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Monday 10 June 2024

Check-Out Guide For Southampton Tenants

As we all know, moving home can be a stressful business.

But you can avoid a frantic panic on the big day by starting your end-of-tenancy preparations sooner rather than later.

With a little bit of planning and forethought, you can streamline the process and avoid a last-minute scramble.

Once you’ve agreed on a moving date with your landlord or letting agent, follow this guide.

Check out your check-in report: Review the inventory you received on moving-in day. This will outline the property’s condition at the start of the tenancy. It’s your responsibility to return the property in the same condition (excluding fair wear and tear). 

Read your tenancy agreement: Re-read your contract (it may have been a while since you last looked at it) so you’re clear about what’s expected of you.

Change of address: Tell your friends, family, bank, phone company, broadband provider, local authority and utilities that you’ll be moving. Notify them of your check-out date and new address.

Garden maintenance: If the property has a garden, ensure you’ve completed all necessary maintenance (such as weeding, mowing or raking up leaves) as specified in your contract.

Pack: Start early by packing away clothes and other items you won’t need in the immediate future. Give away or dispose of any belongings you won’t be taking to your new place.

Talk to your landlord/letting agent: Call your landlord or letting agent to get a clear idea of what to expect at check-out and finalise last-minute details.

Clean: Deep clean the property making sure you don’t overlook often-missed areas, such as windows, shower screens and the inside of the fridge.

Remove your possessions: Take your furniture and belongings to your new home. 

Reconfigure: Ensure the furniture that was in the property when you moved in is put back in its original position and replace any missing/faulty lightbulbs.

Have the keys ready: Make sure you have all sets of keys (including those for the back door and windows) on hand to return to the letting agent or landlord.

Meter readings: Take final gas, water and electricity readings and forward them to the relevant utility provider.

For more advice about end-of-tenancy expectations, contact us here at Belvoir Southampton.

Tuesday 4 June 2024

How Does The General Election Affect Southampton House Prices?

The recent announcement by the British Prime Minister regarding the next general election set to take place in early July 2024 has inevitably stirred discussions about its potential impact on the Southampton property market. Historically, general elections are periods of heightened uncertainty, often leading to speculation about their effects on house prices and transaction levels. However, examining past trends reveals a relatively stable market, with only minor fluctuations in transaction volumes.

House Prices To Remain Steady

Data from previous election cycles indicates that UK house prices, as measured by the Land Registry figures, have shown resilience in the face of the last five general elections. In fact, the trend has generally been one of stability or even growth. However, the Land Registry data, by its very definition, is six months out of date, as they measure sales that were agreed upon six months previously.

However, new data by Denton House Ltd shows that measuring the £ per square foot of the house sold in a specific month matches the Land Registry rate five or six months later (with a 92% correlation). This means that we can accurately measure the effects of a general election both prior, during and after to ascertain its impact on the property market to house prices

The statistics of £/sq.ft for Jan 2019 to Dec 2020, covering a year on either side of the last general election, show some interesting information on the graph. During the autumn and winter of 2019, the average pound per square foot figure drifted downwards from £275 per square foot to £270 per square foot (meaning house prices were dropping). However, looking at the graph, you will see that post-election house prices went up (even before the pandemic hit)

This pattern suggests that the Southampton property market is robust enough to withstand the uncertainty typically associated with general elections.

Temporary Dip in Property Transactions Before the Election

While house prices remain stable, the number of property transactions (i.e., home selling) usually experiences a temporary dip in the weeks leading up to a general election. This phenomenon is primarily driven by potential buyers adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach, delaying decisions until after the election results are clear. However, this could be a time to strike and grab a bargain because a surge always follows this dip in transactions as pent-up demand is released once the political landscape stabilises.

Post-Election Market Catch-Up

Post-election periods typically see a catch-up in the number of transactions. Postponed transactions due to election-related uncertainties usually proceed shortly after the election, leading to a rebound in market activity. For example, there were 218k property transactions (house sales) in the three months before the last 2019 election and £286k in the three months afterwards. This pattern has been consistent across multiple election cycles, indicating that while transaction volumes may fluctuate temporarily, the overall market equilibrium is maintained.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the general election’s impact on the Southampton property market is minimal regarding house prices, which have shown a tendency to remain steady or even increase during election periods. The primary effect is a short-term dip in the number of transactions promptly rectified post-election. This resilience underscores the British and Southampton property market’s robustness, reassuring buyers and sellers that political events, while temporarily influential, do not drastically alter long-term market dynamics.

Thus, Southampton homeowners, landlords and buyers can confidently approach the upcoming election, knowing that any temporary disruptions will likely be swiftly relieved. Should you have any questions about the Southampton property market, feel free to drop us a message or pick up the phone on 023 8001 8222.

Rental Red Flags: Warning Signs Southampton Landlords Should Look Out For

If you’re a landlord, you can probably think of nothing worse than your rental sitting empty.

The prospect of covering the mortgage and utility bills in between tenancies may keep you awake at night.

And there are security implications too: a lengthy void period may invalidate your landlord insurance and increase the risk of squatters moving in.

But in a desire to get new tenants in, it’s essential you don’t let your guard down.

Because while an empty rental is bad, having a tenant who is a fraudster or serial rent dodger is worse.

So, if you hear any of the excuses listed below, proceed with extreme caution and seek advice from a trusted professional, such as a letting agent.

Rental red flags to look out for

‘Let’s do a deal on the spot’

Someone wants to move into your rental property ASAP – but there’s a catch. They need you to drop the usual credit and reference checks and agree to a deal today. Don’t succumb to this pressure. Always stick to your safeguarding and referencing procedures.

‘The dog ate my ID’

If a tenant can’t show you their bank statements, references or passport, alarm bells should start ringing. If they can’t prove who they are, how do you know who they are? 

‘I can’t make the viewing – but my mother/brother/cousin can’

It’s important to meet any prospective tenant face to face. Be suspicious if someone can’t view the property in person but is willing to send a go-between to do it for them. 

‘I’ll pay you cash in advance’

Someone is willing to hand you wads of cash, provided you don’t ask questions about their background. Why are they initiating a transaction that will leave no paper trail? Don’t wait to find out. Send them packing without further ado.

‘Don’t bother with a viewing; I’ll take the property sight unseen’

This line is problematic for two reasons. First, you can’t meet the tenant in the flesh. Second, what kind of person commits to a long-term contract on a property they’ve not seen? What are they running from? And how reliable will they turn out to be? You probably don’t want to know.

The solution

The good news is that there is a way you can sleep easy at night – by using the services of a respected letting agent.

An experienced agent will help you attract high-quality tenants and oversee the referencing process.

They’ll also help you carefully manage your property to minimise void periods and maximise returns.

Contact us here at Belvoir Southampton today to learn more about our tenant referencing and property management services.

Monday 3 June 2024

Seven Must-Ask Questions For Your Estate Agent In Southampton

Choosing the right estate agent is a big step on the road to successfully selling your home. 

But with so many agents making big promises to win your business, how can you identify the genuine professionals from the wheeler dealers?

Meeting different agents at the start of the process can leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. 

But by asking these seven questions, you’ll find it easier to spot the best from the rest.

How will you determine the value of our home?

Understanding the valuation process is key. A good agent will consider local market trends, recent comparable sales and your home’s unique features to provide an accurate and realistic price.

Who will be our main point of contact?

Consistent communication is critical in the home selling process. Confirm that you will have a dedicated contact who is familiar with your property and can keep you updated regularly.

What strategies do you use to attract the right buyers?

An effective marketing strategy ensures the right eyes see your home. Ask about their advertising methods, viewing arrangements and network to target potential buyers accurately.

Can you talk me through the terms of the contract in detail?

Knowing the length of the contract, the notice period and any other significant clauses can prevent future complications. Make sure you understand what you’re agreeing to. Be wary of contracts that tie you in for an extended period.

How frequently will you update us on the progress of the sale?

Regular updates about marketing efforts, viewing feedback and any offers are important. This question assesses their commitment to transparency and client engagement.

What makes you different from other agents?

This helps you gauge their unique selling points, such as their sales track record, client service or innovative marketing techniques.

Can you provide testimonials or references from recent clients?

Don’t just let the agent tell you how good they are. Find out what past clients say about the agent’s strengths and professionalism.

When it comes to asking these questions, don’t be shy.

Selling a home is a huge financial and emotional undertaking. It’s important to have all the facts so that you can make an informed decision.

A good estate agent will have no qualms about answering any of the above questions.

For more advice on selling your home, contact me today.