Posted on

Should You Sell Your South Devon Home to a Friend?

Should You Sell Your South Devon Home to a Friend?

If you’re selling a property, you might think that selling to one of your nearest and dearest is the answer. After all, they know what they’re buying, you’ll save on professional fees, and the home you love will be left in good hands.

But is it really that simple? Unfortunately, no.

In this quick read, we look at some of the things that could go (very) wrong if you’re thinking about selling to a family member or friend.

Why sell to family/friends?

There are plenty of reasons for selling to family or friends. Perhaps you want to help a child get onto the property ladder, or you want to keep the property in the family for future generations. Maybe you think you can avoid costs associated with selling a property on the wider market, or maybe you just want to help someone out financially. Whatever the thought process, be prepared for possible fall-outs.

Selling privately

If you think selling your property without an agent is the way to go, you may want to think again. Yes, you will save money on agency fees, and you won’t have the hassle of viewings. But, on the other side of the coin, you might not be getting the best price for your home by selling to someone you know, as there’ll be no other offers.

Without the professional expertise or marketing skills of an established agent, you’ll never know what you could have got on the open market.

Tax implications

Did you know, it’s perfectly legal to sell your home to a loved one for just £1? Something lots of people have done in the past to help younger generations out. However, this act of kindness comes with huge tax implications for both the seller and buyer.

Without diving into the ins and outs of UK tax laws, it is definitely an area that needs careful research if you decide to sell to someone you know to avoid the wrath of HMRC.


With any property sale, there’s the potential for things to go wrong. Add a personal relationship into the mix and it could make things very uncomfortable.

For example, a property survey is a must, but what happens if this turns up something you weren’t expecting? Relations could become strained if both parties can’t agree on the price.

How much do you know about your friend or loved one’s financial situation? Could you get stuck in a chain if they’re unable to sell? What about their credit history – will they be eligible for a mortgage? Just because you’re good friends doesn’t necessarily mean you’d make great business partners.

By selling through an agent, you’re removed from this part of a property purchase, and they get the answers you need without it feeling like you’re prying.

If you’re looking to sell your property, talk to our team at Chamberlains We take on the stress and hassle, so you don’t have to.




Posted on

Summer Security Tips for Tenants and Landlords

Summer Security Tips for Tenants and Landlords

It’s not just birds, bees and butterflies that come out in force in summer – unfortunately, burglars step up their activity, too.

With many people going away on holiday (leaving homes empty) and others opening their windows and doors when temperatures rise, burglary rates spike in summer.

So, how can tenants and landlords stay one step ahead of the crooks and avoid the financial and psychological cost of a break-in? The answer is to be vigilant and work together.

Tips for tenants 

  • Always check that you’ve locked all windows and doors before leaving home.
  • If the property has an alarm, use it.
  • Don’t leave expensive items such as laptops on show near windows where passers-by can see them.
  • Keep the front of the property tidy. Messy bins and piles of junk mail send the message that no one’s home.
  • If you’re going away for more than 14 days, you may need to notify your landlord (check the details of your contract).
  • Before you go away, set a few lights on timer switches so the property looks lived in.
  • Keep sheds, garages and back gates locked. Often, burglars travel empty-handed to avoid suspicion and use tools they find in sheds and garages to break in.
  • Take out contents insurance.

Tips for landlords

  • It’s your legal responsibility to provide a safe and secure property, so make sure all doors and windows lock. This includes locks on sheds and garages.
  • Consider installing security measures such as deadbolts, door chains, peepholes, motion sensor lights, video camera doorbells and alarms.
  • Keep trees well-pruned so they don’t provide cover for burglars.
  • Check your comprehensive landlord insurance is up to date. Schedule in your diary when it’s due for renewal.
  • Consider spreading gravel/pebbles at the front of your house and installing a gate. Anything that makes a noise when you enter a property can put burglars off.

And if the worst happens

In the unfortunate event of a burglary, the tenant should call the police and then the landlord or letting agent.

The landlord should act swiftly to secure the property and repair any damage.

When dealing with the aftermath of a burglary, always refer to the contract you’ve signed.

Generally*, the landlord is responsible for repairing damage to the building, such as broken windows or doors, and replacing items included in the property agreement (unless it can be shown the tenant was negligent).

The tenant should claim for the loss of personal items on their insurance. 

Contact us here at Chamberlains today to learn about our property management services.



The contents of this article should be used as a general guide and do not constitute legal advice.


Posted on

Are You Ready for an Electric Car in South Devon?

electric cars

Electric vehicles (EVs) are everywhere. They’ve been steadily growing in popularity and are now a serious consideration for anyone thinking about buying a new car. So, are you ready to go green and drive electric?

It’s estimated that by 2025, the sale of electric cars will overtake that of traditional petrol/diesel vehicles. And in just seven years’ time, the government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars completely (although used cars will still be sold).

Many potential EV owners are holding back because of the lack of charging points, but is this a valid concern? If you’re thinking about making a change or just want to find out more about charging an EV, this article is just for you.

Types of chargers

Ok, it’s a fact – charging an EV is not as easy as pulling into a petrol station and filling up. There are three different types of chargers: rapid, fast and slow, which will make a huge difference to the time it takes to charge your vehicle. There are also ultra-rapid chargers, but these aren’t widely available yet. It is estimated that a rapid charger can charge a battery to about 80% in under an hour, whereas a slow charger can take up to 12 hours.

As you’d expect, rapid and ultra-rapid chargers can be found at petrol stations and motorway service stations, whilst slow chargers are found in lamp posts on residential streets.

Where to charge

Currently, the most popular places to charge are at home, at your workplace or at public charging points.

Government grants

Homeowners and landlords have access to a variety of government grants which will either pay a lump sum towards the cost of installation or 75% off the total price of purchase and installation (whichever is lower). Employers are also able to apply for workplace charging schemes to install charging points for staff.

National funding

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a driveway or enough space to install a personal charging point, which is why local councils are being given millions of pounds to start installing more charging points throughout the country. Local authorities must also have charging strategies in place that set out how they plan to improve EV charging over the coming years.

Free charging points

If you’ve been driving an EV for some time now, you’ll probably know all about those magical free charging points that exist in your local area. But if you’re new to the EV phenomenon (or have just been ignoring it), this is something worth thinking about. There are only around 4,000 free points around the country, and they can be found at supermarkets, tourist attractions and some car parks. However, if you live in Scotland, count yourself lucky, as you have the most free charging points in all of the UK.


Posted on

Buying a Property? You Need a Mortgage Broker – and Here’s Why

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to remortgage your property, getting a good mortgage deal is probably top on your list of priorities.

You could lose hours scrolling through comparison sites, frantically searching for high street lenders’ deals, and trying to find your latest payslips. Or you could do the sensible thing and get a professional’s help.

In this quick read, we look at why a mortgage broker could help you buy your dream home while saving you time and hassle.

  • Help with your budget

There are plenty of online tools that can tell you what you can afford and how much you’ll be paying every month when you get a mortgage. But there’s nothing like speaking to someone who lives and breathes mortgage deals to really understand your budget.

Mortgage brokers are financial advisers, so they can break down your monthly costs and explore your outgoings in detail. Their advice could help save you money, reduce those (unwelcome) costs you may not have accounted for, and provide bespoke advice to suit your individual financial situation.

  • Explain the ins and outs

There are many different mortgage variations and lots of jargon that can get confusing. From variable to fixed, tracker rates, interest-only, early repayment penalties… use a broker’s knowledge to your advantage and get them to explain what everything means.

  • They do the hard work

Getting a mortgage isn’t always a straightforward process. Lenders need lots of information, which can be overwhelming alongside your other responsibilities, such as work and family.

A mortgage broker does the hard work for you. They’ll probably ask for all your essential paperwork (such as identification, proof of address, payslips and so on) ahead of time so they can get on with the application on your behalf. They’ll also be able to chase lenders and get progress reports as your completion date nears.

  • Access to more deals

Brokers not only have access to high street lenders but to more specialist lenders, or to those that may not be easy to find through a Google search. They have years of experience working with lenders and could even be able to negotiate a better deal on your behalf.

In a volatile mortgage market, a broker’s help could make a real difference to the amount you pay per month.

  • Less chance of rejection

A mortgage broker will start by understanding your financial situation (an absolute must if you’re self-employed or have a chequered credit history). By doing this, they’ll be able to present your information in a way that helps a lender assess the risk you pose as a borrower and hopefully get you approved for a deal that may have otherwise been unlikely.

And if the worst happens and you’re not approved for a loan, they may be able to suggest other lenders that could look at your situation more favourably.

At Chamberlains, we are proud to work with Cooper Associates. To book a free review, click this link and fill in a short form. 





Posted on

Guide to Garden Maintenance at Rental Properties

Guide to Garden Maintenance at Rental Properties

Garden maintenance can be a thorny issue between tenants and landlords, so here’s a useful guide to help avoid confusion.

Now that spring is here, there are lots of tasks to be done in the garden, such as watering, weeding and mowing.

But if the garden is part of a rental property, who is responsible for doing them?

That’s a question that has vexed many tenants and landlords over the years (garden maintenance is the cause of about a quarter of all deposit disputes*).

So, here’s an outline of responsibilities for maintaining outdoor areas at a rental property.

But first… a disclaimer

This article provides a general overview of common issues; it does not constitute legal advice. If you’re in any doubt about what’s expected of you, always refer to your tenancy agreement.

Tenant responsibilities

It’s up to the tenant to keep the garden in a good condition and ensure that at the end of the tenancy, it’s in the same state as it was at the start. This means:

  • Removing rubbish.
  • Doing simple tasks like weeding and sweeping up leaves.
  • Watering (if there are healthy plants when you move in, they should still be alive when you move out).
  • Ensuring shrubs and lawns don’t get overgrown.
  • Repairing any damage that you’ve caused during the tenancy. For example, if you break an item of garden furniture, you need to fix it.

Other key points

  • If you’re green-fingered and want to make changes to the garden, discuss this with your landlord first.
  • A landlord is not obligated to provide gardening equipment; however, they may supply items like brooms or trowels to help you with maintenance.
  • If you’re uncertain about what state the garden was in when you moved in, look back at your check-in report for a detailed description. 

Landlord responsibilities

The landlord is responsible for big jobs that require specialist training, such as:

  • Lopping branches off tall trees.
  • Replacing damaged fences.
  • Fixing a shed roof.
  • Repairing walls or fences.
  • Pest and insect control (unless it’s clear that the tenant has caused the problem). So, if there’s a serious issue with bees or wasps, the landlord is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of the tenant.

Other points

  • Consider minimising possible causes of friction by planting low-maintenance, drought-resistant plants and removing structures such as greenhouses.
  • Look at outdoor areas when you carry out periodic inspections so if there are any issues, you can raise them early.

Contact us here at Chamberlains today to learn more about our property management services.


* The Dispute Service.


Posted on

Renters’ Reform Bill: What Landlords Need to Know

renters reform

After a four-year wait and lots of speculation, a wide-ranging plan to overhaul the rental sector was finally presented to Parliament this week.

The Renters’ Reform Bill includes changes to eviction laws, the creation of a Private Rental Ombudsman to resolve disputes and measures to speed up the existing court process.

The bill will now be scrutinised by MPs and members of the House of Lords, so is subject to change.

But here’s a brief rundown of the proposals as they stand and what they mean for landlords.

If, after reading it, you’d like to have a more detailed conversation about the implications for your rental portfolio, contact us here at Chamberlains.


The change that has grabbed the most headlines relates to the rules on evictions. In a nutshell, Section 21 and ‘no-fault’ evictions will be axed and Section 8 strengthened.

This means landlords will have to give a reason for evicting a tenant. Under the beefed-up Section 8 rules, there are 17 official grounds for possession.

These include if:

  • The landlord wants the property back to live in or make available to a family member.
  • The landlord wants to sell.
  • The landlord wishes to redevelop the property (this must be at least six months after the start of a tenancy).
  • The tenant has breached their tenancy agreement.
  • The tenant has been in serious rent arrears.
  • The tenant’s conduct has caused a deterioration of the property.
  • The tenancy was granted due to a false statement.

Why landlords don’t need to panic

Understandably, there has been anxiety in the industry about the abolition of Section 21. However, you will still be able to repossess your property should you wish to sell up or redevelop, but you’ll have to go about it in a slightly different way.

Also, note that the bill reduces the notice period for landlords evicting irresponsible tenants and makes it easier to evict tenants where missed rental payments are an issue.


Tenants can request to have a pet at the property and landlords cannot unreasonably refuse.

However, tenants must confirm in writing that they have pet damage insurance.

Resolution dispute

A new Private Rental Ombudsman will be introduced so that landlords and tenants can resolve disputes without having to go down the slow and expensive court route.

For evictions that do end up in the courts, the bill pledges to make more use of digital platforms to cut down delays.


Landlords can raise rents once a year and must give two months’ notice.

End to blanket bans

A landlord cannot have a blanket ban on renting to people with children or those on benefits.


The Government says it hopes the bill will become law before the next general election. And even when it does, there will be at least six months’ notice before any new regulations come into force.


While the bill does represent change, if you’re a responsible landlord who already takes your duties seriously, it could mean less of a shift than you might think.

The fundamentals of being a good landlord, such as rigorous tenant selection processes, open lines of communication to avoid disputes and maintaining the property to a high standard, still apply.

But we recommend all landlords get up to speed with the new rules and, in particular, the strengthened Section 8 conditions.

Remember, we’re here to help.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us here at Chamberlains.





Posted on

Give Your South Devon Bedroom the Star Treatment

Give Your South Devon Bedroom the Star Treatment

It’s estimated that the average person spends 26 years of their life asleep and nearly seven years trying to get to sleep, so your bedroom needs to be somewhere you really want to spend your time.

Your bed and its surroundings should be comfortable and enticing. Think of a luxury hotel – their whole business relies on good sleep, a restful environment, and feelings of relaxation.

So, if your bedroom needs an overhaul, why not create your own five-star sleep retreat? We’ve looked at some ways to give your bedroom that luxury feel.

  • Bed basics

A good quality mattress and plush pillows are the first step to a luxury bedroom. If you’re going to spend any money at all, then these are the things you should really splash out on. Get yourself to a bed shop and try out the mattresses. Do you want something firm and supportive or soft and cosy? Don’t be shy, definitely try before you buy. Once you’ve got the foundation right, everything else is easy.

  • All white

While you might not want to pay out for 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton, there is something special about hotel sheets. First off, they tend to use three (a sheet on top and another under the duvet or blanket), and secondly, the sheets are almost always white.

If you’ve got pets or kids, white sheets might seem like madness. But they’re pretty easy to bleach clean, and when ironed and tucked properly, they look gorgeous. Add a neutral colour throw at the end of the bed, and you’ve got yourself a hotel-worthy bed.

  • Accessorise

Before you invest in loads of unnecessary cushions that you chuck off the bed every night, think of other ways hotel rooms add hints of luxury. A posh glass and water carafe (not your standard jug) sitting on the bedside table, matching hangers in the wardrobe, a plush rug, scented candles, art on the walls and so on. Add a few of these to your room to give it a more sophisticated look.

  • Lighting

Keep the lights low and preferably dimmable for a real hotel feel. Freestanding lamps, bedside lights, overhead lights… there’s lots to think about. To get it right, focus on the different functions of your room, such as somewhere you sleep, get dressed, work out, work from home etc. Choose lighting that serves the different functions.

  • Window treatments

Once you’ve got the lights right, now think about how to get it dark and cosy. There’s nothing worse than being woken up from a deep slumber because of unwelcome light. Hotel rooms often use sheer curtains coupled with blackout curtains, or blackout blinds with sheer curtains on top. Layering your window treatment is a great way to add that luxury feeling and keep out the light.

What are your best tips for making a bedroom really comfortable?








Posted on

How a Good Agent Can Stop Your Deal Falling Through

sales progression

Want to guard against the disappointment of having your property deal collapse? Then go with an agent who is skilled at sales progression.

Selling a property is a bit like a football match – it’s a game of two halves.

The first half centres on finding a buyer and agreeing a deal, and the second half is about making that deal a reality.

Most buyers are familiar with the wheeling and dealing that goes on in the first part of the process but underestimate what it takes to get an offer to completion.

But with industry insiders estimating that 30% of deals collapse before completion, it’s clear that having an expert handle sales progression is important.

Here’s a list of how a good agent can help get a deal across the line.

Manage expectations

A good agent ensures all parties have realistic expectations about dates and timescales.

This is because deals often fail when buyers and sellers aren’t on the same page or don’t understand the complexity of the process.

Anger and frustration can scupper a deal if one party grows impatient or feels things are moving too quickly.

Communicate with all parties

They say no news is good news, but in the property world, radio silence breeds mistrust and suspicion.

So, it’s vital to keep all parties regularly updated on the progress of surveys and searches and to keep the lines of communication open. A proactive agent checks in with solicitors, sellers and buyers and liaises with other agents in the chain.

If you’ve never bought or sold a home, or are a bit rusty on what’s involved, having a professional steer the process can make all the difference. 

Keep sellers and buyers motivated

When deals drag on, fatigue can set in. One party may wonder if moving is worth all the hassle or start scrolling property portals to see if an alternative property catches their eye.

A good agent steps in before things reach this critical state by reminding buyers and sellers that progress is being made, and the importance of staying positive to realise their property dreams.

Choosing an agent

When choosing an estate agent, go for an all-rounder – one who is skilled at marketing and negotiating but will also help you see the deal through to completion.

Contact us at Chamberlains today if you’d like a free property valuation.




Posted on

How Landlords Can Beat Condensation and Mould


How can landlords and tenants combat condensation and mould? Read on to find out.

Condensation and mould

The two are often bundled together because if you’ve got condensation, there’s a good chance it won’t be long before you’re battling mould.

Condensation can be caused by warm air hitting cold surfaces or by lots of humidity in the air. The air cools and droplets form, creating a damp environment – and a perfect breeding ground for mould.

Mould grows in black, green or brown spots. It’s most commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens but can thrive in any damp or humid location.


Both landlords and tenants have roles to play in preventing and tackling mould.

The landlord must ensure there are no structural or maintenance issues that could cause mould and remove mould impacting a tenant’s health and safety.

Tenants should keep the property clean and adequately ventilated and report signs of mould to the landlord.

If the cause of mould isn’t structural, it could be down to tenant behaviour (more on this further down).

It’s important to look for constructive solutions to resolve the issue rather than getting involved in a finger-pointing exercise.

Steps a landlord can take

A dry home with lots of fresh air is the best weapon against mould. To achieve this, you should:

  • Ensure the property is well-ventilated.
  • Check the heating is working well.
  • Insulate the property.
  • Look for signs of mould during regular inspections and ensure extractor fans are working.
  • Promptly repair issues such as leaky plumbing and guttering, missing roof tiles and damage to the damp-proof course.
  • Regularly clear out gutters and drains.
  • Act quickly if mould appears. Remove it and apply anti-mould paint.
  • Discuss the issue with tenants to raise awareness.

How tenants can help

Ask tenants to:

  • Avoid hanging clothes to dry indoors with the windows closed.
  • Leave a gap between furniture and walls of at least 10cm so the air can circulate.
  • Open windows regularly.
  • Use the extractor fan when cooking and showering.
  • Wipe down wet surfaces such as shower screens and curtains.
  • Close the kitchen door when cooking to stop moist air moving to other parts of the property.
  • Report signs of mould and any necessary repairs to the landlord or letting agent.

For more advice about managing your rental property, contact us today.




Posted on

Is Your Property Sale Being Hampered by an Overvaluation?


When you’re selling a property, getting a valuation is the first step. You need to know what a home is worth before you can plan your next move, but what if the value you’re given is completely inaccurate?

If your property has been intentionally overvalued (priced more than it’s worth), it’s probably down to the agent hoping to win your business and bag more commission once sold. Of course, if the overvaluation was what the agent genuinely believed it to be worth, ultimately, the price might have to be reduced for sale.

Whatever the reason, time and time again, properties are put on the market at an over-inflated price. Sellers are forced to lower the asking price or have to accept a much lower offer. So, why do people still fall for overvaluations?

  • Flattery

Of course, it feels great to think your home is worth a huge amount. All the years you’ve spent living there, making improvements – to you, your home is priceless. But you’re not a property professional. You’re emotionally attached to the memories of a property and can easily be blindsided by a high valuation. Unfortunately, falling for flattery can tie you into a contract, delay the sale of your home and stop you from moving on.

  • What the overvaluation represents

More money means more opportunities for your next home. It could represent an extra bedroom, a bigger garden or two bathrooms instead of one. When a property has been overpriced, you could be lulled into a false sense of security about what your buying power is.

Yes, you’ll still need a mortgage and to sort out your finances, but if you think you’re going to achieve more than you originally thought, it’s only natural to set your sights higher.

  • Lack of research

Selling a property isn’t as simple as contacting an agent, setting a price and getting viewings. You need to know what’s on the market, how much similar properties in the area have been sold for, how long properties take to sell and so on. If you don’t research the local market, there’s no way of knowing whether your property has been valued accurately.

  • Naivety

If you get a couple of agents round and one gives you a much bigger number than the other, you’ll probably go for the one that is promising a higher return. But are they the right agent for you? Have you spoken to other local agents? What’s their success rate? What are their terms and conditions?

All good agents know that those coming in with overvaluations and inflated promises very rarely deliver. An ethical and experienced agent will give you an honest and accurate property valuation based on hard evidence that clearly demonstrates the value. They will compare similar properties, similar sizes, and similar styles too, giving the most realistic figure. They may suggest making small improvements to add value or to make the property more appealing. What they won’t do is promise you something that is unrealistic and leave your sale in limbo for months to come.

Are you looking to sell your home? At Chamberlains, we pride ourselves on providing accurate, well-researched valuations. Get in touch with our team today, to find out how much your home is really worth, please get in touch.