Book a Property Valuation

February’s data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders shows that the number of loans to first-time property buyers rose by 11% in February compared to the same month last year.

By contrast, the number of loans to home-movers (ie those moving from one home to another) was down 6% over the same period.

This means that both groups took out 24,000 loans that month, a parity that has not existed for 20 years.

The growth in FTBs means that the total number of mortgages taken out in February was the highest seen in that month since the crash of 2007.


We don’t think so, and here are five reasons why…

As with anything in life, people are often tempted to look at ways to save money, and it’s easy to see why some people might choose to cut the cost of an agent’s selling fee!

But we think it’s important to look at the bigger picture when deciding how to, and who should, sell your property.

First, remember that although you might save something on the fee, if you lose more than this in the final sale price, you’ve lost out overall. A good agent is skilled at negotiating to achieve a sale at the very highest price possible. A good agent knows when to push for more, and when to suggest ‘walking away’ from a buyer. 

This is something that agents do every day, plus they’ll also often have more information about your buyer than you will, such as what their actual maximum price really is!

Second,  an established estate agent will have sold many, many properties over many years, and will have a good grasp on a property’s likely value. Time and time again we have seen sellers, understandably, set an unrealistically high value for their property, only to see it languish on the market unsold (although to be fair, there are some lesser agents who over-value too, with the same effect!).

Third, ‘private sale’ websites almost always charge you upfront, whether you sell or not. An estate agent, on the other hand, will only charge you a selling fee if and when the property is sold.

Fourth, contrary to expectations, agents are still an important link between sellers and buyers. In fact, according to research from Which? 28% of buyers found their property directly through an estate agent.

Fifth, once a buyer is found, a good estate agent will carry out background checks into that buyer’s financial circumstances and verify their ability to actually buy your property. 

A good agent will also aim to verify the strength of each link in a chain – after all, if one of the links breaks, the whole chain might fall apart – and then keep tabs on that chain right up till completion day to ensure you complete on time. Without a good agent, who will do this important, but often unseen, work?

In short, while we can understand the temptation to want to save the agent’s fee, it’s worth bearing in mind the bigger picture that you’re trying to achieve – to find a reliable buyer, in good time, who’ll pay the maximum price, will be solid for the purchase and enable you to move from a home that no longer meets your requirements to a home that makes your dreams come true!

In our experience, selling a house is a bit like tiling a bathroom. Most people could have a go, but not many have the skill, time and patience to do it as well as a professional!

Of course if you want to discuss anything here, we’d be only too pleased. Feel free to call us any time…


The wild garlic season is in full flow at the moment.  Known for it’s blood pressure and cholesterol reducing properties this is a wonderful, free and delicious delicate ingredient that you can use in so many different ways in the kitchen.

You can find wild garlic in damp areas, particularly hedgerows and in the woods. You can smell the heady aroma as you approach a good crop of wild garlic!  Don’t dig up the bulbs unless you have the land owner’s permission… just pick a few handfuls of leaves and flowers being careful not to bruise the leaves too much.  

Once you have your crop, here is a fantastic, easy, wild garlic recipe for wild garlic pesto pasta

Ingredients (this should make a jar’s worth)

  • 100g wild garlic (you can eat the flower, stem and leaves)
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 25g pine nuts 
  • 25g cashew nuts 
  • Approx. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Lemon juice 
  • Salt and pepper


Thoroughly wash your wild garlic and pat dry in a clean tea towel..

Dry fry the nuts (try different combinations of nuts if you are feeling adventurous) until they take on a little colour.

Put the wild garlic in a food processor with the parmesan, nuts, salt, pepper and lemon juice and blitz until broken up.  Slowly add olive oil until it looks smooth and glossy.  

Cook your pasta in salted water, drain and then spoon some of your wild garlic pesto through. Use approx. a tablespoon of pesto per person, but maybe try less and add more to taste. Add a little fresh parmesan on top and another grind of black pepper if you wish. You can add sundried tomatoes or crispy bacon or black olives… whatever takes your fancy!

You can also use your pesto to swirl on top of soups, in salads, in dressings, with fish or chicken; and it freezes well too.  If you are keeping it in a jar in the fridge, ensure it’s covered with olive oil to preserve it. It should last a week like this.


Here is a warning from the Fraud Squad, which particularly important for people buying or selling a property, as they may be asked to transfer funds – often sizeable – to their solicitor.

There has apparently been a sharp rise in the number of fraudulent emails allegedly coming from your solicitor telling you that their bank details have changed and that you should transfer money to the new account instead.

As you can imagine, the emails appear totally genuine, using realistic email addresses, as well as the relevant logos, etc.  It's not just large sums of money that are asking for, it could be a few hundred pounds for searches for example.

The advice is to ignore the email and to not pay, but to check, by phone or in person, with your solicitor before parting with any cash.

You should also report the email by visiting or by calling 0300 123 2040.

For further information please check these websites -


Congratulations to Brighton & Hove Albion, that little football team we're proud to sponsor, who've made it into the hallowed territory of the Premier League, following their win over Wigan this week.

Of course, we think it's all down to their association with Mansell McTaggart.

Read more about their incredible promotion here.

Onwards and upwards, lads, onwards and upwards.

© Copyright 2015 Mansell McTaggart Estate Agents | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy & Notice
Click here for Registered Company details

Designed & Written by Rethink Marketing. Built by Property Logic

Mansell McTaggart Estate Agents