Live, Learn & Grow in Sunderland

Last year Sunderland was ranked the top place in the North East of England to make a living and the fourth best in the UK by comparison site Totally Money, but one year on, is it still a location to live, learn and grow?

As a leading estate agent in Sunderland, we have been lucky enough to call this great city our home for over 12 years, but for those looking to move to the area for work or play, what benefits go hand-in-hand with a relocation here? Read on to discover why you should choose Sunderland as your new home.

Live

Some 276,900 people live in Sunderland and there is a bevy of reasons why. Alongside its award winning beaches, great eateries and excellent attractions, Sunderland offers the perfect setting to truly make the most of work and home life. The city’s amazing nightlife is something that sets it apart from many towns and cities in the UK. Those more interested in arts and culture will also find all they need to while away their days. In addition to this, Sunderland has great transport links to the cities of Durham and Newcastle, which means you’ll never be stuck for something to do come the weekend.

The cost of living is low, unlike other UK cities. Property is very affordable to rent and buy, making settling here and enjoying all that the city has to offer possible, whatever your budget.

Learn

An integral part of Sunderland’s population is its students. Around 19,500 university students study here and as a respected provider of student accommodation in Sunderland we see first-hand the experience that students enjoy, whether they are travelling from near or from far.
The state-of-the-art facilities and links with world renowned organisations, make the University of Sunderland the first choice for many looking to further their education and find a suitable career.

The education options available in Sunderland also attract students from further afield, and the University of Sunderland proudly welcomes students from more than 100 countries every academic year.

Grow

The employment market in Sunderland is particularly strong, and thanks to the local university links to companies, it’s only getting stronger. A variety of projects have also helped to boost employment and the local economy. From 2014 to 2015, the launch of 54 projects saw £117 million of funding and the creation of thousands of jobs.

Sunderland is home to countless businesses, all of which are always looking to strengthen their teams with new talent.

Sunderland is a great place to live, learn and grow, let us help you find a property to call home right here. Contact our Sunderland estate agents today for assistance or browse our ever growing portfolio of property rentals, student accommodation and properties for sale online.

What Sets Us Apart from Other Sunderland Estate Agents

With countless estate agents, both online and off, vying for your business, you might be mistaken that the time consuming part of buying or selling isn’t waiting for the right seller or pinpointing the perfect home but finding a qualified agent to assist you. As an established estate agent in Sunderland we have helped many buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords to make their property dreams come true, but why should you choose us as your estate agent?

Read on to discover just some of the factors that set us apart from other estate agents here in Sunderland and those based a little further afield…

Years of experience at your disposal

Our experience in the property market has seen us assist clients for the past 12 years from our city centre headquarters, and we pride ourselves on bringing this unique expertise and local market knowledge to every customer that we work with. Our specialism in the student market is another plus point for younger tenants that may not have the knowledge that older, more experienced tenants have of the lettings market. We offer a jargon free, friendly and proactive property finding service to students who are new to the Sunderland area and those who are born and bred here and searching for the perfect pad to affirm their newfound independence.

A property service for all

As well as being specialists in student accommodation, we have assisted buyers, sellers and tenants from all other walks of life also. From families and the elderly to young professionals, couples and individuals, we have made it our business to find properties that fit each client’s distinct criteria. Over the years we have worked with all types of customers and all levels of budgets using our in-depth knowledge of the area to source properties that would otherwise be off the radar.

Vital support for landlords

Our service extends to property management and landlord support, and we have helped landlords in the UK and overseas to find rental properties in Sunderland, discover the right tenants and maximise their income.

The very best properties in Sunderland

Whether you are looking for a family home in the suburbs, a plush pad in the centre of the city or an apartment close to campus, our property portfolio offers a diverse range of options. We update our portfolio regularly to offer the very best properties in Sunderland.

Need help finding your next property to buy or to rent? Or are you a landlord or a seller looking for assistance? Contact our team direct to discuss your requirements.

Student Life in Sunderland

Embracing student life is all about embracing your university town or city. According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of the Guardian, 73% of students choose to move away from home in their quest for independence, but for those relocating to Sunderland for its university – The University of Sunderland is renowned for its business, tourism and nursing degrees to name but a few reasons why people choose to study here – gaining an insight into life before you make the big move isn’t always easy. Here we offer a definite guide to student life in Sunderland so you can look forward to the new academic year.

Everyone’s just so friendly

The University of Sunderland isn’t referred to as the ‘friendly university’ for nothing. The university itself welcomes students from all walks of life and from all parts of the world to provide a diverse and truly multi-cultural learning environment. Outside the confines of the lecture room, you’ll always find that this friendly theme continues, with the local residents you encounter daily as a student known for being just as friendly.

Plenty to do and see

Day and night, you’ll never be bored as a student in Sunderland. The city’s nightlife scene is renowned for being cheap and eternally cheerful, and there are also plenty of places to relax and take in all the culture the city and surrounding areas have to offer. The coastline in particular is extremely beautiful, and is ideal for long walks, summer picnics and exciting activities like kayaking, abseiling, surfing and canoeing. Both beaches in the Sunderland area – Roker and Seaburn – are award winning and once you take a trip from your student accommodation in Sunderland, you are sure to see why.

A little closer to campus and Sunderland city centre you’ll find a bevy of attractions and activities to lose yourself in. Shop ‘til you drop and spend that student loan in style with a trip to The Bridges Shopping Centre; take in the stunning scenery at Mowbray Park; or enjoy all that the art world has to offer at the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art (NCCA) right here.

A place for now and the future

In 2015 Sunderland was ranked as the top place to live and work in the North East, making it not just the ideal base for your university education but for work after you graduate. Sunderland is the haunt of a number of market leading businesses, all of which are looking for talented students to become their next generation of staff.

Moving to Sunderland soon? Our portfolio features a number of student properties for your perusal. Contact our team direct or view student accommodation in Sunderland now booking on our website.

How to Invest in the Perfect Buy-to-Let

Property investment is still a great way to realise attractive returns, even in these uncertain times as Brexit negotiations get underway. Whilst recent tax changes have resulted in extra stamp duty charges for buy-to-let property investors with the right advice you can make property work for you, whether you are buying an investment property for the first time, adding to your portfolio or looking to make the most of a property you already own as a landlord.

Our letting agents in Sunderland have assisted property investors at home and overseas, and are here to help you with the following buy-to-let tips. Read on to discover essential advice for property investors.

Get to know the market

The property market is fast paced and ever changing but keeping up with the latest industry insights can really pay off. Understanding the benefits and risks of investing in the buy-to-let market is a great way to ensure your hard earned money is invested wisely and well, and attractive returns can be reaped as a result.

Be selective about location

The location of your buy-to-let is one selling point that can’t be altered after completion, and décor aside, your tenant will be looking for an area that has plenty of plus-points in regards to its travel links, education facilities and amenities. Choose your search area prudently, avoiding the most expensive and cheapest locations. During your buy-to-let property search, scour areas that are promising, locations that you feel have something to offer to prospective tenants.

During your buy-to-let property search it may be helpful to think about your target tenant and what they would want from a property. The requirements of a solo tenant, student or young professional are likely to differ dramatically in comparison to the needs of couples and families.

Step outside of your comfort zone

When sourcing a buy-to-let property to add to or start your portfolio, going outside of your comfort zone by searching an area that you are not familiar with may be the call of the day. Your letting agent will be able to assist with pinpointing potential areas that will really make the most of your investment and help you achieve the best return.

Keep finances in mind

It’s not just expected returns that should be observed carefully, numbers need to be crunched in all areas including mortgage repayments, deposits, tax, arrangement fees and maintenance costs. Understanding the costs of being a buy-to-let investor is vital, and will certainly help when shopping around for that all-important buy-to-let mortgage.

Looking to extend or build a buy-to-let portfolio of your own? Our letting agents in Sunderland can assist.

First-Time Buyers Fees – What Do You Need to Save?

Whilst the huge deposit that you need to save in order to buy your first home is highly publicised, taking that initial step onto the property ladder is a lot more expensive than many buyers anticipate. There are a variety of other costs that go hand-in-hand with your property purchase, and fees can in fact run into their thousands. As a leading estate agent in Sunderland, we have helped countless buyers find their dream homes. Whether you are purchasing your first or your next property, being clear on all the costs before you buy means no nasty surprises or last minute hunts for cash.

Deposit

The property market may be stronger than ever since the recession but hefty deposits are still required. Mortgage lenders demand at least 5% of the value of the property that you are looking to buy as a down payment, and as a rule of thumb the higher the deposit, the better the mortgage deal. Taking time to save as much money as you can towards your deposit will pay dividends when it comes to keeping up with monthly mortgage repayments.

Mortgage fees

In addition to putting down a deposit, your mortgage provider may also charge set-up or booking fees depending on the product you choose. Fees range from £99 to £250, and most are fully refundable if you have to pull out of a sale before completion. With selected mortgage products you may also be liable to pay an arrangement fee, a cost which is either paid upfront or added to your total mortgage amount. This fee can cost up to £2,000. If you have found your chosen mortgage product with the help of a broker, other fees for this service may also apply. Brokers charge fees of up to £500 or simply charge commission on the value of your mortgage.

Mortgage fees continue with valuation and survey, account and higher lending charges, and depending on your chosen product, these costs can easily add up. Mortgage providers can charge up to £1,500 for valuation and survey, whilst a fee of up to £300 is typical when handling the administration and maintenance of a mortgage account. Higher lending charges tend to equate to 1.5% of the amount you are borrowing, this provides insurance cover for the lender should you be borrowing money to cover the majority of the property value.

Stamp duty and searches

Before completion, you may have to complete searches with your local council to ensure that the property you are looking to buy does not have any associated planning, drainage or local issues. Your solicitor or conveyancer will request the necessary searches on your behalf at a cost of between £250 to £300. Stamp duty is another unavoidable cost and whilst homes purchased for less than £125,000 have no duty to pay, homes purchased above this value pay a percentage depending on how much over the threshold their purchase is. The latest Stamp Duty Land Tax rates for residential properties can be viewed here.

Other fees

Additional costs to consider when purchasing your first home include survey fees (applicable if you opt for the home condition survey, homebuyer’s report or structural survey), registration of title (Scotland only), moving costs, CHAPS or telegraphic transfer fee, and building insurance fee.

Need further advice on buying your first property and the associated costs? Contact our friendly and professional estate agents today for help and advice.

Come Along to Our Cassaton House – Pizza Open Nights on Mondays!

With so many accommodation options available to college and university students, finding the perfect pad to spend the best years of your life in isn’t easy. As a leading Sunderland estate agency, we specialise in helping students at various stages of their education find the digs that suit them and with the 2017/18 academic year fast approaching, we are pleased to announce that our luxury student accommodation at Cassaton House is now available for booking.

 

Send us an email and register to attend out Monday Pizza Nights – join in with the fun and enjoy some pizza!

luxury in the city centre

Often the convenience of living in a city centre location and the luxurious trimmings that we’d all love to have at home aren’t mentioned in the same sentence, but at Cassaton House you can find luxury, a central location and so much more from £135 per week, including bills and Wi-Fi. The development consists of a series of studio apartments, each of which has been beautifully designed and fully equipped with all you need for student life and life in the city.

Situated on Fawcett Street in the heart of Sunderland city centre, Cassaton House residents will have access to a number of high quality and exclusive features on-site, with remote controlled heating and lighting, superfast broadband and Wi-Fi, gym, games room, communal living and snug areas, study rooms, and a cinema room all available as standard. Residents can also make the most of special occasions by booking Cassaton House’s private kitchen and dining area, perfect if you have your family over for the weekend or want to showcase your culinary skills by throwing a dinner party for your fellow residents. Making the most of Sunderland is also possible when living at Cassaton House, and Sunderland University’s city campus and St Peters campus are within walking distance so you are never too far away from class.

Safe and secure

As well as each apartment coming with a range of excellent features, more than we can mention in this short article, the security and safety of residents is particularly high on the agenda at Cassaton House. For those living away from home for the first time, nervous about living in a city centre location or simply fearful of the very real risk of theft, Cassaton House’s 24-hour surveillance and on-site concierge team will ensure you feel safe around the clock. Alongside the building’s CCTV system and concierge, as a resident you will receive alerts directly to your smartphone, allowing you to put your worries to bed and really enjoy university as intended.

Come see for yourself

The best way to discover the full Cassaton House experience is to come and see the development for yourself. Free food and refreshments are available.

At our Sunderland estate agency, we are now taking bookings for Cassaton House. Short term contracts are available from now until the end of August or from September 2017. Contact us direct to book or to find out more by calling 0191 510 9950 or emailing enquiries@hackettproperty.com.

Why Reporting a Problem or Repair Has Never Been Easier

Whatever the condition of your property when you moved in, it is important to acknowledge that property problems do crop up during a tenancy. Our letting agents in Sunderland work with countless landlords and tenants to ensure they are connected with the property solutions they require, and during our nine years of trading we have helped to improve landlord-tenant relations and complete repairs or resolve other issues as conveniently and quickly as possible.

With the latest technology at our fingertips, reporting a problem or repair has never been so easy, and thanks to our sophisticated repair reporting system we manage and resolve issues as and when they occur throughout our property portfolio.

Reporting problems as a Hackett tenant

Here at Hackett, we use Fixflo as our online reporting system, a software package that has countless happy customers at its heart and is trusted by thousands. By using Fixflo we are able to ensure faster fixes and clearer communication at every turn, two factors that mean fewer issues for the tenants and landlords we assist.

For tenants, the convenience of being able to report issues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is a great relief. We understand that property problems don’t just occur during office hours, and you can use your PC, tablet or mobile phone to submit your report. Where possible, the Fixflo system also gives you the information you need to remedy the problem yourself, with guidance offering the solutions you need to save precious time.

How our online reporting system works

Fixflo is easy to use, and is available in more than 40 languages, so if you are not fluent in English you can report a repair in your native language without fear of miscommunication.

The reporting process begins with you identifying the problem, simply click on the pictures that are most relevant to you and your circumstances. You will be asked what the issue is and which area of your rented home is affected, you can then go onto select relevant options and provide additional notes and photos where applicable. Before your feedback is submitted to our team, you will be asked for your address and contact details.

Do you have an issue to report?

Let our letting agents in Sunderland get you one step closer to fixing an issue within your rented property or resolve a repair by using our reporting system today. Simply visit https://hackett.fixflo.com/Auth/HomeIssueCreate to get started.

Student Halls or Student House?

By the end of your first year at university, there is usually one question on everyone’s lips – student halls or student house? Choosing the right student accommodation can be a daunting task, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the property market and the advantages and disadvantages of these two property types.

We pride ourselves in connecting people with properties and our team of friendly estate agents have the experience and local area knowledge to help you make the right decision.  Whether you were born and bred in Sunderland or you’re new to the city we will take a proactive approach to helping you find the best student accommodation Sunderland has to offer.

In this article, we explore the pros and cons of student halls and shared student houses, helping you to make an informed decision and start enjoying student life in all its glory.

Know what to expect from halls

The majority of student halls offer the basic amenities you need to enjoy life in your first year of university and subsequent years, however many are shocked by the fact that most student accommodation in Sunderland and the rest of the country consists of a bed and storage space, with access to a shared kitchen and bathroom.

There are however several new developments popping up in the City that provide more luxurious amenities including en-suites, super-fast Wi-Fi and upgraded communal areas.

Research really is the key when deciding whether to continue living in halls or take the plunge and move into a shared student house and the team at Hackett Properties have got their fingers right on the pulse of student accommodation in Sunderland, so let us do the hard work for you and find a property that matches your requirements, personality & budget.

Partner with the right agent to find a shared house

Living in a shared student house is a great option and offers plenty of opportunities to meet new people outside of your course or even outside of your university.  Second year students will often want to break away from life in the halls and enjoy some familiar home comforts.  More personal space, less people sharing your amenities and in general, a quieter place to hang your head at the end of a long day at Uni.

Finding a shared student house that is well placed for life on campus, close to amenities like shops and public transport, and positioned to take advantage of the area’s nightlife, isn’t easy on your own, however with the help of an estate agent you can find the perfect combination.

If you would like help finding your next student accommodation why not give us a call or pop into the branch and we can discuss your requirements in more detail.  Sunderland has so much to offer we will undoubtedly be able to find you a property where you can balance your studies and your social life with ease.

 

Is Furnished or Unfurnished Better for an Annual Rental?

As a landlord with a single property or portfolio of properties, there are many decisions to make before renting to a tenant. Deciding whether to offer furnished or unfurnished accommodation is just one of the dilemmas faced by landlords everywhere, but which one should you go for?

As one of the leading letting agents in Sunderland, we work with landlords and tenants across the North East to ensure the property rentals we offer are of the highest standard. Here we explore the benefits of going furnished or unfurnished so you can let your property with confidence.

Why go furnished?

There are several benefits to furnishing your property on behalf of your tenant. Basics such as tables and chairs, sofas, beds and wardrobes, floor coverings and kitchen appliances are extremely expensive and often tenants cannot afford to foot the bill for essentials like these. So, for many, opting for a furnished rental brings added convenience and cost effectiveness and on average, furnished flats tend to let more quickly than unfurnished, which means more revenue from your annual rental.

Furnishing your property may be an upfront expense but it can also be a more attractive prospect to many and it is also an investment, as once one tenant moves out you still own the furniture and can offer it to future tenants. From a tax perspective, reliefs are available for the purchase of furniture for rental properties.

Why go unfurnished?

Unfurnished properties can be less problematic for landlords in the long run as insuring furniture and keeping on top of the maintenance of the items can also be an added burden for many landlords, and concerns over the wear and tear of furniture is a common issue.  Of course, there is also the problem of taste, unless you opt for a completely neutral colour palette and style of furnishing, you run the risk of putting potential renters off if they don’t like your taste.

Tenants buying furnishings of their own also tend to rent for the long term with the expense of buying and moving such items making it more economical for them to stay in one place.

What about part furnished?

Want to harness the benefits of both, then part furnishing a property may offer a happy medium. Our letting agents in Sunderland can help you make these vital decisions about your rental property, contact our team today on 0191 510 9950 or email enquiries@hackettproperty.com. Alternatively, please pop in branch to chat to a member of our property rentals team, we’re open six days a week!

What does Brexit Mean for House Prices?

Following the shock result to leave the European Union and a whole summer of uncertainty, Brexit watch continues into the New Year as many people looking to sell or buy question what our departure means for the housing market. There have been a number of headlines spouting doom and gloom then glory for UK house prices, but with so many opinions so easily spoken it can be difficult to get the facts we need about Brexit’s impact on property.

Here our Sunderland estate agents cut through the noise to give you the latest on the property sector post-Brexit.

House prices are stabilising

Whilst the bigger picture regarding under what circumstances we are to leave the EU is still a closely guarded secret of the government, the latest house price growth statistics suggest that the market is stabilising. UK house prices have actually risen, and are now 7.7% higher than the same period in 2015. The average house price is now £218,000 according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which was an entirely unexpected outcome considering the Brexit vote and, prior to this, stamp duty changes that came into force during the new tax year.

In addition to the biggest house price increases being witness in (yes, you guessed it) London and the South East, eastern England also saw huge rises, and as a result the area is the fastest rising region in terms of its house prices.

Property sales continue to fall

House prices may be rising but don’t get out the champagne just yet if you are looking to sell your property. The number of property sales are falling, and these lower levels are likely to continue as we welcome the New Year. Whilst buyer confidence is returning, the uncertainty of where the country will be in months’ or years’ time means buyers are more cautious about where they spend their hard earned money, and making a huge investment like purchasing a property is a scary feat for many.

Into 2017 and beyond

Whilst house price growth continues and demand cools, house prices are predicted to become subdued and remain flat until 2019. The uncertainty over Brexit negotiations is having a huge impact on the property market, however that being said, while uncertainty does indeed loom, experts see little risk of large corrections or changes to current house prices. The latest forecast predicts slow growth for the North East in particular making it a very affordable place to buy, with house price growth set to stabilise by 2018 and grow by 1 to 3% by 2020.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling your property but are a little uncertain given the current economic climate, why not pop into the branch and have a chat with one of our friendly team who can provide you with the help, guidance and advice you need to make an informed decision.