Romford Office, 215 Pettits Lane North, Romford, Essex, RM1 4NU

Upminster Office, 91 Front Lane, Upminster, Essex, RM14 1XN

Romford: 01708 748956
Upminster: 01708 228733
info@accordhomes.co.uk

living room

Your Local
Independent
Estate Agent

kitchen

Your Local
Friendly
Estate Agent

bathroom

Your Local
Experienced
Estate Agent

In this two-minute read, we look at why landlords who self-manage their buy-to-lets can never really put their feet up at Christmas.

 
Picture this: It’s 4pm on Christmas Day, and you’ve just snuggled down on the sofa to watch a bit of telly. Your belly is full, and your lids are heavy after a Mistletoe Margarita or two (or three, but who’s counting?). Then your phone rings. It’s your tenant – and there’s a problem.
 
A pipe has burst in the flat that they rent from you and there is water everywhere. You need to get a plumber on it straight away, and you need to make sure the electricity is off, or someone could get electrocuted. The tenant, who has a small child, is panicked and upset. You have no choice but to spring into action (and sober up) – and write-off the rest of Christmas.
 
What frustrates you most, as you to and fro with tradespeople and the tenant over the next few days, is that your flat is in good nick. When it comes to maintenance, you do all the right things.
But no matter how diligent you are as a landlord, you can never guarantee that something won’t go wrong at the worst possible time.
 
There are things you can do to minimise the risks, but luck also plays a part.
 
Ahhh, nobody told me that as a landlord I’d be on call 24 hours a day, every day.
 
There is a way to avoid all this hassle and stress – let us here at Accord Sales & Lettings manage your property for you. That way, when the pipe bursts on Christmas Day, you get to stay on the couch (result!), and we deal with everything for you.
 
You do, of course, pay for this service and some landlords baulk at that. They prefer to save themselves a little bit of cash and bear all the responsibility themselves. Often, they treat the role of landlord as a full-time job, so they can manage all the paperwork, meet all the legal regs, and deal with tenants and tradespeople.
 
But unless you got into the private rental sector because you wanted a second career in property management, you might ask if it’s worth doing everything yourself.
 
It’s one thing to arrange routine maintenance when you’re having a quiet week at work, or to take a day off to meet tenants at the start of a tenancy, but what happens when your diary is packed?
 
If you need to travel for work or want to go away on holiday, who’s holding the fort for you? If you’re engulfed in a major crisis at the office, and there's an emergency at your property, how will you cope?
Just because it’s Christmas, New Year, or the Champions League Final, doesn’t mean a boiler can’t pack it in, or a tenant can’t get caught in a messy midnight dispute with a neighbour.
We acknowledge that these are worst-case scenarios; most tenancies run fairly smoothly with only the odd hiccup. But as a landlord, you need to be prepared for the unexpected.
 
If you’d like to learn more about the property management service we offer here at Accord Sales & Lettings, please get in touch.
 
Copyright 2020 ACCORD ESTATES LTD

In this three-minute read, we look at the key themes that emerged in the UK property market in 2020.

 

2020 is the year things went nuts in the property sector, with activity in Havering and the rest of the country screeching to an abrupt halt for several weeks, before blasting back into action as buyers emerged from lockdown with a new set of priorities.
Here are four talking points from the year.
1. Race for space
Lockdown 1 served as a turning point for many people who, after spending months cooped up with their nearest and dearest, decided that it was time to get out of town. Demand for homes in places like Central London dropped and interest in country and coastal properties spiked.
Many of those heading for the hills and beaches were families looking to upscale to a home with a bigger garden, more bedrooms, and easy access to the great outdoors.
The super-rich got in on the act too, with Savills selling at least 21 rural estates each valued at £15m plus.
2. Working from home/end of the commute
2020 is the year working from home (or WFH if you like acronyms) went mainstream. Covid-19 meant that bosses who suspected staff would bunk off if they weren’t in the office had to embrace WFH. What did they discover?
Many were surprised to find that productivity didn’t nose-dive; in fact, some workers got more done. Meanwhile, employees gleefully ditched the commute and spent more time doing the things they love at home.
As a result, enquiries from people looking for properties with dedicated office space or bedrooms that could serve as a home office increased.
3. Outdoor space
Even buyers who didn’t want to hotfoot it to the countryside, wanted outdoor space, be it a courtyard, a roof terrace or access to a communal garden.
In May, Rightmove reported searches for homes with gardens increased by 42% – a trend that has stayed strong.
4. Resilience
When the market shut down in March, many predicted the consequences would be dire. It certainly was challenging for the industry, but the market has proved to be incredibly resilient.
At the start of December, property prices in the UK were growing at their fastest rate since 2016. The average cost of a UK home rose by 6.5% this year (figures: Nationwide).
What’s in store for 2021?
As the Covid-19 vaccine rollout gathers pace, things might return to ‘normal’ in some ways, but it’s unlikely that they will go back to what they once were.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the end of office-working, but a less rigid approach to the way we work seems here to stay.
As a result, many property experts predict demand in prime outer London and regional markets will continue in 2021.

Here at Accord Sales & Lettings, we’re proud to have nearly made it through 2020. We’re a little bit older, wiser, and looking forward to serving the people of Havering in 2021.

In this two-minute read, we look at five ways to stave off cravings and eat well this winter.

 

Many of us turn to food when we’re bored or stressed, so it’s no wonder that the pandemic has played havoc with so many people’s waistlines.

 

Spending lots of time at home this year, amid ongoing uncertainty, has meant that bad habits have crept in. Do any of these descriptions resonate with you?

 

The all-day grazer: Mid-morning you reach for the biscuit tin and then keep going – and going. You eat little and often (by that we mean almost constantly) and lose track of how many bourbons/crackers/cookies you’ve devoured.

 

Late-night binger: You skip breakfast and stick to a simple eating plan for most of the day – until about 9pm comes and BAM! you snaffle a tub of Ben & Jerry’s at lightning speed.

 

Zombie eater: You always eat in front of the TV or while on your laptop. You shovel it in on auto-pilot, unaware of how much you’ve packed away, if it has any nutritional value or even if it tastes nice.

 

Afternoon snack fiend: Your mood and willpower plummet mid-afternoon. You start to feel hangry (that’s hungry plus angry) and need a sugary snack to give you an energy hit.

 

If any of these descriptions ring a bell with you, then here are five tips to help get your eating habits back on an even keel.

 

Plan meals and shop in advance

Create a meal plan, stock up on healthy produce and get cooking. (Meals made from scratch are typically lower in salt, sugar, and fat than processed foods and takeaways.) Foods to add to your shopping basket include sweet potatoes and spinach (they’re packed with vitamin A) and oily fish (for a hit of vitamin D). If snacking is your weakness, have berries and oranges (full of vitamin C) on hand for when the cravings hit.

 

Sit down at the table to eat

Avoid eating on the run, or while multitasking. Sit down to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time every day. This structure will help stop you grazing or bingeing.

 

Frozen counts

Frozen vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, so make sure you have some in the freezer. That way, if you wind up having to quarantine, you can still get your daily dose of veg.

 

Don’t obsess 

Food isn’t supposed to be a source of guilt, it’s meant to be nourishing and joyful. If you have a blowout, don’t be too tough on yourself. We are living through strange times. Move on, tomorrow’s another day.

 

Exercise

Exercise boosts your mood, and gives you more energy, so you won’t need sugary treats to give you a lift. Schedule exercise for the time of day when you typically feel low or lethargic.

 

Here at Accord, we’re here to help you get through these uncertain times. Look after yourself and take care.

 

Copyright 2020 Accord Estates Ltd

In this three-minute read, we share our five-point plan for a smooth move in six months’ time.

 

Moving can be stressful ­– some people rate it right up there with divorce in the aggravation stakes – but there are ways you can take the drama and disruption out of the process.

 

The first step is to acknowledge that buying a new home is likely to be one of the biggest purchases you make in your lifetime.

 

And if you plan to sell a property to fund your next move, you’re effectively carrying out two incredibly important transactions in one hit. (No pressure then.)

 

Given the magnitude of the task, if you want to move in 2021, we advise you to start working towards that goal now.

 

The process always takes longer than you expect, so use your time wisely now so that you can move when the time is right next year.

 

Here are five tips to pave the way for a successful move.

 

Research prospective areas

You probably have an inkling already of where you would like to live, but until you get into the nitty-gritty, you won’t know if your dreams are realistic. Review local property prices, pinpoint favourite streets, revise school catchment boundaries and check if there are any major residential or transport projects in the pipeline that will impact the area.

 

Sort out your budget 

Scrutinise your finances to get a clear picture of your income and spending. Be honest about what you can afford. Consider how your responsibilities might change in future if, for example, you plan to have children or change careers. Identify the size of the deposit you will need, along with costs such as Stamp Duty, legal bills, surveying fees, mortgage insurance, and removals.

 

Research mortgages

The good news is that interest rates are currently low. However, uncertainty in the market means those looking for a high loan-to-value mortgage may struggle to secure one as many lenders have pulled them altogether. Analyse a wide range of deals to get the best product for your situation.

 

Basic maintenance and refurbishment

Once you know what you’re aiming for, it’s time to get your house, quite literally, in order. Give tired rooms a lick of paint, and mend broken windows, doors, and cupboards. Plant spring bulbs in the garden so that your yard is brimming with colour by March. If you’re considering complex renovations, such as installing a new kitchen or bathroom, get a second opinion. Will you recoup the costs of a major refurb when you sell? Ask an estate agent for their expert opinion.

 

Declutter

Working on a room-by-room basis, get rid of unwanted items. If an item has some value, sell it online. If not, take it to the tip. Sorting out all your belongings now will mean you won’t have to do it closer to moving when you have other things on your plate. It will also make marketing your property much easier and help you achieve maximum selling price.

 

If the events of 2020 have made you consider moving, come and talk to us here at Accord. We can give you friendly, expert advice about where the market is heading and the outlook for 2021.

In this terrifying three-minute true story, we reveal how a Havering family endured a nightmare experience when selling their home.

In the beginning

The Thomas family were like many you’ll know in Havering.

There was mum, dad, two young children and a black cat called Lucky.

They were popular with their neighbours and active members of the local community.

And that’s why people were disappointed to learn they were selling up and moving on due to Mr Thomas getting a new job in another part of the country.

Like many homeowners, the Thomases called in three estate agents to value their home.

The first two agents were both likeable, presentable, and knowledgeable.

Their valuations were similar give or take £2000.

The Charming Stranger

Everything seemed to be going to plan. Well, until the third agent turned up.

He was due to arrive at 3 pm but rang to inform Mr and Mrs Thomas that he wouldn’t be able to get there until later in the evening.

The doorbell rang at 8 pm, and Mr Thomas opened it. The agent, let’s call him Damian, stepped out of the shadows into the light, and the reflection from his pearly white teeth and shiny shoes momentarily stunned Mr T.

The next 20 minutes were a blur. Damian with the dazzling gnashers was devilishly charming and talked in an almost hypnotic way.

He gave a valuation of £20,000 more than the other two agents. He lowered his voice, which made the couple lean in and then he said, ‘I have dozens of people looking for a home like yours, it’ll be sold in no time at all.’

The Thomases signed a long contract on the spot instructing Damian’s agency to sell the property.

Looking back, Mrs Thomas said she had felt blinded by the smile, the shoes, and the promised sales price.

As Damian walked down the path whistling softly, a Black crow landed on the family car and stared soullessly at the Thomases. Was this an omen?

The Haunting

‘Something doesn’t feel right’ said Mr Thomas a day after the visit. ‘I know what you mean dad’ said Evie the couple’s 8-year-old. ‘That weird man didn’t have a shadow when he stood by our lamp.’

Mr Thomas ignored it as the workings of a child’s wild imagination, but then things began to get scary.

They never saw Damian again after that. His office always said he was unavailable when they called for an update.

But he wasn’t the only thing that couldn’t be found.

Due to the higher price scaring off buyers, the family home attracted very little interest.

It was sat in the wrong price band for a property of its type due to the extra £20,000 Damian had mysteriously added.

The poor communication from their agency and the lack of viewings was becoming a nightmare for the family as their move became ever closer.

Because they couldn’t sell, they couldn’t buy, this caused a horrendous amount of stress for mum and dad.

The moral of their story is be very wary of smooth-talking agents, who promise the earth and conjure up mesmerising market values for your home that make little sense.

A happy ending?

You may be asking why we are referring to the Thomas four (sorry, five, with the cat) in the past tense?

Well, thanks to us visiting them, accurately valuing their home, and creating an effective marketing plan for their property’s sale they have now successfully moved to pastures new.

Whatever happened to the mysterious agent?

Legend has it that he can still be seen around Havering, still casting no shadow but leaving a trail of homeowner horror stories in his wake. The black crow is still believed to follow him.

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween.

*The names have been changed to protect the innocent……. And the guilty.

NAEA ARLA The Property Ombudsman Trading Standards Deposit Protection Scheme Rightmove Zoopla Primelocation On The Market