Eco follow-up: Information for Landlords

Unless you’ve been living under a stone for the last month, you’ll know green issues are the number one topic of conversation. While world leaders have debated coal mining and deforestation, there are a number of take-aways from recent weeks for landlords and tenants.

Boilers: in the biggest shake up of how we heat domestic homes in living memory, the Government’s Heat & Building Strategy sets out the end of gas boiler installation. Property investors who develop their own portfolio will be the first to be affected, as the fitting of conventional gas boilers in new properties is to be prohibited from 2025.

All landlords need to take note of the second deadline. From 2035, the sale of conventional gas boilers will be banned, meaning that if a gas boiler breaks or is condemned in a buy-to-let property from 2035, it cannot be replaced with another gas boiler. Existing gas boilers that work, however, won’t have to be removed.

There is financial assistance available to landlords who would like to make a move away from gas fired central heating sooner than the 2035 deadline. The Clean Heat Grant is launching in April 2022 and landlords can apply for up to £5,000 of financial help to install a heat pump system – the Government’s preferred method of heating rental properties moving forwards.

The £450 million fund will cover around 90,000 heat pump installations (which currently cost an average of £10,000) but it will be offered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. We advise those hoping to take advantage of the grant to apply as soon as the initiative is open for applications.

Funding: a fund worth £4.3 million is going to be shared by local councils in a bid to raise energy standards in the private rental sector.  Some 100,000 extra engagements with landlords will encourage them to comply with current eco regulations and make energy saving improvements – not only to save the environment but also to lower the fuel bills of tenants amid growing fears of fuel poverty. Part of the initiative is to offer landlords free property surveys that will identify where alterations can be made.

Green mortgages: eco-based lending is gaining traction and landlords with the highest EPC ratings now have access to the most favourable interest rate repayments and priority products. It is already reported that the number of ‘green’ buy-to-let mortgages has quadrupled in the past six months, with landlords encouraged to trade energy-saving improvements for advantageous lending conditions.

MEES may get stricter: MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) for private rented properties may get tougher in the near future. Landlords need to watch the deadline of 2028, when the Government has proposed that all new, renewing and extending tenancies will need to have an EPC rating of C as a minimum. There’s also an ambitious plan for the eco bar to be raised even further, with the Government’s energy white paper aiming to outlaw new, renewing and extending tenancies that fall below a B from 2030.

If you would like to discuss energy efficiency in a rental property, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Extinguishing the gas boiler flame: home heating latest

While most of the country was glued to October’s Budget, hoping for news of a cheaper pint or a public sector pay rise (yes to both), there was very little in Rishi Sunak’s address that directly affected property buyers and sellers.

Although there were notes for the housebuilding sector and welcomed funds for those caught up in the cladding scandal, it was actually an announcement the previous week that will have the biggest impact on everyday property owners and future home movers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled more details of his Net Zero green agenda in October, with a focus on the future of domestic heating. Responding to the statistic that residential property is currently responsible for 16% of the UK’s total carbon emissions, gas boilers will eventually be replaced with greener ways of heating our homes.

The news is important for purchasers and sellers of property as the age of a boiler installed in a property and the fuel it runs on will become a big part of the decision-making process in the future – and it may even affect a buyer’s ability to get a mortgage. So, what are the top take-aways from the Prime Minister’s latest eco address?

The good news is there are no imminent changes and it’s fine to keep heating your home with a gas boiler. The key dates are 2025 and 2035, depending on who you are. The first adjustment applies to house builders and developers, who will be banned from fitting conventional gas boilers in new properties they construct from 2025.

The second change won’t happen until 2035, when the sale of gas boilers will be prohibited. What does this actually mean? If your current gas boiler is condemned, is beyond repair or needs upgrading due to inefficiency, you won’t be able to replace it with another gas boiler after 2035.

There is no suggestion that perfectly fine, working gas boilers fitted to UK homes will need ripping out in 2035. If it’s annually serviced and safe, homeowners can continue with their current gas boiler until it irretrievably breaks down or is deemed unsafe to use.

Many homeowners are beginning to question what the alternatives to gas boilers are. The Government is hoping we’ll all convert to heat pumps – either water, ground or air types. And the cost? Currently the average supply and installation of an air heat pump will set you back approximately £10,000.

Encouragement to make the switch to heat pumps sooner rather than later is coming in the form of a boiler upgrade scheme. Some £450 million is being made available, with households able to apply for a grant worth up to £5,000 to help fund a new heating system. The scheme, to be called the Clean Heat Grant, will launch in April 2022, and the current plan is for energy regulator Ofgem to become the scheme’s administrator.

Experts have, however, sounded a note of caution. Calculations show the £450 million fund will only cover around 90,000 heat pump installations and those interested will be processed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

So are there alternatives to heat pumps? There is nothing stopping homeowners looking after their current gas boiler until it reaches the natural end of its lifecycle, which could take them beyond the 2035 deadline. An ambitious and not totally reliable alternative would be to bank on hydrogen technology being made widely available in the future. It is hoped ‘dual fuel’ boilers that start by running on gas but can switch to hydrogen power will advance to such a state that they can be installed in domestic settings, but the jury is out on whether this will be possible.

There is also the option to go all-electric with storage heaters, electric radiators and hard-wired underfloor heating, with additional options including wood-burning stoves, solar panels and oil-powered central heating. The future of oil-fired boilers is unclear at this stage, although we do know they will also be banned from new builds from 2025.

A word of warning when considering future sources of domestic heating. Boris Johnson has also underlined his intention to make it harder to mortgage homes with the worst energy ratings in the future.

Banks and building societies will be encouraged to offer the best mortgage deals to the properties with the highest EPC ratings, and the danger is that properties with poor eco standards will face higher-than-average arrangement fees and interest charges – or they may even become unmortgage-able.

The Government is also considering introducing a date for all homes to meet minimum energy standards, ahead of its 2050 net zero target. What exactly does that mean? The Prime Minister wants all owner-occupier homes to be of a certain ‘green’ standard, achieved through eco-improvements and energy assessments. Heating your home in the most energy efficient way will help homeowners reach any new targets and it’s quite possible, but not confirmed, that homes with a poor EPC may become more challenging to sell in the future, forcing the owner to make eco alterations.

If you would like to chat about your current central heating or EPC rating, get in touch today.

Could Swedish fika be the secret to selling your home this winter?

Colder, darker days can be more challenging when presenting a property, especially if you’ve been following summer’s advice of throwing the doors wide open and showing off your garden, but fika can become your secret weapon when hosting viewings this winter.

While potential movers will be interested in the bricks and mortar, they are equally as likely to fall in love with a lifestyle that you purvey and even you as a person, so it’s good to tap into the heart as much as the head. And what better way to welcome people to your home this winter than with a hot drink and a cake?

Rather than batten down the hatches, take a leaf out of the Swede’s book and embrace fika. It’s the latest Scandinavian trend that celebrates all things cosy and warm, coming hot on the heels of Danish hygge and Dutch gezellig.

The Swedes certainly know a thing or two about making the most of the winter months and fika is easily transferable to us here in the UK. Fika is the tradition of stopping for a cup of coffee and something sweet to eat with friends – less formal than a British afternoon tea but more organised than grabbing a latte on the go.

Fika is considered such a ritual in Sweden that many professionals have a fika break written into their contract but it’s a daily routine that takes place in homes, workplaces and factories across the country.

Not only will a mug of coffee and a pastry break the ice during a viewing – and provide comfort when coming in from the cold – offering fika will also give you a head start when it comes to the olfactory department.

As this Real Homes survey reveals, appealing scents upon arrival can help conjure up sales success, while Ideal Home reported that the smell of cats is one of the most prominent reasons why people deem a viewing ‘disgusting’.

Your home will smell divine if you have a freshly brewed pot of coffee on the go and just-baked kanelbulle in the kitchen (kanelbulle are cinnamon buns, which are reputed to be the Swedes’ favourite fika snack).

How you present fika can also help set an inviting scene. An Italian-style ‘moka’ stove-top coffee pot always looks attractive and there is something mesmerising about pushing the plunger down on a traditional cafetière. If you have a pod coffee machine, using a capsule display and giving someone a choice of coffee is another nice touch – and it may make their visit to your property more memorable.

Don’t fret, however, if you only have a kettle and a jar of instant coffee. Place your emphasis on serving your drinks in chip-free mugs or even in a set of on-trend, double-walled glass coffee cups. You could even decant your milk and sugar into a jug and bowl to really up the ante.

While we have mentioned home-baking, we understand not everyone has the time or skill to whip up a Swedish fika feast. If you want to be authentic, Totally Swedish offers a superb selection of sweet treats that can be delivered to your door, or simply pop down to your local supermarket and buy a selection of fresh pastries.

Whatever treats you have, artfully arrange them on a plate instead of offering them to people straight out of the packet. And why not follow the lead of interior design stylists and display all your fika essentials on a Scandi-inspired wooden tray? Add a candle and some winter-themed napkins and you’ll have won over viewers in no time.

If you are getting ready to show your property this winter and would like advice about the local property market, please contact us today.

Could Swedish fika be the secret to selling your home this winter?

Colder, darker days can be more challenging when presenting a property, especially if you’ve been following summer’s advice of throwing the doors wide open and showing off your garden, but fika can become your secret weapon when hosting viewings this winter.

While potential movers will be interested in the bricks and mortar, they are equally as likely to fall in love with a lifestyle that you purvey and even you as a person, so it’s good to tap into the heart as much as the head. And what better way to welcome people to your home this winter than with a hot drink and a cake?

Rather than batten down the hatches, take a leaf out of the Swede’s book and embrace fika. It’s the latest Scandinavian trend that celebrates all things cosy and warm, coming hot on the heels of Danish hygge and Dutch gezellig.

The Swedes certainly know a thing or two about making the most of the winter months and fika is easily transferable to us here in the UK. Fika is the tradition of stopping for a cup of coffee and something sweet to eat with friends – less formal than a British afternoon tea but more organised than grabbing a latte on the go.

Fika is considered such a ritual in Sweden that many professionals have a fika break written into their contract but it’s a daily routine that takes place in homes, workplaces and factories across the country.

Not only will a mug of coffee and a pastry break the ice during a viewing – and provide comfort when coming in from the cold – offering fika will also give you a head start when it comes to the olfactory department.

As this Real Homes survey reveals, appealing scents upon arrival can help conjure up sales success, while Ideal Home reported that the smell of cats is one of the most prominent reasons why people deem a viewing ‘disgusting’.

Your home will smell divine if you have a freshly brewed pot of coffee on the go and just-baked kanelbulle in the kitchen (kanelbulle are cinnamon buns, which are reputed to be the Swedes’ favourite fika snack).

How you present fika can also help set an inviting scene. An Italian-style ‘moka’ stove-top coffee pot always looks attractive and there is something mesmerising about pushing the plunger down on a traditional cafetière. If you have a pod coffee machine, using a capsule display and giving someone a choice of coffee is another nice touch – and it may make their visit to your property more memorable.

Don’t fret, however, if you only have a kettle and a jar of instant coffee. Place your emphasis on serving your drinks in chip-free mugs or even in a set of on-trend, double-walled glass coffee cups. You could even decant your milk and sugar into a jug and bowl to really up the ante.

While we have mentioned home-baking, we understand not everyone has the time or skill to whip up a Swedish fika feast. If you want to be authentic, Totally Swedish offers a superb selection of sweet treats that can be delivered to your door, or simply pop down to your local supermarket and buy a selection of fresh pastries.

Whatever treats you have, artfully arrange them on a plate instead of offering them to people straight out of the packet. And why not follow the lead of interior design stylists and display all your fika essentials on a Scandi-inspired wooden tray? Add a candle and some winter-themed napkins and you’ll have won over viewers in no time.

If you are getting ready to show your property this winter and would like advice about the local property market, please contact us today.

Reduce clutter to increase your home’s value

While it’s true that adding to a property – an extra bathroom, a new boiler or an upgraded kitchen – will also add value, there is another side of home improvement where the ‘less is more’ mantra definitely applies. After all, the Queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo, says ‘life truly begins after you have put your house in order’.

Clutter is one of the biggest contributors to a negative property perception. Whether it’s an agent going out to provide a valuation or a potential mover taking a tour, being met by piles of personal effects and belongings collected over the years can seriously affect what value we place on a property.

The significance of clutter in relation to worth was recently highlighted in a TV show called the Big House Clear Out, where a deep clean and a declutter added £35,000 to the value of one particular property.

You too could add substantially more value if your home is in need of attention, as a new post-pandemic survey by Rated People found movers are placing increasing emphasis on a tidy property. Clutter, dirt and bad smells can collectively knock almost £54,000 off a home’s value, while 43% of respondents said they wouldn’t even arrange a viewing for a property if it looked unclean in photos.

The survey also uncovered what particular aspects of a cluttered property would dent the value the most. A dirty bathroom would reduce a home’s value by £8,966, while rubbish or debris in the front garden could take off £8,964.

Unlike adding value with expensive improvements, decluttering and cleaning takes little more than time and some elbow grease. Wherever you are on the scale – from messy home maker to full-blown hoarder – here are 5 steps to follow if you’re determined to cut out the clutter.

  1. Set aside time: block out a weekend to really get to grips with clutter but if this thought is overwhelming, set a daily alarm and spend 30 minutes clearing one area of one room – perhaps a chest of drawers.
  2. Arm yourself with the right tools: just as you would decorating, preparation is key to efficient decluttering. Gather black sacks, recycling bins, expanding files, paperclips and storage boxes before you make a start.
  3. Be mindful of where clutter goes: if you dump your junk in the garden, you will continue to damage your home’s value so always remove, rehome or recycle. If you must store items on top of wardrobes or under beds, use boxes or risk spoiling the neat look.
  4. Recognise what is too much: if you can’t see your floor, your kitchen work tops or surfaces such as sideboards, you need to be ruthless. Bag up and bin what’s unsalvageable, file paperwork and tackle laundry piles.
  5. Remember it’s not forever: if you’re decluttering ahead of a home move and want to impress viewers, a good rule of thumb is ‘50% less’ when clearing personal items and knick-knacks. Use your loft or even a storage facility for anything you can’t bear to part with.

If you would like an impartial opinion on your property’s condition, ask us for honest yet friendly advice.

Reduce clutter to increase your home’s value

While it’s true that adding to a property – an extra bathroom, a new boiler or an upgraded kitchen – will also add value, there is another side of home improvement where the ‘less is more’ mantra definitely applies. After all, the Queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo, says ‘life truly begins after you have put your house in order’.

Clutter is one of the biggest contributors to a negative property perception. Whether it’s an agent going out to provide a valuation or a potential mover taking a tour, being met by piles of personal effects and belongings collected over the years can seriously affect what value we place on a property.

The significance of clutter in relation to worth was recently highlighted in a TV show called the Big House Clear Out, where a deep clean and a declutter added £35,000 to the value of one particular property.

You too could add substantially more value if your home is in need of attention, as a new post-pandemic survey by Rated People found movers are placing increasing emphasis on a tidy property. Clutter, dirt and bad smells can collectively knock almost £54,000 off a home’s value, while 43% of respondents said they wouldn’t even arrange a viewing for a property if it looked unclean in photos.

The survey also uncovered what particular aspects of a cluttered property would dent the value the most. A dirty bathroom would reduce a home’s value by £8,966, while rubbish or debris in the front garden could take off £8,964.

Unlike adding value with expensive improvements, decluttering and cleaning takes little more than time and some elbow grease. Wherever you are on the scale – from messy home maker to full-blown hoarder – here are 5 steps to follow if you’re determined to cut out the clutter.

  1. Set aside time: block out a weekend to really get to grips with clutter but if this thought is overwhelming, set a daily alarm and spend 30 minutes clearing one area of one room – perhaps a chest of drawers.
  2. Arm yourself with the right tools: just as you would decorating, preparation is key to efficient decluttering. Gather black sacks, recycling bins, expanding files, paperclips and storage boxes before you make a start.
  3. Be mindful of where clutter goes: if you dump your junk in the garden, you will continue to damage your home’s value so always remove, rehome or recycle. If you must store items on top of wardrobes or under beds, use boxes or risk spoiling the neat look.
  4. Recognise what is too much: if you can’t see your floor, your kitchen work tops or surfaces such as sideboards, you need to be ruthless. Bag up and bin what’s unsalvageable, file paperwork and tackle laundry piles.
  5. Remember it’s not forever: if you’re decluttering ahead of a home move and want to impress viewers, a good rule of thumb is ‘50% less’ when clearing personal items and knick-knacks. Use your loft or even a storage facility for anything you can’t bear to part with.

If you would like an impartial opinion on your property’s condition, ask us for honest yet friendly advice.

Boost your home’s value via the bathroom

How much importance do you place on the condition of your bathroom? If you’re thinking of selling, the smallest room in your home can have the biggest impact on potential buyers – and it can lead to higher offers and increased desirability.

When Royal London asked UK homeowners about buying decisions, they were prepared to offer an extra £10,915 for a property with a new bathroom – the second most valuable home improvement after a new kitchen. Even an upgrade can add up to 5% in value, so we strongly recommend paying particular attention to your bathroom ahead of a sale.

What adds the most value?

According to research by Plumbnation, installing an extra bathroom could add £50,000 to your home’s value – especially if there are more than two bedrooms and only one existing facility. If you can’t create an extra bathroom, making your current one bigger will also add around 5% in value, according to QS Supplies.

Next on the value adding list is creating an en-suite – a feature that a 2020 survey by the Nationwide Building Society found could increase a property’s value by 5% – adding around £13,300 to the average home.

Offering a similar return on investment is a cloakroom. Providing a WC on the ground floor can lift your property’s value by 5%. Even shaking up your bathroom’s heating can be a winner – install underfloor heating and potentially add £7,000 to your asking price.

Bathroom blues: 4 to avoid when selling

As a seller, you really don’t want to give buyers any excuses to put in a low offer, so presenting your bathroom well will help you achieve as close to the asking price as possible. You may wish to consider.

  1. Coloured bathrooms: the avocado suite is always used as the biggest bathroom faux pas and for good reason. In fact, a 2017 survey discovered homebuyers would offer almost £5,000 less for a home with one in situ. Rarely installed since the 1980s, this and pastel-hued sanitaryware instantly date when a bathroom was fitted. It’s an acquired taste, so the first thought of many viewers will be the cost and hassle of replacing it.
  2. Carpets: another hangover from the past is a carpet in the bathroom. They can harbour bacteria, are hard to clean and can feel depressingly damp underfoot. Anything is better than carpet – even cheap vinyl – so make the swap before selling.
  3.  Signs of mould: water leaks and damp issues can be expensive to fix, so any sealant or grouting that shows signs of mould will worry potential buyers. Mould on ceilings and walls can also be an indication of poor ventilation, and needs investigating prior to a sale.
  4. Bad smells: whether emanating from your toilet bowl or from a pile of wet towels, unpleasant odours can confront buyers on viewings, putting off a reputed 78% of people. Always remove the source of bad smells, open windows and use a subtle fragrance to freshen the air.

We are happy to appraise your current bathroom and make some value-adding suggestions, based on your budget, floorplan and selling timescale. Contact us today and we can make an appointment to visit your property.

Doorscaping: designs to elevate your property’s entrance

So many magazine pages and column inches are devoted to interior ideas that it was only a matter of time before the ‘outside’ got in on the act. ‘Doorscaping’ is the latest design trend to catch the eye, with the forthcoming autumn and winter months the prime time to elevate your home’s entrance.

Doorscaping is actually a trend that has been slowly creeping up on us in the UK. We have already started to follow the lead of our friends across the pond, adopting the American penchant for a different door wreath every season. Instead of confining ourselves to a traditional Christmas arrangement for two weeks of the year, more UK front doors have been sporting Easter wreaths and late summer examples made from dried flowers.

Aesthetic efforts outside really ramped up last Christmas, when a number of famous faces adopted a ‘more-is-more’ attitude to dressing their front doors. While 2020’s efforts were grand, this year’s doorscaping is set to be even more substantial.

Not all of us have the help of interior design stylists to create a ‘wow’ entrance but there is good news. It is possible to create a visually striking doorscaping display with a supermarket dash, a trip to Hobbycraft and a scavenge around your local park or woods. Once you have your haul, visit Instagram or Pinterest and search #doorscaping for inspiration.

An integral part of doorscaping is a wreath. While you can buy pre-made items, those feeling creative can follow Hobbycraft’s guide to make your own this autumn. Simply swap the choice of autumn flowers for holly, ivy and pine cones next season, and you’ll have a bespoke winter-themed example too. As well as foraging for twigs, autumnal leaves, dried grasses and seed heads, wreaths also look appealing when adorned with cinnamon sticks and dried slices of orange, so add these to your next food shop.

Doorscaping is as much about your front steps as it is your actual door and Halloween presents an entry-level way of experimenting. You can quickly create a compelling scene by arranging a selection of pumpkins and ornamental gourds on your steps. If you’re not too fond of carving, add some storm lanterns filled with battery-operated candles and you’ll extend the appeal to after dark.

Some doorscapers change their door mats in line with seasons and events – an easy switch as different types are readily available in hardware stores, garden centres and online. Others dedicated to the doorscaping cause use props to set the scene – think baskets of harvest vegetables, hand-tied wheat sheafs, apple crates and even hay bales.

If you want to go all-out when it comes to doorscaping, the most extravagant projects involve door arches. It’s a hallmark that’s been carried over from weddings, high-end hotels and boutique shops into a residential setting. The very best arches are much-photographed focal points  – even tourist attractions – so if you’re adding this doorscaping element, be prepared for people to stop and admire.

Flora and fauna – fresh, dried or even faux – usually provide the backbone of an arch but each season sees the introduction of extras – balloons, baubles, fairy lights and fruit have all made appearances to great effect.

While a local florist may offer a door arch service, you can create your own by following Georgia Rivett’s guide, as featured in Northern Life magazine. Attractive alternatives include an arrangement of branches that are intertwined with leaves, lights and berries, or pre-made garlands that are easily draped over a porch.

As an agent, we know that kerb appeal really helps generate interest in a property. Why not apply a few doorscaping ideas to where you live and share the results with us?

Revealed: Bright Skies is Dulux’s Colour of the Year 2022

Whether you are preparing your home in advance of a sale or have recently moved into a new property, applying a fresh lick of paint may be at the top of your ‘to do’ list. With literally thousands of paint shades to choose from, the choice can easily become overwhelming, so how do you pick a colour that you won’t regret?

Design and decorating companies usually announce an annual ‘colour of the year’ – a shade that encapsulates a nation’s mood and complements current interior trends – and Dulux has been the first to break cover. It has announced that its Colour of the Year 2022 is Bright Skies – a great shade for those who want something neutral with wide appeal.

Unlike the colours nominated by Pantone, which are unusually bold, often divisive and not always suitable for liberal use in the home (browse its choices from the past 11 years here), Dulux’s annual pick is always less controversial and more accessible. The latest choice doesn’t disappoint.

Bright Skies is a cool, pale blue described by Dulux as an ‘airy and fresh tone that opens up and breathes new life into any space’. Using the colour is also designed to revitalise and bring a new sense of optimism – perfect for anyone stuck in a decorating rut.

Its cool, fresh qualities allow Bright Skies to be used to paint entire rooms and lighten up dark corners. As well as lifting the mood in living rooms and bedrooms, it can be used to refresh bathrooms, hallways and kitchens, as the paint is available in Easycare Washable, Tough Matt, Easycare Bathroom and Easycare Kitchen (the latter two are available as tinted and mixed-to-order products).

A versatile shade, Bright Skies also works well when combined with other colours. You can create a warm and inviting interior scheme by mixing it with beiges and creams – Dulux’s Cardamon Pod and Fossil Hunting are the perfect neutral paint partners. Bright Skies also pairs well with light greys, duck egg blue, sage green and pastel pink – why not get some tester pots of Moon Cloud, Romantic Reverie, Tranquil Dawn and Frosted Steel to go with Bright Skies?

If your plans don’t involve painting, you can still join the colour club and use Bright Skies to influence your choice of accessories. Fabric manufacturers and homeware retailers are usually very quick to pick up on colour trends, and the shops are already full of blues that match Dulux’s Colour of the Year 2022.

Changing your bedlinen is a quick way of introducing Bright Skies to your bedroom and Dunelm’s floral design duvet set won’t break the bank, while scatter cushions can perk up a tired sofa – Marks & Spencer’s quilted version in chambray is a good colour match. Other ways to bring Bright Skies into the home include Loaf’s ceramic bowls in Baker’s Blue or Annabel James’s super soft throw.

If you’d like more advice about getting your home ready for a sale – or are hunting for the perfect property to paint as you wish – we’d love to hear from you.

Securing your new home

Moving into a new home is one of life’s most exciting milestones and while it may not feel as exciting as choosing new sofas or deciding who to invite to a housewarming party, paying some attention to the property’s security will help you feel more settled – and may even result in cheaper insurance premiums.

When you’re compiling your ‘to do’ list as you move in, you may find these 6 essential security changes useful:-

  1. Change front door locks: the handing over of keys always marks the end of one property ownership and the start of a new one but there’s no way of knowing whether past owners have retained a spare set, or whether neighbours may have keys too. Changing the front door locks should be up there with reading the meters as a default moving-in ritual. Always opt for a five-lever mortice lock with a BS heart-shaped Kitemark that meets the BS 3621 criteria – the gold standard in door security and a requirement from home insurance companies in order to secure a cheaper premium.
  2. Change or replace a key safe: key safes have grown in popularity  – used by forgetful teens, cleaners and carers, among others – but with many unlocked with a simple 4-digit code that’s easy to share and remember, it’s wise to change the code or replace the whole box.
  3. Install a safe: a fireproof safe is a great addition to a new home – especially for high value items of jewellery, spare keys and valuable documents – but any safe must be fixed securely to a wall or the floor for it to be effective.
  4. Secure windows & other entry points: anything that’s broken, jammed or missing should be repaired. This could include fixing a window that is stubbornly ajar, reinstalling a fence panel that’s blown down or replacing a patio door that doesn’t lock.
  5. Change the alarm code: ask your solicitor or agent to verify if the property you are moving into has a burglar alarm. If so, request that the operational instructions are left at the property, although many manuals are available to download online if you know the make and model. Make replacing the alarm code with something new a priority.
  6. Don’t overshare on social media: moving day is exciting and it’s news you may want to share online but do so with restraint. By all means document your first few days in a new property but it’s a good idea to share photos and details within private groups, and not publicly.

Other security measures for moving day & beyond

  • Update your home and contents insurance so cover starts at your new address as soon as you move in
  • Hang curtains or blinds as quickly as possible
  • Don’t leave valuable items in unlocked vans or cars on moving day
  • Find out whether the property is in a Neighbourhood Watch area
  • Don’t leave empty boxes for new TVs and gadgets in plain sight on recycling day

We’re experts at managing moving days, so if you have any question about the order of events, timings, collecting keys and keeping your possessions safe, just ask!