Posts Tagged ‘property’

What are the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards?

Posted by

Making homes more energy efficient is vital if the UK is to meet its commitment to cutting carbon emissions and helping to halt climate change. For landlords, ensuring properties are well insulated and installed with energy saving measures is important too – to give tenants a warm and comfortable home with reasonable energy bills.

This year, however, energy efficiency is about more than good practice – it is a legal necessity. The government’s domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) regulations enforce energy efficiency in the rental sector. The regulations apply to all domestic privately rented properties with assured shorthold tenancies.

 

What do the MEES regulations say?

Under the regulations, since April 2018 all new tenancies must achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least E. An EPC rates how energy efficient a property is on a scale of A to G, with A being highest. Any property, which has been sold, let or modified since 2008 is legally required to have an EPC.

As well as giving the property an energy efficiency rating, the EPC also sets out measures you can take to improve your score. You need to have an EPC inspection carried out every 10 years.

Under the law, landlords are not allowed to grant a new tenancy for any property rated F or G – they must take steps to improve its energy efficiency first. From April this year, all existing tenancies must also achieve an energy rating of E or greater.

In other words,

  • If the tenancy started before 1 April 2018, you have until 1 April 2020 to improve the rating of your property to an E, if you plan to keep letting it.
  • If you plan to enter into a new tenancy before 1 April 2020, you must ensure you meet the standard before the new tenancy is signed.
  • If the tenancy started after 1 April 2018, you must take action immediately to make sure the property reaches an E rating.

If your property is currently rated F or G, and you have made energy efficient improvements since your last EPC assessment was carried out – if you have had a new boiler or double glazing fitted for example – it is advisable to get a new EPC certificate, as you may not be affected by the MEES regulations.

 

How do I pay for improvements?

The government has introduced a cost cap on energy efficient improvements, meaning you should never need to spend more than £3,500 (including VAT). There are three funding options open to you:

  1. Third party funding – grants and payments may be available to landlords to help them make energy efficient improvements. These include grants from local authorities and the Energy Company Obligation, funded by energy companies. Find out more on the government website. The cap doesn’t apply to improvements which are funded by third parties.
  2. A combination of third-party funding and self-funding – if you receive some funding but it is not enough to bring your property up to standard, you may need to top it up with your own money.
  3. Self-funding – if you aren’t eligible for any external grants you will need to pay for the improvements yourself. If it costs less than the £3,500 cap to improve your property, you will only need to spend as much as it takes to achieve an E rating.

 

What if the improvements cost more than £3,500?

If you cannot improve your property to EPC E for £3,500, you should make all the improvements you can up to that amount, then register for an ‘all improvements made’ exemption. Find out more about this on the government website.

There are various other exemptions, which you may be eligible for too – for example a wall insulation exemption can be used if fitting this type of energy efficiency measure would have a detrimental effect on your property.

Most exemptions last for five years, after which you will need to try again to bring your property up to standard or register for another exemption.

 

Should I invest in energy efficiency?

If the improvements will cost you more than £3,500, and you can afford to make them, it may be advisable to go ahead regardless of whether you could have obtained an exemption. Regulations are likely to become increasingly stringent over time and it may cost you more to complete the improvements later.

The government has committed to improving energy performance standards of privately rented homes in England and Wales, with the aim of seeing as many as possible being upgraded to a B or C rating by 2030.

Energy efficiency improvements could have numerous other benefits for your property, from avoiding problems with damp, to attracting tenants and making it easier to sell if you wish to.

 

What can I do to improve my property’s energy efficiency?

Examples of energy efficient measures that will improve your property’s rating include installing floor insulation, switching to low energy lighting, adding double glazing, increasing loft insulation and changing to a modern heating system. Adding renewable energy sources such as solar panels or ground source heating can really boost an EPC score too.

If you are a landlord with property in Wimbledon, we would be happy to advise you about the many aspects of letting homes. Please contact us today to find out more.

General Election 2019 – what do the parties say about the property sector?

Posted by

As Britain enters the final week before the general election polls open on 12 December, competition for every seat if fierce.

In Labour’s general election manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn promises to ‘transform’ the UK with an ambitious set of pledges. For the Conservatives, underlying every policy announcement is Boris Johnson’s promise to ‘get Brexit done.’ And Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats want to ‘stop Brexit’ and ‘build a brighter future.’

But what do the three main parties say about housing? From reforms for renters to housebuilding and energy efficiency, we break down some manifesto pledges that concern the property sector.

Housebuilding

The Conservatives say they will build at least a million more homes over the next parliament in an effort to reach their existing, 300,000 homes a year, target by the mid-2020s.

The Liberal Democrats also make pledges around this figure – they will build 300,000 homes per year by 2024, including 100,000 social housing units.

Labour announced a £75 billion programme to build 150,000 council or housing association homes a year, with 50,000 being ‘genuinely affordable’ based on local incomes.

Landlords and tenants

The Conservatives will follow through on their pledge to end Section 21 no-fault evictions. The party also wants to introduce ‘lifetime deposits’, where tenants transfer their deposit from one property to another.

The Liberal Democrats want mandatory licensing of landlords and longer tenancies, of 3+ years. They would also introduce a Help to Rent scheme, providing government-backed tenancy deposit loans for first-time renters under 30.

Labour would introduce rent controls, capped by inflation and end no-fault evictions by creating open-ended tenancies.

Homebuyers

Labour wants to reform the Help to Buy scheme, increasing its focus on first-time buyers on ordinary incomes. The Conservatives will introduce ‘lifetime’ fixed-rate mortgages, with a 5% deposit.

There are no proposed changes to stamp duty for ordinary buyers. But all three manifestos address non-UK residents buying homes in the UK. Boris Johnson has pledged a stamp duty surcharge of 3% and Labour would add a 20% surcharge for foreign companies buying here.

Energy efficiency

The Liberal Democrats would launch a programme to insulate all of Britain’s homes by 2030, cutting both emissions and fuel bills.

Labour has announced a ‘new green deal’, creating one million jobs to tackle climate change. Among its pledges is a promise to upgrade 27 million homes to the highest energy-efficiency standard.

The Conservatives say that homes will be made more energy efficient, with £9.2 billion to be spent on insulation, and similar measures for schools and hospitals.

Read a quick guide to each party’s pledges in the Guardian.

What to do about bats in your rafters

Posted by

Increasingly, bats are choosing to roost in residential properties – old and new – as the number of traditional woodland habitats has fallen. As creatures of habit, they will often return to the same spot time and again.

Wimbledon Common is home to several bat species. While living nearby means that nature really is on your doorstep, if you find the bats have moved closer to your home than you might like, what should you do?

Firstly, it is important to remember that it is rare for bats to cause damage to a home. You may not even notice they are there, especially during the winter months when they are less active, seeking refuge from the weather in roofs and outbuildings while they rear their young.

The problem comes if you wish to sell or renovate your property, as bats are a protected species under UK law. Jack Parker, of Cornerstone Barristers explained: “The legal protection afforded to bats means that it is not only a criminal offence to kill a bat, you also commit an offence if you ‘disturb’ a bat [for example, by interfering with its habitat] or if you damage or destroy a bat’s roost [where they rest and breed].”

If you are selling a property with bats, you must inform your potential buyers. Withholding this information could lead to a claim for compensation later on – if the buyers are unable to renovate the property as they would have liked, for example.

The other issue comes if you wish to carry out building work, as celebrities including musician Noel Gallagher and radio presenter Kelly Brook have recently found.

Having bats doesn’t necessarily mean your renovation plans will be permanently scuppered. Kelly Brook applied to build two bat boxes in the chimney of her Kent home, following an ecology survey, which found long-eared and pipistrelle bats living in the roof.

According to Jack Parker: “Various measures can be used to avoid any impact on bats, such as carrying out work at certain times of year when bats aren’t present; by incorporating bat roosts into the development in question, or by making sure that artificial lighting is designed in a way which does not affect bats.

“Work which would disturb bats may only be carried out with a licence, which will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.”

Read more about this story in the Evening Standard Homes & Property and Property Reporter. For more about bats, visit bats.org.uk .

The Problem with Japanese Knotweed

Posted by

I recently attended a conference at which Richard Snape, a nationally renowned property expert and Consultant and Professional Support Lawyer with Davitt Jones Bould Solicitors, was one of the speakers. Part of his lecture, the substance of which I share here, concerned the issues around Japanese Knotweed. The plant was imported into the UK via Swansea back in the 18th Century. Its use was to reduce landslide but it spread across the counties and over the past 100 years its growth has been quite significant.

Japanese knotweed is a notifiable substance and it is illegal to cause it to be propagated in the wild. Local authorities can take action against property owners, both under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 by the issue of remediation notices and charges for its removal, and under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014. That piece of legislation gives the local authority power to serve Community Protection Notices on property owners who fail to control their Knotweed.

The presence or otherwise of Japanese knotweed has, therefore become a routine enquiry raised by solicitors during property transactions, not least because it constitutes a contamination substance and infestation of land.

Richard Snape highlighted the problems around knotweed when it comes to a sale. The standard enquiry that is asked as to whether the property is affected by Japanese Knotweed allows the response of ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Don’t Know’. Richard warned: “‘No’ would be a statement of fact and potentially actionable. ‘Don’t Know’ may be a representation that attempts have been made to investigate. Moreover, the property may be affected by Japanese Knotweed if it is within the neighbourhood. It is suggested that response should be made clear that there has been no attempt to find it.”

There has been some recent litigation involving Japanes knotweed, where claimants have succeeded in recovering damages. In Williams & Waistell v Rail Infrastructure Limited, landowners were awarded damages of £10,000 for lost development potential and possible future damage to property plus £5,000 for remedial work. In Ryb v Conway Consultants damages of £50,000 were awarded against a surveyor who failed to identify the presence of Japanese knotweed in a garden – a lesson to my own profession!

Still, it’s not all bad news. Although Japanese Knotweed is not one of your ‘5 a day’ vegetables, it has been known to be used in the making of gin and apparently, the result is rather good. If you are looking for professional advice on a particular property problem, whether residential or commercial, we would be happy to have a conversation with you to see if we can help. Contact us today!

What is a protected lease?

Posted by

Many business premises are rented on protected tenancies. This offers tenants security of tenure. It means that, in most cases, landlords are obliged to renew the lease when it expires on terms, which are not significantly less favourable than before. Find out what you need to know about protected leases for commercial premises.

Why are commercial leases protected?

If you are running a business, you need the security of knowing that you can continue trading from your premises, even if your lease is close to expiring. You may have been operating for some time from a location that suits you, your customers and suppliers and where you are known well. Having to pack up your business and move premises could be as detrimental to your company as it is inconvenient.

Fortunately, as a business owner, the law in England is one your side. Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 Part II business leases are protected. This means that most commercial tenants have a statutory right to have their tenancies renewed on expiry.

If you are not able to come to agreeable terms with your landlord, the law gives you the right to apply to the courts to set the new lease terms including a fair market rent based on expert advice.

 

Can a landlord refuse to grant a new lease?

Under the 1954 Act, a landlord can only refuse to grant a new lease to a tenant, who wishes to remain in occupation, on certain grounds. The principal ones are:

· Where a tenant has failed to pay their rent or keep to other conditions of the lease.

· If a landlord wants the property back for his own use or to redevelop it.

· If the landlord offers to provide suitable alternative premises.

· If the property has been divided into smaller, sub-let units and the landlord wishes to let the property as a whole.

Usually, the terms of the new lease can be agreed between landlord and tenant without the need for court proceedings which can be costly.

 

Are there other exceptions?

The landlord and tenant can agree to contract out of a protected lease, if the tenant is willing to do so. In this case, there are certain formalities that need to be complied with.

This situation is most common where the lease relates to part of a building or where the landlord is unsure of his plans and wishes to ensure that he is able to regain possession of

the property without having to pay compensation or establish one of the grounds set out in the Act and avoid potential dispute.

 

What happens at the end of the lease term?

At the end of the term specified in the lease document, the lease continues until either the landlord or the tenant takes steps to end or renew It, which can be done once the lease has no more than12 months left to run. If neither party takes any action, the lease simply continues until either takes the appropriate steps. Whether the landlord or tenant wishes to take action will depend not only on individual circumstances but also strategically on whether rents for similar properties are increasing or decreasing, which makes advice from a surveyor experienced in commercial property so necessary.

 

How do I renew the lease on my business premises?

Once your lease has no more than 12 months left to run, you can serve what is known as a section 26 notice on your landlord, giving not more than 12 nor less than 6 months notice that you require a new lease. This is in a form prescribed by the legislation and includes details of the amount of rent and the length of the new lease you propose. Your landlord has two months to dispute the granting of the new lease, under one of the statutory grounds, or he may suggest alternative terms for a renewal of the lease. If agreement cannot be reached before the proposed renewal date, the matter has to be referred to the court.

 

What can a landlord do?

Once the lease has no more than 12 months left to run, a landlord can bring it to an end by serving a Section 25 notice under the Act using a prescribed form. This gives no more than 12 nor less than 6 months notice of either the fact that the landlord is willing to grant a new lease including his proposals for the length of the new term and the rent or that he is not willing to grant a new term and on which of the statutory grounds he relies. If the landlord opposes the grant of a new lease and the Tenant disputes this, or terms for a new lease cannot be agreed, an application will need to be made to the court.

If a landlord refuses to renew the lease on one of the grounds which is no fault of the tenant – to occupy the property themselves, for example rather than because of a failure to pay rent, then the tenant may be entitled to compensation.

 

How can I find out more?

Renewing a business lease is a complex area and anyone contemplating the process should get professional advice. One of the team of Chartered Surveyors in our Commercial Department would be happy to provide this. Please also contact us to discuss your requirements if you would like help finding commercial premises within the local and surrounding areas.

 

Contact Us

If you have any questions about a protected lease, we would be happy to answer them, please contact us today.

Is Help to Buy costing new homeowners more?

Posted by

The government’s Help to Buy scheme was launched in 2013 to boost housebuilding and help generation rent onto the housing ladder. However, new research shows that people using scheme may actually be paying a premium – and that they may have been able to get on the housing ladder without it.

Conveyancing firm Reallymoving analysed data from 40,000 first-time buyers over the year to September 2019. The researched showed that those using Help to Buy, paid on average 10% more than those who funded their purchases without the scheme. The figure in London was higher at almost 12%, however, in Yorkshire and the West Midlands it was more than 21%.

The study follows the release of figures from housebuilder, Barratt, which revealed that 40% of its business comes from Help to Buy customers.

New builds generally attract a premium price and can subsequently lose value, meaning that first-time buyers using the scheme are at risk of negative equity.

Critics also believe that the popularity of Help to Buy has led developers to inflate prices and that the scheme could have a negative impact on the overall housing market.

Reallymoving chief executive Rob Houghton said: “Most first-time buyers find it difficult to raise a deposit and as a consequence they are being cornered into the new-build sector, where homes already command higher prices, before paying an additional premium on top if they need to use a Help to Buy Equity Loan.

“In many cases they simply don’t have the deposit required to explore other options such as buying a second-hand home, which may offer considerably better value.”

How help to buy works

Opening a Help to Buy ISA means the government will add 25% to the amount saved, up to a maximum of £3,000 on savings of £12,000, if used as a deposit on a first home.

The deposit can be used to buy a property using a Help to Buy: Equity Loan, where the government lends 40% of the cost of a new-build home in London (or 20% elsewhere). The loan is interest free for five years. A Help to Buy: Shared Ownership scheme allows the purchaser to buy a share of the home (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remainder.

Applications for a Help to Buy ISAs close on 30 November this year, and prospective homeowners have been encouraged to open an account now, to ensure they can take advantage of the scheme – including by Money Saving Expert founder, Martin Lewis.

Read more about this story in The Stylist.

Homeowners warned of property fraud increase

Posted by

In her 2018 bestseller, Our House, Louise Candlish describes the moment when a woman realises an imposter is moving into her London home – and appears to own it. While the book centres around the twists of an elaborate blackmail plot, losing your home to fraud is a real, if small, possibility in 2019.

Research on the website Property Investor Today has revealed that since 2005 property fraud claims submitted to the Land Registry totalled £73.3 million, averaging out at £107,669 per scam. This contrasts to the more common, and heavily publicised, online financial scams, which set the average victim back by £600.

Alarmingly, with so much at stake, property fraud can be quite simple to carry out. Details of ownership of properties in England and Wales can be sourced online and recent cases have involved fraudsters using the homeowner’s identity to secure a mortgage. In other examples, scammers have impersonated the homeowner to have deeds transferred to their name.

Other forms of property fraud include mortgage scams involving fake sellers and holiday homes advertised as properties for sale. So-called ‘Friday afternoon scams’ are also common – with many property transactions taking place on a Friday, hackers intercept solicitors’ emails, sending their own bank details to buyers instead.

According to the HomeOwners Alliance, these types of fraud are on the increase. “Unfortunately, the value of successful frauds of property sales have more than tripled – from £7 million in 2013 to £25 million in 2017,” says chief executive, Paula Higgins.

“Email and IT systems (especially those of conveyancers) are being attacked continuously. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated – fake emails can now be very hard to spot, and people may find themselves caught out, especially when under the stress of buying a home.”

If you are concerned about property fraud, register for free email property alerts from the Land Registry. Using the service means you will be alerted of any attempted activity regarding the deeds of your house.

In addition, for a £40 fee, homeowners can opt to put a restriction on the title deed of their property, stopping the Land Registry from registering a sale or mortgage unless a conveyancer certifies the application is genuine.

For more information about property fraud visit the gov.uk and the HomeOwners Alliance websites.

Why location is the key to successful buy-to-let investing

Posted by

We all know location counts when you are looking to buy a family home, but the same is true if you are buying to let. If you are looking in South West London, Wimbledon is a good choice as it will undoubtedly always be popular with tenants.

Wimbledon’s appeal lies in its versatility. Living in Wimbledon gives you all the amenities of the town centre with the rural feel of the village close by. Plus, there are amazing transport links to central London and beyond, as well as plenty of outstanding schools in the state and independent sectors.

Wherever you decide to invest in a buy-to-let property, location is key. As a landlord you’ll be looking for high rental yields, minimal void periods and for your property to gain in value over time. Choosing the best location for your budget can help you achieve this, so before you commit to a property think carefully about how attractive it will be to tenants.

It makes sense to have your ideal tenant in mind when deciding on a location. If your budget will only stretch to smaller apartments, your target market probably isn’t families, where more space is a priority.

If you are looking at young professionals, you’ll probably want a flat that’s close to amenities and night life as well as handy for good transport links. You might also want to consider whether it’s close to a local employer – Wimbledon is close to St George’s Hospital and medical school, for example.

You should do plenty of research about who lives in the area and the average rents they pay. This will help you get a good idea of whether you’ll achieve the return on investment you’re looking for.

To help you decide if a location is right for your buy-to-let project, look at our local area guides. Then use our checklist of what to look out for when choosing your investment.

 

1. Avoid traffic hotspots

Go back a street from the main road – quieter streets with less traffic may hold their value better and are more attractive to tenants.

 

2. Look to the future

Do your research on any planned regeneration schemes in the area and think about the impact on the property you’re considering, good and bad. Will the plans bring better transport links and upgraded facilities, or mean noisy works for years to come that will deter renters?

 

3. How are the schools?

Families are drawn to areas like Wimbledon because of their proximity to good schools. Houses close to outstanding state schools will be popular with renters and retain their value – as long as the schools remain high-performing and popular. If you’re targeting families, do your research into popular schools and where people need to live to secure a place.

 

4. What are the main attractions?

Look at properties with good amenities close by. Attractive parks, bars, restaurants and shops can all make a place appealing to tenants. Wimbledon is well served in this respect, with the common and Wimbledon Park, plus numerous other open spaces. The area also has plenty to do, including New Wimbledon Theatre and a range of amazing places to eat in both the town and village.

Factors like a corner shop or mini supermarket, neighbourhood pub and coffee shop can also give a particular street the edge.

 

5. How is the transport?

This is a crucial one, especially for city professionals looking for an easy commute. Wimbledon may have been planned with commuters in mind, so well is it served for transport, with frequent trains into London Waterloo, Vauxhall and Clapham Junction as well as access to the District Line, Tram, Thameslink and Northern Line services.

 

If you are considering purchasing a buy-to-let property in the Wimbledon area, we’d be happy to discuss the merits different parts of the area and show you some great properties. Contact us today to find out more.

Ten steps to becoming the tenant that landlords love

Posted by

 

 

 

 

If you are new to renting, there are a few things you need to know about your responsibilities as a tenant – ten, in fact!

While a difficult landlord is every renter’s worst fear, the relationship works both ways and tenants can be big trouble too. More often than not, problems occur because of a lack of communication, which lets minor issues escalate, creating a difficult situation.

A good landlord/tenant relationship is great for everyone. As a tenant you may find your landlord eager to respond when there’s an issue and happy to keep you in the property for as long as you wish. The landlord will also benefit from a longer-term tenant, who will look after the place.

If you’re new to renting, there are a few responsibilities in your tenancy agreement that you really need to know about, from being on time with your rent to getting on with the neighbour. Read on for our ultimate guide to becoming the tenant that landlords love.

 

1. Always pay your rent on time

Your number one duty as a tenant is to pay your rent on time. If you pay by standing order, make sure you have funds to cover your rent on the due date. If you fail to pay, your landlord can take steps to evict you and reclaim the money that’s owed. You need to make sure you pay any other charges, as agreed with your landlord too – council tax or utility bills, for example.

 

2. Look after your home

It’s generally a condition of your shorthold tenancy agreement that you keep the property in good order.

While your landlord is responsible for carrying out repairs to the structure, plumbing, electrics and heating, you’ll be expected to complete small tasks to keep your home running smoothly – checking smoke alarms, changing lightbulbs and keeping the place well-ventilated, to prevent damp.

While not everyone is a Mrs Hinch, you’ll need to keep your home clean and tidy, and take reasonable steps to prevent problems occurring – not flushing wipes down the loo and turning off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather.

Always report repairs to your landlord promptly – small damp patches could become a big deal if not treated. If further damage is caused because a problem wasn’t fixed, you could be liable.

 

landlord

 

3. Allow your landlord access

Unless living in the property, landlords don’t have the right to come and go as they please. Your landlord must give you at least 24-hours’ notice before visiting and should visit at a reasonable time, apart from in an emergency.

You do need to allow them access, however, to carry out repairs and maintenance and to make fire and gas safety checks. It’s in your interest to be as accommodating as possible – being flexible, by offering a choice of dates and times, will help you to a good relationship and make sure repairs are completed in a timely fashion.

 

4. Don’t make alterations without permission.

Rental properties tend to be decorated in neutral tones, which suit most tastes. Avoid the temptation to personalise your space with something more radical. Unauthorised redecorating, or drilling holes to hang pictures, is likely to result in the landlord withholding your security deposit, so they can make good after you’ve gone.

 

5. Don’t sublet

Subletting happens when an existing tenant lets part or all of a property they rent to another person. There are genuine reasons why it might suit you to sublet. You may be struggling to pay the rent alone or need to be away from home for a short period but want to make sure the rent is covered. If you have a good reason, your landlord is likely to be sympathetic, but will want it all made official so you must get their permission first.

 

neighbours

 

6. Be a good neighbour

Your behaviour in the property reflects on your landlord, so don’t create a nuisance. Keep your music to a reasonable volume and avoid noisy parties. Make sure you put your rubbish and recycling out on time and keep the outside of the property tidy – check your responsibilities around gardening in your tenancy agreement. Landlords can start eviction proceedings against tenants for antisocial behaviour caused to neighbours. As a tenant you will be held responsible for the actions of anyone visiting you too.

 

7. Communicate with your landlord

Try to respond to texts, calls and emails as soon as possible and be helpful. Keeping the lines of communication open will help your relationship long-term.

 

8. Ask before getting a pet

Some landlords allow cats and dogs, others don’t. While some people are relaxed about animals, others are concerned about damage to furnishings, annoyance to neighbours and smells. If the property is a flat, there may be a clause in the Landlord’s own lease that prevents anyone from keeping animals. If you have a pet, or are thinking of getting one, always check your tenancy agreement and get permission in writing before bringing home a furry friend.

 

9. Let your landlord know if you’re going away

If you ‘re going to be away from your home for a substantial period – because you’re in hospital, travelling abroad or caring for a relative – let your landlord know. You’ll still need to pay rent while you’re away unless you come to some arrangement with your landlord or sublet with permission.

When going on holiday, or away from the property for a short time, it’s also good practice to let you landlord know and to give their details to a neighbour in case there’s an emergency while you’re away.

 

10. Saying goodbye

You should end your tenancy properly by giving the correct notice. If you don’t you will still be liable to pay rent. You can’t give notice if you are still in the fixed term of a tenancy, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise.

 

If you are looking for somewhere to rent in Wimbledon area contact us today to find out more about our selection of rental properties.

Staging a Property to Sell

Posted by

 

 

 

 

In an uncertain market, staging your property to attract buyers is crucial to standing out from the crowd, achieving the best price and possibly even clinching the sale.

First impressions really do count so, once you have decided to sell, you need to get to work on making your home buyer-ready. Firstly, put aside sentimental attachment to you home and belongings and look at the property as potential buyers will see it. This will help you set about depersonalising the space.

You’ll probably need to spend money on bringing your property up to scratch – possibly on work that feels pointless. But, most likely, you’ll reap rewards with higher offers and a quick sale.

Read on for our essential guide to staging your property, room by room:

The bathroom

Bathrooms and kitchens definitely sell houses, and if yours are looking a bit dated, a revamp could pay off. If you can’t stretch to a full bathroom refit, think about replacing taps, mirrors or other fixtures and fittings.

Replace any broken tiles and mouldy sealant and give the place a good clean, scrubbing away all limescale deposits. Tidy away random toiletries and shampoo bottles and give the place a spa-like feel with rolled towels, quality scent diffusers and tropical plants.

The kitchen

A new kitchen can be transformative, so think about a refresh if your units are looking tired. It’s cheaper to replace your cabinet doors, while retaining carcases if you can. Clear away all the clutter, mend anything that’s broken and make sure it’s all spotless for an elegant finish.

The living room

The first step to transforming your living space is to clear it of all the trappings of everyday life. Put away anything that personalises the place too much; family photos, children’s drawings, birthday cards. It’s worth having a big declutter too, throwing away or donating to charity possessions you no longer love or need.

Make sure bookshelves aren’t overstuffed with books – remove any that are looking tatty. The advice is to leave at least 10% of your bookshelves as free space.

If your home is overloaded with furniture, which you want to keep, think about putting it in storage. Never ram it all into a garage or spare room – your prospective buyers are more than likely to peek inside.

The bedroom

Make sure your bedrooms have a calm, relaxed feel, with clean and neutral colour schemes. Keep the rooms tidy and impersonal and think about upgrading your bed-linen, adding cushions and throws.

Sort through wardrobes to ensure they’re not crammed full of clothes. There are plenty of storage solutions, from Ikea and the like, to help turn your wardrobes into a carefully-ordered space.

If you tend to use a spare bedroom as a study or storage area, show buyers its true purpose. If you don’t have a bed, borrow one from a friend or buy second-hand. Similarly, if you have a double bedroom with just a single bed, make sure it is clear that the room can accommodate a double. This is all part of helping buyers imagine themselves in your space.

Around the home

Sprucing up your home with a lick of paint could make all the difference to securing a sale. This is especially true if your existing colour scheme involves dark or bright shades.

White and pale hues have the advantage of reflecting light to make your rooms appear, not just bright and airy, but bigger too. You can also give the impression of size by adding a mirror or two and glass fixtures and fittings.

Replace patterned or dingy carpets with light floor coverings and remove any dark and imposing pieces of furniture. If you’re keeping your carpets, have them professionally cleaned to get rid of any stains or lingering smells and if you have pets, think about sending them on brief holiday while you sell!

Outdoor space

A recent survey estimated that a good garden landscape design could increase the value of a property way above the initial outlay. You may not have time for a big redesign, but getting to work on the garden is essential. Cut back overgrown shrubs, so your viewers can see how big it is and imagine themselves using the space. Cut the grass too and clean the patio and any garden furniture. If it’s looking a bit sparse, a few planted pots can make a difference.

And never underestimate the power of kerb appeal. Your front garden is the first thing buyers will see, so it needs to make a welcoming impression. Give your front door a lick of attractive-coloured paint and polish your door furniture. Clean your windows and, if you can, add a window box or two.

Don’t begrudge doing all this work on a home you will be leaving soon. In most cases it absolutely pays off. Investing a bit of time and money in sprucing up your property can help you to win over potential buyers and it might secure a higher offer too.

24 High Street,
Wimbledon Village,
London SW19 5DX

Tel: +44 (0)20 8971 6780
Fax: +44 (0)20 8946 3683