25th Annual Charity Golf Day

An intrepid team from Paul Carr Estate Agents took part in the 25th Annual Charity Golf Day, organised by Walsall Saddlers Rotary Club, on Monday 24th April.

Held at the Walsall Golf Club, the team were one of 24 taking part in the event. Over £2,500 was raised on the day and this will be divided between projects including small local needy good causes and St Giles Hospice.

St Giles Hospice was chosen as the golf club’s captain’s charity for this year, and is also the chosen charity of Paul Carr Estate Agents.

Pictured, left to right, are director Mark Bentley, Mike Hart, Chris Wragg and director Ashley Gray.
Pictured, left to right, are director Mark Bentley, Mike Hart, Chris Wragg and director Ashley Gray.

Ashley, who is a member of the Walsall Saddlers Rotary Club, said:

Paul Carr Estate Agents have a long association with Rotary and an event like this helps both our Company and Rotarians give something back to our local community.

For more details on the work the Walsall Saddlers Rotary Club is involved in and the support St Giles Hospice offer to the community, please check out their Facebook pages. Many thanks to Walsall Golf Club for hosting the day.

Property Jargon A-Z: Part One

The property world is full of words and expressions that may be unfamiliar to anyone who is not regularly buying, selling, letting or renting a home.

In the first part of an occasional series, this guide will help to shed light on what they all mean.

Absent Landlord
A landlord described as absent is one who cannot be contacted. If the lessees wish to create a Right To Manage Company but are unable to contact the landlord, they are free to make a legal application to acquire the right to manage.

The document you need to sign when accepting a lender’s mortgage offer.

Administration Fee
A payment which is charged to cover the costs of processing a property rental application. This is paid by the tenant and will be taken from the initial monies once the tenancy starts.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The total cost of a loan, taking into account interest charges, arrangement fees and other costs, shown as a percentage.

Agreement Fee
A payment which is charged to cover the costs of drawing up a tenancy agreement. This is usually shared between the landlord and tenant.

ARLA Propertymark
The Association of Residential Letting Agents, the UK’s foremost professional body for letting agents.

Arrangement Fees
These are fees charged by a mortgage lender or broker to arrange a loan.

To transfer the right or interest in a property from one person to another.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
A widely used rental agreement where the tenant is an individual and net rent does not exceed £25,000 a year. It covers a fixed period, so both parties know the date the property will be vacated.

Base Rate
The rate of interest which the Bank of England charges for lending to other banks. These banks then use it as a benchmark for the interest rates they charge when lending money to consumers, often stipulating an interest rate X% above the base rate.

Break Clause
A clause sometimes agreed between the landlord and tenant to be inserted in a fixed term agreement, typically if the initial fixed term is for a year or more. A break clause will usually allow either landlord or tenant to give written notice after a particular date or period of the tenancy in order to end the tenancy earlier than the original fixed term.

Bridging Loan
A temporary short-term loan enabling someone to purchase a property before selling his or her existing property.

Building Inspection/Structural Survey
A report on the physical condition of a property. The surveyor will look at all accessible parts of the property and give a written report on defects or issues affecting it. See also HomeBuyer Report. Not to be confused with a mortgage valuation.

Capital, also known as equity, is an asset that is less liquid than cash. It represents the amount of money you have put into a property, investment or deposit.

A chain is formed when several property sales and purchases are inter-dependent. A chain can be complicated but a good estate agent will be able to help keep it moving.

The point at which the sale of the property is concluded and the buyer receives the keys.

Completion Statement
A document which your solicitor or conveyancer will provide as a record of all the financial transactions and costs.

Conditions of Sale
The specific items in a sale contract that govern the rights of the buyer and the duties of the seller.

The legal document detailing the agreement of terms between the seller and buyer. When a sale is agreed, a draft contract is sent to the buyer by the seller’s legal representative and at exchange of contracts both parties are bound to a date on which to complete the sale.

Contract Race
Where two or more purchasers are given a draft contract and the first one to exchange contracts buys the property.

A representative, solicitor or licensed conveyancer, who deals with the legal aspects of buying or selling a property. The buyer and seller will each appoint their own conveyancer.

The legal process of transferring the ownership of a property.

Rules governing the property in its title deeds or lease.

Credit Search References
References requested for a tenant applying to take up rented accommodation. Many agents and individual landlords use external companies who will contact the applicant’s employer, landlord and check the tenant’s credit history, providing a report on their financial suitability to rent.

The legal documents that prove the ownership of the property.

When buying: The amount of money paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts, usually 10% of the purchase price.

When renting: A monetary sum held by the landlord or agent for security against damage to a property or a breach of the tenancy terms. This is usually the equivalent to six weeks’ rent but may vary. If the deposit is for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), then it must be protected by one of the approved tenancy deposit protection schemes.

Items that have been damaged during a tenancy. The tenant is usually responsible for the cost of repair or replacement.

The items in addition to legal fees in conveyancing. These may include Stamp Duty Land Tax, Land Registry fees, search fees, mortgage redemption costs and any other expenses. All conveyancers should be able to estimate the likely level of disbursements before the transaction commences.

Draft Contract
The initial version of the contract. This may be amended during the course of the sale but becomes final at the point of exchange of contracts.

What does your coffee order say about you?

You may be spending your Bank Holiday out and about and could find yourself stopping off at your favourite coffee shop for a quick fix.

The cappuccino is apparently now out of fashion, so what does your choice from the ever expanding menu say about you? Have a read and let us know in the comments.

Skinny Latte
The default choice of the overworked and harassed mum/working mother, it has been called the Diet Coke of the coffee world. It gives a little hit of caffeine with a nice warm blanket of milk but scientific evidence now suggests that full fat milk is less fattening than the skimmed variety. Oh, the horrors!

Regular Latte
Are you a well-respected man in middle management, who is not expected to rise any higher up the management ladder? Then you are probably drinking this. You may have tried a flavoured syrup once and decided that you prefer it plain!

Soya Flat White
If you think you suffer from any of the modern afflictions of lactose-intolerant, gluten-avoiding or obsessive healthy eating, this is your go-to choice. If you did actually have any of those conditions, a black coffee would be much better for you.

Almond milk Flat White
Like the soya flat white drinker, you are doing this for your own health. In reality, you are doing it for Instagram. You may also be a yoga devotee and are planning your own range of yoga wear and a cookbook!

Instant coffee
The unbelievable horror of finding yourself somewhere without a proper coffee machine and all they offer you is instant coffee. Calm down, you are just in a greasy spoon or at a playgroup coffee morning. Your name will be written on the styrofoam cup in biro. Just cross your fingers it is Gold Blend (or pray for Azera) and not the supermarket saver version!

Fruit Frappuccino – or any other cold, blended concoction
Only to be drunk by impressionable kids, who think they are being sophisticated. If it is blazing hot outside, this is not going to cool you down, you will just end up with melted goo all over your lovely curated summer outfit when the lid inevitably leaks.

Double Espresso
The coffee drinkers drink. You are sophisticated and have obviously spent too much time in Italy.

Single-estate drip-filtered
If you have money to burn and the time to wait, this is taking coffee to the heights of its purity. Just take the hipster servers attitude in your stride, you know what you want and you will enjoy spending so much to get it.

Cold-pressed … with butter
Yes, that does say with butter. This is now a thing. Hopefully our ancestors will not judge us too much when they look back with nostalgia at our quirky old habits.

People say, why bother – what is coffee without the caffeine? You say, I went to decaff when I was pregnant/on a caffeine reduction/for health reasons* and have never gone back. It still means I can enjoy the plethora of choices and feel like I still fit in …
* delete as appropriate

You can’t blame some people for being flummoxed by the standard coffee shop menu. That feeling of standing there with the words swimming before your eyes when all you want to say is, I want a coffee, a cup of coffee, no bells or whistles and definitely no butter!

Of course, plain old coffee ceased to exist in about 2003. Just ask for a white filter coffee or an Americano with room for milk.

Enjoy your Bank Holiday, there is another one in four weeks. You may have decided on what you want from the menu by then!

Birmingham retains its crown for regional start-up creation

Birmingham is the most entrepreneurial UK city outside of London, according to data recently released.

The second city has retained its position as the number one regional destination for start-ups for four consecutive years.

The figures from Companies House show that the number of new businesses starting in Birmingham is almost double that of Manchester, with Glasgow in third place.

Birmingham has a young and talented workforce and an infrastructure that fosters a culture of innovation.

Support on offer to start-ups in Birmingham include the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme and Serendip Smart City Incubator at Innovation Birmingham Campus. There are also venture capital and loans and local community networks.

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Growth Hub provides a single point of contact for business support facilities across the region and the city centre’s Enterprise Zone and economic zones also offer incentives that many start-ups take advantage of, such as rates relief.

Paul Carr Estate Agents are the largest independent estate agent in the West Midlands. Our residential sales department is complemented with our lettings hub.

The lettings hub has a dedicated team that successfully manages properties for landlords, both single landlords or those with a portfolio, and offers a service to fulfil all of our clients’ needs.

If you are looking to relocate to Birmingham, contact one of our Residential Lettings team to find out about our with you every step of the way service and how we can assist you in finding your new rental property.

What do you think is Birmingham’s greatest invention?

As the second city bids to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, we look at what makes Brummies proud to call Birmingham their home.

A poll by a news talk radio station has revealed surprising results about what locals think is Birmingham’s greatest invention. Don’t forget, there is a long list people could choose from but maybe the results show we think with our stomach more than we thought!

More than a third of people polled, 36% to be precise, thought that Cadbury’s chocolate was the city’s greatest invention. Making it the most popular choice on the poll – and in the 18-24 age range, 52% chose Cadbury’s!

Are you surprised? When the steam engine only comes in at 19%, it seems like we may be losing the title of The Workshop of the World.

The Cadbury family did however play a major part in the business heritage and their philanthropic acts helped build Birmingham. The Cadbury manufacturing business was established in 1831 and had its first warehouse in Crooked Lane. By the 1900’s, more than 2,200 people were employed at the Bournville site.

Other results from the survey showed that almost half (49%) of residents stated that Birmingham’s open spaces and parks are what they loved about living in the city, followed by the transport links and, unsurprisingly, the shopping.

Did you know that Birmingham has more open space than any other European city, with 571 parks covering 14 square miles. And we haven’t even mentioned the canals … !

The least liked? Well that would be the accent and the sports teams. With Aston Villa being relegated last year, that means that the 2016-2017 season is the first one that the team are playing outside the Premier League since its inception in 1992-93.

If you are looking to relocate to the West Midlands, or are already a proud resident but are looking to move, Paul Carr Lettings are part of the largest independent estate agents in the West Midlands.

Contact our Residential Lettings team to find out about our with you every step of the way service and how we are committed to making the letting process as stress free as possible.

Can you make yourself happier by doing a micro-clean?

If the thought of spring cleaning is weighing heavily on your mind, how about finding time to do a micro-clean and feel the benefits instantly?

The theory is quite simple, rather than spending hours tearing your hair out trying to spring clean everywhere, set aside some time to do an overall review.

Focus on things you can see, not things hidden in cupboards, and as the results are so visible, the task doesn’t seem so daunting.

Do you see anything that isn’t actually yours? Had a party and still have all the plates from your friends’ bringing food? An easy win here, just send them back where they came from and hey presto – clean and tidy!

Living Room
Do you have to remove more cushions and throws from the sofa than there is even room for just so you can sit down? Time for an edit. Pack the majority away in a vacuum bag and then you can rotate using them as the season, or your mood, changes.

Dining Room
Scented candles one of your downfalls? How about treating yourself to a relaxing bath (when you have finished tidying of course) and light those nearly gone or half burnt-out candles. You can then carefully clean out the pretty holders with some boiling water and use them to store make-up brushes in your newly tidy bathroom.

Talking of bathrooms, if you are short on storage space, and who isn’t with the amount of products most of us accumulate but rarely use, remove anything that you don’t use on a daily basis and put the rest out of sight.

Is your bedroom full of sentimental and personal trinkets? Grab a nice wooden tray – there may already be one around somewhere! – and pile in all those loose bits and bobs.

Deciding whether to throw things away, donate them or pack them away is easier in small batches than going through a whole room at a time. And before you know it, little and often, the back of a spring clean has been broken! Happy de-cluttering.

Birmingham voted a better place to live than Rome, LA and Dubai!

The quality of life in Birmingham has been rated better than Rome, Los Angeles and Dubai, according to a new report.

The 2017 Quality of Living Index, which is published by financial services firm Mercer, compares the quality of life in more than 200 cities across the world.

Birmingham retained its 53rd place spot and is the highest-raking English city aside from London in the list. It shares 53rd place with Glasgow, and appears higher than  Miami (68th), Prague (69th), Hong Kong (71st) and Budapest (78th).

The Scottish city of Edinburgh is the only other UK city to be placed higher than Birmingham, coming in at the 45th spot.

The study evaluates living conditions based on cultural, political and social environment, education, health, recreation and housing.

This year, Mercer produced another study about the infrastructure of a city, such as transportation and utilities, and Birmingham was ranked the highest UK city outside of London again in joint 44th place with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Adelaide and Kobe.

The top five cities in the survey were unchanged from last year and are:

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Auckland, New Zealand
4. Munich, Germany
5. Vancouver, Canada

What are your thoughts on this survey? Do you agree or disagree – and why? Let us know by sending us a comment.

If you are looking to rent in Birmingham and the surrounding areas, or are looking for a buy to let within the area, contact our Residential Lettings team and we will be with you every step of the way.

We now need to organise our fridges properly? Unpacking the shopping just got a whole lot more difficult!

Thought you knew your fridge? Think again!

A new guide by Good Housekeeping has revealed where you should be storing everything in your fridge so that you can find what you need quickly and to make sure your food doesn’t go off too quickly.

Apparently, the warmest part of the fridge is the door and should never be used for storing milk! I think someone needs to tell the fridge designers this, as why are there so many shelves in the door, sized perfectly for milk, if it is not meant to be there!

The guide runs through exactly where everything should be kept in the fridge from the top shelf to the bottom drawers.

If you fancy a spring clean of your fridge, you should be following the guidelines below:

Door shelves – These are the warmest parts of the fridge
Condiments and items containing preservatives

Upper shelves
Foods that don’t need cooking – including leftovers and cooked meats

Lower/middle shelves
Dairy – milk, butter, cheese, cream, yoghurts, etc.

Bottom shelves – These are the coldest parts of the fridge
Raw meat and fish

Vegetables, salads, herbs and fruit

Of course, there is also the age old question of where opened ketchup should go and, the answer is, yes, in the fridge!

An expert scientist has said you can keep it on a shelf or in the cupboard but only for a couple of weeks. Longer than that, and it needs to be in the fridge. You have been warned and who wants to argue with a scientist anyway?

Have fun, you may need to put a diagram on the front so you remember where everything is!

The West Midlands region is now a primary focus for UK property investors

Map of the West Midlands regionThe London housing market is continuing to slow and a growing number of property investors are now looking further afield to make far more promising capital growth on their investments.

The latest Hometrack report, released at the end of February 2017, shows that London has been overtaken by Birmingham, as well as Manchester and Liverpool, where affordability levels remain attractive to investors with yields that are simply not available anymore in London. Numerous investors are taking their money out of London and this will continue to be a growing trend in 2017.

Paul Carr Estate Agents
We are the largest independent estate agent in the West Midlands. With 19 networked sales and lettings branches, Paul Carr Estate Agents has established a reputation for quality customer service. Our ethos of being with you every step of the way remains across all disciplines within the Company and is the driving force behind every decision.

The residential sales branches are complemented with a bespoke Exclusive & Rural Homes division, which offers a tailor-made service for homes in the region of £600,000+ and properties set in village and rural locations in all price ranges.

Our lettings hub has a dedicated team that successfully manages properties for landlords, both single landlords or those with a portfolio, and offers a service to fulfil all of our clients’ needs.

Additionally, our specialised Land and New Homes division represents numerous national and local builders in the sale of their new-build properties. They also advise on the sale or purchase of land, from single to multi-plot opportunities.

If you are looking for an investment property, register your interest here and our friendly team will assist in finding the right property for your investment.

Burntwood branch emerges from its cocoon!

Our Burntwood branch has had a make-over and has emerged more beautiful than before!

Situated on Lichfield Road, the Paul Carr Estate Agents Burntwood branch has been open since August 2015 and has just undergone a fantastic make-over, both inside and out.

Our refurbished Burntwood branchSteve Wright

The existing branch team have also been joined by our new Branch Manager, Steve Wright.

Steve, pictured left, has been working within the industry for 26 years’ and brings his extensive experience to the  property market of Burntwood and the surrounding areas.

For immediate marketing advice, and to find out how Paul Carr Estate Agents will assist you every step of the way on your property journey, please contact Steve and the team on 01543 686444. Or pop in and see the them at 1 Lichfield Road, Burntwood WS7 0HQ.