E S T A T E
A G E N T S
A Guide to Selling and Letting your property
We understand how a vendor or landlord can maximise the value of their property
Thinking about moving?
Selling or letting your property involves some important decisions and requires a great deal of hard work and organisation – that’s where we come in. At Penny & Sinclair we will work closely with you to secure the optimum price at a timescale to suit. As one of Oxfordshire’s leading independent estate agents, we understand
how a vendor or landlord can maximise the value of their property and how
careful preparation can make the whole process run more smoothly
whilst achieving the best results.
This brochure contains our ‘quick guide & tips’ for a successful
sale or rental. We hope you ﬁnd them useful.
Contents Selling Your Property Valuing your property for sale
Preparing to sell
Marketing – launching your home on the market Presenting your property for viewings
The oﬀer process
Exchange of contracts
8-9 10 11
Letting Your Property Letting your property
Valuing your property
Presenting your property
Level of service
Marketing your property
The oﬀer process
Commencement of tenancy
Selling Your Property
Valuing your property
You will need an up-to-date market appraisal of your home to determine your â€˜asking priceâ€™. Our property valuations are always carried out by a highly experienced member of the team. Arriving at the right price demands good local in-depth knowledge and experience. You will receive an objective and expert view based on current market conditions and comparable transactions. Each property is unique and with our tailor made marketing strategy we will work tirelessly to achieve the best prices for our clients.
Preparing to sell
When you decide the time is right to sell your property there are a few
important pieces of paperwork we will need you to provide. Don’t worry
we will be on hand to guide you through these steps and if needed,
organise any contractors that are necessary to get your ‘house in order’. Leasehold Properties
If you have a copy of your lease it would be great for us to hold a copy on ﬁle – it helps us clarify the remaining term on your lease as it is really important we present these facts accurately when marketing your property. We will also need clariﬁcation on your annual ground rent and service charges. If you have a share of the freehold it would be great to have any information relating to the management company.
We would suggest that you instruct a solicitor when you ﬁrst put your property on the market. This will help speed up the sales process so that when you accept an oﬀer your solicitor is readily in possession of your title deeds and can promptly send out a draft contract to your purchasers’ solicitor. We would also advise that you choose a local solicitor who like us, has in-depth knowledge of the area. Please feel free to ask us to supply a list of recommended solicitors if required.
In order to comply with money laundering regulations, we are required by law to hold ID veriﬁcation on record for all our clients. We will therefore need a copy of your photo ID (driving license photo card or passport) and secondly a current council tax bill or utility bill.
An Energy Performance Certiﬁcate (EPC) rates the energy eﬃciency of a property and its carbon emissions, and suggests ways to improve its energy eﬃciency. It is a legal requirement to have one in place when marketing a property for sale and it has to be freely available to the general public to view on all our marketing material. There are some exemptions for example for Listed Buildings. We will organise an EPC for you when we get your property photographed. There is a charge of £95 plus VAT. This document belongs to you.
Brilliant service, fast, efﬁcient, very friendly and kept me updated throughout my sale. Highly recommend.
Selling Your Property
Marketing â€“ launching your home on the market
At Penny & Sinclair, we have a dedicated marketing team who work closely with your local sales oďŹƒce to provide your home with a tailor made launch. Every property is unique and each one requires diďŹ€erent marketing strategies. We use cutting edge marketing techniques, alongside more traditional methods to help your property achieve its maximum potential. p8 pennyandsinclair.co.uk
Photography and ﬂoor plans
First impressions are crucial. It is important that your home is presented in the best possible light. We have a trusted team of professional photographers who are experts at capturing the correct property features and produce accurate and detailed ﬂoor plans.
We combine well written property descriptions with photography and technical information to produce elegant property brochures thereby ensuring potential buyers have everything they need in one place.
90% of buyers start their property search online. We are constantly striving to stay ‘ahead of the game’ and ensure that your property is seen by as many potential buyers as possible. All of our properties are listed on our Penny & Sinclair website as well as leading property search sites, Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location to name but a few.
Penny & Sinclair have a central database of buyers so we can instantly call and email matches for your property. We also have long-standing relationships with many relocation and property search agents in London and the Home Counties.
For Sale boards
‘For Sale’ boards are a very good marketing tool for vendors. A large number of potential buyers end up purchasing as a direct result of seeing one of our boards. We would always recommend erecting one where possible.
Ofﬁce window display
Many of our enquiries come from potential buyers walking into our oﬃces. We therefore regularly update our window displays with the latest listings.
Local, national, international advertising and PR
Local marketing can provide good opportunities to promote properties, increasing visibility of your home to a wider audience. We advertise in publications such as The Oxford Times, Cotswold Life, Country Life and the Henley Standard.
The Penny & Sinclair marketing team work closely with local and national journalists to maximise exposure of your property to potential buyers.
Penny & Sinclair locally
In addition to these property speciﬁc marketing techniques, Penny & Sinclair invest heavily in working closely with our local communities to raise awareness for several causes. These include sponsoring various local schools, sports clubs and charities.
Selling Your Property Viewings
All viewings are arranged strictly by appointment and conducted by a highly experienced
member of the team who will be familiar with your property. Occasionally our applicants would like to view outside oďŹƒce hours on evenings and weekends, which we will facilitate if agreeable
to you. We aim to give you feedback as soon as we have it.
Presenting your property for viewings We recommend the following ‘six rules’ when preparing your property
to be shown to prospective buyers. 1 On Entry
Ensure your front door is clean, the entrance is litter-free and that any communal areas should be regularly vacuumed and cleared of any junk-mail and obstacles.
Make the most of any natural light available – especially during the winter – with clean windows and drawn back curtains. Good lighting is also important, lamps particularly add extra warmth and charm. If the property is empty please ensure the mains power is on and all the light bulbs are working.
Stale or damp smells should be avoided with good ventilation or a dehumidiﬁer.
It is essential to clean the property regularly to avoid dust build-up or any mustiness developing this can be off putting to potential purchasers. Ensuring all beds are made, the kitchen and bathrooms are clean and tidy.
The garden or outside areas should be kept tidy and attractive with well-mown lawns, plants trimmed back and colour emphasised wherever possible.
It’s important to feel comfortable when viewing a property – we advise opening the windows in the summer and using a working ﬁreplace or regular bursts of central heating in the winter to help create a homely feeling.
Selling Your Property The offer process
Receiving an oﬀer for your property is an exciting moment. At this point the help and support of your Penny & Sinclair agent will be critical. With some properties in Oxfordshire going to ‘best and ﬁnal’ oﬀers or even sealed bids, it is important that this stage is
handled carefully, fairly and ethically.
We are bound by law to tell you of all oﬀers as soon as reasonably possible. Closing a sale is often a diﬃcult process. We can provide advice and support during negotiations. Close communication and teamwork will be key for a successful outcome. Accepting an offer
Once you have accepted an oﬀer you will receive the sales memorandum. This conﬁrms to you, your buyer and both solicitors, the terms of sale. This will include any special conditions including time frames for exchange and completion.
Your solicitor will send a draft contract to your buyer’s solicitor who in turn starts the conveyancing process. This will include surveyors visiting your property.
Negotiations can occur throughout the conveyancing process and we will be on hand to advise you from start to ﬁnish. Remember, there are no legal obligations until you exchange contracts. As members of The Property Ombudsman, we adhere to the industry codes of practice to ensure that your property transaction follows the latest regulations.
Exchange of contract Prior to Exchange
Enquiries: these are any questions that the purchaser’s solicitor may have about your property. Prior to exchanging contracts, a number of points will be discussed and agreed by both solicitors. Title: the purchaser’s solicitor will have checked that you have clean title to the ownership of the property.
Local authority searches: these will have been received and checked.
Fixtures and ﬁttings: any ﬁttings that you plan to take (i.e light ﬁttings) need to be replaced with an equivalent product.
Mortgage oﬀer: the buyer will have received their mortgage oﬀer.
Building insurance: both you and the purchasers (because they now have an insurable interest) will need to keep buildings insurance running on your property.
This is where you become legally committed to the sale. You will have signed the contract and your solicitor will have reported to you and advised whether, in their opinion you are ready to proceed. At this point the buyer should pay a deposit, usually around 10% of the sale price to your solicitor. Some solicitors may exchange on less than this, it is normally telegraphically transferred and held in your solicitors account.
Between exchange and completion
Removals: you will be surprised how early you need to book a removal company.
Utilities: these companies need to be informed of your sale and completion date. A meter reading will have to be taken on the day of completion.
Council Tax: the local authority will need to be informed of your move.
Post: all mail will need to be redirected to your new address.
This is where your ﬁnally hand over the keys to your property. The buyer’s solicitor will send over the completion funds to your solicitor. If you are involved in a chain it can sometimes take until mid-afternoon for the monies to clear into your solicitors account. Your solicitor will call you and your agent to release the keys to your buyer.
Letting Your Property Penny & Sinclair have a wealth of experience in the residential lettings market. We manage an extensive portfolio of short and long term rentals including city and country properties across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds. Our focus is on providing a friendly, professional service tailored to meet your individual requirements. We are on-hand to guide you through the progression of bringing your property to the market and advise you on ensuring you are legally compliant with the latest regulations. As your agent we know how important it is to ensure our landlords are regularly updated, whether it be about the progress of ďŹ nding new tenants or how the property is being maintained during a tenancy. We will keep you informed throughout the process. Over the next few pages we have outlined our guide to the various steps of the lettings journey which we hope you will ďŹ nd helpful.
Penny &â€ˆSinclair did a fantastic job for us. They
advised on presentation, achieved a good sense of
excitement about the property and let it within days.
Letting Your Property
Valuing your property
Our property valuations are always carried out by a senior member of the lettings team. They have a wealth of local knowledge about the market, and will be able to show you recent rental prices for comparable properties in your area in order to ensure your property is advertised at a price in line with current market conditions.
Preparing your property to let Condition of the property
To help maximise the potential of your property, it is beneﬁcial to get the little jobs done so that your property looks at its best when it is launched onto the market. We can help and advise on any works that may be required, working closely with our tried and tested contractors.
Appliances and manuals
All appliances including the boiler, must be in good working order and serviced as appropriate. Manufacturers operating instructions for all appliances and electrical equipment should be left in the property for the tenants to refer to during their tenancy. If you have any existing service contracts or warranties in place, we will need to have these details so that if something goes wrong we can contact the correct companies.
Electrical safety certiﬁcates
Landlords’ have a legal duty to ensure all electrical appliances and wiring are safe. The Electrical Equipment (safety) Regulations 1994 states legal responsibility on landlords to make sure all electrical wiring installations and appliances supplied within a property safely comply with The Electrical Equipment (safety) Regulations 1994. This states that all electrical installations and appliances need to be regularly checked and serviced by an appropriately qualiﬁed engineer.
EPC (Energy Performance Certiﬁcate)
This is a certiﬁcate issued by a registered assessor which gives information on the energy eﬃciency and carbon emissions of the building. It gives an overall rating from A-G, which must, by law, be included in any sales or lettings details at the commencement of marketing. The EPC is valid for up to 10 years assuming no changes are made to the property. We use a number of accredited EPC providers and can organise the certiﬁcate on your behalf. From April 2018, any property rated below an E cannot be let (listed properties excluded). Should your property fall below this rating, we can assist wth arranging works to improve the score in order to secure a tenant.
The law in the property industry is constantly being updated, in particular relating to the lettings sector. As well as being members of the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA), Penny & Sinclair have access to expert legal advice from solicitors who specialise in lettings and property law. We constantly monitor new legislation and ensure that our procedures comply with the latest regulations.
Letting Your Property
Preparing your property to let continued Gas safety
It is compulsory that in accordance with the Gas Safety (installation and use) Regulations 1998 it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that all gas appliances (boilers, cookers, gas ﬁres, pipework and ﬂues) are checked for safety by a Gas Safe registered engineer before a tenancy begins. These must be updated every year and a copy issued to both the landlord/agent and tenant. We can organise this on your behalf.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
It is compulsory that all tenanted properties must be equipped with a working smoke alarm on each ﬂoor that has living accommodation. They also need a working carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation and which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. The landlord (or representative) must ensure that the alarms are in proper working order on the day the tenancy starts. All new homes built since June 1992 are required to have mains operated and interlinked smoke alarms ﬁtted on every ﬂoor.
Furniture and furnishings
It is essential that all upholstered furniture and soft furnishings, beds, mattresses, pillows, cushions, headboards, loose and stretch covers for furniture and seat pads comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (ﬁre safety) Regulations 1988 and the subsequent amendments to that Act. Items exempt from this list include: curtains, carpets, bed linen, duvets, period and antique furniture manufactured before 1950. All furniture purchased new, since 1st March 1990, should comply with the relevant safety label attached to be compliant.
Oil and solid fuel
Although there is no speciﬁc legislation applying to oil and solid fuel, we recommend that appliances are serviced regularly to ensure their safety.
Consents for leasehold properties
If your property is leasehold, we require written conﬁrmation from the freeholder (or managing agents) that your property can be let and a copy of any head lease restrictions relevant to the tenant.
Mortgage lender permission
If you have a mortgage on the property that you intend to let, we will require written conﬁrmation that their permission has been given to do so and details of any restrictions which may apply.
When insuring your property to let, it is important that you have an appropriate level of cover and your insurance company is aware the property will be tenanted. We can recommend a specialist broker in this ﬁeld if required.
Taxation on rental income
If you reside outside the UK for 6 months or more in any 12 month period, you must still pay UK tax on any proﬁts you receive, as you will be classed as a non-resident landlord. You are required to register your status with HMRC. Until HMRC conﬁrm that an overseas landlord is registered with them, we as agents are obliged by law to deduct the basic rate of tax from the rent and send it to HMRC. You can apply to pay the tax yourself by completing a NRL1 form (NRL2 for companies and NRL3 for trusts). More information is available at gov.uk/tax-uk-income-live-abroad.
If your property is jointly owned, co-owners must be named on our terms and conditions and on the tenancy agreement.
HMO (House of multiple occupation)
Should you wish to let your property to a group of individuals or multiple households, it may be necessary to obtain an HMO licence from the council. The HMO rules diﬀer for each council. We can advise you accordingly.
Letting Your Property
Level of Service
We oďŹ€er a range of letting services that can be tailored to suit your requirements. We are fully committed to ďŹ nding the most suitable tenant for your property, whichever service you choose.
Managing a property can be a full-time job. Our dedicated Property Management service gives you the assurance that your property is in highly capable hands, is well maintained and continually monitored with regular visits. We provide a 24-hour emergency call-out service for tenants and handle all their enquiries. We ensure that all safety checks are carried out and the property complies with any new legislation.
At the start and end of each tenancy, we arrange for an independent inventory to be prepared and checked. Tenants are given a comprehensive welcome pack on arrival. We take meter readings and notify utility companies, at both check in and check out. In addition, we are available to oversee and project manage all types of work with trusted contractors â€“ from basic repairs and maintenance to total refurbishment and new-build projects.
Let &â€ˆRent Collection
Our let and rent collection services are most suited to landlords who have previous experience letting properties and have the resources available to prepare and maintain the property before and during the tenancy. This service includes marketing the property, accompanied viewings and all the pre-tenancy paperwork such as tenant referencing, drawing up of the tenancy agreement, rent collection and registering the deposit. The landlord will be the point of contact for the tenant for the duration of the tenancy and will be responsible for deposit negotiations at the end of the tenancy.
As with our Let & Rent Collection service, the Let Only service includes marketing the property, accompanied viewings and all the pre-tenancy paperwork such as tenant referencing, drawing up of the tenancy agreement and registering the deposit. Landlords will be required to collect the rent for this service and our total fee would be due at the commencement of the tenancy.
Letting Your Property Marketing your property
At Penny & Sinclair, we have a dedicated marketing team who work closely with your local lettings oďŹƒce. We recognise that properties often require diďŹ€erent marketing strategies so we use innovative marketing techniques, alongside more traditional methods to help your property achieve its potential.
Photography and ﬂoor plans
When letting a property, it is important that it is presented in the best possible light. We have a team of professional photographers who are experts at capturing the correct property features and are also able to construct detailed ﬂoorplans.
We combine well written property descriptions with photography to ensure potential tenants have everything they need in one place.
We know that 90% of tenants start their property search online. We therefore use a number of digital marketing platforms to ensure your property is seen by as many potential tenants as possible. All of our properties are listed on our website as well as leading property search sites, Rightmove, Prime Location, Zoopla and many others.
Our tenant network
We maintain a central database of tenants so we can instantly call and email matches for your property. We also have long-standing relationships with relocation and property search agents who regularly contact us on behalf of their executive clients to ﬁnd high quality accommodation. Additionally, our network of domestic and international aﬃliates allows us to target clients further aﬁeld.
To Let boards
‘To Let’ boards are a very good marketing tool for Landlords. A large number of potential tenants contact us as a direct result of seeing one of our boards. We would always recommend erecting one where possible.
All viewings are arranged strictly by appointment and conducted by a member of staﬀ who will be familiar with your property. Occasionally our applicants would like to view outside oﬃce hours on evenings and weekends, which we will facilitate if agreeable to you. We will provide you with feedback as soon as possible after the appointment.
Letting Your Property
The offer process
We will make you aware of all oďŹ€ers as soon as they are received with full details of any special conditions in order for you to make an informed decision. At Penny & Sinclair we are experienced in negotiating conďŹ dently with prospective tenants on your behalf. We will work hard to protect your interests and obtain the best possible terms for your tenancy.
Accepting an offer
Once you have accepted an oﬀer, the let is agreed subject to contract and references. A letter or email will then be sent to both you and the tenant to conﬁrm all terms of the tenancy which has been agreed.
The standard deposit taken is equivalent to one month and a half’s rent. More deposit can be taken when required, often the deposit is increased to the equivalent of 2 months’ rent when tenants have pets.
For all long term tenancies, we will carry out the referencing process through an independent referencing company.
Once the references have passed we will prepare the Tenancy Agreement, this is a legally binding contract between you and your tenant. It will set out clearly the contractual obligations both parties will be bound by, including any special conditions which may apply.
Tenancy Deposit Protection
From 6th April 2007, legislation came into eﬀect requiring that any landlord or agent who takes a deposit from a tenant for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must safeguard it in an approved tenancy deposit scheme. Penny & Sinclair are members of The Tenancy Deposit Scheme which is administered by The Dispute Service Ltd.
Commencement of tenancy
Before the tenancy starts we collect the initial monies payable by the tenant, including the deposit and ﬁrst instalment of rent.
Following the receipt of cleared funds and a signed agreement, the keys will be handed over to the tenant.
It is important that an appropriate number of key sets are made available bearing in mind security keys will need to be copied in advance.
Signing the Tenancy Agreement
We will send you copies of the Tenancy Agreement to sign electronically via Docusign or in PDF format depending on your preference.
Short Letting Your Property
Introduction to short lets
Whether you are working or living abroad, have a second home or are away for long periods of time, you could Short Let your property. A Short Let can be anything from a studio to a family home. Furnishings must be of good quality, in good condition and suﬃciently equipped for the size of the property and number of guests.
A signiﬁcant number of people use Short Lets as a more cost eﬀective and convenient solution to hotels. There is an ever increasing demand for those seeking ﬂexible, short term self-catering accommodation. Guests typically include holidaymakers, university academics, ﬁlm crews, clients who are between house moves and professionals who have interim work contracts. Properties can be booked by guests for as little as one week and the rental price includes all utility bills, council tax, a weekly linen change service and Wi-Fi.
We have built and continue to maintain an excellent reputation for hosting and managing some of the ﬁnest and well situated Short Let properties in Oxfordshire. We oﬀer two levels of management service; fully managed or bookings only. For more detailed information, please see our separate Short Let brochure.
Long Let Services at a Glance Our Services at a Glance
Market appraisal by an experienced Letting Manager to discuss rent level, legislation and marketing Marketing in local newspapers
Same day listing on the best national property portals and our own website Property match with registered applicants All viewings accompanied by a member of staﬀ
Oﬀer negotiation on all terms of the tenancy and seeking approval of landlord Full referencing and credit check of tenant Preparation of tenancy agreement
Arrangement of a comprehensive inventory and schedule of condition Holding of tenant’s deposit under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme Re-marketing at least 2 months prior to end of tenancy Professional photography and ﬂoorplan
Rent collection and forwarding of balance to your account Montly rent statement
Arrangement of all necessary safety certiﬁcates Check in with tenant at property
Reading of meters and transfer of all utilities into tenants’ names Periodic management visits with written/emailed reports
Organisation of maintenance work using trusted contractors 24-hour tenant’s emergency phone line
Comprehensive end of tenancy check out
Negotiation of deposit return and dilapidations
*additonal fees apply
Short Let Services at a Glance Our Services at a Glance
Market appraisal by an experienced Short Let specialist Professional photography, ﬂoor plan & EPC
Listings on national property portals, dedicated holiday rental websites and our own website Arrangement of required safety certiﬁcates Negotiation of bookings and drawing up of agreement
Rent collection and forwarding of balance to your account Holding of damage deposit Monthly rent statement
Preparation of property for booking Handover of keys to tenants
Arrangement of weekly linen changes
24-hour tenants’ emergency phone line
Checking tenant out of property Negotiation of deposit return and dilapidations
Organisation of maintenance work using trusted contractors Cleaning of property and changing linen for next booking
*additonal fees apply
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MayďŹ eld House, 256 Banbury Road Summertown, Oxford OX2 7DE Sales 01865 318013 Lettings 01865 318018 Country 01865 595504
1-4 The Plain, St Clements Oxford OX4 1AS Sales 01865 297555 Lettings 01865 297500 Short Lets 01865 297525 Property Management 01865 297535
97 High Street, Burford Oxfordshire OX18 4QA Sales 01993 220555 Lettings 01993 220888
44 Hart Street, Henley-on-Thames Oxfordshire RG9 2AU Sales 01491 739000 Lettings 01491 739222
121 Park Lane Mayfair London W1K 7AG Tel 020 7409 8304