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Get Summer-Ready with These Easy Peasy Garden Jobs


Remember lockdown when we had nothing to do? Gardening became a fun pastime, and having outside space was a luxury. Well, now that the spring sunshine is back and you don’t need to wear four layers to keep warm, it’s time to make gardening cool again.

Bask in those rays (however weak they may be) and get your hands dirty. Dust off that spade and get the broom ready.

In this quick read, we explore some easy ways to get your garden looking its best.

  • Sweep away the autumn

If your garden isn’t full of mouldy old leaves and weeds, then you’re one step ahead already. If it is, it’s time to absorb some vitamin D and get sweeping. Bag up those autumn leaves, or better yet, if you’ve got the space, start a compost bin so that you’ve got plenty of nutrient-rich garden soil to use later in the year.

  • Patio TLC

For gardens with a patio area, start preparing for the summer months and wash away the grubbiness of the winter. Freshen up any wooden furniture with a lick of varnish or give it a completely new look with brightly coloured paint.

If you’ve got a pressure washer, transform your patio from dull and lacklustre to shiny and (nearly) new. Please double-check if your area has a hosepipe ban in place – if not, it’s deffo time for an outside spring clean.

  • Go potty (for plants)

For those of us with small gardens, potted plants can make all the difference. Pull out the weeds and get rid of any debris to give yourself a fresh spring start.

While the more green-fingered readers may have planned ahead and planted their bulbs ready for bloom, don’t fret, you can still get that gorgeous spring look. Choose pre-potted seasonal bulbs like snowdrops, hyacinths, dwarf narcissi or similar potted bulbs and transfer them into containers or beds.

If you’ve got earthy borders, fill them up with perennials, ornamental grasses and seasonal flowers to add colour and tonnes of texture. Also, sow in annual seeds for the later months.

  • Love your lawn

For those of us with a bit (or a lot) of grass, it’s probably in need of a bit of love and a good cut. If you’ve got a lawnmower, then it’s time to get mowing; if not, it might be worth getting a professional in to get it summer-ready. Trim the edges with a pair of shears and your garden will be picture-perfect in no time at all.

At Chamberlains, we love a spring clear-up, inside and out. What are your favourite ways to get your garden summer-ready?


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Should You Drop the Price or Your Agent if Your Home’s Not Selling


If your dreams of a speedy property sale have hit the skids, it’s time to change strategies. Read on to discover the best way to get your sale back on track.

No one likes admitting they’ve got something wrong. But if your home has been on the market for some time and interest has gone cold, it’s time to reassess the situation. Before you can determine your next move, you need to identify if:

  • The price is too high and you need to reduce it; or
  • Your agent isn’t up to scratch and you need to replace them.

Consider dropping the price if: 

  • Lots of buyers have viewed your property, but there have been no offers.
  • An open house generated lots of footfall ­– and raised eyebrows at the asking price.
  • Something has changed in your local area that has negatively influenced the market, such as a controversial building project getting the go-ahead.
  • A buyer withdraws an offer because their lender thinks the property is overvalued and won’t agree a mortgage deal.
  • The asking price breaks the ceiling for your road/local area. Unless there’s something exceptional about the property (for example, it’s much bigger than neighbouring ones), the price could be unrealistic. Recent interest rate hikes mean buyers are cautious about over-extending themselves.
  • You need an urgent sale for personal or work reasons and a cash buyer is driving a hard bargain.

Consider dropping your agent if: 

  • Your home is well presented but you’ve not had much buyer interest.
  • The marketing is lacklustre. The photos look amateur, and your agent is less active on social media than your great granny.
  • They’re slow to return your calls and always seem to be full of excuses.
  • You’re underwhelmed by their people skills and drive. 

But wait, there’s one more important thing…

While a modest reduction might be justified in some circumstances, if a drastic price drop is required, you’re entitled to ask how your agent got it wrong in the first place (and are they the person to turn things round now)

In some cases, a seller might need to drop their price and their agent to get their sale moving again.

Contact us here at Chamberlains for an honest valuation and no-nonsense selling advice.


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How to Make Sure Your South Devon Rental Property Is Safe


Many people are under the assumption that being a landlord is an easy ride. Get your tenants in, collect the monthly rent and that’s it, you’re laughing. Sounds like a dream… Unfortunately, it’s far from the truth, as most experienced landlords and agents will tell you.

Unless you’re lucky enough to have long-term tenants, every time a new lot of renters move in, there are lots of checks to be made, forms to sign, letters to send and on it goes.

One thing that should never be ignored or delayed are your annual safety checks. As a landlord, it is your legal duty to ensure your tenants are living in a safe, hazard-free environment.

In this quick read, we look at some of the responsibilities a landlord should always have at the top of their to-do list. Whilst some are legally required on an annual basis, others are recommended.

  • Gas Safety Certificate

Every year, a new Gas Safety Certificate needs to be provided to tenants in either electronic or hard copy form. Officially called a CP12 form, this safety check must be performed by a Gas Safe registered engineer. It’s designed to make sure all gas appliances, pipes and flues within the premises are safe and in good working order.

Make sure you add the date to your diary a few weeks before it’s due to expire so you can get an engineer in before the current certificate expires. Much like an MOT, a gas safety check can be completed two months before the expiry date without shortening the life.

  • Electrical Safety Checks

Landlords must ensure that the electrics within a property (such as sockets and lights) are safe and properly installed. It’s always a good idea to get these checked professionally and to use the services of an NICEIC registered electrician.

Every five years, a landlord must legally provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), which will confirm if the electrical system is safe. If you provide movable electrical equipment, such as a microwave, kettle or so on, these must be PAT tested (Portable Appliance Test) annually.

  • Fire Safety Checks

Legally, every rented property should be fitted with a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. These should be tested at least once per year, if not more.

If you rent out properties that are furnished, all furniture and upholstery should be fire safe. This is often clearly printed on the label of such items. Tenants should be advised to keep all escape routes clear from obstruction in the event of an emergency – a point to also check during routine landlord inspections. Some rental properties must also have fire extinguishers and other safety equipment to hand – it’s best to check with a local assessor (Fire Risk Assessors (FRA) Register ( if your rental meets requirements.

If you’re a landlord and need help managing your property, please contact our team at Chamberlains. We’re happy to help.


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How to Deal with Mother’s Day When It’s Difficult for You

mother's day

If you’re looking forward to doing something special for Mother’s Day on Sunday, we wish you all the best – but this article isn’t for you.

It’s not that we don’t want you to have a great day (we do) or that we take issue with Mother’s Day itself (we don’t – mums are amazing and deserve a little pampering).

But we know that not everyone will feel like celebrating on Sunday. Mother’s Day can generate a host of complicated feelings if your mum isn’t around, you’ve lost a child, miscarried or struggled to conceive.

These feelings can be compounded by the commercial side of Mother’s Day – the adverts popping into your inbox in the lead-up to the big day and the cards, chocolates and flowers on sale in the supermarket.

If you find Mother’s Day difficult, here are some tips to help you get through it.

– Instead of trying to ignore the day and suppress your feelings, acknowledge it’s on the horizon and that there could be a few tears.

– Plan how you’ll spend the day. If you’re staying in, treat yourself by watching a favourite movie or cooking a special meal. If you’re going out, choose your venue wisely. Visiting a pub or restaurant full of families celebrating Mother’s Day might be upsetting.

– Light a candle or plant a tree in memory of the person you’re thinking about.

– Go for a walk, run, swim or cycle. Sometimes, it’s easier to reflect on feelings and memories while exercising, especially if you’re in the great outdoors.

– Donate to a charity that has personal significance to you.

– Tell a friend or family member that you’re finding things tough and spend some time with them.

– Avoid social media, so you don’t come across any Mother’s Day-related posts that upset you.

– Reach out for support. Bereavement charity Cruse has a helpline (0808 808 1677). Baby loss charity Tommy’s has lots of helpful information on its website, as does the Good Grief Trust. 

From all of us here at Chamberlains, take care of yourself and thanks for reading.


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Four Reasons Why Savvy Sellers Hit the Market in Spring

selling in spring

Spring officially starts next week, and with it comes a host of joys: longer days, trees in bud and flowers in bloom.

And if you’re selling a property, there’s something else to celebrate – a spike in buyers looking to make their next move.

Traditionally, spring is the busiest season for property sales (pre-pandemic data shows that properties listed in March sell the fastest*).

While successive lockdowns and the Stamp Duty holiday disrupted this seasonal order, normal activity is now resuming.

So, what’s the appeal of selling in spring? Here are four reasons why it makes good sense.

Better weather

Animals aren’t the only ones who like to hibernate in winter. Freezing temperatures and shorter days mean many buyers delay their property search until well into the new year. But by March, they’ve thrown off their blankets and onesies and are eager to line up viewings. 

Picture perfect

If you want to wow potential buyers, your marketing photos must be high quality. Having your home photographed in spring, when natural light is abundant, will result in snaps that wouldn’t look out of place in a posh interiors magazine.

Green scene

If your property has a garden, then it makes sense that buyers see this key feature in spring when it’s bursting with life. A well-tended garden can add significant value to your property, so make sure it’s tidy and colourful. And don’t forget to look after the front of your property, too. A few plants, along with a freshly painted front door, will create a good first impression.

The time’s right

Many buyers are keen to start the ball rolling in spring in the hope that they can finalise their move before the August holidays or the start of the new school year in September. There are also lots of bank holidays in April and May (don’t forget the extra one this year on 8 May for the Coronation), which are good for viewings.

If you’re considering selling your home, contact us here at Chamberlains today for a free valuation.


* Rightmove


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What Happens When Your South Devon Rental is Being Sold

rental property

As a tenant living in a rental property, you need to be aware of your rights. Fortunately, due to recent reforms in legislation, you’re now more protected than ever when it comes to matters of eviction and deposits. But what if your landlord tells you they’re planning to sell the property where you live?

First things first, don’t panic. If you’ve signed a tenancy agreement, your landlord must stick to it, even if they’re planning to sell the property.

In this quick read, we look at some questions you might have if your landlord decides to sell.

Will I be evicted?

While there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question, you can’t be evicted just because a landlord is selling. Instead, landlords must follow a set protocol.

If you’re within your contract period, there are no legal grounds for the landlord to evict you (unless you have breached your contract).

If your contract has a break clause, they must give you two months’ notice before the clause date, or two months’ notice before the end of the tenancy.

However, if your fixed contract has run out or you’re on a rolling contract, you should be given two months’ notice if the landlord wants you to leave.

Do I have to allow access to the property for viewings?

You must be informed at least 24 hours in advance of a viewing, and it must be at a reasonable time. Try and agree the viewing appointment for a time that’s convenient for everyone.

Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance when my rental address is on sale?

Your landlord is legally responsible for all repair and maintenance issues whilst they own the property. This does not change, even whilst the property is on the market.

What happens once the property has been sold?

If you’re within your contract period, then nothing should change apart from the landlord. You can carry on living in the property as per the terms of your tenancy agreement.

The new landlord should contact you within two months to advise you of the change of ownership and provide their name and contact details. They may want to carry out safety checks to ensure the property is fully compliant. Your original deposit will be transferred to the new landlord, and they should let you know which tenancy deposit scheme they are using.

If you’re looking for a new rental property, please get in touch with our lettings team at Chamberlains.

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A Landlord’s Guide to Selling a South Devon Rental Property


Over the last 12 months, it’s been reported that many landlords have decided enough is enough and are exiting the buy-to-let game in their droves. And whilst these headlines may or may not be accurate, one thing is for sure, selling a buy-to-let property is very different to selling a residential property.

So, if you’re a landlord considering selling a rental property, what do you need to know?

In this quick read, we look at some important factors you should be aware of – from the property’s condition to the tax implications of selling.

 Vacant or tenanted?

This is the first thing you need to consider. Is your rental empty, or do you have a tenant living there? If it’s the latter, you should be aware that there are certain obligations and duties you still have as the legal landlord. For example, if the tenant is within contract, then they can stay put until their tenancy agreement expires, and you are responsible for repairs and maintenance until the property is sold.

For the above reasons, it often makes sense to wait until a property is empty before putting it on the market.

Get a trusted agent

When selling a rental property, it’s essential you team up with a reputable local agent. They can provide invaluable insight into matters such as who the property might appeal to, whether you should sell to another landlord or a residential buyer, how much it’s worth on the current market and so on.

If you decide to market it to other landlords, an established agent will be in a great position to contact other landlords they work with to gauge interest – which could result in a quicker sale. Alternatively, they can advise on how to make it appeal to residential buyers and what works need to be done to increase the value.

Understand tax

This is vital when selling a buy-to-let property as you may be liable for capital gains tax (for example, if you sell it for more than you purchased it for) if it’s in your personal name. Or, if you bought it under a limited company, there will be other tax considerations. Make sure you know the full tax implications before you decide to sell.


If a rental is tenanted, you can’t control the condition of the property before a viewing. It might be messy or unclean, which isn’t the best impression to leave with potential buyers. Additionally, you must give your tenant 24 hours’ written notice in advance of a viewing, and they can refuse entry if it doesn’t suit them.

Selling a vacant rental is much easier as you can ensure it’s clean and tidy and have a lot more flexibility to arrange viewings.

If you’re looking to sell part or all of your rental portfolio, please contact our sales team at Chamberlains.

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Inspiring Women from the UK

international womens day

International Women’s Day is an event marked around the world – in the news, all over social media and in most schools. And so it should be.

Accelerating equality, raising awareness around discrimination, and helping women feel safe and celebrated is something we should all be doing more of.

This year’s IWD theme is about embracing equity and recognising women’s different circumstances. So, here we look at some of the UK’s most impressive women of the last ten years (there are so many, we had to narrow it down!).

Queen Elizabeth II

Whether or not you’re a royalist, you’ve got to admire a woman who worked her socks off for seventy-odd years and well into her nineties. Her death left many people around the world mourning the loss of a grandmother figure.

No matter what your view of the royals, the Queen is, and always will be, an essential part of UK history.

Beth Mead

From Her Majesty the Queen to the queen of the football pitch – Beth Mead. The first ever female footballer to be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Beth was a huge part of the Lionesses’ success in Euro 2022 and the tournament’s top scorer.

The Arsenal player was also awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List and is a true inspiration to girls wanting to become professional footballers.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence

Since losing her son Stephen in one of the UK’s most high-profile racially motivated murders back in 1993, Baroness Lawrence has dedicated her life to campaigning for victims of racist crimes and fighting for police reform.

Baroness Lawrence has been at the forefront of many initiatives to improve race relations and has also taken part in important reviews into issues like the effect of Covid-19 on black and minority ethnic communities. She was awarded an OBE in 1993 and made a life peer in 2013 for her tireless work.

From the team at Chamberlains, we wish you all a very happy International Women’s Day.



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Eight Reasons Why You Should Refurbish Your Rental Property


“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s the view some landlords take on the question of renovating a buy-to-let.

They do the absolute minimum in terms of maintenance and repairs and only manage to meet their legal obligations by the skin of their teeth.

The décor is shabby and tenant turnover is high, but hey, they’re saving every possible penny, so they feel rather pleased with themselves.

So, is this the best way to get the most out of your property investment?

We’d argue that instead of running your buy-to-let down to its bare bones, often the smarter option is to be proactive and refurbish or extend.

We’re not talking about budget-busting Grand Designs-style projects. And, of course, it’s important to take the age and condition of a property into consideration before you make changes.

But carefully costed refurb works that appeal to your target demographic will pay for themselves in the long run.

Here’s why.

  • You’ll attract better tenants. In this visual age, tenants have high expectations. A property that is fresh and modern will stand out in online marketing and in-person viewings.
  • Shorter void periods. Tenants will quickly snap up a property that looks great.
  • Fewer tenant disputes. Tenants are more likely to treat your property respectfully if it’s well-appointed. If you don’t care what it looks like, why should they?
  • Better returns. Renovating a down-at-heel property will allow you to market it to a broader demographic, including professionals.
  • Add value to your property. If refurbishments are carried out to a high standard, you’ll reap the financial benefits when you come to sell.
  • Longer tenancies. Tenants will stay for longer in a property they enjoy living in and that isn’t riddled with problems.
  • Lower repair costs. Ageing kitchens and bathrooms can require lots of repairs. Replacing them before they become money pits can save you time and hassle in the long run.
  • Energy efficiency. Replacing single-glazed windows, installing insulation or adding solar panels will improve the energy rating of your property, which is good for the planet and your tenants’ energy bills.

For expert advice on adding value to your rental property, contact us here at Chamberlains today.