Posted on

LANDLORD TAX TIPS: ALLOWANCES TO CLAIM, EFFICIENT EXPENDITURE & EASIER ACCOUNTING

With the annual tax return deadline a couple of months off, what better time to explore preparing in advance to avoid all that late-night uploading on January 31st?

Using the tips in our handy guide, you can make a start right now. Then you can use the Christmas break to collate your receipts, claim all your allowances and submit your return, well before the deadline.

More than that, you’ll find ideas for streamlining your record-keeping for the future, and ways to minimise your tax liabilities through caring for your buy-to-let and having a long-term plan.

In short, all you need to get on top of your tax and feel relaxed, is right here.

BREAK UP THE TASK

Most of us leave our tax returns to the very last minute, which means a slow build-up of anxiety that grows over the year until the deadline looms. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way and there are some tools at your disposal to make the task feel smaller and more manageable.

Envelopes

If you prefer a paper system, but you find the paper overwhelming, here’s a neat trick: get 12 x A5 envelopes and label them from January to December. Drop in your receipts each month, and write on the back what the purchase was for if it isn’t obvious on the front.

Apps

Online banking has come on leaps and bounds, and many banks let you split your account into multiple areas. This means you can tag your buy-to-let expenditure for easy finding when tax time comes. There are even apps for expenses where you can photograph your receipts, link them to payments and turn your paper trail into a digital one.

Accountants

If your portfolio is growing and your tax is getting more complicated, or you simply can’t stand paperwork and forms, employing an accountant can remove the task of doing your return. Just supply them with all your receipts and details of your income, then leave them to it.

Managing agents

With a managing agent, you’ll have no receipts and paperwork at all. As well as organising the maintenance, repairs and legal compliance of your property, they’ll send you a simple statement of your income and expenditure at the end of every tax year.

USE ALL YOUR ALLOWANCES

The best way to minimise your tax bill is to take advantage of every tax-deductible expense.

There are more allowances than many landlords realise, and they mount up to significant savings on your tax bill. Having a good managing agent on your side will help you claim everything you’re entitled to without having to do any research.

Among the allowances available to landlords are:

  • Fees for letting and managing agents
  • Costs for services like gardeners, window cleaners and house cleaners
  • Accountancy fees
  • Buildings and contents insurance
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Gas, water and electricity bills
  • Ground rent and service charges
  • Council Tax when you have no tenant
  • Legal fees including eviction costs
  • Subscriptions to landlord associations
  • Other direct costs of letting and managing your property including phone calls, travel and advertising

Are you making the most of these at your buy-to-let? If you’re not sure about what you can claim for your property, get in touch, and we’ll talk you through.

MAKE TAX-EFFICIENT REPAIRS

Unlike improvements, repairs and maintenance are still fully tax-deductible, which makes looking after your rental property a wise financial move.

Not only can you claim back your costs, but you’ll also protect the value of your investment. Your tenants will love you for looking after them and their home, which means longer tenancies, fewer complaints and minimal void periods.

While you can’t usually claim for improvements, there are exceptions. For example, replacing a broken single-glazed window with a new double-glazed one is considered perfectly acceptable by HMRC, with the bonus of improved energy efficiency. How’s that for two birds with one stone?

If you’d like to talk about profitable repairs and maintenance at your rental property, give us a call on 01363 777 999 or email [email protected].

CONSIDER SETTING UP A COMPANY

If you own (or plan to own) more than one buy-to-let, or you’re already a higher-rate taxpayer, it’s worth exploring whether holding your properties within a company would be right for you as there are certain tax advantages.

First, the rent you receive is not added to your personal income. Instead, it attracts corporation tax which currently stands at 19% (2021-2022) with no upper tiers (unlike Income Tax)

Second, you can claim back all the interest on your mortgage as a business expense – an advantage that grows with your portfolio. 

Setting up a company is easy enough, and can be done in about 15 minutes. But mortgage lending is different with fewer lenders and slightly higher interest rates. It’s not the right option for everyone, so speak to a financial advisor with experience in this field to see what’s best for you.

HAVE A CAPITAL GAINS TAX PLAN

Capital Gains Tax can be a real downer on your business, particularly if you’re a higher-rate taxpayer, with a large chunk coming off your profit when you sell your buy-to-let. 

You can offset some of this with your annual tax-free allowance (£12,300 for 2021-2022) and also if the property was your main home before or after you rented it out, but there is a much better strategy.

If you never sell your buy-to-let, you’ll never pay Capital Gains Tax on it, so it’s our advice to hold your property for the long term. In fact, plan never to sell. 

Look for properties that will give you a lifetime of service, and then look after them. If you’d like to know the best types of property to rent out in Mid Devon, drop us a line at [email protected].

As values increase over time, you can use the capital in your property to continually expand your portfolio, or release funds for enjoying life, with zero Capital Gains Tax liability.

If you do sell, remember that you can deduct the costs of improvements from your profit like extensions, loft conversions and modernising. You can also deduct the stamp duty you paid, as well as the fees of estate agents, surveyors and solicitors.

It’s also worth thinking about timing your sale, as the capital gain will be added to your personal income for that year. So if you’re disposing of other assets like stocks and shares, or if your income is likely to fall (perhaps you’re about to retire) it could be worth holding off until the next tax year to reduce your bill.

Final words

Taking a proactive approach to your tax throughout the year will make the task of completing your return easier. You’ll also have the time and brain space to ensure you claim all the allowances available to landlords.

If you own a buy-to-let property in Mid Devon, why not get in touch to see how we can make your life as a landlord simpler and more profitable? Pick up the phone to 01363 777 999 or drop us a line at [email protected] for a friendly chat and expert advice.

Posted on

Only 1 in 15 Crediton Properties are Bungalows, Despite an Ageing Population. Why?

The bungalow is a building that has represented a more leisurely, gentler way of life since the early 1900’s. Bungalows have been sold as an aspiration for those about to retire, saving them the annoyance of having to climb stairs. With an ageing population, one would think they would be building more bungalows, yet nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, this could be one of the main issues that is holding back many mature homeowners moving home, thus creating a bottleneck in the Crediton property market for the younger families who are being held back and unable to move into the larger homes they so need to grow their families.

So, before I answer that question, let me share this fascinating fact about bungalows. The word ‘bungalow’ originated in India, not the UK. The name is derived from the Hindi word ‘baṅglā’ or the Gujarati word ‘baṅglo’, both of which seem to refer to a home occupied by a Bengali person. The colonial English started to use it for themselves in the late 1600s to describe the same sort of basic lodgings that sailors and staff of the invading East India Company used.

Anyway, back to the here and now in Crediton.

There are 239 Bungalows in Crediton. When you consider there are 3,489 properties in Crediton, that means only 6.86% of property in Crediton are bungalows.

To give you an idea of the age demographic of Crediton homeowners, there are 1,248 Crediton homeowners aged 65 years old (and over) and 1,225 Crediton homeowners aged between 50 and 64 years of age.

You can see demand for bungalows is only expected to grow.  Yet new homes builders are having to deal with soaring land prices meaning to get a profit from the site, they are under pressure to build more vertically than horizontally as with bungalows (as bungalows take up so much more land).

The last available data is from 2018 and only 1.6% new builds in the UK were bungalows, interesting when it was just over 7% in the middle of the 1990s. As British people are living longer, those existing Crediton bungalow homeowners will be living in them longer, thus creating even more of a bottleneck in the Crediton property market.

So, what is the answer?

Well with building land in Crediton at a shortage, maybe new homes builders should be forced under planning rules to reserve ground floor apartments to be set aside for older people to encourage them to move out of larger houses. I would challenge the long-held point of view that building more bungalows in Crediton is the pre-eminent way to urge growing numbers of mature ‘last-time buyers’ to move out of their under-occupied Crediton homes and free up their large homes (where their children have flown the nest) for younger Crediton families to grow.

With the new Planning Regulations due to be in place in a couple of years, local authorities could require builders to set aside a share of homes for mature residents, as they are already obligated to subsidise local community facilities or low-cost social housing in return for obtaining their planning permission to build in the first place.

Another option would be to convert all those empty shops in our town and city centres up and down the country into residential use. There is no need for planning permission to change offices to residential property and the Government are considering the same for shops (although I have heard of some horror stories of those office to residential developments making rabbit hutches look spacious) – so again, it comes down to the planning laws and making them fit for purpose.

There are no doubt consequences of not designing our housing stock for the 21st Century and beyond for older people.

The population of Crediton is set to grow by 1,463 to 9,162 by 2040.

As the UK population gets older in the coming decades, as life expectancy is set to grow from 81 years 2 months to 83 years 3 months by 2040, I fully appreciate the need for more Crediton homes to be built for families, yet one must ask if the planning authorities are focusing too much on new housing for the younger generation, when they in fact should be encouraging new homes builders to develop larger, ground floor two-bedroom homes and decent accessible transport links.

These are my thoughts, what are yours the good people of Crediton?

Posted on

PRETTY VACANT: HOW TO STYLE YOUR BUY-TO-LET WITHOUT USING FURNITURE

Empty rooms can look a bit sad, and there are plenty of uninviting photographs out there of vacant buy-to-lets. It’s a constant challenge for landlords and letting agents when the demand from tenants is for unfurnished property, but when homes never look their best when they’re empty.

With no comfy couches or well-dressed beds to draw someone’s attention, your property needs to work harder to secure the best tenant and the highest rent. The good news is that with surprisingly little time and expense, you can turn empty rooms into welcoming spaces without buying any furniture. 

By giving your buy-to-let a few clever styling touches, you can improve its visibility, increase its popularity and maximise its income and performance. More than that, by reducing the potential for wear and tear and keeping your tenants for longer, you’ll minimise changeovers, void periods and tedious admin.

Whether you’re in the middle of a purchase, halfway through renovating or simply between tenancies, follow our tips to give your empty buy-to-let all it needs to stand head and shoulders above the competition.

If you’re a landlord with a rental property in Mid Devon, we’re here to help you get it looking the part. Call for a chat on 01363 777 999 or send us a message at [email protected] for some expert input.

LIGHTBULB MOMENTS

As well as leaving everyone looking positively ill, cold lighting makes rooms look about as luxurious as a hospital corridor, but it’s incredibly cheap to put right.

Early energy-saving spiral bulbs are prime culprits with their blue-tinged fluorescent glare, but newer LEDs with a high CRI score (Colour Rendering Index) emit a natural-looking light as if coming from the sun. The bulbs are readily available at IKEA, Amazon and DIY stores, and they make a massive difference to a potential tenant’s viewing experience.

You could even go one step further in living rooms or bedrooms with vintage-looking bulbs where the yellow filaments cast a cosy, soft and flattering glow.

In the mood for an easy luxury upgrade? Because of their height at waist or shoulder level, light switches are an unmissable feature on walls: replacing standard white plastic casings with brushed steel designer faceplates is an easy job with a sleek and stylish impact. 

GET A HANDLE ON THINGS

Whenever someone opens a door or a cupboard, the handle is a tactile and visual reminder of sophisticated accessorising or, as the case may be, not.

Having cheap-looking and feeling door handles detracts from any home’s appearance, but it’s easy to turn a negative impression into a positive one. In older homes, lovely Victorian beehive or porcelain knobs make great close-up shots and talking points on viewings, while modern brushed steel handles deal a welcome blow to brass-effect offenders from the 80s and 90s.

Kitchen cupboards also get an instant lift with new hardware, and you’ll find a whole world of knobs, bar handles and flush-mounted pulls in every style and finish that will easily cover any previous holes and look super-smart into the bargain. 

Bonus points for metal hooks, not just for coats and scarves in the hall, but for towels and robes in the bathroom and mops and brooms in the kitchen. They look a whole lot better and last a whole lot longer than plastic stick-ons, and there’ll be no more ugly ovals of gluey residue on your doors or tiles!

TREAT YOUR WINDOWS

One of the most effective ways to enhance an empty room is to style the windows.

As well as looking great in photos and on viewings, wooden Venetian blinds are available in models to suit every price range and are popular among tenants. Choose a light to medium oak finish to flatter any interior style and decoration. 

Whether it’s sunlight filtering through the open slats and casting cinematic shadows, or the warmth of natural timber when they’re closed at night, wooden blinds look great in both modern and traditional homes. And because they work in every room, from living spaces and bedrooms to kitchens and bathrooms, they provide a stylish continuity that suggests a professional landlord who knows what’s important to tenants.

Blinds are also a smart purchase. By having permanent window treatments, you’ll remove the need for every subsequent tenant to drill new holes for their blinds or curtain poles, meaning your walls and woodwork will take less of a beating. 

FIND A PLACE TO SHINE

Reflective surfaces increase natural light levels and help rooms to feel larger, cleaner and more luxurious.

When taps and showerheads lose their sparkle, they drag everything down with them, making bathrooms and kitchens look dowdy, even when the other fittings are perfectly fine. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of good old elbow grease with some vinegar and water; otherwise, find good-quality replacements and watch their gleaming metal catch the light and elevate the surroundings, causing your viewers to cry out: “Ooh, nice taps!”

Staying in the bathroom, a mirrored stainless-steel cabinet above the basin is both practical and stylish. Available everywhere from Argos and Amazon to specialist suppliers, they combine somewhere to get ready for the world with valuable storage space for hiding lotions and potions. It also means your tenants won’t have to drill into your tiles, making their lives more enjoyable while removing the potential for damage.

Mirrors can also improve natural light levels and brighten areas that struggle, particularly internal hallways and landings. More than that, they add to the sense of space and flow, giving tantalising glimpses of what’s to come.


HIT THE RIGHT TONE

There’s no hiding tired, scuffed paintwork or dreary colours when we’re out showing potential tenants around empty homes.

Fresh paint makes a home feel like new. But more than that, it makes rooms feel more expensive, more loved and more inviting.

Welcoming and bright are the qualities to aim for so that whatever the personal tastes and furniture style of your tenants, your walls will make the perfect backdrop.

Warm whites go with anything without the starkness of pure brilliant white, and you can ramp up the glamour with an accent wall in a soft neutral like Nordic grey. Favourites among interior designers are chimney breasts, alcoves, and, for a dash of hotel chic, walls behind beds.

Final words

It doesn’t take much to transform an empty home into a stylish and inviting future place to live. By using our tips, you’ll stand out from the crowd, attract the best tenants and keep them for longer, meaning fewer vacant days and an increased yield.

For some expert advice on getting your buy-to-let property looking just right, why not get in touch? We help landlords every day in Mid Devon to increase the popularity and performance of their rental portfolio, and we’d love to help you too. Call us on 01363 777 999 or drop us a line at [email protected] today.

Posted on

DEPOSIT DISPUTES: WHY DO SO MANY LANDLORDS LOSE?

Ending up in a dispute at the end of a tenancy is one of the least inviting prospects of being a landlord, and thankfully most tenancies end perfectly amicably. But when they do end in disagreement, many landlords manage to lose their claim, leading them to feel that the system is weighted against them.

The most important thing in a deposit dispute is for the outcome to reflect the reality, whether the fault is on the landlord or tenant side. The courts and arbitration services are not there to automatically find in favour of the tenant, but it is the landlord’s responsibility to prove a claim is valid and realistic.

So, in this week’s article, we’re taking a look at why landlords – and particularly self-managing ones – lose so many disputes: from whether their claims are fair in the first place, to how they can improve the way they create and run their tenancies.

If you own a rental property in Mid Devon and you’ve either lost a dispute, or you’d like to chat about minimising the chances of them happening, we’d love to talk to you. Call us for a chat on 01363 777 999 or email us at [email protected].

Meanwhile let’s see where things go wrong for landlords, how the outcomes can be different, and how many situations can be avoided altogether.

SETUP & ADMIN

Whenever a property requires a knack for things to go right, you can guarantee it will come back as bad news.

One culprit here is condensation and mould. If your bathroom or kitchen are susceptible to either, the most effective option is to install an extractor fan with a humidity sensor that automatically activates. One small job removes all the possible consequences, costs and kerfuffle. Otherwise, you’ll need to highlight the potential for mould and condensation in your tenancy agreement, and get your tenants to accept any future costs that arise from forgetting to open a window. Terms like that could lead to someone questioning whether your property is somewhere they want to live.

Another example of poor setup can be when renting to people with pets, which is usually problem-free but does require written agreement over any costs that may arise. If the responsibilities for these aren’t stipulated at the outset – from damages to smells to infestations – your claim is at risk if the tenancy agreement is unclear. You’ll find that most tenants are quite happy to sign a clause accepting responsibility for any costs arising from their pets, or any visiting ones.

FITTINGS & REPAIRS

There are plenty of landlord groups on social media where you’ll see posts that celebrate how cheaply someone has managed to renovate one of their rental properties. Often they find good-looking but ultimately poor-quality fittings that are not likely to last, and where a later visit from a contractor sends the price above the cost of buying something better in the first place.

Cheap taps or laminate floors in wet areas are a couple of quick tricks to making a kitchen or bathroom shine on the surface, but your property must be durable as well. It’s tough to prove a tenant is at fault when the fittings and materials in a property simply aren’t up to the job.

The same goes for repairs: if you respond quickly and attend to repairs, you’ll show respect for your investment, your tenants, and your time. By making your property a low-maintenance home, you’ll have longer, happier tenancies and fewer repairs and disputes.

BREAKING THE RULES

Every now and then, a property gets handed back in a condition where lots of work is needed to put things right.

You may feel rightly frustrated, disappointed or let down, but it’s essential to keep a cool head. Whatever you do, and no matter how tempting, don’t hold onto the security deposit in a way that ignores legal procedures, or you risk invalidating your claim.

Your best course of action is to obtain quotes as quickly as possible for all the works and costs, then submit them to the previous tenants along with any reports or photographic evidence, and with clear and comprehensive details about why they are responsible. You don’t need to wait until you’ve settled your dispute to carry out any repairs, so your next tenancy needn’t be delayed beyond the completion of the works.

Of course, it’s a hassle, and you may not even want to speak to the people who’ve left your property in such a state (one of the benefits of having a managing agent to deal with it on your behalf!). Still, clear communication without resorting to angry recriminations is the most likely route to a swifter settlement.

CLEANING CONFLICTS

The largest area of dispute between landlords and tenants is cleaning, accounting for around 25% of all claims.

In a way, it’s comforting. Cleaning is not about breakages, repairs or arguments over wear & tear, so it’s effectively a small dispute. Regardless of who wins, it’s straightforward enough to get a property cleaned, but what a waste of everyone’s time for such a mundane thing!

Of course, it can be more than a trivial issue if your incoming tenants have to move into an unclean home. It’s not a great start to a tenancy, and a professional clean is more difficult to obtain while there are boxes everywhere and your tenants unpack.

Generally speaking, a dispute over cleaning comes up when one side skimps. Suppose you don’t hand your property over in a professionally-cleaned state, and you don’t employ an inventory clerk to take photographic evidence. In that case, any claim will be difficult to win at the end. The same goes for outgoing tenants: if they sign off on the cleaning when moving in, but can’t produce a receipt for a professional clean when they leave, they are unlikely to win a dispute.

UNFAIR CLAIMS

Unfortunately, some landlords do attempt unjustified or exaggerated claims against their tenants.

If you don’t regularly inspect your property, there could be a few years between your visits, during which time signs of wear and tear will develop. Scuffs on walls, woodwork and floors are a part of life; ovens don’t stay looking like new; neither does grouting or sealant – not even in the homes of landlords!

Areas like these are more noticeable when a property is empty than when it’s lived in, and they’ll also look far worse to you if it’s been four years since your last visit.

Regular inspections are invaluable and, for us, they’re a normal part of the day. Anything that might have gone unnoticed in the everyday distractions of life tends to get picked up before it becomes a major problem and a cause for a dispute.

In summary

As a landlord, there’s a lot you need to get right: not just to minimise the opportunity for disputes, but to ensure you don’t automatically lose them. The many laws that cover lettings are there to help you run your tenancies effectively, and well-maintained properties tend to attract higher-quality tenants, most of whom will love their home and treat it as if they owned it.

As a self-managing landlord, it can sometimes feel like an awful lot to stay on top of, so you might want to explore having your rental investments looked after by people who do it every day. If you have a property in Mid Devon and you’d like to discover whether using a managing agent is the right decision for you, why not get in touch? Call us for a chat on 01363 777 999 or email us at [email protected]– we’re here to make your life as a landlord as easy as can be.

Posted on

What NOT to Include in your Property Photos

When selling or letting a property, I cannot overstate the importance of getting the imagery right. As most buyers and renters spend hours scrolling through property portals before arranging viewings, first impressions are absolutely crucial!

So why then do so many people (and agents) get it SO wrong? Such is the volume of bad estate agency photos out there, that there are entire websites dedicated to mocking dodgy property pics (check out Terrible Estate Agency Photos).

I am yet to meet any estate agent who is also a fully qualified professional photographer, so be ready to do battle if they arrive at your door armed with a camera! And, be prepared to send them on their way if they don’t
agree to send out a professional photographer instead!

There are many elements that go into making great property photography – the weather, the skill and experience of the photographer, and the features of the house itself. They all go into making or breaking the shoot.

Aside from the photographer, there’s things YOU can do too, to avoid becoming an object of ridicule! Here is a list of what NOT to include in your marketing photos:

Grandpa, grandma or any other family member. Property photos that include people always look a bit creepy. It’s never okay, even if the person is sitting in the background or giving a friendly wave.

Boarded up windows and doors. If windows and doors are badly damaged or boarded up, replace them – or at the very least don’t photograph them.

Doll collections. Whenever we see lots of dolls in a room (and yes, I have seen this in property photos) I immediately think of Chucky from Child’s Play (he still gives me nightmares lol). Dolls, along with mannequins and skeletons, belong on horror film sets only.

Bathrooms covered in mould. Always give your home a good scrub before it goes on the market. People don’t want to view a property that comes with a health warning.

Outdoor items left indoors. Lawn mowers, quad bikes and trampolines all belong outside. If for some reason you keep them inside, understand that this is not normal. Remove them from the premises before taking marketing photographs.

Animals. All creatures great and small should be left out of property photos. They only serve as a distraction and make people wonder if the house smells.

Badly photoshopped images. Don’t be tempted to digitally add a dining table or a sofa to a photo of an unfurnished room. It never looks convincing; the furniture always looks like it is levitating ever so slightly off the floor. Other no-nos include adding sunsets or wildlife to images of the back garden.

Mirror images. When taking pictures of a room that has a mirror, a photographer can inadvertently capture their own reflection. This is too Alfred Hitchcock for our liking. Photographers should always position themselves carefully to avoid making a cameo appearance in the photo.

Intimate portraits of your lover/husband/wife. So, you’ve been to life drawing classes and are rather proud of that racy charcoal sketch you did of your beloved. We love your creativity but please keep such personal items out of sight.

Broken furniture piled high. People will be put off by the thought of having to fork out for a skip (or two) to remove your junk.

These are the most extreme examples of property photo fails, but the principle stands for all property marketing imagery. Make sure every room is clutter-free and clean and plan the shots.

So, ALWAYS get a professional to take the photographs for you. They’ll understand how to make the best use of light and to make rooms look spacious and airy.

There are lots of things you can do to increase the chances of achieving the best images of your house not only do it justice, but also as importantly to indicate the kind of lifestyle to which a buyer can aspire.

And, yes – I absolutely practice what I preach – at Helmores we ALWAYS use a professional photographer to get the best images.

Posted on

How not to lose £20,000 of the value of your home

On the 8th of July 2020, the Chancellor announced the first £500,000 of any property bought was exempt from Stamp Duty until 31st March 2021. This also included buy to let landlords (although they would still need to pay the additional 3% stamp duty level for second properties). Talking to many of you Crediton homeowners, I know lots of you are bringing forward your home moving plans to take advantage of this tax cut. Also, many Crediton portfolio landlords are looking to save paying the tax by bringing their portfolio purchases forward.  Yet how do you ensure you sell and buy your Crediton property whilst the tax cut applies (a saving of up to £15,000 of stamp duty on your next Crediton home?).

The biggest issue whenever you are selling your Crediton property is the properties that you are in competition with. Plenty of Crediton homeowners have jumped onto the stamp duty holiday bandwagon since the announcement and there are 93% more properties for sale in Crediton than there were during lockdown. The number of properties for sale in Crediton can split down into type…

  • Detached Crediton homes up 67%
  • Semi-detached Crediton homes up 180%
  • Terraced / Town houses Crediton homes up 114%
  • Apartments in Crediton up 50%

So, now you know what you are up against, what do you need to know?

The most important factor is the time issue. It currently takes on average 17 to 19 weeks between a sale price being agreed and the keys being handed over, meaning you need to have found a buyer before the end of November or early December to enable you to complete the sale by the 31st March 2021. That means you really need to have placed your property on the market by the end of September and early/mid-October at the very latest to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday. Don’t get me wrong though, you could put your Crediton property on the market after that date, yet the price you will be able to achieve for your property could be affected.

There are 157 properties on the market in Crediton, of which 81 have sales agreed on them

Talking of price, or more specifically the asking price. There is a window of opportunity for Crediton homeowners to take advantage of this stamp duty tax cut, yet don’t let local estate agents curry favour with you by tempting you with a high initial asking price to win the right to put their for sale board outside your Crediton home.

A Which report stated in 2017 that many estate agents routinely over inflated the asking prices of the properties they brought to market. One might ask why this is an issue for Crediton property sellers, as surely, they can just reduce their asking price at a later date? The excellent report proved that those estate agents who on the face of it appear to be doing you some kindness by endeavouring to get more for your home with a suggested higher asking price, the property often ended up selling for much less than similar properties that were realistically priced properties from day one and also, they ultimately took longer to sell!

This Which report compared the original asking price with final selling prices for 370,000 properties to ascertain how many estate agents had reduced the initial asking price of properties in order to sell them. Which found that 70,300 (19%) of all 370,000 properties sold had to be reduced by at least 5% in order to get the property sold, whilst the other 81% (299,700) had no or very minimal reductions to get them sold.

Of the 299,700 sold properties that weren’t reduced or reduced by less than 5%, the average initial asking price was £261,000, yet they eventually sold for an average sale price of £260,000. For those 70,300 homes whose asking prices were reduced by over 5%, whilst the average listing price was £266,000, their eventual sale price was only £241,000, a loss of £20,000 each. Even worse, those properties with the heavy price reductions (5% or more) took an average of nine weeks and one day longer to sell (when compared to the other properties with no or minimal reductions).

What that means is by over inflating your initial asking price of your Crediton home, it will cost those Crediton homeowners an extra nine weeks to find a buyer and they will lose out on the final sale price by some considerable margin (meaning you will also probably lose out on the stamp duty holiday).

Assuming your asking is price is realistic, you aren’t out of the woods yet. Other things that will help you get the best price for your Crediton home in the best possible time (and thus save you money with the stamp duty holiday) are…

  • Everyone searches on the portals for their next home. Photos are therefore very important (a picture speaks a thousand words). If the weather isn’t good on the day of the photoshoot, ask the agent to revisit when the sun is out (and even tell them to hold off marketing the property until those pictures are perfect) … as you only get one go at being ‘new to the market’, with all the excitement and interest that causes.
  • Employ the services of a solicitor at the same time as instructing the estate agent. Bringing together the legal paperwork of the property you are selling. By doing so, you will save weeks between the sale agreed and completion. Also, solicitors will be really busy, juggling many property transactions at the same time in the next 200+ days. Anything you can do to get a head start on others can only help your cause.
  • Kerb side appeal. Look at your property from across the road. Does the front door need painting? Could a tonne of gravel spruce up your driveway? Maybe adding some hanging baskets and planted pots will help to make a home stand out for the best reasons?

The final piece of advice I can give you is if you are planning to sell your Crediton home, make sure your Crediton estate agent can show you proof of similar Crediton properties and what they actually sold for to back up their suggested asking price. If the asking price isn’t realistic, the chances are you end up losing many thousands of pounds and wasting everyone’s time.

If you would like to chat about selling your Crediton home, please do not hesitate to pick up the telephone – it all starts with a conversation 🙂