Hunters Property News Hub 2018-01-12T09:42:58+00:00 Zend_Feed_Writer Hunters Homes <![CDATA[Artificial can be beneficial!]]> 2017-11-29T17:03:52+00:00 2017-11-29T17:07:15+00:00 Do you have a lawn that is over grown or patchy? Do you enjoy the look of a beautiful landscaped garden but don’t have enough hours in the day to cut, trim or re-seed? Then a new wave of interest in artificial grass could be beneficial to fit in to your busy lifestyle and look great whatever the weather. More people these days are removing their old, tired lawn or paved gardens and replacing it with artificial grass to freshen up their outside space. Not only can this be beneficial for the bigger gardens and outdoor spaces, but you can also spruce up a balcony with a few meters of green carpet! Like all products out there you can choose an array of different options from density, quality, colour and cost so purchasing this can easily be done on a budget but with the added benefit of looking exclusive. A lot of us these days don’t have the time to look after the gardens at our homes but the maintenance with fake turf is very minimal and some owners have even been known to use the hoover on it! Due to this year’s unpredictable weather it seems that gardens and plants are really showing some wear and tear, but the colder climate is approaching and maintenance of your lawn usually goes into hibernation. Artificial grass has been made so it can last through the ever-changing seasons we have here in the UK and will look as stunning in winter as it does in summer. A touch of snow or frost will give your artificial turf a magical shimmer, ideal for a perfect photo. So if you want a garden that is fresh looking and gives your visitors that “wow” factor all year round, come rain, shine and frost, with minimal effort and maintenance, then artificial really is beneficial! <![CDATA[Auctions grow in popularity as Hunters gear up for next event.]]> 2017-11-29T16:42:41+00:00 2017-11-30T11:41:24+00:00 Property auctions are becoming increasingly popular as a means to achieving the home ownership dream. Hunters Property Plc, one of the nation’s fastest growing estate agencies, has experienced an increase in the number of non-investor buyers active at its auctions, with aspiring homeowners from across the country looking to capitalise on the excellent value for money that auctions can offer. Property auctions have historically been the exclusive territory of investors due to the need for readily available cash and the vast majority of lots being renovation projects. Yet, with the fear of gazumping and the diversity of properties available at auctions both on the rise, buyers on all steps of the ladder are beginning to populate these events. Property insurance experts Which? revealed that 30% of property purchases fall through once an offer has been accepted[1]*, making the prospect of an immediate contractual exchange an attractive aspect of property auctions. Auctions require buyers to present a 10% deposit on the day which secures the home for purchase, with the remaining 90% to be paid in the next 28 days. Hunters’ next auction will take place on December 6th at York Racecourse, starting from 6pm. The event follows the company’s success at its last auction, which produced fantastic results for buyers and sellers alike. The “Star Sale” of the evening was a four bedroom detached house in Rawcliffe, York, that had attracted over 100 viewings before the night. It sold to a packed room at 107% above its guide price, fetching £207,000. Other items included the sale of a bungalow in Linton to a buyer who swapped their southern England lifestyle for the north. Eight lots from across the country have already been entered for the auction on December 6th, with properties from Wetherby, Harrogate, Wingate, Warminster and Fulford due to go under the hammer. Each lot is expected to be the subject of fierce bidding wars, with a three-bedroom end of terrace house in Harrogate, with a guide price of £120,000 - £140,000, set to be in high demand. Other stand-out lots include a four bedroom detached home in Wingate, a two bedroom cottage in Warminster and a one bedroom first floor apartment with a balcony and loft which is situated just one mile from York city centre. Hunters now offer both live Auction events and Online Auctions, with online services offering added flexibility to buyers. Entries are now being taken for Hunters’ Online Auction and also the first live event of 2018. For further information, please contact Gemma Jaques on 01904 756116 or email [1]* <![CDATA[Busting the Online Agent versus Traditional High Street Agent Myth]]> 2017-11-29T16:09:16+00:00 2017-11-30T15:57:34+00:00 Research tells us that the following three things are most important to sellers: Achieve the best price for your home. Achieve the sale in the shortest time frame. Achieve a completed sale with the least hassle. Now let’s look at why you will always be better off with a traditional, ‘no-sale-no fee’ High Street estate agent as opposed to an online agent who charges fees upfront. There is currently a huge misconception that traditional High Street agents and online agents do the same job and achieve the same results. It is about time that unsuspecting, misled house sellers and purchasers understand the potential pitfalls of buying and selling property. Which type of estate agency is equipped to achieve the best results and deliver the best value for money? Let’s find out. The process of selling and buying a house is totally unique; not to be confused with buying and selling a car or a garden shed for example. The process has many potential pitfalls, so much so they say it comes third on the list of most stressful life experiences, after family death and divorce. House selling and buying is unique for many reasons, one of them being that the transaction of your home is in the majority of cases dependent on other people’s property transactions - each with their own agendas, each with their own set of emotional needs. Being part of a chain, often made up of 3 properties or more, represents challenges on many levels and it is true to say that the more properties in the chain the more difficult the job is to manage. The job in hand is to bring all parties to exchange of contracts and completion of the sales. A good estate agent will help to put the chain together, to manage it, nurture it and keep it moving along; the chain is not complete until each end of the chain is closed off. This will happen when the bottom of the chain has a buyer with nothing to sell, for example a first time buyer, a cash buyer, an investment buyer or simply a buyer with nothing to sell. The top of the chain is closed off when the seller has already purchased a property and exchanged contracts on that property or is not going to purchase another property. Putting together chains with multiple properties needs a good agent with a hands-on approach, an agent with great knowledge of the process, an ability to communicate well with people and excellent negotiating skills to coordinate timescales. At the heart of the traditional High Street agent’s business model sits the no sale, no fee motto which cultivates a great desire to achieve results; unless the sales of the properties in the chain exchange and complete, the agent does not get paid. By the very nature of this customer focused approach, a good agency will invest time and money to ensure that the Sales Negotiator who is dealing with the sales in the chain, is skilled and trained to do the job. Conversely, the exact opposite can be said for the online agencies who charge upfront fees at the point of putting the house up for sale, leaving their agents with little or no motivation to get that sale over the line; and even less so to look after and manage the chain of properties. Having already been paid by the customer, it is easy to see that they do not even care whether the sale completes or not. Let’s look at each stage of the process and see where value can be added or not. Valuation - An agent who charges up-front fees or perhaps a ‘pay in 10 months on a credit agreement’ is driven by a seller signing a contract; once done they are assured of their money – irrespective of whether the property sells or not. A no-sale, no fee agent must carry out a much more in-depth valuation process discovering the needs of the client, making recommendations accordingly to help facilitate a successful outcome - both for the seller and for the agent; that being the completion of the sale. Marketing a property: Another misconception of potential house sellers is that you can simply sell houses through advertising them on property websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla. However, these providers tell us that the three most important things in an advert on their site in order to attract interest are, price, photographs and description of the property. These must be right in order for a potential buyer to make an enquiry to the Agent about that property. Once the enquiry is made, it is now up to the skills and pro-activity of the agent who knows the property and the timescales of its owner inside out, to generate the viewing, accompany the viewing, establish an offer and negotiate the best price. Traditional estate agents will also have a list of buyers on their register who will be called as soon as a new property comes to the market, encouraging those buyers to view the property. Online agents are not available, as standard, to target suitable buyers, arrange viewings, accompany viewings or discuss requirements between sellers and potential buyers but rather leave this important interface to the sellers and buyers themselves who can communicate via online platforms. The assurance that your agent is available at the end of the phone or in branch, is paramount at this stage. Of course, at Hunters we recognise the need for customers to communicate outside office hours and also offer 24/7 technology for vendors, this is an additional benefit but not a replacement for our staff being on hand to support you throughout. Attracting committed viewers- it is the general belief that the more viewings an agent can generate for a property, the best price they will achieve. I do concur with this theory but there is so much more to achieving the best price. Ask yourself this question, why would you pay more for something? The answer is simple - because you desire it more as it suits your needs. Skilled traditional estate agents who have the time and the inclination to get close to their buyers and the properties they market will have a greater understanding of their customers’ needs. They have key local knowledge and information that will help sell the property to the right buyer – be that proximity to schools or shops, good road network, has a big garden, an open plan kitchen, separate WC, en-suite facility, separate reception room, potential for development, low maintenance, has a granny annex, affordable etc. etc. This agent will match the needs of the buyer to the features of the property, helping to build the desire of the property; it is through this process that the best price will be achieved. Online Agents do not have the time, nor the inclination to enter in to such negotiations, they already have their money even though the property has not yet sold! Negotiating the sale and getting the best sale price for sellers: This is a highly skilled job and one that cannot be done remotely or by email. Good communication is 60% body language, 30% tone of voice and 10% said the spoken word; therefore, a skilled negotiator who speaks to or meets with both buyer and seller is more likely to bring together a more favourable deal for their client, the seller. It is also crucial to say that when negotiations are conducted like this, the sale is less likely to fall through at a later stage as each party can be better informed of time frames and likely hold ups at the earliest stage. Progressing the sale: Another crucial part of the selling process; this is where an agent, through their intervention or lack of, can make or break the deal. If it breaks, it will cost everyone involved a lot of time and money, not to mention stress and hassle. This is a complex part of the process as it involves many stake holders in a chain - buyers, sellers, solicitors for each party, estate agents, mortgage lenders, surveyors and local authorities supplying land searches and in the case of leasehold properties, the Management Companies of those properties suppling the lease details. A good traditional agent will deal with the chain, chase necessary procedures and communicate with all parties on a daily basis ensuring everything is on track, re-negotiating where necessary and nurturing all parties to the point of Exchange of Contracts and completion of the transaction. It is only then that the traditional high street, ‘no-sale-no-fee’ agent will receive a selling fee. Online agents have been paid at the outset and by the time your house sale reaches this final, crucial stage, they have already moved on, focusing on the next instruction and fee! If you want your agent to be by your side every step of the way, from valuation to completion and help you achieve the best price for your property, then choose wisely from the beginning. Choose an agent who only gets paid when you see the results. You can find your nearest ‘no sale no fee’ Hunters agent here. <![CDATA[Finding Eden - the Perfect Properties in Southampton]]> 2017-11-17T09:11:12+00:00 2017-12-05T10:59:08+00:00 No one is just one thing anymore. Working mums are scattered throughout every industry, and stay at home mums might be running businesses whilst the little one is having a nap. Working dads are heavily involved at home, acting as builders, hairdressers and makeup artists. Full time students are part time entrepreneurs, or the other way around. You get the point. So having a home which helps you be all of your adjectives and helps you relax is more important than ever. However, a beautiful home on its own isn’t enough. If your paradise is located in the area from hell, it’s always going to be an uphill battle. What is a paradisiacal location anyway? Is it somewhere busy? Or is it quiet? Are the properties built in the last 15 years and filled with modern comforts? Or are they period buildings which celebrate the heritage of the area? Just like we’re not one objective thing anymore, neither is paradise, and everyone’s paradise is equally valid. And, whilst many of us move around the UK in different stages of our lives, or move in, or out of it, in order to qualify as ‘paradise’ we wanted to find an area which you can live in during every stage of your life. Just one more paragraph to start with a question. Where can you find all of the above? Well, having taken a look at our extensive property catalogue, we think there’s an answer. Southampton. Recognised as one of the happiest and most vibrant places to live, Southampton is nestled on the south coast of England. More than being objectively happier than the rest of the UK, Southampton also ranks exceptionally well in economic and quality of life studies based on jobs, health and skills. You’re starting to see why this is such a great place to live, right? To take it one step further, we’ve taken the 4 main considerations of buyers and matched them up against the 4 answers that we get again and again. So, let’s see how Southampton does with balancing: properties, location and transport, amenities, community and education. Properties I want history If you’re craving classical architecture then you’re going to love Southampton’s suburbs. There are beautiful period homes scattered across the city. Chilworth has Grade 2 listed buildings which are ready to be moved into with no renovations. These homes offer you the chance to immerse yourself in the history of the area without giving up such modern comforts as central heating or fitted kitchens. With original wood work and features throughout these incredible properties, you can wrap up in a country idyll without leaving the convenience of a larger city behind. I want modernity Maybe historical gems aren’t your thing. Do you love floor to ceiling windows, minimalistic designs and stunning views? Every year we’re seeing more new developments pop up throughout Southampton offering the very height of modern luxury to buyers and renters. With lashings of natural light and open plan living spaces, Ocean Village is one such development which is enticing interest across Southampton. Boasting immaculate communal gardens and stunning views across one of Southampton’s docks, this is an incredible site in the city which combines modern design with classical Southampton views. I want quiet When you’re raising your family, it’s hard to balance having a thriving city filled with fun, with also having a peaceful haven which allows you and them to relax and spread out. Or is it? The mix of small village-like settings and thriving urban hubs means that you can get the best of both worlds for yourself and your loved ones. The smaller regions on the edge of the city (such as Coxford, Bitterne or Bassett) are great options for those seeking a quieter and more tranquil feeling for their home. No matter where you choose to be, you can rest safe in the knowledge that you are surrounded by fantastic state and private schools which keep your children’s best interests in mind. I want busy As the largest city in Hampshire, anyone who has lived in or visited Southampton can tell you that this is a bustling city with endless options. Bargate is filled with modern developments and local businesses, walking down any high street will introduce you to hundreds of new people. Wherever you turn there are neighbours and a strong sense of community, so support is always around you. It has been mentioned before, but Southampton is happier than almost anywhere else in the UK, and we’re keen to help new residents be just as happy as the rest of us! Location, Amenities and Transport I want history More than just a film, the Titanic is a crucial part of British maritime history. Southampton was the launch site for the Titanic, and if you want to find out more about its incredible and eventually tragic voyage this is the place to be. Whether you’re a visitor or a local to the city, you’ll appreciate the rich maritime history of Southampton. By just walking around the city you come into contact with beautiful historical sites, such as the famous city walls of 1417. This was the first purpose-built artillery fortification in England known as “God’s House Tower”. Meanwhile, the SeaCity museum is the place to go to see relics and artefacts spanning the last century. Here you can learn by being delighted with gripping stories from World War II, and then find out more about the Titanic. They not only talk about the facts and figures, but also go into the history of the people involved, so you can imagine their lives and their stories. You’ll never be bored here, the city has plenty of things to do and see! With its historic connections to the sea and the “Titanic Trail” you have chance to explore the past and present of Southampton. Starting at live music venue Southampton Guildhall, the trail passes through The Platform Tavern and The Titanic Postal Workers’ Memorial. Then you move on to Ocean Village, where you’ll find cinemas, pubs and bars alongside the water to relax at. I want modernity Southampton also has its fair share of shops and businesses including the bustling WestQuay retail park, which balances boutiques with brand favourites. Then, there is the recently completed WestQuay Watermark development which was built with the impressive investment of eighty-five million pounds! WestQuay Watermark brings a large array of food, drink and entertainment to Southampton. With everything from Hollywood Bowl’s ten-pin bowling, Cinema De Lux and Casa Brasil, to the Real Greek and Project Pie. Other fantastic venues include: Franco Manca, Thaikhun, All Bar One, Red Dog Saloon, Cau, Bill's, Jamie's Italian, Nando's, Five Guys and many more! You won’t manage to try everywhere in one visit, but you won’t want to wait until a second… Transport has to fall into this ‘modern’ category, and that’s wonderful news for anyone living in and around Southampton. For those opting for public transport, you can plan your entire day through My Journey. If you’re going further afield, then you can expect to reach London in less than 90 minutes by train, an hour less than the same journey will take you in a car. Education I want history, I want modernity We’re bringing these two together now, because the University of Southampton unites them perfectly. The university has a global reputation for education, research and innovation, and is proud to be in the top 1% of universities in the UK. With a recent £300 million cash injection for the University of Southampton, this represents the largest capital investment in the university’s 155 year history. And, it’s only half of the £600m total investment that the university is aiming for over the next 10 years. The rest will come from internally generated funds and we wish them the best of luck with the development. The investment is to be used to ensure it continues providing a world-class teaching and research environment for students and staff. As well as the enormous investment into the University of Southampton, University Hospital Southampton (UHS) is proud to have been the first site to offer its patients a revolutionary procedure to remove kidney stones. Nationally, the approach could save up to 10,000 NHS bed days per year! It is fantastic that we already have it here in Southampton, benefiting our citizens and moving our vibrant city forward. For our second two education headers we’re going to look at primary and secondary schools, because with such varied options, quiet and busy become more prominent qualities to examine. I want quiet (small) Primary schools in Southampton offer parents with every possible option of educational location. With a mix of fantastic community, private and faith supported schools, parents can opt for smaller class sizes or for larger campuses, both of which will support learning in different ways. A full list of the primary schools in Southampton can be found, here. I want busy (larger) When encountering secondary schools in Southampton the number of options decreases, but there is still the same variety of choice about what kind of school you want. Even within faith supported schools you can choose between academic specialisms which best support your child’s development and dreams. There are also some fantastic private schools, should you so wish, but be reassured that wherever your son or daughter is educated, they will be surrounded by incredible support. Southampton prizes not only the academic development of pupils, but also enhancing their personal development, helping them get ready to enter the wider world. Hopefully, you’re now starting to see why Southampton is such a great place to live and work, however, if you have more questions Hunters are here to help. Get in touch with Hunters Southampton today and find out how we’re here to get you there. <![CDATA[Packed Hunters auction room at York Racecourse delivers outstanding results]]> 2017-11-10T17:07:31+00:00 2017-11-10T18:00:03+00:00 Hunters latest property auction held at York Racecourse on Wednesday 25 October attracted a big crowd and delivered some fantastic results. The “Star Sale” of the evening was Lot 13, 7 Staindale Close, a four-bedroom detached house in Rawcliffe in need of a full refurbishment; representing a good project for any willing bidder. The Guide Price was set at £100,000 - £120,000 and the property had attracted over a hundred viewings prior to the auction night. By the time the hammer hit the block after competitive bidding, the property sold for £207,000 - 107% increase of the Guide Price. 13 turned out to be the lucky number of the night. River View, Lot 11, a two-bedroom bungalow in Linton on Ouse was another property that caught the eye of several buyers. This saw an impressive 29% increase from Guide Price, selling for £155,000. Lot 3, Beaconsfield Apartment, in Acomb, York, a two bedroomed, ground floor apartment and an excellent investment opportunity, sold over the Guide Price for £110,000 with a current tenant and rental income of £7,800 per annum. Hunters monthly property auctions are seeing increased levels of activity and success with a growing appeal from a full range of properties, buyers and investors, not only in Yorkshire but from throughout the rest of the UK. The next Auction is at York Racecourse on the 6th December 6pm and entries are now being taken. Hunters Auctions also offer a sale by the Modern Method of Auction. If you are considering selling, or would like to find out more about the auction process, please contact Gemma Jaques on 01904 756116 or email <![CDATA[Thornbury]]> 2017-10-26T10:59:37+01:00 2017-10-26T11:08:54+01:00 <![CDATA[Hot Property: York's Stonebow House penthouses snapped up on launch weekend]]> 2017-10-24T10:13:24+01:00 2017-10-26T17:27:51+01:00 Stonebow House is an exciting new development of 17 stunning apartments and penthouses in the heart of the historical city of York. Located within York's cultural heart, just steps away from the historic Shambles, York’s very own ‘Diagon Alley’, and within close proximity of the beautiful York Minster, Stonebow House offers a truly exceptional living experience. Finished to the highest standards with interior design by the award-winning Rachel McClane, the apartments benefit from a stylish entrance lobby with concierge service and bespoke fitted kitchens and bathrooms. From the contemporary new restaurant and gym that will occupy the ground floor of this stunningly renovated building to the far-reaching views across the City’s skyline; it is not surprising that by the end of the development’s launch weekend last week, all penthouses sold and only seven units remain. The development has so far proven very attractive for people looking to move in to the city centre from outside York, but equally appeals as a second home or investment opportunity in what is one of the country’s most sought-after cities. York offers an abundance of history, culture, restaurants and shops as well as excellent rail connections including direct trains to London’s King Cross in less than 2 hours. This is a rare opportunity to acquire impressive, luxury accommodation in York’s city centre. Contact Hunters York today on 01904 621026 for more information on the last few remaining apartments. <![CDATA[Has your property increased in price?]]> 2017-10-24T09:54:42+01:00 2017-10-26T09:17:34+01:00 An upward price momentum in large regional cities across the UK shows no signs of slowing, according to leading market analysts Hometrack, with Edinburgh recently overtaking Manchester and Birmingham as the city with the fastest growth in house price rises – with a 6.7% price rise. The annual rate of UK city house price inflation is reported as 4.9% per annum with a quarterly rate of growth at the highest level for 14 months. This trend has been supported by a nationwide increase in housing sales over the last quarter compared to the previous 12 months. Increased sales volume is likely to be a result of households delaying purchases earlier in the year, at the time of the General Election. Falling unemployment and record low mortgage rates are supporting continued demand for property and, the reality is of course that whatever is happening in the market, people will always need or want to move – whether buying or renting. To understand what is happening to house prices in your local area, it is always best to speak to your local agent who has expert knowledge of what is happening to both sales and lettings prices, activity levels and a real handle on who’s looking for what kind of property. Hunters branches are run by independent business owners with teams who live, work and breath the local area – so you’ll be in good hands. You can book a valuation with your nearest branch here. If you don’t have time to invite an agent out to your home, or prefer a valuation on the fly, go to for a free, instant online valuation estimate and a full property report. The report, worth £19.95 but available from Hunters free of charge, includes a sales and rental valuation estimate of your home, local results and market trends. *Source: UK Cities House Price Index – October provided by Hometrack. <![CDATA[What did a letting agent ever do to you?]]> 2017-10-23T16:51:16+01:00 2017-10-26T12:38:01+01:00 Recent months have seen a lot of talk and media speculation over the rental sector which culminated in the government’s call for greater regulation across the lettings industry. As an established agent who aim to deliver the best possible service for all our customers – tenants, landlords, buyers or vendors - we welcomed the news about lettings regulation to help create a fair and more transparent sector that benefits the customer. This month, we thought it was timely to take a closer look at our lettings services and how we work with our landlords and tenants. Did you know, for example, that there are more than 400 rules and regulations that tenants, landlords and properties need to abide by, to legally let and manage a property? Carrie Allison, Head of Lettings, says “Abiding by the rules not only helps keep tenants safe, but good maintenance protects a landlord’s investment. Councils now have powers to fine landlords up to £30,000 if they don’t follow the rules – and persistent offenders can even be banned from letting”. Tenant referencing is a crucial part of the lettings process, as are a whole range of property checks and required certifications such as Gas Safety checks. A letting agent will carry out Right to Rent checks to ensure a tenant can legally live in the UK and they will fully reference check a tenant and their financial situation, not just purchase a basic online reference check for a few pounds. Carrie commented, “A good quality agent will check tenants into the property and provide a helpful service in giving them a tenant information guide, often including local information, rubbish collection days, taxi numbers, contact info for a cleaner and more. They will also test the smoke alarms on moving in day and, if required, ensure carbon monoxide alarms are fitted”. All this is important, not only for legislation, but to help ensure a happy and content tenant. Carrie added, “Happy tenants tend to stay longer and are more inclined to look after a property as if it were their own”. You can find out more about what a lettings agent does by reading Carrie’s full interview here <![CDATA[Teak is Sleek!]]> 2017-10-23T14:02:22+01:00 2017-10-25T09:32:07+01:00 As the growing demand for retro furniture is coming back in, although some of you may say it never left, more people are wanting that ‘vintage look’. Whether it be fashion or interior design, we are routing round charity shops or antique corners for the pieces we all thought were ‘old school’. Decades ago, teak was something of a status symbol with it being one of the more expensive and durable woods out there. Commonly used for making boats, so it follows that making furniture out of teak meant it was built to last. These days you can pick up a pre-owned 60s teak unit for as little as £30, give it a good clean and it’s good to go. More and more people are trying their hand at upcycling; not only does this offer environmental benefits but also cost savings. It is also made easier these days with a multitude of tutorials, tips and hints easily accessible online on how to refresh worn-down or pre-owned furniture. All you need to do is give the furniture a rub down with some sand paper, a re-varnish or a coat of paint and it can look like it’s straight out of a high-end shop. Not only is this a great project for any interior design enthusiast, you never know, it could even become a business initiative to make you a pretty penny. So what makes teak sleek? Even though there is a lot of association with teak furniture being over the hill, modernising its ever-familiar mid-century, Scandinavian style are what a lot of companies are embracing to give a contemporary feel to any home. The smooth lines and fashionable design of these decorative robust teak pieces make it iconic and it really gives a home a unique sense of exclusive style and elegance from a material that has definitely withstood the test of time! <![CDATA[Hunters Estate Agent to run dedicated SAFEagent week this October.]]> 2017-09-26T09:56:04+01:00 2017-09-26T10:08:00+01:00 One of the country’s leading estate agents, Hunters, is undertaking a week of support for the SAFEagent campaign this October following the success of the national drive earlier in the year. The week will involve accredited Hunters’ branches nationwide, engaging in a week of activity both online and offline to raise awareness of the importance of using an agent who is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme and letting consumers know where they can find a registered SAFEagent who is part of a recognised CMP scheme. At Hunters, we support the SAFEagent campaign and most of our offices are now SAFEagents. We felt, following the success of the national campaign in May, Hunters would run our own week, highlighting the importance of SAFEagent to us as an agency. Commenting on the week, Carrie Alliston, Head of Lettings at Hunters, said: “Protecting both tenants and landlords is something we at Hunters fundamentally agree with. We always advise our clients to ask their agent whether they are part of a CMP scheme. Over 75% of our branches are now accredited by SAFEagent which is a big achievement and we are striving as a PLC to ensure all of our branches provide safety to all relevant parties when a property is being let.” Letting agents that display the SAFEagent logo can be recognised as part of a CMP scheme which signals to tenants and landlords they are protecting their client’s monies. Look out for the SAFEagent logo in your local branch. The SAFEagent campaign: • Protects your money, giving you peace of mind • Is recognised by Government, consumer and industry organisations • Is devised by letting agents for the benefit of landlords and tenants From 27 May 2015, under the requirements set out in the Consumer Rights Act, it became compulsory for all agents to display in their offices and on their websites whether they are part of a Client Money Protection Scheme. For landlords and tenants, SAFE is a mark which denotes that your lettings and management agent is part of a CMP scheme which will protect your money in the event that anything should happen to it. All SAFEagents maintain and operate separate designated client accounts where your money is held completely separate from the operating funds of the firm. Ask your agent if they are part of a CMP scheme or not. They must display this information in their office and on their website. Read more about SAFEagent and the importance of it on their website <![CDATA[Estate Agents South West]]> 2017-09-11T10:10:20+01:00 2018-01-12T09:42:58+00:00 <![CDATA[Shoreditch Area Guide]]> 2017-09-08T11:34:27+01:00 2017-09-08T11:34:52+01:00 <![CDATA[Estate Agents Wales]]> 2017-08-29T11:11:08+01:00 2017-08-30T14:56:42+01:00 <![CDATA[Spectacular Results]]> 2017-08-25T10:18:26+01:00 2017-11-10T17:03:56+00:00 Hunters Auctions held an event at York Racecourse on August 2nd. Hunters Auctions hold events monthly and this popular method of sale provides both the seller and the buyer with a secure and legally binding sale. The Auction Department had some interesting lots available, with the successful sales all at excellent prices compared with the guide price. First to be offered was 2 Queen Anne’s Road. This fantastic example of a pre-war property had lots of original features and is situated close to the prestigious St Olaves’s and St Peter’s schools. Just a short walk via the beautiful Museum Gardens into the town centre, this property had a good response to marketing. Offered with a guide price of £250,000, we hoped to achieve a little more. The owner was very pleased when the gavel dropped at £303,000. However the crowds were mainly in attendance to bid on two particular properties. A one bedroomed flat in Gillygate, York with a guide price of £50,000 to £60,000 and a four bedroomed townhouse on Lawrence Street, York offered at £120,000 to £140,000. The flat in Gillygate had several open viewings, bringing in around 20 people each time. We expected the result to go higher than the guide price but a final sale price of £96,000 was still unexpected but excellent. The star property of the night however was most definitely 147 Lawrence Street. This property had been occupied in the basement part of the building, but the upper floors had succumbed to a pigeon infestation over the last decade. Once the property had been cleared, over 150 people attended the open viewings. At a guide price of £120,000 to £140,000, a result anywhere above the guide would have been a bonus. After a period of numerous hands in the air frantically bidding, the final sale price settled on a whopping £270,000. An amazing result for the owner. Hunters are now taking entries for their next live Auctions on September 20th and October 25th. We also offer a sale by the Modern Method with their Online Auctions. Hunters Auctions offer free appraisals with no obligation to proceed, so if you are looking for advice, we are here to assist. Hunters Auctions Tel: 01904 756116 Email: *Article featured in the York Press <![CDATA[How to Choose an Estate Agent]]> 2017-08-22T10:24:10+01:00 2017-09-05T16:09:11+01:00 Confused about how to pick a good Estate Agent? Read our step by step tips to ensure you find the right one for you. Ask for recommendations Studies have shown what many of us have known for years -- there is nothing more powerful than personal recommendations. Asking your friends and family who have moved recently, or even your work colleagues can shed some light on who they sold with and how good their experience was. This is why every Hunters Agency has testimonials from our past clients, so you can get a feel for how Hunters works, and what we can do for you. Check industry credentials All estate agencies now have to either be members of The Property Ombudsman or The Surveyors Ombudsman Scheme. These bodies make sure that agencies are held to a consistent standard and that you, as a customer receive a good service. This information is almost always available on an agency’s website so you don’t even need to set foot through the door. Hunters go beyond this by having our own training standards, something we call The Hunters Difference. No matter which Hunters branch you’re in up and down the UK, you can rest assured that you’re only receiving the best possible service. Get multiple opinions - but never lie A second or even third opinion is always a good thing, this way, you can compare valuations and figure out what your home is really worth. It is up to you whether you tell the second or third valuer what the other prices you have been given are, but there is one thing you should always remember here -- never lie. Aside from just being a good rule for general life, lying about the other valuations you have been given will often not positively affect the valuation you’re given; it will just slow the whole process down. Investigate the small print If you haven’t already found out about your proposed agency’s history, this is the time to do it. How long have they been selling properties similar to yours? How long does it usually take? If we have the information, we’ll happily supply it to you, so you know exactly what Hunters can offer to you. What advertising methods will the agency use? Are they relying solely on online advertising, or do they have an office too, and what about newspaper adverts? The more modes of advertising that are being used, the greater coverage your home will get. Who is responsible for the viewings? Unlike some other agencies, a Hunters representative will accompany every viewing. This way you don’t have to worry about uninterested parties wandering around your house or turning up unannounced. 5. Terms and conditions Feel free to ask questions, before you sign anything you should always understand what’s going on. If you have any queries, always feel free to ask, after all, we’re here to get you there. 6. Evaluate performance After a time, have a look at how your listing is performing, and ask for feedback from your agent. If you’ve had no viewings, or if you’ve had some viewings but no offers, your agent can help you figure out what going’s on. If the price needs adjusting, or if you need to restage an area of your home, an experienced Hunters agent will be able to help you get things moving along. At Hunters, we’re with you the entire time, and no question will ever be too big or small. Give your local Hunters branch a call today and discover how we can help you sell your home. <![CDATA[Bawtry]]> 2017-08-08T12:30:27+01:00 2017-08-08T12:31:12+01:00 <![CDATA[10 ways to make money]]> 2017-08-01T15:23:44+01:00 2017-08-01T15:49:53+01:00 1. Earn money from renting out part of your home If you only need money in the short term or just need to earn a little extra cash each month or now and then, thanks to the internet it is now possible to rent out parts of your home you may not need and are not using. For example there are sites which allow you to rent out your driveway as a parking space. This can be particularly handy if you live near a sports stadium where it is difficult to park on match days or near a station where the only parking is expensive. There are even some sites which allow you to let out your loft space. Before you add your property to one of these sites: 1. Check if this compromises your terms and conditions with your lender and/or insurance company 2. Find out how the potential renters are vetted; how do you know if they are legitimate? 3. What is the payment process? 4. How much will you have to compensate the website for introducing someone to you? 5. What happens if there is a dispute with the person renting the additional space? Don’t forget you will need to declare any income you earn from letting out part of your home on your tax return and it may mean you end up being moved into a higher tax bracket or lose some benefits, so do take tax advice prior to entering into an agreement with anyone. Example websites There are many sites available to help you make money from your property. While we cannot endorse any of them, you may wish to check out the following: Rent out your driveway: Rent out your loft, garage, spare room or shed for storage: Driveway, garage, spare room, land and storage: 2. Rent out a room within your home Renting out a room in your own home has just become a lot more profitable – depending on where you live. Renting a room in a property is normally done inclusive of all bills, including TV licence and utilities. Depending on the area you live in, renting a room can range from £50 to over £150 per week, which per year would work out to be over £2,500 or £7,800. This could be enough money just to help with everyday bills, fund a holiday a year or help pay off your mortgage early, giving you financial freedom. Tax-free income Unlike many other ways of making money out of property, since April 2016, you have been able to earn up to £7,500 a year renting out a room without paying any tax at all, making it a very lucrative way of securing money from your home versus even investments such as buy-to-let. Of course, you have to give up your property to some extent, but this might be done from just Monday to Friday if someone is working away from home and doesn’t need the property over the weekend. Tenancies can be provided on a short or long term basis, typically via a licence agreement. It is advisable to seek professional advice to ensure you have the right contract and secure monies via a deposit which are then returned in a timely and fair manner at the end of the tenancy. Despite earning money which is tax free up to £7,500 you still have to declare the income which HMRC should deduct from your tax bill. 3. Rent your home out for the day This is something that may only work for certain homes in particular areas but it can help generate some income, albeit sporadic. If you have a particularly beautiful period or ultra-modern home, if your home has a particularly great view – or fits a certain cultural style – then magazines and even film companies may pay you to borrow your home for a day or more. It may just be for a photo shoot or they may wish to borrow your home for a TV series, although that’s quite rare. Other uses for a home for a day or so would be music videos or even commercial shoots. You can get your property noticed by contacting location companies such as Sarah Eastel at The money can be good, from a few hundred pounds through to several thousand. However, the film and photoshoot industry isn’t known for giving good notice to use your property, it may just be 24 hours or less and you could have people you don’t know traipsing through your home. So if you like to retain control, this is probably not something for you. They will, however, pay to put your property back the way they found it. And the good news is you shouldn’t have to pay to register your property, you just fill in a registration form and wait for the company to get back to you. If you are offered a contract, it is good practice to have this checked out by your own legal company. 4. Rent out your home for a holiday or special event As with renting out your home to a location company on a short-term basis, it is possible to rent your property out if you are in a particularly nice area for holidays. For example, you might be in walking distance of a beach, open countryside or even a park such as Alton Towers. In the meantime you could stay with family or friends or even go on a holiday. Alternatively if it is easy to park at your home and access an annual or regular special event such as Wimbledon for the tennis, major events at Twickenham or the racing in York, then it might be possible to let your property for a short time such as a weekend several times a year. Other events which are increasing are the number of music or even food festivals which are now held around the country; not everyone wants to sleep in a tent! Holiday or event sites may allow you to advertise your property for free, but make their money when you let the property, taking a percentage of the money you receive. They may or may not charge VAT on this amount, which at 20% can soon add up. As with any ways of making money from your home, you should secure permission from your lender and insurance company and may well owe tax. In some areas, the local authority may ban some short lets, so make sure you understand if any local rules and regulations apply. Although not necessarily a legal requirement, it is worth making sure your property is let safely and has an up-to-date gas and electrical safety certificate and carbon monoxide alarm. If you don’t have these certificates already, it is worth getting them to ensure you and your own family’s safety as well as that of your tenants. The amount you can earn can vary dramatically, so talk to local tourist offices if letting your home or checkout sites which advertise properties for holiday and special event lettings. 5. Extend your home It is often assumed that if you add additional space to your home that you will also add value. However, in our experience, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you are better off selling up and buying to secure more space, in other cases it may well be better to stay put and extend the home if you are able. There are lots of different ways of adding space to your home and as a rule of thumb, this is the order in terms of cost and hassle it takes to extend your property: Convert your garage or an outbuilding If you just need some extra space for a new lounge or office, converting your garage is often by far the cheapest way to add additional space to your home. However, if you want people to be able to sleep in the space or add a bathroom or kitchen, then this will add to the cost as you will need to build and renovate to a higher specification and ensure the property passes different sets of building regulations. Add an outbuilding As the cost of buying a property with more bedrooms or space for a new office has risen, for some who are lucky enough to have a decent sized garden, it is possible to add either a bespoke outbuilding or convert an existing one. Single-storey extension As with converting the garage, this is a fairly straightforward way to add space to your home. If you are considering extending your home, before you spend any money or secure any quotes, check two things: 1. Do you need planning permission? This depends on the area you are in and the size of the extension. Visit for more free information. 2. Whether the area you intend to build over has any water supply pipes underneath as you will have to seek their permission before you build. Another tip is to secure a survey on your home before you add any additional space via a builder so they can verify the condition of the property prior to work being carried out. This way, if you think the builder has caused problems during or after the build to the rest of your home, then you have an independent professional witness to support any claims you may need to make. Two-storey extension A double-storey extension is often more expensive per square metre than a single storey as it will require substantial amounts of scaffolding and also require stronger foundations. It is more likely, but not necessary, that you will need to go to the expense and time it takes to secure planning permission, which also increases the costs. Loft conversion It is possible to do a fairly cheap loft conversion, but only if no-one is sleeping in the space. The main issue is whether you have enough space for stairs so the area becomes part of the property or if a loft ladder is still required. This is significant not just from a cost perspective, but also when considering how much value it will add to your property. If you are just adding space for a hobby room, then that can be done quite cheaply, but it is also unlikely to add much value to your property. However, if you can create a new third floor which will add bedrooms and an extra bathroom to your home, all integrated with a second flight of stairs, this will increase your home’s value. Seek advice from your local property expert Before you do consider adding value to a property by creating more space, do talk to your local property expert, such as Hunters. We will be able to help you understand the value of the property once the work had been done. For example, is there an increasing demand for three-bedroomed homes and a falling demand for five-bedroomed homes? Do people pay more for a wreck than they do for a home in exceptional condition? ”We’re not just here to help you buy and sell a home; we can advise on many different aspects of property, too. Using our extensive local knowledge, we can help you work out if extending your home will add the value you expect or price your property out of the market.” 6. Build property on your land If you have a big enough plot and additional access can be secured from the back, front or side of the property, then it may be possible to make money from your home by building another property. Another consideration is “is their gold in your garden” meaning is the area big enough to build another property on it? Could you sell that area to a developer? To answer these questions you need to contact a specialist, call one of our branches and they may be able to advise you or point you in the right direction. You may be able to turn your current detached home into a semi-detached property or retain two detached properties on the plot. To determine whether this will add value or be a waste of time and money, it is worth securing three valuations: 1. The current value of the property as it is; 2. The value of the property if you managed to secure planning permission to extend; 3. What two smaller properties on smaller plots would be worth if you sold one or both separately. Before you engage an architect, it would be worthwhile having a meeting with your local planners to gauge their view on your ideas – would they object or be happy to see another new property on the plot? If the planners are willing to consider building another property on your plot, you can secure an idea of what property type they would be happy to see and then what this would cost to build. Once you know how much it will be to build another property, don’t forget costs such as planning permission and building control as well as architect fees. This will enable you to understand if the value of a second property would cover the costs and would add enough value from the two properties to compensate the loss of value on your existing home through a reduced garden area. “The expert teams at your Hunters branch know property – and your local property market – inside out. This means they are well placed to advise you if you are considering building on your land, and can help you work out if it will be financially viable.” 7. Renovate a property for profit This way of making money from property was made so popular via Sarah Beeny’s TV show, Property Ladder, and subsequent programmes that demand for properties far outstrips supply of wrecks which require renovating, meaning it can be very difficult to make money in this way. In the past, it was possible to buy a property at a discount, update the bathroom and kitchen, freshen up the decoration and tidy up the garden in a matter of months, before putting it back on the market and making money. However, part of the reason for making the money in the first place was because property prices were rising naturally. So renovators made money by adding value and also through natural property price growth. To make money from renovation, you typically need to find a property which you can sell for 20% more than you pay out, including purchase price, and the costs of owning and renovating the property. For example: Buy a property for: £150,000 Costs to purchase: £ 7,500 (includes 3% stamp duty) Costs to own and renovate: £ 35,000 Total costs: £42,500 Total investment: £192,500 Plus 20% profit: £231,000 sale price required If you are considering purchasing a property for renovation, do talk to one of our Hunters property specialists as they can help you source a renovation project through their sales department but also via the auctions we run. We can also help with valuations and renovation advice through our surveying service. Know what tax you will have to pay Don’t forget that you are likely to be taxed on the capital gains you make and that this is now higher for property than it is for financial gains. As such it is advisable to check what money you invest will deliver via a property renovation project and during what timescale, compared with investing in financial assets. 8. Buy a property to let out If you are considering buying a property to let, please read our three Buy to Let investment eBooks we have created which explain in detail how to buy, let and solve any problems. As a summary though, buy-to-let is typically an investment which you need to make for a minimum of 10 years and ideally 15-20 years. The reason for needing to invest for this amount of time is that the costs of buying a property to let and sell it are quite high versus other financial investments so you need to allow enough time for capital growth to outstrip other returns. When considering buy-to-let investment, because you have to invest your money for such a long time, it is advisable to check what income and capital growth you would earn from property investment versus financial products and services, particularly if you are hoping to secure an income. It is also essential to have the effect of adding an additional property to your personal wealth checked as this can impact adversely on your property tax. Adding rental income may mean you end up being a higher tax rate payer or you could lose child benefit support if it pushes your earnings over the required threshold. Buy-to-let can make money over time, but it requires a lot of research and expert help at a local level to secure insight about the tenant market, rental income and potential capital growth. Part of the success of those who have invested in buy-to-let is investing in property via a mortgage, which allows you to purchase an asset for more cash than you have, with the rental income hopefully covering your costs or earning you additional income. So it is worth comparing investing in a buy-to-let property with or without a mortgage to understand how gearing can boost your returns. 9. Buy a property for cash Properties which do not meet the criteria of banks and building societies and cannot be mortgaged need to be bought with cash, which can significantly reduce their value. Examples of these types of properties include flats which have a short lease (usually below 80 years) and properties which are suffering from subsidence or have been built from non-standard construction. To make money from these property types, you need to have the knowledge and contacts to make them mortgageable so they can be sold on the open market. For example, if you buy a flat with a short lease, you need the knowledge and expertise to ensure that the property can be bought with cash at a discount. Then you need to be sure the lease can be extended quickly and at a price which means you can sell it on the open market at a profit. The longer it takes to secure the new lease length, the more it will cost you to own the property, which may not be bringing in any income unless you are able to rent it in the meantime. Auctions are normally places where properties such as this are sold, so you need to spend money on the legal pack and a survey to be sure you don’t offer too much on the day. If you are keen to make money from buying properties with cash, do talk to one of our Hunters experts first as they will be able to help you identify what is available and coming onto the market and where to source the property deals. Any money you earn from selling the property at a higher price is likely to incur capital gains tax which is higher for property than it is for financial investments. Therefore, do consult an independent financial advisor prior to investing tens of thousands of pounds in a property deal. 10. Build a property from scratch Many people tend to turn to renovation projects to make money rather than thinking about buying a plot of land and building either your own home or a property to let or sell. Abroad, many more people build a home themselves, whereas in the UK the numbers are low, with approximately 15-20,000 new build and major renovation projects carried out every year. In some areas, plots of land are like gold dust, so it isn’t always possible to secure a plot at a low enough price, especially when you add the cost of materials and building. However, in some areas such as the Midlands, there are quite a few plots available and it is possible to buy land, build and make a profit. If you are considering buying land and building then do talk to our property professionals or, if you are able to, pay a visit to the UK’s only National Self Build and Renovation Centre in Swindon, which is open most days of the week. During the year they have some shows which you can attend for free and self-build and renovation courses should you wish to find out more about how to run a major building project. When building for profit, timing is important as the longer it takes, the less money you will make. The key to building for profit includes: 1. Buying a plot of land with at least outline planning permission; 2. Budgeting carefully. Typically the cost of land, materials and build will be approximately a third each. Include the costs of planning, building regulations and specialist services; 3. Investigating a self-build accelerator mortgage where you finance the build as your borrowing requirement increases; 4. Ensuring you build what local people are looking for, balancing the outdoor space, the upstairs and downstairs. For example you don’t want to build a family home with little garden space; 5. Making sure you employ quality tradespeople that offer guarantees and warrantees for the work they carry out. Building your own property from scratch can mean you sell the property once mortgaged and secure a 30% increase in the capital value of the property, so if you spend £150,000 the property should be worth £195,000. Take expert advice before proceeding Making money from property depends on many factors, including the type of property you already own, your income, circumstances and the time frame to which you are working. But hopefully this guide will have shown you that there are plenty of options available to you, whether you have simply have a spare room – or even a shed – you can rent out, or are in a position to tackle a major project such as building a home from scratch. Whatever options you are considering, before you begin, always take advice from the relevant experts. If you require a mortgage, a specialist lender is essential, and quality legals and insurance are always recommended when undertaking a property project. A good starting point is to talk to your local Hunters team, who will be happy to advise you, or point you in the right direction. <![CDATA[Making Money from your Property]]> 2017-08-01T15:20:00+01:00 2017-08-01T15:41:18+01:00 Most people know it is possible to make money from buying a property to let or renovating a property for profit. But there are lots of other ways your home could make you money and we thought it would useful to know about 10 of them to help you decide the best way forward for you. Some are short-term solutions to bring in some extra income, while others are long-term investments requiring a great deal of financial commitment. But they may give you food for thought and open up some options you may not have considered. What are the 10 ways to make money on your property? <![CDATA[Evicting a tenant]]> 2017-08-01T15:11:02+01:00 2017-08-01T15:16:12+01:00 Evicting a tenant Before you consider evicting a tenant, you need to confirm they have breached the tenancy agreement. There are several grounds for eviction – some are mandatory and some are discretionary. Evicting a tenant, in our view, requires professional support and help, trying to do this as a ‘DIY job’ can mean lengthening the time it takes and/or even breaking the law. Mandatory reasons These include non-payment of rent and, as long as you have the evidence to support your claim, the court should find in your favour. Discretionary reasons In these cases, which include late rent payments and causing damage to the property, the court makes its decision based on the evidence provided which is why having disputes and problems put in writing from the start makes it easier for you to secure possession of your property. Grounds for eviction These are some – but not all – grounds for eviction. Mandatory grounds for eviction Non-payment of rent Discretionary grounds for eviction Illegal sub-letting Damage by tenant, malicious or otherwise Nuisance Refusing access to the property Criminal activity Persistently late payment of rent Non-disposal of waste Serving a notice We can recommend a legal company to carry out any legal work and if you have the right insurance, they will take action on your behalf. If you are self-managing however, you begin proceedings by serving a Section 8 or a Section 21 notice – in some circumstances, you can serve both at the same time. Sometimes simply serving the notice can be enough to persuade the tenant to act. They may decide to leave, or pay any owed rent, or for damage caused, in which case you may choose not to act on the notice. By serving the notice, it means you can apply to the court immediately, if the tenant goes back on any agreement. Serving a notice has to be done very precisely, as even the smallest error can cause the court to reject the case, so you have to start from the beginning, which costs time and money. If you need to service a notice, you are strongly advised to use a professional service, who will ensure it is done accurately and legally. With our Fully Managed Service coupled with a warranty we will serve any necessary notices on your behalf, so you can rest assured they will be prepared by experienced professionals. Section 8 notice You serve a Section 8 notice if the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement. The notice should include the grounds for seeking possession, such as non-payment of rent, causing damage to the property or being a nuisance to the neighbours, along with evidence. It should also give the tenant a leaving date, at least two weeks after the date of the notice. Section 21 notice If the tenant has done nothing wrong, but you simply want your property back, you can serve a Section 21 notice, and do not have to provide a reason. You cannot do this before the end of the tenancy or break period and you must give the tenant at least two months’ notice to leave. The Section 21 notice may not be valid if you have not protected the tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme, or if you have not responded to reasonable requests for repairs and they have reported you to the local authority. Applying for a Possession Order Serving a notice is often enough to make a tenant pay up or leave but if they don’t take the required action by the date set, you can arrange a court hearing to obtain a Possession Order. It can take up to 10 weeks before your case is heard, which is why it is so important not to allow problems to continue unchecked. If the court grants a Possession Order, they will order the tenant to leave the property by a certain date, usually 14 days later. Enforcement Most tenants will leave after being served with a court order but occasionally further action will be required. If your tenant doesn’t leave by the date set out on the Possession Order, either you or your letting agent can go to court, or you can arrange for a bailiff to visit the property to remove the tenant. If you send a bailiff, you will need to attend the property, with a locksmith, on the day of the eviction so that locks can be changed immediately. Rent recovery By renting through Hunters using our Fully Managed Service and if you have taken out the appropriate insurance, your rent will be protected and you should not be out of pocket. If you do wish to pursue any outstanding arrears, you should weigh up the cost of recovering the outstanding debt against its size, as it may not make financial sense to proceed. <![CDATA[when can you withhold the deposit]]> 2017-08-01T14:34:32+01:00 2017-08-01T15:11:18+01:00 Deposit disputes At the end of the tenancy, if the tenant has met the terms of the tenancy agreement, not caused any damage to the property and paid their rent and bills, you must return the deposit in full. ou can expect the property to be in a similar condition and state of cleanliness as it was at the start of the tenancy, taking into consideration normal wear and tear. For example, if a carpet is fraying or decoration looking tired, this is normally classed as wear and tear and is not your tenant’s responsibility. For things like stains on the carpet or obvious malicious damage to the walls, you can reasonably request to withhold some or all of the deposit to cover costs of repair and cleaning. If necessary, you can also withhold some or all of the deposit to cover unpaid rent. As your agent, we will help you come to an agreement with the tenant on the amount to be retained; if you choose to self-manage, you will have to do this yourself. Once an agreement has been reached, the deposit monies must be returned within the time stated by the government scheme you use, or if down to you, ideally within 10 days. If you cannot come to an agreement, assuming it is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and the deposit is therefore protected in a government-approved deposit protection scheme, the tenant can turn to the scheme’s free dispute resolution service for an independent decision. This saves you both having to go to court, which is expensive and time-consuming. You and the tenant will both be asked to provide evidence to support your claims, which highlights the importance of good record-keeping and especially a detailed, independent inventory. In the case of damage to the property, you will need to prove it was caused by the tenant and not simply wear and tear. At Hunters, we protect our tenants’ deposits in one of the government approved schemes. For example, Deposit Protection Service, Tenancy Deposit Scheme or MyDeposits. More information can be found about them on the appropriate deposit websites e.g. “The detailed inventory we provide at the start of the tenancy makes solving any disputes over the deposit straightforward. The use of MyDeposits to hold tenants’ deposits means all parties are protected.” – Emma Heron, Branch Manager, York <![CDATA[What can go wrong]]> 2017-08-01T14:27:27+01:00 2017-08-01T15:11:45+01:00 Non-payment of rent This is the most common reason for evicting a tenant. Your first step is to ensure you or your agent talks to the tenant to find out if the problem is short-term or likely to be long-term. If it’s a long-term problem, and they’ve been a good tenant you’d like to keep, could you help them apply for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit? If this is not an option, a good tenant will do the right thing and look for alternative accommodation. If they refuse to leave, or if non-payment is only part of the problem, you can begin eviction proceedings once a tenant is two months in arrears. As rent is payable in advance, this means you can begin the eviction process one month and one day after the tenant misses their first rent payment. Non-payment of rent is mandatory grounds for eviction, which means the tenant will definitely be ordered to leave if you can prove breach of contract. Therefore, keeping accurate records is so important as they will be needed as evidence. You can take out a warranty to protect you against non-payment of rent, and our Fully Managed Service includes Rent Recovery Plus, which covers your rent in the event of non-payment, as well as legal expenses up to £50,000. Sub-letting This is where a tenant re-lets the property to another tenant; if they do this without your permission it is a breach of their tenancy agreement. The problem with sub-letting is that you don’t know who your additional tenants are, so don’t have the opportunity to carry out right to rent checks, referencing, and damage is more likely as many illegal sub-lets are also over-crowded. As well as periodic checks, which will allow you to see if anything looks amiss, good relationships with the neighbours are vital, as they will be able to report back to you if they see any unusual activity. Illegal sub-letting is grounds for eviction, but it is discretionary, which means the presiding judge or magistrate will make a decision based on the evidence provided. Failure to report repairs It is the tenant’s responsibility to report repairs to their landlord or letting agent, but not all of them do, which is why periodic checks are so important. They allow you or your agent to assess a problem that the tenant might not appreciate is important to sort, such as leaking guttering or a dripping tap. Always keep the communication lines open with your agent or tenant and return any calls made to you by others as if a tenant does report repairs required, they have to be responded to in writing within 14 days. At Hunters, we find some tenants may feel more comfortable telling you about a problem face to face, which is why our periodic visits are essential to running a successful let. With our Fully Managed Service, we carry out the property management visits for you, which allows us to stay on top of the maintenance situation and prevents problems from escalating. Tenant wants to leave early If a tenant decides to leave a property before the end of the fixed term, this is considered a breach of contract and they are, by law, liable for any outstanding rent payments and bills until the end of the fixed term. However, if it is for unforeseen reasons, it is possible to come to an agreement with the tenant to let them go early and secure a new tenant in their place, especially if they are in financial difficulties. “Your property is in safe hands with our Fully Managed Service. We carry out regular property management visits on your behalf, which shows the tenant we care and ensures problems don’t go undetected.” - Gemma Allen, Branch Manager at Hunters Manchester Refusal of access You have a right to access the property for periodic checks and maintenance. However: • You must give the notice required in your tenancy agreement, normally at least 24 hours in writing. It must be at a time which is convenient to the tenant. It is also sensible to ensure the tenant is present, so you cannot be accused of theft or any other wrongdoing, and to be accompanied by an independent person or letting agent. If the tenant refuses access: • Do not enter without their permission, as this could be considered harassment. • They may lose the right to complain about repairs not being carried out. • They may not be able to make any personal injury claim resulting from lack of repairs. • If your inability to access the property to make repairs results in ongoing damage, you may be able to claim damages from the tenant. • If the tenant continues to refuse access without a valid reason, they are in breach of their tenancy agreement and you can apply for possession of your property. This is a discretionary ground for eviction, so the court will make a decision based on the evidence you provide. “When a tenant refuses access to the property, it can be a sensitive problem to deal with. This is why we always advise our landlords to get an independent third party such as ourselves to handle the issue for them." - Laura Cooper, Branch Manager, North Yorkshire <![CDATA[Buy to Let: Landlord problems and how to solve them]]> 2017-08-01T14:14:34+01:00 2017-08-01T15:13:08+01:00 By working with a professionally qualified letting agent, taking good advice and ensuring you or your agent have developed a solid working relationship with the tenant, your tenancy will be built on strong foundations and problems are likely to be rare. By using our Tenant Find or Fully Managed Services, you will eliminate many potential problems due to our thorough referencing of tenants and our expert management of your property so the property is safe and legally let. However, it is always a good idea to be prepared for every eventuality, so that if you do encounter problems, you know the best way to deal with them. Don’t forget, you can always call our specialist lettings team for help and advice. They have the experience and knowledge to guide you through all aspects of being a landlord. “Due to our thorough referencing of tenants and careful management of properties, major problems are extremely rare. When they do occur, rest assured we will work with you every step of the way to get the problem solved quickly and with minimum fuss.” – Carrie Alliston, Head of Lettings What sort of problems can occur with a Buy to Let property? 1. What can go wrong? 2. When can you withold the deposit? 3. Evicting a Tenant <![CDATA[What if your sale pruchase does fall through]]> 2017-08-01T11:10:14+01:00 2017-08-01T13:56:08+01:00 However hard you try to make sure your move runs smoothly, things do happen that may mean you lose your purchase or sale. If you lose your buyer If you do lose your buyer, don’t panic. There are options such as: • selling via auction; • selling to a cash buyer; • if you have time, it is possible to put your property back on the market - someone may be keen to view who hasn’t done so yet, as it had ‘sold subject to contract’. New data from View My Chain, which tracks property sales and purchases, suggests that if a sale does fall through, retaining your property with the original agent means you are as likely if not more likely to sell your property again. If you lose the property you want to buy If you retain your buyer but have lost the property you wanted to buy, the best way to deal with this situation is to first see if there is any way you could save the sale. If not, do go out to look to see what else is on the market. You may also consider selling your home anyway, and renting a property or moving in with friends/family until you find somewhere new to buy. “Careful management of your sale and purchase means we have halved the number of fall throughs compared to the national average. We will not rest until you have moved into your new home.” <![CDATA[10 ways to successfully co-ordinate a purchase and sale]]> 2017-08-01T11:03:45+01:00 2017-08-01T13:56:05+01:00 There are a lot of things buyers and sellers can do to: 1. Make sure the sales and purchase process runs smoothly; 2. Solve a problem should the sale and purchase fall through. 1. Prepare your paperwork before you put your property on the market When you sell a home, you have to provide a lot of information to the buyer, via your legal company. You have to provide: 1. Proof of your identity 2. Evidence you own the home 3. Mortgage account/roll number 4. Information about the neighbours, disputes and your property boundaries 5. If you are aware of any nearby proposed property development or alterations to neighbouring properties 6. What you are going to include in the sale of the property, eg carpets, curtains 7. Evidence of work you have carried out, especially if a competent person is required such as a Gas Safe Registered engineer or Part P qualified electrician 8. Warranties and guarantees for work and items sold with the property 9. Information about your utility providers 10. Where essential facilities such as the fuse box, meters and stop cock are located If you own a leasehold property, you will need to have a copy of the lease ready and may have to pay for this being provided by the management company if you don’t have a copy to hand. If you can, it is ideal to secure all this information before you put your property on the market and have it ready to send to your legal company on the day your property goes up for sale. Speak to one of our Hunters experts for a full list of information you need, or if you require further help. 2. Appoint your legal company the day your property goes on the market It takes time to choose the right legal company for your purchase and sale. Ideally appoint one that offers a ‘no sale, no fee’ service and ‘fixed fee’ and has excellent relationships with its clients – and agents. The legal work to achieve completion after an offer is made requires: 1. Great communication between different parties such as brokers and agents; 2. People who are proactive and happy to pick up the phone to solve a problem or secure information, not just write letters/emails; 3. Expertise. Some specialise in leasehold; others Help to Buy or Shared Ownership; some Buy to Let. Always ensure they have the necessary knowledge to co-ordinate your purchase and sale well. We find that the cheaper the legal services offered, the poorer they are at providing a good service. This is typically because, in our view, they take on too many cases per person. Of course, no-one wants to pay a lot of money for legal paperwork, but considering you are spending tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds, or even millions, making sure you have a legal company that can spend time successfully co-ordinating your sale and purchase is essential. To ensure you have the expert legal help you need, we have our own specialist conveyancing service, Hunters Home Conveyancing. The specialist team liaise well with their agent colleagues and help to do everything they can to progress your purchase or sale. That’s why so many of our clients recommend us to their friends. To find out more, contact or visit your local branch for details. 3. Find a property to buy once you have secured an offer or sale on your own It may be the reason you are putting your property up for sale is that one you have loved for years has now come up for sale, in which case it is a matter of making sure you use an agent like Hunters that has half the level of sales fall throughs after offer stage than the national average. However, if you are planning a move and have yet to find a new property to buy, it might be worth putting your home on the market first, seeing what level of interest you have and waiting until you have received one or more offers before you fall in love with the next property – just in case you don’t get an offer in time and end up losing the home you had hoped for. This also has the advantage of potentially helping you to negotiate a better deal, rather than having to offer the highest price possible as you haven’t secured a buyer yet. Most agents would recommend you accept an offer from a seller who has already secured a buyer than a seller who has only just put their property on the market. 4. Consider selling, moving out, then buying If you are able, one way of ensuring you co-ordinate a sale and purchase successfully is not to try! If you are looking for your ‘forever home’, some people are in a position where they can sell their own property, then move into a friend’s or family’s property or rent until they have sold their own home. This can, in the short term at least, make the move into a longer process, but if you either aren’t sure where you want to move to or can’t find what you want on the market when it is a good time to sell, then it can be worthwhile, especially if your next move is to the home you have always dreamed of buying and you plan to stay there for the rest of your life. If you do sell first and move into temporary accommodation, this means you will also become a cash buyer. Being a cash buyer has several advantages: 1. It means you only have to worry about your purchase, because your sale is already complete; 2. You can offer more flexibility on the timing of your move, which maybe an advantage to the seller and mean they choose to sell to you over another buyer; 3. It may be possible to make an offer and secure the property more cheaply as you can buy faster than someone with a mortgage. And, if you are planning to purchase a major renovation project or self-build, it means you will be able to stay in the temporary accommodation until the property is ready to move into. This can actually end up being cash neutral or even save you money if the work can be carried out more quickly if you aren’t living in the property. 5. Choose your buyer and person to purchase from carefully Most of us would naturally want to take the highest price we were offered on our home, but this can end up costing more in the long run. If the person offering the most money hasn’t sold their property yet, needs a mortgage and hasn’t applied for one yet or, following the offer doesn’t appear to be progressing the legal and financial paperwork quickly, then it is quite possible their offer may fail. Therefore, it is essential for a smooth sale and purchase to ensure the agent you work with is clear on which offer they think is the best one to take based on the buyer’s circumstances, as well as the offer they make. At Hunters, one of the reasons we only have one in six property sales fall through is because we only take on a property if we are sure the seller is serious about moving and we will make checks on your buyer’s position to be able to afford a property. 6. Start decluttering before you exchange This may seem a simple recommendation but, as many people now only move once every 20 years, it is extremely helpful if you start to declutter as soon as you start planning to move and carry on the process as much as possible prior to exchanging. We all have books, CDs, DVDs or even records and tapes which we may no longer use, due to the advent of eReaders and streaming. This could even be the time to get rid of the shelves they fill. The first place to start is probably your loft or any outbuildings, especially your garage. Many of us forget how much we have stored from the past in our homes and if you are planning to move, to keep down the work and cost relating to your move, it would be helpful to get rid of everything you don’t want or need. Other things you can start packing straight away include seasonal items. If you plan to move in the summer, Christmas decorations and winter clothes can all be packed away in the hope that your sale and purchase will go through beforehand. Finally, check your kitchen cupboards and freezer. Do they have any items which are out of date or something you don’t eat any more? If so it is worth binning them now rather than spending time and effort moving them. 7. Have independent checks carried out on your utility readings You would be surprised how easy it is to end up in a dispute over who owes what when it comes to utility bills, so make sure on the day you move, or just before, you: 1. Take a picture of the meter reading, ideally using a camera which records the date; 2. Request the utility company visits and takes meter readings which are recorded within 24 hours of their visit; 3. You have a smart meter that shows the meter readings on the day you leave. If visiting, the agent may agree to take the readings for you. 8. Pay for someone else to pack your belongings If you do have a lot of items to pack, and especially if you have precious and valuable property, it may be better to have a professional pack your items for you. This can also mean you can live your life ‘normally’ up until a few days before you move rather than having to purchase boxes and pack everything yourself. Plus, if you haven’t done this before or haven’t done it for a long time, you may inadvertently cause items to be damaged in transit. In fact, it may end up costing you more in time and money in the long run if items get broken, or even lost, during the move, especially if you don’t have insurance to cover it. 9. Have a moving contingency plan There is nothing worse than waking up on moving day, excited about moving to your new home, only to find out that one of the banks or lenders in your chain has suffered a collapse in their system, so no money is changing hands. Or it may be that someone in the chain hasn’t provided the cash or lending monies to complete the purchase. It may even be that the seller of the property you are buying is not ready to move out until late in the afternoon, making it impossible for you to move your belongings in that day or even over the weekend. Some people think they just need a small van to move out or can manage the move themselves but completely underestimate the time it takes and end up making several trips, extending the time it takes them to move out of the property. To aid a smooth move, it is worth ensuring you have a contingency plan of where your belongings will be held overnight or over the weekend if, for any reason, you are not able to move on the day you planned. This could be staying at a hotel, with friends and involve a local storage company. If you use a professional removals service, they are likely to have facilities you can tap into so, when you secure quotes, it’s worth asking how they would deal with this situation. 10. Make sure you leave your current property to arrive at your new one for 1pm Few people seem to be aware that most legal contracts state you must move out of your home by 1pm the day of completion. This gives you time to move out in the morning and the buyer time to move their belongings – or the essentials at least - into the home in the afternoon. One way to ensure a smoother move is to move on a Wednesday or Thursday instead of a Friday, which is when most people tend to plan to move. Friday is the worst day of the week to try to move because everyone tends to choose it, using the weekend to unpack and get settled in. Bringing it just one day forward to a Thursday not only gives you an extra day to move in but also allows you more time to unpack and even have a little rest before going back to work on the Monday. This is especially crucial if you have packed up and cleaned your own home from top to bottom as you may find, when you arrive at the new one, that you have to start all over again; cleaning, clearing or even decorating before being able to unpack.