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Protecting the entry points to your home

Posted by: Adam Male on 9 October 2015
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October is a scary month, with all the Ghosts and Ghoulies out for Halloween. But did you know that it is also Home Security Month, and it’s important to remember that there are some sinister characters lurking in the shadows that pose a far bigger threat to your home than the odd trick or treater. 

At we are passionate about making sure that once you have found your perfect home, it is secure, and always safe from sneaky shysters. 

There are some very simple changes that you can make to your property to ensure that it is not attractive to an intruder. You want to make sure that every entry point looks like it will be difficult and dangerous to force open, making your property seem like just too much work for an opportunistic intruder.  

The main entry points to be concerned about are the front and back doors, ground floor windows and the garage. If you secure these main points, you would make it significantly harder for an intruder to force entry into your property. 


Secure your doors

The first thing to do is to make sure every door is solid. Many modern doors are hollow, and very easy to damage, or even kick through. By replacing the door with one made of solid wood, or even metal, you remove the risk of someone forcing through this barrier! When you replace your door, make sure you ensure your new one has a peephole too, it’s an inexpensive addition and it’s a huge plus for ensuring your personal safety whenever you’re at home. 

Once you have your solid door, you have to ensure that it is securely bolted. A deadbolt provides the most secure option when looking to secure your home, and if fitted properly will prevent your door from even the most aggressive assault. 


If you have a sliding glass door out onto your garden, this obviously can’t be replaced with wood or metal! An intruder is unlikely to want to smash the glass as the noise draws unwanted attention, however, some can be removed from their tracks from the outside. An additional bolt on the inside of the door will help prevent the door from sliding, and will secure it when you are not in the property.  

With solid wood and secure bolts, your doors are going to be doing a great job of keeping unwanted visitors out of your home, but there is one more thing you can do to make sure that you are doing the most you can outside your home. Clearing visual obstructions, by keeping hedges, bushes and trees trimmed, helps ensure that there are no hiding places around your property, and that anyone lurking can be seen clearly.


Be on a safety drive

As well as front and back doors, garage doors are a primary entry point for intruders, and mustn’t be forgotten when you are securing your property.


Automatic garage door openers can pose a significant risk if your garage door is older than 2004, as some models can still be opened by ‘universal’ remotes. An intruder wouldn’t have to force entry at all, simply click a button and they’re in! You should check with your garage door manufacturer whether this is an issue or not, as many offer additional safety features to counteract this risk. 

Many people also make the mistake of leaving their garage door opener in their car. If your car is stolen, the thief has instant access to your home as well – it is much safer to keep your remote on a key ring and keep it with you. 


Window of opportunity

The most obvious design flaw with your windows may not be the most obvious flaw at all! Most intruders will be reluctant to smash glass as the noise will attract unwanted attention, and possibly injure them, leaving potential evidence at a crime scene. Instead, it is preferable to force the glace out of the frame, preventing it smashing and leaving a large opening to enter through. 


The best course of action is to ensure your windows have sturdy locks and secure frames. A strong frame will make it difficult for anyone to force the glass out without attracting attention, and the frames can often be more securely locked. 

It is also wise to remember that it’s not only the windows on the ground floor that you need to be aware of. Leaving wide open windows on the first floor is an invitation for a canny intruder, who may have a set of ladders or see an easy climbing route up into your property. If your window is at the back of the property and isn’t overlooked, there’s nothing to stop an opportunistic burglar shinning up the drainpipe!’s top tips for securing your property this October

  • Always make sure your doors and windows are securely locked when you leave the property
  • Replace hollow doors with sturdy wood or metal ones
  • Ensure all doors are secured with deadlocks
  • Clear visual obstructions from your home, and ensure entry points can be seen clearly
  • Confirm that garage door cannot be opened by universal remote
  • Never leave garage door fob in the car
  • Ensure window frames are sturdy and well-maintained

Urban Q&A - EPC Exemptions

Posted by: Adam Male on 9 October 2015
Comments: 0


I'm told I need an EPC to let my property, but I thought my property was exempt... what's the deal?


Under the new Section 21 legislation that came into force on October 1st, an energy performance certificate (EPC) is a legal requirement for any landlord to provide at the start of any lease in the UK. Without this, a Gas Safety Report, and a copy of ‘How to Rent: The checklist for renting in England’, your tenancy agreement will not be legally binding.

As a general rule, your estate agent will request an EPC when they register your property, and will be able to arrange for it to be produced for you. The document will last for 10 years, and can be used multiple times.

However, there are certain properties which are exempt from the requirements, and as an owner or landlord you will not be required to supply an EPC. These include:

  • If you are not planning to sell or rent your property
  • If you are selling your property but you have reasonable grounds to believe the buyer is planning to demolish it on completion of purchase.
  • Buildings that are used as a place of worship
  • Stand-alone buildings of less than 50m2
  • Industrial sites, workshops, and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand
  • Temporary buildings with a planned time of two years or less
  • Non-residential agricultural buildings which are used in a sector covered by a national sectoral agreement on energy performance.


My building is split into flats, they don’t all need a separate EPC, do they?

If you own a whole building, which has been divided into separate units where each unit can only be marketed and sold as individual units (a house developed into flats for example), each individual property has to have its own EPC. The critical factor is whether or not each unit has a separate or shared heating system.   

If the property is split into units which have their own heating supply an EPC must be supplied for each unit based on the unit’s usage. However, provided the units are identical, this may be based on the assessment of a representative unit in the same block.

Any units with a common heating system, an EPC must be produced for each unit within the building, but it may be based on a common certificate of the entire building as a whole.


I have a multi-occupancy property – what on Earth do I do with that?

If you own a property that has been split into multiple occupancy dwellings, such as bedsits, whether you need a separate EPC per dwelling or not will depend on the type of tenancy that has been granted.

If you have a joint tenancy, which holds all of the tenants on one agreement, then this is legally no different to letting a property to a family or group of friends, so you would only need to provide one EPC for the whole dwelling.

Where individual rooms in a building are rented out on separate tenancies, and the tenants share facilities (kitchen/bathroom etc) an EPC is not required. An EPC is only required for a dwelling that is self-contained, meaning that it does not share essential facilities such as a bathroom/shower room, WC or kitchen with any other dwelling, and that it has its own entrance.

Sounds complicated! Can you help?

With the recent changes to landlord legislation, we understand that this is a confusing time. The Lettings team at all hold National Federation of Property Professionals (NFOPP) qualifications, and we are members of the Property Ombudsman Scheme, so we are more than happy to help if you have any questions!

Prime Minister promises 200,000 starter homes by 2020

Posted by: Adam Male on 7 October 2015
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In his closing speech to be made to the Conservative Party today, Prime Minister David Cameron is to announce plans for 200,000 new ‘affordable homes’ by 2020. 


The properties will be available for first-time buyers under 40, and are being made possible thanks to significant planned changes in local authority planning rules, which will allow more flexibility to the production of low cost housing.  

The rulings will state that whilst the properties will be available to first time buyers at discounted prices, they will be prevented from selling them quickly to make a fast profit under the new regulations, a plan which aims to turn ‘Generation Rent’ into ‘Generation Buy’. 

At we are on the front line when it comes to seeing the struggle real people face every day trying to reach the first step of the property ladder, and feel that the Prime Minister is taking a very positive step. 

Currently the demand for affordable homes is so great that sellers are able to name their price, resulting in a highly inflated market. The only way to stabilise the market is to introduce new, affordable stock. We are fully supportive of the Prime Minister’s plans, and we believe that relaxing the planning laws will encourage additional developments as well as starter homes, further growing the housing stock and developing the nation’s streets for the next generation. 

This is a very exciting move for the UK property market, and we at welcome the changes it will bring. 

The ‘character features, no chain and off-street parking’ are what makes it beautiful!

Posted by: Adam Male on 6 October 2015
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With estate agency only moving in One Direction, there is no surprise that the most famous Direction-er of all, Harry Styles wants to get in on the act.

Mr Style’s latest bombshell that when the band go their separate ways he plans to make his move into the property market has left fans reeling, and even his band members are a little confused.

The revelation came during a recent radio interview, although fans needn’t worry that 21-year old Styles is going anywhere fast – he may need some tuition before he is ready to take on the established agencies! His sales strategies include marketing “the little ones (properties) as ‘romantic', which means it's tiny, while 'it's cute' means it has a window," – he possibly needs to enlist the help of the song writing team behind One Direction’s string of number ones before he is let loose on unsuspecting house-hunters!

It’s not all bad news though. Mr Styles breaking into estate agency may just be the injection of pop culture that the property market needs. Anything that helps young people show an interest in getting their foot onto the property ladder has got to be a step in the right direction – for many the chance of a viewing with the heart-throb that is Mr Styles is as once-in-a-lifetime as buying your first home!

What does £202,000 buy you around the UK?

Posted by: Adam Male on 6 October 2015
Comments: 0



The Annual Halifax House Price Index has announced today that the average price of a property in the UK is £202,859. 

The figure is 8.6% higher than it was this time a year ago, with prices in the past three months (July-September) showing a 2% increase. Such a rapid spike in the average price suggests that the booming UK property market is showing no sign of slowing down, and that if you have plans to make a step onto the property market, there is no time to waste. 

But what exactly does the average price buy you in across the UK today? It is common knowledge that London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but what of the rest of the country? Is there anywhere in the UK that a bargain can still be had, or has London’s property price panic crept to the furthest reaches of the country?

At, we represent sellers across the country, and have a clear perspective on property from John O’Groats to Lands’ End, so we are perfectly placed to give you the low-down on where to get the very most for your money. And if you have to be based in the pricey South East, don’t worry – we can still help!

Home Counties

Kent, Sussex, Surrey – Commuter belt heaven! With good train links into London, many of the Home County towns are as expensive as the outer London reaches, and some arguably more picturesque. Generally, the house prices do reflect this – but there are still some bargains to be had.

A three bed terraced house in Rochester, Kent comes in under budget at £198,000 – leaving plenty of change for a state-of-the-art bike to-get you to and from the High Speed rail link, taking you into the centre of London in just 25 minutes. 

A two bed flat in central Tunbridge Wells, just a stone’s throw from the mainline station for just £168,000 would make a great investment property, with a potential rental income of around £850 a month. 

If you would rather be by the seaside, a charming sea-view apartment in Worthing, located in a striking mansion block, represents real value for money. With low annual maintenance costs and a town centre location, the property is ideal for that first hop onto the ladder at just £149,950. 


West Coast

If you don’t need to be near London, enjoy a spot of good weather and maybe the occasional scone, the property market on the West coast is particularly ‘buoyant’. 

With coastal towns catering predominantly to the tourist trades, there is a viable seasonal rental market in these areas, and plenty of properties that are ideal buy-to-let options. For £195,000 in busy Newquay, a town popular with holidaymakers, you could secure two self-contained harbour side apartments. The apartments both boast sea views, and would be able to achieve weekly rentals of around £700 in peak season. 



Just a hop over the water and into Wales, and the property market changes again. A short distance from the Brecon Beacons, £202,995 in Port Talbot affords you a four bed detached property, with more space than most house hunters would know what to do with! With four bedrooms, three reception rooms, two bathrooms, a selection of outbuildings, a chicken coop and lawns surrounding the property, you certainly wouldn’t be short of green, green grass at this home! 


The Midlands

With more and more development taking place throughout the Midlands, and HS2 planning to make the area a real transport hub linking London to the North, there is no better time to invest in property in this area. Currently, you can get your hands on a three bed semi-detached house in Birmingham, with off-street parking, and a garden, for just £159,950.


The North

If you are looking for an impressive property for an affordable price tag, look no further than Doncaster. You can secure this five bedroom, semi-detached property in Thorne, a waterside village outside Doncaster, for £139,950. The Grade Two listed property has undergone a recent sympathetic renovation, and still retains many of its original features, making this characterful property a real steal. 

If you fancy a spot of pampering up in Liverpool, why not consider a two-bed apartment with a 24-hour concierge? The property’s city centre location puts you right on the doorstep of the vibrant bar, club and restaurant scene, and when you want to relax you can chill out on the communal terrace. The property comes in a touch over the national average at £209,000, but for a property in the centre of the European Capital of Culture, we can’t argue with that!


The East 

If rolling farmland and wide open spaces are a big tick in your box, looking to the East of England is a sure way to guarantee value for money. Priced at £189,950, a three-bedroom semi-detached house backing onto open farmland will be sure to provide unbeatable views all year round, and there’s even two off-road parking spaces, just in case you decided to upgrade the family run-around to something more off-road!



Bursting with period properties, the only problem house hunters have in Scotland is deciding where to start looking! This three bed historic Grade C listed property in the heart of Linlithgow, with easy transport links to both Edinburgh and Glasgow, retains many original features, and whilst slightly over the national average at £210,000 does feature its very own Baronial Tower!

With such a breadth of properties available, whether you need a maisonette in Maidstone or a bungalow in Bangalore, our expert sales team can help you find your perfect home!