Page 2 of 4

6-STEP GUIDE TO BEING A GOOD LANDLORD

Screenshot_4

There doesn’t have to be a huge divide between tenant and landlord and having a good relationship not only means you’ll have less stress and hassle but it is also much easier than you think.

  1. Offer a warm welcome

When you meet to show a potential tenant around your property, look at your body language and ensure that you are open, professional and friendly. When you finally meet to exchange keys, again look at your demeanour. If you appear unapproachable and moody, then straight away you will give your tenant a bad impression and this makes some people unwilling to cooperate from the get-go.

  1. Don’t ignore your tenant

Be prompt in your responses and it will pay off. Just because it is a business relationship, doesn’t mean it can’t be friendly and it is important to NOT dismiss everything that comes out of their mouth straight away. If you are lucky enough to have a great tenant, then be a great landlord. Ultimately, if you make the tenant feel respected, they will think of you as professional and courteous.

  1. Treat the property as if you were living in it

This will not only highlight that you are trustworthy and reliable but is also more than likely going to make the renters treat the property with respect. If something needs fixing then fix it, after all, you wouldn’t live in a property with broken lights and a leaking toilet system so why should your tenants? When a tenant informs you about some damage, set up a time to come and inspect it. You should also give the tenant notice if you will be entering the property without their presence.

  1. Compromise and putting yourself in their shoes

Be realistic and treat tenants how you would expect to be treated. If they have been a fantastic renter, paying their rent on time and one month inform you that they may be late with a payment, then be willing to understand. Obviously, if it becomes a regular occurrence then this is a different matter. Exercise compassion and remember that everybody is human.

  1. Follow guidelines

When things do go wrong, don’t always take matters into your own hands but instead refer to the contract. Always follow the guidelines outlined in the lease, which has been signed by all parties. If the matter hasn’t been addressed then check on local forums and get expert advice before acting.

  1. Stick to your word

If something needs fixing then fix it promptly. If you don’t reply to messages for weeks on end or don’t stick to something you promised then how can you expect to gain trust from your tenant? A landlord/tenant relationship works both ways. Likewise, if you promised to send over a reference for a previous tenant, make sure you do.

Remember being a good landlord will ultimately grant you, good tenants, making your renting journey a whole lot easier! If you are a landlord and have any questions, then please get in touch today.

THE KEY FEATURES THAT MAKE UP A DREAM GARDEN

Screenshot_3

Garden space often plays a key part in a property sale. But what are the key dream features that people would want to adorn their gardens if money was no object?

Garden specialist Oeco Garden Rooms put this question to 1,234 homeowners, who were given six luxury items to choose from. Those surveyed could also go off-piste and write down their own answers if their dream feature was not included.

A personal swimming pool topped the list, with 59% opting for this as their number one item. This was closely followed by a garden room/office {52%), while SO% said they would like a hot tub.

An outdoor kitchen/pizza oven, which has become particularly trendy and desirable in recent years as a foodie revolution has swept across Britain, was in third place, while a water feature/fountain was the ideal item for 41% of participants.

A sauna, something that is especially popular in Northern European countries where temperatures plunge during winter, completed the top 6, with 32% of the vote.

Of the off-piste, written down answers, the most popular responses were ‘hiring a full-time gardener’ to

keep a garden in tip-top condition, ‘building a home gym’ and having ‘tennis courts’ or ‘football pitches’.

While some of the dream features are beyond the wishes of most people – only a relatively small number of homes in the UK have a swimming pool or personal football pitch, for example- some are slightly more realistic.

A water feature/fountain, for example, wouldn’t necessarily cost the world to install, and wouldn’t need to be ridiculously extravagant, luxurious or expensive. A fountain would be likely to cost more, but a water feature could be purchased for reasonable prices if you made sure to shop around.

In this country, the months in which you can use an outdoor oven are, of course, more limited thanks to our famously unpredictable weather. That said, they come into their own in the spring, summer and sometimes even autumn months. In addition, they will have appeal to hip young professionals and those who fancy themselves as the next Jamie Oliver or Tom Kerridge.

More than anything, your garden needs to be bright, attractive, well-maintained, tasteful and colorful.

If you ever come to sell your home, your garden will be a key selling point- so it needs to look the part. Most buyers won’t be expecting any of the dream features set out above, but if you happen to have a pizza oven, a home gym, a spectacular water feature or a garden room/office, make this a central part of your sales strategy. It could just make all the difference.

Gardens have to be versatile places- a place for entertainment, a place to unwind and a place to hold BBQs, dinner parties and family gatherings. That, on the whole, is more important than dream features. But, if you possess dream features, all the better. And don’t be afraid to shout out about them.

COMMON PITFALLS OF LETTING A HOME AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

Screenshot_2

Being a landlord is not as easy as people think. Whilst there are numerous benefits, the stresses of managing tenants and properties can be a minefield. There are various things that can go wrong so we’ve decided to highlight the most common pitfalls of letting a home and how to avoid them.

A common mistake that landlords make when letting a property is not vetting potential tenants. Nightmare tenants are a real thing and could easily happen to you. It is crucial that you have references and it doesn’t take long to get in contact with a tenant’s previous employer or landlord. You may soon regret it if you forget to do so.

Lots of landlords are unable to detach themselves from the property. This is not your home and is now a business transaction. Instead of spending lots of money and time decorating the property to your taste, keep the decor neutral and simple. The goal is to make the property appealing to as many people as possible so remember functionality over fancy design.

We all want money and overpricing the property is another common pitfall which landlords often make. Renters are likely to be searching the local area so price your property competitively. In today’s digital world, it is now easier than ever to research the local market.

Before you rush into the decision of whether to let your property or not, as a landlord you also need to ensure that you are financially stable. You need to ensure you have a budget, which includes the cost of renting as well as any renovations that may be needed during the process. 

It is easy to get complacent and after the first few checks, landlords soon relax and forget to keep tabs on the property. Aside from cleanliness and how the property is being treated, inspecting the property also allows you to see whether the tenant is doing things without consent. You will also be surprised at how many landlords go without a formal tenancy agreement. This is a necessity- even if you are letting a friend. You’d be surprised at how often things go wrong. It is also required that all tenants’ deposits are protected in a Deposit Protection Scheme and remember to get landlords insurance.

It’s very easy to look at things with a business head but be realistic and approachable.

If your tenant has been a perfect resident and then informs you they will be late with one payment, try and be understanding. Remember being respectful and cooperative will only reward you with similar behavior from the tenant.

Keeping these common pitfalls at the back of your mind will help you avoid them during the process of letting a property, hopefully resulting in a quick, stress-free and hassle-free process. If you have any questions about letting a property, then please get in touch.

ESSENTIAL SECRETS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU’RE THINKING OF SELLING

Screenshot_1

Lots of people wrongly assume that selling a house is easy and doesn’t take any preparation­ after all that’s what you’re paying the estate agents for, isn’t it? Wrong! The reality is, selling a home can be stressful and inconvenient but if you are thinking of selling up, there are some essential secrets you need to know.

  1. Pricing your home right from the beginning is imperative – Price your home too low and you’ll miss out on money yet price your house too high and you’ll miss out on offers which in turn will leave your property on the market. Once your property has been on the market for some time, people will begin to wonder whether there is something wrong with it.
  2. It’s important to enhance your curb appeal – First impressions matter and you only get one chance. Remember you’ve got to bring people in so consider what the outside of your property looks like to people driving up for the first time. Your property should at least look better than your neighbor’s. Revamp your front door, add a security light, plant some flowers and declutter any exterior porches. In addition to this, people love a healthy lawn!
  3. Exaggerations will only disappoint in the future – Take what you have and describe it to its best ability but don’t lie. If you have a tiny spare room, don’t describe it as an extra bedroom but instead, be honest and explain that it would be better renovated into a walk-in wardrobe or storage room.
  4. Shop around for the best estate agent –  It’s one of the biggest decisions of your life so make sure you choose the best person to do it. A lot of estate agency business is done through referral and word of mouth so ask around to find a recommended choice. Don’t stop until you find someone who you trust and have faith in.
  5. Depersonalise and declutter – Whilst a house should feel homely, you need to allow the potential buyer to imagine his or her own family in the property. In addition to this, remove all items that largely relate to your political and religious beliefs and get rid of any trace of pets.
  6. There isn’t the best time to sell your home – Rumors have it that spring is the best time to sell but houses do sell in winter, autumn and summer too. Only you can decide on when the right time is to sell and no matter what the housing market forecast says, people are always going to want houses.

Selling and buying houses is a very personal journey but with a little research and the right agent, hopefully, you’ll be on your way to making that property dream, a reality. If you have any questions, then please get in touch.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH YOUR AGENT

Screenshot_2

We all hate feeling trapped and there is nothing worse than feeling that you HAVE to do something, even when you really don’t want to. Selling or buying a house is no different but once you’ve signed on the dotted line, how easy is it to make some changes?

You’ve chosen your agent but have that niggling feeling in your stomach that something isn’t right. Maybe you don’t like their approach to the marketing of your property or maybe you’ve done some research and have found out that you should be much further down the line. Don’t panic!

First things first, if you are not happy with your agent then you should try and resolve things. Speak to them, explaining your problems and talk about why you are dissatisfied. However, if you are sure that you want to change to another agency, then you need to check the terms of your agreement, as it may not be possible.

If it is possible then you may still have to pay some charges to the estate agent to cover costs that they may have incurred during the advertising and marketing of your property. However, put things into consideration – surely being happy with your agent is more important.

If you are unhappy with your agent, then get in touch today and one of our experts will be more than happy to help you.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO RELOCATING

Screenshot_1

There are many reasons for relocating, whether it is for a new job, for love or to be nearer to family.

Relocating can be stressful with many logistical details to consider from leaving your current property to getting everything moved. To help you we have put together a handy guide.

Finding out about the area

Relocating can be a daunting task, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area you are moving to. Your estate agents should be local experts and will be able to share their knowledge with you and find the ideal home in a location that suits you. They will also be able to share with you places to go, local demographics, as well as advising you of local schools and catchment areas if necessary. Also things like, the nearest postbox to post all your new address cards, local dentist, local pharmacy if you/ your family take medications- you can register with local doctor on the internet by visiting the NHS website. All of these are important to know in advonce.

Before the moved

Have a clear out, if you have things you haven’t used in the last 12 months, then get rid. There are many useful webistes for selling unwanted goods such as eBay, Gumtree and Music Magpie as well as charities such as the British Heart Foundation who can collect unwanted furniture.

Notify your utility suppliers and anybody who needs to know that you are moving. But also remember to check out the average prices of utilities in the area you are relocating to, so that you don’t get a nasty shock when the first bill arrives- it will be a bonus if it works out that you will pay less.

After the moved

Hold an open house and invite your neighbours round, its good to try to create a community for yourself, you never know you may need someone’s help to pop in a feed the cat, or leave your key with.

Make friends with your colleagues and find out what there is to do in the local area and if there are any work activities- maybe they all go bowling once a month? Joining a local gym, club or sports team is a great way to meet new people.

Explore- there are so many apps including near me and many more that will help you explore your local area. Look out for the local paper, leaflets and community boards,they are full of information about local clubs, societies and groups that you can join.

Lastly, enjoy the experience. Whatever reason for your relocation, it’s an exciting new chapter in your life and one that should be memorable for all the right reasons. Take the time to really appreciate the new start and the opportunities it will bring to your life.

6-STEP GUIDE BEING A GOOD LANDLORD

Screenshot_2

There doesn’t have to be a huge divide between tenant and landlord and having a good relationship not only means you’ll have less stress and hassle but it is also much easier than you think.

1. Offer a warm welcome
When you meet to show a potential tenant around your property, look at your body language that you are open, professional and friendly. When you finally meet to exchange keys, again look at your demeanour. If you appear unapproachable and moody, then straight away you will give your tenant a bad impression and this makes some people unwilling to cooperate from the get-go.

2. Don’t ignore your tenant
Be prompt in your responses and it will pay off. Just because it is a business relationship, doesn’t mean it can’t be friendly and it is important to NOT dismiss everything that comes out of their mouth straight away. If you are lucky enough to have a great tenant, then be a great landlord. Ultimately, if you make tenant respected, they will think of you as professional and courteous.

3. Treat the property as if you were living in it
This will not only highlight that you are trustworthy and reliable but is also more than likely going to make the renters treat the property with respect. If something needs fixing then fix it, after all, you wouldn’t live in a property with broken lights and a leaking toilet system so why should your tenants? When a tenant informs you about some damage, set up a time to come and inspect it. You should also give the tenant notice if you will be entering the property without their presence.

4. Compromise and putting yourself in their shoes
Be realistic and treat tenants how you would expect to be treated. Of they have been a fantastic renter, paying their rent on time and one month inform you that they may be late with a payment, then be willing to understand. Obviously, if it becomes a regular occurrence then this is a different matter. Exercise compassion and remember that everybody is human.

5. Follow Guidelines
When things do go wrong, don’t always take matters into your own hands but instead refer to the contract. Always follow the guidelines outlined in the lease, which has been signed by all parties. If the matter hasn’t been addressed then check on local forums and get expert advice before acting.

6. Stick to your word
If something needs fixing then fix it promptly. If you don’t reply to messages for weeks on end or don’t stick to something you promised then how can you expect to gain trust from your tenant? A landlord/tenant relationship works both ways. Likewise, if you promised to send over a reference for a previous tenant, make sure you do.
Remember being a good landlord will ultimately grant you, good tenants, making your renting journey a whole lot easier! If you are a landlord and have any questions, then please get in touch today.

INCREDIBLE IDEAS FOR YOUR SPARE ROOM

Screenshot_1

If you have the champagne-problem of having a spare room with no clear idea of what to do with it – it can easily become a dumping ground, where suitcases, Christmas decorations, and clutter can find a home.

If your spare room’s only purpose is collecting dust it’s time to change things, your spare room can become an asset to your home so it is time to make the most of it.

Private Bar
Now, this is an idea we can really get behind, having your own private bar within your home would certainly make you the ideal host or hostess. Ideally, your in-home bar would have a sink and fridge so you won’t have to keep running to the kitchen and of course, you’ll need the necessary dartboard and music system. You can even go further and jump on the ‘craft at home’ trend and turn your spare room into your very own distillery or brewery.

Library
A bit of a bookworm? If your idea of heaven is getting lost in a good book, then why not create your own personal library in your spare room? Fill shelves upon shelves of your favorite bestsellers and make sure there’s plenty of comfy seating as well as overhead lighting, so you can read any time of day or night.

Walk-in Wardrobe
Why not channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw and create your own walk-in wardrobe? If your wardrobe is bursting at the seams then this is the perfect answer for you- believe us, you’ll thank us later!

Gym
Fed up of your expensive gym membership? Then get serious about your fitness at home- you’ll soon run out of excuses and onto the treadmill if your gym is in your own home. You don’t even need any state-of-the-art kit just a set of workout mats and a set of weights and you’re halfway there.

Rent it out
With the government “rent a room” scheme in place, you could earn up to £4250 per year from renting out a room in your home before you must pay tax. If you live in a University town, you’ll be spoiled for choice of potential lodgers. Having someone else living in your home isn’t for everyone but it’s a cost effective way of getting the most from your spare room.

Home Cinema
Get some blackout curtains, comfy chairs, a big screen and most importantly popcorn, and you’ll have your very own private cinema.

TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF LETTING YOUR PROPERTY

Screenshot_1

Renting out a property isn’t as easy as most people think. After all, you’ve got to understand the responsibility involved and you are probably holding down a full-time job as well. However, if the correct preparation is done, letting a property can bring you many benefits. We’ve come up with simple tips to help you get the most out of letting your property.

Tip 1: Do some maths

Before you decide to rent out a property, you need to work out whether it is financially viable. Create a budget and consider the cost of renting including any renovations that will need to be made to the property. You also need to ensure you have enough savings for reparations which may be needed during the process and remember that you may have some periods where no one is in the property and therefore, you will be receiving no money.

You also need to work out the tax implications and it is a good idea to contact several different estate agents in order to obtain a realistic estimate of the rental income. When it comes to the value of your property, set a competitive price, as renters will be searching for the local area and looking at similar properties.

Think about who your property may appeal to- for example, if it is a family home, spend some time in the garden making it appealing to both parents and children. It is also a good idea to be flexible with your requirements and consider restrictions on guests, pets, and decoration on an individual case basis. It is worth spending a few weekends touching up decor, giving each room a thorough clean and completing general odd jobs around the home. Remember your property must also be safe to rent so get the boiler checked, a gas safety certificate and install fire/smoke alarms.

Tip 2: Finalise your proper tenancy agreement

Even if you decide to rent your property out to friends, you should always have a legal and formal tenancy agreement. It is also a good idea to customise the agreement to your individual needs. If your property has a large garden and you want this to be well maintained then include this in the contract.

Tip 3: Agent or no agent?

The decision of whether or not to use an agent to let your property is a very important one. If you do decide to use an agent, then remember that they could keep part of the rental income. However many people appreciate an agent’s expertise, knowledge, and help in finding a tenant.

Tip 4: Take a look at yourself

When showing a potential tenant around the property, not only is the building on the show but you are too. If you are frosty, rude and unapproachable then this will rub off onto the property. Dress smart, be prompt and remember a business transaction can be friendly.

Tip 5: Get checking

Get references for all tenants and check that they are who they say they are. If you are letting your property through an agency, they will do this for you but if not, it doesn’t take long to contact a previous landlord and you could later regret not doing it.

Tip 6: Ensure your deposit is protected

All tenants’ deposits must be protected in a Deposit Protection Scheme. If you do not abide by this rule, then you risk being fined and you may find it difficult to get future tenants.

Tip 7: Be understanding

Landlord and tenant relationships can be tough but try and be considerate. If your tenant has paid their rent on time every month and informs you they will be late with a payment, try and be realistic. In addition to this, you should reply to messages promptly and professionally and if you promised to fix something, stick by your word.

Ultimately, if you are a good landlord, your tenants will usually reward you with respect. If you are a landlord or are looking to let your property, then get in touch today and speak to an expert.

THE TOP CONSIDERATIONS FOR HOME MOVERS

Screenshot_17

When people move home, of course, the property they are buying is the main priority and the old adage of ‘location, location, location ‘ is never usually far behind.

However, it’s never quite as straightforward as that now. There are countless factors and priorities- both large and small- that can influence a property purchaser’s decision.

And, to make things even more complicated, every buyer’s wishes and needs are different.

That said, a new study has shed some light on what the typical buyer ranks as the top home moving priorities.

Security firm Yale spoke to 2,000 people who have moved home to get a sense of the things most important to them when relocating. Here’s a summary of what they found…

In perhaps possibly the most typical British fashion, the top-ranking priority for the home movers surveyed was the ease of parking outside their property.

Parking spaces and availability have long been a consideration for homebuyers, with properties offering driveways or garages often attracting higher offers. In fact, according to research, more homeowners are lowering their curbs in order to be able to offer off-street parking and add value to their properties.

Council tax banding came in second place and it’s no real surprise because it’s a monthly payment which needs to be considered and the cost varies all over the country. You can find out council tax banding on any local authority website.

In third place came ‘how much would it cost in total’. This is an important priority as there are plenty of additional costs buyers need to think about when moving home- from solicitors’ fees and conveyancing fees to surveys and remove costs.

The list incorporates many expected priorities and considerations, including local crime rates at number six, the broadband speed at number seven, energy efficiency at number 13 and proximity to supermarkets at number 15.

There are also some more conventional ideas put forward by those surveyed. Number 38 on the list is whether or not there is space for a king-size bed and number 40 is whether the neighbors will be able to see the new owner if they sunbathe in the garden.

Meanwhile, a little lower down, number 46 tackles the issue of whether the property has enough space for a house party, while 49 concerns the ease of being able to wash the car near the property. As we said earlier, everyone’s needs are different!

Exercises like this are all about helping sellers to get into the buyer’s mindset- what are they looking for and what is going to encourage them to make an offer.

l. If parking outside is going to be easy

2. The council tax banding

3. How much it would cost you in total

4. How noisy the neighbors are

5. How recently the boiler was fitted

6. What the local crime rates are like

7. Where the nearest supermarket is

8. What the neighbors are like

9. Do the radiators work properly?

10. Whether there are local regular buses

11. Broadband speed

12. Proximity to the nearest doctors’ surgery

13. Is home energy efficient?

14. How far away my friends I’d live

15. What types of the supermarket are nearby

16. How long /short the new commute will be

17. How much decorating I’d have to do before the house felt like my own

18. How far away from mum and dad I’d live

19. Changing my address on everything

20. Whether I could fit all of my belongings in the new house

21. Will, there be enough plug sockets (and where you need them)

22. Whether the property is close enough for existing friends to still visit

23. Whether the immediate neighbors have young children who are likely to scream

24. Whether the carpets will need replacing straight away

25. Is there enough space for a dishwasher?

26. The ‘class’ of the neighbors

27. Whether the sofa will fit through the patio doors I front door

28. How good the phone reception is

29. Whether there are large imposing trees overlooking the property

30. If my current furniture will look good in the new house

31. Switching all the utility suppliers

32. If the garden is a suitable size for the dog to run around in

33. How much building insurance would be

34. Proximity to the nearest primary I secondary schools

35. How much I’d have to clean before moving in

36. Whether there is a utility room or somewhere to put the laundry

37. Whether we can get a king-sized bed

38. How easy it’ll be to get the bins out

39. Whether the neighbors can see me if I sunbathe in the garden

40. Whether there is an en-suite bathroom

41. Whether street lights are going to shine in my bedroom window

42. Whether the home security is up to scratch

43. Who should have which bedroom

44. Whether there are children in the local area.

45. What color to paint the lounge

46. Whether your existing curtains would fit the new windows

47. Whether I can easily wash the car near the house

48. What color to paint the kitchen