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! 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Estate Agents - are they all the same? #Sheffield #Spencer #Blog #SpencersAgents

"They’re all the same!"
Blog by Chris Spooner, our Senior Valuer at Spencer

I was in a well-known coffee shop last week when I happened to over-hear a conversation where two people were discussing a recent experience of choosing an estate agent. "I went for the agent who had the lowest fee because when you break it down they're all pretty much the same." This comment managed to make me experience sadness, disappointment, anger and happiness all in a 20 second moment but thankfully happiness was the emotion I felt for the most of that day.  I went back to the office to be greeted by our office manager who had a smile that was bigger than a Cheshire cat’s! The reason for her happiness was a vendor who had just been into the office to drop off a set of keys for the sale of their house which had just completed. Behind her on the desk were four bottles of wine, a bunch of flowers, and two cards, which had comments thanking us for all our help. This particular vendor has had plenty of recent experience with estate agents both as a buyer and seller so it was even more satisfying to read his praise of our team for all of our efforts. He was keen to point out that my initial marketing valuation was in the middle of three that he had received when looking to find a suitable agent, and he also was happy to admit that we weren't the cheapest agent to quote for his business. The results though were that we achieved a sale price higher than the highest valuation he'd received with a service that he couldn't find even the smallest of faults with. He couldn't believe the difference between using ourselves and the previous agent he used less than three years ago who at the time he chose because he thought all estate agents were the same! 

If you're thinking of selling your home in the near future and also think estate agents are all the same, please come down to our office for a cuppa and chat so we can try to help you see how different we might just be.

www.spencersestateagents.co.uk
#property #estateagent #sheffield #blog

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Renting can be scary - not with #Spencer of #Sheffield

Renting can be scary!

Here at Spencer we specialise in helping first time renters. It can be a very daunting moving into your first home or even moving from an owned property in to a rental property but we are here to help. We talk tenants through every step of the way making it as stress free and as clear as possible. We offer a ‘hand held’ service to anyone one who needs one.

Here are a few bits of information you may find helpful.

Once you have decided you are wanting to rent a property you now need to decide:
How long do you want the tenancy for? We usually suggest 6 or 12 months to start with (6 months being our minimum)
What can you afford? The letting agent or landlord should be able to advise what you can afford monthly based on what you earn.
Decide which area you would like to rent in
How many bedrooms?
Are you wanting it furnished or unfurnished?
Do you have pets?

Most letting agents insist that people view a property prior to taking an application and we are no different. We need to ensure you like the property and have seen it for your own eyes. We understand how important it is to be happy in your home and feel that if you are happy at home than you are able to deal with the rest!

Read up on who you are potentially going to be letting the property through and look out for landlords who belong to an accreditation scheme. You may find a fantastic property to rent however the letting agent or landlord could be dreadful and not look after you whilst you are in there. Always read reviews!

Check all fees before you agree to anything. Some companies have hidden fees for example: tenancy renewal agreement fees, check in and out fees.  By law, a breakdown of all fees should be clearly visible to you in the letting agent’s office and on their website.

Please ensure you have the correct documentation ready when applying for a property. Landlords and agents will want to confirm your identity, current and previous address, immigration status, credit history and employment status. They will want to see your passport and visa and /or residence permit (if you have one).  Also if you have bad credit history please declare it at this point so we can advise the best way to get you through the referencing.

Also check which government scheme your deposit will be registered with throughout the duration of the tenancy. This must be done by law and will protect you.

When moving in to a property please ensure you have from your landlord or letting agent (as a minimum):
Copy of the signed tenancy agreement
Copy of the most recent How to Rent Guide
Valid Gas Safety Certificate (if gas in the property)
Deposit protection information
Copy of the Energy Performance Certificate
A detailed inventory with photos. If you are not supplied with an inventory by the agent or landlord, please do your own inventory along with photos with dates and times on.  This is to protect you at the end of the tenancy.


Never be too scared to ask questions or query things you are unsure about.  Everything should be very clear for you to understand. If you wish to discuss renting any of our properties or would like us to rent out your property, please contact the office on 0114 2683682, email rent@spencersesateagents.co.uk or pop in to the office based on Ecclesall Road.

Zoe Addenbrooke - Pictured 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

PARTY - All Welcome! @ Concept Interiors 13th July #Sheffield

NEW KITCHEN SHOWROOM 

PARTY

@ CONCEPT INTERIORS

13TH JULY 

3-7

Please come and visit Concept Interiors117 Bamforth Street, #SheffieldS6 2HE, and have a look around the new state of the art kitchen showroom on Thursday the 13th July 2017  
Pop along to watch expert chef, Thomas Samworth, who has recently opened the fabulous ‘No Name’ restaurant in Crookes. Come and see him first hand at work and sample some of his delicious food. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions and he will offer his expertise whilst he prepares a selection of tempting dishes on our new Miele appliances! There will also be light refreshments available to include barrels of Bradfield Brewery beer from the pump, glasses of Prosecco, wine, and cold bottled beers.
Come and chat with the team who are knowledgeable and willing to offer advice and suggestions to help you create your dream kitchen or help with your trade needs for developments of any size. With a range of contemporary German kitchen displays, to the more bespoke, handmade kitchen with crafted wooden and painted finishes. There are over 10 fitted displays for you to wander round and take inspiration from, with our amazing kitchen worktops including Dekton, Silestone, Sensa, Granite and Corian.
So, if you are at a loose end on Thursday 13th July from 9:00am onwards you can call in or why not come to the Spencer Party from 3pm - 7pm. Everyone welcome! If you would like more information please email info@conceptinteriors.org.uk or contact us at Spencer The Estate Agent on 0114 268 3682 or lizzie@spencersestateagents.co.uk


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Are you thinking of buying your first home?


Buying your first home can appear complicated and scary. The good news is you've never known estate agents like us.

We make the whole process of buying your first home as smooth as possible - We get to know you and what matters most, so we can help you find a place you’ll love, or the investment that will serve you best.

We’re born, bred and living in the beautiful parts of the city that we cover, so we can give real insights into life in Sheffield – the hidden gems, the local schools, the things that make this corner of the world one we love.

First things first – Know what you can borrow. We can connect you to impartial independent financial advisor to get you started. 

Know what you want  Start searching, think seriously about what matters most and what you will compromise on. Not only will it reduce the chances of you and yours disagreeing as you search, it will help Spencer help you find the perfect place.

Check out the properties below and let us know when you'd like to view! 


           




















Monday, 26 June 2017

Internet Only Local Agent - can you have both? #Sheffield #EstateAgent #Blog

Spot the difference

It’s good to be different, isn’t it? We think so, and we like to think that we’re a bit different to your average estate agent that you find on a typical high street. Among the numerous reasons why, is something that we launched just over 2 years ago which has proved to be a very popular factor with many local homeowners throughout that time. Spencer The Estate Agent was the first estate agent in Sheffield to offer an Internet Only alternative to our everyday traditional service.

This alternative service offers everything you would come to expect including professional photos, floor plans, brochures, for sale board and the obvious online coverage of Rightmove & Zoopla. But where our service is different to that of the various well-advertised national online-only agents is that you and your prospective buyers will be dealt with by local, knowledgeable and experienced negotiators who will become as much of an expert on your own property as you are. The negotiator will visit your property and therefore will have a first hand understanding of everything a potential purchaser would need to know about it when looking to buy. This knowledge has proved to be invaluable when negotiating on your behalf meaning we can often attract sales at much higher prices than a less experienced or motivated online agent can achieve for you. Is it worth trying to save a couple of thousand pounds when a good agent could gain you tens of thousands of pounds by marketing it correctly in the first place?

Another difference that we feel is important is that all of our Internet only properties feature alongside all the other listings that we have for sale with no noticeable difference between the two. I’m sure I’m not alone in this but when I see a property listed with an online only agent I presume this is because the seller is looking to save money which makes me wonder what else they may have done with the property to try and save more money! The reality may be less sinister than this but I do believe that people prefer to buy from names and brands that they respect and trust. I’m sure if I listed every single online agent here now, more than 75% of the people reading this would not have heard of all the companies out there. On the other hand if you asked your average potential vendor of south-west Sheffield if they know of Spencer The Estate Agent, then I’m fairly certain that not only would the answer be yes but I would also like to think they’d have a fairly high opinion of us too!
 

To find out more about all of our packages or how we might be able to help you please call 0114 268 3682 and ask for Chris Spooner.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Do you want to be a Lettings Agent?


Do you love property? Do you love people? Do you want to do your best?

Do you have great communication skills and manners? Do you want job satisfaction?

Do you have experience in a lettings environment? Do you want to be a Lettings Negotiator?

Do you want to work for a fabulous, focused, family owned business?

If the answer is YES to all of these questions, then get in touch!!

We have an opening for a Lettings Negotiator in our close-knit team and we would love to hear from you if think the role would suit you.

You will be responsible for managing rental properties, finding tenants, conducting viewings and finding new business. 

We’re not your average estate agency, we work together as an organised team to get the best possible results for our clients. No two days are the same and we love that!

You’ll get to visit some amazing properties, learn about why Spencer is different to other agents and be part of an amazing team. What’s not to love?!

Email
lizzie@spencersestateagents.co.uk
 - thank you!