Understanding insurance for landlords

6When renting out a property you need to be aware that you will require specialist landlord insurance. General home insurance isn’t right for you as it doesn’t cover all third party risks that you may encounter by having tenants.

Right Estate Agents provide you with a quick look at the different options available to you.

Landlords specialist buildings Insurance
Your mortgage provider will require you to purchase specialist landlord buildings insurance for your rental property.

As standard buildings insurance generally covers your property against loss or damage caused by:

  • Fire or smoke
  • Theft, vandalism or civil commotion
  • Oil or water leakage and burst pipes
  • Lightning, storm or earthquake
  • Subsidence
  • Damage caused by vehicles, falling trees, animals, aircraft, aerials and masts

In the case of complete destruction of your property, buildings insurance also covers full replacement or repair costs as well as the cost of clearing the area.

As well as covering all of the above, a landlord’s building insurance policy differs from a standard home insurance policy when it comes to cover elements that relate to tenants living in the property such as:

  • If your tenants can’t stay at the property as a result of damage or a buildings claim. In this case specialist landlords insurance will provide temporary accommodation cover for your tenants and in some cases, provide an element of loss of rent cover to protect your rental income
  • If your tenants or their guests cause malicious damage to your property a specialist landlord policy would cover the damage caused
  • Probably the most important of them all, if you don’t have specialist landlord buildings insurance policy in place and need to make a claim, your insurance could be invalidated and declined

Landlords contents insurance
Landlords don’t normally need full contents cover for their rental property, unless the property is let fully furnished. However you may want to give yourself some protection for the things you do provide.

You can usually choose the level of cover that suits your rental property to protect your items against fire and theft. Landlord’s contents cover includes furniture, household utensils, kitchen electrical equipment and soft furnishings, including carpets and curtains – basically anything that could be removed from the property. You can often extend the cover to include accidental damage too, a popular addition for landlords.

Rent Guarantee insurance
Economic times have led to more and more landlords needing to protect their rental property investment and their income more than ever before. Even the best tenants can find their circumstances changing, resulting in them being unable to meet their rental commitments.

Having a rent guarantee policy in place can protect you from being out of pocket by helping you recover rent arrears. Legal cover is often provided as standard as well, giving you access to a panel of solicitors to provide help and advice on legal matters, not limited to letting a property.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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Who needs to know you’re moving

T5here’s so much to think about when you’re moving home.
We, at Right Estate Agents  have brought together a list of people you must inform of your new address to ensure you have alerted everyone who needs to know!

1. Utilities

You can take your old provider with you when you move, or you can use this as an opportunity to change suppliers and reduce your bills. Whatever you decide to do, contact your supplier at least 48 hours before your move.

2. Water Suppliers

You need to find out who supplies water and sewerage to your current home, settle the bill and determine who your new water provide will be. It’s just a matter of information; unlike gas and electricity, you have no say over who your water supplier is.

3. The Post Office

Remember to get your post re-directed to your new address. You can do this by downloading a form from the Post Office website. Do this in advance, as it can take up to 10 days to set up. There is a charge for re-directing your post.

4. The Bank

Let your bank know your change of address and think about transferring your account to a branch closer to your new home. And don’t forget any items that are held by your bank for safe-keeping. Think about other companies that you may have standing orders or credit cards with, as you will need to tell them too.

5. Providers

For your landline and broadband, contact your suppliers and let them know your moving date. Moving home is also your chance to compare quotes for both TV and broadband to find a better deal. Don’t forget to let your mobile phone provider know your change of address too.

6. Electoral Register

The Electoral Register is updated every month and you need to be included on it to vote. A form is available from the Electoral Commission’s About my vote website. You can complete the form online, or download and send it to the Electoral Registration Office which is based at your local council.

7. Home insurers

In addition to notifying your buildings and contents insurance company that you’re moving, check that your current policy covers your possessions during the move.  Find out if your change of address means a change in premium and make sure you have adequate buildings cover on your new home.

8. Car insurance provider

Notify your car insurance company of your change of address. Your premium is likely to change with your new postcode and if there is any change to your parking arrangements. You may also be charged for updating your existing policy so it’s worth shopping around for a cheaper quote before you commit to staying with your current car insurer.

9. DVLA

You need to update your driving licence and your Vehicle Registration Document. Failure to inform the DVLA with your change of address within a reasonable period of time can result in a £1,000 fine so make sure you don’t leave it until the last minute!

10. Friends and Family

Finally, don’t forget those people closest to you! There’s no need to buy expensive “change of address” cards. Most people have access to the Internet so send an email, or you can find a good range of “change of address” e-cards online.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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What are the 10 things you need to know before you rent out your home?

4If you’re thinking of renting out your home, what are the things that you need to do before you put your property on the market? Right Estate Agents present you a list below about the most important ones.

 

  1. Make it safe. This means checking things such as the gas and electrics. If they are not safe, you’re not safe as you may be liable to prosecution. A letting agent can help by booking an engineer and will provide you with the relevant certificates if the appliances pass testing – such as a gas safety certificate.
  1. Make sure it is clean. Your definition of clean will be different to someone else’s. And clean in the property world means no trace of a human. This is important because if you hand it over to a new tenant in this condition, then you can insist it is returned to the same state.
  1. Present it to suit your market. For example, if you have a smarter property set in an area of professionals, then you are not going to attract the tenants if it looks like a student pad. Instead, you may end up alienating them instead.
  1. Speak to your lender. You will need consent to let your property if you have previously lived in it otherwise you could be breaking the terms of your mortgage agreement. You will already be covered if you have brought the property specifically as an investment with a buy-to-let mortgage.
  1. Make sure you have leaseholder consent. Your leaseholder may not allow you to rent out your property or they may charge you to obtain a licence.
  1. Notify your insurers. It is unlikely that they will continue to insure the property if you move out and a tenant moves in. You will probably need insurance specifically for landlords.
  1. Tenancy agreement. The most common is a shorthold tenancy agreement, but an alternative agreement may be required depending on the circumstances, such if you are doing a corporate let. These will be provided by your letting agent, who will ensure it up to date and relevant to your situation.
  1. A letting agent will also help to arrange your inventory. This needs to be as detailed as possible, possibly extending to more than a dozen pages. It needs to outline the decoration, style and cleanliness of the property. You may not think this is needed, particularly if you’re renting the property as unfurnished. But ask yourself how you’d feel if the tenant painted the property without asking you in a colour that left you having nightmares or removed the radiators without asking you. An independent inventory by a letting agent is your best evidence against this happening.
  1. Deposit. Your letting agent will let you know which deposit scheme you are using as there are quite a few to choose from. You will need to issue the certificate for that scheme to your tenants. Also give them the terms and conditions leaflet. You need to let them know where it is registered.
  1. Use a lettings agent to manage the on-going tenancy as well as for finding the tenant. They will know what laws you need to abide by, helping to ensure you have a hassle free let.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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Paint or Wallpaper – What are the Pros and Cons When Decorating?

3The best thing about the walls in your home is that they can completely transform your space and style in a quick and easy way. Using paint or wallpaper, you can easily spice up a boring room just by changing up the colours and textures.


There are many different pros and cons when it comes to deciding whether to decorate your walls using paint or wallpaper, including the price, the level of difficulty and the versatility. So check out Right Estate Agents guide below before making your decision:

Kids and Pets

Believe it or not, this may be the best place to start when deciding between the two, as both can cause damage in a home and ultimately end up leaving marks on your walls. Many young children like to demonstrate their more artistic side by drawing on newly decorated walls, and muddy pets can often fall asleep against them leaving a dirty dog-shaped mark.

Paint is not very easy to clean once it is on your walls – you can of course re-paint over any marks and dirt, but that can be a bit of an effort to do regularly. If you want wallpaper, then it is best to choose a vinyl material, as it does not damage as easily as other materials and is also easier to clean.

Preparation

You need to take into account how long it will take to decorate using either paint or wallpaper, although starting from scratch on a bare wall means they may take around the same amount of time.

If you are going to be using wallpaper, you need to make sure the walls are completely clean, flat and undamaged before you start. When it comes to redecorating, wallpaper can be quite hard to get off as well, so this is something to consider. Paint usually takes a couple of coats and simply requires a level of primer underneath, and it also tends to be very easy to cover up.

Choice

If you are incredibly arty, then you can create whatever designs you want on your walls using paint, but for the majority of us any swirls and intricate detail can only be added with the use of wallpaper.

Paint comes in a huge selection of colours and finishes, but wallpaper can create a range of different surface and texture too. It comes down to a matter of preference, but if you are looking for a large stylish print, then you will almost certainly need to use pre-designed wallpaper.

Costs

Both wallpaper and paint come in a large range of prices, but in general wallpaper costs more. Paint requires very few supplies, whereas wallpaper will usually require the rolls, the paste to stick it to the walls with, and a table to prepare it on.

Many people will also hire a specialist to put wallpaper up as it can be quite tricky to do on your own, but if this is not the case then you could easily save some money by doing it yourself.

The Big Decision

Deciding between wallpaper and paint is really a decision that needs to be made based on a range of factors including those above. The great thing about walls is that they provide you with a great decorating canvas and are easily changed and customisable.

Whether you choose to go with the easy option of paint, or the more customisable option of wallpaper, both are sure to give your room a splash of colour and transform your interior design. If you fancy a bit of both, then there is always the option of paintable wallpaper – this provides you with a way to create a painted but textured effect and have the best of both worlds.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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5 handy tips to help renovate a bathroom on a budget

2The bathroom can be one of the most expensive rooms to renovate in a property, but it is also one of the rooms that yield the greatest return on investment. You may consider renovating your bathroom for a number of reasons, maybe you want to sell your home and realise you will get a better price if you renovate your bathroom, or you may want to buy a home but the bathroom is outdated and tired looking.

Renovating your bathroom doesn’t have to cost a fortune, in this article Right Estate Agents will provide you with a number of tips that will help you to renovate your bathroom on a tight budget.

Refurbish bathroom cabinets rather than replace them

If your current bathroom cabinets are damaged or looking tired, sand the wood down and then stain it. Alternatively you could sand the cabinet and repaint it a colour that matches the rest of the bathroom. White is usually the best colour choice for a bathroom cabinet, but if you want to create a quirky look, go ahead and use a bolder colour. Before painting or staining your cabinets, make sure you fix any dents or broken parts. Dents can often be fixed by the simple use of wood putty, which is then painted over.

Use paint rather than wall tiles

If your walls are looking tired and your budget can’t stretch to wall tiles, don’t panic, you can make a huge difference to the appearance of your bathroom by painting the walls. It’s surprising how much a fresh coat of paint transforms a bathroom. If your walls are wallpapered, use a steamer to remove the wallpaper, these aren’t too expensive to buy, or can be rented for a small charge. Before painting the wall, be sure to remove all lumpy and dirty areas by lightly sanding over them and then giving them a quick clean. Painting your walls can turn the most expensive part of a bathroom renovation, into the cheapest.

Compliment your existing bathroom with new accessories

It’s surprising how much of a difference new accessories can make to the look and feel of a bathroom. Replace your curtains, rugs, and shower curtains with fresh alternatives. This doesn’t have to be expensive, you can purchase the accessories separately, make sure they match though. Adding art work or pictures to the walls can make a difference (but be careful not to overdo it). New accessories can give your bathroom a new look even if you don’t replace or refurbish the walls, cabinet or flooring.

Fix your floor tiles or replace them with antislip alternatives

Tired looking, broken or cracked tiles can really affect the look of a bathroom. It is one of the first things that people notice about a bathroom and it says a great deal about the overall maintenance of a home. If your tiles are in a fixable state, fix them and you will be amazed by the difference it makes to your bathroom. If the floor tiles are too damaged to fix, it’s definitely worth replacing them, there are some fantastic flooring tiles available for bathrooms at the moment.

The antislip tile range from Direct Tile Warehouse  is a prime example of how cost effective flooring can be aesthetic yet practical. Moroccan floor tiles are another popular choice of flooring for bathrooms and have become synonymous with contemporary bathroom decor. Tiling a bathroom floor is a complex task and not something that should be rushed, so it’s important to have patience and place extra emphasis on accuracy.

Replace lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures are an integral part of a bathrooms appearance and usability. Old lighting fixtures can really get a bathroom down at times. Consider replacing your tired lighting with new lighting fixtures, this is a quick fix that can make a considerable difference. Replace your light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives, it may not save you a huge amount initially, but in the long run it will be worth it. It’s recommended that you shop for lighting fixtures in person, as bathroom light fixtures can look a lot different in a picture.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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Don’t Forget to De-Clutter!

It’s a term most of us will have become used to these days, but it is incredibly important when you’re selling a house.

We tend to accumulate all manner of things as we go through life, and while we’re staying put in one house that’s just fine. But once you decide to sell your house, all that stuff will get in the way and could easily kill your sale.

 

De-cluttering is a process that helps you to mentally move out of your home, ‘removes’ your ownership of the house and helps turn it back into a ‘blank canvas’ that could easily become someone else’s home.

Without de-cluttering, you’ll only get a good offer from a buyer who likes to live exactly as you do.

We’re all so very different, so what are the chances of someone else wanting their home to look identical to yours? Very slim.

When you’re selling, we believe you should remove about half of your stuff. Apply the 50 per cent rule and get rid of half the items on any surface or shelf, and in any integral storage areas such as fitted wardrobes, under-stairs and airing cupboards, and porches.

Garages, attics and sheds need to store items cleverly so they don’t look over-full and make buyers think you don’t have enough storage space.

Have a box for each of the following destinations:

• Bin or Tip

• Recycling

• Charity Shop or Give Away

• Sell

• Keep but Pack Away

Take one area at a time, bring everything out and try to get about half of the items into one of the above boxes. The things that stay need to be either:

• Absolutely necessary to daily life

• Attractive in a safe, non-quirky way (think Ikea art, not Damien Hirst)

• Beautifully matches the room’s (neutral or safe) colour scheme

Then get rid of the boxes straight away before things creep back in to mess up your tidy rooms. If you find you’re struggling with this, carefully choose a friend or family member to help. Someone who doesn’t live there will have a different view on things, might suggest solutions you wouldn’t have thought of, and could be the much-needed voice of reason when you’ve got frustrated and lost the ability to make decisions.

Top five things you can live without for a while:

1. Seasonal clothes – pack up your summer clothes if you’re selling in winter, and vice versa.

2. Sports gear, hobby or craft supplies – if you’ve got lots of these things, pick a sub-set to keep out and pack away the rest for now.

3. Boxes of old paperwork – they really don’t need to be getting in the way while you’re selling.

4. Old technology – you know, phones, computers, that box of cables you’re keeping ‘just in case’.

5. Most of your CD, DVD and games console collections – free up some of that shelf space to make everything appear larger.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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What makes a house a home?

blogAt Right Estate Agents we all know that a home is so much more than bricks and mortar. It’s a place to raise your family, to experience major life events, and a place to create and share memories.

 

 

Think about how you felt after your first bike ride, or that of your child. You probably returned to your home elated (perhaps a bruised knee or two, but thrilled all the same!) Or after getting promoted at work, you might have gone home and opened the bubbly. Returning from the hospital with your first child, you showed them around their new home.

There’s a whole host of memories that are attached to ‘things’ within a home – whether it’s your first bike, photographs, children’s drawings, souvenirs, a family heirloom – a big part of home security is about protecting these irreplaceable things.

According to a survey commissioned by Confused.com, 74 percent of homeowners said that their most expensive possession is not the most valuable to them. Computers and jewellery topped the list of the most expensive items owned, but almost two-thirds of homeowners said that sentimental items such as photos, letters and drawings their child has done are more precious than their most costly items.

The survey of 2,000 UK homeowners revealed that almost half (41%) of people credited photos as their most precious or sentimental item, with objects inherited from a relative coming second place in the poll (13%).

Letters came out as the most precious belongings of 12% of the homeowners, with jewellery being the most sentimental item for 10%. Interestingly, 7% of people polled said that prize drawings from their child are the most precious item they own.

While these possessions are unlikely to have the financial value to attract would-be thieves, they could get damaged or lost in a burglary. That’s why home security specialist Yale is encouraging homeowners to protect the things that make a house a home.

Think about investing in a burglar alarm, installing a home safe, or changing your locks when you move, as a few simple steps can make a big difference to keeping your home (and the memories it holds) protected.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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Getting your Garden Ready for a Sale or Rental

BlogAs many people will tell you, selling/renting your home is never easy, and it isn’t something that happens overnight. To increase the chance of sale/renting, you need to make sure your home is in the best condition possible.

One area that is very important, and one that many people neglect is the garden. A nice garden can add a lot of value to a home, but a neglected garden can give a bad impression and could put off potential buyer/renters. This can all be changed, and by spending a little time and money you can make your garden a feature of your home, and a selling point.

The Basic

No one likes an overgrown or dirty garden; it gives off the wrong impression, and could affect potential buyers/renters. Most people will want to move into a house where everything is ready, and they don’t have to do too much work.

Make sure the lawn is cut, any bushes are trimmed and paths are brushed and cleaned, a little effort can go a long way. Generally just make it look tidy, don’t have any rubbish or other bits lying around. Although this doesn’t take too much effort it will vastly improve the appeal of the home.

Get Creative

If you have done this but the garden still feels a little bare and empty, try and add something to make the garden look more loved. Maybe even borrow furniture off friends or family to make your garden look nicer.

Garden furniture can be expensive, especially if you have no need, or use for it after. You can save yourself this money, and get the same effect by borrowing furniture. Ask if any friend or family have some garden furniture you can borrow. Then once sold/rented you can give it back.

Adding Value

If you are willing to spend a little bit more time and money, you could even add more value and appeal to your home, and make the garden a feature of the house.

Something you can try on a budget is adding some plants and flowers to the garden. These can be picked up from a garden centre relatively cheaply, and only need to be planted, this it makes a garden feel more loved and homely. If your looking to doing more maintenance work, ask around for any tools you can borrow so you don’t have to buy anything, or potentially rent them. If you’re willing to take it that step further you could add some decking or artificial grass. Artificial grass has gained popularity over the last few years and is a desirable feature, as it is low cost, and maintenance, as well as being perfect for pets and children. Fake grass is relatively inexpensive and can even be fitted yourself.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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How to Spot a Problem Tenant

BlogRight Estate Agents understand that every landlord worries about getting stuck with a tenant who doesn’t pay the rent or doesn’t look after their property, such concerns are only natural, but you can act swiftly to stop a bad problem from getting worse if you know the tell-tale signs to look out for. These are:

 

Late Payments: Alarm bells should start ringing if your tenant is consistently late paying their rent. Don’t panic if their first debit or standing order is a few days overdue or fails to appear at all, as often this can be down to a clerical error at the bank. Speak to the tenant and ask them if there’s a problem and remind them that the rent should always be paid by the due date. However, if you get a couple of late payments in a row, you should ask them directly if they’re having difficulty with the rent and discuss how you can sort this out.

Refusing access: You should include a clause in your tenancy agreement stating that the tenant must grant you reasonable access to carry out routine inspections. You ought to carry out maintenance checks at least once every six months, so if they keep refusing you access to the property it might be that they’ve got something to hide. You should remind them that by refusing to let you inspect the property they’re breaking the terms of their tenancy agreement, which is a reason for eviction.

Constant complaining: If you suspect that tenants are starting to find things to moan about it could be that they’re trying to find excuses to withhold their rent. This most usually happens in the last two months of the tenancy, when tenants become nervous that they might not get back all of their deposit. If you respond promptly to any maintenance issues you’ll take away their ammunition and hopefully give them less to complain about.

Unhappy neighbours: Those who live in close proximity to your rental property can be your eyes and ears when you’re not around. We’re not suggesting you should ask them to spy on your tenants, but you should encourage them to let you know if they’re disturbed by any anti-social behaviour on your property, which might be a sign that they’re not taking care of it.

The silent treatment: If a tenant stops paying their rent and fails to answer your calls, letters or emails, there’s only one way this is going to end and that’s with their eviction. Move fast to start proceedings to avoid rent arrears building up.

If you would like some assistance to find your perfect property/sell or let your property please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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Top tips to sell your home fast

BlogAt Right Estate Agents we all know that selling your home can be a minefield, and it can often take a lot more time than you initially expected.

 

 

To speed up the process we asked some industry experts for their top tips to help you sell your home fast:

Kerb appeal
Potential buyers form an impression within seconds of seeing your property. To make a good impression, it’s important to give your home kerb appeal so paint the front door, tidy the garden and get out the hanging baskets.

De-clutter
Buyers need to picture themselves living in your property and it can be hard to see through walls and walls of family photos so de-clutter and try to make the place as neutral as possible.

Create an atmosphere
It’s a cliché but nice smells like freshly baked bread and flowers on display can make a big difference to making your home stand apart from others.

Animals and viewings don’t mix
Make sure pets are elsewhere and out of the way during viewings and that you have got rid of the cat litter tray.

Listen to your agent
It’s an estate agent’s job to give honest and impartial advice so take this on board when preparing your home for sale and chances are you’ll find a buyer in no time.

Instruct the right agent
Choose the agent that does the most business in that particular location.

Don’t be greedy
Ask a price that will entice interest.

Keep the place looking its best
Obvious? It’s amazing how many people present their properties badly

Instruct a good solicitor
Engage with a good solicitor, even prior to agreeing a sale.

Have all your paperwork to hand
Planning permissions, building regulations, insurance etc.

Price
Market for a competitive to low guide price to create a competitive frenzy to let the property find its own value

Open house
Hold an open house as above to create that frenzy (mini auction)

Utilise all tools at your / agents disposal
Professional photography, audio tours, enhanced internet marketing to stand out from the crowd online and to increase your click through rate.

Keep an eye on the competition by signing up to instant alerts to be the first in the queue when a property hits Rightmove.

Home staging
Stage your house for the viewing day by de–cluttering, opening curtains and switching on lights moving cars off the drive, mowing lawns and tending to the frontage as first impressions count.

Be accommodating at viewings
Be as accommodating as possible with viewings particularly on the open house by going out and leaving your agent to it.

 

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