Category Archives: News

house auction

A Guide To House Auctions Leicester

In recent news, the government gave estate agents the green light to re-open offices and commence property viewings, following strict social distancing rules to keep the property market moving. 

With this in mind, investors or people in the market for a new home may be wondering what has happened or will happen to popular property auctions.

Whether it’s your very first time using an auction service due to lockdown or you’re a bit of a pro at spotting a property investment, our team at Open House Leicester is up to date with everything you need to know about house auctions in Leicester. 

How Does It All Work?

Have a look at the leading Leicester auctions. They have transformed this typically ‘in person’ event to an online one where bids can be easily submitted by a range of options including telephone, by proxy or over the internet. These routes are entirely secure and confidential so you don’t need to worry about your personal information as it’s hidden away behind closed doors. 

If you’re not quite ready to invest yet, but want to keep an eye on the property market in Leicester, there is also an option to simply browse properties that are currently available. Most online property auctions should show previous auctions that have taken place in recent weeks so you can see how they work.

Buying Or Selling 

This may be your first time attending an auction and even if you had thought about it before, you probably didn’t expect to do it online. The good news is that our team at Open House Leicester can advise you on what to look out for and how to approach auctions if this is something you’re considering. 

There’s no reason why you can’t simply watch as a bystander for the first time or even a few times to get a feel of how it all works as this kind of thing would usually happen at a physical event anyway. 

Alternatively, you may be wishing to list your own property via an online auction and the advice we’ve given above applies just as much here too. Take your time and see how it all works but if there’s anything you’re unsure of, we can help. You may have questions about putting your property up at the right price and what the pros and cons are of auctions. 

Using an online auction can provide security for sellers to help keep the property market moving in Leicester as investors or buyers will always be in attendance ready to seal a deal.

How Can Open House Leicester Help You?

Selling your property or buying a new one can be an overwhelming process but we’re here to ease some of that pressure. We’re also fully up to date with government guidelines on Coronavirus and what this means for the property market so we will advise you in the best way possible, whatever your property situation.

If you have any questions as to how we’re operating during Coronavirus or to find out more about how Open House Leicester can help you with your property needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by either emailing info@openhouseleicester.co.uk or calling 0116 243 7938.

housing market

COVID-19: Housing Market Given The Key To Open

Following a significant update from the Government in recent days, the housing market has been given the go-ahead to reopen, but resuming business is by no means normal. Technically, estate agents are still seen as a non-essential business so we wanted to let our customers, landlords and tenants know about the measures we have put in place if there is a property you are keen to progress with. 

Our organisation of Coronavirus-friendly agents at Open House Leicester are following strict guidelines when it comes to property valuations, viewings and maintaining social distancing. We are enforcing these effective immediately and to provide clarity on any uncertainties, we’ve created this simple guide to explain it in detail, giving you peace of mind before you either list a property or see one. 

It’s not the traditional way of showing a property, whether it’s an office space or a house, but virtual viewings are taking precedence and understandably so. Despite this, face-to-face viewings can also still take place and there are some different rules we can apply depending on the circumstances of the property.

Vacant Property Viewings

If the property is completely vacant, then we will carry out single-person viewings to avoid multiple people in one space regardless of how big it is. We want to enforce this upfront so even if that means we carry out a few more viewings at different times or days, we feel more comfortable taking these steps to ensure everyone’s safety. 

In doing so, we will ensure that the agent is not in the same room as those viewing at any one time and as much of the conversation as possible will take place outside of the house or followed up with over the phone. By limiting this physical contact, but still being able to maintain a conversation with the interested parties means we are able to carry out our service as best as we can. It also gives a chance to keep the lines of communication going through follow up calls or emails.

Should an occasion arise where we need to carry out multiple viewings in one block, we only do this if there is definitely no other solution and viewings will be limited to 10 minutes per person. A representative will still accompany each viewing and maintain the social distancing measures we have in place. 

If a person shows up early for their viewing, we will politely ask them to wait outside for their turn. Obviously this is less than ideal for all involved, but we would like to emphasise that everyone’s health and safety is our top priority during this time. 

Finally, we will carry out any viewings at times of the day that avoid commuter times to help others perhaps travelling by public transport to ease their journey to the viewing. 

Occupied Property Viewings

However, if you would like to list your property on the housing market and make it available for viewings, we can assist you in carrying out a virtual viewing, which will be done by a representative of our team. We understand that you may be working from home during this time and/or not be able to vacate your property in order for us to carry out a viewing, which is why we’re fully equipped to help you set up a video tour of your property and provide guidance on how we can capture enough detail for a virtual viewing that will accompany your listing. 

In order to obtain the footage, one agent will come to your property and film the key areas while all members of the household wait in the garden space if this is possible. Another way we can do this if there is no garden space is to have members of the household either upstairs while filming takes place downstairs and vice versa. We’ll use this opportunity to collect video footage and photographs so we have everything we need in one go. 

For any communication about the property that needs to be discussed while the agent and occupiers are present, this can, of course, be done at a 2m distance. As mentioned above, any filming or photography that needs to be done will be captured outside of busy rush hours to help with social distancing in the city. 

Finally, when it comes to the actual property viewing, tenants will obviously be made of aware of this well in advance and will be kindly asked to leave all doors open and lights on so the need to touch anything within the property will be removed. We will also ask that all viewers come equipped with a mask, gloves and hand sanitiser for their own protection as well as the occupants’ protection.

Property Valuations

Our very own qualified Managing Director, Rahul Jain, will personally carry out all property valuations single-handedly to avoid any need for personal contact. Getting your property listed may be something that’s been on your mind for some time and we can help you with this. 

Rahul will take the time to get a great feel for your needs and can provide an honest and reflective price of your property. He can also answer any questions you may have about the property market and what this means post-COVID-19.

How Can Open House Leicester Help You?

We think we can all agree that every day brings new updates when it comes to Coronavirus, so it’s hard to keep up with all the changes, especially when it comes to the property and housing market. 

It may not be realised by everyone that the property industry and estate agents such as ourselves are still able to operate as normally as possible, given that we abide by the Government’s guidelines, implement social distancing rules and keep as many aspects of our roles online as possible. 

Even our photographers, EPC assessors and other third parties are still able to carry out their work so there really isn’t anything stopping us from keeping the housing market flowing.

If you have any questions as to how we’re operating during Coronavrisu or to find out more about how Open House Leicester can help you with your property needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by either emailing info@openhouseleicester.co.uk or calling 0116 243 7938.

leicester property market

How Has Coronavirus Affected The Leicester Property Market?

How has Coronavirus affected the Leicester property market? This is probably just one of many questions landlords, investors, homeowners and home sellers might have. What we know so far is that the Leicester property market has come to a bit of a standstill since the lockdown unless the move is a truly necessary one for people. 

But what this doesn’t mean is that any ambitions in Leicester have to move, buy or sell should be put to one side. All we have to do is adapt. We consider ourselves as an insightful and the best property portal, so we’ve broken down this blog into the core concerns that people in Leicester are likely to be facing, depending on their current property situation.

Landlords

There’s been a lot of talk about ‘renter’s rights’ vs. ‘landlord’s rights’ and the truth is that both of these very much still apply. Landlords, whether you’re an avid investor or this is your first rental property, you may be faced with tenants who are struggling to pay rent due to financial constraints or existing tenants are moving back in with family members in their home to continue to self-isolate. It may even be as simple as they are relocating. But what does this mean for you as a landlord? 

Continue to consult your letting agent so they can advise and act on your behalf. If you act independently or privately to manage the property then see what kind of agreement you can come to with the tenants for a fair termination to any tenancy agreements. 

If you have a house to let, getting your property sites back on the market for other renters to accommodate is still very much possible with properties being added to the Leicester property market and filled with new tenants. This may also be a good time to review the property, tidy up any DIY tasks or snags that need fixing so that it’s ready to be put back on the market. It’s also worth getting a guide on whether the value of your rental property is getting the maximum benefit. 

Homebuyers

Are you part of a chain, a first-time buyer, looking to downsize or trying to find that perfect family home? You may feel put off buying a property and this is completely normal under the circumstances. These are some of the most common situations we come across when speaking to home buyers but they still apply now. 

While the Government has strongly advised that moving house should be put on hold until COVID-19 lockdown restrictions can be lifted, there will be houses for sale in Leicester or homes that need to complete in weeks and months to come so hang on in there. Your move will still take place, it’s just a bit delayed. 

Use this time to get everything in order so you’re ready to exchange when the big day comes. Make sure all surveys and reports are booked in if they haven’t taken place already and your solicitors have been instructed. If there are any changes to your financial circumstances, be sure to notify your agreed mortgage provider and check whether they have any of their own updates that you need to be aware of. We have plenty of local network links that we can call on to give you some advice.

Home Sellers

If you have a property for sale, you might be concerned that people are not looking for houses at the moment, but research might suggest the opposite so keep your home listed online. As we’re spending more time at home or on the computer, searches are expected to increase because people are thinking ahead if a move is still in mind. 

If for any reason, a sale has fallen through that was originally agreed prior to COVID-19’s lockdown, then remain positive that your house has shown interest. Circumstances may change in the coming weeks or months and there will be other homebuyers out there.

Why not also use this downtime to make sure all of your admin is in order? It’s important that any photography you have is up to date or better yet, include a virtual tour of your property to really stand out. This gives the prospective buyer a brilliant idea of the house and it’s the closest they will get at the moment to seeing the property so make sure every room is covered internally but also driveways, garages and gardens externally to give a full picture. 

There are only things such as having an idea of which solicitors you want in place, getting an updated energy performance certificate (EPC) or booking in gas safety checks – we can still help with all of these things. As soon as things pick up again, everyone will be busy so try and get ahead if you can!

What Does The Future Of The Leicester Property Market Look Like?

It’s simply too early to tell whether the property market will slump or rise and every region or circumstance will be different. Official statistics on the impact pre-COVID-19 lockdown have yet to be released so don’t take every headline in the news as a cause for concern as these are forecasts and predictions only.

As the situation progresses, we’ll be updating our website and blog with the latest information on how Coronavirus impacts the Leicester property market as well as the relevant advice you need to make informed decisions. 

As one of the best property websites, Open House Leicester operates in and around the city centre and is still fully contactable. We’re committed to you and your property whether you’re a landlord, tenant, homeowner or buyer so if you need any advice, please feel free to get in touch.

renting in leicester

Renting in Leicester: Answers To Your Lockdown Questions

Fed up not being able to find the right information for your current rental situation? Our team at Open House Leicester has put together a list of answers to your COVID-19 lockdown questions about renting in Leicester. We have also provided everything you need to know and where else to look for accurate and up to date information. More importantly, we’ve made it specific to the current situation here in Leicester because we understand your concerns.

In recent weeks, we’ve had enquiries from our customers seeking relevant and honest information about how the Coronavirus lockdown affects their current rental scenario. In response, we’ve rounded these up to share with you just in case there’s something you haven’t thought of or your circumstances have changed.

Renting In Leicester: Commonly Asked Questions 

We’ve listed a few commonly asked questions and answers when it comes to rental agreements, payments, landlords and sources of information.

Rental Agreements

I’m in a rental property and my tenancy agreement is coming to an end during the lockdown. What should I do?

Ask your landlord or your estate agents whether a month-by-month agreement or a short-term let, such as a 3-month agreement, is possible if you don’t want to commit to a new long-term tenancy agreement on your home. 

As you’re already a resident in that property, the landlord should trust you and it’s in their interest to keep the property occupied too. This is especially if the landlord is aware that no one else will be looking to move during the Coronavirus lockdown period.  

I need to move house soon. Will this be possible?

Renters should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new home while emergency measures are in place to fight the spread of Coronavirus. 

If you do need to move, adhere to the general rules of Coronavirus’ guidelines, such as enforcing social distancing and only going out for essential grocery shopping and medication, working and exercise.

Rental Payments

What should I do if I’m struggling to pay my rent?

Unfortunately, there are no exclusions here as you’ve signed a legally binding contract. Therefore, tenants are still required to pay their rent as normal. However, support has been made available through the Government’s Emergency Coronavirus Bill, which was announced in March. 

Approximately, £1billion has been made available to support renters by increasing the generosity of housing benefit and Universal Credit. This means that the Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in your area. 

What’s more, Statutory Sick Pay has also been made more accessible with claimants able to receive sick pay from day one of being off work due to Coronavirus symptoms or if you are isolating due to a family member having symptoms. These extra sources of funding or support can help contribute to your rent. 

If you are still struggling despite these efforts or for any reason you are unable to access these sources of funding, it’s advised that you speak to your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible. After all, we’re in this together so hopefully, something can be sorted. 

Landlords

 My landlord wants the property back. What are my options?

Of course, it is their right to have their property back but there are two significant changes that have been implemented by the Government in relation to evictions. 

The first applies to any eviction notices that were put forward to the tenant prior to 26th March. These have now been extended for a further 90 days so this buys you a bit more time. 

The second applies to any landlords who attempt to evict tenants after the 26th March. These cannot be processed for three months (with courts) with an increase on the standard two months. 

Trusted Sources 

Where shall I look online for trustworthy information?

We urge you only to follow guidelines released by the Government, which clearly state the rules and regulations around renting during lockdown. As your letting agent, we also refer to this and break down some of the information to give you exactly what you need to know. 

For more information, visit the dedicated Government’s COVID-19 renters guidelines.

How Can Open House Leicester Help You?

There is no doubt a lot of people who are feeling anxious about the current Coronavirus situation and confused with regards to what it means for their rental agreements. The team at Open House Leicester hope that we have answered your questions about renting in Leicester during Coronavirus.

However, if you still need further information or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us today by calling 0116 243 7938 or emailing info@openhouseleicester.co.uk.

leicester properties

Leicester Properties Update: What’s New On The Streets?

With climate emergencies, growing populations and increased demand for housing, we’ve been keeping up-to-date with news articles and press releases about Leicester properties as well as any economic changes and industry updates over the years to maintain an understanding of the current Leicester property market. 

From the city of Leicester being announced by worldwide environmental charities as one of the fastest-growing climate action leaders, to the development of around 29,000 new Leicester homes, there are plenty of exciting updates on the streets of Leicester.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the latest property updates and discover what’s new on the streets in the diverse and vibrant city of Leicester.

Climate-Action Leaders

Earlier this year, Leicester has been recognised as a global leader on climate action and transparency. This news comes after the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) recently their Cities ‘A List’ for 2019, which annually reviews countries around the world for their environmental impact and carbon footprint. 

With only 105 cities listed globally, this is a tremendous achievement for our beloved city. 

To be named as a climate-action leader, Leicester had to have had a city-wide emissions inventory, along with publishing a climate action plan to demonstrate how climate hazards will be tackled and an emissions reduction target.

Some of the actions taken by Leicester City Council to achieve this title includes investing in the Connecting Leicester scheme to create safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists, replacing street lights with economically-friendly white LEDs, installing low-carbon energy and low-cost district heating systems to over 3,000 homes and declaring a climate emergency in February 2019.

The prestigious title awards the city of Leicester for their transparency and action on climate change. With CDP publicly naming just 43 cities in 2018, compared to 105 cities in 2019, there’s a strong indication that cities across the world are also beginning to declare a climate emergency. 

So if you’re looking to purchase your first buy-to-let property, make sure you’ve considered its energy performance rating. From 1st April 2020, EPC requirements state that properties will be required to have a minimum ‘E’ rating.

Leicester Properties: Potential New-Builds

With the growing population of Leicester, it’s inevitable that members of Leicester City Council are in negotiations for building over 21,000 new homes. It has been revealed that Leicester needs around 29,000 more Leicester properties to cope with this growing demand. 

Leicester City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, recently announced that Leicester City Council were in talks for finding sites for building new residential developments. The strategy released by the council reveals the long-term plan for shaping how Leicester develops, from now until 2036.

These plans have been controversial amongst many Leicester residents with the potential development sites situated in some of Leicester’s green spaces. 

The development promises to focus on key issues, including climate change and transportation. City councillors have already begun public consultations since March 2020 with further talks in place throughout 2021 before the proposal becomes finalised and agreed.

Leicester City Council is looking to have these 21,000 homes built on the outskirts of the city centre. However, with the constrained boundaries of locating suitable sites, the council are looking to negotiate with neighbouring districts.

Developers are also set to build new Leicester properties, schools, parks, shops and roads to the north-east of the city. The overall plan is to build around 1,700 homes each year.

Soaring House Prices

Due to the soaring demand for housing with our growing population, house prices have increased more in Leicester than any other city in the UK. These statistics were released by Zoopla, who announced that house prices in Leicester currently sit at £180,000, but are growing at an annual rate of 4.7%.

Of course, with soaring house prices comes increases in rental costs for tenants around the UK. From this month, those living in council homes are set to have their monthly rental costs to rise in Leicester, which is due to affect around 20,000 council homes.

This rent is due to increase by 2.7%, which calculates to an average figure of around £97 per year, per household.

Whilst the expected increase in house prices is wonderful for Leicester estate agents working in property development and real estate, home buyers and tenants are certain to feel the pressure as house prices continue to rise faster than the minimum wage. 

For first-time-buyers especially, we strongly advise setting up a Lifetime ISA, which you can transfer money to each month and receive a 25% bonus to your savings from the government to go towards your first home.

On a positive note, since the EU referendum in June 1975, property values in Leicester have risen by a staggering 1629.9%. This increase over the past 40 years is a great backbone for the Leicester property market to fall back on.

Although an initial hit has occurred to the price of Leicester city centre properties, this is nothing as dramatic as originally predicted. 

Many leading industry experts predict that the property market prices in Leicester will begin to drop in the next year or so.

Let Your Leicester Properties Today

Are you curious about putting up your property on the market for potential renters? Let Open House Leicester help you. Not only do we offer quality property valuation in Leicester, but we can also get your property on some of the best property listings in the UK to ensure a successful advertisement.

If you choose to advertise your rental property with Open House Leicester, we can ensure a quicker transaction than the average. With our large network, we can also help you advertise your rental property to thousands of potential tenants.

Want to see how we can help you with your Leicester and East Midlands lettings? Just get in touch with us today to discuss your needs. 

Our friendly team of property experts have years of experience when it comes to letting and renting properties so they will be able to answer any questions you may have and make sure you are getting the best quality services.

Leicester lettings – Popular areas to let in Leicester

2020 Property Checklist: What To Do When Moving House + Free Download

Leicester lettings – Popular areas to let in Leicester

When you come to moving house, it might seem like there are a million and one things you’ll need to remember to do. This can be particularly stressful if you’re moving house on your own, or if you’re moving with children and pets. 

You’ll need to give notice to all your utilities, arrange your utilities for your new home and inform the relevant contacts of your change of address, which is before you’ve even considered measuring up and packing up, amongst other things.

However, if you prepare for a house move far in advance, it can become an exciting process with minimal stress. To make the process of moving house as simple and organised as possible, we have created a checklist for any tenant or homeowner to follow.

☐ Confirm moving date

Once it’s agreed that you have secured your property, whether it’s rented or if you are due to own it, you’ll need to confirm the moving date. Choose a date that works best for you and those involved in helping you move, as you’ll want to book a few days off from your work.

To make the move as stress-free as possible, you might want to consider your moving date to be a few days earlier than you are required to leave your existing property. This gives you several days or weeks to move, minimising the stress and rush to move into your new property.

This also means you have more time to give your existing property a deep-clean before handing back the keys.

☐ Give notice to your landlord 

If you’re renting, you’ll need to give notice to your landlord (or Leicester lettings agent) as soon as possible. You’ll also need to make sure that you provide enough notice, as agreed in your rental contract.

This is so that your landlord has enough time to market the rental property and to find a new tenant, whilst giving them enough time to arrange the end of tenancy steps.

☐ Measure up

For most people, moving house can be incredibly exciting, so it’s understandable if you’re pro-actively homeware shopping and planning where each of your items will be placed in your new home. Something we strongly advise is to go back to the new property shortly before you are due to move, to take measurements and to take photos of the home. 

The benefit of doing this is that you’ll be able to plan the decor and pre-order furniture that fits perfectly in the property. If you’re particularly organised, you might like to draw an accurate floor plan draft of the home, which can be helpful if you’re thinking of extending parts of the house.

☐ Have a clear-out

You’ll be surprised how much clutter we accumulate over the years, whether it’s something which is thrown to the back of an empty cupboard or clothes which haven’t been worn in over six years. 

Having a clear-out before you start packing is essential in ensuring an easier moving process. It’s also the best time to have a thorough clear-out as there’s likely to be items you never knew you had!

☐  Order new furniture

With any new home, you might need to order new furniture or white goods. If this is the case, you’ll want to start ordering far in advance, to secure a scheduled delivery date which works around your move. 

It also might be a good idea to request a time-slot for your delivery if you’re looking at having your deliveries arrive on days you’ll be busy moving back and forth between both homes.

☐ Give notice to existing utility providers

If you’re in charge of your home utilities, you’ll need to contact all relevant suppliers and provide them with your notice. We recommend giving as much notice as possible, although you should give at least 48 hours notice.

For electricity, you’ll need to read your meter on the day you move out and make a note of this, before giving your supplier the readings. This is to prevent any misunderstandings or confusion with your final bill, as the new tenant or homeowner moving into your existing property will be using the same electricity provider when they move in.

☐ Consider a removal company 

Many homeowners and tenants make the mistake of giving themselves too much work when it comes to moving. You’ll be surprised just how much easier it is to use a removal company, as well as how cheap they can be. 

Some assume that removal companies charge by weight, although they usually charge by the hour. As with any paid-for service, you’ll want to compare quotes from different removal companies. 

☐ Pack everything

When it comes to packing, you’ll want to dedicate several days. A great idea is to write a plan of which rooms will be packed up, and when. This is ideal if there are several rooms which won’t be used during the last few days (or weeks) of your time at the current property, such as a guest room or a garage.

When moving into your new property, you’ll need to unpack one room at a time. This is why it’s highly recommended to assign your cardboard boxes to each room, then labelling boxes with which room the contents will need to be moved to. 

☐  Order food shop

As unloading boxes and organising rooms can take several days, you might be pushed for time in doing a big food shop. For this reason, ordering your food shop online is one less thing to worry about, and saves precious time so you can get on with organising your new home.

☐ Pack an essentials box 

We recommend having an ‘essentials’ box for bits and bobs you’ll need throughout moving day. These are essential items which will save you rifling through other boxes trying to locate. 

In your essentials box, you might consider packing tea, coffee, sugar, milk, mugs, a kettle, snacks, toilet roll, kitchen roll and your phone chargers. If you’re planning on cleaning before unpacking, you’ll want to consider packing some cleaning products, a vacuum cleaner and some bin bags.

You’ll also need to pack items you’ll be using in the morning of your move, which includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower gel and any other essential toiletries.

☐ Deep clean before the move

Before handing back the keys to your existing property, you’ll want to have a deep clean ready for the new tenants / homeowners to move in. This will include dusting and cleaning down all surfaces, hoovering all floors and mopping any hard floors. 

☐ Looking after your pets and children

If you have a furry friend or young children, it’s recommended to find someone to look after them during the moving process. This makes the moving process less stressful and means you can get on with unpacking without them getting in the way. It might even be worth putting your pet in the kennels for 24 hours.

☐ Change addresses 

Two to three days before moving, you should start changing over your addresses. This will include informing your bank, workplace, insurance companies, the electoral roll, DVLA and your national insurance. In order to receive any important letters from your doctors’ surgery, you’ll need to inform them of your move. If you pay for a TV licence, you’ll need to change over the address to your new one, as you can receive a fine for not updating.

If you have a pet, you should also inform the vets of your change of address and get them to update your pet’s chip.

☐ Change doctors

Once you have moved home, you might need to consider changing doctors if your postal code prefix has changed. Have a look nearby at local surgeries and take a look at their local reviews and whether they have any vacancies. All surgeries will have a catchment area, so you’ll have to make sure your new home is located within this area.

☐ Post redirection services

With a wide range of suppliers and organisations to inform of your change of address, it can be a big worry to think there might be something you’ve forgotten to change.

Royal Mail offers a postal redirection service (for a small fee) which means that all mail will be forwarded onto your new address. Not only does this mean no important mail gets missed, but it does protect against identity fraud too.

☐ Arrange new utilities

When you move into your new home, you’ll most likely be using the utilities that the previous tenant or homeowner were using. If you want to keep these utility suppliers, you’ll need to give them a call and inform them that you’ve just recently moved in and would like to set up a direct debit. 

However, if you’d like to change suppliers, it’s recommended to visit a price comparison website to compare gas and electricity deals. If you decide to switch, you should call up the new supplier and arrange the switchover date, before contacting your existing suppliers to let them know you’ll be switching.

Getting Off to the Right Start With Open House 

Open House aims to take all of the stress out of the buying experience for first-time buyers by providing a personal dedicated service. Through buying a property with us, you will be given all the best information and Leicester property evaluations to ultimately discover the home of your dreams. 

If you’re looking for a Leicester lettings agency to help you find a rental property, our friendly property experts have years of experience when it comes to letting and renting properties so they will be able to answer any questions you have and make sure you are getting the best quality services. For more information on how we can help you, get in touch with one of our friendly team today.

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Lifecycle of Selling A Property

If you’re thinking of selling a house, you’re probably wondering where to begin. The reality is, selling a home involves numerous steps and procedures which you’ll need to take. Whilst selling your home might seem overwhelming, Open House Leicester are on hand to ensure that you’re in a good position to sell your house fast!

In this article, we’ve listed the lifecycle of selling a property, with steps of the entire selling process.

Valuation meeting

In order to start the process of selling your property, you’ll first need to arrange a valuation to determine how much the property is worth. Most estate agents offer an instant online valuation, which doesn’t offer an accurate valuation which can often be a long way off what your home is truly worth, so this is advised against.

Get in touch with a local estate agent for a free sales valuation on your home. At Open House Leicester, we can provide you with a personal agent who can give you an initial valuation over the phone, then will come out to visit your home for an accurate house valuation.

Agree on sale price

Once you’ve received a free sales valuation, you’ll need to agree on the sale price of your home, which will be the value you’re hoping to expect based on your home valuation. At this point, you should consult a local estate agent to take on the selling process on your behalf.

It’s worth having in mind a lower value which you’re willing to accept at an absolute minimum value, as your home buyers may like to put an offer down.

Take and approve photos/floorplans/descriptions

Before marketing your property, you’ll need to start taking photos of the interior and exterior of your home. A photo tells a thousand words, so it’s important to make sure your photos reflect the property in its best light. This will include tidying and cleaning the property as well as brightening the photos so the home appears more bright and open.

So that potential buyers can understand the sizing of the home, you’ll need to measure up around the home and create a floorplan, which can be added to your property sale listing. At this point, you should start drafting descriptions of each room around the house. These descriptions should explain every benefit and facility of your home, as it will become a selling point to encourage potential buyers to inquire about your property.

Market through online and offline channels

Now that you’ve prepared the property, it’s time to begin marketing it through online and offline channels. For online channels, you may want to consider using online portals which are used day-to-day by people searching for homes to buy. These portals include Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket or Primelocation.

Offline channels offer a more traditional way of marketing, which keeps the property open to those who are unlikely to be looking online for a property to buy. Methods of offline marketing can include posts, flyers and ‘for sale’ sign boards.

Receive and vet enquiries

When enquiries begin to come through, they will then need to be vetted. This ensures that all prospects match the property, whilst discussing affordability and property requirements. If all boxes tick, then a viewing is arranged with our team.

Arrange accompanied viewing

With potential buyers showing interest in the property, the next step is to arrange accompanied viewings, when you (and all parties involved) are available to visit the property. This will give potential buyers the opportunity to view the house, take measurements and ask any relevant questions regarding the property.

Sometimes one viewing is all it takes. If there is a lot of interest and multiple viewers, you might want to consider holding open viewings.

Take and negotiate offers

When offers begin to come through, it’s best to have a time window for when these offers are approved or rejected. This is so that the highest offer can be approved by all parties, which can take some time. This time window also allows for other offers to come through.

At this point, you’ll want to have a minimum offer which you’d like to accept. Most potential buyers will place an offer considerably lower than the asking price, so having a minimum limit to accept will make sure that you’re happy with the end offer.

Carry out relevant checks

After you’ve received an offer, you’ll need to carry out legal checks on all buyers of your home. This will include identity checks and anti-money laundering checks, which will require buyers to prove the source of their funds for their home.

Verify affordability based on offer

After the potential buyer has had their offer accepted and the checks have been completed, they’ll need to verify their affordability based on the offer. This will most likely involve them talking to mortgage lenders to calculate how much they are able to take out and what their monthly repayments will be like.

The property only comes off the market after all ID and financial checks have been verified. This also means that the steps including proof of cash deposit and the mortgage decision in principle (DIP) will be required before the house is Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC).

Manage the Conveyancing process

After solicitors are instructed that you are selling your home, you’ll need to manage the conveyancing process. Conveyancing is the legal transfer of a property from one homeowner to a new owner. A conveyancer helps with the settlement by ensuring that all needs have been met and that the contracts are ready to go ahead.

Conveyancing is one of the most important processes when selling your house as this is when the exchange of contracts takes place, as your conveyancer can offer you legal advice every step of the way.

Manage any chain involved

When selling a house, you’ll need to define if there’s an upward chain. This relates to whether the property is available to move into now or if the current homeowner will need to move out of the home first.

Homes with no upward chain are highly sought after, as it allows homeowners to move in as soon as all contracts are finalised and all steps are completed. With an upward chain, potential buyers will need to wait for the existing homeowner to buy a separate property with an agreed completion date.

Set a completion date

With all documents signed off and mortgages approved, it’s now time to set a completion date. In other words, this is the date when the new homeowners will move into their new property.

The completion date, put simply, is moving day. It’s the date on which the seller must vacate the property and the buyer will get the keys and can move in. Fundamentally, on completion, the buyer must, through their lawyer, hand over all the remaining money required to purchase the property.

Signing Contracts

At this point, the contracts will need to be signed for the exchange, which is done prior to the completion date, when the keys are handed over and the homeowners are now able to move into the property.

Assist with the move

After the completion date is finalised, we aim to assist all buyers with their move, in any way we can. This could include anything from recommended removal companies and discussing key collection.

Get in Touch With Open House Estate Agents in Leicester

Did you know that on average in the UK, if you advertise your home privately, it can take as long as two to three months to sell? Of course, that doesn’t always ring true. Many UK properties stubbornly remain on the market for a whole lot longer than this.

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Looking Back on 2019 and Our Property Predictions for 2020

Leicester lettings

As 2020 is creeping upon us, there’s no better time than the present to look back on 2019 and what it has offered us. Not only have there been numerous Brexit predictions on the housing market, but we have also been introduced to many new and innovative property technologies too. There has inevitably been a lot of talk on house prices fluctuating this year also.

As we look back on the changes that have taken place in 2019 in the property sector, it poses the apparent question; what trends can we predict for 2020?

Property Tech

We’ve seen some incredible property technologies introduced on the market this year, which have revolutionised the way we live day-to-day. From the latest Amazon Echo Show 8 to the advanced remote control Logitech Harmony Echo, which even lets you control your Phillips Hue light bulbs around the home. Smart thermostats (such as Hive and Nest) mean that your heating can be adjusted at the switch of a button or a simpler verbal command through Amazon Alexa.

One of our favourite property technologies from this year has to be the August Home Smart Lock Pro. With the Smart Lock, you can control, monitor, lock and unlock your door from anywhere. You can also control keyless access and track who is coming and going with the 24/7 activity feed, all from your mobile phone. 

With every piece of technology introduced in the past year or so now coming into the modern age, they have become a standard way of life for many of us whilst we live in an era of smart home technology. 

Rahul Jain, Property Sales and Letting Director of Open House, says “The technology we have seen over the past year or so has provided homeowners with security, energy efficiency and most of all, convenience. Integration is the foundation of smart home technology, and in 2020, we look forward to a brand new era and decade of incredible property technology to transform everyday tasks to something much simpler.”

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit!

With Brexit being one of the most spoken topics of conversation around the UK in the last three and a half years, many of us are uncertain how it will affect the property market. Whilst we don’t know if it will have a positive or negative impact until after we leave the European Union, one thing we can be sure of is that Brexit will make an immense impact.

Studies conducted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors suggests that Britain is now one of the top hotspots for UK and overseas property investors. There has been tremendous fear from UK property investors that Brexit will push away overseas buyers, however, the UK housing market has been considered a ‘goldmine’ for wealthy foreign buyers. Since the fateful Brexit vote in June 2016, property valuations have remained sensible which has welcomed investors, developers and lenders alike, making it a great opportunity for overseas investors to start investing in UK property.

Rahul said “Now that we are almost certainly going ahead with leaving the European Union in early 2020, there’s an essence of unpredictability and uncertainty in the air as to how the economy will be affected. The reality is, only once we leave the EU will we truly feel the economic impact. This also depends entirely on the trade agreements that Boris Johnson is able to negotiate.”

House Prices

The property market has remained fairly steady over the past year, with a rise of 0.8% throughout the UK and a small average increase of 2% in Leicestershire. According to GOV.UK, 2019 has been a record year for building new homes. In fact, over 170,000 homes were completed by developers (in the year ending June 2019) which have been the highest number of homes built in 11 years. There are further plans to build around 1.5 million new homes in the UK by 2022 – but how will this affect house prices?

A recent article released by The Guardian stated that house prices are expected to rise by an average of 2% in 2020, although studies show that houses in northern regions are expected to perform stronger than houses situated further south, where they are expected to gently fluctuate, making 2020 the perfect time to buy property in Leicester.

Rahul also added “Whilst the expected increase in house prices is wonderful for those working in property development and real estate, home buyers are certain to feel the pressure as house prices continue to rise faster than the minimum wage. For first-time-buyers especially, we strongly advise setting up a Lifetime ISA, which you can transfer money to each month and receive a 25% bonus to your savings from the government, to go towards your first home.”

Landlords and Renting

In 2019, landlords have seen new legislation introduced in the form of the Tenant Fees Act 2019, which puts a ban on new tenant fees. This meant that landlords can no longer charge tenants for anything other than rent, deposits (including holding deposit), damages, key replacement costs, damages, arrears and any utilities that are included in the contract.

For landlords, 2019 has been a steady and positive year. Rental prices paid by tenants in the UK rose by around 1.3% this year. Whilst this isn’t a big increase, it means that the average landlord could make an additional profit of £130 per annum. With the increase in property prices, renting has become the preferred option.

In 2020, we might expect to see a transferable deposit scheme, meaning that a tenant deposit can be transferred from the previous landlord to the new landlord. This is also referred to as ‘deposit passporting’ and benefits tenants as they may no longer need to save up around £1,000 each time they move from one rental to another.

A Summary of 2019…

In summary, 2019 has been a very positive year in relation to property tech and house prices. For landlords and overseas investors, research suggests that 2020 is the ideal time to invest, particularly as it seems like Brexit will make a positive impact on the housing market.

If you’re looking to buy or let your property, Open House Leicester can help you. Not only do we offer quality property valuation in Leicester, but we can also get your property on some of the best property listings in the UK to ensure the successful advertisement of your property.

Simply get in touch with us here at Open House to see how we can help you with your Leicester lettings. With years of experience in the letting industry and knowledge on the Leicester market, we can help you advertise your rental property to thousands of potential tenants. Just get in touch with us today to discuss your needs.

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Our Favourite Ways to Add Value to Your ‘Rental Portfolio’

The higher the value of your rental portfolio, the higher the chances are of your application becoming approved for future property investments and purchases. Ultimately, the trick to this property strategy is to always have a plan for bringing money back into your pot so that you can re-invest it and grow your property portfolio.

In this article, we look through some of the best ways to add value to your rental portfolio with some top tips to ensure your investments grow and stay healthy.

Start with low-risk investments

Whilst it’s a great idea to be ambitious and aim high, you’re going to want to remain sensible and start small. Begin with a small investment, such as a one-bedroom house, then eventually work up to bigger investments once you’ve got the hang of it. Starting small will mean that you’re in a positive financial position and can build your rental portfolio over time, without the risk of financial losses.

However, it’s worth knowing that when buying additional properties, you’ll have to pay stamp duty with a 3% increase in all homes which are valued over £40,000.

Define your demographic

Carrying out market research on the demographics of the area of a potential home will allow you to look at the property requirements of your target market. This might include university access, rental values, and property type. 

Once you have defined your demographic, you’ll be able to establish which areas need renovation or minor work. For example, if your demographic is a young family, then you’ll most likely want to have a three-piece family bathroom suite with a bathtub to suit young children. The demographic will also have a huge factor on your rental income as it will depend on employment status and income.

Investing in your property

An important part of adding value to your rental portfolio is making smart decisions to increase your profit by investing in the property. With the kitchen becoming one of the main parts of any home, it is always one of the best rooms to invest in. Though a brand new kitchen can be particularly expensive, it can add more appeal to renters, which opens your property up to more viewings. As there are many restrictions on what can be done with a rental property, it can be extremely important that the kitchen is aesthetically appealing to your tenants.

After all, if your tenants are happy in their rental property, the more likely they are to stay for a long-term period of time. If you take care of your property and ensure that your tenants are happy, they’ll have more confidence in having you as their landlord.

It’s also important to consider that you need to make a profit from the work carried out on the property, otherwise you’re at risk of making a loss. However, if a home renovation or improvement project is budgeted in the correct way, it can easily pay off, particularly as it gives you the option to increase the rental value of your property. Think of improving your rental property as an investment and not an expense. 

Keep track of your finances

The best way of adding value to your rental portfolio is having the ability to handle your finances well. When it comes to investing in or renovating your properties, it can be difficult to keep track of your finances, particularly if you’re a multi homeowner. If this might sound like you, you’ll most likely benefit from a mobile or desktop app to keep track of your finances.

Landlord Property Buddy aims to make your life simpler with a clean and intuitive dashboard showing your rent, income, expenses, and investments over the year. Available on iPhone and iPad, Landlord Property Buddy offers a free trial and then costs £8.99 monthly.

 Seek help from your local Leicester lettings agency

Seeking help from a lettings agency will mean that you have more free time to focus on new opportunities to add to your rental portfolio.

A lettings agency can even complete thorough tenant checks and handle administration and paperwork on your behalf as well as keeping on top of legal issues and new legislation, so you won’t have to.

A picture can tell a thousand words and setting a good first impression is all down to the pictures on your rental property listing. A lettings agency will take care of the legwork with listing and that the home is properly presented and that the listing uses professional photography.

Let Your Property Today

Are you curious about putting up your property on the market for potential renters? Let Open House Leicester help you. Not only do we offer quality property valuation in Leicester, but we can also get your property on some of the best property listings in the UK to ensure the successful advertisement of our property.

If you choose to advertise your rental property with Open House, we can ensure a quicker transaction than average. With our large network, we can help you advertise your rental property to thousands of potential tenants.

Simply get in touch with us here at Open House to see how we can help you with your Leicester lettings. With years of experience in the letting industry and knowledge on the Leicester market, we can help you successfully advertise your property.

Just get in touch with us today to discuss your needs. Our friendly and expert tea of property experts have years of experience when it comes to letting and renting properties so they will be able to answer any questions you have and make sure you are getting the best quality services.

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6 Rules and Regulations You Need to Know About Before You Sell

If you’re thinking of selling your home, then you’ll most likely understand that there are numerous procedures and steps that will need to be taken before the property is even put on the market.

Of course, most of these procedures will involve a vast amount of paperwork and documentation to complete. Some of the paperwork is straight-forward, however, some may not be as simple. Whilst selling your home might seem overwhelming, Open House Leicester are on hand to ensure that you’re in a good position to sell your house fast!

In this article, we talk through the six rules and regulations you should know about before you sell.

1. Proving Your Right to Own the Property

When selling your property or land, you’ll need to prove that you have the right to put it on the market. Property Title Deeds is a legal document officially registered by HM Land Registry which displays who owns a property or has a right to it, which your solicitor will need to request to view. All records of Property Title Deeds are now stored digitally, rather than in a paper format.

If you can’t find these documents, you should be able to get them from the solicitor you used at the time of buying your current house.

2. Law Society Fittings and Contents Form (TA10)

The Fittings and Contents Form (TA10) outlines which items or appliances are included within the sale of your home. This could include kitchen appliances such as a fridge freezer, dishwasher or tumble dryer, or even exterior items such as sheds, greenhouses of any other outdoor furniture.

This is particularly important with items that the new homeowners would be using as soon as they move in, for example, white goods or wardrobes.

The form will need to be filled out room-by-room so that all parties are aware of what is included. This is so that the new homeowners are clear on what will need to be purchased ahead of the move, to make the process as smooth as possible.

3. Property Information Form (TA6)

The Property Information Form (TA6) provides as much detailed information as possible about your property for the benefit of the new buyer. The form discloses information such as building alterations made to the property, parking arrangements, responsibilities the new owner will have (i.e. maintaining the garden or general safety upkeep), home insurance information and any other arrangements.

Another important area that the Property Information Form covers are any continuing disputes with neighbours or local antisocial behaviour that the new buyers should be aware of. 

Whilst the questionnaire is 16 pages, it is a legal requirement for you to fill out and should be completed with honesty and truth. If information is withheld or inaccurately provided by yourself, the new owner has the legal right to claim compensation. This is why you should take your time filling out the TA6 form without rushing it.

4. Apply for an Energy Performance Certificate

Before putting your home on the market, you will need to apply for an energy performance certificate from a Domestic Energy Assessor.

An energy performance certificate (EPC) is a compulsory document that will need to be applied for and produced when selling a home. The certificate will rank your property in relation to its energy efficiency. Not only will the certificate show a potential buyer how energy-efficient the home is, but also an indication as to how much the property will cost to run. The better the rating, the more cost-effective the home will be to run.

The great thing about an Energy Performance Certificate is that it can tell you ways to improve energy efficiency and how more money can be saved in running the property. This might include improving the loft or home insulation, which can boost your energy efficiency – therefore attracting more potential buyers.

As the certificate lasts for 10 years, once you have it finalised on your property, it won’t need to be repeated for a long time.

You can register for an Energy Performance Certificate here.Alternatively, we can also arrange EPC’s for you, issuing them to a vendor prior to going on the market.

5. Carrying Out a Property Survey On Your Next Property

A property survey shows the condition of a property as part of a detailed in-depth inspection. The property survey would be completed by a surveyor who inspects the property and identifies issues including structural problems or outstanding major repairs, including unstable walls or flooring, problems with the roofing, electrical faults and even issues with damp or mould.

After the survey has taken place, you’ll receive a report which highlights all physical issues with the property as well as potential issues that are soon to arise. The report will also show a simple traffic light system whereby different parts of the home is considered as no area for concern (green), non-urgent defects which should be brought to attention (amber) or urgent issues which should be repaired immediately (red).

It’s recommended that you should use a surveyor accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

If you’re selling a property in Scotland, you may be required to apply for a Home Report, however, this doesn’t apply to properties registered in England and Wales.

6. Property Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of a property from one homeowner to a new owner. A conveyancer helps with the settlement by ensuring that all needs have been met and that the contracts are ready to go ahead.

They will go through all paperwork with a fine-toothed comb, deal with payments of the property deposit and handle the change of ownership once your property has been sold.

Conveyancing is one of the most important processes when selling your house as this is when the exchange of contracts takes place, as your conveyancer can offer you legal advice every step of the way.

We are committed to supporting you on your selling journey, that’s why we recommend local solicitors that we have previously worked with. 

Contact Open House Estate Agents Leicester for More Information

If you’re not sure how to go about letting your property or you’re concerned about the amount of red tape involved, get in touch with Open House Estate Agents. Open House Estate Agents Leicester are a leading estate agents and we have many years of experience handling issues such as tenancy eviction, tenancy agreements, tenant and landlord rights, and much more besides. 

We regularly advise landlords about the correct processes involved in letting out a rental property. We’re here to help you, as a landlord, to experience a seamless landlord/ letting experience from the very beginning.