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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.

 

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Update for sellers

Our offices are now open – but we are proceeding with caution.

Eight weeks have now passed since we were placed on lockdown and the estate agency industry virtually stopped. During that time we have been working hard behind the scenes to keep potential buyers keen and positive about the market and we’ve  also been managing sales that are going through the conveyancing process.

As you will have seen in the media, on Tuesday evening we were given the green light to re-open in order to begin getting the market moving again. There was no advance warning to the industry and so we found out at the same time as the general public.

We are now returning to work but we have to ensure the safety of our staff and customers and so we have been busy creating the procedures that will become applicable for the foreseeable future.

We are closely following the advice that has been published by the government in order to ensure that we are doing all we can to help keep everyone safe.  If you would like to read the government advice you can do so by clicking this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

To ensure we return in a controlled manner, we are opening the offices from 9am until 1pm Monday to Friday to begin with, this will enable us to have a member of staff in the office during the morning and to carry out essential appointments in the afternoon.

We need to ensure we follow the guidelines as best we can, and your help is greatly appreciated and in particular your attention is drawn to the following:

  • Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible we can help you to do this.
  • All physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household and open house viewings should not take place. – We have a great offer for you, details will follow soon.
  • If people are being shown around your current home, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
  • As most people choose to, we recommend that you vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household.
  • Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.

As an additional precaution we have created a health assessment for all viewers to complete before the appointment. They will sign this electronically in order to confirm that they present a minimal risk to you.

We are also doing our best to ensure that viewings are only carried out by potential purchasers who are able to buy or who have at least agreed a sale on their own property.

Thank you so much for your understanding during this time. We really appreciate your patience as the market gets moving again. We are in uncharted territory but can assure you that we continue to work hard and always keep your best interests at heart.

Thank you.

James Cooper MNAEA

Director

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Moving Home Advice – Covid-19

Moving Home Advice - Covid-19

This is the latest advice from Government in regards to the property market during COVID-19

What does this mean for my property move which is scheduled whilst the stay-at-home measures to fight coronavirus (COIVD-19) apply?

  • What does this mean for my property move or purchase which is scheduled whilst measures to fight coronavirus apply?

    People are free to move home, however the process of finding and moving into a new home is likely to be different, as those involved in the process will need to adapt practices and procedures to ensure that the risk of spread of coronavirus is reduced as far as possible. It is vital that everyone stays alert and safe.

    • Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and property agents should help you to do this.
    • All physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household and open house viewings should not take place.
    • When physically viewing properties, where possible, you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly, and bring your own hand sanitiser. The number of people on a viewing should be minimised to those from your household that absolutely have to be there. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
    • If people are being shown around your current home, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
    • As most people choose to, we recommend that you vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household.
    • Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.
    • When moving between properties, you and those in your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can. Where this is not possible, you should speak to removal firms in advance. There is further advice about this below.
    • If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then speak to the professionals involved, your landlord, estate agent or removers as they may be able to put in place extra measures.

    Everyone involved in the moving process must follow social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus.

    1. Preparing to buy, sell or move home

    You can put your home on the market and start to look for properties you want to move into. If any member of the household being viewed is showing symptoms or is self-isolating then estate agents should not physically visit the property.

    • You can begin to market your home and estate agents are able to visit in order to take photos/videos of the property.
    • To help prevent the spread of infection, we encourage people to do the majority of their property searching online; for example only physically viewing those properties which you believe you are most likely to want to move into.
    • As usual, you can also start to bring together the documentation necessary to sell your property (more information on these documents is available in the government’s guidance on how to sell homes).
    • If you wish to buy a new build property you should make contact with the developer in the usual way. You should be able to view the show home or visit the particular plot you are interested in purchasing, although there will be appointment systems in place.

    2. Viewings

    People should use virtual viewings before visiting properties in person where possible, in order to minimise public health risks. If any member of either the household being viewed, or the household undertaking a viewing is showing symptoms of coronavirus or is self-isolating, then a physical viewing should be delayed. All viewings should take place by appointment and only involve members of a single household.

    • We encourage people to do their property searching online wherever possible. Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and physical viewings should only be conducted where buyers are seriously considering making an offer on a property.
    • To support this, agents may ask home occupiers to conduct virtual viewings. This will help reduce the number of properties people need to visit before finding their future home.
    • Viewings should be conducted by appointment only and no open house viewings should take place.
    • If your property is being viewed, you should open all the internal doors prior to the viewing, and allow access to handwashing facilities and ideally separate towels/paper towels.
    • As most people choose to do, we encourage that you vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household.
    • When viewing a property, all parties should wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible. Agents will ask you to restrict the number of people who accompany you on a viewing so that social distancing can be practised, and only those in your immediate household should be there.
    • We expect agents to accompany clients on a viewing but follow social distancing rules wherever possible. Where viewings are unaccompanied, agents should make sure viewers and homeowners understand how they should conduct themselves.
    • Once the viewing has taken place, the homeowner should ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned with standard household cleaning products and towels disposed of safely or washed as appropriate.

    3. Making offers or reservations

    You are free to make or accept an offer or reserve a property as normal.

    • There is a greater risk that parties may need to delay their move because someone is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating. Where needed your legal adviser should advise you and help make sure that any contracts or agreements are as flexible as possible to accommodate this risk.
    • Prospective purchasers may wish to visit a property again once they have agreed a sale, for example to measure up. Where this has been agreed to, the above advice on prioritising virtual visits, hygiene measures, maintaining social distancing at all times and mitigating contact where possible should be followed.
    • Purchasers may also want to send in tradespeople to carry out inspections. Where possible these should be scheduled with one person visiting the property at any time. No tradespeople should enter a property where a member of the household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating. Where a tradesperson is visiting the property, the occupier should maintain social distancing, wash their hands regularly and minimise contact as far as possible, for example by staying in another room. These visits should be carried out in line with government safer working guidance.

    4. Property searches and surveys

    Your legal representative should be able to carry out searches on your property online in order to progress your transaction and you can contact them to discuss likely timescales.

    Your surveyor can undertake surveys of the property you wish to purchase.

    • Surveyors should not enter a property where a member of the household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating.
    • Where possible we encourage inspections to take place by appointment only, with one person visiting the property at any time. Surveyors should follow government guidance for professionals working in other people’s homes and guidance on social distancing.
    • If your home is being surveyed, you should ensure the surveyor has access to all the parts of the property they need to inspect, and make efforts to minimise contact with the surveyor, for example by staying in another room whilst they are inspecting your home.

    5. Agreeing to move

    Once you have agreed to move home by exchanging contracts or signing a tenancy agreement, you have entered into a legal agreement to move. We encourage all parties to be as flexible as possible over this period and be prepared to delay moves if needed, for example if someone becomes ill with coronavirus during the moving process or has to self-isolate. You should not expect to move into any home where people are ill or self-isolating.

    • Your legal adviser should be able to help you to ensure that any contract you enter into has sufficient flexibility to allow the purchase to be delayed in the event that an individual in one of the parties contracts coronavirus or has to self-isolate.
    • We encourage you to be as flexible as possible if you are asked to delay your move, and in turn, you can speak to your legal advisor about this.

    6. Moving your belongings

    Removal firms are able to operate, although they may need to adjust usual procedures in order to ensure moves happen as safely as possible.

    • We encourage you to contact removal firms as early as possible in advance of your move.
    • You and your household should also try and do as much of the packing yourself as possible. However, where this is not possible, you should speak to your removal firms in advance.
    • We ask that, where possible, you clean your belongings, with standard domestic cleaning products before they are handled by others, including removal firms.
    • Whilst the removers are in your home, you should ensure any internal doors are open and seek to minimise your contact with the crew, maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres where possible.
    • All parties should wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
    • You should not provide refreshments but you should ensure they have access to hand washing facilities, using separate towels or paper towels if possible, which should be washed or disposed of safely afterwards.
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accessible estate agency

We’re really excited to tell you about how we’ve changed our company to fit in with  the modern world, without sacrificing our core values.  We believe these changes mean greater accessibility to potential buyers and tenants, which is only a good thing to our vendors and landlords.

Over the years many businesses in all sorts of industries have adapted their business model to cater for the changing needs of their customers. In our view, the estate agency industry has been rather slow to change the way it operates. These days you can do your weekly shop at 3 in the morning if you want, you can book a holiday at the touch of a button and can transfer money direct from your phone 24/7.  So why is estate agency still a Monday to Saturday 9-5:30 industry? It’s because that is the way it has always been done.  Well, we think it’s high time there was a change.

accessible estate agency

We are  continuing to improve what we do, you can now view property or have a valuation of your own home 7 days a week.   You can also call and talk to us from 8:30 in the morning to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm on Saturday and 10am to 4pm on a Sunday.  We’ve also updated our website giving our sellers round the clock access to their property file. Check viewings, read feedback and keep all documents in one place. It’s also simple for potential buyers, they are now able to book viewings for your property directly from the website, on their computer, tablet or phone!

When you sell your home through Chamberlains you will get the very best local knowledge from qualified staff you know, like and trust. Your home will be advertised in all the normal ways, but potential buyers will also be able to book a viewing direct from your property listing on our website, or by calling any of the office’s  7 days a week.  Essentially we have broken down any barriers a customer may face dealing with a 9-5:30 estate agent. As a buyer or seller through Chamberlains, you’ll also have your own online account so you can see viewing info along with feedback and be able to see at a glance the progress of your sale.

We are really excited by these changes and hope to really show you what we can do when you decide to buy, sell, rent out or let through us.

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Star Property!

Mulberry House, Dawlish – £650,000

A stylish, spacious and modern family home located in the small seaside town of Dawlish. Boasting six bedrooms it is ideal for multi-generational living or home and income.

The entire ground floor lends itself for the possibility of separate living with two double bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and generous lounge/dining space with access to the rear garden. The main part of the property offers a stunning and extensive kitchen and dining area with access to a balcony which offers sea views over to Exmouth and enjoys the morning sun. A large lounge also has doors to the balcony, again with a stunning outlook.

Star Property!

There is a front facing room which is currently an office but would make a nice sized dining room if required. A cloakroom finishes off the floor at entrance level for the property, making ideal living space. The top floor comprises a good-sized bathroom, four spacious double bedrooms and a generously sized landing area, perfect for a small study corner. There is also a garage, parking and garden.

Chamberlains in Teignmouth can be contacted on 01626 815815 for more information.

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10 ideas for neutral living rooms

There’s nothing in your face about a neutral living room, but that’s rather the point. These subtle schemes don’t vie for attention, but rather offer an understated, elegant space that allows the senses to relax. While usefully impervious to the fickle nature of fads (no buyer’s remorse over a neon-pink sofa here), there are still many ways to interpret the look to best suit the style of your room and, of course, personal taste. Check out the examples below for inspiration.
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Same service, new look

We hope you like our new branding. We’ve been working on it for the last few months and we’re delighted with the final result.

Chamberlains has always prided itself on providing a friendly and professional service to our sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants and we believe that our new look injects a more modern and contemporary feel to our brand, which is more in keeping with our approach.

You may have seen that all of our office fascias have been changed over to the new brand image and we’ve also taken the opportunity to completely revamp our website which is now easier than ever to navigate.

A re-brand has been a great opportunity to evaluate our position in the market place and to consider our service standards and we are now determined more than ever to exceed expectations.

For a long time, Chamberlains has been among the first agents to adopt new technology, new marketing techniques and to innovate and our new image better represents our open-minded attitude to embracing new concepts.

After all:

we’re the only local agents that print, produce and circulate our own property paper that gets delivered to over 22,000 local addresses;

we have the largest rental department in the area which is about to become ARLA accredited;

we send out a weekly property e-newsletter with a featured property and relevant property news (sign up for it on our website);

we have an in-house mortgage adviser with access to over 80 lenders;

we’re part of the Fine & Country network of agents dealing with upmarket properties;

we make a contribution to Rowcroft Hospice for every sale that we make which has resulted in donations of over £11,000 in the last twelve months.

When it comes to choosing an agent, why not choose Chamberlains!