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Issue 3

www.bensiggins.co.uk Maidstone: 01622 524110 Gillingham: 01634 581207 Kings Hill: 01732 424090

High street vs online estate agents: Weighing up the pros and cons of these two routes to market

+ Hot properties:

MARKET FOCUS:

INDUSTRY FOCUS:

LANDLORD FOCUS:

How Brexit is impacting home-buyers, vendors and landlords

How will Trump’s election victory affect the housing market?

Essential guidance on how to make your property ready for tenants


Why y Why you should use our conv conveyancing service

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Last year we complete Last year we completed approximately 8,000 property transactions of all types. of all types.

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We offer all our clients a dedicated personal conveyancer to handleclients your We offer all our transaction from start to finish and keep you informed from 24 hours a day, start transaction 7 days a week through our case tracking facility on the internet.

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Welcome

Welcome...

to our bi-monthly brochure In this issue...  NEWS: Stay one step ahead with our bi-monthly round up of essential news and stories affecting the housing market today. Page 4  VENDOR FOCUS: High street vs online estate agents – we highlight the pros and cons of these two routes to market. Page 6  MARKET FOCUS: How Brexit is impacting house-buyers, vendors and landlords. Page 10  MEET THE TEAM: Maidstone Branch Manager, Matthew Groves, talks to us about marketing and managing client expectations. Page 13 Get to know the Ben Siggins agents in your local area. Page 17  LANDLORD FOCUS: Essential guidance on how to make your property ready for tenants. Page 14  LIVE LISTINGS: A glance at some of the hottest properties currently available through Ben Siggins Estate Agents. Page 18

Get in touch...  www.bensiggins.co.uk  ben@bensiggins.co.uk Maidstone Office:  29 Pudding Lane, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1PA

ritain’s vote to leave the EU undeniably cast a shadow of uncertainty over the country,

B with property being one of the sectors most affected by the outcome of the referendum. However, in the months that have past since Brexit, are we finally starting to see some stability in our economy following the initial shock? The housing market in our core areas was largely unaffected by the vote, despite my initial concerns. In the last three months, we have seen our strongest results of the year for both sales and lettings. Whether you’re a landlord, house-buyer or vendor, you will no doubt have your own feelings on the matter and your current status may or may not be influenced by the impending exit. In a bid to shed some light on the topic, we have collated analysis from some of the industry leaders as they identify key trends and behaviours since June. Turn to page 10 to learn more. Elsewhere in this issue, we outline the main differences you might expect to see if you decide to market your property through an online estate agent. While some may market themselves to be cheaper than a traditional high street agent, do they truly provide a hassle-free, personal service? Turn to page 6 to find out more. Lastly, I’d like to welcome our newest members of the team, Beth Moon and Ben Morgan. Beth joins us from Countrywide and is located in our Maidstone branch as Senior Sales and Lettings Negotiator. Ben came to us in the summer as part of a work placement and impressed us immensely with his drive and determination. He can be found working alongside Area Manager Daniel Riby, helping out on the lettings side of the business. To find out more about Beth, Ben and the rest of the team, please turn to page 17. For more information on any of the issues discussed within the magazine, or if you would like to enquire about a featured property, please do not hesitate to contact the office where a member of the team would be happy to help.

Ben Siggins Managing Director

Have you checked out bensiggins.co.uk yet? Designed to take the strain out of house-hunting, bensiggins.co.uk is the go-to site for buying, selling and renting properties in Maidstone and the South East.

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Designed and published by Reach Out Creative Ltd. Words by Hannah Frackiewicz.

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Market Insight

NEWS

Stay one step ahead of the game with our bi-monthly round up of all the need-to-know stories affecting the housing market today, because knowledge is power!

NLA responds to RICS’ call to reverse stamp duty surcharge

Newly-elected Trump may impact on London’s housing market ollowing Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election, estate agents and market analysts have been reviewing the potential repercussions for Britain’s housing market. Amongst some of the theories, some believe that an indirect consequence of this shock result may be an influx of American buyers in London – and possibly even more permanent American residents offended by Trump’s policies. The election result, combined with a weaker Sterling post Brexit in June, has made London an attractive city for prospective buyers. However, it may not just be fleeing Americans that flock to London. Samuel Blake, Residential Partner at Montagu Evans, comments: “We consider that London could benefit from Trump’s policies. However, we believe the impact is likely to come, not from fleeing Americans, but from wealthy people who would have considered a move to New York

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City, in particular from the Middle East, Europe and China.” Jean Liggett, Ohio-born Chief Executive of the UK’s Properties Of The World, says Trump’s success may lead to significant stock market de-stabilisation, but that London’s housing market may benefit. “Investors [may] seek to migrate their portfolios from the US to a more secure and predictable market – the UK. This may even mean that the Sterling could rise in value. Only time will tell how the US property market – and others around the world – will respond to his election victory,” she says.

Says: “As with Brexit, I expect to see confidence in the housing market knocked slightly in the shorter term, but this will coincide with the quieter period over the festive season. However, I don’t expect to see this having any effect at the lower end of the market ranging from £80k to £300k, a slight slow down from £300k to £500k and a bigger drop off in properties over £500k.

Only time will tell how the US property market – and others around the world – will respond to his election victory

Commenting on RICS’ call to reverse the stamp duty surcharge on additional homes, Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association (NLA), said: “The stamp duty surcharge for second home purchases was nothing more than a crowd-pleasing policy from a Government that was dead set on championing homeownership at all costs. However, it frankly isn’t raising any money for the exchequer, so it makes sense for Mr Hammond to reverse it and give private residential investors the opportunity to help ease the housing crisis. This Government should be commended for setting out a programme for building one million homes by 2020 and it needs to put the effort into making sure this is

Property supply falls in October Four out of five UK towns and cities experienced a drop in property supply in October, with the number of new listings down 6.9% on average across the UK, according to the latest Property Supply Index from online estate agent, HouseSimple.com. In September, supply levels were up following the summer’s traditional property market lull. However, in October – a typically busy month for property market activity – new property listings fell in 81% of towns and cities.


1 in 3 UK homeowners regret DIY Home services marketplace Plentific.com’s latest survey has found that over a third (35%) of UK homeowners have regretted the results of a DIY project and wish that they had called in a professional to handle it. Depending on the size of the project, many attempt the work unsupervised in an effort to save money. However, according to Plentific’s statistics, 1 in 3 find their results less than pleasing, and in retrospect, would have chosen to hire a specialist instead. Could this mean the demand for trade professionals can only continue to grow? The younger generation struggle most with DIY, as half (48%) of those aged 18-34 said they have regretted their past results. This high percentage may be down to them being relatively fresh on the property ladder and having yet to gain the relevant experience in DIY. It seems 18-34 year olds would save time, effort and enjoy a more pleasing end result by hiring in a specialist.

Minimum space standards will squeeze renters One of London’s leading property consultancies has warned that plans to introduce minimum space requirements for rooms in the private rented sector will ultimately harm renters. Under new measures designed to target ‘rogue’ landlords, the Government is proposing a mandatory standard of 70ft2 for rooms and a wider licensing of rental properties, which it says will stop the exploitation of tenants. However, Julian Goddard, Head of Residential at

Daniel Watney LLP, cautioned the suggested regulations would harm renters willing to compromise on space in order to save money, and also didn’t reflect recent technological changes. Julian said: “While well intentioned, these minimum space requirements for the rental market will do little to help people looking for cheaper options to live, especially in ultracompetitive locations like London. They also fail to recognise the huge shifts in technology that mean we are increasingly ‘assetlight’. From streaming music on Spotify to watching films on Netflix, people are owning less and less physical copies and relying more and more on digital services, reducing the need for storage space. Housing policy should be made for the future, not the past.”

Landlords in focus In a constantly-shifting market, we’re here to help you stay abreast of the implications of new legislation, trends and opportunities...

Market Insight

realised. In the meantime, we’ve still got a burgeoning renting population that need to be housed right now.”

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NEY MOATTERS M

Befriend your tenants for financial returns Landlords who invest in building relationships with their occupiers will see a 1.9% increase in financial returns, new academic research shows. The findings of the three-year PhD research by Dr Danielle Sanderson from the University of Reading confirm a link between customer satisfaction and property performance. The research provides quantitative evidence to show that a rise in occupier satisfaction by one level (on a five point scale) will typically improve total returns by 1.9% a year.

1 in 5 landlords too embarrassed to admit it Can't sell? Don't want to sell? Property owners who are struggling to sell their home have been offered a lifeline, with the launch of a new service that makes short-term letting effortless. My Property Host is a property management service that handles every aspect of letting out a property on Airbnb. It takes care of everything, from creating the advert to taking bookings, greeting guests and cleaning up afterwards. My Property Host’s Managing Director, Elena Lopez, explains: “Airbnb’s one Achilles heel is that it offers no proper insurance cover as part of its letting agreement, making insurance a worrying blindspot for hosts. My Property Host is a complete management service designed to make the whole Airbnb process effortless and worry-free. With the property market still unsettled following the Brexit referendum, homes are taking longer to sell and many would-be sellers are holding off on putting their property on the market until things calm down.”

This is according to a recent poll of almost 800 residential property investors. Across the UK, more landlords in the East of England and the East Midlands said they were embarrassed to admit it compared to any other region. At the other end of the scale, the English regions with the fewest embarrassed landlords were the South East and Yorkshire and Humber. Approximately 400,000 of the UK’s two million landlords avoid telling people what they do. The NLA says that despite bad press, the majority of tenants are satisfied with their current landlord and tenancy.

440,000 landlords to be forced up a tax bracket from April 2017 More than 400,000 landlords who pay the basic rate of tax will be forced into a higher tax bracket from April next year as planned changes to landlord taxation come into force. The changes, once fully phased in by 2021, will mean landlords will no longer be able to deduct mortgage interest payments or any other finance-related costs from their turnover before declaring their taxable income. All landlords could be at risk of seeing their tax liability increase regardless of their existing rate of tax.

Third of landlords worried by Brexit More than a third of landlords (35%) think that leaving the EU will have a negative impact on their ability to attract tenants in the future, according to findings from the NLA. The findings also show that 39% believe Brexit will have no significant impact on their business; 21% are unsure; while 5% believe it will have a positive impact. The research follows Theresa May’s announcement that the process of leaving the EU will be triggered by March 2017.

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Vendor Focus

High Street

vs.

Online Estate Agents Just like the travel industry, the property market is becoming increasingly dominated by the internet. Online estate agents may market themselves to be cheaper, but can they really provide a high-quality, personal service that customers have come to expect with traditional high street agents?

here’s no question that selling your home is an extremely stressful and expensive time. In a bid to take the hassle out of this process and venture down a more economical route, more and more people are turning to online estate agents as an alternative solution, but how do online agents differ from high street branches and will they ever be a viable option? Relatively speaking, the process is not all that different. Traditionally, the way in which you sell your house (if you are using a traditional estate agent) is that the agent will come round and carry out a property valuation. Online agencies will also offer a physical valuation, however the person who carries this out will normally cover a vast area, such as the whole of the South East, rather than just a specific town or village. This can lead to inaccurate valuations as the sales rep will not know the area and buyers in that area as well as a local estate agent. As well as physical property valuations, some online estate agents will also offer an online property valuation where you simply input your property information into a valuation tool.

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An account manager will then get back to you with a guide price. Your home will also be marketed in exactly the same way. Someone will visit the property and take photographs, create floorplans and a brochure and advertise via the same portals. However, there’s the upfront flat fee. There is not a standard industry fee, as such, with online

agents – it will differ from agent to agent – but the cost can be as low as £395, regardless of how much your home sells for – that’s if it sells at all. You will have to pay even if that company doesn’t end up selling your house. High street agents, however, will charge a percentage of the selling price (the average estate agent fee is 1.3% according to conveyancing

firm, MyHomeMove). On paper, selling online will save you money, yet it’s worth remembering that an online agency has less incentive to negotiate the best possible price for you. This is not to mention the potential headaches that will come from liaising with buyers and solicitors. Some online agents will act as the middleman for you, but you would need to check the terms of your agreement or pay an additional fee.

Working 9 till 5? Another aspect that vendors seem to favour with the online route is the around-the-clock service. By using an online estate agent, vendors find one of the main benefits is being able to access the site or schedule in a viewing at a time that suits them. Online agencies pride themselves on being flexible and convenient – call centres are open outside of working hours and on weekends, so you don’t have to wait for a high street branch to open.

Clear communication A major benefit of high street agents is they offer a reliable vetting process

Another point to consider is how much contact you will require during your experience.


Vendor Focus By using an online agent, vendors can access the site or schedule in a viewing at a time that suits them

Although some online agents will assign you a personal account manager, this is not standard. This may mean you might end up having several points of contact or no contacts at all. It is here that you will really get to

see whether the service is as smooth as it claims to be. With high street estate agents, you have one point of contact throughout the whole process. You will build a good relationship with that agent, they will know your concerns and hesitations, understand your needs, they will have your best interests at heart and they will, of course, be incentivised. Some

people just like the reassurance that they are dealing with a ‘real’ person.

Insider insight By choosing a local high street agent, you are also paying for their local knowledge. This will pay dividends when it comes to the value and, ultimately, sale of your home. Local high street agents will be aware of

up-and-coming areas, soughtafter regions and locations that are likely to receive regeneration in the future. All of this market insight will impact hugely on achieving the best possible selling price of your home. Would you want to put your trust in an online company’s regional rep, and can they ever truly compete? If you are looking to sell quickly, or live in a rural area, you may 

A traditional high street estate agent will normally have access to a large number of local buyers

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Showcase your home from a different perspective

www.bensiggins.co.uk ben@bensiggins.co.uk

...with aerial photography by Ben Siggins

Aerial photography is a fantastic way to show properties and their surroundings in an amazing new light, for just ÂŁ149 (+VAT). Contact us today to discuss the best ways to market your property. Offices in Maidstone (01622) 524110, Gillingham (01634) 581207 & Kings Hill (01732) 424090


The sales pitch If you’re using a reputable and experienced high street agent, it is quite rare that you will encounter a ‘no sale’. Not

Vendor Focus

be better off with a local agent who knows the market inside out. What’s more, a traditional high street estate agent will normally have access to a large number of local buyers and will know the areas they are interested in. That being said, even if you’ve got the perfect package – a home with bags of potential, a proactive marketing strategy and a committed team behind you all the way – unfortunately, it doesn’t always pan out. With high street estate agents, you are tied into a contract. A Sole Agency Agreement is the most common type of estate agent contract and it means that the estate agent is the only agent with the right to sell your home during the term of the contract. If you aren’t getting the results you want, this will leave you both in a difficult position. One of the greatest advantages of online estate agents is the freedom to use multiple agents. Generally, there are no contract terms, therefore you, as the vendor, are well within your rights to instruct other agents if you wish. This is down to the fact you have already paid them a fee.

A Sole Agency Agreement is the most common type of estate agent contract

only will you be benefiting from an agent who is familiar with your area, a local agent will also be well versed in showing prospective buyers around your home. If you sign up to an online agent, the viewing process is entirely your responsibility. You may know your home inside out and feel confident answering questions, but you need to remember that the main goal is

Online agencies pride themselves on being flexible and convenient

to make a sale. While you may think of yourself as the next Alan Sugar, sometimes it’s best left to the experts.

The vetting process While it’s important to be armed with the perfect pitch, vendors should also consider their safety. A major benefit of high street agents is they offer a reliable vetting process. They will know

whether potential buyers are quality applicants, and they will accompany and guide viewers around your property. By using an online agency, you are putting your trust in their vetting system, as failing to verify prospective buyers can lead to potential dangers. Online estate agent, eMoov. co.uk, has warned of the risks after a man was recently jailed for two counts of armed robbery while posing as a potential buyer when visiting two separate properties. Although an agent was present throughout both of the incidents, this case just emphasises the importance of verified applicants. Before instructing any kind of agent, be sure to find out exactly how they implement a thorough verification process. There are many pros and cons to using both types of agents. As technology develops, more and more companies will start to offer accessible and affordable online packages. However, when it comes down to it, it is personal preference. If you’re looking for a personal service with a consistent and knowledgeable point of contact, high street estate agents are well positioned to offer you this. You need to ask yourself what matters to you the most, and who is more likely to deliver the results. 

www.bensiggins.co.uk

09


Market Focus

The property market post-Brexit The UK economy appears to have weathered the initial shock of the Brexit vote earlier this year, but has confidence been fully restored in the property sector? Is it business as usual or are we still treading carefully? ritain’s Vote Leave result

B immediately had an

impact on housing market transactions, and many vendors delayed their decision to sell amidst the uncertainty. As expected, the property market nationwide has experienced a significant lull in the last few months, but according to RICS – the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors – it seems the housing market is ‘settling down’ after post-Brexit jitters.

are returning, the problem is that there is a significant lack of fresh housing stock on offer until vendors are satisfied that house price growth is at its peak – this is what's keeping the prices high.

That being said, property group JLL has claimed that house price growth will be subdued and largely flat until 2019. The group has forecast 0.5% growth in 2017 and

Impact on landlords

Enquiries on the rise The institute’s September report found a significant turnaround in new buyer enquiries compared with June, with findings revealing demand from home-buyers had risen for the first time since February. This could, however, have been down to the fact that June, July and August are always quieter months due to the summer holidays. While it appears that buyers

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1% in 2018, before rising to 2% in 2019. Ultimately, these predictions will depend greatly on the levels of new housing being delivered – a shortage of new homes, added to increasing demand in 2018, will help boost house prices.

Property group JLL has claimed that house price growth will be subdued and largely flat until 2019

So where does this leave Britain’s landlords? According to findings from a recent survey carried out by the National Landlord’s Association, more than a third of landlords (35%) think that leaving the EU will have a negative impact on their ability to attract tenants in the future. The findings also reveal that 39% believe that Brexit will have no significant impact on their business; 21% unsure and 5% believe it will have a positive impact. Despite fears of a drop in demand and the imminent cuts to buy-to-let tax relief, a new


British homeowners say Brexit continues to impact their likelihood of moving survey has revealed it’s back to business for the majority of the UK’s landlords. According to a Landlord Voice survey conducted by Simple Landlords Insurance, 4 in 5 landlords are unphased by Britain’s decision to leave the EU and intend to continue investing in buy-to-let properties. Only 9% claimed that the Brexit vote meant they would postpone their plans to expand their portfolio, while 3% said they were likely to invest even more. Jenny Mayes from Simple Landlords Insurance said: “While some landlords are adopting

Plentific’s latest survey of 2000 adults* has revealed that there is still uncertainty surrounding the housing market several months after the Brexit vote. 22% of homeowners have indicated that Brexit is affecting the likelihood of them moving in the short term; 10% of owners are now more likely to move home in the next 3 years, with 12% now less likely to uproot. Looking at London, over a quarter (26%) of owners in the capital are more likely to sell their home in the next 3 years because of Brexit, with 11% less likely. With average prices currently reaching £484,716 (ONS: July 2016), could this latest insight suggest a flood of properties about to hit the market, which in turn would likely see a reduction in prices? Londoners also have a high percentage more inclined to make home improvements: 27% of property owners in London are looking to invest in their home rather than face the housing market. Interestingly, the Plentific surveys also found that, three months on, there has been a 50% rise in homeowners who

Market Focus

1in5

a cautious ‘wait and see’ approach and slowing down their investment, others see opportunity in the changes and the vast majority want to keep or grow their property investment. “Landlords are reacting in different ways to political changes, but one thing they have in common is that most are refusing to let it negatively deter them. With many re-evaluating their objectives, changing their strategy, moving to limited company ownership or focusing on capital appreciation, they are ultimately continuing to invest.” 

www.bensiggins.co.uk Says: “Since the referendum (and even for a month or so beforehand) the industry experienced a slowing down in the number of properties coming to market, as well as a halt in price increases. We have not seen prices reduce however. There are still uncertain times ahead as we navigate our exit from the EU, but the UK property market has shown itself to be resilient.”

There is a significant lack of fresh housing stock on offer until vendors are satisfied that house price growth is at its peak

Survey Analysis Leading home services marketplace Plentific. com’s latest research has found that Brexit continues to impact the likelihood of moving for 1 in 5 British homeowners.

are more likely to make home improvements in the wake of Brexit. These figures illustrate how, in this instance, the postBrexit panic has subsided and the public are feeling more relaxed about spending money.

This change of heart is particularly apparent in the North East and North West of the UK where the number of homeowners likely to make improvements has more than doubled. 21% of owners in the North West are now

more likely to attempt a home improvement project with the North East at 19%. Statistically, the North majority voted for Brexit which could explain why they are adjusting faster than the South. Cem Savas, Co-Founder of Plentific.com, commented: “We knew Brexit would have massive consequences for the UK housing market and our research shows that the public are still unsure of our future. Despite the fearmongering and confusion which has surrounded the topic, Plentific’s statistics show that homeowners are now more relaxed about the idea of spending money on their property. Interestingly, our research highlights the current nervous property market in London, with a quarter of Londoners ready to cash in and sell up.” *Research from Opinium via online surveys. Survey conducted on the 24th June was from 2005 adults, 1241 of which were UK homeowners. Plentific is a fast-growing home improvement marketplace designed to connect homeowners with the perfect local tradesmen and professionals.

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Matthew Groves, Maidstone Branch Manager at Ben Siggins Estate Agents, reveals why he’s so passionate about Maidstone and reflects on the current property market.

What is your favourite part of Kent and why? M: I actually love where I live and that’s why I am so passionate about the properties I market and deal with. Maidstone and the surrounding areas offer everything from cosmopolitan living to the rolling fields of the countryside and beautiful country pubs.

What do you find is the most common misconception with customers buying or selling a property? M: I think buyers and sellers alike are completely unaware of the fantastic market conditions regarding the current interest rates and property prices available. It now creates many options, where the door is now open to move to that better home and release equity or get your foot firmly on the property ladder with the fantastic mortgage deals available.

We include standard professional photography and floorplans plus offer a ‘no sale, no fee’ contract. We also can provide tailor-made contracts to suit the customer and their personal timescales.

When it comes to customer service, what do you pride yourself on? M: I pride myself on managing customers’ expectations and setting the bar high. The reason Ben Siggins is where it is comes from the hard work and energy invested from all of us here in the team. Communication is essential and is what separates us from other agents in the field and it is why, to this day, we are the agent of choice.

In your view, what makes Ben Siggins stand out from other agents in the area? M: Marketing is paramount and is essential when needing to achieve the best price for our sellers and is also a reflection of the quality of what we, as an agent, have to offer. We are confident that our proactive approach to marketing, combined with our customer care programme, will be instrumental in securing the best possible price and in the timescale that clients require.

If you were not an estate agent, what would you see yourself doing? M: I would love to be a model and get paid loads of money for being seriously good looking – but that will never happen!

with a sweeping driveway and outbuildings, where the character and charm is mixed with contemporary fixtures and fittings. Please provide some information on your professional background M: I started my career in retail, managing a Harveys furniture store. After working up the ranks as far as I could, I fancied mixing my love for cars and work together and landed a job for prestigious brand, Mercedes, selling cars and all aspects of service. Then, after working for another car firm, BMW, I found myself living abroad as a paint engineer (not by choice). After a few years, I returned and worked for the large corporate estate agent, Your Move. I entered the company as office junior and worked up to become a valuation/ branch manager. What do you enjoy most about working in the property industry? M: I love the aspect that every day is different and the property market is always changing. It’s great meeting new people on a constant basis and forming great relationships with clients. I am very competitive by nature and strive to be a leading agent and nothing is better than being the chosen agent and delivering the highest quality service.

Meet the Team

Q&A with Matthew

When you are not selling properties, what do you like to do in your spare time? M: When I have spare time I love to spend it relaxing and unwinding with my partner and daughter and the new addition to the family, Blue, who is our Husky puppy.

How do you anticipate the property market to perform over the next 12 months? M: I expect the market to steadily creep upwards due to the low interest rates and huge demand for property, which isn’t going to go anywhere soon. 

What would be your dream home? M: My dream home would be a rural barn conversion

In his downtime, Matthew enjoys country walks, visits to Kent’s country pubs and walking his family’s new Husky puppy.

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Landlord Focus

As a landlord you have three main responsibilities: • Maintenance Pipework, appliances and flues must be maintained in a safe condition. • Gas safety checks A 12-monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance and flue. • Record You must provide your tenant with a record of the annual gas safety check within 28 days of the check being completed, or to new tenants before they move in. 5

Letting agents can help new and experienced landlords with every aspect of the letting process

A guide to letting your property Thinking about letting your home or investing in a buy-to-let property? The process can be a complex one i.e. the legal procedures, but the rewards can be handsome if you get everything right.

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Notify your lender

If you already have a residential mortgage, you are obliged to inform your lender that you are intending to let your property. Your lender needs to give you formal ‘Consent to Let’ before you can do this. Your decision to let may mean that you are put onto a higher Buy-to-Let interest rate. If you fail to notify your lender that you are letting out your property, this will put you in breach of your mortgage agreement. You may also need to obtain permission elsewhere. For example, from your leaseholder if the flat is held on a long lease. 2

Building Regulations

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Gas safety

As a landlord, you have legal responsibilities to your tenants regarding gas safety. Landlords’ responsibilities are included in the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. This law aims to ensure that all gas appliances, fittings and flues featured in the property are safe.

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Fire safety

As a landlord, it is your duty to follow the required safety regulations. You must provide a smoke alarm on each storey and provide a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms with a usable fireplace or wood burner. It is

Planning permission

Before any alterations are made to your property in preparation for tenants, make sure you have the necessary planning permission. This may be needed if you are converting a property

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to an HMO (i.e. a house in multiple occupation). This is something you should consider if you are going to have more than two tenants, who are not members of the same family, in the property.

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If you are going to do any building work to the property, it is vital to check whether you need approval under the Building Regulations. Your builder or architect will be able to advise you on how to comply. Be aware that Building Regulation approval and planning permission are not the same and, therefore, have to be applied for separately.

Energy performance

Where a dwelling is being let, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will be required. The certificate will show the energyefficiency levels of a property, so a prospective tenant is able to determine and compare the relative financial running costs of renting your property. A copy of the certificate must be given to any tenant who moves in to the property. To obtain a certificate, your property must be assessed by an accredited energy surveyor. There are plenty of providers who offer a EPC – simply shop around online to find one that suits you.

A 12-monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance and flue

As a landlord, you have legal responsibilities to your tenants regarding gas safety


Landlord Focus

your responsibility to ensure tenants have access to escape routes at all times. If you are letting your property as furnished or semi-furnished, it is also your responsibility to make sure the furniture and furnishings supplied are fire safe. Finally, if the property is a large HMO (house in multiple occupation) you must provide fire alarms and extinguishers. 7

Electrical safety

Where a property is provided with electrical appliances, it is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that they are safe at the outset of letting. 8

Insurance

As a landlord, a standard home insurance may not provide sufficient cover, so it’s worth looking into landlords’ insurance. Also known as buy-to-let insurance, it typically includes buildings insurance to cover against events such as fire, flooding and

It is your responsibility to provide a smoke alarm on each floor of your property

subsidence. And if you’re renting out a furnished property, you might want to consider contents insurance as this can protect everything from your furniture to the TV you provide to your tenants.

9

10

Where a dwelling is being let, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will be required

It is advised to keep a logbook of all gas and electrical safety certificates

Keep records

Essentially, you are running a business and therefore it is important that you keep clear records. Not only will it mean you’re organised and up to date, but you’re also required to keep certain documents by law and for tax purposes. As well as any receipts, bank statements and invoices, you must remember to keep a logbook of all gas and electrical safety certificates, the property’s energy performance certification, safety information regarding the property’s furniture and furnishings, plus a fire safety risk assessment form if applicable.

Know the law

The private rental market is a legal minefield. In today’s ‘compensation culture’, it is vital that you are fully aware of your legal obligations, and remain up to date with legislation which is forever changing. The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks is still experiencing frequent enquiries regarding new

legislative changes, such as those involving smoke alarms (refer to Fire safety for further guidance). While it’s important to comply with trading standards to welcome new tenants, it’s also essential that you adhere to a strict process when evicting current occupants. Failure to use the correct methods will result in significant delays and consequent rental losses. It is recommended to always seek legal advice first. 11

Choosing an agent

Letting agents can help new and experienced landlords with every aspect of the letting process. Some landlords will choose a letting agent to simply market a property and then take over the management of their rental property once a tenant is in place. Other landlords prefer the entire process and would rather take on all of the responsibilities themselves. Agents usually charge letting fees on a monthly basis. Letting fees are usually payable in advance of the term of agreement. The size of the fee depends on the level of service required, and is usually a percentage of the rent. At Ben Siggins Estate Agents, the team has developed the highest quality letting service in Maidstone and the surrounding Kent region. If you have any questions or would like more information about their fully insured letting service, please do not hesitate to contact the office where a member of the team will be happy to help. 

www.bensiggins.co.uk

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Award-winning, fully insured & protected... Lettings by Ben Siggins We endeavour to develop the highest quality letting service in Maidstone, Gillingham and Kings Hill even further. Our competitive commission rates are always fully insured and protected, giving you peace of mind throughout your journey with us. Call us to arrange a time for us to come and see you to provide an up-to-date rental value.

No Worries

The Best Price

We ensure a fully-insured letting service, meaning your property and income are always protected in the event of non-payment of rent, or eviction. Your investment will be protected with Ben Siggins, giving you peace of mind.

We hold a proven track record in marketing homes to achieve the best price for you, and in providing an unbeaten service. Embellished with complimentary professional photography, floor plan layouts and personal advice, it's no wonder we’re held in such high-esteem.

Safe & Secure

No Hidden Costs

We operate under the Property Ombudsman Scheme for Lettings, giving full protection of your deposit stake. Furthermore, we offer a Client Money Protection policy whereby monies are further protected in the extremely unlikely case that your deposit contributions are misappropriated.

Transparency and honesty are core principles at Ben Siggins. Unlike other agents, there are zero additional costs for property inspections, mid-term checks, rent reviews and even end of tenancy check-outs. These are all included in the monthly fee.

Contact us today quoting 'Reach Out Creative' to receive a 25% discount on selling or letting your property. Offices in Maidstone (01622) 524110, Gillingham (01634) 581207 & Kings Hill (01732) 424090

www.bensiggins.co.uk ben@bensiggins.co.uk


BEN SIGGINS MANAGING DIRECTOR After 12 years of successfully working for large estate agents, Ben Siggins opened up his own independent branch, with a view to offering a more personal, professional service. He thrives on the competitiveness of the industry and takes pride in delivering the best results for his clients.  ben@bensiggins.co.uk

At Ben Siggins Estate Agents, the company takes pride in the personal and professional service that it offers its customers. Moving home or selling a property is an extremely personal experience, which is why the team at Ben Siggins is renowned for understanding and listening to its clients.

Meet the team

Meet the team

Maidstone Branch  01622 524110

DANIEL RIBY GENERAL MANAGER

MATTHEW GROVES

Daniel Riby has been working in estate agency since the age of 18 and is now the General Manager across all branches. He believes communication is key, as is understanding his customers, so he has their best interests in mind. Outside of finding customers their dream home, he enjoys gardening, cycling and snooker.  daniel@bensiggins.co.uk

BRANCH MANAGER With 12 years’ sales experience, Matthew found his passion for property three years ago. He now heads up the Maidstone branch, where his main aim is to meet all of his clients’ needs, effectively and efficiently. Outside of work, Matthew can be found socialising or working on his competitive streak on the football pitch!  matthew@bensiggins.co.uk

BETH MOON

Gillingham Branch  01634 581207

SENIOR SALES & LETTINGS NEGOTIATOR Beth joined the team at the end of August with a strong background in sales & lettings and recruitment. Beth brings to the company a proactive attitude and prides herself on her outstanding negotiating skills. Out of the office, Beth enjoys retail therapy and spending time with family and friends.  beth@bensiggins.co.uk

ILZE FREIMANE SALES & LETTINGS NEGOTIATOR Latvian-born Ilze joined the team in August 2015, bringing a wealth of expertise plus three fluent languages! She thrives on meeting people and developing her understanding of the property sector to provide the best possible service. When not negotiating, Ilze can be found on the tennis court and walking her little Pomeranian.  ilze@bensiggins.co.uk

BEN MORGAN APPRENTICE Ben joined the company after completing a work placement. Demonstrating a passion for property and exceptional customer service, he was offered an apprenticeship to develop his skills. On the lettings side of the business, Ben is Daniel’s right-hand man, with the partnership providing an excellent service for all your letting needs.  benmorgan@bensiggins.co.uk

LYDIA JAKOB-GRANT BRANCH MANAGER Lydia joined the team in January 2016, bringing with her a wealth of sales experience. She takes pride in her communication skills with vendors and is renowned for the rapport she builds with her customers. In her spare time, Lydia can be found spending time with her family, walking her sausage dog and going to West End musicals.  lydia@bensiggins.co.uk

ABBIE MORGAN SENIOR SALES & LETTINGS NEGOTIATOR Abbie Morgan joined the company in April 2016. With over six years’ experience in sales and lettings, she is well-versed in the property industry. Abbie takes pride in her work, thrives from recommendations and enjoys putting her negotiation skills to the test, and as a result, has earned herself an excellent reputation.  abbie@bensiggins.co.uk

out more and browse all current  Find properties at www.bensiggins.co.uk

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www.bensiggins.co.uk ben@bensiggins.co.uk

for sales & lettings Do you target homeowners & landlords in the South East? To reach new audiences and promote your business in our next issue: Call Daniel today on 01622 524110


Properties

Live Listings

For the full range of properties to buy or rent, visit bensiggins.co.uk

Hill Green Road, Stockbury, Sittingbourne

£900,000

Lancet Lane, Loose, Maidstone

£650,000

• Six bedrooms

• Detached chalet bungalow

• Five bedrooms

• Detached

• Four acres

• Electric gated home

• Chalet bungalow

• Car port

• Stables

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Generous driveway

• Bespoke modern fitted kitchen

• Paddock

• Triple garage

• Stunning landscaped garden

• Open-plan living

• Planning granted

• Outbuilding

• Sought-after location

Godden Drive, Blacklands, East Malling

£520,000

£450,000

Warden Close, Maidstone

• Four bedrooms

• Brand new homes

• Five bedrooms

• Private rear garden

• Two en-suites

• Village location

• Detached

• Extended modern fitted kitchen

• Sought-after location

• Study

• Sought-after location

• Generous plot

• Close to schools

• Small development

• Garage

• Fantastic access to motorway

• Driveway

Restharrow Road, Weavering, Maidstone

£450,000

Mill Lane, Coxheath, Maidstone

• Four/five bedrooms

• Garden

• Detached

• Gas central heating

• Detached

• En-suite

• Five bedrooms

• Solid oak floors

• Sought-after location

• Fantastic storage

• Large driveway

• Double glazing

• Garage

• Summer house

• Private rear garden

• Porch

• Sought-after location

• Garage

• Driveway

£450,000

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Properties

Live Listings

For the full range of properties to buy or rent, visit bensiggins.co.uk

£400,000

Brooker Close, Maidstone • Detached

• Private rear garden

• Detached chalet bungalow

• Private rear garden

• Four bedrooms

• Quiet cul-de-sac location

• Sought-after location

• Four bedrooms

• Garage

• Well-presented throughout

• Chain-free

• Front garden

• Sought-after location

• En-suite shower room

• Garage

• Conservatory

£375,000

• Driveway

£360,000

Aylesford, Maidstone

£360,000

Aylesford, Maidstone

• Four bedrooms

• Luxury fixtures and fittings

• Four bedrooms

• Luxury fixtures and fittings

• Town house

• Sought-after location

• Town house

• Sought-after location

• Stunning river and countryside views

• Garage

• Garage

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Stunning river and countryside views

• Chain-free

• Set over four floors

• Chain-free

• Set over four floors

£350,000

The Laxey, Maidstone

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Carisbrooke Drive, Maidstone

• Modern fitted kitchen

Clock House Rise, Coxheath

£325,000

• Four bedrooms

• Conservatory

• Detached

• Garden

• Detached

• Three bedrooms

• Air filtration system

• Sought-after location

• External self-contained lodge /cabin accommodation

• Sought-after village location

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Generous plot

• Driveway

• Garage

• En-suite

• Garage

• Open-plan living

• Parking for three cars


Heath Road, Langley, Maidstone

£325,000

Live Listings

Properties

For the full range of properties to buy or rent, visit bensiggins.co.uk

£325,000

Heath Road, Barming

• Five bedrooms

• Communal grounds

• Five/six bedroom HMO

• Chain-free

• Sought-after location

• Picturesque views

• Sought-after location

• Planning permission

• Conservatory

• Set over three floors

• HMO licence

• Rear garden

• Garage

• Mid terrace

• Bags of potential

• Basement

• Fantastic yield

• Private rear garden

Wilberforce Road, Coxheath, Maidstone

£300,000

£300,000

Barned Court, Maidstone

• Three bedrooms

• Beautiful private rear garden

• End terraced, traditional property

• Two basement rooms

• Semi-detached

• Conservatory

• Lounge

• Rear garden with off-road parking

• Sought-after village location

• Newly modernised throughout

• Separate dining room

• Feature victorian fireplaces

• Garage

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Fitted kitchen

• Double glazing and central heating

• Large bathroom

• Short walk to town centre

• Driveway

Orchard Place, Coxheath, Maidstone

£300,000

£300,000

Melville Road, Maidstone

• Three bedrooms

• Private garden

• Three bedrooms

• Sought-after location

• Sought-after village location

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Detached

• Parking

• Terrace home

• Downstairs W/C

• Private rear garden

• Garage

• Garage

• En-suite

• Driveway

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Properties

Live Listings

For the full range of properties to buy or rent, visit bensiggins.co.uk

£280,000

Randall Street, Maidstone • Four/five bedrooms

• Set over three floors

• NHBC Certificate still valid

• Modern fitted bathroom

• Sought-after location

• Beautiful rear garden

• Large living space

• Close to main line stations and town centre

• Double glazed sash windows

• Free bus passes for bus routes to dartford centre and bluewater

• New central heating system

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Downstairs W/C

• Character features throughout

• Ready to move into

• Integrated washing machine

• Allocated parking space

£270,000

Campbell Road, Maidstone

• Two double bedrooms

£270,000

Chartwell Drive, Maidstone

• Three bedrooms

• Character features

• Three bedrooms

• Conservatory

• Sought-after location

• Converted cellar/office

• Sought-after location

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Close to town centre & mainline stations

• Beautiful rear garden

• Parking

• Downstairs W/C

• Modern fitted kitchen

• En-suite

• Plenty of storage throughout

• Victorian terrace

• Period charm

• Rear garden

£265,000

Clandon Road, Chatham

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£280,000

Shiers Avenue, Dartford

£260,000

The Laxey, Maidstone

• Recently refurbished, requires finishing touches

• Semi-detached

• Three bedrooms

• Conservatory

• Garage and driveway

• Sought-after location

• Porch

• Three double bedrooms

• Sought-after location

• Garage

• Downstairs W/C

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Close to popular schools

• Driveway

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Modern fitted bathroom

• Close to local amenities

• Private rear garden


Finglesham Court, Maidstone

£260,000

Live Listings

£250,000

Bower Lane, Maidstone

• Detached

• Private rear garden

• Four bedrooms

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Three bedrooms

• Tastefully decorated throughout

• Mid terrace

• Set over four floors

• Sought-after location

• Ready to move into

• Sought-after location

• Beautiful feature fireplaces

• Conservatory

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Character features

• Chain-free

• Garage and driveway

• Beautiful rear garden

£235,000

Jeyes Road, Gillingham

£220,000

Trinity Way, Maidstone

• Four double bedrooms

• Beautifully decorated

• Two bedrooms

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Close to local mainline stations

• Terrace home

• En-suite

• Modern fitted bathroom

• Close to local amenities

• Sought-after location

• Built-in storage wardrobes

• Two reception rooms

• Chain-free

• Allocated parking

• High EPC rating

• Basement

• Garden

£210,000

Gordon Road, Gillingham • No onward chain

Properties

For the full range of properties to buy or rent, visit bensiggins.co.uk

£200,000

Charlton Street, Maidstone

• Potential to extend subject to planning permission

• Three bedrooms

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Mid terrace

• Character features

• Modern fitted bathroom

• Good size garden

• Sought-after location

• Set over three floors

• Three good-sized bedrooms

• Close to local amenities

• Garden

• Driveway for three cars

• Close to mainline train stations

• Front courtyard garden

• Close to town centre and mainline stations

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Live Listings

For the full range of properties to buy or rent, visit bensiggins.co.uk

£500,000

Loose Road, Maidstone

Dean Street, East Farleigh, Maidstone

£495,000

• Detached

• Garage

• Range of good schools nearby

• Large storage room

• Six bedrooms

• Substantial plot

• Detached, 5 bedroom house

• Off-road parking for 2 cars

• Sought-after village location

• Chain-free

• Garage conversion

• Investment opportunity

• Potential as multi-room let or conversion

• Beautifully-fitted kitchen with feature doors to the garden • En-suite shower room

• Sought-after location

• Driveway

£430,000

Aintree Road, Chatham

• Private garden

Penenden Heath, Maidstone

• Five bedrooms

• Annex

• Four bedrooms

• Conservatory

• Two bathrooms

• Garage

• Semi-detached

• Character features

• Large living space

• Generous-sized garden

• Sought-after location

• Car port/wood store

• Modern fitted kitchen

• Popular residential location

• Large driveway

• Log burner

• Off-road parking for 3 cars

• Close to local amenities

• Generous rear garden

• Planning approved

Cobnut Avenue, Sutton Road, Maidstone

£400,000

£400,000

£375,000

Heath Road, Maidstone

• Detached Redrow home

• Solar panels

• Four bedrooms

• Single-storey extension

• Four bedrooms

• 9-year NHBC warranty

• Semi-detached

• Utility area

• Sought-after location

• Granite worktops

• Sought-after location

• South-facing garden

• Garage

• En-suite

• Electric garage

• Driveway

• Stratford home

• Off-road parking

Profile for Ben Siggins Estate Agents

Ben Siggins Estate Agents Magazine Issue 3  

Issue 3 of the Ben Siggins Estate Agents magazine

Ben Siggins Estate Agents Magazine Issue 3  

Issue 3 of the Ben Siggins Estate Agents magazine

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