Guide to Buying a Property

Posted on January 10, 2018 in Real Estate

Selling your home can be a stressful experience; there are so many things that can go wrong, from not getting the price you were expecting to buyers failing to complete on time. It’s no wonder that selling a home is considered the most stressful experience most adults ever have to go through.

The good news is, with a little forethought, you can make the whole process pass much more smoothly. In this guide, we’ll share with you our nine-step process for selling your home quickly while still getting the price you deserve.

1) Find a reputable estate agent

You’ll have a hard time selling your home without an estate agent. The good news is today there are more options open to you than ever before. You can save money by choosing an online agent or you can go with a traditional bricks and mortar agent – no matter which decision you take, make sure you check references before making a final decision.

Any agent you choose should be honest and reliable. It’s a good idea to check with a few previous customers to make sure they behaved professionally throughout the entire process.

2) Prepare your home for sale

Now you’ve chosen an estate agent it’s time to prepare your house for sale. Start by giving every room a good clean. You should also declutter as much as possible; clutter makes rooms feel smaller than they actually are, so it’s a good idea to pack things away in cases. That way, you’ll be more prepared for the move and you’ll be able to sell your home much more quickly.

Don’t forget the garden! This is often the first thing people see when they approach your home, so you want to make a good first impression. Tidy it up as much as possible and plant a few shrubs if it looks a bit bare.

3) Obtain a valuation

Now your home is clean and tidy, it’s time to get a property valuation. We recommend choosing a local agent to obtain the best price because they will have information on the local market that many larger chains won’t have.

A word of advice: don’t just go with the highest offer, this is sometimes just the candy to get you to go with a particular agent. Research local prices beforehand to get a realistic price for your property before you obtain a valuation.

4) Get your paperwork sorted

There is so much paperwork involved in selling a home these days, so the sooner you get it sorted, the sooner you’ll be able to sell your home. It is a legal requirement for sellers to obtain an energy performance certificate (EPC) before putting their home on the market. You can obtain an EPC from an accredited assessor or we can arrange for an assessment for you.

It’s a good idea to read your EPC and make any suggested changes that don’t require much financial outlay to help improve your home’s energy rating.

5) Find a conveyancer

Now is a good time to find a good conveyancer: don’t leave this step to the last minute like most people do. An experienced conveyancer can help ensure the sales process goes smoothly.

6) Choose a good buyer

So your home is listed, you’ve had some viewings and the offers have started to roll in. The trick here is to choose a good buyer. This may not necessarily mean choosing the highest offer, although it helps.

The most reliable buyers are those that have already sold their home and are ready to move. Next, you should consider first time buyers or those seeking a second home, because they do not have a current home to sell. The least reliable group are buyers who have yet to sell their home. Select your buyers using these criteria and you’ll sell your home much more quickly.

7) Agree on what’s included in the price

Now you’ve chosen a buyer, it’s time to agree on what’s included in the price. You need to be specific here. Is the garden shed staying, what about expensive kitchen appliances and fitted wardrobes? Go through your entire home and make a list of the things you are taking with you and share it with your conveyancer.

8) Agree on exchange dates

Now we are nearing the end of the process, it’s time to establish a date for completion. It’s a good idea to create a calendar of your proposed exchange and completion dates and share it with your buyer. Such a document will not be legally binding, but it should help reduce delays during the sales process.

9) Keep communicating

Now we are at a critical stage in the sales process, so it’s vital that you keep communicating with the buyer. If something unexpected happens, and it usually does, make sure you make the other party aware through your conveyancer or estate agent.

Also, if you don’t understand something during the entire process, make sure you ask. Estate agents and conveyancers have been through this hundreds of times before and are here to help you through the process every step of the way.

Are you ready to sell your home? Reliance Properties can help. We offer a no sale, no fee contract and our experienced estate agents all have local knowledge of the Leicester property market. Get in touch with one of our representatives for a free property valuation today.

Essential guide for Landlords

Posted on December 8, 2017 in Landlords

Becoming a landlord means letting out properties to tenants, ensuring that these properties adhere to the essential rules and regulations for the rental market. It’s important that landlords understand their responsibilities as many of them are legal, meaning not adhering to them could land you in trouble.

Making sure properties are safe and legal

Arguably the first step in ensuring a property is safe is to make sure it has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This needs to be available to prospective tenants during viewings.

An EPC gives information on how energy efficient a property is as well as the carbon emissions of the property. The running costs of heating, hot water and lighting are also included. The certificate is valid for 10 years.

It is now a legal obligation for all rental properties to have an EPC, and properties cannot be put on the market until a certificate has been obtained.

When it comes to gas safety, government legislation states all landlords need a Landlord’s Gas Safety Gas Certificate, which has been issued by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer and details all gas appliances in a property.

A Gas Safety Certificate lasts for 12 months and needs to be renewed on an annual basis whilst properties remain let. Copies of the certificate need to be given to landlords and tenants.

Any appliances included as part of an inventory for a tenancy should be tested for safety. Landlords have a legal duty to make sure all portable electrical appliances like fridges and washing machines are safe. A PAT safety certificate can be obtained to show this has been done.

When letting a property out, landlords should check that fixed wiring is safe, and this can be done by having a Periodic Inspection and Report (PIR) undertaken. This will be carried out and signed off by authorised electricians. The report will identify areas that need attention along with recommendations of what work could be done to bring these issues up to the required standard.

Fire safety for landlords is an important responsibility, and one, which needs to be adhered to correctly. Since October 2015, landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm fitted to each floor of a property, along with carbon monoxide alarms installed in rooms that have a solid fuel burning appliance like a coal fire. It is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure these alarms work before the commencement of a tenancy.

What other obligations do landlords have?

The presentation of a property before the start of a new tenancy is the landlord’s responsibility. It’s common for a professional cleaning service to be used to include the cleaning of carpets and curtains. Any exterior areas like gardens should be well presented, with grass that has been mowed.

Landlords are also obliged to offer assistance when it comes to maintaining and repairing a property. These repairs include the exterior and structure of a building including damage to roofs, guttering, drains, windows and walls if any damage is the result of structural problems.

The interior of a property is also the landlord’s responsibility when it comes to maintaining the supply of water, gas, electricity, and sanitary systems.

For tenancies starting after 6 April 2007, landlords must put deposits in a government-backed scheme. This legislation came into force due to deposits being unfairly withheld at the end of tenancies.

Tenancy agreements

When it comes to tenancy agreements, the majority of tenancies are classed as Assured Shorthold Tenancies. This means landlords have more rights when it comes to claiming possession of properties, with a more efficient way of doing this.

The minimum period for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is six months, but many tenancies are entered into for a 12-month period. If break clauses are included in an original tenancy, then it means either a tenant or landlord has the legal right to end a tenancy before the expiry of the written tenancy, if sufficient notice is served.

Becoming a landlord means adhering to the legal responsibilities and duties set out, for the safety of tenants. It also means that the maintenance and repairs of the rented property are the responsibility of the landlord, and properties that are to be put on the market need to be fit for habitation in terms of safety and cleanliness.

Buying a property is a huge milestone, and getting it right can seem like a major headache. But with some careful planning and a clear head, you can get the best possible value by following our top tips for buying a property.

Plan carefully, plan ahead

It’s impossible to over-emphasise the importance of planning ahead when buying a property. If you can put together a clear timeline for your move then you’ll be able to tie it in with other key dates like the start of the new school year.

As a general guideline, once you’ve found a property and put in an offer it takes about 6 weeks to exchange, although the process can speed up if you make it clear you want to complete more quickly. Exchange to completion can take anywhere up to 4 weeks, but you won’t want to rush this stage if the survey throws up any issues. Remember, these are only average timings and every purchase is different, particularly if you’re in a chain.

Finding your dream home

You can search online, but nothing beats the on the ground local knowledge of a good estate agents in Leicester and surrounding areas. If your house search is focused on Leicester itself, then it’s useful to know that sales are completed on average in 79 days, 11 days below the 2016 national average.

Never forget that location, location, location should always be your top priority, and that the more information you have on an area the better equipped you are for a successful house hunt and negotiation. Check the crime maps for Leicester and visit the websites for Leicester county council and Leicester tourist information.

Hand in hand with location is the local environment

The Environment Agency has information on areas at risk from flooding while The Planning Portal will have information on all planned developments in the Leicester area.

Know your neighbourhoods

Leicester is made up of a series of diverse neighbourhoods, like leafy Clarendon Park with its attractive period properties, contemporary bars and bistros, outstanding schools, and its mix of young professionals, students and families. Prices here are above the city average at £216,655 but lower than in nearby Aylestone with its quiet canal side walks and picture book village scenery. Quorn was recently voted one of the top 5 places to bring up a family in the entire country, while the city continues to outperform its bigger rivals economically and is ranked number one for first-time buyers.

It’s beneficial to get a clear picture of the different areas and what they have to offer before prioritising your needs and wants. Make a list of your ‘must haves’ (e.g. good schools, parks) and ‘nice to haves’ (e.g. pubs, takeaways) and find out which neighbourhood is the best match both for your priorities and your budget.

Work out the actual cost of buying

First, you need to make an honest assessment of your finances. For example, the average price for a semi-detached house in Leicester was £185,143 in 2017 with terraced properties selling for £154,380 and the average price for a detached property hitting £305,312, so set yourself an achievable budget and look for a mortgage that you can realistically repay. If you can agree a mortgage in principle before you start your house hunt then you’ll be in a much stronger position when you come to put in an offer.

Don’t be tempted to borrow more than you can comfortably afford, and be clear on the additional costs of buying your property. These can include mortgage arrangement fees, cost of a survey and removal costs.

You will also be expected to pay stamp duty on residential property costing £125,000 and above, and you will pay legal costs including conveyancing.

Making the offer

Getting your offer right can be one of the trickiest points in the whole property buying process, so do your research both online and with your Leicester based estate agent. They should be able to give you clear advice on what’s a reasonable offer and will then negotiate with the owner on your behalf. For example, the average price for a flat in Clarendon Park was £139,970 in 2017, which should give you a decent base negotiating figure.

Never seem over eager to buy and keep a close eye on the market. If similar properties aren’t selling quickly, or are selling for below the asking price, you’re in a strong position to make an offer. If a property has been on the market for a while and the owner is anxious to sell then you may be successful with a bid below the asking price.

Once the offer is accepted, ask the vendor to take the property off the market to minimise the chances of being gazumped.

Complete the deal

All that remains is to find a good conveyancer and ask for a no sale, no fee agreement so you don’t lose out if the owner receives a better offer. Make sure you have regular contact with them and get them to move the process along as swiftly as possible. Then all that remains is to pick up your keys from us at Reliance Properties. Interested in buying in Leicester? Then contact us today and we’ll be happy to help you find your ideal property.

The property market in Leicester has shown incredible resilience during 2017. According to the national House Price Index (HPI), the average price of a property in the region was £217,859, an increase of 7.1% for the year to date and well above the national average of 5.2%. The results are even more impressive because the market performed well above average during 2016 as well, partly due to Leicester City’s astonishing performance, winning the Premier League during the 2015/2016 season.

The resilience of the Leicester market is in stark contrast to the rest of the housing market in the UK, which is coming under considerable pressure following the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations, the weak performance of the pound, along with the general lacklustre economy as a whole. To illustrate this, house prices in the North East climbed by only 2.5% in the same period and house prices in London, perhaps the place most affected by Brexit, actually fell by -0.7%.

Leicester is the place to be

It is clear then that the West Midlands and Leicester in particular is the place to be for people looking to relocate in the region. Considering Leicester’s central location, within easy reach of Birmingham, Coventry, Peterborough and Nottingham, and its reputation as a key transport hub and engineering centre, it’s not hard to see why.

Add in the fact that Leicester is a city on the move in its own right, with the region home to a number of chemical and pharmaceutical facilities along with Europe’s largest satellite manufacturing facility, Airbus Defence and Space. The city is well placed to expand business and increase exports post Brexit. This will mean large numbers of highly paid scientists and engineers looking for housing stock in the city, putting pressure on already tight supply and increasing prices further.

In fact Leicester looks to be one of the areas that will benefit most in a post Brexit world. To highlight this point, the Office of National Statistics carried out a survey which studied the effect on Britain’s property prices in the 12-month period following the EU referendum. The data showed that housing costs climbed faster in the East Midlands than any other area in the UK following the referendum, with an increase of 7.5% during the period compared to 5.1% for the rest of the UK. 

Brexit fails to halt East Midlands rental growth

It’s not just property price increases which are outstripping the rest of the UK. Rents in the region are also climbing above average due to a shortage of suitable housing stock. According to HomeLet, the UK’s largest tenant referencing agency, the average rental price for a property in the region climbed by 2.7% in 2017, well above the UK average of 1.4%. The average rent now costs £648 pcm.

The influx of younger buyers looking to rent, combined with a shortage of suitable housing stock in the region, shows that property investors and buy-to-let landlords should be able to maintain high capital growth and rental yields in the East Midlands for the next few years. Meanwhile, recent tax changes, the threat of rising interest rates and Brexit look set to hamper property investors in the rest of the UK.

Development plan is good news for investors

A chronic lack of suitable housing stock in the region is one of the reasons why the local property market has performed above expectations. While the government’s housing plan looks to solve this problem nationally, it still falls woefully short when affordable housing is considered. Affordable housing is one thing that Leicester is in desperate need of. While the Ashton Green development aims to add 20,000 new homes to the city over the next 20 years, it is woefully short of affordable housing options. Because of this, the demand for residential lettings is predicted to remain stubbornly high for the foreseeable future.

Despite this year’s impressive performance, property prices in the region remain accessible with the East Midlands and Leicester still offering exceptional value for homeowners and investors. If you would like to find out more about how Reliance Properties can help you find the perfect home or if you would like to sell your current home, get in touch with one of our local agents at Reliance Properties Leicester.

Guide to selling a property

Posted on November 25, 2017 in Sell

Selling your home can be a stressful experience; there are so many things that can go wrong, from not getting the price you were expecting to buyers failing to complete on time. It’s no wonder that selling a home is considered the most stressful experience most adults ever have to go through.

The good news is, with a little forethought, you can make the whole process pass much more smoothly. In this guide, we’ll share with you our nine-step process for selling your home quickly while still getting the price you deserve.

1) Find a reputable estate agent

You’ll have a hard time selling your home without an estate agent. The good news is today there are more options open to you than ever before. You can save money by choosing an online agent or you can go with a traditional bricks and mortar agent – no matter which decision you take, make sure you check references before making a final decision.

Any agent you choose should be honest and reliable. It’s a good idea to check with a few previous customers to make sure they behaved professionally throughout the entire process.

2) Prepare your home for sale

Now you’ve chosen an estate agent it’s time to prepare your house for sale. Start by giving every room a good clean. You should also declutter as much as possible; clutter makes rooms feel smaller than they actually are, so it’s a good idea to pack things away in cases. That way, you’ll be more prepared for the move and you’ll be able to sell your home much more quickly.

Don’t forget the garden! This is often the first thing people see when they approach your home, so you want to make a good first impression. Tidy it up as much as possible and plant a few shrubs if it looks a bit bare.

3) Obtain a valuation

Now your home is clean and tidy, it’s time to get a property valuation. We recommend choosing a local agent to obtain the best price because they will have information on the local market that many larger chains won’t have.

A word of advice: don’t just go with the highest offer, this is sometimes just the candy to get you to go with a particular agent. Research local prices beforehand to get a realistic price for your property before you obtain a valuation.

4) Get your paperwork sorted

There is so much paperwork involved in selling a home these days, so the sooner you get it sorted, the sooner you’ll be able to sell your home. It is a legal requirement for sellers to obtain an energy performance certificate (EPC) before putting their home on the market. You can obtain an EPC from an accredited assessor or we can arrange for an assessment for you.

It’s a good idea to read your EPC and make any suggested changes that don’t require much financial outlay to help improve your home’s energy rating.

5) Find a conveyancer

Now is a good time to find a good conveyancer: don’t leave this step to the last minute like most people do. An experienced conveyancer can help ensure the sales process goes smoothly.

6) Choose a good buyer

So your home is listed, you’ve had some viewings and the offers have started to roll in. The trick here is to choose a good buyer. This may not necessarily mean choosing the highest offer, although it helps.

The most reliable buyers are those that have already sold their home and are ready to move. Next, you should consider first time buyers or those seeking a second home, because they do not have a current home to sell. The least reliable group are buyers who have yet to sell their home. Select your buyers using these criteria and you’ll sell your home much more quickly.

7) Agree on what’s included in the price

Now you’ve chosen a buyer, it’s time to agree on what’s included in the price. You need to be specific here. Is the garden shed staying, what about expensive kitchen appliances and fitted wardrobes? Go through your entire home and make a list of the things you are taking with you and share it with your conveyancer.

8) Agree on exchange dates

Now we are nearing the end of the process, it’s time to establish a date for completion. It’s a good idea to create a calendar of your proposed exchange and completion dates and share it with your buyer. Such a document will not be legally binding, but it should help reduce delays during the sales process.

9) Keep communicating

Now we are at a critical stage in the sales process, so it’s vital that you keep communicating with the buyer. If something unexpected happens, and it usually does, make sure you make the other party aware through your conveyancer or estate agent.

Also, if you don’t understand something during the entire process, make sure you ask. Estate agents and conveyancers have been through this hundreds of times before and are here to help you through the process every step of the way.

Are you ready to sell your home? Reliance Properties can help. We offer a no sale, no fee contract and our experienced estate agents all have local knowledge of the Leicester property market. Get in touch with one of our representatives for a free property valuation today.

ABOUT RELIANCE PROPERTIES

Founded in 2011, we are one of Leicester’s fastest growing Estate and lettings agents.

With a successful track record selling, renting and managing residential and commercial properties across Leicestershire.

Our mission is to sell and rent your property at the best price, as soon as possible. For a low cost-effective fee with no hidden costs.

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