Trusted local estate agents for Edgbaston and Birmingham City Centre since 2008

Category: Property tips

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Less is more

02.05.18

Stuff, organised mess, mementoes …… call it what you want but the truth is, most of us are guilty of having or being surrounded by more things than we can ever use or need, that’s right, we’re hoarders!!!

As a nation we hoard £10billion worth of clothes we never wear and approximately £2.6billion is spent each year on unwanted gifts. Author of ‘keep this toss that’, Jamie Novak says that “the fewer things you keep, the more special they become to you”.

Now we are in the full swing of Spring, I think it’s time to start organising our possessions to make life nice and orderly again. It is a laborious task but here are a few tips which will help you decide what to keep and what to ditch.

  1. One room at a time – the thought of having to reorganise everything can be overwhelming so if you organise one room at a time, this will make the process less daunting.
  2. Clear out your wardrobe – use the 2 year rule, if you’ve not worn the item in 2 years chances are you won’t wear it again.
  3. Never start with sentimental things – you’ll end up spending more time reminiscing about the good old days and getting too emotionally attached to toss it away.
  4. Ditch the ‘rather not used items’ – we often have more than one of something from kitchen utensils to clothes so don’t clog up space and only keep the preferred and most used items.
  5. Money money money – Make some money out of stuff you don’t want by setting up a car boot/ garage sale or even listing it on ebay or gumtree.
  6. Go paperless – so many things are digital nowadays like reading books, cookery books and even photos so save yourself some shelf space and get rid of the hard copies.
    Whilst we’re on the paperless theme, why not use a wipe clean board for messages and notes.
  7. Kids play – Get rid of toys that the kids no longer play with, are broken or not 100% intact. Rotate the remaining toys so your kids can play with a few items at a time and store the rest. Bring out the stored items every few months so they look and feel new to your child(ren).
  8. Sweet memories – some things are really hard to get rid of like your first card/ soft toy from your partner or the first picture your child drew for you or toys your parents bought for you. Choose a few items that give you that warm fuzzy feeling and put them in a nice box or tie it with a ribbon as a keep sake. You can take pictures of the other items you are getting rid of so the memories will still be there.
  9. Charity starts at home – if you’re not making the most out of some items, you could donate unwanted/ unused items to charity. It’ll free up storage space at home and make you feel good that your gesture has made a difference in someone’s life.
  10. Be ruthless – when deliberating over an item, ask yourself the following: Why am I keeping it? Where will I store it? Will I remember I have it and will I be able to find it again? Will I ever use it again?
  11. See it through – once you’ve deciding to get rid of an item, get it out the house asap so you won’t have second thoughts.

 

 

Fabrick Square

Davidson Estates adds the finishing touches

13.04.18

Davidson Estates are now offering quality furniture packages to provide a cost effective and hassle free furniture solution to all our clients.

We offer a range of beds, sofas, dining table and chairs in a range of modern colours and styles as well as smaller items like coffee tables and bedside tables.

Our experienced team will deliver and assemble the furniture packs. We will also dress the property to give it that wow factor and homely feel, making it more appealing for potential buyers and tenants.

We’ve had the pleasure of furnishing a couple of new apartments in readiness for rental viewings, here’s a sneak peak Davidson Estates Furniture Packs

For more information or a free quotation, contact us on 0121 455 7727.

 

 

energy efficient

Don’t be fuel-ish

22.01.18

A client recently came into the office asking for our help to find a new rental property. After living in her rented house for five years, she’s decided to move as her energy bills have rocketed. This got me thinking about what we can do to cut costs and be more energy efficient.

After a lot of online research from several money saving and comparison sites, here are a few lifestyle changes that could save us time, money and be more energy efficient:

  1. Turn off standby appliances – simply turning off gadgets at the plug will save you an average of £30 a year. This include games consoles, TV’s and even phone chargers.
  2. Turn down your thermostat – heating and hot water accounts for almost half of our energy bills, turning down your thermostat by one degree could save you upto £60 a year. You could potentially save more money and stay toasty by keeping the heating on constantly at a lower heat rather than switching it on and off for big blasts of heat.
  3. Buying efficient appliances – when you’re ready to purchase new appliances, go for newer and more efficient models. It may cost a fair bit to purchase, but in the long run it’ll save you money on energy bills so it’s really worth investing in appliances with high energy efficiency ratings. Furthermore, new appliances tend to come with warranties for a set period, so you can rest assure that they will be replaced if it did breakdown.
  4. Cosy up – if you’re home alone, don’t be tempted to turn on the heating. Instead wear more jumpers, socks and slippers or even snuggle in bed or on the sofa with a duvet.
  5. Save time and multi-task – if you’re using your oven, why not make a few meals or make a bigger batch and freeze them. This makes the most of having your oven on and saves you time and money. When you’re done cooking, leave the oven door open so it can heat up the room.
  6. Bring me Sunshine – on a sunny day, open your curtains or blinds and let the warmth in. When the sun goes down, close them to keep the heat in.
  7. Be efficient with Washing
    – washing at a lower temperature can save a significant amount of money. Switching from 40 degree washes to 30 degrees could save you upto £50 a year.
    – Air dry your laundry rather than tumble drying it if it’s warm or windy outside
  8. Be efficient with water
    – You can save £25 by doing your washing up in a bowl rather than leave the tap running
    – If you have a dishwasher, don’t waste your time or energy pre-rinsing the dishes in hot water. Let the dishwasher do all the work.
    – Wasting hot water means wasting money. You have to pay for the water and cost of heating it so think twice before filling the kettle to the brim when you only need enough water to make one hot drink.
  9. Draught proof your home – block cracks in the floor and skirting boards, use draught excluders for doors and line the letterbox to contain the heat in your home.
  10. Compare suppliers – there are many comparable sites available to help you find the right supplier, tariff and payment plan that suits your needs. Switching to a direct debit pay plan for example, can save you as much as £250 a year.

If you’re a homeowner or landlord, then these ideas may help you save a lot more money in the long run and improve the energy rating of your property. Some are backed by government schemes so do some research to see what loans or grants you are entitled to.

  1. Install a new boiler – upgrading from a G rated boiler to an A-rated condensing boiler with a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls will see savings of upto £320 a year.
  2. Insulate your home – you could save at least 15% on your fuel bills by insulating cavity walls or 19% by loft insulation.
  3. Install free solar panels
  4. Invest in double or even triple glazing – it keeps in heat and blocks out the noise.

 

NB: Some of the above content was taken from Moneysupermarket.com and Uswitch.com

House valuation

Organising the house valuation

26.07.16

Preparing for a house valuation can be difficult. The decision to put your house up for sale and move is probably one of the biggest you will make in your life. The process of selling you house all starts with an initial house valuation, and this is often the stage that many people hold their breath as they find out what their house is truly worth. Whilst a house valuation can sometimes compromise of factors beyond your control (e.g. the area you are selling in), there are definitely things you can do to help or present your house in a better way. In this article we look at some of these points.

1) Timing
When are you deciding to move? Selling in the middle of a recession or in the cold winter months probably isn’t the best idea (but that doesn’t mean to say that houses don’t sell during these times, and sell well, too!). Confidence in the market and economy can vary widely, and it is a good idea to keep this in mind and capitalise on the ‘good times’. This can affect your house valuation in a positive way.

2) Inner presentation
How your house is presented can make a very important difference to your house valuation. No one likes a house which is dirty or full of clutter as it gives off an unsavoury impression. Not only can this put off potential buyers, but it can also affect the valuer, resulting in them giving you a lower amount.

3) Inside
Following from the above it is a common misconception that it is just the bricks that sell a house and give it its worth. When you move, you will take all of your possessions with you; but many things will remain – the kitchen and its working area, the bathroom etc. If these are dated, heavily damaged, or unappealing in some way, your house valuation is likely to suffer. These days, it doesn’t cost much to spruce a house up where its needed and, whilst you may not like the idea of spending money, ultimately you will get this back (and probably more) in your house valuation estimate.

4) Outside
Many people forget the outside, but this should not be forgotten. Remember that first impressions count, and the exterior of the property will be the first thing anyone sees when viewing your house. The same is true of the person giving you the house valuation. Ensure any gardens are maintained, driveways cleared of excessive weeds and paintwork on the front of the property is attended to. All these things can make a big difference.

5) Ask questions
It is a good idea to make sure you leave yourself enough time to have the house valuation, rather than it being a quick appointment during your lunch hour. This is an important step and you’ll want to make sure you take your time. Have a list of questions you may like to ask as this can often make things much clearer.

6) Be sensible
It is perfectly natural to want the best and highest price for your house, and estate agents are well aware of this. Therefore, if you feel slightly unhappy with your house valuation quote, discuss this with the valuer – they should be able to set your mind at rest as to how they arrived at their figure. However, remember to be sensible. Theoretically, you can put your house up for sale for whatever amount you like, but a wise person will take account of the result of the valuation.

We hope that this article has provided you with some invaluable tips, and given you greater confidence when deciding to get your home valued. Good luck!

Propcision

Propcision

21.01.16

Word of a new add-on for the Rightmove website has been announced, a service called Propcision. This service will be available as an add-on to the website for Chrome and Firefox internet browsers, and Microsoft Internet Explorer soon enough, and will allow users to view extra statistics on properties for sale. The tool is only available to use for properties for sale in London at present.

For buyers in the market, this must sound like an incredible tool, and will surely save so much time in your search, especially when all you want to find out is the estimated rental income of a property. However, if a property has been unfortunate enough to have had a couple of drastic price reductions or a sale which fell through, statistics such as these will also be on show for all to see. Of course, price reductions don’t always mean bad things. The conclusion that most people jump to when they see price reductions is that the agent has been struggling to sell it, which may lead to suspicions that the property is not in the best condition and needs some work, thus incurring more costs post-sale for renovations. This (obviously) isn’t always the case, and there’s often a story behind the marketing history.

To conclude, in our opinion, good, old-fashioned communication with the estate agent will always give you the best idea of the property, its surrounding area and why it’s an all round good purchase.

What are your thoughts?

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Market your property this Christmas

01.12.15

We know, sounds crazy! Right?

Well, Rightmove seem to think it’s a splendid idea; especially being as, last year, they had over one million visitors to their website on Christmas Day alone, and it appears that millions of property hunters visit the site throughout the whole Christmas period. It seems that, as soon as the dinner’s been eaten and the Queen’s speech is over, people jump straight back into the property search. Perhaps it’s because the Christmas period is actually the only free time they have had to have a proper look at the market. Or, maybe they feel that they make their best decisions after a couple of glasses of mulled wine. Either way, the statistics show that December and January are not as quiet as you may think, and that it may just be a great idea to pop your property on the market for the festive season.

When you think about it, it makes sense to get your property out there for people to look at over the festive period, when everyone is home from work and generally not as busy as usual. People tend to just find themselves half watching what’s on TV and half browsing through properties for sale on Rightmove and Zoopla. Well, it makes sense to us, anyway.

If you are considering putting your property up for sale, simply contact us to arrange for a visit from our Sales Director for a valuation. Similarly, if you have a property to rent out, our Lettings Manager will provide you with an estimation on rental income and guide you through marketing the property through us.

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Say goodbye to damp in your home!

05.04.15

When you’re renting, a common problem which can occur in your home is damp and mould. It’s not only unsightly, it smells, it can ruin your belongings and it makes your rooms feel clammy and uncomfortable.

Not being the landlord, it can sometimes feel like a good enough reason to move elsewhere, but, before you start packing your bags, there are some small and easy steps you can take yourself to stop damp being an issue!

Check out our short video for some helpful pointers on how to tackle damp first-hand by changing some of your small lifestyle habits within the home.

To stop damp, some don’ts within the home are:

  • Don’t use portable gas or paraffin heaters, as they put a lot of moisture in the air.
  • Don’t dry wet clothes on heaters, do it in a room with the door closed and the window or fan on.
  • Don’t block ventilation e.g. covering air vents, putting furniture right up to an outside-facing wall, overfilling cupboards etc. Ventilation is needed in your home to get rid of moisture.
  • Don’t cook or shower without the fan on and, afterwards, leave the fan on or the window open with the door closed so the moisture doesn’t spread throughout the house.
  • Don’t dry your clothes in a room with door open – open the window instead.
  • Even in winter and if you leave for work in the dark, don’t leave your curtains closed. Let air circulate and escape through the window vents.
  • Keep a constant temperature throughout the home, don’t restrict the heat to one room.
  • Lastly, don’t turn the heating off at night because you have a duvet – we give off lots of moisture as we sleep, it needs to be circulated and not sit in the air of the bedroom.

If the problem is persistent or appears to be getting worse, you should talk to your landlord as there are several reasons why this could be happening, and they need to step in. With repairs for damp costing anything from £200 on one wall of a terrace house to £150,000 for a whole house in a detached home, as reported by Which?, it is worth their while to repair it as it progresses.

There are many reasons for worsening damp:

  • There could be a crack in a pipe
  • There could be a leak around any of the various water outlets in the home
  • There could be a blockage in the drains with something as simple as moss or leaves
  • A roof tile may have slipped on the roof which is now allowing water through
  • You may need an extractor fan to ease circulation if you don’t already have one

Don’t let ‘damp’ ruin your home. You have the power to implement little changes that will ease the effects this could have, so why not give our tips a try now and share any more ideas you have with us.

Courtesy of rightmove.co.uk

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5 ways to avoid tenant disputes

05.04.15

Dealing with tenant disputes is one of the main challenges letting agents must overcome in their day-to-day work. Whether it’s concerning a deposit or a problem with property maintenance, these incidents can prove both expensive and time-consuming if handled incorrectly.

How can you keep disputes to a minimum ‘ The best course of action is to adopt a ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach and do your utmost to nip minor issues in the bud before they have the chance to become major problems. Read on for five tips on how this can be achieved.

The importance of an inventory
Research from The Online Letting Agents has revealed that damage to rental properties is the number one cause of tenant disputes, with renters often objecting to deductions from their deposits. Putting together a detailed inventory at the start of the tenancy is the best way to prevent deposit-based disputes from occurring. That way you have a clear record of the property’s condition that has been agreed by all parties.

This makes it far easier to calculate accurate charges at the end of the tenancy – something the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks has described as the “holy grail of lettings”.

The organisation’s chair Pat Barber recently stated: “If agents and landlords can prove how they arrived at the proposed deductions from their tenants’ deposits, all parties involved will be happier to accept the decisions. Fewer disputes cause less headaches in terms of wasted time, money and effort all round.”

Checking in and out
The ideal time to lay the groundwork for avoiding disputes is by carrying out a check-in. That way you can make sure the tenants are aware of their responsibilities and what constitutes wear and tear, as well as answering any questions they may have. Completing a check-out is of equal importance. This allows you to discuss the state of the property in person and this makes it far easier to talk about what may need to come out the tenant’s deposit than trying to have the conversation when they have already left the property.

Reinforce responsibilities
The check-in and check-out are ideal times to ensure tenants are aware of their responsibilities, but this are not the only situations in which you should look to get this message across. Exactly what is expected of renters need to be clear in their contract and it’s worth reminding them at certain points, such as when a tenancy renews or they hand in their notice.

Keeping up contact
You don’t need to speak to your tenants every day, but keeping up fairly regular contact my come in handy when it comes to dealing with disputes. If renters feel they know you they are more likely to bring an issue such as damage to your attention immediately rather than wait until their tenancy ends. There is a much better chance of things coming to an amicable end if you and your tenants have some form of relationship.

Total transparency
One of the main reasons letting agents have developed a negative reputation in some sections of the media is due to a feeling that they lack transparency and regularly hit tenants with hidden fees and charges.

Being as upfront and open as possible is the best way for the industry to shake this perception and also to prevent disputes. Tenants are far more likely to be angry if they feel they are being presented with an unexpected charge, so taking the time to spell out their responsibilities as clearly as possible at the start of a tenancy can go a long way to stop time-consuming and expensive incidents occurring later on.

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Tenants do not like cleaning report?

05.04.15

Cleaning is the main cause of tension between landlords and renters at the end of a tenancy, new research has revealed.

A survey carried out by My Property Inventories has revealed 95 per cent of landlords believe their tenants also complain about the cost of cleaning work when their contract has come to an end. Furthermore, some 80 per cent of respondents claimed renters are “lazy” and don’t like cleaning.

Danny Zane, director of My Property Inventories, stated “Cleaning is a great bone of contention between tenants and landlords and remains the biggest cause of deposit disputes (53 per cent). Unfortunately, it is a growing problem and we have seen a sharp rise in cleaning issues over the last 12 months.”

Close to two-thirds of landlords said their tenants do not communicate enough, while half said they believe renters expect too much of them.

One in ten respondents said tenants often try and conceal damage they have caused, while the same number think renters expect repairs to be carried out too quickly. Some four per cent of landlords claimed tenants are slow at letting them know when there are problems with paying their rent.

To overcome these issues, Mr Zane highlighted the importance of creating a detailed inventory at the start of a tenancy and stressed that tenants must be made aware of their responsibilities in regards to cleaning and maintenance.

“Very often, tenants just aren’t aware of the importance of cleaning,” he stated.

Being aware of these landlord gripes is useful information for letting agents, who can ensure they offer a service that takes care of these problems.

Courtesy of rentman.co.uk

Go to the ‘Tenants’ or ‘Maintenance’ pages to see how we eliminate any confusion and disputes regarding cleaning.