Family home – buying, borrowing and valuing

Daniel Bell, Seb Nicolleau and Graham Bowcock

In this episode, we are talking property. We are joined by experts in valuing, mortgaging and finding property. If you are not sure whether to try to stay in your family home or make a new start elsewhere, this conversation should help. Our guests are Daniel Bell, Seb Nicolleau and Graham Bowcock.


Sponsored by Ampla Finance

“To learn more about our podcast sponsor Ampla Finance:

And one of the team will be in touch.”

Sebastien Nicolleau

Sebastien graduated with a Master’s degree in Business Management from the University of Bath in 2001. He then spent 13 years working for Nasdaq and CAC 40 corporations, reaching international director roles.

In parallel, Sebastien has been actively involved in property investment since 2005. During which he has developed an extensive knowledge base and expertise of the UK, French, Monegasque, Spanish and Portuguese property markets.

Through first-hand experience he realised how archaic and unfit for purpose the current real estate system was for buyers in Europe compared to other parts of the world. Take the US, Canada, Asia or Australia for instance. Buyers there, will be fully represented by an independent buying agent or realtor working solely for them. In Europe, most buyers are on their own and fully exposed, having to deal with selling agents who are mandated by and work for the other party, the seller.

That led him to found Galleon Property Search in 2014 with one objective; to change the current buyer/seller power dynamic in Europe and make sure that buyers are professionally advised and fully represented. He is a buyer, think and act like one. It is his crusade and he is known to be very passionate about it across borders.

When not immersed in the international property markets, Sebastien loves to travel, with South America and Asia amongst his favourite destinations. He is a keen climber and slowly makes progress with his kite surfing skills.

Galleon International Property Search

Daniel Bell and his growing team are highly respected, award-winning mortgage advisers working from offices in both Manchester and Liverpool city centres. They are able to provide every aspect of your property needs from first-time buyer mortgages through to multi-million pound commercial deals, as well as sourcing the right policies you need to protect your investment. 

Integrity, Client Care and Tailored Relationships are are the pillars of Bell Financial Solutions and Daniel has come from a strong background in Financial Services, with industry leading knowledge backed up by strong qualifications, credentials and a commitment to regular ongoing training. When not crunching numbers n a calculator, Daniel loves playing with George the Dog and long walks with both him and his partner Sam. 





Graham Bowcock is a Shropshire farmer’s son (but points out he was born in Chester) who studied Rural Estate Management at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. He returned to Cheshire to work in land agency before spending three years with Co-operative Group, advising on their extensive rural estate and farming portfolio across the UK. He subsequently established A G Bowcock and Co in 1992 and after various mergers became part of surveyors Berrys in 2001, retiring from the Partnership in 2018. He has now created Oakwood Valuation Surveyors to specialise in valuations and associated professional work in the north West and North Wales. Graham has significant property experience and has undertaken hundreds of property valuations in his career. His clients include private individuals, family enterprises and household name organisations.


Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planner with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.

You can contact Tamsin at or arrange a free initial meeting using this link. She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK

Tamsin Caine MSc., FPFS

Chartered Financial Planner

Smart Divorce Ltd

P.S. I am the co-author of “My Divorce Handbook – It’s What You Do Next That Counts”, written by divorce specialists and lawyers writing about their area of expertise to help walk you through the divorce process. You can buy it by scanning the QR code…

Scan me


(The transcript has been created by an AI, apologies for any mistakes)

Tamsin Caine 0:06
Hello and welcome to the Smart Divorce podcast. In the episode that you’re about to listen to, we are joined by property experts from across the range. We have a mortgage advisor we have a surveyor and we have a property finder. I think you’re really gonna enjoy this episode if you want to learn more about how your property might be valued for divorce, getting a mortgage and actually finding a new home for yourself and your family. Let’s jump right in. Hello, and welcome to the Smart Divorce podcast. And today’s episode, we’re going to be talking all about property. And we’ll start off by doing some introductions. So I’m Tamsin Caine. I am a divorce specialist financial planner. And I’m joined by some real property experts this morning. And they’re all quite quiet because we start recording this at nine o’clock on a Friday morning. And I’ve just been told that’s not the time to be getting everybody being lively. But let’s say let’s see if we can get some cracking conversation from these experts. Graham, would you like to introduce yourself?

Graham Bowcock 1:21
Good morning. I’m Graham Bowcock. I’m the managing director of Oakwood valuation surveyors in Altrincham. We’re a firm of Chartered Surveyors, registered valuers and part of the work we do myself and my colleagues is matrimonial reports usually as what’s called an SJE single joint expert on a range of properties across the across the Northwest.

Tamsin Caine 1:44
Fantastic. Thank you, Graham, and you will be able to hear our episode that we recorded, just with Graham all about valuing properties. If you go back to the last series, and Daniel, would you like to tell us a bit about you?

Daniel Bell 1:59
Hi, my name is Daniel. I work for Bell Financial Solutions. We’re mortgage brokers. And I also co authored a book with Tom’s in your divorce handbook. I’m so yeah, that’s, that’s a little bit about me.

Tamsin Caine 2:14
You did indeed. And you also write reports as well, don’t you for a mortgage capacity reports. Indeed. Absolutely. Fantastic. Thank you, Daniel. And good morning Seb.

Sebastien Nicolleau 2:26
Good morning, everyone. So I’m Sebastien Nicolleau, I’m the founder and managing director of Galleon ETFs. And we specialise in the search and position of property in the UK, we cover Europe as well. But I think we’re going to talk about the UK today a bit of background. As you can tell, I’m originally from Southwest or from Bordeaux. So I don’t know I still sound if have landed last night, but I’ve been here since 1999, I was studying in France came here to study to continue my study as a degree Master then work 15 years for large corporation, American one on France, one based in the UK. But I’ve been a property investor as well, since 2000. So that’s how I developed my expertise about the UK real estate market, which led me to create my company in 2014.

Tamsin Caine 3:22
Fantastic, thank you Seb. So we’re going to talk about everything to do with property basically today. Now, we could be here all day long, having this conversation. But I think that let’s start at the beginning. So So for most people who are going through divorce, the first starting point will be to get the property valued. And this is where you can come in, isn’t it Graham? What? What’s the process that you use for valuing properties for divorce? Where Where would you be brought into that process? Well,

Graham Bowcock 3:59
we can be brought in at any stage, but commonly, it’s when there’s a court order. So the court order requires the properties to be valued, because sometimes the parties might agree between themselves. Nothing wrong with that, if it’s sort of a relatively straightforward property, but quite often, and particularly with values where they I mean, we’ve seen two years of massive increases in values, particularly in our area. And now we’ve seen possibly a plateau and some people are saying there’s gonna be a crash. So these things then go to court and there’s a court order. Usually that the parties are given a number of values to choose from, make sure we’re not conflicted out and then the court would would nominate a valuer to undertake the valuation that’s usually the first that’s the most common way that we that we get instructed here via the party solicitors. Okay.

Tamsin Caine 4:53
But you, I guess, as you say, in sort of more straightforward practice that Guess you would normally go to a couple of estate agents ask them to come and give you an idea of valuation. I imagine that using a value like yourself would be more relevant if the property was something unusual that wasn’t as easy to value. Would that be the case?

Graham Bowcock 5:17
Yes, yeah. I mean, we laugh and we probably specialise in the unusual, the quirky. So where there might be issues with leases, you know, investment property, that a couple whole issues with planning consent, you know, we’re planning because it’s been granted, maybe not enacted, or where there’s no planning consent for something that has been built. So we love the the, the murky things, you know, thatched cottages, we’ve had listed buildings, anything, which is just not quite 100% mainstream, although we do the mainstream as well, you know, we do plenty of two or three beds, semis on modern estates, because Because fundamentally, it’s down to the parties and their view as to whether they they feel able to agree something with their partner or not. And of course, they the situation was you’ll be aware of is that they can’t always agree everything. No, we’re, we were brought in on a range of properties. But we do like the the exam question long where we have to piece piece things together.

Daniel Bell 6:23
Do you work for both parties? Or are you is it? How do you work on that basis?

Graham Bowcock 6:31
That’s a great question, Daniel. Most often, I’m what’s called or my partner’s, what’s called an SGA, single joint expert. So it’s a Court appointment. And our duty is to the court. So we’re not an advocate for either party. And we have to be absolutely straight down the line. So we we sign it’s done under the Family procedure rules FBR 25. And we have to sign off to say that everything in our report is true. And we believe it to be true. And it’s based on the information that we’ve been given or we’ve we’ve we’ve found out. So there is quite a process to it. We can act as an advocate, if one party says Well, I don’t like what’s happening with my other half, we can act as an advocate. But depending where we come in again, we may still have a duty to the court. So the answer may still be the same. Even though one party is actually instructed as

Tamsin Caine 7:25

Sebastien Nicolleau 7:26
Graham, just to jump on that. What kind of tool do you use to actually come up with a property valuation? So let’s say for instance, you got a property in the middle of Mayfair or in the Cotswolds? What tool do you use to actually say, okay, that property is worth X, or is worth between x Connect.

Graham Bowcock 7:49
Fundamentally, it’s comparable evidence, transactional evidence. So we we subscribe to databases, we have somebody here doing research. So one of our associates would be getting as much information as she can about the property type, which is easier for some than others. As I say back to you, two bedroom, three bedroom semi estate, where they trade every couple of weeks, we have a volume. If it is something more unusual, that’s where our specialism comes in. And we have to find what as much evidence as we can. We try to be as tight as we can geographically and tight as we can in time. So something that completed last month, half a mile down the road is great, something that completed three years ago, five miles down the road, as is less value. So all the time we’re trying to narrow the parameters. But sometimes we do have to go a bit wider, particularly with some of the things we deal with, you know, if we get something that’s very unusual, we do have to consider a broader range of transactions. We looking at market reports, you know, we get we get different reports from some of the bigger national surveyors who live particularly with investments, they’ll be talking about yields, and so on, and then the bid at the end, whatever the property is, it always comes down to us having the confidence to say this is our belief on valued, and it’s supported as much as we can, you know, we try and get 100% support from the transactions. But if there’s a property is very unusual, that’s support for them, transactions may be less, in which case is then down to us to say, but in our experience, we think, or our belief is the value is is X or Y.

Tamsin Caine 9:38
Fantastic. Thank you, Graham. And we’re gonna hand over to Daniel now so Daniel will be involved again fairly early on in the divorce process is he looks at the mortgage capacity of one or the off the divorcing couple. So Daniel, tell us a bit more about that. How do you go about assessing mortgage capacity, particularly where there might be a question mark over whether somebody is going to be either paying or receiving maintenance, some description,

Daniel Bell 10:14
Every lender out there treats maintenance in in different ways. You know, courts can ask for what we call mortgage capacity reports, in the sense that they want to know, you know, what impact it would have in whether someone was to receive maintenance or not, and how that would, you know, impact someone’s borrowing capacity. And, you know, I produce reports accordingly, which then can influence you know, you know, judges position on whether they are or not, you know, to award accordingly. And, again, you know, getting appropriate advice to see, you know, a whole of market advisor to make sure that you’re always looking at all the different lenders to make sure that you can see, you know, what lender will or won’t take into account maintenance or spousal maintenance accordingly, as always, is always the right way to go.

Tamsin Caine 11:18
Yeah, and you can shop across all look across all of the different lenders, rather than just going to one individual person provided to get a mortgage capacity from them. Rather than that you’re gonna look at across the board to see, well, they might not be able to get a mortgage for stuck with them, but they might be able to secure a mortgage somewhere else and your mortgage capacity report will, will tell the court or the of the individual, how much they’re likely to be able to borrow is that if I got that, right,

Daniel Bell 11:51
Correct, absolutely. And it’s not going to be based on, you know, one lender, it’s going to be based on the fact that, you know, my understanding of the market is if they were, you know, to be able to get x or based on what they’ve told me, you know, they’re in a position to be able to borrow, why, if they were to, you know, do X, Y, and Zed accordingly, it’s not based on one individual lender, it’s on the market overall. And that’s why when, you know, I’m instructed to do a mortgage capacity report, it’s it’s the overall market that I’m looking at

Graham Bowcock 12:28
Has that proven a bit more challenging, since the mini budget at the end of September and the fluctuations in interest rates and everything that happened in the economy.

Daniel Bell 12:41
Not not not Not really, because of the when it comes to the to what happened, then what you’re looking at is, is sort of interest rates, and not necessarily affordability wasn’t necessarily affected, it’s more people would be paying. So you know that that’s down to someone’s monthly budget, but when it comes to a mortgage capacity report, I’m not necessarily being asked to assess what someone is, wants to pay per month, I’m being asked to assess what someone can afford, from a, you know, a loan amount or, you know, what, what they can afford to go and bang, I will put in their monthly costing. But that’s that’s not for me to to then ultimately say, I’m, you know, whether they should be going to then obviously, you know, to take appropriate property of of that, of that accordingly. That’s that’s then down to negotiations between between parties.

Sebastien Nicolleau 13:50
On then, yeah, just I think anyone will be looking at buying a property, we probably add that on top of their mind. What What are your projection in? What people don’t realise is the interest rate that we had in the financial crisis in 2008, are completely abnormal. So those kinds of one to 1.5 popped out. So people got used to that on kind of the way on now that the interest rate goes up to 456 books down, then, you know, people are freaking out on that. Of course, they will because that mean that that’s going to cost them more, but it’s much more than no magazine than what we experienced in the past 10 years. So if you were to give us the projection in terms of Bank of England, they’ve desecrate on what the interest rates are likely to be in the next 12 months. Well, what would you say?

Daniel Bell 14:57
Actually legally can’t certain But I’ll take, I’ll step aside on that one. You know, interest rates now are, you know, a more normal rate, and we’ve unfortunately been used to, you know, artificially low rates, and it’s trying to get that sort of, you know, narrative across to people that, you know, rates have been, you know, on having shot through the roof to a, you know, a massive high, they’re actually a more natural rate. And we’ve just, you know, live through a pandemic, and we’ve been used to, you know, ridiculously low rates. So, you’re writing what you’re saying.

Sebastien Nicolleau 15:45
I mean, just years ago, the interest rates were 10 15%. On people kept, you know, buying property. I know, you can’t, but you probably have an opinion, I’m going back to your projection.

Daniel Bell 15:58
All I will say is, and I don’t want to get into interest rates, this is obviously on divorce and stuff. But inflation is is, you know, an all time high of 10%. Well, it’s just dropped slightly to 10.5. But, you know, the Bank of England, the central bank has a duty to bring that down. So interest rates do have to continue to increase, unfortunately, to bring that to bring that inflation down. So they will continue to increase. But I will say, since the mini budget of October. And since we have a new prime minister and a new chancellor, mortgage rates have just kept going down and down and down. So you don’t see that in the press, or you saw in the press in October was mortgage rates going up? What, and you’ve not seen since then, actually, all that’s happened is mortgage rates have gone down, down, down, down, down. And that is what’s happened. And so yeah, it’s it’s not all doom and gloom.

Graham Bowcock 16:58
We’ve been very, we’ve been very spoiled Hemingway, because I mean, I won’t be one of the older people on this. This podcast. I was studying we, we budgeted everything at 10%. And does that since 2009, when the rates started falling. And we got down to point 1%. And it never went above point seven, five, in that period from point from 2019. Till now 12 months ago, that is unbelievable. The Hello, those rates were, as you as you say, and I know you can’t comment, but 3.5% is, is still a low rate. And I think from my point of view that the property market will normalise that. And because we are receive properties that this the supply is is still not there. There are still people wanting to move. And the work we’re involved with with matrimonial there are people who have to move. And I think it’ll the interest rates will become academic in time in 12 months time. I think things will settle down and we whether or not rates rise or fall in that period, we will get more more use to them, I think.

Tamsin Caine 18:16
Yeah, I think I think you’re absolutely right. Set. But I’d like to just come to you. Because you help people to find properties. And I know you’ve worked with people who are in in divorce situations. Can you tell us a bit about the work that you do?

Sebastien Nicolleau 18:34
Oh, yeah, so we’ve been working with people going through divorce for a few years now, for obvious reasons is either one of both parties will have to find a new home at the end of the process. And we know that in normal circumstance, buying your property is very challenging. When you come out of a process of a divorce process, which is emotionally draining, it’s even more challenging. Okay. So your objective first of all, it’s very, very time consuming if you want to do it on your own. Your objective as a buyer is not to jump on the first property out there and then regret after a while. It’s probably one of the most important decision you will make on there’s a lot of money involved in that. One, you’ve got little help outside as a buyer know that we don’t decide your property. So yes, you can go on Rightmove and Zoopla but not all the property advertised there. Plus, you don’t have access to the US market. So your option is to do a complete market search is to check out what is available out there and the only way to do that to get on is to engage with a package. Now, the challenge that you face let’s take for instance, may fail in may fail you’re going to have between 40 and 50 estate agent operating Inessa if you want to find your property, you need to engage with every single one of them, because each of them will have their own product, which is going to be extremely time consuming, we will take your evening, your weekend on, so on and so forth. Just one challenge that you’ve got as a buyer. And then I will come to our we can address that. The second challenge that you face as a buyer is you ask to deal with estate agents work for on represent this tailor, okay? Nothing wrong with that, but an estate agent, sign one on one contract is with the seller to actually agree that commission on their job is to sell their property at the highest price possible, okay, on either one not doing that, then they will not have many property to sell. So that’s their job. But that leaves you very, very exposed as a buyer. So you already come out of an emotionally draining divorce situation. Or now you have to make one of the most important decision in your life on you deal with people who don’t represent you. So it’s a it’s a massive channels aren’t our job is to address that. So we’re not estate agents, we do not sell property, we work exclusively on solely for buyer. Okay, so the estate agents represent their clients, we represent our clients. So we work for private private clients who are looking to acquire real estate on we manage the entire process on the NPS. So basically, we sitting opposite side of the table, from the estate agent, they work for the seller, we work for the buyer on that’s why we do not sell property, because the day we will sell property, we will cross that line. And that will become a conflict of interest. So now I can take you through our process, I can talk for hours about it too.

If you have any questions or just be on shout, in terms of process, so I was saying Our role is to manage the entire process. Okay. But our role first and foremost is to advise our clients is to remove the stress from a very, very stressful situation already on to give structure on a very clear process to our clients to deliver on that. Okay, so the first step of the process is to sit down with our clients on clearly understand what they’re looking for. Very often that will mean that they will have to downsize very, very often on then we have to go through their lifestyle change. So we will bear in mind to school for the children. What is important for them, the neighbourhoods, the type of properties, the size of the property, the outdoors, and so on and so forth. So, we will spend quite some time at the staff to actually clearly understand what is our client’s vision, but more importantly to advise, okay, so let’s say find out that they want, you know, a six bedroom property in Wimbledon, or in the cold because we work a lot in the cars, the cars for as well, for 1 million, that’s not going to be really, okay. So our job is really to manage expectation and to create that structure on sometimes. Some, some clients will come to us on say, Okay, so we’re sending the family home, we’re going to complete in two months time, I need to find a home, I need to buy a home. So this is where we need to our client to breathe on to try to remove that kind of tie. So in that case, we probably will advise our clients to rent. In the meantime, find a place to rent for six months, settle down, breathe, just, you know, process everything that just happened, instead of jumping into a process, which is I need to buy your product. And so either really want to buy your property within a two month period, we’ll get it done. Yeah, I think we should be able to is going to be time but we’ll get it we’ll get it done. But our goal is we need to advise our clients. So we put a brief together. Once we’ve got the brief after that we’re going to conduct a complete market. So what that means is within the search area that we agree, we’re going to engage with every single estate agent out there to identify all the property that match our clients criteria. Okay, it’s extremely time consuming. We’ve done one in the coursework just before Christmas we got in touch with 90 More than 90 estate agents stem In our lab recently on pattern squid, so it’s very, very time consuming. But that’s the only way to actually be notified or the property. So we do that, then we send the option to our client on our clients neck, their own sock to they’re going to select 1015 property. The next step will be to go on view those property with our clients, Okay, on to asset those property with our clients is very likely at the end of that process, because we cover everything that our clients would want to make an offer on a property on at that stage, our job is to negotiate on to negotiate out to the estate agent wants to sell if we want to buy low on we’re going to use our expertise on market knowledge. This is what I was asking to grant previously, how do you value your product, because we got our tool as well internally, that you didn’t give too much away. So our job is to negotiate that our job is to negotiate with and we are incentivized for that. Then unscrew got accepted, we coordinate the conveyancing process. So we’ll yes with the conveyancing lawyer, we liaise with the surveyor people like Ron. So we basically manage everything from start to finish on even when the property is completed. Sometimes, our clients might need a builder or may need an interior designer. So in the past 20 years, we I did develop a blood book of people, people who I know are very, very good on who I trust that I can work among, to, to my clients. So just to sum it up, because I could, as I say, I could talk about if we do we do everything, but from a buyer on because we are fooling they found out we’ve got access to pretty much the entire market out there.

Tamsin Caine 27:00
I think somebody who’s not, you know, who’s been in a couple where perhaps the other person has looked after the home buying process and and they’re absolutely terrified and have no no clue where to start that that is a fantastic option for them to help them to buy somewhere. Daniel, I’m interested where you come in, in the in the process that Sebs just just describe to us because obviously, he didn’t mention mortgage. So I’m assuming there are lots of people who, who is helping who were in not not necessarily using a mortgage and may have the cash available from the sale of a family home. But if the mortgage is needed, where do you come in, in that process? And when should people be seeing should be seeing you and starting to, to work out their their mortgages?

Daniel Bell 27:51
Just before I go on to that, and yeah, it’s interesting what you just say, Tamsin, because there are, you know, a lot of people that do come into this scenario that might not necessarily have dealt with, you know, this side of things, you know, I do see people that, you know, have, you know, never ever dealt with the financial side, you know, they don’t even know what the mortgage payment was on their current property. You know, you know, I’ve dealt with someone that, you know, you know, I mentioned the word council tax to them, they said, What’s council tax? And I was, like, what’s been what’s council tax, you know, literally as simple as that, you know, but, you know, that’s just how it isn’t, you know, we shouldn’t laugh at that, really, but, you know, that that can’t be how it is. Because, you know, one, you know, one side of, you know, one one party literally looks after all the finances. So, you know, when, when we do talk about separation, divorce, you know, one party can come into it completely blind, and really does need to, you know, really be, you know, go right back to basics, and be taught little things like, council tax, you know, and, you know, and that is the reality sometimes, but in terms of, you know, where, where do I come in, really, you know, people need to know, at the very, very beginning, what they can afford, I’m you know, and like I says that, you know, sometimes people need to, in a nice way to be brought back to reality, you know, if they’ve been living in a, you know, big big house, you know, the big family home, and you know, that they might now be you know, having to separate and you know, you know, finances are changing. We need to maybe manage expectations and say, Look, this is now what you can afford, and people need to be, you know, told right at the beginning, let’s look at your fun finances, let’s look at, you know what your financial situation is, and let’s give you a budget. And that needs to be done right at the beginning, because if someone has x in their head, and then you know, halfway down the line, they then find out that actually, it’s why, you know, someone’s going to be very disappointed. So, you know, they need to know straight from the offset that, why is their budget, and that’s what they need to be looking at. So really, you know, the financials, need to start at the very, very beginning, and then used to have exactly, you know, what their budget is, so that, you know, they, they start off on the right path, because they don’t want to, you know, be on right move, you know, and, you know, start looking at, you know, these these homes, that they might not necessarily, you know, be able to afford and get, you know, falling in love with, and that’s only going to waste, you know, their time, other people’s time. And you’ll find that a lot of estate agents and will will want what you call, you know, maybe a decision in principle, and the want proof that they’ve maybe seen a financial adviser, or mortgage broker, or, you know, I’ve been to their bank and got that, you know, that’s that idea of a budget upfront anyway. So you’ll find that that’s sort of the norm these days. And I’m sure when steps I’m dealing with people that, you know, do, you know, need some sort of finance, you know, he’ll get that sort of, you know, idea of a budget up front. You know, if you’re dealing with people, you know, may fare in places like that, I’m sure there are a lot of cash buyers. When when those

Sebastien Nicolleau 31:50
We don’t we don’t just say actually, you are so right, because people couple of things, people think, above and beyond the implication of going through a separation on what that means. For Santa Fe on we have a lot of clients like that. One of the parties sometimes is absolutely not aware of anything financially speaking on as if he wasn’t emotionally draining enough. Already. They asked to learn from scratch, what could be seen as a busy to other people. So that just add some stress on top of that this is why it’s so important to be surrounded by the right people who will advise them. Regarding your the question of Tamsyn from outside, if we don’t have a mortgage in place, we don’t touch it. It’s it’s one of the first steps that we go through with our clients. So step one, is to have the finance in place. Because for us to run a complete market search takes two weeks from someone else for someone of my team, okay, we’re not going to do a market fast to search for property if our client cannot afford it. So dealing with or engaging with people like Danielle is one of the first steps of the process to know okay, what can we afford? On ideally speaking either to have an agreement in principle in place? Or if it’s with a private bank, or the private bank to say, yes, it’s okay, private bank, it would be more tricky to get an agreement in principle, by they say, okay, then then that’s fine. So, yes, working with mortgage brokers is very, very powerful.

Graham Bowcock 33:42
Can I come in and pick up on on both what you both said there, Daniel, and seven, as I think that this is this is absolutely crucial has been over the last couple of years, because they particularly where we’ve had such demand for houses. And part of our business here is an estate agency. And so people coming to make offers have got to be in a strong position. Now, some agents take a harder line than others and some illegally insist that you see their mortgage broker, which I’m sure Daniel will be horrified that but it still happens with some of the big chains. But at the very least, we would expect somebody making an offer to have the funds available in some way. And when they talk about being cash, and again, speaking to the converted here around the table, that is cash, and we’ve had people say, Well, that was making the cash that we’re making to customers, and when can I see your bank statements to prove it? They say, well, well, not well, nobody really has that sort of cash do they said well, yes, they don’t. Because those guys want a cash offer is a cash offer means you have the cash to buy the property. Not that you’re going to sell another property to release the cash. Not that you’re going to spend six months undoing ISIS and other forms of investment. You have the cash and the same with a mortgage. You know how far if you’ve got down Like, what what did the mortgage lenders say? And because the demand has been so strong, and this is probably where sem comes in, in smoothing over the process, to make sure that you go to an estate agent, with an oven ready proposition, really. So that if you’re making an offer of 500,006 months, or whatever it is, that it’s demonstrable that the person can actually afford it, because it doesn’t waste a lot of time. And even when we do our due diligence, we still find people have missed letters. And things unravel. And it doesn’t help them. I mean, I don’t think what why they think they’re being clever sort of, sometimes it’s misunderstanding, sometimes it’s just a general hope that things will work out at a later date. However that might may be. So it’s absolutely crucial that people have their funding big Catholic mortgage set out when they go to the bank talking to estate agents.

Tamsin Caine 35:57
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And for me, I would take it back even further than that, you know, obviously, steps getting involved once that once the divorce is done for me, then you’ll or, or a mortgage broker is one of the first people that I will be sending my class to. So when they come to talk to me about their financial situation, I want to know, really early on what actually is their mortgage capacity? What What could they be able to borrow? Because we’re going to be looking at what percentage proportion of the house that they’re going to negotiate for, in order for them to be accommodated suitably for them, and they’re and potentially children of the family. So we need to know what property price we’re looking at how much they’re going to be able to borrow? And what implications does that have for their future finances? So I’d take it back, I think people should be working with a mortgage broker, right at the very beginning of the divorce, if they haven’t been absolutely, the latest point is, before you start looking at property, that’s, that’s got to be got to be a thing. So some of you were gonna, you were gonna say something.

Sebastien Nicolleau 37:00
Yeah, just just to bounce on what what you both said, basically. So, from our perspective, this is why we get access to most of the stock out there is, as I stated, even so we’re competing, we’re not competing, we don’t sell but we have to kind of our rationale to that outsmart them very much. They know that we’ve done our due diligence on our KYC on our clients already. So that’s going to smooth on, they know that they’re dealing with a professional as well. But just to bounce on what you were saying, Graham is, the market has changed a lot in the past, since college, the market was so dynamic with the lack of stock on very high demand, that one of the first thing that once you get to know like city that estate agent will require is approval form one of the searching on if you don’t supply, if you don’t get the approval form within two to three days, the property is back on the market sweat away. So that’s just real for how important it is to have the finance in place on to talk to someone like Danielle or mortgage broker or to go on feel bank on on 2020 Before starting the process. So yeah, it’s very, very experiment.

Graham Bowcock 38:17
Just to add something further, which I know several will be music to his ears, the our agency team here, when we analyse an offer, the highest offer in cash, it’s the highest offering pounds isn’t always the one that gets accepted. I can think of one recently where a couple, they had a mortgage offer, but they were absolutely trying to stretch themselves. And I just said there’s no way that they can afford this property up there from where there was starting to where they were finishing was just far too much. And I had somebody in the wings, who was prepared to pay cash. But at a lower amount, said, Well, I’ve got the cash, and he proved he got the cash. So that’s the deal that we recommend it to the client. So it’s absolutely fundamental, somebody like seven is in place to make sure that the the deal is properly structured, because that’s where you come in negotiating, pounds off, you know, a discount, because it’s a better deal. It’s, again, back to this expression. So Boris used it I shouldn’t use it up and ready. You know, he’s ready to go, isn’t it? It’s the there’s nothing now that you’re all about. Our risk as an agent is all about mitigating the risk for the seller. And if we do that by making sure the buyer is solid, then that is what a good estate agent should be, should be doing.

Daniel Bell 39:41
Right What you say great, because you know, you can have you know, some people come in with absolutely ridiculous offers and you think well, there’s no point offering that because it’s just never going to value off. So you know, just don’t do it. Don’t accept it because you’re not going to get that value.

Sebastien Nicolleau 39:59
Now obviously Why on it’s not to blow our own topic, because that’s our job at the end of the day. But this is why very often, we outbid, we say, to a transaction, sometimes below some of the competition. So other bids can be higher than us. But because aesthetic, just know that, from our perspective, everything is in place. The concern of any seller is to go through the process on then for the transaction, or buyer, by the way, the transaction to fulfil at the end, because the buyer cannot get their final. So this is why we can outbid the competition. And sometimes we outbid the competition with clients who have a mortgage against cash buyer, because the estate agents on the seller know that with us, very, very likely that that will go through to completion.

Tamsin Caine 40:57
Hello, Ben Graham, I’m interested. We talked about your your involvement in writing an SGA. But you can also be involved as a surveyor in the in the actual buying process as well. I’m interested in, in how you come into that process.

Graham Bowcock 41:15
Yeah, well, we would work. So firstly, if you’ve got a cash buyer, they may well want independent valuation advice. Because as we all know, we haven’t said it yet. But the price an estate agent asks is usually aspirational, you know, that has no connection necessarily to value. And it’s like the elephant in the room. But it is that is true. So just because it’s put up, I mean, that might be the seller who wants that, or the agent wants that. But it’s not necessarily borne out by value. So we get plenty of cash buyers who say, Well could you do as a valuation, just to demonstrate that what we’re paying, or what we’re about to pay, don’t don’t want last week on an industry actually, where the firm buying the unit next door for cash, but they they want to know that the price they paid is right. And actually in that case, it’s valued at a little bit more than that paying, which is good, good news. We do bank valuations. But the issue there is that the instructions in Daniel know all about this, the instructions come from the lender, because they historically we could have a relationship with the with the borrower, the buyer, and we could do a valuation. But that’s all going out the window compliance is such now that the banks control that process. So whether we get picked to do a bank valuation is random, we’re on panels, and we take instructions. But the borrower has limited choice in that because a we’ve got to be on the lenders panel and be that if there’s any sort of collusion or conflict, then the bank just wouldn’t let us. Let us do it if they thought we’d been advising, for example, when advising SAP on the purchase of a property, and then the bank say Well could you know do a valuation? We’d have to say no, sorry. We’re conflicted out. Because if we didn’t we the bank would find out and wouldn’t be very happy with us. But I wouldn’t be right, yes, yes. Because we’re sort of regulated by by what we do as well. As registered valuers it’s all under the RHS Red Book procedure and the lenders instructions are immense what sits in the background behind what we do so we have to be very careful who we work for. But certainly where people are maybe they’re looking to keep the family home one party needs to keep it which might commander in Ste might not or they just want some some advice on on purchase. And

Daniel Bell 44:03
your profession. They’re great. And my my mum for her since she was a lifelong estate agent. And a lot of people do think that you know estate agents are given valuations and, and the way my mom used to always explain it was you know, you are a valuer. You have a professional qualification, you are regulated. My mom, you know, she had a qualification as an estate agent, but not in valuing properties. And, you know, what she used to say is, you know, a lot of people do get confused, you know, it’s naivety and think that they’re getting a valuation but they’re not they’re getting a market appraisal of what you know, the market is based on you know, you know, that state agent whereas, you are giving a true evaluation based on, you know, your professional opinion and I think you know, You know, that’s a good point to know.

Graham Bowcock 45:02
Absolutely. Well said, Daniel, nice of you to say so because, yeah, the free Volbeat people sign up. Usually the first thing people say to us is how much? And then sometimes they walked out, you do it for nothing? No, what do I get out of doing a job for nothing. As you rightly say, that’s a market appraisal, which an estate agent will do without any legal standing. So going back to the very beginning of what times it was asking me about, you know, at what point do we come in if people got a couple of estate agents and they’re happy with the market appraisal and broadly the same, that’s fine. But what our we have a duty to the court, that’s why we charged the fees we charge which have been rising in recent years because of PII. It’s pi cover has been become quite expensive for us. And we, we will give a properly worked valuation with the with the evidence and the methodology. And I’d like to think our reports are pretty, pretty, pretty robust. But yes, it’s not an appraisal, and it’s not free.

Tamsin Caine 46:08
Absolutely. We gentlemen are coming to the end of our time together. And I know you guys are passionate about this subject and could talk all day about it. I just want to cover one question to Daniel, just before we go, because this is something that comes up quite a lot. And this is in regard to where somebody has what’s called a measure order. So a measure order is where one party is allowed to stay in the family home. But both parties are remain on the mortgage. Now, is there an option for the party who’s remaining on the mortgage, but not staying in the family home, to borrow and buy a main residence elsewhere? Is there a way of taking a mortgage to do that?

Daniel Bell 46:53
There is the mortgage that is to remain would be taken as a commitment. So it would all be affordability assessed.

Tamsin Caine 47:01
Okay. So if you were in a position where you are looking at that as an option, you’re looking between you and negotiations into force, for one to one person having a measure or two remaining in the family home. But both of both parties remain on mortgage, it’s absolutely worth speaking to a mortgage broker because it is an option to take a mortgage out. Just wanted to cover that because it’s something that comes up quite a lot. And we’re asked quite a lot, whether that is an option. And they should absolutely go and see a mortgage brokering and get an idea of what they can borrow. Just a quick, quick round you or just see if you’ve got any last things that you want to say before we leave. I’ll start with you, Graham.

Graham Bowcock 47:44
I mean, we are I like to think we’re usually quite user friendly. But I realise it can be very daunting for people. So but it’s just asking the question, but we much prefer things to go through the solicitors. If we’re talking about SGA reports, now, people have got to avoid contacting us directly or unilaterally, so they send us sometimes the party will send us an email, these things have to be copied to this, we’re quite heavily under the FPR rules were quite heavily guided and as to how we’re supposed to do things. So we can’t address every individual’s that concerns because they’ve got it’s got to be done in the round. For the whole property of the whole party, that’s probably the most important thing is that we’re not being difficult, much as I like talking, if I go out to see people I can’t or I’m not going to talk, I’m not going to tell them what it’s worth, and that sort of thing. Because our duties to the court, that’s probably the key takeaway for what we do.

Tamsin Caine 48:45
Absolutely. Everything needs to be completely explicit, doesn’t it and disclose to all parties, because that’s the whole point of it. NSG is complete independence and being neutral to both parties. That’s great. Thank you, Graham, Daniel, anything you’d like to add any last comments or thoughts?

Daniel Bell 49:04
Just don’t underestimate the quality of good advice. I’m and you know, I am seeking, you know, a good professional when it comes to anything that we spoke about here, you know, between all of us, and you know, if I’m talking about, you know, my profession, or something like a mortgage you financials, it’s just one of the biggest commitments you ever going to take on and to make sure that you’re exploring all your options. You know, don’t underestimate it. Just one point though. I don’t know if it might have been touched on at the very beginning. What is an S GESJE J is

Tamsin Caine 49:43
the single joint expert so it’s somebody that the court would instruct to work on behalf of the court and provide a report for them. Whereas your be likely to be given mortgage capacity for just one party, Graham’s likely to be giving a value ration of the family home, which is for both parties, so he is has to remain completely independent. Good question. Thanks. We don’t want to we don’t want to have any jargon that anybody might have misunderstood. So thank you for asking. So anything that you’d like to add before we leave?

Sebastien Nicolleau 50:19
Yeah, it’s very much in line with what the Fed is. Going through separation is very, very emotionally draining on intensely like a very lonely place. At any stage of the process. Just make sure you surround yourself with the proper advisors, whether their value, whether they’re mortgage broker, buying agent coach, because there are a lot of people out there who are excellent super professional, on one year to help you so as a question, usually your divorce lawyer will be able to guide you, uh, we probably will know someone they trust on surround yourself with the right people that will help you who go through that process.

Tamsin Caine 51:07
Absolutely perfect. That’s it. That’s excellent advice to end on. And if anybody listening would like to get ahold of any of the four of us our details contact details will be in the show notes. So if you need any assistance from any of these Kraken professionals, you will be able to contact them. It just remains for me to thank my guests today. It’s been a fantastic conversation. I’ve really enjoyed it and I hope you have to and we will see you all soon.

I hope you enjoy the episode of the Smart Divorce podcast. If you would like to get in touch please have a look in the show notes for our details or go on to the website Also, if you are listening on Apple podcasts or on Spotify and you wouldn’t mind leaving us a lovely five star review. That would be fantastic. I know that lots of our listeners are finding this is incredibly helpful in their journey through separation divorce and dissolving a civil partnership. Also, if you would like some foot further support, we do have Facebook group now. It’s called separation divorce and dissolution UK. Please do go on to Facebook search of the group and we’d be delighted to have you join us. The one thing I would say is do please answer their membership questions. Okay, have a great day and take care

Transcribed by