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How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions


In this two-minute read, we look at what are the most popular New Year’s resolutions and, more importantly, how to stick to the ones you make.

According to data analytics firm YouGov, at the end of 2020, around a fifth of the adult population in the UK made New Year’s resolutions.

And this year promises to be no different as some of us vow to make a positive change to our lives in 2022.

YouGov states that women (23%) are more likely to make New Year’s resolutions than men (15%).

The ten most popular things people want to tackle are, in no particular order:

Losing weight

Saving more money

Exercising more

Improving their diet

Spending less time on social media

Decorating or renovating their home

Taking up a new hobby

Changing career


Cutting down drinking alcohol

How to stick to your resolutions

Making resolutions is one thing, but what are the best ways to make sure you stick to them? Especially when you consider that 66% of resolutions are broken within one month, and just 12% of us feel the resolutions we made were a success.

Here are five ways to keep those positive promises to yourself, as recommended by several leading life coaches, including Tony Robbins.

  • Focus on one resolution.
  • Take time to create an action plan.
  • Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  • One failure isn’t fatal. Keep going.
  • Enlist the help of friends and family.

A common call we take in January is from people looking to move to a new home in the new year.

And while we can’t help you get fitter, more fulfilled or wealthier, we can help you find a new property.

So, if you want to stick to a resolution to move in 2022, give us a call.

And to all our clients, colleagues, and community we wish you a Happy New Year.




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Shhh… Get Rid of Unwanted Christmas Gifts Without Anyone Finding Out


In this two-minute read, we give you our best ideas for unloading your unwanted socks, smellies, toys or slippers.

Now we’ve all eaten our weight in turkey, pulled some crackers, and snoozed in front of the TV, it’s time for the great post-Christmas tidy-up.

The first place to start (once all that wrapping paper has been cleared away) is with your unwanted presents. Don’t just shove them under the bed or at the back of a cupboard. Get savvy, get rid, and get a little richer.

Donate them to a good cause

The guilt-free option for getting rid of something you know you’re never going to use. Charity shops benefit from new and unopened items, and you can feel happy in the knowledge your unwanted pressie is doing some good in the world.

Regift them to someone

You may feel a bit cheeky doing this, but in the grand scheme of things you’re actually doing your bit to help save the planet, avoid waste, and bag yourself some pennies.

Swap shop

Get online and swap your presents. Sites such as Preloved or Swapz let you find items of a similar value and arrange a swap. No money, no clutter – win-win. Alternatively, if you fancy hosting a little get-together, organise a post-holiday swap party where everyone brings an unwanted gift and swaps it for another guest’s present.

Sell online

There are so many online selling sites to choose from, your granny will never know you sold her gift of embroidered handkerchiefs, we promise. Obviously, there’s eBay, but check out other sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Amazon Marketplace, or Gumtree.

Return them

Now this is easy if you’ve got a gift receipt, but there’s hope even if you don’t. Most retailers have a returns policy that allows an exchange or will offer a credit note but there’s no law that forces a retailer to accept non-faulty items. Remember, in most cases you’ve only got 28 days to return something in store.

Things that can’t be returned include perishable items such as food and personalised items.

Give them away

It might not be a good idea to stand outside your house offering strangers a pair of brand-new flannel pyjamas, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Make use of sites such as Freecycle, Freegle, and Trash Nothing to offload your unwanted gifts.

Whatever you decide to do with those extra presents, we at Chamberlains hope you’ve had a great festive period.



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Want a Trouble-Free Festive Break? Use a Letting Agent

letting agents

This two-minute read explains the benefits of having a letting agent on duty over the festive season.

Being a landlord is not a nine-to-five job. You can’t just switch on your out-of-office and mute your WhatsApp messages because you fancy a break.

Well actually, you can – if you have a good letting agent working for you.

Here are four ways an agent can help you through the silly season.

  • Stress-free holidays

As a landlord, you have a duty of care to your tenant. This means you never know if a trip away to see family or friends or to catch some sun will be interrupted by an urgent call from your tenant.

With a letting agent, you can go away safe in the knowledge that you’re meeting your legal obligations and that any crisis will be dealt with by an experienced professional.

  • Good contacts

Even the most laid-back tenant can be short of patience during the festive season.

If, say, the boiler stops working while the mother-in-law is in town, don’t expect to rest until it’s sorted.

Thankfully, a good agent has an extensive collection of electricians, plumbers, and gas engineers in their contacts list.

If something goes wrong, an agent can get someone out to your property – even on public holidays.

  • Deal with tenant disputes

Sadly, long-standing issues between couples often come to a head during the holiday period, as people spend more time cooped up together.

As a result, landlords can find themselves dealing with two people who are in a joint tenancy but are very much at odds with each other.

This kind of situation can be tough to navigate and requires careful handling. Many landlords are relieved to leave it to an expert.

  • Handle neighbourhood complaints

Neighbourhood rows about loud music, parking, and who put what in the recycling bin can flare up during the festive season.

You may have the skills to deal with these kinds of issues, the question is: do you want to spend your precious time brokering neighbourhood peace? If you don’t, get a letting agent.

To learn more about how we can make your life a lot easier, get in touch with Chamberlains.


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‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ – Especially South Devon’s Community Champions


In this two-minute read, we say a big thank you to those in South Devon who are working or volunteering during the Christmas period.

It’s the night before Christmas, and excitement is reaching fever pitch among children (and adults, some of our team included).

But let’s also spare a thought and share some gratitude for the people, around one million of them across the UK, who work on December 25th.

While you’re tucking into the turkey or munching away on your seasonal veg, it can be easy to forget that it’s another working day for some of our neighbours.

Emergency services, hospital staff, carers, traffic officers, HGV drivers, and hospitality workers all come to mind as people who will be putting in shifts across South Devon while many of us are having fun.

There are also scores of volunteers who give up their time on Christmas Day.

From helpline call handlers to those who organise lunches on December 25th for lonely or vulnerable people in the community.

These superstars are giving the most precious present anyone can – their time and attention.

So, to all those hardworking and community-spirited folks, we salute you.

You are local heroes, and we are grateful to you. And we hope you get some quality downtime to enjoy the festive season.

At Chamberlains, we’ll be taking a well-earned break to prepare ourselves for what promises to be a very busy 2022 for the South Devon property market.

Our opening hours over the festive period are:

Thursday 23rd December – 09:00 to 17:30

Friday 24th December – Closed

Saturday 25th December – Closed

Monday 27th December – Closed

Tuesday 28th December – Closed

Wednesday 29th December – 10:00 to 15:00

Thursday 30th December – 10:00 – 15:00

Friday 31st December – 10:00 to 15:00

Saturday 1st January – Closed

Monday 3rd January – Closed

Tuesday 4th January – 09:00 – 17:30

All of us at Chamberlains would like to wish everyone in South Devon a happy, healthy, and very Merry Christmas.



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Living with Your Parents? You’re Not Alone


In this three-minute read, we explore the growing trend of multigenerational living.

Remember when you were younger and you couldn’t wait to move out of your parents’ house, rent your own place and live independently? Well, times are a-changin’, and being an adult with your own bills, mortgage payments, and countless other expenses has lost its charm for many.

In fact, more and more people are going back to their roots, moving in with their parents, in-laws, or other family members to cut down costs and maximise space.

For many cultures, multigenerational living is the norm. It’s not uncommon for three or even four generations to live in one household, but this was a rarity in most UK households, until now. The Office for National Statistics has found that since 2001, households containing three generations is on the up.

Older adults are moving back in with their parents, elderly grandparents are moving in with their kids and grandkids, and many 20 – 30 somethings have no choice but to stay put in their childhood homes due to lack of funds. During the pandemic, many families decided to move in together to prevent isolation, provide support, and just be together.

These days, the traditional granny annexe won’t always do, as savvy grandparents want more space. Designs for granny flats (or student studios) are more self-contained, ensuring people have their own private space and retain a sense of independence.

As more down sizers move in with extended family, research from CBRE predicts that multigenerational living is set to increase over the next 20 years

Typical ways families are joining together include:

  • Merging finances and buying bigger properties
  • Moving out of cities to take advantage of more space in rural areas
  • Extending properties to build an annexe
  • Adapting properties to create separate entrances and facilities

With the growing trend of multigenerational living, and more than 1.8 million households currently adopting this lifestyle, house builders are also getting in on it. New developments are popping up with ready-made granny flats or studios for multigenerational family set-ups.

Factors to investigate when considering merging households include matters such as council tax, planning permission, wills, and inheritance issues.

If you’re planning on creating a new multigenerational household, talk to us at Chamberlains to see what’s currently available in South Devon.



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Nightmare Before Christmas: A Cautionary Tale for Landlords


This two-minute tale takes inspiration from a classic Christmas poem.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

That was until Mum and Dad, joint owners of a rental property, received a panicked phone call from their tenant. 

What was the matter?

In a highly charged conversation, the tenant explained that a pipe had burst and was causing severe water damage.

The problem needs to be sorted – ASAP!

Dad, who had been hoping to settle his brain for a long winter’s nap, springs from his bed and hotfoots it over to the property.

Meanwhile, Mum desperately tries to find a plumber who can help (their usual one must be enjoying a few well-earned festive pints as he’s not answering his phone).

After several stressful hours, the leak is fixed, and the tenant is comfortable in a hotel.

Mum and Dad collapse into bed. They grab a few hours of sleep before their children excitedly shake them awake. It’s Christmas Day. But neither of them feels very merry.

It was just bad timing

The whole episode hangs heavy over Christmas Day. But is there anything else Mum and Dad could have done?

They keep their investment flat in good condition. The leak was just bad luck, wasn’t it?

What about a letting agent?

Oh yes. If Mum and Dad had used the services of a letting agent, things would have been different.

The panicked call from the tenant wouldn’t have come through to them at all. The mad search for a plumber and alternative digs for the tenant would have been the agent’s responsibility.

Mum and Dad would have slumbered all snug in their beds through the whole episode.

What happened next?

As they both have busy jobs, and family time is so important to them, Mum and Dad decide to use a letting agent.

That way, they can focus on what they do best professionally and leave the day-to-day realities of property management to an expert.

Best of all, they know that next Christmas – and at any special time of the year – they can completely relax. Now that’s a happily ever after we can raise a glass to.

From the team at Chamberlains, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


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Left It Late? Check Out These Ideas for Christmas Gifts in South Devon


This two-minute read might just be your get-out-of-jail-free card if you’ve left it late to buy Christmas gifts.

A conversation among our team recently made us realise that with just over a week to go before Christmas Day, most of us still had people to buy gifts for.

So, if you’re in the same situation and need some late/last-minute present inspiration, check out these 15 ideas.

For Her

To pamper – a spa day at a local beauty salon.

To relax – a luxuriously scented candle (look at Jo Malone if you want to push the boat out).

To savour – a chocolate box subscription (Hotel Chocolat is worth a look for the chocolate connoisseur).

To de-stress – a shiatsu neck and shoulder massaging machine.

To experiment – The Great British Bake Off latest recipe book or maybe Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook.

For Him

The tech lover – a 3-in-1 Apple device charging station.

The early riser – a sunrise wake-up light alarm clock.

The fitness fan – an electric mini-massage tool.

The thrill-seeker – an experience day – hundreds of options out there, including driving around a racetrack, sailing, or parachuting.

The fan – a personalised video message from a sportsperson or celebrity.

For the Home

As estate agents, no last-minute list from us would be complete without five gifts you can buy for people to use in their homes.

A marble desk organiser.

A customised house portrait.

Personalised coasters.

Frame a favourite photo.

Hardback coffee table books – National Geographic’s Destinations of a Lifetime or perhaps one featuring South Devon?.

And remember, when we shop locally in South Devon, we make a big difference to our community.

Where will you be doing your last-minute gift buying?

Thanks for reading and happy shopping.


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What to Do Before Selling a Buy-To-Let in South Devon


In this two-minute read, we look at the implications of selling a buy-to-let property.

If you’re a landlord looking to downsize your property portfolio, you may be thinking about selling one or more of your buy-to-let properties. This process isn’t always as straightforward as a regular property sale, so we’ve pulled together some FAQs to think about.

Who should I sell my property to?

To sell to another landlord, keep it simple. Make sure the property is clean, clutter-free, and liveable – just as you would before renting it out yourself. This helps the buyer see its rental value and that it can be occupied quickly.

Increase your market by selling to potential residents. Again, make sure the property is clean and clutter-free, but make it feel more homely rather than just an investment opportunity.

In both cases, take care of any repairs prior to selling and get it deep cleaned before viewings begin.

What if my buy-to-let is tenanted?

In most cases, it’s easier to sell a vacant buy-to-let. However, if you do plan to sell while your tenants are in contract, you’re limiting your market to other landlords.

Be warned, selling while tenanted will mean more admin. You’ll need to provide the tenancy agreement, gas safety certificates, and other associated rental documents. You’ll also need to arrange for the tenancy deposit to be transferred to the new landlord.

Avoid the hassle of extra paperwork and plan your buy-to-let sale towards the end of a tenant’s contract. Provide a Section 21 notice to your tenants. This gives them two months to find a new home and makes your sale easier.

What are the tax implications of selling a buy-to-let?

Buy-to-let properties are subject to capital gains tax (every landlord’s least favourite few words!). Your tax bill is calculated by looking at how much the value of the property has increased since you’ve owned it. So, if you bought a rental for £100,000 and it’s now worth £150,000, you’ll be liable for CGT on the £50,000 (less allowable expenses).

Make sure you speak to an accountant to understand what expenses can be offset and your personal tax rate.

What about my mortgage?

If you took out a long-term fixed rate buy-to-let mortgage, you may need to prepare for a hefty early repayment charge once the property sells.

Speak to us at Chamberlains if you’re thinking about selling a buy-to-let.

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Stop Your Rental Property from Being Used for Illegal Activity

Stop Your Rental Property from Being Used for Illegal Activity

This two-minute read looks at how landlords can keep their property safe from criminals and dodgy dealers.

Every landlord has lost sleep worrying about what goes on in their rental property when they’re not around.

There’s always a flicker of fear that a tenant – no matter how trustworthy they seem – might turn out to be a nightmare and cause damage to the property.

But carpet stains and chipped paint could be the least of a landlord’s worries in the scheme of things.

If criminals use your property for illegal activity, you could wind up with an expensive repair bill and a starring role in a court case. (And if the property is designated a crime scene, it could be off-limits for weeks while police investigate.)

While most tenants are law-abiding citizens, with criminals employing ever more sophisticated tactics, it’s worth being on your guard.

Rental properties are sometimes used for:

  • Drug production. Over the past 20 years, there’s been a steady increase in the use of domestic properties for cannabis farms or meth labs.
  • Drug dealing.
  • People trafficking.
  • Gambling dens or the sale of illicit cigarettes and alcohol.

What to do if you’re suspicious

Don’t bury your head in the sand. If the authorities can prove you were aware of the illegal activity taking place at your property but took no action, there could be severe repercussions

Contact the relevant authority and keep a note of what you’ve seen or heard (but don’t play detective, leave that to the experts).

Look out for

  • Tenants with long, convoluted stories as to why they can’t show you the appropriate ID.
  • Tenants who install their own deadbolts, CCTV or alarms, and are dead against you arranging a planned property inspection.
  • Blacked-out windows and unusual smells. Meth labs can smell like cat’s wee, while cannabis farms have a distinctive, sweet odour.
  • Changes to the wiring (cannabis farmers often rejig it to bypass the electricity meter).

Proactive steps

  • Have a rigorous tenant screening process.
  • Run a mile from tenants offering to pay several months’ rent in advance in cash.
  • Carry out regular inspections.
  • Do things by the book. Criminals are looking for landlords who are lax or absent.
  • Build good relations with the neighbours. They could be the first to notify you if something fishy is going on.
  • Trust your instincts.

If this all feels like a tall order, you could get an experienced letting agent to manage your property.

That way, you can sleep easy knowing that your investment is safe.

From all of us here at Chamberlains, don’t have nightmares and thanks for reading.



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WARNING – Be Wary of Scammers in South Devon This Christmas

WARNING – Be Wary of Scammers in South Devon This Christmas

In this two-minute read, we look at some of the scams targeting Christmas shoppers in South Devon and how to avoid them.

Which classic festive song opens with the line, “It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid.”?

Easy, eh? It’s Band Aid’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas?”.

And while no one should be scared during the festive season, we should all be aware of one set of people hell-bent on cheating people out of Christmas cheer – scammers.

Scams are more prevalent now than ever due to the pandemic driving more people online to buy gifts and the relentless pace of modern life meaning we’re all often rushing.

And fraudsters thrive at this time of the year. So be wary of these tricks they’re pulling below.

  • Unexpected e-cards

If an anonymous e-card pops up in your inbox, err on the side of caution and don’t open it. It’s a common tactic scammers use to infect your computer with viruses. Always use a good anti-virus product across your devices and check out for more helpful advice.

  • Online bargains

Buying things online has become second nature to many of us. And there are some great deals to be had. But if a deal looks too good to be true, there’s usually a reason why. Many scammers entice shoppers into handing over financial information to buy cut-price items that don’t exist. Always buy from reputable online retailers, check for reviews, and trust your gut instinct.

  • Ticketing fraud

As the UK eases out of the shackles of the lockdowns, many people want to get out and experience live events again. It’s a great way to treat a friend or family member. But be warned, scammers love ticketing scams – especially ones around supposedly sold-out events. So only buy tickets from reputable websites and always look for secure websites (showing a padlock at the start of their web address).

  • Holiday horrors

According to Action Fraud, one of the UK’s leading websites offering advice to consumers, holiday fraud is rising. This is because overseas travel has been limited for so long and many of us are desperate to get away, especially over Christmas. Watch out for last-minute bargains from companies that won’t accept credit cards and aren’t ATOL or ABTA protected. You can check a travel company’s status with the Civil Aviation Authority.

Thanks for reading, and from all of us at Chamberlains, here’s to a happy, healthy, and safe Christmas.