Read the full article online!
SELLING Sunset was the one of the most talked about programmes in lockdown, but you don’t need to travel to LA for the same treatment.
Twins Tonya Barnard and Rea Hill, 34, from Chelmsford, Essex, have spent the last 13 years making a name for themselves on the property market.
Tonya and Rea are better known as The Property Twins
With the motto “we close deals in heels” the sisters bring some serious glamour to the job while garnering a reputation for their fiery and honest approach.
The sisters say they had to work hard to be taken seriously in the industry
“The twin thing made us stand out but we worked our way up quite quickly and made a name for ourselves.”
With their killer wardrobes and blow dries, the twins admit that they initially struggled to get themselves taken seriously.
“You will always get a bit of sexism wherever you go” Tonya says.
“When we first started out you would always get the jokes that we had won a deal because someone had fancied us because we were young women.
“At the end of the day the figures speak for themselves, you’re not going to win business based on your looks.”
The girls have made a name for themselves as the UK’s answer to Selling Sunset
“We have had to prove ourselves a little bit more, as blonde girls from Essex we’ve had to work that little but harder and gain that credibility.”
Working at estate agents just three doors apart, the women built up some healthy competition in their early years before opening up their own property businesses.
We had so much fun covering a spring makeover in our latest column in Essex Living Magazine.
The full article can be found here https://www.living-magazines.co.uk/our-magazines/essex-living and as promised please fine below a full product break down.
Starting with an empty lounge with your usual lounge furniture in place, we wanted to showcase how you can make a dramatic transformation using just furnishings and home accessories.
Here are some product shots of the gorgeous Interior items we used to style our Spring Inspired Lounge
Our favourite piece from this project has to be this stunning duo of floor vases with eucalyptus, what a statement piece!
All of these beautiful products can be viewed in store at Tec Lifestyle, a gem of an Interior Showroom that we use often!
Located at Wycke Hill Business Park
As promised we have included below a full product breakdown for our readers, any questions please feel free to get in touch!
We look forward to sharing our next makeover with you soon, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for all our property adventures @officialpropertytwins
Vanilla grass in white bowl – £126.00
Taupe frame 5×7 15mm – £31.50
White mouthblown glass vase – £58.00
Dark grey mouthblown glass vase – £45.00
Baobab Madagascan Vanilla max 16 candle – £85.00
‘The Kinfolk Home’ book – £28.00
Large orb silver – £70.00
Small orb silver – £56.00
White and green vase £190.00
Sandy smoke ceramic vase – £65.00
Natural pussy willow stem – £6.00 each
Small vase – £25.00
‘Eat Drink Nap’ book – £30.00
‘Christian Dior’ book – £40.00
Green cushion – £77.00
Cream cushion – £77.00
White wave edge plate – £35.00
Leigh tray black and white – £288.00
Stainless steel vase – £40.00
LSA tea/coffee cup and saucer – £35.00
‘You Do You’ book – £14.99
Brass stainless steel marble décor – £165.00
Baobab black pearl diffuser – £115.00
White jar with lid – £204.00
Dianthus small in black pot – £118.00
Dianthus medium in black pot – £118.00
Green table lamp – £489.00
‘Mad About The House’ book – £20.00
‘Fashion’ book – £20.00
‘Vogue Living’ book – £71.99
Floor Standing Accessories:
Large white round vase – £83.00
Extra Large white round vase – £160.00
Green baby eucalyptus spray – £11.50
We had the privilege of being asked to be part of this fantastic article for Essex Living Magazine recently.
We was two of the 50 top business women in Essex asked to take part and we met so many inspirational women, it was very empowering to be around so many fellow business women.
This is a great read so please go get yourself a copy, lots of fab business stories to read!
Essex women really do mean business…..!
With the demand for affordable renting at an all-time high, HMOs currently seem like the perfect investment.
The yields that can be achieved are far greater than a standard buy to let with some of my clients tripling their current rents. As soon as you have tasted the return of a HMO it’s very hard to go back!
I have helped clients achieve maximum rent by turning their properties into HMOS and have also got some of my own however with the highs there also comes lows and my blog is going to teach you the pros and cons and the dos and the don’ts of HMOs.
It’s very important to do your homework and make sure you familiarise yourself with the minimum standards set up by your local authority, you also need to find out if your property will require a licence or not. It’s important to follow the rules as you could be liable to hefty fines for breaching them.
Here is a link to our local councils minimum standards-
When you are out viewing, take you minimum standards to refer to, a measurer (I recommend a laser for speed) a note pad for your measurements and notes on any reconfiguration you require and a camera to take photographs. Always price your works up and allow room for issues and always price your rents at the minimum rate, never work out your numbers based on best figures you can achieve.
When you are number crunching you need to take into account monthly expenses you will be expected to pay for such as utility bills, council tax, TV licence, Wi-Fi, insurance, cleaning etc all of which will eat into your profit. If you are using a managing agent then you will also need to allow for letting and management fees.
Managing a HMO is not for the faint hearted, you will find that there is normally more maintenance to attend to, lots of regulation you need to follow, regular fire alarm testing and a regular turnaround of Tenant.
Here are some of my HMO buying tips
Tonya vs Rea – The £1000 Challenge!
We recently set ourselves a challenge to transform a room with a £1000 budget. Using High Street Interiors Tonya worked on a children’s craft room whilst I made over a lounge/diner!
Black and Greys are currently very on trend and here ill break down how I created this living room look for just £850 turning this very dull grey blank canvas into a chic living area!
Starting with the wallpaper, I was after an industrial/grey style paper and came across this stunning wall covering by Holden. The paper has a slight texture to it and some areas of metallic which gives the wallpaper a very luxurious feel/look and what a bargain at just £11 per roll! Covering just one or two walls is plenty to help transform a bland room and add some texture.
I found two beautiful accent rugs at Wayfair and opted for mixed tones of white/grey and blacks. I placed one in the dining room as well as the lounge to bring the two rooms together. The rugs feel amazing and look far more expensive than the £80 each I paid for them.
Let there be light…..
Keeping with the Industrial look I went on the hunt for some grid cage light fittings and come across these beauties, they really finished the look off nicely and cost just £19.99 each. The black pendant and flex helped finish the look off nicely.
I also come across a lovely grid style tray from Homesense which matched in perfectly with the light fittings!
A living room isn’t complete without some personal touches so I used this bare wall to create a home gallery of my favorite photos, the frames are from Ikea and add a touch of class to the look.
I also added a touch of blue with two stunning prints from Ikea.
Can a girl ever have too many cushions…..?
Cushion shopping has to be one of my favorite parts of accessorizing a room, and no….you can never have too many scatter cushions. I always opt for feather filled cushions as you can prop them up easily and they tend to keep their shape longer. Here we have a mix of greys/silvers/patterns from Homesense, The Range and BM Stores. These high-street shops have a fantastic range of cushions to suit any budget.
The Little Details….
This has to be my top buy, this gorgeous glass and metal nest of coffee tables was just £45 from Ikea. I have to say it looks so trendy and the quality is there too, everyone who has walked in recently has asked me where it’s from and have been blown away with the cost.
Now it’s easy to get carried away with coffee table accessorising and there’s a thin line between too much or too little but I always opt for a tray, candle, vase and book.
Here you will see I have gone for a lovely mirrored/black tray and candle, slim line vase and silver table décor (Ideal for sweets or nibbles) and a stunning marble effect box storage box. Not forgetting my little black of Chanel which should be on every coffee table!
The mirror was my most expensive Item at £200 but what a statement, This stunning mirror is from Mason Du Monde and really brought the room together.
Below you can find a full product breakdown which I hope will help you with creating my trendy look on a budget.
I will always love high end interiors but as far as High St Interiors go I have found these products excellent value for money proving you can create a designer look on a high street budget.
On the announcement of the recent Tenant fee ban there was further blow to Landlords and Agents on hearing that from the 1st of June 2019 we will no longer be able to hold more than 5 Weeks Rent as a Deposit. This will now be the law and we must also refund any surplus on deposits we already hold at renewal stage which is just an administrational nightmare. This is for all Agents and Landlords and any person failing to follow this will be breaking the law and susceptible to very costly fines.
With this now in place Landlords and Agents will have to protect themselves better from the offset and ensure we are choosing the right Tenants to look after our properties.
How do we do this?
Firstly, I can’t see Landlords being as flexible on accepting pets with the new cap in place, most contracts would state that professional fumigation would be required by Tenant at end of tenancy which can be pretty costly in itself and that’s before any other cleaning or damage that might need to be accounted for. I can’t see there being enough room in the deposit, especially on the lower end monthly rental figures. For this reason, Landlords may have to restrict renting to Tenants who have pets.
The reason why 6 weeks rent worked for most is because we had a 1 month’s rent for potential rent arrears ( some Tenants decide to not pay the last month’s rent despite being told they need to) plus a couple of weeks left for minor repairs and or cleaning. Two month’s rent would have been the norm for pets to allow for fumigation plus the above and in other more risky tenancies we may have charged more to protect ourselves.
Another area we might need to look at is ensuring rent protection is put in place for every tenancy, this would mean Landlords have peace of mind that they will get their rent payment no matter what and also be able to use this at the end if the Tenant doesn’t pay their last month’s rent, leaving the full deposit for any dilapidations. We could further protect our financial risk by also having a guarantor, this is really as much as we can do as Landlords/Agents before taking full rent in advance for the whole term.
Make sure you have an agent who has your best interests foremost and that is fighting to find you the best tenant not fighting for personal commission. In an industry full of young negotiators all on a low basic with strict targets it’s hard to avoid the “let and forget attitude” as I call it. I feel for the trainees as it’s a very tough and target driven industry but at the same time it’s no good for Landlords. This was one of the reasons I chose to leave agency and set up on my own, none of my colleagues I work with now are on personal commission or targeted, we all work as a team and only want the best for the landlords we look after.
The dispute centres are set up to protect tenants therefore it is fundamental that Agents and Landlords are setting up new tenancies accurately and ensuring Tenants understand their checkout obligations.
There are plenty of Landlord’s out there who take the mick when it comes to deposit deductions and those wanting to charge tenants need to first of all make sure they have offered the property in the best condition at the start of the tenancy. They also need to make sure they have done their job as managing agent by paying regular visits to their tenants and to advise the tenant throughout the duration of any issues they may face at the end.
Paper trail is crucial for this, without it you might as well not even hold a deposit.
There are lots of cases in which the dispute centre has (in my opinion) favoured a tenants case too one sided, for example only last week I had a landlord who lost a claim for replacement carpet on a brand new carpet that was supplied to a tenant of which they burnt badly with an iron. With her high standards as a Landlord she chose to replace this for the new tenancy again and was only awarded a £50 contribution towards the cost of her new carpet from the dispute centre, something of which I will never understand nor agree with.
Its normally always better for a landlord to try and settle outside of arbitration so communicate with your tenants and try to reach an agreement yourself!
It’s hard to not feel that as a Landlord you have little protection and the only way to deal with that is to accept it for what it is. Don’t have unrealistic expectations that your Tenant is going to leave your property immaculate and don’t assume you will win your disputes regardless of how black and white it might be, assume the opposite and hope for the best.
Also remember no Agent in the world can guarantee a risk free Tenancy, don’t expect them to provide the impossible…. us Agents can’t wave a magic wand and get your Tenant to pay rent or have them keep the house clean and damage free, its simply unrealistic!
Remember it’s a business, it’s not personal. No business is plain sailing, no tenant or tenancy is perfect and you may have trouble along the way. If you can adjust to this mind set and remember that the tenant that may have left a burn mark on one of your new carpets has also paid your mortgage for the last few years you will be a much happier and content Landlord.
There has been a rising number of Landlords exiting the market, which has left me worried on where this will leave the industry as a result. I, myself as a Lettings Agent have seen my own clients off load due to the concern in rising costs, continued legislation change and what I guess feels at times a very one sided industry. I am also a Landlord and I can’t help but also feel as though we are being pushed into a corner and driven out of the market.
In November 2018, the East of England was the highest region for landlords selling up and Landlords leaving the market was 100% higher than the national Average.
With so many Landlords off-loading it is likely that the supply of rental properties will drop which could mean rents increase due to there not being enough property to meet Tenant demand, this could actually make the market much worse for Tenants and long term renters as their rents are likely to increase and could also mean there its lots of competition for the same property.
The Tenant fee ban has now become law and will become enforceable from the 1st of June 2019, This is terrible news for the industry and something I believe is completely unfair, one sided and a reckless move from the government which will loose the industry millions not to mention all the unfortunate people who will loose jobs thanks to their decision. As I expressed in my last blog the ruling has not been thought out nor the bigger picture seen by our government.
This will have a knock on effect as Estate Agents are likely to pass on this cost to their landlords which again may mean Landlords increase their rents to cover this cost or mean further Landlords start to sell up. The fee also applies to private Landlords who will no longer be able to charge for any administrational or referencing costs which means estate agents and landlords will have to still do the same level of work, admin and Tenant checks at no charge. Lettings portfolios will be less lucrative and I fear lots of Lettings agencies may have to make redundancies and possibly smaller Agents not being able to cope at all.
Although all seems pretty bleak for the Lettings Industry I predict that this year will be a good buyer’s market due to the amount of property that will need to be sold, this is good news for Investment buyers who are in it for the long run and first time buyers in getting their feet on the property ladder, there should be some good deals to be had and buyers could be in a very good negotiating position.
I have been out this weekend viewing property and have put some offers over on what could be some fantastic investments, I will keep you updated on how these deals go!
Are you thinking about Investing into property?
If you’re in it for the long run you can’t lose….
Today it is very hard to make a ‘quick buck’ flipping a property (buying/renovating/selling) due to shortage of suitable property and taxes, however in regards to securing your future there still isn’t a better way then with a property portfolio!
Here are some of my tips…
Regardless of what others may be telling you at this uncertain time, don’t be scared to invest!
If you’re in it for the long run you can’t lose….
Think about it, your tenant is paying your mortgage monthly for you plus you property is growing in value/equity as you sleep, it’s a win win.
Keep following us for more Investing Tips.
This is just the perfect solution for a new look Kitchen on a small budget and I just had to share it with you all.
My brother in-law (Ryan) and his partner (Lilli) recently purchased their first home together. The property needed a little tidy up inside and they started decorating as soon as they got the keys.
The budget was limited and a new Kitchen was not possible so they decided to give the Kitchen a face lift themselves. I was very apprehensive when they first told me this but I was so impressed by how it looked once finished and still can’t believe it only cost them £50.
They ordered 10 rolls of Self Adhesive Film from Wilko.com and they chose Glossy Grey which looks fantastic. The rolls were only £5 each, here is the link to the product-
They had to take the doors off and wrap each one individually, once wrapped they simply popped the doors back on. Not an air bubble or mark in sight and it generally looks like a brand new kitchen. Lilli also said the whole process was pretty therapeutic!
I asked Lilli for her tips on anyone thinking about giving this a go and here is what she said;
1. Get the applicator kit it was only £3 and very helpful.
2. Don’t pull the plastic, let it fall onto the door and then press out the air bubbles using the applicator kit.
3. Make sure surface is scrubbed clean before wrapping to get smoothest finish.
4. Watch some YouTube videos before starting and try it out on a more discreet/hidden cupboard first.
Wishing Lilli and Ryan all the best in their lovely new home and I’m looking forward to a dinner invite soon!