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Crediton: The Perfect Place To Call Home?

Crediton the perfect place to call home

Today, I want to tell you all about the hidden gem in Devon that we live and work in: Crediton.
This charming market town is a true example of the beauty and tradition of the Devon lifestyle, and I can’t wait to show you why it’s the perfect place to call home!

A Rich and Fascinating History

Let’s start with the town’s history. Crediton has a rich and fascinating history that spans back to the Saxon period. It is said to be the birthplace of Saint Boniface, a missionary credited with converting much of continental Europe to Christianity in the 8th century. The town also has a significant connection to the wool trade, which was an important industry in the region during the Middle Ages. Crediton has a wealth of heritage sites and architecture that are a testament to its rich history. For instance, the town is home to Church of the Holy Cross, a beautiful sandstone building with a history of at least 1100 years, and one of the largest parish churches in Devon.

Surrounded by Rolling Hills and Scenic Countryside

The town’s location is also a major draw. Crediton is nestled on the banks of the River Creedy and is surrounded by rolling hills, countryside and farmland, yet is only 7 miles from the Cathedral City of Exeter. This picturesque location provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life while still being close to all the amenities you need. For those who love fishing, the River Creedy is a popular spot for anglers, so you won’t be short of opportunities to cast a line. For golfers there’s a fantastic 18 hole course at Downes Crediton Golf Club which offers a challenging 18-hole course set in beautiful hills. The course provides a unique and enjoyable golfing experience with its natural beauty, undulating fairways and well-manicured greens.

Outdoor Activities and Adventure Around Crediton

For those who love the outdoors, Crediton and it’s surrounding areas is a paradise. With its close proximity to Dartmoor National Park, there are countless opportunities for hiking, cycling, and exploring the beautiful Devon countryside. The town’s parks and gardens are also perfect for picnics and taking in the sun and the beautiful lakes at Shobrooke Park make for a perfect afternoon stroll. Crediton is a peaceful and friendly community, where you’ll always have plenty to see and do.

A Journey On The Tarka Line

A unique experience in Crediton is taking a ride on the Tarka Line Railway. It’ll take you on a journey through picturesque Devon countryside as far as Barnstaple, taking in beautiful views of rivers and farmland as it goes, stopping at various old stations enroute. It’s a very popular attraction for tourists and locals alike, and it’s a great way to spend a day with the family.

A Town that Values Education: A Range of Facilities to Choose From

Crediton is a town that values education, and provides families with school-aged children a range of facilities to choose from and there are 3 main schools:

Landscore Primary School offers a warm and welcoming environment where students can thrive. With a focus on developing literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking skills, Landscore provides students with a strong foundation for future learning.

Haywards Primary School offers a unique Montessori-based education, with an emphasis on hands-on learning and individualized instruction. The school provides students with a personalised education experience that allows them to learn at their own pace and reach their full potential.

Queen Elizabeth’s School is an academy school with a sixth form with a focus on academic excellence. The school offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities, allowing students to explore their interests and develop new skills.

So, if you’re searching for a town that takes education seriously, Crediton is definitely worth considering.

The Heart of Crediton: Independent Shops, Cafes and Markets

Crediton is a town that truly cherishes its local businesses and community. The heart of the town, its High Street, is a thriving hub of independent shops, cafes, and pubs, making it the perfect place for a relaxed and enjoyable day out. Whether you’re in the mood for browsing unique gifts, grabbing a bite to eat at one of the charming cafes, or simply people watching while sipping a coffee, Crediton has got you covered.

But the community spirit doesn’t stop just in the High Street. The Crediton Town Square is a lively hub of community activity and cultural events. Recently revitalized through the “Share in the Square” project, the town square has come back to life with a range of events, activities, and markets. From farmers’ markets, where you can buy fresh, locally grown produce and handmade crafts, to outdoor concerts, there is always something happening in the square that brings the community together.

A Hub for Active Fun and Fitness

Lords Meadow Leisure Centre offers a range of facilities for those looking to stay active and have fun. With a 25-metre swimming pool, a well-equipped gym, and a variety of fitness classes, there’s something for everyone. The centre also offers sports hall activities such as badminton, basketball, and table tennis, making it a great place for families and groups to enjoy together.

Helmores Estate Agents: A Passion for the Community

Finally, I’d like to give Helmores a quick plug and why not, because for over 320 years we’ve been a cornerstone of the Crediton community. As a family-owned business, we take pride in offering a wide range of properties to buy and rent in and around Crediton. Our team is passionate about the area and dedicated to helping those looking to buy or rent a property in the town. With a wealth of experience and a unique approach to showcasing our properties, including video tours and aerial drone footage, Helmores is the go-to choice for anyone looking to make Crediton their new home.

Crediton Really Is The Perfect Place to Call Home!

So in my opinion, Crediton is the perfect place for those who want to experience the traditional Devon lifestyle. With its rich history, stunning scenery, and friendly community, Crediton has something for everyone. Whether you’re a family looking for a peaceful place to raise your children, or a retiree looking for a place to relax and enjoy your golden years, Crediton really is the perfect place to call home.

I invite your thoughts on Crediton – have you lived here before or considering moving here? Share what you love or draws you to the town, and any unique features that set it apart from other Devon towns. I’d love you to leave your comments below.

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How To Deal With Multiple Offers

In this blog post, I look at how to deal with multiple offers for your home so that you can make the best decision for you and your family. When selling your home, you may find yourself in the enviable position of having multiple offers on the table. While this can be an exciting experience, it can also be rather overwhelming if you don’t know how to handle the situation. A good estate agent will provide invaluable assistance and support, but it’s also important to keep in mind some key considerations as you evaluate each offer:

Decide your priorities

Before engaging in a competitive offer situation, you should decide what is most important to you. For example, are you looking to achieve the best price, the simplest sale transaction, or the quickest completion? Make sure to communicate this clearly to your estate agent as soon as possible. For example, the best price might not be so important to you as someone who could move really quickly, and vice versa. You might want the simplest sale transaction so you might want to avoid anyone in a chain for example.

Best and Final Offers

An effective way of ensuring that all offers are being considered is for your agent to ask prospective buyers to submit their ‘best and final’ bids by a set date and time. This way, you can be certain that each party has had an equal opportunity to present their offer without having to drag out the negotiation process and can sometimes end in a bidding war which no one wants. Your agent should ask for bids in writing (or email) also stating their situation (eg renting, sale agreed etc), financial arrangements (eg cash, mortgage etc) and timescale in which they anticipate completing the sale. If a mortgage is required it’s a good idea for your agent to obtain a copy of the “decision in principle” from the lender which confirms that the buyers are good for the borrowing.

It’s not just about price

While getting the highest offer is usually the most important priority for most sellers, it’s also important to consider other factors that may have an impact on your sale. For instance, does the buyer require a mortgage or are they able to pay in cash? A mortgage will add complexity to the process due to extra time needed for lenders appraisals and approvals, whereas a buyer paying in cash tends to be much simpler. Has the buyer got a chain of sales beneath them? If so there’s an additional “risk” for every link in that chain to have problems.

Is “cash and no chain” still king?

In my view, yes, but only up to a point. In most cases a cash buyer with no related sale is the utopia position for any seller. It’s always worth considering an offer from someone in this position but not if their offers are way off the mark compared to buyers with existing commitments. Also, be aware of the source of cash. Some buyers may tell you they have cash available but this is often confused with them using proceeds from their own property sale. Real cash should be readily accessible in the bank or a form of investment that can easily be converted to cash such as shares or bonds, and this is something that a good estate agent will ask proof for when negotiating on your behalf.

Deal with empathy

When dealing with multiple offers for your home, remember that there will be one person who is delighted you accepted their offer, but the other people won’t be so lucky. Remember to deal with empathy! Your agent should keep in touch with them keeping the door open in case anything goes wrong with your chosen buyer.

Need my help with how to deal with multiple offers and other property related advice?

Check out our Selling a Property Advice video playlist on YouTube, there’s some absolute gold there that could really help you, and it’s all for free, so what’s not to like?!

I hope you found this blog post about how to deal with multiple offers useful. Please do feel free to put any comments in the box below. If you are currently considering a move in Crediton or any town or village in mid Devon please do reach out – you can book online or call me on 01363 777999. I’d love to hear from you!

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What are your big plans this year? Fitness, wealth, travel, something else? Change is always in the air when January arrives.

We’re entering 2023 on the back of quite a ride. Lockdowns, Brexit, empty shelves, four prime ministers, working from home, strikes, inflation, and geopolitical turmoil – it’s all been very real.  

With so much external upheaval, it’s no wonder that interior design is seeking to satisfy a desire to feel more in control, something we can all achieve at home with a strong sense of personal style.

As well as giving your rooms a fresh new look, new decor trends can help you add thousands to your home by reflecting what buyers see in glossy magazines and designer showroom displays.

If you’ve been waiting for life beyond cottagecore, farmhouse, Scandi and neutral tones, we’ve got some good news. This year is set for a return to decadence and bold statements through nostalgic glamour, luxurious finishes and vibrant colours.

So for this week’s blog, we’ve pulled together the latest words from the world of interiors to bring you the home decor trends for 2023.


You might remember from our 2022 design trends blog that home accessories were taking on more organic forms. Well, that shapely trend continues this year with softer edges to sharply square furniture for a more relaxed and sumptuous style.

  • Expect to see evolutions of classic designs to sink into and curl up – if you already own a velvet chesterfield, your work is done!
  • Look out for more oval and circular dining tables on cylinder legs or tulip bases for convivial and conversational mealtimes.
  • Get a quick fix with timeless curved accessories like mushroom lamps, arched mirrors, round rugs and circular cushions.

Quick tip if you’re thinking of moving: check if you can make any planned furniture replacements now. By creating a head-turning and current look for your photos and viewings, you’ll add extra saleability to your home.


The furniture industry didn’t escape supply chain issues last year, and delivery delays saw more people turn to vintage. The result was two new trends that, instead of upcycling and repurposing, celebrate an item’s age, imperfections, and original use. 

  • Meet flawsome design and newstalgia – the art of cleaning, repairing and resurrecting an item to extend the life it was made for.
  • Vintage furniture adds soul, heritage and history to any interior, whether you’re matching the period of your home, or mixing up your styles. 
  • People find joy and comfort in the handmade nature, skilful craftsmanship and solid materials of beautiful things from the past.

A single statement piece like a sideboard, chest of drawers or glass display cabinet gives instant character to a plain wall, and a top designer tip for mixing modern with old is to add just one vintage period to any given room. This helps you achieve a purposeful and striking contrast where your choices shine with a cohesive style.


Sustainable, planet-friendly and feel-good materials are now firmly in our mindsets to reduce the amount of plastic ending up in landfill or the oceans. The big comeback story of 2023 is cork, although not as we know it, while textured ceramics are also set for a revival. 

  • Cork has quietly reinvented itself into a serious alternative to hardwood flooring. Completely sustainable, soft and quiet underfoot, non-slip, and a natural insulator, it also comes in a range of finishes, like the beautiful Camada Corka from The Colour Floor Company in the picture.
  • Hand-made, natural stone and textured tiles bring a stylish and naturalistic look to bathrooms and kitchens – even updating a splashback or a fascia below a breakfast bar can make a whole room feel like new.
  • No need or no desire for renovations, builders and dust? Add accessories like ceramic or cork planters, trivets, table mats and coasters for a warm injection of 2023 style.

As well as being an environmentally conscious choice, introducing natural, durable and sustainable materials into your home creates a sense of longevity for years of enjoyment – it’s also a great selling point for buyers!


You’ve probably heard of Avant Garde, but what about Avant Basic? The trend took social media by storm last year with extravagant images of colourful art, fashion and design. For 2023, it’s making its way into homes.

Top marks if you’re detecting a nod to 1920s glamour, and you’ll see plenty of it this year, including:

  • Marble, for its luxurious, timeless and expensive qualities, from the large expanses of table tops and kitchen counters, to accessories like lamp bases, bowls and vases.
  • Muted metals like gold, brass and polished nickel, plus hot new entrant aluminium for its endless recyclability. Think taps, handles, table legs and picture frames.
  • Maximalist designs on wallpaper, rugs, curtains and textiles with vibrant and busy floral motifs on darker backgrounds for a decadent take on nature.

A dash of opulence can go a long way in any home, particularly if you’re styling yours to sell. Just remember that too much glitz can turn into bling – sometimes less is more.


2022 began with a move away from cooler tones, and 2023 is taking that further. The warm pinks, greens and lilacs of flower-filled meadows are making their mark on home decor, with online searches for colourful living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms up by as much as 200%.

  • Pantone’s 2023 Colour of the Year is Viva Magenta, a vibrant pinky red. Possibly too much for an entire room, but a striking choice for a memorable and photo-friendly chimney breast, alcove, or feature wall.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, Wild Wonder from Dulux is a sandy shade inspired by harvested crops that looks smashing with black metal, white walls and bare wood. 
  • Farrow & Ball’s dynamic colour duo includes the warming Templeton Pink from Winston Churchill’s refurbished former mansion, and the gently green Eddy, inspired by the currents of wild water swimming.

Of course, you don’t need to repaint your rooms to inject some colour; you can use furniture and accessories instead. Try IKEA’s tactile Svartpoppel cushion covers, Whistler dining chairs from John Lewis, or Wayfair’s shaggy gold rug to be instantly on-trend.

Are you feeling inspired?

However ready and confident you are to update your decor, designers often advise evolution over revolution. Introducing one or two elements of a new trend to complement your existing style can create a fresh new feel without feeling faddy or dating too soon.

And if you’re preparing your home to sell, why not get in touch to see what buyers are looking for in Mid Devon? Give us a call on 01363 777 999 or email us at [email protected] – we’re here to help you make the best move.

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“Being a landlord might still pay better than a pension” – that was the arresting headline in The Telegraph that caught our attention recently.

Pensions have certainly been squeezed, with workplace pension pots shrinking and inflation eating into returns. Meanwhile, buy-to-let is regularly portrayed in the press as no longer viable, despite research from Hamptons revealing that the average rental yield of 6% is 50% higher than the 4% of pensions.

So who and what do you listen to if you want to start planning for your future?

There’s no replacement for hearing things straight from the horse’s mouth, so we’ve gathered some thoughts from our landlords on why they choose buy-to-let. We’ve also included some useful facts that don’t always make the headlines so you can see what feels right for you.

This week’s blog doesn’t constitute financial advice, and you should speak to an expert before choosing a pension or investment. But if you’re on the fence about becoming a landlord or whether to expand or offload your lettings portfolio, we hope you find some clarity to start 2023.


It’s no secret that rents are soaring, with rises of 20% and more in some areas last year accompanied by record-high demand. For several reasons, the rental market is unlikely to cool down any time soon because:

  • many landlords who focused on short-term yields have sold up, creating a huge shortage of rental property and massive competition among tenants
  • economic uncertainty and interest rate rises have convinced more buyers to keep renting for longer, fuelling further demand
  • nowhere near enough new housing is being built or planned, and the chances of anything changing significantly in the foreseeable future look pretty slim.

In short, the rental market needs more homes, and the door is wide open for private landlords to fill the gap. And when you provide high-quality accommodation, you can be sure of constant demand while generating the highest possible rent from the best tenants.


We’ve all seen how higher inflation can reduce the value of your savings. If you want to maintain a rewarding and comfortable lifestyle in later life, your money needs to keep working to stay ahead of the cost of living.

Some very basic things to remember about income in retirement include:

  • When your pension reaches its maturity date, it’s decision time again. You could leave it alone if you don’t need it, take a cash lump sum (the first 25% is tax-free), or convert it to other investments like shares or annuities.
  • If you feel the stock market is too risky at that stage of life, you could buy an annuity for a guaranteed annual income if rates are good at the time, although you may get back less than you pay in, depending on how long you live.
  • Rental properties carry on working for you as long as you own them, and you can keep expanding your portfolio during your retirement by refinancing to release tax-free equity and fund the purchase of more properties.

Many landlords view a private pension and buy-to-let as the perfect combination. They see their pension as the pot with its sturdy foundation, and their rental properties as the plant with no limits on how high or how long it can grow.


Long-term planning is essential for future financial freedom, but should that mean waiting until you retire to live the life you want? The debate rages over instant gratification versus long-term planning, but there’s no reason why you can’t have both with a mixed investment strategy.

  • Once you start a pension, your funds are locked away until you are at least 55, and the Government has confirmed plans to raise that age to 57 in 2028. 
  • Pensions start paying out after they mature, while buy-to-let gives you rent from the day your tenant moves in and can free up other income to boost your private pension.
  • You control the direction of your lettings portfolio, while your pension or annuity provider makes all the decisions about managing your funds.

For landlords, part of the attraction of buy-to-let is the direct control it gives them, while also providing a balance between planning for retirement and enjoying life now.


You can hardly move for stories gleefully announcing the collapse of buy-to-let as something that no longer works, so why are so many landlords still successful?

The answer is pretty simple, so let’s take a look beyond the headlines to understand the bigger picture.

  • Press stories rarely mention that buy-to-let income keeps increasing over time – rents have risen by an average of 30% since 2008, turning a 6% yield on a property bought then, into 8% now.
  • Being smart with how you buy and hold rental properties can significantly increase your tax allowances and profit.
  • Buying unmodernised homes and upgrading them to contemporary standards is a proven rinse-and-repeat formula that creates more equity faster to expand your portfolio.

Given all of the above, it’s perfectly possible to build a sustainable buy-to-let business of one or more homes that becomes more profitable over time.


Security is a massive consideration for retirement, and the standout feature of buy-to-let for many landlords is that property is a tangible asset that can’t simply disappear overnight, or ever.

Some of the factors that make rental property a secure investment include:

  • Regardless of economic ups and downs, having a home is everyone’s first priority,
  • While pensions are managed by highly-experienced fund managers, they’re also invested in stocks and shares that follow the often sudden turns of the stock market.
  • Even in periods when property prices stagnate or fall, rents typically rise as buyers become tenants, which increases competition and pushes up yields.

Whatever the sentiment and realities of the economy, rental homes are always in demand, which is probably why the phrase “as safe as houses” exists.

Could buy-to-let be right for your future?

With the turmoil of the last year or so, having all your eggs in one basket probably isn’t the answer when planning for your retirement. 

There are so many options out there, and speaking to an expert is a great first step. So if you’d like to talk about making buy-to-let part of your strategy, call us on 01363 777 999 or email us at [email protected] for a chat about the rental market in Mid Devon and to see if it’s right for you.

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Selling your home? Here’s my tips on how to SKYROCKET offers!

how to sell your home

Selling your home can seem a daunting task. Everyone wants to achieve the highest price possible for their home and rightly so. But in order to do so you need the right pricing strategy. In this blog post, I discuss how to set yourself up for success and have an abundance of offers pouring in. So whether you’re considering a move, or currently on the market without offers, read on!

So we’re going to start off talking about your asking price (or marketing price) when selling your home

Keep in mind that your marketing price is an essential tool for attracting potential buyers.

The myth that you can “always come down but never up” is simply not true. If your marketing price is too high you will deter potential buyers from viewing.

On the flip side, if a property appears good value, everyone is going to want it. You’ll have a ton of viewings, and the likely hood is, most will offer on it. That competition will drive the price up and you’ll be maximising your chances of achieving the best price for your property.

Granted, there will be some low offers, it always happens, but you’re not going to sell for those low offers, so don’t be offended – just move on to the next one. A good estate agent will be skilled in negotiations, and have an insight into local market conditions which will give you a real advantage.

Pricing too high will also justify a buyer buying a correctly priced property in your town

In other words, you’re helping your competition to sell. If buyers keep offering on the correctly price homes and ignoring yours, then It’s likely that after 6 weeks or so your property will start to stagnate on the market. Buyers will be saying “oh, that house is still on the market, there must be something wrong with it”.

It’s a fact of life, no-one wants what no-one else wants and everyone wants what everyone wants.

The only way to attract buyers now is through a price reduction

So you find yourself motivated to sell and you’re going to have to reduce the price, but there’s an issue. A price reduction from say £525,000 to £500,000 won’t be enough. Your house has stagnated on the market and you’ve missed that prime launch period to get competing offers and therefore the best price. You’re probably going to need to reduce your £500,000 house to £480,000 or £490,000 in order to re-invigorate the marketing and make it appear in searches where people wouldn’t have previously seen it.

So what started out as ‘let’s just try a bit higher and see what happens’ could end up costing you £10,000 or £20,000 and a couple of months of wasted time.

But if your marketing price is set too low surely you could end up underselling it?

Well, no. As long as (a) you don’t sell it to the only person who views it and (b) you’re working with an expert estate agent who will give your property every opportunity to achieve its full market potential. It’s really important when selecting an agent to do your research and check online reviews. Look for an independent with a great reputation and that has extensive knowledge of the local market. Don’t forget to find out from friends and family about their experiences too – this can provide valuable insight into which agents are worth choosing.

Setting the right price is just the beginning when selling your home

You also need to be sure your agent is able to show it off in its best light and ignite potential buyers’ emotions. Successful negotiation skills are a must to ensure the highest possible price is achieved. And, don’t forget that even with a seemingly successful deal, many things can still go wrong – so having an experienced agent on your side to help see the process through until completion is absolutely essential.

If you’re having any difficulties selling your home or considering selling soon, feel free to reach out and book a free marketing advice meeting with us here:

Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post – I’d love to hear your feedback from in the comments below on any tips or advice you have when it comes to selling a property too!

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Survived the work Christmas party – tick.

Aced the Christmas shopping – tick.

Overindulged at Christmas dinner – tick.

Now you’ve successfully completed every yuletide tradition, what are your plans for the rest of the year?

If the scrum of the sales and drizzly days aren’t tempting you outside, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the time between Christmas and New Year indoors.

Whether you want to make more space, restyle your rooms, catch up on culture or simply shut off, our blog this week is packed with ideas for fabulous festive fun without ever leaving the house.


After all the excitement of Christmas Day, now is a great time of year to treat your home to a cleansing clearout. Instead of squeezing more into straining cupboards and hoarding things you never use, how about creating the space to savour the things you really love?

  • Picture how you’d like a room to look before doing anything drastic – the goal is to have the home you love, so it’s worth giving it some thought.
  • Take it one drawer or cupboard at a time, and you’ll soon start feeling lighter and freer. Make the task more enjoyable with some uplifting background music.
  • Use Marie Kondo’s mantra to decide what to keep by holding each item close to see if it sparks joy. If not, thank it for its service and say your goodbyes.

Charity shops thrive on relieving you of the things you don’t want, so there’s no need to feel guilty about giving things away.


Whether you’re decorating to sell or simply updating a room or two, why not get inspired by 2023’s interior style trends? We’ll do a full deep-dive in our dedicated January article, but here are some key looks for next year to give you a head start.

  • Curves are in, from organic-shaped furniture to wavy stripes on textiles, ceramics, and wallpaper – just don’t take it too far!
  • Cork and aluminium are two of the most sustainable materials out there, and they’re set to be big in 2023.
  • Embrace flawsome design and newstalgia: restoring, repurposing, and rejoicing in old furniture and accessories in line with kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery.

Nothing beats eBay and Gumtree for sustainability, so if you’re looking to change up your furniture, nab a stylish bargain as people make space for their new acquisitions from the January sales. What’s more, you can do it all from the comfort of the couch.


Pick up any newspaper or magazine this month, and you’re bound to come across a Best Of 2022 list. Keeping up with it all can be a challenge in the course of a working week, but with a longer break, why not discover some of what you missed?

  • When did you last get lost in a good book? Whether you like to curl up with Kindle, listen to audio or turn actual paper pages, Sara Cox’s Between The Covers is full of reading inspiration from celebrity guests.

With some wise picks and commitment to the task, you’ll be the go-to cultural guru when everyone returns to work. More than that, you’ll have the best small talk for the coffee machine or Zoom!


Is there anything you’ve wanted to try for as long as you can remember? We’ve all got something, and our regular weekly routines can relegate personal passions to second place. But can you think of a better time of year to make a fresh start?

  • Maybe art was your thing at school, but it’s since disappeared from your life. Try an online drawing or painting course from Skillshare or Udemy.
  • Ever since Tom Daly was snapped with his needles at the Olympics, crafting at home has become cool. Knit, sew or crochet – start with a cushion cover or scarf and see where it goes!
  • If you dream of being handy around the home and a DIY wiz, you’ll find YouTube tutorials for every odd job you can imagine.
  • Making food and enjoying it with those you love is about as wholesome as it gets, so grab yourself a copy of Delia’s How to Cook to begin your culinary journey.
  • Make a song and dance by joining a local choir, theatre group, or class to nurture your inner performer.

Having a passion adds spice to life and is food for the soul. Whatever you choose, always remember the most important thing: you don’t have to be perfect to enjoy it.


Sometimes, getting back to basics is just what we need, and the festive break can provide some valuable extra time to rediscover the simple things in life

  • Pick up the phone or make a video date with friends and family near and far to catch up on life and share the gossip.
  • Invite your friends for an old-school games night of cards, board games, or, dare we say it, charades!
  • Give your body and brain some love by downloading an app for yoga, fitness, or mindfulness to relax and recharge.

Alternatively, and if you want to be a true revolutionary, instead of filling every moment of the festive break, how about finding the time to do nothing at all? Treat yourself to turning the phone off, having a long lie-in, or daydreaming on the couch – you deserve it!

How are you spending your Christmas at home?

Whatever you’re doing, wherever you are, and whoever you’re with, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas Day and wish you health and happiness for 2023 and beyond.

And if moving is on the cards next year, we’d love to help you on your way. Call us on 01363 777 999 or drop us a line at [email protected] for a friendly chat about your plans

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The big day is less than a week away, and we hope you’ll have the chance to take some well-earned time off. 

As well as the usual overspending, overeating and overindulging, the festive break gives landlords a chance to review their business and think about what comes next. And if you can limit your intake of mulled wine and eggnog, you can do it all with a clear head!

Christmas provides all sorts of opportunities, including:

  • filing your tax return long before the deadline
  • strengthening relationships with your tenants
  • ensuring your rental home survives winter in one piece
  • checking and improving vacant properties
  • planning the future of your portfolio.

As luck would have it, all of these are covered in this week’s blog. So make yourself a cuppa, find a cosy corner where you won’t be disturbed, and let’s dive in.


Everyone knows the self-assessment deadline for filing your tax return is January 31st, but that doesn’t  mean you have to wait until 11pm on the day to start filing your tax return! Instead, use the Christmas holidays to get your paperwork together in a relaxed and organised fashion.

  • If you’re filing your own return online, make sure you have your Government Gateway code (it can take up to 10 days to get one if you’re enrolling for the first time), then sign in to be sure your login details work.
  • Break up the tasks into manageable chunks to avoid getting overwhelmed – an hour a day can soon mount up without intruding on your time off.
  • Gather all your receipts and invoices together before starting the filing process including paper copies, email order confirmations and online statements.
  • Check the Government’s website to ensure you claim all your allowances, as there may be more than you realise.

We go into a lot more detail around allowances to claim, efficient expenditure and easier accounting in our earlier blog on Landlord Tax Tips, so why not take a look?


Christmas is the perfect time of year to get in touch and reconnect, so drop your tenants a quick text or Whatsapp with some friendly seasonal greetings. You could even attach a digital card to avoid the traditional postal delays.

  • Ask in your message if everything’s running smoothly or if something needs attending to, no matter how small.
  • Add that you’ve sent your tenants an email with some winter tips on keeping their home safe and secure in case they’ll be away (more on that in the next section).
  • If you’ve got a great relationship with your tenants and hope to keep them for the longer term, show your appreciation with a bottle of wine or box of chocolates.

Small gestures really do go a long way, and wishing your tenants the best for the Christmas season is an easy win that strengthens your relationship by showing that you care.


Many tenants go away over the festive break, from short visits to family and friends to a proper winter holiday. Regardless of how long they’re gone, your property must stay safe and protected to maintain insurance cover and all-round peace of mind. 

So whether or not you know your tenant’s plans, email them a helpful checklist of things to tick off in case they leave, including:

  • locking up doors, windows, side gates and sheds, and setting the alarm
  • where to turn the water off, and, if your property is prone to frozen pipes over a lengthy cold spell, how to drain down the system
  • emptying the mailbox to avoid the post sticking out for days on end
  • asking a friend or relative to pop round once or twice if your tenant will be away for more than a few days
  • letting you know if they’ll be gone for more than 14 consecutive days in case your insurance providers need to be told.

These might seem obvious, but things can easily get overlooked in the excitement of going away, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry, particularly during the winter months.


If you’re between tenants over the festive season, it’s the perfect time to visit your property, check that all is well, and even give it some love. Once you’ve looked outside for slipped tiles and blocked gutters and drains, it’s time to head on in.

  • Test that everything works, from the boiler, heating and hot water to any appliances, light fittings and locks.
  • Look for leaks from above, mouldy sealant or ceilings around showers and baths, and pools of water under sinks, water tanks and radiators.
  • Pick up a bargain in the January sales to replace outdated appliances – tenants love a shiny new label to peel off after moving in.
  • Brighten up any dowdy decoration – nothing beats freshly painted walls for a feel of an exciting new start.
  • Fit easy draft exclusion measures to windows, letterboxes and under doors, then fill any holes or cracks around window frames, skirting and between floorboards.

Do you want to go deeper in making your rental property irresistible to tenants? Then take a look at our previous blog on styling a rental home without using furniture for many more expert tips.


Is your rental home a magnet for the best tenants in the area, or could it perform better with some well-chosen improvements? Perhaps you’d even like to expand your buy-to-let business?

Whether you’re acquiring a new property or upgrading an existing one, the key to success is optimising the rental income and raising the sales value with a wildly popular home. So look for the following opportunities to reap the full potential of your investments.

  • Install powerful energy-saving measures, from insulating walls, floors and lofts to replacing drafty old windows with modern double glazing.
  • Attract higher-earning tenants by replacing outdated kitchens and bathrooms, or upgrading old carpets to stylish timber floors.
  • Remodel the interior, convert a loft, or add an extension to update the design, increase the number of bedrooms, or appeal to an upscale audience.

When you’re carrying out major work, balancing expenditure with cash flow is essential. So make a plan for what you want to do, then set aside some of the rent each month to build up a fund. You can even complete the work in phases to avoid raiding your savings.

To make improvements now, check if you can release enough equity from your rental home to cover the cost of the work. Alternatively, and the cheapest option if you’re disciplined enough, find a credit card with a 0% interest offer to spread the payments over a couple of years.

Is your rental property ready for Christmas and beyond?

If you’re a landlord in Mid Devon,  we’d love to help you optimise your lettings portfolio for a profitable 2023 and beyond, so call us on 01363 777 999 or email us at [email protected] for a friendly and expert chat.

All that remains is to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year that brings you everything you’re hoping for, and perhaps even more!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, so isn’t it a bit soon to be talking about moving home next summer?

Usually, this time of year is all about office parties, family gatherings and frantic last-minute shopping, but Christmas 2022 is more than just the season to be jolly. It’s also an important date if you’re planning to move home in the summer 2023.

That’s mainly because a conveyancing logjam is delaying many sales by months, causing countless nail-biting moments. 

Rightmove recorded an average time of 150 days this year between accepting an offer and moving out. Let’s say you put your home on the market today and found a buyer within a month; a realistic moving date could already be June.

If you have any kind of deadline, like getting a school place in an oversubscribed catchment area or relocating for work, it’s essential to give yourself enough time to make that happen.

But don’t fret, because Christmas has some unique, once-a-year advantages to finding a buyer. So, whether your home is already on the market or you’re preparing to sell soon, our blog this week is all about using this festive season to secure your summer 2023 move.


The days of the property market shutting down for Christmas are long gone. Now, searching for a home is just as festive as mince pies and mistletoe.

So, if you’ve been gearing up to sell in the new year, here’s why it could be worth bringing forward your plans:

  • Visits to the property portals hitting their annual peak in the week after Christmas Day as people use the festive break to make big life decisions – catch them while they’re hot!
  • Christmas is a once-a-year opportunity to enhance your home with heartwarming seasonal touches (more on that later).
  • You can build in extra time to beat the current conveyancing delays and pave the way to complete your move for the summer.
  • Although mortgage rates have come down from October’s spike, there are further base rate rises on the way, and many buyers want to lock in deals and secure a home now.

It’s also worth mentioning that January is traditionally when lots of homes hit the market, so you can get ahead of those sellers and avoid getting lost in an ocean of competition by making your home available this year.


Visitor numbers to property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla go through the roof on Boxing Day and into the new year, so whether you’re starting selling, switching to a new agent, or simply changing your price, you have the opportunity to reach the year’s biggest audience.

  • Buyer demand on Rightmove over the 2021 Christmas period was up 23% on 2020’s already record-breaking numbers.
  • Launching on Boxing Day doesn’t mean filling your Christmas break with viewings, but it does mean reaching the year’s biggest audience so you can gather enquiries and excitement.
  • If your home is already for sale and your viewings have dried up, you could make a fresh start with a new agent to get a shiny New Listing badge and go back to the top of search results.

If you do want to launch or relaunch your home on Boxing Day, you’ve still got just enough time. Give us a call on 01363 777 999 or email us at [email protected] so we can start getting everything ready.


When done right, Christmas decorations can make your home even more saleable, and the Scandinavians have mastered the art with their pared-down hygge style. So take a leaf out of their book this year to create an irresistible cosiness that highlights your home’s finer features.

  • Consider a smaller tree that has room to breathe so your living room remains as the main event, and stick to white, green, and silver baubles and dressing.
  • Control your Christmas cards. Frame them as a collage on a wall, hang them on the back of a door, or confine them to one surface like the top of a sideboard.
  • Wooden nutcracker soldiers and Danish nisse figures are timeless decorations for a wholesome spirit of the season.
  • Warm white fairy lights look magical wherever you use them – filling glass vases, strung over the fireplace, or brightening dark corners.
  • Minimise overhead decorations as they make rooms look smaller, and ceilings feel lower.

One final thing to remember is that more viewings happen after dark in winter than any other time of year, so take a look at our blog on Evening Viewings to create the perfect atmosphere.


Even if buyers don’t come to view until after the new year, many of them hop in the car over the holidays to look at homes from the outside. So give them something to remember you by with a tasteful touch of seasonal charm.

  • Just in case you’re tempted, say no to gigantic light displays climbing over your roof as they obscure the view of your home.
  • Classic warm-white fairy lights look magical in tree branches, among your plants, or along a wall.
  • Give your front door a festive lift with a glowing porch lamp, a classic Christmas wreath, and a pot or basket of winter blooms.
  • Place Scandinavian-style LED candle sticks inside your front windows.
  • If your front lawn needs a dash of yuletide twinkle, try lightweight LED frame decorations like classic Christmas trees or grazing reindeer from John Lewis.

Now the front of your home looks irresistibly inviting, why not continue the magic into your garden or balcony with our previous Winter Gardens blog?


Local lifestyle is part of every buyer’s decision when choosing a home, so talk to your agent about highlighting your neighbourhood’s atmosphere at this time of year within your property description and photos.

 Think about including:

  • great local pubs with roasts and fireplaces
  • local events like carol concerts, Christmas plays and pantos
  • ice rinks, markets, light trails, and fun fairs.

If you’ve got photos from last year, you could leave out a mini album for your viewers to show just how magical the neighbourhood gets at Christmas.

Do you want to move in time for summer 2023?

If you live in Mid Devon and you’d like to sell your home and move in time for summer, we’d love to help you on your way.

Call us on 01363 777999 or email us at [email protected] for a chat about your plans, and let’s start putting them in place.

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Every landlord needs to follow around 170 different pieces of lettings legislation, so you’re not alone if you’re feeling flummoxed by so many rules and regulations. So, how do you stay on the right side of the lettings laws?

Even though we let and manage rental homes every day, we still need to set aside time to keep track of changes to the law and landlords’ responsibilities to ensure we stay on the right side of the lettings laws. And to make sure we get everything right and done on time, we need watertight systems, reminders and checks.

Does this mean that being a landlord is difficult or unprofitable? No, but it can be time-consuming when there’s so much to know and do. You can also be fined or taken to court if you get things wrong.

Some of the biggest misunderstandings we see among landlords and tenants are also some of the most important. So our blog this week covers what you can, can’t, must and mustn’t do, to keep you on the right side of the law for smooth and successful tenancies.


Contrary to popular belief, you can decline tenants with children or pets. However, they’re often the tenants who stay the longest, which means fewer changeovers, void periods and fees for you.

But that doesn’t mean you should accept just anyone, and there are times when it’s right to refuse politely, including when:

  • a pet is unsuitable due to its size or the amenities of your property (for instance, large dogs aren’t suitable for small homes with no outside space)
  • a tenant’s work or lifestyle arrangements mean their pet(s) being left alone for overly long periods, which could lead to damage to your property or noise disturbance
  • a family is too large for the accommodation (i.e. two parents with two children are clearly not a good fit for a one-bedroom home).

We find that asking the right questions and using our experience and intuition weeds out the best tenants. Then we add clauses to tenancy agreements that cover children and pets to clarify how tenants should return a property, which protects our landlords and gives them peace of mind.


The Tenant Fees Act made landlords responsible for the costs of referencing, credit checks, creating tenancy agreements and preparing inventories. However, there is still some confusion among landlords and tenants over any exceptions and what is mandatory or optional. So let’s clear that up.

  • There’s no legal requirement for references and credit checks, but skimping on them is a false economy. They’re essential to gauge a tenant’s stability and ability to pay the rent, and you’ll need them to qualify for rent guarantee insurance (a sensible precaution right now).
  • Holding deposits up to 1 week’s rent can be held for 15 days. They must be returned as either payment towards the rent or security deposit, or refunded if the tenancy doesn’t proceed (unless the tenant withdraws or gives misleading information, which makes them unsuitable).
  • You can take a security deposit of up to 5 weeks’ rent (6 weeks for rents over £50,000 a year) which you must protect in a tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days, and tell your tenants where. If you don’t, you could be ordered to return it and even repay up to 3 times the original amount. You could also limit your ability to regain possession of your property.
  • You can charge your tenant up to £50 each time (unless you can prove your expenses were higher) for adding a pet or new name to the agreement during the tenancy, but not for any additional referencing and credit checks.
  • You’re also allowed to charge your tenants for lost keys, and to add interest at 3% plus the Bank of England base rate to rent payments over two weeks late.

Crucially, you can only charge any of these costs if you set them out clearly in the tenancy agreement. Penalties for illegally charging tenants start at £5,000 for a first offence, rising to £30,000 and possible criminal prosecution if the offence is repeated within five years.


Inspecting your rental property during a tenancy and keeping on top of maintenance is an essential part of having an excellent relationship with your tenant and keeping your repair costs down. However, there are some rules to remember and boxes to tick.

  • Unless it’s an emergency, you cannot enter your rental property without your tenant’s permission, even if you’ve given 24 hours’ notice.
  • Keep an eye on the expiry dates of safety checks and certificates for electricity, gas, smoke alarms and energy performance – make sure they’re renewed on time to avoid a hefty penalty.
  • You are legally responsible for maintaining the structure of your property, so check for damp, mould, blocked gutters, slipped roof tiles, cracked render, rotting woodwork and tell-tale signs of leaks on ceilings, under sinks and next to boilers and water tanks.

It’s really worth getting all of these right, because the knock-on effects of getting them wrong can be substantial, from deteriorating relations with your tenant, to large repair bills that could have been avoided by spotting problems early on, to legal costs, financial penalties and even prison.


At some point in your life as a landlord, you’ll probably have to deal with missed rent payments or some sort of disagreement. It pains us to say it, but most landlords lose disputes because they didn’t set their tenancies up correctly in the first place, or because they handled things in the wrong way.

Here’s how to do it right.

  • Stay calm. Although the situation may be frustrating, letting your temper get the better of you rarely gets the result you want. And it’s illegal to threaten or harass your tenant.
  • Get onto arrears right away, in a firm but fair manner. If your tenant can’t pay everything back at once but wants to stay, agree a payment plan they can stick to.
  • Make sure you start the tenancy with a professionally prepared and signed inventory with photographs – without one, you’re almost guaranteed to lose any dispute or claim.

A big reason why landlords use managing agents is to keep a degree of separation and perspective in the event of arrears and disputes. Give us a call on 01363 777 999 if you’d like us to manage your rental property for you, or take a look at our article on deposit disputes to find out more about winning them.


Different rules for different parts of the UK affect the way landlords can regain possession of their properties. The law is broadly similar for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not for Scotland, so it’s essential to understand the rules wherever you own rental homes.

There are lengthy government pages covering tenancy law in Scotland and the rest of the UK, but here are some of the main points for regaining possession of your property:

  • Don’t be tempted to change the locks, no matter how difficult or behind with the rent your tenants are. This is a serious offence, and you must go through the correct legal channels.
  • You can service a Section 21 notice in England, Northern Ireland and Wales without giving a reason, subject to at least four months of the tenancy having run, and not before the minimum fixed period ends.
  • If you haven’t protected the tenant’s security deposit, or if the local authority has served notice on you for repairs, you’re not allowed to serve a Section 21 notice.

  • In Scotland, Section 21 notices have been abolished, and you can’t serve notice without reason if your tenants aren’t at fault. However, you can regain possession if you wish to refurbish the property, move in, or sell.

  • Where your tenants are seriously behind with their rent, engaging in anti-social behaviour, or otherwise breaching their agreement, you can serve a Section 8 Notice (known as a Notice to Leave in Scotland), even during the initial fixed term.

On a final note, regardless of whether any eviction bans are in place, going through the courts to regain pattern possession of your property is a lengthy process. The onus is very much on landlords to supply perfect paperwork, and the courts tend to side with tenants when notice is incorrectly served.

Are you on the right side of lettings law?

With so much to know and ever-changing rules, even the most knowledgeable landlords can still make mistakes. So if you’re a landlord in Mid Devon and you want to be sure you’re on the right side of lettings law, why not get in touch?

Give us a call on 01363 777 999 or email us at [email protected] – we’re here to help and to keep your rental homes legal, let and loved.

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If 2022 is anything to go by, 2023 could be the year that selling property off-market hits the mainstream. 

About 10% of property sales in the UK in 2022 have been off-market homes. That’s more than ever before, and for a number of reasons.

Off-market sales began to increase because of the shortage of property for sale over the last year. Estate agents have had to get more creative by putting chains together from the top down, finding homes that weren’t on the market for ever-growing lists of increasingly desperate buyers.

More recently, the ill-fated mini-budget and mixed messages around the property market have led some sellers to test the waters first with an off-market launch.

But, if you don’t tell every buyer that your home is for sale, are you at risk of selling for less than you could? 

A lot depends on the type of property you own and when you need to move. So with that in mind, our blog this week includes all you need to know about selling your home off-market and whether it’s the right move for you.



Historically, off-market selling was exclusively for homes at the very top of the market, or public figures and celebrities who wanted discretion. But there are other reasons why people make their homes available off-market, including: 

  • a preference for neighbours, colleagues or business associates not to know just yet for personal reasons
  • uncertainty over the exact value of a home and trying a test price to gauge response without leaving a digital trail on the property portals
  • owning a home that has a unique design, a prime location, or is unusual for the neighbourhood.

These are all valid reasons, but they only apply to a minority of homes. When most people decide to move, they usually want to get an offer and get going as soon as possible. And if you live in a prime example of homes for sale in Mid Devon, you’re likely to get the best result by making sure that every buyer knows about it.


Your selling price influences your entire move, from your budget for your next home to how much you can spend on upgrades and furniture. Usually, the best way to get the highest price is to reach as many buyers as possible, but there are some homes where a different approach can pay off, because:

  • Exclusivity sells, and some buyers will pay what you want without negotiating to avoid the scrum of the open market.
  • You can use the fear of missing out on a one-time opportunity to bolster your selling price and create a sense of urgency.
  • Even a small selection of hand-picked buyers can result in stiff competition and multiple offers for an exceptional property.

Of course, it’s impossible to know whether another buyer would have come along a week or month later and paid more, but that’s the same for everyone selling a home. What’s important is that your agent gets you a price that stacks up against other local sales, from a buyer who can proceed to your timeframe.


For an estate agent to sell your property off-market, they need access to a pool of ready, willing and able buyers. Otherwise, given that your home will be invisible to the public, you’re unlikely to have much interest. So use the following steps to identify the most suitable agents to call.

  1. Check local sold signs and online listings to see who sells similar homes to yours, as they’re more likely to have suitable buyers.
  1. Contact each agent on your shortlist to see if they’re willing to list your home off-market (not all are) and whether they’ve done it before.
  2. Invite your chosen agents into your home to get their thoughts on price, strategy, how many potential buyers they have registered now and how they can generate more enquiries discreetly.

Bear in mind that one or more of the agents you speak to may feel that selling your home off-market is not the best move for you, and they may have a point. It isn’t right for everyone, so be open to any comments and advice before making your final decision.


The vast majority of buyers search for a home through portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, and many never even contact an estate agent unless they get a property alert. The only way to reach them is to advertise your home. However, there are various other sources of buyers that agents have access to, including: 

  • people who lost out on a property an agent recently sold and are waiting desperately for something similar to come up
  • other local sellers who want to stay in the neighbourhood but haven’t put their homes on the market yet
  • previous customers whose stories we already know and who told us about their love of a particular location or who might need to trade up or downsize soon
  • local business owners, landlords and other contacts built up over time
  • buying agents tasked with finding a dream home for their extra-busy clients.

One thing about being an estate agent is that people talk to us about property all the time, and not just when we’re at work. We often hear about someone’s plans to move very early on, and we lose count of the times we’ve been asked to give them a call if something ever comes up in their dream location.


If you remove all the tools and channels that estate agents use to give you the widest exposure, you’ll be reliant on someone from a smaller group of buyers falling in love with your home.

That’s not to say they won’t, but it’s worth considering what selling on the open market gives you:

  • Property portals are by far the largest source of enquiries for estate agents, with around 90% of buyers starting their searches there.
  • Agents’ websites and social media channels are a handy source of local followers who either know or become buyers.
  • For-sale signs alert neighbours, visitors, and anyone passing by that your home is available, including those waiting for homes to come up in your location, either for themselves or friends.

Ultimately, the way you choose to market your home should give you the best chance of success. If you want or need to move by a specific date, there’s little point in keeping your home a secret.

Could selling your home off-market be right for you? 

Now that you know how selling off-market works, perhaps it’s time for a chat about your plans.

For some friendly and expert advice on the best strategy for selling your home Mid Devon, call us on 01363 777 999 or email us at [email protected] – we’d love to help you get your move underway.