Archives May 2022

When Is The Best Time To Buy A House?

In the process of wanting to buy a house, there is one thing that can often set off everything else. Time is that factor. A lot of the talk about buying a home is, as it should be, about the “what.” But the “when” is often just as important.

So, when is the best time to buy a home? The answer is simple: the best time to buy a house is when it’s right for you. Lucky for us, knowing when the right time is isn’t like having a sixth sense. It’s much more concrete. It’s important to know about the local market, your finances, and mortgage rates, as well as how these things fit in with your lifestyle changes and why you want to move. Read on to find out more. 

Financial Situation To Buy A House

Your finances play a big role in deciding if now is a good time to buy a house. Before you start looking for homes, you should figure out how much you can spend. If you have more buying power, the seller will see that you are able to buy the house and may choose your offer over other ones.

Use a free mortgage calculator to get an idea of what you can afford is a great idea. With current rates based on national averages and mortgage terms that can be changed, you can try out different values to get an idea of how much your monthly payment would be for any listing price. With the help of this tool, you can figure out if now is a good time to buy or not.


You’ve probably heard the old real estate sayings about buying in different seasons and how to use the calendar to your advantage to get a good deal on your next home. There is some truth to these sayings, but the best way to really understand how seasonality affects your area is to work with a local real estate agent with a lot of experience. Their knowledge of the local housing market, as well as their access to data and tools, will be your best resource for making your buying strategy fit the local market. Get in touch with a skilled agent to start the process of buying a home. 

As A Landlord, Should You Use A Letting Agent?

As a landlord, are you unsure whether you should use a letting agent? Depending on the circumstances, engaging with a letting estate agent can be an excellent method to save time, money, and worry. Here’s all you need to know about what a letting agency does and if you should engage with one to make your decision.

When You Use A Letting Agent What Do They Do?

Depending on the package you buy, a letting agent can do different things for you. You can give an agent some or all of the responsibilities for managing your property.

Most of the time, when you use a letting agent they can:

Advertise your property and help you find the right tenant.

Set up the lease: A letting agent can do everything to set up a tenancy, from getting references and running credit checks to getting deposits and writing up tenancy agreements.

Collect rent: A letting agent can collect rent from your tenants each month and follow up on any late payments according to the lease.

Manage questions: A letting agent can answer questions from tenants, deal with problems, and schedule maintenance or repair work.

Can You Manage The Property Yourself?

Think carefully about whether you want to manage your own property. It can take a lot of time, and you’ll need to know about all the latest legal changes to make sure you’re following the rules.

There are benefits to managing a property on your own, but only if you like being a “hands-on” landlord. Taking care of your own property can be a good idea if:

You want to keep costs down.

You have a lot of time to answer questions and deal with problems.

You know a lot of good tradesmen.

You are up to date on the newest laws.

You live close.

You like taking care of the business side of being a landlord.

Otherwise, it’s best to use a letting agent. 

What Are The Benefits If You Use A Letting Agent?

Not everyone can handle a rental on their own. Also, if you rent out more than one property, it can quickly turn into a full-time job.

Here are the top four reasons why you should use a letting agent instead of taking care of everything yourself.

Saves Time

Working with a letting agent will save you a lot of time because they handle tenant questions, rent collection, administrative tasks, and everything else in between.

You Can Be Hands-Off When You Use A Letting Agent

Working with a letting agent lets you be a hands-off landlord if you don’t like marketing your property, taking calls from tenants, and going to the property when problems arise. This is perfect if you live far from the rental property you own.

You Won’t Break The Law

One of the best reasons to use a letting agent is that they can make sure your property is up to code. A letting agent’s job is to keep up with the latest changes in the law so that you don’t have to. If you’re a new landlord or don’t have time to learn the rules, a letting agent can help you stay on the right side of the law.

Maintains Professional Connections

Things go wrong sometimes. Your tenants will need a tradesperson at some point, whether the boiler breaks or the kitchen sink leaks. Letting agents have professional connections with plumbers, electricians, and other tradespeople who may be needed in an emergency, so you don’t have to worry about finding the right person for the job.

Renting On A Pension: The Pros and Cons

In the UK as a whole, renting is becoming more popular. The UK rental market is growing because house prices keep going up, pay raises don’t go up, and people’s attitudes are changing toward renting. Even though this is the case, many of us still think that renting is something young people do, rather than renting on a pension.

Renting in retirement, on the other hand, is on the rise. While many renters of pensionable age would want to be homeowners if they could afford it, many are electing to rent in retirement with the luxury of choice. In today’s article, we’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of doing so.

Renting On A Pension vs. Homeownership

When making a choice of this size, there are bound to be arguments for and against, and a lot of what you choose will depend on your own situation.

Still, there are some pros and cons of renting on a pension that are pretty much the same for everyone, and we’ll talk about those below.

Pros Of Renting In Retirement

No Mortgage: If you choose to rent on a pension, you will still have to pay rent, but you won’t be tied down by a mortgage. This gives you some freedom in your life. For example, you could move closer to your children and grandchildren, or you could try out areas you’ve always wanted to live in without much risk.

Release Equity: If you own a home and are getting close to retirement, you won’t be the only one who decides to sell it and rent instead of keeping it. Most of the time, released equity is used to add to pension funds. This gives retirees more freedom and the money they need to enjoy their retirement to the fullest.

Fewer Hassles: Ask any homeowner, and they’ll tell you that one of the worst things about owning a home is having to deal with unexpected maintenance issues. Leaking pipes roofs, broken boilers, and even less climactic problems like dealing with normal wear and tear can be annoying, expensive, and time-consuming. Who wants to have to deal with that when they’re old? If you decide to rent instead, your landlord will take care of these problems, which can be a very appealing idea.

Amenities: As the rental market grows, so does the competition between landlords and developers to get your business. This has led to a huge increase in the number of amenities in apartment complexes. Gyms, pools, rooftop verandas, and concierge services are becoming more and more popular. Most of the time, these extra features will be included in your rent, which means you can use them for free and they’ll be right outside your door.

Warden-Assisted: Renting in retirement gives people who need a little extra help the chance to move into a warden-assisted block or complex. People with health problems or trouble moving around will benefit most from these apartment buildings for older people. Having a warden on site can also give loved ones peace of mind, which may be missing if an elderly relative lives alone in a home they own.

Cons Of Renting On A Pension

Rental Fees: Not having a mortgage hanging over your head is a good thing, but you still have to pay rent, which can be expensive. In recent years, the cost of renting has gone up a lot, and there’s nothing stopping your landlord from raising your rent as your lease goes on.

Insecurity: Renting in retirement gives you more freedom with your living arrangements, but it also makes you feel less safe. Since you don’t own your home, you can be asked to leave when your lease is up. With shorthold tenancies being the norm, this could mean that you have to move more often than you’d like, which could get very old very fast.

Problems with Pets: Even though attitudes are changing, many landlords still don’t want their tenants to have pets. This won’t be a problem for some people, but for others it will be a deal-breaker. If you’ve always loved animals and had pets your whole life, chances are you’d like to keep doing that when you retire.

Dead Money: One of the most obvious “cons” of renting (at any age) is that the money you pay each month isn’t doing anything for you in the future. Now, this may be less of a worry for a retiree than it is for a twenty-something, but it’s still something to think about when weighing the pros and cons of renting on a pension.

Should You Rent In Retirement?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that there is no one right answer when it comes to deciding whether to rent or buy a home in retirement. But thinking about it is a whole different thing, and it’s definitely something to think about.

What works for one retiree might not work for another, so you should do your own research. Read through the pros and cons listed above, but also think about your own reasons.

Let Agreed: What Does It Mean?

If you’re just starting to rent, you’ve probably seen properties that are already rented. Maybe you’ve already found the house you want and signed a contract, but on the agency’s website, it still says “let agreed.” So, what does it mean when a house is agreed to be rented? Is it a contract that holds up in court, and why do landlords use it? Here, we look into the term and tell people who want to rent what it means.

Let Agreed Explained

When a property is under let agreed designation, it means that an offer has been made and the landlord or estate agent has agreed to it in principle. But the landlord or property management company must first do tenancy checks before the deal can be finalised. These steps are taken to make sure that the potential tenant can rent the property and has enough money to pay the rent.

There are credit checks, references from previous landlords, and checks to make sure the person has the right to rent. If, for example, the tenant’s credit isn’t good, the landlord might ask for six months of rent up front.

The Difference Between Let Agreed And Let

So, as we’ve already said, “let agreed” means that the landlord basically agrees to the offer made by the possible tenant. The landlord won’t sign the official tenancy contract, which would let the potential tenants move in, until the checks are done.

So, there is a chance that a property that has been agreed to be rented could fall through and become open to other people who want to rent it. Before signing the final contract, it’s a good idea to do as many checks as possible and make sure it’s the right property. Both the landlord and the applicant can back out of the deal at this point.

When a property is rented, on the other hand, both the landlord and the person who wants to rent it have agreed to the terms of the rental contract. At this point, all of the checks have been done, and the landlord is satisfied that the new tenants are a good fit and have enough money to pay the rent.

Can You Still View An Agreed Property?

You could still look at a house that’s under let agreed status in theory. Depending on how strong the applicant is, though, most letting agents won’t bother with showings until the deal falls through.

Most of the time, they will set up a time for you to see the place after the lease should have been signed. If the let agreed status drops before then, you would be the first person to see the property and could make an offer. So, if you’re interested in a let-agreed home, it’s always a good idea to ask about it, since there’s a chance you could still get it.

Is Your Local Letting Agent Giving You the Best Possible Service?

Here’s a question: how important is it for landlords to use an agency? What do they get out of it?

If you’ve ever tried to manage your own properties, you know how stressful it can be. Having a good local letting agent take care of things like contracts, credit checks, inventories, and all the legal issues that come with renting is a big help.

In the last few years, the private lettings market has grown a lot. This makes it more important than ever for landlords to not only find the right local letting agent, but also know what services they can provide. And getting along well with your agent is important if you want to get the most for your money.

local letting agent
Photo by Mike

Why Do I Need A Local Letting Agent?

The goal of a good local letting agent should be to make renting a home as easy as possible so that both landlords and renters don’t have to worry about it.

As a self-managed landlord, it’s very important that you know about all the important laws, like the recently passed Tenant Fee Ban, deposit protection, and the Immigration Act. You should also know about health and safety issues, like making sure your gas certificates and electrical checks are up to date. If you don’t follow a law, you could be fined or even put in jail.

By hiring a letting agent to take care of your property for you, you protect yourself, your property, and your reputation. You can also rest easy knowing that they worked hard to find the right tenant and that the rent is paid on time.

And from the tenants’ point of view, they know that they are protected during their tenancy, that they know what their rights are, and that they have someone to talk to if something goes wrong. So you won’t have to answer the phone late at night when your tenant has a problem.

What Should You Look For In A Letting Agent?

You should know from the beginning what you want from your agent. Most agents offer a number of services for landlords, such as finding tenants and taking care of everything. Be aware that if you don’t pay an agent to fully manage your property, you as the landlord will be in charge of making all the necessary paperwork, like inventories and contracts, and making sure you follow all the laws and rules. If you don’t have time to learn all of the laws and rules about letting a property or don’t want the stress or responsibility of setting up regular checks for things like gas safety, electrical checks, PAT testing for appliances, etc., you might want to look for a service that will take care of all of that for you.

A fully managed service also means that the agent will take care of all the day-to-day issues, like general maintenance, complaints, and rent collection. So, if something goes wrong, your local letting agent will be the person your tenants will talk to and will be able to fix any problems on your behalf.

Once you know what level of service you want, you can start looking into letting agents in your area. If you know other landlords in the area, ask them for recommendations. You can also look for reviews online. Compare what they offer and how much they charge, and make sure they have the right memberships and money-back guarantees.

How To Deal With A Vacant Property

A rental property may become unoccupied at times. Whether it’s for a short period between leases or for a longer period, such as planned repairs that are simpler to complete without a tenant in place, the negative is that a vacant property is far more exposed. If there are water leaks or weather damage, it may go unseen until you visit the property again. If it’s clear that no one lives there, it might be targeted by vandals or squatters, both of which could require time and money to settle.

Here are some of our best rental property management tips for a vacant property.

If You Have A Vacant Property, Let Your Insurer Know

Many landlord insurance policies only cover a vacant property for up to 30 days, so you should talk to your insurance company as soon as you know your rental will be empty. If you don’t, and something happens that makes you need to file a claim, your policy could be cancelled.

Your insurance company will be able to tell you what you need to do to keep your policy valid. For example, they may tell you to turn off the gas and keep the heat on low during the colder months to prevent the pipes from freezing and keep the property free of mould. They can also tell you when you will need to switch to “unoccupied property insurance.” This may cost a little more, but if it gives you peace of mind that you’re safe, it’s well worth it.

Make Regular Security Checks

Your landlord insurance provider will probably want you to check on the property often while it’s empty, usually once a week, to make sure it’s still safe and in good shape.

So, when you get there, make sure all the doors and windows are locked and there are no signs that someone tried to get in. Check each room to make sure there’s no damp from the outside or a leak inside, and open the windows for a while to let the air circulate so the house doesn’t get stuffy (remembering to close them again properly before you leave).

If you can, put a couple of lamps inside on timers so they turn on and off at different times. If you don’t already have one, it’s also a good idea to install an outside motion sensor light on the exterior of your vacant property. Burglars and vandals don’t like it when it’s bright!

Make Sure The Vacant Property Is Clean

If the property is empty because it is between tenants, you might want to have a deep clean done by a professional to get rid of any surface mould, make sure all your fixtures shine, and give the property a new look and feel for viewings.

When tenants leave trash behind, it’s important to get rid of it as soon as possible so it doesn’t attract illegal dumpers or become a fire hazard.

How To Sell Your Home In A Slow Housing Market

There has been a lot of activity in the housing market recently. Selling a property fast has proven to be a simple process. If the housing market does slow down, what would be the consequences? In a sluggish market, how can you get your house sold fast and for the best price? Read on to find out how to sell your home in a slow housing market. 

Get It Sale Ready

In a hot market, buyers may not care what your property looks like since they are so eager to purchase. As long as there is nothing wrong with the property that may deter purchasers and hold down the sale, it’s OK to sell as is. Yet this is not the same in a slow housing market. 

Taking a serious look at your home is the first step. Keep in mind how it appears from the road. The roof could need a little TLC. Is it in need of a fresh coat of paint? Is the garden too weedy for you? Are there any rooms in your home that might need a facelift? Is the flooring dirty or worn? If your home is for sale, consider whether or not the kitchen or bathroom may need some attention.

Despite the fact that this may need a significant investment in preparing your property for the market, it could be worth it in the long run.

Present The House Well In A Slow Housing Market

Along with repairs, display your home so that it seems to be a pleasant place to live.

When selling a home, one of the most common pieces of advice is to declutter. Decluttering can assist in depersonalising your property so that potential purchasers might see themselves living there. It might also make it seem bigger.

Make sure your house is clean and fresh, and that it smells clean and fresh as well. You may even consider smartly staging your property to make it more desirable in a slow housing market.

Sell At The Right Time Of Year

When the real estate market is sluggish, it’s better to sell at the correct time of year, if possible. The months of March, April, May, and June are ideal for selling, followed by September. Avoid selling during the summer holiday season or the run-up to Christmas, when the slow housing market gets even slower.

Price Your Home Correctly In A Slow Housing Market

In the process of selling a home, it’s important to price it right. But in a cool market, it’s critical to price your home right. The first few days after a property is put on the market tend to be the most popular time for potential buyers. Make sure that your original asking price is appealing to potential purchasers.

There’s a fine line between overpricing and underpricing. You should avoid setting your asking price too high while the market is sluggish, though. Even if you lower the price later, you may not attract any attention if the price is too high.

If you want to get the best price in a sluggish market, ask multiple real estate agents for a price estimate.

How To Furnish Your Rental Property On A Budget

When it comes to presenting their property to the market, landlords who opt to lease their housing furnished must make some significant considerations. How can you invest in trendy decor and appealing furnishings that will attract great tenants without eroding your profit margin? Let’s investigate more.

What’s The Target Market?

Tenants looking for furnished apartments are most usually young individuals or students, or corporate professionals looking for short-term rentals. These are persons who don’t (yet) have any household items that need to be accommodated, or who are searching for temporary housing away from their primary residence.

If you furnish your rental property, you will be needed to supply basic items such as beds and clothing storage, a couch or other living room furniture, a dining table and chairs, and window decorations and floor coverings throughout the property. A hob/oven and fridge are regarded as basic in the kitchen, and a washing machine is extremely desired.

Some candidates may desire to bring an item or two with them. That might be an acceptable compromise if you can be adaptable to the wishes of what seems to be a high-quality renter. However, keep in mind that you may pay extra fees for storing unnecessary furniture when your furnish your rental property.

Balancing Style And Practicality

The first rule when you furnish a rental property is to leave your own taste at the door. This is not the time to experiment with the current colour trends, nor is it the place for statement wallpaper, much alone superfluous trinkets. Choose a neutral colour palette that will appeal to a wide range of preferences, and create a smart, unified design with matching furniture – a basic style with clean lines will suit you well.

Be very cautious while saving money by acquiring mismatched second-hand things for your rental apartment. Unless you have a keen eye for interior design, old furniture is likely to disappoint you and is nearly always a waste of money.

When it comes to furniture and furnishings for rental houses, rule number two is that practicality rules supreme. Divan beds are more durable than bed frames, and if you can obtain one with storage below, that’s even better – you may need less cabinet space elsewhere. Mattresses have a lifetime of around 7 years under typical household settings, however some tenants may request a new one (or bring their own) before moving in.

Your upholstery textiles and soft furnishings must be durable, simple to clean, last a long time, and blend in. Avoid fragile textiles and bright colours that tend to stain. Many sofa and armchair collections feature detachable, washable covers that don’t need professional upholstery cleaning, which may save you a lot of money. Remember that all furniture and furnishings must be labelled with fire safety information.

Carpeting your rental property can be a costly endeavour, therefore it is critical to maximise your investment. Select a carpet that guarantees strength and longevity, can tolerate strong household usage, is stain-resistant, and is simple to maintain. Neutral mid-tones are the most effective in ‘hiding dirt.’ Nylon and polypropylene carpets are less expensive and many are bleach cleanable, but wool carpets are more expensive to install and maintain.

Maintain your rooms clutter-free, and provide crucial pieces of furniture that are in excellent condition and coordinate. Fitted shelves and cabinets may be more expensive at first, but they have a longer lifetime and are much simpler to maintain than freestanding equivalents. Remember that every item will need to be cleaned, maintained, and eventually replaced. The more goods there are, the more expensive it is to maintain them.

Don’t Take Your Eye Off The Budget

The expense of outfitting a rental apartment can quickly add up. However, if you cut too many corners, the property’s desirability will suffer, resulting in less demand and lower monthly rent. It is preferable to save money by eliminating superfluous accessories and taking advantage of special deals, interest-free financing, or cost-effective landlord furniture bundles.

Compare the cost of equipping your rental home to the recurring cleaning, repair, maintenance, and replacement costs that you will undoubtedly pay during and between leases. You should also account for your (or your agent’s) time in dealing with furnishing-related callouts. If the stove suddenly fails or the curtain rail falls from the wall, you will not only be the first to know, but you will also be expected to address the issue quickly.

The Power Of The Inventory When You Furnish Your Rental Property

Finally, make it a top priority to do a thorough inventory of the property’s items before a new tenant comes in and again before the same renter goes out. 

Depending on the duration of the rental, you may opt to visit the property more regularly – say, every three months – to identify and address any evident symptoms of damage as soon as feasible.

The inventory, also known as a Schedule of Condition, is a complete written list that covers all of the property’s contents and their condition, and can include images and videos — here’s one example. This agreement serves as the foundation for any damages for which you may be reimbursed. If any damages occur during the lease, estimates for repair or replacement, as well as information of any deductions from the tenant’s deposit, should be communicated to the tenant.

Whatever your degree of investment in equipping your rental flat, the inventory is a critical tool for resolving any fights or disputes with your tenant over property damage, safeguarding your maintenance and repair budget, and helping to maximise your profit margin.

Smoking In A Rented Property: What Are The Rules?

What can a landlord do about smoking in a rented property? It’s a difficult thing to have to deal with. On one hand, it’s no secret to landlords that daily smoking is hazardous for a property’s air quality and may cause significant damage to the interior. However, a landlord’s lenient attitude toward smoking will open the door to the greatest number of potential renters, because there are still many smokers.

How Many Smokers Are There?

When it comes to smoking in a rental property, according to a recent poll, just seven percent of landlords agree to allow tenants to smoke during the tenancy, despite the fact that more than one-fifth of the population are smokers.  So, are landlords passing on a golden opportunity? Before making any hasty choices, landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation should examine the following research, which discovered that smoking renters are not very popular with their flatmates:

Barely 19 percent of other renters indicated they would be pleased to live with smokers, 37 percent of flatmates would share housing with a smoker if they would smoke outside and 44 percent of flatmates usually would not want to share with someone who enjoyed smoking in a rented property.

Another recent poll, this one conducted by Easyroomate, found that 38 percent of private landlords would evict tenants who were detected smoking within a rented property.

Do Landlords Have A Choice If Tenants Are Smoking In A Rented Property?

In these days of the Human Rights Act, do landlords have any right to ban their tenants from smoking in their rental property. The quick answer is… yes.

It is completely feasible to include a brief phrase to ban renters from smoking in a rented property. We recommend something like this:

3.7.13 Not to smoke or let any guest or visitor to smoke tobacco or any other substance in the property, unless the landlord has provided written approval.

How To Enforce A Smoking Ban

The enforcement of this provision, on the other hand, is a concern. If the landlord is confident that a tenant was smoking without authorization, they must first acquire evidence to prove it. Simply stating that the room smelled “a little smokey” is unlikely to suffice in a court.  To evict a tenant on these grounds, a landlord must use one of the fault-based grounds for possession, such as Ground 12: The tenant has violated one or more of the provisions of the rental agreement, excluding the responsibility to pay rent. However, this is one of the reasons for possession where the court has discretion in granting a landlord a possession order.

This implies that no two cases will be the same, but more importantly, there is little chance that a ‘liberal minded’ court would toss a tenant out on the streets for having the ‘odd smoke’ in their own house. As a result, there is little prospect of a landlord obtaining possession. This means, the odds of a landlord winning while a tenant continues to pay rent are small. Is there anything more a landlord could do if a tenant keeps smoking in a rented property?

smoking in a rented property
Photo by Pixabay

Other Approaches To Prohibit Smoking In A Rented Property

One technique to cope with any harm produced by a smoking renter is to request a premium rate. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe five percent, just enough to pay the price of redecorating. As we indicated earlier, 1 in 5 individuals still smoke, therefore being tolerant may provide a landlord an opportunity in the market, providing you don’t mind redecorating on a recurring basis.

The alternative method may be to require a larger deposit from a smoker in the expectation that if damage occurs, the landlord would be successful in withholding a portion of the renters deposit to pay the damage caused by smoking in a rented property. However, we’re sceptical that a landlord could persuade a TDS adjudicator that the damage (which, let’s face it, frequently smells worse than it appears) is a problem even where you’ve gone to the time of meticulously creating a property inventory.

The long and short of smoking renters is that although the law seems to be on the landlords’ side, enforcability is a far more difficult and unpredictable procedure. Unless landlords have a trick up their sleeves, the best solution seems to be to attempt to pick an honest non-smoking renter in the first place, or to just accept the fact that there will be smoking in a rented property.

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