Selling in a Post-Lockdown World

christian-stahl-8S96OpxSlvg-unsplashThe restrictions are starting to lift and although it will take a while before things resemble what they were, there are definitely signs of life returning.  If you have any questions concerning the market post-lockdown please send these to us via our Instagram story and we will endeavour to answer as many as possible.  However if you are considering a move have a think about the points below while you might be at home with a little more time on your hands than usual.

Not everyone has had the desire to continue with their plans to move and yet others’ decision to find a new home in our lucky part of Hertfordshire has been a recent one.  But before you race to get your home up there on the big wide web, take some time to consider if it’s ready for sale, and how your home looks from the street should never be neglected.  How can your home’s kerb appeal aid a post-lockdown sale?

Make an impression

We all know first impressions count – you want buyers longing to see what your home has to offer, from the outside in.  With many of us taking to the streets on our daily walks, we may be noticing more about what surrounds us than ever before,

as we are not distracted by the hustle and bustle of life.  Architecture is adored, colours and planting are admired, and presentation envied.  Not all future buyers are actively looking, but that doesn’t mean that if your home makes an impression it won’t be desired and remembered.  Your home will no longer be just one on the street in Rickmansworth, Croxley Green, Chorleywood, that potential buyers pass by without a glance, the right kerb appeal will ensure it stands out and is never ignored again.

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Present to sell

During Lockdown even if you haven’t made the decision to sell yet you may well have had time to declutter, clean and organise your property’s interior.  If you are planning to move you now need to put in the same work sprucing up the outside.  Begin with undertaking any repairs that you have been neglecting and tidy up your plants, shrubs and any lawn areas, so they are looking well cared for.  It’s only natural for paving to start to look tired over time, so grab that power-washer or call in the professionals, as this can make a massive difference.  It may seem obvious but clean all your windows and, if needed, give window sills a fresh coat of paint, as well as touching up any other paint work.

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Focus on the point

The focal point to any home is the front door; from its condition, to its colour, to whether it’s well lit, no detail will go unnoticed.  Colour psychology can also play a part in how buyers perceive the property, so what does your front door say about you and your home?  According to the Pantone Colour Institute, a black front door signifies elegance, power and prestige, whereas white is often chosen by those who prefer a minimalist look due to it being crisp and pristine.  Grey is timeless and less likely to go out of fashion, while a red door commands attention and is more likely to be chosen by individuals who are engaging and dynamic.  Whatever colour you choose, ensure it complements the architectural style of your property.

Red colored front door of a city houseThe devil is in the detail

One frustration for buyers is when a house number is not clearly visible, so if you don’t have one or it’s seen better days, an effective and subtle way to update the front of your home is to add bold numbers that can be clearly seen from the street.  At Trend & Thomas we would also advise that these and any hardware, such as the letter box, handles and knockers, should mirror the style of your home’s interior, as this will give your buyers a taste of what to expect.

Power in planting

Colour creates impact, adds warmth and a bright welcome, whether that’s through flowers bursting from flower beds and window boxes or evergreen shrubs in planters.  No matter what space you have at the front of your property, you can easily transform it with an injection of blooms. You can create a touch of elegance using symmetrical planters on either side of your front door, and aromatic herbs such as lavender and rosemary will provide beautiful scents that will add to your buyers’ viewing experience. purple-and-blue-flowers-1039127

Time is of the essence

Whilst the pace of life is slower, and before the majority of us return to work, don’t miss the opportunity to ensure that your home’s kerb appeal makes a lasting first impression.  Serious buyers are already out there, enquiries have started to rise and we expect this to continue as restrictions are lifted.  Time is of the essence, as your kerb appeal could aid a post-lockdown sale.  If you’d like advice on how to maximise your home’s potential, call us at Trend & Thomas on 01923 773 616 and we can discuss your own personal property and circumstances in better detail.

COVID19 Update for our Clients

Estate agents working from home with childrenWe do hope you are safe and well in these unprecedented times.  We wanted to provide you with an update on how we are currently operating and the guidance specifically available for the property industry.   On the 20th April 2020 the Law Society has collated the current information on Home Moving and Conveyancing to cover essential moves and those contractually binding.  You can find this information here.

Some of our team have been furloughed but rest assured our office is continuing to function as normal with staff now working remotely as per Government guidance for the safety of our team & community.

There should be no interruption to services, but please bear with us if any delays in response occur. Please contact us on the usual number 01923 773 616 and on the emails salesandlettings@trendandthomas.co.uk or neil.guilfoyle@trendandthomas.co.uk. We will be happy to answer any property questions you may have.  We are working hard to stay up to date during the rapidly changing scenario.

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 15.27.32During this time our on-line presence is vitally important and we remain on all the mainportals, Rightmove, Zoopla and Primelocation as well as our own website and all the main Social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, IGTV, Twitter and Vimeo.

Where possible, we have carried out filming or received footage from clients, to create short video tours so we can continue to virtually market properties under the current conditions.  Please contact us should you wish to know more about our Virtual viewings and please visit our IGTV or Vimeo page for these.Penn Place IGTV Title

With regard to viewings, we are happy to organise a real-time Facetime or Zoom walk around where possible, for example where the property is either empty or the client is comfortable to carry out the walk around with the viewer and ourselves linked in.

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Sales Progression – Communication is key and we will work hard to progress your sale from exchange to the handover of keys, liaising with mortgage advisers, conveyancers and solicitors with all the tenacity and attention to detail that you expect from Trend & Thomas.  We will also keep you informed at every stage. It has never been more important to have a good agent working on your behalf to keep your sale on track and with our local expertise we will do just that.  We have had several successful completions  in recent weeks and expect to continue to do so despite these challenging times.

You may well have seen that we are also providing a strong presence on Social Media in a more community focused direction.  In these uncertain times we feel it is important to support our town and locals as best we can.  

We have been doing our best to communicate with you regularly and we will continue to do so.  On a personal note if anyone needs a pint of milk, some eggs, or a prescription picked up then please contact us.  We have helped out a few clients over the past few weeks and as we live in the Town centre it is much easier for us to do.coronavirus advice stay home save lives

Stay safe and well and keep in touch.

Neil Guilfoyle – Director

COVID 19 Update for our Landlords & Tenants

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Dear Landlords &Tenants, 

We do hope you are safe and well in these unprecedented times.  We wanted to provide you with an update on how we are currently operating and the guidance specifically available for Landlords & Tenants. 

Some of our team have been furloughed but rest assured our Rental department is continuing to function as normal with staff now working remotely as per Government guidance for the safety of our team & community.

There should be no interruption to services, but please bear with us if any delays in response are experienced. 

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The past week, being the end and beginning of the new month, are our busiest for receiving tenants’ rents and we have been encouraged to see these coming in as contracted.  However, this may change on a day, week and month by month basis ~ please be assured we will work through any issues on a case by case basis and keep you updated at every step. 

For your reference, the Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force on the 26th March 2020 and this emergency legislation prevents new eviction proceedings from being commenced for a three-month period; from the 27th of March the court service has suspended all ongoing housing possession action for 90 days.  Further information with regard the Government support available for tenants and landlords can be found via this link.

The Government has also published guidance for landlords and tenants who may be affected by current events to explain the measures relating to the Coronavirus Act 2020. This can be found via this link.

Moving boxes

In line with public health guidance which advises that people stay in their current home unless absolutely necessary, the Government has also recently published advice on home moves during the COVID-19 outbreak. Home moves are still possible but if not essential, home buyers and renters should delay moving to a new home while measures are in place to fight coronavirus. More information on this advice is available here.

We are doing our best to keep you informed as TrendThomasAd2advice changes and we are attempting to keep our community supported with our social media as we know how isolating this can all be. Please keep up to date with us on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter and please do download our Ricky Town colouring book if it will help you relax during this lockdown.

Ricky Town Colouring Book Download

Please do contact us by phone 01923 773 616 or email to salesandlettings@trendandthomas.co.uk if you have any queries, we will do our best to answer your concerns.  We understand this is a worrying time for everyone and we intend to provide our services in a respectful way to the benefit of all involved.

 

We will follow this update with further more specific information in the next few days.

Stay well

Neil Guilfoyle – Director

TREND & THOMAS ESTATE AGENTS

Landlords, are you ready for the changes that this year will bring in Rickmansworth?

Although it may only feel like yesterday since you were packing away the last signs of Christmas, the months of the New Year are starting to run away.  And whilst you may have already set plans in motion for your rental properties at Trend & Thomas we want to ensure you have everything in place for what this year will bring.  When it comes to the private rental market, we have come to expect changes to legislation and regulations,  so we expect you’re already on top of where you need to be.  But just to be on the safe side, our team want to ensure that you’re ready for the changes that this year will bring in Rickmansworth.

Be one spark ahead

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What is it they say? “To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” If you have works planned in any of your properties it may be worth bearing in mind that this year may see new electrical safety regulations implemented.  The government are seeking to bring electrical safety in line with the established regulations for gas safety.  If passed, the new laws will mean that from 1 July any new private residential tenancies will be required to have a qualified electrician sign off on all electrical wiring and fixed electrical installations.  This will also extend to any existing tenancies from 1 April next year.  We know that many of our landlords have already implemented this practice in order to provide an exceptional service to their tenants.  Whether the government pass this regulation or not, it may be worth thinking about being one spark ahead.

No more relief

If you’re an experienced landlord, the changes to the tax relief rules for landlords will be something you are very familiar with.  If you’re a new or accidental landlord, your understanding may not be as clear.  Since April 2017 there has been a phased reduction in the tax relief you are able to claim as a landlord, and this will continue until April.  As of the tax year 2020/21 you will no longer be able to claim any tax relief on your mortgage interest payments; instead, you will receive a tax credit of 20% on interest payments.  This has had a significant impact and we welcome your discussions on how we can work with you, our landlords, on a range of strategies to help mitigate the effects that this change has and will continue to bring.

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Another relief that will have an effect on your Capital Gains Tax when you come to sell your property is Private Residence Relief.  Currently, you can claim Private Residence Relief for when you personally lived in the property before deciding to let it out, plus an additional 18 months.  Again, as of the new tax year in April, there will be a reduction in this relief allowing you to claim for just 9 months after you moved out of the property, as well as for the time it was your main residence.  As a result, you are losing 9 months of Private Residence Relief.

We know several of our landlords have decided to reduce or sell their portfolios as a result of these changes, but before you make a decision in haste, come and chat to our lettings team to discover what options are open to you.

Achieving the minimum standard

Have you undertaken an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) on your properties in the last few years?  If this has been overlooked due to long-standing tenancies then you need to jump into action as soon as possible.  As a landlord, you have been required to achieve a minimum EPC rating of E on new tenancies and renewals since April 2018, and as of April this year this will extend to all existing tenancies.  This means that, regardless of if your property is due to have new tenants or not, to legally continue to rent your property it must have an EPC rating of an E or above.  We can have an Energy Performance Certificate carried out for you, please just give us a call.

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If you are planning works on any of your properties in the next year or so it may be worth bearing in mind the widespread expectation that this minimum energy efficiency standard will increase to a D rating for 2025, and a C by 2030.  Therefore, it could be worth making changes while works are already being undertaken, rather than having to build in more void periods in the future to make the necessary changes to your properties.

Don’t be left behind

We are continuously helping our landlords to ensure that they and their properties remain compliant, no matter what the industry throws at us.  It can as times feel like you’re on your own as a landlord, but at Trend & Thomas we can assure you our team work tirelessly researching best practice and innovative strategies to see the continuing success of your portfolios.  Give our lettings team a call on 01923 713 680 and we can help you end 2020 on a high.

Beat the Burglar!

Are you heading away for the upcoming school holidays and have you thought about your Home while you are away?

Did you realise the huge increase in Social Media usage can compromise the security of your home.   Recent research by Together Mutual Insurance found 760,000 people posted they were at the airport and that was only in a 30 day period!

Firm advice from Michael Fraser – of the BBC’s “Beat The Burglar” – ‘Don’t post anything online – save it until you come back.’

Other than not posting selfies at the airport here are a few of Michael Fraser’s other top tips to beat the burglars & help you keep your home safe during your next holiday.

  • Obscure the front window
  • Have two locks on the front door
  • If you have a cage on your letterbox leave it open so the post drops to the floor instead of piling-up to indicate that you’re not there
  • Get people to come round and alter the curtains or blinds, someone who you really trust
  • If you look at a row of parked cars, a robber will choose to take a car that has its wheels facing the road for a quick getaway instead of one with its wheels turned in towards the kerb

Here’s a helpful infographic produced by Michael & the Met Police to Beat the Burglar!

Beat the Burglar infographic

Is your Property Management carried out by a Letting Agent LOCAL TO YOUR PROPERTY?

Recently we have found that we are one of the only Letting Agents locally who actually manage our Rental properties right here from our office in Rickmansworth.

Other agents either outsource their management completely or have a centralised Property Management office based in a completely different county!

We wanted to explain why local Property Management is so important to you and your property investment.

  • We know in detail the types of tenants our area & your style of property attracts & can target these tenants specifically & quickly.Lost agents
  • We know all the styles & types of properties our area houses and can advise and inform based on this detailed property expertise.  We’ve properties we’ve managed for over a decade on our books – that’s some pedigree don’t you think!
  • We know the area expertly and can advise you on relevant local information, current letting trends, & expected rental values, therefore gaining you the best return for your investment quickly.
  • Call centre asking 'where?'We go the extra distance for our Landlords & properties because we are right here on hand, available for you to come and have a chat with or accompany you to your property. We are not in a call centre on the other side of the country oblivious to the variables of your property & unable to visit it or meet with you.
  • We know the transport links, commuting details & local area amenities such as leisure facilities,  local schools & child/elderly care options, so we can inform & attract the best tenants for your property.Where's Rickmansworth?
  • We have excellent long term relationships with local contractors so we can react to your property needs quickly, with the best person for the job giving minimal disruption to your tenants & ultimately your property & investment.
  • Our responses are obviously quicker than an agent who has outsourced their property management because we are right here beside your property investment & can visit within minutes of any emergency.
  • We do regular property inspections by an experienced independent LOCAL inventory clerk.
  • We are immediately available to advise you on your  investment prospects should you decide to sell or  even purchase a  further rental property.
  • We do not outsource our Property Management, we only trust our own expert team to manage your property investment & tenants, to us this is the only approach that works.

Is your Property Manager local to your property?  Need to rethink your Letting Agent?

Call and we’ll be happy to pop around for a chat anytime , at your convenience, ….because we are local & easily available…. important isn’t it! 

Phone Trend & Thomas Lettings on 01923 713 680 or Email lettings@trendandthomas.co.uk