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First-time buyers now make up the majority of home purchases bought with a mortgage in the UK, figures show. The Halifax bank said the last time such a situation existed was 1995.

An average deposit of £32,841 is now required to get on the property ladder in the UK.

The Halifax First-Time Buyer Review is based on figures from industry group UK Finance, as well as its own house price database and Office for National Statistics earnings figures.
Halifax said first-time owners in 2018 accounted for just over half of all sales with a mortgage.

We have some amazing value homes for not only first time buyers but for all buyers in Ashburton, Chudleigh and Moretonhampstead so why not get in touch with us today - 01364 652652



The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came into force in England on 20th March 2019.  The Homes Act will make it so that landlords must ensure their property is fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy, and then maintain this standard throughout the rest of the time the tenant lives in the property.

The legislation does not come into force for all tenancies at the same time however.

After March 20th 2019, any tenancies which are new, or renewed the legislation will apply from the start date of the new tenancy. This will include any statutory periodic tenancies that start after a fixed term comes to an end.

For tenancies which were already periodic tenancies, there is a 12-month grace period until March 20th 2020 before these tenancies are caught by the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.


It is due to snow in some parts of the country this week, and now is a good time to make sure your properties are prepared for the winter weather.

Making sure you are prepared now could save you money in the long run on expensive repair work. Here are EIGHT top tips to get you started.

Talk to your tenants  - With cooler weather  on its way, ask your tenants if they are having problems with or have noticed anything the could be cause for concern at the property. Ask about dripping pipes and windows for example.

Minimize condensation - With temperatures dropping outside and people turning the heating on, there’s a good chance you may notice more condensation in your property. Together with damp, condensation is one of the main reasons that tenants complain to their local council, so its important you know how to reduce this. One of the ways you can do this is to keep surfaces warm.

Make sure you have sufficient outdoor lighting - Although it is getting a little lighter earlier in the meetings, the evenings are still quite dark, and it is worthwhile ensuring that your tenants feel safe on dark evenings. Ensure that your front paths are sufficiently lit, making it easier for them to get around. It is also a good idea to check that steps and handrails are in a good condition.

Check gutters are clear- It is the Landlords responsibility to keep the exterior of the property in good repair. Chances are, if there is something blocked in the gutter, your tenants may have told you already, for example they may notice animals in the gutter often. Other signs to look out for are if plants have started to grow in the gutter itself, or more obviously if water can be seen to be spilling over the side of the gutter. It is important to clear this up, as not only could the problem get worse the longer it is left, but you also want to avoid structural damage and damp. Blocked gutters can also freeze over if there is excess water, and cause dangerous patches of ice.

Coal fire or wood burning stove? Make sure the chimney is swept, and test your carbon monoxide alarm. The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 state PRS landlords must have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance, eg a coal fire or wood burning stove – and these appliances are likely to be in use during colder weather.

Check tenants are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to- Cold weather can make life much more difficult for vulnerable tenants, such as the elderly and those with disabilities. It’s worthwhile checking that these people are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to, for example they may be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment which could help them pay the fuel bills in the cooler weather.

Locate the stopcock - If this information isn’t already written down and known by your tenants, when the weather becomes cooler it’s recommended that you make sure your tenants know where the stopcock is as well as how to change the thermostat in the property.

Remember how important insurance is-  No matter how well you prepare, problems can and do occur as a result of bad weather so it is vital to make sure you have the appropriate cover for your home and contents.

For more top tips and advice on letting just give us a call 01364 652652



The Guild of Property Professionals Member, Sawdye & Harris was presented with two prestigious accolades at The Guild Awards ceremony, which was held at QEII Centre in Westminster, London on 17 January 2019.

The Guild Awards were presented by British TV presenter, Rachel Riley and Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild, after a full day at The Guild Annual Conference, where new strategies, services and plans were revealed to keep Guild Members at the forefront of the industry. Estate agents also heard from motivational keynote speakers and property industry experts.

The Guild Awards were sponsored by The Telegraph, who commented: “As the UK's best-selling quality daily newspaper, The Telegraph is looked to by its readers as a trusted source of expertise. It is therefore fitting that we are able to celebrate excellence in the property industry by sponsoring The Guild of Property Professionals Awards."

The Guild Awards 2019 were also presented in association with The ESTAS and the ceremony was sponsored by Reapit, a CRM and Client Accounting software provider specialising in the residential sector. The ESTAS are awarded based on customer surveys regarding the agent’s service – these scores contribute to the decision of The Guild Awards judging panel when selecting winners.


Sawdye & Harris were proud to be chosen to receive not one but two awards, which were collected by Katie Griffin and Jade Crouchen, on stage at the QEII Centre in front of nearly 500 estate agents.

“We are thrilled to be recognised for our hard work and dedication over the past year. This award is a culmination of our efforts throughout the last 12 months and a symbol of our commitment to excellence within the property industry,” said Katie Griffin, Owner of Sawdye & Harris, "All our hard work has paid off and with our clients providing testimonials and feedback, a bit like TripAdvisor, it has allowed us to really show what a professional and exceptional service we offer and why you should use a high street, Guild estate and letting agent" 

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “The Guild Awards is a much-anticipated fixture on our calendar, and this year’s event was another huge success. It was great to be able to get together and celebrate excellence within our network. Congratulations to all agents and offices that received awards this year, and all the best for 2019.”


Are you taking the right Winter weather precautions?

With the threat of inclement weather imminent, we wanted to take the opportunity to focus on the practical steps that can help you to reduce the risk of damage to property. Damage caused by the escape of water from frozen pipes and other equipment can be extremely costly in repairs and disruption.

Here are some tip to help our landlords and tenants:


  • Ensure that all areas containing pipes and water storage tanks are heated to prevent freezing.
  • Heating should be thermostatically controlled to maintain a minimum temperature.
  • Fuel supplies and any associated equipment should be periodically tested and maintained. This is particularly critical where “interruptible” gas supplies are used.
  • Pipes should be lagged to delay the temperature drop. Use 32mm thick good quality, non-combustible lagging securely fixed to all piping including expansion pipes.
  • Tanks should be lagged around and over, but not underneath so that heat from below can rise.
  • Minimise pipe-runs outside, or in areas exposed to winds.
  • Wet pipe sprinkler systems should be avoided where the temperature cannot be kept above 4°C, the use of alternate or dry pipe systems should be considered.


  • Know the location of all stopcocks inside the premises as well as the main incoming valve in the street. The stopcocks should be periodically exercised to ensure that they are in working order.
  • Someone should be responsible for any sprinkler system, its water supply and pump room. Ensure that buildings are inspected to identify frozen or leaking pipes at an early stage.
  • Review and update emergency contact procedures.

Responsible staff should know how to thaw pipes safely:

  • Isolate the pipe by closing the stopcock on the feed from the tank or main.
  • Expect a thawed pipe to leak water, so protect items beneath it.
  • Do not use blow torches, hot air paint strippers or naked flames.
  • Use hot water bottles or a hair dryer.

The precautions described previously apply equally to common and unoccupied areas. These can be particularly vulnerable as problems may not be identified until damage has occurred.

  • Regular inspections of these areas should be carried out before and during cold weather.
  • If a tenant is still responsible for an unoccupied area ensure that they are inspecting these and taking the precautions described above.
  • Consider provision of heating to any unheated portions of the building if they may be vulnerable. The use of minimum and maximum thermometers can give an indication of potential problems.


  • Establish a monitoring function during the winter months.
  • Drain all equipment that carries water or is susceptible to freezing in all vacant areas or those that have history of past freezing.
  • For unattended buildings, provide a supervised alarm system to monitor power supply and buildings temperatures
  • Consider draining the water system if the building will be unoccupied for a prolonged period.
  • Consideration should be given to how ice plugged pipes will be thawed (e.g. hot air blowers) - DO NOT expose pipes to open or naked flames.

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