Monday, 15 October 2018

Love thy Neighbour #Blog #Sheffield #EstateAgent


Love Thy Neighbour

Whether you are a home owner, renting or living in a block of apartments most of us have neighbours and if you have them here’s my top tips to being a good neighbour in Sheffield.

Introduction
Neighbours can be a source of useful information when you are settling into your new home. So it’s well worth a friendly hello when you meet them for the first time. They can after all fill you in on the everyday stuff like where’s the nearest shop, bin collections and the do and don’t of street parking, if you don’t have sufficient driveway to house you and any visitors.
You don’t have to become best of friends, but neighbours on your side can be a valuable asset, they can look out for your property when you are away from it, offer you use of some extra parking if you have a party, be understanding if you are having some property maintenance carried out. So it’s worth keeping them in the loop and returning the favour when they are in need of a little help from you!

Be Considerate
With Bonfire night round the corner, you might want to pre-warn neighbours if you are planning a fire, so they are sure not to have washing out or windows open. If they have small children with a set bedtime, you could agree a time when the fireworks will be done or ask them round to join in with the fun, then you’ll be sure to have them on-side, or at least you’ve given them the opportunity and pre warned them of the event.
If you are planning a special occasion with a D J or band in the garden, it’s worth being clear about your intentions giving neighbours the date and time when there will be noise disruption and keep to the timescale, if you’ve said quiet by 10-30pm, everyone knows where they stand and there’s less chance of you getting reported to the local council/ police. 
Also if you’re coming and going unsocial hours for your work or just coming in late from a night out show them consideration and keep the noise down. No-one likes to be woken in the night by car doors slamming and shouting, it’s sure to be annoying for them to hear.

Disputes
We are all different people with varying standards and without realising it disputes can come around and that’s just life. If you need to approach a neighbour with an issue, try and keep your cool, explain what the cause of the problem is and listen respectfully to what they have to say . There could be a reason you were unaware of, sure as there garden being untidy due to illness, or bereavement in the family. Give them a chance to respond to you, try and understand from their perspective and hopefully you can work towards a suitable solution for all, even if it means you rolling up your sleeves and offering to lend a hand. Before you go down the path of reporting them to the authorities, it’s worth giving them a chance to redress the issue.
If someone comes to you with a concern, even if you think it’s petty, for them to seek you out, it is something that they are finding an issue. Be respectful and give then a timescale of when you look to have the problem dealt with, if it’s down to lack of money be honest and tell them to  bear with you until you have the funds to resolve this.

Peaceful Times Ahead
If you follow my top tips I am sure in the majority of cases you will be able to hold your head up high on seeing your neighbours, give them a friendly greeting and get on with your day. They may  be of help to you one day, taking in a parcel while you are out or pushing through some important post delivered to them in error.

After all “ Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours”  and  “ That’s when good neighbours become good friends”


www.spencersestateagents.co.uk 

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Thank you! Spencers Agents #Sheffield - #spencer #wearespencer #estateagentblog


THANK YOU!

Estate agents get a bad reputation. We know that we are not a loved profession but at Spencer, we work hard as a team to change that perception and give people the experience that they deserve from day one to completion and beyond. Be that as a seller, buyer, landlord, tenant, contractor or solicitor, we want you to want to speak to us and to work with us again!
As an established, focused, family run business we pride ourselves on our personal service and that’s reflected by the number of thank you cards & presents that we receive and the reviews that are posted on Facebook and Google.
So many clients come back to us again & again or recommend us to their friends and family, and for that we THANK YOU for supporting us.
#wearespencer  

Monday, 4 June 2018

Does your #investment comply with #EPC changes in time for your next void period? Ask #Spencer #Sheffield


Energy Efficiency Regulation Changes
The government has decided that tenants in low energy-rated rental properties spend significantly more on energy bills than those in high energy-rated properties. According to figures, over 33% of tenants are reportedly unable to afford their fuel costs, this rises to 45% for tenants in F/G rated properties. 
If your rental property already has an energy efficiency rating of E or above, then you are already compliant and can relax FOR NOW.   If not then you need to start to think about what changes you need to make to improve your properties energy efficiency rating.
From 1st April this year ALL rental properties with new tenancy agreements signed MUST have an EPC rating of at least an E, if you already have a tenant living in your property before this time who is happy to continue without signing a new tenancy agreement then you are safe FOR NOW.    These regulations will be extended to landlords of existing tenancies whether a new tenancy agreement is signed or not by 2020.
Image result for epc

Things to do if you have a low rated EPC

1.       Check the recommendation section on your current EPC, this will advise you on what changes can be made to increase the rating. Some may be small others may be more expensive.  

2.       Speak to the assessor who did your original EPC as they may have more in depth advice without spending too much money.

3.       Make the changes in plenty of time of your next void time and have a new EPC generated

4.       BE COMPLIANT to avoid fines of up to £5,000 PER property.


If you need help or advice please contact our team at Spencer so that we can help you make sure you comply before the next void period so that we help to mitigate any losses. 

Call Lynn, Emily, or Ash now on 0114 2683682 

www.spencersestateagents.co.uk 




Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Minimise Void Periods in #Rental #Property - #Blog by Emily from #Spencer #Sheffield


Tips to minimise void periods in rental properties


Usually when a tenant moves out of a rental property there is a short period of time when a property remains empty before the new tenant moves in, at Spencer we encourage this and usually suggest a week between tenancies. It can be a beneficial time to ensure the property is ready to be re-let by having any maintenance work and cleaning carried out so it’s in tip-top condition for new tenants.
However, this is not always the case and unfortunately some properties remain empty for a period of time. Every landlord should be trying to minimise the void periods where possible, because at the end of the day empty properties cost money. Whether it be through the mortgage, council tax, utility bills or service charge there is always some cost the landlord has to pay. 
There are a number of things that landlords and agents can do to ensure void periods (AND COSTS!) are kept to a minimum.
1)      Start marketing early
At Spencer we always contact our tenants at least 2 months before their move out date to find out their intentions at the end of the tenancy, we aim to advertise properties 6-8 weeks before the available date. This means that any prospective tenants looking for a new home have plenty of time to give notice on their current property.
2)      Renew contracts without delay – avoid periodic where possible
As mentioned above we always contact tenants 2 months before their vacating date to find out their intentions, this gives plenty of time to arrange any contract renewals. Where possible we advise landlords against periodic contracts as it means that tenants can give their one month notice at any time, if a tenant was to give notice in the winter months then it can be more difficult to re-let the property.
3)      Keep an eye on the property during tenancies
We recommend carrying out regular inspections on rental properties to ensure that they are being looked after by the tenants and that any maintenance issues are noticed and dealt with quickly & efficiently. At Spencer we carry out regular property inspections and provide our landlord with a full report and photos on the condition of the property.
4)      Keep the property in good condition
Once you have a good tenant in your property it’s important to keep it in good condition for them to want to stay, maintenance issues should be dealt with quickly & efficiently and we recommend being open and accommodating to reasonable tenant’s requests. Ongoing investment in the property especially in bathrooms and kitchens can also help secure tenants and always helps when re letting the property.
5)      Utilities – take meter readings!
As soon as a tenant vacates meter readings should be taken of all the utilities, this ensures that landlords aren’t paying for the previous tenant’s usage, it ensures the void period costs are kept to a minimum.  As part of the check-out process we take all meter readings to provide to landlords along with a detailed check out report.
6)      Expect a void period
The average void period in the UK per year is between 2 and 4 weeks, it is recommended to budget for one month per year to avoid any unexpected costs.
7)      Find good tenants – and keep them!!
The best way to minimise void periods is to avoid them completely!! Once you have the right tenant in your property, at Spencer we fully reference and credit check all our tenants and always ensure they are the best fit for your property. We then work constantly to ensure tenants are happy and keep them in your property! If you don’t believe us just check our 5* Facebook and Google reviews!
Whether you are a landlord letting your property for the first time or a landlord stuck with a vacant property, our focus and attention at Spencer will always be to provide you with practical and honest advice. If you need help re-letting your property please get in touch with our rental team. 

www.spencersestateagents.co.uk 

Monday, 30 April 2018

Interview with Nicola Spencer - Spencer. The Estate Agent, Sheffield #iamspencer


Q: How is the housing market faring in Sheffield (prices, hotspots, activity, who’s buying etc.)
A: Sheffield has always had a remarkably robust property market, even through troubled times, we haven’t seen the disastrous effects like some smaller cities and towns. Currently we have plenty of first time buyers looking and the Help to Buy has definitely encouraged some to the market, as well as having encouraged some lenders to compete with similar products. Aspirational movers are also on the up and up, and a shortage of supply in the most popular areas is meaning that there are multiple bids pushing the values higher, sometimes with extraordinary results. Largely this is led by school catchment, and is usually a consideration for resale, even if the current buyers don’t have children of their own. Investors are cautious with the changes in regulations and taxation, but are still out there in their droves buying particularly in the city centre.

Q: Are there any up-and-coming places?
A: Once upon a time, not so long ago, the idea of living in Sheffield City Centre was laughable, but the truth now is that it is affordable, convenient, diverse, and on the rise in popularity. We thought we were taking a bit of a chance taking on volumes in the city centre over the last couple of years but now that we are the top selling agent in S1, it seems to have been a risk worth taking. The buyers are as diverse as the properties; the quality of properties and the quality of buyers mean that you have to know your market, but plenty are selling, prices are stable, and the long term prospect of the city centre is such that it is worth looking into.

Q: If you were the Housing Minister what would you do and why? (i.e. bring back council housing, change stamp duty etc etc
A: The regulation of the estate agency business is a MUST in our eyes, Spencers have been regulated and licensed for decades and have always felt that the credibility of being audited and regulated should attract more conscientious clients and discourage those with the wrong intentions. With the changes in CPR and the soon to be changes in GDPR, the regulation of certain EU requirements are pushed on to agents, yet the agents have little or no policing and the OFT, Ombudsman, and the ASA do little to monitor rogue agents, unless a consumer reports them. If landlords were licensed and so were agents, we would not need such heavy over protection of tenants, which would lead to a fairer overall management of property, tenancies, monitoring of bad advertising, and would improve the industry overall. And the internet agencies would need to comply!  

Q: What are the best and worst things about working in property?
A: I love my job. There is nothing at all bad about working in property! Every single day is different, every client, property, circumstance, is different to the last and so life is never dull. My worst day ever was probably attending a repossession on behalf of a bank about 20 years ago, the lady had mental health problems following the suicide of a loved one and had started to collect animals for comfort. When she was repossessed the RSPCA took all her animals at the same time and my heart broke for her. On the flip side of that though, many people feel super excited to move and can’t wait to get their keys for their new home so it is great to hand them over at the end of their journey, which is usually an interesting one! It can be pretty stressful moving home, and when people are under pressure it can bring out the worst in them, so patience is key and a good listening ear needs to always be on hand. If you like architecture though, and are nosy about how others live, you just need to add in tenacity, enthusiasm, and a thick skin and you would love it!

Q: Where and what your ideal home?
A: Not to be greedy but I would need two! If price and location and planners were not a consideration I would have a Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater inspired house surrounded by hills and views and countryside and fresh air with an internal courtyard and large mid-century style open plan rooms, water features, and trees. On the flip side of that, I would also love a penthouse apartment in the thick of it with a huge roof terrace and with extensive city views! If money were no object though, I’m not quite so sure that either of these places would be in Sheffield, the apartment would likely be in New York or Paris and the FLW would likely be in Mykonos….. one can dream!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Tenant Fee Ban - #Blog by Lynn Braha of Spencer's Estate Agents #Sheffield S11


Agency fee ban!

Lynn Braha talks about the tenant reference fee ban that has been suggested. Lynn is a Senior Lettings Manager at Spencer, here on Ecclesall Road, Sheffield.

"How are things going to change you ask? 
I say for the worse. I’m not convinced this is going to help anyone. 

"The ban is meant to help people afford to rent in the private sector, or so they say but this is debatable. In my opinion part of the problem comes from local councils selling off the bulk of their housing stock and leaving them with less social housing stock for people on a low income. 

"The main suggestion to counter the fee ban is higher agency fees being charged to landlords for tenant finding and property management, in effect the landlords will pay the tenants agency fees instead, but this will no doubt encourage landlords to increase rents to cover this and so in the end it will be tenants who ultimately pay, as rents will go up overall and tenants could be having to pay what they cannot realistically afford.

"Landlords may also stop accepting people on housing benefit, as the rates will not cover the increased rents.  This will cause an increase in homelessness and so defeating the objective.

"Another suggestion is tenants will be expected to pay the whole tenancy rent in advance to reduce the risk to landlords again making it more difficult for people on a low income.

"How is this helping people in the long term, yes it will get them into a rented property initially but will they be able to afford to sustain it?

"In my opinion the fee ban is not the answer, a cap on these fees would have been a better solution.

"Maybe if the government had a register where agents can register bad tenants minimising the checks that agents need to do to reference potential tenants.

"Only time will tell if this idea is going to work, watch this space!"

If landlords want to talk to us about their investment property or properties we are happy to help. Call us on 0114 268 3682 or email rent@spencersestateagents.co.uk to arrange to meet up on Ecclesall Road. 

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Sheffield Property Market and Final Offers - how high do you go? #Blog by Philippa Peasegood at Spencer The Estate Agent


You've found it, your dream home, your forever home - exciting!!!!
So you ring the estate agent full of confidence to place your offer. Then come the dreaded words "we currently have 5 other offers on this property". Suddenly you realise your dream home is also someone else's dream too. How can you detach from this property when your emotions are so invested in it? Questions fly around your head, "what do we do to ensure we get it?" - and so the process begins....
Best and Final Offers
This may seem a harsh system when your heart is set on a property - but is it really that unfair?
Prior to reaching this stage the Negotiator will speak with each offeree informing them of the latest amounts and frequently applicants want to increase on their offer. This process can be lengthy with small increments causing the price to escalate bit by bit. It can be agony or irritating for you when the Negotiator calls back with the latest offer, particularly if it's the amount you would have also offered, and then you might feel the urge to increase, hence repeating the cycle. 
So, when is it right to call time on this pain and go to sealed bids? Typically when there are numerous offers, the Negotiator discusses them with the Vendor and then a date and time for final offers is agreed. At that point the top offer becomes the 'Highest Disclosable Offer' and all future bids are then confidential.
At Spencer. The Estate Agent all offerees are equal. We feel a level playing field can only be achieved if we don't divulge the positions of all parties, just the Highest Disclosable Offer, and this sits in line with regulations and advice. We are frequently asked by those in the running what the position of the other parties is, are they in rented, do they have a property to sell etc, but this information will only go to the Vendor. That way you can put an offer forward without gambling on the fact that you are in a better position than your rivals, and we stay within our responsibilities for protection of other people’s data.
The question begs - how high do you go? There is no crystal ball to give you that answer, but our advice is to decide on an amount you're happy with, be confident that that's the value you would place on the property, and put that forward. It's easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and put a bid in to eliminate others, but would that give you peace of mind knowing that you paid more than you wanted to and eating into any future resale value? Take a step back, evaluate the situation and keep level headed. 
When the Vendor accepts an offer, all applicants are immediately informed. This can be devastating when your heart is set on a property, but there can only be one buyer.
There is a dream home for everyone, you may just have to offer on a few frogs to find your true love. 

Come and meet us at Spencer at 469 Ecclesall Road, or call us on 0114 268 3682 to have a chat or email us, if you prefer, at sales@spencersestateagents.co.uk and we will offer friendly advice.