Berkeleys comments on the Lettings Agent fee ban announced in the Autumn Statement.

Waking up to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement announcing that Letting Agents fees will be banned took us all by surprise.

“Should we be surprised though? Probably not,” suggests James Tiller, Head of Berkeleys Lettings in Dorset, “The prospect of banning letting agents fees to tenants has been on the horizon for a while and even in June this year a bill was introduced to Parliament with the prospect of banning fees but was rejected by the house.”

The private rented property sector has taken a beating on several issues over the last few years, with a number of changes (not all bad) having had to be adapted to by agents and landlords. This is just the next in line.


With all the talk about what tenants actually pay for it may be worth explaining what actually goes into a ‘Lettings Agents’ fee as these are often quite misunderstood. Contrary to what most people think, ‘credit checks’ only form part of what a tenant pays for, good agents will also carry out employment and previous landlord checks, these do not just happen, an agent may need to spend considerable time processing these checks, so that they can present an applicant to a potential landlord whilst trying to minimise any risk in renting to a high risk tenant. It is all part of the due diligence process.

Negotiating an agreement, whether it is a term or a rent reduction is something that can benefit both parties, this is also a big part of what we do, and what the tenant is paying the agent to do. Similarly the tenants’ contribution towards the cost of preparing the tenancy paperwork.

Also, the fees paid act as a commitment from the tenant to rent a property, without that commitment from a tenant they could in theory walk away from a deal at the last minute leaving an unnecessary void period, which could cost the potential landlord a couple of weeks of high value rent at the minimum.

It became a legal requirement for agents to clearly display what their fees are both online and in their premises and you will find that good agents having been doing this without question since this became a requirement in May 2015. It shows the tenant (and landlord) what they are paying for in an open and transparent way.

So, you can see that a lot of work goes into setting up a deal to let a premium property to a trustworthy tenant, and it is important that these high standards are maintained. Here are just some of the luxury lifestyle lettings we have negotiated and secured for our clients in 2016.


At Berkeleys, several of our lettings team are ARLA members, and we will therefore be following the consultation period with keen interest, and will look to update all of our customers about how this may affect them when information becomes available. This will not be immediate and it may cause a period of ‘holding out’ for the time being as we await news. This in turn could also cause unpredictability as to how the market may change in the coming months.

Until we know a definitive date as to when these changes will happen, it will be difficult to know how exactly matters will pan out, however one thing for sure: here at Berkeleys, it will be business as usual, and when the changes do come in we will be prepared and we will continue to offer a premium quality lettings service to all of our customers, both landlords or tenants.

How to choose Estate Agents in Canford Cliffs, BH13

If you are searching for estate agents in Canford Cliffs, BH13 in Poole, Dorset to sell a house, flat, bungalow or waterside apartment, how do you select the best partner to sell your property?

There are many estate agents in Canford Cliffs. If you are thinking of selling your home in the New Year, some good solid up front research and planning will make for a successful sale in the future. The team at Berkeleys Estate Agents has created this helpful checklist of the 10 ultimate questions all home-owners should consider before making a final selection of property agent to sell your home.

Estate Agents In BH13

Is your estate agent reputable, trusted and financially stable?
It is an important question to ask, particularly in these times of economic uncertainty. Good agency provenance coupled with solid customer references can underpin the most reliable choice of partner. Local solicitors, banks and conveyance firms all make good sources of referrals too.

How long has your estate agent been established in the local area?
A long established estate agent will bring all the benefits of depth of local knowledge, great references and a deep database of potential buyers. Berkeleys was established in 1991. We have over 23 years of local service and knowledge.

Is the estate agent a brand I have heard of?
There is no doubt that selling your home falls into the category of a high value transaction. Choosing to work with a brand that is well-known reduces risks. Ask yourself which local estate agents in Canford Cliffs are recognisable, high profile and pro-active near to you.

Are they registered with any professional property associations?
An estate agent in Canford Cliffs with professional accreditations such as RICS, NAEA, OFT or The Property Ombudsman will be adhering to an industry recognised code of conduct. Look for these accreditations within your agency short-list.

If you are selling, how far do they reach to attract buyers?
Fact. A local estate agent with national and international reach will deliver more interested buyers for your property. Find out whether they are part of a wider group, or belong to a national network like the Guild of Professional Estate Agents, which delivers 750 office links nationwide. Our London office is in Park Lane and we are part of the family with offices in Notting Hill, London too.

Is the estate agent successfully selling in your area?
Success breeds success. If a property agent can show you examples of sold properties in your area, they are also showing you they deliver reliable home valuations and a source of more like-minded potential buyers for your home.

Are they knowledgeable, with solid local research and data?
It’s reassuring to see examples of sold house prices from local property agents, but have you seen more? Information on average house prices, seasonal trends, area values and price fluctuations are helpful insights. This knowledge is invaluable to clients selling and buying because it delivers the confident basis from which offers then follow. Here at Berkeleys we publish property data on our website including all local sold house price data. Search here for BH13 sold house price data now.

Will your property be in good company?
Property agents tend to specialise in different price segments of the market.  Place the sale of your property with an agency working in the same price bracket to your home value. In this way, they will deliver more relevant buyers and an outstanding depth of knowledge in the specific market sector.

How will they market your property?
Look in-depth at examples of the marketing undertaken to sell a property. Your checklist should include traditional marketing examples like beautiful property particulars and photography, local property magazine advertising, property portal listings and direct mail. Today, however, exceptional property marketing needs to live and breathe on the internet. By that we mean:- website content, online property portals, press coverage and editorial, digital marketing and social media. Look for examples of what the industry calls “integrated marketing and communications.” It’s what gets exceptional results in this digital day and age.

Ask yourself, ‘can we work together’?
Finally, after weighing up your fact-based arguments – the I.Q. of the process – don’t forget to add a little E.Q. Building a rapport with your property agent will make the whole experience of selling a good one. Select a partner who you feel you will enjoy working with. After all, there will be plenty of communication to follow, so you want to enjoy the journey.

Have you have answered yes to all these questions regarding estate agents in Canford Cliffs? Then you can reassure yourself you are making the right choice with peace of mind. Go ahead. You are ready for 2015.

Spring Property: ‘A Winter’s Tale’…over yet, now it is ‘As you like it’… in Poole, Dorset.

Wind water, rain and pestilence. Roofs blown off; trees falling on to cars, roads and houses; Shore Road regularly closed to traffic, as the waves pounded and then flooded over the harbour wall. But Sandbanks / BH13 and BH14 have survived another Winter’s Tale and are now beginning to dust off the storm shutters in preparation for a different sort of onslaught …from tourists and developers alike.

Bournemouth Bay

 There is a fresh air of confidence about the place (As You Like It !) – even some of the new developments, often disappointing in architectural style and quality of build, have been sold and the developers are again making their presence felt in the market buying more plots. (note: one or two do genuinely shine through.) Sales volumes (the total value of property sold – at prices greater than £200,000 in BH13 and BH14 only) in both Quarters 3 and 4 2013 were nearly 50% ahead of the same figures recorded for 2012. Better still, while activity is spread across the board, it is concentrated in the broad, influential £200,000 – sub-£1 million market. The second half of last year saw sales above £2 million up from £27m to £29m (from 8 in 2012 to 11 units in 2013) and those between £1m and £2m went up by nearly 20% from £55m to £65m (from 26 units in 2012 to 37 units last year). So, the lower than average percentage increases in those top-end markets must point to there having been an even more significant rise in the more “mortgage-sensitive” market beneath £1 million.
It really is a much more vibrant market, with the return of the “domino effect” throughout the area, a feature of a healthy market – as one property sells, another local buyer fills the void – the Midsummer Nights’ Dream.

L1000465Of course, while the market as a whole still has its fair share of international and out-of-area buyers, second home owners and others, the characteristic interest from of London buyers – often prevalent at this time of year – has been somewhat tempered so far by the lack of enthusiasm to venture out and (King) Lear – because of the recent spate of foul weather. However, that trend is now correcting itself, the sun is shining again and our buyers register is growing consistently – there is strong, evident demand for family homes in the £600,000 to £1.5 million segment, as well as at the top end … and an acute shortage of stock priced for sale.

Canford Cliffs April 071

Indeed, the main issue for sellers at this juncture is the shortage of saleable stock; exacerbated, as usual, by the local property agents creating Much Ado About Nothing – into the delusion of unjustifiably high price expectations – and then fail to materialise.
We see vendors being manipulated into additional, unwarranted fee extortion, or being cajoled into accepting offers from buyers whose own property sale is decidedly rocky, if not suspect. Often, there is no real prospect of a genuine sale.

Roll on the regulation of estate agents which successive governments have promised but so far failed to deliver.

This is a market in which the cautious and wise will prosper …and the foolhardy will not – the possibility of interest rate rises is an awful spectre, especially given the high levels of debt and gearing locally. Over-pricing and the consequent delay to achieving a genuine sale could prove disastrous. Some clouds still hover ominously – the election in May 2015; UKIP – Impact on the Tory vote ? Will Clegg align the Lib Dems with Miliband? Mansion Tax? Is the recovery stable and consistent?
There is a good market in BH13; and it is active. Properties are selling – provided pricing is sensible. Wise sellers will heed the message and curb their greed. Caveat emptor – the buyers’ motto. Ne’er has there been better advice for sellers too. Make the wrong choice of agent and it’ll be a case of Love’s Labours Lost !

This article appears in full in the Spring 2014 edition of “Pines and Chines”, the magazine of the Branksome Park, Canford Cliffs and District Residents Association.


Relocate to the South Coast: Poole Harbour makes a great place to live

Moving out of London? Searching for a new area to move to? With a wide choice of properties for sale, living beside Poole Harbour offers an invigorating lifestyle for all.

Homes located on the waterside grow in popularity and value by the year. Poole Harbour is an area of approximately 36 square kilometres in Dorset and it is claimed to be the largest natural harbour in Europe. Nine islands sit within the harbour, the largest of which is Brownsea Island.

The overriding allure of the area has to be the spectacular sea of boats which live on the water and provide a perpetual calendar of entertainment. It is said that you can find a boat for all seasons in these waters. In Poole Quay, for example, residents enjoy spectacular views of the north side of the harbour. Poole is a busy fishing port with fishing vessels delivering a fresh catch daily.Poole Quay, Dorset

The quay seascape merges gritty waterside industry with sleek pleasure-boat cruising.

Poole Quay

A number of passenger pleasure boats offer the opportunity to explore the harbour and beyond to the Jurassic coast of Dorset.

Poole Quay 089

Sunseeker, the International luxury yacht manufacturers, is based in Poole Harbour. Local residents enjoy watching super-yachts in production, on the water and moored along the quay all year round. Owners experience the ultimate pleasure cruise.

Poole Quay 069

Passenger ferries on the way to the Channel Islands and France leave Poole Harbour daily during the summer season. Living here offers you easy access to France through all the seasons, without heading to Heathrow or Kings Cross first.Poole Ferries

If you are searching for property that is ideally located to enjoy the best of the harbour, look in the specific areas of Poole Quay, Poole Park, Harbourside Park, Whitecliff, Lilliput, Evening Hill and Sandbanks. These areas hug the perimeter of the harbour and offer, in Berkeleys opinion, the best waterside living options in Dorset.


Lifestyle Homes to Rent in Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset

Berkeleys Lettings is seeing growing demand for long term lifestyle renting in Poole, Dorset. Already a notable trend in the lettings market, as more people opt to rent rather than buy, savvy tenants now search for properties to rent which offer further added value by merging attractive lifestyle factors within easy reach of a top sports and social calendar.

Dune Crest 12

In addition to the key criteria of what makes a great coastal rental property, we now see ‘proximity to the local social calendar’ as an emerging request. In popular areas along the Poole coastline like Sandbanks and Poole Harbour, criteria such as beachfront proximity, sea views, access to water-sports, private parking and outside space are typical requests from our lifestyle tenants.

However, lifestyle tenants now recognise the added benefit of choosing a home which is located close to where top sports and social events take place. Appealing to all the family, and specifically teenagers, prospective tenants also know that planning ahead for the year is critical to taking full advantage of the calendar.

Berkeleys has a luxury apartment currently available to rent in Sandbanks, Poole which is a great example. Located right on the beachfront facing Poole Bay and Old Harry Rocks, Studland, residents can enjoy some of the best vantage points for this year’s top sport and social events. It is a short beachfront walk to the 2014 British Beach Polo Championships.”

Dune Crest 8

What’s more, the Sandbanks calendar lists many top sporting and after-party events on offer this year:

  • May 24th – 26th 2014 – Poole Sailing Regatta, Poole Harbour/Poole Bay and Regatta Social Programme
  • July 5th – 6th 2014 – Sandbanks Beach Volleyball Festival
  • July 11-12th 2014 – The 2014 British Beach Polo Championships, Sandbanks and Beach Polo after-party (tickets on sale now)
  • July 23rd – August 8th – Brownsea Island/National Trust summer open air theatre: Henry IV – (tickets on sale from Feb 1st)
  • August 2nd  – 9th – Cowes Sailing Week (sail from Poole to access daily events)
  • Competitive sailing events taking place across Poole Bay throughout August – see individual local sailing club schedules.

Tickets sell out fast to these highly sought after events, and so the secret to ensuring access to the best events is to plan early. Opting for a long term rental solution, whether for holiday use only or full time use, enables you to tap into events throughout the year. The benefit of being able to walk rather than drive lends yet further appeal.

Canford Cliffs Estate Agent predictions for the local property market in 2014

Winter in Canford Cliffs, Poole, Dorset has arrived, although we are yet to see a magical snow-scene this year, as pictured below.  In this blog we consider what 2014 holds for property, as seen by the local property experts. The local property market is beginning to move and you should consider your options soon if you are thinking of buying or selling in this beautiful part of coastal Dorset.

Xmas 8

To set the scene, there are just under 2,000 homes in Canford Cliffs and last year (September figures are in from the Land Registry), 58 of them have changed hands – that’s just under 3%; low historically but, interestingly, the number of higher value transactions is increasing and the “domino effect” of consequential moves within the area, (where local buyers jump on the opportunity to pick up a house they’ve had their eyes on, following a sale) is becoming more apparent once more. Something has shifted – and the pundits are probably right in claiming that the financing available at the bottom end of the market is gradually unlocking the logjam which has stifled the middle and upper markets.

Canford Cliffs is primarily a family and retiree’s residential market. Convenience for shopping, access to the beaches, peace and quiet and the provision of services – schools, clubs and transport – are the watchwords for buyers. You will find (November 2013) apartments for sale from £160,000 to £2.5 million and houses from c. £500,000 up to grand mansions of nearly £4 million. So, there’s a large choice, depending of course upon your budget and taste, whether that is for a Saunders bungalow, of which there are still several or a contemporary super-home, of which there are a few, as well as potential sites for them.

This is the time of year when people start researching what they might want to achieve within the next 12 months – have the family finally really fled the nest? do we need to change schools? will I need to change my job? retire? downsize? should we go for single-level living (bungalow of flat)? It’s important when to move; should we improve the kitchen / bathroom before we market? should we agree to buy something before putting our own on the market ? should we move into rental while searching, having once sold ? and that’s before even considering the dynamics of the property market – will it continue ever upwards or will politically inspired jitters take hold as the election timetable draws nearer ? and that’s all before facing up to the costs of such a move – legal fees, estate agent fees , and even worse than that Stamp Duty for buyers.

The table below shows average price decreases (notable for houses rather than apartments) that are indicative of more local market activity generally. In the £700,000 plus price band, the number of flats for sale is increasing, but the number of houses for sale is declining, making it harder for families to find the right home.

Canford Cliffs House Price Data 2013

Canford Cliffs Chart 2013

It’s not just objective advice that’s needed when thinking about buying or selling a home, as well as the “helping hand”. You need to trust your advisors; to feel that they know what they are talking about and not just giving you second-hand, potted (or potty!) advice. The earlier Berkeleys can encourage you to talk to us, the better we’ll be able to assist – we have the information and the experience. Just call us.

In 2013, Berkeleys achieved many extremely successful sales for clients in Lawrence Drive, Cliff Drive, Martello Park and Haven Road, Canford Cliffs to name but a few.

Canford Cliffs Chart 2013 2

If you choose to sell your home through Berkeleys this year, once we are appointed, we’ll take care of matters. We advertise extensively locally and we market nationally, as well as on all the usual internet property portals. That really is what is needed – exposure to as wide an audience as possible. We put in real effort and we don’t just sit back, relax and wait for buyers, once we’ve got your instructions. We’ve had considerable success with both national and international press and PR in digital media.

If you are planning to let or rent in the New Year, it is also timely to mention that we have established a premium lettings and management service from our Haven Road office. Premium long term lettings are a growing market sector, and Berkeleys now offers a lettings and property management service across coastal Poole, Dorset.

The team here, led by Pippa Sole, our Branch Partner, would be delighted to come and see you to discuss your next move. So call us soon let us help you make your next move a successful one.

© Berkeleys 2014