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How to Rent out Your House in Braintree

If you haven’t rented out your home in Braintree before, then it can be difficult to know where to start. From ensuring the property adheres to the electrical safety regulations set for landlords, to finding the right tenant, to getting a handle on the tax implications; the vast number of tasks you need to complete can be overwhelming.

However, there is a way to make the process simpler, and less stressful.

All you need to do is follow the steps below for renting out your home and you will be receiving your first month’s rent in no time!

Research the market
Renting out your home in Baintree is different to buying a property specifically to let, as you have most likely spent a significant amount of time and money making your property as homely and attractive as possible. Therefore, it is not uncommon for homeowners to set the rent too high when marketing their property.

That is why it is important that you find out how much similar properties in the area are being let out for per month. It is also a good idea to work out what type of tenant will be likely to want to rent your property – students, families or single professionals.

Be aware of the financial commitment
Many first-time landlords go into the process believing that it is the easiest way to make money fast. However, they do not take into consideration the ongoing financial costs associated with renting out your home. As well as having to pay tax on your rental income, letting agent fees and any legal fees, you will also be responsible for ongoing maintenance and repairs of the property.

These may include:

Exterior repairs
Installation maintenance
General decorating
Repairing or replacing of white goods
Boiler servicing
Emergency repairs
General wear and tear
It is advisable to have a list of reputable and trustworthy tradesmen that you can call for any maintenance jobs that you are unable to carry out yourself, or for cases of emergency that you are unable to attend to.

Provide a blank canvas
Firstly, you need to decide if you are going to rent your home out furnished or unfurnished. This will be dependent on whether or not you have a need for your furniture in your new home, as well as what your specific demographic of renters will prefer. If you are planning to rent your property as unfurnished, then you will potentially need to look into storage options for any furniture you do not require in your new home.

Once you have decided which pieces of furniture you are going to leave in your property, you should then create an accurate property inventory so that you can avoid any potential disputes over damages.

As a general rule, it is advisable to keep the colour scheme in your rental property as neutral as possible to appeal to the widest variety of potential tenants. You should also clear your home of any clutter and personal belongings that may make the property feel less spacious.

Prepare for becoming a landlord
As the saying goes “with great power comes great responsibility”, and never a truer statement has been said concerning becoming a landlord for the first time. Not only should you be prepared for the influx of calls that you may receive from your tenants, but you also need to make sure you are informed about all your legal requirements as a landlord.

These include:

Checking your mortgage allows you to rent out your home
Ensuring your property is fit for occupancy
Arranging an electrical installation condition report
Arranging a yearly gas safety check
Ensuring your property has an Energy Performance Certificate
Installing smoke alarms and CO alarms
Carrying out right to rent checks on prospective tenants
Protecting tenants’ deposits with a TDP
Paying income tax if required
Getting residential landlord insurance
Getting rent indemnity insurance
Consider hiring a letting agent
Of course, you are under no obligation to hire a letting agent to help you rent out your home, but there are many benefits in doing so. These include:

Advertising your property for you
Showing prospective tenants around your home
Drawing up a tenancy agreement for you
Dealing with your tenants directly if you do not want to
Hiring a letting agent is a good idea if you are either inexperienced in renting out properties, or if you simply do not have the time or inclination to learn all of the processes involved.

An agent will also be able to offer you invaluable advice and experience, meaning you are less likely to incur costly mistakes along the way.

For no-obligation advice on renting out your home in Braintree please contact our expert lettings team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 or call in and see us. We look forward to seeing you.

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Plan and Prepare: Your Moving Home Checklist Courtesy of Essex Homes And Lettings

Moving home! The very thought of it is probably enough to send shivers down your spine and cause you to break out in a cold sweat, and this is unsurprising as moving home is right up there with divorce and death when it comes to heightened stress levels!

The fact is though, that any kind of ‘change’ creates stress and whether you are moving home within Chelmsford or relocating from further afield, plenty of planning and preparation will be required.

Moving home, and especially relocating to a new town or city, represents one of the biggest changes you may make in your life and so naturally brings a great deal of stress along with it. This in turn can lead to a double whammy, as stress can often lead to a lack of energy and motivation. So how are you expected to plan and prepare for your home move during one of the most stressful periods in your life?

Stay focused!
When preparing to move home there will be an element of multi-tasking required as there are such a lot of elements vying for your attention which need to be done. At Essex Homes And Lettings we understand this and genuinely want your move to run super smoothly, so with this in mind, we have compiled a handy moving home checklist to help you remain stress free.

At first glance, some of our suggestions may appear to be common sense, but you will be surprised at just how often the simplest of tasks is overlooked or forgotten when the dreaded stress strikes!

Moving home calls not only for exceptional organisational skills, but also proactivity. Grabbing the bull by the horns and completing certain chores well in advance of their deadlines will go a long way to helping you stay ahead of schedule, so the aim of this home moving checklist is to help you accomplish that by concentrating on the basics of planning and preparation.

Get rid of everything you don’t need
One thing you can accomplish efficiently is to sort through all of your ‘stuff’ and get rid of the things you don’t need. Moving unwanted items from your current property to your new property is a great waste of time and effort, so don’t do it! It’s surprising how much more in control you will feel once you start narrowing down your inventory. Getting rid of unwanted items can be done through a car boot sale, selling on eBay or donating to charity.

File important papers and documents together
Since moving home is hectic to say the least, you need to be aware of the exact location of all your important items. These are the things that you absolutely must not misplace and should be hand carried on moving day, not placed in a box for the removal company to transport.

Make sure all of the following paper items are kept together in one secure place such as a document wallet:

Address Books
Birth Certificates
Passports
Bank Statements
Insurance Policies
Marriage Certificates
Credit Cards and Statements
Medical and Dental Records
Irreplaceable Memorabilia
Photos and Photo Albums
Vehicle Documents
Pet and Vet Documentation
Wills
Any other important or legal documents
Prepare well in advance for the move to your new location
There are many things you can organise before you reach your new home that will help smooth out the bumps of the moving process. In particular, make sure you contact utility companies and arrange for your new services to be connected. These can include:

Cable TV
Gas
Electricity
Water
Oil
Telephone
Internet access
Contact your insurance companies too as you will need to have your policies amended ready for moving day:

Car insurance
Home & Building Insurance
Prepare change of address forms for all of your correspondents:

Credit card companies
Banks
Vets
Kennels/Cattery
Insurance companies
DVLA
Magazines and other subscriptions
Family and friends
Register for new medical providers such as a new doctor and dentist if necessary.

Keep a ‘little black book’
Keep all your important phone numbers written clearly and legibly in a diary or notebook, for both your old and new contacts. This should include banks, doctors, emergency contacts, family members, friends, estate agents, removal companies, pharmacies, schools, storage facilities and utilities.

With proper planning and preparation, the whole moving process will be smooth, and you won’t frantically be searching for a new doctor, pharmacy or important information at the eleventh hour.

With proper planning and preparation, you will have your important documents at the tips of your fingers at all times and you will endure minimum chaos and clutter.

Keep this handy moving checklist safe and get organised or for more home moving planning and preparation advice, drop in and talk to the expert team at Essex Homes And Lettings or telephone us on 01245398466 and we will be happy to ensure your home move runs smoothly.

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Do I Need a Homebuyer Survey on my Chelmsford Property?

When you buy anything, whether it’s a new home, a new car or a new item of clothing, of course you want to know you’re getting the best deal, and so can be confident in your purchase. Sometimes, it’s even worth paying a little more to be sure your investment is right!

Buying a property in Chelmsford is likely to be one of the biggest investments you will ever make, therefore, spending a little more and instructing a Homebuyer Survey on the property you are looking to buy can help protect you from a bad investment and can even give you greater negotiating power.

What is a Homebuyer Survey?

There are several types of Homebuyer Surveys, but generally speaking, they consist of a detailed report outlining the condition of a property. The homebuyer Survey will detail if there are any problems with the structure of the property and if there are any major issues or necessary repairs.

Who Carries Out a Homebuyer Survey?

Two institutions carry out Homebuyer Surveys. One is the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, and the other is the Residential Property Surveyors Association. When choosing a surveyor, you should choose one that is local and reputable, and if you are looking at a unique building, for example a historical or listed property, then choose a surveyor that specialises in that building type.

Do I Need a Homebuyer Survey?

You don’t legally need a Homebuyer survey, but if you want to make sure that there are not any underlying issues then it is best to get one! You can use the survey to ensure you are paying a fair price for the property.

What Type of Properties Should I Always Get Surveyed?

Old, unusual, and homes that have visible issues should always have a survey conducted on them. You should also get all listed properties surveyed. Of course, all homes can potentially have issues, and to be absolutely certain of your purchase it is always wise to get a Homebuyer Survey conducted to ensure your investment is a good one. If you don’t, you could run the risk of being stuck with expensive repairs.

Types of Surveys

There are multiple types and levels of surveys, including an option for new builds. Though they are an extra expenditure, especially for a property you may not end up buying, they can also save you thousands of pounds in repairs.

Condition Report (£300)

Level One

This is a basic report that does not include advice or valuation. Instead, it will document the home in a colour scheme. Green is good, yellow means minor improvements are needed, and red means immediate repairs needed. This type of survey does not include recommendations.

Homebuyers Report (£350 to £450)

Level Two

This is the most popular type of Homebuyers Survey, as it offers a more in-depth report at an affordable price. You can either have just the survey done or have a survey and valuation done. A valuation is good to have to share with your mortgage lender and to help put you in a place of negotiating power.

Home Condition Survey (£400 to £900)

Home Condition Surveys are not offered by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors like most, they are instead offered by the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA).

This is a comprehensive survey that includes structural status, damp assessment, boundary issues, broadband speed and more. It’s a great choice, particularly if you want to assess your potential purchase objectively as it goes into detail beyond structural integrity and also includes living conditions. The price will reflect the size of the property, but the cost is easily justified if it helps you be 100% confident in your decision.

Building Survey (£500+)

Level Three

A surveyor will check behind walls, under floors, in attics and beyond to suss out any structural damage. From this, they will then create a comprehensive building report. This is absolutely recommended if the property is old, appears damp, has hairline fractures, or you want to be 100% confident in your purchase.

New Build Snagging Report (£300 to £600)

This report is available for new builds. When possible, try to have this type of report done before you move in, and if that is not possible, get it done as soon as possible. The report will cover everything from misaligned doors to other improper build inclusions.

Though it is not a legal necessity, a Homebuyer Survey or report on the property you wish to buy in Chelmsford can help you become completely confident in your decision, so should always be considered.

For more advice on all types of property related surveys and reports, contact the team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 today.

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7 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Home in Chelmsford

Buying a home in Chelmsford is an incredibly exciting endeavour, although it can be stressful and overwhelming to make sure you’ve found the right one. After all, it is the single largest purchase most people make in their entire lives, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The last thing you want to do is hastily choose a home, only to find out down the road that you’ve made a mistake. This can affect your mood and mental well-being and can be a huge – and expensive – hassle to try and mitigate.

Finding the right house to turn into your home and sanctuary isn’t an easy job, so before you start your search, consider these seven tips on how to find the perfect home.

Decide on Your Location First

You shouldn’t even start looking for a new home until you’ve chosen which areas you would consider living in, factoring in property prices and council taxes, as well as other aspects that are important to you, including:

Your commute to work
The proximity of good schools
What type of properties are available in the area
What kind of activities are around
What kind of shopping (supermarkets, etc.) is nearby
What kind of public transport is available
There’s no point in looking at the right homes in the wrong locations, so be sure to zero in on the areas you want to live in first.

Make A List of Your ‘Must-Haves’

It’s important to decide what your perfect home actually means to you, and the best way to do this is with lists. Write a list of all the aspects of your home that you absolutely must have, then all the aspects that would be nice but aren’t completely necessary, and you would be willing to compromise on. When looking at homes, you can then ensure that everything on your ‘must-have’ list is checked off, and anything on your ‘nice-to-have’ list is a bonus. If it comes down to comparing homes, you can see which ones check more boxes to help you decide.

Plan For The Long Term

It can be tempting to purchase a property you think is good enough, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer, just to get your foot on the property ladder. You may intend to move on after a few years; however, most people end up staying for many years, so it’s crucial to consider that too. Moving is a major expense, both in terms of money and time, and once you feel settled, your plans to move soon after may change. If you don’t buy a home that is good for your future as well as the present, you could be making a decision that will bite you later on.

To plan for the long term, make sure you find a home that you can grow into. Are there enough rooms? Is there a garden you can make your own? Do you have to walk up lots of stairs? That might be fine at the moment, but with a pram or pushchair, it may be difficult. Are there any changes you could make, like converting undeveloped space into something useful? These are the kinds of aspects you need to consider.

Keep Costs in Mind

Of course, finding a home that’s within your budget is vital, because you don’t want to overstretch yourself and cause financial strain. You should also keep other costs in mind, such as renovations. If you find a home you think would be perfect with a few changes, consider what those changes actually mean. Some may be superficial, like the wallpaper or paint colour, but redoing flooring or changing the layout of the kitchen could be quite expensive. If you’re unprepared for these costs, you might not be able to make the changes, and will end up being unhappy with your home.

Find Out Everything You Can About the Property

Learning as much as possible can help you avoid any surprises and unexpected maintenance endeavours. Asking the right questions goes a long way here because you want to find out more about the property’s history, what kind of maintenance has been done recently, what may need fixing in the near future, and whether or not it’s had trouble getting sold. Your estate agent should be up-front and forth-coming with this information.

Do A Home Inspection

If you think you’ve found your perfect home and are at the offer stage, consider getting a survey completed on the property before you sign any paperwork. A surveyor is a non-biased entity who will give you their own opinion on the property and uncover any fundamental issues, as well advise you of the true value of the property. It’s better to spend the money on a survey ahead of time rather than be blindsided by something in the future.

Check the Legalities

When it comes to purchasing your new home, you’ll be dealing with a contract and so will require a solicitor or conveyancer to avoid any headaches or hassles. They will carry out all the necessary searches on the property and will make you aware of any important legal issues.

For further helpful advice and for help finding your perfect home in Chelmsford, contact the friendly team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466. We look forward to assisting you.

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6 Budget-Friendly Home Decor Ideas for Your Chelmsford Property

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 Chelmsford estate agent, we see stunning homes in Chelmsford 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 Chelmsford, 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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7 Tips to Increase the Value of Your Home in Chelmsford

Increasing the value of your home in Chelmsford 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 Chelmsford 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 Chelmsford, contact the team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 today.

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Essential Tips to Help You Rent Out Your Home

Considering renting out your home in Chelmsford 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 Chelmsford 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.