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Brentwood – the ideal suburban investment prospect 2> By | News | No Comments

Brentwood – the ideal suburban investment prospect

By Surrenden Invest | August 12, 2017
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Brentwood in Essex lies close to the M25, some 20 miles east-north-east of London’s Charing Cross. The thriving town saw a 10% jump in population between the 2001 and 2011 censuses, taking its total number of residents up to 52,586.

Brentwood presents a uniquely appealing opportunity for property investors. The town is a success in its own right. It also offers an ideal location for those looking to work in London but live further out, thanks to the newly operating Crossrail service between Brentwood and a range of central London stations.
In a nod to its rural past, Brentwood still has plenty of green spaces and parkland, as well as a good selection of schools and local amenities. It has all the attractions needed for contemporary family life. Plentiful local employment opportunities have resulted in the town enjoying an unemployment rate that is much lower than the national average – 1.9% compared to the UK average of 4.5%.
Brentwood’s economic success means that is has no areas that are considered deprived. The town also enjoys a crime rate that is lower than the average, along with a higher than average rate of adult wellbeing. Essex Insight also reports that Brentwood has the highest proportion of jobs to population of anywhere in the county.
Already an attractive place to live in its own right, Brentwood also benefits from the newly launched Elizabeth line trains that are reducing journey times into central London as part of the £14.8 billion Crossrail infrastructure project. By cutting rail travel times into the capital significantly from June 2017, Crossrail has suddenly opened Brentwood up to a vast swathe of renters who previously viewed the town as just a little too far outside of London.
The initial announcement of Crossrail led to an influx of house buyers in Brentwood. It’s opening is now doing the same for renters, making the town an exciting prospect for buy-to-let property investors. Prices in Brentwood have risen by 31.5% in the past five years, in reflection of the town’s potential. The average apartment there sells for £287,677 according to Zoopla data from August 2017, while the average asking rent is £1,197 per month.
When it comes to Brentwood, everything stacks up. The town offers a safe, family-orientated place to live with decent education and employment options, all within easy reach of the plentiful employment opportunities of central London. It’s growing population is putting pressure on housing, making it the ideal suburban location in which to invest in residential property.

For further details email us at: info@surrendeninvest.com or call us on: 0203 3726 499

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Foreign Exchange property investment

Don’t underestimate the importance of foreign exchange when buying property abroad 2> By | News | No Comments

Don’t underestimate the importance of foreign exchange when buying property abroad

By Surrenden Invest | July 27, 2017
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Foreign exchange rates play an important role in many people’s decision to buy a property abroad. Not only do buyers need to keep an eye on currency fluctuations in order the accurately gauge the cost of their property, but they also need to think about the method that they are going to use to make the deposit and the balance payments.

A proactive approach to foreign exchange is always best – don’t leave it until the last minute and then have to make a rushed decision! When it comes to currency fluctuations, try to think ahead. Are there any political events on the horizon that could cause your currency to strengthen or weaken significantly? Are you poised to take advantage of such events? Do they pose a particular risk? Thinking these things through can help you to plan the timing of your purchase in order to benefit from fluctuations in the value of your currency.
Planning ahead for the way you convert your currency is equally important. Many of those who haven’t previously transferred large sums of money overseas choose to use their bank, as the ‘easy’ option. However, this can be a costly approach depending on your bank’s charges and the exchange rate that it provides.
Using a foreign exchange company can provide you with significant savings. Here at Surrenden Invest we recommend our trusted partner, Monex Europe. Monex Europe is able to use its purchasing power to achieve competitive foreign exchange pricing from more than 30 counterparties. That means we know our clients can benefit from getting a good deal. Typically, clients using Monex Europe instead of their banks to convert their currency make an average saving of 2.5%.
Another of Monex Europe’s features that our clients seem to particularly appreciate are its domestic and international economic reports. The company undertakes forecasting and analysis in order to capitalise on currency movements throughout the day. Buying at the right time is crucial when it comes to getting the best rate. Many of our clients find that the detailed analysis they receive from Monex Europe helps them to make better decisions about when to purchase their desired currency.
As we are always keen to ensure our clients get a great deal, we also love that Monex Europe’s service is free to use – a great bonus when you consider that the company is consistently ranked as a top 10 global currency forecaster by Bloomberg.
Foreign exchange can seem daunting at first, due to the potential costliness of making the wrong decision. If you’ve not purchased property abroad before, or you’ve done so but only relied on your bank for currency exchange, it’s definitely worth speaking to an FX expert before you make any hasty decisions.

For further details email us at: info@surrendeninvest.com or call us on: 0203 3726 499

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Crossrail sees Woolwich come out on top 2> By | News | No Comments

Crossrail sees Woolwich come out on top

By Surrenden Invest | July 26, 2017
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London’s Crossrail areas have long been excited about the new service’s potential to drive up house prices by providing enhance transport connections. Between Crossrail’s announcement and 2015, areas near Crossrail stations enjoyed a 31% uplift in house prices. Now, Woolwich has been identified as the area to come out on top as a result of Crossrail.

Nestled in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in south-east London, Woolwich has enjoyed significant investment in the form of urban renewal projects in recent years, having been identified in the London Plan as one of the capital’s opportunity areas. It is on track to progress from being one of Greater London’s ‘major centres’ to a ‘metropolitan centre’ over the coming decades, with Crossrail playing a significant role in that development.
According to JLL, Woolwich can look forward to house price growth of 39% between 2016 and 2020. That positions it at the very top of JLL’s list of House Price Growth Winners. In the year to August 2016 alone, average asking prices in Woolwich increased by 18%. With Woolwich Crossrail station due to open in December 2018 and urban regeneration continuing apace, prices are expected to continue rising steadily over the coming months and years.
Even aside from Crossrail, demand for homes is rising steeply across the UK and thus impacting on property prices. According to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) population data, the UK’s population is larger than it has ever been, at 65.6 million. The ONS projects that that figure will rise to more than 74 million by 2039, with an extra 8.4 million people creating unprecedented levels of demand for housing. And where demand goes up, prices follow!
With urban regeneration a key priority for the area and work underway to prepare Woolwich for Crossrail’s arrival late next year, the area is also attracting significant interest from property investors keen to take advantage of its potential for capital growth and solid rental yields. As Woolwich’s fortunes continue to rise, this trend is expected to continue.

For further details email us at: info@surrendeninvest.com or call us on: 0203 3726 499

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New Build Terminology: A Guide 2> By | News | No Comments

New Build Terminology: A Guide

By Surrenden Invest | June 26, 2017
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New builds are an increasingly attractive option for those who are looking to relocate or invest in their first property. To help you prepare for this important purchase, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the terminology that you’re likely to come across when buying a new build home.

General Terms

Vendor

Often used as a more formal alternative to ‘seller’ to describe the individual who has put the property up for sale.

Contract

A legal document that will set out the main terms of agreement between the vendor and the purchaser. It will typically contain details such as the names and addresses of each party, and the price of the transaction. Both the vendor and the purchaser will be required to sign their own copy of the contract ready for exchange.

Off-plan

This refers to a new build property that has not been built yet.

IFA

An abbreviation used to describe an Independent Financial Advisor.

Ombudsman

This refers to an independent professional body (or bodies) who are tasked with investigating grievances on behalf of customers. They may take on cases involving estate agents, solicitors or insurance companies.

The Process

Reservation Fee

This is a payment that is made at the point that the property is taken off the market. It will then be deducted from the exchange balance.

Deposit

This is the part of the purchase price – the lump sum – that is paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts.

Memorandum of Sale/Sales Letters

Sometimes referred to as a Notification of Sale, this is a document which records the transaction between the buyer and the vendor. It will contain information on the price of the property, the personal details of both parties, and contact details for their separate lawyers. It may also specify any special conditions of sale which have been negotiated – for example, some buyers or vendors may request that they are ready to exchange by a certain date). The Memorandum of Sale is not a legally-binding agreement.

Searches

This refers to the process whereby checks will be carried out on local council records to obtain information on any relevant planning applications and restrictions that may affect the property.

Subject to Contract

This term is often used to suggest that the property is in the process of being sold, but agreements are not yet legally binding.

Exchange of Contracts

This refers to the point at which copies of signed contracts from both parties are swapped by solicitors. The buyer’s deposit will also be handed over. Once the vendor and the buyer have exchanged, the contract is binding by law and neither of these individuals can back out of the agreement without facing financial consequences.

Completion Date

On this day, the legal transaction will be finalised and all documents and funds will have been distributed. Normally, the vendor’s solicitor will ask the estate agent to release the keys to the buyer at this time, too. In the case of new builds, ‘short stop’ and ‘long stop’ dates may also be specified; the developer will expect to have finished all building works by the short stop date, but MUST have completed the build by the long stop date.

Requisition on Title

This refers to any enquiry that relates to the completion agreements.

The Property

Land Registry

This refers to the government department which records ownership of the land and any conditions pertaining to it.

Survey

This is an initial inspection of the property that is carried out by a professional, qualified surveyor. Depending on the type and condition of the property, the buyer may instruct the surveyor to carry out either:
  • A valuation report – this is mainly completed for the benefit of the mortgage company.
  • A Homebuyers’ report – this provides the buyer with important information on the overall condition of the property.
  • A full structural survey – this is a more in-depth report that examines structural detail and provides more comprehensive recommendations.

Property Information Form/Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form

Both forms need to be completed by the seller to determine what will be left behind in the property at the point of sale. They will also include details on guarantees.

Seller’s Pack

This is typically made up of a Property Information Form and a Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form, along with the title deeds and a copy of the draft contract.

Snagging

This involves the developer touching up paintwork, adjusting appliances and making good any other minor issues within the property prior to the buyer entering the property.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

This important document will contain comprehensive information on energy use and performance at the property, along with its estimated carbon dioxide emissions and fuel costs.

Mortgages

Mortgage Offer

A formal written offer made by a bank or building society to lend an approved amount to purchase a property.

Mortgage Redemption Figure

The amount required to repay the outstanding capital/interest of a mortgage.

Repayment Mortgage

Your monthly repayment includes part interest and part capital repayment. So long as you meet all of the payments required by the lender on time, your mortgage will gradually reduce until it is repaid in full.

Ownership and Charges

Title Deeds

Legal documents that prove ownership of land/buildings and the terms on which they are owned.

Transfer of Title

This is the document that effectively passes ownership of the property from the vendor to the buyer.

Stamp Duty or LBTT (Scotland)

This tax, which is paid by the buyer, is calculated by analysing the percentage rate that is applicable to each portion of the property’s sale price.

Leasehold

This will grant the buyer with ownership of the property itself, but not the land it is built on. If a property is leasehold, the owner will normally need to pay ground rent to whoever owns the freehold. Please note that leasehold terms are offered on terms of between 125-999 years.

Ground Rent

The annual fee which the leaseholder will pay to the freeholder.

Maintenance/Service Charge

A charge paid towards a freehold or leasehold property. It normally applies to apartments/flats.

Estate Charge

This is a charge which is made the upkeep of the overall site.

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How to keep your best tenants 2> By | News | No Comments

How to keep your best tenants

By Surrenden Invest | June 11, 2017
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Traditionally, tenants start to think about renewing their agreement around three months before it is due to expire. This always used to provide the tenant with plenty of time to find alternative accommodation if their landlord wanted to increase their rent. However, the due to the current market, which has a surplus of rental properties, some tenants are now planning their exit up to 12 months in advance. If you have long-term tenants who appear to be satisfied with their living arrangements, do not get complacent – they may be on the lookout for their next great home.

Most tenants move to get better value, and this is especially true when they have been living in the same place for around three to five years. Many will closely follow the rate of rental inflation, and keep an eye on prices. In the least competitive areas, for every tenant looking for a new apartment or house, there are 10 to 15 suitable properties on the market. The combination of increasingly savvy tenants and a more competitive market makes it challenging for landlord agents to keep their best customers. Here are some tips to help you ensure that your tenants renew their contract with you.

Never Neglect Your Tenants

Throughout the tenancy, be sure to reply to every concern. Most tenants leave a property because simple maintenance issues are not resolved by their landlord or agent. If they always wait four weeks to get a tap fixed, or a boiler repaired, they will soon start to look for a modern property with new fixtures and fittings. This is why a good property manager is essential for busy landlords – they’ll be able to deal with these day-to-day queries much faster.

Be Ready to Negotiate on Price

If a tenant asks for a lower rent before renewal time, think carefully before rejecting it. The chances are they have either seen something better for the same price, or something similar for less. People only move if they have good reason to, and it’s usually either down to money or the quality of the accommodation. Dropping the rent for 12 months is less costly than risking a void period.

Keep a Close Eye on the Local Market

Monitor all new properties coming to the market and consider how your tenants will view them. Invest in your property every couple of years to match current trends – be sure to update fixtures and fittings, replace flooring and ensure everything is maintained to a high standard. Because tenants rarely have permission to change anything within an apartment, many resort to moving to a new build when their accommodation gets a little tired, rather than approaching the landlord and asking them to update the property.

Trust Professional Guidance and Discuss Feedback

Market conditions can change rapidly, so always trust the advice given by your agency. Sometimes an agent will tell you to drop your rental price to attract new tenants. As mentioned already, in some areas there are more properties on the market than tenants, so competition amongst property investors is high. Agents and landlords should discuss market conditions on a regular basis to ensure there are no surprises.

Constant Property Research

Before making any decisions, carry out extensive research so that you are fully aware of market conditions. Property investors hire agents for their knowledge of market conditions, as well as their marketing expertise. Ultimately, the key to retaining the best tenants is to ensure that the property is always offered at a fair price for its age and condition. If you decide not to update it every few years, be prepared to freeze or even drop your price if you wish to avoid that dreaded void period.

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Housing Manifesto Pledges of the Leading Political Parties 2> By | News | No Comments

Housing Manifesto Pledges of the Leading Political Parties

By Surrenden Invest | June 3, 2017
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All three main political parties agree that we need to build more homes in England and Wales. However, there is no agreement on how this policy is carried out.

The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats each have alternative ideas on the number of houses required, how they will be built and how much tax payers’ money should be used to support this building work. We have examined the housing policies of each of the three dominant parties in the run up to the 2017 General Election.

What are the parties promising on housing?

Because housing is a devolved issue, Westminster is only responsible for policy in England and Wales. Here we share the most important points to highlight how parties agree, and where they differ, on the delivery of housing.
Each of the main political parties have published their housing policy within their manifestos, and we encourage our readers to review each one carefully before the election, so read the Conservative, Labour and the Liberal Democrat manifestos.
The Conservative Party has pledged to enact all the reforms suggested in the Housing White Paper, which contains vital information on the private rental sector, including the construction of more affordable housing for rent, as well as an update on the ban on lettings agents’ fees and minimum tenancies.
If the latest polls are anything to go by, the result of the election is unpredictable at present. While the Conservatives are still favourites to win, there is a chance of a hung parliament, and a coalition is not an impossible outcome, although the Liberal Democrats have already said they will not form another coalition with either party.

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Mayor Andy Burnham is great news for the Manchester property market 2> By | News | No Comments

Mayor Andy Burnham is great news for the Manchester property market

By Surrenden Invest | May 20, 2017
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In 4th May 2017, Andy Burnham was elected the first metro mayor of Greater Manchester. He received strong support from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, winning 63 per cent of the vote. He is now the leader of the devolved city region, and therefore responsible for housing, strategic planning, and transport.

Andy Burnham’s position as Mayor of Greater Manchester will see him become a key figurehead for a major city in the Northern Powerhouse. He will lead a cabinet of 10 council leaders who will be tasked with steering the city towards new growth, while also providing Greater Manchester with a stronger voice on the national political stage. He will also act as ambassador for international trade relations. At a time when house building is high on the political agenda, we can expect some exciting changes in the forthcoming years.

A New Planning Framework

Andy Burnham is now responsible for creating a new property development strategy, also known as a spatial framework, to meet Manchester’s growing housing needs. As a devolved city, he will have greater planning freedoms which will aid investment and development across Greater Manchester, although the city’s 10 council leaders will all need to also approve recommendations.

More New Housing On The Horizon

In addition to steering housing policy in the region, the new mayor will also have the power to purchase areas of land for urban regeneration and development. Again, council leaders will need to be in agreement. Planning approval for development should therefore be easier achieve, along with reduced timescales.

More Control Over Funding For Transport Infrastructure

Andy Burnham will be responsible for managing the Government fund allocated to the development of new transport infrastructure over the next 30 years, which means his team will chose how Manchester’s transport network will evolve. Options include extending the Metrolink, improving the bus network and the creation of new rail stations, to improve connections between central Manchester and the cities of Greater Manchester. These changes and improvements will aid the economic growth of the region.
Greater Manchester, with Andy Burnham as metro mayor, will now have far more control over how funding is used, and who invests in major developments. The mayor will also manage specific investment for Greater Manchester’s metropolitan boroughs to ensure that the whole region benefits from inward investment. This will make the region more appealing internationally, which is good news for property investment.
We can expect Manchester’s property industry to receive more inward investment, which will boost the development of the city. Greater Manchester’s economic growth and property expansion looks to be in good hands.

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Birmingham Property Market 2017

The Changing Birmingham Property Market in 2017 2> By | News | No Comments

The Changing Birmingham Property Market in 2017

By Surrenden Invest | May 11, 2017
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Birmingham has changed more in the past 30 years than just about any other city in the UK, and regeneration and development is showing no signs of slowing down. New areas of the city are being opened up, leading to positive changes across the region.

Commercial Developments

Birmingham’s central business district and core office market have received significant investment over the last 5 years. Modern office space is attracting new businesses to the city, including some of the UK’s biggest financial institutions, such as HSBC and Deutsche Bank. Demand is growing in Birmingham, and combined with the increase in high-quality office space, we can expect to see rents increase to £35 per sq ft by the end of next year, which is excellent news for Birmingham property investors.

TMT Growth in the City

Birmingham is seeing highest demand from Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT), which now represents around 20% of all new property deals. We are also expecting to see growth from the Fin Tech, Media and Biomedical sectors, and this will lead to a rise in professional and financial services.

Investment

Although the Brexit referendum has slowed business slightly, demand was already running at unprecedented levels and the occupier market continues to hold steady. Yields for prime office space should stay at around 5.25%. Birmingham continues to attract significant overseas investment, which is generating increased demand.

Residential Investments

Birmingham is attracting buyers from London who tend to have higher expectations. As a result, developers are building higher quality apartments and taking more care to create more desirable environments around developments. Birmingham’s build-to-rent sector is expected to supply 55 new units every year in the city centre by 2020, placing Birmingham as the country’s leading Build-to-Rent investment zone.
Birmingham’s demographics are also changing, with a growing younger population, attracted by the affordable housing market and improved career opportunities. There are around 1900 international businesses in Birmingham, and the city boasts the largest professional service sector outside of London.

Prime Value Set To Rise To £500 Per Foot by 2020

Birmingham’s commercial and residential hotspots are being supported by infrastructure improvements and city centre regeneration, which is making the city more appealing to businesses and families alike. We predict that rising demand will push prices to £500 per square foot in prime city locations, making Birmingham ripe for investment.

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Birminghams New Property Hotspots

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Birmingham's New Property Hotspots

By Surrenden Invest | April 21, 2017
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Birmingham is undergoing a wave of residential and commercial development that is taking the city to new heights and providing residents and businesses with a wealth of new opportunities and talent. Here are the hottest developments in Birmingham this year.

Westside

Westside was originally one of the most important suppliers of commercial rent in central Birmingham and the redevelopment of Brindleyplace during the 1990s helped to fuel this. However, over the following decade, Snowhill, on the opposite side of the city, started to grow in importance, and there was a rivalry between these two opposing locations.
More recently, major developments at Arena Central and Paradise have, combined with Birmingham’s new library and Baskerville House, connected the Westside to the Birmingham’s centre to create a larger and more dynamic central business district. The area has seen commercial giants such as HSBC, Network Rail and PWC create new hubs in the area.
Westside’s infrastructure continues to improve with new vistas forming, which were previously blocked by the old library. Now New Street and local amenities are far more accessible, providing a more attractive urban landscape for residents and workers alike.

Snowhill District

On the opposite side of the tracks is the Snowhill District, which is growing as a major business district, with the arrival of KPMG, AECOM, Amey, Gowling WLG and EY.
The Snowhill Masterplan is taking shape and new developments include 3 Snowhill, Post and Mail, and Birmingham’s skyscraper zone. Snow Hill has improved rail services to London Marylebone, and a new tram line provides fast commuting to and from Wolverhampton to the north, and New Street to the south.
Also in development in the Eastern Metro extension that will link to Curzon Street station, the terminus of the HS2 high-speed line to London. The latest plans will see newly created pedestrian access across the area, making the urban environment far more attractive.

Colmore Row

Colmore Row is the traditional core of Birmingham’s professional district. For many years Colmore Row’s development stagnated due to a lack of new sites. However, there have been several new development opportunities of late that have improved the quality of rental accommodation available, which has helped boost occupier expectations and rental levels across the area.
The most exciting developments include IM Property’s 55 Colmore Row, Rockspring/Sterling’s 103 Colmore Row and Ardstone’s 1 Newhall Street, which provide quality properties that link to the Westside and Snowhill business areas.
This whole area has experienced gentrification with the opening of many restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as a revamped Grant Hotel, which has turned the whole area vibrant and happening area.

Jewellery Quarter

The Jewellery Quarter provides some of the best residential properties, with converted factories and traditional townhouses, along with more convention new builds.
This area has its own business hub, which is dominated by start-ups, making it one of the most desirable areas to live, making it Birmingham’s Shoreditch. New metro connections to New Street Station have helped to further bolster its appeal, and the new Eastern Metro extension, due for completion in 2026, will provide a fast link to Curzon Street and the HS2 terminus. The Jewellery Quarter is also within a 15 minute walk of Snow Hill station, which will further be improved with new pedestrian routes.

Gun Quarter

On the edge of Jewellery Quarter and Snow Hill is Gun Quarter, just a short walk from the CBD. Although central, this area has some discounted properties providing some excellent investment opportunities. Gun Quarter will also benefit greatly from the Snowhill Masterplan and become a key residential area in the city, making it ripe for property investors.
As well as excellent rail connections, tramlines and pedestrian access across the city, these areas also benefit from easy access to the motorway network, via that A38. Looking further ahead, we can see that Birmingham will start to rival London and the Northern Powerhouse as a key area for growth and development for the next generation.

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Give your Buy-To-Let a spring clean 2> By | News | No Comments

Give your Buy-To-Let a spring clean

By Surrenden Invest | March 31, 2017
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Spring has finally arrived in the UK and we have seen temperatures rise dramatically in the last week, and this, coupled with the start of British Summer Time, means longer, warmer days. Now is the perfect time for property landlords and tenants to carry out a thorough spring clean to ensure that your residential investment retains its value. To ensure your property is in the best condition, read our guide to spring cleaning your buy-to-let property.

Spring Cleaning Advice For Landlords

As a landlord, you cannot enter a home without the tenant’s permission to check internal health, but you can work on the exterior.
The first task is to check any timber on the property for damage and decay. Get woodwork repaired and treated, and consider a fresh coat of paint. Paint protects woodwork, reducing the need for future repairs.
As the weather warms, pests start to emerge from hibernation and breed. Check for pest entry points – slipped tiles, and rips and tears in the felt, will let pests in. Look out for crumbling brickwork and holes in the walls, as well as air bricks and plumbing access to the property – all these points can let pests in.
Gutters and downpipes should be cleared of leaves and other debris, and if there is a soakaway, make sure this is working well. Some tenancy agreements make this a task for the tenant.
Inside jobs, which need to be arranged with your tenant, include checking the boiler and heating system, servicing the air conditioning, and checking for signs of damp or mould. If you have an agent, they should be carry out these checks on your behalf.

Spring Cleaning Advice for Tenants

Spring is the time to tackle the garden. The grass will need its first cut of the year, and early weeds will start to appear. If you have patio or garden furniture, give it a good clean with warm, soapy water. Wood should be re-sealed.
Inside, you should give the property a deep clean – empty and clean cupboards, hire a carpet cleaner to wash the carpets, and dust all those hard-to-reach areas. Also, check paintwork, fixtures and fittings, and report any problems to your landlord or agent. Ensure that windows open and close properly, that extractor fans are all operating normally, and give your oven a good clean too.
A good spring clean can freshen up a property, making a more pleasant and desirable home for tenants, which means they are more likely to stay – also, new tenants will pay more for a well-kept home.

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