HOME LIFE AT –– A magazine exclusively devoted to proper ty buyers, sel lers, tenants and landlords –– TOP SPOT Why Colchester is the place to be! Spring 2022 Issue 02 FIRST-TIME BUYERS The rush to get on the property ladder SUSTAINABLE LIVING Create a kitchen that’s beautiful AND eco-friendly Spring ACTION into There’s no better time to make your move
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boydens.co.uk 03 Welcome Welcome to Boydens’ magazine, Life at Home! I hope you enjoyed reading our first edition of this new publication from Boydens, and that you will find this issue similarly helpful and informative. Thank you, too, for those who got in touch with feedback on the first edition, which we are grateful for. The change of season from winter to spring has traditionally seen the emergence of the property market from a period of hibernation. Over the last two years especially, we have learned that the property market (like much of life in general right now) is less than predictable, and we have witnessed sustained activity for some time now. Last year was a bumper one for the property market, which saw demand for property at record highs and at the highest level for more than a decade. It is expected that we will continue to see robust demand even in the face of 30-year high inflation, helped by firm home and rental prices in what remains an undersupplied market and with the UK scrapping all pandemic measures. As always, we are ready to help you with all your property needs and so if this spring is the time you are looking to take that next step on your property journey, we are ready to help you, so please don’t hesitate to pick up the telephone or call in to see one of our fantastic teams in our branches. I hope you enjoy reading this edition of ‘Life at Home’. David Boyden Managing Director, Boydens Colchester Branch Aston House, 57-59 Crouch Street, Colchester, CO3 3EY tel: 01206 762244 [email protected] Sudbury Branch 64 North Street, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 1RE tel: 01787 883700 [email protected] Coastal Branch 73 Connaught Avenue, Frinton-On-Sea, Essex, CO13 9PP tel: 01255 851185 [email protected] West Essex Branch 121 High Street, Kelvedon, CO5 9AA tel: 01376 570335 [email protected] Contact Us
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26 boydens.co.uk 05 Life at Home Contents 06 Homes with style Browse our shopping pages for inspiration and ideas for your new home. 11 News Check out what’s going on in the property market and pick up essential advice. 14 A sizzling property market Philip Boyden reviews the housing market and looks ahead to the next quarter. 18 Getting on the ladder UK house sales to first-time buyers reached their highest levels for 19 years in 2021 – what EDITORIAL EDITOR Anna-Marie Casas ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVE Chantell Keston, Debbie Taylor CREATIVE ART DIRECTOR Lee Thomas MARKETING CREATIVE MARKETING MANAGER Dominic Littler PUBLISHING PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Clara Deeks MANAGING DIRECTOR Allistair Hunter OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Tracy Norton-Mead CONTACT Life at Home Magazine, DS Media, 7 Faraday Close, Oakwood Industrial Estate, Clacton-On-Sea, Essex CO15 4TR Advertising Enquiries: 01255 221322 Editorial Enquiries: [email protected] Life at Home Magazine is published by DS Media on behalf of Boydens estate agency. The contents of this magazine must not be reproduced without permission. Life at Home Magazine is available FREE for property buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords registered with Boydens in North Essex and South Su olk. HOME LIFE AT –– A magazine exclusively devoted to proper ty buyers, sel lers, tenants and landlords –– TOP SPOT Why Colchester is the place to be! Spring 2022 Issue 02 FIRST-TIME BUYERS The rush to get on the property ladder SUSTAINABLE LIVING Create a kitchen that’s beautiful AND eco-friendly Spring ACTION into There’s no better time to make your move Boydens 2 Cover.indd 1 20/04/2022 17:23 34 46 Cover image Laura Ashley Spring Summer Collection 2022. Henshaw Desk £795, Henshaw Pair of Dining Chairs £495, Hepworth Made to Measure Blind from £58. lauraashley.com is behind this rise, and will it continue? 22 ‘Overpay your mortgage if you can!’ TV property expert Tayo Oguntonade gives his top tips for investing in bricks and mortar. 26 Being a landlord Landlords discuss how to create positive relationships with tenants and tips for success. 34 Rustic hideaway A tiny village provides the idyllic backdrop for a stunning home renovation. 38 Spring to life! Welcome spring by giving your home a seasonally inspired refresh or harness nature to its fullest. 44 Meet our Colchester team We catch up with our Colchester branch team to find out how they can help you with your sale, purchase, rental or let. 46 All Conquering Colchester Find out what makes this historic town in Essex such a great place to live, work and visit. 52 A clean sweep Tenancy Deposit Progressor Tammy Mitchell examines what you need to do to end a tenancy on good terms. 56 A smooth exit Boydens Head of Sales & Lettings Paul Buck discusses how landlords can avoid the pitfalls of a difficult check-out. 58 A kitchen for a sustainable life Create a kitchen that’s beautiful, functional and will stand the test of time for your new home! 64 Spring moves Planning a move in the warmer months? Check out some expert advice.
boydens.co.uk Shopping 06 HOMES WITH STYLE Art Deco Mirror, Patrick Ireland Frames, POA This beautiful mirror is from Patrick Ireland Frames, an independent, family-owned business in East Sussex that is one of the UK’s leading producers of bespoke, handfinished picture frames and mirrors. POA, handpainted, framed mirrors start from around £200. patrickirelandframes.com UGILT Trolley, JYSK, £129.99 Made from durable steel and oiled FSC® hardwood for outdoor use, Danish homeware brand JYSK’s Trolley UGILT o ers practicality and style in a sleek, scandi design. Ideal as a compact herb garden or for extra storage, it measures W52 x L89 x H75cm. jysk.co.uk Frank Desk in Blue and Natural Pine, Nöa & Nani, £129 Available in four colourways and made with solid pine, the Frank Desk from Nöa & Nani provides a space to study or work while keeping essentials hidden away in the functional drawer. Pair with a striking yellow wall for an eye-catching interior. noaandnani.co.uk Get inspired with our curated selection of beautiful furniture, furnishings and accessories... Florabunda Cushion Collection, Annabel James, £54.95 - £64.95 This luxury cushion range is inspired by Voyage Maison’s signature watercolour look featuring flowers, bees and countryside animals. Each design is drawn and painted in-house in Scotland, printed on locally sourced linen and supplied with duck feather pad. annabeljames.co.uk
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boydens.co.uk 08 Shopping Lara Towel Rail, MHS Radiators, from £360 MHS Radiators has added Lara to its range of designer towel rails, boasting a ladder-style design and available in central heating, electric or dual fuel options. Choose from four on-trend finishes, including Antique Brass and Antique Copper, and a range of sizes. mhsradiators.co.uk Trattino Seaglass Rug, The Rug Seller, from £229 This chic Seaglass in 444804 rug by Harlequin features an abstract, painterly design with a muted multicolour palette offering a spark of style that will last through the ages. Suitable for indoor and outdoor living, and made from 100% polypropylene. therugseller.co.uk Loop Candle Holder in Terracotta, £69 The perfect way to bring the trendy hue of terracotta into your home, this multi-loop candle holder is made of synthetic resin and consists of loops that are twisted together to accommodate four candles. Also available in grey and black. arighibianchi.co.uk Wightwick Tiles, Ca’ Pietra, £71.19 / sqm A visit to Wightwick Manor in the West Midlands revealed original tiles made by William Frend De Morgan, a 19th century potter and designer who rediscovered the lost techniques of reactive metallic tile glazing. These ceramic wall tiles, forming part of the National Trust Tile Collection by Sarsten Stone Group, reflect his beautiful work. capietra.com
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boydens.co.uk 11 News Celebrity designer Linda Barker backs campaign to tackle UK’s 50 million litre paint stash Households across the UK are stockpiling enough paint to coat the Forth Rail Bridge 212 times, posing major sustainability and environmental issues, new research from the Royal Society of Chemistry reveals. Despite spoiling in a matter of months if stored incorrectly, 73% of UK adults have admitted to stashing away pots of unused or partially used decorating paint – 43% of which is more than three years old. But what many may not know is paint contains hidden chemicals called polymers in liquid formulations (PLFs). These are often made from fossil sources and are important ingredients needed to help paint stick to walls. Despite containing huge quantities of these specialist ingredients created using non-renewable resources, nearly all (98%) of the UK’s waste paint is either burnt or sent to landfill. Only just over a quarter (27%) of UK adults said they have recycled paint they no longer need and 67% don’t know if their local recycling facility will allow them to recycle decorating paint. However, 82% of those surveyed said they probably would use a recycling facility if they had confidence leftover paint could be recycled. To help combat this issue, the Royal Society of Chemistry, which has convened a task force to make paint more sustainable, is calling for UK governments to provide better support to local reuse and recycling initiatives, while the companies behind paint brands Dulux, Farrow and Ball, Johnstone’s Paints and Ronseal, are calling for government engagement with the British Coatings Federation’s PaintCare blueprint for a national remanufacturing programme. Professor Tom Welton, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “We have found that most households have tins of paint languishing in cupboards, sheds and garages – and that while consumers want to be able to recycle, they face a postcode lottery, making it unnecessarily difficult to do the right thing. All this paint contains huge quantities of valuable polymers in liquid formulations to help it stick to your walls. It’s unsustainable to waste such a commodity, and we’re risking environmental damage through not reusing and recycling, so we’re urging consumers to write to their MPs to help highlight this issue.” Celebrity decorator and TV presenter Linda Barker added: “Decorating was a fabulous way for us to cope with lockdowns during the pandemic, but a direct result of that is we’ve been left with an awful lot of unused paint – and while there are some organisations who offer recycling, coverage across the UK is sporadic at best. “We all have a responsibility to be more sustainable and there is already a huge trend for making more environmentally friendly choices when buying paint, so we know there is a willingness to do this. We urgently need more facilities and ways for people to be able to recycle and reuse unwanted paint so it doesn’t go bad sitting in a shed – or end up incinerated or in landfill.”
You can always talk to us about the Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax considerations you may need to take into account.
boydens.co.uk 13 News Extensions top list of value boosting property improvements Extensions, loft conversions, new kitchens or bathrooms, real wood flooring, and having a designated work from home (WFH) space have been revealed among the value-adding property features to invest in right now, according to new research. A recent study, conducted by Flooring Superstore (flooringsuperstore.com), analysed live Rightmove listings and collaborated with property experts to unveil which home improvements have the potential to add the most value to a property. According to the industry experts, homeowners should look to invest in improvements that add to overall footprint of property such as creating extensions or home improvements that modernise, improve the general condition of a home, or add interest – such as creating a dedicated work from home space, installing underfloor heating, or restoring original features. Creating a loft conversion or extension was the most likely improvement that significantly adds value. A well-maintained garden, new bathroom, new kitchen, and driveway made up the top five places, all with the potential to add significant value. New windows and doors, restoring original features, open plan living, having a designated WFH space, and underfloor heating made it into the top 10. The average potential percentage increase per home improvement revealed the following: Rank Home Improvement Potential Impact 0n Property Value Estimated Percentage Increase 1 Loft conversions / extension Significantly adds value +17.5% 2 Well-maintained garden Significantly adds value +12.5% =3 New bathroom Significantly adds value +10% =3 New kitchen Significantly adds value +10% =3 Driveways Significantly adds value +10% 6 New windows and doors Adds value +8.8% =7 Restoring original features Adds value +7.5% =7 Open plan living Adds value +7.5% 9 Designated WFH space Adds value +7.25% 10 Underfloor heating Adds value +5% 11 Real wood floors Adds value +4.5% =12 Artificial grass in garden Adds value +3.5% =12 Balcony Adds value +3.5% =12 Real grass in garden Adds value +3.5% =15 Approved planning permission Adds value +2.5% =15 Smart home wiring Adds value +2.5% 17 Bath in bathroom (not just shower) Adds value +2% =18 Working fireplace Neither adds nor damages 0% =18 Outstanding planning permission Neither adds nor damages / Potentially damage value 0% =18 Solar panels Neither adds nor damages / Potentially damage value 0%
boydens.co.uk Property 14 market PROPERTY A busy 2021 in the local property market has continued into the start of 2022 with plenty of activity keeping us busy. Philip Boyden reviews the housing market and looks ahead to the next quarter. I can hardly believe that we are already a quarter of the way through the year, and what a busy year 2022 has been so far for both the sales and lettings markets. The sales market has continued to see consistent growth with increased agreed sale prices in the first quarter. We have also witnessed an increasing number of sales agreed over guide and asking prices. Bearing this in mind, it is still advisable to be realistic with pricing. If a property is released at too high a price, it will sit on the market and lose that ‘new to market’ buzz. At Boydens, we are finding that releasing a property at a realistic lower guide figure is optimal with a higher bracketed ‘aspirational figure’ more often than not resulting in a higher eventual selling price. So, what is driving these continued increased sale figures? I believed (as did many others) that we would witness a slight correction in the market or ‘flat-line’ from the end of the stamp duty holiday last year, but in practice this has simply not been the case. Driven by high levels of demand in our area, the number of ready, willing and able buyers is currently outstripping the housing stock available. I cannot see this changing unless lenders/valuers become cautious on pricing and begin down-valuing agreed sales for mortgage purposes. Where are these buyers coming from? We are seeing a lot of potential purchasers moving up the A12 corridor, mainly from the Romford and East London areas. We are also experiencing a number of parties coming from over from the other side of the Dartford Crossing where, although prices have risen in the area, buyers can get comparatively more for their money here. Out-of-area buyers are less familiar with the local market compared with locals who know the ‘hotspots’ and have historically gravitated towards them. Prices in the most desirable locations from three to five years ago have risen, but perhaps not as quickly as the new ‘up and coming’ locations, which are now very much on the radar of buyers. Many interested parties registered with us are already under offer and in a complete chain, so they are under pressure to find a property. This can then have the impact of creating some urgency to put in a high bid A sizzling
boydens.co.uk 15 Property
Property boydens.co.uk 16 as most have missed out on other properties, having themselves been out-bid by others. In addition, commuters are more receptive to properties located further afield from popular railway stations. Not having to commute five days a week and only having to go into the physical office for only part of the working week has broadened the radius of many property searches, and so brought new locations into the picture. The lettings market is seeing a strikingly similar story with high demand from tenants looking for good quality family homes in this area, but a distinct lack of rentable stock to meet this demand. This includes renters who are looking to up-size from their one or two-bedroom flats as well as clients wishing to move into the area from further down the A12 corridor, and has created upward inflationary pressure on rental values being achieved. Properties are in demand across the board, from onebedroom flats to five-bedroom family homes, with previously less popular locations also now renting out well due to the current supply and demand issues. So, what is causing this lack of stock on the market? “We are finding that releasing a property at a realistic lower guide figure is optimal with a higher bracketed ‘aspirational figure’ more often than not resulting in a higher eventual selling price.” With a large property management portfolio under our control, we have historically seen tenants who may have resided in a flat for, say, two to three years look to move on into a house with some private space. What we are increasingly seeing is that due to the increased rents for all types of properties, tenants are staying put and therefore not freeing up their property to be re-let. In addition to this, a number of landlords have taken advantage of the leap in property values and, also deterred by increased legislation/taxes introduced in the last few years, they have offloaded their investment properties, thus exacerbating a lack of supply. In conclusion, the first three months of the year have continued in the same vein as the end of 2021 with little sign of the market slowing down in this area. With demand showing no signs of waning, the only way I can see a change to this is if the lenders toughen their valuation and lending criteria and so, if you are considering a move, the market is fast moving, but we are ready to guide you every step of the way. Philip Boyden is a Senior Property Consultant, based at Boydens Colchester Branch.
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boydens.co.uk Finances 18 It is always heralded as a sign of a healthy property market if first-time buyers are playing an active role. That was certainly the case in 2021 where, according to Yorkshire Building Society, first-time buyer volumes rose by 35% despite strong price growth. The average price for a first home increased by 9% in the past year – from £199,251 in 2020 to £216,836 in 2021. Despite this, first-time homebuyers in the UK accounted for a record £86.1 billion worth of property market value in 2021, up £27.3 billion from 2020 – according to GetAgent. What was behind the rise? Low borrowing costs and government guarantees for mortgages are likely to have helped many people onto the property ladder during the last year. According to Chris Pargin, of Pargin Financial Solutions, the variety and availability of mortgage products (including the reintroduction of 95% loan to value mortgages) was a key driver in this area. During the pandemic, low deposit mortgages were removed completely from the market with buyers requiring a 25% deposit to be able to move forward. This was just not a realistic prospect for many first-time buyers and so demand dwindled. Thankfully for them, that did not last long, but it did take some time for buyers with a 10% deposit to be able to gain 90% loan to value mortgages again. When the government finally reintroduced 95% loan to value mortgages, many first-time buyers were then in a position with enough savings to be able to reinvigorate their property search. The stamp duty holiday, which ended on 30 September 2021 in England and Northern Ireland, has been credited with helping to fuel a boom in the market. First-time buyers already benefited from stamp duty relief on the first £300,000 of the purchase price, but the additional relief on the value between £300,000 and £500,000 will have led to savings (and reduced borrowing) in many cases, particularly benefiting new buyers in pricier areas such as London and the South-East. Meanwhile, much reduced spending during the national lockdowns meant some would-be first-time buyers were able to save up a larger sum for a deposit far quicker than perhaps they had anticipated. Savings were made on a reduced social life, holidays, commuting and its associated ancillary spending (coffees, sandwiches etc), and some also saved money on rent by moving back home with parents. UK house sales to first-time buyers reached their highest levels for 19 years in 2021 – what is behind this rise, and will it continue? Boydens Marketing & PR Manager Paul Howe explores the issues. ladder GETTING ON THE
boydens.co.uk Finances 20 Is London still calling? Londoners bought more than 112,000 homes outside the capital in 2021, which witnessed the biggest ‘great escape’ from London since 2007 as the coronavirus pandemic drove people to seek more space to comfortably work from home, according to London estate agent Hamptons. The impact of this move has affected the geography of not only the commuter belt, but also smaller towns and cities across southern England and has driven up demand (and prices) in those areas – a phenomenon we at Boydens have experienced. The switch to flexible working has encouraged Londoners to buy homes further outside the capital than in pre-pandemic times – a desire for more open space being a key consideration among those relocating. Buyers leaving the capital are able to get more for their money with a record number of London renters now buying their first home in a more affordable location owing to the rise of flexible working coupled with affordability barriers. First-time buyers from the capital have combined with ‘local’ first-time buyers resulting in a high demand for all types of property across the area from this demographic. With increased demand in the region (and the resultant impact on house prices), this has in some instances meant that first-time buyers have had to compromise with smaller properties or different locations to meet their budget in what remains very much a dynamic and fast-moving sellers’ market. “Londoners bought more than 112,000 homes outside the capital in 2021, which witnessed the biggest ‘great escape’ from London since 2007.” First-time buyer tips for 2022 • Speak to a broker who will be able to look at di erent mortgage options such as 95% loan to value lending and first-time buyer exclusives. Often these can include features like free valuations and cashbacks to help with your purchase. • Consider di erent locations for your initial purchase – you may get more for your money or be able to better match your budget remembering that this is a first time, not necessarily forever, purchase. • You won’t normally need to send your deposit to your solicitor until just before exchange (on average around three months). This can give you another three pay packets to save up for solicitors’ fees and the costs of moving, so it is worth keeping in mind. • Ensure that payslips/bank statements/ID are all registered to the correct address and that you are on the electoral role as this will save a great deal of time further down the line.
Whether buying or selling We can make it happen Our expert residential property team are here to support you Freehold | Leasehold | Investment purchases | Shared ownership purchases Property transfers | Re-mortgages | Landlord and tenant advice | Lease extensions [email protected] 01206 574431 SAVE UP TO ONOUR NEWMENUS AT 30%OFF FOOD THE MILL HOTEL SUDBURY THE GEORGE HOTEL COLCHESTER THE KINGSCLIFF HOLLANDON SEA Bathed in natural light, with sweeping sea views, the restaurant at the Kingscliff makes the most of its coastal credentials. Menus feature seafood with the finest, locally sourced ingredients. Cosy up at the bar when it’s chilly outside, or bask on the landscaped terrace when the sun shines. T: 01255 812343 The George ensures Colchester’s heart is always simmering with regional flavour. Award-winning local suppliers contribute to a vibrant menu with seasonal produce, with perfect pairings to wash them down from the stylish bar serving cocktails or local draught lagers and ales as well as an extensive wine list. T: 01206 57849 Our seasonal dishes are paired with a hand picked list of new and old world wines, while the bar bristles with an enticing selection of local ales from our friends at Nethergate brewery just a short walk from the hotel. Soak up the rustic ambience of the restaurant’s working waterwheel. T: 01787 375544 View our menus online Simply bring this voucher with you and receive 30% off your food bill when you dine with us Monday - Thursdays at a Surya Hotels site until October 2022. Bookings are advisable and you can book your table via our website or call on the number above - excludes Afternoon Tea, max table of 4 people additional T&C apply*
Interview boydens.co.uk 22 MORTGAGE your if you can!’ ‘Overpay We chat with Tayo Oguntonade, property expert, investor and presenter of Channel 4’s BAFTA-winning show, The Great House Giveaway, about his own experiences of getting on the ladder and top tips for investing in bricks and mortar. What first made you interested in the property market? I studied Economics at University, so I was always big on investments and making the money you save work for you. I always knew I wanted to invest in property as it offers a roof over your head as well as a great place to park your savings! Tell us about your first experience of buying a property… I bought my first property around seven years ago now and it was quite an experience at the time. I saved as much as I could and decided I would buy wherever my money would take me. That took me to a town about 30 miles away from home. I had to scrape together every penny so there weren’t any extra funds to do any work, but the house was in a condition that was acceptable to move into. We’ve seen you on Channel 4’s The Great House Giveaway, where two strangers are given a house bought at auction to renovate and make a profit – what are the biggest lessons to be learnt from this? 1. Forgetting to keep an eye on the budget and time. It’s so easy to spend frivolously in a renovation – when you start to run out of time the spending can really spiral out of control. 2. Remember you are not renovating a house you want to live in, you just want to sell it. So, really consider if underfloor heating, gold accents and smart home features are worth it! 3. Finally, sometimes it’s unavoidable, but it’s worth noting a breakdown in communication is almost always going to impact profit.
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Interview boydens.co.uk 24 You’re a fully qualified mortgage adviser – what’s your biggest piece of advice for someone taking out a mortgage? If you have the means, try and make overpayments. Most lenders will allow you to overpay 10 per cent of the total balance, which is plenty. Overpayments will come straight off the capital, which means you will pay less interest and increase your equity quicker. You founded the online platform BrickzWithTipz with your wife, Antoinette – what made you launch it and what sort of advice does it offer? Antoinette and I used to spend hours on end speaking to people on the phone about their property journey and giving tips. In actual fact, BrickzWithTipz existed way before the social media pages, but probably in a more inefficient manner. Social media platforms now allow us to reach so many people at a time and our audience pick up tips on all aspects of property from savings to mortgages to interior design. Which is your favourite style of property interior and why? At any one time, I have a million things running through my mind at once. I love a minimalist interior design style to offset this! I feel like the space and the simplicity puts my mind at ease. Which part of a property (inside or out) gets you most excited when making an investment or starting a renovation project? It has to be the kitchen. I think naturally there is a lot more you can do with a kitchen and there are many different styles. It’s no wonder it can have such a big impact on the price. I think the living room is equally as important because it’s where we all spend time together as a family after a busy day. Which simple home improvements do you think can add most value to a property? There are many simple home improvements you can go for that won’t cost too much either. Common ones are improving lighting in a room, repainting a room, adding a feature wall, adding some plants, adding a mirror or two to make rooms look bigger, and finally my favourite – refreshing your kitchen by adding new cabinet doors, handles or even using a vinyl cover to give it a new look. DO ask the vendor why they are selling DO research the area as it’s one of the only things you won’t be able to change DO ensure you lean on professional advice that you have already paid for. If you have any queries, make sure you ask your mortgage advisor or solicitor DON’T view the house once – always ensure you view twice before buying and preferably at different times of the day DON’T be put off by things that are easily changed (lime green paint and the previous owner’s ugly sofa!) DON’T expect your new home to tick every single box you have. One of the only ways this is possible is to build from scratch. Don’t worry though, you can tick the remaining boxes when you move in and create your dream home! Instagram @brickzwithtipz WHAT ARE YOUR TOP DOS AND DON’TS FOR BUYING OR SELLING A NEW HOME?
Landlords boydens.co.uk 26 landlord BEING A Boydens has a long history within the pr perty market dating back to 1852. During this time, we established ourselves to be a leading agent in terms of service and experience, looking after a large portfolio throughout Essex and Suffolk. We have the pleasure of working with many fantastic landlords who provide quality properties for tenants. Here, some of those landlords share with us their experiences, how to create positive relationships with tenants and tips for success. Sarah Stapleton: ‘A good tenant is worth their weight in gold’ How long have you been a landlord and what made you want to become one? I have been a landlord for over 15 years now and wanted to invest some funds at the time, and so chose to invest in the property market. I was looking for a long-term investment at the time, and the buy-to-let sector provided that. I own an apartment in Colchester, though I don’t live in the town, and so my relationship with my agent is even more important as I am physically not close by. What do you think it takes to be a good landlord? I think it is important to be a responsible landlord and for me that means I rely heavily on my agents (Boydens) to guide me and act on the advice they provide me regarding maintenance issues. This includes responding to recommendations of the Property Management Department, and so my good working relationships with key people (Brian Purvis, Tina Dove and Patricia Field) are essential to me as I know they will guide me as they have done so with annual rent reviews, for example. I think it is also important not to be greedy as a landlord. Consistency is the key and long-term tenancies with trusted tenants provides peace of mind. The other piece of advice I would give is to not become too attached to your property. I don’t love my rental property in the sense that I view it as an investment, so the emotional attachment isn’t a factor. How can tenants ensure a positive relationship with their landlord? For the majority of my tenancies, I have not been particularly familiar with the tenants themselves (I prefer it that way, personally). I do, however, feel that tenants should listen to the advice given once a maintenance issue has been reported in order to avoid unnecessary charges in the case of simple issues such as blocked sinks, for example, which can be dealt with by the tenants themselves.
boydens.co.uk 27 Landlords
Landlords boydens.co.uk 28 “Reliable, long-standing tenants are the most desirable, so use the services of a trusted agent to recommend and filter the best tenants for you.”
What have you learnt most from your time as a landlord? As with any property, location is the key factor – the more favourable location, the better the rental yield. I would advise any fellow landlord to keep on top of the bills – be business-like and keep the property running and maintain standards. I always take the opportunity of a break in tenancy to carry out any redecoration to maintain rentability. Also, listen to your agent who will advise on the current rental values in order to maintain your investment. What advice would you give to someone starting out as a new landlord? Renting a property is a long-term commitment and as long as you truly view your investment this way, you will always make money. In this industry there are no quick returns, but if you are prepared to commit to the investment, it will reward you over time. I am fortunate that little can go wrong with my property, and so I would advise that you consider the type of property you are investing in to begin with as some will be costlier than others. I also think it is important to trust your agent to provide good quality tenants rather than simply place a tenant quickly to minimise void periods. A good tenant is worth their weight in gold, so make sure they are a quality tenant recommended by your trusted agent. Margaret Crowe: ‘An agent like Boydens will save you hassle’ How long have you been a landlord and what made you want to become one? My family background is in the building trade where our family firm was constructing houses in the Colchester and wider area. In the 1980s, the business moved into build to rent, which was not as common a concept as it is today. Ultimately, the building firm took a change of direction and diversified from building the homes to managing those already built, which is what we do today with a portfolio consisting of a mixture of commercial and residential properties. What do you think it takes to be a good landlord? There can be a lot of issues being a landlord and it is noticeably more complex now than when we first began owing to the increased regulations within the sector. That said, there are two principles I have always stuck to – keep your properties up to scratch and ensure you have good quality tenants by working closely with your agent. How can tenants ensure a positive relationship with their landlord? I prefer to keep the tenant/landlord relationship a professional one and so recommend using managed services from your agent as intermediaries to help manage the relationship and maintain harmony. What have you learnt most from your time as a landlord? Reliable, long-standing tenants are the most desirable, so use the services of a trusted agent to recommend and filter the best tenants for you. I would not recommend managing your properties yourself as using an agent (such as Boydens) will save you hassle and make your life easier. If you are in the market for a sizeable investment, I would recommend purchasing a block if possible so that all areas of maintenance are under one area (and, quite literally, one roof). What advice would you give to someone starting out as a new landlord? Weigh up the cost of the property against the rental yield, considering renovation costs. Property management and rental is a long-term investment, so commit to it for the long term and you will see the return. You need to be fully aware of Capital Gains Tax rules and just remember that tenants are your business, so keep them as happy as possible. Gary Cocks: ‘Good communication is key’ How long have you been a landlord and what made you want to become one? I have been a landlord either in the UK or abroad since 1994. The initial reason for the investment was to find a long-term, safe and easily disposable asset, unlike a pension scheme, and one at that time could easily be transferred to siblings or family. My plan was also to use income from rental proceeds and capital appreciation to provide for further investment to grow the portfolio. What do you think it takes to be a good landlord? Having a global overview of your portfolio and a balance of diverse properties is important, as is the maintenance of those properties to a high standard. Responding to legal requirements is vital in terms of repairs and a general comprehension of the condition of each property. boydens.co.uk 29 Landlords
Landlords boydens.co.uk 30 Communication with all parties is extremely important, from managing agents and tenants to contractors and financial professionals. Finally, a good landlord should get to know their tenants. How can tenants ensure a positive relationship with their landlord? Communication is key and it is important that the relationship is seen as one in which landlord and tenant work together, and not against each other, as a form of yin & yang. What have you learnt most from your time as a landlord? As a landlord, every day there is an issue to be resolved. You need to be organised and so you should ensure that you are in control of all your finances, accounts and tax returns. Understanding a broad base of property maintenance terms and requirements so that no one can deceive you is another useful tip. Today and at this present time, and especially in the last five to six years, you have to accept losses and profitability and that capital growth is no longer guaranteed. Finally, I would advise you to choose your managing agents wisely and manage them. What advice would you give to someone starting out as a new landlord? Only buy property for cash as a Sole Trader or LLP and if you are within a Limited company think hard and long before taking on the conditions, all the time considering restrictions and your end game strategy. It is important to fully understand the full requirements to be a landlord, from accounting, mortgages, business plan, maintenance, legislation, and tenants’ rights. It is also wise to anticipate a high degree of involvement whether on one property or 50! Finally, this is a long-term investment and not for the faint-hearted or those not used to dealing in reasonably large quantities of funds as you will need a cash reserve at all times for unforeseen circumstances. John & Gill Nicholson: ‘Maintaining properties well is vital’ How long have you been a landlord and what made you want to become one? We have been landlords for over 20 years now, having bought our first property back in 1995. We wanted to broaden our assets by renovating properties ourselves which would then also give us an income in our retirement. We now own six properties. What do you think it takes to be a good landlord? It is important to maintain a good relationship with the tenant whilst remaining firm but fair when dealing with their requests. Keeping well maintained properties is vital, as is using Boydens’ maintenance team to react quickly and efficiently to any snags raised. As landlords, we like to be proactive, for example, visiting all the properties after the storms in February 2022 and repairing fences where required. All our tenants have our personal contact details and know that they can always contact us in an emergency. How can tenants ensure a positive relationship with their landlords? The prompt reporting of any snags and problems will help avoid further damage to the property, which is essential as issues such as a slow leak can create serious damage over time. Maintaining the garden, cutting grass and shrubs and so keeping up good appearance for other residents is also very important. Finally, keeping Boydens informed of any issues that might affect the tenancy is vital on the part of tenants. What have you learnt most from your time as a landlord? It is best to use Boydens to eliminate any future problems. We have been guided by their excellent Lettings Department, which ensures good vetting and selection of tenants to avoid potential nightmares as we encountered before using Boydens. We also appreciate the importance of keeping the property in the best condition and thoroughly checking and maintaining between lets. What advice would you give to someone starting out as a new landlord? We’d advise to rent through an agent like Boydens and take an active interest to ensure your rentals run smoothly. Also, research the market you are investing in, HMO’s (House in Multiple Occupation) or single tenants for example in order that you are fully up to speed.
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Landlords boydens.co.uk 32 Mrs L: ‘It really pays to have Full Management services’ How long have you been a landlord and what made you want to become one? I have been a landlord for over 15 years. I became a landlord after I married and, rather than sell my own house, I decided to rent it and see how it went being a landlord; I now let three properties. What do you think it takes to be a good landlord? I would advise any landlord to take out Full Management services on the property to remove as much worry as possible. It is also important to keep the property in good condition (both the tenant and the landlord) and to fix things quickly. How can tenants ensure a positive relationship with their landlord? As a landlord, the property is my investment and so tenants respecting that and keeping the property in a good condition will always be seen as a positive. I do view my tenancies and the management of the relationship between landlord and tenant as a business transaction. Working full time, I like to be involved as little as possible and so I rely on Boydens to deal with the tenants in this regard. What have you learnt most from your time as a landlord? There is a misconception of wealth when it comes to landlords. Much of the value realised does not come from the rental, but from the value in the property itself which, for me, is part of my retirement fund. What advice would you give to someone starting out as a new landlord? Unless you are prepared to manage everything to do with the rental, it really pays to have Full Management services or else the rental process will dominate your life. Also, I would recommend new landlords purchase a newer property rather than an old one as, although it doesn’t necessarily follow, the maintenance is likely to be less on a newer property. Flats in older properties tend to have higher management fees. “Unless you are prepared to manage everything to do with the rental, it really pays to have Full Management services.” If you are thinking about becoming a landlord, or extending or moving your portfolio, contact our lettings experts below: Coastal Branch: Matthew Hayward 01255 853911 matthew.hayward @boydens.co.uk Colchester Branch: Brian Purvis 01206 771213 brian.purvis @boydens.co.uk Sudbury Branch: Angela Jeffery 01787 888601 angela.jeffery @boydens.co.uk West Essex Branch: Jules Cain 01376 570335 jules.cain @boydens.co.uk
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boydens.co.uk Real Homes 34 hideaway Rustic A tiny fishing village in Skåne, Sweden provides the idyllic backdrop for the latest home renovation by food stylist Nora Eisermann and photographer Laura Muthesius, whose Our Food Stories blog has a 1 million Instagram following. The project showcases a stunning kitchen featuring unpainted oak cupboards inspired by mid-century English interiors like the traditional gentlemen’s haberdashery.
boydens.co.uk 35 Real Homes
Real Homes boydens.co.uk 36 Fishing boats in the harbour, white sandy beaches, and a proliferation of spring apple blossom... The tiny fishing village in Skåne, Sweden provides the dreamy setting for the latest home makeover by Berlinbased influencers, Nora Eisermann and Laura Muthesius, whose Our Food Stories blog includes Designtales, where they share their passion for interior design. The pair are absolute experts at finding incredible houses in special locations and renovating them with sympathy, love and style. This latest project showcases a stunning kitchen by renowned British furniture maker, deVOL. “The home is literally brimming with original features – some were already there waiting to be loved again, some were sourced especially, you simply cannot tell which is which, a true testament to their impeccable taste and careful choices,” says deVOL’s Creative Director, Helen Parker. The kitchen is the centre of this airy Scandinavian home; ubiquitous whitewashed floorboards and ceilings, an eclectic mix of vintage and mid-century furniture, all brought together with deVOL’s Haberdasher’s cupboards. “The immaculate cupboards are slender and elegant, but have a nostalgic feel that ensures they fit perfectly into a vintage home without feeling too new or contrived,” explains Helen. “The slim glazed panels on the island, drawers and wall cupboard give light, reflection and beautiful vignettes. “The aged copper worktops shimmer with the reflections of the unique and very handsome woodburning stove which gives this room the most incredible warm atmosphere. The marble sink and the palest of pink marble worktops add some luxury and take this rustic home to another level; comfortable, beautifully warm and inviting, but also quite glamorous and chic.” And finally, there’s the Aga. Just imagine a spring weekend here – after a day exploring the beautiful surroundings, kicking back with logs on the fire and sourdough in the oven. Simple perfection. The Haberdasher’s Kitchen by deVOL, prices start from £30,000. Imagery courtesy of Our Food Stories. www.ourfoodstories.com Instagram @_foodstories_ www.devolkitchens.co.uk “The home is literally brimming with original features – some were already there waiting to be loved again.”
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boydens.co.uk Home 38 Main image, MissPrint Jungle Rainforest Wallpaper, £87 per roll (52cm x 10m) missprint.co.uk; right, a botanical bedroom, Instagram @zepelfabrics, courtesy of wethrift.com
boydens.co.uk Home Welcome spring by giving your home a seasonally inspired refresh before you put it up for sale or plan a full makeover that harnesses nature for your new abode once you move in. 39 life! SPRING TO Embrace nature in the bedroom Data analysts have revealed what bedroom interior trends we’ve been adding to our inspiration moodboards ahead of the warmer months. Using Pinterest trends data, online shopping discount platform WeThrift (wethrift.com) has put together a list of the top search increases for bedroom inspiration. Topping the list is botanical-themed bedrooms with a whopping 100 per cent increase in searches, followed by statement headboards, panelling, blue bedrooms, upcycled furniture, shabby chic and neutrals. Nick Drewe, trends specialist at the company, says: “This year, it seems that as spring rolls around we will be looking to reconnect with nature when it comes to bedroom decor. After a cold and dark January, the first signs of spring, from snowdrops to daffodils, can bring us to hope that winter is finally behind us, so it’s easy to see why the botanical theme is the top of everyone’s decor inspiration right now.