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Would You Cover Your walls in Dead Salmon? The Great Paint Debate.

In this three-minute read, we look at the paint colours that are making a splash in 2021.

For millions of Brits, getting through this pandemic has been a case of “Keep Calm and Carry On with DIY”.

To stop themselves from climbing the walls from boredom and frustration, they’ve turned to painting them.

As a result, DIY chains such as B&Q have recorded surging sales, while paint company Dulux had to ration the sale of paint pots and testing kits last year to cope with rising demand.

As so many people are giving their homes a fresh lick of paint right now, let’s look at what’s popular in the world of colours.

Call of the wild

A few years ago, magnolia was very much the colour du jour for interiors (in fact, just about every property that came on the market was a vision of yellowy-white).

The perceived wisdom was that magnolia was the best way to create a welcoming but neutral base for home decorating.

But times have changed, paint firms and interior design experts report that being cooped up so much over the past year has made us yearn for nature and fuelled a desire to bring a little bit of the great outdoors indoors.

As a result, earthy tones are the “new magnolia”.

It’s only natural

Dulux’s Colour of the Year 2021 is Brave Ground, a warm natural shade with a strong brown undertone (some cynics call it beige).

While over at Farrow & Ball, the earthy brown tone Jitney is popular, as is Satin Slipper (an off-white shade akin to a traditional ballet slipper) and Dead Salmon (yes, that really is what it’s called).

The Little Greene Paint Company has also jumped on the ‘earthy’ bandwagon, by unveiling Stone, a range of 36 natural colours that includes the warm neutrals Portland Stone and Travertine.

Meanwhile, Valspar has Seven Sisters or the very bold Aged Cognac.

Greens and blues

Many home renovators are also looking to create tranquil, calm spaces at home (perhaps to counteract all the stress from home schooling and Zoom calls).

As a result, blue and green shades are proving popular. Valspar has Sapphire Earbobs, Secluded Cove and Cobblestone Moss, while Farrow & Ball has Green Smoke and Card Room Green, and Ultramarine Blue and Stiffkey Blue (a navy that we’ve seen used in lots of Victorian terraces).

Should South Devon homeowners stay neutral or make a statement?

Potential buyers can indeed find bold colours and strong prints a turn-off when viewing a property.

But to state the obvious, it is your home, so of course, it should reflect your tastes. The great thing about paint is you can paint over it.

So, if you are going to opt for bold colours, use them on the walls – you can go over them later without too much trouble – but stick to neutral tones for skirting boards and ceilings (which are fiddlier and faffier to reach).

We’re living through strange times. Anything that makes you feel more secure or calm in your home can’t be a bad thing.

From all of us here at Chamberlains, stay safe and remember better times are coming.

© Chamberlains 2021

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How Technology Can Make Life Easier for Landlords in South Devon

In this two-minute read, we look at how technology can help landlords be more successful, do their bit for the planet, protect their tenants, and save money.

From smart TVs to one-click shopping, technology makes life a whole lot easier than it was 20 years ago for the average person.

It also has many benefits for private landlords and their tenants.

Here are our top tech tips.

Remote viewings

There has been a surge in online viewings due to Covid-19. Pre-recorded tours mean prospective tenants can view properties at their leisure and your convenience – and on more than one occasion.

Energy efficiency

Being green has been all the rage for years, and prospective tenants will be impressed if their new home has a good EPC rating. You could possibly achieve a higher rent if your property is fitted with innovative energy-saving technology, and you’ll be able to attract eco-conscious, high-quality tenants.

Smart meters are already commonplace, while smart thermostats and energy-efficient lightbulbs are some of the other ways you could potentially save money.

Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Landlords are legally required to ensure properties are fitted with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. But now, with intelligent detectors, landlords can be sent notifications to their phone if there’s a problem. These notifications can also be set up by your tenants on their phones, giving them extra peace of mind.

Home security

One of the biggest worries for any homeowner, let alone a landlord, is a property’s security. The good news is there are devices out there to protect both your property and your tenants’ belongings, meaning you can both sleep well at night.

Motion sensors can alert you to unexpected intruders. Simultaneously, remote security cameras can be linked to Wi-Fi, meaning it’s easy to keep tabs on the outside of your property from your phone – especially useful during any dreaded void period.

Of course, when it comes to security your tenants’ privacy must always be respected.

You might even want to think about installing smart locks. These can reduce the risk of lost keys and the chances of you, or a costly locksmith, being called out at any time of the day (or night).

The Best Thing A Landlord Can Do

While technology can give landlords a big helping hand, using an experienced, qualified, and conscientious letting agent remains the best move you can make for a successful tenancy.

Here at Chamberlains, we’re experts in all things letting.

And if you’re a bit daunted by any of the above, don’t worry. We’ll guide you through everything you need to know.

© Chamberlains 2021








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Random Acts of Kindness Week: Nine Ways to Spread Joy in South Devon

In this two-minute read, we look at how a simple random act of kindness can start a tsunami of positive vibes.

Many people are going through a dark time right now, but there is a way you could make at least one person’s day a little brighter.

As this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week, why not surprise and delight someone with a small, generous gesture?

It doesn’t have to be a grand affair; even a small effort could leave someone buzzing for the rest of the day. And don’t forget that kindness is contagious, so your good deed could well inspire the recipient to follow suit with their own act of goodwill – triggering a wave of altruism across South Devon.

Here are nine things you could do for Random Acts of Kindness Week.

1) Leave flowers or a box of chocolates on your neighbour’s doorstep (preferably choose a neighbour who lives alone or is having a tough time right now).

2) Sign up to volunteer with a local charity, food bank, or care home.

3) Send a card to someone you haven’t spoken to for a while. Let them know you’re thinking of them.

4) Donate money to a local charity and follow up with an email to the charity’s head thanking them for their contribution to the community.

5) Call a friend who you haven’t spoken to for a while. Let them do the talking while you do the listening.

6) Feeling generous? If you need to catch public transport for work, leave an envelope containing a £5/£10/£20 note on the seat when you leave. Write a short message on the envelope to entice a curious stranger to open it.

7) Surprise your partner by doing a chore around the house that they usually do.

8) Make a home-cooked meal and deliver it to a friend, neighbour or family member who might really appreciate some comfort food.

9) Support a local business by leaving them a glowing review online. Your positive words could help them attract customers and boost their sales during this challenging economic period.

We’ll leave you with this quote from the one and only Jackie Chan (because we all need a little more Jackie Chan in our lives right now): “Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.”

From all of us here at Chamberlains, stay safe and be kind.

© Chamberlains 2021


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Are We Entering the New Roaring Twenties?

Are We Entering the New Roaring Twenties?

‘The darkest hour is just before the dawn.’

The quote is attributed to the English theologian Thomas Fuller from 1650.

It could easily be applied now, more than 370 years on.

As the weather turns for the better, the vaccine programme accelerates across the UK, and green shoots of the ‘old normal’ start to spring up, here at Chamberlains we’re feeling hopeful.

A fascinating article published last week predicted that an economic and cultural boom will start when the lockdowns are lifted, and Covid-19 is made much more manageable.

Will History Repeat Itself?

It happened after the Spanish Flu Epidemic, which ravaged the globe in the early 20th century.

Lasting from February 1918 to April 1920, it infected 500 million people – about a third of the world’s population at the time – in four successive waves.

The decade that followed, the Roaring Twenties, was filled with economic prosperity. It saw massive construction projects across Europe and North America. Music and the arts flourished as people celebrated the end of World War One and the defeat of a pandemic.

There’s a sense among many social commentators and historians that we could be entering a new Roaring Twenties as people begin enjoying the freedoms we all took for granted.

Bank of England Optimism 

The Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Andy Haldane, said this in a recent BBC interview.

“With 13 million of the most vulnerable people already vaccinated, the risk of death or hospitalisation in the UK has already probably halved.

“By the end of March, based on the current pace of vaccine rollout and government data on vulnerable groups, this risk may have been reduced by as much as three-quarters and by the end of the second quarter it will be even smaller.

“As a result, health concerns will fall, and restrictions will be lifted, allowing people to return to spending and socialising.

“This turn in sentiment is likely to be rapid, like a light switch being flicked rather than a dimmer switch being turned.

“Having been bottled up for a year, most people are desperate to get their lives, including their social lives, back.

“When allowed to do so safely, they will seize it. The economy is like a coiled spring, and when the lockdowns are lifted, it will release pent-up financial energy.”

And Finally

From a property perspective, we feel 2021 will see a lot of activity – especially in South Devon because it’s an in-demand area with people wanting to move from more built up areas across the country.

Seeing as we started this article with some ancient wisdom, let’s end it with some equally wise words from a modern author, Charlie Mackesy.

It’s taken from his wonderful book – The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse.

“What’s the best things you’ve learned about storms?” said the boy. “That they end.” said the horse.

Thanks for reading and stay hopeful.

© Chamberlains 2021


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The Five Most Common Renovation Blunders

In this two-minute read, we look at the home renovations that don’t add value – and can make it harder to sell your property.

If there’s a chance you could sell your South Devon home in the next few years, think before you rush into making any major home renovations.

While you might read about celebrities investing in fancy wine cellars (David Beckham’s building one for his 7,000 bottles of plonk) or bespoke nature ponds (Ed Sheeran’s has a jetty), the reality is that pet projects rarely pay off.

What one enthusiastic home renovator sees as original and bold, could seem dated in a few years’ time.

Of course, your home should reflect who you are – there’s more to life than nondescript neutral palettes.

But there are ways to personalise your property without harming your chances of securing a good selling price further down the track (unless you’re David Beckham or Ed Sheeran and money is no object).

Steer clear of spending big on features or structural changes that the next owner might find difficult or expensive to remove.

Instead, put your stamp on your home through colourful photo galleries, eye-catching artworks and bright feature walls (that you can paint over further down the track).

Common renovation mistakes

1 Adding a tiny bathroom

An additional bathroom can add real value to a property – but size really does matter. If you need a shoehorn to wiggle your way in and out, it’s more trouble (and money) than it’s worth.

2 Hot tubs

Hot tubs are the Marmite of the garden world – people either love them or hate them. For some, a hot tub is the height of luxury; for others, it screams ‘wife swap’. It’s a question of personal taste but be aware that would-be buyers might have concerns about costs, upkeep, and nosy neighbours.

3 Other outdoor statement pieces

Expensive climbing frames, ornate water features and fountains might be a turn-off as they can be costly and cumbersome to remove.

4 Bold coloured kitchen cabinets

A fresh and modern kitchen can be a worthwhile investment but be wary of getting carried away with current trends. Install neutral-coloured cabinets as they won’t date as quickly. If you want to make a statement, do so by hanging eye-catching artworks or a bespoke splashback that you can remove at a later date.

5 Single bedrooms

If you’re tempted to convert a generous bedroom into two smaller rooms, think carefully. Parents of young children may believe that creating two smaller rooms that can accommodate single beds is the perfect antidote to sibling arguments. But potential buyers may find itty-bitty spaces that don’t serve a clear purpose (and are too small for at least a double bed and some storage) off-putting.

If you’d like more advice about selling your South Devon home, or to tell us your views on hot tubs, get in touch with us here at Chamberlains.

© Chamberlains 2021


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Seven Ways to Make a Tenant Feel at Home

In this three-minute read, we look at a new report that outlines how South Devon landlords can build a long and prosperous partnership with their tenant.

What’s the secret to a successful tenant/landlord relationship? It’s a question that has vexed property gurus through the ages, but now the University of Stirling thinks it has the answer.

A new report from the university, Making a Home in the Private Rented Sector, says the key to a long and happy property partnership is to make a tenant feel at home.

After all, if a tenant feels safe and settled, they’ll be happier and healthier, and more likely to take good care of the property and stay put long term.

And isn’t that the Holy Grail for any landlord? Who doesn’t want a reliable tenant who keeps the place tidy, pays their rent on time, and remains in situ for years?

The report identifies seven things landlords can do to make a tenant feel at home.

  • Keep your property in good condition 

If you don’t take care of your property, why should anybody else? Set the tone at the start of a tenancy by ensuring that the property is in good nick. Invest in energy efficient measures such as draught-proofing and insulation – your tenants will appreciate it during winter.

  • Fix repairs promptly and to a high standard

Respond quickly when a tenant reports an issue. Dithering will only make your tenant less likely to raise issues in the future (which means a minor problem could snowball into a major repair job).

  • Don’t jump to conclusions about prospective tenants

You may have a fixed idea in your head of what makes the “perfect tenant”, but avoid making assumptions based on age, income, or other characteristics.

  • Avoid blanket bans on children and pets

Landlords who veto children, cats, dogs, ferrets, or hamsters could be missing a trick. When a family or pet owner settles in a property, they tend to stay longer because they don’t want the hassle of relocating – meaning a flexible landlord can enjoy a stable long-term income.

  • Negotiate about home decorating

We’re not suggesting that you give a tenant free rein to do a full Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen makeover, but think through any redecoration request carefully before responding. If a tenant can make your property feel like their home, they’ll stay in it for a longer period. And they may do a great job and add value to your property.

  • Be respectful and supportive

Keep the lines of communication open by being respectful and helpful. You don’t have to become BFFs (in fact, we’d rather you keep it strictly professional), but be sensitive to your tenant’s feelings, especially when it comes to things like inspections.

  • Offer longer tenancies with stable rents where possible

If things are going well, consider offering a longer tenancy. That way, you’ll both know where you stand in the long run.

If you have any questions about building a good tenant/landlord relationship, get in touch with us here at Chamberlains. 

© Chamberlains 2021

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Property Scam Warning for South Devon Renters

In this three-minute read, we explain how renters can avoid getting ripped off by fake landlords.

Renters in South Devon should be on their guard against fraudsters using Covid-19 as a cover to swindle people out of their hard-earned cash.

Rental fraud is not a new scam – Action Fraud, the UK’s reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, has been warning about it for years.

However, we’re concerned that the increase in property activity being carried out online due to the pandemic could leave renters more vulnerable to this kind of ruse.

Just last week, we heard of an attempt at online rental fraud and it’s clear the scammers are out there, doing their best to rip people off.

What is rental fraud?

Imagine this: you’re searching for a new place to live and a property advertised on social media catches your eye. It looks perfect, and the price is right. Stroke of luck!

So, you make contact to arrange a viewing. Great news, the property is available – but there’s an issue: you can’t view it in person.

You may be told you can’t visit because:

– The ‘owner’ is out of the country due to work/personal issues/Covid-19. (They may even throw in a sly dig at Priti Patel’s quarantine rules to seem personable.)

– The ‘owner’ is unwell or isolating due to Covid-19.

At this point, alarm bells should ring. What usually comes next is a request that you pay a deposit ASAP to secure the property. The ‘owner’ may suggest that you meet a ‘friend’ of theirs to exchange a cash deposit for the keys, or they may ask you to make an electronic transfer.

No matter how plausible the story seems, don’t hand over a penny.

If you do, we can pretty much guarantee you will never hear from the ‘owner’ again, never step inside the property you saw advertised (the pictures were probably ripped off from another rental advert), and never get your money back.

Fraud-busting tips

Never agree to rent a property through a website or social media.

Never pay a deposit to rent a property you have not viewed in person. You must visit the property and ensure it is a genuine let. You need to be happy with the property and the terms and conditions of the letting.

Never pay to view a property. Agencies and landlords never charge for viewings.

Never hand over cash – it’s untraceable and can be used immediately.

Never transfer funds via Western Union, Moneybookers or other electronic fund transfer services to someone claiming to be an agent or landlord.

Always establish that the property exists and that it is available for rent.

Always check the landlord/agent’s identity, and that he/she is authorised to rent the property.

Always do your research. Look online to see if the property is on any other rental platform. If it is with a letting agency, call them and clarify the details. If you want the property and it is with an agency, then go through them.

Always trust your instincts. If you’re unsure, walk away.

Always report scammers to the authorities.

From all of us here at Chamberlains, please stay safe and be vigilant online.

 © Chamberlains 2021



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What Home-schooling Can Teach You About Selling a Property

In this three-minute read, we look at the parallels between home-schooling and selling your home.

If you’re a parent working from home and managing childcare commitments, we salute you. It’s not easy dashing from one task to the next in what feels like a never-ending lockdown juggling act – but there is a bright side.

Some of the lessons you’re learning right now will come in handy should you plan to sell your South Devon home.


The power of patience

The secret to staying sane while home-schooling is patience. Losing your temper when your little darling refuses to knuckle down rarely achieves anything – and often makes the situation worse.

We live in a fast-paced world (at least it was before the pandemic) and can feel irritated if we don’t see immediate results. But good things often take time and patience.

It’s the same with selling a property. It can be frustrating when the process doesn’t move as quickly or as smoothly as you’d like, but throwing a tantrum won’t achieve anything.


It pays to do your homework

Show me a parent who hasn’t resorted to Google at some point while home-schooling, and I’ll show you a liar.

All parents need to do a little research from time to time, whether to brush up on long division or Roman history.

These research skills will prove useful when it comes to selling your home. By analysing the South Devon housing market, you can determine a realistic asking price and get ideas about how to present your property.


Don’t be a control freak

When you’re in the home-schooling bubble, it’s easy to be consumed by worry. When will schools re-open? Are other parents doing a better job than me? The voice in your head can go into overdrive.

But the reality is you can’t change any of these things, so there’s no point in obsessing over them.

It’s the same with the property market. You can control some things (such as your asking price and presentation), but other elements are out of your hands.

If you find yourself in a chain, you will be relying on a string of other buyers and sellers to get their finances and legal paperwork sorted. If things stall, stay calm and remain optimistic.


Be flexible

You can’t work from home and supervise children, without exercising a serious degree of flexibility.

Whether it’s conducting a Zoom meeting with a child rolling around at your feet or working weekends, it’s all about getting the job done – one way or another.

Remember this when you sell your home. If you need to declutter, do it. If your front garden looks like a junkyard, clear it up. Don’t be too precious. Think about what it will take to get the best price for your home and make it happen.

Here at Chamberlains, we always do our homework so we can deliver the best for our clients. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you.

© Chamberlains 2021





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Breaking News Update on Stamp Duty Debate in Parliament

Breaking News Update on Stamp Duty Debate in Parliament
A one-minute news special
They rarely agree about anything, but MPs from different parties were singing from the same hymn sheet during yesterday afternoon’s virtual House of Commons debate around extending the Stamp Duty holiday.
The debate was triggered by an online public petition that wants to see a six-month extension to the existing deadline of 31 March.
And nearly every MP who spoke during the 70-minute discussion favoured adding at least a further six months or staggering the deadline so that more people can benefit from the tax break.
How has the debate impacted sellers and buyers in South Devon?
To be honest, nothing has changed, but the pressure is building on the treasury to act, mainly because the property market generates enormous tax income and millions of pounds worth of home sales are in the balance.
We’re now all playing a game of wait and see until Wednesday 3 March when the Chancellor Rishi Sunak will reveal the Government’s decision.
If you have any questions about the Stamp Duty holiday and what it means to your moving plans, please do get in touch 🙂