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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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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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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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5 Ways To Add Value To Your Chelmsford Property

Add value

For homeowners in Chelmsford looking to add value to their property, house extensions and renovations are pretty much guaranteed to do the job.

But what if you’re a homeowner without the time and/or budget to invest in a full-blown extension?

We often get landlords asking us this very question: how can I add value to my property with minimal effort and a limited budget? So, the team at Essex Homes And Lettings have put our heads together and come up with seven easy ways to do just that.

Here’s how to increase your property value in Chelmsford without breaking the bank or investing too much time:

1. Start by focusing on your kitchen

The kitchen is known as the ‘heart of the home’ for a reason. It’s the room we all tend to spend the most time in when we’re at home. This is why potential buyers value it so much. If your budget only stretches to one single property improvement, make it the kitchen. A great kitchen can add as much as 4% to the value of your home, and a dated kitchen can easily turn buyers off.

Here are some easy kitchen improvement ideas that can add value:

  • Invest in modern worktop surfaces –  check out Pinterest for some kitchen worktop inspiration
  • Get new kitchen tiles – be bold and opt for a few more striking patterned tiles to create a statement backsplash
  • Paint your cupboard doors
  • Swap the cupboard door knobs for quirky ones

Yes, they’re all small changes. But together, they can really help to spruce up a tired looking kitchen!

2. Add more storage space

Never underestimate the appeal of lots of storage space for home buyers.

This is the one thing that we notice time and time again – buyers can easily be turned off a property if they discover that there just isn’t enough storage space.

So, how do you deal with this issue if you simply haven’t got the space?

Here’s how to add extra storage to your Chelmsford home when space (and budget) is limited:

  • Make use of all that space on blank walls by building shelves. Shelves are much easier to put up than you might think!
  • Work out what you can do with any unused nooks and crannies. For instance, the dead space underneath your stairs. Could you add a cupboard there?
  • No idea where you can add extra storage and exhausted all your options? Study the layout of your property layout, and you may just discover dead space you didn’t even realise existed.
3. Make your home more energy efficient

In this eco-conscious day and age, more and more home buyers are interested in finding out how energy efficient a property is before they invest in it. This doesn’t just stem out of concern for the environment though. An energy-efficient home can also save you a considerable amount on energy bills.

Landlords, make your home more energy-efficient and you’ll instantly make your property more appealing to many renters. Here’s how:

  • Make sure all windows and doors are double glazed for effective insulation
  • Invest in a heating system with easily adjustable settings so that comfortable temperatures won’t mean racking up bills
  • Choose an eco-friendly paint brand for any decorating jobs
  • Invest in LED lights and solar panel heating

These improvements come at a cost, but they’ll benefit your wallet, and our planet, in the long term.

4. Create a more open-plan home

Working with a smaller property? Create the illusion of more space by knocking down a few walls. Do this effectively, and you could boost the value of your Chelmsford property without any extensions. Modern buyers are attracted to open-plan layouts, which can make a smaller flat or house look more spacious and make it easier for them to move around.

Don’t attempt this yourself though. We recommend consulting a local residential architect who can show you how to do this to maximise the space in your property.

5. Find out what home movers in the Chelmsford area are looking for

Not quite sure where to start? Have a chat with our team at Essex Homes And Lettings as we know your area! We have a good understanding of what home movers in your neighbourhood are interested in.

We can also help with recommendations of local suppliers that can offer you great deals on any small renovations and extensions that can add value.

Give us a call today on 01245398466 and a member of our friendly and experienced team will be happy to speak with you further. Alternatively you can email us at sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk.

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8 Questions Every Landlord Should Ask a Prospective Tenant

ask questions

When you’re renting out your property in Chelmsford, you want to get things right. After all, it’s your property, and you want to ensure it is going to be looked after and that the rent is going to be paid. It’s a business, and you don’t want any interruptions to occupancy.

So, to help you, our experienced team at Essex Homes And Lettings have come up with eight questions that you should ask a prospective tenant before agreeing to rent your property to them.

1. When are they able to move in?

You want continuity of occupancy as it makes sense from a financial and security point of view. If one prospective tenant can’t move in for a few months, but another can, this will help you make a decision on who to let your property to. You need to be on top of your game when it comes to efficiency. If a prospective tenant can move in immediately, but you haven’t got the gas safety or electrical safety inspections done, this will cause issues.

2. Do their finances stack up?

You don’t want timewasters looking at your rental property. Respectfully ask if they are aware of the rent amount and whether they fully expect to be able to pay it on time, and on the right dates. There’s the deposit too, so make sure they know what’s expected. Your lettings agent will ensure thorough financial checks are carried out.

3. How long do they think they will want to live in the property?

This is a good question. You don’t want to be going through the process of finding a tenant every six months. Likewise, some people will be looking for long-term tenancies, so see who expects to be in a property for an extended period. The contract length could be advantageous for both parties. Be prepared to be flexible.

4. Do they have pets?

Some landlords don’t mind pets, and this may be you. However, pets are also a big no-no for some landlords. If you don’t want to accept tenants with animals, you must be sure that having a pet is not on their future agenda. Similarly, if you don’t mind pets, you need to make sure the contract stipulates what sort of pet, if any, is allowed. If you do allow a pet, your agreement should make it clear that any damages caused by the pet must be rectified by the tenant at their cost.

5. What would their current landlord say about them?

References are crucial! When you or your lettings agent speak with your prospective tenant, you hope you will get a genuine answer. References will clarify this though. Listen to your prospective tenants’ responses with a critical ear as not everyone will be honest!

6. Why are they moving?

Again, you might not always get a genuine reply, but the answer will give you an indication as to what sort of tenant they might be. This question can also be a good ice breaker and will start the conversation.

7. What sort of lifestyle do they lead?

This is a tricky question to ask, but useful nonetheless. You’ll get a feel for the sort of people your prospective tenants are. If they appear to be young, 24-hour party people, you should consider whether your property and location are right for them.

8. What other properties have they looked at in Chelmsford

This is a question that can be asked either at the start of a conversation or at the end. You’re trying to ascertain whether they are serious about moving to the area, to your property or if they are just ‘tyre kickers’. They might also say that your property is the only place for them, which is great if everything stacks up financially.

Remember, you don’t have to have a definitive list of questions and formally run through them. These questions can be wound into your regular conversation!

If you’re unsure of what to ask prospective tenants, please get in touch with us on 01245398466. We have been offering a professional lettings and management service for many years and can guide you. After all, we are the experts in the Chelmsford area for lettings.

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A Quick Guide to Purchasing a Buy To Let Property in Chelmsford

buy-to-let

If you’re considering becoming a landlord, there are many elements to consider and understand before you purchase a property. The process of buying a buy-to-let property differs compared to buying a residential property that you will live in yourself, so it’s good to know what exactly to expect. Of course, it’s a long-term investment that shouldn’t be made in haste, so if you’re reading this, you are probably looking for the right kind of information. 

Our team at Essex Homes And Lettings are experts in buy-to-let advice, so here is our straight forward guide to purchasing a buy-to-let property in Chelmsford.

What is buy-to-let?

First things first, the basics: buy-to-let is a property that is specifically purchased with the intention to rent it out to tenants. It’s an investment property that can generate a monthly income, as long as the rent being charged is higher than the monthly buy-to-let mortgage payments. 

A buy-to-let mortgage is different to a residential mortgage, and if you can’t afford to simply buy the property outright, you will need to apply for one. When applying for a standard mortgage, your income is taken into consideration, whereas with a buy-to-let loan, the lender considers the potential rental income as your primary income source, and considers your personal income as secondary. The interest rates tend to be lower, but they have larger upfront fees, so keep that in mind. Moreover, deposits on buy-to-let mortgages are also typically larger than the deposit needed for a standard mortgage, so expect to put down at least 25% more than you normally would. 

What kind of buy-to-let property should you buy?

The right property is important and can include factors such as the location in proximity to amenities and transport, as well as the neighbourhood and the demand in the area. Much like when you’re searching for your own place to live, you should ensure you do adequate research into the area you want your buy-to-let property to be located in. 

Consider what kind of tenant you want to target and include that in your research. If you’re trying to rent to families, your best bet is to find a property in the suburbs close to good schools. If you want to rent to students, a property near a university and good but cheap restaurants and nightlife is key. Keep in mind, the type of tenants you have renting from you can affect your mortgage, as many lenders have restrictions on student rentals, for example. 

Do you need buy-to-let insurance? 

The short answer is yes; you should have buy-to-let insurance (also known as landlord insurance). It gives you coverage for the building and the contents inside and any landlord liabilities. 

Building insurance is often required by your mortgage lender in order to secure a loan and will compensate you if your property is destroyed or damaged. This will cover the repairs or rebuilding costs so you don’t have to pay huge expenses out of pocket. 

Contents insurance will cover any furniture inside the property. It’s a smart idea to get contents insurance even if your buy-to-let property is unfurnished because you can choose what level of cover you require, and it can protect any curtains, carpets, and other furnishings that essentially come with your property between tenants. If you choose to rent your property unfurnished, your tenants will be responsible for their own contents insurance when they move in. 

Landlord liability is mostly your choice, but if you’re renting to students, for example, there may be a minimum level required. This covers you for any injuries or deaths of any tenants or visitors in your property. 

Do you need to use a letting agent?

This answer is dependent on the budget you’re working with and the level of involvement you wish to have with your buy-to-let property. If you want to be a very hands-on landlord, you may not want to go through a letting agent or agency, but if you would rather take a more hands-off approach, it is a good idea to enlist the help of a professional, experienced lettings agency.  

Letting agents like us will help you carry out credit checks on your potential tenants, help you come up with a letting contract, chase late rental payments for you, help with any maintenance on site that needs to be done, and assist with mandatory safety and efficiency checks for gas and energy. 

The fees to work with a letting agent typically include paying an ongoing fee to manage the property which varies, so it’s always best to speak with your chosen letting agent to get a complete idea of costs . 

Generally, utilising the services of a letting agent can take a big burden off your shoulders if you are a budding landlord!

For professional advice on purchasing a buy-to-let property in Chelmsford, contact our expert team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 or email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk.

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How to Update Your Home in Chelmsford on a Budget

Budget

When you want to update your home, you might assume it’s going to cost you a lot of money. However, there are a number of ways you can give your home a makeover that won’t cost you the earth. If you’re on a tight budget, simply follow these tips.

Make your kitchen look like new

When it comes to decorating your house, the kitchen is usually the most expensive room to upgrade because there are so many fittings and appliances. However, you can give your kitchen a makeover while on a tight budget by:

  • Covering the kitchen doors in vinyl or repainting them in chalk paint
  • Covering old flooring with vinyl tiles
  • Adding a new splashback or painting tiles
  • Adding a small kitchen island
  • Replacing door and drawer handles
  • Replacing small appliances such as kettles and toasters

While you may not be able to afford a full kitchen renovation, just carrying out these jobs won’t take much time or money and can make a huge difference. 

Bring your bathroom up to date

A dated bathroom can ruin the look of a house, and whilst an entirely new one might be out of your price range, there are ways to refresh your bathroom on a budget. If you have an old suite that really needs replacing, you can often buy one cheaply in a trade store, then get a plumber to fit it in a day or two. Most people can learn to tile, and there are plenty of tutorials online, while floors can be easily covered with vinyl or similar to make them look fresh and new. If you’re painting your bathroom, always use specialist bathroom paint that can stand up to steam and humidity, otherwise it will soon start to peel. 

Open up and light the space

A home that’s full of dusty items and clutter will soon feel dated and depressing. Spend some time decluttering, and you’ll soon see a big improvement to your home. Many people complain that their homes are too small, but a bit of re-organisation and tidying up can give the feeling of space.

Once the space is opened up, make sure you have adequate lighting. Rooms look smaller if they have dim corners, and ceilings can appear lower if they aren’t lit. Add some corner lamps and your home will look lighter and more contemporary. 

Find second-hand supplies and furniture

Look on Facebook marketplace and you’ll find lots of local people selling DIY bits and pieces they no longer need, or have changed their minds over. You can easily buy paint, wallpaper and second-hand tools for just a few pounds, so there’s no need to put off certain projects.

Second-hand furniture is also easy to find online, and if you rent a van for a weekend, you can fill your home with new furniture for much less than the retail price. Many people sell sofas, dining sets and beds that have barely been used, as they get bored with them or decide to go for a different look. Some of the bigger charity shops also sell furniture, and while some of it might be a little dated, it can easily be revived with some chalk paint or varnish to make it appear more modern.

Some people don’t like the idea of second-hand furniture as they’re worried it might be dirty. It’s easy to rent an upholstery cleaner and get a sofa looking like new, or you can use antibacterial kitchen sprays on most surfaces.

Change your colour scheme without redecorating

If your room is a little dated, but you don’t have the time or money to redecorate, then simply switching some of your décor can work well. For example, try covering old flooring with a rug, or adding splashes of colour with vases, plant pots, ottomans or other accessories. While it’s not quite the same as a full makeover, it can help refresh the space for now.

Painting or wallpapering a feature wall can also change the look of a room without needing to completely redecorate. It also means that if you go off a colour, or it goes out of fashion in a few months, it’s easy to change it again.

Your home is your castle, but there’s no point in maxing out your credit card just to give it a makeover. There are plenty of ways you can get the look you want without spending a fortune, whether it’s hunting for vintage finds or using some of your DIY skills and before you know it your home will be ready to place on the market and welcome viewers. 

For no-obligation advice on buying or selling a home in Chelmsford please contact our expert property team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 or call in and see us. We look forward to seeing you.

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7 Essential Tips for New Landlords

Landlords

Becoming a landlord for the first time is an exciting prospect, with not only the opportunity to bring in some additional income but also the chance to expand your portfolio further and perhaps even start up your own property business. 

However, it can be tricky to know where to start once you have invested in your first property and you don’t want to be making too many costly mistakes. 

Fortunately, you can avoid the most common landlord pitfalls by simply following our seven essential tips for new landlords.

1.   Do your groundwork

Before you start to market your rental property and look for potential tenants, if you haven’t done so already, you first need to research the local area thoroughly. 

Is your property near good local schools? Is it near a university or college? 

This can be helpful in deciding what type of tenants your property will appeal to, for example, families, students or working professionals. 

It is also a good idea to find out how much similar properties in the area are currently renting for, as this can act as a benchmark for your own chosen monthly rental price.

2.   Take out insurance 

Although landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement for renting out a property, it is highly recommended as it covers everything from accidental damage to structural issues caused by hazards such as fire, snow or strong winds. 

You may also want to take out rent guarantee insurance which protects you if your tenant fails to pay their rent. It can also cover the cost of any legal fees if you need to evict a tenant. 

Your tenants are responsible for taking out their own content insurance to cover their belongings. 

3.   Find reliable tenants 

One of the easiest ways to find good tenants is through word of mouth. Speak to your family, friends and work colleagues to see if they are aware of anyone who is looking to rent a property. You can also advertise for tenants on a variety of reputable websites or use a letting agency. 

To attract the best possible tenants, ensure your listing describes the property in full and includes good quality photographs as well as advertising your property at a competitive market rate. 

You should always check a potential tenant’s rental history and credit score, as well as perform a criminal background check. If the results are preferable, it now comes down to your natural instincts. 

How do you feel about the tenant in question? Do you feel like you can trust them?

If yes, you’ve found your first tenants. Congratulations!

4.   Create a tenancy agreement 

Once you have found your tenants, you now need to draw up a written tenancy agreement which details all the terms and conditions of the tenancy and gives you as the landlord, and your tenants rights.

This is extremely important as it will ensure the protection of your property, set out the obligations of your tenants and help prevent any future disputes.

If you have found your tenants through a professional letting agency, the tenancy agreement can be professionally drawn up through the agent. 

5.   Place the deposit in a TDP scheme

Landlords are now legally required to place their tenant’s deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme. This was created to stop rogue landlords from refusing to give back their tenants’ deposits after they have moved out. 

You must place your tenant’s deposit in a scheme within 14 days of receiving it and you also have to inform your tenants of which scheme you have chosen within 30 days. 

6.   Ensure your property is energy efficient 

You should also strive to improve your property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), to reach the minimum energy efficiency standard (effective April 2020).

Ways in which you can make your property more energy efficient include:

  • Upgrading your boiler 
  • Sealing windows and doors 
  • Installing double glazing
  • Installing loft and wall cavity insulation 
  • Using energy efficient lightbulbs 
  • Installing smart meters 

Since April 2016, tenants have the right to ask their landlords to make their properties more energy efficient, and furthermore, as a landlord, you are legally required to make adequate improvements.

7.   Maintain a good relationship with your tenants 

Arguably one of the most important aspects of becoming a good landlord is ensuring that you are able to build and maintain a healthy relationship with your tenants. Effective communication, on both sides, is crucial if you want to avoid any problems or disputes. 

Try and respond as quickly as possible to any requests from your tenants and listen to any concerns that they may have. Once you find reliable tenants who pay their rent on time and look after your property, you don’t want to lose them!

If you are considering letting your property in Chelmsford call our team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 for friendly help and advice on all rental aspects.

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Will Covid-19 change the nature of property valuation?

Valuation

The process of evaluating the value of any given piece of property is often misunderstood.

Buyers and sellers can easily access rough estimates of a property’s value through online platforms. However, these estimates are normally simply derived from previously sold real estate of the same size in the same area. There is little consideration of the individual property’s specific features or quality, let alone broader market analysis.

Depending on the type of valuation, land value, building costs, sales comparisons and income capitalisation are all integral to determining the right market value of a piece of property or land. As such, organisations such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) provide a vital function in giving qualifications to surveyors who understand the complexity of this process.

However, Covid-19 has thrown a proverbial spanner in the works of the surveying industry.

Social distancing requirements have made it increasingly difficult for property professionals to access properties and conduct thorough valuations. Not only has this forced such professionals to rely on “virtual valuations”; but the shifting demands of businesses, renters and buyers during Covid-19 risk impacting the accuracy of valuations conducted pre-pandemic.

The pros and cons of virtual valuations

Virtual valuations have become a necessity in the era of Covid. Research conducted by property listing site Zoopla in June showed that only 2% of buyers and sellers would be happy to have their properties valued in-person. As a result, the number of virtual valuations has increased by 90%.

By the owner giving a real-time tour of their property to an agent or valuer via video call, professionals can determine the general condition and size of the property in question. Though not as precise as in-person valuations, such compromise allows for both agents and lenders to move forward with the necessary tasks involved in a transaction.

However, there are drawbacks. Poor lighting can hide various issues regarding a property’s condition, and camera lenses can distort our perspective of space and size. The onus will also be on the camera operator, who – if they are the owner – may wish to hide certain aspects of their property from the surveyor in order to secure a higher valuation.

Regardless, much of the data that will inform a valuation will still be accessible whatever the outcome of the virtual tour. Through floor plans and analysing the sales of comparable properties in the area, much of the crucial work can be accomplished with little to no information from the seller.

So, in general, there is no reason to doubt the legitimacy of virtual valuations. Although they will never allow for the same level of understanding as in-person valuations; they represent a crucial tool in keeping the UK’s property sector moving throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic. There is good reason to expect them to remain in the years to come, too, when time or logistical constraints render a physical visit difficult.

Changing demands, changing values

As mentioned above, social trends have been radically altered by Covid-19. And in the property sector, shifting demands will have an impact on valuations.

For example, the shift towards remote working and the social distancing issues regarding in-person socialisation mean that people are spending much more time in the homes. As a result, many buyers and renters are now seeking larger, more spacious homes from which to work from.

This was confirmed by estate agents Dexters’ July survey, which asked buyers what their “non-negotiable” demands were when it comes to real estate. The new top requirements in the age of Covid were a spare room that can be converted into a home office and, secondly, outside space such as a balcony, terrace, or garden.

Despite recent positive news regarding Covid-19 vaccine development, it is likely that working from home will remain the norm for a majority of professionals in the years to come. Unshackled from the grind of the daily commute, suburban and rural properties further afield from one’s employer will likely increase in desirability among newly homebound employees.

These trends will undoubtedly affect property valuations. Of course, a key part of the technical training required to be certified in valuing real estate is understanding how the real estate market is constantly shifting, and how this may affect the accurate value of any given piece of land or real estate.

In the face of such notable change, the core traditional training that surveyors must undergo is actually more important than ever. Only those equipped with the knowledge and wisdom needed to adapt to sudden property market shifts can continue to accurately value properties for the foreseeable future.

Original Article from Financial Reporter 25/11/2020