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7 Tips to Increase the Value of Your Home in Essex

Renovating

Increasing the value of your home in Essex is a smart way to go further with your investment. Even if housing prices naturally increase in the area as it develops, renovating and improving your Essex home will boost its value even further. Between improving its aesthetics for yourself, and increasing the financial value for when you sell, here at Essex Homes And Lettings we want to share with you our top seven tips to get you there!

1.    Keep your property in good repair 

Regularly deep clean your property, stay on top of any mould and damp, and generally aim to fix any issues as they arise. This will keep your home in great condition and help you spread out the cost of maintenance. In return, you won’t have to heavily negotiate on the price of your home when the time comes to sell, or risk it being actually unsellable because a small issue became a big issue simply because it wasn’t handled at the time.

2.    Install and nurture front and rear gardens 

Front and rear gardens are a great way to improve the overall look of your property, and almost 1 in 5 buyers want these features. As a bonus, you’ll have a project that will keep you fit, out amongst the nature, have a beautiful home, and a lovely place to sit!

Tip: Many people today are looking to live more sustainably. Having beautiful gardens is a great way to start, as it offers a breath of fresh air even in the density of a city. To really appeal to these buyers, however, consider investing in a kitchen garden. Something that can be easily maintained, such as a wall of herbs, for example as this can really help sell your home.

3.    Add character features to your property 

Far too often, beautiful character features get removed, so consider adding them in! Change lighting fixtures and fittings to options you find characterful or quirky, replace flooring to incorporate hardwood, add mouldings, beams and even an open fire or log burner. These character features add to the beauty of your home and can become a true selling point later on. At the very least, these character features will help your property stand out against the others in your area and make it easier to sell your property quickly.

4.    Improve your home energy efficiency 

In terms of adding value to both the sale price and your wallet now, improving your property’s energy efficiency is key. This means replacing windows if they are not double glazed – or if they are very old, as double glazing loses its efficiency over time – it means insulating your home and changing the main doors so that they are better sealed. It could also mean investing in a new heating system. Central heating is a popular option, but there are many alternative means to heat a home that are even more efficient. If you get these changes done early, you can lower the cost of your utilities, and boost the value of your home.

5.    Add a bedroom 

Adding a bedroom will instantly put your property into the next price bracket. A two-bedroom home will never sell for as much as a three-bedroom home, and if you have a sizeable loft you have the perfect opportunity to convert it. For even better results, add an ensuite!

Tip: Adding a home office or a playroom can be just as lucrative as adding a bedroom and can be done at a much lower cost. Add a rear extension to your property and use that extra space to make room for a downstairs office or child-friendly zone. With the rise of remote working, both of these options will appeal to working professionals and parents.

6.    Renovate the bathrooms

Modern bathrooms can look fantastic and help you feel like you have a spa in your own home! They can also increase the value of your property. Bathroom remodels are one of the top renovations that buyers and homeowners want done for their property, and new technology and materials are better than ever at keeping the room sealed and your home free of damp.

7.    Renovate the kitchen 

Kitchen styles come and go, and chances are the kitchen you inherited when you bought the house is not to your standards or tastes. Renovate with timelessness in mind and remember to ensure your kitchen’s value is in line with your property’s value. A successful kitchen renovation can boost the value of your home significantly, but make sure you stay within your budget so that you see the value back.

For expert advice on increasing the value of your home in Essex, contact the team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 today.

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8 Essential Tips That Can Help You Sell Your Home in Essex

Selling

Keen to sell your home in Essex as quickly as possible? Worried that your Essex property is still on the market? 

Although finding the right estate agent is a crucial part of getting your property sold, there are a few things you can do yourselves to help move the process along. Try these tips and it won’t be long before you have a few good offers pouring in and you can enjoy the search for your next new home! 

Read on for our eight essential tips to help you get your property off the market, quicker: 

1.Declutter 

Let’s start with the simplest (albeit slightly tedious) thing you can do to help stage your home for viewings. It’s time for a deep decluttering session! 

We’re not clutter-shaming. Getting rid of all the clutter allows interested buyers to see the full potential of the space during viewings. And not only will it make your property look more spacious, but it’ll also mean that your eventual packing becomes much easier. Bonus. 

2.Put some of your personal items away 

Although you don’t want your home not to look like a home, you also don’t want it to look too much like your home. You want potential buyers to walk in and be able to easily picture themselves living there. Removing family photos and more personal items can help make that possible. Viewers will be able to walk around and envision themselves and their own families living there.

3.Invest in professional property photography

As much as you may fancy yourself as a good iPhone photographer, now’s the time to turn to an expert. Trust us, a professional photoshoot will go a long way in helping your online property listings get a lot more interest. Many good estate agents are affiliated with a skilled property photographer and can offer this service. They’ll light up your home to make sure it’s showcased in the most visually appealing way. No filters necessary.

4.Ask your estate agent to create a video tour

While excellent photos are a ‘must have’ for property listings, few listings up until very recently also have a property video tour. These video tours can really help bring a property to life and are likely to capture more engaged leads. 

Ask your estate agent whether they offer this service to help your online listing stand out. If they don’t, see if you can find a professional videographer who’d be happy to create a short video of your property for a small budget. We wouldn’t recommend creating this yourself – but you should definitely share it on social media once created! 

5.‘Neutralise’ your furnishings

Another way to make it easier for viewers to picture themselves in your home is to create a more neutral setting. Turn to more muted colours for things such as your bedding and curtains. Remember, loud colours and bold prints may not necessarily be to everyone’s taste. 

An easy way to give your home more mass appeal is to strip any wallpaper and give it a fresh lick of neutrally coloured paint. Opt for lighter colours to reflect light and make your home look more spacious. 

6.Add some homely touches 

We know, we just asked you to remove personal items and make your home more neutral. But hear us out. 

Although many of the little decor changes mentioned above will help turn your property into a more neutral living space, you don’t want to strip it of all personality. Add little touches such as soft throws, scented candles and fresh flowers. These are safe options which can help your home look homely without alienating any potential buyers.

7.Use social media to share your property listing 

Although it’s your estate agent’s job to advertise your property, there’s no harm in you sharing the online listing. We recommend sharing the listing in your network. You never know, someone on your Facebook Friends list may always have had a crush on your home! 

8.Hire a great estate agent 

We’ve saved the most important tip for last. The estate agent you choose will make all the difference to how quickly your property gets sold. Although you may be tempted to go with the one with the lowest fee – don’t. Interview and research any estate agent thoroughly before you opt for them. Find out more about their experience and marketing strategy, and ask which property portals they will list your home on. 

Asking all the right questions when vetting estate agents will save you a lot of time (and money) and ensure your property is off the market before you know it!

For no-obligation advice on buying or selling your home in Essex please contact our expert property team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466. We look forward to helping you.

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What is the Difference Between Freehold and Leasehold?

Freehold vs Leasehold

Buying a new home in Essex is a commitment, and it’s not one that you should ever take lightly. It’s also not something you should go into blind. Having a deposit saved up, looking at your budget, knowing what you need from the property ahead of time – all of these things will help immensely when buying a house.

Knowing the difference between a freehold and a leasehold is also important as it can impact which properties in Chelmsford you will be looking at as a whole. Knowing if you’re happy to look at leasehold properties or if you only want to view freehold properties can streamline your hunt for a new home immensely.

So, first, let’s look at Freehold:

What is a Freehold? 

A freehold means you buy not only the house but also the land it sits on. You own it and are responsible for the upkeep and in charge of all the decisions. If you want to extend, change, or renovate the property the only obstacle is the relevant planning and building permissions.

Share of Freehold

You might also come across a concept known as Share of Freehold which means you are a leaseholder that is a director of the Leasehold company. This is mostly the case when purchasing a flat, as you do not own the whole property, only a portion of it. You will then enter into a ‘Share of Freehold’ agreement with the other flat owners.

What are the Benefits of a Freehold? 

When you own a Freehold, you own it outright. You have control over the property and land and don’t need to worry about your Leasehold tenancy ending.

Now let’s look at Leasehold:

What is a Leasehold?

As the name suggests, you own the property for a certain tenure of years, but you do not own the land itself. This means you have to pay a ground rent, which, in most cases, is a small amount, though it can be increased at any time. New legislation is in progress to reduce Leasehold ground rents though, and in the future this could either be zero or a very small, fixed-rate sum.

When the lease expires, the ownership of the property reverts to the freeholder. Leasehold agreements are commonly 99 years or 125 years, with some extending 500 or even 999 years.

If you like the look of a Leasehold property, it is important to know how long is left on the lease as this will affect you when it comes to securing a mortgage. Lenders generally won’t loan you money if there is less than fifty years left on the lease after the mortgage lending period, and so it is recommended not to buy a Leasehold property that has less than 80 years left. If the Leasehold you are looking at does have less than 80 years, you can see about options for renegotiating with the freehold owner to extend the Leasehold to its full amount or even longer.

What are the Benefits of a Leasehold? 

You don’t have to repair the outside, right of way access, or maintenance of the property itself. You are only responsible for the interior of your property. During the Leasehold, you can sell on your home as usual.

What are the Downsides of a Leasehold? 

You will need to adhere to the rules set out by your Freeholder, which includes ground rent and the service charge collected to handle the upkeep of the building and common areas.

When the Leasehold tenancy ends, your entire property reverts back to the freeholder, so even if you technically own the building during the Leasehold, you don’t once the tenancy ends. This makes it very difficult to sell on and recoup your investment cost once the tenancy nears 80 years or less, whereas with a freehold you can sell for market value or even rent the property out.

There is an increasing trend for Leasehold properties – particularly in shared ownership schemes, so it’s important to ensure you know whether the property you are interested in is freehold or leasehold before you buy!

If you are considering buying a property for sale marketed through Essex Homes And Lettings, our friendly, knowledgeable team can advise you!

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Spare Room? 5 Ways to Make it Work for You

Spare room

If you’re fortunate enough to have a spare room in your home then there are lots of ways you can make full use of it, without letting it go to waste.

Unfortunately, spare rooms often become dumping grounds for all those items that haven’t found their place yet, or which don’t get used anymore but you can’t bear to let go of either.

If this sounds familiar, then clear it out and consider these five ways to make your spare room work for you.

  1. Convert it into a Home Office

With more of us now working from home, turning your spare room into a home office could be just what you need, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

All you really need is a basic desk or worktop that can be easily fixed to the wall and an office chair. That’s it. Of course, you can add filing cabinets, bookcases, shelves and anything else that springs to mind, but a work surface and a chair will be adequate to get you started.

The beauty of it is, it’s your space to personalise exactly how you want, and it’s far better for your posture than being curled up on the sofa with your laptop. It’s also a great way of separating your home and work life, with the dining room table going back to being the space where you eat, and the office being exclusively for work.

Thinking longer term, demand for properties with a home office has increased dramatically recently, so an office space could make your home more attractive to buyers if you plan to sell in the future.

  1. Home Gym

This is probably the most expensive option on the list, but it’s also the most beneficial healthwise, and you’ll save money on gym membership over the long term.

You can start small and build up your equipment. Purchase a mat, a step, some dumbbells or kettlebells, resistance bands and a bench to start with, before moving onto bigger and more expensive equipment such as a treadmill, spin bike or rowing machine if there’s sufficient space.

If you use it regularly you’ll not only become physically fitter, but your mental wellbeing will improve too.

Having a gym inside your home will also help you avoid making excuses to exercise and ensure you start working on those fitness goals you’ve been putting off!

  1. Rent it Out

If you’re looking for some extra income then renting out the spare room is the perfect solution.

There are numerous ways to do this and understandably many people are quite sceptical, so if the idea of having a stranger living in your home is too daunting then you could rent it out to a friend or relative for a few months first.

On the other hand, if the idea of a stranger staying doesn’t bother you then a lodger will give you a guaranteed monthly income. You could also advertise the room on a website like Airbnb and have different guests using it for shorter stays.

The downside of doing this is that you won’t know how much you’ll earn each month, as some months could be very quiet, but if you live in a town or city with lots of attractions and events happening regularly, then this could be the most lucrative option.

If you choose to rent out your spare room the Government’s Rent a Room Scheme allows you to earn up to £7,500 per year tax-free. 

  1. Make it Multi-Functional

There’s no reason why your spare room needs to have one sole purpose. Why not combine ideas to get maximum use out of it?

For example, you could have a home office with a sofa-bed and a TV in it. This way you’ll have a workspace combined with a snug or second living room, and a place for visitors to stay.

Or you could have an office, with a bar and a dartboard in it for after hours! There are countless possibilities and you can be as creative as you like, so let your imagination run wild.

  1. Walk-in Wardrobe

Admit it, we’ve all watched one of those celebrity TV shows at some point and thought how cool it would be to have a room filled with all our clothes!

Well fortunately you don’t need to be a millionaire with a mansion to have this yourself, just a spare room and of course, a lot of clothes and shoes to fill it with.

When it comes to cost, you don’t need to fork out hundreds of pounds on new wardrobes and cupboards. Just some clothes rails and a few shelves will do the trick if you plan it well.

What will you use your spare room for?

Essex Homes And Lettings are your local property experts for the Essex area. Call us on 01245398466 or email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

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Essential Tips to Help You Rent Out Your Home

for rent

Considering renting out your home in Essex but not quite sure where to get started? You’re in the right place. With years of experience in matching landlords with tenants, we’ve got the lowdown on all the essential steps you need to take to rent out your home. The team at Essex Homes And Lettings have put together our top tips for homeowners who are now thinking of renting out their home:

First things first: research, research, research

As with most things, renting out your home in Essex should start with lots of research!

Start by checking out other properties being let in your area to see what’s on the market. What kind of features do they have? How much rent are they being advertised for?

We can help you greatly in this regard, allowing you to get a good idea of the local rental market and help you feel prepared.

Find yourself a great letting agent (Hint: we can help!)

This is an essential step that can make or break how smoothly the letting process goes.

If you’d like expert help with the letting process, take the time to find yourself a capable local letting agent. Do your research online and check out customer testimonials and online reviews.

We recommend getting quotes from at least three local letting agents and having a face-to-face meeting or video call with them all before you decide to entrust them with your property. 

We would love you to choose Essex Homes And Lettings to help you let your property, but we also understand that it’s essential you get a good fit. We are happy to discuss your requirements, and you can book an appointment with us on 01245398466 for an informal chat!

Not quite sure why you might need a letting agent? Here’s how we can help:

  • Advise you on how much rent to charge
  • Market the property for you
  • Hold viewings and show prospective tenants around
  • Draw up tenancy agreements
  • Deal with any property maintenance and repairs directly with the tenant on your behalf

Most letting agents will charge around 10% of your rental income for this service. Which brings us on to our next point…

Do the maths

Before you commit to renting out your home, take some time to weigh up the costs to see whether it will be worth it financially. You can do this once you’ve researched the market and spoken to us to get a better understanding of how much rent you should charge. Factor in tax, agent fees and any other costs involved in maintenance and management to figure out how much you’ll actually be left with.

Ask yourself: will this figure cover your mortgage payments and leave you with a little extra to justify the time and effort spent letting your property? You should also be left a little extra for any ‘in case of emergency’ funds.

Inform your mortgage lender

Once you’re sure it makes financial sense to rent out your property, follow the terms of your mortgage contract and let your mortgage provider know.

It’s easily done, just discuss a ‘consent for lease’ with them and once approved you’re free to start letting.

Arrange your landlord insurance

If you already have an insurer for your house, inform them of your decision to rent out your property. They may need to change your existing insurance policy to reflect that there will now be tenants living there. 

Protect your property and your investment further by sorting out landlord insurance. Some landlord insurance policies will cover you in case of missed rental payments. Please ask us for recommendations if you’re not sure where to find the best policy.

Prepare your property

Once you’ve done all your research, worked out your numbers and hired a reputable letting agent, it’s time to shift your focus back to the property itself. Before any tenants move into your house, there are a few vital preparation steps to take. These include the following:

  • Deciding whether you’ll be including furniture or renting out an unfurnished home. This is important to clarify early on in the process as some tenants are only looking for furnished homes.
  • Making sure any required maintenance checks and repairs are carried out before your tenants move in to avoid inconveniencing them.
  • Removing any items or pieces of furniture that could easily be damaged – there’s no point putting yourself through the stress of leaving them there!
  • Checking that all appliances are working and investing in any essentials that could sweeten the deal for potential tenants.
  • Giving your property a little spruce up and a fresh lick of paint if needed. Staging your house with appealing decor can make a huge difference in how quickly it comes off the market.

Interested in letting your property? For expert rental advice, please contact our team of professionals at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466.

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7 Small Space Gardening Ideas

Garden

As the summer months creep up on us, those with properties in Essex with small outside spaces are bound to be eager to make the most of them!

So, here are seven tips on how to maximise even the smallest of gardens.

Create a Herb Garden

Herb gardens are a great place to start for beginner gardeners with only a small amount of space.

Herbs require very little room to flourish, so they can happily be planted on balconies or even window boxes. Essentially, any area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day permits you the space to grow a beautiful herb garden.

Herbs taste and appearance are altered by fertiliser, so this should be omitted from the soil. These are straightforward to grow though; a daily watering is enough for the plants to thrive. Additionally, herbs are incredibly tolerant to changing and cooler weather conditions, making them perfect for our unpredictable British seasons.

Sage, Parsley and Mint are three of the easiest to grow herbs. Conversely, Basil does not cope well in windy conditions, and therefore should only be planted where it can be afforded a great deal of shelter.

Use Mirrors in Your Garden

Mirrors can be used in the garden to create the same illusions we use them for inside our homes. They are also a fun way to add a distinctive design and personal flair to your outside area.

Attaching a mirror to one side of the fence can completely transform your garden. It gives the impression of a much larger space but also bounces the light around magically.

Divide Your Garden into Sections

If you are lucky enough to have a garden but lack the size you desire, creating designated areas can give the sense of a bigger space.

Ensure there is somewhere for relaxing, adding quality and well-fitting garden furniture. Overcrowding with chairs that are too large will make the garden feel more cramped and render the space useless.

Create a purposeful planting section. If you want to grow fruits and vegetables, use raised beds that all sit at different heights. This allows you to make the most of your space and looks incredibly stylish. 

Add Hanging Baskets

For those who lack a massive amount of space, hanging baskets are a great way to add a splash of colour.

Petunias look particularly beautiful and can be used to frame doors and windows. Providing the basket is sturdy and has sufficient drainage, your Petunias will look fantastic with very little upkeep.

Hanging baskets can also be used to grow fruit and vegetables as a fun alternative for those who lack a traditional garden. Obviously, they are only appropriate for specific food items, but strawberries, tomatoes and small peppers can be grown happily in a hanging basket that receives plenty of sunlight.

Grow Plants Vertically

Growing vertically is the best way to garden in a very tight space. Attaching trellis or pots along the balcony or garden perimeter will maximise the number of plants and flowers your small area will permit.

Climbing plants such as Wisteria and Honeysuckle look stunning but can also offer a great deal of privacy for your outside space.

Attract Wildlife to Your Garden

Just because you don’t have an enormous garden doesn’t mean you can’t build one that attracts the local wildlife.

While there may not be enough space for an elaborate birdbath, there is more than likely enough room to hang a bird feeder, which will attract plenty to your outdoor area. Most of these feeders have a rim around the bottom for the birds to perch, meaning you do not have to build any other resting area.

Alternatively, consider hanging a bee hotel. These provide a sustainable nesting option for bees, a crucial part of the ecosystem in the UK.

For small gardens, allow wildflowers to grow around the perimeter. These look stunning and are a hassle-free way to inject colour into a small space. However, they are also great for insects, creating an ideal habitat.

Make Use of Communal Spaces

City centre living is becoming ever more popular, which usually comes at the sacrifice of outside space.

However, many blocks of flats are home to some form of communal outdoor area. This might be a shared garden or even a rooftop terrace.

Speak with your neighbours and consider how you can best use the space. It is unlikely you will be able to make any permanent changes; however, potted plants and vegetable beds can make a huge difference.

This will dramatically change the appearance of this communal area and be sure to bring the neighbourhood closer together.

Do you dream of a larger garden? Essex Homes And Lettings are your local property experts for the Essex area and we can help you find your dream home. Call us on 01245398466 or email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

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6 Budget-Friendly Home Decor Ideas for Your Essex Property

Decor

In these days of easy access to drool-worthy home decor inspo on Pinterest and Instagram, we’ve all suffered a case of design envy. Although these design ideas aren’t unachievable, many people get put off by the mere thought of how much redecorating their own home could actually cost.

As your local estate agent, we see stunning homes in Essex every day and we’re here to tell you that it’s very much possible to create an envy-inducing home of your own without breaking the bank!

You just need to get a little creative and take a few risks along the way.

Read on for our top 6 home decor ideas that are easy on your wallet:

1. First, kick off with a deep clean

We know, cleaning up isn’t exactly a decorating tip. But, hear us out here. Our experienced team of negotiators at Essex Homes And Lettings are all in agreement that a good decluttering session is the first step to transforming any room. By getting rid of all your clutter, you’ll get a much better idea of the space you’re working with. It also makes it easier to think of a coherent decor scheme, and you could get rid of some of the more dated design elements along the way.

The best part? Cleaning and decluttering doesn’t cost a thing.

2. Invest in some mirrors to open up a room

What’s one of the easiest ways to ‘add space’ to a room? Simply hang some mirrors.

Mirrors create the illusion of space by reflecting light, making smaller rooms instantly appear more spacious. Invest in some unique mirrors with interesting effects, and you’ll be adding style, light and space in one go.

And you don’t need to invest a lot. There are some great charity shops in Chelmsford  so head on over and upcycle old mirrors with a new frame or fresh paint.

3. Add some natural green

Amp up the style and the feel-good vibe of your home in Chelmsford by adding some cute indoor plants in quirky pots. Not only will they add some colour, but plants will also purify the air, and they’re known to boost your mood.

Plants aren’t pricey and can last for ages with care and love. Pop to the garden centre and buy local or check out online plant stores.

We’re not all green-fingered, so if you are worried about accidentally killing your plants, choose low-maintenance options such as jade or aloe vera that practically take care of themselves. Invest in a couple of statement pieces for the main living areas and dot smaller potted succulents around your bedroom and kitchen. Even your bathroom will benefit from a bit of green.

4. Style your bed

Yes, your bed is primarily for sleeping and lounging, and the occasional Netflix binge, but it can also be a statement style piece for your bedroom. And dressing it up won’t break the bank.

Get yourself some gorgeous new bed linen and an assortment of quirky cushions. Add a season-appropriate throw – furry for winter and bright/light for summer – to add a more cosy style.

If you’re feeling creative and don’t have a headboard, consider painting one on the blank wall behind your bed. It’s cheap and can easily be painted over whenever you fancy a change.

 5. Search for bargains online

Google makes bargain hunting a lot easier than it’s ever been, and home decor is a category where you can find some of the best bargains online. You’ll be surprised at just how many gems you can find on sites like eBay and Gumtree. If you’re prepared to go for second-hand or ‘pre-loved’ items, you can get your hands on quality furniture pieces for a lot less.

If you’re prepared to drive over for pickups, some online sellers are even willing to give away large items for free.

6. Give your walls a fresh lick of paint

Despite what some people may assume, you don’t need to be a DIY expert to paint a room in your home. Give any room a quick spruce with a fresh lick of paint. Or be bold and transform any space by painting a statement wall. This involves painting just one wall with a different colour or design, so it becomes the focal point of the room. You can also use wallpaper to create an interesting statement wall. 

A tin of paint or a roll of wallpaper is not expensive, and it’ll take just a few hours to make a significant style impact.

Once you’ve spruced up your property in Essex, give us a call at Essex Homes And Lettings and we’ll be delighted to give you a free valuation. We can be reached at sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk or 01245398466.

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What is the Minimum Deposit for a Mortgage?

Deposit

There are a host of steps to take before you reach that cathartic stage of packing everything up and moving into your new home in Chelmsford. Even before you start the thrill of house hunting, finding your dream home and making an offer, you will need to deal with the logistics, and the first logistic is saving up for your mortgage.

What is the Minimum Deposit? 

The absolute minimum deposit you can put down on a property is 5% of its value, but this can go further with a Help to Buy Scheme wherein the government provides either 20% or 40% of the property’s value to offset your mortgage rates.

As you can imagine, the minimum deposit will often mean you end up paying more throughout your lifetime than someone who has a greater deposit than 5%, and this is because with a larger deposit you will have more leveraging power and buying power, making you a more attractive choice to mortgage lenders.

How Much Deposit Should You Put Down? 

The minimum deposit is 5%, but the recommended amount is instead between 15% to 20% of the property value, as this will give you the ability to enjoy many benefits which is why it is wise to invest in a higher deposit.

Eventually you want to own your home in Chelmsford outright. This is the best possible scenario but of course due to the cost of buying a house this can take a number of years so it is highly likely that you will need a mortgage. With this in mind, a larger deposit is the best choice for all types of buyers, and there are many reasons to save up that higher amount:

You Have a Better Chance of Being Accepted 

You are not guaranteed a mortgage, and if you intend to only put down a 5% deposit then your lender may decline. This is because they often only offer a loan that is three times your annual salary. The higher your deposit, however, the less this will become an issue.

Lower Monthly Repayments 

You have more freedom in setting the terms of your mortgage when you have a high deposit. You could opt for a higher repayment plan with a lower interest rate, for example, or you can make your repayments lower and more affordable every month.

Better Mortgage Interest Deals 

Currently, you are likely to get better interest rates when you put down a larger deposit. This means that the bigger your deposit, the less you will pay in total overall. With the minimum deposit, banks will likely offer you a higher interest rate due to the increased risk on their investment.

You Are Less Likely to Fall into “Negative Equity”

The reason there is a higher risk with a small deposit is because you could fall into what is known as negative equity. Many factors can bring down your property’s value to lower than you originally paid for it and in this case, even if the bank repossesses your property, they cannot make back their initial investment making it a higher lending risk.

Help to Buy 

It is crucial to understand Help to Buy, which is a government scheme designed to help first-time buyers of new properties to own a home of their own. Full information can be found on the government website.

Help to Buy: Shared Ownership 

Shared ownership is available if you cannot afford the full cost of buying a new home. Instead, this programme buys a share of the property (between 25% to 75%) and you pay rent on the rest. As things improve you can then buy bigger shares in the property.

Help to Buy: Equity Loan 

The Help to Buy: Equity Loan is available throughout the UK with the exception of London. In this scheme, the government lends you 20% of the cost of a new build. This way, you can pay the 5% deposit and still benefit from a 25% down payment. Additionally, you won’t be charged fees on your Help to Buy loan for the first five years.

Help to Buy: Equity Loan London 

London housing prices are reflected in the Help to Buy: Equity Loan London programme, where the government increases the loan percentage from 20% to 40%. The rest of the programme works the same.

Understanding the minimum deposit you need to save is a great first start, especially if you plan on using the Help to Buy programmes to secure yourself a new home in Chelmsford. Of course, if you want to further improve your mortgage rate and monthly repayments it is always best to try to save as much as you can for your deposit.

For expert advice on all things property related, contact the team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 today.

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10 Things to Consider When Buying a House in Chelmsford

Top 20 tips

If you’re looking to buy a house in Chelmsford there are a few things you’ll need to think about before committing. Here we list 10 things to consider before taking the plunge and making a purchase.

1. Find Out Your Budget

It’s amazing how many buyers start viewing properties before they’ve even found out what their budget is. Many buyers have a vague idea and start looking well before getting the finance in place, only to find out they can’t borrow as much as they thought.

So, before you start viewing properties in Chelmsford and putting in offers, get in touch with a mortgage advisor to find out exactly how much you can borrow.

They’ll also be able to tell you how much your monthly repayments will be, which will allow you to work out how much disposable income you’ll have left each month.

2. Have Your Finances in Place… And Factor in Additional Costs

If your money is tied up in long-term funds or accounts then it may not be easy to access immediately, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get your funds released, and ideally transfer it into an instant access account when you’re ready to make a purchase.

It will save a lot of potential aggravation further down the line and will help to speed up the process if you have your funds readily available.

Another thing to consider is the additional costs that come with buying a property. Things like conveyancing fees and removal costs are unavoidable, but you’ll also want to think about items you’ll want in the property, such as furniture, electrical appliances, carpets and so on. After all, there’s no point in blowing your budget on a property if you can’t afford to furnish it!

3. Find the Right Location

Think about your current circumstances as well as your future ones. Do you need to be close to a train station? Is there a primary school close by?

Different buyers want different things when it comes to location, so think about what’s important to you and what’s not so essential.

4. Consider Outside Space

The recent Coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of people’s attitudes towards what they’re looking for in a property, with gardens being a huge positive for buyers.

You might not consider a garden to be essential, but having an outside space, even if it’s a small courtyard or a communal area can be very beneficial to your mental wellbeing.

5. Think About Office Space

It’s not just gardens that have become more important to buyers during the pandemic. With millions of people now having the option to work from home, properties with home offices have seen an increase in demand too.

So, if you’re one of the many people who’ll be spending more time working at home in the future, then a property with a study or the space for at least a desk may be perfect.

6. Does the Property Have Potential?

It’s worth considering what value you may be able to add to the property in future, or what a future buyer may see in it.

For example, is there space to add an extra bedroom or a conservatory? And if you’re only planning to own the property for a couple of years before moving on, is it likely to increase in value? Does it have good transport links or new facilities being built nearby for example?

7. What Condition Should the Property be in?

Are you looking for a house in Chelmsford that’s ready to move into tomorrow, or are you happy to spend time and money bringing it up to scratch?

You’ll need to consider these options when you’re looking around and potentially adjust your budget accordingly.

8. Find a Good Conveyancer

You don’t need to have a conveyancer in place before you start viewing properties, but the earlier you find one the smoother the process will be.

Get several quotes and ask family and friends and your estate agent if they can recommend anyone. A good, recommended conveyancer will help to keep the whole buying process as stress-free as possible.

9. Understand What’s Included

Try and find out which fixtures and fittings are included as soon as possible in the buying process, as it will allow you to work out if you need to budget for anything extra.

For example, appliances such as fridges, freezers and washing machines will probably not be included as part of the purchase, which could lead to several hundred pounds of additional costs to consider.

10. Keep Your Spending in Check Before You Buy

Remember, if you’re taking out a mortgage, your lender will be taking a deep look into your finances. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get them in check before starting the whole process.

Don’t go loading up your credit card with purchases, and if you’re able to pay off debts or make them more manageable, it will go a long way to helping you get approved for a mortgage.

Essex Homes And Lettings are your local property experts for the Chelmsford area. Call us on 01245398466 or email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.ukto chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

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8 Questions You Must Ask When Viewing a Rental Property in Chelmsford

Questions

Let’s picture the scenario. You’re looking at properties to rent, and you’ve seen some nice potential properties in Chelmsford. They are near your work, near open spaces. There’s parking too. All looks perfect and just what you need.

But, aside from the property looking great when you viewed, what else do you need to know from a potential landlord or your letting agent?

Here, we outline the eight questions you should be asking.

1. Who Has Responsibility for What?

When you’re starting to rent a property, you should always get an understanding of what your responsibilities and your landlords’ responsibilities are. Whether that’s for furnishings, bills, maintenance and of course for sorting out any issues that may arise during your tenancy. Don’t rely on your memory, make sure everything is in the contract. This way, everyone knows where they stand, and you’ll have written documentation if needed in the future.

2. What’s Included?

Again, this should be written in the contract, but ask about what’s included in the monthly rent. Your property might be fully-furnished, or it might only have white goods such as a fridge and an oven. Some bills might be included. You need to know so that you can work out if you can afford it and to avoid any nasty surprises.

3. Are Pets Allowed?

You may have a cat, or a dog, or even a parrot, but if your prospective landlord doesn’t accept pets, then you won’t be able to rent the property. Some landlords may be strict about this, even putting it in contracts, but some might look at pets on a case by case basis. Be open if you do want a pet and discuss the possibilities beforehand.

4. Can I Decorate?

If you feel the magnolia walls in the property could do with brightening up, and the curtains are just not right for the space, ask the landlord or agent if there is scope to decorate. Most will agree, on the proviso that when you leave, you should return it to how it was when you moved in. If you are going to decorate or hang pictures, make sure it’s done to a high standard. You don’t want a landlord retaining some of your deposit on the grounds of a bodge job.

5. Where are the Gas and Electrical Certificates?

Safety is paramount when you’re renting, and you don’t want to live somewhere that could put you or your family in danger. Landlords have a legal duty to carry out a gas safety inspection and an electrical safety inspection too. You are entitled to see these and be satisfied that they have been done in line with regulations. Get permission to take a photo of the certificates so that you have them ready if ever needed.

6. Who do I Deal With for Maintenance, Emergency or Other issues?

Sometimes, when you’re viewing a property, you will deal directly with the landlord. Other times, it is a lettings agent. A landlord will sometimes manage the property but will ask an agent to find a tenant. Or, it might be that they ask the agency to handle finding a tenant and manage the property going forwards. Either way, you need to know who is your first point of contact should you need to speak with someone about the property. Tenancy agreements should have all the contact details for your landlord. Make sure you have the correct information should you need them.

7. What is the Length of the Agreement?

Most of the time, a landlord will like a tenant to stay in the property for a long time. It saves them time and money from having to find a new tenant every six or twelve months. But you may need to rent for only a few months, perhaps because of work. Check the agreement and if there are penalties should you want to end the contract early.

8. Can I Install WiFi and a Landline?

This sounds simple, but where would we be without WiFi, phones, and TV? Ask if your new place has all these services already, and if not, check whether your landlord will allow you to have a new service wired to the property.

These eight questions are useful as a starting point, and should all be asked. If you need help with finding a rental property, or if you are a landlord looking for a management service, simply get in touch with us. Email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk or call us on 01245398466.