Your February Newsletter from Coldwell Banker

Your February Newsletter from Coldwell Banker

In this month’s Coldwell Banker newsletter, we have a variety of articles for you that explore the latest sales news.

This month we explore: Whether now is a good time to buy a home, things to consider before selling, renovation ideas to increase the value of your property, how to stay on task throughout 2022 and how to purchase a buy-to-let property!

<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">St Patrick’s Parade </span>

Join us on our annual parade through the streets of London to celebrate all things Irish!
Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 12 PM

Click here to read <span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">St Patrick’s Parade </span>.

<span style="font-family: Tahoma, Geneva;">Sell Your House, Step By Step</span>

Are you looking to sell? Sometimes it’s hard knowing where exactly to start. Our step by step guide might look like a lot of information but it can really be a good reference point to help you during this process.

1. Work on your finances
With our mortgage valuation tool you can get an estimate of your property's worth.

2. Choose your estate agent
You have options. Sell yourself or use local or online estate agents.
Do some research, compare estate agents by how quick they sell, how close they get to the asking price and how successful they are.
Agree on a fee, aim for 1% plus VAT for sole agent.

3. Get an energy performance certificate
You will need one to provide to potential buyers.

4. Decide how much
Get to know your local market as this will help you decide.
Get several valuations. You don’t need to go with the highest either.
Buyers like to negotiate so add a 5% or 10% to what you’re willing to accept.

5. Get a conveyancing solicitor
They handle the legal work.
Get an overview of how much conveyancing costs.

6. Fill out your paperwork
There is going to be a lot of it!

7. Accept an offer!
Congratulations, the estate agents legally must now pass all offers over to you.
Once you’re happy with the offer, formally accept.

8. Work on your draft contract
You and the buyer will have to negotiate-
• The length of time between exchange and completion.
• What fixtures and fittings will be including, and if they have a cost attached?
• Any survey discounts.

9. Contracts get exchanged
This is the process when you become legally committed to selling your property, and they become legally committed to buying from you.
When you sell the house, you are responsible for maintaining the property until the sale is fully complete.

10. Move out
It is less stressful to move out before the day of completion if possible.
Completion is when the property changes ownership. Once the keys have been handed over.

11. Pay of your mortgage
The mortgage company will have given you and the solicitor and outstanding amount for the day of completion.
Now the buyer has transferred the money that will essentially pay off the mortgage for you.

12. Settle with everyone
Once completion has been finalised, your conveyance solicitor will send you an overview covering all their costs, as well as outing the sale price.
If you’re buying and selling at the time, you can settle for both transactions at the same time.
There can sometimes be a small discrepancy and you may even get a little refund.

<span style="font-family: Tahoma, Geneva;">The Right Survey Could Save Money</span>

Buying a house can be an incredibly tense and stressful time. Falling in love with a property but not knowing how it is going to play out is often the situation for most buyers. Imagine falling in love with a beautiful Victorian house only to find out later down the line that there are major issues with the roof and require thousands of pounds worth of construction work. You would rather know this sooner rather than later. Getting the right survey could save you this stress but also a lot of money.

According to a study by Hillary, an interior specialist, more than two thirds of Britons don’t know what property surveys are available, never mind which ones are best. And it is leaving us around £3000 out of pocket from repairs, which isn’t ideal for anybody, never mind someone who has just bought a house. That money could be spent on something so much more worthwhile.

The study also asked 2,056 new British homeowners all about their buying experiences.

54% of people had uncertainty during the whole buying process,
62% didn’t know what surveys were available,
79% thought that one survey covered everything, and that isn’t the case.

What are the different survey options?

Home condition report, at around £250: This is the more basic and cheaper option. It is quite a short, surface level inspection that highlights the obvious defects. This report is good for someone whose property appears to be in good condition but would still benefit from being checked for hidden damp or structural movements.

Homebuyers report, at around £300: This survey is more suited for Victoria aged properties. This will mirror the home condition report but will include advice and maybe an independent valuation of the building. If after the report, the value given is less than what you offered, don’t worry. This doesn’t mean you should pull out of the sale. Speak with your surveyor about the potential problems and how much it will likely cost. Try and use this information to negotiate the price down. If the seller won’t budge, you then need to make the decision to proceed or withdraw; depending on the cost. Your surveyor will have experience with similar circumstances so use them to help you.

Building survey, at around £500: If you’re investing in a much older property then this survey is vital for you. It is also worth noting that if you’re planning on doing any construction work such as loft conversions or extensions then this one applies for you too. This survey looks in detail at the condition, defects and the possibility of extending. The surveyor will also be able to provide a cost of how to rectify any problems listed.

Another recommended report is a gas and electric survey. This is vital for properties older than 25 years and if there are bare wires visible. It is even more important if you are planning on renting the property out as you will legally need to provide these safety certificates.

You’re probably thinking all these extra costs sound intimidating, but just think it could seem a lot now, but in the long run it is the more cost-effective option.

How To Keep Your BBQ Clean All Summer Long

With the sun finally making an appearance, BBQs will be the order of the day for plenty of us, especially after the lockdown period where a lot of time was spent indoors. However, if your BBQ hasn’t been used since last summer or you forgot to clean it after filling up on delightful treats the last time that you used it then giving it a good clean will be required. Here are a few tips to make the task as simple and effective as possible.
Keep It Hot
The best time to clean your BBQ is when it is hot, as the heat itself will help to burn away a lot of stubborn food remnants. It goes without saying that you must be as careful as possible when cleaning your hot BBQ, but ensure that you are wearing gloves as a minimum precaution. With the BBQ hot, you can scrape away any grime that is present and once completed and the coals are cooled slightly, you can soak old newspaper in water and cover the grill with this – effectively steaming the BBQ clean.
Elbow Grease
There’s no substitute for elbow grease! Giving the BBQ a scrub using hard bristled brushed and scourers will help to get everything clean once more. Once you have given everything a thorough scrub, use dishwater and a cloth to remove any residue left over.
Polishing The Exterior
Now that you have cleaned the grill and the interior is looking as good as new, it is time to tackle the exterior. Use warm, soapy water to clean the exterior of your BBQ and once dry you can buff with a dry cloth in order to achieve a better finish. To protect your BBQ from the elements, a top tip is to lightly coat it with mineral or baby oil as this will help to shield it from mother nature.
Keeping It Clean
The next time you use your BBQ, to make the cleaning process easier, then coat your grill with sunflower oil as it will prevent food from sticking and the grill from going rust. 

How Landlords Avoid Void Periods

All landlords at some point will experience the unfortunate situation of having void periods, hopefully not for any protracted periods. Read a few our tips which could help you to avoid these situations, or at least reduce them to a minimum.

Do your research
One of the easiest ways to avoid long void periods for your property is to ensure that you have the right tenant in your property in the first place. Having a tenant in your property who is suitable and can afford the requisite rent will, of course, reduce any headaches for you later down the line. Ensure that you agent has properly referenced tenants, and if at all possible, try to meet prospective tenants to establish a good relationship from the outset.

Short term vs. long term
As well as researching your tenants, investigating the area that you are letting your property within to ensure that you are asking for a fair price will also help you to side-step any void periods. A keenly priced property will attract more applicants, giving you a greater choice of tenants. It is important to keep in mind here that offering a more competitive rental price could lead to longer tenancies, therefore finding the balance is imperative for any landlord.

Property inspections
Regularly inspecting your property can be a good way to build up further rapport with the tenant if you are managing a property yourself, and allows you to ensure that it is in a good condition. This can benefit you in multiple ways; firstly, it helps to ensure that your property is of a nice standard for the current tenant, as well as meaning you don’t have to waste any time should your tenant move out and you want to bring your property to market immediately.

Find the right agent
With the raft of new legislation which has come into place in the lettings industry, having a well-informed and proactive estate agent has never been more important. Employing an agent on a fully-managed service will take many of the responsibilities out of your hands as a landlord and with the superior marketing available, as well as pools of applicants who are tried and tested, the most straightforward way to reduce your void periods could be to choose your agent wisely.

Top Tips For First Time Renters

If you have never rented a property before then the process can seem quite daunting, however with a little preparation and a good estate agent you can sidestep the potential confusion and focus on the excitement of finding a new property!

Here are our top tips for first time renters…


Calculate Carefully

When it comes to renting a property, it is important to calculate your costings because if you underestimate your costs per month, then this will compound over each month that you are in the property. In your calculations, include the monthly cost of the property, council tax and utility bills (include items such as broadband internet, phone line, television license and television streaming services). As a rule of thumb, it is good practice to add 10% to your estimated costs so that you have a comfortable buffer, in case they are higher than anticipated.


Picking The Perfect Property

Whether you are moving out of the family home or you are transferring from a purchased home to a rental, one thing that mustn’t be underestimated is finding the ideal property. Do your research and look at a selection of properties in different areas – you may be surprised at how much more or less property is available based on the locations that you choose. Registering your interest with us will also help to ensure that we can let you know when properties which match your criteria reach the market – this is key as the lettings market is extremely fast-moving.


Due Diligence

When you move into your property, check that the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors installed are working correctly. Before you sign your tenancy contract, you will be asked to prove you have the right to live in the UK, so ensure that you have your passport or documents ready to hand. Once this is completed, you should be given a copy of your property’s Gas Safety Certificate, Energy Performance Certificate, the Prescribed Information and if you are entering into a new tenancy from 1st July this year then you should also be given an Electrical Safety Certificate.


Initial Inventory

The inventory is a detailed document outlining what is included in your rental property – this will of course be much more comprehensive if you are renting a furnished property over unfurnished – however is vitally important for both variants. Check that you are happy that the inventory document matches exactly with what is in the property and if there are any discrepancies be sure to make a note of this and notify your landlord or estate agent. Taking photographs and dating them before you have moved any furniture into the property is also a useful reference for when you move out of the property and could avoid any potential deposit disputes.

What Is The Green Energy Grant And How To Claim It

As part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s summer statement, green energy grants up to a possible £10,000 will be available from September in order to pay for green home improvements such as a new boiler, loft insulation or double glazing.

For the majority of homeowners, grants of up to £5,000 will be available but for those from low income households, this amount doubles in order for the cost of energy-efficient home improvements to be fully covered.

The Chancellor confirmed: "From September, homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for vouchers to make their homes more energy efficient and create local jobs.

"The grants will cover at least two thirds of the cost, up to £5,000 per household.

"And for low income households, we’ll go even further with vouchers covering the full cost - up to £10,000."

Measures such as loft, wall and floor insulation, double glazing, lighting, energy-efficient doors, boilers and heat pumps will all be included under the scheme, with Rishi Sunak predicting a saving a £300 per year for households who make the most of the grants.

The grant will be available from September via a Government website, yet to be launched, which will also detail an approved list of suppliers.

What Does The Stamp Duty Cut Mean For Landlords?

The buy to let sector has seen a tremendous amount of change over the past few years in order to help rebalance the property market, with key pieces of legislation such as the Tenant Fees Act and the recent Electrical Safety Standards regulations. The changes to stamp duty will go some way to reigniting the buy-to-let market and offers landlords a tremendous opportunity to make the most of the tax changes.

With the temporary increase on the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 until 31st March next year, first-time buyers and existing homeowners are set to save up to £15,000. For additional and investment properties, stamp duty is also removed up to this value, however the 3% surcharge remains.

Charlotte Nixon, mortgage expert at Quilter, believes that the changes to stamp duty could have the consequence of more investors returning to the market;

“Buy-to-let investors have left the market in their droves over the last few years after tax changes have made it an untenable investment for many. The stamp duty holiday may serve to entice some of these investors back to the market."

“Not only will this cut help to reignite the property market but also improve the supply of rental properties, which has been dwindling over the last 12 months."

Nixon is supported in her opinion by David Whittaker, Chief Executive of Keystone Property Finance who believes;

“The Chancellor’s decision to cut stamp duty will have positive implications for homebuyers across the country and will certainly help to stimulate the housing market. Importantly, this latest cut will also go some way towards providing a much-needed boost for the buy-to-let sector.”

“As a result of this measure, many portfolio landlords across the UK will now be considering new buy-to-let purchases."
The numbers can be useful to bare out the extent of the potential savings for landlords looking to increase their portfolios – before the stamp duty holiday was introduced you would have paid £26,000 in stamp duty but now that is reduced almost by half to £13,500.

If you are thinking of investing in an additional property or looking to increase your property portfolio, then making the most of the stamp duty holiday is advised – contact us today to see how we can help you.

Five Ways To Refresh Your Outdoor Space

Outdoor space has rarely been so prized as it is now, with searches for properties with gardens and patios now much higher than prior to the lockdown period. We have put together five simple and inexpensive ways that you can perk up your outdoor space, no matter how much (or indeed how little) you may have available.
  1. Create Specific Areas

An effective way to transform your outdoor space is to create specific areas within your available area. Creating a seating area with screens, a bedding area with planters and adding hanging baskets further down your garden will create real depth as well as encouraging the use of these spaces. If you have less space available, think about using furniture which can be also be used as storage as well as items which can be folded away or stacked.

  1. Lighting

Investing in lighting for your outdoor area will not only make it more attractive when the evenings set in, it will also encourage you to embrace the outdoors even when it is a little darker. Solar lighting is an affordable, effective and fuss-free way to add some ambience to your garden, patio, balcony or outdoor space – solar nets are particularly effective as the lights can be weaved through a trellis or on a fence.

  1. Pots and Planters

If your outdoor space is a small patio or balcony area then using pots and planters is a great way to add some fresh flowers and foliage, making your space much more inviting. If your property is rented, then pots and planters are also really useful as you can take them with you when you move to a new property and you do not need to dig up a garden which could cause potential disputes. If you have more space available, add some hanging baskets to create different levels of interest across your garden.

  1. Accessories

Although investing in soft furnishings and accessories can be a more pricey way to refresh your outdoor space, because the items are intended for outdoor use they tend to last longer and so can be a worthwhile investment. Bright pops of colour can be added to any size of space with cushions, beanbags, throws and adding candles to table areas will take your outdoor space to the next level.

  1. Planting

Very few things will bring the outdoors to life as much as fresh plants and flowers – over the span of summer they also work out to being fairly inexpensive. Lavender is a particularly good option due to its hard-wearing nature and the gentle scent that is emitted. You can also purchase bedding packs of plants from most supermarkets and DIY stores, making them easy to find and inexpensive.

<span style="font-size: 18px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-weight: bold; text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">Are you asking these questions when you buy or sell?</span>

A recent study has revealed the 'most dreaded' and unusual questions buyers have asked about a property before putting in an offer.

With a small minority asking whether the pets come included in the sale, it’s fair to say that not all of the responses are winners.

However, the report by Hillarys has shed light on just how many Brits lack proper preparation during the home buying process.

Up to two-thirds will not plan their questions ahead of a house viewing, meaning they are not getting the full value out of the experience, as well as potentially wasting an opportunity to find out all of the property’s pros and cons earlier on.
The most dreaded questions from buyers:
Has it dropped in value?  54%
What local plans could affect us?  42%
What’s the lowest price we could get it for?  33%
Is the seller in a chain? 21%
To help you make the most of your viewings the next time you decide to buy or sell, we thought we'd share practical suggestions for you to consider.

What are some of the more serious questions you should be asking?

Whether you're instructing an agent or viewing a property, how prepared you are will determine how quickly you're able to move.

Are you asking these key questions:

1. Exactly what is included in the sale? Whilst it's safe to assume most sellers will want to keep their pets, it's important to outline what content might be included, such as fixtures, fittings and garden furniture.

2. How long has it been on the market and how many offers have they received so far?

3. When are the sellers looking to move out? Knowing whether they've already found another home or they're still in the midst of looking will help you to determine how long the process may take and how much room for uncertainty there is.

4. Have there been recent renovations or any difficulties with boilers, drains and guttering?

5. How did the agent decide on an asking price? Good agents will be able to provide justifications for the value of a property, so you'll know whether it's listed at the right amount or if it's overpriced.

What to ask when selling:

1. How will you market my property? Are they regularly contacting a database of suitable applicants to give you greater market exposure, or does their strategy start and end with a basic Rightmove listing?

2. What are your success metrics and how do they compare to other agents? In other words, what's their experience selling a home like yours at a price like yours?

3. How much will you charge? Choosing the agent who offers the lowest fees won't guarantee you reach asking price and you may lose time and money on the market, be savvy when you instruct representation for your property investments.

4. What are the contract terms? Before beginning any contractual relationship, know exactly what it is you should expect from them.

If you're thinking of selling and want to find out the value of your home, contact us.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 18px; font-weight: bold; text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">Property market surges post-lockdown</span>

Ever since its announcement, the government’s stamp duty holiday has sparked a surge in activity across the country’s property market.

Now, as we head into a new season, we’re seeing 61% increased demand compared to the same time last year – according to Rightmove.

The South East and East of England are the UK’s highest market performers, each up by 70% individually, but across all regions growth in demand is said to be outstripping supply.

Whilst this puts homeowners in an advantageous position with their next sale, it’s not expected to last for much longer, with new listings gradually climbing up as well.

Areas along the southern commuter belt have seen new properties double when compared to the same six-week period in 2019, including for Harlow in Essex, Hertford, Wickford, St Albans and East Grinstead.

An interesting development post-lockdown is the effect of changing buyer priorities on the market, with Zoopla reporting that larger homes are being snapped up the fastest.

Four and five-bed homes are selling in record time at 27 days, which is 31% lower than the same period last year and an obvious response to Brits needing more space coming out of lockdown.

Three-bed properties continue to be the market’s fastest selling property type, taking just over three weeks, on average.

Commenting on these market findings, Rightmove property expert – Miles Shipside – says: “We always knew that the stamp duty holiday was going to be a big incentive for people to get moving this year, and it’s certainly sparked a home-moving frenzy.

“Thousands of sellers are being tempted to come to market for a number of reasons. Firstly, lots of buyers stand to make pretty sizeable savings thanks to the stamp duty holiday – particularly in the southern commuter belt – so now seems as good a time as any to press ahead with home-moving plans.

“We’re also seeing a growing trend of people looking to move out of urban areas and into smaller towns, with homeowners in built-up areas reassessing their housing needs and looking for places with more outside space.

“Lastly, proximity to a station doesn’t seem to be as important as it once was, meaning sellers in these commuter towns are looking to move a little further afield as working from home becomes a more permanent way of life.”

If you’re looking to sell or buy in 2020, get an instant valuation today >

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 18px; font-weight: bold; text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">The eviction ban extension for tenants and landlords</span>

In a move that was intended to “support renters over winter”, Housing Secretary – Robert Jenrick – announced key changes to regulations surrounding tenancy evictions.

The ban on evictions, which has now been extended until the 20th of September, will mark a six-month period in which no tenant has been legally evicted at the height of the pandemic.

From September 21st, it will be a requirement for landlords to provide information on a renter’s financial circumstances in relation to the coronavirus when making possession claims regarding rent arrears.

Alongside this, landlords will now need to provide a notice period of six months when seeking possession of their property. This will apply up to March 2021.

With courts prioritising hearings based on the severity of each individual case, coming to an agreed solution with your tenants would be the preferred approach to take, where rent payments are not being met.

Of course, exceptions have been outlined for the following instances:

• Anti-social behaviour – four weeks’ notice
• Domestic violence – two weeks’ notice
• Rent arrears totalling six months – four weeks’ notice

Could there be a better solution?

Given that the vast majority of private landlords (94%) are renting just one or two properties, this could have significant consequences on income revenue for these individuals.

In a recent letter to the Prime Minister, the National Residential Landlords Association have called for reconsiderations to be made to protect the private rented sector and enable landlords to keep offering accommodation to UK renters.

They wrote that: “failure to provide any direct financial support for the sector during the pandemic means that many landlords will be forced to seek money claims against renters building arrears. This would leave tenants' credit scores in tatters.”

The NRLA put forward the argument that the only way to untangle the conflict with COVID-19 related rent arrears is to offer interest-free, government-guaranteed hardship loans to tenants.

As this has already been introduced in Wales, the NRLA argue that it would be the best solution to “sustain tenancies and remove any risk of eviction as furlough is removed”.

We're doing our utmost to protect and support our landlords and tenants at this time, contact us for more information on how we can help you.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 18px; font-weight: bold; text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">Managing the rental bounce and electrical checks</span>

Since June this year, it has been made a legal requirement that an EICR report must be carried out before any new tenancies begin, with electrical installation inspections conducted at least every five years from that point.

With the surge in demand for rental properties set to increase even more than what we’ve experienced this summer, property certificate providers say landlords need to be prepared to deal with the influx in demand.

Following the reopening of the property market back in May, there has been a surge in demand from tenants. This growth in activity looks like it is going to continue to develop, as there have been sustained positive reports throughout June, July and August.

A recent survey from RICS found that tenant demand has recovered to +35% in July, bouncing back from -44% the previous quarter. Meanwhile other research found that the number of tenants registering with letting agencies reached a record high in June!

Almost three in ten letting agents saw landlords increasing the cost of rent in June as a result from the high demands.

With landlords processing a higher number of tenancies, this also means more administration work needing to be carried out with new and challenging compliance measures to meet.

The most recent change affecting new tenancies is the introduction of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 on July 1st.

There are a range of other things for landlords to follow, including providing copies of EICR reports to their new tenants.

We would recommend having access to a large pool of electricians, as this is going to be crucial to meet the high demand. An efficient online management system would also help landlords keep organised and up-to-date with each tenant.

Mandatory electrical checks have been introduced for a reason and it is to ultimately to protect your tenants and your investments. Managing this process through trusted suppliers and using highly qualified electricians is in the interest of all stakeholders.

If you’d like to talk to us about your compliance, contact us today.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">What do tenants really want during the pandemic?</span>

The latest data from Zoopla has revealed the most common search terms from tenants between July and September 2020, with the findings showing a shift in attitudes as more people look for places they consider to be 'pandemic proof'.
Last year saw large disruption to our daily lives following the introduction of new tier systems and multiple lockdowns, forcing people to spend more time indoors and re-evaluate their list of property non-negotiables.


Zoopla found that being able to have a garden was on the top of the list as the most desirable feature to have in a rental home.
Not only has this been popular across the lettings market, but a recent study also revealed that the price of homes with gardens has hit a four-year high.

Parking and a garage

In close second was enough garage space, with the main purposes being for parking over extended lockdown periods and for an additional room to convert into a home office or gym zone.


Balconies were another feature that ranked highly for tenants, specifically in London, where gardens are not always an option.


Rental properties that are pet-friendly ranked in fifth, as the word ‘pet’ was one of the most used keywords.
Whilst as few as 7% of landlords advertise their homes as being suitable for household pets, this could change in the near future, as a new agreement has been introduced that prohibits landlords from automatically banning pets.

Last year saw a 20% increase in demand compared to the year before, with a variety of factors contributing to this growth.
If you want further information on how to make your rental property more attractive to tenants, or you'd like help finding your next rental, then please contact our team.


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<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">What you need to know about the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme</span>

A new mortgage guarantee scheme was announced this spring, with the goal being to help first-time buyers and aspiring home movers purchase a home with a smaller deposit.
The initiative, which will be available for new mortgages up to 31st December 2022, is intended to increase the availability of mortgages on new or existing properties for those with small deposits. 
This comes after a plummet in 95% mortgages made available last year, as lenders lost confidence in the UK's financial stability due to the pandemic.
How will it work?
It is based on the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme that ran from October 2013 to December 2016, which backed mortgages for 104,736 purchases – 2.7% of all those in the UK.
The average property bought through the scheme was worth £159,170, compared to an average UK house price of £223,000.
In terms of restrictions with the latest initiative, only first-time buyers or those moving homes are eligible to apply, not those wishing to buy second homes or buy-to-let properties.
First-time buyers and home-movers form a vital cog in the economy and housing market, so government support will play a crucial role in restoring the balance.
To get assistance on your mortgage needs, get in touch today, or browse our latest properties to see what's available in your area.

<span style="font-family: segoe ui, Helvetica;">Why most landlords are not planning to increase rents in 2021</span>

As the easing of lockdown restrictions continues, it would seem that tenants are beginning to return to cities and resume their 'normal' lifestyle routines, drawn by reopened venues and attractions.
This reversed change in demand, paired with a recent shortage of properties available to let, is fuelling a rise in rental values across the UK.
However, the National Landlord Index has revealed that a large margin of landlords (90.2%) believe they have developed a good relationship with their tenants.
Following this, 82% have pledged to not increase rent throughout 2021.
The report highlighted the fact that many landlords are aware of their tenants' financial difficulties caused by the pandemic and are aiming to keep rent affordable in light of this.
On the other hand, only a small margin of landlords (18%) indicated in this survey that they intend to increase rent over the next 12 months.
The area revealed as most likely to see a rise in rent was London, with 35% of landlords stating they would be upping their prices, followed by the North West and West Midlands (both with 21% in agreement).
The report revealed that Scotland, the North East, East and Northern Ireland had the lowest number of landlords planning to increase rent.
We consider the needs of both our landlords and tenants.
If you would like to talk about this in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us or learn more about our services from our website.

<span style="font-family: segoe ui; font-weight: bold; font-size: 16px;">Five in-demand factors buyers are now looking for</span>

Working and spending more time at home has caused significant changes to people’s property needs.
More than a quarter of the UK’s renters and homeowners (26%) have found that their property needs have changed since the outbreak of COVID-19.*
What are the key changes likely to stay on the priority list now restrictions are easing?
Lockdown has caused a general desire for more space, meaning that many of us are seeking homes near public gardens or green areas.
Unsurprisingly, the demand for gardens has also increased by 74% worldwide, with UK buyers making it a top property feature to look out for.
Accessible Wi-Fi
Zoom and facetime have become the key to keeping in touch with loved ones, as well as playing an important role in remote working practices.
This means that having fast internet is essential for those looking to buy.
Natural lighting
Being confined to our homes throughout lockdown has given people a craving to create open, natural spaces inside.
Velux windows have increased in popularity due to the natural light and improved air quality they provide, whilst high ceilings also give a sense of greater space, and have seen higher search volumes of 15% over the pandemic.*
Home gyms
Lockdown has encouraged people to become more active in their spare time by taking up running and cycling where gyms have otherwise been forced to close.
Whilst sporting and leisure facilities have now opened up again, there's still a hesitancy from some previous members about when it is safe to return, making a home gym a staple feature of any home to attract attention from buyers.
Having beautiful views is a big selling point, with balconies also increasingly more desirable now.
If you've been holding off on your next move, we'd like to extend our support. Contact us today.

55 Upper Ground, Southbank Tower, London, SE1

A luxurious 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment is available for sale, with an open plan reception room designed to entertain with impressive north west river views.

Click here to read 55 Upper Ground, Southbank Tower, London, SE1.

Upper Ground, London, SE1

A spectacular luxury 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment located within this superb development with south-facing views.
£899,000 Offers over

Click here to read Upper Ground, London, SE1.

Upper Ground, London, SE1

A spectacular luxury 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment located within this superb development is situated in Southbank Tower.

Click here to read Upper Ground, London, SE1.

Upper Ground, London, SE1

Attention Investors - 5% yield for this luxurious 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment is available for sale in Southbank Tower. Heavily discounted - must sell.

Click here to read Upper Ground, London, SE1.

Upper Ground, London, SE1

A luxurious 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment. This fabulous apartment encompasses a fitted kitchen, with an open plan room designed to entertain.

Click here to read Upper Ground, London, SE1.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-weight: bold; font-size: 18px;">Is now a good time to buy a property?</span>


The pandemic has sparked a dramatic rise in house prices across the country, with properties achieving 10.4% more in December 2021 than they did the previous year. * This is mostly due to a smaller supply of desirable homes clashing with greater demand, changing lifestyle trends, lower mortgage rates, and the recent stamp duty holiday.   

With the market experiencing such rapid growth, is now the best time to move? While buying is undoubtedly a more expensive enterprise than in pre-COVID times, mortgage lenders are still offering some good deals – especially for those with a larger deposit.   

The Bank of England is also considering loosening some affordability criteria in the coming months, helping first-time buyers borrow more. While this could increase your buying power, it might stimulate prices too.   

If you’re thinking about moving soon but only have a 5% deposit available, you could take advantage of the Government’s mortgage guarantee scheme, which runs until the end of 2022. Nationwide has recently estimated that a 10% deposit is currently over half of a first-time buyer’s annual income, so the scheme is great news for those struggling to get on the property ladder.   

House prices may also slow in growth, but this depends on the impact of the Omicron variant and whether rising inflation, interest rates, and living costs squeeze budgets enough to affect the housing market.   

So far, sales have remained strong despite increasing economic pressures. The good news is that spring brings more homes to the market as people look to wrap up a sale before the summer holidays, helping to stabilise prices. Therefore, if you’re looking to buy within the next six months, now might be the perfect time to take the plunge.  

Ready to discuss your options? Contact us today. 


<span class="TextRun Highlight SCXW252991637 BCX0" lang="EN-GB" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 18px;" xml:lang="EN-GB" data-contrast="none"><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW252991637 BCX0">Things to consider before putting your home on the market</span></span><span class="EOP SCXW252991637 BCX0" data-ccp-props="{"> </span>

Deciding to sell your most valuable asset – your home – is an exciting moment. It can also feel a little daunting. However, you can prepare your property for success, even before launching to the market. Have you ticked any of these steps off your list yet? 

1. Declutter 

The chances are you have collected plenty of unwanted items over the years – from clothes and shoes to defunct mobile phones and old paperwork. By decluttering now, you’ll not only save on moving boxes, but also make your home more appealing to viewers. 

 2. Spring clean 

Once floors, shelves, surfaces, and wardrobes are clear, pull out your furniture to dust and vacuum, hire a carpet cleaner, and make those bathrooms gleam. If you have pets, remove any tell-tale odours or hair from the carpets and sofas. 

3. Refresh your décor  

Neutral colours may seem boring, but they give viewers a blank canvas to adjust to their taste. As well as this, your home will also appear brighter and bigger. Pops of colour or designer wallpaper on a feature wall can add interest, but less is more. If your design scheme is already on point, just make sure you touch up any tired paintwork.  

4. Tackle the to-do list 

Leaky taps, cracked walls, chipped tiles, and loose fittings can give your home a neglected appearance. This could leave viewers wondering what other issues they may encounter once they move in. If necessary, hire a professional to complete any lingering projects.  

5. Assess the lighting 

Poor lighting can make the most charming room appear dark and uninviting. A few well-placed lamps can help – just remember to stock up on lightbulbs too. 

6. Prepare for viewings  

Help potential buyers imagine themselves in your home by paring back on personal items such as family photos, magazines, and toys. Get ready to stage your home too – think crisp prop towels for the bathroom, new linen and cushions for the bedrooms, and fresh flowers or houseplants. 

7. Boost kerb appeal 

We all know that first impressions count. If you have a front garden or drive, make sure it’s clear of debris and freshly weeded or mowed. Attend to any broken or missing roof tiles and damaged guttering, and think about cleaning windows and repainting the exterior. 

8. Consider storage options 

If you have a lot of furniture or treasured belongings, why not put some into storage? This will help you clear the decks and get your home ready for staging and viewings. It could also come in handy when you move. 

9. Research potential estate agents 

Now that you have given your home some TLC, it’s time to shortlist a few local estate agents. Pay attention to the marketing the agent provides for their current listings and follow your gut. While the big names may tempt you, don’t rule out smaller independents who may offer a more personal service. 

10. Get your home valued 

Before you make your final decision, it’s a good idea to invite a handful of agents to value your home in person. This is your chance to find an achievable price point for your property and get a feel for the people who will be representing it.  

Our team are always here for a no-obligation chat. Contact us today. 

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 18px;">This year's renovation ideas for increasing the value of your property</span>

A good investment strategy is to increase the value of your home. 

Renovations and improvements to your house might increase its worth even if it's already on the rise due to the local economy. 

Even though the area's values are naturally rising, repairing and enhancing your home will increase its value. 

Our top three ideas can help you improve your home's looks and financial value when you sell it. 

1. Ensure that your home is in good working order. 

Deep cleaning your home on a regular basis is important, as is keeping an eye out for mould and dampness and addressing problems as they occur. 

Doing this means your home will be well-maintained and the cost of maintenance will be spread out over time. 

Once the time comes to put your property on the market, you won't have to worry about negotiating a price that's too low or risking it being unsalable because of a minor fault. 


2. Enhance your property's personality 

Consider bringing back some of your character's best traits! 

Replace the flooring with hardwood, add mouldings and beams, or perhaps a fireplace or log burner if you prefer something a little more unique. 

These unique characteristics enhance the aesthetic appeal of your property and may even serve as a selling point in the future. 

For at least the sake of attracting buyers, these amenities will help your house stand out from the competition and help you sell it quickly. 


3. A bedroom can be added at this point. 

There is no doubt that adding a bedroom to your home will raise its value. 

Because a two-bedroom home will never be as valuable as a three-bedroom home, it's a good idea to convert your loft if you have one that's large enough to do so. Add an ensuite for even greater effects! 

Add a home office or a playroom instead of a new bedroom, and you'll save a lot of money in the long run. 


Contact our experts for experienced guidance on enhancing your home's worth. 

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 18px;">Stay On Task in 2022</span>

Checklists are helpful for running a well-maintained home, but they need their own organizing. A runaway checklist may only overwhelm a homeowner if not broken down into manageable chunks.

Click here to read <span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 18px;">Stay On Task in 2022</span>.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">How to purchase a buy-to-let property in 2022</span>


If you're thinking about becoming a landlord, there’s a lot of things to think about and understand before you buy a property. 

The process of purchasing a buy-to-let home differs from purchasing a residential property for yourself, so it's important to know what to expect. 

Because our staff specialise in buy-to-let guidance, we've created a simple guide to buying a buy-to-let property. 

What is a buy-to-let? 

First and foremost, the fundamentals: A buy-to-let property is one that has been purchased with the idea of renting it out. 

A buy-to-let mortgage is different from a residential mortgage, and you'll need to apply for one if you can't afford to buy the house outright. 

When applying for a regular mortgage, your income is considered, however when applying for a buy-to-let loan, the lender considers the anticipated rental income as your major source of income, while your personal income is considered secondary. 

What type of property should you buy? 

The location of the property in relation to facilities and transportation, as well as the neighbourhood and demand in the area, are all key considerations. 

Just like you would when looking for a home, you should conduct thorough research into the area where you want your buy-to-let property to be placed. 

Consider the type of tenant you want to attract and include that into your research. 

Finding a property in the suburbs near decent schools is your best choice if you're wanting to rent to families. 

A home near a university, as well as good yet inexpensive restaurants and nightlife, is essential if you want to rent to students. 

Is it necessary to use a letting agent? 

This answer is contingent on your financial situation and the level of engagement you want in your buy-to-let property. 

You may not want to go via a letting agent or agency if you want to be a very hands-on landlord, but if you want to be more hands-off, it is a good idea to seek the services of a professional, experienced lettings firm. 

Credit checks on possible tenants, drafting a lease contract, chasing late rental payments for you, assisting with any on-site maintenance, and assisting with obligatory gas and energy safety and efficiency assessments are all services provided by letting agents like us. 

In general, if you're a budding landlord, using our lettings services will relieve you of a significant amount of stress! 

Contact our team of experts for specialist guidance on buying a buy-to-let property. 

Spice Quay Heights, London, SE1

This 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom + WC + apartment fronts the River Thames and offers private balcony space with views...

Click here to read Spice Quay Heights, London, SE1.

71 Bondway, London, SW8

The DAMAC Tower Nine Elms London experience goes beyond four walls – step outside and enjoy new walkways and a beautiful public piazza in which to relax and unwind.
£2,211,000 Fixed Price

Click here to read 71 Bondway, London, SW8.

71 Bondway, London, SW8

The Nine Elms area is already home to the New Covent Garden Market, the new US Embassy, and Battersea Power Station, a cherished feature of the London skyline.
£2,333,000 Fixed Price

Click here to read 71 Bondway, London, SW8.

<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">VIVA LAS VEGAN</span>

shimmy on down and buckle up for a five-course meal of Grand Canyon proportions. With shimmering entertainment, casino style games and straight-shooting cocktails, no-one will want to leave Las Vegas!

Click here to read <span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">VIVA LAS VEGAN</span>.

<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">Craft beer Tasting Tour</span>

A superb tasting tour of some of the best brewery taprooms of Bermondsey's beer mile. Your guide will navigate you to four fantastic breweries, each with their own unique take on craft beer.

Click here to read <span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">Craft beer Tasting Tour</span>.