Book a Property Valuation



Finding your dream home can be a challenge. If your children have left home or if you have too much space, you might be looking to downsize. What are advantages to downsizing in 2018?

The main reasons to downsize is to release equity, go mortgage free, or to live in an appropriately-sized home. It will also mean lower running costs, which can be very welcome as the cost of living rises.

Recent property price increases mean that homeowners have increased equity, which can make it a great time to downsize and cash-in on your investment.

Downsizing can be difficult because it will mean compromise. If you only want a specific location, you may have to buy a smaller house, or the benefit of off-road parking may mean you can’t get an extra bedroom. What factors are most important to you? Transport links, community atmosphere or more space?

Ultimately, the best time to downsize depends on personal circumstances. Be aware of market conditions, your budget, and be honest about your needs and requirements, otherwise you could stand to lose out financially and emotionally.

Are you thinking of downsizing? Contact your local Guild Member, Sawdye & Harris on 01364 652652 for professional advice or email them by clicking here. 

SOURCE: Guild of Property Professionals


Letting out your property for the first time can be a daunting task and there are many important factors to consider before putting it on the market. From practical advice to legal responsibilities, here are a few top tips to get you started.

Whether you are a first-time landlord or have let properties before, there are some things every landlord should know. Regulations change often which means that if you are not checking the rules, it could result in a landlord unwittingly breaking the law.   ARLA ( Association or Residential Letting Agents) have put together some excellent tips to ensure you understand your obligations and responsibilities as a landlord, and how to protect your property, keep your tenants happy and deal appropriately with any issues as they arise.

 Preparing your property

As a first step, you should undertake any maintenance which needs to be done. Your property will be more attractive to prospective tenants if it’s had a fresh lick of paint, all repairs are done and if necessary, new flooring has been installed. Next, you should decide whether to let the property furnished or unfurnished. If possible offer both options, so that the agent can market it to a wider audience.

Do your homework

First thing’s first, get to know your market. Research similar properties in the local area and find out how much they are being let for per month. If your rent is set too high, or too low, prospective tenants will steer clear. Think about your target demographic and consider for whom your property would be suitable; for example, young families, students or single professionals. Your agent will be able to advise on this. Once you’ve done your homework, set a competitive price and aim to keep it filled at all times to minimise rental voids. 

 Know your responsibilities

By renting your home, you’ll go from being a home-owner and occupier to a landlord, and with your new status, comes great responsibility. In the first instance, check that your mortgage allows you to let out your property, as some agreements include caveats to prevent homes from being rented. If you are unsure, speak to your mortgage lender and they will be able to advise you accordingly.

Being a landlord is a 24/7 job, so you should be prepared to receive calls from your tenant at any time during the day or night, as some issues will need immediate attention such as if there is a gas leak or broken boiler. You will be accountable for all repairs and maintenance and taking care of refurbishment of the interior and exterior of the property when required, unless you agree for your letting agent to manage the property – in which case they will deal with all minor issues.


Your existing buildings and contents insurer must be made aware of your intention to let your property, as it’s likely that your policy will need to be amended. While specific landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it is advisable as the policy will protect the building, your tenants and your investment as a whole - some policies will also pay out if your tenant misses their rent payments.

 Vet prospective tenants

You may wish to meet potential tenants before agreeing to let them your property, or you may prefer to leave it to your letting agent.  Letting agents perform reference and credit checks on potentials tenants to ensure everything is reliable.


Legal requirements

When it comes to being a landlord, there are more regulations to comply with than you can shake a stick at. To put it into perspective, there are currently around 150 laws that landlords need to adhere to while letting a property.  At the start of a tenancy agreement, landlords must carry out right to rent checks in line with immigration laws, protect deposits and have all the essential paperwork in place. Whilst not a legal requirement, it is certainly a very good idea to have a written tenancy agreement so that both you and your tenant understands their rights and responsibilities.

The safety of your tenants is very important, so you must undertake a Gas Safety check every year. It’s also a good idea to make sure all electrical appliances and wiring are tested regularly too. Finally, it goes without saying that your rental property should be fitted with smoke alarms on every floor and carbon monoxide protectors where necessary.

By law, you will need an EPC (energy performance certificate) for your rental property, and from 1st April this year, it will need to be EPC grade E which your letting agent can help you to organise. You won't be able to market the property without one, so get it sorted as soon as possible - they're valid for 10 years.

Choosing the right agent

If you want to make the process pain-free, use an agent to manage your property and guide you on everything you need to know. A good agent will take away the stress of finding suitable tenants and also ensure your property complies with any regulatory changes. Propertymark Protected letting agents are experienced and trained professionals who work to a code of practice in order to help landlords manage their homes.

Talk to Sawdye & Harris for peace of mind as your licensed ARLA Propertymark Proteccted letting agent - 01364 65652




Do you want to sell your property? In order for your home to appeal to the widest range of potential buyers, it’s a good idea to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Every property is different. Your home might have beautiful windows and a state-of-the-art kitchen, but be in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint. We’ve identified some common property weaknesses, and how you can turn them into strengths. 

Weakness: The windows in your home are outdated and tired. 

The Fix: Outdated windows can show the age of your property, and even make it look out of date when it isn’t. Hanging new curtains is an easy way to update your property. Install a simple metal rod with decorative finials and hang a neutral curtain with metal rings. Your home will look like a magazine, and what was once a weakness has become a strength. 

Weakness: Your kitchen needs an update. 

The Fix: Purchase new white goods for your kitchen. This will add plenty of value to your home, and keep prospective buyers from being put off because your appliances are past their prime. When you’re updating, think stainless steel. These appliances are popular and modern. 

Weakness: There are lots of small, ‘awkward’ spaces in your home.

The Fix: Hang a large mirror. Mirrors can make any space seem larger, so they’re especially important in an entryway or narrow hallway. Is the space too awkward for a large mirror? A gallery wall of mirrors in different sizes will solve that problem perfectly. 

Weakness: Your house looks old.

The Fix: What do you do when your house has been standing for over 200 years (and looks like it, too)? A fresh coat of paint and a top-to-bottom clean can work wonders to turn a rustic property into a character-filled dream. Highlighting the period features of your property is also a good idea. That way, the house becomes historic, not just ‘old’.

Weakness: There’s nothing in your property. 

The Fix: A few accessories go a long way. While it’s great that your property doesn’t have much in it (an empty canvas makes it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves in your home), having a few accessories (think throw pillows and a light fixture or two) can make a huge difference in your home’s atmosphere. Use neutrals, and try visiting your local charity shop to make your improvements on a budget. 

Weakness: Your home is the priciest home on the street. 

The Fix: Whether you meant to or not, you’ve bought the most expensive home in the area and are now trying to sell. In this situation, take a look at your home. Why is it pricier than other homes in the area? Once you recognize why your home has been valued at a high price, highlight those features as unique selling propositions, or USPs. Turn price into exclusivity, and this weakness quickly becomes a property strength. 

Weakness: You’re extremely close to your neighbours.

The Fix: When you’re close enough to hear the neighbours next door, it can be a problem for potential buyers. Take this time to highlight the amenities that your property has close by. If you have a great relationship with your neighbours, this is the time to mention it. A sense of community is invaluable for new buyers, and proximity to amenities like a corner shop or department store are valuable assets to your property. 

Are you selling your home?  As the areas chosen Guild agent we can guide you through the buying and selling process simply call us on 01364 652652 or click here to get an instant online valuation


Before selling their home, most people try to spruce up their property by decluttering and doing a thorough clean. But many people forget the area that gives a first impression is the garden. We all like to get outside and enjoy a sunny summer afternoon, so make sure your garden looks appealing for a potential buyer. Here are some easy tips to follow to make your garden add value to your property. 

1. Spruce up the space 

Just like inside your home, some decluttering and garden maintenance can add value to your property. Always start with tidying and key maintenance. 

“Depending on their situation, buyers could see the garden as entertaining space, a hobby, the place where their children will play, space for their pets, a source of food or a combination of any or all of these, so it is crucial that sellers place as much importance on the presentation of the garden as they would on the presentation of the house,” says Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris in Cambridgeshire. “Good gardens can add value to a home and poorly kept gardens can detract from it.”

Susie Davies from Debbie Fortune Estate Agents in Somerset recommends maintaining the lawns. “A manicured lawn always enhances the appearance of a garden and makes it look bigger,” she says. 

Lee Hussell from Webbers in Devon has some practical advice. “The first place to start is to give your garden a good tidy up. Winters are never kind to our gardens and damage may have been caused to fences and trellis or maybe the larger shrubs and trees. Any dead growth can be cut back and fallen leaves and other debris can be removed and cleared away.”

2. Add some seasonal colour  

Once your garden is tidy, it is time to make it into a key selling point that potential buyers will love. 

“When showing your home, you want the buyers to visualise living there, so have pot plants filled with flowers to give it some colour and the lawn mowed to make it look tidy,” suggests Celeste Hannah from Hamilton Parkers in Hampshire. “First impressions count, and in the spring and summer months, you want to show your garden off to its full potential. This will definitely add perceived value and gives you a better chance to maximise the selling price.”

3. Focus on what is seen first 

Struggling for time or budget? Start where your potential buyer will start and focus on this area. 

“Never forget kerb appeal, and, more relevant in the online age, photo appeal. The first impression really does count, so always start with the front garden,” says Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole in Wales. 

4. Add a key selling point 

A well-maintained garden will make sure a buyer is not put off your property, but something more can make them want to buy your property above any others they have seen. 

“A nice summer house is a garden goal for many people,” says Phil Pritchard from Williams & Goodwin in North Wales. “It often feels like an extra room away from the main property and can be utilised as anything from a place to relax, an office, a man cave or a playroom for the children.” 

There are ways to maximise the impact of an existing summer house, too. “If you have a summer house, it is worth making sure the wood has been treated so that it is weather proof and you can easily give it a face lift by adding a touch of colour,” suggests Andrew Lodge from Andrew Lodge Estate Agents in Surrey. “There are so many good quality garden paints available in neutral tones.”

Don’t forget the impact that a child’s opinion may have on the decision makers, advises John Newhouse from Roseberry Newhouse in North Yorkshire. “Buyers may love the idea of a summerhouse or man cave, and of course children will be drawn to tree houses or play areas.” 

Simon Miller at Holroyd Miller suggests caution, though. “The truth is that some people like hot tubs or summer houses and some don’t. Additions of this kind shouldn’t be thought of in terms of re-sale, however, well looked-after and presented in the right way, they will certainly present something unique and a lifestyle image that potential buyers can see the value in.”

5. Add some shed-quarters 

Sheds are not only practical, but they are coming back into fashion. They can be used from anything as a useful place to store bikes and lawnmowers to a garden retreat. 

“By putting up a good-sized shed, you are adding a useful storage space for gardeners and families with outdoor furniture and even toys,” says Andrew Lodge. 

Many people choose to work from home, and an insulated shed could provide the perfect home office. John Newhouse says: “Additional space in the shape of pods, studios or cabins provide potential work space options for house hunters.” 

6. A little paint goes a long way 

If you’re looking to spend less to add value to your property, don’t underestimate the impact of a good coat of paint on fences, sheds and other wood in the garden. 

“Adding value to your home through the garden doesn’t have to break the bank. If you have decking or a perimeter fence, you could freshen it up with a coat of paint. If the garden is presentable it will be more attractive to viewers and could increase the price a potential buyer is willing to pay for your home,” suggests Jared Thomas from Emsleys Estate Agents in West Yorkshire. 

7. Think about the patio 

“We recommend investing in good quality patio, paving or decking,” says Andrew Lodge. “Having a professional job done will enhance the overall appearance of your outside space. Decent sized patio and decking areas add value as they are great for entertaining and alfresco dining. Adding some good lighting outside will also enable people to make the most of the garden on those long summer nights.”

8. Style your garden with furniture 

You wouldn’t show a room to a potential buyer without any furniture in it, so why show a garden without a table and chairs? 

“Depending on the size of the garden and who it will appeal to, ensure that the lawns are cut or the terrace is swept and ideally have the garden furniture set up so buyers can imagine themselves sitting out enjoying an al fresco evening,” said John Newhouse. 

9. Secure the garden 

If the people viewing the house have pets, they will want to see a garden that is fully secured to avoid an escaped dog. 

“It is important that you invest in secure fencing, walls or gates,” advises Andrew Lodge. “People like to feel secure in their gardens so that they can relax. It also makes the garden more appealing to those with young children and pets.”

10. Make it private 

If your home is overlooked by other homes or gardens, it’s a good idea to give the idea of privacy to the garden. If it isn’t too expensive, add hedges or trees in key spots. It will make the potential buyers be able to imagine themselves enjoying a peaceful afternoon outside in the summer. 

Susie Davies advises that ornamental trees have a pleasing, aesthetic effect in a garden. 

Are you looking for a new home with a beautiful garden? Why not cotact Sawdye & Harris your local Guild Member today to start your property search. 


Putting your home on the market can be an exciting time. But once the floorplans have been drawn up, the photos taken, and the property listed online, what else do you need to do? Being proactive at this stage can lead to a faster sale. 

Watch our video from The Guild of Property Professionals for some top tips. 

1. Set clear viewing times. Talk to your agent so they have easy access to the property for viewings, and agree certain times that are not convenient in advance. 

2. Be ready for questions. Draw up a list of frequently asked questions to make sure your agent can get back to a potential buyer as quickly as possible. 

3. Tidy at all times. Making your home look its best at all times can be difficult, but it will be worth it when a sudden viewing crops up. 

4. Be prepared to buy. If you plan to buy and sell at the same time, start looking at properties and seek mortgage advice early on. This shows buyers that you are serious about moving. 

5. Decide what offer you would accept. This will save you time when offers come in. Set a figure that you would accept, and you can happily confirm when the right offer is made. 

As the areas chosen Guild agent we can guide you through the buying and selling process simply call us on 01364 652652.

Check mortgage eligibility online