1 Followers
26 Following
openestates

openestates

6 Tips to Get The Best Price For Your Property

 

Selling a property can be a lot of work and preparation well ahead of time, but it is worth it in the end. You need to keep a few things in mind if you want to make the best of it, so let's point them out:

 

Being Strategic

 

Preparing a strategy for your sale will help you achieve the best potential price range and cover your needs. You should consider what is important to you - are you interested in having the highest price, or do you want to move your property in a specific timeframe? Knowing your goals clearly before you will have you better prepared to deal with the challenges ahead.

 

Running the Numbers

 

Knowing how much your property is worth is essential to get the most out of the sale you're going for. The worth of your property can only be used if you can persuade a buyer to part with their money. Figuring out the property's realistic price puts you in a better bargaining position than selling at a price you hope is the right choice. Knowing exactly how much your home is worth will make it easier to set the right price and get more potential buyers on board.

 

Making changes to add value

 

If you have the funds and time to make some improvements before placing your property on the market, you should go for it. You can completely change a bathroom or simply a doorknob or front door, repaint the house or do much more, but every renovation you do will make a difference in the property's final value.

 

Depersonalise for Profit

 

You should give potential buyers a chance to appreciate your property by removing your presence from it as much as you can. You want the buyers to feel like this property could be their home, so try to strip it of things that make it personal without going so far as to make it feel unwelcoming and unpleasant. Get rid of family memorabilia and find a proper balance; there is no need to remove everything personally, but make sure the buyers won't be overwhelmed with your items.

 

Work Within Time Frames

 

Adapting to the market's needs is necessary if you want to sell quickly and reasonably. Speak to your agent about how the market is performing in your area and figure out an action plan with realistic time frames. Sticking to those will help attract the greatest attention in the first month or so, but you will need to be ready for what comes next. Figure out your next move, and you will have a better chance of getting some interested potential buyers. Your chosen agent will advise on whether a price drop may create more interest or not, so you should be able to adjust your actions.

 

The Virtue of Patience

 

Getting your first offer from a potential buyer may feel exciting, but you should remember this is just the first. Your agent will be able to read the situation and give you more objective advice on whether or not this is a good sale. Analyse the facts and see for yourself whether you feel good about selling at that price or whether you should hold out for a better offer. Each carries its risks, so you need to have a solid understanding of the market, something you can gain by hiring a skilled and experienced agent.

 

©Open Estates

Using Equity as a Deposit for Moving Home

 

This is one of those questions that may seem pretty straightforward until you look for the answer. You may need to keep a few things in mind, such as your options for releasing your equity, how much you have, whether you can use it to invest in buy-to-let and more.

 

Can You Use Equity in Your Property as a Deposit to Purchase a New Home?

 

This is one of the most common ways people use the equity they built in their homes. But you can do it. You can use equity as a deposit, giving you a chance to lower the amount you need to borrow for the new mortgage. That allows you to reduce your loan-to-value or LTV, which enables you to have a much greater range of mortgage choices.

 

The simplest way to look at things is as an unsecured profit, something that makes the difference between the sheer market value of a home and the amount you still owe until you pay off the property. You haven’t sold your home yet, so that makes it unsecured. Property prices fluctuate, or you may pay off more of the mortgage before you see the equity you accumulated released. There is also a flipside to this, in the face of:

 

Negative Equity

 

Whether or not you can use the equity in your home as a deposit, we’re looking for positive equity. On the other hand, if you owe more than the value of your property, you have fallen into negative equity. This happens when a home’s price drops dramatically for one reason or another. Certain places have disproportionate amounts of homes that fall into this category, thanks to the state of the local property market. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you should either move home or remortgage your property, but that could be extremely difficult.

 

How to find out if you have accrued any equity in your home

 

The formula to work out your property equity is fairly simple, but you need the proper figures before you can start calculating. The rough property value can be gauged by doing a bit of online research. You can do that on property portals like Zoopla, Rightmove and so forth, searching for similar properties in the same area as yours that was recently sold. This gives you an idea of the price range offered, something you can also obtain by calling a reputable local estate agent to get your home professionally viewed.

 

You can check the latest mortgage statement or call your lender for what’s left to pay off your mortgage. Most lenders out there will send mortgage statements annually, so your latest one may not be that recent. It’s best to give them a call to get more accurate figures. With those two things in mind, you can subtract the amount you owe from the value of your property. The result is the amount of equity you have.

 

6 Ways to Release Equity from Your House

 

If the results of your calculations show you’re positive, that’s good news, and you may want to think about how you can use that to your advantage. The listed tips below give you that chance:

 

  • Obtain a second charge mortgage
  • Take out a further advance loan
  • Use the equity to buy your next home outright
  • Remortgage your home
  • Access equity via an equity release scheme
  • Use the equity as a deposit on your next move

 

©Open Estates

 

Important Terms You Should Know in Regards to Lettings in the UK

 
 
When it comes to lettings in the UK, you will need to keep a few things in mind to run a successful business. Using the following tips will give you a hand when you need it, making sure you're ready for the challenges ahead:
 

Access

 
An agent must keep written accounts of who holds the keys and inform tenants of the access required by the tenancy agreement terms. The only time this shouldn't be the case is in cases of emergency.
 

Agency Agreement (Landlords only)

 
Whenever you're dealing with an agent, as a landlord, you should ensure that they understand the services you are providing and what is recorded in the agreement. Services may range from finding tenants to carrying out referencing, drafting tenancy agreements, check-ins, arranging inventory, rent collection and management and the tenancy itself.
 
When you sign agreements, you are entering a legally binding contract and incurring a financial commitment. It must be clear how long the agency agreement will run for, as well as how it may be terminated, the notice required and whether or not any continuing liability for costs will exist after it's ended. The agents and their business terms must include all fees and confirm whether they are a member of a redress scheme such as TPO.
 
You must ensure you understand the terms of the agreement and the commitments you are entering with the agent. You should take care before you sign and be aware that the document you sign can be cancelled within 14 days.
 

Check-in/Check-out

 
You should avoid future disputes whenever you can by amending, verifying, signing and copying the inventory or check-in reports and returning the documents through a registered post. You should ensure these documents reflect the true condition used at the end of tenancy, should the deposits get disputed. When the tenancy ends, the agent or the landlord must arrange a check-out inspection to see the property's condition against the check-in report and inventory.
 

Deposits

 
Security deposits due under the tenancy agreement must be protected with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The deposit money belongs to the tenant unless otherwise agreed by the tenant or the tenancy deposit scheme. Deposits must never be used to pay fees owed to the agent by the landlord.
 

Duty of Care

 
Agents must always work in the client's best interests, that is to say, the person who pays the letting agency services, which is most often the landlord. The agent must be informed as early as possible if they had any personal or other business interest in the property. Agents must also treat those renting or letting fairly and politely.
 

The Energy Assessor

 
By law, any property that is supposed to be let must have an Energy Performance Certificate. The agent might assist landlords in finding an Assessor.
 

Fees

 
Since 27 May 2015, letting and management agents must show a list of all fees, charges and penalties for any letting agency or property management service payable by landlords and tenants. This means additional fees, charges and penalties that may have been incurred during a tenancy. The same goes for fees, charges and penalties references in Tenancy Agreements and Terms of Business. There are exceptions with tenancy security deposits, not holding deposits, rent payable to landlords and fees, charges or penalties where the agent receives those from a landlord under a tenancy on behalf of someone else.
 

A Guide to House Surveys - Everything You Need to Know

 

 

If you ever had an offer accepted on a property, you may be wondering whether or not you will need a house survey and, if so, which type that would be. Here, we are looking at different types of house surveys and which one is the most fitting for your property.

 

There are a few types of house surveys, each depending on the depth of the survey you need, your budget, the condition of your property and more.

 

RICS Home Survey – Level 1

 

The RICS Home Survey Level 1 is the first step if you purchase a conventional property built from commonly used materials and in reasonably good condition. This type of survey was previously known as a Condition Report. Level 1 surveys give you a general idea of the condition of different parts of your building, grounds, services, etc. It helps you notice problems that may need attention, and the assessment is essential to understanding what needs to be done. It will also include a summary of the risks to your building, the grounds and the people. The report doesn’t go in too deep with details and has no advice or valuation.

 

RICS Home Survey – Level 2

 

It used to be called a Home Buyer Report or a Homebuyer survey. This mid-level survey is among the more popular choices for people buying a conventional property in good condition. It will cover everything you get in an RICS Home Survey Level 1 and check roofs and cellars. You can also get recommendations for more investigations where the property surveyor finds it hard to conclude within reason. This report will also give you advice on the budget for repairs that need doing and the amount of ongoing maintenance required in the future.RICS Home Survey Level 2 also comes with or without evaluation. Go for a Home Survey Level 2 with evaluation. This will also include a market value, insurance reinstatement figure and the list of problems that the property surveyor believes may affect the value of your property.

 

RPSA Home Condition Survey

 

An RPSA Home Condition Survey is more or less the equivalent of the RICS Home Survey Level 2. It is offered by the Residential Property Surveyors Association instead of RICS. Home Condition Surveys are produced in a consumer-friendly format and are independently checked for quality and consistency. You will get information such as damp assessment, boundary issues and broadband speed for the conveyancer to consider.

 

RICS Home Survey – Level 3

 

The RICS Home Survey Level 3 is also known as a complete structural survey and RICS Building Survey, one of the most thorough ones offered by RICS. Though they are the more expensive option, they are more thorough. This is a good house survey option if you are going for a property over 50 years old, one with an unusual design or something listed in poor condition. It’s also helpful if you are planning to undertake renovations or are worried about the state of the property.

 

Level 3 surveys will include everything you get under the RICS Home Survey Level 2, as well as describing the identifiable risks and causes of potential hidden defects in areas that weren’t inspected. It outlines the likely scope of remedial work and explains the consequences of avoiding repairs. You will also get recommendations on the priority and timescale of these repairs.

 

RPSA Building Survey

 

An RPSA Building Survey may be the highest level of a non-invasive survey from the RPSA. You can get everything the Home Condition survey offers and more comprehensive descriptions of the construction and its defects. It will also explain how to fix those and what will happen if you don’t.

 

©Open Estates

Gazumping and Gazundering Explained and Tips to Prevent Them

 

Gazumping is when the property seller accepts your offer, then proceeds with the purchase and instructs a solicitor. You may be paying for searches, valuation and instructing a lender. Then you can be notified that the seller accepted a higher offer from a different person. Now you are left in a position where you're unsure what to do. Is there anything you can do to recover the money you spent? Is the seller bound by the verbal agreement you had, is there any way to offer a higher amount, or can you simply walk away from this transaction?

 

You were gazumped.

 

Unfortunately, unless the contracts are exchanged, the agreement between you and the seller is not legally binding. That means either party can withdraw from the agreement. It is very little you can do to protect yourself and recover the money you've spent. How can you avoid being gazumped?

 

  • Timing is Important - the quicker you can move, the less the seller will be willing to accept a new offer. You should speak to the estate agent only to understand the expectations and timeframes of the seller.

  • Building a positive relationship with the seller and the estate agent and informing them of your actions is a good start. When you place your offer, advise the estate agent of your expectations and timeframes.

  • As a part of your offer, you should consider asking the seller to remove the property from the market. Some sellers and estate agents will naturally feel reluctant to do that, but you should still try.

  • Consider offering on the basis that you can perform an exchange of contracts within a set amount of time. Before doing this, you should ensure you can meet the timeline you're offering.

  • It would be best if you asked the seller whether they are prepared to enter a pre-contract deposit agreement. If this is agreed upon, the terms will state that both parties pay a percentage of the deposit held by a third party. The exchange of contracts must be discussed and agreed upon by a specific date. If the contracts are not exchanged by that date, or one side pulls out, the other party keeps both deposits.

 

What is Gazundering?

 

In a slower property market where more sellers are available than buyers, gazundering is common. This is the opposite of gazumping, something happening when a property seller accepts a buyer's offer. Sellers may proceed with their purchase and make plans to move house, but they may decide not to have further viewings. When the exchange of contracts is near, the buyer may significantly reduce their offer. Once that happens, the buyer is left in the lurch, as they may have been relying on the money from the sale to fund the purchase.

Remarketing means the seller could risk the related investment if they fail to find a new buyer. This results in a dilemma between accepting the lower offer and having to fund the shortfall of any purchase or refusing the offer entirely and remarketing the property instead. How to reduce the risk of gazundering? Well, there are a few ways:

 

  • Timing is essential, so the quicker you move, the less time the buyer has to reduce any offer. You should ask the buyer if they can meet the timeframe before accepting an offer.
  • Please get to know the market and the property, and ensure you have a realistic price for it, which may negate the need for buyers to reduce the offer.

  • Being realistic about the defects of the property and the cost of remedying them is a good way forward.

 

©Open Estates

Top Tips to Make your Home More Valuable and Sell it Quicker

 
 
If you want to prepare your home for a sale, you will need to do a few things to make it have a better chance on the market:
 

Declutter But Keep it Personal

 
You should get rid of items that get in the way. Put them in storage, sell them, give them away or throw them in the rubbish. Consider removing the bulkier furniture that makes the rooms seem smaller and replace it with smaller, leaner furniture if you can. People often find it difficult to imagine the property they live in portrayed in a different light. You don’t need to make it look like something generic, but you should leave some of its personality behind. It gives unimaginative buyers something to connect to on how the rooms may look like. People often buy a property as much as they buy into the idea of a lifestyle. If you are looking to clear out items, you should get a rubbish removal service to do it for you. This will spare you a lot of the work involved in the process.
 

Giving Things a Fresh Coat of Paint

 
Giving the walls of your home a nice bit of neutral paint coat will make your home seem bigger and more filled with light. It enables the viewers to imagine their take on the rooms that fit their needs. It will be easier for them to move around and use the rooms right away, instead of having them feel uneasy about certain colours or looks.
 

Maximising Kerb Appeal

 
Kerb appeal is the way of leaving a lasting impression, something most buyers will be affected by when they make up their minds in the first few minutes of witnessing a property. The most important feature of kerb appeal remains the well-maintained windows and roof combination, ensuring they are in great condition and looking as good as possible. Well-maintained front gardens, a fresh coat of paint in the front of the home, fences, pathways and everything else needs to be prepared. You should see how much it costs to get your exterior prepared for a sale.
 

Fixing and Cleaning

 
If there are minor repairs to be done, such as holes in walls, cracked tiles, broken doorknobs, threadbare or torn carpets and so forth, then you need to get them done. Many buyers also want to move in without making changes, so you should allow that as part of the deal. Clean everything that needs cleaning, get rid of limescale, clean and repair the tile grout, get rid of unpleasant odours, hang up fresh towels, wax the floors, and whatever needs to be done.
 
You should tidy up the garden by cleaning the patio and furniture of any dirt and lichen, cut the bushes and grass back and prepare things for a sale. Though this won’t add any value to your home, you can still make it more likely to sell as people will enjoy imagining themselves in the garden.
 

Updating the Kitchen

 
The kitchen is the most important room in a house, as it is usually the most used in our daily lives. Consider working on refacing the kitchen cabinetry, as it offers you a much cheaper alternative than installing new ones. Upgrading the kitchen countertops can be expensive, but worth it, as it adds a lot of value. Declutter your surfaces and leave a bowl of fresh fruit out to give the place a lived-in feel. Take out any bulky appliances that won’t ever be used and clean their places to perfection. You should upgrade the plumbing fixtures, but keep in mind you may not recoup their full value, even if it helps you sell faster.

Legislation Changes of 2022 That Landlords Need to Know About

 

 

If you’re a professional or a complete newcomer to the market - be aware that changes are coming to how landlords are supposed to handle business in 2022. Let’s cover them in the points ahead:

Changes in Tax Returns

 
The deadline for your 2020-2021 self-assessment passed on January 31st, but it is just one where a new mortgage interest tax relief credit applies going forward. The rules introduced in April mean you may get higher tax bills this year. The changes mean that you will no longer have the ability to deduct mortgage expenses from your rental income. This may be a serious change, as it was a major advantage regarding taxes for many UK citizens. You will now be issued a tax credit based on a 20% rate of your mortgage interest payments instead.
 

Changes in Capital Gains Tax

 
This is another chance for landlords in 2022 you should be aware of. It is meant to help taxpayers with meeting deadlines and mitigating the risks of late payments. Although you originally had 30 days to report and pay your capital gains tax, this has been extended to 60 days instead. If you are about to sell a buy-to-let home or your second property, you may have to pay this tax on the profits you make. The rates will be between 18-and 28%, depending on the bracket the home falls into.

Changes to Energy Efficiency Rules

 
The new government rules being placed mean you will have until 2026 to ensure your newly let homes will achieve band C or more on their energy performance certifications. You will have more chances to get the perfect property, making the necessary refurbishments and changes to make it happen. 
 
You may need to do more work on older properties, as they will need to meet regulations. Double glazing and insulation may need to be up to standards, as well as other details. Though it may cost you more in the long run, thankfully you will have more time to get things done, spreading the expenses over a longer period. 

Changes to Section 21 Evictions

 
As one of the most awaited changes in how landlords do business, the abolition of section 21 is here. It means you won’t have the right to evict a tenant on short notice and without a viable reason. Renters need that protection since it allows them to fight and avoid unfair evictions from their homes by landlords who may be doing so based on prejudice or similar reasons. The no-fault evictions of the past meant that tenants had to be asked to leave in as short a time as 8 weeks for any reason at all, or none. This left renters feeling worried about the stability of their homes, but with the new legislation in place, they can feel safer in their tenancy agreements.

Changes in Lifetime Deposits for Tenants

 
Every time a tenant moves to a new rental property, they will need another deposit to secure tenancy, with the hope it will be released from their previous home. Although paying rent and other expenses at the same time, this may be something hard to scrounge for some people. To avoid such situations, a lifetime deposit allows their money to be transferred directly from one landlord to another with every move. It’s meant to simplify the process, as well as address the potential abuse of these deposits. Tenants won’t have to worry about finding the funds for a new deposit each time, and they can focus on a more straightforward renting process.
 
 

How to Find a Good Estate Agent for Your Needs?

 
If you’re looking to buy or sell a property, there are quite a few things you wouldn’t know. The experience of a good estate agent can make or break your search for properties or buyers, so you will need one in all cases. Let’s point out what you should be looking for:

Asking for Recommendations

This may be the obvious first thing to do, but you should ask your friends, family members and any coworkers who may have moved with the help of estate agents. Ask whether they were happy with the services of a specific one, or look for any signs around town that indicate agents are working in your area. Look them up online as well, to expand your pool of potential agents for hire.

Check their Industry Credentials

Estate agents need to be members of The Property Ombudsman Scheme, something that allows complaints against them to be investigated independently. A lot of the estate agents out there will be members of trade bodies as well. Their membership in those means they have to keep to a code of conduct, something that requires a level of professionalism typical for the job. The trade bodies may include the Guild of Property Professionals, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), as well as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Members of these schemes will be putting their membership upfront and centre whenever they can.

Going Up Close

You should visit your shortlisted estate agents, doing so as a potential buyer looking for a property similar to your home. Take note of the way they behave and consider if they will be good for your needs.

Invite Agents to Value Your Property

You should shortlist agents, but still, keep your options open. No less than three agents should be invited to value your property as you go forward. When the property is valued, you should not feel too impressed by whatever assessment is given by the agent. This could be a way to ingratiate themselves to you so they can win you over. You need an honest, fair agent who doesn’t overvalue your property, as that may fail to get a buyer at the same price.

Asking the Right Questions

You should ask how much the agent charges for sole agency and what the tie-in period is. Sole agency means the agent is the one holding exclusive rights to sell your property for a set period. If the property is sold by another agent at this time, you will have to pay the sole agent their fee, as well as the fee for the agent who made the sale. Fees for the sole agency may range between 1-2.5%, with a tie-in period spanning as far as eight weeks.
 
How much is the charge for multi-agency the agent is asking? A multi-agency arrangement means that several agents will have the property on their books. The successful agency will be granted the fee. The fee in question will be somewhere between 2.5-3.5% of the sale price.
 
How long has the agent been established, what kind of experience are you dealing with? An established agent will have experience selling properties, but one that operates close to your home will provide greater familiarity with the neighbourhood and other important details.
 
How much will the property be advertised? If the agency gets it done right, then you should have examples of other advertised properties to get the hang of how they handle that important part of their business.
 

Ask the Estate Agent These Questions When You Want to Buy a Home

 

Whenever you want to buy a house, there are a few questions you will need to ask of your estate agent. The questions will help before you make an offer and you negotiate prices. Let’s get started:

 

  • Why is the Owner Selling the Home?

One of the first and most important questions to ask when you’re looking for property. The estate agent isn’t obliged to answer, but if you are convincing enough, they may drop some hints about the circumstances of the sale. You may understand whether the owner was desperate to sell or not, and what the underlying reasons may be. Would you need to know specific facts about the home you’re buying? The biggest fear you may experience when you’re buying is to miss out on some negative about the property that may have skipped your attention. There are many details you could pay attention to, such as environmental factors, unpleasant neighbours and more. All of those could help lower the price or even make the purchase pointless if the area is hard to live in. If you have any doubts about the home, ask some neighbours nearby for more information before you commit.

 

  • How Did the Property’s Value Change in the Last Few Years?

This information should be easy to find on the Land Registry website, so check it out and see the previous sold prices. Be ready to ask questions about the changes to the property’s value, especially if there were any drops in those in recent years.

 

  • What about the Local Neighbourhood?

What is the local crime rate? What schools are available for children? What are the transportation links like? What is the location of the nearest petrol station and food store? There are many questions to ask, but you can also do the same by doing some research of your own.

 

  • Are there Local Plans that May Affect the Homeowners?

If you are viewing a property because you enjoy the landscape, you are undoubtedly interested in keeping it looking the same way for years. If there are plans underway for new housing development in these fields, you will want to know of that sooner or later. Ask about this possibility before you make a purchase, otherwise, you’ll need to deal with the consequences later on.

 

  • What Does the Sale Include?

You should ask that question to your estate agent. Knowing whether the garden shed or the greenhouse of the property are included, whether the fittings and fixtures are part of it, knowing where the boundary of the property lies. All of those questions are worth asking and knowing before you commit to the purchase. A good conveyancing solicitor will ensure your purchase has all of that agreed upon on a viewing verbally. You should compare quotes from the local conveyancing solicitors as soon as possible.

 

  • How Long has the Property Been on the Market?

If the home has been on the market for longer than three months, then you should ask the agent why the property isn’t selling. Are there any problems that the people have spotted that you haven’t? Is the price too much for the average buyer?

 

  • How Long have the Owners Lived on the Property?

If the current owners have decided on moving out after a short period of ownership, you need to find the reasons why. This is extremely important before you make a purchase, as you may be setting yourself up for owning a property that is hard to sell.

 

  • How Many Times Did the Property Change Hands?

You need to be aware of any possible issues if the property has been changing hands repeatedly over a short period. You need to find the reasons and you may need to contact the previous owners to ask why they decided to sell

 

©Open Estates

Important UK property market forecasts for 2022

 

2021 brought us rising property prices alongside other surprises, with the last three months of the year seeing the fastest growth in prices in the last 15 years. House prices are going up with the highest quarterly rate since 2006, bringing the average price of a home to a record-breaking £272,992. A few factors are leading to the current outcome in the UK housing market.

 

The ongoing housing shortfall is playing a part, with the government plans to build 300,000 new properties within 2022 to meet the high demand being one of the reasons. Other factors involved were the stamp duty holiday, urbanization as the tenants are returning to the office, their changing priorities and more. After the period of remote work is beginning to near its end, the returning employees are checking the rental market in the UK's largest urban areas.

 

House Price Growth

 

The national asking price for a property is expected to rise by 5% in 2022, with an increase of 17,000 GBP. Property prices in the sector have risen five months in a row by November 2021 and they were 8.2% higher than the previous year in the same month. This trend is expected to continue throughout 2022, with the supply and demand imbalance and the workers going back to the office.

 

Which Regions Are Experiencing the Highest Price Growth?

 

The 2022-2026 residential forecast report by JLL shows the top-performing cities and regions, using economic, market and social factors to create an accurate model and forecast. The West Midlands are expected to lead the house price growth in the UK with a 7% growth.

 

  • Birmingham

 

The average house prices were GBP 233,148 and have an expected increase of 6% for 2022, the expected average price has risen to GBP 247,136. An additional 6,300 jobs have been created in the city by HMRC, attracting high earners and hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022, raising attention to the area. 

 

  • Manchester

 

The average house price for Manchester stood at GBP 247,726 in 2021, with an expected rise of 6% in 2022, the expected GBP 262,589 average price for houses in 2022. Manchester is also seeing the highest economic growth in the next five years, with a GVA growth of 16.4%, according to Oxford Economics. The same projected price inflation is seen for Birmingham, with both cities having massive potential for investment and development.

 

Rental Growth in the UK Housing Market

 

The private rented sector has an expected 4.5% rise in 2022, according to Zoopla. This is a great sign for investors. The UK Rental Market Report shows that the average UK rent went up by 4.6% in the year leading to October 2021. Rent increases have hit a 13-year high, as the demand for property has doubled in the central zones of the major cities.

 

A third of millennials across the world are expected to live in rentals their entire lives, so people are now paying higher prices for their dream living experience. A prime city location with amenities nearby and co-working areas are the most desired accommodation. Estate agents will notice that renting is still the cheaper way of achieving a better lifestyle, without the sense of being locked into a location. This is a dealbreaker for many young employees on the market. The increasing costs of living such as energy bills means many people can’t afford to buy a property at all.

 

For those reasons, the renters are returning to the cities, but supply is lacking compared to demand.

 

©Open Estates

 

Everything landlords and tenants should know in regards to Covid-19 repairs, maintenance, health and safety




If there is one thing of significant importance in regards to rented properties during the ongoing pandemic, it is that landlords, tenants and local authorities should continue to work together, to maintain these properties safe. This is in the very best interest of both landlords and tenants. Ensuring that the properties are free of hazards and are a safe environment is priority number one. Tenants need to stay on top of the issue and alert their landlord early on, in case of a problem. This will allow the landlord to address the task as soon as possible and take adequate action. In the following guide, we will have a look at a few important factors considering all of that. 

Ventilation 

Allowing fresh air in is very important for any meetings conducted indoors. According to health and safety experts, it is best if landlords and tenants meet outside. For communal areas, opening windows and doors is one of the simplest ways to improve ventilation. It allows stale air to circulate outside the building and thus reduce the chance of Covid-19 virus particles remaining in the building. In case windows have openings at both the bottom and the top, like sash windows, keeping the top open ensures the incoming fresh air warms up a bit. If the weather allows it, both openings should be used. It is a good idea to open windows/doors on opposite sides of a room, to ensure the best circulation. If possible, tenants should maintain openings throughout the day to ensure a constant flow of fresh air is entering the home. 

Carrying out repair and maintenance work 

Work undertaken should always follow the safety guidance during Covid-19. If local authorities, landlords and contractors need to access a property, to carry out certain work there, they should do so in a safe manner. The possible works include: 

  • Safety inspections are done on a routine basis, which also includes electricity and gas safety checks. 

  • Various essential and non-essential repairs

  • Unplanned or planned maintenance inside and outside of the home

There are no guidelines for homes with potential or confirmed coronavirus infection. The same guidelines apply to the occupants of shared properties. If one of the occupants have symptoms of the virus, all of them should behave as a single household. No work should take place in households isolated due to symptoms of the virus unless there is a very clear risk for the safety of the same household or public. 

If there is a case of a tenant refusing access to the property, landlords have the tools and powers that will allow them to gain access. This includes obtaining an injunction from the court, or a warrant. 

Maintenance work and repairs with clinically vulnerable people 

As per expert clinical advice and the rollout of the vaccine programme, all individuals previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable are not advised to shield again. Such individuals should consider some advice from their healthcare professional on what precautions are right for them. 

Communal lounges in retirement/shelter schemes 

Scheme managers and landlords should always perform a risk assessment, inclusive of the risk of Covid-19 and do the necessary to minimise it. Everyone who is self-isolating, or symptomatic of Covid-19 or has a positive test should steer clear of communal areas when others are there. These areas should be properly sanitised at all times, to ensure no cross-contamination occurs. 

© Open Estates



6 Things to Consider to Find the Perfect Property for Yourself

 

Without a doubt, when you buy a home, it is going to be one of the major financial investments in your life. As a grand decision like this, it only makes sense to invest not only money but also time and effort in research. That way you can choose a home that not only fits your current needs but also the future. To be successful, you should consult the following guide on what you need to consider, to find the perfect property: 

  • Consider the area you want to live in – ask any estate agent what the most important factor for choosing a property is, and the majority of them will tell you it is location. The area you choose to live in is probably as important as the very home you choose to live in. To that end, you have to be realistic about what you can afford. Ask yourself what sort of setting you prefer – suburban, rural, urban. Will you be commuting to work and how long is it going to take you, based on existing transport links. All of these factors go into consideration for the area you want to live in. 

  • Always plan long-term – some first-time buyers just feel like getting their foot on the property ladder, before they switch places after several years. However, the reality is that people end up living in the same home for a longer period than they tend to estimate at first. Therefore, it is important to consider that and go for a future-proof home. Moving frequently is very expensive, so you may want to buy a home that can support you grow into it. This is all the more important if your plans feature having a family and children.  

  • It is possible to stretch yourself – when you consider all of the factors surrounding owning a home, you have to keep in mind the fact that it usually gets more affordable the more you live there. Your costs for furniture and home improvements will gradually decrease over time. The cost of your mortgage won’t increase significantly and most only vary with the interest rate. If you can raise your monthly income, which is possible save from losing your job, you should be able to afford the property you live in after just a few years. 

  • What are the trade-offs? – finding the property of your dreams is highly unlikely, and most often you will make trade-offs. But sometimes those are just hidden opportunities. For example, if you don’t mind the noise of a busy road, you can pay a lower price. If there is a big school next to a property, it is likely to be quite noisy, which wouldn’t bother you if you are out of the home during school hours. 

  • Pay better attention to fundamentals – many factors fall in the superficial category, and then there are fundamentals. Being able to distinguish both is of utmost importance. For example, changing the colour scheme of your home is doable, but you cannot do much about the total floor area. If there are any ugly features, you can expect the value to drop, but at the same time, they may be very easy to remove. 

  • Use an agent to help you out – many first-time buyers fall into the trap of making costly mistakes. The risks can be minimised if they choose an estate agent to guide them through the process, and help them each step of the way. 

© Open Estates

 

5 Good Reasons to Work with an Estate Agent

 

If you want to sell a house, you may decide that you need help. And the best form of assistance you can get lies in the form of estate agents. Instead of doing everything on your own, you can work with a professional in the field. There are very good reasons to do so: 

  • They can help you set the right value for your home – one of the main duties of an estate agent is to provide their expertise on setting the right value on your home. After all, if the price you set is way off, you cannot expect a quick sale. Estate agents have a lot of knowledge on the local property of comparable homes. In addition, they can check the prices of sold homes from the Land Registry, to give you an even more accurate quote for your home. Of course, you should always do your research, to get an idea of how much properties like yours are worth. You too can check with the Land Registry figures, or even get a free valuation. You can then get a few different valuations, to ensure that the price is objective and is based on features and what buyers value in the area. 

  • They can market your home – another important job of an estate agent is to market your home. They will arrange a professional photographer to do some photos, draw up a floor plan that is 100% accurate and come up with an attractive description to use in a brochure or online. These are all basics that may not even cost you anything. Your estate agent should see to it that your property is well-advertised on major websites. They will manage the listing and make the necessary updates, to ensure you get the quick sale you hope for. 

  • They will conduct viewings – when there is interest in your home from prospective buyers, your estate agent will work to arrange viewings for them. They will show the buyers around the property and answer any questions they may have. Sometimes, estate agents arrange for multiple buyers to come at the same time, which is known as an open house. The best thing about the estate agent conducting viewings is that they are mostly seen as a neutral party. The buyers will ask them questions they wouldn’t normally bother you with. Nowadays, the estate agent may also resort to online viewings. 

  • They will manage the negotiation process – this duty of an estate agent is a really important one. They will assume the role of a go-between for the buyer and you, as the owner. They will accept offers and pass them onto you and relay your response to the buyer. There are a whole lot of negotiation tips and tactics that the agent can use because they have to ultimately put your interest as a seller first. 

  • They should do checks on the buyer – time is money and estate agents know this well enough. That is why they must take proactive steps in finding out just how available are the funds of the buyer and relay this information to you. They may ask the buyer to show an agreement in principle regarding a mortgage they have secured. The estate agent will then move the offer towards and then see if the buyer can achieve the funds stated in their offer. 

These are all major reasons why you will want to work with an estate agent when selling a property. Find an expert you trust and you will have great success. 

© Open Estates

6 Things Every Estate Agent Does for Their Client

 

Have you ever wondered what an estate does for their client exactly? They take a fee when they sell a property, but that doesn’t mean it is a simple process on their side. The following guide aims to provide a few of the important things that an estate agent can do for you: 

  • Evaluates your home – one of the things that an estate agent can do for their client is to help them evaluate their home. Setting the worth of a property is a major aspect because it needs to be competitive concerning the current market situation. They use their expert knowledge of the property market, in addition to any nuances added by relative factors, such as the area of the property, the market situation, the specifics of the property, etc. Sometimes, it pays to get evaluations from more than one estate agent, just to see if any of them are over-estimating the price, to secure you as their client. This is a bad practice, which some agents, unfortunately, resort to. 

  • Market your home – another important aspect of the work of estate agents is their commitment to marketing your home. This includes having professional photographs, drawing an accurate floor plan and a description that attracts interest. Such extras should all be included in the fee that the agent charges for selling and marketing your home. Your estate agent should also be able to explain what the legal requirements are for marketing your home. This includes getting an Energy Performance Certificate. The estate agent might be able to connect you to an assessor, who will do the necessary work to provide you with one. 

  • Conducts viewings – the estate agent should also conduct viewings and have potential buyers check out the property. They should answer any questions and queries these buyers have. The agent may also arrange an open house, where several buyers come to visit at the same time. The benefit of having an agent deal with viewings is that you can save some effort on your side. Additionally, it is viewed as a more neutral way of doing things. 

  • Negotiate on your behalf – the estate agent can accept offers for your property and then relay your response to them. The goal of the agent during this time is to have the best interest of the seller as to their main goal. In that sense, they can initiate and lead negotiations, so that both sides come to a mutually agreeable consensus. 

  • Check how serious the buyer is – estate agents take proactive steps to learn more about the availability of funds for the buyer. This covers things like whether the buyer needs a mortgage, or is a cash buyer. Even if the buyer is not financially qualified, the agent should put it through to the seller. After that, the estate agent needs to monitor the buyer’s progress on achieving the funds. 

  • Keeps the sale moving – when the buyer accepts an offer, the estate agents issue a Memorandum of Sale to all parties involved – buyer, seller and their solicitors. The estate agent will then make sure things move forward at a quick pace because nobody likes to have a delay due to unexpected issues popping up. At this stage, the estate agent acts as an adviser to the seller, and their role is quite helpful. 

These are all important aspects of the work of an estate agent that you need to keep in mind. That is how you will be able to make the most of using such services. 

© Open Estates

 

What a Letting Agent can do for a Landlord?




A letting agent’s main focus of work is to ensure that the properties of their landlord clients are well managed. This could include a wide range of services, from finding tenants, to collecting rent and managing the tenancy aspects. 

However, many people still have some misconceptions as to what a letting agent is and isn’t responsible for. Landlords need to get into the details of this question since they are the ones who most commonly work with a letting agent, or find themselves in a dispute with one. In this guide, we will explain much of the details surrounding the work of a letting agent and what they are responsible for. 

To start, what a letting is not responsible for 

Knowing what a letting won’t do for their client – the landlord – is equally important as knowing what they will do. 

  • They aren’t responsible for legal obligations – every good letting agent will provide some advice on their client being legally compliant. However, in the case of any shortcomings, it is the landlord who will be responsible. In reality, many agents will say things like they will make sure the landlord is ticking all of the legal boxes, which could lead some to believe that they will be the ones bearing the legal burden. However, it is always the landlord bearing legal responsibility. The landlord is always viable for what the agent does when it comes to the ambit of their authority. 

  • Problems with tenants and rent arrears – an agent will always do their best to find good tenants, who pay on time and look after the property. However, if any tenant ever goes rogue, it is not the responsibility of the agent. They will try to resolve the situation, but the burden falls on the landlord. 

Kinds of letting agents and their services 

Many people believe letting agents are all the same, but that is not true. Every agent tailors their service differently. One agent may provide a fully managed service + property inventory, while the next will do just the fully managed service, without an inventory. 

Online letting agent service 

Many landlords opt not for the traditional high-street letting agent, but the online letting agents. It is cheaper, but the service also creates a little bit of confusion as to what the responsibilities of the letting agent are. The main difference is that they operate through phone and email. 

Responsibilities all agents share 

Regardless if they are an online agent or a high-street one, all letting agents share some responsibilities. 

  • They must be a member of a government-approved letting agency redress scheme 
  • They must be able to guide tenancy agreements 
  • They must guide the landlord on their legal responsibilities 
  • They offer general knowledge on tenancies and best practices 

Tenant find service 

Another major aspect of a letting agent’s responsibilities is the tenant-find service. There are some differences between the way it works for a high-street agent and an online agent. 

  • For high-street agents – they focus on marketing and advertising. They arrange photography and floor plans, organise tenant viewings and do all of the workaround tenant referencing and credit checks. 
  • Online agents – they also do advertising and marketing, although on a lower scale than high-street agents. They send the landlords leads from any prospective tenant and it is the landlord who organises viewings. The landlord needs to address much more legal work when they are working with an online agent, which is also reflected by the price of the service. 

© Open Estates

 

How Does Property Investment in the UK Work?




If you wish to get yourself into property investment in the UK, you have to do it fully informed on what you can do and what works. If this has been a dream of yours, it is good to know that it can be fully realised, only if your finances are in check. If you want to succeed, you want to make sure you are up for the task. Here is a quick guide on the matter, which can help you determine just that. 

What are your investment options? 

UK wide, there are different ways to invest in real estate. You are free to buy property directly, but you can also choose to invest differently. The most popular options are: 

  • Real estate investment trusts – these are investment funds focused solely on property investment. You can choose this method when you want to invest in property. It is easy to get in and out of, due to the fact the funds are pooled. This means a few investors are owning a property together. You get returns based on how well the investments are performing, including the rental income of the property within the trust. The entry point is rather small, making this a good option for anyone. 

  • Buy-to-let investment – when you buy a residential property with the idea of letting it out, that is a buy-to-let investment. As long as you keep in mind that there are maintenance and repair tasks involved, you can get yourself a net income every month, which should be enough to cover your mortgage payments. You can hire a property manager to take care of the usual tasks involved in maintaining a buy-to-let property. 

  • Buying a new build – this sort of investment involves buying a new build off-plan. It is risky since you don’t even see the finished property. There is always some chance the developer will go bust, or the property might end up different than how you imagined it. With such risks come certain benefits, like getting a really good deal. You can later sell the property at a profit, especially if you add value by finishing it and redecorating it. 

Should you go forward with your investment? 

This is a big decision to make. Sometimes, your money will drain as quickly as the returns, or even quicker. You need to know your limits and not overstretch them. Struggling with your finances is the last thing you want. You need to keep in mind that property investment is a long-term decision. It will hardly provide quick returns. This is especially the case with rental property. You may get your money out, but only after years have passed and the monthly payments have piled up in your favour. 

What risks are there? 

For starters, you need to know the housing market is in constant flux. The prices go up and down all the time and people always change the rentals scene. Investing in a property means a long-term commitment, through all the ups and downs of it. This means if the market is down and you have overstretched yourself, you will be in trouble. You need a lot of research, to minimise the risk and reap the best rewards of property investment. 

Can you afford this investment? 

You have to consider your expenditure and your income. Budgeting will allow you to determine how well you can perform. Additionally, consider if you can afford a mortgage. Use mortgage lender’s calculators to find out what payments suit you and how much they will cost you per month. 

© Open Estates