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Local estate agent Castles from Swindon is thrilled to announce that they have been shortlisted for the 2019 Best Agent West Region Award by Relocation Agent Network, a national network of selected estate agents.

The winner will be announced at a black-tie evening Awards Dinner held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London on Friday 22 November. The Awards Dinner, hosted by the well-known national television broadcaster, Huw Edwards, will close Relocation Agent Network’s annual National Conference and Exhibition.

The 2019 Best Agent West Region Award is an annual prize that gives the winner the opportunity to be crowned the Network’s ‘Best Agent in the West Region’. It is awarded to the agent who consistently demonstrates the Relocation Agent Network principles, including quality customer service, support for fellow members and professionalism.

Castles’s Managing Director Mark Noble said, “We are delighted to be shortlisted in Relocation Agent Network’s Best Agent Regional Award category. The nomination is testament to our commitment to the Network principles, particularly delivering the very best service to our customers. Our success has been a team effort over the last year and I’m extremely proud of everyone at Castles.

Richard Tucker, Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director commented, “Our Best Agent Regional Awards recognise those agents that demonstrate truly exceptional customer service and support for other members. Many congratulations to Castles for their well- deserved nomination.”


Ways To Increase The Value Of Your Property

If you are planning to put your home on the market, it is important that you learn how much your current property is worth. Working out your property’s current value can ensure that you are accurately calculating your budget for moving.


Castles Estate Agents are able to help you put your home on the market at the right price. Doing this is imperative as it could make the difference between selling your home within days or months. Brexit is taking place potentially within a matter of weeks meaning it is even more important to use an estate agent for your valuations. Estate agents have a huge range of expert knowledge and information at hand to make sure your home is on the market for the right price and will sell in good time. 


Castles Estate Agents want to help you to reach where you want to be on the property ladder and help you get a step closer to your dream home. To go up the ladder you will need to maximise the value of where you live now and we want to show you how. We have come up with some tips and tricks on how to increase the value of your home. If you would like to make a valuation request, please visit our website today for more information. 

Simple Upgrades 

If the thought of adding an extension to your home sounds intimidating there is no reason why you can’t start with the finer details. Redecorating your home is normally the most popular route to go down as it can be done at a very low cost. Giving your home a lick of paint and carrying out some general maintenance around the home can be a simple way to get you started. 


It may be best to fix all of the small defects first as while they are unlikely to be a deciding factor when selling your home, small problems can create an instant impression that the home is not being looked after. A small list of these simple tasks could include; 


  • Paint peeling 

  • Mouldy kitchen or bathroom sealant

  • Broken lightbulbs

  • Squeaky flooring 

  • Leaking taps

Garden Upgrade 

Redesigning your garden can be a fun way to increase the value of your home. You can carry out basic tasks such as getting rid of dead plants and weeds, cutting back any overgrown trees and shrubs and adding colour with different plants. People usually look for privacy in their garden, simply adding fencing or trees could help this. Creating different sections in the garden is a good way of creating appeal as it shows a level of organisation. Areas such as a BBQ area, a seating area or even a shed are attractive to potential buyers. 

Kerb Appeal 

When it comes to buying a home, first impressions count which means kerb appeal is an important element when selling your home. Most people will make their mind up about a home before they even get out of the car and it can be hard to shake off a negative first impression. Giving your home an exterior makeover can include tasks such as; replacing doors and windows, replacing garage doors, repainting walls, adding a porch, adding plants, adding a house number or even naming a property. 

Kitchen Makeover 

An attractive, social and clean kitchen is usually the most popular style for someone looking to buy a home. Before you replace the entire kitchen, consider whether it would be worth making some small changes with could totally transform the space. Small changes such as painting or replacing unit doors and worktops can be a good place to start. You could even add some new tiling or add windows for some extra lighting. These small changes can often make a huge impact. 

Adding A Bathroom

This is a very good investment, especially if it creates an ensuite to an existing bedroom. Extra bathrooms can be added by remodelling an existing space or by extending. Ideally, there should be WC facilities on every floor that has a bedroom.

Converting Your Cellar

Transforming your already existing cellar into a living or storage space can potentially boost a property’s value by up to 30%. Converting your cellar can be an easy home improvement as it qualifies as a ‘change of use’ for planning purposes which means you don’t need planning permission. If you’re making structural changes to a listed building, however, you’ll need to talk to your local planning officer. 

Castles Estate Agents 

Castles Estate Agents offer free property valuations on our website today. You can expect a comprehensive market appraisal with an honest market appraisal. A first-class estate agents who are dedicated to helping you get the best price for your property. For more information on our property valuations please contact us today on 01793 611 677



The Ultimate Guide To A Property Valuation


If you are thinking of selling your home, the first thing that you will want to learn is how much your current property is worth. Working out your current properties worth is key to ensuring you are accurate with your affordability and calculating your budget for moving. 


Having a property valuation is a vital step in selling your home, because if you don’t know the value of your current property you may be marketing the property too low or too high. This will then prove to be a struggle when it comes to achieving your goals. 


If you are unsure about what is involved in a property valuation, Castles Estate Agents are here to help. We have created the ultimate guide to help you learn everything you need to know about what a property valuation is and how it will help you sell your home for the right price.  

What Is A Property Valuation? 

A property valuation is a process where an estate agent gives you an accurate guide of the worth of your home. This price is usually based on a few different factors which may include location, size, condition, the local market, recent successes and more. A valuation put simply, is an opportunity for you to get an idea of what a fair asking price is for your current property. 


A property valuation will help you decide a fair asking price based on the current value of your home. We suggest getting more than one valuation on your home to give you a true understanding of how much your home is really worth. Once you have an asking price for your home you will then be able to work out what you will be able to afford during your moving period. 

What Happens During My Property Valuation

First things first, you will meet your estate agent and they will provide you with information on recently sold properties in your area, as well as the current prices of properties already on the market. This information will help the estate agent to inform you of the price that they expect the property to receive. 


Property Valuations usually take up to at least an hour depending on the size of the home. The estate agent will need time to assess your home thoroughly, meaning it could take longer. On the other hand, if you have had a property valuation in the past, the estate agent might have to simply look at their records to find the valuation which could take less time. 


The value of your home is calculated through many factors including;


  • Age & condition

  • Location 

  • Layout

  • Specialised features

  • The local market


When your valuation is over you should understand the recommended market price from each estate agent you choose to use and then further use this information to decide which price would be the best to market your property at. 

How Should I Prepare For My Property Valuation? 

During a valuation, estate agents will always focus on the properties details, however, it doesn’t hurt to have a quick spring clean to highlight your properties key features. Decluttering your home will help maximise the space available in your home which is attractive to potential homebuyers. 


Before you have your valuation it is important to think about all of the things you would like to ask the estate agent. Thinking about this beforehand will allow you not to forget anything important after the valuation is over and having questions prepared might spark inspiration for new ones on the day. 

Castles Estate Agents 

Castles Estate Agents offer free property valuations on our website today. At Castles, you can expect a comprehensive market appraisal, a professional and honest service, honest market appraisal and a first-class estate agent who is dedicated to helping you get the best price for your property. For more information on our property valuations please contact us today on 01793 611 677.


Different Types of Mortgages in the UK



Here at Castles Estate Agents, we understand that choosing which type of mortgage is best for you can be extremely difficult when purchasing a new home or re-mortgaging your current home. There are several different options when it comes to the type of mortgage offered in the United Kingdom. Before making your choice it is imperative to do some research to decide which type of mortgage will suit you and your financial situation best.


Castles Estate Agents have broken down each type of mortgage, individually explaining how they work as well as the pros and cons. If you would like more information on buying your first home or which mortgage would be most suited to you, give us a call today on 01793 611677


Standard Variable Rate (SVR) 

The Standard Variable Rate is the normal interest rate that mortgage lenders will charge and is calculated on the current Bank of England base rate. The pros are that you are not tied into any lengthy fixed period with penalties, you can overpay without penalty and that should the base rate fall then there is every chance your monthly payments will follow. However, should interest rates increase you are at risk of your payments increasing and you have less security.  


Fixed-Rate Mortgages 

A fixed-rate mortgage is where the interest rate is guaranteed to stay the same for a set

period of time, regardless of whether the interest rate changes or not. Fixed-rate mortgages can offer you peace of mind, as you will know exactly how much money you will need to repay at the end of each month for an agreed period of time. This is a fantastic type of mortgage for first-time buyers as it makes the whole process a lot simpler and gives you peace of mind.


Fixed-rate deals can last between one to fifteen years. A one-year fixed-rate mortgage is a lot less common and is most useful for people who have special requirements such as people buying with a ‘Help To Buy’ equity loan. Usually though, the longer the deal the higher the interest rate will be. 


The pros for a fixed-rate mortgage are that during the period of the deal, your interest will not rise. It is a good opportunity for people who want the stability of a fixed monthly payment and they can be very cheap when the interest rates are low. 


In regards to the cons if the interest rates in the mortgage market goes down you could be paying more than you would on a variable rate mortgage, if you would like to get out of the deal early you may have to pay high penalty charges and if you decide to move house you can transfer your mortgage, however, it could cost you more than it would just to simply switch to a new deal. 


Variable Rate Mortgages

There are two main types of variable rate mortgage, these include tracker and discount mortgages. Whether you would like to go for a fixed or variable mortgage should depend on if you think your income is likely to change, you would prefer to have an exact figure to repay monthly or if you could manage if your payments were raised. 

A Tracker Mortgage 

A tracker mortgage is a loan where the interest rate you pay is based on an external rate which is often corresponding to the Bank of England rate base and a set percentage as well. It is a type of variable rate where the total amount you pay each month may be subject to change. Some of the money will go towards the interest charged by your lender and the rest will go towards the money you have borrowed. 

Discount Mortgages 

A discount mortgage is a loan where the interest rate is an amount below the lender’s standard variable rate for a set period of time or for your whole mortgage. Just like a tracker mortgage, a discount mortgage is a type of variable rate which means that the amount that you have to pay back is subject to change month on month. 


Your rate will remain below your lender’s SVR (standard variable rate) for the whole duration of the deal and when the SVRs are low your this type of mortgage could have a very cheap interest rate. 

Independent, Tailored Mortgage Quotes



If you still feel like you need some more advice, look no further. Castles Estate Agents can offer you a mortgage quote or independent mortgage advice. All of our advice for each client is individual and will be tailored to your needs and situation. We work with Mortgage Advice Bureau to help provide you with independent mortgage advice in Swindon and other surrounding areas. If you would like more information on this please give us a call today on 01793 611 677.


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