Monday, 19 March 2018

Tenant Fee Ban - #Blog by Lynn Braha of Spencer's Estate Agents #Sheffield S11

Agency fee ban!

Lynn Braha talks about the tenant reference fee ban that has been suggested. Lynn is a Senior Lettings Manager at Spencer, here on Ecclesall Road, Sheffield.

"How are things going to change you ask? 
I say for the worse. I’m not convinced this is going to help anyone. 

"The ban is meant to help people afford to rent in the private sector, or so they say but this is debatable. In my opinion part of the problem comes from local councils selling off the bulk of their housing stock and leaving them with less social housing stock for people on a low income. 

"The main suggestion to counter the fee ban is higher agency fees being charged to landlords for tenant finding and property management, in effect the landlords will pay the tenants agency fees instead, but this will no doubt encourage landlords to increase rents to cover this and so in the end it will be tenants who ultimately pay, as rents will go up overall and tenants could be having to pay what they cannot realistically afford.

"Landlords may also stop accepting people on housing benefit, as the rates will not cover the increased rents.  This will cause an increase in homelessness and so defeating the objective.

"Another suggestion is tenants will be expected to pay the whole tenancy rent in advance to reduce the risk to landlords again making it more difficult for people on a low income.

"How is this helping people in the long term, yes it will get them into a rented property initially but will they be able to afford to sustain it?

"In my opinion the fee ban is not the answer, a cap on these fees would have been a better solution.

"Maybe if the government had a register where agents can register bad tenants minimising the checks that agents need to do to reference potential tenants.

"Only time will tell if this idea is going to work, watch this space!"

If landlords want to talk to us about their investment property or properties we are happy to help. Call us on 0114 268 3682 or email to arrange to meet up on Ecclesall Road. 

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Sheffield Property Market and Final Offers - how high do you go? #Blog by Philippa Peasegood at Spencer The Estate Agent

You've found it, your dream home, your forever home - exciting!!!!
So you ring the estate agent full of confidence to place your offer. Then come the dreaded words "we currently have 5 other offers on this property". Suddenly you realise your dream home is also someone else's dream too. How can you detach from this property when your emotions are so invested in it? Questions fly around your head, "what do we do to ensure we get it?" - and so the process begins....
Best and Final Offers
This may seem a harsh system when your heart is set on a property - but is it really that unfair?
Prior to reaching this stage the Negotiator will speak with each offeree informing them of the latest amounts and frequently applicants want to increase on their offer. This process can be lengthy with small increments causing the price to escalate bit by bit. It can be agony or irritating for you when the Negotiator calls back with the latest offer, particularly if it's the amount you would have also offered, and then you might feel the urge to increase, hence repeating the cycle. 
So, when is it right to call time on this pain and go to sealed bids? Typically when there are numerous offers, the Negotiator discusses them with the Vendor and then a date and time for final offers is agreed. At that point the top offer becomes the 'Highest Disclosable Offer' and all future bids are then confidential.
At Spencer. The Estate Agent all offerees are equal. We feel a level playing field can only be achieved if we don't divulge the positions of all parties, just the Highest Disclosable Offer, and this sits in line with regulations and advice. We are frequently asked by those in the running what the position of the other parties is, are they in rented, do they have a property to sell etc, but this information will only go to the Vendor. That way you can put an offer forward without gambling on the fact that you are in a better position than your rivals, and we stay within our responsibilities for protection of other people’s data.
The question begs - how high do you go? There is no crystal ball to give you that answer, but our advice is to decide on an amount you're happy with, be confident that that's the value you would place on the property, and put that forward. It's easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and put a bid in to eliminate others, but would that give you peace of mind knowing that you paid more than you wanted to and eating into any future resale value? Take a step back, evaluate the situation and keep level headed. 
When the Vendor accepts an offer, all applicants are immediately informed. This can be devastating when your heart is set on a property, but there can only be one buyer.
There is a dream home for everyone, you may just have to offer on a few frogs to find your true love. 

Come and meet us at Spencer at 469 Ecclesall Road, or call us on 0114 268 3682 to have a chat or email us, if you prefer, at and we will offer friendly advice. 

Monday, 12 February 2018


Queens Buildings is located on Queen Street in the City Centre of Sheffield. For those who don’t know it, it’s in a fantastic up and coming part of the city that is a stone’s throw away from Sheffield’s shops, bars and restaurants, the Universities, the Hallamshire hospital, and Kelham Island.
 Formerly used as offices, the building has been completely renovated to an immaculate standard by a national developer, who we have been working with from design stage. Queens Buildings offers a different kind of city centre living to the typical high rise apartment, they have been finished to an extremely high spec, all with new windows, granite worktops, and oak doors. We have noticed since working with this developer,  an incredible attention to detail, the site has been unbelievably well run and the end product looks fantastic.
We have 24 apartments, 10 one beds, and 14 two beds, and almost all of them feature a different and unique layout. The prices range from £90,000 through to £175,000, affordable city centre living that is unrivaled in its standards. There will also be parking spaces available to purchase for an additional cost. We at Spencer’s will be taking over the block management of the building, so any potential issues will be dealt with directly by us keeping management local and affordable too, and we hope you like the show flat, which is also our work.
Calling out to investors looking for a property with a great potential rental yield (in a great rental area), or first time buyers looking for a city centre home (with Help to Buy available), or anyone in between, an apartment in Queens Buildings would be a wise acquisition.
If you would like to view this exciting development please call our office on 01142683682 or email us at or if you are a developer that would like to work with us on a project, or want to know about our show home set up services, or our block management, please get in touch - happy to help! 


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

FIRE! Smoke Alarms are ESSENTIAL! Please read! #Spencer #Sheffield

Fire! Fire!!

Now, I know everyone bangs on about health & safety and there are more regulations than you can shake a stick at when it comes to rental properties and building work, but let me tell you… now I know why.
Growing up, smoke alarms were seen as a nuisance in our house so we didn’t have any. When we had an extension on our family home, regulations meant that we had to have hard wired smoke alarms fitted throughout the house. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t overly keen on the idea; what if they go off randomly in the middle of the night in a power cut and wake the kids up? Do we really need them in so many rooms? What a nuisance!
Until last weekend when they worked and showed me how important they really are…
Just before midnight we were woken by an almighty shrill throughout the house and after a moment of bewilderment we ran through the house and finally got to the kitchen to find a room full of smoke and a pan on fire. I had gone to bed and not turned the gas hob off. My amazing partner managed to get the pan out of the house so there was minimal damage and the wonderful South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue were there in a matter of minutes too. They checked everything was out, got rid of the smoke, chatted to the kids and looked after my partner having had inhaled rather a lot of smoke. I cannot praise them enough. Despite it being my entire fault they were friendly, helpful and so kind. Not once did they tell me off, thankfully.
So a few hours later once the kids were finally in bed and we’d calmed down, I realised how important the smoke alarms were. What could have happened, especially to the kids, doesn’t really bear thinking about… it might be a pain testing smoke alarms or even getting them fitted in the first place but please do remember why they’re there. They are SO important!! 

Monday, 29 January 2018

Does your agent charge hidden repair commission? WE DO NOT @spencersagents #sheffield

A More Ethical Approach to Property Management

When considering revenue streams and remuneration structures in property management, quality agents will ensure that any put in place support an ethical business culture. An area where this falters in the property management industry is the commission policies on general repairs and maintenance. Some large and well-known agents set company targets for achieving a level of commission income in this area. This creates the conditions for unethical approaches which every agency should seek to rule out.

Take a typical contract which endows the managing agent to undertake any repairs under the value of £300 at their discretion. The managing agent has three different but reliable and well-reviewed contractors on their books who can carry out the works:
·         Contractor A will charge £200.00
·         Contractor B will charge £250.00
·         Contractor C will charge £275.00
It is clear to see that where discretion is permitted the conditions of a commission target would bias the agent towards instructing Contractor C. After all, their contractual obligations are satisfied and another step is taken towards achieving their target income. However this clearly isn’t in the best interests of the client given that they are paying unnecessary costs of works which the agent can have carried out more costs effectively. It is also clear from the above example that although an agents fees may be clear in their contract, this will not shed any light on their internal targets & remuneration structures and the type of decision making they may influence.
Some agents may jump on the archaic view that this approach is perfectly ethical given that it meets all contractual obligations whilst contributing to the company’s bottom line. However ethics begins where the law (or contractual obligations) end. In this scenario it should begin when the agent is considering which instruction is in the best overall interests of the client and, all other things being equal, it is not in the best interests of the client that they incur unnecessary costs. An agent’s claim that it helped them meet their commission target would not break any ice with the paying property owner. It may be argued that such companies can put measures in place to offset the risk such as checks to ensure the most cost effective option was taken. This is not an efficient or effective means of achieving goals for any agency committed to an integrated ethical culture throughout its business.
We at Spencer are committed to encouraging just such a culture and understand that this means meeting maintenance costings with a healthy questioning attitude, free of any general maintenance fees or commissions. This approach works in the client’s best interest by providing practical and cost effective courses of action with an unbiased view of which to take. This is in contrast with the above approach aimed at achieving the highest level of commission in the quickest possible time regardless of whether it really is in the best interests of client.
At a time when agencies income streams are being squeezed it is likely that the types of commission and remuneration mentioned above will be drawn on as a way to bolster revenue. So, when seeking out a quality agent it is worth looking beyond the fees outlined in their contract and asking questions about the practices the company may have in place to achieve their targets. Their answers may shed light on whether their approaches are actually consistent with the interests of their clients and the true costs of their property management.

Speak to Spencer about our ethical stance on zero commission on any repairs on 0114 268 3682 

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