Category: Property market

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.

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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