Category: News

southsea christmas

As 2017 comes to an end we would like to thank all our clients for their valued business throughout the year and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This year has seen a number of changes at Dack, welcoming new members to the property management team and the opening of our Residential Sales Department.

As always, we like to take a look back at the events that impacted the property industry this year and the predictions regarding the coming changes for 2018. With further interest rate rises expected, Brexit negotiations to overcome and the cost of living escalating, the property market could see significant changes across the board.

Rental Market 2017

Lettings in 2017 was an interesting year from a tenant’s, landlord’s and agent’s perspective. With the impending proposed ban on agency fees anticipated towards the end of 2018 we are all speculating on how this will play out. It will inevitably have an impact, not just on the lettings market but the sales market too, as some landlords may begin to consider other investment opportunities. Many are assuming costs are to be passed onto the landlords and therefore down through to the tenants via increased rents but until the draft bill is published it is hard to predict what impact this will have on the market. Rest assured that we will keep you updated on any developments as they unfold.

Other regulations are making their way through Parliament next year which, both existing and future landlords should be aware of, most notably the Minimum Energy Efficiency Rating for properties.

Since writing this article there have been further development in this upcoming legislation. Where it was originally only designed to affect new or renewing fixed term tenancies after the 1st April 2018, the Government has ‘moved the goalposts’ with the scope now encompassing any statutory tenancy as well 1977 Rent act tenancies. Any property not currently meeting the minimum standard will require works to bring them up to standard. We are already working closely with a number of our landlords to assist them with potential works but if you are unsure if your property is affected, you can check the energy rating on the EPC Register

Additionally as announced within the Chancellor’s autumn budget, the Government are conducting reviews into both longer term tenancies and a review of the housing courts which will potentially bring benefits to both tenants and landlords alike, cutting through the reams of red tape associated with the housing and legal system which I think everyone can agree, is never a bad thing.

Property Sales 2017

We were proud to open our Residential Sale Department at the beginning of the year and have serviced many of our clients through to a swift completion with many more to come. It has also been an exciting year for the housing market in general. The Government have pledged to improve the house-buying process, which is music to the industries ears, and with stamp duty relief for first time buyers coming into effect we are not alone in welcoming this move. However, looking ahead to next year many are predicting an increase in supply meeting an already elevated level of demand, meaning a higher overall level of transactions. With that being said there are a number of elements of the unknown, that we, like all industries must face.

Naturally many people may be considering a move in the new year for a number of reasons, be that a change of scenery, growing family or moving for a new job. Should you be thinking of selling, take a look at our article published in May this year regarding estate agency contracts to make sure you do not get caught out. We are always available to talk through any potential move to help you make an informed decision regarding your home. Equally if you are a first time buyer and considering taking advantage of the recent stamp duty relief, our partners at MoneySprite wrote a guest article on: giving yourself the best chance of getting approved for your mortgage full of great information and well worth a read.

Should you be considering renting or selling you home and would like a general “ball park” figure for your property, use our free instant online valuation software, however for a more accurate figure, we would always advise getting one of the team out to conduct a free market appraisal. As the year comes to an end we would again, like to say a big thank you to our long stand and new clients alike in wishing them a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year. We are all back in the office on the 2nd of January and you know where we are if you need us.

Budget 2017 how it affects property market

As our chancellor Phillip Hammond closed his Autumn Statement at parliament earlier this afternoon we, and the rest of the property industry, begin to ask the questions, how will this affect us and more importantly, our clients?

Firstly, housing was a hot topic expected to be on the agenda before the statement began, the chancellor announced the following regarding our industry:

NO STAMP DUTY for first time buyers up to the value of £300,000.

Stamp duty reform has been a talking point within the industry for a while, the chancellor was proud to announce the suspension of stamp duty for first time buyers up to the value of £300,000 effective immediately, and in London, no stamp duty on the first £300,000 to account for the increase in property value.

So what does that mean for the Portsmouth market?

The average property purchase price in Portsmouth between January to September 2017 was £200,036 (Land Registry, 2017). This translates to a saving of close to £1500 for our cities first time buyers. An amount gladly saved after already struggling to save for the all-important deposit.

Stamp duty for second properties remains the same with the additional rate of 3% to be added. Using the average purchase price of £200,036 again, this would translate to a stamp duty bill of close to £7500 for the exact same property.

Longer tenancies in the private rental sector.

The government has announced a consultation into proposing longer tenancies in the private rental sector. As it stands the longest Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) is 2 years. However, in our experience most tenants and landlords prefer 6 or 12 month contracts, as this allows for flexibility for both parties. Although extending the maximum length of an AST may seem attractive from potential tenants perspective, this locks them into a fixed term contract. Ultimately delaying them eventually getting on the property ladder themselves and taking advantage of opportunities which may require them moving from the area.

Give local authorities the power to charge 100% council tax premium on vacant properties

Gone are the days of the discount for vacant properties. This has always been under the control of the local authority; however, Portsmouth City Council removed the discount for vacant properties several years ago. Meaning this new announcement will not have much bearing on the city or our landlords.

Naturally the chancellors overall budget covered a number of aspects within the UK economy and here we are focusing on the elements effecting housing within our city. From our perspective as your local independent estate agent, we feel the property market in Portsmouth will see little change. Although investors may begin to consider other viable investments and potentially begin to sell some of their existing portfolio, these properties will now be available to more first time buyers than before. The transition from tenant to homeowner will logically increase the available stock within the rental market, nevertheless, as a city we have always been fortunate that there has and is a high demand for property, we do not foresee this changing in the short term and welcome the increase in activity within the market.

If you are considering renting or selling your property now or in the near future feel free to give us a call or pop into the office, alternatively find out your properties potential rental or sale value with our free instant online valuation tool.

smoke alarm

Landlords,

As you may or may not be aware new legislation came into force from 1st October 2015 with regards to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in rented residential properties and there has been some confusion as to the requirements landlords need to take in order to comply with this new legislation.

Although this legislation has been out for nearly 2 years now I still received phone calls from landlords who are either unaware of the recent changes or are aware of them but have concerns that they might not be complying fully.

With the myriad of information available online it is easy to get confused between legislation and opinion.

So below you will find an easy to follow guide that will hopefully answer some of the common concerns and misconceptions on how to comply with the law and keep your property as safe as possible for your tenants.

Who does it apply to?

The law applies to all landlords renting residential accommodation that are let to one or more tenants occupying all or part of the property as their only or main place to live after the 1st October 2015.

 

What do I need to do to comply?

Smoke alarms

Landlords will have to ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of their property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.

Under this law, a bathroom or lavatory is classed as a room used for living accommodation and a room also covers halls, landings and stairways.

For instance, for maisonettes or flats above another premise where the flat is on the first floor but you enter via stairs on the ground floor a smoke alarm will be required in the stairwell.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Landlords also have to put a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel is burnt, such as wood, coal or biomass and includes open fires. It does not include gas, oil or LPG.

It should be noted however that we would always recommend having a carbon monoxide alarm fitted where any gas boiler is present as although boilers have to be legally checked on an annual basis for safety, mechanical failure can occur at any in the year between checks and lead to a deadly escape of Carbon monoxide.

Additionally, along with installing the alarms, landlords are then required to ensure that the alarms work at the start of each new tenancy; for example, by pressing the test button until the alarm beeps. This will ensure that the alarms were working at the start of the tenancy should it ever be called into question by the local authority.

With this in mind it is advisable to get the tenant to sign a receipt confirming the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working at the start of their tenancy or ensure it is in the inventory at check-in which is signed by the tenant.

During the tenancy however, it is a tenant’s responsibility to ensure the alarms work and it is their responsibility to change the batteries during the tenancy.

However, should the alarms become faulty during the tenancy landlords are still responsible for replacing them.

In addition, landlords do not need to check the alarms when a tenancy is renewed under the same conditions i.e. for the same premises by the same landlord to the same tenant and It does not include a periodic statutory tenancy which starts following the end of a shorthold tenancy.

Enforcement

Local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the new rules. If the local authority thinks that a landlord has not implemented the new rules correctly they will issue a notice advising the landlord what they need to do to resolve the problem. The local authority must give the notice within 21 days from when they believe that the landlord has breached the rules.

The landlord has 28 days to respond and/or make good what is needed to comply with the regulations.

NOTE: Landlords cannot be held responsible if they can show that they have taken reasonable steps to comply with the rules but cannot enforce the changes, such as if a tenant refuses to allow for the work to be done.

 

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

If landlords do not take action, the local authority can arrange for the required work to be carried out (with the consent of the occupier) to ensure that tenants are protected.

Local housing authorities also have the right to impose a fixed penalty charge of up to £5,000 on landlords who do not comply with the rules.

 

I still have questions?

It’s understandable, as a professional agent we have had 2 years to unpick the muddle of information that was initially proposed, eventually agreed upon and then amended again before it became law and we were then able to fully get to grips with fact vs fiction.

If you have questions or concerns then feel free to give us a call and we would be happy to talk you through the details.

For the landlords that already enjoy the benefit of our fully managed service and are wondering about your properties, don’t worry, although you may not know it; we here at Dacks have been ensuring that your properties have been complying since this regulation came in force.

approved mortgage loan

When you are buying a property, the biggest ingredient to your successful purchase is to get a mortgage approved, but where do you start? When do you need to think about it and what can you do to give yourself the best chance of approval?

The first step is to speak to an independent mortgage adviser, such as our recommended advisers Moneysprite Solent, they will talk to you about your aims and objectives and help to get you in a position where you know what you can borrow, but there are a few things you can do yourself to get the best out of that meeting and to get the best answer.

Firstly, be prepared!  Make sure you keep your payslips safe so you can access them quickly.  Make sure have all your accounts information if you are self employed preferably the last 2 years and request your latest 2 years SA302`s from your accountant or HMRC, and also check that proof of ID such as passports are in date and in the correct names.  These are all documents you will need to get a mortgage approved and having them at your first meeting means you will get to your answer quickly and the answer will be accurate!

Credit checks will need to be carried out to confirm  your borrowing power, but the more checks you have carried out, the more damage it can do to your mystical credit score, so access your own credit report first to see what the lender will see and bring that report along to your meeting.

Most of us have been in a situation where we’ve been declined credit. It’s not the best feeling in the world, is it?

While it can be inconvenient and embarrassing to be told that the “computer says ‘no'”, it helps to understand how credit scores work. If you know that, you can work out how to improve your credit rating.

How does a credit rating work?

Your credit score will vary between banks and building societies. That’s because they all use different methods of calculating it, based on their own analysis of your credit history. Your credit report will list your credit accounts such as store cards, credit cards, mortgage, loans, car finance, your repayment record and much more. It can make all the difference between getting the mortgage you want or getting a string of puzzling rejections.

Credit ratings are determined by a combination of:

•What you disclose in your application for credit

•What is contained in your credit file

•Any previous credit history you have with the lender you are applying with

If you’re over 18 and have ever taken out a credit card, store card, catalogue account, utility bill account, mortgage or loan (apart from a student loan), then you have a credit report, which is held securely by a credit reference agency.

A credit reference agency compiles information about your credit applications and payments and sends it on to any prospective lenders (or individuals who ask for their own report). Experian (Credit Expert) is the UK’s largest, but there are others such as Equifax and Callcredit.

The mortgage that you are applying for will only be available to you if your credit score meets or exceeds the minimum level set by the lender.

If your rating is lower than this, you may be offered borrowing at a higher interest rate, or declined it altogether. The more declines you get, the worse your credit score becomes, increasing the risk of tarnishing you with an adverse, poor or bad credit label.

7 Steps to improving your credit:

1. Check your credit file

You can view this on a free trial basis or by paying a small fee. Make sure that all the information on the report is accurate, and get it removed by contacting the lender if it isn’t. If you request your report on a free trial, and you don’t need access to it after the trial period ends, remember to cancel it by setting a calendar reminder.

2. Disassociate yourself from your financial partner

When you take out a joint mortgage or joint bank account, you become “financially linked” to the person you’ve taken it out with. If they have a bad credit rating, it could impact yours. If you have split up with your partner, husband or wife and/or the joint financial product you have taken out is no longer between you both, inform the credit reference agencies of your disassociation. If not, the other person’s financial dealings could still have an impact on your credit score.

3. Get on the electoral roll

This will improve your chances of being accepted for credit. This is because prospective lenders and credit reference agencies use this to check you are who you say you are, and you live where you say you live. Ensure your credit record shows correct address details. Living at the same address, being employed in the same job (with the same employer) and having the same bank account for a reasonable period of time will also help.

4. Close unused credit cards, store cards, direct debits and mobile contracts

Lenders may consider the amount of credit you have access to, as well as the amount of debt you owe. Close all credit accounts such as credit cards, store cards, mobile contracts and accounts that you don’t use or need anymore.

5. Don’t miss or make late repayments

Missed and late payments can stay on your credit file for up to six years. If you’ve made a late payment due to circumstances beyond your control (i.e. your direct debit wasn’t set up in time), so long as you made the payment promptly when you noticed, talk to your credit provider and see if you can get this black mark removed.

6. Pay off your debts

Pay off more than just the minimum payment. This signifies good behaviour to a prospective lender.

7. Build your credit history with a credit card

If you’ve never had credit before, it’s difficult for a lender to assess you. Consider taking out a small credit card, making a couple of purchases on it each month and then repaying the balance in full at the end with a direct debit to build a good credit history. This will show that you can responsibly manage credit.

So in essence, be as prepared as possible for your first mortgage meeting, that way you will save time and give yourself the best chance of the outcome you hoped for when it comes to being able to purchase your next home.  Our Moneysprite Solent adviser can help you with all your mortgage questions and needs, so get in touch today and get planning your purchase now!

harvey house

Living In Leasehold

An ever increasing number of people purchase a leasehold property as their home, whether as a first time buyer, as a retirement home or an investment. This article explains the basic elements of leasehold ownership.

Leasehold properties have become a large proportion of the UK property market and this is also true in Portsmouth.

Leasehold living offers accommodation for the growing population of the city of Portsmouth and brings a variety of properties catering for varying occupancy needs. Although a seafront apartment with a balcony and sea views is an exciting prospect, it is important to understand the additional responsibility on the homeowner under the terms of the lease.

When buying a leasehold property it is crucial that individuals understand their rights and responsibilities as set out in the lease.

Many first time buyers in particular, may not even know what a lease is so it is important that they are given a copy of the lease and have it explained to them before purchasing their apartment.

For the wiser leasehold property owner they will be only too aware of the benefits and pitfalls of owning an apartmentin a leasehold building. This article aims to clarify some of the prominent aspects of living in a leasehold property.

 

WHAT DOES LEASEHOLD MEAN?

In it’s simplest form, owning a leasehold apartment is a long tenancy. You have the right to occupy and use the apartment for a long period of time – the ‘term’ of the lease. This will usually be for 99 or 125 years from the date the building was constructed.

As the leaseholder, you will usually own and be responsible for everything within the apartment. This will include the floorboards and plaster to the walls and ceiling. The structure, external walls and communal parts of the building, including the land it stands on, will usually be owned by the freeholder who is also the landlord.

The landlord can be a person or a company including a local authority or a housing association. It’s also quite common for leaseholders to collectively own the freehold through a residents’ management company, effectively becoming their own landlord.

KNOW YOUR LEASE

Your lease may be quite complicated but its fundamental role is simple. It’s a contract between you and the landlord, giving you conditional ownership of your apartment for a fixed period of time. It sets out your contractual obligations as a leaseholder and those of your landlord; therefore, it’s important you know the contents of the lease and understand them. This will include payment of ground rent and contributions to the costs of maintaining and managing the building through service charges.

The lease will also place certain conditions on the use and occupation of the apartment. It’s especially important to understand these before you purchase your apartment. It’s not uncommon for someone to move into their new home only to discover a beloved pet can’t come with them because they are not allowed under the terms of the lease. More recently, issues with subletting have been increasing with the rise of Airbnb and other short term holiday lettings businesses. Although potentially lucrative, check your lease to ensure you’re and not breaching your obligations to the landlord.

SERVICE CHARGES & GROUND RENT

The service charge is the payment made by a leaseholder to the freeholder or their managing agent to maintain, repair and insure the building as well as to provide other services such as lifts, central heating or cleaners. These charges are liable to change from one year to the next but at all times must be ‘reasonable’.

Leaseholders have the right to challenge the service charge if they feel this is ‘unreasonable’ via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT). It is important to find out what the current charges are and the charges for the future years and what, if any, reserves are held to cover the cost of major works such as the external decoration of the building. The provison of the ‘reserve fund’ may be provided for within the lease to collect additional funds for the future works.

Details of what can and cannot be charged by the landlord and the proportion to be paid by the individual leaseholders should all be set out within the lease.

“Ground rent” is paid under the terms of a lease by the owner of an apartment to the owner of the land (freeholder) on which it is built. The charge for this is varying from lease to lease; however, it is important to understand as this can increase in increments over time. It is not unusual for the ground rent be renegotiated upon an extension of an existing lease.

With a well written lease and a professionally managed building, leasehold properties can be an ideal home and a secure investment. For more information on the leasehold management service we provide please see our leasehold management page. If you have any questions regarding the content of this article or would like impartial advice in respect to leasehold property matters in general please, contact us with your enquiry.

 

Southsea

When looking for the best place to rent in Southsea, it may help to ask yourself the following four questions:

1. Would a house suit my needs better than an apartment?

If you’re looking for a larger living space and you’d like to consider houses as well as apartments then you probably need to be focussing your search in areas at least one kilometre north of the seafront. This area of Southsea is largely residential and dominated by Victorian terraced housing which provides excellent space and period character at a reasonable price. There is a good supply of houses to rent in this part of Southsea although a private parking space the exception not the rule. Parking is generally unrestricted but busy.

Areas in the North of the City such as Copnor or North End, will give you quicker access to the motorways and you can avoid the Eastern Road traffic jams in the morning and evenings. There is also generally a little more free parking than in Southsea and there is a little less competition for spaces.

2. How close to the sea would I like to live?
For some people, living in Southsea is all about being as close as possible to the sea. There are lots of apartment blocks along the seafront, many Victorian in character, others reflecting more recent architectural styles and most of these properties are in the rental sector. The eastern end or Eastney tends to be the quieter end of the promenade, less built up and with fewer retail outlets. The western end of the promenade towards Clarence Pier is generally busier and is a short walk to Southsea centre and Gunwharf Quays, making it a very popular choice for those looking to rent in Southsea. A reasonable number of these apartments do have private parking which may be valuable to you given that much of the seafront parking is metered during the day time.

There are some lovely rental properties available in Old Portsmouth, a sought after area full of character but in general the area is dominated by owner occupied property. Just beyond Old Portsmouth is Gunwharf Quays where most properties are apartments within attractive residential blocks. There are a reasonably good number of rental properties available in this highly sought after area, these attractive apartment blocks are a mixture of owner occupiers and renting working professionals, but it is worth noting there are a surprising number of student lets too.

3. Would I like to rent a property in Southsea with a garden?
If you are looking for a rental property with a garden then you’ll probably need to look at a house or a garden flat. Whilst Southsea gardens tend to be smaller than in many other parts of the UK, there are lots of great properties that do have a little garden that provides an outside oasis in the hot Summer weather. Alternatively if, when you see a garden you just see another set of chores then an apartment without outdoor space beyond perhaps a balcony might suit you more and there are plenty to choose from. With that being said Southsea Common is a short walk away from a number of apartments in central Southsea and many tenants are not being as put off by a lack of outside space as we have seen in previous years.

4. Where should I rent to ensure I’m in the right school catchment area?
If schools are important to you then it is worth checking out the catchment areas of your target schools. You can use the City Council’s useful guide herehttps://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/schools/infant-junior-and-primary-schools-information-and-catchment-areas.aspx

Whatever you’re looking for in a rental property in Southsea, at Dack we can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. We manage hundreds of rental properties in Southsea on behalf of their owners and so we know exactly which Southsea rental properties will suit your needs.

rental agreement form

Any contract can seem complex and lengthy; most people (believe it or not!) do not fully understand what they are signing up to.

Below are the main points to watch out for when signing up with an estate agent.

1.The Cost

Does your agent charge VAT? Be mindful if there is just a percentage or fixed fee mentioned. Ask the agent if they are VAT registered. If they are you, will be looking to add 20% to whatever price has been quoted.

Work out the total cost in advance. As a seller, the last think you want is a shock of a bill once you are preparing to complete!.

2.Tie-in periods

All agents will have a contract length, regardless as to whether they are traditional high street or corporate. However, should your chosen agent not be performing as well as you would like, and you wish to change, you will be bound by length of time you initially signed up to.

Most agency agreements last between 8 – 12 weeks, however we have come across some as long as 20! It does beg the question if the agent thinks they need 20 weeks to sell your property, why? and are they the right one for you?

Along with the length of the agreement, be careful of the notice period should you wish to dis-instruct them or instruct another agent to work alongside your current agent. In our experience this is normally 14 days written notice, however we have seen some notice periods of 4 weeks!

Make sure your contract gives you the flexibility to terminate without incurring a penalty, and go elsewhere if you’re unhappy with your agent with reasonable notice.

3. Hidden or additional fees

Check the contract for extra fees, such as additional marketing costs or penalties for ending the contract early. Any good agent will be flexible with their terms and you are within your rights for these to be removed if you don’t like them.

Make sure you are clear of any additional costs. How much is professional photography? Does my property require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

4. Type of contract

There are different types of contracts and each has its pros and cons, make sure you know what they are, and choose carefully:

Sole agency – If the contract gives the agent “sole selling rights” then think carefully before signing. The estate agent in the contract is the only one allowed to sell your home during the length of the contract. You will still have to serve them the agreed notice period should you wish to instruct another agent.

Multi agency – You can use as many agents as you like and only pay commission to the one who sells your property. Agents will argue that the more agents your property is with the higher your chances of securing a buyer, that’s a whole other conversation! but you will normally pay higher fees to sign multi agency. Using this approach depends on what type of property you have, and the state of the market and your situation.

Summary

  • Make sure you review any estate agents contract carefully before signing, be mindful of the following:
  • Review all commission rates
  • Be sure it is clear whether or not VAT is included in the fee
  • Review the type of contract
  • Ensure there are no additional charges
  • Review the length of the tie-in period and the written notice period

Dack Residential Sales are transparent with our costs and Terms of Business. We have had too many clients come to us from other agents who have had unfavourable terms imposed on them. We focus on being clear with you from the very beginning and have a strong emphasis on long term customer relationships. Should you wish to arrange a valuation for your property, please get in contact.

Even if you are with another estate agent and would like a second opinion on your current contract, pop into the office for a confidential chat.

Viewings Dack

Whether you are renting or buying, a viewing can be an exciting experience. However be sure to ask the important questions to understand what you are getting for your money.

Our experienced team at Dack have conducted thousands of viewings over the years and have summarised some of the most commonly asked questions for you below:

What should I ask when renting a property?

  • Are any bills included?
  • Why are the current tenants moving?
  • Who manages the property, the landlord or you, the agent?
  • Which parts of the property am I responsible for maintaining?
  • What are your fees?
  • Where is the deposit held?
  • What are the neighbours like?

We have managed a number of our properties for many years; therefore we know the property and the landlord requirements inside out.

As a prospective tenant is important to remember that the letting agent is acting as an intermediary between you and the landlord. Our role is to advise accordingly, but ultimately the landlord has the final decision.

What should I ask when buying a property?

  • Why is the owner selling? How long have they lived here?
  • Has the owner found another property and what are the chain details?
  • If leasehold, what is the service change and ground rent?
  • How long is the lease? (If applicable)
  • Are there any historic issues with the building or major works planned? (If applicable)
  • What type of heating system does the property have? When it was last serviced?

As the estate agent we will be as prepared as possible for the viewing, however upon occasion we may need to discuss your query with the vendor or research further before getting back to you.

This may seem like a lot of questions to ask and not all of them may apply, however if you are renting or buying, moving is a big decision and not to be taken lightly. Here at Dack we have a reputation built over 25 years of dealing with our customers with consummate professionalism and integrity. There is no question too big or small to ask.

Please view our properties to rent or our properties for sale. If we do not currently have anything that meets your requirement please register your details to be kept informed of new properties as they come to the market.

If you would like to arrange a viewing please get in contact or visit us on Osborne Road.

 

rental

The dreaded property ‘chain’ can cause chaos – putting you in the land of the unknown. In some case you might have to wait for upwards of twelve properties to exchange and complete at the same time!

Our experienced team at Dack have valuable experience of progressing a number of complicated chains and this article looks at some of the steps you, as a buyer or seller, can take to make things run more smoothly, if you have to buy and sell at the same time.

In an ideal world, you would sell your home the minute you put it on the market and then have all the time you need to find your next dream home while your buyers wait patiently until you’re ready to move. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world and in most cases you’ll find yourself in a chain. While not uncommon, property chains can cause significant headaches, so if you’re planning to buy and sell at the same time, here is how to make sure you’re prepared.

Stage 1 – Get your property valued

Before you start making plans to buy your new home, you need to get a clear understanding of how much your current home is worth. We would be more than happy to offer a free valuation and provided you with evidence to support our value.

Stage 2 – Work out your finances

What is your budget? It is important to get your head around your finances early on in the process; How much equity do you have in your current home? Do you need a mortgage? If so, what are your repayments going to be and can you afford them.

Our advice would be to have an initial conversation with an independent mortgage broker. These initial chats are normally conducted over the phone with a follow up meeting in person.

That conversation may lead to re-mortgaging or porting your mortgage over to the new property. Either way, if you would like our adviser to give you a call please let us know. Alternatively you can see more details on our Financial Services page.

You should also bear in mind additional costs such as stamp duty and estimate the utilities for the new property, such as the council tax band. You will also need to work out your legal costs.

Stage 3 – Find a good solicitor

A good solicitor is integral to a smooth house sale and/or purchase. This is another cost which will need to be taken into account. We work closely with Independent Solicitors who have serviced a number of our clients and had nothing but positive feedback. If you would like a free, no obligation quote, please contact us. For more information please see our conveyancing page.

Stage 4 – Find a property

Once you’ve found a property you like and worked out the sums you can book a viewing. For more information see our article “What should I be asking on my viewing?”.

Consider what works, if any, you’d need to do on the property and the associated costs, consult your mortgage broker again if need be. Perhaps you have identified an issue or want to rip out that dark orange 1970s bathroom suite as soon as you move in. Once you’ve done the maths, if you’re happy it works out, you can make an offer.

Stage 5 – Maximise your negotiating power

Agents love an informed and prepared buyer or seller. While you’re perfectly entitled to put in an offer on a property when your own home is still up for sale or not even on the market, you will be in a stronger position if your property is under offer.

Coming to an agent with a property already under offer with an understanding of exactly what is going on in the chain, solicitor’s details and an Agreement In Principle (AIP) in hand will always put you in good stead. With that being said all sellers and buyers have different needs and all offers are handled on a case by case basis.

Stage 6 – Be prepared to wait

Buying and selling a property is, unfortunately, not a quick process. At Dack we focus on managing everyone’s expectations once a buyer is found. Granted we want your sale to go through as quickly as possible, but not by cutting corners.

We expect between 8 – 10 weeks for the average completion, however with a number of variables in the equation, such as the number of properties in the chain or number of potential enquiries to be raised during conveyancing, it’s not an exact science.

Our job is not over by any means once we have found a buyer; an agent proves their worth when it comes to progressing the sale, overcoming obstacles and getting you through to completion. We have a heavy focus on offer validation at the very beginning, making sure your buyer is committed and can afford your property and ensure clear communication throughout the sales process.

In the UK 1 in 3 sales fall through. This is a scary statistic and we aim to reduce this figure dramatically for our customers.

Stage 7 – Set a date

Once the conveyancing process is nearing conclusion, we can start to work towards exchange and completion dates. Exchange is the date the transaction becomes legally binding with completion being the date upon which the funds will be transferred and the keys released to the new owner. It’s important that all parties co-ordinate a completion date both up and down the chain that works for everyone. This will take some negotiation. More often than not you will need to be prepared to compromise.

In summary when buying and selling, you should:

  • Get your property valued.
  • Work out your finances
  • Find a good solicitor
  • Find a property
  • Maximise your negotiating power
  • Be prepared to wait
  • Set a date

Don’t be put off by how complicated the process sounds, it’s not a scary as it seems. It’s the role of us, the estate agent, to make your life easier and take charge of the process.

Give us a call or pop into the office for some advice and a chat if you are thinking of buying or selling.

energy efficiency southsea

From 1 APRIL 2018, all landlords will be required to meet new minimum energy efficiency standards.

Those in the residential sector will be required to bring their properties up to a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of Band E. The crucial thing to note is that you won’t be able to grant new tenancies or renew existing ones if the property falls below that level. And that applies even if your tenant is perfectly happy with things as they are.

The Government is determined to improve conditions for tenants, and landlords have to fall in line, even if it will take a long time for them to realise any financial benefit. If the tenant is paying the fuel bills, they’ll be happier, but with estimated bills to bring standards up to the required levels averaging £1,400, it’s your profits that will feel the pinch.

Like most there is always an exception to some rules and this will be one of those happy times.

You may not need to make the improvements:

  • If your property is listed and the changes will affect its appearance
  • If the improvement would reduce the market value of your property by more than 5%
  • If the anticipated savings over a period of seven years are less than the cost of the improvement measures.

That leaves most landlords with band F or G properties in the position of needing to consider changes to their property’s glazing, draught proofing and loft and/or cavity wall insulation.

What do I need to do know about the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards?

Firstly, review your position.

Work out which of your properties might need an upgrade. There are various arguments ongoing about solid wall properties and the amount of insulation they offer, so it might be worth having an EPC reassessed if you’re in this situation.

Make sure you know the work you need to do to achieve at least and E rating.

All EPC reports will come with a suggested list of improvement to increase your rating but if you are unsure of the best course of action check with the assessor that carried the report or you’re letting agent about the best way forward.

It will also be worth checking you have access rights to carry it out. For example, if you own a flat in a block, there may be restrictions on the work you can undertake.

Check the dates that your tenancies expire. You may be able to schedule works accordingly and renegotiate rent to help recoup some of your outlay.

Do I really need to do this?

Most important thing to do is don’t pretend the problem will go away if you find one of your properties falls below the minimum rating. If you’re found in breach of the rules, fines are steep. The £5,000 you could be paying out would most likely have covered improvement costs several times over.

With everything else landlords are having to deal with, this extra responsibility and cost isn’t welcome, but in the longer term making properties more energy efficient should improve both their resale value and their rentability.

If you would like more advice on this upcoming change and how it will affect your property, feel free to contact a member of our team and we will be able to advise on preparing for your property for ‘E-DAY’.

 

Property ladder Dack

 

Are you considering getting on the property ladder this year?

It is often a daunting task, but interest rates are at an all-time low with lenders offering a number of products to assist first time buyers, some with deposits as low as 5%! As a local Estate Agent we have put together a list of the top 5 things to consider should you be looking to buy your first property.

1.Do your research on how much you can borrow based on your current salary.

Lenders have different criteria on the level of borrowing, however most lenders will offer 4.5 times your annual income. Should you be jointly purchasing your property this will be the total income from both of you. I would advise meeting with a mortgage broker to discuss your options. We work closely with Moneysprite Solent who can discuss your needs over the phone, at your home or in our office. Contact us if you would like to arrange a free, no obligation appointment.

2. Know how much of a deposit you need.

As a rule of thumb the higher the deposit the lower the interest rate, however there are a number of products that our financial adviser will be able to discuss with you. There are some products that can offer a 5% deposit, however 10% is more common.

3. Understand the total cost of buying.

Unfortunately you need more than just the deposit. Other costs to consider are your legal fees, surveyor, stamp duty, general moving expenses along with obtaining the recommended and sometimes necessary insurances. All of these costs can add up!

We work closely with a number of local independent solicitors and can arrange a free quote to handle the conveyancing. In our experience a good solicitor is integral to a smooth home purchase.

4. Work out the time frame. Buying a property often takes longer than people imagine.

The average completion time we expect is between 10-12 weeks. However buying a property is not always a straight forward process and with a number of variable factors in the equation is it the job of your agent to manage the process and be positive yet realistic, clear and open in relation to your expectations from day one.

5. Don’t rush!

Buying a property is a big decision and not something to rush into. Understand everything in the equation and have all documentation arranged before you submit your offer. Most importantly your Agreement In Principle (AIP) for your mortgage. Most AIP’s are valid for up to 90 days.

Be prepared

An aspect of our role of the estate agent is to validate all offers received on behalf of our sellers. Should two offers be received, both from first time buyers, however one had their AIP from their lenders and details of their chosen solicitor, the other pending, it would be in our sellers’ interest to proceed with the more prepared buyer.

Our advice for a first-time buyer?

Think like an estate agent and do your homework! It is essential that your first step is the right one. So you need to make sure that you buy your home for the right price and in an area you will be happy in for the foreseeable future. If you research the market accurately by using Rightmove, OnTheMarket and Zoopla this will give you a head start when making a sensible offer on a property, as well as managing your expectations regarding your affordability.

View our properties for sale and please get in contact if you would like to arrange a viewing. Alternatively you can register your details to be kept informed of new properties as they come to the market.

67 Osbourne Road, Southsea, Portsmouth PO5 3LS
02392 896996
info@dackpropertymanagement.co.uk
Company number 5221689
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