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BREAKING NEWS – What the Mini Budget Means for Homeowners

stamp duty

A two-minute read.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng outlined his plans for the economy during the ‘mini-budget’ announced this morning.

This included changes to stamp duty, tax cuts and other measures aimed at boosting the nation’s finances.

Here’s what the Chancellor said about stamp duty as reported by leading estate agency news website – Property Industry Eye.

“The government is reforming stamp duty by doubling the level at which people begin paying this from £125,000 to £250,000.

“The government also committed to helping first-time buyers get on the property ladder in two ways. Firstly, by increasing the level first-time buyers start paying stamp duty from £300,000 to £425,000.

“In addition, the government is allowing first-time buyers to access the relief when they buy a property costing less than £625,000 rather than the current £500,000.

“According to the Chancellor, these measures will reduce stamp duty bills across the board for all movers by up to £2,500 with first-time buyers able to access up £11,250 in relief.”

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after the Bank of England raised the interest base rate to 2.25%.

What it Means to Buyers and Sellers

Call us on 01626 365055 to find out more about what the stamp duty changes mean for you.

Thanks for reading.

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How to Support Young People’s Mental Wellbeing

How to Support Young People’s Mental Wellbeing

Mental health used to be taboo, but thankfully, nowadays it’s more open for discussion. But while we’re all more aware of it, are we doing enough to help and empower young people who may be experiencing problems?

September 19th marks Youth Mental Health Day (YMHD), an initiative to raise awareness and understanding around mental wellbeing and to encourage young people to live happy, healthy lives.

Studies by the charity behind YMHD, Stem 4, have found that six in ten young people experience mental health difficulties, such as low mood, anxiety and self-harm. Worryingly, one-sixth of five to sixteen-year-olds have diagnosable mental health conditions.

In this quick read, we look at ways you can support your children, family members or friends with their mental wellbeing.

Meaningful relationships

This year, YMHD’s theme is about meaningful connections and encourages young people to try and make healthy, strong relationships rather than fleeting, superficial friendships.

Talk to young people about the people in their lives, who they feel comfortable talking to, who they trust and so on. Encouraging positive connections can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

What are unhealthy relationships?

Teaching young people about when to walk away from some friendships is a good way to make them more self-aware and to boost their emotional health. Unfortunately, some relationships can become draining or toxic, and we need to help teenagers and children understand this. Distancing themselves from people who no longer make them feel happy or put pressure on them is a skill that they can fall back on throughout their lives.

Talk about kindness and how to remove themselves from such relationships in a way that doesn’t cause stress or arguments.

How to ask for help

We all need help at some stage in our lives and it’s important for young people to understand that this is not a weakness. Talk about situations when they feel like they need help or someone to listen to them to reduce the stigma around mental health.

Social media

As much as we all enjoy a nose around social media, for young teenagers who have never known life without it, their online world can cause stress and anxiety. Social media is a minefield where teens are exposed to things such as heavily filtered images, inappropriate or explicit content, online bullying, trolls and much more.

Make them aware that social media is what people want you to see rather than reality. Encourage them to take a break from being online, ask to see their social media profiles and posts. Be open about social media and its pitfalls while understanding how important it is to their generation.

Let’s all try to make a difference for our children. Share your tips below for supporting young people with their mental health.

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How to Make Your South Devon Home Move Easier


There’s no doubt about it, moving home is one of the most stressful life events you can go through. As you wade through boxes, try to settle the kids, hunt for the toaster, and pay off all the moving bills, you’ll probably be trying not to scream and lose your cool.

So, what’s the solution? Can you make a house move less hectic for all those involved?

We think so. Here’s our ultimate moving checklist. You can thank us later.

  • Start early

As soon as you know you’re planning to move, start the process of decluttering. By reducing the amount of stuff early, there’ll be less to lug around in boxes later, so it’s worth having a clear-out prior to the packing process.

  • Plan how to move

Whether you’re using a man in a van, hiring a removal company, or doing it yourself, make sure you’ve compared prices and booked in for the big day.

If you’re not moving big items of furniture, it might be more budget-friendly to hire a van yourself. If you’ve got a lot to move or you’re taking large items such as beds and wardrobes, then a removal company is your best bet.

  • Questions for sellers

Before moving in, put a list of questions together for the people you’re buying from, so you have all the vital info you need. Questions to ask include: the location of the gas and electric meters and stopcock, utility providers, bin collection day, if they can leave instruction manuals, etc.

  • Redirect your post

You can pay a small fee to Royal Mail to have your post redirected for a set time. This is a great way to make your move less stressful as you won’t panic about missing any outstanding bills or important documents.

  • Smart boxes

Keep your packing organised. Label each box so you know what room it’s destined for and briefly describe what’s in the box. This will make the actual move-in period a lot easier.

Top tip: Make sure you’ve packed a box of everyday essentials such as a kettle, tea and coffee, biscuits, mugs, a few plates and crockery. This makes your first few meals much less stressful.

  • Kids and moving

Reduce your children’s anxiety about moving by helping them to create a special moving box containing all their special toys, comforters and so on. Hopefully, when you move, this will reduce any worries or fears about change by keeping things familiar and easy to find.

If you’re looking to move home, get in touch with Chamberlains and start your search with us.



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Why Landlords Need to Take Note of October 1st 2022


A significant change in how rental properties must be maintained comes into legal effect on Saturday, October 1st 2022.

The law affects what alarms landlords must provide in their properties to protect against potentially lethal carbon monoxide poisoning.

Failure to comply with the new rules can result in landlords getting a hefty fine.

The new Regulations, as outlined in the government-issued Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022: guidance for landlords and tenants state:

  1. Landlords must ensure at least one smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of their homes where a room is used as living accommodation. This has been a legal requirement in the private rented sector since 2015.
  2. Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).
  3. Ensure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once a landlord has been informed and checked they are faulty.

Local authorities enforce the requirements. They can impose a fine of up to £5,000 if a landlord fails to take action following a remedial notice.

And while there’s no need to panic, it is worth acting as quickly as possible to ensure your rental property and/or property portfolio is compliant.

Several types of tenancies are exempt, including care homes, student halls of residence and shared accommodation with a landlord.

And remember, ignorance isn’t a defence, and by acting now (if you haven’t already), you’ll protect yourself, your tenants and your rental investment.

As with any significant legal change, landlords must know further caveats and details.

Alternatively, use a letting agent who does.

Our friendly team of experienced experts are available to answer any of your questions and/or refer you to trusted tradespeople who can install the alarms.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe and legally sound.


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Tired of Wordle? Here Are Some Alternatives


Games on your phone are a great way to look busy and important. They’re also a great way to show off to your social media mates about how cool and relevant you are. If you haven’t heard of Wordle, you’ve probably been living under a rock (or, more likely, you’re far too busy to notice that everyone’s been talking and posting about it).

But if you’re late to the five-letter party, what are the other games you can get unhealthily addicted to?

In this quick read, we say bye-bye to Wordle and look at some of the alternatives you should be playing.

First up… what is Wordle?

It’s a game that started a global trend. Suddenly, social media was inundated with yellow and green grids and people commenting about how many attempts it took to find the word. Baffled? Basically, Wordle is a game where you’ve got six guesses to find a five-letter word. Get one right and it turns yellow, get the letter and position right, it turns green.

What’s next?

  • Heardle

For all you music maestros out there, Heardle gives you six attempts to guess a song. You get a tiny snippet and then submit a random song choice to move on to the next snippet. It’s very annoying but also highly addictive. Every day, you’ll get another song to guess. Perfect for procrastinators with headphones.

  • Sweardle

Got a potty mouth? There’s a game for that. Sweardle is a terrible attempt at making Wordle funny. Four letters, four guesses, but be warned, some of the alleged swear words will have you very disappointed.

  • Worldle

If you’re rubbish at geography, this game is either a great way to learn or the perfect reason to throw your laptop/phone/tablet across the room. Worldle shows you a small section of the global map and you have six attempts to guess where it is. It’s very hard and will have you furiously typing out random country names.

Think Wordle but with numbers (and ridiculously difficult). You need to enter random calculations to see if it’s the right one. Anything that lights up in green means it’s in the right position, anything that goes purple means it’s in the calculation, but you’ve got the wrong spot. Confused? So are we. Not a great idea to start a game if you’re on a quick loo break, you’ll be gone for hours.

What’s your favourite online game? Let us know, we like to test our brains in between viewings!



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Red Flags You Need to Watch Out for When Selling Your Home


If your home is on the market, you’re probably in a constant state of anticipation. Will this viewing be the one? Are you going to get your asking price? Will you need to accept a lower offer?

We bet there are lots of questions and scenarios running through your head. But if you’re not getting enough interest in your home or if it has been on the market for ages, is it time to switch agents?

Recent research by Rightmove found that underperforming agents are one of the key reasons why properties don’t sell.

In this quick read, we look at a few red flags to watch out for when waiting for a sale.

Lack of marketing 

If your home isn’t being promoted properly, you’ll not only struggle to sell, but there could be lots of potential buyers who haven’t even seen your property listing.

A good agent should produce a detailed, accurate listing with clearly marked floor plans, photographs and key factors outlined. This includes information such as proximity to schools, transport links, potential to extend and other selling points.

As well as being listed online, estate agents should proactively contact potential buyers and sing your property’s praises. You’ll also want the listing placed in their shop front window for maximum exposure.

Inaccurate pricing 

We all want to sell our properties for as much as possible, but inaccurate pricing can kill off buyer interest quicker than you think.

An over-inflated purchase price won’t lead to success, so make sure you do your research into recent sold prices in the area. Similarly, be wary if an agent suggests lowering your asking price. While this could be a response to a genuine lack of interest, it may also be a lazy way to sell your home quickly. It’s easy to check sold prices online, so make sure you do.

Lacklustre viewings 

Generally, it’s not a good idea to stick around if an agent has booked a viewing. But if this is the 20th viewing and you still don’t have an offer, stay put and listen to how they’re selling your property.

Are they engaged and knowledgeable? Can they answer the buyer’s questions? If not, maybe it is time to switch.

A good agent will be passionate and keen to sell. They should be able to talk about the specifics of your home and easily answer questions (or offer to get the information as soon as possible if they can’t).

If your home is on the market and you’re thinking about switching agents, Chamberlains can help. Give us a call on 01626 365055 today.




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Why Tenant Reference Checks Matter to Landlords


Landlords, you know that good tenants are hard to come by. Those that care for your property like it’s their home (because it is), who won’t call constantly with silly problems and who pay their rent on time.

So, what’s the first step to finding them?

It might feel like a boring admin exercise, but a thorough reference check is more than just finding out whether someone can meet the monthly rent.

Unfortunately, lots of landlords cut corners when it comes to this stage.

In this two-minute read, we look at some common mistakes landlords make when it comes to referencing.

  • Doing it themselves

If you’re a landlord trying to save every penny, be warned: scrimping on a tenant reference check could lose you future rental income. A reference not only looks at whether a tenant can afford the rent, but also informs you of their past credit history, employment history and previous dealings with former landlords.

If you go it alone, you may miss vital information and find yourself in trouble later.

  • Ignoring Right to Rent rules

In February 2016, the Right to Rent scheme was passed. This requires landlords to ensure that their tenants have the legal right to live in the UK. If you’ve skipped the referencing stage, or not checked proof of identity records properly, you could face hefty fines if your tenant is found to be illegally living in the UK.

  • No references from previous landlords and/or employers

It’s not all about the money. You want to know what type of person your tenant is and how they will treat your property. The referencing process allows you to make checks with previous landlords and/or employers, so you can get a feel for who your tenant is. If a previous landlord reports that they were late with rent or damaged the property, you can avoid yourself a lot of hassle.

  • Not using a letting agent

Letting agents deal with landlords and tenants every day. They know the referencing process inside out, so why wouldn’t you use them? Yes, you may save some money on fees, but it’ll be worse if you choose a tenant without making the proper checks and they fail to pay the rent completely.

With the Renters Reform Bill looming, landlords should take every step to protect their properties and incomes, and a reference check is essential.

If you’ve got a rental and need help finding trustworthy tenants, contact Chamberlains today. We know what makes a good reference and can help you find the right people for your property.