Landlords beware of cowboy contractors…..
One of our tenants recently reported that her boiler had stopped working. The timing was terrible, as the weather was turning colder and her young son had been unwell.
We let the landlord know there was an issue and sent our regular contractors out to assess the situation. It wasn’t good news; our contractors reported back that the boiler had a serious leak and a repair would not be an economical option.
Within 24 hours we had sent a quote to the landlord for a new boiler installation. The tenants would be without heating and hot water for the weekend but our contractors could get the job done on the Monday.
The landlord decided against our quotation. He wanted to use his own contractor, which of course is his right to do. Monday came, and Monday went. Tuesday came and went. The week came and went, but there was still no contractor. There were plenty of excuses but no contractor, no hot water and no central heating. The tenants were very unhappy.
Finally, late on the following Saturday afternoon, a contractor arrived. By Monday morning there was a new boiler. It didn’t work. By Tuesday contractors were back on site. They worked all day and by the end of it the boiler was working, and the tenant had heating and hot water. But the tenant was still worried; she hadn’t got a good feeling from the contractors and wasn’t convinced that they knew what they were doing.
We rang the landlord to ask if they had given him a new gas safety certificate, he said they hadn’t. By Wednesday morning the tenants were concerned and I was concerned as well. I sent my own contractors to do a gas safety certificate and to check all was well. It wasn’t.
They found multiple issues with the installation of the boiler, one of which could have been life-threatening. My contractors shut off the boiler. They are going back tomorrow to rectify the issues and ensure the boiler is safe. I will charge all of this back to the landlord. The tenants will be due compensation for their 13 days without heating and hot water. The tenants are deeply unhappy with the landlords and will not remain settled in the property for long.
If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you see the cost of cleaning up after a cowboy…..
Buying or Renting? Which Side of the Fence are you on?
There has been a great deal of media debate recently about the plus and minus points of both buying and renting a property. The problem for those who are unsure about the best strategy is that there’s no specific right or wrong answer here – the path to choose will depend on the circumstances of the individuals concerned.
Those who prefer the concept of buying will understandably point out that one day you will own the house or flat outright. Most of us have an instinct for making our home into our castle, and this instinct becomes stronger when we can see the concept of ownership on the horizon. It should be pointed out, however, that there are drawbacks which should always be taken into consideration. They include:
Signing up to a mortgage represents a big commitment
The size of the monthly repayment can be affected by interest rate changes and we all know they are going to start going up at some point.
There is less flexibility for buyers than renters; it’s harder to move around if your situation changes.
If property values decrease, it will affect the value of your investment
It’s not all doom and gloom for buyers, however, because there are some highly tempting benefits that can make all the difference. If property prices rise, then the value of your investment improves, freehold owners can carry out improvements without needing to consult with a landlord and in some cases the cost of buying can be cheaper than renting.
Renting is an option that will always have its supporters
There are some people who would prefer to rent, and they have a number of valid reasons for doing so. They have more freedom to move, for example. If they are renting a home that doesn’t tick all the right boxes, they can switch to another house or flat at the end of their lease agreement. It’s a simple process, and there is usually a great deal of choice when it comes to finding rental properties in the local area.
It’s generally easier to budget accordingly for renters, because their lease agreement will detail rental costs in advance. If the Bank of England announces a rise in interest rates, it’s unlikely to make a great deal of difference to their arrangements for the coming months. There are obviously a number of disadvantages to renting, and they need to be given careful consideration. They include:
The property will never be yours to own
You can’t make improvements without the permission of the landlord
You have no rights if the landlord wants to sell the property
In many cases, you won’t be able to keep pets
Making a commitment on whether to buy or rent will depend entirely on your individual needs. As always, it’s a good idea to speak to the experts before deciding a strategy. James Neave the Estate Agents will be happy to help you.
So many Benefits to Putting down Roots in Walton-on-Thames
Here at James Neave, we are all too aware of the benefits of being located in wonderful Walton-on-Thames, and we’re always keen to spread the word about our town. Life here is peaceful but never boring, charming but never old-fashioned and lively but never exhausting. There are so many good reasons for people to consider a move to the area. They include:
Beautiful walks beside the river
An easy commute to central London
Peaceful, friendly neighbourhoods
Top quality schools with growing reputations
Plenty of entertainment options
Several excellent golf courses
Convenient road links to the M3, A3 and M25
Chief among these plus points is perhaps a desire to remain within easy reach of London without having to be too close. Plenty of men and women from Walton-on-Thames make their way into the centre of the city for work each day, but they are blissfully happy to escape from the metropolis later on. The relative tranquillity of the Surrey suburbs can seem like a world away from our nation’s bustling capital.
Getting to and from the offices, shops, landmarks and entertainment venues of London is a piece of cake from here. There are direct trains from Walton-on-Thames to Waterloo throughout the day, and the journey time is around 25 minutes. Whether you face a regular daily commute for work or you just fancy an occasional trip for some retail therapy, it’s so easy to get there and back.
While every newcomer to Walton-on-Thames will have their own reasons for choosing this area, there will no doubt be many who are attracted by the thought of living close to the river. Having meandered through London from the Thames Estuary, the UK’s most famous waterway is wonderfully serene by the time it reaches Walton. There are properties for sale close to the waterfront, and they understandably generate a great deal of interest among would-be buyers.
Those who are keen to make the most of the fresh air in Walton-on-Thames like to savour long walks along the river’s edge in the summer, and there are a number of impressive pubs in the area which offer pleasant meals and equally pleasant views. The vista may have changed since Canaletto first painted it in the 1750s, but the overall beauty is still there for all to see.
Walton-on-Thames is one of those neighbourhoods which have something for everyone. As well as several good schools and excellent amenities for the youngsters, it’s also an ideal community for retirees. If you are currently thinking about making the switch, have a chat with our experts and see how James Neave the Estate Agents can make it happen.
Guide to Buying Property
We buy items on almost every day of the week, but purchasing a property is, as you might expect, a more complex process that requires far more than the simple transference of money. There are so many issues that need to be dealt with, and of course the buyer needs to be sure that the flat or house is indeed the one that matches his or her requirements.
The first consideration would be which type of property to go for. While a cosy flat might suit a single person or a couple, it will soon become too small if children or future partners are on the horizon. Similarly, there’s no point buying a place that’s too large, especially if it’s likely to stretch the budget beyond manageable limits.
The finances need to be considered at all times when buying a home, of course. If you plan to take out a mortgage, you need to know that you will be able to afford it, both now and in the future. Thankfully, the mortgage market is a highly competitive one these days, with a number of lenders battling with one another to offer the most attractive terms to borrowers.
One of the most important considerations of all is the location of the chosen property. Your local estate agency will have details of a wide selection of flats and houses in the chosen area, so a little professional advice about transport connections, shopping amenities, educational facilities and parking provisions should be sought before buying.
It’s advisable to view a number of properties in the chosen area before making any firm commitment, even if you already have your heart set on one particular residence. A nearby estate agency will offer details of a number of tempting properties, so it makes sense to choose a few to look at, if only to gain further knowledge of the local market.
Always seek out the advice of experts
First-time buyers may lack the experience of the property market and will subsequently feel a little under-prepared for entering into such a major purchase, but it’s important to remember that crucial advice and guidance are always available. If in doubt about any part of the process, all they need to do is ask the experts for help.
When viewing a property, always bear in mind the place represents a potential purchase, so if you have any relevant questions don’t be afraid to ask. If all goes well, you will be living in this house or flat for some time to come, so you need to know it’s perfect. After all, you will be investing a substantial sum of money into it.
If you like a particular property, you should take your time when viewing it, in order to get a full appreciation of its plus and minus points. It’s easy to fall in love at first sight with a home, but you need to keep an eye open for potential problems. If you see a hairline crack in the wall, for example, be prepared to ask questions about why it’s there.
It’s also a good idea to spend a little time in the local streets, in order to get a feel of the area. If you’re serious about purchasing, it’s worth driving around the neighbourhood during the rush hour, so you can see what it’s like when it’s particularly busy. If you plan to drive to work from here, you need to know that it won’t become overly difficult during peak times.
Finally, remember that buying a property is supposed to be a happy experience, so make the most of it. For the vast majority of people, it will be the largest and most expensive purchase they ever make, and although it comes with a great deal of responsibility it should also be fun. Try to forget the stress and enjoy the process.
38 High Street, Walton on Thames, Surrey, KT12 1DE
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