Blog Book a Property Valuation


Some people are landlords because they’ve made a deliberate decision to buy property and rent it out. They’re part of the buy-to-let crowd, who’ve chosen to use property as an investment vehicle to grow their wealth.

However, there’s another group of landlords that more and more people are joining: those who’ve ended up letting property because of circumstance, rather than any pre-planned strategy. These people are known as ‘accidental landlords’.

So, is that you? Have you found yourself with a ‘spare’ property that you don’t want or need to live in? Perhaps you’ve:

  • inherited someone else’s property
  • moved in with your partner
  • temporarily relocated for work
  • moved house but not been able to sell your previous home…

Whatever the reason, if you’ve now got a property you want to rent out, it could prove a great investment for you, but there are a number of important things to know and consider before you think about moving a tenant in!


Why do you want to be a landlord?

With any new venture, the first thing is to be clear on your objectives, so take some time to really think about why you want to let this property, rather than sell it, and what you want to get out of it. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How long do you want to let it for?
  • Do you plan to move back into it yourself at some point?
  • Have you got money to invest in getting it ready to rent?
  • What are your investment priorities: monthly income or capital growth?
  • What kind of tenant would you prefer?
  • Do you want to manage it yourself or have an agent look after it for you?

Once you’ve got a fuller picture of what’s involved in being a landlord, you can make more detailed short, medium and long-term plans, but the basic questions above will give you somewhere to start when you’re talking to agents, financial advisers, etc.


Lettings rules and regulations

The next important thing to understand is that there are a huge number of very specific rules around letting property and being a landlord. Some are to do with the property itself, the type of let and the standard of accommodation you’re providing; some are about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants; but there’s a great deal to know and understand to make sure you stay on the right side of the law.

It’s also important that you understand the contract with your tenant. If you’ve never rented a property yourself, you might not be familiar with the terms of a tenancy agreement and what you as the landlord can and can’t do while your tenant’s living in the property. In particular, if you’ve got an emotional attachment to a former home, make sure you’re happy to accept the tenant’s rights because, once you’ve agreed a let, it’s not necessarily a simple process to get the tenant out if you change your mind!

We’d suggest you work with an experienced letting agent, who’s been professionally trained and knows the business inside out, so can give you the best advice on how to ensure you let legally and successfully. We can guide you through what you need to do yourself and also take a lot of the responsibility and administration off your shoulders, saving you time and money.

Call us on 01364 652652 at any time if you’d like some help with your plans, and we can talk though our different letting and management options.


Check the mortgage

If there’s a mortgage on a property that was previously a main home for you or someone else, you need to get in touch with the lender.

In normal circumstances, a property with a standard residential mortgage can’t be rented out – you need to have a specialist buy-to-let product. This is because letting is considered higher risk by lenders than someone living in their own home, and the criteria for lending are different, so you may need to make a new mortgage application.

The exception is if it’s a sudden or temporary change in situation – for example, if your sale fell though at the last minute but you’ve moved on yourself and now need to let your previous home until it sells. In that case, you’ll still need to discuss it with your lender, but they might give you permission to let under your current mortgage, although probably with a higher interest rate applied.



Potential returns

As an accidental landlord, you might not have come across the concept of returns from property, but it’s important to know how to calculate your potential profits and return on investment so you can choose the letting and management strategy that’s going to work best for you.

In simple terms:

  • Profit = rental income less costs (e.g. mortgage, maintenance, bills) – and you should calculate this on a monthly and annual basis. For a more ‘complete’ profit figure, you can also take into account any capital growth.
  • Return on investment = profit divided by your investment into the property (any deposit you’ve had to put down, refurbishment costs, etc.) – this is expressed as a percentage.

You can do some research into the kind of rents you could charge for different types of lets and put together estimates for how much you’re going to have to spend – both up front and ongoing (see next section). Then use those figures to compare the likely profits and returns for different letting options.

You can also use your figures to compare property with other types of investment, so you can see how well it could work for you!

Your decision on how you let your property and the type of tenant you take will depend on how and when you want to see financial returns, combined with the time, effort and money you’re willing and able to spend on the property.

As a general rule, student lets and other types of HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) take more effort and cost more to run, but the monthly rental profit tends to be high, so they can work well if that’s your priority. On the other hand, letting a whole property to a family or a couple often means relatively low ongoing costs and less administration – the compromise being a lower monthly rental profit. However, you may be able to balance that with better capital growth over time, if you’re happy to wait a bit longer for your gains.

To get a true picture of your net return and profit, you’ll also need to factor inflation and tax into your calculations. The financials can take some time to understand, but once you have a system for tracking how well the property’s doing for you, you’ll be able to see where you can make adjustments over time so it runs even more efficiently and profitably.

It’s worth speaking to an independent financial adviser who’s used to working with landlords and can help you get to grips with the basics. As property tax is a very specialist area, they may also recommend you take separate tax advice.


Refurbishment and maintenance costs

Your initial and ongoing costs will affect how profitable your rental is, so it’s important to have an idea of what they’re likely to be.

The various health and safety rules around letting property mean you’ll almost certainly have to spend some money getting the property legally ready to rent. That could be as simple as installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and getting the required gas and electrical checks. However, if you’re thinking about student letting and HMOs, the regulations are tighter, and you’ll have to invest more in things like fire safety measures (fire doors, extinguishers, etc.). You’ll also have to check with your local council about local building regulations and licensing requirements.

If the property hasn’t been refurbished for a while, you might need to invest in upgrading the fittings and décor. The level of finish required will depend on the type of tenant and let – that’s something an agent will be happy to help you with. Then you also need to put together a budget for repairs and maintenance going forward.

In our experience, the better a property is fitted out and presented, the more rent you can usually charge. It’s also more likely you’ll attract a good tenant who looks after the property and stays longer, meaning lower ongoing maintenance costs and regular monthly rental income without void periods. 

While there is a great deal to get to grips with – particularly if you’ve only recently found yourself in the position of being an accidental landlord – the good news is that there are plenty of people who can help, advise and guide you so that you could make a real success of letting.

We’re always happy to chat to accidental landlords, whatever stage you’re at. So, whether you’re still considering letting a property and would like some more advice on your options, or you’re ready to move ahead and just have a few questions about putting your plan into action, you can contact us any time. Call us on 01364 652652 or email, and one of the team will be in touch.


You did it: you found an agent you liked, who loved your home and valued it at a price you were happy with. They put together an impressive marketing plan and the ‘For Sale’ board has been invitingly positioned at the end of the drive for a while. It seems like you’ve done everything right, so why hasn’t your home sold yet?

Well, it could be a few different things. Some people believe it comes down to the price – and often that is a reason – but it’s not the only possibility.

So how do you find out what’s stopping your home from selling, and what can you do to kick-start some real interest?


  1. Check out the competition

Before you speak to your estate agent, it’s a good idea to gather some information about what’s going on around you. Have a search online for homes in the area similar to yours and see how they compare. What’s the presentation like and have they had to reduce their price? That should give you an idea of whether your marketing is along the right lines.

  1. Call your agent

Have an honest conversation about your concerns. Ask your agent why they think your home’s not selling and what can be done to get things moving in the right direction.  

  1. Find out what people think of your home

Although the expertise of a good agent is invaluable, there’s also nothing quite like a bit of honest feedback. If your agent is on the ball, they should be asking everyone who views your home what they thought about it, then calling you to discuss whether any changes might need to be made to the marketing.

If viewers thought the price was too high, what was the reason? If they thought there was a bit too much work to do, is there something you could fix or improve yourself for very little cost? In short, is there anything you can do to address the feedback that will make your home more attractive to buyers so they start making offers?

  1. Could you improve the presentation?

Have another look at your home with a critical eye and ask yourself if it’s really looking its best. Your agent might already have offered their advice on how to style and present it for viewings, but maybe you could ask a friend to ‘view’ and give you their honest opinion about any positive changes you could make.

One important thing to think about is: do all the rooms make sense for a buyer? You might have a conservatory that’s become a toy store for your family, but when you’re trying to sell, you’ve got to make every bit of space appear as valuable as possible. So, put away the toys and show the real potential of your conservatory. You could style it as:

  • a sunroom, somewhere perfect for curling up with a book
  • a dining room that makes mealtimes a bit more special
  • even a second sitting room, to give parents and children their own spaces.

Likewise, if you have a small bedroom that you use as a walk-in wardrobe, pack away your clothes and stage it as a single room so that buyers can see exactly what value they’re getting for their money.

While the inside might be sparkling, you’ve got to make sure the outside always creates a great first impression so that buyers feel good about your home before they even walk through the door. Some people do a drive-by before booking an appointment to view inside, so keep on top of your home’s ‘kerb appeal’. Make sure the lawn, shrubs and plants are tidy; sweep the drive and path; give the front door a weekly wipe-down – and don’t forget your ‘For Sale’ board. Check it’s straight and clean, and report any damage to your agent so they can have it replaced.



  1. Refresh your marketing

Are the photos your agent took really showing your home in the best light? Do they grab your attention or could they be improved? Even if they’re already perfect, if your home’s been on the market for a couple of months and the seasons have changed, buyers will be able to see that your exterior shots were taken some time ago.

Having new photos taken is an easy and effective way to reinvigorate your marketing. Go for a bright, sunny day and get the front shot from a few different angles so you’ve got options for changing the leading image online every now and then. Ask your agent if they can film an up-to-date video tour, and check whether they’re using the best apps and software.

It’s also a good idea to update the copy in your advertising, particularly the headline, and make sure your home’s best qualities really stand out.


  1. Drop the price

To get the best possible price for your home, try all the above before you look at a reduction. Have viewers said it’s too expensive, or are other similar homes also having to drop their prices because there’s an oversupply at the moment? If you do decide to go for a reduction, make it worthwhile. As a general rule, if a home was going to sell within 5% of its current price, someone would have made an offer already, so bring it down to a level that’s genuinely going to get more buyers interested. 

  1. Take a break from the market

If you don’t desperately need to sell, taking your home off the market for a little while can be quite effective, particularly if you come back with a new price, new photos and perhaps a new agent. Certain times of the year are quieter than others, and a good agent will know about seasonal and current trends and be able to recommend the best time to come back onto the market.

Taking a break doesn’t have to mean your home’s not for sale, just that it’s not actively advertised. Your agent can keep the details ‘under the table’ and still give them to people they think might be interested, so you don’t miss out on your perfect buyer.


  1. Switch agents

Sometimes an agent just isn’t the right one for you and your home. Perhaps they were enthusiastic at first, but now they don’t seem that motivated and you suspect they may have been over-confident with the price. Maybe they’re trying their best, but don’t have the right marketing skills. Or it could be that they’re simply not communicating with you.

Bottom line, it could be time for a fresh start with a new agent.

The relationship between an agent and their client is important – this is a significant transaction and you’re going to be working together to achieve the best possible sale. So, as well as making sure the agent you choose has a track record of selling homes like yours and a clear marketing plan, pick someone you really like. If they’re enthusiastic and positive about your home, they’ll pass that on to potential buyers and you’ll have the best chance of a successful viewing.

If you’re ready to move on to a new home and need a marketing boost to help sell your current one, call us on 01364 652652 or email us at and we’ll happily talk through what we think could make a real difference. No matter what the challenge is, there’s always an answer!


Amidst the excitement about lockdown easing on March 29th, another important date might have escaped your notice. From 1st April 2021, new electrical safety regulations apply to existing tenancies. From last summer, the regulations have applied to new tenancies but now have a wider reach.

In brief, the regulations mean that landlords must have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested at least every five years. The testing must be carried out by a qualified, competent person and a copy of the resulting electrical safety report should be given to their tenant and, if requested, to the local authority.

The move is designed to ensure the safety and quality of housing in the private rented sector. Most landlords will already be complying with the new regs, but there are a few important details it’s worth checking which include some complex-sounding documents, standards and reports. Here’s a summary of the key points.

Which properties are included?

The regulations apply from 1 July 2020 for new tenancies (granted on or after 1 June 2020) and for existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.

Assured shorthold tenancies and licences to occupy come under the scope of the regulations. The regulations also apply to HMOs if the HMO is a tenant’s only or main residence and they pay rent.

Properties that are excluded include social housing, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes and accommodation relating to healthcare provision.

What do landlords need to do?

The legislation has the snappy title of “The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020”.

These regulations state landlords must:

  • Ensure compliance with national standards for electrical safety as set out in the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations.
  • Ensure electrical installations in their properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years
  • Obtain a report of the inspection and test results, give a copy to an existing tenant within 28 days or to a new tenant before they move in.
  • Keep a copy and provide it on request to prospective tenants (within 28 days), the local authority (within 7 days) and the person carrying out any subsequent inspection or testing.
  • If remedial work is necessary, this should be carried out within 28 days or any shorter period specified in the report.
  • Confirmation of satisfactory completion of any remedial works should be supplied to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion.

Who can do the inspection and testing?

The testing must be done by a qualified and competent individual, but what does that mean?

The electrical safety industry has several competent-person schemes, but the inspector doesn’t have to be a member of such a scheme. They must, however, be willing to certify their competence, detail their experience, confirm they are insured and qualified under the current version of the Wiring Regulations.

What will the inspector be testing?

The inspection relates to fixed wiring, sockets, light fittings, fuse boxes and any permanently connected equipment such as extractor fans or showers. It doesn’t cover electrical appliances which would be covered by PAT testing.

Inspectors will be looking for any overloaded systems, defects in earthing, and shock or fire hazards.

The inspector’s report will classify remedial work according to the level of danger. Some classifications mean remedial work is mandatory. Others indicate recommended work.

Are there any penalties?

Yes. Local authorities can insist remedial work is done and recover the costs if they step in to ensure it happens. There are also financial penalties of up to £30,000 if landlords don’t comply.

Need any more info?

There’s a lot more detail on the GOV.UK website.

Alternatively please feel free to contact us as your local lettings experts - 01364 652652.


Source: Legal for Landlords



As estate agents, valuing homes accurately is at the core of our business. We’ve got to price them at a level that attracts enough attention from buyers, while achieving the maximum sale price for our clients, and sometimes it’s a challenge – particularly when there’s not much to compare them to.

We value homes based on a combination of factors. We look at recent data, consider what we know about current market conditions, sprinkle in price per square foot, then use our expertise to judge how popular your particular home is likely to be with buyers.

While it’s relatively straightforward to value a home if a lot of similar ones exist, it can be much harder to put a price on a unique home. Deciding how much a particular view or architectural style is worth in a certain location is not an exact science, which is why it’s especially important to choose the right estate agent when your home is one of a kind.


Let’s look in a bit more detail at how we arrive at a market value:

Data on comparable homes

The first thing we need to know is the value of other homes that compare to yours – ones of a similar size, in a similar location, with similar features. While there are usually plenty of direct comparables for homes on estates or Victorian terraces, the challenge with unique homes, where there might be very little else like them, is getting as close as possible. The more unique the home, the greater the challenge!

We look at two types of data:

  • Sold prices: How much have comparable homes sold for in the last 3–6 months? If there aren’t many of them, we sometimes have to look back further in time, then calculate a likely current value based on average price increases. Sold price data from the Land Registry is the main source for surveyors when they make their reports for mortgage lenders, so it carries significant weight.
  • Current market prices. We look at similar homes for sale and consider:
  1. How long have they been on the market?
  2. What’s the current asking price?
  3. Has the price been reduced?

Generally speaking, we expect to agree a sale at within 5% of the asking price, but the longer a home is on the market, the less likely it is to achieve this.

Together, these two sources give us a ballpark price guide.

You might be wondering about online instant valuation tools, like the one we have on our site here Sawdye & Harris - Valuation Service which use this kind of data to come up with a current price for your home. They’re becoming increasingly popular and can be useful if lots of similar homes have sold recently. But when it comes to unique homes, we find the results are often quite different to in-person valuations. There might only have been a handful of properties sold recently in the area that are even close to yours in size and style, and it’s almost impossible for a piece of technology to put an accurate value on a view or a one-off architectural feature. Data is certainly helpful in giving us a guide, but it’s by no means the whole story when it comes to unique homes!

One important thing for us to bear in mind is the ‘ceiling’ – the top price that comparable homes have sold for. If we value your home at more than this, there’s always a risk it might be too expensive, and when buyers think a home is overpriced, it tends to put them off. However, unique homes can often break through the ceiling and attract a higher selling price, simply because there’s nothing else like them.



Price per square foot

Not a commonly used valuation tool, but an invaluable one. It doesn’t take into account all the amazing amenities, like a stunning view, or even some disadvantages like a footpath right through a garden. Still, some buyers like seeing exactly how much they’re getting for their money.

Anything attached to the main home is included in the total price per square foot; however, most detached buildings aren’t, unless it’s an additional dwelling – a holiday home for example.

Price per square foot is different for each area. It provides a good general overview of what a home is worth. At least on paper.



Current market conditions

Prices depend on supply and demand. When there are fewer homes on the market, prices tend to go up as there’s plenty of competition from potential buyers. The best homes can often attract a ‘bidding war’ and end up selling for over the asking price. On the other hand, if there are fewer people looking to buy when more people want to sell, prices tend to fall. That’s because buyers have a good amount of choice and will be more tempted to try and get a bargain by making an offer below the asking price.

So, in order to put the right market value on your home, we need to know how many buyers out there are looking for a home like yours. Are similar homes selling quickly or is there an oversupply right now?

While unique homes are usually less affected by rises and falls in the market, it’s still important for us to know what’s happening, as it gives us a feel for how positive we can be with our valuation.



Our expertise

Taking all the above into account, we then have to judge how attractive your home is likely to be to buyers. We’ve got to look at the outstanding features and decide how valuable they are, then balance that with what we know about how much potential buyers are willing and able to pay. There might be lots of things that set your home apart, but would someone be willing to pay more for it than for its closest competitor, and how much more? This is where our experience really matters.

 A lot comes down to how rare the features are, particularly when you’ve got a combination of them. For instance, if you have a beautifully refurbished Grade 1 listed home in a waterfront location, how many other homes like that are there in the area – more importantly, how often do they come up for sale? When a buyer knows that if they miss out on your home, they might not get another chance to buy something similar for another five or ten years, they’re usually willing to pay a premium. And it’s our job to know how much that premium is.

The final thing we need to consider is your own position. How quickly do you want or need to sell? If you’re not in a rush to find a buyer, we might think it’s worth being optimistic with the price, then we can always adjust it if needed. On the other hand, if you’d like to sell as quickly as possible, we’ll recommend a price that we’re sure will immediately catch your target buyers’ attention.

So, if you’ve got a unique home, choose an experienced local agent who’s got a track record of successfully selling one-off homes. Search online to see what’s sold locally in the past couple of months and take note of which agents have handled the more individual sales. They’re the ones who should be able to see the true value of your home, properly judge its market potential and then help you achieve the best possible sale.

If you’re ready to move or are currently on the market and haven’t yet had the response you’d hoped for, give us a call on 01264 652652 or email us at We’ll be happy to chat through our tailored marketing approach for unique homes and, if you’d like to talk in more detail or have a valuation, we can arrange for someone from our team to visit you at home.


You’ve found and bought a property; perhaps you’ve upgraded or even refurbished it. You’ve no doubt spent time, effort and money on it.

All you need now is a tenant. Preferably one who will pay the rent on time, look after your property and stay for a while.

It’s tempting to wonder if you can manage the letting process yourself – find and vet a suitable tenant – and also to take on the management of the tenancy yourself. After all, 10% (plus vat) is a sizeable chunk of your monthly rent. But would a DIY approach be a shrewd financial saving or a potential logistical and legal headache?

Whenever we talk to our happy landlords, we hear the same thing: “We’re so glad you’re doing it for us!” They just don’t want to have to take on the role of a letting agent. But what exactly is that role? What does a letting agent actually do?



In this article, we explain, without bias (ok, maybe a little), and in as neutral a manner as we can, the answer to that question. Let’s look at what the various services offered by letting agents mean, what you can expect to pay for them and if a DIY option is right for you.

First, let’s look at…

A letting agent’s job

Our advisory service 

All you need to do is ask, and we will visit your property and give you our best advice on:

  • Its current rentable value
  • The likely tenant that will suit it best
  • Whether we have a tenant already on our waitlist for your type of property
  • Whether there are any changes or improvements you could make to maximise the rentable value
  • Any problems or challenges we foresee with the tenancy, to make sure you get the best return on your investment.


Our tenant find service

We’ll create a professional and attractive marketing campaign for your property, to show it in its very best light. We may also produce a floorplan, if appropriate. We’ll then distribute your property advert across the best online channels and portals, to make sure it receives as wide a reach as possible.

Then it’s time for viewings. Tenants will often want to view potential properties out of hours – in the evenings and at weekends. That’s why we offer viewings that are convenient to working tenants – after all, most landlords would prefer to have working, professional tenants in their properties.

Next, we manage applications and offers by your potential tenants. Often, the best properties are popular and over-subscribed, leading to a number of applications and offers that need managing carefully. We take extra care to make sure that all tenants feel their applications are taken seriously and considered on a fair basis. Sometimes, the first accepted tenant fails their credit checks, which means we have to go to the next applicant. Therefore, it’s important they feel valued and don’t consider that they have been rejected unfairly.

Finding the best tenant for you isn’t easy. We base our recommendations on strict criteria of suitability and affordability, vet them using a tenant referencing agency and credit check them. We want to make sure that they are who they say they are and that they will be a good ‘keeper’ of your property. A past record of rent-paying is important as it’s often an indicator of whether they will pay their rent on time in your property. Although we will make our recommendations as to which tenant we feel would be best for you, the final decision always rests with you, the owner. After all, it’s your property they will be inhabiting.

Once we’ve made our final selection and offered the property to the successful tenant, we draw up the tenancy agreement – in legal terms, this is known as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, which may include any special clauses the landlord wants to add – and have the tenant sign it. We take a full inventory of your property, making sure we get photographic evidence of every fixture and fitting – furniture if included – and create an exact record of the condition of every room.

Our property management service

The tenant is happy with your property, and you, the landlord, are pleased with your new tenant. But this is not the end of the story, merely the beginning. Managing your property in a professional, sensitive and conscientious manner is the key to keeping your tenant satisfied and content, long-term.  Because, unless the landlord needs a short-term solution, a long-term, successful tenancy is what we strive for, on your behalf. A long-term tenant who looks after your property and pays their rent on time means that your investment will be easier and more profitable for you.

What does ‘property management’ mean? Managing your property means making sure your tenant is living there in the manner they promised, which could include no pets, sub-letting or illegal practices.  We do this by making regular property inspection checks, taking written and photographic records at each visit as appropriate, then reporting our findings back to you, the landlord. If we find a problem, we’ll let you know right away and make recommendations for it to be rectified. If the tenant reports a maintenance issue, either urgent or impending, we’ll talk to you and make sure it’s fixed in the way you’re happy with.

Essentially, the best letting agent acts as a go-between, or a ‘buffer’, between you and your tenants. Not all tenants are easy to negotiate and deal with, so having your agent’s number as the main point of contact, instead of your own, could prove a wise decision.


What do letting agents charge?

We have two main agency services: Tenant Find and Fully Managed.

Tenant Find – This service is for those landlords who are confident in managing their property themselves but need some assistance in finding and vetting tenants. For Tenant Find only, we charge a fee of YOUR FEE.

Fully Managed – This service is for busy landlords who want the peace of mind of having a full-service letting agent on hand to help them with every aspect of their tenancy. Our fee for a Fully Managed service is YOUR FEE.


And there’s more….


We are proud of the great working relationships we have with our landlords, and we know that sometimes they need extra advice and assistance from us. So, in addition to the services we’ve listed here, we can also help with:

  • Arranging specialist cleaning in between lets
  • Organising garden maintenance
  • Protection for your empty property in cold weather
  • Dealing with your post
  • Managing rubbish disposal where necessary.

And if all that isn’t enough to keep us busy, we can even help you:

  • Find your next investment property
  • Negotiate the best price
  • Secure financing
  • Organise or recommend its refurbishment
  • Replace carpets, flooring and curtains
  • Refit kitchens and bathrooms
  • Source the right furniture
  • Secure the best tradespeople and professionals

Ready to take the next step, and talk to us? We’ve a wealth of experience and expertise to help you on your property investment journey, and it all starts with a confidential chat.  Just call us on 01364 652652 or – we’re really looking forward to seeing how we can help you.


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