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Green Deal finance schemes

The Green Deal finance schemes launch officially today, bringing new obligations of disclosure for agents, sellers and landlords, and the conveyancing profession.
Lenders, as well as prospective purchasers and tenants, will have to be told about any Green Deal loan.

Green Deal is basically a loan towards home energy improvements (new boiler/improved insulation etc) that is repaid via the properties gas/electricity bills.

The loan is not against the householder but is against the property and remains with the property if the homeowner moves.

However, there are concerns that consumers will give the initiative the cold shoulder after it emerged that just five households have signed up to the Green Deal in the three months since the scheme went live. The newly announced interest rates range between 7.67% and 9.34%, depending on the length of the loan. There will also be a set-up charge of £63 plus an annual admin charge of £20.

Conveyancing expert Rob Hailstone, of Bold Legal, said that, contrary to belief, the loans will not appear as a charge against the property. However, after a Green Deal loan is agreed – and such arrangements could span 25 years – future purchasers and tenants will find themselves having to repay the loan through their electricity bills when they become the “bill payer for the time being”.

The Energy Act 2011 places obligations on those selling and letting out Green Deal-improved properties, including the duty to disclose key terms of the Green Deal plan. The Act also requires the acknowledgement of the buyer or tenant that they will be bound by the Green Deal plan.
If they refuse, the Green Deal plan can be cancelled but the Government has powers to chase the previous property owner for compensation. In the event of a dispute, a Green Deal ombudsman can be used for arbitration.

The EPC will have a banner at the bottom of the first page to indicate the presence of a Green Deal.
Estate agents, letting agents, auctioneers, landlords and private sellers all have duties of disclosure before first viewings that the property is subject to a Green Deal. This obligation can be met by producing the full EPC, which must have been updated with the detail of the works undertaken.
At least seven days before contracts are exchanged, buyers must be given disclosure documents spelling out the full deal. In the rental sector, future tenants will have to acknowledge and agree to accept liability for the Green Deal plan. If the original bill payer fails to give the proper disclosure, then they may have to repay the whole of the original loan plus interest.
The new owner or tenant will have 90 days to challenge whether they are responsible for repayment of the loan.
There is no proposal to establish a register of properties subject to a Green Deal plan, as the Government believes that the updated EPC, and disclosure and acknowledgement requirements will be sufficient. A new property information form (TA6) is due out in the first quarter of this year, and will include a question about the existence of a Green Deal plan.
Hailstone believes that some property owners will opt to pay off the Green Deal plan early, rather than risk complications with the sale.
Even the Property and Energy Professionals Association, which has worked with the Government on its flagship initiative, has greeted the official launch with the suggestion that consumers will look to upgrade their properties without using the Green Deal.
Stephen O’Hara, PEPA chairman, said: “Whether the majority opt to access a Green Deal loan or decide instead to fund any improvements through a different channel, it will be the uplift in the installation of  energy-saving home improvements that will be the true measure of success for this initiative.”
He said: “As fuel bills continue to rise, more consumers are likely to be looking at ways they can reduce their energy consumption in order to lower their bills. The opportunities that the Green Deal offers are vast and we hope that the Government will now invest in building wider consumer awareness of the scheme and its many benefits. “While we are unlikely to see an early surge in Green Deal loan applications, over time we expect to see more and more home owners and even tenants in rented accommodation look into the scheme and explore how it could work for them.”
A £2.5m marketing push is due to be launched this week to publicise the scheme, whose launch has been lambasted by Labour as a shambles.
The following links should prove helpful:

Courtesy of estateagenttoday.co.uk

East Preston Film Night sponsored by Cooper Adams Estate Agents presents – QUARTET


Showing: Friday 22 February 2013

Tickets on Sale from now


Venue will be the Conservative Hall, Sea Road.
Tickets only £6.00.
Doors open 7.00pm, with film starting at 7.30pm.
Ticket sales outlets Sea View Stores & Hedgers Newsagents, both in Sea Road.

At a home for retired opera singers, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.



Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

EPC rating, reports and certificates explained: If you’re selling or renting your home out, you need to make sure your home has an energy performance certificate (EPC) and EPC rating.

How much energy does your home use? Is it energy efficient? Are you eligible for certain benefit owing to a greener lifestyle?

These are the sorts of questions an energy performance certificate, or EPC, is there to answer. An EPC gives you a score relating to how much carbon you generate.

Download (PDF, 1.68MB)


Energy Performance Certificate

By law, all buildings that have been newly built, sold or rented out need an Energy Performance Certificate.

Likewise, if you’re buying or renting a property, you need to make sure you look at the Energy Performance Certificate.

The EPC, which is valid for 10 years, will give you an idea of how expensive the property will be to run, in terms of your gas and electricity bills.

It’s good to know as much as possible about your new home’s energy efficiency before you move in – it will give you a good idea the amount of money you might need to spend on the house in future, whether it’s on energy-efficient measures or on your energy bills.

It is worth noting that the EPC is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the ‘EPC Certificate’, a term which efftively translates to the ‘Energy Performance Certificate Certificate!’

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

Sample energy performance certificate

Energy Performance Certificates look similar to the EU Energy Labels you see on electrical appliances, such as fridges and washing machines.

Essentially, Energy Performance Certificates are a list of statistics about the energy efficiency of your home. They also have recommendations on where you could make improvements.

EPCs carry ratings on energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. Two readings are given – one states the level of efficiency that your home is currently achieving, the other suggests what level of efficiency your home could be achieving if you were to put energy-efficient measures in place.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): how does it work?

To simplify things the EPC is done on a sliding rating scale providing summarised ‘at a glance’ information about the energy efficiency of your home. The rating scale is colour coded and alphabetised, running from A to G:

  • A (Dark green) is highly efficient
  • G (Red) is low efficiency

Most homes appear around grade D, this is the average.

What other information does the certificate contain?

While EPCs are known by the rating scale, and the relative financial implications of that scale when it comes to selling your home, it also contains plenty of other information designed to help you make your home ‘greener’. This information includes:

  • estimates of the energy your property potentially uses;
  • carbon dioxide emissions;
  • fuel costs;
  • details of the person who carried out the assessment;
  • who to contact for complaints.

Using this information you can assess the impact of energy-saving upgrades you make when you have your home reassessed later on. These estimates will also influence your eligibility for support and payments, including the ‘Feed-in Tariff’ payments.

Contact the team at Cooper Adams for more info on EPCs 01903 770055

Why use an estate agent at all?

cooper adams east preston estate agent houseWhy use an estate agent?

Selling a home brings with it a whole host of additional costs – Stamp Duty, legal fees, Energy Performance Certificate requirements – and that’s before you even get to removal firms and carpet-fitters. With this in mind, it is always tempting to consider where money can be saved. One of the most obvious ways of doing this is, on the face of it, to try and sell your property privately rather than using an estate agent. However, this may not be as cost-effective as it may first seem.


Estate agents charge more than selling privately. So why use an estate agent?

Research has shown that it may cost you far more to try and perform the roles of an agent, both in the lost value that they may be able to get for your home as well as the time and effort spent in marketing and liaising with all of the parties concerned.


Advantages of using an estate agent
Estate agents spend all day, every day selling property and as a result have built up a vast knowledge and expertise in the whole buying and selling process. They will conduct a valuation on your property, vet enquiries, handle viewings, and negotiations on your behalf, make sure your property is marketed properly. They will strive to achieve the best possible price for your property and the best buyer, thereby avoiding disappointment and stress from less serious potential buyers.
On top of this a good estate agent will also be able to offer you plenty of advice along the way. This includes guidance on conveyancing and financial services.


Broadly, estate agents have skills in 10 specific areas;
1.  Local knowledge
2.  Valuation
3.  Advertising
4.  Buyer database
5.  Managing and conducting viewings
6.  Advice and guidance
7.  Negotiation
8.  Liaison up and down the chain
9.  Legal protection
10. “No sale, no fee”


Why use an estate agent 1 – Local Knowledge
Successful estate agents will have been in your area for many years and will understand the market instinctively. They will be aware of all of the local schools, council tax rates, new building projects and issues with refuse collection. All of these will enable them to discuss the particulars of your property with potential purchasers without you having to spend time researching and checking your facts.


Why use an estate agent 2 – Valuation
An estate agent has many enquiries every day from potential purchasers looking for properties, the agent knows what their maximum budget is and what they expect to buy. The agent’s job is always to get the best price possible for his vendors. When valuing your property there’s no point comparing to others on the market you need to know what they exactly sold for to gauge an accurate valuation(sometimes the selling price can be vastly different to the asking price). Your knowledgeable local estate agent will have experience of valuing homes in the area and will pay attention to the things that make your house so unique – its exact orientation, proximity to major roads and local access rights, for example. All of these things allow them to be more specific in terms of the value of your home than any website can be. The agent also knows what current buyers are paying, if the agent that week has many more enquiries from cash buyers looking for a certain style, the agent will know a higher price can be set (basic laws of supply and demand).


Why use an estate agent 3 – Advertising
In order to sell any home, potential buyers must know that the property is on the market.  Advertising can cost significant sums and sellers are often not well-placed to pay for this upfront. Estate agents use the commission they expect to gain from the sale of your property to advertise in some local and national press and, increasingly, internet sites such as Rightmove & Zoopla amongst many other smaller ones. Alongside knowing where to place adverts for your home, your estate agent will be able to negotiate better rates and produce the copy for the adverts professionally and quickly. For any enquiries full legally compliant details are drawn up with wide angle professional photography and floorplans; with key points highlighted gained from experience on certain aspects the buying public are looking for. Presentation is key – A good agent will produce the best photographs and descriptions to command the maximum interest as part of their overall package, never use an agent who charges extras.


Why use an estate agent 4 – Buyer database
Estate agents will have details of dozens of people who have been interested enough in the type of property you are selling to have had a look at it, then been frustrated in trying to purchase it. An agent will have a database of potential purchasers seeking properties. Estate agents will then be able to contact them by telephone, email and SMS-text and encourage them to look at your property if it is similar to that which they have looked around in the past. Of course, the more people that are competing to buy your home – rather than a few you may be able to attract yourself – the more your estate agent will be able to get the price to rise. Buyer’s first port of call is estate agents and their websites. Private sellers cannot advertise on Rightmove, Zoopla, Primelocation etc.


Why use an estate agent 5 – Managing and conducting viewings
Organising a rota of viewings, being available to show people around during the day and being dispassionate about your prized property and its decorations can be difficult for a seller. Estate agents have systems and procedures which speed these things and ensure that they occur effectively and painlessly. All enquiries from potential purchasers are vetted to make sure the buyers are genuine as possible. If a potential purchaser has just agreed a sale and they want to snap something up sometimes they take a day off work to go out looking, the estate agent with keys to your property, after notifying you at work, can whisk them round without delay. If you are busy at work you may have missed out on that sale.


Why use an estate agent 6 – Advice and guidance
People move home, on average, once every 7 years in the UK. Even those who may have moved in the last 2 years will find that some legal requirements have changed and other processes need additional attention. Estate agents handle hundreds of home moves a year and are trained to guide sellers through the tricky nature of the selling process, potentially saving thousands of pounds further down the line.


Why use an estate agent 7 – Negotiation
Anyone who has attempted to haggle with an experienced salesperson over buying goods can understand that negotiation is a skill in itself. In order to achieve the best price for your home, being represented by someone trained and experienced in negotiating techniques can literally add thousands of pounds to your bank balance. With the agents expert marketing reaching many more buyers than a private advert the agent will most often achieve a far higher price than a private sale, easily making more for the seller than their fee. The agent’s negotiating skills come in to play again if your buyer’s survey uncovers expensive problems that may put them off proceeding with the purchase. The agent will always know the right buttons to push and how to carefully steer a purchaser from offer stage to exchange of contracts.


Why use an estate agent 8 – Liaison up and down the moving chain
Once of the most challenging aspects of moving home is ensuring that the “chain” – the series of interlocking transactions that need to take place on other homes to enable yours to succeed – continues to function. This is a key role that the estate agent performs and one which can be significantly more stressful for a participant in the process, than for an independent representative such as an estate agent. The agent will verify your buyers financial position and get proof of this as well as a complete picture of their sale and all transactions speaking to solicitors and other agents right back down the chain. The agent will check this on a regular basis up and down the chain making sure any delays are dealt with promptly. This is paramount as every extra link in the chain multiplys the risk of the whole chain breaking, it only takes one person in the chain to lose financial stability, have a bad survey, change their mind or even get fed up waiting to break the whole chain. If the chain is not regularly checked the process will take a lot longer as solicitors are paid for their work whether the sale exchanges contacts or not. Solicitors are paid to process the legal work not to chase the chain, they are paid whether the sale completes or falls through.   


Why use an estate agent 9 – Potential legal protection
Advertising property for sale comes under the auspices of a number of Acts of Parliament, including the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991. Estate agent professionals are trained to ensure that they do not fall foul of these laws, whereas the unwitting private seller might.
For more regulations please see http://blog.cooper-adams.com/category/regulation/


Why use an estate agent 10 – “No sale, no fee”
It’s easy to forget that estate agency is possibly the ultimate form of what the legal industry calls “no win, no fee” – if the estate agent does not sell your home then they do not recoup a penny of the money they have spent on valuing, photography, printing, office overheads, newspaper and internet advertising, telephone calls,  viewings, or legal checks. Aside from yourself, there is no one rooting harder for your property to be sold at the highest price possible than your estate agent. Aside from all of the other assistance they perform above, this is probably the single most valuable element of your relationship when the process is underway in earnest. Cooper Adams do not charge one single penny until completion where as their competitors often charge extra for photography.
Research that shows 80% of those who try to sell privately eventually end up using an estate agent anyway, as they cannot get the price or the interest that they had hoped. It’s no surprise, then, to hear that very few people try and sell privately a second time as the first can be so traumatic.

This is not an exhaustive list of reasons why to use an agent as there are many more but you will agree a professional, experienced, well recommended estate agent should remove most of the stress and gain a higher selling price for you when you are ready to make that move.

If you need an local expert to get you the best price with the best service call Cooper Adams Estate Agents today 01903 770055

Revised EPC regulations

EPCGRAPH-183-timberleysFrom today 9 January 2013, when a building or building unit is offered for sale or rent, the asset rating of the building in the EPC must be stated in commercial media where one is available.

“This would include, but is not restricted to, newspapers and magazines, written material produced by the seller, landlord or estate or letting agent that describes the building being offered for sale or rent or the internet. This will increase transparency and provide the public with information about the energy efficiency of the building.”

The changes require all estate and letting agents to show the EPC ratings in property particulars, advertising and internet listings. However, graphs will no longer be mandatory and the requirement to attach the first page of the EPC is dropped. Listed buildings will be exempt from having to have EPCs.

Meanwhile, public buildings over 500 sq metres in size will now be required to have a DEC, but only updated every ten years. Commercial buildings frequently visited by members of the public and which are over 500 sq metres will be required to display an EPC if they already have one.

PEPA also confirmed that listed buildings are no longer required to have an EPC when they are put up for sale or rent.


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