Buying with Smeaton Homes

  • How do I register for your mailing list?

    You are able to register your details online but we recommend giving us a call in the office so we can discuss your criteria further. We may then also have a property that suits you that has not been placed on the market yet that we can discuss.

  • Do I need to have a mortgage before viewing a property?

    It is best to gain some advice to see what your budget is before viewing properties but you do not need to provide us with proof of your mortgage until the offer stage. We work with a local independent mortgage advisor who can help you with this, and show you what deals could be offered to you. Please contact us for more information.

  • My house isn’t on the market but I want to book a viewing on a property. What should I do?

    Most vendors prefer proceedable buyers to view their property so that the sale can progress straight away. We recommend putting your property onto the market before viewing properties to secure your own buyer in case you want to place an offer on a property you view.

  • At what point do I need a solicitor?

    When you have an offer accepted you will need to instruct a solicitor to handle the file. It is a good idea to appoint a solicitor when searching for a property so you are ready to go. We refer to three local solicitors who can provide you with a quote for their services. If you would like further information on this then please let us know.

Selling with Smeaton Homes

  • Am I tied to a contract with Smeaton Homes when selling my property?

    We pride ourselves on the service we deliver and offer a zero-week contract to all of our sales clients.

  • How are viewings carried out?

    Accompanied viewings are all included within our sales fee at Smeaton Homes. Most vendors will provide us with a key to the property at the start of the sale being instructed with us. This is then tagged and kept in a secure key cupboard in the office. However, if you would prefer to carry out your own viewings then this is completely up to you. We do recommend that viewings are done by the agent as buyers often feel more comfortable with this. Viewings are booked to work around you, and we always give 24 hours’ notice.

  • What is included in your fee?

    • Property photography
    • Video tour
    • Floorplan
    • Accompanied viewings
    • Property advertised on all portals we use and social media
    • No sale, no fee service
  • Where would my property be advertised?

    We use Rightmove and Zoopla to advertise all of our properties as our research has shown that this is where most of our genuine leads come from. We also have a large following on Facebook and Instagram, on which we post all of our properties.

  • I have a tenant in my property – how can I sell it?

    We can help you serve notice to your tenant and ensure the process has been carried out correctly in order to sell. Depending on the situation, you may wish to wait until the property is vacant or sell with a tenant in situ.

  • What happens when I receive an offer on my property?

    Every offer we receive we put forward to you, with the buyer’s situation and how they will be funding the purchase. We can help advise which buyer is in the best position to suit you. If the buyer is in a chain, we will also check the chain through the relevant agents before notifying you of the offer, to ensure they are proceedable.

  • What happens when I accept an offer on my property?

    Before placing the property under offer, we require two forms of ID from each buyer – their proof of funds/mortgage and solicitor’s details. Only once we have received all of the documents we require, we place the property under offer and the memorandum of sale is issued to all parties involved, including solicitors, to start the process.

Letting with Smeaton Homes

  • What is included in my set-up fee?

    This will depend on what management service you are looking for. Please take a look at our fee sheet for more information

  • As a landlord, do I need to tell my mortgage lender, and what insurances do I need?

    Yes, you will need to get permission from your mortgage lender before you can rent out your property and there may be some special conditions given. You will need landlord insurance for the property and we recommend all landlords have rent guarantee insurance to protect yourself against loss of rent.

  • Will I need to pay tax on rental income as a landlord?

    Landlords can be liable to pay tax on their rental income irrespective of whether they live overseas or in the UK. More information can be found on HMRC’s website.

  • Can I charge more if a tenant has a pet?

    Since the tenant fee ban came into force in 2019, landlords and agents are no longer able to charge more than 5 weeks’ worth of rent for a deposit. If you are going to allow tenants to have a pet, you can charge

    a higher rent but we feel this must be a fair and reasonable amount.

  • What certificates does my property need?

    A Gas Safety Record (GSR) is needed when there is a gas supply in a property. All gas appliances, pipes and flues will be checked. These need to be completed every 12 months.

    An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) needs to be competed every 5 years. You will also need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before marketing for let or for sale, and this lasts for 5 years. The energy rating must be a minimum E rating in order to rent it.

    Portable appliance testing (PAT) must be carried out on each portable appliance.

  • Why should I use a managing agent and how do I know which one to choose?

    Choosing to have a managing agent allows you to relax and enjoy the benefits of your investment. It will also create a professional distance between you and the tenancy and means you will avoid dealing with the bad parts, such as rent arrears and deposit disputes. You should choose the agent you feel most comfortable with. They should have good local knowledge and experience is important. Ask for recommendations and check recent reviews on Google and Facebook.

  • How often can my agent increase my rent?

    Your rent increases will depend on your contract, but they are usually made every 12 months through a Section 13 notice.

  • Can I enter my property during the tenancy?

    You will need to give the tenant appropriate notice before you enter the property, and they will need to give consent.

  • Why should I have an inventory?

    An inventory is a very detailed list of contents and a guide to the condition of a property. We highly recommend that each tenancy starts with an inventory as it is essential if you are looking to make any claims from the deposit at the end of the tenancy. You may feel that you do not need one if the property is unfurnished but it also includes features which are integral to the property, such as doors, walls, floors, windows, kitchen units, bathroom sanitaryware and gardens.

  • What happens to my tenant’s deposit?

    Landlords and letting agents are required to register tenants’ deposits with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Here at Smeaton Homes, we use the Deposit Protection Service (DPS).

  • How do I check that my furniture is compliant?

    All furniture that is left in a rental property must comply with furniture and furnishings regulations. All compliant furniture must have standard labels in a prominent position. This is to reduce the risk of fire within the property.

  • What references do I need to do on my tenants?

    As an agent, we always complete credit checks, income references and previous landlord references on every applicant over the age of 18. We also complete income and credit checks on guarantors if applicable. If you are planning on having rent guarantee insurance, your tenants must pass referencing or have a guarantor that passes referencing. A Right to Rent check also needs to be completed on tenants. This is a scheme which helps to make sure that tenants have the legal right to be here – these checks came into force in February 2016.

Renting with Smeaton Homes

  • How much rent can I afford?

    Before you start renting, you will need to work out your budget. To do this, you will need to calculate your monthly income and outgoings and how much you have left over each month. As well as rent, you will need to consider the costs involved in moving, such as storage and removal companies, deposits and internet set-up, etc.

  • What happens when I have been accepted for a property?

    At Smeaton Homes, once you are accepted for a property, we will ask you to pay a holding deposit of one week’s worth of rent, which will secure the property for you. We will then ask you to sign a consent to reference form and an offer form. Once we have these back, you will need to complete your referencing. Once references have been completed and passed, we can then pick a move-in date. We will create your tenancy documents and they will need to be signed before the tenancy start date. You will need to pay your holding deposit and first month’s rent at least 48 hours before your tenancy start date. Your holding deposit will be deducted from your first month’s rent.

  • What ID do I need to provide?

    As part of the referencing process and in order to satisfy Right to Rent legislation, we will need to check your identification to confirm that you are who you say you are. We will require a proof of residency and proof of identity for all applicants over the age of 18. We will also need some photo identification from your guarantor if you have one.

  • Do I need a guarantor?

    You will need a guarantor if you are in receipt of benefits, are unemployed, do not pass the affordability criteria or fail your credit check. You may also need a guarantor if you have never rented before. For more information, please check our Guide to Being a Guarantor information brochure.

  • What will happen to my deposit?

    Landlords and letting agents are required to register your deposit with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. You will receive details of the scheme, explaining where your deposit is held. Here at Smeaton Homes, we use the Deposit Protection Service (DPS).

  • What if I am unable to pay my rent?

    It is always your responsibility as a tenant to ensure that rent is paid on time every month. It is important to ensure that rent arrears do not build up and become unmanageable. Speak to your landlord or agent and see if you can come to an agreement or set up a payment plan as soon as possible. There are insurance policies that you can get as a tenant that will cover you against sickness and unemployment.

  • Can my landlord or agent let themselves into my rental property?

    A landlord or agent must give tenants notice before entering a property, unless it is an emergency.

  • Who is responsible for notifying the council and utility providers that I have moved in?

    Although Smeaton Homes initially notify the council and utility providers of a new tenant, it is your responsibility to set up your accounts with them and ensure your bills are paid. Meter readings are taken on the inventory and check-out but it is a good idea for you to take some too.

  • How much notice do I or my landlord need to give when leaving a property?

    This will depend on your contract. If you are in a fixed term tenancy, you are tied in for the duration of the tenancy unless there has been an agreement between the landlord and tenant. Standard notice for an AST contract after a fixed term has ended is 1 month’s notice for a tenant and 2 months’ notice for a landlord.