Category Money

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. 

Rent Increase: How You Can Implement One

The lease agreement will typically outline the steps that landlords – or letting agencies working on their behalf – must take in order to make a rent increase. However, there are likely to be constraints, and it’s important to know what you can and can’t do.

rent increase
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

What Type Of Lease?

You will generally only be permitted implement a rent increase once a year if your renters are on a periodic lease, which rolls from week to week or month to month. You may agree on a new rent with your renters and have all parties sign an agreement to that effect, or you can utilise the government’s ‘landlord’s notice proposing a new rent’ form if there is no procedure for doing so under the lease agreement they signed. If the property has renters, you must give them notice if you plan to visit it, whether to examine the premises or perform repairs, unless there is an emergency.

If your tenants have a fixed-term lease (one that lasts a defined length of time, such as six months or a year), you cannot raise the rent during this time unless your tenants agree. However, after the set period expires, you will be able to make a rent increase. This just entails having your tenants renew their lease agreement with the rent changed.

If your renters pay their rent on a weekly or monthly basis, you must provide them one month’s notice of any rate increases. If their lease is for a year, you must provide six months’ notice.

Don’t Forget…

It is essential to remember that you are only allowed to raise the rent by a fair and reasonable amount, and if your tenants believe that a rent increase is excessive, they may appeal to a rent assessment committee. Alternatively, they might simply decide to look for accommodation elsewhere, at a fairer rate, and you might be left with an empty property.

Utility Bills When Renting: Who Is Responsible?

During the tenancy period, a tenant is usually responsible for paying council tax and utility bills. A tenancy agreement will usually state that a tenant is responsible for paying council tax and utility bills when renting, and many disputes arise when a tenant fails to do so.

In such cases, an adjudicator may be presented with a number of unpaid bills that correspond to the length of the tenancy. Nonetheless – and importantly – if the bills are in the name of the tenant, an adjudicator will usually determine that the landlord has not suffered a loss and will not make an award.

This is because the contract is between the utility provider and the tenant, and any loss or liability is thus not the landlord’s responsibility (and would instead be pursued by the utility company against the tenant directly). Alternatively, if a landlord presents unpaid utility bills when renting in the landlord’s name (or at the property’s address), an adjudicator may determine that the landlord is entitled to make a claim against the deposit.

This is because the liability (as stated on the bill) is in the name of the landlords and letting agents for the property, and thus the landlord would suffer a loss. Commonly, this occurs with council tax liability, where a council may not have been updated as to the tenant’s occupation of a property, and the landlord will retain liability for the council tax at the address. A liability in the name of the landlord (or the name of a property) can be recovered against the deposit; however, the standard burden of proof principles will apply.

utility bills when renting
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Postal Services Act 2000

While a landlord may be concerned about unpaid utilities, a landlord and agent cannot open the tenant’s mail without permission, and doing so may constitute a criminal offence under the Postal Services Act 2000. In any case, a landlord should keep in mind that a utility contract is typically between a tenant and a utility provider, and as such, it is not the landlord’s responsibility (or liability) – such correspondence, therefore, should be forwarded to the tenant at their forwarding address, unopened.

However, such a liability would usually arise if the property was left vacant – and a tenant cannot be held doubly liable for council tax on a property where a landlord or letting agent has found a new tenant to offset the impact of a breach of the fixed term. However, if the property is a property of multiple occupations or if a landlord can claim an exemption due to an unoccupied/substantially unfurnished property, the circumstances may be different. In these cases, it may be prudent for a landlord or letting agent to seek legal counsel.

Contact Looksy Inventories Today

Contact Looksy Inventories today to find out more about how an inventory can prevent disputes at the end of a tenancy, and ensure your rental property is safe and secure. Utility bills when renting can even be included, ensuring everyone knows who is responsible.

How Landlords Can Reduce Costs When Renting Out A Property

The question of how landlords can reduce costs when renting out a property is one that many will be asking. Whether you’re a first-time landlord, an accidental landlord, or a landlord who has been renting out properties for decades, trying to find ways to save money without compromising on the quality of the accommodation you have on offer can be a delicate balance to find. Yet it is possible. Read on to see just a few of the ways it can be done so that your property, the tenants in it, and your profits are all as good as you want them to be. 

how landlords can reduce costs
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Research The Right Rent 

Marketing your rental property at the right rent is crucial when it comes to knowing how landlords can reduce costs. Speak to an excellent local agent who understands the area and has experience in renting out similar properties to yours, and take a look online at the property portals to see what kinds of levels the rents are at in your location. By doing that, you can see where you should be marketing your property too. 

When you opt for the right rent, you’ll find a tenant much sooner, which will help all landlords reduce costs because an empty property is expensive. The quicker you have a paying tenant, the less money you’ll lose, and your outgoings will reduce. 

Find Reliable Tenants 

Another helpful insight into how landlords can reduce costs when renting out a property is to find reliable tenants. As we’ve said, setting the right price is a good start, but you should also ensure you look at references, do credit checks, and interview the prospective tenant so you can get an idea of what they are like. Alternatively, having a letting agent do this work will save you a lot of time and money. Your choice will depend on how confident you feel about making the right choice regarding your tenant. It will cost you more to use an agent, but this may be a case in which you can consider the money spent an investment since you won’t have to worry about anything – the agent will do it all. 

If you choose to do the work yourself, make sure you tick all the boxes when it comes to compliance and legality, and ensure you select Looksy Inventories to complete an inventory report and a check-in report on your behalf. In this way, you can reduce costs further down the line. 


Another great thing to remember when it comes to how landlords can reduce costs for their rental property business is to always get multiple quotes for any work that needs doing. Having more than one price and speaking to more than one contractor or expert means that you can make an informed decision and who is going to do the best work at the best price. 

It’s not always about the lowest price, though – sometimes paying less at the start means having to pay more later on to fix the problems that a less qualified or experienced tradesperson has created. The old adage of you get what you pay for is never truer. 

Looksy Inventories Is Looking Out For You 

Paying for the best is sometimes expensive, but when it comes to Looksy Inventories, not only do you pay fair rates, but you get exceptional quality results in return. Contact us today if you want to know how landlords can reduce costs when renting out a property – we’ve got the answers. 

Buying A Property With Sitting Tenants: What Do You Need To Know?

Since 2008, the number of properties sold with sitting tenants has quadrupled, and that figure accounts for about 11 percent of all rental properties. So what does this mean? And if you are thinking of buying a rental property with sitting tenants, what should you be considering? Read on to find out more.

A Property With Sitting Tenants Is Good News All Round

The first thing to take note of is that this is a good thing all round. If a property with sitting tenants is bought by a landlord, that means the tenants can remain in their home, and the landlord doesn’t have to spend any time or money searching for new tenants for the property. Everyone wins.

That doesn’t mean, though, that there aren’t some important things to consider when you are buying a property with sitting tenants. It might be the easiest option of all when it comes to starting your landlord journey – or adding to your portfolio – but in order for the entire thing to go smoothly, you need to do your research too. Don’t just assume that all is well.

property with sitting tenants
Image from Pixabay


When you are buying a property with sitting tenants you’ll want to see the inventory that was carried out when they moved in. 25 percent of all tenants sign a lease that lasts for two or more years, and the longer tenants are in a property, the more potential there is for damage to have occurred.

The inventory is the ideal tool to make sure that, when you inspect the property before buying it, it is all how it is meant to be, bearing in mind how wear and tear will affect the look of a property too. This will give you a good idea about how the tenants are treating the property and how much you might have to spend when the tenancy is up. If that cost is going to outweigh the cost of buying an empty property and finding a new tenant, it’s not worth the risk.

And make sure to see any copies of the mid-term inspections that should have been carried out. Again, you’ll be able to see exactly what’s happening and have all the information this way to allow you to make an informed decision.


It might surprise you to know that, as a new landlord, you have the right to run checks on the sitting tenant of the property you buy. You can’t charge them for the work, of course, but it’s worth doing a check for your own peace of mind. You’ll want to know that they are exactly who they say they are and that they have the right to reside in the UK. This is crucial since you’ll need to comply with the immigration right to rent legislation.

Anything could have changed between the original tenancy starting and you taking over, and since you’ll be responsible for ensuring that your tenants are living here legally, you must check this out.

Deposit Protection

Make sure you have proof that this has been carried out correctly by the previous landlord, including serving the paperwork to the tenant. It wouldn’t hurt to have written confirmation that this has been carried out too directly from the tenant, as an extra safety net.

Rent Guarantee Insurance

Because you haven’t hand-picked this tenant from the start you have no idea whether they are a good tenant or not, so obtaining rent guarantee insurance would be a good idea.

Landlord Insurance: Why Is It Important?

You might think of landlord insurance as being simply home insurance that has an added element or two within it. This is essentially correct, although there is more to landlord insurance than that. Read on to find out more. 

landlord insurance
Photo by Matthew Waring on Unsplash

When Is Landlord Insurance Necessary? 

There are a number of times when this special insurance is necessary and even compulsory. These include:

  • When your mortgage company requires it (buy to let lenders often make it a mandatory condition of the mortgage)
  • When it is part of the tenancy agreement 

It’s not a legal obligation to have landlord insurance, and it is your choice in the end, but if you want peace of mind, and if you want to have a mortgage without any issues, it is something you’re certainly going to want to consider. 

What To Think About When Getting Specialist Insurance 

Before you purchase landlord insurance there are some important points to consider. Think them all through carefully before making a decision, because there are many different insurance providers, each one different to the next (or at least, that’s how it seems – the end product might be very similar). 

The first thing to think about is that it is a different entity to home insurance, meaning that if you have home insurance on the property already and then choose to rent it out, you’ll need to cancel that insurance and get specific rental insurance to cover you. 

If you have an HMO you’ll need specific HMO landlord insurance as this will be specifically tailored to your needs. Even if you run an Airbnb, this insurance will work for you. You might even be able to insure multiple properties on one policy, so if you have a portfolio, or you’re planning to have one, this is something to bear in mind. 

landlord insurance
Image from Pixabay

If you think that specialist insurance isn’t necessary, that is, as we’ve said, your choice. However, it is worth remembering that around 9% of tenants in the private sector do land in arrears at some point, and evicting a tenant takes an average of 42 weeks. Can you afford not to have landlord insurance? 

Plus there is more than ‘just’ the tenant to think about. You’ll need to consider the location of the property too. Is there a higher crime rate in the area? Is there a risk of flooding? Insurance cover can be a reassurance, just in case, although do be aware that you might pay more for your landlord insurance due to these factors. 

Insurance And Your Property Inventory 

A good, detailed property inventory, just like the ones Looksy Inventories provides in Sevenoaks and beyond, can be extremely useful when claiming on your landlord insurance. It will show just what the property was like before the tenant moved in, and once they leave, of course, but if there is significant damage from flooding, fire, or a crime, the inventory can be used to prove that damage and show the extent of it. 

In every case, the inventory from Looksy can speed up the insurance claim and make it a much smoother process. Find out more by looking around our site for prices and examples, and contacting us for more advice and to book your inventory, check-in, or check-out today. 

COVID-19 And Lettings: How To Increase Your Rental Value

COVID-19 has changed everything, and that includes the rental market. COVID-19 and lettings are, it turns out, not entirely compatible. With restrictions on evictions firmly in place, landlords – and their tenants – may well be reassessing how things are going to go once lockdown is ended and vaccinations are more widespread.

Landlords in particular may well want to know how they can increase the rental value of a property they know is going to be empty soon. Increase the income from one property by enough, and you will start to make up for any shortfall you might have suffered during the pandemic. Here are some ways it can be done.

covid-19 and lettings
Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

Outside Space

Lockdown has meant that we’ve all been indoors a lot more than usual, although in properties that have nice outdoor spaces that will have been at least bearable. With no end in sight to lockdown, as well as the fact that many people are now aware of how important their gardens actually are, you need to make the most of the outside space your property has.

Spend a little money and put in a large patio, replace the lawn, maybe even add some sliding doors to the back of the house so everything can be opened up.

Outdoors is something that might not have been crucial before, but it certainly is now once you look at the impact of COVID-19 and lettings.

Room For Home Working

Maybe everything will go back to ‘normal’ once COVID-19 is no longer such a threat. For the most part, that’s a good thing. However, the home working revolution has definitely begun, and it’s unlikely that this is going to change. Now that employers and business owners have realised that they can save money by not having any office space to pay for, and now that employees know that their job is perfectly doable from home, why would it go back to the way it was?

That means, of course, that renters are going to be searching for a home in which they can work. When there’s a spare bedroom, an actual study, a dining room they’re not going to use, perhaps even a conservatory, they’ll be happy. But if your property doesn’t have any of these things, you’ll need to try to make space. Can you split any rooms into two to create a study? Can you add an outside room or any kind of extension? You’ll be able to rent the place out for more, so you should be able to make your money back.   

covid-19 and lettings
Photo by James McDonald on Unsplash

Allow Pets

If you don’t allow pets in your property, you’re missing out on some fabulous tenants, and you’re limiting your market. To get the place rented, you might have to reduce your asking price or accept an offer.

If you allow pets, you’re effectively doubling your tenant pool and you can ask for more money because of it, despite the issues that have come about because of COVID-19 and lettings.

During lockdown, many people have decided that they need a little company, and a dog or cat – or whatever – has come into their lives. Now they’re looking for somewhere they and their pet can live, so be a little more flexible, and you’ll make a lot more money.

Tips For Buying Your First Rental Property

Buying your first rental property so that you can be a landlord is something that works for a wide variety of people. It’s a neat way to make an additional income, and it’s even better if you have a portfolio of properties

It sounds like a dream.

rental property
Photo by Peter Fogden on Unsplash

But of course, if it was that easy everyone would be doing it, and there are plenty of challenges to consider and obstacles you’ll need to overcome to do it successfully.

The very first hurdle to get over is finding the right property to rent out. Just because you would live in it, or it’s in a popular location, or the house next door rents out for a nice amount of money, that doesn’t mean the property you have your eye on will work out. Here are some useful tips for buying your first rental property so you have an idea of what to look out for.

Research The Location Of Your Rental Property

Location, location, location, as they say, and as Channel 4 likes to remind us on a daily basis (you’ve got to love a bit of Phil and Kirsty), and it’s true. Location is the single most important factor you’ll need to consider (after budget, of course, but that goes without saying) when you’re buying a rental property.

However, the surface isn’t enough; you’ll need to scratch well below it and find out as much as possible about not just the town or village, but the road itself. Don’t think that, just because you won’t personally be living in the property, any additional building works that are slated to start, or any neighbour disputes, or any problems with the local schools, and so on, are not your issue. They very much are because savvy tenants are going to be doing this research and finding something untoward is going to put them off signing on the dotted line. They don’t want the hassle, and neither do you.

You Will Need Landlord Insurance

Once you’ve found the right house for the right price in the right location and you’re marketing it at the right rental money, you’re still not home and dry; you need to get landlord insurance.

rental property
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Most of the time, thankfully, the tenants you have in your property will take care of it; it’s their home, after all, even if it is your house. But sometimes, they just won’t. They’ll make mess, they’ll cause damage, and they’ll stop paying rent. Landlord insurance will cover all of this and more, ensuring that even the most difficult of tenants are only going to be a headache, not a blinding migraine.

It Will Cost More Than You Think

If you think that the monthly mortgage payments are the only cost you’ll need to consider, think again. We’ve already mentioned landlords’ insurance, but there are still more potential costs that a rental property might incur, and it’s vital you have money put aside to cover them.

As a landlord, you are responsible for the maintenance of the property, and if something needs to be done – a plumber is required, there’s a problem with the roof, a fence blows down, and countless other things – you need to be able to pay for it. Your tenant isn’t going to be impressed if they have to fork out themselves.

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