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Are You Ready for Life after Lockdown?

In this two-minute read, we look at how to get ready for the changes that lie ahead as restrictions continue to ease.

With the end to our arduous Covid hibernation in sight, it’s time to prepare for life in the “new normal”.

While the prospect of restrictions easing is exciting – we can’t wait to eat at Barrington’s or TOB burgers in Rayleigh and drink at The Bellhouse in Eastwood– it will also take a little getting used to.

That is because many of us have grown used to lockdown living, we now work from home, live in tracksuit bottoms, and tell ourselves that cutting our own hair is a good idea.

But after a year of adapting to a host of unfortunate circumstances, it’s time to adapt again – only for happier reasons. Here are a few ways to prepare for life after lockdown.

Spring clean your wardrobe

If you have spent the past year in leggings, jeggings, blankets, and onesies – anything with a forgiving waistline basically – now is the time to dig out your “good” clothes. Try them on and decide if you still like them and if they still fit you. Donate unwanted items to a charity shop and make any necessary purchases. You don’t have to ditch all your comfy stuff, but you will need a few pieces that will look smart in a work meeting or at a catch-up with friends.

Revamp your fitness routine

Many people kicked off the first lockdown in 2020 with a flurry of physical activity that tapered off as the pandemic dragged on and on. They’re now – understandably as it’s been a tough year – carrying a few extra pounds. If you want to shift a little weight, take your time. Start slowly and progress steadily to avoid injury. Also, focus on activities that you enjoy – they will be good for your mental health, and you’re more likely to continue with them long term.

Acknowledge stress

It may seem that with lockdown lifting, all our troubles will be over. But it’s important to be realistic with our expectations. Some of the activities that we’ve avoided over the past year such as long commutes, mingling at parties, making small talk in the work canteen – may make a return and prove stressful. If things you once took for granted now feel challenging, don’t give yourself a hard time. Talk to someone about it (lots of people will be in the same boat), and remember that we’re still navigating our way through a deadly pandemic. Be kind to other people – and yourself.

From all of us here at Nest in Essex,take care and stay cheerful.

COPYRIGHT Nest in Essex 2021

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Keep Calm and in Control of Your Rental Property

In this two-minute read, we show you how to keep calm and in control when letting your property.

The idea that investing in rental property is easy passive income is a myth. Letting and managing rental property can be stressful, especially for inexperienced or accidental landlords.

This month sees the championing of Stress Awareness Month; an annual event which recognises the dangers of modern-day stress and provides valuable coping strategies. If you are wading through tenancy treacle, read our top tips to temper your tension.

Do your homework

Whether it’s a simple credit check or a comprehensive background check, referencing your tenant is ESSENTIAL. If you have concerns, you could arrange to meet your prospective tenant in their current property to see how it’s been looked after or even go a step further and ask for a rental guarantor. If you have rental income insurance, check whether the terms of your policy stipulate the level of referencing required.

Build a circle of trust

People buy people. And much like you want the right tenant in your property, you want the right tradespeople working in it. We guarantee that you will, at some point, have some repairs that need attention – whether from an accident or general wear and tear. Building a trusted network of tradespeople that provide value for money will stand you in good stead.

Don’t leave yourself short

Now, more than ever, we understand the importance of an emergency fund. In tough financial climates, rent arrears can be more of a reality than a risk. In situations like this, contact your tenant – there may be a simple explanation which is easily remedied. If not, don’t delay in taking advice. If you rely on your rental investment for income, consider whether rental insurance is a sensible option.

Know when you need help

If it all gets too much, ask for help. A good letting agent can manage the entire tenant journey for you: from tenant sourcing right through to the end of tenancy clean. Inventories, referencing, deposits, rent collection, repairs, and legal and regulatory compliance; you name it, it’s covered.

We understand the pressures involved in letting your property and are here to alleviate your anxieties. If you’d like to hear how we can make your property let a stress-free experience, give us a call on 01268 500988.

Copyright Nest in Essex 2021

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How DIY Projects Can Help Sell Your Home

In this three-minute read, we look at some simple and affordable projects to help sell your home faster and probably for a higher price, too.

It was DIY Day on 3 April and if you’re planning to sell your home, here are six easy things you can do yourself to help sell it quickly. They are simple, straightforward, and inexpensive ways to improve your home’s look and value. Happy DIY Day!

  1. Make sure your exterior looks excellent

Prospective buyers make up their minds within a few minutes of arriving, so kerb appeal is vital in creating a good first impression. Think about repainting your front door or fences, check your front garden is well-maintained and check your windows have been well looked after. Tidy up your back garden too if it needs it – people often visualise themselves using it.

  • Paint

If your walls have been crying out for a lick of paint and you’re planning to put your home on the market, now is the time to get busy with a brush. Remember, you’re trying to appeal to buyers so go for neutral colours. You could even read up on current trends to appeal to design-minded house hunters.

  • Give your kitchen some TLC

Kitchens are the focal point of many homes, so a revamp is one of the best ways to add value to yours. Don’t worry, you don’t need to fit a completely new kitchen! Think about freshening up kitchen cupboards with a new paint job, making handles and taps a feature with modern replacements, or rejuvenating seat cushions with pretty fabrics. Even smart new tea towels will make a difference.

  • Boost the bathroom

The bathroom can also be a big selling point, so make sure yours is looking its best. Bathrooms often lack storage so you could install some shelves if you’re feeling confident. Think about other simple jobs like replacing the toilet seat or installing a new shower head. Both of these are easy jobs – even for beginners – and will improve your bathroom’s appearance.

  • Look at your lighting

Clever lighting can make your home look warm and bright, and therefore more inviting. Think about modernising the light fixtures, using energy efficient bulbs or adding lamps to rooms where there isn’t much natural light.

  • Little jobs mean a lot

Small problems and defects could create the impression your home is not well cared for. Look out for things like cracked tiles, dripping taps or even holes in walls and make sure they are dealt with before your home goes on the market. Buyers do not want to be hit with a list of jobs just after they move in.

For more advice about selling your Rayleigh, Leigh on Hockley home or to share DIY tips, get in touch with the team at Nest in Essex

Copyright Nest in Essex 2021

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Electrical Checks Deadline has come and gone for local Landlords

 

In this two-minute read, we look at new rules on electrical safety reports that come into force next month.

It’s no joke: landlords who fail to get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) for their rental property by 1 April could face a fine of up to £30,000.

The government made EICRs mandatory for new tenancies last June, but from 1 April, all tenancies will need an EICR.

If you haven’t got an EICR for your rental property yet, you need to act quickly.

What is an EICR?

It’s basically an MOT for the electrics in a rental property. A suitably qualified electrician (visit NICEIC to find one) checks that all electrical installations such as the wiring, sockets, and lights are in safe working order.

Any faults are graded, ranging from C1 (the worst rating, requiring immediate action) through to C3 (meaning improvement is recommended but not required).

How long is an EICR valid for?

Five years. 

Who enforces the EICR?

Local authorities. Landlords must present an EICR within seven days of a request from the local authority. As we said earlier, the fine for not doing so can reach £30,000.

What happens if an inspector finds a problem?

You must act; the safety of your tenants and your property could be at stake. In 2019, electrical issues caused more than 19,000 fires in the UK.

What do landlords do once they have an EICR?

Landlords must supply a copy to each tenant within 28 days of the inspection and retain a copy for themselves.

What about Covid-19?

It may be difficult for an electrician to enter a property if your tenant is self-isolating. But you must have evidence that you have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the regulations, so keep a detailed paper trail.

Two more things

  1. The electrician will need to turn the power off to do the inspection, so forewarn your tenants.
  2. Time is of the essence. It takes 48 hours to process a report, but if you need to carry out remedial works, the process will take even longer. Don’t dither. Book your inspection today.

If you have questions about EICRs, get in touch with us here at Nest in Essex.

COPYRIGHT Nest in Essex 2021