June 18

Cupcake Day

We held a Cupcake Day at our Preview office on the 14th June.  All our cupcakes were homemade by our own fair hands.  We had a fantastic day and would like to say a massive thank you to all the support that we received from our friends, local businesses and the community.  We raised £303.82 for Alzheimer's Society.

February 19

Winter Heating

Winter is definitely here, and while there’s not much you can do to stop it getting cold outside, you can still make sure you stay toasty inside. Here’s 10 simple tricks to keep your house warmer in winter and stop that energy escaping.

1.     Heat your home, not your wallsHere’s how to keep your house warm with some easy foil insulation. Cover a thin sheet of card with tinfoil and place it behind your radiators (if you’re feeling particularly crafty you can make it T-shaped so it sits on your radiator brackets). It’ll reflect the heat back into your rooms, meaning they warm up faster and retain more heat. If DIY isn’t your thing, you can also buy ready made foil insulation.

2.     Pop on some pipe-lagging Pipe lagging (insulating hot water pipes with foam tubes) keeps the water inside your pipes hotter for longer and protects against the cold. It also makes your heating and hot water much more efficient. You can buy pipe lagging from any DIY store and fit it in seconds, no tools required.

3.     Draught-proof your homeIf your home has a draught, patch it up. Filling in the gaps around windows and doors can help you save on your heating bills, so spending a few pounds on window draught excluder – an insulating tape – is a great investment. Fitting it is a breeze too, just make sure it sits snugly.

4.     Bleed your radiatorsCheck your radiators are heating to the top. If they aren’t, the chances are you need to learn how to bleed a radiator. It sounds a bit medieval, but all it means is releasing the trapped air at the top, which is stopping the hot water from rising. Simply use a radiator bleed key (about £1 in any DIY shop) to open the little valve at the top. You’ll hear air hiss and as soon as you see a drip of water, close it up again. Bingo. Energy-efficient radiators.

5.     Get your boiler servicedBoilers, like people, like to be looked after. Give yours an annual boiler service and it will last longer and work more efficiently – if you don’t, it could cost you money. Don’t forget, it’s vital that you use a Gas Safe Registered Engineer.

6.     Close the curtainsYou won’t be surprised to learn that lots of warmth escapes from your home through the windows. If you’ve got curtains, close them before darkness hits or while you’re out of the house and keep that lovely heat where it should be – inside. Better still, get yourself a pair of thermal curtains.

7.     Use the oven to heat the houseOnce dinner comes out of the oven, we all close the door again. But why waste that heat? Leave the oven door open and let the heat transfer slowly into your kitchen, it’ll help keep your house warm while you eat. And, naturally, keep the kids away from the door.

8.     Roll out a rugWooden floors might look lovely but they can also let heat escape from right under your feet. Putting down a warm rug covers up the gaps and ensures your toes stay toasty.

9.     Get creative with your insulationUse any spare foam pipe lagging as a door draught excluder – just cut a section to fit the bottom of your door, then slide it on to form a tight seal against the floor. You could also use spray foam insulation to fill any cracks and gaps in your walls or at the back of cupboards. Just be sure to check the can for all safety precautions. If you really want to take it up a level, call the professionals in to install loft insulation and keep all that lovely warmth from escaping through the roof.

10.  Know your ideal temperatureIt’s easy to turn the thermostat all the way up when it’s freezing cold but what temperature should your house be? Aim to set your main room thermostat somewhere between 18°C and 21°C.It’s also a good idea to set your thermostat to one temperature and then use a timer to turn it on and off when you need the heating most. That way you won’t waste excess energy from leaving the heating on too high, for too long.

May 2018

As summer approaches we can look forward to longer, hotter days filled with sunshine and warmth. Whilst this change in the weather is an improvement for ourselves, the changing conditions can wreak havoc on your lawn, resulting in sparse, unhealthy and patchy grass. Follow these 5 easy steps to prepare your lawn for summer so that it remains green and luscious whatever the weather.

Step 1 – Dust Off The Lawn Mower

Step 2 – Remove Moss & Weeds

Be Generous With Feed

Step 4 – Over-seed To Patch Up Gaps

Step 5 – Water Responsibly

February 2018

Why buy-to-let?

As an income investment for those with enough money to raise a big deposit buy-to-let looks attractive, especially compared to low savings rates and stock market swings.

Meanwhile, the property market bouncing back has encouraged more investors to snap up property in the hope of its value rising. Mortgage rates at record lows are helping buy-to-let investors make deals stack up, but beware of low rates. One day they must rise and you need to know your investment can stand that test.

There is also a tax rise being put in place, as buy-to-let mortgage interest relief is axed and replaced with a 20 per cent tax credit. Additionally, since April 2016 landlords now have to pay an extra 3% stamp duty on property purchases.  Recent history provides an important lesson in how returns can be hit. Many buy-to-let investors who bought in the boom years before 2007 struggled as mortgage rates rose.

A sizeable number were thrown a lifeline when the base rate was slashed to 0.5 per cent. Rates stuck there until this summer and then were cut again after Brexit, but remember they will rise again. It's also worth noting that the Bank of England has buy-to-let mortgages in its sights. Yet despite the tax changes and potential for buy-to-let mortgage costs to rise, there are positives.  

Greater demand from tenants, rents that should rise with inflation and the long horizon for interest rate rises, mean many investors are still tempted by buy-to-let.

March 2018

Proposed changes to landlord gas safety regulations

The proposed changes, which do not relax regulatory requirements or reduce safety standards, is to introduce a degree of flexibility to the timing of landlords’ annual gas safety checks.

A new MOT-style certificate means that landlords can carry out the annual gas safety check in the two months before the due date and retain the existing expiry date. So, if your gas safety check is due on the 30th of March but it is carried out on the 15th of March, the new certificate will retain the 30th March expiry date and there will be no foreshortening of the inspection period.

This will also make it far simpler to keep track of the renewal date going forward as it will always be the same date! This also avoids landlords having to wait until the last minute and not gaining access, or having to shorten the annual cycle to comply with the law.

When are the changes to landlord gas safety regulations happening?

Subject to Parliament approval (which seems likely), the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 will come into force on 6 April 2018. The current legislation will continue to apply up to and including 5 April 2018, along with the Approved Code of Practice and guidance supporting it.

April 2018

We are now advertising our properties on 'onthemarket.com' as well as Rightmove and Zoopla.

OnTheMarket has already established itself as the UK's third largest, and agent-backed, UK residential property portal provider in terms of traffic. They are increasing their marketing budget to up to £25 million per annum for the first two years to raise the profile of the OnTheMarket.com brand and continue to build their consumer audience and agent listing.

Have a fantastic Easter weekend everyone!!!

January 2018

It can be difficult for tenants to put their stamp on their rental property, particularly in winter when there's nothing better than cosy nights in at home!

Take a look at our top tips for making your rental home feel like home.

Don’t forget that if you are wishing to undertake any decorating you will need to get permission from your landlord.

  • Use soft furnishings to make your mark. Choose an accent colour or jazzy pattern and use curtains and cushions to tie this in. This is particularly useful if you live in furnished accommodation.
  • If you choose a non-furnished property you will be able to purchase your own furniture to your own taste.
  • Have you heard about temporary wall and tile decals, these simply stick on to walls or bathroom tiles and peel off when you leave.
  • Display art and photos – don’t forget to check you are ok to pop nails in the wall before you do so. If you’re not allowed to do this, explore other options such as displaying art by standing frames on your fireplace and any shelves.
  • Accessorise – use quirky and stylish accessories such as colourful rugs and floor lamps.
  • Pick up some plants – plants are perfect for livening up any space.Get creative with storage – whilst you may not be able to put up shelves, consider ladder style shelves that simply lean against walls or IKEA do some great free standing shelving units that can provide a great backdrop to a room once filled with books, dvds and pictures.
  • Use mirrors to create the illusion of more space, you can lean these against walls rather than hang them up.

If your landlord has given you permission to decorate, make sure that you also check if they are expecting you to return the property to its original condition when you move out. You might not want to redecorate a property that you are leaving!

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