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Mortgage rates at record low

Mortgage rates continue to fall with the average new lending rate at a record low of 2.2 per cent: as a result the average monthly payment constitutes a lower share of income than in 2007 despite the average loan size being almost one fifth higher.

The steady decline in mortgage rates over the last nine years has seen the average new lending rate fall from a peak of more than six per cent in 2008, to today’s 2.2 per cent. As a result, and in spite of steadily rising house prices, mortgage interest costs as a percentage of income have been falling for the majority of homebuyers.

The NatWest, analysing data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, says the median house buyer in the final quarter of 2016 had to allocate less than eight per cent of their income to mortgage interest, compared to a peak of 18 per cent in 2008 and a long-run average of 15 per cent.

The NatWest says that with quoted new lending rates half a per cent lower than the average rate on outstanding mortgages, it says it is likely that the interest cost burden will decline even further in the short-term.

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Top tips to sell your rental property

Top tips for landlords who wish to sell a rental property…

1) Incentivise

Selling a rental property with a tenant in situ can be a challenge. Tenants are entitled to live their lives as they wish, and although you can ask them not to smoke in a property, or cause damage, you cannot dictate how they live their lives, or insist they keep it permanently tidy. Unfortunately an untidy property makes it more difficult to take photographs and conduct viewings to show a property off to its best advantage.

Some landlords successfully incentivise tenants by offering the last month’s rent free in return for certain conditions, such as being flexible with viewings and ensuring that the property is kept very tidy. Every viewing counts, and an incentive of this type can work well. It also has the advantage of costing the landlord nothing if the tenant does not fully participate.

2) Great outdoors

A garden is a great selling point. If everything internally is good with your rental property, but the garden is a mess consider getting a subcontractor in to neaten everything up before it is put on the market. Don’t accept that potential buyers can see the potential in a space, as nowadays people expect a certain standard. A nice neat garden is a massive tick in the box and a property that could be number one on someone’s list could easily be discounted if the garden is a mess.

3) Freshen up

If a property has been rented for several years it may be worth giving notice to the tenant and only marketing it after the tenant has vacated. This allows the owner two to three weeks to paint inside and undertake any jobs that will give the place a lift. If the tenant had decorated to his or her own taste, it is always advisable to repaint in neutral colours such as magnolia or cream.

4) Kerb appeal

Statistics show that buyers tend to make their minds up about a property as they are walking up the path and within four paces of being inside the front door. For this reason, make sure the drive is clear of any weeds, tidy up any pots, sort out broken fences etc and if your tenant is in situ ask them to keep the hallway clean and tidy – free from children’s shoes and other family paraphernalia.

5) Consider your market

When it comes to buying investment properties, landlords are interested in yields.  If you are keen to sell your property quickly then you could sell it with the tenant in place, but if you sell on the open market you could achieve 10-15K more.

6) Spread the word!

Chamberlains have many landlords on our database, they are perfect potential buyers.

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Britain leaves behind £493m worth of valuables when moving home

According to the results of a new survey, a quarter of careless homeowners are leaving behind a small fortune in forgotten possessions when moving home.

A recent study of 2,000 homeowners revealed that 26% of movers have forgotten a beloved item when packing up their home, to the tune of £ £317.69 on average per household – totalling over £493 Million in forgotten items nationwide.

12% meanwhile have had something of significant sentimental value vanish or break during the moving process.

A spokesperson from eBay, who commissioned the research, said: “Moving home is a hassle, and squeezing your life into a stack of cardboard boxes can feel like a monumental task at times. With the refreshed Home Move hub, we hope to help Britain move a little better by providing a simple one-stop shop at your fingertips with a wide range of products and tips tailored for every type of move.”

The study also revealed that one in four homeowners take a ‘Caretaker’ approach when packing up their home, filling boxes and planning meticulously to make sure the move goes smoothly.

12% admitted to falling into the role of ‘Packing Procrastinator’, putting off the process for as long as possible.

20% of homeowners start planning their house move at least six months in advance, and a further fifth pack their first box a full month ahead of moving day.

An impulsive one in eight meanwhile procrastinates until the week of the move before kicking the process into gear.

When it comes to enlisting help with the move 49% would ask their partner to assist, and 27% choose mum first ahead of the quarter of homeowners who favour Dad.

Men are most likely to kick off ‘The Big Pack’ by boxing up the bedroom, while women pack up the spare room first.

Forty four per cent think the kitchen is the room that is most difficult to pack up from a practical perspective, which explains why 41 per cent choose to leave it until the last minute.

In the chaos of setting up in a new location Brits reach for the kettle first, with 45% unpacking the kitchenware before starting on the rest of the house.

Four in ten homemovers say that changing home makes them feel like they are moving into a new chapter in their lives, and while two thirds feel stressed on move day, one in two also feel excited for the adventure ahead.

The survey was commissioned by eBay in light of their refreshed Home Move hub; a dedicated on-site solution for movers with expert tips and tricks, packing essentials and storage solutions; which aims to help ease the stress of moving.

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Lies, damn lies and statistics

How many properties sold in TQ12 in the year to April?
The answer is 958.
What was the average selling price?
Actually, higher than you might expect: £248,128
Of the 958 sales, 353 properties were detached, and there were 71 flats, 239 semi’s and 250 terraced homes.
160 of the 958 were new-build properties and the remainder, 798, were resales.
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What should you leave behind when you sell your house?

When it comes to selling your home and moving on, how do you decide what to leave behind?

Equally, when you move into a new house, what do you expect the former owners to have left in situ for you?

There’s no doubt that the issue of fixtures and fittings can be very contentious, particularly as there is no law that outlines what should be left in or removed from the house once it has been sold.

Legally, the seller isn’t obliged to leave any fixtures or fittings – and some have been known to unscrew all the light bulbs and even dig up plants from the garden prior to their departure.

This may not be illegal, but would probably cause upset to the buyer if they were unaware! It is really a case of common sense, and we advise sellers to draw up an inventory stating what is included in the price and what they intend to take. Ideally this should be done early on in the sale process.

Without an inventory it is assumed that fixtures will be left but fittings removed unless previously included in the agent’s details.

Conflict between seller and buyer can be avoided by creating an inventory that states exactly what is included in the sale price and what will be removed.

The general rule of thumb is that a fixture is understood to be any item that is permanently fixed to the structure of the building and a fitting is an item that is free standing or hung by a nail or a hook.


–      Light fittings
–      Central heating boilers/radiators
–      Kitchen units
–      Bathroom suites
–      Plugs
–      Murals
–      Built-in wardrobes and cupboards


–      Carpets
–      Curtains and curtain rails
–      Free standing ovens, fridges and washing machines
–      Lampshades
–      Beds/sofas and other free standing items of furniture
–      Television aerials and satellite dishes
–      Paintings or mirrors that are not bolted but hung or screwed to a wall.

Top Tips to keep both seller and buyer happy:

1. Think about which fixtures and fittings you actually need. There is no point in arguing to keep a particular curtain rail if you are just going to get rid of it later on.

2. Ensure you have everything in writing and agreed.

3. Be friendly. The other party is much more likely to accommodate your wishes if they like you

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First-ever electronic e-signature exchange of contracts

The first ever electronic e-signature exchange of contracts for a residential property transaction in the UK has been completed this month, it has been revealed.

The exchange happened on Thursday April 6 at 15.59pm with the conveyancers and their clients at the offices of Convey Law using the Bonafidee e-signature facility to sign the contract for both the sale and purchase element of the transaction.

The system allows both lawyers to upload the agreed contract, which is then sent to the seller and the purchaser clients for them to sign electronically. The system provides confirmation that the document has been read and signed with a code taking the place of a signature.

Armed with both parts of the contract, and having acted on both sides of the transaction, Convey Law’s conveyancers exchanged contracts under normal Law Society rules.

“Agreeing contract terms is often undertaken over the telephone by conveyancers and, in many circumstances, the document that you receive from the conveyancer on the other side of a transaction can look very different from the contract that you have sent out” says Convey Law legal director Gareth Richards. But he says the system used in this first transaction allows for an agreed form of contract to be uploaded and then sent to the clients for them to sign.

“The e-signature requires confirmation that the client is who they say they are and hence proof of identity verification is always important as a prefix to this procedure.

This is definitely a significant step in the right direction in relation to e-conveyancing and we are delighted to have been a part” he says.

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Matterport technology now at Chamberlains

Technological advancements have quickly improved countless aspects of the daily lives of millions of people. These breakthroughs have helped every industry- with estate agency being no exception. It started with the use of websites to search for properties, and the next step appears to be the use of the latest camera technology.

The camera model comes from an American company and it has already been making waves across the Atlantic. The Matterport camera produces three-dimensional, photographic images which allow users to explore a property, going from room to room, using a mouse, keyboard or, on smartphones or tablets, a finger. Think of it like Google Street View but for the inside of property!

Check out this lovely property in Liverton.. without getting off the sofa!

Users can even have a Virtual Reality experience- as the technology supports the latest headsets and goggles. This takes the experience to the next level and creates the illusion that you are actually inside the home!

Regardless of what screen they are looking at, viewers are free to move at their own pace, follow their own route and look wherever they want.


Chamberlains is an early adopter of this new technology and we are excited about the benefits it will bring to our customers.

We love the technology so much that we are giving away tours! If you ask us to market your home with Chamberlains we’ll produce a Virtual Walk Through of your home. Be one of the first! Call now quoting WTT when you book your appointment on 01626 365055.  Hurry as this offer is only for a limited time!!

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Top tips for Bank Holiday DIY

It’s almost Easter – time for chocolate eggs, homemade bonnets… and of course, some DIY!

With two Bank Holiday days back-to-back, the long Easter weekend is the prime time to put in some elbow grease and get out the paint and power tools.

But don’t let this Easter break end up in a DIY disaster. Doing a little home improvement can do wonders for the resale of your home. But only if it is done right.

It’s essential to remember that only qualified contractors should alter gas or electrical installations. Putting a house on the market can be a big step forward, but people should remember not to be over ambitious.

However, that’s not to say that some DIY isn’t a good idea. If a homeowner is thinking of selling, or their home has just gone on to the market, there are a few simple ways they can boost the resale value of their home.”

Here are some tips for homeowners looking to spruce up their home this spring:

1. Think about what viewers will see when they first arrive at your property. If you have a fence, give it a new coat of varnish, cut the lawn and clear away any obstructions to paths and driveways.

2. From hallways to bedrooms, give your house a new lick of paint. Keep the colours neutral and bright throughout.

3. Get your kitchen cupboards and units looking fresh without a complete (and expensive) kitchen overhaul. Simply buy some replacement doors and handles, and fit them yourself.

4. Get your bathroom looking sparkling by replacing old grouting and silicone sealer.

5. Opt for a spring clean. Sometimes all a home needs is a deep clean throughout and a serious amount of de-cluttering. Make sure your every room is clutter-free, especially the hallway. Put umbrellas and coats away, and stash any muddy boots away from the front door.

6. Don’t forget the back garden is important too. Hire or borrow a pressure washer to make the patio sparkle after the winter weather.

But be careful. A bank holiday DIY mishap can lead straight to A&E. According to RoSPA, around 220,000 DIY enthusiasts end up in hospital every year.

They sensibly say that even the most basic DIY jobs still require the right safety precautions. Make sure to have adequate protection by wearing goggles, gloves and/or masks for the appropriate jobs. And make sure your ladder is still fit for use, after a long winter in a damp garage.

Ladder and stepladder accidents send approximately 41,000 people to hospital annually – often resulting in some of the most serious injuries and even death when people fall from high up.

Splinters, grit, dust, dirt and other particles result in another 60,000 people seeking treatment in casualty.The most dangerous tools according to the Home Accident Surveillance System (2002) are:

Knives and scalpels (21,300 accidents in the UK each year)
Saws (15,100)
Grinders (6,400)
Hammers (5,800)
Chisels (3,900)
Screwdrivers (3,400)
Power Drills (3,000)
Axes (2,200)
Planes (2,100)
Welding Equipment (2,000).

Common DIY accidents include cuts from knives while cutting cable and carpets, slips with saws when cutting wood and paving slabs falling on to hands and feet.