• When is the best time of year to sell?
    Posted on 17 April 2023

    When is the best time of year to sell?

    Which season will ensure that buyers come flocking to view your home?

    There is so much to think about when moving to a new house. Where to look, what to look for, communities, schools, work, travel… the list is endless!

    When selling your house, it is likely that many questions will be forming in your mind. One of which will be when to sell your house.

    There are many factors involved in getting the best price for your current home. A question that might not strike house sellers straight away is what season to sell your house in. What is the best period?

    Autumn? Winter? Spring? Summer?

    We’ve factored in the benefits of each period and written up the best ways to sell the property during each of the four seasons. Take a look…

    Is Spring the best time to sell your home?
    Widely considered to be the perfect time to sell a home due to several factors. The upturn in weather conditions and bloom of the British wildlife can display properties at their most colourful and appealing.

    One of the steps for selling a house is the photographs. Those pictures of the house and garden are going to look bright and sparkly during the spring season. The warmer days have people in a brighter mood, thinking of summer and the future and therefore more likely to get up and go house hunting. It can be quite common for ​families to start looking in the spring, too, as they might be looking to close a deal by the end of the summer holidays so their kids can start school unperturbed.

    Summer - sell your house fast when the sun’s out?
    Whilst some might look at the summer as an ideal time to sell with more time on their hands, this actually works backwards. You might have more time on your hands, but so do most other people during the summer.

    Solicitors and surveyors might be away, kids will be back from school and taking up the parent’s time that could otherwise be spent house hunting instead. These are all significant in the process of selling a house, so you need to make sure everything can come together when looking at the ways to sell your property. However, many still prefer it to the winter months because of the increase in wildlife, colourful plants and general good-feeling the sun brings.

    Selling your house in autumn
    Autumn can be a good period for selling your home. The market generally picks up after the school year begins again so the house hunters are out and about, hoping to move in by Christmas.

    Aesthetically, selling your house during this season can be particularly pleasing to the eye in regards to property visits. If you have any trees nearby or in view of the property, it is sure to strike a scenic connection with any budding house viewer. Think about purchasing some wooded scents and cinnamon candles, too, as these can strike a fine balance between the colours and smells of the autumn season.

    A few dry autumn leaves littering the ground can be scenic, but make sure the gardens and the areas around the house aren’t absolutely covered in sodden wet greenery. Not a good look when selling a house. A good tip for selling your home is to make sure you have an effective garden tidy before any potential viewing, so make sure this is done.

    Selling your house in winter
    Winter can be a tough time to sell a house. However, if you abide by some strict rules during the house-selling period, you can give yourself a few advantages that no other season can offer.

    A great house selling tip in winter is to identify one of the most important aspects of the house buying process and target it for success: first-impressions. It is one of the best homely comforts: walking through the threshold and closing the door on a dark wintery evening to find yourself flooded with the warmth and light of your own home. If you manage to nail this feeling every time a house hunter comes knocking, you can bet you’ll be on your way to achieving a house sale.

    The scenery always takes a knock during winter (if it isn’t snowing!). However, if any plants or trees surrounding your house lose their leaves, this leaves the door open to a seasonal ‘good view’. If you have any trees that block a panoramic view in the summer, for instance, then winter would be the perfect time to sell as it gives the house another great seasonal feature.

    What is the best time for selling your house?
    Springtime is certainly the most popular time for selling a house. Typically, the housing market will gather pace from around March and continue its upward trend until around June. There will be a slight dip over summer, an upward trend in the autumn before the biggest dip over winter.

    Of course, the current property market will also dictate when might be best to put your house up for sale. It’s always worth doing the research to find out what state the market is in, and whether it’s currently a buyer or seller market.

    Location can also affect the best time to sell. For instance, if you are trying to sell a holiday home, it is advisable to list it during the spring/summer months, as it’s more likely to have buyers looking for a warmer climate.
    If you’re not sure when might be a good time to list – why not ask the experts? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to give you bespoke advice on when’s perfect for your home, family, and situation.
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  • 7 ways a mortgage adviser can save you time and money!
    Posted on 17 April 2023

    7 ways a mortgage adviser can save you time and money!

    Should you use a mortgage adviser or just try to find the best mortgage by yourself? Many buyers find themselves asking this question. Here we explore seven key ways that the right mortgage adviser can help you with the process of finding the best possible mortgage for your circumstances.

    1. Free consultation and advice

    A good mortgage adviser will take time with you – either in person or over the phone – to assess your situation. During the initial, free consultation they will draw upon their comprehensive knowledge of the market to make recommendations based on your deposit amount, income and pay structure, future plans, family situation and other factors. You'll also have the chance to ask your adviser any questions you might have about the mortgage process.

    2. Access the widest range of product options
    While some advisers only work with a small number of lenders, other advisers will be able to select the ideal mortgage for you from the thousands currently on offer in the UK. Instead of relying on a bank, who will offer you one of their own products, be sure to work with a mortgage adviser that can look across the entire market and find the perfect fit for you.

    3. Access exclusive rates and criteria options

    Many mortgage providers offer exclusive rates and criteria options to advisers who have built a good relationship with them. By using the right adviser, you can access these exclusive options that are not available on the high street or online.

    4. Unbiased recommendations

    As your mortgage adviser is working for you, they are best-placed to offer you completely unbiased advice. Choosing a mortgage is the biggest financial decision many of us will make, so getting expert, impartial advice is extremely important.

    5. Help with the application process
    Once your adviser has assessed your situation and agreed with you on the ideal mortgage for you, they should then assist you with the application process. They will make sure you have filled in forms correctly and included all the necessary documents and information so that your mortgage application goes through smoothly, the first time.

    6. Liaise with all parties through to completion
    Once your mortgage application has been successful, you'll receive a mortgage offer from your lender. However, a good adviser will then continue to liaise with all parties involved, right through until contracts are exchanged and you complete on your purchase. This is crucial, as changes may need to be made to your mortgage – for example if you need to renegotiate the price of the property and adjust your mortgage accordingly.

    Are you looking to buy? Get in touch today to find out not only our recommendations for great local mortgage advisors, but also help and advice for your search.
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  • Smart technology for homes that are not just for the tech-savvy property owner
    Posted on 17 April 2023

    Smart technology for homes that are not just for the tech-savvy property owner

    Technology can make our lives easier, complete tasks for us, or even just make us smile. It's possible to get gadgets for all manner of things. even the most technophobic of us can figure out how to use Bluetooth. So, what technology is available inside the home that can make your life easier?

    Technology can make our lives easier, complete tasks for us, or even just make us smile. It's possible to get gadgets for all manner of things.

    But if we are not 'tech-savvy', we tend to shy away from technology. We are probably still traumatised from that printer or fax machine that you just couldn't get to work. It feels more comfortable to steer clear.

    Really there is no need to move away from technology. It’s become more intuitive and simple to use. A far cry from the days of old printers or trying to connect a DVD player to your TV. We are becoming more comfortable with tech in our day to day lives, and even the most technophobic of us can figure out how to use Bluetooth. So, what technology is available inside the home that can make your life easier?

    Robot vacuums: Who doesn't want someone else to vacuum their home for them? A robot vacuum will complete a full clean of the floors at pre-arranged times so that it can be done whilst you are out of the house. When it needs to be emptied or charged, it will take itself back to the charging point!

    LED lightbulbs: LED lightbulbs can now be controlled using an app on your phone to turn on and off, increase or decrease the brightness and even change the colour to create mood lighting in every room.

    Wireless speakers: A whole speaker system, such as Sonos, can be really impressive. Being able to stream music in whichever room you are in and surround sound on the TV is perfect for those cosy movie nights at home.

    Doorbell cameras: Surprisingly affordable, doorbell cameras are also super helpful. Not only can they be used as CCTV, but you can see who is at the door before answering and even talk to visitors or delivery men when you are away from home. You will never have to arrange the redelivery of a parcel again!

    Smart thermostats: Getting home from a hectic winter day to a warm, welcoming home is one of the best feelings. Using a smart thermostat, you can turn your heating on whenever you want from the app so that you can make sure your home is warm for when you get in.

    Smart locks: Do you know someone who is constantly losing their key? This could be the perfect solution for you. A smart lock allows a door to be locked or unlocked using an app on your phone.

    Alexa/other voice-activated devices: set cooking timers, check the weather, make a to-do list or shopping list, all much easier when you can simply say it out loud.

    Technology is being developed constantly to improve our lives and make us more efficient with time.

    I am waiting patiently for the day someone creates a smart washing machine that will load itself, wash dry iron and put away all of the washing for me! Perhaps it's something Elon Musk could work on?

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  • Marketing to your perfect tenant
    Posted on 17 April 2023

    Marketing to your perfect tenant

    All landlords know the value of a good, long-term tenant. It means less turnover, less stress, more profit and a well looked after investment. How do you find this perfect person though? The answer lies in targeted marketing…

    Marketing is incredibly important to make your property visible to potential tenants, and your marketing efforts will yield even better results if you focus on your marketing efforts to a targeted audience! Here are few ways in which you can use targeted marketing to find the perfect tenant:

    1. Do your homework – Remember, different people look for different amenities in a home. So, you first need to make a list of amenities that your property is offering.  Next, you need to customise your marketing strategy based on the target audience.  Apart from the property, also make a list of features in the areas that the property is situated in.

    2. Get personal – The only way to attract potential tenants is to stand out from the crowd. So, it is better to go personal in your communications. One effective way to market to a targeted audience is by bringing personalisation and building a genuine connection.

    3. Location is important – Location is quite an important deciding factor when it comes to renting properties. For example, if there is a university nearby, you should target your marketing efforts to students. If you are targeting families, highlight the benefits of the location such as proximity to schools, the station, stores, and other transport options.

    4. Look through the eyes of the tenant – When it is your property, you always see the good points, but you are not the one who is going to live there. Look at the property through the eyes of the people who will actually live in it. If you do not live in the area of the property, you need to make yourself familiar with the surroundings. Look out for things that a tenant will look out for in and around your property and compare the price of your property with the others being offered in the area.

    Happy tenants not only feel well treated, but they also keep the property in a good condition. Problems with tenants will not only cost you money but also result in stressful situations. Finding a tenant over and over can be tough, so it’s important to make the right choice of tenant the first time around. 

    Get in touch if you are a landlord looking for your perfect tenant! We’re here to help.
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  • Refresh Your Home for Spring
    Posted on 14 April 2023

    Refresh Your Home for Spring

    As we look to put the long winter months behind us and hope for slightly warmer weather and less rain, it is a good idea to refresh your home ready for the new season. As spring is the season of growth and renewal, you should do the same to your home. We look at some of the best ways that you can do this.

    Introduce Colour and Pattern

    If you add a few touches of bold colour and patterns to your home, you can immediately brighten it up. A few accent pieces dotted around, whether it is a patterned cushion, or a bright candle or a photo frame, these detailed touches will instantly transform your home. Floral prints are naturally associated with spring but don’t go too overboard. Mix and match different patterns and textures to bring life to your home.

    Bring the Outside In

    There is nothing that says spring more than bringing some flowers or fresh greenery into your home. This creates a fantastic connection between the indoors and the outdoors and can make you feel more like spring has sprung. Adding plants or other living things to your home is a great way to make your home feel alive. It also creates a nice contrast between bold and soft tones to your space.

    Declutter and Clean

    Yes, it’s that time of the year again to clean up after a long winter of being around your fireplace. It may sound like a chore, but having a neat and tidy space will make your home look spacious, and your mind clearer from whatever clutter is around. When you organise your home, it’ll make space for things that you may want to place in that particular area and this reflects to your mental health as well. The more organised and neat everything is, you will have a clear mind that helps you think and do more. Put away anything that is not in use, such as wintery rugs and blankets, instead, try to swap this for lighter fabrics. This is also the perfect time to start cleaning your windows to take advantage of the light coming into your home.

    Add Scent

    Now is the time to change up the smells of your home as well. So, if you use air fresheners or candles to provide an interest in your home, then change them for fresh and clean scents instead of heavy ones, such as clean cotton or garden flowers. Floral, fruit and ocean-inspired scents are also perfect for bringing the freshness of the outdoors, inside!  Anything that evokes a feeling of the outdoors in your home is going to be well matched for spring.

    Fresh Paint

    If you are feeling more adventurous then why not try a splash of new paint. Repainting a wall or room with a new colour can really provide freshness to your home that you will get to enjoy for a long time. It will make your home feel brand new and it is budget friendly.
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  • Jenny's Marathon Efforts Raise Awareness for Motor Neurone Disease
    Posted on 12 April 2023

    Jenny's Marathon Efforts Raise Awareness for Motor Neurone Disease

    One of our incredible team members, Jenny, is gearing up to participate in the Manchester Marathon on April 16th, 2023.

    We are so proud to support her as she takes on this impressive challenge, which will see over 30,000 runners take to the streets of Manchester.

    Jenny is running to raise funds and awareness for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, a charity that is close to her heart. MND is a devastating disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, leaving people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk, swallow and eventually breathe. Six people are diagnosed with the disease every day, and up to 5,000 people are fighting MND at various stages of the disease.

    The charity works to improve the care and support for people with MND, their families, and carers. They also fund and promote research that leads to new understanding and treatments, bringing us closer to a cure for MND. In addition, they campaign to raise awareness ensuring that the needs of people with MND and everyone who cares for them are recognised by the wider society.

    Jenny began her training for the marathon in January, following a customised running plan created by Jacqui Maxwell of Cadence Coaching. The program includes four weekly runs: one tempo, one long run, and two easy/steady runs. This is combined with two to three strength training/gym sessions per week to build strength and prevent injury, and this side of Jenny’s training has been planned out by Matty Tunnah of Matty Tunnah Coaching.

    We are thrilled that Jenny has taken on this challenge and her dedication and hard work have been an inspiration to us all. We are proud to have such a driven and motivated individual on our team, and we look forward to supporting her every step as she takes on this incredible challenge.

    Good luck, Jenny!
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  • RENT GUARANTEE SERVICE - Landlords - With us you can stop worrying your rent isn’t going to be paid
    Posted on 24 February 2023

    RENT GUARANTEE SERVICE - Landlords - With us you can stop worrying your rent isn’t going to be paid

    It’s a worrying time when all we hear about is the rising cost of living, inflation, and strikes from all manner of companies and organisations across the UK. It’s no wonder everyone is nervous about being able to afford things.

    As a landlord, this may cause you to be concerned about your tenant's ability to pay their rent. Of course, if they can’t pay their rent, this will have a knock-on effect on your income, perhaps even affecting your buy-to-let mortgage payments.

    If you are worried about this, we can tell you that you are not the only one. But you really don’t need to be, and this is why;

    Here at Pinkertons, we have one of the best rent guarantee schemes in the country. It's all managed in-house, so there is no complicated application to loss adjustors and, most importantly, no considerable delays in getting the money to you. We know that with some rent guarantee schemes, you can wait months, even after you’ve proven your tenants haven’t paid. With us, if your tenant doesn’t pay by the 20th of the month, we will pay you. We then
    recoup the funds back from our insurers.

    Our rent guarantee covers you for 15 months’ worth of rent not paid, your legal costs AND assistance should you need to evict your tenant due to non-payment of rent. It will even cover you for up to a further 3 months at 75% of the rent once you have vacant possession, and there is no excess to pay!

    So you couldn’t be more protected with Pinkertons, and what’s even better - it will only cost you around the same as a cup of coffee a week from Starbucks.

    We offer this service on managed properties AND rent collect properties. So, if you want to continue doing the maintenance yourself and liaising with your tenant directly, we can still protect you with this scheme. It also means that should your tenant fall into arrears, we do all the chasing, so you won't have any awkward conversations about missed rent with your tenant.

    I know it sounds too good to be true, but it really isn’t. If you’re interested, call any of our offices on the numbers below, and we’d be happy to talk you through it.

    028 91 479393 – Bangor & Donaghadee

    028 91 404100 – Comber & Newtownards
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  • Let there be love - Ten ways to improve any landlord and tenant relationship
    Posted on 10 February 2023

    Let there be love - Ten ways to improve any landlord and tenant relationship

    If you do a quick Google search on ‘how to keep love alive’, communication comes out on top of many of the pieces of advice shared.

    Almost all relationships benefit from good communication. And that advice extends beyond being a partner, parent, or friend – it can easily be applied to the landlord and tenant relationship.

    But there’s more to it than that.

    When it’s done well, the landlord and tenant relationship is precisely that – a relationship rather than a transaction.

    Below are ten ways landlords and tenants can avoid losing that loving feeling.

    What tenants love about good landlords
    • They ensure the property is well maintained and repairs are carried out quickly.
    • They show empathy and fairness in their dealings with tenants.
    • They recognise that even though it may be the landlord’s property – it’s the tenants’ home.
    • They respect the tenants’ right to privacy and never drop in unannounced (there are regulations around this – contact us to find out more).
    • They appreciate good tenants and are fair if and when there’s a need to raise the rent.

    What landlords love about good tenants
    • They pay the rent on time, every time.
    • They look after the property as if it’s their own.
    • They don’t cause the landlord any issues with neighbours.
    • They communicate if there is an issue, such as a repair or a change in their circumstances.
    • They respect their boundaries – some landlords are hands-off and have us manage their properties. This doesn’t affect the tenancy adversely, and it can enhance it in many ways.


    As a letting agent, we’re part matchmaker, part marriage guidance counsellor.

    Our marketing and rigorous referencing ensure that the best tenants are matched with suitable properties and landlords.

    Our ongoing support and expertise keep the landlord and tenant relationship happy and mutually beneficial.

    If you have any questions about any aspect of renting your property out, get in touch with us. We’re confident you’ll love our service.
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  • What CGT Allowance Changes Means For Landlords and Second Homeowners
    Posted on 9 February 2023

    What CGT Allowance Changes Means For Landlords and Second Homeowners

    Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced in his Autumn Statement in 2022 that the current Capital Gains Tax allowance of £12,300 is being halved to £6,000 from April 2023 and then cut again to £3,000 from April 2024. That could mean an increased tax bill for many property owners planning to sell in 2023, but what can be done to avoid it?

    What is Capital Gains Tax?

    The UK Government describes Capital Gains Tax as a tax on the profit upon the sale of (or ‘disposal of’) something (an ‘asset’) that’s increased in value. So, if a painting was purchased for £5,000 and it was sold later for £25,000, the gain is £20,000 (£25,000 minus £5,000).

    An asset, in this case, could be but isn’t limited to, things like personal possessions, a second home or shares that aren't within an ISA. Therefore, those who own or are planning to sell a second home will be required to pay Capital Gains Tax.

    A higher-rate taxpayer will pay 28% on any gains from residential property. Those on basic taxpayer rates will see the rate changes depending on the size of the gain; 18% on residential property if it’s within the basic income tax band (£37,700 for the 2021 to 2022 tax year) or 28% if it’s higher.

    The rules are different for trustees and businesses, and full details can be found on the UK Government website.

    How does this specifically affect property owners?

    If a homeowner purchased the property for £200,000 and sold it for £250,000, the ‘gain’ would be £50,000. That would mean the current taxable income for that property would be £37,700 (£50,000 minus £12,300 = £37,700), and £6,786 would be payable in CGT for a basic rate taxpayer. However, in the next tax year, that taxable income for the same property would be £44,000 taking the CGT tax bill to £7,920. In 2024 that taxable income would be £47,000 taking the CGT tax bill to £8,460.

    In summary, anyone looking to sell a property in the next year is advised to sell quickly and complete the sale before the end of the 2023/24 tax year at the end of March 2024.
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  • Petition Calls for Tax Change to Stop Landlords Exiting the Property Market
    Posted on 3 February 2023

    Petition Calls for Tax Change to Stop Landlords Exiting the Property Market

    Property industry figures are calling for action to prevent a critical shortage of rental stock in the buy-to-let sector.

    They say that unless the government acts, there will be an exodus of landlords from the private rental market.

    Such a scenario would reduce the number of properties available to rent – making it even more challenging for tenants to find a decent place to live – and drive up the cost of renting.

    Renters and landlords feel the squeeze.

    Landlords sold up in their droves last year, with 70,000 exiting the buy-to-let sector in 12 months.*

    At the same time, rents increased, with prices in Northern Ireland noW classified as unaffordable when compared with average wages.**

    So if rents are going up and not down, why are landlords quitting the market? Many BTL investors are struggling due to rising interest rates, increased red tape and changes to the tax system. They just can’t make the sums work, so they’re walking away from the sector.

    And what is the long-term impact of such a trend? Fewer landlords mean fewer rental properties. So, if you’re not in a position to buy your property (and with mortgage costs the way they are, fewer people can), then your options are reduced.

    Tenants are diverse, ranging from students and recent graduates to families and people in their sixties and seventies. A dramatic change in the structure of the housing sector would only create an even greater imbalance and leave tenants more exposed.

    The petition calls for change.

    Midlands landlord Simon Foster has started a petition demanding the reinstatement of tax relief for landlords (the Cameron government scrapped this type of relief).

    The petition calls “for landlords to be allowed to offset the full amount of mortgage interest against rental income before tax is calculated”. Such a measure would mean landlords are taxed on their profits, not their turnover, and slow down the decline in landlord numbers.

    More than 31,000 people have already signed the petition, backed by industry figures, including Maxine Fothergill, the immediate past president of ARLA Propertymark. If 100,000 people sign, the issue must be debated by MPs in Parliament.

    If you would like to sign the petition, you’ll find it here - SIGN PETITION

    If you would like any further information, please contact one of our offices.

    * Accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young
    ** Office for National Statistics
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