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Should You Rent A House With A Garden?

When it comes to choosing your dream home, the options can be overwhelming. Among the decisions you’ll face is whether or not to rent a house with a garden. Is it worth the extra space and responsibility, or is it just an added burden? Let’s dig into the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Pros: The Green Haven Advantage

1. Connection to Nature

  • Proximity to Greenery: A garden allows you to enjoy the serenity and beauty of nature right outside your doorstep.
  • Personal Oasis: Create a tranquil space for relaxation, meditation, or outdoor activities, turning your garden into your own personal oasis.

2. Practical Benefits

  • Homegrown Delights: Cultivate your own herbs, fruits, or vegetables for fresh, organic produce.
  • Physical Activity: Engage in gardening activities for a healthy, active lifestyle without leaving home.

Cons: Beyond Aesthetics – The Practical Side of Gardens

1. Time-Consuming Maintenance

  • Regular Upkeep: Gardens require consistent attention, from mowing the lawn to weeding flowerbeds.
  • Time Commitment: For those with busy schedules, the additional maintenance may become a significant challenge.

2. Skill and Interest Requirements

  • Knowledge Gap: Lack of gardening know-how may make maintaining a garden seem daunting.
  • Interest Factor: Individuals uninterested in plant care may find the responsibility more burdensome than enjoyable.

Weighing the Pros and Cons: Finding Your Balance

Deciding whether to rent a house with a garden involves finding a balance between the advantages and potential drawbacks.

1. Aesthetic Appeal vs. Time Investment

  • Visual Delight: Gardens enhance the overall aesthetics of your living space.
  • Time Consideration: Balancing the beauty with the time required for upkeep is crucial.

2. Outdoor Lifestyle vs. Maintenance Effort

  • Active Living: Gardens encourage outdoor activities and a healthier lifestyle.
  • Maintenance Strain: Assessing your willingness and capacity to commit time to garden upkeep is key.

In conclusion, renting a house with a garden is a decision that involves evaluating your lifestyle, preferences, and the commitment required for both the joys and responsibilities that come with having your own green haven. Whether you’re drawn to the allure of nature or wary of the added maintenance, finding the perfect balance is the key to creating a home that suits your unique needs and desires.

How To Market Your Rental Property

When it comes to renting out your property, marketing is a crucial step in finding the right tenants. An effective marketing strategy can help you attract potential renters and fill your vacancies quickly. In this blog post, we’ll explore some essential tips on how to market your rental property successfully.

High-Quality Photos and Descriptive Listings

First impressions matter, and in the world of rental properties, this begins with eye-catching photos and detailed descriptions. Invest in professional photography to showcase your property in its best light. Use high-resolution images that capture all the key features of the property, such as spacious rooms, updated appliances, and attractive outdoor spaces. Alongside the photos, provide a thorough and accurate description of the property, including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, amenities, and any unique selling points.

Utilise Online Rental Platforms

In today’s digital age, online platforms are the go-to place for both landlords and tenants. List your property on popular rental websites like Rightmove or Open Rent. Also, consider using social media platforms to broaden your reach and engage with potential renters.

Highlight Unique Features

Every rental property has something special to offer. Whether it’s a picturesque view, a large garden, or modern appliances, make sure to highlight these unique features in your marketing materials. These standout elements can set your property apart from the competition and attract more interest.

Write an Engaging Rental Ad

Crafting an engaging rental ad is essential to captivate potential tenants. Use persuasive language and emphasise the benefits of living in your property. Mention factors like the neighbourhood’s safety, proximity to amenities, and any included utilities or services. A well-written ad can help renters envision themselves in the space.

Host Virtual Tours

Virtual tours have become increasingly popular, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These tours provide prospective tenants with a convenient way to explore your property without a physical visit. You can conduct live virtual tours or pre-recorded ones, making it easier for potential renters to get a feel for the space.

Leverage Word-of-mouth

Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Encourage your current tenants to refer friends or family who may be looking for a rental property. Offering incentives, such as referral bonuses, can motivate your tenants to spread the word.

Respond Promptly

Timely responses are crucial when marketing your rental property. Potential tenants appreciate quick communication. Make sure to respond to inquiries and schedule viewings promptly. The faster you engage with interested parties, the more likely you are to secure a lease.

In conclusion, marketing your rental property effectively involves showcasing its best features, utilizing online platforms, and engaging with potential tenants. By following these tips, you can attract the right renters, reduce vacancy periods, and maximise the return on your rental investment. Remember that a well-executed marketing strategy is the key to finding the perfect tenants for your property.

How to Spot a Good Home Office When You’re Viewing Properties

In 2023, the home office has become more than just a luxury – it’s a necessity. Whether you’re a full-time remote worker or simply need a dedicated space for managing personal affairs, finding a property with a suitable home office is paramount. Here’s a guide on how to spot a good home office when you’re viewing properties.

Location within the House

A well-designed home office is strategically located within the house. It’s away from the main living areas to minimise distractions, but not isolated to the point of seclusion. Look for a spot that balances tranquility and accessibility.

Natural Light

Adequate natural light can significantly impact your productivity and well-being. When viewing properties, pay attention to the placement and size of windows in the potential home office space. A room with ample sunlight can create an inviting and energising atmosphere.

Layout and Space

Consider the layout of the home office. Is there enough room for your desk, chair, and any other necessary furniture? A cramped space can stifle creativity and focus, so prioritise a room that offers enough space to move around comfortably.

Electrical Outlets and Connectivity

A functional home office needs proper electrical outlets and connectivity options. Ensure that the room has enough outlets for your devices, as well as easy access to Wi-Fi routers or ethernet ports for a stable internet connection.


Your comfort is crucial for long hours of work. Take note of the ergonomics of the room. Can you envision a comfortable chair, proper desk height, and a setup that won’t strain your body during extended periods of work?

Storage Solutions

Clutter can negatively impact your productivity. Look for a home office space with built-in storage options like shelves, cabinets, or drawers. A tidy workspace enhances concentration and efficiency.

Noise Levels

A peaceful environment is essential for concentration. When viewing properties, assess the noise levels in the potential home office area. Thick walls, double-glazed windows, and a location away from noisy neighbours or busy streets can contribute to a quieter workspace.

Personalisation Potential

Finally, consider whether the home office space allows for personalisation. A well-designed space that resonates with your style and preferences can make working from home even more enjoyable and motivating.

In the end, a good home office can make a world of difference in your remote work experience. When viewing properties, take the time to thoroughly assess the potential home office spaces based on factors such as location, lighting, layout, ergonomics, and overall comfort. Finding the right home office now will lead to increased productivity, creativity, and a healthier work-life balance in the future.

Why Living Near A Train Station Is A Good Thing

When it comes to choosing the perfect place to live, there are many factors to consider, and one often overlooked advantage is the proximity to public transportation, especially train stations. Living near a train station offers a multitude of benefits that can greatly enhance your quality of life. Here’s why:

Convenience and Accessibility

One of the most significant advantages of living near a train station is the convenience it offers. Imagine being able to step out of your front door and onto a train that can quickly take you to your destination. Whether you’re commuting to work, exploring the city, or visiting friends, the ease of access to public transportation can save you time and stress. No more struggling with traffic jams or searching for parking spaces – just hop on a train and go.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Cost Savings

Owning a car and maintaining it can be expensive. Living near a train station allows you to rely less on your vehicle, potentially reducing fuel, insurance, and maintenance costs. Public transportation fares are generally more economical than the expenses associated with private transportation. By opting for the train, you can free up your budget for other important things in life.

Environmental Benefits

Choosing to live near a train station can also contribute positively to the environment. Trains are among the most energy-efficient modes of transportation, producing fewer emissions per passenger mile compared to cars. By using public transportation more frequently, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help combat air pollution, making a small but meaningful contribution to a cleaner planet.

Community Engagement

Train stations often serve as hubs of activity and community engagement. Living nearby means you’ll have easy access to cultural events, local markets, and social gatherings that frequently take place in these central locations. This can foster a sense of belonging and connection to your neighbourhood, helping you forge meaningful relationships with your fellow residents.

Health and Wellbeing

Studies have shown that people who rely on public transportation tend to walk more, as train stations are usually not right at your doorstep. This incidental exercise can contribute to better physical health and overall well-being. Additionally, commuting by train often allows you to relax, read, or even catch up on work, reducing the stress associated with driving in congested traffic.

In conclusion, living near a train station offers a plethora of benefits that can significantly enhance your lifestyle. From the convenience of accessibility and cost savings to the positive environmental impact and community engagement, the advantages are numerous. If you’re considering a new place to live, don’t overlook the value of living near a train station – it might just be the key to unlocking a more enjoyable and fulfilling life.

How To Update Your Inventory During A Tenancy

Keeping your inventory up to date during a tenancy is essential for protecting your rental property and avoiding disputes with tenants. Here are some tips on how to update your inventory during a tenancy.

Schedule Regular Inspections

It’s a good idea to conduct regular inspections of your rental property during a tenancy to check for any changes or damage. This can help you to identify any discrepancies between the inventory and the current state of the property and take action to address any issues.

Use Photos and Videos

Photos and videos are a great way to document the condition of your property and any changes that occur during a tenancy. Be sure to include detailed shots of all rooms, furniture, and appliances, and update your visual inventory regularly to reflect any changes.

Keep Detailed Records

It’s important to keep detailed records of any changes to the property during a tenancy, including any repairs or maintenance work that is carried out. This can help you to identify any issues with the property and ensure that it is being properly maintained by your tenants.

Communicate with your Tenants

It’s important to communicate with your tenants regularly during a tenancy to ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities and any changes to the property. This can help to avoid misunderstandings and disputes, and ensure that your inventory is accurate and up to date.

Update Your Inventory Regularly

It’s important to update your inventory regularly during a tenancy to reflect any changes to the property or its contents. Be sure to keep a record of any items that are added or removed, and update the condition of existing items as necessary.

Seek Professional Advice

If you are unsure about how to update your inventory during a tenancy, it’s a good idea to seek professional advice. An inventory clerk or property management company can help you to create and maintain an accurate inventory, and provide guidance on how to update it during a tenancy.

In summary, updating your inventory during a tenancy is essential for protecting your rental property and avoiding disputes with tenants. By following these tips, you can ensure that your inventory is accurate and up to date, and that you are able to respond quickly to any issues that arise during the tenancy.

3 House Hunting Tips For Busy People

It doesn’t have to be hard to find your new ideal place to live. It also doesn’t have to feel like it takes up all your time and therefore makes you feel very stressed out. The problem is that if you start looking for a great new home in the wrong way, it will be stressful and not fun at all. You might even settle for something less than what you really want because you just want to be done with the search. Because of this, it’s helpful to have some tips on house hunting so that the process goes more smoothly and your busy life doesn’t get too disrupted (apart from the move itself, of course – there’s not a lot we can do about that!).

Know Your Budget

If you don’t want to waste time when house hunting, you need to know what you can afford before you start looking for a new place to live, whether you’re buying or renting. To do this, you will need to make a list of all your expenses and income and figure out how much money you have left over for a mortgage or rent payment.

If you’re already paying for a place to live, you’ll know if the amount you’re paying is enough or if you want to cut it or raise it. If you need to, you can talk to a professional to find out what you can afford. So, you can immediately narrow down your search and save a lot of time.

Research Prices And Shortlist Areas 

After figuring out your budget and what you want and need from your new home, the next step is to look into where you want to live. If you know about the area, you won’t waste time house hunting homes that aren’t in the right place

Some of this research can be done online, like checking prices and keeping track of how long properties in the area have been on the market. You should keep this in mind when planning visits if they’re moving quickly. If they’re not, you should think about why.

It’s also important to go to the area at different times of the day and night to see how it feels during the day and at night. Check out the shops and green spaces in the area, as well as how well it meets the needs and wants on your list.

Get Some Viewing Help

It might be that if you’re very busy when it comes to house hunting, you need some extra help to ensure you find the right place for you. One way to do this is to speak to all the estate agents in the area you want to move to as possible – give them precise details about what it is you want, and this will narrow down your choices.

Another option is to hire Looksy Inventories to view properties on your behalf. We can go to the places you can’t when house hunting, either because you’re busy or you live a long distance away (perhaps even in another country) and offer a full report – including a video walkthrough – of the property. Give us a list of your requirements and we’ll let you know what fits and what doesn’t. Contact us today to find out more.

Is Legionella A Problem In Empty Rental Properties?

Empty rental properties can be a problem for a wide range of reasons; when they are sitting dormant, the landlord isn’t receiving an income for one thing, but there are other issues to consider. One is mould and damp, another is pests such as rats and mice, and of course, there is always the risk of break-ins, vandalism, and – in rare cases – squatters

Yet something a landlord might not have considered when it comes to their empty rental properties is the challenge of legionella. This serious health hazard is undetectable to the naked eye; you can’t smell it, you won’t notice it at all until it causes a tenant or visitor to become unwell, potentially fatally so. 

empty rental properties

What Is Legionella? 

Legionella is a type of bacteria that, when inhaled, can lead to legionnaires’ disease, a lung condition similar to pneumonia. Legionnaires’ disease affects the respiratory system, and, as we’ve mentioned, it can be a fatal illness, especially since it is often confused for flu at first, and medical help is not received quickly. 

Most legionella outbreaks don’t occur in empty rental properties or occupied ones, come to that. They occur in poorly maintained cooling towers, cold water storage tanks, showers, hot water calorifiers, etc. This is because the water within these storage vessels often sits for some time at the right temperature (between 20 and 50 degrees C) for legionella bacteria to proliferate. 

However, if your empty rental property has a cold water storage tank, that too can become a place for legionella bacteria to thrive. When a tenant moves in and turns on a tap or shower or uses the garden hose, if they inhale any droplets of water containing legionella, they could become unwell. 

As an important matter of note, drinking water that contains legionella is not harmful; legionella must enter the lungs to cause any health issues. 

empty rental properties

How To Control Legionella In Empty Rental Properties 

Temperature is the first defence against legionella bacteria. If you have a cold water storage tank, the water within it must be kept at lower than 20 degrees C if possible. If hot water is stored in a calorifier or Megaflow or similar, it must be stored at over 50 degrees C. 

On top of this, legionella bacteria grows when it can live on stagnant water, rust, and other debris. When the house is occupied, assuming the cold water storage tank is the right size for the property, then the water within the tank will be turned over every few days, meaning there is no chance for it to stagnate. If you have empty rental properties, it’s a good idea to run the taps once a week or so to empty the tank and reduce the risk of legionella growing. 

On the subject of rust and debris, the tank must be in good condition. If it is old and degraded, legionella is much more likely to occur. If there is no lid, or the lid is ill-fitting, it is much more likely to occur. As a conscientious landlord, if the tank in your empty rental property needs to be replaced, now is the time to do it before any vulnerable tenants move in

Showerheads are another cause for concern. Since legionella bacteria must be inhaled for it to cause damage to the lungs, and since showerheads produce a spray that someone can easily inhale, they need to be cleaned regularly. As ever, when the property is occupied, this is not an issue – the tenants will clean the showerhead or at least use the shower enough for it not to harbour any stagnant water. When you have empty rental properties, this is not the case. Before a tenant moves in, flush the showerhead through and clean it with a strong solution to ensure it is entirely descaled. 

Risk Assessment 

A legionella risk assessment is mandatory when you are renting out your property. You can do this yourself, although if you’re unsure about whether or not your empty rental property is at risk of legionella bacteria and potentially causing harm to the tenant or a tenant’s visitor, it’s a good idea to get a risk assessment carried out by an expert. Looksy Inventories can do this for you, so contact us today to find out more. 

The Advantages of Using A Local Company For Inventories

Looksy Inventories is based in Sevenoaks, and we work within the Sevenoaks District carrying out property inventories for landlords and letting agents. Being so familiar with the area (we live here as well as work here) means that we are aware of all the peculiarities (those country lanes, oil heating, even listed buildings), as well as being completely familiar with the geography of the town and its surrounding villages too. But why else is it a good idea to use a local company for your inventory needs? Read on to find out.  

Improve The Local Economy

Using a big chain or a company based in a different area means that the money you pay them for their services doesn’t stay in the local area. In some cases, it doesn’t even stay in the country.

When using a local business such as Looksy, you can be sure that every penny you pay stays local. At Looksy we shop local, we support our community, and we feel this is even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic. The more you support us, the more we can support others, and the more they can support you. This local usage cycle is a great one to be a part of.

A Face Behind The Business

At Looksy, we’ve never shied away from the fact that we’re a small team. It’s just us, Dean and Lisamarie, husband and wife, building up a business to be proud of. So when you phone, email, get in touch on social media, or when you come into contact with us face to face, it’s us you’ll see. You’ll never be put through to a nameless call centre operator, and you’ll be able to create a great working relationship with us because we never pretend to be something we’re not.

Great Customer Service

If you’ve ever had a problem with a chain retailer before, you’ll know it can be frustrating to let them know about it. Even if you don’t have an issue but you want to ask a question, or you’re curious about how they work, or you need to get in touch with them for any other reason, you’ll often have to wait days (perhaps longer) for a response to an email, and if there is a phone number you can call, you’ll be shoved around from department to department until you give up or the call is disconnected.

With a local company – and certainly with Looksy Inventories – that’s not what happens. If you send an email, we’ll reply pretty quickly (usually within a few minutes on an admin day, and a few hours when we’re out on site), and if you call, we’ll answer (you’ll speak to either Lisamarie or Dean, that’s a promise, but do bear with us – as you know, some areas around Sevenoaks don’t have much reception…).

Contact Looksy Today

If you’re a landlord or a letting agent and you’re looking for a reliable, experienced, fully trained and, importantly, local inventory company, contact Looksy today. We’re here for you.

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