Doorsteps blog posts

Blog entry by Doorsteps

How to Increase the Value of Your Garden Space

A pleasant garden makes your property stand out. It produces a great first impression when you try to sell your property and can also increase its value. When the buyer is undecided, the garden can help him or her make up their mind.

Before you ask for an online house valuation and list your property for sale, you should maximise the value of your garden. You can do this without a large investment. Learn more now.

Create a Sense of Space

Making your garden seem larger is one of the best ways to improve the appeal of your property. The first step is to remove from your garden large items like wheelbarrows or lawnmowers – store them in your garage or shed instead. 

Without them, your garden will gain space. It will become airy. You can also create space by extending the paving and using climbing plants to mask walls and other unappealing areas.

Add Colour with New Plants

Planting new flowers in your garden can be a quiet and relaxing experience before the hustle and the bustle of the move. Potted plants help you plant new flowers in your garden without having to call in an expert. For many buyers, the prospect of having their own garden is a great incentive to go ahead with the purchase.

Repair Patches in Your Lawn

Although they are common, lawn patches can ruin the effect of an otherwise charming garden. When you want to sell your property online in the UK, you need to market it effectively, and lawn patches don’t help at all. So, take the time to fix your lawn before selling. Sow new grass seeds, cover them in a layer of topsoil, add a good fertiliser, and water it adequately.

Do you want to sell your property for more? Before you look for online estate agents, put some time into making your garden as best as it can be. Spring is a great time to get started but any time of the year will do. It may take a bit of planning and some manual work, but the result can be wonderful. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Staging Your Home and Why It’s Worth It

Is it worth the time and effort to “stage” your home when trying to sell it?  What is “staging” anyway?  Staging is when the homeowner makes the very best effort possible to let the house shine in its best light.  This happens when each room is presented in almost what could be characterised as a showcase.  If everything looked new and clean, a pristine representation of the room would be put forth.  In many cases, this is the best way to present a home to a future homeowner because they are more easily able to envision themselves living in each room.  They may change this or that about the room, but when each room is staged, it offers the best representation of what the room could be.

Time and Effort

It takes time and effort to stage each room.  Is it worth it?  Most people who have done it conclude with a resounding, yes!  Staging is perhaps the best way for prospective homebuyers to visualise the spaces as their own.  Many times, it has also been known to increase the price received for the home.  Homes that are staged also typically sell much faster.

Stage Important Rooms First

Staging your whole home would be optimal, of course, but if you don’t have the time or money to do so, start with the most important rooms first.  As far as staging goes, the living room is the most important room to make sure it looks just picture-perfect.  The bedroom is the second room you’ll want to extend your efforts to, followed by the kitchen.  These are the three most important rooms to focus your attention on first.  If you dress these rooms up to the best of their potential, your staging efforts will have gone a long way toward reaching your goal of making your house look the best it can be.

Rearrange Furniture

You will want your home to take on a light and airy look and feel.  Often, along with a fresh coat of paint and removing “clutter” (or unnecessary items) from the room, rearranging furniture can also showcase your space in a new and different light.

Selling your home is an important decision and a big undertaking.  You want everything to look and feel just right to prospective homebuyers.  To that end, staging the most important rooms in your home can be a tremendous asset.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Why You Should Depersonalise Your Home Before Selling

While some aspects of personalisation in a home can help a prospective homeowner visualise how cosy the home could be, most homeowners want fewer personalised items when viewing a home so they can envision their own furniture and accessories in the spaces.  It is considered the best rule-of-thumb to depersonalise your home when prospective buyers come to view it.  This is often one of the hardest steps for homeowners, yet it is a necessary one to help show the home in its best light.

Prepare Yourself Emotionally

Selling your home can be an emotional experience depending on the reason you are selling.  If you’ve lived in the home for a long time, many memories you have are likely centered around experiences in your home.  Change is difficult.  Even if you are moving to a new and grander home or moving to a new location where you have been longing to live, it can still be hard to make the changes necessary to move.  Putting away family photos and remembrances of cherished memories will likely be difficult, even if you are storing them for just a little while.  Depersonalising your home can be difficult for you.  That’s why you need to make yourself emotionally ready to go through the process.

Pack Up Prized Collections

Many people collect various things and they are proud of their prized possessions in these collections.  However, they need to be packed away because they too often are a distraction for potential buyers.  Whether you collect coins, books, dolls, antique plates, or figurines, they should all be packed up and put out of sight before prospective homebuyers come to call.

Put Away Toys or Exercise Equipment

While it can be difficult if you have young children to corral every toy, that is what you must do when getting your home ready to receive potential homebuyers.  People don’t want to see toys or even exercise equipment sitting around.  These items are considered personal and they can also often resemble clutter.  Another important viewing concept for prospective buyers to your home is that each room be set to function as is its basic nature (i.e., even if you have exercise equipment in your bedroom, it isn’t wise to showcase it there because that’s not what the room was, initially, meant for – as a basic concept).

Depersonalising your home before prospective buyers call to look it over is a very important first step in making the right impression to potential homebuyers.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Four Ways to Eliminate Pet Odours

Bad odours can put a prospective homebuyer on alert.  Smells in a home can come from a variety of sources, one of which may be the family pet(s).  While pets are an included as family members in many households and dearly loved, they can contribute odours to a home.  Over time, homeowners may become accustomed to pet odours and not notice smells as much as someone new to the home might.  If you go on holiday for a week or two, upon your return you may be able to notice smells in your home more readily as opposed to living with them day in and day out.  The following tips can help rid your home of odours that potential buyers may find offensive.

Get Carpets Cleaned

If you are a good DIY-er and on a budget, you can try cleaning the carpets yourself by purchasing or renting a carpet cleaning machine plus cleaning liquids that go along with it to give your carpet a thorough scrubbing.  If you have the funds, however, it might be better to hire a carpet cleaning service to ensure that your carpet is fully and professionally cleaned, leaving you to take care of other needed tasks.

Scrub Floors

Floors and surfaces that aren’t carpeted should be scrubbed, not necessarily with an abrasive cleanser but with a cleaner that will remove dirt, dander, and possible odours.  Many pet shops have cleaners that are especially designed for removing pet odours and that are still safe to use around animals.  Floors, counters, molding, and window sills should all be scrubbed and cleaned before showing your home to potential buyers.

Wash Fabrics

Fabrics or blankets covering furniture in your home that provide your pet a comfortable place to lay should all be laundered.  Wash curtains and clean shades to get rid of any odours that may have accumulated on them.

Ozone Machine

Ozone machines can be a wonderful asset to getting rid of home smells, including not only pet odours but cigarette odours as well.  Ozone machines can work wonders in as little as two days by destroying the bacteria and spores that can cause bad odours.

Odours that potential homebuyers can find offensive are a definite turn-off when trying to sell your home.  Do everything possible to insure your home is clean and smells clean.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Painting Before You Sell? These Colour Tips May Help

A fresh coat of paint is always one of the first tips homeowners should consider when planning to put their home up for sale.  While a fresh coat of paint can always bring a fresh appeal to your home, the colours you choose to paint your home can also be an important factor.  It has been said that specific colours can either increase or decrease the value of a home.  Which colours should you choose if you want to boost the value of your home?

White Vs. Colours

Trends change, certainly, over time, but colours are said to make a much bigger impact than white paint.  Colours are typically lighter and not dark colours.  While one year, yellow was a big “in” colour for kitchens, the next year, yellow was “out.”  Those colours desirable to future homeowners are universal ones that can help them envision their own furniture and living accessories in the spaces.  Since front doors play such an important role in the introduction of your home to prospective homebuyers, the colour choice for the door is often showcased in a contrasting and complementary colour to the rest of the home’s exterior.

In a recent survey, the colours of navy blue, charcoal, or dark grey were touted as popular.  Complementary shades of grey and beige are popular for home exteriors.  Kitchens in a blue-grey colour are considered fashionable, while living rooms in light taupe, oatmeal, or beige seem to be selling well.  Blue is known as a calming colour and, therefore, considered restful and relaxing in bedrooms.  Dining rooms in slate blue and bathrooms in shades of blue-grey or purple hues have found favour with prospective homebuyers.

Colours Not To Use

Colours that can have a negative impact on potential homebuyers are those painted with “deep” or “bold” colours.  No colour at all is also often seen negatively.  Today it would be wise to stay away from yellow kitchens, medium brown or taupe exteriors, red dining rooms, pink bedrooms, and white bathrooms.  Colours can have a definite impact on one’s mood and, therefore, our vision of future use that can be imagined when desiring to purchase a new home.

Colours can play an important role in how prospective homebuyers see your home and whether they can see themselves living happily there.  Choose paint colours wisely.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

How to Declutter a Home

Some of us get in a comfortable habit of discarding items in convenient places that aren’t necessarily attractive or the best places to put things.  Your house is your home where you should be able to be comfortable, but when trying to sell your home, convenience needs to take a backseat to propriety.  Decluttering a home is essential before prospective homebuyers ring to take a look about the place.  Decluttering needs to take place outside the home as well as inside.

Front Porch.

The front door of your home will be a focal point of any potential homebuyer as they arrive at your home.  The colour as well as the upkeep of the front door, surrounding porch, and any front farden landscaping will make the first noticeable impression.  If the front door has a knob, doorbell, or door knocker, ensure all are replaced if worn and in good working order.  Any handrails or stairs leading up to the front porch should be in good shape and repairs made if needed.  If the property has a fence or gate, ensure they are all working properly.  Rake any leaves, clean any snow, etc., from the sidewalks according to the season, to ensure the front garden is tidy and presentable.  Decorations, according to season, can be used sparingly to add an attractive air of festiveness.  You can even buy a new welcome mat.

Decluttering Inside

Most likely, you will still be living in your home while getting it ready to show to potential homebuyers.  It can be tough to find new and out-of-sight places for many of the essentials you still need and will be using.  The kitchen, for example, is a room you will still need to use on a daily basis.  Some tips for decluttering your kitchen include:

Remove small kitchen appliances from countertops
Towels, dishcloths, and potholders should be kept in drawers
Dish detergent, sponges, and cleansers should be kept in a cabinet under the sink
Roasters, and pots and pans should be kept in cabinets (or packed if you don’t use them very often)

Go through every room in your house as you have the kitchen, picking up small items and items not often used.  Either confine them to a cabinet, shelf, or drawer, or do some early packing, getting ready for your eventual move.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

The Secret to Making Photos That Will Help Sell Your Property Online

There are many things to keep in mind if you have property for sale. UK homeowners have a lot of uncertainty to deal with these days, and selling real estate has never been more confusing. While online property sales are the easiest way to go about it, there are some pitfalls to them.

For example, real estate photography is an extremely important consideration when you are hoping to sell your house online. If you use unappealing photos, it’s impossible to sell your property for a good price. People will simply scroll past your offer without thinking about it.

But what makes a photo truly excellent? Let’s look at some real estate photography tips.

1. Lighting Is Important

External photos of your property should make the best possible use of natural light. Taking snapshots early in the day or late in the afternoon is a good way to create the right lighting conditions. Dusk photos can be effective, but this is a risky choice to go for. You don’t want the backdrop of the photo to distract from your property. Some homeowners like the dusk/dark technique, which means that you wait for almost sunset and then photograph the building with light radiating from all the windows. But in most cases, the resulting photos may not be eye-catching enough for online sales.

What about indoor photos?
If your property has great natural lighting, the photos should reflect that. When that’s not the case, turning on all the lights in a room is enough.

2. Make the Rooms Seem as Spacious as Possible

Here’s another important tip for interior photos. Simply repositioning the furniture can create an illusion of additional space. This doesn’t mean removing all the furniture from the room. You want a homey but simple interior that has very little clutter. It’s also important to clear all the clutter from the floor to avoid a cramped look.

Some decorations can be a good idea, especially in rooms with low lighting. In particular, you can create a welcoming effect by adding a single dash of colour, such as a bouquet or a bowl of fruit. Remember to remove from view anything that is too personal, such as photos on walls or fridge decorations.

3. Draw Attention to the Best Aspects of the Property

The photo used in an online ad or auction needs to showcase all the best things about your property. For example, if the property is surrounded by trees, the photo should emphasise that. In the case of indoor photos, make sure to display the nooks and crannies that make your house unique.

4. Get Quality Equipment

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to rely on nothing but your phone camera. The quality of the photos reflects the quality of your property. It’s best to use a wide-angle lens. In some cases, Photoshop is necessary to smooth out any distortions.

You Don’t Have to Do This Yourself


Some of the above advice is easy enough to follow. But when you don’t have the experience and the equipment, real estate photography becomes difficult or even impossible. One option would be to hire a professional photographer. If you choose the right person for the job, the results will wow you and your prospective buyers. However, this is both time-consuming and pricey.

Another solution is to contact Doorsteps. One of our Local Property Consultants will inspect the property and immediately take appealing photos. After some editing, the images will be ready to present your property in the best light for our online auction. That way, you can sell your house online faster.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Step-by-Step Guide to Selling Your Home

Selling one’s home is a decision no one will ever make lightly. You’ve lived there, maybe even raised your children there, and, depending on your circumstances, you could have decades of fond memories of the place. 

But it’s possible you need to move for work. Perhaps you require more space or it could be the opposite and you’re downsizing. Or maybe you’ve finally found the home of your dreams and need to sell your current place to afford it.

Whatever the reason, when you decide to sell your house online, you take a big step forward. There are some big decisions you need to make and some formal requirements to fulfill. There are also tips and tricks which are worth knowing as they can expedite the process and even save you a fair bit of cash.

The experience will undoubtedly be emotionally charged and in order to help you through it, this guide will take you through every step of the way.

1. Set Your Finances Straight

Although it’s not a formal requirement at this point, you really want to make sure your finances are in order before you truly start with the process of selling your home.

For one, this means contacting your mortgage lender and informing them you’re planning to sell. They will tell you about your outstanding debt and let you know if there are any penalties you’ll need to pay. They can’t give you exact figures without knowing the completion date, but they’ll provide a good estimate.

You should also get a general idea of how much you can get for your house. You’ll set the exact asking price later, but you should still get some rough figures so you’d know how much money you’ll have to work with when all is said and done. So, find comparable homes and see how much they went for.

2. Decide How You’ll Be Selling

You can try to sell the home yourself. This can save you some money on commissions but can also end up costing you a lot more down the line if you’re inexperienced. Traditional real estate agents will certainly have more know-how, but their fees can sometimes get really high.

Your final option is to turn to the internet. With the right online solution, you can enjoy many benefits without having to pay excessive fees. By contacting Doorsteps, you’ll be able to work with effective and cheap online estate agents who can get you a great deal at a low cost.

3. Set the Asking Price

This will likely be one of the toughest decisions you’ll need to make. You want to get the most money you can, but you shouldn’t overprice your property. Do your research, consult your estate agent, and find a figure you’ll be happy with. You may want to inflate that number a little bit as buyers will likely haggle. With Doorsteps, it’s easy to schedule a house valuation online and get a head start with this.

4. Get Your Home Ready

In order to attract buyers and command a good price, your home needs to look the best it can. Make sure everything is clean and tidy and fix any nagging issues. A fresh coat of paint can also do wonders. You’ll need great photos, and a good estate agent can help you here as they know how to “stage” a home.

5. Get a Conveyancer or a Solicitor

Selling a home comes with a lot of legal work, and you need a professional to see it through. You can search for one on your own or, if you work with Doorsteps, you can use in-house conveyancing to speed things up.

6. Wait for Offers and Accept the Right One

As offers for your home start to come in, your estate agent will inform you. You are free to reject them or try to negotiate. Once you’re satisfied, accept.

7. The Questionnaires

There are questionnaires and forms you’ll need to fill out, to give the buyer and their solicitor the info they need to set up the deal.

8. Negotiate the Details

You’ve already agreed on the price, but there are other contract details to negotiate. For example, you need to set the exact completion date. The conveyancer/solicitor will guide you through this.

9. Contract Exchange

Once you sign and “exchange” the final contract, you and the buyer have a legal obligation to see the deal through. The buyer will also pay a deposit. Should you decide to back out of the deal now, not only will you return the deposit, but you can get sued as well.

10. Moving

Naturally, you will need to move out at some point. You can do this as early or as late in the process as you like as long as it is before the completion date.

11. Completion

This is the moment your home will officially change hands. You’ll get the full payment and the buyer gets the keys. The solicitors/conveyancers will handle the details.

12. Settle Up

Finally, you need to pay what you owe to your mortgage lender, estate agent, and conveyancer/solicitor.

Final Words

As you can see, selling your home isn’t exactly a simple procedure. But it is more than manageable, particularly if you have the right assistance. If you decide to sell your property online with Doorsteps, you can get all the help you need to make this process as simple and profitable as it can be.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Renting vs. Owning a House: Which Is Better for You?

If you have some money saved up and you’re ready to move out of your family home, you are likely facing an important dilemma – to rent or to buy. Sure, renting allows for more flexibility while buying gives you more freedom, but there are plenty of other considerations you shouldn’t overlook.

A recent survey found that no matter where in the UK you live, buying is cheaper than renting in the long run. What’s more, if you opt to buy, you could save upwards of £2000 within just one year. However, despite the long-term financial benefits, buying a home may not always be the right choice, even if you manage to find cheap online estate agents and secure a great deal on the property.

Here we’ll take a look at the key things you should consider before making a decision.

The Pros and Cons of Owning

Owning your home comes with its fair share of benefits and downsides.

Of course, the main benefit is that, once you have completed your repayments and the mortgage term has ended, you will fully own your home and be able to live in it rent-free. When you have your own home, you can live by your own rules. This means that you can have pets, invite guests to stay with you, and make changes to the property without having to ask someone else (e.g. a landlord) for permission.

Buying a house can also be an excellent investment property. If the prices of real estate in your area rise or if you add to the value of your house by renovating and making changes to the interior and the exterior, you could sell your property online for more than you what you originally paid for it.

Still, you should keep in mind that owning a home comes with certain upfront costs like mortgage fees and stamp duty. If you get a flexible rate on your monthly payments, you could also end up paying more if your interest rate increases. What’s more, if you fall behind on your repayments, not only can you generate a sizeable debt but you could even face bankruptcy and have your new home repossessed. It is thus very important to thoroughly analyse your finances before deciding to buy a home.
The Pros and Cons of Renting

As already mentioned, renting allows for a certain amount of flexibility that you don’t get when you own a house. Namely, if for any reason you need to move house, you can do it quickly and with little-to-no paperwork involved. When you’re renting a property, you also don’t have to worry about its market value or invest in repairs and renovations to add to its value – your landlord will take care of that.

Renting a home is also often easier to budget, seeing as rental payments rarely change. Also, in the short run, renting is usually cheaper than buying. This means that, as a tenant, you may be able to live in a bigger house and/or a nicer neighbourhood than you could afford to buy on your current income.

Like owning, renting is not without its downsides.

For one, each month, you will have to set aside money to give to your landlord. Sure, if you buy a home, you’ll still have to make monthly payments, but at least those will go towards owning a home at the end of your mortgage term. Also, every penny you invest in a rental property will be lost if your landlord suddenly decides to get new tenants or to stop renting it out for whatever reason. That’s not to mention that you’ll have to get your landlord’s permission to keep pets or have guests for longer periods of time.

3 Tips to Help You Decide

If you’re still wondering whether or not you should buy a home, here are three tips that will help you make the right decision.

1.Consider Your Savings – When buying a home, you need to pay a deposit, which usually amounts to about 5% or more of the total value of the property you’re buying. In addition to the deposit, there may also be stamp duty and other upfront costs, so you need to make sure that you’re able to pay them before you decide to purchase a home.

2.Consider Your Income, Too – Apart from the upfront costs, you also need to be able to make monthly repayments for the duration of your mortgage term. You thus need to make sure that your salary and other sources of income will be able to cover those costs while still leaving you with enough money to cover your living expenses.

3.Determine Your Needs
– If you tend to move house quite often – whether for work or some other reason – you might want to consider renting instead of buying. After all, renting is typically cheaper on a per-month basis and doesn’t involve the extra cost like mortgage and valuation fees and stamp duty. Plus, it’s easier to move to another house when you’re renting.
Final Thoughts

If you want to save money in the short term and/or tend to move house periodically, renting may be a better option for you. If, however, you are ready to settle in one place and don’t mind paying more upfront in order to save money in the long term, buying your own home could be a good choice.

Buying your own home can also be an excellent investment opportunity if you decide to sell it in the future. If you have decided to sell your house online, Doorsteps can help. Our team of online property agents will work hard to help you get the best deal possible on your property.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

How Will Brexit Affect the House Market?

When the results of the 2016 referendum came in, the news sent shockwaves throughout the country – the housing market included. That was to be expected, as such a colossal development would surely have a profound impact on all areas of industry.

The immediate fear was that house prices would crash. However, nothing as dramatic has taken place yet. But as “exit day” – March 29 – draws ever nearer, some effects of Brexit are starting to become more apparent. Chief among them is the uncertainty that has crept into potential homebuyers.

This insecurity is yet another reason to look for cheap online estate agents if you’re selling a property – the UK is going through trying times, and you want all the help you can get. But this is a complex issue which needs to be observed from several perspectives.

The Fear

As mentioned, Brexit is yet to have a drastic effect on the housing market. And it is impossible to predict with certainty when or if such an effect will take place. The reason for this is simple – we do not yet know what kind of a deal the UK will strike with the EU regarding the exit.

However, with each passing month following June 2016, the odds of an unfavourable (no-deal) arrangement became greater. Naturally, this has created a degree of fear. And the warning Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, gave in September 2018 certainly did not help matters.

According to press sources, Carney advised the Cabinet during a special meeting that the outcome of a no-deal Brexit had the potential to be devastating, comparing it to the financial crash of 2008. Carney warned that unemployment rates could skyrocket while house prices plummeted. His prediction was that the prices could drop by as much as 35% over a three-year period.

The Uncertainty

Now, it is very important to point out that Carney’s remarks referred to the absolute worst-case scenario. And if we look at the UK on the whole, house prices are still not moving in the direction of a 35% drop. In fact, the prices have continued to increase. According to the latest data of the Office for National Statistics, the house prices in November of 2018 were 2.8% higher than they were 12 months back.

However, this does not mean Brexit has not had an effect. While house prices are still on the rise, this growth has seen a noticeable slowdown since 2016. This is a clear example of the uncertainty we’ve mentioned – nothing drastic has happened yet, but the market is bracing for impact.

The situation is even more pronounced on London’s property market. Unlike the country in general, ONS’s data shows that house prices in the capital have actually fallen by 0.7% over the same period. It is clear how the impending Brexit has played a part in this.

With the average price of a house being £473,000, London has by far the most expensive properties (more than twice the national average). As such, owning a home in London is a much more significant financial investment, and people are simply afraid to commit with Brexit looming.

All in all, this just makes it all the more important to find good estate agents if you have property for sale. UK house prices are at a tricky point, and it is imperative that you find the right offer.

Deal or No-Deal

Much has been made of March 29, 2019. It will certainly be a historic day, but it won’t be crucial for the housing market. Instead, what matters is the deal that Theresa May negotiates.

A no-deal Brexit could severely damage house prices. This may not reach the catastrophic proportions Carney talked about, but people could still find themselves in situations where their home is worth less than the mortgage. Although, these price drops could open up some opportunities for first-time buyers.

On the other hand, a good deal with the EU could restore confidence. In addition, this would include a transition period which would give the market more time to adjust, meaning we wouldn’t see anything change fundamentally until December 2020 (or longer, if the period gets extended).

Conclusion

Brexit is a monumental event, and we are still to see its full effect on the housing market. It’s not even possible to predict it because it all depends on the details of the agreement. But it has caused uncertainty, and the market has slowed down as a result. For the rest, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Whatever the case, it’s crucial to get expert help with property deals when there is so much uncertainty around. At Doorsteps, we can help you sell your property online and get the best deal possible. Brexit is sure to have an effect, but we can help you deal with it.

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