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7 Essential Tips For Tenants This Christmas

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Published: 12/12/2017   Last Updated: 12/12/2017 15:24:59   Author: LBH    Tags: Tenants, Letting Agents, Christmas


Christmas  is just around the corner and we can  almost hear the sound of Santa's  bells. But before you leave your home  to visit family for the holidays,  we have some top tips to share with  you to ensure you don't have any  issues while you're away...

1. Update emergency contact details
Make   sure that you know how to get in touch with us in the event of an   emergency. Our office will be closed Friday 22nd December at 4pm, and   will reopen on Tuesday 2rd January 2017 at 9am. Emails  will not be  monitored during this time. In case of emergency only, out  of office  hours, please send us an SMS to 07966 662971 with your name,  address,  phone number and the full details of the problem. If  the issue is  deemed to be an emergency, our Out of Hours Team will call  you back to  arrange the necessary action. Please note this number is  for  emergencies only and you may be charged an small administration fee for  incorrect use.
Non-urgent repair requests should be emailed to us in  the usual way and  will be actioned as quickly as possible upon our  return on the 2nd  January.  

2. How to avoid burst pipe disasters
It   is essential that heating is left on low and us not switched off.  Pipes  can freeze and then burst during the cold weather and this can  lead to  major leaks causing much damage to property and your contents.  To ensure  this does not happen, we kindly request you leave your  heating on low  and constant over the winter weeks when you are not  home. If damage is  caused due to your failure to do this, you may be  liable for associated  costs - so it is vital you do so.

3. Know thy boiler 
Burst   pipes and other potential problems can be prevented by ensuring that   the heating remains on low during cold spells. Be sure to know how your   heating system works. If you require a copy of your manuals, these are   available on line (by searching the make and model) or from Dwell  during  office hours. If there is any issue with your heating or hot  water  (boiler) not working properly, the first thing to do before  calling the  emergency number is to check the pressure. This should be  set between 1  and 2 bar on the gauge. Pressure drops are by far the  single most common  problem with heating and hot water. If the pressure  has dropped to  around 0, you can top this up yourself by opening the  value for the  filing loop and increasing the pressure. Ensure you know  how to do this  correctly by reading the manual before attempting to do  so. If you can’t  find a user manual, please google the make and model  number for  details.

4. Know thy stop tap
It   is essential you know where to find the stopcock in the event of a   plumbing emergency. Please make familiarise yourselves with the  stopcock  location if you do not know where it is. If there is a leak,  the  stopcock will need to be turned off quickly to avoid damage to the   property, so it is important that you know where it is.

5. Security
If   you are going away over the Christmas period (or, indeed, at any time   during the year), you might consider having a lighting timer system   fitted. This can be an effective way of reducing the chances of   burglary. Always ensure all doors and windows are locked securely too   and alarms are set if provide.

5. Know thy fusebox 
Ensure   you know the location of your fuse box. If an electical itme, sockets,  or lights stop working suddenly it is usually due to a tripped switch  on the fusebox. Check this first and reset the switch. You might also  consider leaving  a torch in an obvious location (for example the  kitchen) in order to  make sure you can find it in the event that a fuse  is blown or a switch  tripped.

6. Avoid the dreaded condensation
Condensation   can damage paintwork and fixtures and fittings, and can be a problem   during the colder winter months. This can be seen as black mould on  cold  surfaces which are poorly ventilated, and is often confused with  damp.  Make sure that you keep rooms properly ventilated, and that an  even  heated  temperature is maintained throughout the property, in  order to  reduce condensation.

7. Stay covered 
Make   sure your contents insurance policy is up to date and it hasn't  expired. This policy should cover you should the worst happen - fire,  theft, loss, or accidental damage, In addition, under  the terms of your  tenancy agreement, you are required to advise us if  you are leaving  the property for more than 14 days. Please send us an email to let us  know if you are going away for 2 weeks or more. This  often affects the  terms of your landlords insurance policy and may also  affect your  contents insurance policy. If you need a contents insurance  quote, contact us here and we'll get you a great quote.

Thank you for your assistance in looking after your home this Christmas!

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018!

The Team at Dwell Leeds

#MovingYouForwards

Don’t be haunted by ghost gazumping

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Published: 12/04/2016   Last Updated: 10/05/2016 09:26:13   Tags: Buyers, Investors, Landlords, Tenants, Vendors

Over the years estate agents have received a lot of criticism for unscrupulous practices.

Whenever I read or hear a story about a ‘dodgy’ estate agent my heart genuinely sinks.

The damage these rogue agents do to the industry’s reputation is appalling and makes it much harder for the vast majority of honest, hard working and professional agents  to win the public’s trust.

One sharp practice is ghost gazumping. It’s when a seller agrees a fee with a buyer then a few weeks later raises the price saying they’ve received an offer from another very interested party.

When this higher offer comes in just before completion the prospective buyer is faced with coming up with thousands of pounds more or suffering the agony of losing their ideal home.

That kind of practice is bad enough but often the last minute mystery bidder doesn’t even exist. Some unscrupulous agents are involved in this web of deceit and it sickens me.

If you ever come across this practice please report it to The Property Ombudsman.

At Dwell Leeds I can hand on heart promise you we never, ever get involved in these kinds of immoral and dishonest practices.

I remember reading about an example of ghost gazumping in 2008.

A seller, who was a property developer, had agreed a price on a refurbished home with a young family. It was their dream place and they couldn’t wait to move in.

Then the seller took advice from his agent suggesting he could up the price as the property market had risen since their offer.

The seller agreed and said someone had come in with an offer of £10,000 more (no one had) and that he needed them to beat this offer. No doubt he and the agent were banking on the family’s desire for this home.

To cut a long story short the family, as heartbroken as they were, couldn’t raise the extra money and out of principle pulled out of the deal.

Now for the bit that makes me believe in property karma. Just two weeks after the buyers pulled out the credit crash hit wreaking havoc in the housing market. Almost overnight the market dried up like the Sahara.

The greedy seller in question was left with a property he couldn’t sell. Prices in his area tumbled as buyers simply wouldn’t or couldn’t make offers.

With a desperate bank banging down his door calling in the loan he had taken out on the property he was left with no option but to sell for a very low price simply to cut his losses.

In the end he lost more than £150,000 simply by trying to wring out an extra £10,000 from a young family. Good I hear you cry and I agree.

The unscrupulous agent also missed out on the commission and tarnished their reputation (and unfortunately the industry’s).

At Dwell Leeds we always act with integrity and advise honestly so you won’t have to fear ghosts or prices that go and jump in the night.

Thanks for reading.

Dwell Leeds,

Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Dwell Leeds and our team on 0113 3572260 or email: info@dwell-leeds.com for honest, expert and friendly advice.

Shower power versus bathtub bliss

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Published: 30/03/2016   Last Updated: 10/05/2016 09:33:54   Tags: Buyers, Investors, Landlords, Students, Tenants, Vendors

Imagine a world without baths – it’s easy if you try. (Wasn’t that a John Lennon lyric?)

A footballer being sent off for an early shower doesn’t have the same ring to it does it? (Have you seen the baths in the dressing rooms at Wembley Stadium? Seriously, you could actually swim in them.)

Having a soak in a hot shower doesn’t sound quite as appealing as relaxing in the tub.

However, we’re seeing more and more properties without baths. The most common reason for this is to create extra space.

If you have a big bathroom and a capable builder often, with a bit of creativity, you can turn the space into two rooms – a bathroom and box/study room – by installing a shower and removing the bath.

Having a bath is often seen as a luxury in our increasingly hectic lifestyles. Does having one or not affect a property’s value? Not really.

Some people will insist on having a bath especially if they have young children but a lot of our buyers don’t seem to have a strong preference.

For me, having a bath after a long, busy day is fantastic. Now where did I leave the bath salts?

Thanks for reading,

Dwell Leeds.

Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Jon and our team on 0113 2572260 or email: info@dwell-leeds.com for honest, expert and friendly advice.

How available is your estate agent?

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Published: 22/03/2016   Last Updated: 10/05/2016 09:35:59   Tags: Buyers, Investors, Landlords, Students, Tenants, Vendors

One thing the team here at Dwell Leeds has in common is that we’ve all bought and sold homes in the past.

This means we have walked a mile in our clients’ shoes and can see our business from their perspective.

We were discussing this in our office this week. One of the biggest frustrations we had with our individual dealings with estate agents was how hard it was to speak with them. Basic stuff, but very important when you’re making what will probably be the biggest purchase/sale of your life.

I remember when I was in the process of buying my first home and leaving messages for the agent to call me but only getting a response two or three days later.

It was one of the things we vowed to do differently when we started Dwell Leeds.

That’s why we include our mobile numbers on our business cards. That’s also why we operate an ‘out of hours’ service where if a client wants to contact us after usual office hours they can.

In the age of the internet we could have gone down the route of being an online only estate agency, having a virtual office somewhere and doing the majority of our work over the phone or via email.

But from our own buying and selling experience we all agreed that having offices in prominent local locations would help us deliver even better client service.

We get lots of people popping into our office to discuss how their sale is progressing or to book a valuation. For me that face to face interaction is incredibly important.

When you instruct an agent to work on your behalf you want there to be trust and rapport. We believe the best way to achieve that is by meeting with and talking to people about their needs.

Thanks for reading,

Dwell Leeds.

Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Jon and our team on 0113 3572260 or email: info@dwell-leeds.com for honest, expert and friendly advice.

The sweet smell of success

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Published: 10/03/2016   Last Updated: 10/05/2016 09:38:05   Tags: Buyers, Investors, Landlords, Students, Tenants, Vendors

At Dwell Leeds we know first impressions count – whether it’s a job interview, a date or viewing a property.

Home buyers nowadays make even quicker snap judgments than they did a decade ago.

We constantly find that buyers want properties that not only appeal to their eyes but also their noses.

I’m sure you’ve read or heard about how properties where the smell of coffee brewing or freshly baked bread makes viewers swoon.

However, in the real world it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have an endless stream of homemade loaves in the oven or a constant cafetiere on the go – unless you’re selling a coffee shop of course.

Realistically the best way to create an instant positive impact on once someone’s sense of smell when they have stepped through your front door is a combination or ALL of the following:

- Fresh flowers – not only look good they smell good

- Freshly painted walls – always a good investment when preparing a property for sale.

- Clean crisp bed sheets and don’t forget there are some fantastically subtle plug-in air fresheners are on the market now.

The smells to avoid like an overflowing fish bin on the hottest day of the year include:

- Stale tobacco.

- Food caddies which are full of old food in the kitchen

- Cheap and nasty air fresheners.

- Old cat litter, damp dog blankets and any other animal related smells.

Put simply nice smells sell while stale air fails.

Thanks for reading,

Dwell Leeds

Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Jon and our team on 0113 3572260 or email: info@dwell-leeds.com for honest, expert and friendly advice.

When cheap isn’t very cheerful

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Published: 29/02/2016   Last Updated: 10/05/2016 09:43:20   Tags: Buyers, Investors, Landlords, Tenants, Vendors

Estate agents’ fees for selling a property can vary wildly. In many parts of central London 2.5 per cent is a standard fee. However, I’ve seen agents advertising fees as low as 0.25 % or even a flat rate of £500.

There is no way any agent doing their job properly can charge £500 and make money. They would have to cut more corners than a Grand Prix driver in several key areas just to break even or reduce their losses.

For a property to achieve its best price in the shortest possible period of time it needs to be well marketed.

Online portals aren’t cheap, neither are professionally designed marketing materials. However, the area where the vendor can get really short-changed by a ‘cheap’ fee is the level of personal service they receive.

When an agency bases its business on charging rock bottom fees there’s no way they can attract the best level of staff because good people won’t work for low wages. The saying ‘if you pay peanuts you get monkeys’ springs to mind.

Remember selling your home is probably one of the single biggest transactions you will make in your life.

You want to get the best possible price for your property. The difference between a quick sale and a good sale could be tens (even hundreds) of thousands of pounds.

At Dwell Leeds we’re flexible on our commission fees to a point. We’re not a ‘pile them high, sell them cheap’ agency but we do understand it’s a competitive market and we always aim to be competitive.

But one thing we never compromise on is our commitment to looking after your property needs as best we can.

Thanks for reading

Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Jon and our team on0113 357 2260 or email jon@dwell-leeds.com for honest, expert and friendly advice.

Top areas for professional lets in Leeds

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Published: 09/09/2015   Last Updated: 06/06/2016 15:22:29   Tags: Buyers, Investors, Landlords, Students, Tenants, Vendors

Leeds is a dynamic and exciting place to live but if you’re looking for your first home in the city, choosing the best area to live can prove to be a little daunting!

Here at Dwell our portfolio of professional lets in Leeds covers a wide range of areas so we thought we’d offer an insight into just some of the best places to live for Leeds-newbies.  Our next post will give more ideas on great places to live in Leeds for professional tenants.

Leeds City Centre

Living in the centre of Leeds is an obvious choice for professionals and is the ideal location for anyone who works in the city centre.  Including a wide range of stylish options for city-centre living, our property portfolio covers stunning executive apartments and well-designed flats.

Leeds city centre boasts some of the best shopping opportunities outside London, alongside countless restaurants, bars and cafes.  Leeds now enjoys a reputation for its distinctive cultural scene, thanks to the city’s wide range of museums, art galleries, theatres and music venues.  If you like nothing more than being right at the heart of the action and within easy reach of the office, Leeds city centre will be right up your street!

Headingley

Just north of the city centre, Headingley has become a firm favourite with young professionals and students alike.  Offering an unbeatable selection of gorgeous period properties, many of which have been converted into elegant flats, Headingley’s tree-lined streets are within easy reach of the city centre.

Living in Headingly doesn’t mean that you’ll have to head into the city centre for entertainment though as this diverse area of Leeds boasts a great selection of independent shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and several cinemas.  The perfect location for anyone who likes to maintain a hip and happening social life, we think Headingley is pretty hard to beat.

Chapel Allerton

Whether you’re a young professional or a busy working family, we think you’ll find that Chapel Allerton ticks all the right boxes.  This area of Leeds has a really relaxed feel to it, thanks to its mixture of stylish independent shops, laid-back cafes and bars.  Properties in Chapel Allerton are as diverse as the area itself and include everything from spacious detached Victorian homes, through to contemporary new build apartments.

Chapel Allerton is within easy reach of Leeds city centre and because of its location to the north east, also makes a great place to live if you need to commute to towns such as Harrogate and Wetherby.

Cookridge

Cookridge offers the best of both worlds: a tranquil, leafy suburb, this lovely area of Leeds offers a great range of local amenities whilst being within easy commuting distance of the city centre.

Cookridge has its very own ‘village centre’ and thanks to its location in-between the areas of Headingley and Horsforth, a wide selection of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants are within easy reach.  Golf enthusiasts will appreciate the 18 hole course at Cookridge Hall but if golf isn’t your thing, Cookridge Hall also has a fantastic fitness centre and gym.

Cookridge offers a diverse choice of housing, ranging from spacious detached properties through to stylish flats.  A superb location for professionals who want to live within easy reach of the office, Cookridge has a real cosy village feel; perfect for getting away from it all at the weekends and after work.

If you’re looking for a professional let in Leeds we hope this insight will help!  This article covers just a few of the residential areas Leeds has to offer. Here at Dwell Leeds we’re specialists in helping professionals find their ideal home in Leeds and if you would like advice on the best area for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Don't forget to come back in a few weeks time for more suggestions on great locations for professional lets in Leeds.

 

To learn more about the best areas for professional lets in Leeds, check out our area guides by clicking on the links in the footers.

 

Leeds is a great place to buy to let!

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Published: 20/05/2013   Last Updated: 06/06/2016 15:27:49   Tags: Buyers, Investors, Landlords, Tenants, Vendors

Buy-to-let properties in Leeds offer a better investment than ever.

Although renting has become a way of life for many young professionals, for many it’s not a situation they want to be in. However it does mean that for anyone considering investing in a rental property in the Leeds area, the chances of finding tenants are higher than ever, making buy-to-let a cost-effective option once again.

Savers are finding that the returns on their accounts are pretty dismal; making the figures for investing in buy-to-let looks increasingly appealing. The demand for rental properties among young professionals unable to make that first step onto the housing ladders is rising with many having to rent during their 20s, 30s and even beyond. The average first-time buyer is now in their thirties with the age of those buying their first property without financial help being older.

Countrywide, the UK’s biggest lettings agency, released figures this week which show that the average rent in England, Scotland and Wales has risen for six months in a row, hitting the £842 mark last month. This is a 0.8 per cent increase year-on-year.

Whilst average yields (the annual rent as a percentage of the price paid for a property) are a very healthy 6.2 per cent, it is still essential to make sensible choices when it comes to choosing a property and tenants. Although young professionals are often seen as reliable tenants, it is very important adequate identity, credit and reference checks are carried out before the keys are handed over.

Remember that location is key to any successful buy-to-let investment. Rental properties in Leeds near stations tend to be snapped up and we find that properties within walking distance of Burley Park or Horsforth stations, for example, are always popular. It’s also worth considering how close a property is to local amenities such as restaurants or a gym.

Investing in a buy-to-let property in a university city such as Leeds can prove a wise investment as many young professionals settle in the city in which they studied, with many gravitating away from ‘traditional’ student areas such as Headingley or Hyde Park to Leeds city centre and the leafy suburbs of Roundhay, Chapel Allerton or Cookridge.

One final piece of advice: if you’re considering investing in buy-to-let, don’t discount a property that you wouldn’t want to live in yourself! Remember that the let-ability of a property often boils down to location and that many young professionals simply want to be within easy reach of transport to work or a couple of decent places to eat out!
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