No Comments

What’s Putting Buyers Off Your Property

In this two-minute read, we look at some of the things that may be putting buyers off (that you can easily fix).

So, you’re keen to sell your home in A, but you’re just not getting any offers. What’s going on? How can you make your home more attractive to potential buyers?

What’s that smell?

Your home is your castle, but your pong is also your pong. If a buyer walks into a property and is hit with a bad smell, it’s likely they won’t be coming back. Whether you’ve just been cooking cabbage, or you’ve got a whiffy pet, always air your home before a viewing. Light some scented candles, bake some cookies, and be sure to empty those bins before letting anyone in. 

Mess and clutter? No thanks

Buyers walking into a cluttered home may find it difficult to see past the mess. Got a lovely fireplace? No one can see it past the litter tray and old toys. Shelves stacked with stuff, clothes on the floor, overflowing bins… the list goes on.

Top tip: Before you put your home on the market, have a clear out. A tidy home makes a real difference.

OTT

Now, we all love a bit of leopard print (don’t we?), but if you’ve got animal print wallpaper, a neon pink feature wall or heavily patterned carpets, your taste might be putting buyers off.

When selling, try to ensure that the décor is as neutral as possible. That might mean investing in a pot of paint or hiding those bling bling vases in the attic. (Note: It might also mean changing those red satin bed sheets after Valentine’s Day.) 

Ugly on the outside

They say never to judge a book by its cover, but sometimes, the outside of a property is so unattractive that buyers write it off before even entering. If any of the following apply to your home, make sure to get them sorted.

– Broken gutters or pipes

– Overgrown weeds and dead plants 

– Damage to exterior walls

– Abandoned toys

– Smelly bins

An external makeover should help increase the enquiries you get about your property.

Quick fixes

Unless your buyer is looking for a ‘fixer-upper’, most people don’t want to be confronted with countless issues as soon as they walk into a property. Obvious repairs – such as small damp patches, peeling wallpaper, broken doors/windows/fitted units – need sorting.

If there are structural or damp problems that you’ve decided not to tackle, don’t hide them.

Be honest and be realistic; this will affect the value and desirability of a property.

If you want to sell your home, call us at Nest in Essex on 01268 500988.

No Comments

The Differences between Landlords and Property Investors

In this two-minute read, we look at the differences between landlords and property investors.

What’s the difference between a landlord and a property investor? Aren’t they the same thing? Does one rent out properties and the other sell them on? If these questions have got you scratching your head, read on.

Long term vs short term

Keeping it simple, a landlord makes a regular income from renting properties to tenants. They are responsible for maintenance and managing the property. It’s also likely that they hold onto the property for the long term.

A property investor is trickier to define. It might be someone who buys buildings they can add value to before selling on, or someone that invests in other people’s property ventures, not getting involved in the actual build or refurb.

Hands-on vs hands-off

A private landlord has got a lot to do. Once they’ve bought, financed, and refurbished their rental property, they enter the wonderful world of lettings. And while many landlords use our agency to find tenants and manage their property (the easiest decision in our humble opinion), many choose a more hands-on approach. So, they manage the property, taking care of tenant enquiries, emergencies, or repairs.

Being a landlord can be a full-time job, depending on the number of properties and tenants they may have.

A property investor takes more of a back-seat role. For example, they may be part of a joint venture or involved in an equity partner agreement. This is where they put up the capital and other parties do the work.

Property investors with access to a large amount of money may take more indirect routes to their investments such as property funds or trusts, buying shares in large development companies or property ISAs. In each instance, they commit their cash, rather than their time.

Regular income vs one-off payments

A private landlord looks for a good rental yield as a stable and relatively low-risk property investment. They receive monthly rental payments that should cover mortgage costs and could (hopefully) supplement their income. Over time, if they sell their rental property, they may also benefit from price appreciation. Nowadays, many private landlords regard property as an alternative to a traditional pension.

Property investors buying buildings to ‘flip’ or develop look for a one-time payoff once they’ve sold the property.

If you’re interested in becoming a landlord or making a property investment, call us on 01268 500988

No Comments

How Landlords Can Beat the Blue Monday Moods

We share how landlords can avoid feeling down on the year’s most depressing day in this two-minute read.

If you’re feeling a little flat, low, or down in the dumps next Monday, you won’t be alone.

The 17th of January is Blue Monday – according to some psychologists (and clever marketers), it’s the most depressing day on the calendar.

It’s a perfect storm of wintery weather taking its toll, the Christmas break becoming a distant memory, resolutions falling by the wayside, and credit card bills coming in.

All of this adds up to a formula for feeling, well, a little rubbish.

And our experience serving landlords has taught us the four main things that get them feeling down.

The good news is we have the antidote to these that will bring the smiles back.

Here goes:

  1. Void periods – When your property is empty, it costs you money and can make you miserable. Good marketing, looking after existing tenants, and setting reasonable rents for well-maintained homes reduces the risks of voids.
  2. Troublesome tenants – This can cause landlords a lot of stress. But you can drastically lower the chances of a tenancy turning bad by doing things right from the start. Rigorous referencing and checks that weed out the good from the bad tenants are essential for a positive experience.
  3. Rules, laws, and regulations – The rental property industry in the UK has more than 300 different and constantly changing rules that affect landlords. Falling foul of these rules is costly and stressful and causes nagging anxiety for some landlords trying to ‘blag it’. Use an experienced letting agent to manage your property and keep you on the right side of the law.
  4. Property damage – All landlords should expect fair wear and tear to happen during a tenancy. But many get down in the dumps when their property ends up looking like the local tip. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The right tenants who are well treated reduce this reason to be anxious. As does having a good letting agent who carries out a thorough incoming and outgoing inventory as well as regular property inspections on your behalf.

For a happier, more successful rental property experience, call us today.

No Comments

Top Tips for Selling an Empty Property

This three-minute read looks at the issues around selling an empty home.

Most estate agents will tell you that to secure a good property sale, it’s best to market a home fully furnished. But to quote the Rolling Stones, ‘You can’t always get what you want’.

Whether it be due to a death in the family or a sudden change in circumstances, sellers sometimes find themselves with an empty property to market.

When this happens, what’s the best strategy?

Let’s think about visuals 

Empty homes tend to ‘stick’ because we humans are visual creatures. We find it easier to imagine ourselves living in a property that looks ‘lived in’. Photographs of empty rooms don’t ‘tell a story’.

Buyers also struggle to judge the size of a room without everyday items, such as beds or sofas, to provide visual perspective.

Bearing this in mind, if you’re selling an empty property, here’s what you should do. 

Create a blank canvas

Invest time into presenting the property as a blank canvas onto which a buyer can quickly stamp their own personal touch.

  • Remove junk from inside and outside and give everything a good clean. (Empty doesn’t have to mean grotty.)
  • Patch up the walls and paint them in a neutral colour.
  • Clean the carpets or, if they’re beyond saving, pull them up and tidy up the floorboards.
  • Cut back any overgrown bushes in the garden.

To stage or not to stage

Once you’ve got the bare bones of your home shipshape, consider whether to ‘stage’ the property.

You could go big and rent furniture and furnishings from a professional staging company. While this will require a financial outlay, if your property is in a high-value area, it’s a move that could make you money in the long run.

If this isn’t a realistic option, you could still bring in some furniture – borrowed or nabbed from your own home – to help buyers understand the layout. Think beds in the bedrooms, a table and chairs in the kitchen, and a sofa in the living room. It’s a kind of ‘staging lite’ approach that can give a property an extra push.

A final word about security

Whatever you decide to do, prioritise security ­– thieves and squatters target empty homes. Check the locks and make regular visits to the property to remove any tell-tale signs that it’s empty. Install lamps that operate on a timer, so that the lights go on at night.

For more advice on marketing your property, contact us here at Nest in Essex

No Comments

Four New Year’s Resolutions Landlords Will Love

In this two-minute read, we look at four New Year’s resolutions landlords can make to earn more money, have less hassle, and maximise their rental investments.

It’s 2022. A new year, new hopes, and a new focus on getting rid of old ways of doing things that are holding us back.

And landlords are not immune to wanting a fresh start. January always sees us have plenty of enquiries from landlords keen to improve the way they do things.

Below are four resolutions we can help landlords make, but more importantly, keep.

To make more money

This one is a balancing act. You want to be profitable without being mercenary. A popular way to improve your bottom line is to review your buy-to-let mortgage rates (when was the last time you did this?). You can also look at all your other costs, including insurance and maintenance plans and see if any savings can be made.

To have less stress

Being a landlord is a fantastic way to build a passive income and lay solid financial foundations for your future. But it can be stressful if certain things aren’t in place. You have plenty of responsibilities, and these can all add up over time. Working with an experienced letting agent can help you overcome any challenges and make your life easier.

To get better tenants

This goes hand in hand with our thoughts on having less stress. A bad tenancy is a nightmare. The good news is when you work with an experienced letting agency, the risks of these are massively reduced. Rigorous referencing and cross-checking of prospective tenants are perhaps the most crucial tasks that need to be done, professionally, if you’re to get a better standard of tenant.

To stay safe and legal

We’ve mentioned that mountain of rules and responsibilities all landlords face. Falling foul of these are costly, stressful, and in worst-case scenarios, can put you behind bars. Unfortunately, ignorance isn’t a defence when it comes to rental property law. By working with a letting agency that knows their stuff regarding the legal side of things, you are protecting yourself, your tenants, and your investment.

If improving the way your rental properties perform in 2022 is a resolution you’re making, get in contact with us today, and we’ll help you stick to it.

No Comments

Shhh… Get Rid of Unwanted Christmas Gifts Without Anyone Finding Out

In this two-minute read, we give you our best ideas for unloading your unwanted socks/smellies/toys/slippers (delete as appropriate).

Now we’ve all eaten our weight in turkey, pulled some crackers, and snoozed in front of the TV, it’s time for the great post-Christmas tidy-up.

The first place to start (once all that wrapping paper has been cleared away) is with your unwanted presents. Don’t just shove them under the bed or at the back of a cupboard. Get savvy, get rid, and get a little richer.

Donate them to a good cause

The guilt-free option for getting rid of something you know you’re never going to use. Charity shops benefit from new and unopened items, and you can feel happy in the knowledge your unwanted pressie is doing some good in the world.

Regift them to someone

You may feel a bit cheeky doing this, but in the grand scheme of things you’re actually doing your bit to help save the planet, avoid waste, and bag yourself some pennies.

Swap shop

Get online and swap your presents. Sites such as Preloved or Swapz let you find items of a similar value and arrange a swap. No money, no clutter – win-win. Alternatively, if you fancy hosting a little get-together, organise a post-holiday swap party where everyone brings an unwanted gift and swaps it for another guest’s present.

Sell online

There are so many online selling sites to choose from, your granny will never know you sold her gift of embroidered handkerchiefs, we promise. Obviously, there’s eBay, but check out other sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Amazon Marketplace, or Gumtree.

Return them

Now this is easy if you’ve got a gift receipt, but there’s hope even if you don’t. Most retailers have a returns policy that allows an exchange or will offer a credit note but there’s no law that forces a retailer to accept non-faulty items. Remember, in most cases you’ve only got 28 days to return something in store.

Things that can’t be returned include perishable items such as food, personalised items, or DVDs/CDs where the seal has been broken.

Give them away

It might not be a good idea to stand outside your house offering strangers a pair of brand-new flannel pyjamas, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Make use of sites such as Freecycle, Freegle, and Trash Nothing to offload your unwanted gifts.

Whatever you decide to do with those extra presents, we at Nest in Essex hope you’ve had a great festive period. 

No Comments

Living with Your Parents? You’re Not Alone

In this three-minute read, we explore the growing trend of multigenerational living.

Remember when you were younger and you couldn’t wait to move out of your parents’ house, rent your own place and live independently? Well, times are a-changin’, and being an adult with your own bills, mortgage payments, and countless other expenses has lost its charm for many.

In fact, more and more people are going back to their roots, moving in with their parents, in-laws, or other family members to cut down costs and maximise space.

For many cultures, multigenerational living is the norm. It’s not uncommon for three or even four generations to live in one household, but this was a rarity in most UK households, until now. The Office for National Statistics has found that since 2001, households containing three generations is on the up.

Older adults are moving back in with their parents, elderly grandparents are moving in with their kids and grandkids, and many 20 – 30 somethings have no choice but to stay put in their childhood homes due to lack of funds. During the pandemic, many families decided to move in together to prevent isolation, provide support, and just be together.

These days, the traditional granny annexe won’t always do, as savvy grandparents want more space. Designs for granny flats (or student studios) are more self-contained, ensuring people have their own private space and retain a sense of independence.

As more downsizers move in with extended family, research from CBRE predicts that multigenerational living is set to increase over the next 20 years.

Typical ways families are joining together include:

  • Merging finances and buying bigger properties
  • Moving out of cities to take advantage of more space in rural areas
  • Extending properties to build an annexe
  • Adapting properties to create separate entrances and facilities

With the growing trend of multigenerational living, and more than 1.8 million households currently adopting this lifestyle, housebuilders are also getting in on it. New developments are popping up with ready-made granny flats or studios for multigenerational family set-ups.

Factors to investigate when considering merging households include matters such as council tax, planning permission, wills, and inheritance issues.

If you’re planning on creating a new multigenerational household, talk to us at Nest in Essex to see what’s currently available locally.

No Comments

Stop Your Rental Property from Being Used for Illegal Activity

This two-minute read looks at how landlords can keep their property safe from criminals and dodgy dealers.

Every landlord has lost sleep worrying about what goes on in their rental property when they’re not around.

There’s always a flicker of fear that a tenant – no matter how trustworthy they seem – might turn out to be a nightmare and cause damage to the property.

But carpet stains and chipped paint could be the least of a landlord’s worries in the scheme of things.

If criminals use your property for illegal activity, you could wind up with an expensive repair bill and a starring role in a court case. (And if the property is designated a crime scene, it could be off-limits for weeks while police investigate.)

While most tenants are law-abiding citizens, with criminals employing ever more sophisticated tactics, it’s worth being on your guard.

Rental properties are sometimes used for:

  • Drug production. Over the past 20 years, there’s been a steady increase in the use of domestic properties for cannabis farms or meth labs.
  • Drug dealing.
  • People trafficking.
  • Gambling dens or the sale of illicit cigarettes and alcohol.

What to do if you’re suspicious

Don’t bury your head in the sand. If the authorities can prove you were aware of the illegal activity taking place at your property but took no action, there could be severe repercussions.

Contact the relevant authority and keep a note of what you’ve seen or heard (but don’t play detective, leave that to the experts).

Look out for

  • Tenants with long, convoluted stories as to why they can’t show you the appropriate ID.
  • Tenants who install their own deadbolts, CCTV or alarms, and are dead against you arranging a planned property inspection.
  • Blacked-out windows and unusual smells. Meth labs can smell like cat’s wee, while cannabis farms have a distinctive, sweet odour.
  • Changes to the wiring (cannabis farmers often rejig it to bypass the electricity meter).

Proactive steps

  • Have a rigorous tenant screening process.
  • Run a mile from tenants offering to pay several months’ rent in advance in cash.
  • Carry out regular inspections.
  • Do things by the book. Criminals are looking for landlords who are lax or absent.
  • Build good relations with the neighbours. They could be the first to notify you if something fishy is going on.
  • Trust your instincts.

If this all feels like a tall order, you could get an experienced letting agent to manage your property.
 
That way, you can sleep easy knowing that your investment is safe.
 
From all of us here at Nest in Essex, don’t have nightmares and thanks for reading.