Monday, 8 January 2018

#Landlords - you need us, we need you! Calling #Sheffield #Investors

Calling first time landlords…we are here to help you!

Taking the plunge and letting a property out can be a nerve wracking and daunting experience for a first time landlord, especially if the property was a family home and holds sentimental value, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Of course, there are always going to be horror stories of nightmare tenants who trash houses, and TV programmes such as ‘Can’t pay we’ll take it away’ definitely don’t help this!

But I can assure you that nightmare tenants are a rarity and there are a lot of lovely tenants out there!  At Spencer we have a knack for sussing out these lovely tenants and can guide you through the rental process to make it as easy and pain free as possible from the very beginning. If you are a first time investor we can help and give advice to ensure you purchase a property that will bring you a high yield, and will rent out quickly, or if you are already a home owner we can help you ensure your property is ready to be rented and that you can achieve the maximum rental figure you are wanting.

We will spend time to get to know you and your property, we come out and meet you at a time that suits you, we instruct professional photographers, and carry out floor plans to ensure they look great in all of our marketing material, we offer accompanied viewings, and even offer evening and weekend appointments to suit potential tenants.

Throughout the process we are only a phone call away and will provide you with regular honest feedback from any viewings, once we have (hopefully very quickly) found you a tenant, we arrange for them to be financially verified, credit checked, and their previous landlord references obtained, this is to ensure that the tenant can afford the property and limits the possibility of their being any problems down the line. Before the tenant moves in we take a deposit in case of any issues, and offer an inventory service so that the condition of the property is recorded, this helps should there be any deposit disputes or damage when the tenants do move out. 

Our work however doesn’t always stop there; we do offer a fully managed service in which we deal with all of the communication with your tenants so you don’t have to! This includes us arranging any maintenance work required & completing regular inspections to ensure the property is looked after, we can contact you only in emergencies if that suits you or can update you when issues arise.  

So If you are a landlord looking to rent out your property, please contact us so we can make the process as enjoyable for you as possible! 

Emily Rumsby is our Lettings and Block Management expert here at Spencer. Please call us to come in and have an informal chat about your management requirements and any lettings advice you need. We are at 469 Ecclesall Road, and you can reach us on 0114 268 3682 or by emailing 

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Let's talk about regs! #buildingregulations #sheffield #estateagent

Let’s talk about regs!

We all know that having building work carried out on your house is exciting, messy, and involves A LOT of paperwork. Now let’s be honest – when you get to the end of an extension, all you want to do is clean up and order the furniture. You couldn’t give a monkeys if you’ve got a certificate for the work or the boiler because there is no way you’re moving after all of that!
Until you do want to move..
Then you’re sure that you paid for the building regs through the council and you can definitely remember something about an inspection but you’re just not quite sure where the paperwork is. Having done it myself, let me tell you, I was convinced that we had a certificate. We didn’t.
We are finding more & more that people are applying for building regulations for work but not getting them signed off and as a result, have no certificates at the end of the works. Or the builders were meant to do it and then didn’t.
Fortunately you can get indemnity insurance for these things and your solicitors will arrange that for you but only if your buyers are happy with it or if you haven’t already notified the council about the works. This year I have noticed that it’s becoming increasingly common that solicitors & buyers are refusing such insurances and asking for either the certificate or a reduction in price to reflect the missing paperwork because they want to be sure that it’s been carried out correctly and think it’s a way to drive down the price.

Having worked in the industry for over 12 years and, more recently, renovated a couple of properties myself, I cannot stress the importance of having certificates for all of the works you have carried out on your property. Despite having no plans to move for quite some time, I have now learnt my lesson and have certificates & planning permissions coming out of my ears. Just in case… 
Lizzie Baker - Senior Negotiator & Office Manager at Spencer on Ecclesall Road, Sheffield 11
For advice on Building Regulations and Planning Permission we can put you in touch with excellent local professionals. If you would like to know more please contact us at Spencer on 0114 268 3682 

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Looking for an #HMO in #Sheffield? Speak to #Spencer

What is an HMO?

Even in times of uncertainty, bricks and mortar are thought of as being a safe place to invest your hard earned cash, and that opinion doesn’t show any signs of changing in the current climate.

Over the past twenty four years we have experienced a fantastically high demand for investment properties with a HMO being THE most sought after type. HMO stands for ‘House of Multiple Occupation’ but to help confuse you there are different types of HMO. A standard HMO is a residential property of any type which is let to 3 or more unrelated people who share common facilities like a kitchen or bathroom.  There is then such a thing as a Licenced HMO which covers properties which are let to 5 or more unrelated people who share common facilities and is spread over 3 or more floors. What many people don’t realise is that you often need planning permission to create an HMO especially in densely populated areas. Councils use HMO licensing to improve the quality of housing and they give the steps you need to follow to run a legal HMO property that is safe for your tenants. These normally include details of minimum room sizes, the amenities needed and how to keep your tenants safe from fires. Each local council will use slightly different definitions so it’s important to know what they are and work with them to keep everybody happy.

Here in Sheffield the most popular locations for tenants wanting to live within a HMO property are fairly obvious being the areas closest to the Universities, Hospitals and City Centre. These are all areas that we here at Spencer will cover and generally speaking we will have a steady flow of available HMO properties to buy throughout the year.
If you are looking to invest in a property like this, would like some advice or have a property that you would like to sell, please call 0114 268 3682 and ask for Chris or Nicola to see how we can help.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Property Market Forecast for 2018 - #Sheffield #EstateAgent #Blog

Property Market Forecast for 2018 

No one dare say the words “strong and stable” anymore in the same sentence but, if we were to, it would pretty much describe the current property market conditions in Sheffield. Over the last few years, the market has slowly limped towards Christmas with us hoping for little snow, and praying that the New Year would fast approach, whereas the end of 2017 saw a strong level of interest and a high level of property instructions right to the end of the year. There’s no doubt that the very top end of the market is still the slowest to move but with realistic expectations there are no reasons why it isn’t a good time to sell or buy.

We are yet to work out whether the stamp duty changes will make any real inroads to the first time buyer market but hopefully it helps to counter the interest rate increases, and we have been rather pleased to see that, although the press aren’t making too much noise about it, the Help to Buy scheme is definitely helping to make life easier for many.

In Sheffield, because prices are solid, we aren’t able to say that any one particular area is “up and coming” but there are many areas that are seeing good results in suburban districts particularly Walkley, Woodseats, Hillsborough, Meersbrook, and Abbeydale, where they may have, not so long ago, been quoted as the areas to buy for better value. The city centre is the one to watch in Sheffield though, and our only advice there is to BUY WISELY, there are many developments shooting up all aiming a similar markets so quality and position have to go hand in hand to ensure a decent long term investment. 

Please call us for any advice on 0114 268 3682

Monday, 18 December 2017

Christmas Greetings from Spencer! #openinghours #sheffield

Christmas Greetings from Spencer!

Although we will be closed for a few days over the Christmas period please continue to contact us as we will be open between Christmas & New Year for viewings and to agree a sale or two!

If you need us, our opening hours over Christmas are…

Saturday 23rd – Open 8.45am – 1pm
Christmas Eve – CLOSED
Christmas Day – CLOSED
Boxing Day – CLOSED

Wednesday 27th – Open 10am – 3pm
Thursday 28th – Open 10am – 3pm
Friday 29th – Open 10am – 3pm
Saturday 30th - Open 8.45am – 1pm
New Years Eve – CLOSED
New Years Day – CLOSED
Tuesday 2nd January – Open as usual

If you are one of our tenants we will be sending out an email confirming who to speak to in our absence.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Buy off market, market off market! Don't miss out! #Spencer #Sheffield #Estateagent

Are you missing out on properties by not talking to the local estate agents? 

We regularly speak to people who are gutted that they have missed out on a property and yet don't want to be put on our mailing list because they search Rightmove & Zoopla regularly or get alerts from them. 
What a mistake!
If you register with us not only do we send an email out to our applicants first when a house comes to market, we also send out a seasonal newsletter about the Sheffield housing market including houses which are coming soon and let people know about properties that are not being actively marketed online. Recently we dealt with a £1.5 million stunner of a house but we hadn't even taken the photos, let alone put it online, when it sold! This is because we know a handful of people looking for their perfect home at that price bracket so we called them, booked in viewings for them and then worked with the buyers, sellers & solicitors to get the sale through to exchange of contracts & completion.  
This isn't just the case for private buyers but for developers too. We regularly get calls from sellers of blocks of apartments, land, and tenanted properties that they want to sell without the hassle of tons of viewings... you could be missing out on a great investment opportunity if we don't already have your details. 
If you'd like to register, it takes two minutes to call and speak to one of the lovely members of the Spencer team to register your details and to be added to the mailing list so give us a call on 0114 2683682 in office hours or email your details to us at and make sure you don't miss out on your dream home! 

Don't forget to check us out on social media, you'll be the first to know about new houses and lust over some amazing interiors too. 

Monday, 2 October 2017

Spencer of #Sheffield Service Charge Budgets for New Block Developments

Service Charge Budgets for New Block Developments

The average service charge in the UK reached almost £1,900 per annum in 2016 (Direct Line for Business, 2016), up over 30% from 2014, and is set to continue rising with the growth of developments. It is more important than ever for tenants and leaseholders to understand how agents put together and manage service charges particularly for new developments.  
We at Spencer understand that service charges must be reasonable and, as with any budget, must serve a plan which ensures effective block management without any nasty surprises. Sadly, some managing agents have been known to purposely keep the initial service charge low in order to attract leaseholders and tenants to new blocks only to hike prices or request further funds at a later date. This is not the Spencer way.
New block developers normally require a service charge budget long before the development is completed. A key challenge in setting up the initial budget for new developments is the uncertainty around the costing, particularly the more fixed items such as insurances and utilities. This creates further challenges if there happens to be a shortfall. One is appearing as an agent intentionally underestimating the true costs of service charge in order to secure leaseholders and tenants. Another, which everyone wants to avoid, is requesting further funds to cover costs!       
Both challenges can be overcome with research and by erring on the side of caution when putting together the initial budget. This means gathering estimates based on as much current information as possible about the development, making comparisons with similar bocks, analysing the market, and even overestimating to a reasonable degree. This way costs are estimated as accurately as possible and a more flexible plan put in place.  
Once the block is completed and the more fixed cost items take shape we may find that some are greater than estimated. Perhaps the block was a redevelopment of an old building which requires annual asbestos inspections or the door entry and smoke ventilation systems require greater management than anticipated. Managing any shortfalls without delivering a nasty surprise can be found in the more flexible areas of the budget.
The more flexible areas are those which can be changed at relative ease and short notice; key examples are frequency of cleaning or lift service visits. Once the block is fully occupied we may find that the frequency of cleaning can be reduced while still maintaining a clean block. Such changes free up the funds needed for to cover the shortfalls in the more fixed areas of the budget. Any surplus monies can then be placed into a sinking fund or even reimbursed to leaseholders at the end of the year. Far better than the alternative! 

The key is to develop a reasonable service charge budget with the initial information available which can also deliver the plan it is developed for; to allow the agent to effectively manage all aspects of the block without any nasty surprises for the residents. 

Ashley Elliott is Spencer's Accountant and Expert in Property Maintenance costings - he is Spencer's Right-hand man!