Getting more energy efficient

Getting more energy efficient

A reminder about MEES, EPCs and cold showers!  And how we can all do our bit 

Remember MEES?

Back in April I blogged about the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) which come into force next April (2018).

In a nutshell, if you’re a landlord, you won’t be able to renew or grant a new tenancy of longer than 6 months if your property has an EPC rating of ‘E’ or lower. If your EPC is lower than that, you also risk a substantial fine.

The new standards have been designed to help the UK reduce carbon emissions. But of course, they should also help tenants – more efficient heating and insulation means cheaper energy bills.

And don’t forget EPCs

This year also sees the 10th anniversary of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), a certificate that measures the energy efficiency of a property. It includes a survey that looks at heating systems, insulation and the effectiveness of windows and doors in blocking draughts.

An EPC will normally include recommendations for improvements too, such as switching to LED lighting, installing better loft insulation, a new boiler, double glazing or having external wall insulation fitted.

Improving energy efficiency – landlords  

The fact that EPCs are now 10 years old means the oldest ones are no longer valid. Renters and buyers need to check the date carefully in order not to be caught out.

Technology and energy efficiency have come a long way in the last 10 years. For properties with older EPCs (and combined with MEES) this should provide a real incentive for landlords to push up energy efficiency standards. And that has to be good news for tenants as well as the wider population.

Doing your bit too

The long summer holidays can cause energy consumption to spike, particularly when you throw in some of the not so seasonal weather we’ve had lately.

Extra time spent in the kitchen cooking, watching TV, playing computer games and perhaps even putting the heating on (yes, I know who you are), all take their toll on your heating bills.

So, to help you do your bit this summer, here are 5 easy steps to help keep you energy efficient this summer:

  1. Take showers not baths and try and turn the temperature dial down too.
  2. Opt for salads for lunch rather than using the oven to cook meals.
  3. Dry clothes on the washing line, not in the tumble drier (if it stops raining for long enough) and keep windows open rather than running the air conditioning or a fan.
  4. Don’t leave appliances switched on or on standby and try and limit TV or computer game time. I know, easier said than done when the weather is bad.
  5. Try using a “smart meter” which allows you to keep track of exactly how much gas and electricity you’re using and which appliances you’re using the most. Check it daily with the kids and then try and get the reading down by using less energy!

And of course, don’t forget to check the date on your EPC. If it’s one of the older ones, it might just be time to ask your landlord to make a few changes before winter kicks in!

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

 

Are your tenants afraid of you?

Are your tenants afraid of you?

The rise of retaliatory evictions

More than two out of five (41%) private tenants have waited longer than they usually should for their landlord to carry out a repair, according to a recent report by Citizens Advice.

Why? Because they’re afraid of being evicted, having their rent put up or being blacklisted.

The report goes on to explain that there is still an entrenched culture of fear among private tenants. Last year alone, Citizens Advice helped people with more than 16,000 problems around private rented sector homes in poor condition.

Your responsibility as a landlord

Private landlords in the private sector have a legal responsibility to fix problems in a reasonable time – usually a month or less, or 24 hours for the most serious cases.

If you fail to carry out the necessary work within a reasonable time, a court can order you to carry out a repair and / or award financial compensation.

The reality

57% of tenants who took part in the survey told Citizens Advice that they didn’t want to force the issue with their landlord for fear of repercussions.

30% of tenants said they’d carried out repairs themselves and 14% had paid for repair work themselves. One family had spent £10,000 of their own money fixing a range of issues in their home, including a broken heating system, after repeated complaints to their landlord failed.

The most common issues are broken fittings, faulty electricals and leaks, all of which can make life miserable as well as potentially dangerous and unhealthy for tenants.

Current protection for tenants

  1. Assured shorthold tenancies starting before 1 Oct 2015

If your tenancy started before 1 October 2015, there’s no special protection that prevents you as a landlord from evicting a tenant who complains about repairs. That said, new rules are set to come into force late next year and these should provide your tenant with more protection.

  1. Assured shorthold tenancies starting on or after 1 October 2015

New rules now apply to newer tenancies which could protect your tenant if they complain about repairs or conditions in your property and you respond by issuing a section 21 notice.

The new rules mean a court can refuse to order eviction if all the following apply:

  • your tenant complained to you or your letting agent in writing (by letter or email)
  • you issued a section 21 notice after they complained
  • your tenant complained to the local council because you didn’t take steps to fix the problem
  • the council sent you a notice telling you to make improvements or the council would carry out emergency work.

The new rules may also apply if your tenant complained about the repairs to the council because they didn’t have a postal or email address for you.

Service of an improvement notice

If the council serves you with an improvement notice or notice requiring remedial action, the section 21 notice you’ve served on your tenant becomes invalid.

That means that if the improvement notice is served before the court hearing, your case will fail and the court won’t order your tenant to leave.

Service of improvement notice after court hearing 

If the council doesn’t serve you with an improvement notice before the court hearing, the court can order your tenant to leave. And the court can’t overturn an order to evict if the council’s notice comes later.

How long does an improvement notice affect your ability to evict?

A section 21 eviction notice will be invalid for 6 months after you’ve received an improvement notice from the council.

The new rules don’t apply if your tenant:

  • only complained verbally or you served a section 21 notice before they complained in writing
  • complained to the council but the council took no action or only served you with a ‘hazard notice’

The new rules also won’t help if you can prove to the court that:

  • the tenant caused the problem they’re complaining about
  • you’ve genuinely put the property up for sale – sales to friends, family or business partners might not count
  • the property has been repossessed by your lender and the property will be sold with vacant possession (this will not apply if the tenancy started before you took out the mortgage)

The new rules don’t apply to the section 8 court procedure for non-payment of rent.

The way forward

eviction Citizens Advice is calling for better protection by rolling out independent complaints bodies – or Alternative Dispute Resolution schemes – across the private rented sector. Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Renters should be able to ask for repairs to their home without fear of retaliation…renters [need] protection from retaliatory action, so they feel confident reporting a problem in their home and don’t feel like their only option is to dip into their own pocket.”

Steps you should take as a landlord

It should go without saying that if you’re a landlord you should always carry out work as quickly as possible. Try to imagine what it would feel like if it was your family living with the issue that’s been reported.

But actually, there’s more you can do:

  • Make it clear to your tenants that you won’t retaliate and encourage them to report issues. That might mean making a point of asking them on a regular basis whether everything is okay. If you don’t want to be that involved, make sure you have a good letting agent, and encourage them to keep an open dialogue with your tenants. You or letting agent needs to be proactive to show that you take your responsibilities seriously and will ensure repairs are carried out quickly, with no repercussions.
  • Make sure any repairs done are not done at unsociable times and make sure you give your tenants reasonable notice. It’s your property but it’s their home after all.
  • Don’t leave repairs unfinished and make sure someone (you or your agent) follows up with the tenant afterwards.

At the end of the day, your tenants are likely to stay longer and treat your property better if they feel that you care about both your property and them. And that’s got to be a good thing for everyone. If you don’t treat them well and carry out repairs quickly, you may find yourself falling foul of the new legal provisions.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

What’s important to landlords?

What’s important to landlords?

Getting more out of your rental property

Despite what some might describe as repeated attacks by the government on the landlord lifestyle, the number of landlords in the UK increased in 2013 -2014 by 7%, reaching 1.75 million (HMRC). And in 2014, two million private landlords owned and let some five million properties in the UK (Paragon). In short, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) is still a growing and successful sector.

The reason, of course, is that it still represents an exciting opportunity and a great way to earn a residual income. But contrary to popular belief (and as I know having been a landlord for some time), it’s not all about the money. So, what is important to landlords, what do you struggle with, and perhaps most importantly, as a letting agent, how can I help?

Maximising your yield

maximising the rental yield It may not be all about the money but it goes without saying, that profit will always be important. It’s not rocket science to suggest that in order to maximise your yield, you need to keep a keen eye on expenses and get the best possible rent for your property. And a good letting agent can help with both of those.

Letting agent fees

Letting agents often make big promises about what they can deliver but let’s start by taking a careful look at their fees.

It’s tempting to choose the agent with the cheapest headline tariff. But. And it’s a big but, make absolutely sure you know what extras will be charged on top of the basic fee or “Full Management” tariff. They can be deceptive.

Will you have to pay extra for:

  • set up fees,
  • inventory fees,
  • fees to lodge deposits,
  • estimates for repairs, and / or
  • finding a tenant?

What happens if your tenant leaves in the first 12 months? Will you be charged again by your agent to find a new tenant or is that included in the upfront fee?

In other words, don’t be fooled by an attractive headline fee only to find that the final bill adds up to a great deal more than those agents who you thought were more expensive!

What’s the best rentable value?

Whether or not you know the area in which you’re hoping to buy (or let), the insider knowledge of your letting agent can be invaluable.

Your agent should know the state of the rental market – has a significant employer in the area relocated elsewhere? Is it a popular area for students or young workers making it suitable for multiple occupancy? Are there plans for improved infrastructure that could make this a desirable commuter area? Has a planning application been submitted for a development which may make this a very unpopular place to live?

Don’t just rely on your own knowledge or research of similar rental properties in the area. Instead take advantage of your agent’s knowledge and experience to make sure you buy a property with the best possible rental value.

Ensuring you get the best tenants  

As a landlord, you want to avoid two things – long periods of time when your property is empty and unreliable tenants who leave the property in a mess or don’t pay their rent.

That means, the quality of your tenant vetting process is vital. Check at the outset what your chosen agent’s vetting process is and that it’s robust. If it isn’t (or they haven’t really got one), walk away. You’ll end up with the first person who turns up and that’s rarely a good thing.

All agents should credit check the tenant and the guarantor, as well as asking for references. And all references should always be checked out thoroughly.

Then ask your agent whether they visit prospective tenants in their current accommodation. Because that can be a very good indicator of how they may treat your property.

An easy life

As I said, being a successful landlord isn’t all about maximising profits. Most landlords I know genuinely care about their tenants and want to be sure that they are living as comfortably as possible. But that doesn’t mean they want to spend every second minute following up tenant complaints, checking properties and making sure they’re compliant.

In short, most landlords want peace of mind and the knowledge that their tenants are happy and their properties and tenancies are legally compliant.

And that’s where a good letting agent can add real value. For example, at EweMove, we’ll manage all statutory compliance aspects of letting your home, from your Energy Performance Rating to your tenancy agreement and your inventory.

We’ll also make sure that we’re there when you or your tenants need us. We’ll keep you updated if there is a problem and we can recommend trusted suppliers.

In fact, we recommend that it’s a good idea to agree in advance what sort of issues you always want to be involved in and what issues you’re happy for us to resolve without bothering you. Although of course, we’ll always keep you informed – you just may not want a call from us at midnight on a Saturday night!

What’s important to you?

I’d love to know what you value most from your letting agent and what’s important to you. Please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

 

Is your tenancy agreement fit for purpose?

Is your tenancy agreement fit for purpose?

Or if something went wrong, would you be left counting the cost?

With so much political upheaval over the last couple of years and so many changes to legislation, it’s easy to lose track of what affects you. And the private landlord sector has perhaps been hit harder than most when it comes to those changes.

Which all means, it’s more important than ever before to protect your position as well as ensure you are legally compliant, by having in place a correctly prepared tenancy agreement.

Does the following sound familiar?

Tenancy agreement advice- EweMove DorkingWorryingly, a recent survey by Direct Line found that 58% of “go it alone” landlords were using adapted tenancy agreements, sourced either from online templates or from old agency contracts. These landlords had no idea how accurate or not these may have been.

The survey also found that 13% of landlords had experienced disputes in the past 2 years specifically arising from a tenant’s rental contract. And worse still, an astonishing 10% of landlords had no formal tenancy agreement in place at all!

Let’s get one thing straight

An up to date tenancy agreement is absolutely essential. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of both you and your tenant as well as the terms of occupation (or eviction). It has to be fair and legally compliant.

It may make the difference between being able to evict your tenant or not. Or whether you can offset a deposit against damage to your property.

Which is the correct type of tenancy agreement (and what the terms should be) will, of course, depend on what type of tenancy your tenant has and when it started. If you’re in any doubt about this, please contact us here at EweMove.

At the very least your tenancy agreement should include:

  • the names of all people involved
  • the rental price and how it’s paid
  • information on how and when the rent will be reviewed
  • the deposit amount and how (and if) it will be protected
  • when the deposit can be fully or partly withheld, e.g. to repair damage caused by tenants
  • the property address
  • the start and end date of the tenancy
  • any tenant or landlord obligations
  • which bills your tenants are responsible for

It may also include information on:

  • whether the tenancy can be ended early and how this can be done
  • who’s responsible for minor repairs (other than those that the landlord is legally responsible for)
  • whether the property can be let to someone else (sublet) or have lodgers.

(source – https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-agreements-a-guide-for-landlords/what-you-should-include-in-a-tenancy-agreement)

Recent changes to the legislation that may need to be incorporated in your tenancy agreement 

  1. Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

Buy to letA Section 21 Notice is used when a Landlord requires the tenant to vacate a rented property by a specified date.

Since October 1st 2015, as a landlord you have been required to provide your tenant with a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate, the Energy Performance Certificate and the latest update of the Government’s How to Rent Guide. If you don’t provide these, then you cannot issue a Section 21.

You will, therefore, need to be able to prove that you complied with these requirements and making them part of your tenancy agreement is a sensible way to do this.

  1. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Since October 1st 2015, private landlords in England have had to ensure that there is a smoke alarm on each floor of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in every room with a solid fuel burning appliance. The alarms must be tested and working at the start of each tenancy. Again, it is a good idea to include this in your tenancy agreement.

  1. Right to rent. 

right to rentEffective from February 1st 2016, landlords have to conduct the appropriate checks to ensure that their prospective tenants have the right to rent property in the UK. Failure to do so carries considerable penalties.

  1. Energy Performance.

From April 1st 2016, private rental sector landlords may receive energy improvement requests from their tenants if the property in question has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G. In which case, you the landlord will be legally bound to improve the rating to E. Typical improvement measures being, increasing the insulation, upgrading the boiler or installing double glazing.

The contents of your tenancy agreement is a specialist area. The law surrounding tenancies is fast moving and complicated. It’s not possible to give comprehensive advice in a blog about this but it is possible to flag up changes and areas which you need to be aware of.

If you need advice with a tenancy agreement, don’t leave things to chance, get in touch today.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

 

As a landlord, are you legionellosis ready?

Because if you’re not, you better read on.

I know, there’s been yet another major political upheaval and nearly every other blog I’ve read in the last few days has been filled with commentary about it. Which is why I thought I’d write about something completely different today. And let’s face it, I can’t exactly bring you news about what this new government means for landlords yet!

So, although it may be a fascinating time, whatever your viewpoint, don’t let it take your attention away from some important landlord responsibilities.

So what is Legionellosis?

landlord responsibilities Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria including the most serious and the one you’ve probably heard of, legionnaires’ disease.

 

The two things that Legionella bacteria need to grow and reproduce are:

  • a water temperature of 20-45C (68-113F)
  • impurities in the water that the bacteria can use for food – such as rust, algae and limescale.

Although relatively rare, Legionnaires’ disease can form in contaminated showers, hot and cold water systems, sprinkler systems and spas.

You catch it by inhaling small droplets of water (aerosols) containing the bacteria. It usually takes six to seven days between getting the infection and the start of symptoms, although it can be anytime from two to 19 days.

How serious is it?

You probably remember frightening headlines about seriously ill patients, when there’s been previous outbreaks in the UK. Although 90% of those infected do recover, it’s a very serious lung infection, particularly in people with pre-existing health conditions. And it can lead to other life-threatening conditions.

Why should landlords care?

building inspectorUnfortunately, landlords often overlook the importance and necessity of putting safeguards in place against Legionellosis.

As a landlord providing residential accommodation you are responsible for ensuring that the risk of exposure to legionella in your premises is properly assessed and controlled.

All water systems require an assessment of the risk. You can do that yourself if you are competent to do so, or employ somebody who is.  In most residential situations, a simple assessment may show that the risks are low and no further action may be necessary.

However, even if that is the case, it’s still important to review the assessment regularly (in case anything changes in the system) and manage the water systems appropriately.

Empty properties, holiday homes and second homes

It’s also important not to let water go stagnant, particularly in periods when the property is empty. This makes empty holiday homes vulnerable, especially in the summer. To manage this, there are a number of options you can consider such as a flushing regime or draining the system if it is to remain vacant for long periods of time. The important point is to be aware, because you will be responsible if you haven’t taken appropriate measures.

To manage this, there are a number of options you can consider such as a flushing regime or draining the system if the property is to remain vacant for long periods of time. The important point is to be aware – because you will be responsible if you haven’t taken appropriate measures.

Help, I need to do an assessment

If you need an assessment carried out because you haven’t done one recently, give me a call. There are a number of specialists who I can put you in touch with to assist. And add it to your list of important assessments that needs to be regularly carried out.

In the meantime, I’ll get back to trying to work out what the recent election result is going to mean for landlords and property owners. Although let’s face it, that could take some time!

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

 

Should you use an online estate agent?

Online estate agents – good or bad?

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: all those tempting adverts promising that if you buy or sell online with them, they could save you thousands of pounds. So, should you abandon your living, breathing local estate agent (AKA me) and only sell your property via an online agent?

The obvious answer

Eye catchingly low fees are an obvious lure. With most high street agents charging in the region of 1.5% of the sale price, compared to online package deals of between £400 (or less) to £1,000, the online arena is tempting. I’m not going to deny it. But before you sign up, you do need to look a little deeper. What are the real (and sometimes hidden costs) and what exactly do you get (or not get) for your money?

The real online costs

house sale costs Before you sign on the dotted line, check what essential extras you will have to pay for. Do you need to pay for photography and a floor plan? Who’s going to organise the Energy Performance Certificate? Who will do the viewings and if it’s you, what’s that going to cost you in lost earnings or holiday time? Will you be responsible for any negotiations and are you tied into any particular services (such as conveyancing)?

Once you’ve done these checks, don’t forget the small print. Is there a cancellation fee? What happens if your property doesn’t sell? And are you tied in for a particular period of time? These little details can catch you out and be expensive.

In short, make absolutely sure you know the full costs and time involved and the precise terms of any contract. And bear in mind that on the whole, online agents are actually just “listing agents” and not “sales agents” and that’s because they get their money to list a property for sale and not to sell it!

Your property’s valuation

Online valuation tools are great. They give you an instant guide to what your property is worth which enables you to plan your move.  They can be quite accurate (the EweMove one is very easy to use) although some are better than others. But they are often just a guide and they fall down when you don’t also have the benefit of a local agent, who has local knowledge and experience.

The housing market will always be a competitive arena, with prices often varying dramatically from one end of a street to another! Start with your online guide and then take advice from someone who knows your area and market. Or you could find that you either price yourself out of the game or sell for an undervalue.

But surely everyone searches online?

online property search Yes, most searches begin online. Even high street estate agencies have an online presence these days (unless they are complete dinosaurs in which case you might want to give them a miss).  Certainly, at EweMove we take advantage of all the online portals and we pride ourselves on our in-depth marketing details, to make sure your property gets maximum exposure. The difference is, with us you get all the perks of an online agent but with the added bonus of me, an experienced agent with good local knowledge.

The viewings

Whether or not you want or can take time off work to conduct viewings, you almost certainly want genuinely interested parties coming to view. Or in other words, what you don’t want is high numbers of viewers generated by an online platform, most of whom can’t afford or aren’t actually interested in your kind of property.

house viewings Most estate agents like me (but you do need to check) will do some sort of viewer qualification, sounding them out first and only showing around those who are genuine buyers for your type of home.

The haggle

So, you’ve got a potential buyer and then what? Some online agents won’t get involved in the negotiations leaving that up to you. But, what if they do? Where’s the incentive (if they’re not paid on percentage commission) to do all that they can to get you the best possible price? And even if your online agent offers you a commission based package, they still may not have the local knowledge and expertise to negotiate effectively.

The hybrid estate agent 

Hybrid agents offer the best of both worlds. Well, I would say that wouldn’t I, but actually, I do what I do because I genuinely believe in it.

We provide a premium and all inclusive service, taking advantage of technology but still providing the human touch. Our service includes professional quality photography, 2D and 3D floor plans, an interactive website and our phones are manned 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

We also advertise on all the main online property portals and everything we do is designed to achieve the very best price for the property.  What’s more, we have a no sale, no fee policy, there’s no minimum contract and no cancellation fee.

I know my area well and have a list of prospective buyers. I’m also an experienced negotiator and I proactively manage all my sales right up to the day of completion.

And that brings me to after the sale

One in three sales still fall through during the after sales process and that can be a costly and upsetting experience. Will an online agent proactively manage and progress your sale, chasing when needed and ensuring everything is ready when it should be? Or will that be left to you?

So, who’s the right estate agent for you?  

I’m not going to do a hard sell. You must choose the right option for you, whether that’s online, high street or the hybrid estate agency model. But what I do recommend is that you take a little time to understand exactly what you do and don’t get for your money and from your agent.

Flashy headlines and adverts promising savings are one thing, the reality can be quite another. Selling through an online agent may look like it’s going to save you lots of money but it can be a false economy. In fact, I regularly get a significantly better sale price for a property then that which had been achieved by an online agent. On one occasion I managed to negotiate a 17% higher figure. That was £32,000 and whilst I cannot of course guarantee such a figure, it certainly puts the lure of the low fee into perspective.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

Ease the stress of first time buying!

Ease the stress of first time buying!

New research from Aldermore has revealed that the process of buying your first home is so stressful it “made 35% of first-time buyers ill” and caused relationship issues for 34%!

So why is it so stressful?

Tenancy agreement advice- EweMove DorkingThe shortage and cost of suitable housing and difficulties in securing a mortgage are obvious culprits. They probably explain why 27% of first-time buyers had to delay buying for up to two years. While 9% found securing a mortgage the biggest challenge, 8% found the length of the purchase process a problem and 10% described the whole process as ‘an issue’.

Sadly, 17% of first-time buyers had experienced 2 or 3 failed attempts which illustrates just how ruthless the housing market is and 40% of first-time buyers felt they had had to make significant life compromises.

So, is it all bleak?

There is undoubtedly an urgent need for the three big issues (rising house prices, the availability of suitable mortgages and the buying and selling process) to be addressed.  Unfortunately, with Brexit likely to grab political time and attention for the foreseeable future and with the economy vulnerable, it’s hard to see how things are going to get significantly easier anytime soon. But there is some help out there.

Help to Buy ISAs  

Help to Buy The Help to Buy ISA is still a good way to get a little extra help. The government will give you 25% on top of the money you’ve saved and the interest, when the times comes to buy. You have to save at least £1,600 (on which you’ll get an extra £400) but you could save as much as £12,000 in which case you’ll get an additional £3,000! And that can make such a difference to that all important deposit.

Housing schemes

There are still a few affordable housing schemes around – such as the shared ownership scheme. This is a system where you part buy and part rent your home. You can buy between 25 to 75% of your home if your income is less than £80,000 (outside London) and you can increase your share at a later date.

There’s also the Equity Loan scheme whereby the Government lends you up to 20% of the cost of your newly built home, so you’ll only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest.  You can find out more about both by visiting the government’s Help to Buy website.

And there’s some good news  

There are no quick fixes to the country’s housing dilemma even if there is some help available. But if you can endure the stress and delay, the good news is that according to the Aldermore research, 73% of recent first time buyers felt like they had “reached adulthood” when they finally bought their first home and 69% found “putting their own stamp on their new home to be an empowering experience”.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com