The last few weeks have been testing for all of us.

Every aspect of our lives has been touched by the pandemic and the measures we’ve had to take to reduce this deadly disease’s impact on the NHS, our neighbours and our loved ones.

It’s been a bewildering period with most people having to face situations and problems that were unimaginable three months ago.

At Storeys of Cheshire we’ve seen a steep rise in the number of landlords contacting us with questions and seeking expert advice and reassurance.

Many of these people are landlords who were self-managing their properties, but the outbreak has made them realise they need extra help and expertise.

We’re taking calls from landlords and property investors in Cheshire and further afield who are faced with new challenges they didn’t even know existed.

Frequently asked questions we’ve answered include: ‘Do the usual rules and regulations to rental property apply now? What can I do to protect my rent but be reasonable and fair to my tenants? Where can I get more information about my rights and responsibilities as a landlord? What Government help is available to landlords?’

Being a landlord, who self manages their property is now a more significant challenge than it would be if a letting agency managed it.

And here’s why:

  • As letting agents, we are experienced in a wide range of scenarios, and we keep up to date with the ever-changing rules and regulations affecting the industry. As of December, last year, there were more than 327 of these rules and regulations.
  • Many landlords are now experiencing how time-consuming dealing with tenants and rent issues can be. We take that time burden off your hands.
  • At Storeys of Cheshire we’ve been working flat out to stay in touch with landlords and tenants to keep lines of communication open and working well.
  • Being a landlord can be a lonely place, especially at times like these, so it helps to have an expert on your side to guide and support you and work hard on your behalf.

And we understand tenants are feeling just as anxious and unsure of the future and we’re helping them too.

If you are a landlord in Cheshire who has any questions or issues you need support with, I’m here to help. You can email me on ian@storeyestates.co.uk or call me on 07501 723253.

Thanks for reading. Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives. We’ll get through this together.

Ian Storey

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

Amongst warnings from the Government that some lockdown constraints could stay in place into 2021, businesses are dealing with an unexpected cultural shift in how many of us do our work. Talking to many Knutsford people who have been asked to work from home, for many it has been a pleasant success.

Working from home does have some negatives though. I have found myself still working at 8pm/9pm and beyond as I have forgotten to clock out and whilst many people might think working from home means doing less work, more often than not, the reverse is true for industrious and hardworking employees. When you don’t have that break of the commute to the office, the workday can blend into ones home life. Talking of commuting, the average British worker has a daily commute of 11.9 miles, whilst locally…

The average daily commute for a Knutsford worker is 11.5 miles

At least working from home, the commute is only to the dining room table or spare bedroom. Speaking to some friends of mine that are new to working from home, they said to me that they can feel out of the office-loop as they miss the ‘water-cooler’ moments or spur-of-the-moment brainstorming session over a brew, it’s tough to reproduce that from home.

Don’t forget to get into your garden (if you have one), stretch those legs. Ensure you are taking advantage of the daily exercise allowance. I see so many people walking around our neighbourhood daily who I haven’t seen before. Let’s hope they keep up the habit once lockdown is removed. You have to admit, it’s quite nice especially as there are far less cars on the road.

Knutsford workers commute 55,263 miles a day to work.

That’s nearly a quarter of the way to the moon – every day!

Some people find it difficult to adjust to working from home and feel guilty if they don’t reply to co-workers emails or phone calls straight away. My friends stated that they didn’t want their team-mates to wonder if they were taking it easy rather than pulling their weight. The best advice I can give from working with my team, is to over communicate, and I suggested (as I do to you) to tell their bosses and colleagues what they are doing and share their accomplishments using those video conferencing software packages.

The really hard part is having a dedicated space in your home.  Attempt to set up a workspace and make it out of bounds to the rest of your household while you are working (although that is very difficult when you have children or your partner is having to work from home as well). Is there anything worse than being on an important call to your boss or a client, only to have a delivery driver knocking on the door or having your kids and dogs yelling and barking in the background? It’s a balancing act!

Interestingly, looking at the stats and this internment in Knutsford people’s homes could be a catalyst for people wanting to move home later in the year be it for rent or for sale, thus giving a vital boost to the Knutsford property market. Would it surprise you that…

904 Knutsford households are either at full capacity or officially overcrowded

The definition of full capacity is when the household has enough bedrooms for the occupants. The definition is set out in ‘The Allocations Code of Guidance’, which recommends that the ‘bedroom standard‘ is adopted as a minimum measure of overcrowding.

This means one bedroom should be provided for

  • each adult couple.
  • any other adult aged 21 or over.
  • two adolescents of the same sex aged 10 to 20.
  • two children regardless of sex under the age of 10

That means 15.3% of Knutsford households do not have a spare bedroom for their occupants to work from (compared to the national average of 16.64% of household)

Even worse, I suspect there are many Knutsford families with two teenage boys or two teenage girls, and guidance is suggesting they can share a bedroom – do they live in the real world? This means there are probably even more Knutsford households that are at full capacity or even more overcrowded than the stats suggest, meaning plenty of people will be working from dining room tables (if they have a dining room that is) and quite probably the kitchen table … a recipe for even more people wanting to move home later in the year.

So, I don’t know how many Knutsford people are working from home, yet looking at the newspapers the consensus is that it has at least doubled. For all the reasons mentioned in this article, this looks like we could have a pressure cooker scenario of demand for Knutsford property once the restrictions have been fully lifted.

Meanwhile, a message to all you new homeworkers in Knutsford. Working from home is a tough one. The best advice I can give is to change your way of thinking.  I know many friends who are missing their offices right now, yet is office-working really so great? Consider the relentless risk of disturbance when you are trying to finish that important project, the recirculated air conditioning with its germs, the shortage of quiet meeting rooms and as I have already mentioned before, the drawn-out and expensive commute.

Try breaking the cycle of thinking that being at work – time is productive and not being at work – time is only leisure. The new way of thinking that accepts the concessions of home-working and discards the traditional 20th Century conventions of office working. Yes, the downside is that as humans we are very sociable creatures and we acutely feel the need to be in face to face contact with each other often, meaning lockdown is quite tough for many of us. Yet, if we are able to connect the positive prospects for the future working and the situation that Covid-19 offers us, then together as a society we should be able to find the right balance between working from home and coming together. In the meantime, be considerate of each other and keep safe we are all in this together and we will all overcome this together.

You can contact me on 07501 723253 or ian@storeyestates.co.uk if I can help 🙂

Ian Storey

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

Lockdowns are gradually being relaxed across many parts of Europe and the World.

These green shoots of life returning to normal give us all a little hope and optimism for the future.

And talking of the future, we’ve dusted off our crystal ball to look at how the property market in Cheshire might change once this is all over.

It’s worth pointing out that no one knows for sure what will happen post lockdown.

But based on what we’re reading, the conversations we’re having with people and general trends in society, here are four ways people’s property buying ‘must-haves’ may change.

  • Thousands of people across Cheshire are now working from home. Many are realising it doesn’t affect their productivity but does cut down on travel time and transport costs. A spare room, outbuilding or study will be firmly on many buyers’ wish lists.
  • Garden or outdoor space. During the lockdown, those lucky enough to have a garden have seen its value and importance. Many are even trying their hand at growing their own vegetables. We expect more people will look to buy homes with gardens or with access to outdoor areas.
  • Less is more. Sociologists are predicting a rise in minimalism – the way of life which sees people strive for less material things and reduced financial burdens. Could this lead to smaller properties becoming increasingly popular? Less stuff means less space is needed to house it.
  • Family and friends. We’ve all taken things for granted pre-Coronavirus. Visiting the pub or coffee shop, the school run or popping to the local shops. One of the things which have been made crystal clear for many people is the importance and value of being near your family and loved ones. This could lead to a rise in people moving home to be nearer to those most special in their lives.

How do you think people’s property desires will change? What have you loved or loathed about your home during this period of lockdown?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, you can call me on 07501 723253 or email me at ian@storeyestates.co.uk.

Whatever happens, at Storeys of Cheshire we’ve been working hard to ensure we are ready for when the lockdown ends and the property market in Cheshire flies back out of the blocks.

Thanks for reading and Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives and keep loving Chehsire.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

What you need to know right now

Maybe you’re feeling uncertain about what you should be doing and wondering what you can do to mitigate any risk to your financial security.

We are living in unreal times. In this article, I’ll explore what this uncertainty means for you and your family, and explain exactly what you can do to best position yourselves when the housing market returns to normal. Whether you’re selling, buying, or just want some guidance on what the next few months might mean for the property market in our area, this article will help.

“What should I do if I am selling?”

Viewings on hold

Now that property viewings have been suspended, you may be worried about what this means for your moving plans. When people are uncertain of their immediate future, they are reluctant to make decisions and do anything to change their current status quo. Don’t worry – the buyers who are really keen, will contact your agent and leave their details, so when this situation ends, you may have viewings straight away. Just check with your estate agent that interested parties’ contact details are being recorded.

Online interest

With everyone at home right now, you may get a spike of browsers looking at your property online. Most browsers turn into buyers eventually, and this should mean the property market gets a bounce in a few months, so you need to be ready. Now that the Government have slashed the borrowing rate to the lowest in its 325-year history, some buyers may feel there’s never been a better time to buy a house.

Cheeky offers

We’ve certainly had some very low offers on some of our homes from buyers wanting to cash in on this uncertainty. If you really need to move now, and just can’t wait, you may be tempted to take a low offer, but if you can wait, you’ll undoubtedly get a better price for your home down the line.

Withdrawing from the market

In my opinion, there is currently no real benefit to taking your home off the market right now, so stick with it, but review the situation frequently with your estate agent. We’re currently talking to our clients often to make sure they feel supported in whatever decision they make, and also to ensure they are ready for a potential influx of viewers when the situation returns to normal, and we can start conducting viewings again.

“What should I do if I am buying?”

Lower competition

Now there are less homes on the market, and fewer buyers around to buy them – could this be the perfect time to buy your dream home?

Potentially lower house prices

Those sellers who can afford to wait to sell their homes, will do so, relaunching once things are back to normal. However, there are some homeowners who have no choice but to sell and move house in the next couple of months, and these properties could well be discounted to attract a buyer quickly. You could find yourself buying at a reduced price if you are able to move fast, despite the current situation. This could especially be of interest to investors right now, and also cash buyers.

Record low interest rates

Great news for buyers using a mortgage to buy a home, now could be your best chance to secure a great deal on a mortgage, potentially saving yourself tens of thousands of pounds over the duration of the mortgage.

Virtual viewings

Although all viewings have been postponed, we offer an alternative method – a virtual viewing! A myriad of technological marvels mean we can virtually walk you around homes, while you stay comfy and warm on your sofa. Once you are able to view the house in person, you can view a much-reduced shortlist of your very favourite homes.

“What will happen to the property market over the coming months?”

We have 25 million homes in the UK, and each year on average, 1.2 million of them sell.

In other words, just under 5% of homes in the UK sell every year.

In the mid-Cheshire that I cover, that means there are 3,636 property sales each year – which is 70 per week.

This means that when this crazy time is over, and things are getting back to normal, there will potentially be hundreds of homes that come onto the market, that would otherwise have launched during this ‘pause’ period.

This will help you to move on. More homes on the market, means more choice for you and your family and more potential buyers for your home.

If I look into my crystal ball, by June we will have some sense of normality, with the economy running at 30-40%. By July and into August, I expect the country to bounce back and begin to spend. As certainty improves, so does market momentum. I think there will be a big resurgence of demand, and buyers wanting to move by Christmas, at the latest.

“What if I have already agreed to buy a house?”

If you are in the middle of buying a house, congratulations! We recommend you proceed as planned, but maybe check to see if you can get better mortgage terms than perhaps you were previously offered. Remember that house prices rise and fall periodically, which means that if you’re planning to stay in the property for more than say, a year, any risk is limited.

“We’re thinking about moving soon – what should we do?”

Timing is always important when it comes to selling your home for the best price, but over the coming months, it’s going to be crucial. If you put your home on the market too soon, before the situation has been resolved, any uncertainty and practical problems with conducting viewings will mean you are unlikely to get the price you need for your home.

But if you wait too long to put your home up for sale, you may find that the housing market is full of competing properties. This means you could miss out on the inevitable bounce-back in the housing market. This is something we experienced in the early months of this year, once Brexit was passed – there were more buyers than houses, and some of our sellers were delighted with the prices they achieved.

The right time is difficult to predict. But having a plan is vital if you want to hit the market at precisely the right time to benefit from the bounce-back, when it happens.

In a few weeks, when the situation is safe again, Mr Johnson and Co will allow us to continue doing what we do best – selling homes. We may only get a few days’ notice, so we all need to be able to react quickly and decisively. We’ll be ready, and we can help you to be ready too.

Can I help you?

Perhaps you have a burning question about your moving plans, or you need more clarity on any of the above points – whatever it is, I’m here to help at any time.

Email me personally on ian@storeyestates.co.uk or call me on 01606 339922 if you’d like a confidential chat. Whilst I’m working from home over the coming weeks, you can reach me on my mobile – 07501 723253. Just send a text or Whatsapp if it’s easier for you and we’ll arrange a time to chat.

If you’re home schooling right now, evenings might be better for you, so just ask!

I’ll give you clear, actionable advice on what to do in your specific situation – whether waiting or taking action is the best option for you. Please ask – I’d really like to help you, if I can.

Thanks,

Ian Storey

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys