Valuation Clinic – Dickens Heath Thursday 8th September

Smart Homes are offering a FREE valuation service to the residents of Dickens Heath and we promise there will be no sales pitch, no fee and no obligation!

Thursday 8th September 2016 1pm till 8pm

The Valuation Clinic will consist of a 15 minute appointment where we will not sell you any of our services…  It is literally an inspection of your property and we will email you the valuation within 24 hours!

Call the office now on 0121 744 4144 or email shirley@smart-homes.co.uk to book your appointment!

What does Brexit mean for the long-term property market?

What does Brexit mean for the long-term property market?

Mortgages are currently at historically reasonable rates, with that, cheap mortgages lend themselves to investment in property, as savings rates and pensions tend to do worse. Generally, savings rates and pensions tend to do worse in uncertain conditions so property is the natural outlet and with that, the likelihood is that rates will drop further.

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When is the best time to sell?

When is the best time to sell?

There are all kinds of myths concerning the best time to sell, however, every neighbourhood and every house is totally different. Broadly speaking, the best time to sell your house is when there are the most amount of buyers actively looking to buy.

That said, however, spring always comes out on top as the best time to sell. This is most likely because people are at home, they’re not engaged with busy periods like the summer holidays or busy with festive celebrations.

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Senka and Helen Winners of Peoples Choice Awards

It has been a whole year since Smart Homes were awarded the prestigious accolade of Estate Agent and Letting Agent of the year 2014, and what a wonderful year it has been. Statistically the team have produced some fantastic results…  They have seen the successful opening of their Dickens Heath office along with the recruitment of four new staff members and the promotion of two other team members. They have also maintained their Number One position on RightMove for both Sales and Lettings and now they have learnt the great news that for their second year running, Smart Homes have been awarded Estate Agent and Letting Agent for customer experience in B90 for 2015!

Allagents.co.uk has now become a recognised body for both Vendors and Landlords to obtain an unbiased, independent opinion on the Agent they are considering selling or letting with.  More and more clients are now referring to allagents.co.uk before making a final decision on the Agent they choose.

Smart Homes are always hugely proud of their successes, but more so the successes of their staff.  Helen Sizer and Senka Dragicevic have been awarded the People’s Choice Estate Agent and Lettings Agent of 2015 in B90 for customer experience.  Director Jamie Smart says, “This facility which is available to all will not only review the Estate Agency branch, but also the individual.  Whilst it takes all team members to work hard for the branch recognition, some of our staff have been individually highlighted too. Senka Dragicevic has been awarded the Gold Award for top Letting Negotiator in 2015 and Helen Sizer was awarded the Gold Award for number one Estate Agent in B90 for 2015.  It recognises the fact that they go above and beyond for our Clients”.

A truly amazing result for Smart Homes who, for the second year running, have been recognised as offering the very best customer service in their field.  Well done Team!

Biggest rise in mortgage approvals in six years

The number of mortgage approvals from high street banks has seen its biggest monthly increase in six years.

Research from the Bank of England shows more than 68,000 loans were approved in April across the UK, the highest monthly figure in over a year. Statistics from the previous month saw just less than 62,000 loans approved which highlights a monthly increase of 9.9% in April, the largest rise month-on-month since 2009. The news follows on from record low mortgage rates in the UK, with some lenders offering a five year fixed rate loan at less than 2% in recent months.

Landlords in particular are reaping benefits of cheap mortgage deals as it was recently reported that buy to let mortgage lending is increasing by as much as 12% month-on-month, with the total value of loans standing at £2.7 billion in March.

Graham Davidson, Managing Director of Sequre Property Investment, comments on the rise of mortgage approvals: “The Mortgage Market Review (MMR) may have deterred some from trying to get a mortgage in the past year or so, but this report indicates that the housing market is very much moving forward.” “There was a slight uncertainty in the run-up to the General Election, and many experts believed that house prices and general sales would slow down as a result of potential home buyers and investors holding off on purchasing. Looking at the market and the statistics now, this doesn’t appear to be the case and with mortgage approvals continuing to grow at this rate, prices will continue to improve, which is great news for investors who particularly look for capital growth on their assets.”

With rates currently at an all-time low, there has never been a better time to consider a mortgage.

Labour for landlords? Poll carried out by PIMS.co.uk

5th May 2015

Ed Miliband has promised rent increases would be capped at inflation and tenants given standard three-year contracts to stop tenants being “ripped off”. Does this influence the way you will vote?

There were three straightforward answers that they could respond to:

  • Yes, I’m less likely to vote labour
  • No, this does not influence my vote
  • Yes, I’m more likely to vote labour

Within just a couple of days PIMS received over 500 votes with an overwhelming majority of landlords stating that they would be less likely to vote Labour.

  • Yes, I’m less likely to vote Labour 62.67%
  • No, this does not influence my vote 32.57%
  • Yes, I’m more likely to vote Labour 4.76%


Richard Merrick of PIMS.co.uk says : “PIMS does not wish to become involved with the political posturing that all parties are now engaging in their “staged” public addresses, however we wrote a blog post on exactly what the Main Parties are using in their manifestos, that will directly affect landlords and the private rented sector.”

How would Labour’s rent reforms affect you?

Ed Miliband proposes to put a stop to families being “ripped off” by private landlords by introducing three year tenancy agreements in the private sector.  The proposal includes limiting the amount of rent increases and a ban for letting agents charging tenants fees.

The new three-year tenancy agreements would start with a six-month probationary period, at the end of which the landlord would be able to terminate the contract if the tenant was deemed to have failed the probation – for example, if there were rent arrears or there had been anti-social behaviour. This would then be followed by a two-and-a-half-year term during which tenants would be able, as they are now, to terminate the contract with one month’s notice.
Landlords would only be able to terminate contracts with two months’ notice (Section 21) if:
• The tenant was behind with their rent, was guilty of anti-social behaviour or breached their tenancy agreement
• The landlord wanted to sell the property, needed it for their own use, or required it for their family
• The landlord planned to refurbish or change the use of the property

“Landlords would not be able to terminate tenancies simply to put rents up,” says Labour.  There are exceptions such as landlords with buy-to-let mortgages taken out prior to the legislation taking effect to continue using shorter agreements where the mortgage small print does not cater for longer tenancies.

There would also be provision for new tenants such as students or workers on temporary contracts to request shorter-term tenancies, subject to the landlord agreeing to this.
The legislation would place an upper ceiling on rent increases. Labour says this would be based on a benchmark such as average market rents. It may or may not also be linked to inflation.

We imagine Landlords with buy-to-let mortgages would argue that any limit should also take mortgage rates into account.  What do you think about the proposed reforms?