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leicester lettings

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. 

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8 Reasons Open House Are The Best Estate Agents in Leicester

There are many things to consider when choosing the perfect estate agent. Buying, renting, or even selling your house is a large step for everyone in life and a good estate agent can support you in what can be a busy and overwhelming process. 

Here are 8 reasons why we believe Open House Estate Agents are the best in Leicester:

1. 5-star rated

Here at Open House Estate Agent Leicester, we go above and beyond to offer you the best quality service in Leicester. We are a recommended local estate agent, with over 50 five-star Google reviews.

No matter where you’re currently sat on the property ladder, we will help you find and secure the perfect property for you. Whether you’re looking for your first buy to let house or a property portfolio owner looking to expand. Unlike other estate agents, we pride ourselves in being able to to help all your needs in a reliable and timely manner. You are guaranteed to receive a friendly, personalised and professional service. 

Our professional experience doesn’t stop there, we work with you to give you the advice you need and appointments to suit you. Appointments can also be taken on weekdays and evenings, to make sure that everyone can find a time suitable for them.

Check them out for yourself here!

2. Personal service

Here at Open House, we understand the importance of having an online presence. That’s why you’ll be pleased to know that when 93% of home buyers and tenants go online that Open House Estate Agents, Leicester advertise our properties across the main property portals including Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location. This maximises your chances of finding the right buyer or tenant quickly.

However we feel in today’s digital age, most relationships with clients are developed through a computer screen with very little personal interaction or customer service. Doing everything online is often perceived to be cheaper, easier and generally just more convenient, however to us this isn’t entirely true.

You could say that we are traditional in respects that we always strive to create personal and meaningful relationships with our clients. Generally, if you’re using an online agent your questions and queries will be passed from person to person, meaning you have to go over the same tedious questions every time you pick up the phone. 

At Open House, each client is appointed a representative who is their sole point of contact that they can deal with right from the valuation of a property to the completion of a sale. This means you can have someone every step of the way who can learn and understand your specific requirements, making for a quicker and more seamless process.

We are extremely understanding of everyone’s busy lifestyles, and therefore vendors are issued with the personal mobile phone number of their agent and can speak to them at evenings and weekends, unlike any other agent. This gives you the chance to get on with your day without worrying about missing important phone calls or not being able to make a viewing on your lunch break.

3. Local market experience

Leicester is a multicultural city in the heart of the East Midland with fabulous transport links across the United Kingdom, an easy train journey to London only taking an hour. the city is also well connected, with easy access to multiple motorways. The population has boomed in Leicester in recent years – making it an enticing and thriving place for property investment as well as becoming a Leicester homeowner.

We believe that what differentiates us from other estate agents, is our wealth of knowledge of the Leicestershire area. We have a great track record on securing sales at viewings as a result of our knowledge of properties. Our team of experts can guarantee to offer you an accurate and realistic valuation for your house that will help you to sell it quicker than average.

With our accompanied viewing service, your agent will carry out a viewing with you and give you a chance to ask questions about the property or anything about the area that you think is worth knowing before you big decision. We are confident that the team can provide you with all the information you need and leave you walking away from your viewing with confidence. 

Check out our recent blogs on our top 10 streets to rent in Leicester.

Top 10 Streets in Leicester For First Time Buyers
Top 10 Streets in Leicester For First Time Buyers

4. 15 Years Local Experience

With 15 years of experience in the market, we have seen the property industry rise and fall over the years. We feel our knowledge and experience of this only benefits our customers more and we are confident that there is no question we can’t answer. We have built a loyal clientele, who have given us amazing feedback over the last 15 years that continues to spur us on each day.

“I sold my property with Open House and was very impressed with the service received. I felt that the approach to selling was sensible and realistic. It achieved the results that I wanted.”

“I recommend renting through open house it helped us get our first place and start our lives together. Thank you for everything Rahul the communication and service you have provided.”

At Open House we strive to help all our clients however big or small. We offer a full range of property services in Leicester to help with the sale or let of your house, to help home buyers and to support landlords and property investors. From services that are legal requirements to those that will certainly help you to sell or let a property more quickly to the right person, we can provide the services you need either directly or through a network of trusted associates. 

5. Transparency 

One of your Unique Selling Points at Open House is a no no-nonsense investor network for quicker than average sales where required. We don’t make promises that we can’t deliver on and will always be open and honest with you throughout the entirety of the process. 

We aim to build a strong rapport with all our clients and value each client the same, no matter how we work together. Whether you choose to pop by the office some initial advice or we support you in buying your dream property, we want you to feel comfortable and trust us throughout your journey.

To compliment this, we offer a 24/7 buyer helpline so that wherever or whenever a query pops up, we are just a phone call away from helping you.

6. Experienced in both sales and rentals

The property market is a competitive one at that. All estate agents today have a broad service offering, that includes experience in both sales and rentals. 

However, what makes us unique is our client retention. We have built strong relationships with our clients that has allowed us to guide many of our clients from renting to becoming confident first-time buyers. 

We also have great experience in quick house sales that make us very attractive to those who find themselves in this situation. Our ethical approach means that you will receive a fair price balanced with a quick sale. You will not find yourself landed with unexpected fees and we will deal honestly with you from start to finish without exploiting your circumstances.

7. Reliable house valuation 

Any estate agency can offer you a free valuation, but how accurate are they? If you’re looking into to selling your property and haven’t had heard of a property valuation, then this could be the next step for you. 

A property valuation is where an inspection is carried out to help determine the value of your house. Many factors are considered to help determine this, for example, the recent sales in the area, the general appeal and attractiveness, wear and tear etc. At Open House, to make sure you are getting a realistic view of your property, this will be carried out by an experienced valuer who isn’t just looking for your business. 

Check out our recent blog on the importance of accurate property valuations.

8. More than just a letting agency

Here at Open House, we offer a high level of service in everything we do. Not only do we offer services to help you rent, buy or sell your property but can provide support outside this too.

If your looking to sell your home, dealing with solicitors is an integral part of the process and should be a seamless one at that. We understand the importance to keep everyone involved and clearly updated at all times. At Open House, we work very closely with a handful of local conveyancing solicitors and can also work with your solicitor if preferred.

We feel that this, as well as many of the points we have already touched upon, help to differentiate us from other letting agents and give us the competitive edge. 

Get in touch With Open House Estate Agents in Leicester

Whatever the next move is for you, Open House are here to help. We are a leading Leicester estate agents and provide you with reliable, honest advice

Get in touch with our friendly team at Open House.

Pet Peeves for Leicester Landlords with Hairy Guests

Pet Peeves for Leicester Landlords With Hairy Guests

Pet Peeves for Leicester Landlords with Hairy Guests
Pet Peeves for Leicester Landlords with Hairy Guests

As a landlord, it’s common to feel like your always the bad guy, the bearer of bad news, the ones people love to hate. However, the relationship between you and your tenant doesn’t have to be difficult, and it certainly shouldn’t have to start that way. 

With young people finding it increasingly more difficult to get on the property ladder, it’s now more likely for them to be renting a home for much longer before owning one. How are you going to make sure their rented home feels as much like their ‘forever home’ right now?

If your thinking of letting your property in Leicester, I’m sure you’re aware of how competitive the market is. What does excellent service mean to your consumer today? Is it regular communication? Transparency? Quick to fix it? 

How about pets? Pet-friendly properties are becoming increasingly more popular and landlords are having to become more open to letting their tenants have pets.  While some landlords are more than pleased to offer this to their tenants, we think there are some things you should be aware of. 

Open House have put together some of Leicester landlords pet peeves when it comes to tenants having pets:

  • To start, the clue is in the title…hair. Some tenants aren’t as lucky as others. Some pray for the short-haired animals that require minimal grooming, but some don’t get that lucky. A moulting animal is never appealing, and neither is the hours potentially spent on removing pet hair for the carpet.
  • Is there anything worse than a lingering smell? This can be a huge issue for landlords that are looking to relet their property to a new tenant. It’s a risk you take when allowing pets – they can leave bad smelling odours in the house that can be difficult to ever fully mask.
  • Again, your house started in perfect condition, with everything spotless and new. Now the brand new furniture you bought has been scratched and damaged for the fun of a furry creature. This isn’t convenient for you or the new client your trying to get buy-in from. 
  • Sometimes a complaint from a neighbour can be just as bad as a complaint from your tenant. No one wants to be woken up in the middle of the night by a barking dog, make sure your tenant knows how to control their pet. 

These are just a few pet peeves, however, we feel it’s important to not overwhelm you on the negatives because, in reality, the demand for landlords to allow tenants to have pets is soaring. 

Now you know the negatives, take a look at some of the positives:

  • Tenants may stay in your property for longer: Once a tenant has found somewhere there pet is allowed to stay, the less likely they are to look elsewhere. 
  • Your rental return could increase: Some tenants will be so desperate for you to allow them to have their pet they will be willing to increase their rent cost. 
  • Happier tenants: Happy tenants make happy landlords. It’s proven that animals help in reducing stress and make tenants feel more at home. 
  • More responsible: Believe it or not, pet owners can be more responsible and take better ownership of your property. 

Has your perception of pet-friendly properties changed? Here at Open House, we are fully committed to supporting you and your journey as a landlord, no matter what the tenant. 

If you choose to advertise your rental property with Open House, we can ensure a quicker transaction than average. With our large network of rental platforms, 5-star service and expert agents, we can help you advertise your rental property to thousands of potential tenants.

We are also happy to offer you an initial cleaning service to ensure your house is at the best standard possible for your new tenants. This can be arranged at an additional cost with our advice and recommendations. 

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.

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Do You Really Want to Sell? What To Consider Before Uprooting

With the headlines persistent in the proclamation that house prices are seeing double-digit rises and there’s even more to come (irrespective of our current political climate), and with estate agents encouraging far more interest through open days and sealed bids, it’s not surprising that some buyers – the would-be ones – are in a bit of a panic. 

Agents frequently report that properties attract over a hundred viewings, and that doesn’t just happen in London. 

So, you do really need to ask yourself, if you already own your home, or you have a mortgage on that home, do you truly want to sell up and go through the entire process over again? 

Let’s focus on a number of potential concerns about selling and uprooting a bit too quickly. Once these concerns have been addressed, you’ll be in a more comfortable position to take the plunge. 

What about your future plans? 

Before you take the leap and invest in a new property, as you’ll likely be aware, you really do need to consider for how long you’ll reside in that new property.

If you’re intent on starting a family or growing your current family, you don’t want to be investing in a one-bedroom flat. Even a two-bedroom flat would likely be far from ideal. 

Similarly, if there’s any instability surrounding your job or your finances, you should be asking whether it’s a good time to tie yourself into taking on a larger mortgage than you have now. 

If you find that the place you buy is not quite the fit you thought it was going to be, you’ll have the added expense of moving once more. 

So, it’s best to think about yours and your family’s circumstances before you decide to uproot. 

Making a bid – how does it work with your current finances?

Before you make a decision to overstretch your finances by placing a winning bid on the property you like the most, it’s vital to assess what the long-term impact is going to be in terms of the sacrifices you’re going to have to make. 

Are you, in fact, ready for committing to a larger mortgage? Let’s say the house prices fall. You’re going to have to handle negative equity. Are you going to be stuck in your new place because you’re not able to sell? And, if these circumstances did arise, or something similar, are you going to regret selling and uprooting in the first place?

If you’re committed to selling and uprooting, it’s possibly better to move to an area that is cheaper and less popular than investing in a property that’s a bit too financially hot to viably handle. 

Try to establish a backup plan beforehand. Could you let out your new property if the worst-case scenario occurs? If yes, you could cover all of your costs with the rental income and possibly have quite a bit extra left over to successfully handle many of your other costs. 

Homeownership hassles

As you’ll no doubt know if you’re intent on selling your current home, there’s a cost involved with homeownership that has nothing to do with your mortgage. 

While to many, the concept of homeownership is a dream come true, it doesn’t necessarily pan out that way for everyone. 

What happens when the boiler breaks down in the middle of winter and the cost of a replacement is more than you can currently afford? 

What about if the roof begins to leak and the cost of repairs is more than substantial?

What about if at your new place your neighbours love to party on a regular basis until 3 am?

Suddenly, that dream of owning your own home, or that desire to upgrade on your previous home is no longer so much of a dream come true as it is a nightmare. 

Of course, to avoid such scenarios, it’s always an extremely good policy to do your homework in advance. By all means, check the status of your targeted new home’s boiler to see that it’s in excellent working order. Have the roof looked over if you have any doubts about it. Ask the seller about noisy neighbours. In the U.K. every home seller has a duty to disclose such information to potential buyers prior to making a sale. 

The long-term tenancy – is it a more viable option?

Longer-term renting is considered a far more attractive option in mainland Europe than it does in the U.K. And it’s true that in mainland Europe, in general, tenants have more rights. 

Nevertheless, if you only want security of tenure and you only need a home that, to some extent, you can call your own (and make your own – again, to some extent), then it is a mistake to make the assumption that this is not possible to achieve in the U.K. 

There are many thousands of landlords throughout the U.K. that are very keen to have the stability and the security that comes with a long-term, reliable tenant. And, if they find one, as often as not, they are more than agreeable to you as the new tenant decorating the property to your own preferences. 

What’s more is that it can be, and often is, possible to negotiate with the landlord about the rent. If you’re a long-term, reliable tenant, many landlords would be comfortable in lowering the rent to accommodate you.

Get in Touch With Open House Estate Agents in Leicester

You’re set on selling your property and relocating. You’ve done your homework and it’s the right move for you. 

Did you know that on average in the U.K., if you advertise your house privately, it can take as long as two to three months to sell?

Of course, that doesn’t always ring true. Many U.K. properties stubbornly remain on the market for a whole lot longer than this. 

Nevertheless, at Open House, we frequently help home sellers to pump up the volume in terms of the number of property viewers. That’s because we have the experience and we have the resources. 

If you’ve decided to sell up, and you want to sell up relatively soon, we’re here to help.  Ask for a high quality, free property valuation, or download our FREE e-book that gives all the latest tips on selling your home.

Get in touch with our friendly team at Open House. We’ll provide you with reliable, honest advice – the sort of advice that you need to make a successful property sale. 

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First Time Landlord – Tips and Tricks

Many people decide to become landlords – first-time landlords – because they are unable to sell their property, or simply do not want to sell their property, and therefore, the best alternative is to rent the property out instead. 

For rental property in the U.K. in general, demand has rarely, if ever, been as high as it is now. For that reason, it’s an excellent time for you as a Leicester landlord to generate some extra income. 

However, you need to know your obligations as a landlord, and you’ll want to be completely ready for your first tenants. Here are some tips and tricks to help you to prepare for renting out your property. You’ll learn how to protect yourself, how to protect your property, and how to achieve maximum rental income. 

Prepare

Prior to the time that potential tenants start to view your property, all DIY tasks should be completed and the place should be perfectly clean. Are you thinking about letting your property as unfurnished or furnished? If you’re going the furnished route, do remember that you’ll require the appropriate insurance cover so that all of your furniture is fully protected against potential damages.

Opting for a letting agent

If you’re unable to deal with the management of your rental property because of lack of time or through personal choice, then a letting agent is the way to progress. 

Letting agents charge between 8% and 15% of the income made from rent. That may seem quite a lot, but a letting agent will work together with you to successfully find good tenants and to protect you, and your property, against any mishaps occurring.

While they, the letting agent, will find tenants for you, it’s sensible for you to be involved in the interviewing process. This way, you’ll be comfortable with your tenant choice. 

Further, you should make sure to get the best deal from the letting agent of your choice. 

Health and safety

Letting regulations in the U.K. are strict. You need to be in full compliance with electric, gas, furniture, and fire regulations. 

You can find out about these regulations online or by consulting with your letting agents if you decide to hire one. 

Otherwise, though, as a way of providing protection for your tenants, and your property, regular safety checks should be carried out and records maintained. The appropriate safety checks also work in ensuring that you have valid insurance. 

Finding tenants

If you’ve decided not to work with a letting agent, you’ll need to assess the references for your tenants yourself. There are websites like RentCheck’s Tenant Checking Service that charge a fixed price for assessing tenant references. 

One of the most important aspects to the assessment of potential tenants is to carry out a credit check. You’ll want to be assured that your tenants will be in a position to pay their rent when it’s due. 

Understand tenant and landlord rights

Because you wish to rent out your property, you should be conversant with tenant and landlord obligations. As an example, if you wish to enter your property while it’s being rented, the tenant must be given a minimum of 24 hours’ notice. 

Again, you can discuss this with your letting agent or find out more online. 

Write up a tenancy agreement

With a tenancy agreement, you provide protection for your rights as a landlord and for your property. 

In brief, a tenancy agreement details the length of tenancy as well as the amount of notice that a tenant will receive prior to eviction. 

Consult with your letting agent, if you have one, to find out more about your tenancy agreement. 

The rental deposit

You must, as a landlord, insist on a tenancy deposit. Since April of 2007, in the U.K., all tenant deposits must be registered by the landlord with a Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme. All TDP schemes must be pre-approved. 

Typically, a rental deposit will be equivalent to between four and six weeks’ rent. 

Your property inventory

If you want to ensure the protection of your rental property, you’ll want to put together a detailed property inventory. The property inventory needs to be accurate as it provides evidence as to the condition of the property prior to rental. The property inventory also dictates the provisions made to the tenant inside the property when they moved in. 

If the property is damaged or there is a dispute over the tenant’s deposit, the property inventory serves as proof of evidence. 

Landlord insurance

You should get landlord insurance. Standard insurance policies for households do not offer the level of protection that is required by a landlord. 

A solid insurance policy will cover loss of rent, professional, student, and DSS tenants, alternative accommodation, periods of no occupancy, accidental damage, the tracing and accessing of plumbing-related leaks, rent money protection, and legal expenses. 

Eviction

For the most part, tenancy agreements are completed once the tenancy agreement expires. 

On the other hand, if, for whatever reason, your tenants are not meeting the terms of the tenancy agreement, and you wish them to leave prior to the date of the tenancy agreement expiration, the only way to achieve this is by collating proof that the terms of the tenancy agreement have been broken. 

Again, it’s wise to hire a letting agent to handle this. Otherwise, you may need to consult with a lawyer at the outset.

Contact Open House Estate Agents 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 in 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. 

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5 Easy Ways to Boost the Value of Your Property

So what’s it to be: Renovation or no renovation? When you wish to put your house onto the market, this is very much a crucial question to be asking. 

If, for example, you’re intent on working your way up the property ladder and you have a dream home in mind at the end of the journey, you’ll want to understand how you can go about maximising the value of your current pad. 

Here are five of the best ways in which you can add to your property’s value in Leicester. 

Convert the cellar

An existing cellar transformed into a living area or a storage space can boost the value of the property by as much as 30%. 

The reality is that converting the cellar can prove to be among the least complex improvements you can make to your home. That’s because, for planning purposes, it qualifies under “change of use”. In other words, no planning permission is required. 

If, on the other hand, it’s a listed building and you’re intent on making structural changes, your local planning officer should be among your first port of calls. 

Make the garage a living space

Not making good use of your garage? No car in there? Why not think about converting it to living space. And you have more reason for doing that if there’s available parking space elsewhere. 

There are two initial steps: Find out if your garage is suited to conversion; Find out if you are in need of planning permission.

For the most part, converting a garage and the work that’s involved will be considered a permissible development. That would mean no planning permission needed. Of course, you should make a point of checking with the local planning authority. 

To ensure that a garage is structurally sound, a conversion will always be subject to local building regulations. 

In this case, you have the choice of using an approved independent inspector or the building control service belonging to your local council. In either event, the inspector will visit on several occasions throughout the conversion process to check that the key aspects (inclusive of the walls, the roof, and the drainage, for example) are in compliance with regulations. 

Convert the loft to add a bedroom

With an extra bedroom, your home can be valued at up to an extra 15% more than otherwise. That’s especially so if the bedroom is a loft conversion and it comes with an ensuite bathroom. 

It’s true to say that the majority of U.K. lofts can be converted, but you should still have a builder or an architect to make sure of it before starting. 
Once the decision has been made, you’ll want to get familiar with what’s available in terms of loft conversions. 

The options available are a roof light conversion, that being the most cost-effective because it takes the least structural work, through to a mansard conversion which is the most expensive. 

With a mansard conversion, the roof’s slope or slopes will be replaced with a flat, or almost flat roof, and steeper sides. 
For mansard conversions, typically planning permission is required. But for other types of loft conversion, they are regarded as permissible developments. 

Again, it’s advisable to check with the local planning authority. That’s because some of the rules are complex. As an example, if you wish to extend the roof space by upwards of 50m3 (for terraced housing, that figure drops to 40m3).

Add a conservatory to increase living space

As a way of feeling that much closer to nature, and to merge your indoor area with your outdoor space, a fully glazed conservatory is the way to go. 

To get the project underway, consider how the space will be used. Think, too, if you would prefer a traditional or modern style to fit the styling of your home and to your lifestyle. 

The greatest part of the conservatory will, of course, be the glass. Consider the options here with care. 

By way of U.K. building regulations, for a conservatory, the minimum permissible standard is double glazing, but there is still an array of glazing options to choose from. That includes self-cleaning glass and solar control glass. Again, you should think about which type of glass will fit in with your home and your lifestyle. 

For the conservatory frame, there are, likewise, options available. 

Your choice of material will have a direct effect on the conservatory’s performance. Materials range from aluminium, through to timber, to uPVC, and all of them come with variable qualities. Carry out your own research and get advice from the experts as to which is best for you. 

Providing your conservatory meets some limitations and certain conditions, adding a conservatory is seen as a permitted development. However, with respect to building regulations, that’s quite a different matter. 

For most conservatories in the U.K., they are exempt from building regulations. Nevertheless, in some circumstances, an application must be made. 

As an example, if you wish to remove the wall or doors that will link your home to the conservatory, proof will be required that the conservatory is the same (or better) as your home in terms of energy efficiency. 

Already have a conservatory? Value can be added with the addition of a tiled roof to the conservatory. In this way, the conservatory is transformed into a room that may be used year-round. 

Garden and kerb appeal

In Leicester, and in most parts of the U.K., garden space is pretty limited. Therefore, if you do have it, you should make the most of it, and even more so if you wish to sell. 

A patio or a deck can work to transform any garden into a space for entertaining. A summer house, when designed to act as an additional room, can, likewise, add to the value of your property. 

Even if you are not selling your home, first impressions are extremely important. Your home can enjoy some added kerb appeal simply through a lick of paint, some shining ironmongery, or a new door. Keep the garden tidy by maintaining a tightly-mowed lawn and sweeping up any fallen leaves. 

Putting it All Together With Open House

At Open House we aim to help you as a first-time buyer by taking all the stress out of your home-buying experience. We do that through the provision of a personal, dedicated service.

When you buy a property with us at Open House, you get all the local property insights as well as property valuations in Leicester. This way, we’ll help you to find the home to fit your dreams. Or, skip straight to the ‘selling’ and download our free e-book on the latest tips to selling your property.

We have years of experience and have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge about the property market in and around Leicester. Get in touch with our friendly team and we’ll provide you with more information about how we can, in fact, help you. 

Expand Your Property Portfolio

Looking to Expand Your Property Portfolio: Everything You Need to Know

Expand Your Property Portfolio

Expanding your property portfolio can be a daunting prospect– but with the private rented sector growing at record rates, it can be a highly valuable financial decision. Plus, with the expert advice from our lettings team, you’ll be in safe hands throughout the process. 

What Is A Property Portfolio?

Your property portfolio is the collection of property investments you own. This could be yours personally, or owned by a group or a company. There are many benefits to owning a property portfolio as opposed to either owning no properties or owning just one investment property.

Why Should You Start A Property Portfolio?

It can be hard (not impossible) to achieve financial freedom from just one property alone. Your first investment property is a great step towards achieving this financial goal. By spreading your risks and multiplying your potential income, your will in turn become less reliant on pensions and other less reliable sources of income. 

Whether you want to reach early retirement or whether you have a significant wealth goal, owning multiple investment properties with multiple rental incomes can really set you up financially.

A Property Portfolio Gives You Multiple Streams Of Revenue

By having multiple properties on the market, you become less reliant on always having an occupied property – obviously in an ideal world you would have 10 / 10 properties rented out to tenants 100% of the time, but this isnt always the case. 

By diversifying and by having multiple properties, it means that you can reap the multiple benefits – increase rental income, better cash flow, more experience and more. 

Taking The First Step 

To build your property portfolio, you need to purchase your first (or second) property. 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 portfolio. 

Making your first purchase should be carefully thought out and considered. How you go about purchasing your property completely depends on your aims and goals. Some investors don’t like leverage or finance so it’s impossible to say yes get a mortgage. 

How To Start & Expand Your Property Portfolio

1. Identify your goals

The first step with any property investment is to think about your financial aims. Are you primarily interested in capital appreciation? Or do you want to invest in property that will provide a sustainable rental income? Or, perhaps most likely, are you looking for a combination of the two?

Your answers to these questions will help to determine your first property purchase, and the way in which you build your portfolio. In order to start on the right foot, you need to have your goals and priorities in place from the very beginning.

2. Only bit off what you can chew

It’s not generally recommended that new investors build a property portfolio with multiple properties from the off. Instead, you should think about starting small and building sustainably.

Choose your first investment wisely. Would you prefer a property close to where you live, in order to be able to keep on top of maintenance? Or are you happy to try further afield and entrust management tasks to a third party? For help choosing, try our guide to the best buy-to-let areas in Leicester. 

3. Start the offer low

It’s currently a buyer’s market for property, and many analysts predict that prices will fall further. Gone, at least for now, are the days of lengthy bidding wars.

Don’t be scared to offer below the asking price – the worst that can happen is that you’re turned down. Increasingly, property is being driven down due to a lack of demand, although bear in mind that the picture for pricing is not even across the UK.

4. Keep an eye on  the cashflow

As you start your property portfolio, make sure that you keep an eye on your key metrics – what businesses would call their KPIs. Does your rental income cover your mortgage payments and other outgoings, while still providing a reasonable return? Are you managing void periods sensibly?

Identify the most important numbers that you need to track, and make sure that you keep a constant eye on them. You need data to back up your investments as you grow your portfolio – again, treat this part of the exercise just as you would if you were running a business.

5. Don’t forget tenants

All too often, it can be tempting for landlords starting and building a portfolio to forget about the most important other party – the tenant. You need to work hard to ensure that your tenants are satisfied, both in order to maximise tenancy lengths and to minimise void periods.

However, you also need to keep on top of the business side of the relationship, and that begins with choosing the right tenant. If you’re doing this yourself, rather than through a letting agent, you might find our tips for choosing the right tenant helpful.

6. Grow carefully

Don’t run before you can walk. If you want to build a long-term property portfolio, you need to be cautious. There is a range of indicators suggesting medium-term volatility in both the property market and the economy more generally, and you need to keep abreast of these. Check out our blog on the best opportunities for landlords in the buy-to-let market.

But you should also pay attention to your debt position. As you grow into multiple properties, try to avoid cross-collateralisation (also known as borrowing), borrowing against the value of multiple properties at once. If the worst happens and you can’t service a debt, cross-collateralisation can mean that you’re forced to sell multiple properties in order to pay off just one loan.

7. Remember your exit strategy

Finally, make sure you understand your ultimate goal.

What’s the ideal end result for your property portfolio strategy? Are you looking for a sustainable retirement income? Or do you intend to liquidise your investments at some point in the future? By keeping your exit strategy in mind at every step, you can help to ensure that you make sensible investment decisions throughout.

Remember, this is just a guide. For more information on starting a property portfolio, you should get in touch with our expert letting agents in Leicester.

Top 10 Streets in Leicester For First Time Buyers

Top 10 Streets in Leicester For First Time Buyers

Are you a first-time buyer looking to buy property in the Leicestershire area? Our expert estate agents have a wealth of experience in letting, renting and selling property in locations all over the country.

Purchasing your first home can be an intimidating prospect for some, however, Open House Leicester Estate Agents aim to work with you to ensure that it is an exciting and enjoyable experience as it should be. We conduct thorough Leicester property evaluations and market research to ensure that we are covering all basis for homes within the region. 

Keep reading to find out more information regarding the top 10 streets in Leicester for first-time buyers and discover which one is best for you.

1. Ling Road, Loughborough, LE11 2LW

With an average house price of £146,185, our Leicester property valuation experts believe Ling Road is an affordable option and attractive opportunity for first time buyers.

The vibrant student town of Loughborough will always have something going on with its wide array of pubs, restaurants and shops. Nature lovers will also be in for a treat, as you will live closeby to the likes of Swithland Reservoir and Beacon Hill Country Road. 

2. Cheshire Drive, Wigston, LE18 4WA:

This area is great for young buyers who want a good community feel, it has numerous restaurants and pubs with one only 200 metres away.

There is also a majority of younger occupants within this area as ¾ of the people living in LE18 4WA are between 25 to 34 years old so first time buyers will definitely fit in

3.  Station Street, Loughborough, LE11 5EE

This street is not only great for buyers looking to move but is also perfect for prospective landlords as ¾ of the residents are rented on Station Street. Another interesting fact is there have only been 99 crimes reported within a mile of LE11 5EE in the last year. 

You will also not be alone as first-time buyers in this area as over half of the population of this street are in the 20-24 age bracket. You will also be within walking distance of the vibrant town centre and a nearby Sainsburys supermarket.

 4. Watling Street, Mountsorrel, LE12 7BD

The majority of houses within this quaint village area are detached and terraced. It is a great option for those who rely on public transport as it is only 1.3 miles from the nearest railway station.

Only 29 Crimes have been reported in the last year on Watling Street, making it a great option for those looking for a safe first environment to buy Leicestershire property in. 

5. Finch Road, Kibworth Harcourt, LE8 OWE

Any young families or couples wish aspirations of having children would be making a great choice in moving to the quaint village of Kibworth Harcourt.

This area has an excellent 5* Ofsted rated school on its doorstep, only 610 yards away. The majority of people living in Finch Road are also likely parents being within the age bracket of 30-44 years old. 

6. Bosworth Way, Leicester Way, Leicester Forest East, LE3 SQQ

Those with their heart set on a spacious first house should consider Bosworth Way, as 152 out of 162 are detached. The nearest doctors are also only 380 yards away.

Leicester Forest East is a particularly popular location among young families. A new £4m school, Fossebrook Primary School, opened for its first intake in September 2016.  The Parish Hall recently began hosting Clubszone, a local children’s activity provider which runs during the school holidays. They also host a community cinema which is available on the first Thursday evening at 7.30 of every month.

7. Sycamore Close, Oadby, LE2 2RN

This is a delightful option for first-time buyers who want an affordable detached house in the Leicestershire area. 71 out of 79 houses on Sycamore Close are detached and the remaining 8 are also semi-detached. 

Oadby is also a great choice for those who wish to be within touching distance of Leicester, situated merely three miles south-east of the city centre.

8. Avenue Road, Sileby, LE12 7PG

Avenue Road is a great location for first-time buyers looking to invest in property, with many semi-detached houses on the market for the price bracket £150,000.

Sileby brings with it the quaint lifestyle of village life whilst still being a short drive from the city centre, situated in between Loughborough and Leicester. Sileby also has a remarkable number of shops and services for a village, offering many schools, restaurants, pubs, gyms and more for its occupants. 

9. Leicester Road, Mountsorrel, LE12 7DE

Another street from Mountsorrel makes our list of properties locations for first-time buyers, simply as this village is an equally affordable and delightful area to live. This is a great choice for those who enjoy peace and quiet, with there only being a population of 282 people within this postcode

There are many shops, restaurants and services within walking distance on the high street. The local doctors are also only 450 yards away. You will also have a Michelin Starred fine dining restaurant on your doorstep with John’s House.

10. Barrow Road, Quorn, LE12 8DH

Quorn is a well-sort after area to live for first time buyers and frequent property buyers alike. This is because the village is regarded as one of the best places to live in the whole of Leicestershire. 

Quorn prides itself on a commitment to an inclusive, eco-friendly and vibrant environment for all of its residents. This also makes it a great letting opportunity for landlords interested in renting out property in the future.

Ultimately, Barrow Road is an affordable street within a charming location. Our Leicester property valuation experts have also discovered that property prices on this street have risen by as much as 200% in the last 15 years. Dependant on your budget, this could prove to be a great investment for first-time buyers in the years to come. 

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. 

Our expert team of estate agents have years of experience and knowledge within the Leicestershire area. For more information on how we can help you, get in touch with one of our friendly team today.