Q: How do I know which agent to instruct?
A: If you want to make your own choice rather than go with a recommended agent, don’t be fooled by an offer of cheap fees. Cheap fees equal cheap service. Instruct an agent who will back up in writing what they offer verbally, such as advertising on all the portals, accompanying on every viewing and a professional 360 Degree Virtual Tour of your property, all of which we offer and confirm in writing.
Q: Do I need to instruct multiple agents?
A: Not initially, if your property is priced correctly and you have instructed the right agent, your property will sell without the need for multiple agency and consequently higher fees. ABC will market your property from all of our three branches, so you will benefit from Multiple Agency marketing for Sole Agency fees. (For more, see Our Fees)
Q: How long does it take to sell a property?
A: Typically, three months from the date you accept an offer, because these days due to audit procedures solicitors have to be a lot more fastidious. If there is a long chain it could take longer. (See here for Property Sales)
Q: How will I know how much to offer and/or how do I know that I am not over-paying for a property?
A: There is no way to be certain. Properties are usually advertised at a price which allows the vendor some flexibility. If you also have your house on the market your selling agent should advise you on your purchase price.
Q: How l can I protect myself against being gazumped?
A: If you really want the property offer the asking price on the understanding that it is taken off the market.
Q: What does “Exchange Contracts” mean?
A: Exchanging contracts means both parties have signed their contracts, which binds them to the sale, which will complete (close) on an agreed date. Your purchaser will have lodged a non-refundable deposit and if he/she fails to complete are liable to forfeit 10% of the purchase price to your favour.
Q: What is a Break Clause?
A: A break clause gives either or both (called a mutual break) parties licence to terminate the lease at pre-agreed periods, and with due notice.
Q: How do I protect myself against being asked to leave a property?
A: By insisting that the lease is written within the terms of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, which means that at the end of the lease term, unless the landlord intends to occupy or develop the property, he has to offer the tenant an option to renew.
Q: How much do I have to pay up front?
A: Typically, three months’ rent, and three months as a security deposit, but in recent times six months as a security deposit has become more the norm.
Q: Does the rent always go up at a review?
A: Not always, and if so the increase has to be reasonable, in line open market trends. If you feel it is otherwise, you have the right to appeal to the FFT.
Q: What is the rent guarantee I hear mentioned in your Radio adverts on LBC & SkyTV adverts? Do I need one?
A: An insurance backed Rent Guarantee is an insurance designed to protect your investment by ensuring the rent is paid even if your tenant goes into arrears. Landlords who select our Let and Managed service will STCC receive a FREE Rent Guarantee policy and the cover includes legal indemnity if the tenant breaches the terms of the tenancy agreement. Further details on insurance and rent guarantee options are provided on request.
Q: Will you advise me as to what I need to do regarding maintenance and redecoration works during and after a tenancy?
A: Most properties will require some redecoration or upgrading from time to time. We are able to offer a full service from supervising the repainting of a room to the complete refurbishment of a property. Charges are based on the amount of work required and the size of the property. We would be pleased to discuss this with you in more detail.
Q: Do you check applicants’ references?
A: We will obtain various documentation and references from applicants such as an employer reference, previous landlord reference, pay slips and identification. These documents will then be checked and verified by our referencing company who will also complete right to rent and credit checks on the applicants.
Q: What are the health and safety requirements I need to adhere to when letting out my property?
A: The letting of a property is now closely regulated with respect to consumer safety. The law makes particular demands regarding the safety, servicing and inspection of gas and electrical appliances and installations within a property and with respect to the safety of furniture and soft furnishings provided. The landlord is legally responsible for ensuring that the property has a valid gas safety certificate, an energy performance certificate and a smoke detector on each floor of the property. We will assist you to ensure you adhere to the current legislation so that you and your property are compliant and the premises are suitable for tenant occupation.
Q: Why is it best to use an Agent that is ARLA qualified?
A: As an ARLA member (find our membership certificate here) we are required to have professional indemnity insurance cover and in addition we are covered by a bonding scheme which provides financial protection for our clients’ monies. We are governed by the Code of Practice providing a framework of ethical and professional standards at a level far higher than the law demands. Membership rules require that all member offices are to have professionally qualified staff. ARLA is seen as a benchmark for professionalism that both landlords and tenants can have confidence in. We are also members of the NAEA and the Ombudsman Services redress body.