Family Offset Mortgages: Are They A Good Way To Help My Kids Get On The Property Ladder?

Many parents in Gloucestershire are keen to help their children get onto the property ladder, but if they don’t have a large lump sum available to hand over, they often believe that there’s nothing they can do to assist.

However, that isn’t actually the case. At TG Sales & Lettings, we often advise clients who are searching for property solutions for their kids, and one of the options we recommend is a family offset mortgage.

Family Offset Mortgages – What Are They?

A family offset mortgage is one of the types of offset mortgage on the market today. All kinds of offset mortgage work by offsetting savings against the home loan to reduce its total amount and, thus, reducing how much interest is paid overall.

There are three key points to note when it comes to family offset mortgages:

  • The total capital repayments stay the same, but the amount that interest is charged on, will reduce.
  • The linked accounts won’t earn interest.
  • A family offset mortgage may not have as competitive an interest rate as a standard mortgage.

Bearing these three points in mind, it’s important to work out the advantages and disadvantages before going for this option.

How Much Do I Need To Have In My Savings Account To Apply For A Family Offset Mortgage?

All lenders have their individual criteria when it comes to applying for a family offset mortgage, but in general, you’ll need around 10% of the property’s purchase price. With some lenders, the levels will be significantly higher. There may also be extra stipulations, for example, a minimum yearly income.

Can I Make A Family Offset Mortgage Application?

If you have sufficient savings, there are some other considerations to keep in mind when determining whether you can make a family offset mortgage application. Approval will depend on your credit history, your debt-to-income ratio, and even the type of property being purchased.

Does Every Lender Offer Family Offset Mortgages?

There are some lenders who offer this type of offset mortgage, but many of the big-name lenders don’t offer these specialised products. Other lenders offer them but call them by a different name! It’s therefore essential to seek professional advice if you’re interested in taking out this kind of mortgage.

Should I Opt For A Family Offset Mortgage?

There are a number of advantages in applying for a family offset mortgage as a way of helping your child buy a property. They include:

  • Less interest will be paid overall.
  • There is more flexibility so the mortgage duration could be shorter or lower amounts could be paid each month.
  • Most family offset mortgages accept overpayments.
  • If you’re a higher-rate taxpayer, this mortgage could potentially benefit you.
  • Your savings can still be accessed.

On the downside though:

  • You’ll receive no interest on your savings.
  • The interest rate will likely be higher.
  • You will be restricted to only a few lenders.
  • The terms may not be especially attractive.
  • The LTV ratio may be prohibitive.
  • You may not have enough savings to make it worth your while.

With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see why talking to a mortgage professional is so important. However, once you’ve made your decision, or if you need advice about finding a suitable property for your child to help them onto the property ladder in Gloucestershire, don’t hesitate to give our team at TG Sales & Lettings a call on 01452 300822.

Buying a home in Gloucestershire: Budgeting for Fees

Out of all the purchases you make in your life, your home is likely to be the most expensive, but it’s not just the price of the property you need to take into account. When you purchase your new home in Gloucestershire, you’ll have fees and other costs associated with the move to take into consideration. Make sure you budget well so that you don’t end up with a nasty surprise!

If you are looking to buy a home in Gloucestershire, do make sure you take into account all the associated fees with your purchase. To help you, we’ve created this handy guide to the most common fees.

Stamp duty

Currently, stamp duty is payable when you buy a home that costs over £125,001, although if you’re a first-time buyer, you won’t pay stamp duty on the first £300k. The rate of stamp duty increases as a percentage depending on how expensive your home is, so if it’s under £250k it’s 2%, and if it’s under £925k it’s 5%. There are also higher rates payable for people with second or buy to let homes. Stamp duty needs to be paid to the HMRC within 14 days of completing the process of buying a home, and your solicitor will usually deal with this, so make sure you’ve budgeted for it.

Surveyors fees

When you buy a house, a survey is essential, as it ensures you don’t buy a place that’s full of problems. In some cases, your mortgage lender will require you to instruct a survey, which could be a basic survey costing £250, through to a structural survey which can cost from £500 to £1,300 depending on the condition of the property.

Solicitors fees

Whilst you can attempt to do your own conveyancing, it’s one of those things that isn’t recommended as it’s very tedious, involves a lot of legal terms, and if something goes wrong, you have very little comeback. Therefore, you should budget for conveyancing fees, which can vary from hundreds to a few thousand pounds depending on whether you are buying and selling or one or the other.

Mortgage costs

There are a number of costs you need to budget for when it comes to your mortgage.

  • Deposit: This is usually the most costly part of moving. You’ll need to put down a deposit of between 5% and 20% of the property price. If you’re already a homeowner, then the deposit is usually paid out of the equity in your current home.
  • Valuation fee: Some lenders will charge you a valuation fee so they can work out how much they’re willing to lend and some banks will waive this fee.
  • Transfer fee: Many mortgage providers add a fee of around £40-50 to transfer the money to your solicitor for the property purchase.
  • Arrangement fees: These are the fees charged to set up a mortgage, and they can range from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds. In some cases, you can find mortgages with no arrangement fee, and some lenders will give you the option to add the fee to the overall cost of the mortgage. Keep in mind that if you add the fees to your mortgage, you’re likely to pay more due to interest on the combined figure.

It’s definitely worth shopping around when it comes to mortgages, and considering using a broker, as fees can vary and you’ll want to secure the best deal.

Removal costs

It’s worth getting some quotes and choosing not just the cheapest removal company, but the one that has the best reputation and offers best value for money. Some removal firms offer extras such as boxes and packing, which can be helpful when you’re busy dealing with all the other paperwork and stress!

Some people choose to hire a van and do the move themselves, but anyone who has done this will no doubt tell you it’s not always ideal. On the day of completion, you’ll be busy dealing with solicitor calls and trying to get the keys to your new home, so you won’t want to have the responsibility of loading up the van and unloading at the other end! Leave it to the professionals.

Repairs and decorating

Even if your new home appears perfect, when you move in, there are bound to be a few things that might need to be fixed and of course you’ll probably want to redecorate, so it’s a good idea to budget for this.
Moving home can come with a lot of fees, not to mention paperwork, but once you’re comfortably settled in your new home in Gloucestershire, you’ll realise that it was worth all of the stress.
For a wide range of properties for sale in Gloucestershire, contact our friendly and professional team of experts at TG Sales & Lettings on 01452 300822 and speak with us today about your next home.

Smartphone Apps for Homeowners

There are over two million apps available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, so of course, there are apps out there for every purpose. There are all kinds of apps, such as scheduling apps to help you manage your time, coupon apps to help you find deals, and language apps to help you learn a new language. What you may not have thought of before are all the apps that exist for homeowners, including those that can help stay on top of chores, apps for DIY projects or interior design inspiration, and apps to help you sell your old belongings for cash.

With so many to choose from, it can be daunting trying to search through and find the ones that are the best and most helpful, so here’s our handy guide to the top smartphone apps all homeowners in Gloucestershire should consider.

HomeSavvy (free)

This app is basically like having an assistant to help you with everything to do around the house. All your chores can be organised within this app so you don’t lose track or forget to do them. You can customise your notifications too, so the app sends you alerts to remind you to get your tasks done. You can also customise your schedule so that you can create a plan that fits around your life, making it even easier to stick to your chore list and get everything ticked off. HomeSavvy even has a directory for local businesses in case you need to run to the shop and grab some tools or supplies to help get the job done.

Bills Reminder (free, in-app purchases for premium content)

If you are forgetful, then this is the app for you. There’s no fear of missing important payment deadlines with this ‘bills reminder’. Paying late fees is the worst, so Bills Reminder helps you stay on top of your payments. It allows you to organise your bills in categories and by due date and sends you alerts when it’s time to pay them. You can also use it to make automatic payments if you set it up with your banking information, and it has expense tracking capabilities as well.

Centriq (free)

This lifestyle app is perfect for those who throw out or lose product manuals and directions after buying and building a new appliance or furniture. Centriq will store all of this for you and is so easy to get set up. All you have to do is take a picture of the product label or nameplate of your new piece of furniture or appliance and this app takes care of loading it and saving it for you. It also offers information about parts, product recalls, and DIY videos if you need to do a simple repair.

Colour Capture (free)

Planning on renovating or redecorating? Don’t do it without this handy app. If you see a colour anywhere, whether it’s in a shop, at a friend’s house, or in a restaurant, you can take a picture of it with this app and it will match it as closely as possible to a Benjamin Moore paint shade. It’s also useful if you’re undertaking a painting project as you can create colour palettes easily in the app.

The Family Handyman (free)

For fans of DIY projects around the home, this is the perfect app. There’s a catalogue of over 4,000 tutorials and tips to help you with any projects you’re working on so you can get them done quickly and correctly the first time. Although it’s primarily American, there are plenty of handy hints, tips and tutorials for you there.

Bubble Level App and Stud Finder App (free)

Why go digging through your tools for a spirit level or a stud finder when you can just use your smartphone? The stud finder app is so useful when you are trying to hang something on your wall. Simply install the app, calibrate it, and then move your phone along the wall until it beeps, thus detecting where the studs are. The Bubble Level app is also so handy. It’s not just a spirit level, but also a ruler and has metal detecting capabilities to help you find wires behind your walls. These two apps are a great combination for simple DIY projects that every homeowner should have in their phone.

Shpock (free)

If you’re trying to declutter and sell some old belongings but shudder at the thought of holding a car boot sale, Shpock is the perfect app. It’s essentially like having a virtual car boot sale without having to do all the work involved in setting it up. All you have to do is take a picture of the item you’re selling, post it to the app, and wait for interested people to message you.

We’re always interested to learn about new home and property apps that are useful to homeowners, so do let us know here at TG Sales & Lettings if you have a favourite!

 

2022 Update: EPC Rules are Changing

Energy Performance Certificates (or EPCs) have, until now, been barely significant when it comes to the Gloucestershire housing market. But it’s important to be aware that there are big changes afoot with regard to EPC requirements, and landlords in Gloucestershire need to pay close attention.

So, what changes are coming to the EPC requirements?

What kind of impact will those changes have?

Here, we take a closer look at the facts.

What Are EPCs?

The EPC or Energy Performance Certificate is a building’s official energy efficiency rating. The ratings range from A – the best – down to G – least efficient.

All properties listed on the market must have their EPC included within the sale particulars. Furthermore, all tenants need to receive their rental home’s EPC on moving into the property.

An Old Housing Problem

In Gloucestershire, there are many different house types, and some of them are very old. These period homes often have poor insulation. Stone cottages, for example, have no room at all for any cavity wall insulation to be installed, while houses with unconverted lofts often suffer from poor roof lagging.

For this reason, it’s been estimated that around 60% of all homes in the UK currently have a low EPC rating between D and G. In contrast, though, most modern homes have an EPC rating of A, B, or C.

The Reason Why Energy Performance Certificates Are Becoming Increasingly Important

EPCs are becoming more important for two different reasons:

  • In 2022, electricity and gas prices are going to go up as the cap that the government put on the amount that energy suppliers could charge has been lifted. The result is going to be enormous increases in utility bills. Therefore, energy efficient homes that have excellent insulation will be in higher demand, since less fuel will be required to heat them and thus energy bills will be lower.
  • It’s likely that new legislation will require everybody owning a property, whether a landlord or owner-occupier, to create an energy-efficient home with the aim of helping the UK government meet their emissions targets to combat climate change.

Already, the possibility of this new legislation is having an impact on the Gloucestershire market.

Deadlines And Targets To Improve EPCs

There’s an obvious incentive for owner-occupiers to improve their home’s energy efficiency. After all, a property that has an excellent EPC rating is going to be more attractive to prospective buyers. Younger home buyers will be more attentive to EPCs when compared with older purchasers.

It has been suggested that eventually, taxes such as stamp duty will be linked with EPC ratings, meaning that better EPCs will result in lower amounts of stamp duty to pay and, (at least in theory), a faster home sale.

For landlords in Gloucestershire, these are tough and specific targets.

Currently, a rental property must have a minimum of an E-rating on its EPC. But for all new tenancies beginning in 2025, the government is keen to change this to a minimum rating of C. It is also eager to introduce a minimum C rating across all rental homes by 2028, even for those that have long-standing tenants.

Further, although it hasn’t been confirmed yet, from 2030, a rental property’s minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating looks set to rise to a B.

Will There Be Any Exemptions?

Although there are a few exemptions, there aren’t many.

Listed buildings and buildings that have restricted covenants that would have their appearance unacceptably altered by energy efficiency improvements are the obvious exemptions.

Also, some temporary properties, and those used for under 4 months per year, are exempt too.

For landlords in Gloucestershire unable to improve their property to its required minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating, a £3500 rental cost cap has been put in place. This allows them to make the necessary improvements to that amount, then register their exemption as “all improvements made.”

The Impact On The Market

It has recently been reported by Rightmove that those sellers who improved their EPC from a G, F, E, or D rating to a C, received as much as 16% more on the sale price of their property.

Trade bodies representing the rental sector have reported, though, that some landlords have already taken the decision to sell up since they’re afraid of being unable to afford to make the required improvements, particularly on older homes, and particularly if the cost cap of £3500 is increased.

Everybody wants to do their bit to reduce global warming, however, it’s essential to avoid making such strict targets that owners struggle to afford them or find them too disruptive. Fewer properties may, as a result, be available for renters as an unintended consequence, and some flats and houses that are owner-occupied may become challenging to sell.

It’s possible that there will be some softening of the targets, but regardless, energy is going to be an ever-larger factor this year in the housing market, and for the foreseeable future.

TG Sales & Lettings are your local property experts for the Gloucestershire area. Call us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk to find out more.

New Year…New Agent?

We’ve noticed a trend recently. You love your home, you love Gloucestershire, but you’ve also realised that you need somewhere new. Perhaps somewhere larger, somewhere with a bigger garden, somewhere closer to the countryside, or even somewhere a little smaller.

Yes, it appears you’ve got a dose of ‘ready to move’, and what better time than the New Year – a time often linked with new beginnings and fresh starts.

So, how do you find the best estate agent?

What questions should you ask?

As property experts in the Gloucestershire area, we at TG Sales & Lettings thought we’d give you our seven tips so that you can choose the best estate agent for you.

Phone a Friend
Ask for recommendations. Friends and family can point you in the right direction and equally they can steer you away from the agents to avoid! Ask them if they’ve had a great experience with a particular estate agent, and enquire about how communicative, knowledgeable and friendly the agent was. Did the agent get the job done – and achieve the asking price or above?

Tip: Social media is your friend! If you’re a member of a Facebook community group in a particular area, post your questions in that group. And while you’re there check out local estate agents’ profiles to discover more about their local area knowledge and understand how they interact with the local community.

Read Reviews
Check out estate agents reviews online. Facebook reviews, Google reviews and reviews on Feefo can all give you an insight into other customers experiences. Have a read through to get a good idea as to whether or not an agent is worth shortlisting.

Tip: Always have an open mind when reading reviews, because while most will be genuine, some negative ones (and some positive ones) may not be.

Check the Agents Website
If you have a couple of shortlisted estate agents, check out their websites. Compare and contrast the services they offer and the fees they charge. Research where they market their properties and check out their social media feeds.

Tip: If you’re comparing and contrasting, you need to ensure you know what you want your chosen estate agent to do for you. Write a wish list of your requirements.

Check Fees and T&Cs
When it comes to estate agents, each will offer a slightly different service, and each will have a different way of operating. You have high street offices, internet-based offices, and hybrid agencies that blend traditional with the internet. Each has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your individual requirements, but always check the small print and look at the overall service.

Tip: Do some research and decide whether you want a sole agency agreement, or if you would like multiple agents to market your property. It’s important to read the contractual obligations if you choose the latter.

Review your Agent’s Performance
Remember, your estate agent will be working for you, to get your house marketed and sold. But it’s actually a two-way thing and you will need to do what you can to help them do their job too. Your agent should be prepared to communicate with you if they think things should change, like a review of the price for example. And you should feel confident enough to ask about performance and see results or otherwise.

Tip: Have a clear understanding of your expectations and what you will want to review. Is it the number of people shown your property, or is it the number of hits on property websites? Is it about proactive calls made to prospective buyers, or is it to get an offer within a certain timeframe?

Same Difference
When you are narrowing down your shortlist, have a look at the properties that the agent sells.

  • Are they similar to your house?
  • Do they have any experience selling homes similar to your property?
  • Can they talk with good knowledge about the local area?
  • How accurate are their valuations?

All of these are a must because you need to know that your agent knows what they are doing and can convey that to a prospective buyer.

Tip: If you want to know how much similar properties have sold for have a look online so that you are fully informed.

Trust your Gut Instinct
There’s a lot to be said for getting a feel for whether you have picked the right agent to market your property. Something may simply click into place when you’re having a conversation, or you may know immediately that the agent is for you. Trust your instinct as it may well be right.

Tip: While we say trust your instinct, make sure you also carry out the checks and reviews as well!

For no-obligation advice on selling your Gloucestershire home, please contact our expert property team at TG Sales & Lettings on 01452 300822.

How to Decorate a Rental for Christmas

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Since most landlords aren’t too fond of tenants decorating their rental homes, marking walls with blu-tack and drilling holes to hang Christmas decorations isn’t always great for getting your deposit back.

But with rentals becoming long-term homes for many people, making it feel Christmassy at the end of the year is important!

To add the festive spirit to your rental property in Gloucestershire, here are seven rent-friendly ways to decorate for Christmas.

1. Create a Festive Window Display

While you may not be able to hang lights outside, that doesn’t mean you can’t light your place up like a Christmas tree from the inside! Using solar lights, holly garlands and pinecones, you can create a festive window display that makes your rental look Christmassy both inside and out.

2. Wrap Garlands to Staircases

No nails are the key to decorating a rental for Christmas. By wrapping a festive garland full of ribbons, holly and winter berries around your staircase, you can make your entrance look warm and cosy from the moment you walk in! If you need to secure the garlands to the stairs, use invisible string so it’s unnoticeable and doesn’t leave any marks.

3. Go All-Out With Your Dining Room Table

If you can’t do much with the interior walls of your rental, make your dining room table the cosiest it’s ever been! Create your own festive centrepiece with candles, holly or scattered baubles and set the table with crackers, champagne glasses and other Christmassy things.

4. Use Floor Space

One of the best ways to decorate a rental for Christmas is to use your floor space to add Christmas cheer. Forget about hanging garlands on the walls and instead add freestanding ornaments, trees with stands, piles of dried kiln logs or oversized lanterns to your floor space.

5. Add Festive Smells

Nothing makes a home feel more like Christmas than the smell of fresh cookies, warm gingerbread or sweet cinnamon! A great rent-friendly way to decorate for Christmas is to invest in candles or essential oils that make your home smell merry.

6. Switch Up the Normal Things

Another easy way to decorate a rental at Christmas is to switch up the normal things in your home for something jollier. Add red covers to your cushions, change your bedspread to something festive, and drape white blankets over your sofa for a snowy look. It’ll add a warm, cosy and Christmassy vibe!

7. Use Sticky Hooks

If you really need to hang things on the walls, use command strips or hooks that stick to the wall and leave ‘no mess’. Just make sure you’re using them on recommended surfaces that won’t create any damage to the walls.

Looking For a New Rental?

Are you looking for a new rental in Gloucestershire? Here at TG Sales & Lettings, our friendly team can help you find a rental you love living in all year round.

Check out our listings at https://tgres.co.uk or give us a call on 01452 300822 for a chat with our team about what you’re looking for.

 

What Happens After Your Offer Has Been Accepted? 5 Immediate Things You Need to Do

So, you’ve found the home of your dreams and your offer has just been accepted. Congratulations! Your journey to owning your new home has officially begun.

If you’re wondering what happens next, here are five immediate things you need to do after your offer has been accepted to get things moving.

  1. Provide Confirmation

Once your offer has been accepted, your estate agent will likely give you a congratulatory call. But this won’t just be a courtesy. They’ll also request confirmation of a few things so they can finalise the offer.
You’ll usually need to provide confirmation of things like:

  • You have the funds available to make the purchase
  • Your mortgage in principle
  • You have a solicitor – or you’re working to get one now
  1. Remove Competition

Normally, estate agents will cancel viewings and take the property off the market as soon as your offer has been accepted. However, you’ll want to make sure this is definitely the case.

Remove the competition immediately and ask your estate agent to cancel any scheduled viewings and to take the property off the market. If the listing isn’t taken down, you could be at risk of getting outbid or even gazumped.

  1. Instruct Your Solicitor

There’s no better time to get the ball rolling than after your offer has been accepted. For a quicker sale, you’ll want to instruct your solicitor as soon as possible. If you haven’t already found a solicitor, ask your estate agent for a recommendation.

At this stage, your solicitor will start completing the checks and searches on the property. Depending on the solicitor, they may also ask you to pay up-front for some of their services.

  1. Complete Your Mortgage Application

Since the mortgage in principle was a principle agreement, you’ll need to complete a full application for the money now that your offer has been accepted. You’ll need to apply for the exact amount you need to borrow for the property in question.

If you have a mortgage advisor, they’ll guide you through this process and let you know what information you need to supply.

  1. Arrange a Survey

While surveys aren’t compulsory when you buy a new home, they’re a good idea. During a survey, a professional surveyor will inspect the property and cast an eagle eye over the place. Surveys can help you understand any current or future issues you may have with the property.

To arrange the survey, you’ll need to speak with your estate agent about booking time with the sellers.

Still Looking For a Gloucestershire Home?

If you’re still looking for your new home in Gloucestershire, TG Sales & Lettings could have what you’re looking for! Check out our listings or let us know what type of property you’re interested in so we can help keep an eye out for you.

Give us a call today on 01452 300822 or email us at rachel@tgres.co.uk to speak to a member of our friendly team.

How to Keep a House Chi

Buying and selling a property in Gloucestershire can be a super stressful time, and our responsibility is of course to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.

Perhaps you’re ready to move, but the people buying your house need their buyers to get up to speed. And those buyers also need their buyers to press the pedal down on the transaction!

Before you know it, suddenly you’re getting into a long old property chain, and we know that sometimes chains can break, taking with them your hopes of a move into a dream property.

This can be absolutely heart breaking. Consumer body Which? surveyed 2,000 home movers, and discovered “around three in 10 (28%) people have experienced a property purchase falling through”.

There are several reasons why a property chain breaks. But, the good news is, you can do something about it and play your part in making sure the chain keeps moving.

So, here are our top seven tips on how to keep your house chain moving.

  1. Choose a Chain-Free Buyer

This sounds so simple, doesn’t it? You may get a few offers on your house, but only one may not be part of a chain. This means they don’t need to rely on something else happening in order to move. So, if you are lucky enough to get two or three people offering on your property (and the price is right), choose the one who you think will cause the least trouble!
Top Tip: This is where you can rely on us, your trusted estate agent in Gloucestershire to do our job and find out more about your potential buyers.

  1. Set Goals

When you are right at the beginning of the process with a potential buyer, make sure you stipulate, through your estate agent, your preferred timescales. Things may not always stick to plan, but if you are all aware of a date you are working towards, it will focus minds.
Top Tip: Be realistic. You may want your move to progress at lightning speed, but selling your home can be a complex process and take so much longer than you anticipate.

  1. Be Prepared

When you’re thinking about property chains, it’s easy to think about what all the other parties are doing, and focus on how they can stop your chain from breaking. But don’t forget, you’re part of the chain too, so don’t be the one who holds things up! Make sure your paperwork is in order, finances organised and mortgage offers are on the table.
Top Tip: Make sure your paperwork is to hand to refer to, whether you’re at home or in the office. If a query arises there won’t be a delay in you responding.

  1. Respond Well

Keeping the chain moving takes good communication from all parties, and that includes you. Your conveyancer may need information quickly or an email response before close of business on a particular day. Be accessible, and make sure everyone has the correct contact details for you.
Top Tip: Respond to any queries promptly to avoid delays in clarification. If you need to seek out information that you don’t have to hand, don’t put it off!

  1. Use Experienced Professionals

You’re selling your house – probably your biggest asset – so you should ensure that you have professionals doing the job for you. Choose your estate agent, not necessarily on their fees, but on their experience and ability to keep things moving. You want them to be progressing and chasing where necessary, and making the calls and sending the emails.
Top Tip: Draw up your shortlist of reputable, local estate agents and speak with each of them. You need a good relatiosnhip with your agent so making sure you are on the same wave-length and you get a good vibe is important. Remember, how they act with you is also how they will act with potential buyers!

  1. Think Outside the Chain

If there’s a problem with the house chain further up, consider selling your property and renting somewhere to live until the right property comes up for you rather than risk losing your own buyer. This might not work, of course, if you’ve got your heart set on somewhere in particular, but it could be an option.
Top Tip: Renting doesn’t have to be forever. You can usually enter into a short-term tenancy agreement which will give you time to look around and find somewhere new to call your own home.

  1. Be Agile

Should a property chain break, and you lose the property you were going to buy, make sure you can move quickly when it comes to other alternative properties. Is it possible for the chain to discuss the issues and come to an agreement, perhaps to negotiate on prices?
Top Tip: If you’re ready for all eventualities, then a broken chain may not lead to your heart breaking too. It really doesn’t have to be a dead-end.

If you want expert help on buying and selling or any advice regarding being in a property chain, then simply get in touch with us, TG Sales & Lettings. Call us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

Your Top Questions Answered If You’re Ready To Buy a Home in Gloucestershire Post Lockdown

Your top questions answered for buying a new home

The UK property market is booming right now, with the stamp duty holiday having had a generally positive impact on buyers, who are saving several thousand pounds in some cases.

But is it all positive for homebuyers? Here are some of the key questions to think about for anyone looking to move home in Gloucestershire soon.

As always, our experienced team at TG Sales & Lettings will be delighted to speak with you if you have any questions not covered here. Call us on 01452 300822.

Are completions slower now?

The simple answer is in some cases, yes. Reports suggest that the average completion is now taking around a month longer than usual, and in some cases, it can be much longer.

This is mainly due to the high number of movers who have been looking to complete before the end of the stamp duty holiday. As a result conveyancers are still facing a backlog of cases to deal with, while any breaks in the chain are causing major headaches for buyers and sellers, given the deadlines.

Has Brexit had an impact on the property market?

Despite initial fears that Brexit could have a detrimental impact on the market, these predictions haven’t materialised so far.

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent stamp duty holiday have had a far bigger impact on the property market than Brexit, however as the stamp duty holiday finally draws to a close and the pandemic shows signs of ending too, that’s when we’re more likely to see how much of an impact Brexit will have in the longer term.

One positive that all property experts agree on though, is the fact that a deal was finally struck for Britain to leave the EU, as a no deal Brexit would have caused far more uncertainty around the property market.

What do the ground rent legislation changes mean?

The proposed reforms to ground rent legislation are expected to have a very positive impact on all existing and future leaseholders.

Under current legislation, leaseholders pay ground rent to freeholders, as leaseholders only own the property, whereas freeholders own the land that it sits on.

However, the new legislation aims to phase this out by ensuring that leaseholders no longer pay ground rent.

Existing leaseholders will also be given the opportunity to extend their lease by 990 years. Previously, house leaseholders could only extend by 50 years, and flat leaseholders could only extend by 90 years, and the cost could be quite high. However, the new legislation will mean that it’s far cheaper for leaseholders to extend their lease in future.

No date has been set for when the new legislation will come into effect, as it’s still at the consultation stage, however future ground rents on new-build flats will be set to zero, and this is expected to be in place by spring 2022. Changes for existing leaseholders are then expected to be phased in gradually after this point.

Is now a good time to buy a first home?

It depends on your circumstances, but the main advantage of buying a first home now is that 95% mortgages are available again. Whether you’re eligible or not will depend on your individual circumstances, but these are ideal if you’re unable to raise more than a 5% deposit.

The other key advantage is that if you do have a larger deposit then you can benefit from some very low interest rates currently.

Overall though, you also need to take into account that the property market is crazy right now, with lots of competition for properties.

This has led to some inflated prices in some areas, so you could find yourself paying over the odds for a property. Once the market settles down again, after the final stamp duty holiday ends on 1st October, you may find that being patient could lead to better value properties being available and less competition from other buyers.

It’s also worth noting that first-time buyers are exempt from stamp duty on properties up to £300,000 and this will remain the case even after the stamp duty holiday ends, so there’s no panic if you’re a first-time buyer.

Are there any new home design trends?

As more people make a conscious effort to cut their carbon footprint, reduce waste and go green, this is also being reflected in interior design trends.

Environmentally friendly, sustainable and natural are just some of the current trends, including unique pieces of upcycled furniture, indoor plants and earthy, neutral colours for living rooms and bedrooms.

TG Sales & Lettings are your local property experts for the Gloucestershire area. Call us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

How to Avoid Losing Your Rental Deposit

When you first begin renting a property, your new landlord is highly likely to ask for a deposit before letting you move in.

Typically, this is one month’s rent payable upfront, although it can be more in some cases.

Your landlord is legally required to protect your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme. When you come to move out they’ll refund your deposit in full, unless they have a justifiable reason to keep some of the money.

This could be because:

  1. You owe rent
  2. You’ve damaged the property. For example, you may have stained the carpet or damaged the walls with fixings
  3. You’ve lost or broken items from the inventory, such as mugs or electrical appliances

To avoid losing your rental deposit, here are our top tips to ensure you get your deposit back in full.

  1. Take pictures when you move in

Unfortunately there are some unscrupulous landlords out there, who may try to keep your deposit for damages that were already there when you moved in.

Having photographic evidence on day one means you can challenge your landlord in the event of this happening.

Not all landlords are likely to do this of course, and some may even be unaware of day one issues, especially if they’re ‘hands off’.

Therefore take some pictures on the day you move in, and also be sure to let the landlord or letting agent know of any issues immediately, so they’re aware that you weren’t the cause of them.

  1. Read your contract carefully

It’s surprising how many people just blindly sign their tenancy agreement without checking the details.

For example, there may be information contained there detailing whether you can decorate, or hang pictures on the walls, and there may be reasonable maintenance requirements that you’re expected to stick to, especially when it comes to the garden.

Make sure you read through the contract in detail and if you’re unsure of anything, ask your landlord or letting agent to clarify it and have it written down. This will go a long way to avoiding disputes further down the line.

  1. Check your inventory

Before you sign your contract, make sure you’ve toured the property and agree with everything that’s on the inventory.

If anything’s missing or damaged, don’t assume that it’s an error or that the landlord is already aware and will be fine with it. Make sure you let them know, and have the inventory amended.

It may seem like a pain at the time, but it’s the sort of minor detail that can come back to bite you in the long run, so check that everything on the inventory is present and in working order, or that you’ve notified the landlord before signing your contract.

  1. Stay in contact with your landlord

Whether you have a direct relationship with them, or via a lettings agent, it’s a good idea to touch base from time to time so they can keep an eye on the property’s condition, and you can report any damages or issues to them as they arise.

It’s important to notify your landlord of any damages or problems as and when they occur, rather than let them build up until the time you move out.

This avoids nasty surprises for them, and it means they’re more likely to be receptive to any issues that arise if you’re upfront and honest with them.

  1. Look after the property

You should treat your rental property as if it’s your own home, and this means keeping on top of it by maintaining a good standard of cleanliness and basic maintenance.

Reasonable wear and tear such as faded curtains and worn carpets are likely to be accepted, but stained carpets, damaged walls and broken light fittings are a big no-no if you want your deposit back in full.

Therefore, make sure you keep the place clean and tidy, and don’t allow any scuffs and scratches to build up too much.

Stay on top of the cleaning and fix any minor issues as they appear. If you’re unable to do it yourself then contact your landlord to get the professionals in. Another sure fire way of losing your deposit is to bodge things like electrics or plumbing, so don’t risk any repairs you’re not comfortable with.

What if my landlord withholds the deposit?

Start off by talking to them in person. It may just be a case of crossed wires that can be sorted quickly and easily.

If your landlord still won’t return your deposit then ask for them to state the reasons why in writing.

You can then check which tenancy deposit scheme your money is being held in and contact them for help resolving your dispute.

There are three government-approved tenancy deposit schemes, and they all offer free services to help resolve your dispute.

If your landlord hasn’t protected your deposit in one of the schemes then you may be able to claim compensation.

TG Sales & Lettings are your local property experts for the Gloucestershire area. Call us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team about our property management services.