• 0 8 Points All Landlords Should Know

    • by Matthew Chapman
    • 15-02-2021

    8 Points All Landlords Should Know Whether you’ve just bought your very first property in Suffolk or your fifth, being a landlord is a role where you can continually keep learning new things and facing new challenges. Other than keeping abreast of what’s happening in the property market, you also need to ensure that you’re following all the latest rules and requirements for landlords.Here at Asprey Ryan we’ve got years of experience working with landlords and dealing with the property market, so we’ve pretty much seen it all! To help you keep on top of all that you need to be aware of, we’ve created a handy list of the eight most essential things that every landlord should know. 1. Remain aware of what’s happening in the property market The conditions of the Suffolk housing market are continually changing. First and foremost, a good landlord should keep an eye on property market conditions. This will help inform you on how to market your property, as well as give you an idea of what price you should be expecting for it. You’ll also have a much better idea of the competition if you regularly do your market research 2. Understand the facilities in your property’s location Knowing the local neighbourhood that your property is located in can significantly affect how well you position your property. For instance, here in Suffolk there are some excellent schools in the area, so you may want to market your property as a family home. Likewise, if it’s located on the commuter belt, you could think about converting it into separate flats to accommodate four individual tenants instead of just one household. 3. Ensure that your Suffolk property is up to scratch When you rent out a property, you need to ensure that it meets certain requirements. You must ensure that it is a liveable space with a safe environment for any tenants that move in.Does it have the necessary smoke alarms?Are there any safety hazards?Is it wheelchair accessible?Ask the team here at Agent and Homes, as we can help you understand all the requirements your property needs to meet before you can rent it out. 4. Short on time? Asprey Ryan will be a huge help Want someone else to take on the load of the actual property management? Hire Asprey Ryan to look after your rental property and your tenants. Here are some of the many ways that we can help you:Advise you on rental property prices based on market conditionsMarket your property, online and offlineArrange and conduct viewings on your behalfDraw up tenancy agreementsProperty maintenance and repairs (no late night calls about broken boilers for you!)Collect rent every month and chase up late payments 5. Work out your taxes Before you start getting rent paid into your bank account, you should register with HMRC to ensure that you’re taxed accordingly. You’ll be taxed on all rental income after the first £1,000.It’s important to mention too that there are different tax rules for landlords depending on the type of property you own. Look into this on the HMRC website to make sure you’re doing all that’s legally required. 6. Set aside some money for emergency funds As a landlord, you should always be prepared. To remain within your budget, set aside a small amount in case anything goes wrong. For example, if your property is unexpectedly vacant for a short period, you should ensure that you can cover your mortgage payments without rental income. Work out how long this period would be.Set some money aside for any unexpected issues as well. No matter how new a property is, wear, tear, and weather may lead to the need for maintenance and repairs. 7. Comply with all legal requirements There are many legal requirements that you must follow as a landlord to ensure the safety of your tenants and to avoid fines and penalties. These include:Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Subsequent Amendments. These state that all gas appliances must be safe and checked annually.The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. The landlord is responsible for ensuring that their property is fitted with working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. Under these regulations, the landlord is required to make sure that all electrical appliances in the property are safe to use.EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) & MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards). These state that all landlords must provide a valid EPC certificate to their prospective tenants. 8. Check whether your local council requires any specific licences Contact your local council to check whether any other licenses are needed before you rent out your property. Some councils will have specific mandatory regulations above and beyond the ones mentioned above.Need expert advice? If you need any advice on renting out your property, please get in touch with our team at Asprey Ryan on 01728 768492 and we will be delighted to help you.

  • 0 Choosing an Estate Agent in Suffolk

    • by Matthew Chapman
    • 08-02-2021

    Congratulations on your decision to search for a new home in Suffolk. This is an exciting time for you and now is the right moment to consider two highly important elements to make sure you locate and purchase your dream property without hassle or stress. Right now, you may be in the position of not knowing where or how to start your search, or even what to look at first, and that’s where we come in! Here at Asprey Ryan we are experts in property searches in Suffolk and have plenty of useful tips to help you through the process. Trust the Professionals First and most importantly, you should always enlist the help of a professional estate agent to help you in your property search. Yes, of course we are biased, but trust us, a knowledgeable, local estate agent will save you hours of time, not only during your initial search, but also when it comes to viewing suitable properties, making an offer and negotiating a deal, right through to exchange and completion. It’s important you choose a reputable estate agent that you like and trust, that you understand the service offered and are happy with their contract terms and fees. In fact, the ideal estate agent is not always the one with the most sales under their belt, or the one with the most years in business. The ideal agent is the one who listens to you, is easy to get along with, is interested in your requirements and has the tools and skills to address your unique situation. At Asprey Ryan we understand that every home buyer is unique and brings a different set of circumstances to the table. We pride ourselves on our customer service and are a friendly bunch with many years of experience under our belts so when you choose us to help you buy or sell your home in Suffolk you can be certain of excellent service. However, before you get carried away with deciding how many bedrooms you need, or the colour you will paint your sitting room, or which location you prefer, the second aspect you must consider and assess is your financial situation, as it’s likely that to fund the purchase of your new home, you will require a mortgage. Here at Asprey Ryan we will also be happy to recommend financial service providers in Suffolk who can help you with this aspect of your property journey. Review your Financials The financial part is the most important one. This will involve working with a professional who will check your credit score, look at your monthly income, your proof of employment, the deposit you have available and will ensure you have funds available to pay for fees and expenses at the close of the transaction. As reputable and professional estate agents, our staff at Asprey Ryan are trained to assist you through this financial process where needed. Alongside financial assistance, our staff will look closely at your property needs and establish your criteria. We will then search for properties that match your needs in Suffolk and surrounding areas and make a shortlist of all those that fit your requirements. Accompanied viewings are standard allowing you to take your time when viewing properties with no pressure, and a negotiator will always be on hand to answer any questions you have about the property or indeed the local area. The easiest move you will make Our staff are knowledgeable, friendly and professional and will endeavour to ensure buying a property in Suffolk is the most stress free move you will ever make! Working with a reputable estate agent will save you time and is the absolute best way to find the perfect property for you. We will always negotiate the best deal and make sure you are kept updated via our sales progression team all the way through to exchange and completion. Contact us today on 01728 768492 for an informal chat, whether you are buying or selling your home in Suffolk. We will be delighted to meet you.

  • 0 I’m Relocating. How do I Find the Best School in Suffolk?

    • by Matthew Chapman
    • 06-02-2021

    One of the top concerns that many families have when moving to Suffolk is finding the right school for their children. Many home moves are explicitly made so that families can move closer to the catchment area of their dream school. But what happens if you find your dream house first and then need to find the best school close by? As your local estate agent, we know the Suffolk area exceptionally well and receive so many questions about this that we decided to give you our best advice to help keep you informed. In this article, you’ll find our top tips to help you find the right school for your children when moving to Suffolk. Work out what your priorities are Let’s face it, it may be tough to find a school that has absolutely everything that you’re looking for and all the schools in the Suffolk area have their own strengths. When looking for a school in Suffolk we recommend making a list of your priorities. For instance, are you looking for a school with a tremendous academic record or one with a specific subject focus? Are extra-curricular activities essential or does your child have any special needs that the school should cater for? Are you looking for state schools or private schools? Day or boarding? Single-sex or co-ed? There are lots to consider before you even kick off your search. Writing down all your priorities like this will help you focus your search, as this is an area that’s packed with lots of great schools to choose from! Start your school research well before your move Once you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for in terms of priorities, it’s time to start researching. We recommend doing this as early as you possibly can. You will probably want to visit several schools in Suffolk before you decide on the best fit, so make sure you leave enough time for multiple appointments and open days. It’s straightforward to access all the information you need on the excellent schools in Suffolk as you can do this online, even if you’re currently located in a different part of the country. Start gathering critical information online using reputable sites such as The Good Schools Guide and check the school performance tables on Gov.uk. Read through online school reviews and scour the Ofsted reports. School research can be a time-consuming process, which is why we recommend starting early. Once you’ve whittled it down to your top three schools in Suffolk, pay each of them a visit with your child. Which brings us on to our next point… Pay your top choice schools a visit Although this might not be immediately possible, we highly recommend visiting schools when you can. Take a tour and get a good feel of the environment that your child will potentially be spending lots of their time in. Talk to the staff and pupils and ask them questions. Here are some of the key things to observe on a school visit: How do the students and teachers interact with each other? Are the facilities clean and well-maintained? Do the teachers seem enthusiastic and happy to chat through all your questions? Is the environment and community friendly and welcoming? Do the children appear happy and engaged? If it’s not possible for you to physically visit the school before you move, don’t despair. Check out their website. Some schools now offer virtual tours of their campuses. You could also hold a Zoom call with the headteacher to get a better feel of the school, and it’s teaching style. Find out where your new neighbours are sending their children If you have the chance to say hello to your new neighbours before your move, ask them about their personal experiences with the local schools in Suffolk. Chatting with another parent could save you research time, as they will have done the same research when they moved and may also have first-hand experience of a school if they are sending their own children to one of the schools that you’re interested in. Make sure you have a back-up plan Once you have found the perfect fit, find a back-up! It’s always sensible to have a Plan B in case your chosen school in Suffolk doesn’t work out. Creating a list of your top two or three schools means that you can quickly fall back to another option if needed, although of course, we hope your child gets into your first choice! Our staff at Asprey Ryan are local and have extensive knowledge of the Suffolk area. If you are moving to the area soon, start your home search with us, and we’ll be happy to advise you on all aspects of your move. Please call us on 01728 768492 or email matthew@aspreyryan.co.uk for more information.  

  • 0 Is Boris’s 95% mortgage announcement a good move?

    • by Matthew Chapman
    • 30-01-2021

    Is Boris’s 95% mortgage announcement a good move? Getting on the first step of the property ladder can seem like a giant leap these days, can’t it? If you’re young and haven’t been able to save up a deposit, it might seem that your dream of home ownership coming true is something that might only happen in the distant future.Well, we at Asprey Ryan have some good news for you. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, looks like he is trying to give you a leg up. We were catching up with the digital Conservative Party conference and Boris has declared that he wants to relax stringent rules on deposits and mortgages for first-time buyers.From “generation rent” to “generation buy” In the current COVID-19 climate, typically, you’ll need to find a deposit that is between 15 and 20 per cent of the price of the property. It’s become more difficult just recently, with lenders becoming much more risk-averse, particularly in the first-time buyer market and moving away from low-deposit mortgages. It’s a shame because many people who can actually manage a monthly mortgage repayment can’t afford a deposit for a property in the first place. So, you may have found your perfect home in Suffolk but until you can find thousands of pounds for the deposit, that move is out of the question. The Prime Minister’s speech seems like a welcome move, and if it works, could turn many people from renters into home-owners – from “generation rent” to “generation buy”. A solution with a problem? But, there’s a potential problem. Boris’s words were welcomed by many, although a number of commentators noted that it was short on detail. Yes, it grabs the headlines, but what are the mechanics of it all? Will you, wanting to buy a house in Suffolk be eligible for a 95 per cent mortgage, or will there be some criteria that will still prevent you getting on the property ladder? Will the banks be expected to take all the risks, or will the Government step in and be a guarantor? And will banks, who are still smarting from losses incurred years ago, be willing to offer the mortgages in the first place, particularly if they are now lending in a more responsible manner? Whatever happens, it looks like the Government is trying to do something, but we await the full details. Help is out there, and it’s been extended. As a first-time buyer, there is still help out there for you. Help to Buy is a scheme that started with the government lending “first-time buyers and existing homeowners’ money to buy a newly-built home”. It proved very popular when it was first launched, and we saw a few purchases using this initiative, particularly as people only needed a five per cent deposit. The Government has now confirmed that a new Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme “open to first-time buyers only will be available for two years from 1 April 2021. The Help to Buy scheme will end on 31 March 2023”. In effect, you put down a five per cent deposit, the Government provides a 20 per cent loan, and you find a mortgage for the remainder. There are all sorts of different limits based on UK regions, and there are strict rules that come with it. Still saving? It might be that as a first-time buyer, you don’t want to get involved in these schemes, and want to do as much as you can to raise a larger deposit. It takes hard work and discipline to put aside thousands of pounds, but it can be done, and we have seen a few people do it too even though they are getting into property for the very first time. From saving a percentage of your monthly wages, to selling items online, to taking extra part-time work or even moving back in with Mum and Dad, it can be a hard slog but you have to think of the end result – a house of your dreams that belongs to you. If you need more advice on this, our team at Asprey Ryan have plenty of experience, so can offer you some tips. Email us at matthew@aspreyryan.co.uk or call 01728 768492 and find out how we can get you moving!

  • 0 Thinking about selling your property in Suffolk?

    • by Matthew Chapman
    • 29-01-2021

    If you’ve been thinking about selling your property in Suffolk, it’s likely that you may wish to delay putting it on the market in the short term. Here at Asprey Ryan we totally understand that, but you can use the extra time you have right now to get your property market-ready so that when the time comes, your property can go straight to market and achieve a quick sale. Like many people, you may have unfortunately found yourself being forced into self-isolation during this dreadful and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses close and the usual social haunts are on lockdown, you will find yourself with more time on your hands. Time you would usually spend travelling to the office or just being out and about or at the gym, pub or restaurant. A few months ago, the thought of uninterrupted time on the sofa would have sounded super appealing, but right now, due to the circumstances, we are all wishing things were back to normal. The boredom can set in pretty quickly when you are confined to your home, as can anxiety and fear, so it’s important to keep yourself busy. So, with this in mind, to relieve your boredom, we’ve put together our top seven list of things you can do during lockdown that will be beneficial to the future sale of your property. The Seven Steps 1. Clear out the clutter You know that cupboard, the one where you keep the plastic boxes? Clear it out, rip it apart. No-one needs 76 tupperware boxes, most without lids or ones that don’t fit, or empty Chinese takeaway cartons that you’ve kept because ‘they might be useful’. Bin them and rejoice in having an organised drawer full of tubs with lids that do fit. And whilst you’re at it, why not take a tip from Marie Kondo and cull your pantry, wardrobes and clothes or re-arrange your furniture to make your rooms look bigger and more inviting. 2.Touch up your paintwork A coat of paint can work wonders for freshening up your home, making it appear brighter and cleaner. If you are self-isolating and have no way of purchasing paint, take a look in your shed or garage! Most of us have forgotten paint pots stored there, even if it’s just a tin of white gloss – that’s good enough to touch up the skirting boards or banisters which will go some way to presenting your home in a good light. 3. Clean your windows A sparkling set of windows will instantly allow more light to flood into your home, making it brighter and more welcoming. Make sure you clean windows thoroughly on the inside and the outside. You’ll need to put some elbow grease into it to avoid nasty smears, but consider it a home workout as well. Every cloud and all that! 4. Give your entire home a deep clean It’s important your home is ‘lived in’ and isn’t treated like a showhome, but of course, living in a home means that carpets get dirty, surfaces get dusty and light switches get sticky, so give your home a really thorough deep clean. This is more important than ever at this time but is a task you should do regularly anyway. Clean your toilets, wipe down all surfaces, mop the floors, clean rugs and scrub bathrooms to ensure that your property is in pristine, clean condition. 5. Check all your lightbulbs It’s easy to overlook dead lightbulbs around the house, particularly those used in ‘the big light’ as many of us never use the harsh overhead lights in our homes, preferring the more ambient use of side lamps. So, systematically walk through your property and check every light and lamp to ensure they are all working. If they are not and you have spare lightbulbs available, replace them immediately. If not, make a list so that you can purchase bulbs when you are able to get to the shops. 6. Fix anything that is broken! Now is the perfect time to finish those DIY jobs you’ve been putting off. A well-maintained house lets potential buyers know that it’s ‘well cared for’ and this is a fantastic attribute that buyers can pick-up on. By making sure your property is well maintained you reduce the chances of a potential buyer making a low offer simply due to the fact that they see niggly jobs as a problem and a hassle to get done themselves, even if it’s only something simple such as a cracked floor tile or ugly pipework that needs boxing in. If you have unfinished jobs, make them good now so that your property is presented at its best and in a completed state. 7. Weed the garden and plant some flowersn these challenging times we all need a bit of colour in our lives, so go outside, get some fresh air and make sure your garden is neat and tidy. Pull up all the weeds, mow the grass, trim hedges, prune trees – after all, summer is coming! Scrub down your garden furniture and then plant some seeds so that in the coming months you will have introduced some welcome colourful flowers into your garden! We will undoubtedly face some tough times in the coming weeks, so we at Asprey Ryan urge you to stay safe, use your time wisely and of course contact us on 01728 768492 or matthew@aspreyryan.co.uk should you have any property related questions. We are ready, when you are.  We take the health and safety of our staff and clients seriously and have taken steps to ensure everyone stays safe at this difficult time.  We hope to continue operating as normal as possible through the coming period and will keep you updated.

  • 0 Are you ready to sell in 2021?

    • by Matthew Chapman
    • 21-01-2021

    If you’re thinking of putting your Suffolk property on the market in 2021, you’ll want to make it stand out from the crowd and generate as much interest as possible to make sure you achieve the full asking price. The team at Asprey Ryan are highly experienced in property and will always make sure we give our utmost attention when accompanying viewings on your property, but there are always little tweaks you can make to your home to make sure it’s in outstanding condition and ready for the most discerning viewer! The Asprey Ryan team have put our heads together and want to share with you the top nine things you can do to get your property ready for a new year sale!   The Nine Steps 1. Neutralise Your Home There’s nothing wrong with injecting your personality into your home, but if you’re selling, then garish paint and leopard print feature walls won’t be to everyone’s taste. If this sounds anything like your property then give some serious consideration to some light redecorating, ideally using neutral colours such as off-white, magnolia, greys or pastels. It’s far more appealing to potential buyers and it will also allow them to visualise their own ideas better if they have a blank canvas to work with. 2. Lighten Up Following on from our first point, there are some simple lighting tricks you can do to make your home feel brighter, which in turn will make it feel more spacious and appealing to potential buyers. It can be as simple as putting up a mirror opposite a window to reflect the light, or ensuring you have high-voltage light bulbs fitted. If you have blackout blinds or curtains in your bedrooms then make sure these are open before any viewings, to avoid rooms appearing dark or gloomy. 3. Declutter We all tend to throw empty boxes in cupboards (just in case) and gather ‘stuff’ as the years pass. If you’ve been hoarding items, then the sale of your property is the perfect time to get rid of unwanted items and declutter. It’ll help your home appear more spacious and there’s potentially the added benefit of making a few pounds selling some of your old belongings. 4. Deodorise Did you know that your home has its own distinctive smell? Obviously not all houses have strong smells but if you regularly smoke or vape indoors or you have a cat or dog causing a whiff, then no matter how beautiful your house may be, this is likely to be the first thing a visitor notices when they walk through the front door – and it can be very off-putting. If your property has a strong smell to it then give it a good deep clean before any viewings or get professionals in if you need to. 5. First Impressions are Everything It’s rare that you’ll make a sale on first glance, but you can definitely lose one! If you have an overgrown garden, a grubby front door and a broken gate then it’s time to get your gardening gloves on and tidy it all up. Kerb appeal is important not only because many potential viewers will do a ‘drive by’ to check out the property before booking a viewing, but first impressions are what always form the basis of someone’s opinion of your property. Things that can damage your home’s kerb appeal include having dirty wheelie bins on display, smeared windows and chipped paintwork, so spend a little time maintaining your outdoor areas and be sure everything is up to scratch before the viewings start. Adding little extras like a potted plant or a lamp to light up your entrance can make a big difference too. You don’t need to do anything extravagant, just remember, it’s all in the details! 6. Show Off Your Homes Assets Step room to room in your home and check for little things that may detract the attention of a viewer: If you have a study or a room you are using as an office, make sure your desk is tidy and your paperwork is filed away so that viewers can see an organised workspace. If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s not being blocked by toys or extra bits of furniture that you haven’t stored away so that viewers can imagine themselves cosy by the fire. If you have a dining table – a common dumping ground for pretty much everything – make sure it’s clear of any paperwork or household bits that have been piling up so that viewers can see there is a defined place to eat. If you have a utility room, remove piles of laundry and tidy away detergents so that viewers can appreciate the extra space catering for the needs of a family. When it comes to our homes it’s easy to take some of the features we see every day for granted, but to a viewer they may be just what they’re looking for in a home, so be sure to highlight all of your property’s best features. 7. Be PreparedThink back to when you bought your property. What questions did you have for the estate agent? If a buyer were to ask how old the windows are and if they have a guarantee would you know the answer? What about the last time you had the boiler serviced? When was the central heating checked? Be prepared and find your paperwork and service history relating to your home before it’s requested to save time! Service the boiler, check the central heating system, look out any guarantees and warranties 8. Fix up, Look Sharp Keeping on top of the maintenance of your home is crucial for when you bring your property to market. If you haven’t regularly maintained your home, now is the time to get all those little niggly jobs done. Make sure everything’s as well maintained as possible, whether it’s fixing a damaged fence or just replacing a broken lightbulb, these minor details can make a big difference to potential buyers. It shows that your house is well looked after, and it will give viewers fewer excuses to negotiate. Make your property as flawless as possible – touch up paintwork and don’t forget to check gutters and drainpipes to get rid of leaves and debris. 9. Depersonalise Buyers want to imagine themselves living in a home, so seeing pictures of strangers all over the house can actually have an off-putting effect, even though it’s your home!Don’t remove every family photo, you’re still living there of course, but there’s a fine line between making a home look lived in and loved and showcasing it as someone else’s dream home! Think about putting a few photos away before viewings. The space created will allow viewers to get a better idea of what they would do with the space and to imagine it as their own. For no-obligation advice on buying or selling a home in Suffolk please contact our expert property team at Asprey Ryan on 01728 768492 or email Matthew on matthew@aspreyryan.co.uk