Frequently Asked Questions

If after browsing our website you have any specific questions about Propia then we suggest you get directly in contact with us, we are really very happy to field any questions. However, if you prefer, we have gathered up some of the most frequent questions we get asked into the page below. We hope that it helps!

Help to sell

I have read that the cost of making changes is more expensive than the value added.

We believe our clients deserve to be treated honestly and all projects need to be assessed on a case by case basis. Certainly in London at the moment, house prices are such that well chosen improvements generally do add value over and above the cost of the works. Many reports you might have read are based on UK averages when the London market is really in a league of its own. If we do not think that we can add value, then we will not take on the work; this is one of our core principles.

How can you prove the added value?

It is as important to us as it is to you to know if we are adding value, otherwise it makes our work futile. Unfortunately, however, the property market is not homogenous and values are very subjective. If you agree, we can arrange for independent estate agents to provide a valuation both before and after the project. It should be noted though that these valuations do not always represent the price that would be achieved in the market at that time, so should not be treated as gospel. Furthermore, our service aims to optimise the whole sale process including a smooth and speedy sale, for which no value can be assigned.

What happens if house prices are falling?

We are, obviously, not able to control market forces, but just because prices are falling it does not mean it is a bad time to sell. If your next move is somewhere where prices are also falling then you are just following the flow and are equally well-off. In the instance where prices are falling, it is probably more important than ever to eke out every penny of your home and this is where we can help.

Everyone is different, how do you know what people are looking for when buying?

You are right, sort of! Everyone is different, but also many people share similar tastes. Firstly, it should be stated that we endeavour to ‘de-personalise’ your home such that prospective buyers will see it as a blank canvas to which they can add their own personal touches. Secondly, our research department works night and day (mostly day) to build a picture of demographics throughout different areas of London to understand the type of people who are buying and what exactly they are looking for. For example, homes on Pushchair Avenue benefit from an open plan kitchen so mum can keep an eye on her little one and an actual bath in the bathroom (not only a shower) for the dreaded bath time.

I would only buy a property which allows me to add value and a personal touch so I do not see a need for your service.

Some people (including many of us here at Propia) like the idea of taking on a ‘project’ when they buy a house, but research actually shows that we are in the minority. Most people, especially in London, do not have the time or energy (or funds) to renovate a property after they have moved in and much prefer a home which is ready to go. After all if you consider how many new homes are being built in London every year, then it is clear that someone must like the clean and shiny stuff. As mentioned above however, we present properties in a clean and neutral fashion so that an incoming owner can add their own personal touches without building the whole place again.

Moving is expensive business, shouldn’t you subtract these costs from the value you add?

We expect the majority of our clients to have already decided that they want to sell up and therefore already satisfied themselves with the costs of moving. If you are moving anyway, you might as well get the most money out of it and be hassle-free.

Help to let

Does the extra rent you generate really cover the cost of the works?

It is important to remember that it is not just about the amount of rent, but also about having a continuous rental stream. Vacant properties are a landlord’s worst nightmare, we create a property that the tenant will never want to leave, as long as you are not pushing your luck by charging an above average rent. In any case, each property and circumstance are unique depending on the local market and your own long-term plans for the property. Remember, having work done will not only improve the rental appeal but also the ultimate sales price, should you decide to sell in years to come.

Is it worth spending money if the tenant is just going to break everything?

This is actually very rare. As the landlord you can choose who you let to and if you think they are untrustworthy then simply do not make an offer. In nearly all cases the standard deposit is more than enough to cover any accidental damage.

Should my property be let furnished or un-furnished?

It really is impossible to answer this from a general point of view. Different property types and sizes in different areas have a different type of prospective tenant, some of whom are likely to have their own furniture, some of whom will want a property which is ready to go.

Credibility

What is your track record?

Propia was founded in 2014 and so as a company, we are only starting to build our track record. Individually however, the founders have a wide range of experience and very positive track record in terms of adding value. See the Value section for further details.

Can I see previous examples of your work/references?

Yes, certainly. Some details are given in the Value section, should you wish to see further details please just ask and we will happily oblige.

Isn’t there a temptation to do jobs on the cheap, given some are being sold shortly after?

Most definitely not. We cannot believe you would ask such a question! We are working in an industry where reputation is everything and cowboys ultimately get found out. In any case, cheap work shows and would not have the same value impact as a job done properly.

Do you sub-contract your work? Who will actually be working in my home?

We endeavour to use our own workforce as much as possible. This means we can quote cheaper prices and keep a tighter control on the services we carry out. Sometimes however we do need to use sub-contractors, which may be because the job required is specialist or because we are managing a number of different projects simultaneously and our own workforce does not stretch that far. For your own peace of mind and continuity we strive to have the same team working on your property throughout with the project being led by one of our own team and always overseen by one of the founders.

Do you supply the materials?

We have accounts with a number of suppliers and can source many materials at trade prices. We are equally happy to source materials as we are for you to provide your own.

Are you insured? What kind of protection do you have in place?

Firstly, yes, we are fully insured. We have public liability insurance up to £1,000,000 and contract works insurance to cover the work we carry out. All of this is summarised in our bespoke contract we have written up which serves to formalise our agreement and protect both parties in the unfortunate event of a disagreement.

How do you deal with any setbacks or customer complaints?

We have an open and honest approach to problem resolution. The nature of the industry we work in is that there are sometimes unexpected aspects which need to be dealt with. We will always inform you, the client, as soon as it is suitable to do so about any setback and discuss the best way to proceed. Any complaints or queries can be directed straight to Propia management through the customer complaints form.

Payment

Do I still have to pay you if you don’t add any value?

We want you to profit from the upside in your property which is why we charge a fixed fee and do not expect a share of increase in value. Our detailed research and years of experience mean that we are confident the work we are doing is adding value although we admit this is very hard to prove in some instances.

Why are you offering this novel ‘deferred payment’ structure?

We are aware that many people do not have the savings required to carry out the necessary work to add value to their home but that they do have a significant amount of equity tied up in their home. We want everyone to have the opportunity to optimise their property, not just those with lots of cash splashing around. This is why we are working towards offering this unique payment structure and will let you know as soon as it is ready.

I don’t want to pay a premium to defer my payment, can I just pay you normally?

Yes, of course!

Are you profiting from deferring the payment?

No, not really! It is true that the final price for deferred payments is higher than if you chose to pay us immediately, but this difference in price is not lining our pockets. The slight premium is necessary to cover the cost of foregoing the income until it is paid and the risk premium involved in arranging this type of payment structure.

Is the price fixed?

Yes, the price is fixed based on the work we reasonably expect to carry out and this is detailed in the itemised scope of work we will send you. However sometimes there is unexpected work which we could not possibly have anticipated. In such an event we will discuss with you how you would like us to proceed and adjust the price as may be required.

Can I reduce the cost and do some of the work myself?

Of course, we welcome your hands-on attitude. This should all be discussed upfront so that we can quote accordingly. It is very normal for our customers to want to do some of the decoration themselves, although we are very happy to do this should you wish. Some other jobs you may not be covered to carry out, but please do ask!

General

What is stopping me using your advice and doing this myself?

In short, nothing! However research from a 2010 LV= survey revealed that many self-proclaimed DIY’ers risk doing more damage than good when trying to improve their home and they would be better off employing a professional. Furthermore, Propia offers fully certified and guaranteed work which is essential when selling a property, as well as sourcing materials at trade price. So, if you think you can do it better and cheaper, good luck to you, we admire your enterprise!

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