Viewings

So you’ve chosen an estate agent and prepared your property for sale, through various home staging techniques, and now it’s time for your first viewing.

How can I make the most of my property viewings?

Viewing a property is probably one of the most exciting elements of the house hunting process, so you want your prospective buyers to feel welcome and at ease from the start.

We all know that first impressions count and ideally you want your home to appeal to everyone who enters; as it stands to reason that the more prospective buyers who like your home, the higher the selling price will become.

So firstly, find out whether your agent offers the following:

  • Are they open 7 days a week?
  • Are they open in the evenings?
  • Are they advertising your property online, across many different portals?
  • Will they provide feedback on each viewing?
  • Do they offer the option of ‘mass viewings’ / open house viewings?
  • Is your agent informed on what the properties best features are and if there is any interesting history on your home?
  • Is your agent clued up on the good points of the area? E.g. the nearest schools, what the neighbours are like, local amenities, etc….

As the most pro-active Property Agent in the Darwen and Blackburn area, Ainsworth Lord Estates are open 7 days a week, until 8pm on weekdays. This means that our ‘viewings window’ is much larger and far-reaching than any of our competitors; enabling a quicker sale, at a better price.

Ainsworth Lord Viewing Tips, for a successful sale in the East Lancashire area:

  • If your property has parking included, leave this space free for the buyer as it will add to the whole viewing experience.
  • If you happen to be there whilst your agent conducts the viewing, by all means greet the buyer politely but then leave the rest up to your agent; they are the experts after all.
    If they are interested in buying your home, you can get to know them a bit more at the second viewing.
  • If you have pets, keep them out of sight; ideally away from the property altogether.
  • Make the property appear larger and lighter by leaving all internal doors open, as well as making sure that all lights are kept on during evening viewings.
  • You don’t want to appear pushy or desperate, so never ask the buyers if they’re going to make an offer on your property; again, leave this to your agent.
  • If you happen to overhear negative comments from the buyer about your home please don’t take it personally. Afterwards, take on board what was wrong so that you can put things right for the next viewing where possible.
  • Be prepared for interested parties to request a second/third/fourth viewing on your home.

You deserve an estate agent who not only understands the importance of viewings but who will also guarantee the best asking price for your much loved home.

For more tips and advice on viewings or anything else regarding the sale of your home, please get in contact with us today on 01254 760660 or email: Darwen@AinsworthLordEstates.com

House prices – up and down – we’re here to help

We have the answer

Here at ALE we have the answer to the stream of never ending mixed views it seems right now about what is going to happen to house prices in the key Spring selling season just ahead.

Ignore all the ifs and buts

We say that home-owners should ignore all the ifs, buts and maybes about house prices.

Explains ALE founder, Paul Ainsworth Lord,“With the right guidance and advice as to the potential market selling value of your home, any home-owner in the local area, keen to get on the move right now can in any event do so with confidence.”

Mixed views

On the one hand, national statistics suggest a minimal fall in average house prices in our local region then there is a survey by the Halifax suggesting more of us expect an increase in house prices during 2012 and economistswill tell you that house prices look set to stabilise during the next 12 months. – So what are the facts?

Get good local advice

ALE says to just relax and get some good local advice about your local marketplace to assist you to make your decision to move and to clarify the realistic value of your home.

What’s in a price

Adds Paul, “Home-owners should not really focus so much on the actual price of their home The average house price in the Region is £122,218 – but what does that mean and how relevant is it?

Here to help

ALE is of course ready, willing and able to help you balance all these conflicting house pricing views and will ensure you can get your home sold quickly and at a fair and right price.

The Lancashire Property Market: what you need to know.

The Lancashire Property Market: what you need to know.

Are you looking to sell your Lancashire home and move up on the property ladder?

Or have you been diligently saving up towards a deposit for your first home, for many years?

Whatever situation you are in, you need to fully understand the area before making any costly decisions and it truly pays to research your desired area first.

As seasoned property specialists in Darwen and Blackburn, we have come up with the following key considerations for those of you who are planning on buying or selling property in the Lancashire area:

  • Terraced properties are the most popular choice of home in Lancashire, selling for an *average price of £98,595.
    (*Rightmove Statistics)
  • Semi-detached properties sold for an *average of £145,345.
  • Detached properties sold for an *average of £251,364.
  • Regeneration schemes are popping up all over the North West, with major refurbishments being undertaken as part of the former housing market renewal programme. These radical ideas to improve housing and neighbourhoods will inevitably encouraging new buyers and sellers to the Lancashire property market, as it’s a fantastic place to live and work.
  • At Ainsworth Lord Estates we are proud to be the first to claim that the area of Hyndburn is set to become one of the biggest property investment hotspots in the whole of the UK, with around £10m set to be invested over the next 6 years. We have drawn this conclusion purely because of its forecast housing needs and the shortfall it has.
  • Many overseas investors are now attracted to our beautiful and historic Lancashire, particularly East Lancashire, who’ve turned their backs on the crazy property market of London and can see the masses of potential within the North West region.
  • The average price paid by North West Second Steppers* was £188,079 with a deposit of 30%, which is 3% less than the national average and may be why Lancashire is becoming such a property hotspot.
    (*’Second Steppers’ are people who have outgrown their first home and want to move up onto the second rung of their property ladder.)
  • In his last budget before the ever-nearing General Election, Chancellor George Osborne has announced a new help-to-buy ISA, which will see the government add £50 to every £200 that first-time buyers save towards a deposit. We hope that this will further aid young families onto the housing ladder and kick-start the property market across Lancashire.
  • Although a controversial issue, as Britain’s population is forecast to increase by 10 million over the next 25 years; the planned High Speed 2 Train (HS2) will link 8 of Britain’s 10 largest cities. Generating jobs and helping to rebalance the economy between north and south, although a long way off, this still should be considered.

Still not sure whether you should invest in Lancashire? Why not get in touch with one of our friendly team today on 01254 760660 or email: Darwen@AinsworthLordEstates.com – who will be more than happy to help you with your property adventure!


How can Home-Staging speed up your sale?

How can Home-Staging speed up your sale?

First of all; what is home staging? …

Home staging is the art of presenting your property in such a way that it will entice potential buyers in and help them to create a clear vision of themselves living there. You want to style your home so that it stands out from the crowd, in a subtle yet striking way.

  • Are you trying to sell at a difficult time of year?
  • Has your property listing become stale, having been on the market for some time?
  • Have you pulled out all the stops to sell your home? Be honest!

It is a great method to kick-start your sale at times of year when it can be harder to sell; Winter and Summer for example, or for those properties that have been on the market for some time.

Did you know that recent evidence shows that only around 50% of properties that come onto the UK market actually sell? …

It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, you just need to remember that you are aiming to highlight your properties key strengths and detract from any weaknesses it may have.

* Top 5 turn-offs for buyers:

  1. Dark rooms/poor natural light
  2. Damp/stained walls
  3. No garden
  4. Bad smells
  5. No parking

* Go Compare and Rightmove data

So where should I start? …

Deep-clean & De-clutter
If you were looking for a new home, would you be enthusiastic about entering a dirty and cluttered abode?
Firstly your home needs to be the cleanest and least cluttered its ever been!
It may be as simple as buying some storage boxes and making a clean sweep of the property. Or if you have a considerable amount of belongings you may need to consider storing them off-site; depending on cost. Once you have cleared everything away and have a blank canvas in front of you, the task will become a lot easier.

Dark rooms and/or poor natural light is one of the main turn-offs for buyers, so make sure all of the curtains/blinds are open and that you use the right shades in your home. Using lamps to light up dim areas will also create a cosy and inviting space.

As well as a fresh coat of paint or wallpaper, dressing each room for its purpose will give a welcoming and personal feel to each room. For example: set the dining table, add hints of colour to your kitchen with brightly coloured fruit, add feature cushions to your living space, conceal personal items from the bathroom, etc…

Creating ambience is free and fun – so why not try putting on some relaxing music to create a comfortable living space during viewings?
Smells are important too, so a few strategically placed scented candles or a subtle bowl of potpourri will make an added difference.

Kerb Appeal
Does the outside of your property match up to the quality inside?
Consider giving the front door a fresh coat of paint and adding some hanging baskets or potted plants. And if you have children it’s also a good idea to tidy away any loose toys that may be around the place. You want your property to appeal to everyone, so use your garden to its full potential.

Structural Changes
If you do have a bit of spare cash it’s also worth considering making certain changes to your property to make it more attractive, e.g. knock through to make an open plan living space, revamp your tired bathroom with a new suite complete with shower, re-landscape the garden to make it more appealing, etc…

Successful home staging will also generate attractive photographs of your property, which are extremely important when advertising online via portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.

An example of Good Home-Staging practice:

2 bedroom terraced in Alfred Street, Darwen

1Untitled 2Untitled

Click on any of the images above to view this property in full.

This property is well presented, balancing tasteful, neutral decoration with modern and stylish fittings & furnishings throughout. It showcases it’s key features very nicely, as well as keeping it’s character without being too overpowering.

An example of Bad Home-Staging practice:

3 bed terraced house in Blackburn

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 12.19.20 Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 12.19.31 Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 12.19.41 Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 12.19.50

Click on any of the images above to view this property in full.

Although this property shows off its amount of light successfully, it has too much of the owners personality imprinted on it, and it’s poorly co-ordinated and slightly eye-watering decoration detracts from its true potential.  By smartening up the outside, changing the rugs, furnishings and adding softer colours by a simple fresh lick of paint would definitely attract more buyers to this property; enabling a quicker sale.

At Ainsworth Lord Estates we do things differently to get you the best results possible. So if you’re looking to speed up the selling process of your property in the Darwen and Blackburn area please get in touch with one of our friendly team today – on 01254 760660 or email: Darwen@AinsworthLordEstates.com.

3 Reasons Why You Should Sell Your Property This Month

3 Reasons Why You Should Sell Your Property This Month

Whilst January and February can traditionally be a quiet period for the housing market, with Spring only around the corner and a General Election less than 4 months away, are you aware that you could be missing out on some great selling opportunities this month?

What makes this year differ from any other?

With a General Election looming, 2015 is set to be an eventful year for everyone and as a home owner interested in selling; you need to be aware of other interesting factors that could help you decide whether selling is the right option for you and your family this year.

Here are five reasons why you should be putting your home on the market this month:

  1. Stamp Duty 

Buyers must pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) when purchasing property in the UK over a certain price. However, as of 4th December 2014 SDLT is charged at increasing rates for each portion of the price, instead of being charged at a single rate for the entire price of a property as it was before. This is encouraging many more potential buyers to the market; as for residential properties, buyers will now pay:

* nothing on the first £125,000 of the property price

* 2% on the next £125,000

* 5% on the next £675,000

* 10% on the next £575,000

* 12% on the rest (above £1.5 million)

So, for example: If a buyer purchases a property for £275,000, they’ll pay £3,750 of SDLT. So if you have a property worth up to £937,500 you’ll certainly benefit from the change.

This is made up of:

* nothing on the first £125,000

* £2,500 on the next £125,000

* £1,250 on the remaining £25,000

Whether this is a political move or not, you should take full advantage of it before it’s too late! As anything is subject to change after 7th May 2015, when the General Election takes place.


  1. Mortgage Availability 

Due to falling interest rates the average fixed rate mortgage is now priced at 3.14%, which is down 0.05% from the rate of 3.19% recorded in January; one of lowest mortgage rates on offer ever recorded! Whereas the average variable rate mortgage has an average rate of just 2.11%, down from 2.16% last month. So with average fees decreasing too, this is inevitably encouraging even more new buyers towards your property. Definitely a win-win for you and your potential buyer!


  1. Time of the year 

This year January has been quiet but February has been incredible.   At all price points we are seeing growth, our investors are like hungry hippos, we just can’t satisfy their appetite.  We are currently in a position that we’re selling more properties than those being listed.  Last week alone we we sold 9 and only listed 7, two of these sales were within 24 hours.

Therefore with the changes in stamp duty, the current mortgage availability, as well as the time of year, this really is the best time to sell your home.  You deserve to sell your home with an agent who understands how to get the best for your property within today’s market.  Call one of our friendly team today – on 01254 760660 or email: Darwen@AinsworthLordEstates.com.



As divorce figures rise in January, how does this affect the UK lettings industry?

As divorce figures rise in January, how does this affect the UK lettings industry?

February is definitely the most romantic month of the year, but did you know that the first week in January is commonly known as ‘National Divorce Week’? Usually due to the stress of the festive season and the odd Christmas party infidelity bubbling over into the New Year.

Sadly 118,140 divorces were registered in England and Wales during 2012, which equates to about 42% of marriages ending in divorce. This is why homeownership shouldn’t be something to take lightly, because when unfortunate situations like this occur a multitude of problems can arise, e.g. deciding what happens to the family home, ownership issues, affordability issues, equity shares, resentment, emotional pain, etc.

But how does this New Year trend affect the letting market in Lancashire?

According to the last census data, those who were divorced in Lancashire were just ahead of the national average. Sadly at Ainsworth Lord Estates we do see evidence of this trend, with around 9% of all property sales due to divorce or separation. Stressful situations such as these also generate a notable increase of buy to let properties entering the market at this time of year, meaning more ‘accidental landlords’ entering the market too.

Ainsworth Lord Estate Agents recognises the needs of this type of landlord, as we completely understand that a relationship break-up can be a very emotionally draining time; especially if children are involved. So we will work with you to ensure that your property is let quickly, whilst supporting you through this difficult time. Once you have instructed our services, you need not worry about maintaining the property, complying with latest housing legislation, mandatory safety regulations, deposit protection, referencing, marketing, viewings, chasing rent payments or disputes.

We also understand that many problems can arise when tenants who rent their home split up too, e.g. early tenancy termination, affordability issues/potential rent arrears if one of the tenants moves out without giving notice or doesn’t pay their share, deposit issues, disputes, anti-social behaviour incidents, disruption to other tenants in the building, voids, etc. Therefore landlords need to be aware of these potential pitfalls when issuing a joint tenancy, be sure that the tenant’s relationship is stable and that the tenants are also made aware of the problems that can occur before signing an agreement.

Ainsworth Lord Letting Agents treat each case individually and as delicately and professionally as possible, for the most positive outcome for everyone involved.

We truly hope that your relationship is a happy and stable one, but if you are going through a tough time and either need to turn your home into a buy-to-let, or need to move to another rental property due to a break-up; then please get in contact with one of our understanding team today – 01254 760660 or email: Darwen@AinsworthLordEstates.com.

Home owners moving house reaches 7 year high

Home owners moving house reaches 7 year high

Over the last 7 years you and your family may have been desperately trying to move up the property ladder, but have been hit by the recession. Now could be the perfect time for you to try again; as a recent report has found that the number of existing homeowners moving in the UK has reached a 7 year high.

According to Lloyds Bank data, this 8% year-on-year increase saw around 365,400 people with a mortgage successfully move home in 2014, due to surging property values boosting their equity position.

We’re also aware that many homeowners in Darwen are extremely grateful to schemes such as Help to Buy, as they’ve played an important role to help widen the availability of low deposit mortgages within our community.

This is great news if you are planning on moving in 2015, whether you’re making space for your growing family or to take advantage of the extra value your home could have gained over the past few years.

What are ‘Second Steppers’ and how has the market affected them?

Typically 34 years old and married, ‘Second Steppers’ will have outgrown their first home and want to move up onto the second rung of the property ladder into a 3 bedroom house.

Second steppers are estimated to be sitting on £76,131 worth of equity in their existing home, this provides a 25% deposit for their next property, typically paying £299,428 for it.

Did you know: The average price paid by North West Second Steppers was £188,079 with a deposit of 30%, which is 3% less than the national average and may be why Lancashire is becoming such a property hotspot.

Lloyds Bank mortgages director, Andy Hulme, said: ‘A steady rise in property values in 2015 should further ease the constraint on many of those who bought their first home at the peak of the market in 2006 and 2007, enabling more of them to become second steppers.’

It’s never been a better time to buy your next home, and we know we are the estate agent to offer you the best guidance and advice. You deserve the chance to climb up the property ladder and we want to be the ones to make this possible for you and your family.

Discover how Ainsworth Lord Estates can help you move today by contacting us on 01254 760660 or email: Darwen@AinsworthLordEstates.com

Are you already in the process of selling? – 5 Top Tips for a Successful Property Sale.

5 Top Tips for a Successful Property Sale

5 Top Tips for a Successful Property Sale

Doesn’t January always feel like a long month after the expensive festive season? The last thing you maybe thinking of spending money on, is preparing your home for sale. Whatever your situation, you need to make your property a new and exciting opportunity to potential buyers.

We know that selling your home can be a long, complex and stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

With some efficient planning and preparation, selling your home can be quick, efficient and even exciting! We want your selling experience to be a positive one; therefore we’ve created our top five tips just for you!

  1. Instruct the right agent
    Instructing the right estate agent is the most important factor when selling your home. You need to do your research before deciding on which agency you’re going to trust with your investment with. Things to consider:- Are they a member of the Property Ombudsman Scheme?
    Their membership to a professional body will show their commitment to you. As a member of the Property Ombudsman Scheme they will be able to access key network resources and code of conduct benefits.

    - Are they open 7 days a week?
    You want to ensure the estate agency you choose is not missing out on key potential buyers.

    - What are their fees and charges?
    You want to achieve the highest possible price for your beloved home, therefore the quality of service an agent provides should be the is key to your decision. Interview at least three estate agents and question them on the marketing they will offer, their knowledge of the market as well as their commitment to see the sale of your home through to completion and beyond.

    - Do they subscribe to a good selection of mainstream property portals?
    You want your home to be viewed by the largest possible audience of potential buyers, therefore it is important to understand where they will feature your home online. Check they using at least Rightmove, Zoopla and Primelocation as well as their own website.

    - Have they given your property an abnormally high valuation?
    You don’t want your property to go stale on the market, take longer to sell and/or for less money. We would advise that you compare at least 3 different valuations.- Do they have their own legal, finance and marketing team?
    Why is this important? It could save you time and money.You want to build on your relationship with your agent, so you need to trust them.

Ainsworth Lord Estates are different as we put our local community is at the heart of our business. We advertise your home in the local press and are honoured to have a large percentage of our business through word of mouth. We also attract overseas investors, who’ve recently turned their backs on the crazy property market in London and homed in on our beautiful and historic Lancashire.

  1. Home staging
    When potential buyers view your property you want them to fall in love with it and be able to see themselves living there. Home staging is all about creating an inviting lifestyle and enhancing your homes best features, which can in turn add value. They key things to remember about home staging is to de-clutter, clean and present every room and outside space of your home.
  1. Organisation
    If you want to help the speed of your sale then you need to be organised.
    What do we mean?
    Making sure that you have all the correct paperwork sounds simple, but failure to do so could seriously hold up the completion of your sale. Check lists and an up-to-date diary will help you to keep a record of everything and stay on schedule.
    What paperwork should you to hand?
    * The Deed to your home.
    * Your mortgage approval.
    * Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) we can help you with this.
    * Certificates of all electrical and gas maintenances, such as your boiler.
    * Certificates for any work you have had completed on your home.
  2. Be Realistic
    Your estate agent will value your home through a mixture of knowledge and current property trends in the local area. Sadly valuations may not always work in your favour and this is always hard to hear. Property markets can work for you and against you based on how the market is performing at that time. At Ainsworth Lord Estates we will give you an honest and realistic valuation at all time and more importantly work hard so you can achieve it.
  3. Don’t forget the garden!!
    When preparing your home for sale, make sure you don’t forget the garden. Potential buyers want to see a home that has been loved and cherished inside and out. Gardens are a wonderful way of creating a lifestyle that buyers can fall in love with, and if you have an exceptional space we want to help you showcase it’s true worth.
    You need to think outside the box, e.g.- Does your garden have character?
    What about adding some colour? Or some interesting accessories? …- Is it an attractive space for entertaining?
    This is as simple as placing your garden table and chairs in a suitable area of your garden. On a nice day add your parasol and dress your table with a jug and glasses. This will allow potential buyers to picture themselves sitting in your garden.

- Is it too child friendly?

Potential buyers want to see your garden and its size. Make sure your beauty of your garden doesn’t get lost with an array of toys and apparatus.

– How does the lawn look?
No potential buyer wants to see a bare and baron lawn. Think about feeding it a couple of weeks beforehand, this will make it look healthy and brighten it up.

Ainsworth Lord Estates are the only Independent estate agent and letting agent in Darwen, with full membership with the Property Ombudsman Scheme and who are open 7 days a week.

We do things differently, that’s why we get you the best results.

Discover why at Ainsworth Lord Estates we get the results you want, contact us today on 01254 760660 or email: Darwen@AinsworthLordEstates.com


“Great News for Darwen” says, Paul Ainsworth Lord, Darwen Estates and Letting Agent

Jake Berry MP Meets with investors Stewardsons Developments Ltd at Ainsworth Lord Estates office in Darwen

Jake Berry MP Meets with investors Stewardsons Developments Ltd at Ainsworth Lord Estates office in Darwen

Investors and Landlords are always looking for the best returns on their property investment, and given some of the exceptional work we have done with one of our Clients, Stewardson Developments Ltd, it has encouraged them to invest further in our area, namely Darwen, Blackburn, Accrington and the rest of both boroughs.

See their news release here..


Rent rises to continue next year

North West rents rises among highest in UK

Residential rents have already increased by over four percent in the last 12 months and are likely to be driven further upwards month on month heading towards the year’s end.


That’s how leading Lancashire Estate Agent and landlord, Paul Ainsworth Lord, founder of Darwen company Ainsworth Lord Estates, sees it right now “I have been a little surprised at the relenting rise in rents that there has been over the past year on all kinds and types of properties and in all kinds of different locations UK-wide.

Largest increase

In fact, here in the North West, according to stats out recently from the RICS, the rises around here have risen the most in the past year – by almost seven per cent,” says Paul.


With no noticeable easing of loan availability in general right now, more and more people are being blocked from getting into the buying marketplace. They are thus having to rent instead. This, of course, brings about increased demands for rented homes and so rent increases – and is likely to go on doing so.


Says Paul, “It is no surprise that rents will go on rising, almost as much next year as they have this. To prevent this will require  a drastic improvement in lending, and thus the ability of more people to buy a home. But this is unlikely, in fact very unlikely!

Challenging situation

This will mean in many areas, and for many properties over the next year period, rents from the start of this year, could well have climbed by all but ten per cent and that here in the North West rents could finish up 12% more – it’s a challenging situation for sure,” adds Paul.

Tenants demand growing

The RICS points out that the whole overall situation is building currently – no pun intended! They say that, the amount of new properties coming on to the market has little changed, but demand among tenants went on growing. The view is tenant interest is still riding high, and what remains to be seen is whether many are willing to meet the increasing rents being demanded by landlords.

Month on month

A recent study by LSL Property Services  found that in the summer period, average rents increased by 0.9pc month-on-month to reach £718 a month, and they seem certain to continue that way going on into next year.

At will

Says Paul, “Here in Lancashire, I am seeing all too often that Landlords increase the rent at times almost at will. They do so without fear, because, in so many instances they know at the moment if their current tenant doesn’t want it, there’s someone out there that needs a place badly enough to swallow the increased rent anyway.


All of this is not a pleasant situation for the future well-being of the property marketplace as I see it. For the future it seems difficulties will both intensify and perpetuate. So many of these kind of issues do need to be addressed by the Government, alongside the fundamental problem of the shortage of new housing coming onto the market here in the UK.

Serious failing

It is a difficult scenario and from some angles one sometimes can’t help feeling that the beginnings of a serious failing for the property market are  still very much with us heading into the future,” adds Paul finally.