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The Décor That Could Bump Up the Price of Your Home By £10k

This two-minute read explains how to nail the must-have looks that could push up the price of your home.

Here at Nest in Essex, we’ve been telling our clients for years to ditch the clutter and get the décor spot on to secure a top sale. Well now a survey has proved us right!

The study* found that two in five buyers look for a property that matches their own personal taste in interiors. (The split was 46% of men and 36% of women, dispelling the myth that women are the fussier sex.)

Now, you may be wondering why buyers get so hung up on cosmetic details. After all, it’s easy enough to paint a few walls if you don’t like a colour scheme, and you’re buying a property, not the furniture.

But many buyers make emotional rather than analytical decisions. When they step inside a home, they want to imagine themselves living there. Younger buyers – influenced by the mountains of interior design content on TikTok and Instagram – may have particularly strong views.

Most popular look

Minimalism 

About 40% of those surveyed said they’d pay more for the clean, white, non-fussy minimalist look. On average, buyers would pay £3,600 over the asking price for this style, while a whopping 12% of 18 to 24-year-olds would pay £10k more. 

Other styles

Farmhouse style (think neutral tones, wood and chunky knit textiles) ranked second, with 34% saying they’d pay more for this look. Scandi style (similar to minimalism but with more natural materials thrown in) ranked third, with 33% saying they’d offer above the asking price for this look. 

Turn-offs

Maximalist décor was a no-no for buyers, with 32% saying they’d pay below the asking price for a property with a loud, brash interior. Styles such as mid-century modern, boho and art deco also provoked negative responses, with 31% saying they would offer below the asking price for a home with this aesthetic.

Conclusion

You don’t have to be an interiors expert to get the big picture. Loud colours, fussy prints and rooms full of clutter turn off buyers. Investing time and effort in staging your home will pay off.

For more advice on presenting your home for sale, contact us here at Nest in Essex.

*Survey of 2,000 buyers conducted by Hammonds Furniture.

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Tips for Marketing Your Home to Families

This two-minute read looks at how to ensure your home appeals to buyers looking for a family home.

When it comes to devising a marketing strategy to sell your home, the first step is establishing your target buyer.

For example, if you’re selling a slick, minimalist penthouse studio, there’s no prizes for guessing that your target will be young professional buyers.

But if it’s a house or garden flat that you’re bringing to market, then buyers with families should be at the forefront of your mind.

The great thing about this group is that they tend to be committed buyers. They’ve usually done their homework on local schools, nurseries and parks and have their hearts set on securing a property in the area. Hence, when they fall in love with a property, they mean business.

What families want in a home

Emotions play a big part in the purchase of a family property. Buyers are looking for their ‘forever home’, a property that will serve their purposes long term and be a safe and happy place to raise their children.

First impressions

A property viewing is like a first date – first impressions are crucial. Ensure the front of your home looks tidy and welcoming. Paint your front door a strong colour and add some shrubs and brightly coloured flowers. If you have a front gate, make sure that it closes (this will reassure parents with young children).

Garden

Childproof the garden as much as possible. Make sure there are no obvious hazards like gaps in fences, broken pavers or unfenced ponds/water features. Add outdoor dining furniture so that buyers can visualise themselves entertaining outdoors.

Living spaces

Think carefully about the furniture layout; your aim is to create a sense of flow. Also, consider creating a defined ‘workspace’ so that parents who work from home can keep some separation between work and play. Storage is another winning factor as parents will be looking for somewhere to keep all their kids’ paraphernalia.

Bedrooms

Dress at least one of the bedrooms with twin beds to send that subtle message that your home would be ideal for raising children.

For more tips on getting the best price for your home, get in touch with us here at Nest in Essex.

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Legal Responsibilities: A Guide for Landlords 

This two-minute read explains how landlords can navigate their way through an ever-growing list of rules and regulations.

There’s one rookie mistake that many first-time landlords make when they invest in property – and it can cost them dearly further down the track.

While most newbie landlords mull over the obvious financial stuff – like rental income, repairs, mortgage costs and tax – they overlook one other crucial factor in the buy-to-let (BTL) equation: legal responsibilities.

As landlords today must comply with more than 175 rules and regulations (many of which are constantly being tinkered with), it’s risky to ignore or gloss over the legal side.

We’re not saying it’s all too hard and not to bother with BTL – savvy landlords can most definitely make a solid return on their investment. But it’s best to invest with a clear understanding of what’s involved and have a strategy to meet your obligations.

This is because messing up, whether through negligence or ignorance, can have serious consequences – we’re talking huge fines, jail time and/or a lengthy court case.

Here’s a list of just some of the regulations landlords need to know inside out:

  • Gas safety checks
  • Electrical safety checks
  • Smoke alarms (installation and upkeep)
  • Carbon monoxide alarms (installation and upkeep)
  • Deposits
  • Energy performance ratings.

As we said earlier, get some of these rules wrong, and you could face a hefty fine. But on an even more serious note, think of the implications if a tenant is injured or killed because you were late with a safety check or forgot to install an alarm.

It’s not enough to get things right most of the time – you need to get them right all the time. Most landlords have good intentions. But they also tend to have busy lives, which makes juggling all their commitments tricky.

Use a professional 

A good letting agent understands the rules and regulations and knows when changes are coming and how to prepare for them.

They’ll handle routine maintenance and safety checks and be on call 24/7. So, you can go on holiday, spend time with family or focus on work and know that a pro has got it covered for you.

Get in touch with us here at Nest in Essex to learn about our property management services. 

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Top Tips for Finding the Best Tenants

The secret to a smooth-running tenancy is good tenants. Here’s how to find them. A two-minute read.

There are few guarantees in life, but we promise you this: let your property to a bad tenant, and your job as a landlord will get much more complicated.

Expect to be out of pocket (due to missed rent payments and damage to your property) and stressed (dealing with nightmare tenants is, to state the obvious, a nightmare!).

The key to avoiding this kind of turmoil is to find a good tenant who will treat you and your property with respect. This task may sound simple enough, but surprisingly, many landlords get it wrong and pay the price.

Here are four tips to ensure that you don’t slip up but instead secure the best tenant for your property.

  1. Presentation – Landlords often assume that their property will practically let itself because rental properties are in high demand. As a result, they put little effort into presenting their property and attract only a small amount of interest from a certain sector of potential tenants. Don’t be complacent. Identify your target tenant (e.g. professionals or families) and present your property accordingly. Quality furniture and fittings will attract quality tenants.
  • Marketing – To put yourself in a position where you have a pool of good quality candidates to choose from, you need a professional marketing strategy to draw them in. This should feature quality photography, proactive promotion by a skilled letting agent and well-written listings on property portals.
  • Rigorous selection process – It’s amazing how many landlords think they have a superpower that means they can spot a ‘good’ tenant at first glance and therefore cut corners on reference checks. Instinct is a useful tool, but we suggest you only use it as a guide. Always run a credit check and go through pay slips, bank statements and references from employers and past landlords to get the full picture. Also, note whether a candidate turns up to appointments on time and provides paperwork promptly. If they’re disorganised at this early stage (when they’re trying to make a good impression), there’s a chance they’ll be haphazard with returning your calls and paying their rent on time.
  • Contract – It goes without saying that once you’ve found your dream tenant, you get an agreement down in writing. A tenancy agreement should set out each party’s obligations and responsibilities. It means everyone knows what is expected of them, which can help avoid confusion or disagreement further down the track. 

If you’d like more advice about how to market your rental property or attract top tenants, get in touch with us here at Nest in Essex

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The Truth Behind Rent-to-Rent Schemes

As a busy landlord juggling a portfolio of multiple properties, you might be thinking about ways to reduce your workload or secure a regular income. Have you been enticed by promises of guaranteed rent?

Guaranteed rental schemes or rent-to-rent (R2R, not R2D2) schemes are growing in popularity. But hold on for a minute, what do they actually mean?

In a nutshell, it’s where you rent your property to a rent guarantee specialist who promises to pay you a certain amount every month and takes on the burden of managing your property.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But is it too good to be true?

In this two-minute read, we look at why you should be cautious of rent-to-rent schemes and how they could be less profitable in the long run.

Less rental income

While you might be tempted to enter one of these contracts, often, the way the business offering you the R2R option can be profitable is to offer you less than the typical market rate.

By offering you a lower rate for a fixed term, the R2R business model will only work if the person managing your property charges tenants a higher rate. Therefore, you could be earning significantly less than if you were to rent through a regular letting agent.

The unknown agent

Once you sign up, you’re basically losing control of your rental property for a fixed term. How many tenants will be living in your property? Who will ensure that all the correct procedures are followed? What happens if significant repairs are required? What’s the tenant turnover like?

While a lot of these details can be included in a rent-to-rent contract, as a landlord, you may be putting your reputation at risk by offering up your rental to a third party.

Fast cash

The attraction of the guaranteed rental model is quick profit and few overheads. Little to no experience is required before setting up this type of business. This means your rental investment may be put at risk by agreeing to work with people who have little, or no cash at stake. Can you really afford to hand over your hard-earned investment to someone with no proven track record?

Using a local agent  

When you use a reputable local agent, they are regulated and experienced in letting out properties and often have a strong team behind them. They know what certifications are required, what makes a good tenant, and have access to tenancy deposit schemes and such like. So, you can feel confident in the knowledge that your property and tenants are looked after.

At Nest in Essex, our lettings team has been working in the local community for many years.

We can achieve market rate rents and we keep our fees as competitive as possible. Call us on 01268 500988 for more information.

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How to Smarten Up Your Kitchen on a Tight Budget

Discover how to make your kitchen look fresh and modern without spending a fortune in this two-minute read.

Smartening up your kitchen is an excellent way to wow buyers and add value. If you can’t afford a full-scale high-end refurbishment, try these cost-saving DIY tips.

Before you start

When we’re emotionally attached to a property, we often gloss over its flaws. But it’s important to think about the impression your home will make on buyers. Remove all clutter and analyse what your kitchen really looks like. Is it warm and welcoming, or washed out and a bit grubby?

Identify the features that are in good shape and those that are knackered and need improving.

When planning the work that you’re going to do, remember that your goal is to make your property more saleable. It’s great to take inspiration from magazines and social media but avoid bold statements and opt for a neutral look.

Cabinets – If your cabinets look tired, you could:

  • Keep the framework (sometimes called a carcass) and replace the cupboard doors with new, or nearly new, ones. 
  • Keep your existing doors but freshen them up with a coat of paint. Ensure you buy the correct type of paint for the job (this will depend on the finish of your doors) and sand and prime them first, if necessary. 
  • Replace the kickplate that runs along the base of the cabinets as this shows up wear and tear.
  • Update the handles to give the cabinets a more modern look.

Tiles – Replacing shabby tiles doesn’t have to cost the earth. (Inexpensive white tiles arranged in a brick-effect pattern always look smart.) Your other option is to keep the tiles but strip out the grout (if it looks grotty) and re-grout.

Splashback – There are many great glass and stainless steel options on the market. Adding a new splashback is a quick and easy way to lift a room.

Flooring – If your existing flooring looks tired but is flat (no slopes or slants), you could simply lay new flooring on top. 

Lighting – Good lighting can make a room feel more spacious and create ambience. Consider adding pendant lights over the eating area to create a focal point.

Countertops – If your countertop looks dated, buy a good quality second-hand replacement (there are lots online) and cut it to size.

For more advice about making your home appealing to buyers, get in touch with us here at Nest in Essex

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Are Cash Buyers All They’re Cracked Up to Be? 

When selling your property, there are two magic words everyone wants to hear: ‘cash buyer’. They come with promises of a quick sale process, no chain and are, quite frankly, the pot of gold at the end of the property-selling rainbow.

But are cash buyers really that special?

A cash buyer is basically someone who can afford to buy your home without needing a mortgage or having to sell another property first.

In this three-minute read, we look at some of the pros and cons of cash buyers. 

Advantages

  1. No chain

Property sales can sometimes get caught up in a complex chain. For example, your buyers need the sale of their home to go through, their buyer needs to sell their home and so on. If one part of the chain breaks down, they all can. Cash buyers take away this complex process.

2)    Quicker sale

With no other sales complicating the process, selling to a cash buyer may mean the deal goes through quicker. 

3)    Increased certainty 

An experienced cash buyer will tend to make an offer when they’re sure they can see it through. They don’t have to wait for an agreement in principle from their lender, as they’ve already got the cash ready to go.

4)    Can make complex purchases

If you’re selling a flat with a short lease, or a house that could be considered unmortgageable, a cash buyer is a great option. They can pay outright for a property without having to meet strict lender criteria. This cuts out a lot of hassle.

Disadvantages 

  1. Lower offer

A cash buyer knows that they’re often the best option for a seller, so they may offer less than market value with the promise of getting things done quickly. So, while the sale will go through, you may get less than if you sold to someone in a chain.

2)    No guarantee that the sale will go through

Even if a cash buyer makes a strong offer and looks like they can move fast, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a sale. As with all property transactions, a survey could reveal issues with a property, or their situation may simply change – leaving you back at square one.

3)    Dodgy dealings
Over the last few years, there’s been an increase in the unethical behaviour of some house-buying companies making cash purchases. It’s not unusual for them to make all the right moves before chipping the price down and leaving the seller with considerably less than promised. Criminal scams are also on the rise, with reports of fraud where cash is intercepted at the point of sale, losing buyers thousands of pounds.

If you’re looking to sell your property as quickly as possible, contact us at Nest in Essex We’re trusted local agents and will oversee the sales process for you.

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Bright Ideas: The Best New Household Gadgets

Save time and stress by investing in these four gadgets for your home. A three-minute read. 

The world’s richest entrepreneurs may be obsessed with building fancy spaceships, but we’re more interested in tech that makes everyday life easier.

Thankfully, there is an array of useful new household gadgets on the market. Here are four of the best.

Robo-mop

With iRobot’s Braava Jet M6, you’ll never have to mop up spilt milk or sweep up biscuit crumbs again. This nifty robot can wet mop or dry sweep your hard floors all by itself, meaning you can relax while it manoeuvres around furniture and into hard-to-reach corners. It has a timer, too – so you can set the M6 to clean the floors while you’re out. Result!

The key to remote security

Have you ever gone out for the day and panicked, thinking that you may have forgotten to lock the front door? With the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, you’ll never worry again. It’s a sleek gadget that you retrofit to your existing deadbolt. It then tells you, via an app, if your door is locked or not. You can also use the app to lock or unlock your door remotely, so if you have forgotten to lock up, you can rectify this immediately. It also means you can let tradespeople, cat sitters or dog walkers in when you’re out.

Charging ahead

Say goodbye to waiting ages for your phone or laptop to charge; with the latest chargers, you can get the job done in half the time. There are many products on the market, but if you have Apple devices, check out Belkin’s USB-C PD GaN Wall Charger. PC Magazine recently named it Best Product for Charging Apple Devices as it can bring an iPhone back up to 50% battery in just 30 minutes. 

Space-saving oven

The Sage Combi Wave 3-in-1 is ideal if space is tight in your kitchen. The ultimate multi-tasker, the Sage Combi is a microwave, air fryer and convection oven. The air frying function means you can cook crispy fries (without deep-fat frying), while you can whip up crunchy cookies or brownies with the convection mode. You can also defrost, reheat and grill, so most of your cooking bases are covered with this piece of kit.

So, what’s your favourite household gizmo, then? Tell us in the comments below.