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Blog | butters john bee Estate & Letting Agents

Dec 16, 2023 Let Agreed: What Happens Next?

So, your property is let agreed—this means it's no longer on the market, and you've found a tenant. Now, it's time to move forward with the necessary steps to finalise the lease. Post-Let Tasks by Your Lettings Agent Your chosen lettings agent now takes charge of several crucial responsibilities, whether they're managing the property or not: Sending written confirmation to all parties outlining the rent amount, payment frequency (e.g., weekly or monthly), and any specific tenancy conditions. Obtaining references from tenants and, if required, a guarantor. Ensuring all parties read and sign the Tenancy Agreement. Collecting initial payments, including the deposit and first month's rent. All deposits should be registered with a government-approved deposit protection scheme. Landlord's Responsibilities While the lettings agency handles the above, there are tasks that fall on you as the landlord: Arranging a comprehensive inventory report detailing all items in the property, such as carpets and furnishings, and their condition. This report is crucial for documenting any damage at the end of the tenancy. Ensuring all furniture and furnishings comply with fire safety regulations. Arranging gas appliance servicing by a CORGI-registered engineer and maintaining safety records. Ensuring electrical wiring is checked and approved by a qualified electrician. Tenant's To-Do List Before Moving Day Tenants also have their own responsibilities to fulfil before moving in: Undergoing a credit check and providing references. Signing essential documents detailing rent payment details and contact information. Preparing the deposit payment or exploring deposit-free options like flatfair for a hassle-free move-in. Moving Day Once everything is set, you can agree on a mutually convenient moving day for both you and the new tenants. If the lettings agency holds the keys, instruct them to release them to the tenants on moving day. If the property is managed by a property management service, ensure tenants receive the necessary contact details. Congratulations on Letting Your Property! Well done on successfully letting your property! Now, if you need to discuss further letting opportunities or have questions, butters john bee's dedicated lettings teams are ready to assist. Looking Ahead If you want to speak to butters john bee about letting your property, use our branch finder to locate your nearest office. Our experienced lettings teams are eager to support you in your letting journey. Questions about letting your property? Contact us anytime for assistance. [form id="36cba0b0-7466-11ee-afc4-12cffd93632d"]

Nov 10, 2023 What Exactly is a Maisonette?

So, you’ve heard about maisonettes in your home search, but what are they really? Let’s dive into this guide to understand what a maisonette is and whether it could be your next home sweet home. What is the Definition of a Maisonette? The term 'maisonette' is difficult to define—it means different things depending on where you are. Originally from French, it translates to 'little house'. In the UK, a maisonette is a self-contained two-floor flat within a larger building, boasting its own staircase and entrance. You’ll often find them in converted period houses or above shops in town or city centres. In Scotland, a maisonette refers to a group of duplex flats stacked on top of each other in a housing block, accessed via a communal entrance. In the US, they’re often called duplexes due to the split-level layout and are typically the top floor of a high-rise building, akin to a penthouse. How Do Maisonettes Differ from Flats? Unlike flats, which are usually stacked vertically in a building with a shared entrance, maisonettes have their front doors leading directly outside. Maisonettes also span two floors, giving them a house-like feel compared to the single-level layout of flats. Additionally, while flats usually lack private outdoor space, maisonettes often come with their own garden or private access to communal outdoor areas. How Do Maisonettes Compare to Houses? Maisonettes share similarities with houses, like private gardens and garages, but they're smaller in size. A maisonette typically offers up to two bedrooms, whereas houses can have four or more. Houses also have attic space, which maisonettes lack. However, one of the major advantages of a maisonette is its affordability compared to a house. Are Maisonettes Leasehold or Freehold? This is an important question when considering a maisonette. If leasehold, you’ll pay ground rent to the freeholder. If you acquire the freehold, you might receive ground rent from other residents. Maisonettes come with unique responsibilities—like the first floor being responsible for the roof and guttering—different from flats or houses. Pros and Cons of Buying a Maisonette Pros: Affordability: Maisonettes are often more affordable than houses, making them great for first-time buyers. Unique Living: Maisonettes are often more bespoke and come with extra storage space like garages. Outdoor Space: Many maisonettes come with private gardens or access to outdoor areas. Cons: Limited Expansion: Maisonettes require planning permission for major renovations, unlike houses. Limited Space: Not ideal for growing families due to limited space compared to houses. Shared Responsibility: Exterior maintenance requires coordination with other occupants. Is a Maisonette Right for You? For first-time buyers or those seeking a manageable space, a maisonette could be perfect. However, if you’re planning for a growing family or large-scale expansions, a traditional house might suit better. Ready to Move? Contact butters john bee today to kickstart your moving mission. We're here to make your journey as smooth as possible. [form id="36cba0b0-7466-11ee-afc4-12cffd93632d"]

Oct 19, 2023 Joint Tenants vs. Tenants in Common - Understanding Joint Property Ownership

When two or more individuals purchase a property together, it's essential to understand the legal concepts of 'joint tenancy' and 'tenancy in common' that govern this joint ownership arrangement. Buying a Property with Others Joint ownership is a common scenario, particularly among couples or friends purchasing property together. This arrangement provides financial security and shared responsibility. Legally, co-owning individuals are termed 'joint tenants at law,' but the specific type of joint ownership can vary. Understanding Joint Tenancy In joint tenancy, co-owners (often couples) each own an equal share of the property. The property is collectively owned by both parties without specific percentage shares. Understanding Tenancy in Common Tenancy in common differs as each owner holds a distinct percentage share of the property, defined in a legal agreement. Upon sale, proceeds are distributed according to these share proportions. Additionally, tenants in common have the flexibility to adjust their shares by mutual agreement. Key Differences: Joint Tenants vs. Tenants in Common The fundamental difference lies in what happens if one owner passes away. In joint tenancy, the deceased owner's share automatically transfers to the surviving owner(s) without the option to bequeath it to others. Conversely, tenants in common can designate their share to beneficiaries such as children or family members. Joint Mortgages: Sharing Financial Responsibility Couples or friends purchasing property together can opt for a joint mortgage, which spreads financial responsibility and establishes joint ownership, whether as joint tenants or tenants in common. Pros and Cons of Joint Mortgages Joint mortgages increase borrowing potential based on combined income, facilitating property ownership for first-time buyers. However, they also entail shared financial risk, where a co-owner's poor credit history can impact borrowing capacity and credit rating. Rights Under Joint Ownership Joint tenants enjoy equal rights to possess and occupy the property but require joint consent for any property-related actions, including sales. Ending Joint Ownership Any co-owner can sever joint tenancy or tenancy in common by serving written notice to other parties. This action restricts property transactions until resolved. Frequently Asked Questions Changing from Joint Tenancy to Tenancy in Common: Achieved through mutual agreement and a severance of joint tenancy, documented with Land Registry Form SEV. Changing from Tenancy in Common to Joint Tenancy: Requires agreement from all parties and amendments to the Deed of Trust, facilitated by conveyancers. Deed of Trust: Legal document outlining each party's financial contribution to the property and detailing actions upon sale or changes in circumstances. Choosing Between Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common: Depends on individual circumstances; tenancy in common suits those with specific bequest intentions, while joint tenancy offers simplicity. Preference for Married Couples: Most prefer joint tenancy for clarity in inheritance. However, tenancy in common can provide flexibility, especially for older couples considering bequests. Let butters john bee Assist You Buying a property together is an exciting venture, albeit with legal considerations. Contact butters john bee to explore available properties and discover how we can assist you in realising your homeownership dreams. [form id="36cba0b0-7466-11ee-afc4-12cffd93632d"]

Sep 28, 2023 Understanding Different Types of Tenancies

A tenancy agreement serves as a contract between a landlord and tenant, outlining the terms of their arrangement. Let's explore various types of tenancies to shed light on this topic. What are the Different Types of Tenancy Periods There are two primary types of tenancy periods: Fixed-Term Tenancy This type runs for a specified period, typically between six months to a year. The duration must be clearly stated in the tenancy agreement. It's important to note that ending a fixed-term tenancy early usually requires a break clause. After the initial term ends, the tenancy automatically converts into a periodic tenancy. If you intend to vacate the property, proper notice should be given to the landlord or agent. Periodic Tenancy This arrangement has no fixed end date and continues until either the landlord or tenant provides notice to terminate it in writing. Fixed-term tenancies automatically transition into periodic tenancies unless the tenant notifies the landlord of their intention to leave. Assured Tenancy An assured tenancy grants the tenant the right to live in the property for life—a relatively uncommon arrangement nowadays. Tenancies starting between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 may be assured. Post-27 February 1997, tenants may qualify for assured tenancy if: The landlord issued a written notice prior to the tenancy, confirming its assured status. The tenant previously held an assured tenancy in the same accommodation with the same landlord. Assured tenancy holders enjoy enhanced protection against eviction. Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) An AST is the most common type of tenancy, governed by the Housing Act 1988. Key features of an AST include: The property is private (not commercial). The tenancy commenced after 1989. The property serves as the tenant's primary residence. The landlord does not reside in the property. Most ASTs stipulate an initial fixed term of six or 12 months, during which rent increases are typically not permitted unless agreed upon by the tenant or outlined in the agreement. Non-Assured Shorthold Tenancy This type of tenancy is used in specific circumstances where an AST cannot be applied, such as when rent exceeds £100,000 per year or when the tenant's primary residence is elsewhere. Unlike an AST, landlords are not obligated to deposit funds into a government-backed scheme, and they can terminate the tenancy without a Section 21 Notice. Excluded Tenancy An excluded tenancy applies to situations where a lodger shares living spaces like kitchens or bathrooms with the landlord or lives rent-free with family or friends. This type of tenancy generally offers less protection against eviction. Company Let A company let occurs when a corporate entity rents a property to accommodate its equipment or staff. Such arrangements are not typical for individual landlords and tenants. Regulated Tenancy Regulated tenancies, once common, are now rare and governed by the Rent Act 1977. They offer long-term security and often involve lower rents compared to market rates. Statutory/Rolling Periodic tenancies automatically commence when fixed-term agreements expire. The tenancy continues until terminated by mutual consent, eviction, or proper notice from either party. Choosing the Right Tenancy Agreement Selecting the appropriate tenancy agreement involves understanding your rights and the responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. Key considerations when reviewing a tenancy agreement include: Start and end dates of the tenancy. Landlord's details, which could include a company name. Property address. Rent amount, due dates, and payment methods. Deposit amount and protection details. Responsibility for utility bills. Terms regarding deposit deductions. Get In Touch Whether you're a landlord or tenant, our team at butters john bee is here to address your tenancy-related queries and provide the information you need. Contact us via our website or call us directly for personalised assistance. You can also find legal resources on tenancies at Gov.uk. [form id="36cba0b0-7466-11ee-afc4-12cffd93632d"]

Aug 30, 2023 Fearless skydivers fundraise for Magic Moments Charity

Spicerhaart Skydives for Magic Moments Charity: £11,600 Raised! A daring team from Spicerhaart embraced the ultimate thrill by skydiving from thousands of feet above the ground, all in support of the Magic Moments children's charity. Their courageous feat raised over £11,600 for this noble cause. On a glorious summer day in late August, the 17-member team joined forces with the North London Skydiving team at Chatteris Airfield in Cambridgeshire. Under the guidance of experienced instructors, they learned the ins and outs of tandem jumping, gearing up for the adrenaline-pumping adventure. With options to leap from heights ranging between 12,000 to 15,000 feet from the De Havilland Twin Otter plane, they embarked on their journey. Reflecting on the experience, Pippa Major, Spicerhaart Operations Manager and event coordinator, described it as nothing short of amazing. She said “It was the most amazing day. Falling through the air from 15,000 feet at 125mph is one of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever known. We were in freefall for 60 seconds before the chute was released and in freefall for another five minutes and it was so peaceful. There’s also a real sense of relief when everyone has landed safely. There was so much excitement and anticipation thought the day, but also a sense of teamwork, knowing we were all there to raise money for such a great cause. In fact, it was such a success we will now be making the Magic Moments skydive an annual event!” Magic Moments, Spicerhaart's dedicated children's charity, orchestrates trips to Disneyland Paris for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Their noble cause is supported by 13 children's hospices across the UK. Emma Barber, Chair of the Magic Moments charity, expressed profound gratitude to everyone involved in the skydiving challenge. She said “We are so grateful to everybody that took part in this incredible challenge, and also to everyone who sponsored and supported this event. Without the generosity of our Spicerhaart family and friends, we would not be able to take the families who are going through the hospice journey to Disneyland Paris to make new special memories.”

Jul 16, 2023 Understanding Mortgage Valuations and Remortgage Valuations

Obtaining an accurate valuation for a property you intend to purchase or remortgage is crucial for a seamless transaction. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into what mortgage valuations entail, how they operate, and their associated costs. What is a Mortgage Valuation and How Does it Work? A mortgage valuation is a survey conducted by a mortgage lender to ensure that the property's value aligns with the proposed purchase price. This survey is essential as it determines whether the lender will approve the mortgage funds required to complete the purchase. The same process applies when you are remortgaging a property you already own—a remortgage valuation verifies the property's current value against the submitted documentation. While mortgage valuations primarily serve lenders, they also provide buyers with insights into whether they are paying a fair price. It's important to note that a mortgage valuation differs from a house valuation, focusing solely on the property being purchased and serving the lender's interests. Mortgage valuation surveys can be conducted virtually (desktop valuation) or without a detailed inspection (drive-by valuation), depending on the lender's discretion. Understanding Remortgage Valuations A remortgage valuation mirrors a mortgage valuation but is conducted as part of the remortgaging process. This valuation establishes the property's current value when seeking additional borrowing against an existing property or switching to a new mortgage provider. Comparing Mortgage Valuations and Home Surveys Mortgage valuations should not be confused with property surveys. While surveys provide detailed insights for property buyers, mortgage valuations are specific to lenders, confirming that the property's value justifies the mortgage amount. Cost of Mortgage Valuations and Remortgage Valuations The cost of mortgage valuations is typically based on the property's price and ranges from £150 to £1,500. Some lenders offer this service for free. Remortgage valuations are often included in remortgage fees or paid by the lender, costing between £300 to £500, depending on the property's value. Preparing for a Mortgage Valuation or Remortgaging Valuation Preparation for a mortgage valuation is minimal. Typically, the survey assesses whether the property's purchase price aligns with its value. Ensure you have any relevant property paperwork handy, such as New Home Warranties or External Wall System forms. Drive-by and Desktop Valuations Some mortgage valuations are conducted without a physical inspection. Drive-by valuations involve visual assessments from a distance, while desktop valuations rely on available data and tools like the Automated Valuation Model (AVM) to estimate property values. Factors Influencing Mortgage Valuations Several factors can affect a property's valuation, including non-standard construction, structural defects, dampness, subsidence, fluctuations in the property market, property location, size, layout, and type. Dealing with Variances in Valuation If a mortgage valuation is lower than the agreed sale price, renegotiation with the seller or challenging the valuation with your lender are potential options. In such cases, lenders may adjust the loan amount or require a higher deposit to proceed with the purchase. Consulting with Just Mortgages For expert advice on mortgages and to explore your options, reach out to our mortgage partner, Just Mortgages. Understanding your borrowing capacity and initiating the mortgage process early can expedite your property purchase. For further inquiries or to discuss your mortgage requirements, contact Just Mortgages today.

Jun 24, 2023 Understanding Property Deeds and their Importance

When you purchase a property, you acquire vital paperwork that proves your ownership—the property deeds. Here's a breakdown of what property deeds are, their significance, and how to keep them secure. What Are Property Deeds? Property deeds are legal documents that record ownership of a property and its associated land. These documents are maintained by HM Land Registry. It's mandatory to register a property with this body upon purchase, inheritance, receipt in exchange for other property or land, or when taking out a mortgage. Once a property is registered with the Land Registry, they retain a scanned copy of the original title deeds while returning them to the submitting party, typically the solicitor or conveyancer. Appearance of Property Deeds Title deeds are not typically physical papers unless they are the originals. Copies are electronically stored and updated with each property transaction, serving as an ongoing logbook of ownership changes. When you purchase a property, your solicitor will provide you with a copy of the 'registered title' within a month of completion. Land Registry Fees Fees for Land Registry applications vary based on the transaction type, such as first registration or property transfer. Your solicitor will discuss the exact costs applicable to your property. For detailed fee information, visit gov.uk. Do You Need Property Deeds to Sell a House? If your property is registered with the Land Registry, you don't require physical deeds to confirm ownership and proceed with a sale. The Land Registry holds the official record of ownership. However, retaining a copy of your deeds is advisable for additional information, such as legal boundaries. In cases where the property was already registered upon purchase, the seller may not provide the original deeds. It's challenging to trace original deeds for frequently sold properties. However, you can access scanned copies held by HM Land Registry by searching for your property's title number. Safekeeping of Property Deeds Given that HM Land Registry retains electronic copies, you can keep your own copy of property deeds at home for convenience. Store them alongside other important documents in a folder or filing cabinet to ensure they remain safe and accessible. What If Property Deeds Are Lost? While it's unlikely to lose digitally registered deeds, original deeds for unregistered properties must be safeguarded by the seller. If you misplace proof of ownership, contact the solicitors who handled the property's sale to submit a deeds request form to HM Land Registry. A small fee may apply for this service. If original deeds cannot be located, alternative evidence of ownership must be provided. Considering Buying a Property? At butters john bee, we're committed to facilitating your move. Our phone lines are open from 8am-10pm, seven days a week, or visit your local branch. Contact us today! [form id="36cba0b0-7466-11ee-afc4-12cffd93632d"]

Jan 25, 2023 Gifting property: Can I sell my house to my child for £1?

Gifting property to children is becoming more and more commonplace. As the price of property climbs ever higher, this is one solution families are using to get their children onto the property ladder. There are tax implications, however, and it may not be the solution to all your financial issues. Here we look at what happens if you decide to sell your property to a family member for a nominal value. Is this the same as gifting property to children? Yes. Although it will still require conveyancers to handle the legal aspects, the change in ownership will qualify as a gift. Legally it won’t be regarded as a sale, but a token value has to be involved.What do I need to do to sell my house for £1? A conveyancing solicitor will need to be instructed, in order to handle the transfer of the deeds from you to your son or daughter, or other family member. Contracts are still exchanged and completion dates confirmed. So there will still be legal fees to pay. If you own the property with a mortgage, it might not be possible to sell for a purely nominal figure like £1. If there is an amount outstanding on your mortgage, this will need to be covered by the person you are gifting the property to. So it would make sense for this to be the price of the gift. What are the other costs involved? Mortgage redemption costs for gifted property If you do still have a mortgage, are you in a discounted term? If so there will be a redemption figure to pay, along with any outstanding borrowing. Ask your solicitor to contact your mortgage provider for a mortgage redemption statement. Legal fees You will be charged legal fees by your solicitor, but as their workload is not as heavy as a conventional property sale it may be worth asking for a reduced fee. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on gifted property You are not liable to pay capital gains tax on gifted properties if it has been your Principal Private Residence. There will be CGT to pay if it was used as a business premises or rented out. From any CGT bill you can deduct capital improvement costs, stamp duty, legal fees and estate agents’ fees. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on gifted properties If there is no mortgage on the property, there will be no stamp duty incurred. Standard rates of stamp duty will apply if the mortgage exceeds the stamp duty threshold. Stamp duty is also paid if your child already owns another home and is either using the gifted property as a second home or renting it out. Inheritance Tax (IHT) on gifted properties This is one of the main reasons why people prefer to gift property, rather than leave it to children as part of their estate when they pass away. If you do not die within seven years of making the gift, there is no inheritance tax to pay. If parents die within three years, inheritance tax is charged at 40%. After this inheritance tax is charged at what is called ‘taper relief’, and only if the value of the gift exceeds the tax-free threshold. Income Tax on gifted properties There will only be income tax implications if your son or daughter chooses to rent out the property they are gifted, either to you or someone else. Capital gains tax will also need to be paid in this circumstances if the property is sold at a later date. Can I avoid care home fees by gifting my house? People may be tempted into thinking that gifting their property effectively ‘disposes’ of it, so it can’t be used to measure what you can afford should you have to go into a care home. However, this is seen as deliberate ‘deprivation of assets’, especially if the gift is made a short period of time before the care home fees are required to be paid. Local authorities will judge on what the intent was behind your decision to gift the property, and the value of the property will usually still be counted as part of your assets. Can I give my child money to buy a house? Yes. If you want to help your son or daughter raise a deposit you can make a gift to them. All the beneficiary needs to do is provide written confirmation to their mortgage provider that it is a gift, so that it is clear it is not a loan that has to be repaid. Let us help value your property If you are thinking of gifting your house to your child, but are interested to know how much your property will be worth when it is transferred, please get in touch with us and we will provide a free property valuation for you.