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How Baby Banks Are Helping Struggling Families


You’ve no doubt heard of food banks, but do you know what a baby bank is? Read on to learn how baby banks work and if you could start your own.

For many expectant parents, the prospect of welcoming a new life into the world fills them with delight – and anxiety.

While they can’t wait to cuddle their new bundle of joy, they’re also worried about the cost of bringing up a baby.

Parenthood is an expensive business with clothing, nappies, bedding, toys and a buggy all adding up. And over the past year, the rising cost of food and bills has made things even tougher for families on low incomes.

That’s where baby banks can help.

There are more than 200 baby banks across the UK. (You’ll find a map of baby banks in the UK here.) In Teignbridge, we’re lucky to have a baby bank in Teignmouth – you can find out more about them here:

They work in much the same way a food bank does but instead of handing out parcels of fruit and veg, they distribute pre-loved baby essentials.

Goods distributed can include cots, Moses baskets, buggies, play gyms, high chairs, stair gates, baby baths and clothing.

For many parents on low incomes, getting help with even a few of these items is a great relief and creates a safer living environment for their children.

 Using a baby bank

As with food banks, most baby banks require a referral from an agency or charity to use them.

Showing support

Most parents accumulate cupboards full of baby paraphernalia over the years, and because children grow so quickly, much of it is almost as good as new. Donating items that are in good condition to a baby bank is a great way to give back to the community – and get rid of some of your clutter.

Most baby banks have clear guidelines on their website detailing the items they accept as donations and how to drop them off.

It’s important that you only donate items that you would be happy to receive. Take tatty and knackered goods to the dump or recycle them.

Take the initiative

If there’s not a baby bank near you, but you believe there is a need, why not set up your own? Reach out to a local church or voluntary organisation and get the ball rolling.

From all of us here at Chamberlains, thanks for reading.




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Guide to Selling Your Home after a Relationship Breakdown


Research shows that moving house and getting divorced are two of the most stressful things you can do. So, if you’re selling up in the wake of a painful split, you really are in the thick of it. Read on for some helpful advice on navigating the process.

Selling a home after the breakdown of a long-term relationship can be a daunting prospect that throws up a mix of emotions and challenges.

You may be sorry to say goodbye to your home but eager for a fresh start. Or keen to stay put but unsure of the financial practicalities.

Whatever your situation, there’s a lot to sort out and some big decisions to make. But you don’t have to figure it out alone.

Here at Chamberlains, we’ve helped many clients sell a home in the wake of a divorce or separation.

We’ve compiled this simple explainer to help you understand what’s involved. =

Legal advice

You’ll need a good lawyer to explain the process and answer questions specific to your situation – for example, what happens if children are involved, or one party wants to buy the other out. Most lawyers recommend staying in the property until the settlement is finalised. If you feel it’s imperative to move out, seek legal advice first.

Mortgage considerations

Tell your lender that things have changed. Sometimes it’s possible to negotiate a mortgage holiday but only stop making repayments if your lender has agreed to the change.

Speak to your ex

Okay, this one can be tricky, and sometimes, it’s not feasible. But to get the sale moving, you’ll need to agree on an agent and selling price and then prepare the property for sale. If the two of you can’t talk it out, consider using a mediator.

Select an estate agent

Tempted to get things done and dusted quickly by using a quick sale company? Don’t! Hold your nerve. They’ll knock you down on the price in return for a speedy deal. Instead, get three valuations from traditional estate agents and choose the one that impresses you most. You’re looking for professionalism, market insight and people skills (they might come in handy later!).

Moving preparations

The next steps can be draining, so enlist a friend or family member for support. Once you’ve accepted an offer, divide your possessions with your ex-partner and prepare for the removalists. If you’re squabbling over who gets what, try and compromise or sell the item and divide the money evenly. Emotions can run high at this particular point but remain focused on the end goal – starting the next chapter of your life.

If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at NAME. We’re here to help. You can download are full guide here.


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Turn Your South Devon Rental Property into Somewhere You Love


Whether your rental property is a blank space you just sleep in, or it’s a new family property, it’s important to make it feel like home. So, how can you fall in love with your rental without breaching tenancy rules?

You could be a long-term renter or maybe a flat-sharer, but one thing is for sure, making the space your own will immediately change the way it looks and feels.

In this quick read, we look at ways to love your rental without falling foul of any tenancy agreement rules and stipulations.

Check what’s allowed

Before you decide to do anything, make sure you know what you can and can’t do. Whilst your deposit is protected by law, you could lose it by changing the décor without permission. The same goes for drilling holes into the walls.

As a tenant, you don’t automatically have the right to make any alterations to décor, but if you’re keen to change things, have a chat with your landlord to see if they’re open to suggestions. Remember, a landlord is responsible for repairs and maintenance, not for redecorating.

Landlords know that good tenants are hard to find, so if you’re willing to invest in a property to improve the way it looks, they may take a favourable view.

  • Furnished or unfurnished?

If you’ve moved into an unfurnished property, then installing your own things will automatically make a house or flat feel more like your home. It might just be a bed or wardrobe, but at least it’s yours.

Have a think about what’s important to you before you start looking for a rental. Do you want your own bits and bobs, or are you happy to make do with what’s provided.

  • Go green

Plants are a great way to make a space seem homely, and they won’t breach your tenancy agreement. If you’re green-fingered, go crazy with house plants around the property to brighten things up. If you can’t keep a cactus alive, then there are plenty of inexpensive plastic plants available that look great and never lose their leaves.

  • Photos and art

Framed photos of you and your loved ones (or whatever you like) immediately add a personal touch. If you’re thinking about hanging frames or pictures on the wall, look for options that don’t leave a mark once removed. Think about creative ways to display art, like easels or (if it’s large enough) propped up against a wall.

  • Cosy additions

Just because a sofa comes with cushions on top of it doesn’t mean you have to use them. Pack them away for safekeeping and add your own colourful pillows/cushions to chairs and sofas to surround yourself with things you love. Blankets and throws are also a great way to personalise boring pieces of furniture.

If you’re looking for a new rental property, give Chamberlains a call today.


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Act Now to Stop South Devon Landlords Leaving the Private Rental Sector


Property industry figures are calling for action to prevent a critical shortage of rental stock in the buy-to-let sector. They say that unless the government acts, there will be an exodus of landlords from the private rental market. Such a scenario would reduce the number of properties available to rent – making it even tougher for tenants to find a decent place to live – and drive up the cost of renting.

Renters and landlords feel the squeeze

Landlords sold up in their droves last year, with 70,000 exiting the buy-to-let sector in 12 months.*

At the same time, rents increased, with prices in 48 council areas now classified as unaffordable when compared with average wages.**

So if rents are going up and not down, why are landlords quitting the market? Many BTL investors are struggling due to rising interest rates, increased red tape and changes to the tax system. They just can’t make the sums work, so they’re walking away from the sector.

And what is the long-term impact of such a trend? Fewer landlords mean fewer rental properties. So, if you’re not in a position to buy your own property (and with mortgage costs the way they are, fewer people can), then your options are reduced.

Tenants are a diverse bunch, ranging from students and recent graduates to families and people in their sixties and seventies. A dramatic change in the structure of the housing sector would only create an even greater imbalance and leave tenants more exposed.

Petition calls for change

Midlands landlord Simon Foster has started a petition demanding the reinstatement of tax relief for landlords (this type of relief was scrapped by the Cameron government).

The petition calls “for landlords to be allowed to offset the full amount of mortgage interest against rental income before tax is calculated”. Such a measure would mean landlords are taxed on their profits, not their turnover, and slow down the decline in landlord numbers.

More than 31,000 people have already signed the petition, which has been backed by industry figures, including Maxine Fothergill. If 100,000 people sign, the issue will be debated by MPs in Parliament.

If you would like to sign the petition, you’ll find it here:

From all of us here at Chamberlains, thanks for reading.

2023 Copyright – Estate Agent Content Club – Permission to share granted.

* Accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young

** Office for National Statistics


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Four Ways to Make Maths Fun for Your Kids


Helping your child understand basic maths concepts doesn’t have to be a chore or a bore. Follow these four tips to discover how it can be child’s play. 

Maths is like Marmite: some people love it, while others loathe it. But there’s no escaping the fact that it’s a crucial life skill.

That’s why schools across the country will celebrate Number Day this week (3 February) by hosting maths games and competitions*.

A solid grasp of functional maths is vital for managing day-to-day finances and accessing educational and work opportunities. (It’s not just accountants and bankers who need to be confident with numbers. Many jobs, from nurse to builder, chef and estate agent, require good numeracy skills.)

The good news for parents is that they don’t need to be experts at algebra or trigonometry to get their child started with maths. It just takes a bit of time and a sense of fun. Here are four top tips.

  • Play games

Dominoes, checkers, chess and Uno help improve number and pattern recognition, while dice games like Yahtzee are a great way to practise calculations. And then, of course, there’s that old favourite, Monopoly, which will give your child a crash course in maths, banking, property management and conflict resolution.

  • Bake

Whipping up a batch of cupcakes or cookies is an excellent way for children to learn about counting, measuring and time. And they can enjoy eating the fruits of their labours afterwards.

  • Shop

A trip to the corner shop can be a great learning opportunity. Compare products and prices and talk about which items represent the best value. When it comes to paying, use cash. Explain how much you’re handing over and the change you expect in return. When your child is old enough, let them handle the coins and notes themselves; they’ll revel in their newfound sense of responsibility.

  • Trade

Have a stall at a school fair or car boot sale – and get your child involved. Encourage them to sell toys or clothes they no longer want and let them decide on the pricing.

From all of us here at Chamberlains, thanks for reading.

* Number Day is an initiative of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.


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Why Chamberlains Are Your Best Friends in an Unstable Housing Market


One minute, the housing market is at an all-time high, the next, newspapers are warning it will plunge faster than a block of concrete in a swimming pool. Finance bods and property experts love to talk up a crisis, but what’s the reality for those wanting to sell?

Well, it’s quite simple: the best way to sell your property in the current market is to bag yourself a trusted, reliable estate agent to do the hard work for you.

In this quick read, we look at reasons why having a good estate agent makes all the difference when selling your property.

Realistic valuations

The first thing you need to know when selling your home is how much it’s actually worth. Yes, you can do your own research using sites like Rightmove or Zoopla, but there’s nothing quite like hiring an expert to know exactly where you stand.

A house that was worth £400,000 in a strong market could be valued at considerably less in a down market, so it’s worth getting an agent round to value your property.

Sound advice

When you work with an experienced agent, their advice could help you save money. For example, they can help you understand how long a sale may take, what the local market is like and what buyers are looking for. All these tiny nuggets of info can help you to make a more informed decision about whether to sell ASAP or to hold out.

If you’re looking for a quick sale, your agent can help target your property to potential buyers by advising what works need to be done, whether you need to reduce the asking price and so on.


Do you think your agent just sticks fancy photos of your property online and waits for their phones to start ringing? The good ones do much more than that. They’ll also have a list of potential buyers that they’ll be emailing and calling to discuss your property.

In an uncertain market, getting viewings is imperative to avoid your property becoming stuck in a no-sale limbo, forcing you to reduce the price repeatedly or take it off the market completely. A top estate agent will be marketing your home online, over the phone and face to face, helping you to sell.


  • Agents are expert negotiators, which is vital in the current climate.
  • In an unstable market, agents will be working harder than ever to sell.
  • They can help move a sale along by talking to the other professionals in your team, such as mortgage brokers or conveyancers.
  • An experienced agent will have worked through many market ups and downs and know how to navigate the changing tides.

If you’re looking to sell your home, give Chamberlains a call today, we’re here to help.