Stamp Duty Holiday – What does it mean for you?

On the 8th July 2020, the government has today (8th July) unveiled a new stamp duty holiday that will run until 31st March next year. Read here for more details.

The impact has been striking but what does this mean for you?

Previously, stamp duty would have to be paid on homes sold for at least £125,000, or if a first-time buyer, on properties sold for more than £300,000.

Rishi Sunak has now raised this threshold to £500,000. Benefiting nine out of ten homebuyers paying no stamp duty at all, the average stamp duty bill falling by £4,500 and to help reinvigorate the post pandemic housing market.

Because the tax is paid after the sale of the home is finalised, even people who are midway through the process of buying a property will benefit from these changes. Buy-to-let investors and people in the market for a second home will also experience some relief due to the tax holiday, seeing a reduction to the stamp duty liability they would have otherwise have paid.

Not having to pay stamp duty means that all buyers will have more spare cash to help in the moving process, secure deposits and make renovations. Balancing a mortgage and decorating your dream home just got a little bit easier, making now the best time to dive into the property market.

With the team all now back at Lawler and Co, we are ready and waiting to answer all your queries, and help you find your perfect home.

 

allAgents Awards 2019 – Lawler and Co. win again!

Lawler and Co. win allAgents Awards 2019 in the Stockport area! Going above and beyond for their customers!

After the team being recognised in the allAgents Awards 2019 for their great customer service, we thought we would tell you all just how much we LOVE selling houses, and WHY!?

At Lawler & Co, we LOVE our jobs, we really do. We love to sell houses, we love to make our vendors happy and we love to find our buyers their dream homes.

We genuinely listen to our customers to understand their needs, whether they are selling or buying.

Looking after each sale and purchase personally, communication is key – you need to feel that you are in safe hands, and we want you to be happy!

Accompanying all viewings is standard, because we know sales. We know that potential buyers feel more comfortable asking questions with an agent, rather than a home owner. We know it works.

Taking absolute pride in marketing your property in the best possible way, with fantastic photographs and prominent branches throughout Stockport.

Our teams are all experienced and with a wealth of local knowledge can advise on anything from what day the bin collection is to what are the best local schools.

As a bespoke independent estate agency with prominent branches in Hazel Grove, Marple and Poynton we don’t believe in call centres to answer your calls. We want to offer the best personal experience from beginning to end.

Above all, we all thrive on doing a good job. When we see happy customers, we know we have done our job properly!

www.lawlerandcompany.co.uk

TENANT FEES BAN HAS BECOME LAW!

On 1st June 2019, the Tenant Fees Ban became law. Is this a good thing you ask?

This is a good thing, due to some Letting Agents charging inflated prices for tenant credit checks and check in/inventories. And under the new laws, there is almost a blanket ban on all tenant fees with a limit to the amount they can charge for a tenancy deposit, loss of keys, late rent fees and charges.

This new legislation will be mandatory for every assured shorthold tenancy in the private rented sector, and all new tenancies concluded after 1st June 2019. From 1st June 2020 these rules WILL apply for existing tenancies.

Confused by it all…..? Really the only things an agent or landlord can charge for are payments related to utilities and broadband, tenancy deposit, holding deposit, changes to agreement, TV Licence, Council Tax, Loss of Key, and a default fee for late payment. Here at Lawler and Co. we never did charge for a lot of that, and believe that the new rules are quite fair for all concerned.

So what are the 10 main points of these new laws?

  • Viewings for prospective tenants will not be charged
  • Letting agents and Landlords will not be allowed to charge for admin – all referencing, financial checks, admin and guarantors will have to be paid by the Landlord or agent. Renewal fees will still have to be paid for by tenant for tenancies that started before 1 June 2019.
  • Landlords and Letting agents will be able to charge tenants for end of tenancy cleaning or check out fees, providing the tenancy agreement was agreed before 1 June 2019. Otherwise professional end of tenancy cleans will not be charged to the tenant except in extreme (including evidence) situations. This may be something that could cause fireworks!
  • Agents will no longer be able to charge for expenses they incur using third parties, e.g. referencing or credit check agencies, gardening services or guarantor requests. Landlords will have to pay for any of these services.
  • No changes will be made to the day, time and method of monthly/weekly rent payments.
  • Deposits capped– Landlords and agents will only be able to charge a maximum of 5 weeks rent, or if the annual rent of the property exceeds £50,000, 6 weeks rent.
  • Holding fees will be limited to the equivalent of one weeks rent, and Agents will not be able to continue advertising a property if a tenant has reserved it with a holding fee. When the tenancy is confirmed, the fee needs to be repaid or after 15 days if the agreement doesn’t go through.
  • Contract fee for amendments is capped at £50.00. If it costs the Agent more than £50.00. proof will have to be provided.
  • Contract charges will be reduced if the tenant leaves before the end of the contract. No extra fees allowed just the amount they have to pay until the end of the tenancy.
  • Restricted late payments. This applies to rent more than 14 days overdue, and it must be written into the contract from the get go. The charge for late payment is not to exceed 3% more than the Bank of England’s annual percentage rate (0.75% at time of writing) for each day the payment is owed.

A little known fact about the tenant fee ban is that all letting agents are legally obliged to advertise any and all permitted payments within their office premises and any online marketing, they must also state who their Client Money Protection (CMP) is with and what redress scheme(s) they are members of and regulated by.

The below is an example of how agents should be advertising in branch and online tenant permitted payments and CMP/Redress schemes;

Tenants Permitted Payments, Client Money Protection (CMP) & Agents Redress Schemes

As per the Tenant Fees Act 2019 Schedule 1 we charge tenants the following permitted payments (inclusive of VAT);

A refundable tenancy deposit (reserved for any damages or defaults on the part of the tenant) held in a government backed deposit scheme equal to one months rent.

Change of Tenant/Tenancy Agreement Amendments £50.00 plus any reasonable costs on the landlord or agents part.

Early Termination or Surrender of the tenancy when requested by the tenant any reasonable costs incurred by the landlord (ie lost rent or fees for a new tenancy).

Replacement of lost or stolen keys and or fobs within the boundary of the property at the cost of the relevant keys and or fobs plus reasonable costs on the agents part (£15per hour). Lock changes would be carried out at the tenants expense.

The landlords reasonable costs for the late or non payment of rent along with interest at 3% above the bank of England base rate.

Lawler and Company Lettings have client money protection (CMP) with The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

Lawler and Company Lettings are currently regulated and a member of the Redress Scheme The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and Trading Standards for Property.

Lawler and Company Lettings are members of The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)

Lawler and Company Lettings currently register all managed clients deposits with The Deposit Protection Service (DPS)

Company Lets are still subject to a non refundable application fee of £300.00

How much is your property worth? Is the price right?

How do you know what the right price is to put your house on the market for? Is the valuation correct? The ups and downs of the property market over the past decade makes assessing a suitable asking price a bit more difficult. It involves not only the state of the market, but also factors including the property’s condition, the level of demand, and – of course – location.

Some vendors want to try their luck at getting the highest price but overvaluing a property is the most common mistake to make and can cost a vendor dear, sitting on the market for longer than necessary and comparable homes looking to appear to be bargains when they are just priced correctly. Overpricing your property may not sell yours but may sell your neighbours!

There are ways to make sure your home goes on sale at just the right price. Here are some tips to help:

Sales prices in the area
Study the sales prices in your street and its immediate surroundings, concentrating on the last six months. The information is freely available on property websites and will give you a reasonably up to date idea of the state of the local market. Rather than look at the asking prices concentrate on the actual selling price.

Price differentials – Be aware
No two houses are the same so don’t assume you will get as much for your home as your neighbours got for theirs only last month. It is perfectly feasible for homes that sit side by side to be worth significantly different amounts.

Location Location Location
Homes close to excellent schools or transport links will sell at a premium, If they are also in good condition, with a high specification – eg with sash windows and/or engineered wood floors – they might also top local ceiling prices.

Square Footage rather than number of rooms
Estate agents base their valuations on the square footage of a property rather than the number of rooms. If your one-bedroom apartment is larger than average, buyers will pay more for it. On the downside, if it is a bit poky, a bit run down, or suffers from a blight such as being on a busy road or near the railway tracks, you’re going to have to trim your expectations.

Invest in your property
If you’ve invested in your property you can expect to get some of your money back, especially if you have added floor space. It goes without saying that a property that has enlarged or had several home improvements will achieve more than a basic like for like nieghbouring property. However be mindful that not all improvements equal an increase in price. Improvements that are too tailored to your likes could people off the increase in price.

Shop around for your Valuation.
Get valuations from at least three agents. Ask them to provide examples of what similar properties have sold for – they will have even more up to date information than the online portals.

Highest Valuation isn’t always best!
Don’t necessarily go with the highest valuation you receive. If a valuation seems too good to be true, it probably is. The first six to eight weeks are the optimum selling time.

If you are considering a move please call into one of our friendly offices or telephone your local branch and we can arrange for one of our valuers to visit your home and provide a free no obligation valuation. Click here for more information.

How to Improve your EPC Rating

Each and every UK building, whether they’re up for sale or let, they must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

An EPC survey can be carried out quite easily and this is something Lawler & Co can arrange for you. It’ll help you find ways to save money on bills and improve the overall efficiency of your home.

Remember the rules changed from 1st April 2018, it will be illegal to let out a property that doesn’t comply with the minimum performance rating (E).

 

Image result for epc

But what is an EPC?

When you purchase a new appliance, you’ll notice it has a coloured sticker on it. It’s what lets you know how energy efficient the appliance is. It’s exactly the same for buildings, each one has an EPC rating from A (the most efficient) – G (the least efficient). The rating lets you know how costly it is to both warm up and cool down your home.

It also lets you gain insight into how you can make your home more cost-efficient.

An EPC rating is required even if you aren’t renting out or selling your home; you can then figure out how efficient your home really is.

So what can you do to boost your EPC rating?

  • Install roof insulation – this usually remains effective for at least 40 years.
  • Examine your windows – could they be further insulated?
  • Inspect your walls for cavities and fix them (if there are any) to reduce the risk of air infiltration.
  • If you use halogen light, replace it with LED light or compact fluorescent light.
  • Install modern temperature controls, like a thermostat.
  • Look at your appliances and see if you can replace them with ones that have higher energy ratings.
  • Consider implementing ways to obtain renewable energy, like solar panels.

Are you currently in the market to buy or let? Find your next property with your local Lawler & Co estate agent today.

To request a sale or rental valuation click here

To register for a property For Sale or Let click here

10 Essentials Things your Rental Property Needs

As a landlord you must follow certain rules and regulations; largely, the legal requirements are the same for all landlords, although some may depend on the type of property you have whilst others may differ depending on where you live. We have put together a list of 10 essentials we think your property needs, both legal requirements and things that we consider necessities for today’s prospective tenants.

Image result for rental properties

  1. Tenancy agreement

At the start of each tenancy you must give your tenant a copy of a written agreement signed by you both outlining your terms and the type of tenancy that they have. Letting your property through a reputable agency ensures that your agreement is legal and covers all of the necessities.

  1. Gas safety

Your rental property must be checked by an approved Gas Safe engineer once a year and if any repairs are required, they must be completed immediately.

  1. Electrical certificate

It’s the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that all electrical appliances are safe for use before each tenancy. If your property falls under the new House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) rules then you are legally required to get an Electrical Installation Condition Report.

  1. Insurance

You’ve invested in a property so you shouldn’t make the mistake of forgetting to also get the correct insurance. As a landlord, you are responsible for maintaining the property but you should also consider an insurance policy that covers damages, liability, loss of rent, legal expenses and home emergencies.

  1. EPC

Since April 2018 all rental properties must have an Energy Performance rating of an E or above before they can be let out. To avoid any unnecessary fines, or worse, you should check the Energy Performance Certificate for your rental property.

  1. Smoke alarm

Landlords must install at least one smoke alarm on each storey in their rental properties, along with a carbon monoxide alarm in any rooms that have an appliance that burns solid fuel such as coal or wood.

  1. Management plan

Whether you choose to self-manage your rental property or contract a reputable agent to take on the responsibility, you will need a management plan to ensure that all contracts, repairs, and maintenance etc. are taken care of.

  1. Broadband

A good internet connection is essential to the modern-day tenant, who now has high expectations of Wi-Fi access in their rented home. Many people are now working from home, either occasionally or on a more regular basis, due to flexible working conditions or freelancing. Now considered as a ‘fourth utility’, broadband speed not only attracts tenants but can also help increase rental yields.

  1. Mobile signal

Technology has taken over our homes and it’s no different if you’re renting. Tenants now ask about mobile signal when considering a rental property, so it’s good to know which service providers have the best signal and, if there is low signal in your area in general, offering Wi-Fi can enable tenants to use Wi-Fi calling from their smartphone.

10. Protect your tenants deposit

Every landlord must put the deposit they receive from a tenant into a Government-backed tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days. The three Government-approved schemes are the Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Again this can be arranged by a reputable letting agency if you don’t want to do it yourself.

 

To prevent any void periods at your rental property it’s important to know and understand the essentials that aren’t just your legal responsibility but also will also attract the right tenants. If you have any questions about being a landlord or need advice on what to do next, contact our Lettings Manager Martin Adams on 0161 300 7144.

New Year, New Home for 2019

Make selling your home your New Year’s resolution.

Image result for 2019 housing market

January is a month where it seems like the entire world starts to make changes to their lives. The amount of New Year resolutions that get made in a hurry is startling, and it is understandable that many of these resolutions fall by the wayside in next to no time. However, there are some things worth persevering with, and it is possible to make significant changes to your life.

If you want to move home, 2019 could be the year when you make the move. There have been some people waiting for the market to improve for some years, but the reality is, people are moving. At Lawler & Co Estate Agents, we are pleased to say we have helped many homeowners sell their home and if you want to sell in 2019, we are here to help.

SUPPLY & DEMAND – LIST IN THE NEW YEAR

 

At this time of year there are plenty of motivated buyers who are ready to offer. However, there simply isn’t enough stock on the market to meet this high demand.

Low supply equals high demand, but what does this mean for you as a seller? It means that it’s now a seller’s market and the odds are highly stacked in your favour.

Trust us when we say “there’s no time like the present!”

We aren’t going to say it will be a straightforward process but with our support, it will be easier than without our help. We are local estate agents and we are pleased to say we have experience in the local property market. We know what buyers are looking for and we know what the area has to offer.

Call us now to arrange your free no obligation valuation or click here to arrange online.

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2019!

Lawler & Co would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2019!

The year has just flown by here, having helped many more people move. We hope everyone who has moved with us this year enjoys their first Christmas in their new home.

Our offices are open over the Christmas break so if you have any questions, see any properties you would like to view or would like a valuation on your home please give us a call. Click here for for our contact number.

Christmas opening times below:

Saturday 22nd December – 9am -4pm

Sunday 23rd December – CLOSED

Monday 24th December – CLOSED

Tuesday 25th December – CLOSED

Wednesday 26th December – CLOSED

Thursday 27th December – 10am – 4pm

Friday 28th December – 10am – 4pm

Saturday 29th December – 10am – 4pm

Sunday 30th December – CLOSED

Monday 31st December – CLOSED

Tuesday 1st January – CLOSED

Wednesday 2nd January – Business as usual

From all the team at Lawler & Co, we wish you a lovely Christmas and all the best for 2019!

How to Improve Your Credit Score

When buying a house it’s important that your credit score is at a certain level, otherwise your mortgage could be declined. It is impossible to improve your credit score quickly so you are best the make changes now for when you are thinking of getting a mortgage in the future. That’s why it’s important that in the year leading up to purchasing a property or re-mortgaging your property, you spend time looking at your rating and work on ways to make improvements. Here are some top tips from credit scorer ‘Clearscore’ and ‘MoneySavingExpert’ to help you out.

Image result for credit score

1. START GETTING SOME bills in your name

If you live in a rental at the moment and your housemates, family or partner pay all of the bills, take on some of the bills in order to build your credit rating. Not having had to pay bills may seem like you were responsible but it doesn’t actually show lenders how you are with money. So if you take on some of the bills and make sure you pay them on time then you will see not just more stamps on your credit score but also a steady increase in your score.

2. Card and bill payments

A quick win is to pay off your credit card in small payments throughout the month, as opposed to just once a month when your bill arrives as this will improve your rating. This extends to phone bills, utility bills and any other household bills too – any late payments will show on your account and immediately lower your credit score so it’s important to pay them as soon as they are due.

3. Credit card usage

It often confuses people that they can be penalised on their credit score for not having a credit card whatsoever. It’s a good idea to have a credit card but you have to be careful as it’s all about how you’re using it; if you can keep your credit card usage at 30% or less and pay off your bills when they come in, even if it’s just the minimum amount then over time your credit score will increase, although it’s important to note that after the initial credit check from a card provider, it will drop slightly (more info in point 4) – but don’t panic, this will go up.

4. Be aware that checks take points

Every time you apply for credit (i.e. for a credit card, loan, new utility bills) your rating will dip slightly when a hard search is done on your accounts. Therefore, be conscious of how many you’re doing, as these checks take a year to be wiped from your record. Don’t apply for credit too frequently in a short space of time as this may make lenders feel that you’re overly reliant on credit and are high risk for them.

5. Save for those big purchases

When it comes to large purchases, instead of just sticking unusual, large amounts on your credit card or missing your credit card bills to afford them, think ahead and save regularly in a savings account for rainy days and purchases like this. This way, the purchases can occur without affecting your credit rating.

6. Register on the electoral roll

You are legally obliged to vote so make sure you sign up online or by post. It’s easy to do and alongside your registered bills, it will prove your address and therefore make your credit score higher. This is an easy way to add a few extra points to your score.

7. Keep your address up to date

When you move house, your credit scorer loses tabs on you and therefore your score can drop. Registering to vote is a good way to get your new address to sync with credit scorer sites so make sure you check for your new address and pick it once it’s available. If it’s incorrect then report it immediately. The longer you’re at an address, the steadier your credit score will grow, so try not to move regularly otherwise your credit score will show uncertainty.

8. Get your joint accounts in check

If you have an account which is linked to another person, such as a spouse, friend or family member, actions in a joint account will still affect your credit score so it’s important to keep an eye and a handle on these too. In the run up to your property purchase it’s important they act responsibly in your joint accounts to keep your credit score as healthy as possible.

9. Check for fraud

Although rare, if you notice odd credit checks or any activity which doesn’t apply to you on your credit score account, make sure you report it and investigate whether someone has been using your details fraudulently. It’s important to check this and act on it as taking the responsibility for someone else’s credit actions could be affecting your credit score negatively and will take a while to be investigated and resolved.

10. Dealing with outstanding debts

If you already have debt, you should focus on clearing your repayments in the short term, in order to see your credit score improve. Don’t apply for new credit, as the checks and the use of more credit will see your credit score drop more.

When it comes to improving your credit score, there are some really simple corrections you can make which will make a massive difference to your score, so why not action some of the above pointers and get your credit in order. Speak to a mortgage broker or financial adviser for more detailed help and advice on improving your rating. Then start your property hunt with us. Click here

AWARD WINNING ESTATE AGENT IN STOCKPORT

It’s that time of the year again where the results of the AllAgents awards are announced and again we have proved we go above and beyond for our customers as ALL of our offices have won 1 or 2 awards!

The Marple office has been awarded Gold for the BEST ESTATE AGENT in SK6 for the fourth year running!! The Hazel Grove office has been awarded Silver for the BEST ESTATE AGENT in Stockport and SK7.

Finally the Poynton office has been awarded Gold for the BEST ESTATE AGENT in SK12 after only being open 1 year!!

So, if you are struggling to decide which agent to choose to market your home, call Lawler & Co now to arrange a Free no obligation valuation and we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Click here to see what our customers think