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Sales Group 1

The price is right: reducing the price reduces sales success

The press is ablaze with articles about a super buoyant property market and while it’s true the temporary stamp duty holiday has stimulated home moving activity, not every property will fly off the shelves.

We have always known that the ‘price it once, price it right strategy’ has been the best but Rightmove has now quantified this. The online portal monitored over 300,000 homes that were listed for sale between 13th May and 31st July 2020 to discover sellers are twice as likely to find a buyer if there is only ever one asking price, with no changes.

The danger of changing the price

Rightmove’s research found 63% of properties that were not subject to a price reduction went under offer or were sold subject to contract. In contrast, in the group of properties where price reductions were made, only 32% of these properties had gone under offer or were sold subject to contract. Reducing your asking price may suggest that there is something wrong with the property and can arouse suspicion among buyers – even though there is a clear cost saving.

The danger of overpricing

Property portals give buyers a good snapshot of any given market, so it’s easy to see if a property is punching above its weight in terms of asking price. Generally, each road, postcode or area will have an upper limit with regards to what buyers are willing to pay. Breech this and you could languish on the market for months or come across as greedy. If your property remains unsold, then you move into the ‘danger of changing the price’ category, as above, or you may enter into a detrimental negotiation process where a purchaser will chip away at your asking price.

The danger of under-pricing

There is such a thing as a property advertised for sale too cheaply! Although it is common to place an attractive price on a property in order to sell it quickly, under-price your home by too much and buyers may wonder what’s wrong with it. If it’s marketed well below the market average, you’ll ring alarm bells, as well as not realise the true value of your property.

The price is right….first time

Many sellers come to us with a price in mind and it’s our job to deliver a sale as close to that figure as possible. As professionals, however, we will also be realistic about the possibility of achieving that figure, taking into account local demand, current stamp duty rates, competition and the timescale of the seller. We’ll do everything possible to set a price that won’t budge, and that will deliver enquiries, viewings and offers.

Pricing strategies to discuss

Chat to us and we can explain the different pricing strategies we can use. Options include a price bracket – £380,00-£420,000, for instance – ‘offers in the region of’ (OIRO), ‘offers in excess of’ (OIEO) and ‘open to offers’ (OTO), all of which may help you achieve the right figure without having to adjust the asking price. 

The only way is down

Of course, there are times when a price reduction may be the only way to create more interest in a property, especially if the circumstances of the seller have changed and they need to move quickly. This does need careful managing to get the best out of any lower price and to maximize the offers submitted, so talk to us about the options available.

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Lettings Group 1

Mould: Landlord or tenant responsibility?

As we head into autumn, the chances of experiencing damp and mould in our homes increases but when it comes to rented properties, who is responsible for finding a solution? Well, the answer is not as cut and dried as you might have hoped.

Analysis of the latest English Housing Survey has revealed that 2.2 million people are living in homes with some sort of damp or mould issue. Compared to just 2% of owner-occupied homes, 7% of private rented dwellings suffer from this problem, implying that tenants and landlords take longer to report and rectify the causes of mould.

From March 2020, both social and private renters have been able to sue their landlords under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act if the cause of damp or mould is not resolved. However, both tenants and landlords have a duty to take action to avoid the issue.

Causes of damp and mould

Unfortunately, damp and mould are common in any residential property because they are often caused by everyday activities like showering, drying clothes and cooking. This produces condensation, which accounts for around 80% of damp and mould issues, and is classed as ‘man made’.

The other two serious types of damp that properties can suffer from is rising damp, where water comes up from the ground, and penetration damp – caused by water getting in from outside or an internal leak. If untreated, any type of damp can lead to serious issues for the property and also your health.

When is mould the landlord’s responsibility?

Landlord’s have a legal responsibility to ensure a rental property is fit for human habitation, including maintaining the structure and exterior, the constant external supply of utilities (different from selecting a provider) and keeping it in a good state of repair.

When it comes to damp and mould issues, the landlord will usually be required to fix the problem if it relates to the property not being watertight or a major leak as a result of plumbing defects.

For example:

  • Cracks in external walls
  • Broken or missing roof tiles
  • Unsealed of faulty windows and doors
  • Insufficient insulation
  • Broken or leaking pipes
  • Badly fitted kitchen sinks/bathrooms
  • Broken damp proof course

If the cause of damp and mould, however, is one of the above and not as a result of accidental damage by the tenant, ignorance and failure to report an issue could lead to you being partly liable for the cost of repair. Why? Because if you’d have reported the issue sooner, it would likely have taken less time and money to rectify.  

What should tenants do to prevent mould?

Most damp and mould occurs as a result of condensation, which builds up due to poor ventilation and inadequate heating in a property.

As a tenant you are, therefore, obliged to look after the property and prevent condensation by:

  • Keeping the property warm
  • Opening curtains and windows regularly for air and light circulation
  • Using extractor fans (if available) when cooking and bathing/showering
  • Drying clothes outside whenever possible and never hanging them on radiators
  • Ensuring tumble dryers are vented to the outside

If you are confident that you have taken all the necessary steps to prevent the build-up of mould, but the issue persists, report this to your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible. It could be that they need to install additional ventilation systems, provide you with sufficient means to dry your clothes indoors (if you live in a flat for example) or investigate further.

As a tenant, it’s also always a good idea to protect yourself against the cost of repairs or damage to your belongings with some kind of tenancy liability and contents insurance, should the worst happen.

If you would like to know more about your responsibility as a tenant or landlord when it comes to mould or damp in your property, contact us for further information.

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Lettings Group 1

Tenants: switch on to utility swapping

We rely on gas, electricity and a broadband connection almost every minute of every day, whether we’re charging a phone, boiling a kettle or watching a film. Now, with more of us working from home than ever before, our utility consumption is growing.

Many of us don’t give a passing thought to flicking a switch, while others have become more energy conscious thanks to smart meters. Very few, however, stop to think how much we will spend on utility supplies over the course of our lifetime but somebody has done the maths.

O2 has found the average adult will spend almost £1 million in bills while they are alive – £926,720 on gas, electricity, water, their phone and other bills, to be precise. This amalgamated figure is enough to take your breath away but everyone, with a little shopping around, can chip away at that figure – and that includes tenants too. 

When it comes to utilities in rented properties, our lettings team find it’s asked the same questions time and time again, so we’ve provided the answers below:- 

I’m a tenant, can I choose my own utility suppliers?

Many renters move into a property and simply pick up where the last tenant left off, using the same gas, electricity, TV, phone and broadband suppliers. While convenient, this may not be the most economic of options and unless you’re on a ‘bills included’ tenancy agreement, renters are entitled to swap energy suppliers. If you want further clarification on your rights, Ofgem has a great guide to switching utility suppliers specifically for tenants.

How much could I save by switching?

Moving into a new rented property is the perfect time to compare deals. An hour spent researching the cheapest suppliers could result in a saving of almost £600 a year on gas and electricity bills alone*. There are several online comparison websites freely available, including but not limited to Uswitch, comparethemarket and moneysupermarket, and switching can also give you the opportunity to choose a greener energy supplier.

Can I get a smart meter if I’m a tenant?

Tenants who pay directly for gas and electricity in their rented property can apply to have a smart meter installed. It is wise to let your letting agent or landlord know your intentions but unless there is something specific in your tenancy agreement, smart meters should be encouraged. You can read about your smart meter rights here. 

Does a landlord have to provide media/communication connections?

There is no legal requirement for a landlord to provide a tenant with a telephone, television or broadband connection but it’s usual for provision to be in place. If a tenant paying the bill directly finds the incumbent services too expensive or unsuitable, they can shop around for the best deal. Remember, if your switch involves any new cabling or drilling that may damage or alter the property, a tenant should notify their landlord or letting agent before the work begins.

If you’re looking for a new property to rent and would like a list of the latest available properties, please contact us. We’re also happy to hear from landlords looking for utility and energy advice.

*gocompare.com

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Sales Group 1

The rise of the Shoffice

With home working now a permanent fixture of 21st century living, a ‘shed’ load of money is being invested in ‘shoffices’ up and down the country.

The semi-permanent structures once known as sheds or garden rooms are now being lovingly transformed into insulated, windowed, stylish and functional multipurpose rooms that could rival someone’s main residence.

Even before lockdown, it was predicted the UK domestic garden building market would grow by 12% by 2022 but now, Google search trends are reporting a sharp increase in people looking for shed offices while many suppliers are out of stock.

The ‘shoffice’ has become the perfect alternative to an expensive extension or a ‘too hot in the summer/too cold in the winter’ conservatory – especially for home workers who need to physically as well as emotionally separate their professional and personal lives.

Here, we answer some common questions about the ‘shoffice’.

How much does a ‘shoffice’ cost?

The cost of your chosen shoffice can range from under £1,000 for a self-build or upwards of £25,000. It will depend on a number of factors, including whether you have the correct foundations for the right type of shed office (a hard standing surface), the size and materials used, and if you choose to go for a basic interior or all the bells and whistles.  

The great thing about shoffices is that even if you decide to construct it yourself over contracting a professional, it could be up and operational within a couple of days.

Remember though, for it to be functional all year round, you need it to be insulated and water-tight. A standard garden shed from B&Q will not do the trick. Gardenofficeguide.co.uk has a price guide, which is a good starting point.  

You could also explore whether your employer will help you with home office expenses if it’s going to be a permanent arrangement. In the US, the likes of Shopify and Twitter have already started providing remote workers with $1,000 dollars to set up their home office.

What amenities can I have?

The facilities you have in your shoffice will be down to personal preference and the type of work you plan on doing. It’s likely you’ll at least need an electrical supply unless you plan on going back and forth to the house to charge your laptop – a very unproductive use of time.

WiFi connectivity is also important. Depending on how far the shoffice is located from the main router, you may be able to use the existing connection or simply get a booster. However, this may not be an option and an additional line could be needed.

The next step is to consider plumbing. You can, of course, get a spare kettle and go back and forth to the main house to fill it up while taking a toilet break but you might want to think about installing a toilet and small kitchenette, if space allows.

Do I need planning permission?

Provided you are not erecting the shed or garden room to the front of the property, it will probably come under Permitted Development. This is a government scheme allowing homeowners to make improvements to their property without applying for planning permission. There are various criteria that must be met, however, such as size, proximity to boundaries and use.

If, for example, you do decide to install domestic plumbing, then the outbuilding may not be seen as an incidental building, and therefore your local authority may require planning permission. If you go even further and want your shoffice to double up as additional accommodation, it will almost certainly require planning permission and could even be considered a self-contained separate dwelling, which you may have to pay council tax on.  

Planning permission may also be required if you are running your own business rather than working for someone else and/or having clients regularly visiting the ‘shoffice’. You won’t just be working from home, you will be running a business from home and then you’ll also need to inform your mortgage and insurance provider. Other insurance policies may be needed too, like professional indemnity and public liability.

What if I rent?

Just because you don’t own the property you live in, it doesn’t mean you can’t have your own shoffice. The first step is to check through your tenancy agreement and then contact the landlord (via a letting agent, if they manage the property) and ask for permission. One of three things will happen – 1. they will say no; 2. they will say yes and even offer to contribute towards the cost if it is left at the property once you move out; or 3. they will allow it provided the garden is put back to its original state before you leave. If the latter happens, you may want to consider more of a portable structure that you can take with you, like a Shepherd’s Hut.

If you need some inspiration, take a look at what these shoffice owners have done.

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Sales Group 1

Could your home sell in seven days?

The Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday has certainly achieved its aim of supercharging the property market. The temporary measure – under which homes sold for £500,000 or less are stamp duty free and those costing more have a reduced bill, with savings of up to £15,000 – has led to ‘time on market’ figures reducing drastically, with one in seven homes listed on Rightmove by an agent, between 8th July and 31st August, finding a buyer within a week. 

In layman’s terms, ‘time on market’ simply refers to the duration a property is for sale. The start is usually measured from the day a property is launched online, and the final day can be either the day the property is withdrawn from the open market or when a successful offer is made and the property is shown as sold subject to contract.

The appetite for moving home is so strong at the moment that the ‘time on market’ is now at its lowest figure for a decade. Rightmove’s latest data shows sellers are finding buyers within the quickest time frame for 10 years, breaking records that have been held since February 2016. In addition, one in three homes sold within two weeks of coming to market.

There is no doubt the stamp duty holiday has accelerated moving plans. After all, the initiative is a temporary one and buyers must complete their purchase by 31st March 2021 to qualify for the benefit, so time is of the essence. The speed of sales, however, is also down to our new normal and the changing priorities that come as a result. 

If you’re wondering if your house might sell in seven days, there are a few factors that will contribute to how quickly a buyer is found and these include:

The size of your property: the lockdown period has highlighted how many families can’t coexist in small spaces, especially if people have adopted home working patterns or have had their children at home for extended periods. The quest for more room has led to a scramble for larger houses so if you have a home with three bedrooms or more, you will attract interest.

Your ability to offer a home office: whether it’s a full time switch to working from home or a split between a central office and a home hub, a dedicated place to work – not a dining table or corner of the lounge – has moved to the top of the buying wish list. Although converting a spare bedroom into a home office sounds good in principle, this can affect a home’s value if it comes at a loss of a bedroom. The most desirable home offices are separate studies on the ground floor or a garden room that’s well insulated with power, light and a heating source.

Any outside space: our gardens have become a place to entertain safely, to exercise in, to let the children burn off excess energy and to start being more self-sufficient during times of food shortages. It’s no surprise then, that gardens have appeared in increasing numbers of property searches. You’re already winning if you have a garden – or even a courtyard – but if your outside space is neat, low maintenance and generously proportioned, you’ll win brownie points with buyers. 

If you’d like to know how quickly properties like yours are selling and what prices are being achieved, please get in touch.

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Sales Group 1

Grand plans for your new property?

If you’ve found an almost-ideal property but want to consider an extension or remodel, it’s definitely worth doing your research before putting in that offer.

In some cases, you may be able to carry out renovations under permitted development but certain building work will require you to apply for planning permission with your local authority, and that’s a whole other ball game.

In this mini guide, we look at the differences between permitted development and planning permission when it comes to altering a residential property.

What is Permitted development?

Permitted development grants rights to property owners that allow for certain changes without the need for planning permission. They often present a speedy and painless opportunity for homeowners and investors to maximise the potential of a property and the freehold land it sits on.

The type of work you can carry out might include:

  • Building a porch
  • Interior remodelling
  • Erecting conservatories or outbuildings
  • Converting an integral or attached garage
  • Loft conversions
  • Adding a single-storey extension to the side or rear
  • Adding a two-storey extension

Permitted development is not a given, however, and there are caveats. Firstly, permitted development only applies to unlisted houses outside of ‘designated areas’. Secondly, there are lifetime volume and size limitations to the works listed above that have been in place since 1948 – you have to check if any, part or all of your allowance may have already been used by a previous owner. These depend on the type of house, and concern the overall use of land area, as well as proximity to boundaries. Thirdly, there may be restrictive covenants in place that impact permitted development rights.

Even when working within permitted development rights, you might still have to submit a prior notification and in any instance, it’s always a good idea to check with your local authority that permitted development applies and obtain a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC).

To account for the lack of home building over the last few years, many changes have been made to permitted development rights, including the ability to change the use from commercial to residential for example. The latest amendment in 2020 will allow for many purpose-built blocks of flats to be extended by up to two storeys to create bigger or more homes.

What work requires planning permission?

Planning permission will be needed with larger property extensions, rebuilds and circumstances where permitted development rights are removed or allowances used.

You’ll need consent from your local authority prior to starting any works. Not doing so could lead to you requiring planning permission retrospectively and if not approved, you could be forced to take the property back to its previous state.

Home improvements that usually need planning permission include:

  • Building or demolishing and rebuilding a new property
  • Extending to the front
  • Installing verandas, balconies or raised platforms above 300mm from the floor
  • Splitting your property into more than one dwelling
  • Converting a stand-alone outbuilding, such as garage, into a dwelling
  • Adjusting an officially designated building
  • Alterations to a listed building
  • Fitting bay windows

How to apply for planning permission

Applying for planning permission can be a lengthy and often stressful process, especially if it’s your first time. According to the HomeOwners Alliance, 27% of homeowners said planning permission is a major obstacle in completing home renovations.

Take these steps to alleviate some of the stress and increase your chances of approval:

  1. Do your research – Consider the alterations you are planning and see if any properties in your street have done anything similar. Go through the Planning Portal to check whether you will require planning permission.
  2. Understand the costs – Planning application fees start at around £200 for an extension but realistically, be prepared to fork out at least £2,000 once you take planning and design fees into account. If your project is a more complex one, you may want to call your local planning authority to set up an informal meeting (which may be charged) or you could consider applying for outline planning permission, which requires less detail but will give you an indication of approval.
  3. Get professional plans drawn up – Reputable planning consultants and architects should know what they are doing, helping you produce designs, technical drawings and site plans.
  4. Compile supporting documents – You should also obtain location plans that you may have to purchase, an ownership certificate, details of any previous work carried out on the property, agricultural holding certificate, and a design and access statement.
  5. Check any local authority specific requirements – Throughout the online application, ensure you have understood any local planning requirements that could be in addition to national requirements.
  6. Make sure you are sure – From the date of submission, it should take no longer than eight weeks to get a decision but alterations to plans could mean you have to start the process again, which is very common. So be confident your plans are thoroughly thought through.
  7. Calculate and pay the correct fee – When applying online, you need to pay the right fee or your application could be delayed.
  8. Get to work – If approved, ensure you start work within three years from the date of approval, unless your permission says, otherwise or it could expire (read up on the special extensions granted due to Covid-19). If rejected, which 25% of planning requests are in England, either deal with the issues raised and resubmit or appeal – 40% of homeowner applications are later granted.  

We sell properties that are ripe for remodelling, refurbishing and extending. If you are keen to purchase a ‘project’ rather than a finished home, contact us today for a list of available properties with potential.

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Sales Group 1

Could your home provide a lucrative side hustle?

This year has brought with it many changes, not least of which is the fact we’ve become more acquainted with the homes we live in.

Whether we’ve been forced to adapt every nook and cranny into work stations or spent months on furlough renovating neglected rooms, we’re now much more aware of the space around us…but are you aware of your home’s earning potential?

As lockdown measures ease, the majority of UK workers hope their employer will continue to allow some working from home, while others fear redundancies as unemployment rises. So, now presents the perfect time – and we have more of it than ever before – to consider how you can turn your home into a cash-generating side hustle.

Here are 6 ways you could earn a supplementary wage or even replace income from your home.

  1.       Rent out rooms

If you are lucky enough to have a spare room in your home and you don’t mind sharing it with strangers – even if it’s just now and again – you could consider renting out a room.

You don’t have to take in a full-time lodger (although you can earn up to £7,500 per year tax free if you do) and could consider more temporary lets, like hosting summer students, letting rooms via AirBnB or even starting your own bed and breakfast. The latter two will require some business planning but could earn you hundreds of pounds per night.

  1.       Rent out space

Got a garage or shed but aren’t much of a hoarder? Have space on your driveway for an extra car and live in a prime location?

Why not rent out your unused space with sites like Stashbee and JustPark? There are plenty of people who need storage, or who aren’t willing to pay extortionate parking prices at train stations, for example. Depending on where you live, you could earn between £40 and £350 per month or even more if you’re in a city.

Believe it or not, you could even rent out your kitchen for caterers, magazines or start-ups – perfect for anyone who has a sizeable and envious cooking space but only uses the microwave!  

  1.       Rent out personal items

While not strictly your home, the explosion of the sharing economy means you could rent out almost anything to anyone, including personal items you keep at home. Called peer-to-peer lending, this could include your car, a touring caravan, games consoles and even DJ decks.

It doesn’t have to be a classic or sports car either, although they will of course earn you a premium. If you work from home or even use public transport to commute, you could rent out your everyday car for around £700 per month. And if your caravan or campervan sits on your driveway for most of the year, advertise it for rent on sites like Camplify, Gumtree or again, AirBnB.

Finally, if you ever invested in high-end technical equipment or instruments for your latest hobby, but it all sits in the garage under a thick layer of dust, services such as Fat Llama and Borrow-it say these items are in high demand on their rental sites.

  1.       Make your home a movie star

No matter what shape or size your property, there’s likely a TV show or film that would consider using it as a filming or photoshoot location.

The more glamorous the better in terms of earning potential, but Broadchurch and Gavin and Stacy weren’t filmed in countryside mansions or Caribbean holiday homes, were they?

So whether you think your home has character and quirkiness, an air of luxury about it or it’s simply an average property that you’re willing to let cast and crews intrude for a few days, see if you can pimp out your entire home by contacting broadcasters’ location departments or registering your home on Amazing Space.  

  1.       Produce your own

The combination of panic buying, hours of queuing at the supermarket and supply chains suffering severe delays led to many people growing their own fruit and vegetables during lockdown. Many budding gardeners have now turned green-fingered grocers, with excess food in abundance.

If this is you, why not consider selling your produce via a roadside stall, on local online community groups or even at nearby markets and independent stores?

Another way you can earn money from producing your own is through energy. By getting solar panels installed, you could not only reduce your energy bills but sell surplus energy back to the National Grid. There’s even a Government scheme that pays you for the energy you produce.

  1.       Bring your work home

If you’re already a business owner who has been forced to work from home, you could think about converting some space in your home and ditching your premises costs entirely. Could you convert your garage into a beauty salon or dog grooming parlour? You may have started a new business from home during lockdown – can you continue running that from home to keep overheads trim?

If none of that applies to you and you’re set to return to the office soon, your home could be rented out as office space. There will be plenty of small businesses looking to cut costs and your property could make for an attractive alternative.

Before you start…

When earning any money from your property or land, or starting a business from home, you must seek professional advice. It’s highly likely you will need to declare any income to HMRC and you may also be required to inform your landlord, home insurance provider, mortgage provider and local authority, as well as potentially take out additional business and liability cover.

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Lettings Group 1

Lettings latest: extension to eviction ban

Being evicted: it sounds so harsh. Sometimes we think the phrase ‘being asked to vacate the property’ sounds a lot better, as eviction isn’t always a negative or malicious act. There are many reasons why a landlord may want to regain possession of his property – they may simply want to sell the residence or move into it themselves. Whatever the thinking behind the action, there have always been rules attached to how a tenant is evicted – you’ll find details about this and how it may change later on in this blog.

For now, in our new Covid era, a set of temporary eviction alterations have been made to allow for today’s exceptional conditions. As the situation continues to unfold with a degree of uncertainty, it is worth clarifying the current circumstances during which a landlord can evict a tenant.

No new evictions for now

With many tenants furloughed, facing redundancy or in a delicate financial situation, the Government has placed a temporary ban on new evictions. This is designed to give tenants greater protection and confidence that they will be allowed to stay in their homes. 

The ban was supposed to be lifted at the end of August 2020 but at the eleventh hour, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the eviction ban would be extended for the second time. The new deadline is 20th September 2020 and, only at this point, courts will start hearing eviction proceedings again.

Tenants must receive 6 months’ notice to leave

To complement this news, a new notice period has been introduced and will be in place until at least 31st March 2021. This means landlords will have to give tenants 6 months’ notice if they want to evict them in all but the most serious of cases.

Eviction exceptions for exceptional cases

Serious cases include anti-social behaviour and if this is the cause for eviction, the tenant only needs to be served a four week notice period. It is the same notice period – 4 weeks – for tenants who have built up rent arrears of 6 months or more. If the eviction is due to domestic violence in the property, the landlord only has to serve the tenants 2 weeks’ notice.

Permanent eviction changes on the horizon

Unless you are a landlord, you may not know that there are currently two types of eviction notice: Section 21 and Section 8. Sometimes these are referred to as ‘notices to quit’.

A Section 21 notice doesn’t have to specify a reason why the landlord wants to regain possession of their property, and is sometimes referred to as a ‘no fault eviction’. Circumstances such as the landlord selling the property fall under a Section 21 notice. This notice cannot be served in the first 4 months of a tenancy. A Section 8 eviction notice covers instances where a tenant has breached their contract – such as rent arrears of more than two months, subletting or unsociable behaviour – and can be served at any time during the tenancy.

At the end of 2019, the Queen’s Speech contained details of a Renters’ Reform Bill that will see the removal of Section 21 notices from the Housing Act 1988. It is hoped that in its place will be a revised and more comprehensive Section 8 notice – the details of which are yet to be revealed. A firm date when Section 21 notices will cease to exist is also to be confirmed.

If you are a landlord or a tenant and would like further clarification on the matter of evictions, please contact our lettings team.

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Sales Group 1

Ready to take on a wreck or renovation?

Lockdown has given us all time to think about our future plans – and plenty of time to watch TV! If you’ve been revisiting Grand Designs or George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, you may have ignited a desire to take on a wreck or renovation project as your next property.

Well, now might be the best time to make your move. The Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday – which has made homes priced at £500,000 or less stamp-duty free and those over this value up to £15,000 cheaper to purchase – is leaving home movers with more cash to splash.

Research by Checkatrade.com has revealed that 14% of Brits are looking to take advantage of the stamp duty change by moving home soon and they will collectively save £38.1 billion if they complete their property purchases by 31st March 2021 – the date when the temporary tax holiday is due to end.

The findings also discovered any new-found financial reserves are destined for home improvements. Three in five purchasers (59%) said they’d be more likely to buy a ‘doer upper’, with their confidence and budgets boosted by the stamp duty saving. In fact, a third of buyers (33%) will reinvest the money saved in a property they are buying straight away.

On the list of immediate renovations are new kitchens, refitted bathrooms and loft conversions, with the creation of both indoor and outdoor workspaces also in the planning, all thanks to bolstered improvement budgets. 

Top 5 considerations when buying a wreck or renovation project

Buying a property that needs work or modernisation may be possible thanks to the current stamp duty savings but it’s wise to do your homework before making an offer. Knowing what costs lie ahead and understanding the complexity of works will ensure you don’t make a costly mistake. Here are 5 things to consider before you buy:-

  1. Start with finances: although you will have a new nest egg thanks to a stamp duty saving, securing a mortgage for a wreck or renovation may need a specialist lender. As well as evidence of a deposit, they may also require proof of funds to finance improvements that will bring the property up to an open-market value. 
  2. Book a detailed pre-purchase survey: knowing the difference between a superficial crack and serious subsidence is essential. Opt for an in-depth survey that looks at the structure of the building so you’re prepared. Once any defects are identified, get a specialist trade in to quote for rectifying, replacing and repairing.
  3. Plan where you will live: if you’re buying a real wreck, it may not be possible to live in the dwelling while work is ongoing. You may use your stamp duty savings to rent a property during the project or buy a caravan for the garden, in the style of Grand Designs. Don’t forget, you’ll have to budget for mortgage repayments on your new home as well as renovation costs and potentially monthly rent.
  4. Familiarise yourself with planning rules: permitted development rights are due to change in September 2020, and you may even be able to turn an old shop or café into a residential dwelling. The age, location, type and listed status of a property you buy, however, will impact what changes can be made. It’s essential to contact the local council’s planning department to establish any restrictions before you make an offer.
  5. Be realistic about what you can do yourself: even the most confident DIY-er may be out of their league when it comes to more construction-based and structural projects. Know your limits and budget to hire professionals, when required.

From properties that need a cosmetic refresh or easy update through to un-extended examples and untouched relics from the past, we regularly sell homes that would make great projects, all within a sliding scale of commitment and involvement. Get in touch to start your buying journey.