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2021 Interior Trends: Furniture, Colours and Styles for Your Home in Chelmsford

interior trends

Are you planning on giving your Chelmsford home a makeover in 2021? Maybe it’s time to ditch that tired old rug and sofa you’ve been hanging on to for years and drag your home into a brand new year?

For inspiration, here are some of the top interior trends coming for 2021 that we absolutely love!

Vintage

Homeowners are increasingly looking for ways in which to make their homes stand out, instead of the usual mass produced, flat-pack furniture that’s functional but not unique. Think antique sideboards and cabinets in dark shades of brown.

And the more unique the story is behind it, the better! Mooch around antique shops to find that perfect quirky piece.

Sustainable

As a society we’re more aware than ever of the damage that’s being done to our planet, and that’s reflected in the growing trend of buying individual items of furniture, instead of mass-produced products.

This also ties in with the vintage trend. Furniture that was built 50 years ago not only has its own story, but it will also have been built to last. A few scratches add to its character and it won’t fall apart and get discarded so easily.

Multi-Functional Space

With the huge increase in people working from home, our houses have increasingly become our offices too.

For those who aren’t lucky enough to have a dedicated space for a home office, the demand for multi-functional furniture is increasing.

Consequently, items such as storage ottomans are perfect for using as both a footrest at the end of a long day and also a place to store your laptop and any paperwork out of sight in the evening.

Minimalist

Not only have people been working from home more, they’ve also been spending more time at home in general, with many living rooms serving as an office, gym and bar at times, often on the same day!

As a result of this increased time spent indoors, the desire to declutter and make more use of the space available will be a growing trend throughout 2021.

This also relates to the trend of having multi-functional furniture and space.

Natural Materials

Furniture that’s made from natural materials is also set to be a big hit in 2021, with designers constantly coming up with new ways of combining natural materials.

This can be anything from wood and marble to ceramics and metals as designers combine textures and styles.

Earthy Colours

One of the biggest trends that’s set to drop in 2021 is the use of earthy colours such as mustards, greens, beiges, blues and browns.

With so many people having spent so much time indoors recently, colours that we associate with nature and the outdoors are going to be popular as people reconnect with the outside environment and try to bring it into their homes.

Shades of Pink

Love them or hate them, soft and neutral shades of pink are another top trend when it comes to colours in 2021.

It’s light and airy, which gives rooms a more spacious feel, and it goes with most other colours, so finding furniture to complement the colour scheme will be easy.

Ocean Waves and Distant Shores

The increased time we’ve all spent indoors has heightened many people’s longing to get away and take a break, and that’s reflected in the trend for colours that relate to soft sea blues and cloudless skies.

Blue is also a very tranquil and calming colour, so it’s perfect for anyone who’s spending more time indoors and looking to destress.

House Plants

Following on from the trend for earthy colours, indoor plants are also back in fashion.

Not only do plants add colour and life to a room, they also freshen the air and bring the outdoor environment into the home.

And with such a wide variety of plants to choose from, there’s something suitable for any room in the house.

Individuality

It’s not just vintage furniture that’s trending for 2021, any items that could be considered unique and individual are currently in fashion.

As we’ve been spending more time in our homes and less time in the office and out socialising, there’s a noticeable shift towards stamping our own imprint on our homes. Rather than go for the tried and trusted functional furniture that we might have previously chosen, there’s an increased trend towards individual furniture that reflects our own personalities.

Think animal-shaped lamps and tropical theme light shades for example, or bright and bold statement rugs.

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81% of buyers and sellers undeterred by third lockdown

sold

81% of homebuyers and sellers are undeterred by lockdown 3.0, according to new research by Benham and Reeves.

The lettings and estate agent surveyed over 10,000 homebuyers and sellers about their feelings towards another lockdown, its impact on their decision to buy or sell and how they felt about the viewing process while Covid remains a high-level threat.

The results found that athird national lockdown has deterred just 14% of buyers and sellers from a purchase or sale in 2021, with 81% intending to carry on as planned.

In London, 18% stated they would now put their plans on hold, the highest of any region, while buyers and sellers in the North East were the least deterred with just 11% choosing not to transact this year.

Just 4% of those already in the process of selling or buying are putting their transaction on ice until the current lockdown has ended, while 91% of those will carry on, likely spurred by the current stamp duty holiday.

Again, London is home to the highest percentage of those deciding to pull out or delay a sale or purchase (6%), while 96% of buyers and sellers in the North East are undeterred.

While many remain keen to transact, the physical viewings process does pose a concern for the majority. 50% of those asked, stated they didn’t feel safe hosting or attending a viewing while 41% did and 9% preferred not to say.

Attending or hosting a viewing was the biggest concern in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the West Midlands, while those in the North East and East of England felt the safest about it.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented: “Homebuyers and sellers remain largely undeterred about transacting despite yet another dose of lockdown restrictions and this is no doubt due to the dangling carrot of a stamp duty holiday that remains in place until March, at the very least.

“Understandably, physical viewings pose a greater concern although the industry remains well-positioned to carry out all stages of the transaction process in a safe and appropriate manner.

For those that are worried, there are things you can do to put your mind at rest. All agents should be sending you their Covid protocols anyway but be sure to request

“Any agent worth their salt will have their house in order where Covid compliancy is concerned. We’ve spent a great deal of time, money and effort to ensure we operate above and beyond the government guidelines as the safety of our clients is paramount. But for those that are still unsure, we also offer the option of video viewings, as we have done for our international clients for the last five years. So while some agents may find it a shock to adapt, we’ve managed to take it in our stride and it’s business as usual as we keep the wheels moving for your sellers and landlords.”

Original Article from Financial Reporter 12/01/2021

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Extend stamp duty holiday to ensure ‘no sudden collapse in the spring’

stamp duty

Despite residential property prices continuing to increase, there are growing signs that the market will soon run out of steam, especially if the stamp duty holiday is not extended, risking a damaging economic downturn, according to David Alexander, the joint chief executive officer of apropos by DJ Alexander.

He joins various estate agents, surveyors and solicitors in lobbying the government to extend the stamp duty holiday, as buyers rush to beat the 31 March deadline.

Alexander, like many agents, wants the government to phase the stamp duty cut out over six months to a year to ensure the housing market does not hit “a brick wall at the end of March”.

With the SDLT threshold extension set to end in less than three months, Alexander is concerned that there is a serious risk of the market hitting a financial cliff edge which could result in a sudden fall in property values.

If this is coupled with a significant increase in capital gains tax on second homes and investment properties, then much of the recent growth in the market could quickly become dissipated in a short period.

Alexander commented: “The fast-growing property market has been one of the surprises of the pandemic with few predicting that it would be so buoyant over such a prolonged period. The SDLT threshold extension undoubtedly contributed to this boom along with buyers changed priorities and shifting housing demands initiated by owners and tenants’ reactions to the lockdown.”

“The resultant boom has led to substantial increases in average house prices over the last seven to eight months which shows little sign of abating unless the market hits a brick wall at the end of March. It would be a shame, and potentially damaging to the economy, if the gains of the last year were simply lost through a sudden ending of the stamp duty extension.

“The most sensible and balanced approach would be to continue the threshold extension and phase it out over six months to a year to ensure there is no sudden collapse in the spring. In this way we could ensure some continuity and stability in the property market at a time when many may feel that there is very little certainty in employment, finances, or the wider economy.”

Alexander added: “There is much to be optimistic about in the coming year but there is also a balancing act to be struck by the government to ensure that the gains the property market has made in recent months are not simply dissipated in a loss of momentum in the market and unfair and unprecedented property tax hikes in the Budget.”

Original Article from Property Industry Eye 04/01/2021

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Capital gains tax could ‘be brought into line with income tax rates’

CGT

Capital gains tax (CGT) increases could be around the corner as the chancellor Rishi Sunak looks to find the money needed to cover the government’s unprecedented spending and borrowing during the pandemic.

Given that the prime minister Boris Johnson has already ruled out a return to “austerity” in public spending, this money will have to come from somewhere.

There has been speculation for some time that CGT rates would increase.

Anthony Codling, CEO, twindig, commented: “As we enter 2021 chancellor Rishi Sunak is reviewing the structure of UK taxes. The pandemic has been costly in both emotional and economic terms, UK government debt is at an all-time high and eventually, these debts will need to be repaid. Taxes are therefore likely to rise.”

CGT is currently charged at 20%, but there are growing calls that it should be increased to 28% across the board or possibly aligned to income tax rates – at up to 45%.

The government’s tax adviser recently recommended that CGT be overhauled with proposals that could see the number of people hit by the duty increase sharply.

Rishi Sunak, who commissioned the review, is considering proposals by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), a Treasury-based body, to reform capital gains tax in the light of the economic and fiscal impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

The move has the potential to bring in an extra £14bn by reducing exemptions and doubling rates, according to the review.

Codling said: “Our working assumption is that capital gains tax rates will be brought into line with income tax rates, higher rate taxpayers will therefore pay higher rates of capital gains tax.”

Currently, a taxpayer’s primary residence is exempt from capital gains tax, but this could soon change for some homeowners.

He added: “We do not expect this exemption to be taken away completely, but we would not be surprised if the amount of exempt gain was subject to either an annual cap, a lifetime cap or a combination of both. This would be similar to pension relief where the amount of tax benefit in any one year is capped as well as the taxpayers lifetime tax benefit.

“Second-home and buy-to-let property gains are already subject to capital gains tax at a higher rate [28%] than the capital gains on other assets [20%]. We forecast that these rates will be equalised and reflect the taxpayer’s income tax rates.

“This will mean a tax rate increase for higher rate taxpayers and a lower tax rate for those with earnings below the higher rate tax threshold. However, it is likely that a capital gain on a property will move a lower rate income taxpayer into the higher rate tax bands.”

Original Article from Property Industry Eye 04/01/2021

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Rental growth ‘slightly positive’ for 2021 say surveyors

rent

Rental growth expectations remain “slightly positive” across most of the UK according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors market snapshot.

The assessment is based on surveyor sentiment rather than hard data, but RICS says its lettings sector members in most parts of the country anticipate an increase in volumes and rent from early in 2021.

However in December – for the third consecutive month – a net balance of in excess of 60 per cent of respondents expect rents to fall in London over the coming three months, making the capital city a clear exception to the rest of the UK.

There’s also bad news for London from the Home website, which runs a monthly monitor on the lettings market.

Its December index says overall supply in the UK rental sector is 1.4 per cent down year-on-year, with particularly severe shortages are to be found in most English regions and in Wales, forcing up rents. 

The largest annualised hikes are in Wales (up a huge 16.2 per cent) and the West Midlands (up slightly more at 17.0 per cent).

But Home says the Greater London area now shows acute oversupply in properties available to rent – a rise of 54 per cent over the year. 

Rents in the capital are in freewill, claims Home, down 16.0 per cent in 2020. 

“This dire situation is having a severe knock-on effect for the capital’s buy-to-let sales market” the site concludes.

Recent research by flat sharing website SpareRoom also spells bad news for London’s lettings market in the near term at least.

According to the research, 27 per cent of renters in the capital plan to move after the pandemic has come to an end, with half of them determined to leave the city completely. 

“With 60 per cent of all renters who plan on moving post-Covid-19 are not looking to move to a major city, a wider shift away from city living looks likely” says the website.

Original Article from 22/12/2020

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Revealed – the biggest cause of claims by landlords against deposits

landlord

Just over half the claims made by landlords against tenancy deposits in 2020 cited a need to clean or make repairs to the property or its contents, The Deposit Protection Service has revealed.

Costs for damage made up 27 per cent of claims, while cleaning was cited in 25 per cent and outstanding bills in just two per cent.

DPS managing director Matt Trevett says: “It can be very frustrating for both parties when a landlord feels they need to charge a tenant for problems that could have been addressed before they left the property.

“We always encourage landlords and tenants to stay in touch throughout the tenancy so everyone understands their obligations and can work together to find solutions before a tenancy ends.

“This includes an awareness of the standard to which a property must be cleaned when tenants vacate as well as the need to address any damage or wear and tear beyond what you might reasonably expect to have occurred during a normal tenancy of its length.”

Figures for 2020 from the DPS’s dispute resolution service show landlords who entered dispute were awarded at least some of their claim in 75 per cent of cases, with tenants awarded at least part of the amount claimed in 80 per cent of cases.

The DPS adds that around £4m of deposit money had gone to landlords through its resolution service process during 2020, although just three per cent of all tenancies had ended in dispute.

Original Article from Letting Agent Today 30/12/2020

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8 Fun Christmas Party Games for You and Your Guests

Christmas

Who needs some fun? You don’t? Oh yes you do. Christmas will soon be here, and hopefully, some of us will get to mix for Christmas time fun and quality family time.

It got us thinking though, what sort of games can you play at Christmas that the whole family will enjoy?

Here are our thoughts but of course, if you know of some great family festive games, let us know by emailing sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk, and we will share them on our social media.

1. Hunt the Candy Canes

This will get your children moving about. Grab some candy cane treats and hide them around the house. Then, send the children to find them, making sure they have collected all of them before they can start munching!

Let’s be honest, you’ll need a sit down so as the children are looking for candy canes, have a rest with a little glass of something festive!

2. Snowballs

White marshmallows make great snowballs. And what do snowballs make? Snowball fights! Now we’re not talking about launching them at each other, but you could either see who can toss the most into a cup or bucket. Whoever collects the most gets to eat them! YUM. Make sure your hands are super clean for this one!

3. Gloves On

This is a staple favourite in many households and is COVID friendly! All you need is a pair of oven gloves or mitts, and some things to pick up. You then take it in turns to try to pick up objects like a tennis ball, sweets or a pencil. You’ll be all fingers and thumbs as it’s trickier than it looks. While it is fun, avoid any tears and tantrums by making sure there is something that little ones will be able to pick up.

4. Ho-Ho-Hoopla

This game is straightforward. All you need is an ornamental reindeer (nothing precious or fancy) and some hoops. Aim to throw one of the rings over a reindeer’s antler. The winner gets to snaffle a sweet! Make sure the reindeer is not breakable or sentimental!

5. Pics of Christmas Past

This can be great fun. It’s a guess who game. Before the big day, ask your family and friends to send you pictures of themselves at Christmas parties when they were children. Tie the photos on a piece of tinsel and then take it in turns to guess who! With COVID restrictions in place, you may have to ask for pictures of people who may not necessarily be in your home, but who is known to all who will be visiting.

6. Would you Rather?

This is dead simple. If you have children, chances are they will ask you the “would you rather” question. For example, would you rather eat a fried worm, or stand on an upturned piece of lego? You can turn this into a game. Get an empty jar and some paper. Cut the paper up into squares big enough to write on and ask everyone to write something – as horrible as you wish! Pop the folded pieces of paper into the jar. You then take it in turns to pull out two pieces each. The question is “would you rather…”, and then you have to choose between the answers. Keep it clean and be careful with what is written if you have young children!

7. Knock the Snowmen Down

Fun, and yet sometimes annoying, this game is simple to create. Use some white polystyrene cups turned upside down. Draw snowman faces on each one and then stack them up. You and your guests then have to use a ball of cotton wool or scrunched up wrapping to try and knock over the snowman.

You can get creative with your children with this one. They will love creating the faces of the snowmen.

8. Draw the Carols

Cut up some paper and write on each one the name of a different carol. Divide your guests into teams of two. One teammate picks out a piece of paper and then has to draw that carol – their teammate has to guess the carol. You can play this game as individuals or in pairs. If in pairs, alternate, whoever does the drawing element.

Christmas is a time for fun and family, particularly this year. Making it even more fun is vital for children, but games don’t have to break the bank.

We’re a fun team and have cupboards full of ideas when it comes to Christmas games! We’re also property experts! Get in touch at sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk or call us on 01245398466.

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Hold the tinsel! Ditch the mistletoe! The house won’t sell…

Christmas

We’re sure agents have been working hard to urge vendors to take it easy on the dodgy decorations if there are viewings taking place at the moment – and here’s evidence of why it pays to be careful.

Bankrate UK spoke with 1,000 people who have been to view homes for sale which have been decorated, and asked for specifics on what tinsel-tactic features put them off the most. 

Firstly no fewer than 60 per cent admitted to having been deterred by decorations in principle, with the biggest specific turn-off (for 26 per cent) being large inflatable Christmas characters.

Another 23 per cent found electronic characters like Waving Santas or Moving Reindeer) the most off-putting.

Then came religious scenes and statues (23 per cent) closely followed by the overall feeling of internal clutter (22 per cent).

Excessive external lights – we’ve all seen them – put off 20 per cent.

Nisha Vaidya, mortgage expert at Bankrate UK, says: “While decorations are wonderful, homeowners looking to sell their property in December should be mindful that buyers may not have the same taste in festive decor. 

“For example, too many decorations can make a property appear small and cramped or can be too distracting for buyers who are trying to envision themselves in the home. Sellers should consider their buyers when decorating for Christmas.”

Agents who may be feeling distinctly un-Christmassy because their vendors have gone over the top with the festive features may want to show them this story…

Original Article from Estate Agent Today 23/12/2020

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ONS: Rental prices hit an all-time high

ONS

Rents have increased to their highest level on record, according to the latest price index from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Private rental prices paid by tenants rose by 1.4% in the 12 months to November 2020 to hit an average of £725 a month, the data shows.

Unsurprisingly, London is once again home to the highest rental rates at an average of £1,435 a month — almost double the rate for the rest of England. 

The monthly rate for inner London was £1,690, while in outer London it was £1,300.

In contrast, the North East recorded the lowest monthly rate at £495. 

David Alexander, the joint chief executive officer of apropos by DJ Alexander, commented: “This data shows that, despite this being an extremely difficult year, rents within the private rented sector remain buoyant.”

But he pointed out that it is important to recognise that within these figures lie enormous regional and country variations with England increasing by 1.4%; Wales by 1.6%; and an increase of just 0.6% in Scotland.

Scotland’s rental growth has consistently been below that of the rest of the countries of the UK since August 2016. Indeed, the figure for November 2020 is below that of the lowest English region which is the South East which saw annual growth of 0.9% whilst the highest performing area is the South West at 2.3%.

Alexander continued: “The private rented sector is the second largest provider of homes in the UK yet is often treated as an outcast by politicians when discussions on how to provide sufficient housing for the future. Given these modest rental increases it is clear that landlords and investors may be making a living, but they are not earning a fortune.”

He added: “I would urge governments, regulators and legislators to engage closely with the PRS to ensure that it continues to be supported in providing millions of homes for people across the country. The PRS is an essential part of the housing mix in the UK and needs support now and in the future. Landlords, property investors, and individuals must be helped to get through the pandemic and out the other side if we are to have a stable, viable and healthy housing sector in the future.”

The traditionally quieter winter months for the lettings market could this year “be silent enough to hear a pin drop”, according to Franz Doerr, CEO at rental payments platform flatfair.

Doerr added: “Cooling demand means landlords, particularly those in more central areas, could struggle to quickly fill voids if tenants hand in their notices over the coming weeks.”

Original Article from Property Industry Eye 17/12/2020

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Centre Stage: 7 Tips for Staging Your Chelmsford Home Like a Pro

Staging homes

If you are considering putting your house in Chelmsford up for sale, but are not sure where to start, there are methods you can follow to help ensure it is fresh and market ready.

Not just for new build show homes, you should consider staging your home, or to put it another way, setting the scene to arouse immediate buyer interest in your property when it comes to market.

To be truly effective, you’ll need to look at staging both the inside and outside of your home, so here at Essex Homes And Lettings we have put together our seven top tips to get you started and on the road to staging your home like a pro.

Declutter

This is one of the most necessary things you can do. You’re going to be moving home anyway and will have to pack, so it makes perfect sense and is a straight-forward job to declutter and start packing at the same time. Pack up everything you don’t need and store the boxes out of sight in the garage if you have one, or consider temporarily renting a small storage unit. Keeping the look minimal can help sell your home.

Organise

Whilst we don’t like to think of strangers opening our cupboards, the reality is that they probably will. If you have built-in wardrobes, hang similar colours and garments together because this will make the cupboards look bigger. An organized space always appears larger, and you want your cupboards to look as tidy and spacious as possible.

De-personalize

You should de-personalize your home as much as possible when preparing to put it on the market. This is so that potential buyers can imagine themselves and their own belongings occupying the space. This means minimizing and putting away everything you don’t need or currently use. Clear kitchen worktops as much as possible, stash away all those gadgets and appliances and put miscellaneous small clutter in a few attractive baskets or boxes out of sight.

Look from the Outside

Stand on the street outside your property to see the view your prospective buyers will get as they approach your property in Chelmsford. Be aware of any negative impressions they may get such as overgrown borders, peeling paint, broken windows and so on. A poorly maintained exterior will make a prospective buyer think that the house has not been well taken care of. Even if you have spent the time and money to ensure the interior is amazing, it will all be wasted if the prospect gets a bad first impression as they approach your property.

What do you really see?

Step outside your front door and close it; then stand on your step and simply look around for a couple of minutes. This might appear to be a strange thing to do, but it is mimicking the likelihood of your estate agent fumbling around for keys before finally opening the door!

During this time, you will see exactly what your potential buyers will see. So, what is it? Cobwebs on the door frame? Dead plants? A broken lightbulb in the porch? A less than shiny letterbox? First impressions count, so it’s worth taking some time to clean up. If you want to go a step further, consider painting the front door or adding new accessories.

Don’t forget the back garden

A tidy and inviting back garden is just as important as your front garden, so don’t neglect it. Whilst it might not be part of the potential buyers first impression experience, you should make sure it is in the best condition possible. Pull up the weeds, water the plants, do some sweeping and maybe even purchase new furniture or accessories such as plant pots or bird houses. This all adds to the vision of ‘living the dream’ your potential buyer wants.

The biggest tip of all

Simply imagine yourself as a potential buyer looking at your property in Chelmsford for the very first time. See it through their eyes and ask yourself:

  • What impression does the house give you?
  • How is its kerb appeal?
  • Would YOU buy your house?
  • What would you like to see that’s different before you put an offer on your house?

Finally, to stage a home will cost money but you’ll get that back, and often more, when your property sells. Proper staging will help you sell your house in a shorter time and importantly at the price you want.

For expert advice on showing your home in Chelmsford to its full potential, contact the team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 today.