Are you expecting guests this weekend?

A recent survey by interiors website My Domaine has revealed what visitors really think of your home.

Surprisingly, the first thing most visitors notice is not the mess or cleanliness, it is the flow of the rooms and the placement of furniture. You may find that visitors are mentally rearranging your space in their heads!

Secondly, no surprises, they do notice the cleanliness and clutter around your home. Some clean freaks, like Monica from Friends, will be champing at the bit to get out their dusters and spray cleaners, whilst the rest of us will just be gauging your mess against our own and making ourselves feel better about our own mess back at home!

Next up is visitors looking at your art, be it on the walls, the bookshelf or the coffee table. What you display is as important as what you give away about your cultural interests, magazines, books, etc. The worst thing, generic art – sorry Ikea!

Does your home smell nice? That’s next on the list. As the adverts say, you may be nose-blind to the smell of your home, good or bad, but visitors are experiencing it for the first time (even if they have visited before, they have re-set their senses by being away from the smell, even if only for a little while). So check if you have emptied the rubbish bin or the cat litter and light a lovely smelling candle for about 10-15 minutes before your guests arrive.

Guests will then be assessing the light in your home, natural or not, and how you have chosen to decorate/paint the rooms. Most visitors won’t be looking at the exact light fittings, just how they are placed and what they illuminate around the space. And most visitors don’t seem keen on red or brown walls.

Finally, guests will notice any plants, flowers or greenery and how much outside space they can see from inside. So maybe that bunch of withered petrol station flowers need to go!

The most important thing to remember is that they are your guests and you can repay them by thinking all the same things when you drop in on them unannounced too!

Are you thinking of letting out your property? Then you may want to read on … this is great news for you!

Figures from the Association of Residential Letting Agents, now formally known as ARLA Propertymark, reveal that there has been a surge in demand for rental accommodation since the New Year.

Demand for rental accommodation has risen by 10 per cent in the last 12 months alone and demand is far outstripping supply.

Paul Carr Residential Lettings
The dedicated team at Paul Carr Residential Lettings, with over 170 years’ of combined experience between them, are well-equipped to deal with all aspects and challenges of letting your property.

Our specialist division is dedicated to the letting and management of properties in the North Birmingham are, encompassing Sutton Coldfield, Great Barr, Aldridge, Walsall, Lichfield and Burntwood.

What next?
If you are an individual looking to invest in a property to let, or you are already a landlord, we aim to match your requirements and deliver a service which is second-to-none. This service includes working with you to protect your property and maximise the return from your investment.

We operate through a dedicated lettings hub, incorporating our comprehensive property management service. Additionally, we provide marketing support through our network of sales division branches, making us accessible and easy to do business with.

We are committed to making the letting process as stress-free as possible and, with our excellent services, we can assure you that we are the team you can trust.

Contact us on 0121 308 7676 or visit our website and start your Paul Carr Lettings journey today.

What is the Tenancy Deposit Scheme?

You may be wondering what on earth the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is and how it affects you. Let us explain.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is run by The Dispute Service Ltd. It is an insurance-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme authorised by the government.

The TDS has two main roles:

To protect deposits and to help resolve disputes about deposits

What is tenancy deposit protection?

Tenancy deposit protection applies to all deposits for assured shorthold tenancies that started in England or Wales on or after 6 April 2007. By law, a landlord or agent who receives a deposit for such a tenancy must protect the deposit.

Most residential tenancies in the private rented sector are assured shorthold tenancies, with some exceptions. For example, a tenancy cannot be an assured shorthold tenancy if:

  • the tenant is a company;
  • the rent is more than £100,000 a year;
  • the tenancy is for a holiday let; or
  • a university or college rents the accommodation to its students.

Tenancy deposit protection means:

  • protecting a tenant’s deposit with a government-authorised scheme such as TDS;
  • providing the tenant with prescribed information about where their deposit is being;
  • protected and how it will be managed.

Tenancy deposit protection schemes can be one of two kinds:

Custodial – this is where the scheme itself holds the deposit during the tenancy.

Insurance backed – this is where the landlord or agent holds the deposit during the tenancy, but must give it to the scheme at the end of the tenancy if there is a dispute. The scheme is insured because this guarantees that tenants will always get back the money to which they are entitled.

The TDS is an insurance-backed scheme.

Paul Carr Residential Lettings use the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. You will be provided with a certificate to confirm that your deposit is held within the TDS.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme Member logo
If you are looking to rent a property, contact our Residential Lettings, team who are committed to making the application process, and your tenancy, as stress-free as possible.

Understanding Energy Performance Certificates

On The has published the following guide on understanding Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and offers tips on saving money on fuel bills.

What does an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) look like?

It is a little coloured chart which shows how well the property is rated in terms of energy efficiency. The best rating is A (dark green), the worst is G (bright red).

Don’t take the word of the vendor or landlord
Always ask to see the property’s Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC.

What if the vendor or landlord says they don’t have an EPC chart?
That is not good enough! An EPC certificate is required when a house is built, being rented, or sold. It provides documentary evidence of how much it costs to heat, light and provide hot water. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the home is and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be.

What’s the average energy efficiency rating for a house in England or Wales?
A score of 60, in Band D (yellow) is the average score.
Example Energy Performance CertificateEPC OnTheMarket.comSource: Savills

How eco-friendly is the property?
The fact is, the average UK household causes or creates about six tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Your EPC also has a report on the environmental impact of your property in terms of producing carbon emissions. Again, the average score is in the mid-50’s (in Environment Impact Section D).

Are there any costs not shown in the EPC?
Yes. What you are likely to spend on providing electricity for your computer and television and on providing gas or electricity for your cooker or fridge.

What if the property doesn’t have an Energy Performance Certificate?
You can arrange for an assessor to come and give your home a rating.

How else can energy bills be reduced?
Switch off electrical appliances, rather than leaving them on standby. This should cut £80 a year off your fuel bill. Fill your kettle with only as much water as you need to boil (£7 a year saved). Fit draught excluders (£25-£50 annual savings). And fit an efficient, hot-water shower-head in your bathroom. In a house with four people you could save £67 per year on fuel costs (the shower-head takes already heated water from your boiler).

What else cuts fuel bills?
Turn down your heating thermostat by just one degree and you’ll save £85-£90 per year. In a typical UK house, more than half the fuel bill per year goes on providing heating and hot water.

Can you forecast a property’s average fuel bill?
Look at the EPC. It carries a table showing estimated annual fuel costs. A home in the suburbs might cost £135 to light, £135 to provide hot water and £1,050 to heat. Multiply that over a few years’ time and you can see how heavy your fuel expenditure is likely to be. That way, you won’t get a big shock when the electricity bill arrives.

Want to find out more?
You can visit the Department for Communities and Local Government website at This is the body which oversees domestic energy efficiency. There you can find out which assessor produced the report and get more tips on how to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption.

Still baffled?
Either ask an expert (e.g. your local estate agent) or visit the EPC website.

And lastly do the maths!
Even if you only make small economies, you can save yourself £100-£200 per year. And buy yourself a new duvet or two when winter arrives!

No need to skip over or be mystified by those colourful energy charts in property brochures anymore.

This content is for information purposes only.

NAEA and ARLA announce launch of Propertymark

A new stamp of approval for the industry, Propertymark, was launched by NAEA and ARLA earlier this year, largely taking the place of the National Federation of Property Professionals brand.

The National Federation of Property Professionals Awarding Body has become Propertymark Qualifications, with successful candidates receiving Propertymark Qualifications certificates from the beginning of March.

In their official launch statement, NAEA and ARLA said:

“Having listened to our members, and given the significant challenges the industry is facing, it is clear, now more than ever before, the public needs far better understanding of how to choose a property agent that has the consumer’s interest at heart.”

The new focus unifies the two organisations as ARLA Propertymark and NAEA Propertymark.

Propertymark is a stamp of approval for consumers when they seek professional property expertise in buying, selling, renting, leasing or valuing a property. It offers the highest standards and qualifications among property professionals.

Paul Carr Lettings are proud members of ARLA Propertymark. Mark Bentley, Director of Paul Carr Exclusive & Rural Homes, is the Vice President of the NAEA and will become President Elect later in 2017.

Estate Agents are nice people too?

Would you believe that estate agents are nice, caring, normal people too?!! This tale should warm your heart.

On 15th March 2017, Amy, who is heavily pregnant, had her car break down in the middle of the road in Erdington. That is bad enough, but she also had her 3 year-old son in the car with her.

Whilst most people honked and moaned that she was holding them up stressing poor Amy out even more, a fantastic guy called Dan stopped his own car to see if she was ok. He calmed Amy down, helped her with her son and then moved her car off the road.

And who does amazing Dan work for? Yes, you’ve guessed it – it’s us!

Everyone at Paul Carr Estate Agents are very proud of Dan and the way in which he assisted Amy, whilst everyone else ignored her and moaned at and about her.

Amy has taken the time to leave a lovely post on the Paul Carr Erdington Facebook page thanking Dan for his assistance. She said that she would probably have gone into labour without Dan’s help and that of another passing man. Check out the page to see Amy’s full post.

Dan, the whole Paul Carr Estate Agent family applaud you. You are a shining example of the kind of employee every business wants and we are very proud you work for us and set such an amazing example.

We would like to extend our best wishes to Amy and her family and hope the rest of your pregnancy is not as stressful!

Cheque This Out

At the Paul Carr Estate Agents Christmas lunch, a fantastic raffle was held with all proceeds going to Breast Friends.

With some fantastic prizes on offer, kindly donated by some of our partner companies, the raffle was very well supported and we are pleased to announce that we raised £1,100.

The cheque was handed over to volunteers from Breast Friends by Chris Wragg, Branch Manager of our Four Oaks branch on Friday 17th February.

Breast Friends receiving their cheque from our Four Oaks Branch Manager Chris Wragg
Pictured are members of the team from the Four Oaks branch and our Exclusive & Rural department handing over the cheque.

Branch Manager Chris Wragg said:

We are delighted to support such a worthwhile local charity that does such important work in the community.

Chair of Breast Friends, Jackie Benzecry, said:

We thank Paul Carr Estate Agents and their staff who raised such a considerable amount, which will help us to provide direct practical support for breast cancer patients.

Breast Friends is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the quality of life for female cancer patients. They are a unique resource for women, their family, friends, co-workers and the community to minimise the fear and isolation of cancer. Paul Carr Estate Agents are proud to have supported their work for many years and this is a relationship that will continue.

To support their work, please visit their website.

New lettings blog has arrived!

Paul Carr word cloudAs you can see, we are rather excited that our new blog page is here!

We will be keeping you updated on Company news, news from around the industry, helpful guides and how-to’s, as well as much, much more.

Welcome – sit down, feet up, have a drink and a biscuit and enjoy!