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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.


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It’s National Scrabble Day

National Scrabble Day

Scrabble isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, a lot of people can’t stand it. Then there’s the other half of the population who delight in using obscure two-letter words, hogging all the triple word score squares and whooping with joy when they make a seven-letter word.

Love it or hate it, Scrabble has been around for a long time, and 13 April is National Scrabble Day (yes, this is actually a real thing).

Read on for some Scrabble facts you never knew you needed to know.

Its origins

Scrabble was invented in 1938 by an architect called Alfred Mosher Butts. He originally called it Lexico. Ten years later, a friend and fellow inventor, James Brunot, bought the rights to the game and renamed it ‘Scrabble’. He started to manufacture it professionally, and a few years later, it was ordered by Macy’s – one of America’s biggest retailers.

What’s the highest-scoring word?

The highest-scoring word in Scrabble is ‘muzjiks’ and means Russian peasants. It’s 29 points for the word alone, with a 50-point bonus because it’s seven letters long (also known as a bingo). If the ‘z’ is placed on a double letter square (scoring 20), then you’re looking at a whopping 128 points for one word. (Instead of the three points you normally score for words like ‘run’, ‘fun’ and ‘sit’.)

The most important word  

Apparently, professional players think that ‘qi’ is the most important word you can know to be a Scrabble champion. It means ‘life force’ in Chinese and can also be plural. Stick it on a triple word score and you’re looking at 33 points.

Other little-known words that score well include ‘qat’, ‘xi’, ‘za’ and ‘xu’.


Professional Scrabble tournaments are a big deal, and this year’s world championships will be held in Las Vegas. With prizes worth thousands of dollars, you can understand why people are keen to take part. But some of the players don’t always play fair, and there have been a fair few cheating scandals revealed in the last few years. People have been caught with pockets full of blank tiles, sneakily trying to put tiles back into the letter bag and making up words that go unchallenged.

The fastest ever professional game was back in 1978 – the players took just seven minutes to use all the tiles!

Scrabble knockoff

While the board game is still a classic, many people get their daily fix of word-building from online versions. In fact, Words With Friends, which has been around since 2009, has recorded almost 10 million downloads and is very similar to the Hasbro classic.

Are you a Scrabble master? What’s your highest score?


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Got the January Blues? Boost Your Mood for Free

blue monday

We’re three weeks into January. Have you stuck to those New Year’s resolutions? Are your jeans still feeling a bit snug after overindulging on Christmas treats? Feeling a bit bleurgh about everything? Monday is… Blue Monday, officially the gloomiest day of the year.

There are numerous reasons why the third Monday of January has been dubbed the saddest day of the year: it’s cold, it’s dark, payday is still a fair way off, and all that Christmas merriment is a distant memory.


But instead of weeping into your lukewarm tea, it’s time to take action and make yourself feel better.


In this quick read, we look at ways to boost your mood and bat away those January blues (and yes, some do involve exercise).

Write a letter

Remember when you used to receive actual letters? Not just bills or junk mail, but actual handwritten, thought-out letters? There’s something so special about it.

So, grab a pen, sit somewhere comfy and write a good old-fashioned letter. It could be to a friend or relative, it could even be to yourself. But losing yourself in a letter is a great way to stave off those January blues for a short while at least.

Pick up the phone

(WARNING: you’re going to have to make a call, not just text or WhatsApp someone.) Speaking to a friend or family member when you’re feeling a bit down is a great tonic. Catch up on their news, celebrate their wins, share any titbits about yourself – you’ll make their day and yours, too.

Go outside

If the last time you went for a walk just for the sake of going for a walk was back in the pandemic, then it’s time to tie up your laces, put on your puffer jacket and get outdoors. Whether you go for a scenic walk, a gentle jog or just a stroll down to the high street – getting outdoors can make a huge difference to your mood.

Work out for free

You don’t need to join a gym to get your blood pumping. You don’t even need to stream a workout video on YouTube (although it’s got millions to choose from). Just put on some music and have a dance party for one. You might feel like an idiot but having a little dance around the dining room can do wonders for your blue mood.

Go to Finland

If all the other suggestions don’t work, then pack up your bags and plan a trip to Finland, ranked 2022’s happiest country in the world. In fact, it’s been voted the happiest country for five years, so they obviously know something we don’t.

We’re always here for you, so if you’re feeling a bit blue on Monday, feel free to pop in and say hi!

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Your Alternative Guide to the World Cup

Can’t stand football? Wouldn’t dream of tuning into this year’s World Cup in Qatar? Here’s a list of four things you can do instead.

If you’d rather watch paint dry than the World Cup, then we’ve got you covered. Here’s a guide to tuning out when the tournament is on.

Blitz your Christmas shopping

This is your chance to be one of those smug people who has all their Christmas shopping sorted weeks before 25 December. The football kicks off on 20 November, with the first two rounds of matches taking place at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm (UK time). So it’s a safe bet that while millions of British football fans are glued to their TV screens, the shops will be crowd-free. Use this time wisely, and you’ll avoid last-minute present-buying panic.

Start writing a bestseller

November is National Novel Writing Month, so why not get started on penning a thrilling page-turner? The organisers behind National Novel Writing Month are urging budding authors to write a 50,000-word first draft this month. Sign up for the challenge through the official website, and you’ll receive writing tips and encouragement from top authors.

Binge-watch a TV series

As 21 November is World Television Day, it’d be rude not to settle into a great series. Why not catch up with a classic you’ve never seen, such as The Wire, Breaking Bad or Stranger Things? Alternatively, dive into something new. Check out the creepy horror series The Devil’s Hour or the historical action-drama SAS Rogue Heroes. Meanwhile, crime fans might enjoy Ridley, a detective show starring Adrian Dunbar (Jesus, Mary and Joseph! It’s the guy from Line of Duty).

Nail your DIY

We’re betting that, like most people, you have a long list of DIY jobs that you just never get around to doing. Why not seize this opportunity to finally do those niggly little jobs like giving tired walls a fresh lick of paint or fixing creaky cupboard doors. November is also a good time to get busy in the garden by pruning back bushes or planting bulbs.

From all of us here at Chamberlains, thanks for reading. If you’re making alternative plans for the World Cup, get in touch with us on Facebook or insta and let us know what they are. 


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How to Protect Your South Devon Rental Properties during a Recession


Recessions hit everyone right where it hurts: in the pocket. Everyone feels the pinch as prices rise and the cost of living spirals. Homeowners face the prospect of higher mortgage rates and rising bills. But what about landlords? Are they the Teflon of a credit crunch?

According to finance experts at Investopedia, landlords not only survive recessions, but they thrive, as renting becomes more appealing than buying in the economic downturn. After all, owning rental properties guarantees them an income, or does it?

In this quick read, we look at why landlords aren’t always immune to recessions and ways you can protect your rental portfolio.

Check your mortgage

Is your mortgage term about to expire? How long do you have left? If you’re lucky enough to be at the start of a low interest fixed-rate buy-to-let mortgage, you can breathe a sigh of relief. If not, it’s time to contact a broker and find yourself the least painful deal. A sure-fire way to lose out is to ignore your mortgage and be forced to renew when rates are at their highest.

Insure against rental loss

Hopefully, you’ve already got comprehensive landlord insurance which provides rent protection, but if you don’t, a recession is the right time to get it. Rent protection insurance will pay out in the event your tenant fails to pay – protecting your income and, more importantly, covering your monthly mortgage payments.

Work with a letting agent

As rental demand surges, you’ll need a good agent to manage the viewings and reference checks that help secure the best tenants for your rental property. Agents take on the finer details of a tenancy agreement and can offer advice during the letting process. Use their experience to bag yourself reliable tenants.

Don’t get greedy

While you may be contemplating a rent rise to cover increased costs, remember that setting your rent too high could increase the risk of a tenant defaulting or a tenancy ending abruptly due to financial pressures. Take a cautious approach to annual rent rises; it’ll pay off in the long run.

Be reasonable

If a tenant fails to pay their rent on time, find out why. What’s the problem? If they’re a long-term and previously reliable renter, can you respond in a calm and measured way? Eviction is not an easy route to take. Speak to your agent to see what advice they offer and how they would deal with the matter.

If you’re a landlord and need a reliable letting agent, contact Chamberlains so we can find you the right tenants.



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Get Your Kids Ready for the First Day of Term


As term time approaches, those endless days of trying to entertain your bored and restless kids are almost over. No more surly teenagers sleeping until 2pm, no more grumpy children hounding you for snacks – it’s time to get ready for school.

This back-to-school guide looks at some easy ways to get the September term off to a good start. 

  • Reduce screen time

When there’s nothing to do, or it’s raining outside, screen time quickly becomes a way to keep the kids entertained (and out of the way). But as school looms ahead, getting them into a routine will help. Start reducing the time they spend on screens a week before school starts, so they get used to time limitations and focusing on other activities.

  • Bedtime

Sleeping routines and bedtimes often go out the window during the holidays. Kids stay up later, you zone out and watch TV while they do their own thing. Now’s the time to start setting their bedtime routine again so that when term starts, they know what they need to do and are properly rested.

  • Talk about concerns

Being a kid isn’t easy and being a teenager is an experience many of us wouldn’t want to repeat. So, it’s important to speak to your children about any concerns they might have around going back to school. Whether it’s a big year for exams, a transition into secondary school, or not having seen their friends over the break – talking about it can help to prepare them emotionally. Be positive and focus on the things they enjoy about school.

  • School journey

If your child is heading to a new school or is about to start travelling alone, it’s a good idea to get some practice runs in before the big day. This can help them feel more confident and give you an idea of travel times.

  • Get them excited

Fancy pens, a fluffy pencil case and a new snazzy lunchbox are sure signs of a new term, and kids will love helping you choose what they need. Get them excited about their new start with a back-to-school shopping trip. Let’s face it, their feet have probably grown (again), and they’ll most likely need new uniforms, so include a couple of treats like a new bag or set of pens to get them geared up for the new term.

At Chamberlains, we hope you’ve all had a great summer holiday. 


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What to Do Before Renting Your Property to Family or Friends

What to Do Before Renting Your Property to Family or Friends

Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you rent your property to family or friends.

Do they need to sign a tenancy agreement?

Yes, yes, and yes again! They might be family, but they’re also your tenants and both parties need to know what is expected of them. For example, they might say they want to stay for 12 months but then leave after just six. Without a tenancy agreement, there’s nothing to stop them – putting your income at risk.

Should I take a deposit?

This is a personal decision that you need to make, as there’s no legal requirement for a landlord to take a deposit. However, it is a good way to protect your property and any contents from damage.

Similarly, by having a professional inventory carried out before they move in, both parties know the exact condition of the property and how it should be left.

Should I do a tenant reference check?

Asking family for personal finance details? It might make you feel awkward just thinking about it, but it’s an essential step of the rental process.

While you may think you know your family/friends’ financial background, it’s still worth making extra checks. Referencing will ensure that your potential tenant can pay the rent and highlight any issues with previous landlords.

Are there any legal issues I should be aware of if I rent to family/friends?

Not exactly, but renting to family/friends could cause problems if you have a mortgage. In fact, a lot of lenders are quite strict about this issue, and you may need to ask their permission before you move family in.

This is because the lender could be concerned that you’d charge family members less rent, or be more lenient if they didn’t pay – both of which could impact loan repayments.

Renting to friends or family can often be a great option, but it’s one you need to consider carefully and go into with your eyes wide open.

For more advice on anything and everything related to rental property in Teignbridge, call our lettings team today.

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Why Landlords Should Respond Promptly to Tenants (And Not Mess Them About)

Why Landlords Should Respond Promptly to Tenants (And Not Mess Them About)

When a tenant gets in touch, don’t faff about – a prompt response will save you time and money in the long run. A three-minute read.


Picture this: you’re frantically busy at work, scrambling to meet an urgent deadline when your phone pings.

It’s your tenant raising what seems like a pretty minor issue, so you make a mental note to get back to them in a few hours when things calm down.

But time flies, and before you know it, days have passed, and you still haven’t taken action to address the issue raised.

Most landlords will be familiar with this scenario, although you could easily substitute ‘urgent work deadline’ for ‘important family commitment’ or ‘life in general’.

While time management is a challenge for us all, it’s not good practice to drag your heels when addressing tenant concerns.

Here are six reasons why you should always respond to tenants in a timely fashion.


  • Build trust– Ignoring your tenant sends a message that you’re not that bothered – about them or the state of your property. To build a good rapport (one that encourages your tenant to stay long term), you need to be responsive.


  • Nip problems in the bud– Issues like leaks and damp will only get worse (and more expensive to fix) the longer you leave them. Address problems before they escalate into serious repair jobs.


  • Health and safety– It can be difficult to tell if an issue is a minor quibble or a major safety risk unless you investigate. Ignoring a concern or jumping to conclusions without knowing the facts could put your property and your tenant’s safety at risk.


  • Avoid getting fined– Your tenant could be raising a valid issue – one that, if left unaddressed, could land you with a hefty fine from the local authority for breaching health and safety regulations.


  • Insurance – Failing to act on an issue that has been raised could invalidate your insurance and leave you footing the bill after a major incident, such as a burst pipe or fire.


  • Good karma– What goes around comes around. If you ignore a tenant’s texts and emails, what do you think they’ll do when you try to get in touch with them?


In today’s digital world, people expect a quick response day and night. If this 24/7 obligation is too onerous for you, get a letting agent to manage the property – they’ll be the ones on call round-the-clock instead of you.


Get in touch with us here at Chamberlains to learn more about our property management services.


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Why Selling Your South Devon Home Should Be a Team Effort

Why Selling Your South Devon Home Should Be a Team Effort

Selling a home is not a solo project – well, not if you hope to achieve top selling price. A three-minute read.

If there’s one piece of property advice worth remembering, it’s this: be wary of anyone who tells you that selling a home is so easy that you should do it yourself.

Many things in life are easy, like singing Baa Baa Black Sheep out of key or eating a whole packet of chocolate biscuits/family-sized crisps in one afternoon.

But what’s not a doddle is achieving top asking price for a property (and if you’re going to the effort of selling your home, that’s what you want, right?).

It takes a team with expertise and experience across a range of areas to nail a great sale.

Not even the most ingenious multi-tasker has the skills to cover all the bases themselves.

Here’s a list of who should be on your home-selling team.


Estate agent – a good agent will be an expert on the local area and get the asking price just right. They should be a pro at viewings and negotiations and have a savvy social media strategy to generate interest in your property.


Photographer – All top agents use a professional photographer for marketing photos. Most viewers start their property search online and expect to see high-quality images (not shadowy snaps that make a property look like a crime scene).


Conveyancer/Solicitor – Once the sale is agreed, you’ll need a good solicitor or conveyancer to handle the paperwork. Shop around or ask for word-of-mouth recommendations to find the right professional, as a good conveyancer/solicitor can speed up the process.


Removal firm – On the day you complete, you’ll want the logistics to run smoothly – and for your treasured possessions to be handled with care.


Proactive seller – Sellers are vital members of the team, too! A proactive seller rids their home of clutter, so that it shines in the marketing photos, and keeps the property tidy for viewings.


And a few special mentions

If you’re selling up to move to a new property, your team will also include a mortgage adviser to land you the best deal and a surveyor to inspect any property you’re considering buying.


Here at Chamberlains, we believe that selling a home is a team sport. Get in touch to find out more about our friendly, expert team.

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Document and Paperwork Checklist for Landlords in Teignbridge

Document and Paperwork Checklist for Landlords in Teignbridge

In this three-minute read, we look at the documentation landlords need to meet their legal obligations – and avoid messy disputes.

First-time landlords often make the rookie mistake of underestimating the amount of paperwork involved in letting a property.

Many assume that once the ink dries on a tenancy agreement, they’ve got the paperwork sorted – but nothing could be further from the truth.

Record-keeping is an integral part of a landlord’s duties and falls into two categories:

  • Documents that you must keep. Landlords are required by law to keep records covering things such as safety inspections and deposits.
  • Documents that it is wise to keep. Although not obligatory, these records serve as an unofficial insurance policy should a dispute arise. If you wind up in court, you don’t want to rely on a vague recollection that “you paid a guy who was either called Terry or Trevor sometime in 2019 to sort out a few maintenance issues”. Firm dates, times and details of conversations and actions provide a vital paper trail.

Here’s a checklist of documents landlords need to keep:

 1 Gas safety certificate – Landlords are required by law to have gas appliances such as hobs checked every year by a Gas Safety registered engineer.

2 Electrical safety report – Electrical safety inspections must be carried out by a qualified sparky every five years.

3 Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TPS – A landlord must place a tenant’s deposit in an approved TPS within 30 days of payment.

4 Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – Landlords need to get an EPC every ten years. A registered assessor must carry out the inspection, and the property must have at least an E rating.

5 Landlord registration – Some local authorities in England require landlords to sign up to a register. Check the rules in your local area.

6 Fire safety – Keep all paperwork relating to smoke alarms (you need one on every floor) and carbon monoxide alarms (you need one in any room with a solid fuel-burning appliance).

7 Property inventory – An in-depth report of the property and its furniture, fixtures and appliances will help you resolve any quibbles over belongings or damage at the end of a tenancy.

8 Landlord insurance – A condition of most buy-to-let mortgages, landlord insurance covers you in the event of flood or fire and for legal claims if someone injures themselves in your property.

9 Repair works  Keep all paperwork relating to repairs carried out on the property.

10 Tenant inspections – Keep a record of when you visit the property during the tenancy, and any issues raised. Follow up conversations with an email outlining your discussions.

11 Right to Rent – A landlord must check that tenants have the correct immigration status to reside in the UK. Landlords must keep copies of all relevant documents.

When it comes to record-keeping, many landlords have good intentions but struggle to keep up over time. If you don’t have the energy or inclination to handle the paperwork that is part and parcel of being a landlord, a letting agent can do it for you.

Here at Chamberlains, we’re pedants when it comes to paperwork and pros at keeping tabs on tenancies. If you’d like us to help you manage your property, get in touch.