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27Oct

There are a multitude of reasons that tenants will choose to rent a home rather than purchasing, including renting to be near a certain location, their family or personal situation necessitates renting, buying a home is not a viable option for them, or they would rather simply be able to be location free and not be tied to a single property. 

As we all know, especially in the current climate, renting may be a good option for many people who may be in the limbo of not wanting to buy something whilst there is so much financial uncertainty around. 

So having good quality tenants is every landlords dream. Tenants who will treat your home like their home, be happy to help maintain and add value to your home as it appreciates leads to lower maintenance costs as tenants are more likely to look after the property, and lower administration costs overall. 

We’ve all seen those TV shows where landlord’s properties are held to ransom by nightmare tenants who wreck the home and this is definitely something most landlords will aim to avoid by ensuring that tenants are properly vetted. 

So how can you ensure that your rental property is appealing to long-term tenants? Here are a few tips…

1. Make your house a home

Tenants who are looking to rent more long-term will typically be looking for somewhere that they can really make their home. They will typically be looking for a property which is decorated to a good standard, maintained to a good standard and (for fully-furnished properties) furnished to a good standard too. 

Having a house full of basic fixtures and fittings may not attract the kind of tenants you are hoping for, whilst ensuring that there is a good central heating system for hot water, functional but stylish kitchen and bathroom suites and that the home is staged in a way that appeals to the kind of tenant you want to attract, can mean that you are more likely to succeed in your search for the idea tenant. 

Staging companies may be able to assist with this if you are trying to attract more high-end clients, as can also having technology integrated around the home which may appeal to a more upmarket client. 

2. Maintain your property

Demonstrate that you have a maintenance plan for your property, or keep a detailed history which shows when the boiler was last serviced, the broadband was last upgraded or the house was last decorated, or even deep-cleaned. Showing that you are proactive about these details is more likely to make tenants want to live in the property as they know that you will look after the property and that it will not crumble away before them. Make it clear in your agreements what you are responsible for in terms of maintenance, versus what the tenant is responsible for. 

3. Be Flexible

Tenants may often want a property which they can “put their own mark on”. This could involve enabling them to be involved in planning soft furnishings for the property, flexibility to decorate within reason, giving them carte-blanche to get creative in planting in the garden, or other avenues which ensure that they can feel that their rental property is also a place that they can call home. 

4. Show your tenants that you appreciate them

Flattery will get you everywhere and although it may sound shallow, showing your tenants that you appreciate them by remembering them at Christmas with a card or even a small gift, around their moving date and any other significant dates could mean that they are more likely to stay remain in the property out of loyalty then look elsewhere. Treating your tenants well and giving them flexibility helps to build trust and credibility between you as the landlord and them as the tenant

5. Avoid Students and the gig economy

If you are looking for long-term tenants, then letting your property to students, or to those working in the gig-economy is not a good idea, as both of these groups of people are more likely to be transient, as they will typically also have ties to other places and be less likely to stay in one place if they don’t have ties to keep them there. 

6. Tell your Estate Agent who you want

It’s always advisable to let your letting agent know that you would prefer a long-term tenant, as they may be able to help you find someone who is looking for a longer term let, and can market the property with this in mind. 

If you have a property that you are considering renting, and would appreciate some help and guidance on how to make the most of it, then we are always very happy to help. Simply give us a call on 01727 221290!

 

25Sep

The first day of Autumn this week brings reminders that the nights are drawing in and summer is now set to become a distant memory. No longer will the patio doors be flung open all day long or the garden be an added entertaining area in the home, in Autumn it’s common for us to retreat into our homes in search of warmth, cosiness and shelter from the cold.

So, here are a few tips to help prepare your home for the Autumn season ahead.

Test your Heating

You’ve heard those stories of people who will try and leave their heating off as long as possible, until the cold weather forces them to switch it on, but it can be helpful to have the boiler serviced, and switch the heating on and let it run whilst the weather is still fairly mild, as this ensures that you won’t get a nasty surprise once the cold weather arrives and you realise that your heating is no longer working and you possibly need a new boiler, or your heating fixed as soon as possible. Testing your heating now, means that you are all set for the Autumn and Winter ahead.

Eliminate Drafts

Autumn is notorious for exposing all of those drafty spots that you have in your home, which cold air creeps in through.  Draft-proofing your home now can help to save you money on your energy bills in the months ahead. Use fabric draught excluders, or foam or metal strips to help stop the heat escaping in the colder months. Having long curtains hung on windows can also help to achieve this.

Prepare the Garden for Colder Weather

It’s helpful to put anything that won’t be used in the months ahead (like patio furniture or garden toys) away in a shed or garage, or cover it up. Give the grass that final once-over and do any other gardening preparations that you may need to, before Garden Waste collections stop.

Dig out the Slow Cooker

In the colder months, there’s nothing more satisfying than knowing that you’re coming home to, or looking forward to, a nice warm meal at the end of the day, and so a slow cooker is a great way to ensure that a hearty evening meal awaits. Just a few moments preparation in the morning, or the night before, could mean that you can look forward to a delicious warming meal, ready to serve, with minimum fuss and effort.

Change the Duvet

If you want to sleep well at night, then you need to be warm enough, so now is a great opportunity to change your Duvet for a thicker tog, and add extra blankets and a bed spread to the bed, to keep you warm all season long!

Wardrobe Swap

Autumn means putting away those summer clothes until next year and digging out that cosy Knit Wear and those Boots. Swap the clothes in your wardrobe around, so that the clothes you will need for Autumn are more accessible and don’t forget about Outdoor Clothes too! Swap Flip Flops and Sun Hats by the door for Coats, Hats, Scarves and Gloves and check that you and those in your family have everything they need in preparation for the colder weather ahead, as shopping for new items now will save time and hassle in the long run.

Candles, Rugs, and Throws

Accessories in your home can really help that feeling of “Hygge” in the home as the weather changes. Wooden Floors may be great in the summer months, but in Autumn, a cosy Rug on the floor can really help you keep warm underfoot. Additionally, having a couple of throws handy to snuggle under on those colder evenings will help keep you cosy and warm.

Add a few scented candles, gently flickering away, and you’ve got all of the elements needed to help your home extra cosy and welcoming on a dark Autumnal evening.

Bring the Outside in

There’s so much opportunity to celebrate nature and decorate our homes with items from Nature during Autumn.

Why not forage for some of the gorgeous foliage which is around this time of year and create a stunning autumn display on a window sill or sideboard. Even a bowl full of conkers can make a great centre-piece at this time of year, or if you’re feeling extra creative, you could create an Autumn Wreath for the door.

If you, or someone you know has an allotment, then Autumn and Harvest are definitely the time for a bounty of vegetables, which you could turn into some hearty soups and store in the Freezer to enjoy over the season.

Autumn is also prime blackberry and sloe berry season, so why not go foraging for berries and get that Sloe Gin collection off to a great start.

Those are just a few tips for you to get Autumn off to a great start in your home.

We’re always happy to advise on aspects of all things home related throughout the year so please do feel free to get in touch if we can be of any assistance on 01727 221290.

 

24Aug

Many people spend years upsizing their property from that first room or apartment, to the first family home and then the next larger properties that you may choose to move on to. However, there will typically come a time in your life when kids move out, life circumstances change, or for whatever reason, it’s time to downsize your property from a larger home, into something more manageable for your current situation. 

Downsizing can bring advantages such as the ability to free up equity in your current home or moving into a property which is easier to manage during retirement

However, it also brings disadvantages, like the fact that you may have less space to work with, so will have to spend time getting rid of excess furniture and belongings which will not fit in your new property. 

Alongside all of the physical baggage, downsizing can also bring a lot of emotional baggage with it, as you may be leaving behind a property that you have very happy memories of living in, so it may take a while to get your head around the decision to downsize. 

Living in a smaller property than previously brings its own challenges and rewards, so here are some useful tips to help you navigate the journey of downsizing your property.

 

Size and Location Matter

It’s helpful to consider what kind of property you are wanting to downsize to, and where you want the location of that property to be. 

If you are moving with someone else, then you may need to have a discussion about what you both feel is an acceptable property size. Do you want a smaller house with a garden, a bungalow, a ground floor maisonette or apartment, or something else altogether? It may be that one of you is thinking a nice small one-bedroom home, whilst the other person still wants to maintain a slightly bigger property for family and friends to stay in, so make sure that you are clear on property size before starting your search. 

It’s then also helpful to consider the location you want to live in. Do you want to be within an easy drive of amenities and on a route with good public transport, or do you want to get away from it all and live further away?  Staying near Family and Friends may be an important factor to consider too. 

Think about whether your new property has potential for future proofing. If you’re planning on staying in your property for the long term, will it still be fit for purpose 10 years down the line?

 

Downsize Large Furniture 

In order to downsize, it’s likely that you will need to get rid of large items in your home. Write down a list of all of the furniture that you have in your current home, and then all of the furniture that you will need in your new home, and compare lists. Hopefully this will help you to work out what you may need to part with. 

For example, you may currently have a three-bedroom property, with three beds, three wardrobes and three sets of drawers, but now be moving into a one-bedroom property where you only need one bed, one wardrobe and one set of drawers, so some of these larger items may need to go!

Downsizing floor space, but not the number of rooms can be trickier, so you may need to work out whether your larger items actually fit into your current home or whether you will have to purchase new furniture that work for a smaller space. 

Arrange for collection of furniture or equipment you no longer need from a charitable organisation, or offer it family and friends, or for sale or free on selling sites to help you get rid of furniture as easily as possible.  

 

Declutter 

Like with furniture, your belongings will have typically accumulated over the years, and so downsizing is the perfect opportunity to go through your belongings, Marie Kondo style, and decide what still “sparks joy” and is for keeping, and what you no longer need and isn’t worth holding onto. 

It’s also helpful to consider what equipment you will no longer use. For example, if you are moving to a smaller property or even a flat, will you be using equipment to maintain the garden and if not, is there any point in keeping it? 

If you are keeping belongings or “clutter” for other people, then let them know that you will not be taking their belongings to your new home, and that they will need to collect and sort through their items before you move. 

 

Digitalise

With modern advances in technology over the years, we’ve gone from things like Videos to DVDs and from Cassette to CDs and now to digital downloads for all types of media. 

It may be that you are holding onto certain technological items which are no longer seen as “advanced tech” for sentimental value. Why not consider turning all of these into digital files so that you still have them available to you in a modern format, but you don’t have to hold onto the physical copies if you want to save space.

Similarly, you may be holding onto lots of old photo albums which could also be digitalised to save space. 

 

Consider External Storage

If you are downsizing, and have belongings which you absolutely can’t bear to get rid of, but which will not fit in your new property, then you could consider renting a storage unit, so that you have the peace of mind of holding onto your belongings, without the worry of trying to fit them into your new home.

So, there are a few ideas to get you started!

If you are considering downsizing, then we’re always happy too chat and assist with help and advice on whether selling your current property and moving to a smaller property, or moving onto the rental market would be a better fit for you. Why not pop into our offices on Victoria Street, or give us a call on 01727 221290 to find out more. 

 

30Jul

Summer is here and maybe you are off away, visiting sunnier climes, or you’re throwing open the patio doors and declaring summer fun here in the UK. Well if you are planning on staying in the local area, here are some fantastic things to do in and around your home in the summer.

1. Get out into the Garden

If you’re blessed to have a Garden or some outside space, then summer is the perfect time to get out and use it! You could always do the usual things of having a BBQ and inviting friends around, or encouraging the kids to spend time playing outside on the trampoline or in the paddling pool, but you could also go for some more quirky memorable ideas. 

Perhaps resolve to spend the whole day outside in the fresh air! Put up a Gazebo and pop some garden blankets and cushions underneath it and set up a day camp in the garden where you can spend the day working, relaxing, or chatting with family and friends in the open air. 

To keep kids entertained you could set up an obstacle course, a bug hunt, or a water activity for the kids to play with whilst you relax and watch the world pass by. 

Why not go a step further with your garden activities and make a night of it by putting up a tent and spending the night camping outside in the garden!

2. Visit a Local Park

If you fancy a bit more open space than your own garden, then of course the local park is the perfect place to relax in the summer! You could take a walk, read a book or just simply lay back and feel the grass beneath your feet. You could also decamp to the local park for an afternoon or evening of fun with friends! There are lots of fab parks in St Albans, Verulamium Park, Clarence Park, Highfield Park, Greenwood Park, Gadebridge Park in Hemel Hempstead, Cassiobury Park in Watford, there are lots to choose from! 

3. Take a Walking Tour

Exploring the local area can be really fun, especially if you are a commuter and don’t normally get much of a chance to walk around your local area. Rather than just walking around aimlessly, you could join an organised walking tour, typically run by your local tourist centre or group. St Albans Tour Guides offers tours in the local area. You could take a local history tour, a celebrity homes tour, a wildlife tour, a tour of local pubs or even a ghost tour! There are lots of different tours available in different local areas!

4. Visit Local Events

Most local areas are typically full of free or low-cost events during the summer and throughout the year, which are great for individuals, couples and families alike!

Why not seek out your nearest summer fair or music festival, catch a film in the park, sample the various local food on offer at your nearest farmers market, take advantage of an open-air theatre performances, or support events happening at local venues throughout St Albans and beyond the local area. Take a look at “What’s On St Albans" for event listings. 

5. Have a Wet Weather Contingency Plan

The weather doesn’t always go to plan, rainy days can happen even in summer, so it helps to have a wet weather contingency plan in place for things to do inside as well as outside. 

You could visit a local Museum or Art Gallery, take a walk around our wonderful Cathedral St Albans Abbey and visit the new visitor centre, tour one of our local stately homes, or even just take yourself off to sit at your local coffee shop with a good book. For kids you could decide to avoid the rain and retreat to the nearest soft play, trampoline park, 

So, there are a few tips of things to do in the summer around your local area. What are your favourite things to do in St Albans and beyond? 

We’re always happy to give tips and advice on the local area, so why not give us a call on 01727 221290