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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 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…..!
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!
So for a while now it has been on the cards that there will be a ban on Estate Agents charging Tenants fees for rental properties and caps on things such as dilapidation deposits.
My thoughts on capping a Deposit at one month (which is in question) is that this does not leave any money for dilapidations if the Tenant leaves the property owing the last month’s rent, this sometimes happens.
The cost for repair works and materials have certainly risen and even at 6 weeks rent (which is what I currently charge) can sometimes not be enough. I also think it’s fair to charge extra if Tenants have pets as properties at the end of tenancy need fumigating for hygiene reasons and possible allergies for the new tenant.
According to the DPS over the last year, 63% of landlords who made a claim against their tenants’ deposit stated it was for cleaning.
I think the ruling on the Tenant fee ban is rather narrow minded and the long term effect is not being taken into consideration. As a Landlord, An owner of a lettings agency and my past experience as a Tenant my thoughts on the possible ruling are as follows.
Firstly, there is no question that there are some agents charging astronomical fees to tenants which cannot be justified at all and are simply not fair. For this I believe there has to be some sort of regulation on the amount charged and a cap to stop this happening. But, I am going to base this on good practicing, regulated Agencies who are on average charging approximately £200 per Tenant.
There is a huge amount of upfront work required when letting a property and we charge a Tenant fee to carry out administrational duties, costs towards referencing and other fees such as inventory costs, check in fees etc, some of which are shared with the Landlord depending on how the agency operates. Agents also charge this fee to show the Tenants commitment to rent. At the point of taking this fee the agent should not show any other Tenants the property, this secures the property for you until your references are complete and confirmed.
If for any reason the Tenant decided to pull out or failed referencing this fee is normally non-refundable.
Agents do not generally charge anything upfront to their Landlords until the Tenancy starts so at this point we would have lost all money and time in carrying out all the referencing and paperwork, how do we recover this? We can’t if the ban is there!
The ban may result in some agents charging their Landlords upfront for the extra risk and also higher letting fees which I can only imagine will result in Landlords increasing their rents. If this happens the ban in the long run would mean the Tenant is a lot more out of pocket then the initial £200 they save.
The other issue with not taking an admin fee from a Tenant is they could potentially secure several properties to keep their options open resulting in the landlords and Agents losing valuable marketing time and creating longer void periods for Landlords.
I think the work of a letting agent can be very down valued and misunderstood. For example when you purchase/sell a property you pay the agent and you pay a solicitor who progresses it and fees for this are normally in the thousands. The Letting agent lets the property and progresses the whole tenancy from start to finish, hours of admin/legal work goes into each and every let.
I feel to make the market fair to all that there should still be a charge to Tenants but at a capped amount.
This would avoid rent increases, make it fair to the work the agent carries out, deter time wasters and hopefully regulate agents charging silly amounts.
Money Mondays: How to buy your first home with your partner
Money Mondays is your go-to guide for all the information you need to manage your finances. For this week’s Money Can’t Buy Me Love column, we speak to property experts about how to buy your first home.
Buying your first home with your partner is an exciting move, but one that can be difficult to navigate.
To help guide you through every step of the journey, from securing an agreement in principle (AIP) to finding a solicitor, we spoke to property experts Rea and Tonya, also known as The Property Twins. The pair are experts in everything from lettings and sales, to interior design and investments, and share a combined property portfolio of over £3 million.
Here, they share their advice for getting your first step on the property ladder.
The most important thing to start with is obtaining your AIP. You will need this in order to have an offer accepted on your chosen property, so it’s a good idea to have this sorted before you head out on viewings. The AIP is usually valid for six months, which gives you plenty of time to search for your dream home. We recommend visiting a local mortgage broker rather than a bank to obtain this, as you will be given access to various lenders and the best rates.
Remember that you’re buying a home together, so be prepared to compromise. You will never love exactly the same place but you both need to be happy – after all, this is a big commitment. Write a checklist of important things you need to prioritise before you set off, and consider questions such as:
• What location suits you both?
• Size: how many bedrooms do you need?
• Outside space: do you need a garden?
• Parking: do you need off road?
• Do you want something new or are you keen to find something you can mark your own stamp on?
It’s easy to get carried away and fall in love with a property during the viewing process, but always remember to make sure the property fits with your checklist.
We also recommend registering with your local estate agents directly, to receive up to date alerts on the latest properties for sale.
Check with your local housing association to see what Shared Ownership schemes might be available to you. These schemes allow first time buyers to step on the ladder with a much smaller deposit than is usually required. This enables you to buy a share of your home (between 25% and 75% of the home’s value) and pay rent to the housing association on the remaining share. Be aware that the scheme is usually only available on new build properties, so this will limit your search.
Check with your local housing association website to see what’s available and always seek advice from an independent mortgage adviser who specialises in this area.
Once you have found your dream home and your offer has been accepted, you will need to instruct a solicitor. Opt for someone local as you will need to pop in with ID and paperwork, so there’s no point choosing a solicitor who is miles away. They will guide you through the entire process and keep you updated on key stages. The sales process can take around 12 weeks plus, so we suggest you take this time to discuss thoroughly between you the responsibilities of living together.
Before making the big move, think about the following:
Most importantly of all, enjoy it! Buying your first home is such an exciting thing, so try not to get stressed and enjoy the process together.
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We are so excited to confirm we are attending this years Grand Designs Live next Wednesday.
We will be taking over their Instagram page for the day showcasing all of our favorite products/stalls and doing some Q & A with Kevin.
Grand Designs Live, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements, returns in 2018 from 5 – 13 May at London’s ExCeL and from 10 -14 October at Birmingham’s NEC. Based on the Channel 4 series and presented by Kevin McCloud, the show offers visitors top expert advice, new product launches and specialist exhibitors in six project zones. Whether you’re planning a self-build, renovation or are adding the finishing touches, find ideas and inspiration for your very own Grand Design at this multi-award winning event.
Book your tickets here:
We cant wait!