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Under the skin of the letting market

Here we share news and views on both the local letting market in & around Oxfordshire and all planned and recent legislation.


Feefo Trusted Service Awards 2018

Another year has come and gone, and we have received the Gold Trusted Service Award on Feefo’s fantastic platform for a second year. Thanks to the tenants and landlords who have given us positive feedback, we have achieved an average score of 4.5 stars while collecting at least 50 reviews over 2017.

With an exciting year ahead, our goal is to continuously foster our relationships with our landlords and tenants. Here are some examples where landlords have been able to describe our service, better than we could:

“Would thoroughly rate Finders Keepers – superb customer service.” –Ms. Cook, Bicester Office

“Professional, efficient, courteous yet friendly – experts in their field.” –Mrs. Colaco, East Oxford Office

“Design offers, overall design management, project management and ability to be very flexible and patient. Great company to work with.” –Mr. Lloyd, Bricks & Mortar Client

Click here to read more of our reviews!

Over £12,000 has been raised for Sobell House

Our team at Finders Keepers worked hard last year to raise money for Sobell House Hospice, their charity of the year 2017. Across our network of eight offices, the team ran, cycled, baked, gardened, marshalled car parks and manned bucket collections all with the aim of raising money for Sobell House or helping out by volunteering time. Even our landlords got involved, donating some of their rent for this fantastic local charity. At the end of the year of supporting Sobell House, we had raised an impressive £12,015.56 and donated 76 hours of time.

Why we chose Sobell House Hospice

We let our team choose our charity of the year as we feel that if they are involved in nominating and selecting the charity then they will be more motivated to fundraise. We think that Sobell won because it is such a fantastic local charity which has helped a lot of people in the county and even in our company.

We were particularly proud of our ‘Donate a Day’s Rent’ fundraising campaign. We came up with the idea in 2009 as an easy way for our clients to support our efforts for our charity of the year. Of course, we insist our team gets involved in lots of activities before we ask our clients to effectively ‘sponsor’ them, but it’s a great way of raising funds – and with minimal effort for the client; all they have to do is opt-in! We are very grateful to the clients who donate…often raising thousands of pounds.

Sobell provides amazing care and comfort for patients and their families, and what could easily feel like a depressing space is actually incredibly bright and upbeat. It really is an uplifting place with so many people giving so much time and effort to make everything possible.

About Sobell House Hospice

The hospice serves residents of Oxfordshire, offering physical, psychological, social and spiritual care to those facing life threatening illness, death and bereavement. Their aim is to raise £2,000,000 over the next three years to help them:

  1. Extend the site: they are going to build and re-configure the existing site to allow for better, tailored care.
  2. Provide care in hospitals: to get appropriate care/support in the hospitals for patients who require end of life care in hospitals.
  3. In the community: helping people with palliative care at home by having Sobell Nurses supporting patients.

 

Quotes from team members

On meeting people

“I enjoyed getting involved in the bucket collection this year because it gave me the opportunity to speak to people and hear about their experiences with Sobell House…one guy had a friend in the hospice at the time and made a donation for her – it was really emotional! It’s also been a good opportunity to mix with staff from the other offices! Any hospice deserves recognition for the amazing work they do, so it’s important to support our local one.” Emma Croft-Pearson, Head of Property Management

On being a new employee

“I was eager to help out a local charity and – because I was relatively new – I thought it would be a good way to meet other people across the company. Although the car park marshalling in November required several layers of clothing (!) it was so rewarding to help out a charity when they needed volunteers. It’s great that Finders Keepers encourages their team to get involved with the charity – my old place of work didn’t offer anything like this.” Max Brickell, Project Manager, Bricks & Mortar

On Sobell House

I love the fact that the company I work for have a local charity of the year and therefore I think it is vital to support the initiative. I want to give something back as I feel very privileged and lucky to have the life I have. Plus…it’s fun and it helps build relationships and camaraderie in the office! I was keen to help the company’s charity of the year anyway, but when Tim Wraith gave a presentation at one of our staff meetings it really hit home. What Sobell House does is incredible and very humbling.” Richard Massingham, Office Manager

On running

“The Oxford Half was a brilliant event to get involved with; the atmosphere, crowd support and facilities were all really great. I always like to get involved with fundraising, and Sobell is such a worthy cause and has helped many of my friends and family through difficult times.” Sarah Carroll, Letting Specialist

What your donations pay for:

£150  would fund a full day of day services

£100  could help provide a Chaplain, who offers spiritual support to patients

£50  could fund a social worker to help a patient’s return home

£20  could fund a session of art or music therapy for a patient or family member

£10  could fund a day’s worth of home-cooked meals and snacks for one patient

Our year of fundraising

May                             Rotary Club 5k

June                            Headington Festival, bake sale and cycling challenge

September                  Gardening on-site at Sobell House Hospice

October                       Bucket collection, bake sale and Oxford Half

November                   Donate a Day’s Rent, car park marshalling at Sobell Gift Fair

December                   Christmas party raffles and bake sales

Searched, acquired and let on the first viewing

Finders Keepers started out as a search and acquisition service (it’s the “Finders” part of our name) and is something we have continued to offer over the last 45+ years.

At the end of last year one of our Property Managers was talking to a client following an inspection at their North Oxford rental property who mentioned in passing that she was considering investing in another Oxfordshire property. Her Property Manager Simon Lear offered to put her in touch with Inspired Investment, our search and acquisition division, to help her source and purchase the right property, a family home in North Oxford.

Maxine Allington, Inspired Investment Manager, made contact with Mrs Williams – who currently lives abroad – and discussed the criteria for the search. Following this, Maxine created a document detailing six potential properties she had found after her search, which was then emailed to the client. Mrs. Williams then returned to the UK to visit the three properties she liked the look of, and a fourth ‘wildcard’ which had come up in the interim. Two properties stood out from the shortlist: the wildcard, and a rare brand new North Oxford family home.

She wanted to proceed with the family home: a 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom semi-detached house in a quiet Summertown road in North Oxford. The property has a stunning open-plan kitchen/dining area with sliding doors leading to the private garden (which has a large wooden decked area by the river). Maxine dealt with the negotiations and was able to secure a substantial discount on the purchase.

As the client lives overseas, Finders Keepers collected the keys on completion (a Friday). A viewing was booked for the Saturday prior to completion with a great family who were already in touch with our North Oxford letting team. They were looking to move from London for their children to attend a North Oxford school and they liked the location of this property being close to the school but also a short walk from Summertown shops, restaurants and amenities. The added bonus was the proximity from Oxford Parkway with direct trains to London. The let was agreed on the Monday.

To be kept up to date with the latest opportunities or to start your search, call Maxine on 01865 302314 or email inspired@finderskeepers.co.uk

“Thank you, again, for all of your help, support, and professionalism in this search and resulting purchase, we are both very excited about it. I hope that we get to do it again sometime!” Mrs. Williams, Inspired Investment Client

2018: The Year Ahead

We are very excited about the future for property – particularly in Oxfordshire. Having campaigned for regulation of our industry for more than 45 years, fundamental changes to the way the property market can work will make the property system fairer, more transparent and a respected sector. There are certainly changes coming which will impact landlords, but our eight offices are set to deal with these adjustments.
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New Year, New Agent?

A new year is often a time for reflection, looking at the year gone by and considering the year ahead. This is no different at Finders Keepers and we were pleased to review our performance in 2017: our team has done a fantastic job in letting and looking after thousands of homes across the county – picking up 180 reviews of 4- and 5-stars along the way.
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List your property now to catch the January migration

Every year we see the same trend: people using their time off over the festive period to window shop for a new property from the comfort of their own home. Then, as predictable as birds flying south for the winter, we return to work each January to a flurry of enquiries for our letting teams to respond to, which resulted in us securing 210 lets in January this year.

However, it is important to note however that much of the leg work behind these successful lets
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Autumn Budget Stamp Duty Changes: Published 22nd Nov 2017

On 22nd November it was announced that Stamp Duty is to be abolished for for all first-time buyers purchasing property of a value of £300,000 or less. If you are a first-time buyer, this guest post from Countrywide will help to clarify the details of the changes and explain what it means for you.
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