FAQ

Whether you are buying, selling, renting or letting these FAQs should help you.

Buyers|

Sellers|

Tenants|

Landlords

Buyers FAQs

What areas do you cover?

We cover all areas of Watford with a WD postcode.  

Please feel free to register with us online today and receive properties that fit your criteria as soon as they come onto the market.

What are the schools like in the area?

Please find this useful link to check out schools in the area you are looking to move to. Click here.

What are the transport links for the area?

Take a look at these websites:

Trains – National Rail

Bus services – Intalink

Arriva Bus service in Watford

Are there different types of property constructions in this area?

Within the area of South Oxhey (WD19) there are various types of constructions in addition to traditional brick-built properties.  They include BISF, Cranwell, No-Fines, PRC Repaired, Scotswood and Cornish units.  

A number of these constructions are very popular because the price you pay is less than the equivalent sized house built in brick.  If you are looking to purchase a non-standard property type then it will be very important to consider which mortgage lender is providing the mortgage for your purchase, as not all lenders will consider all types of non-standard construction.  

Check out our Getting a mortgage page where we can recommend you to a broker that can help you find the right mortgage lender for you.

Can I still make an offer if I haven’t sold my property?

Yes, but unfortunately not all agents think the same.  Some agents will put you off viewing a property until you have a buyer for your property.  At Fairfield, we have a completely different approach and believe someone with their own property to sell, whether on the market or not, could potentially be the perfect buyer for our client.

The point we will stress is that there is a higher chance of you losing out to someone who has a buyer for their property, particularly if our client has found a property they want to buy.  But don’t let that put you off making an offer, even if you simply want to let us know you would love to buy the property once you have a buyer; our client may surprise you!  

Even if you’re on the market with a local agent, maybe we can provide a fresh approach to help sell your property?  Have a quick look at our seller’s page or our review page, to see why we are very different from other agents.  We would love the opportunity to help you sell your home.

What documents do I need to provide before my offer is accepted?

There are a number of documents that we will require before we are able to confirm that our client has accepted your offer, we call it our ‘Four Rule Policy’.  This document explains the information you will be asked to provide, covering details of your buying position, your proof of deposit, an agreement in principle from a mortgage lender if you need one, and details of your solicitor if you have one in place.

Don’t worry if you do not have a mortgage agreement or a solicitor in place, take a look at our Getting a mortgage page or click here if you would like us to help with recommendations. 

How long will it take to purchase a property?

Most agents and solicitors will estimate the average purchase takes 10- 16 weeks, but with the built-in caveat that sometimes it can be as quick as 6 weeks and other times you can still be waiting after 6 months….so it will not fill you with the greatest confidence.  

Ask the agent if their seller needs to find?  There are several factors that could cause a transaction to delay, but the biggest single factor will be if the seller needs to find their own purchase?  If they do need to find, ask how many more sellers are there above them in that chain? 

But it doesn’t end there, you then want to know if the top of the chain is buying a new build property and if that property is even built yet!  

Once you know what the chain looks like, the next key part is to find the right solicitor, and this is not an easy task either!  Click here if you would like us to help with recommending solicitors that we deal with on a regular basis.

How much stamp duty do I need to pay?

The amount of stamp duty you need to pay will depend on your situation.  So, whether you are a First Time Buyer, buying your next home, or maybe you are buying an investment, your stamp duty liability will be different.  We have created a Stamp Duty calculator to give you a guide on the amount you will pay, or check out our Buying page for more buying information.

Can you recommend a mortgage broker?

Yes. If you require a mortgage and want to be guided through the process then we have a broker for you.  From affordability through to fixed rates vs variable rates, buy to let mortgages, and more, we have a helpful team on hand to simplify the process. 

Check out our Getting a mortgage page!

Can you recommend a solicitor?

We have long-standing relationships with a number of local and national conveyancers and can introduce you to the right legal expert to guide you through the process. Click here if you would like us to help with recommending solicitors that we deal with on a regular basis.

Can you recommend a surveyor?

Maybe you’re looking to have a private survey or possibly need a structural engineer?  You could even need a surveyor to negotiate the lease extension for your flat.  We will have recommended contacts that we can provide.  Contact your local office and one of our consultants will be more than happy to help.

Do you have a complaints procedure?

As members of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and Propertymark, we follow a strict code of practice for both sales and lettings.  We hope that you do not find yourself needing to make a complaint about the service we have provided, but if you do have any reason to make a complaint we have a detailed complaints procedure for you to follow.

Sales – Complaints procedure

Are you members of The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)?

We are members of NAEA Propertymark and follow their strict code of conduct.

Sellers FAQs

How is the property market in this area?

The property market in Watford and the surrounding areas has always been popular, even when there are external influences that sometimes affect the wider property market.  Watford is an attractive proposition due to the long list of popular schools and the multiple shopping facilities it has to offer, along with the motorway links, rail links and its proximity to London.  

For the most up to date information and latest facts and figures click onto our Area Insights tool.

How long will it take to sell my property?

This is probably our most commonly asked question, but one that is sometimes the most difficult to answer!  There are a number of factors that will have an impact on the time it takes for a property to sell, and the answer really lies with the effectiveness of the appointed estate agent.  

The quality of marketing and exposure to the biggest audience will obviously be very important key factors, as will ensuring the asking price is positioned correctly.  Take a look at our Selling guide to see why Fairfield are the perfect match.

Where will you be marketing my property?

With the benefit of having three established local offices, we always start with our client database.  This is often the fastest generator of viewings from quality applicants already looking for similar properties in your area.  We typically have hundreds of buyers registered at any one time waiting for our “pre-press release” alerts!

We also make sure your property is marketed on Rightmove, Zoopla, and On The Market, which is often referred to as the “Big 3” property platforms.  Along with social media marketing and our YouTube channel; we make sure we look for the biggest audience for your property.  

Why not look at our Selling guide to see all the marketing channels we use in the effort to achieve the best price for our clients.

What separates you from other agents?

Not a quick question to answer, but in short: Our staff, our values, our approach, our database, our reviews, our videos, and three local offices.  Have a look at our reviews page or maybe take a look at our selling guide page to understand more about what we do. Click here to book a consultant to visit you.

Do I have an option to choose professional photography?

Yes.  Part of our Premium service level is to send a professional photographer to your property to produce a great set of photos to help sell your home.  Want to see our Menu of Services? Click here.

Do I have an option to have a property video for my property?

Yes.  Part of our Premium service level is to take a video tour of your property and upload it to our YouTube channel.  We find that our video tours can often have more than 1000 viewers!  Want to see what else we provide? Click here to view our Seller’s Guide or click here to book a consultant to visit you.

Is there a requirement to have a for sale board at my property?

There is not a requirement to have a for-sale board at your property, but we would strongly advise you consider the benefits of having one.  Boards will generate interest outside of the other marketing channels and shouldn’t be underestimated for their importance and the potential to help yield a higher price.  Click here to see our seller’s guide or click here to book a consultant to visit you.

What fees do you charge?

The fee we charge depends on the level of service you have chosen.  At Fairfield, we believe we offer the very best value for money, and for that reason, we tailor our service to fit our client’s needs.  If you would like to discuss the level of service that you are looking for then please get in touch and we will be more than happy to provide a fee proposal that is tailored to your requirements. Click here to view our Menu of Services or click here to book a FREE valuation of your home.

Will I be expected to show buyers around my property?

Fairfield likes to accompany all viewings where possible, as this allows us to build relationships with prospective purchasers and further understand their requirements.  We pride ourselves on being able to provide the best advice and feedback to our vendors, which can often only happen through physically meeting the prospective buyers viewing your property. Click here to see our list of services.

Should I go out when there are viewings at my property?

Not necessarily, some owners like to be available to answer questions whilst viewings are taking place, while others feel more comfortable making sure they are out of the house, the choice is yours.  If you prefer to leave the house, we are more than happy to let you know when the coast is clear, and you can return home.

What should I do if a potential buyer knocks on my door without an appointment?

For many reasons, it is important not to let a stranger into your property.  You can feel assured that we would never send anyone around to a property without an appointment, so feel confident re-directing that person to contact your agent.  With the numerous channels of communication that we offer there should be no reason for a prospective buyer to knock on your door unannounced.

How long will the process take once I have found a buyer?

Some people will say finding your buyer is the easy part of moving and the real expertise comes from having an agent acting for you that can properly investigate any chain, spot the potential pitfalls, and fight your corner when the going gets tough.     

Most solicitors would estimate a sale taking between 10-16 weeks to complete, but there are exceptions, and sales have been completed in as little as four weeks if there is no chain.  If you have any questions about your specific circumstances, then speak to one of our property professionals who would be more than happy to help. Click here for your local branch.

Would you be willing to help me negotiate my onward purchase?

Absolutely!  At Fairfield, we take a huge amount of satisfaction helping our clients to not only secure the best price for their property but also help them make an informed decision on their next purchase, including the benefit of our experience to negotiate the best deal.  Click here to read more about us.

Do I need an Energy performance Certificate (EPC)?

Yes.  It is a legal requirement to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate in place prior to marketing your property. Click here for details of your local branch if you would like to speak to a property consultant.

Can you recommend a solicitor?

We have long-standing relationships with a number of local and national conveyancers and can introduce you to the right legal expert to guide you through the process. Click here if you would like us to help with recommending solicitors that we deal with on a regular basis.

Can you recommend a mortgage broker?

Yes, if you require a mortgage and want to be guided through the process then we have a broker for you.  From affordability through to fixed rates vs variable rates, buy to let mortgages, and more, we have a helpful team on hand to simplify the process. 

Check out our Getting a mortgage page!

When do I need to pay your fee?

Our fee is based on a No Sale No Fee basis and you are only liable to pay our fee when your sale exchanges.  The fee is normally settled by your solicitor on the day of completion once they receive funds from your buyer’s solicitor.  Click here to see our seller’s guide.

Why am I not getting enquiries to view my property?

This can be for a number of reasons.  First, it is worth considering if the price is correct.  This is easily done by looking at comparable evidence of other properties listed for sale and sold locally. If your agent has not discussed this with you then we would be more than happy to provide our opinion if your property is local to one of our three offices.

It is important to be objective and discuss with your agent if your property, is being presented well, are the photos, floorplan, and video tour attracting viewings?  Give a quick call to one of our property professionals who would be more than happy to see how your agent has marketed your property and provide you with constructive feedback. 

Do you have a complaints procedure?

As members of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and NAEA Propertymark, we follow a strict code of practice for sales.  We hope that you do not find yourself needing to make a complaint about the service we have provided, but if you do have any reason to make a complaint we have a detailed complaints procedure for you to follow.

Sales – Complaints procedure

Are you members of The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)?

We are members of NAEA Propertymark and follow their strict code of conduct.

Tenants FAQs

Do you deal with short term lets under 6 months?

Unfortunately, we do not deal with properties available for less than 6 months.  Due to the costs involved with setting up a tenancy, most landlords are looking for a minimum 12-month tenancy.  

How much do I need to earn to secure a property?

This will depend on the current requirements of the referencing agency, but it is likely you will need to earn a minimum of 30 times the monthly rent.  For example, if you are looking to rent a property for £1000pcm you will need to be able to show an individual or combined salary of at least £30,000 per year.  Please be aware there are several other factors alongside your salary that a referencing agency will be considering with your application.  If you would like to discuss this further please contact us.

Will the landlord accept Housing Benefit?

This depends on several factors covering credit and affordability checks, as each landlord is likely to have different requirements.  Most landlords are looking for a tenant that will pass the requirements of the referencing agency, which covers both credit and affordability checks.  This also provides the landlord with the option to purchase rent guarantee insurance.  Some, but not all landlords, will consider accepting a guarantor when the tenant’s proof of income falls just sort of the affordability requirements, but this will depend on the guarantor also passing the referencing agency requirements.  

Will the landlord consider a guarantor?

Most landlords are looking for a tenant that will pass the requirements of the referencing agency, which covers both credit and affordability checks.  This also provides the landlord with the option to purchase rent guarantee insurance. Some, but not all landlords, will consider accepting a guarantor when the tenant’s proof of income falls just sort of the affordability requirements, but this will depend on the guarantor also passing the referencing agency requirements. 

Will the landlord accept pets?

At Fairfield, many of us have our own pets and totally understand the benefits that come with having a pet at home.  But with the legal limit of deposit caps, and the increased risks involved with accepting pets, landlords are very cautious.  

Their concerns range from damage to walls, floors, doors, and skirting boards, to chewing electrical wiring, unwanted fleas, and heavily soiled gardens.  There is also the risk of future tenants discounting the property due to pet allergy reasons.  

There is not a set answer to this question and every inquiry depends on the individual landlord of the property you are looking to rent.  We will ask what pets you have and then happily ask the landlord for you. 

To avoid any confusion with information found on the internet, the law has NOT been changed to allow tenants to keep pets.  

Will the property be professionally cleaned before I move in?

It is not a requirement for the landlord to have their property professionally cleaned before a tenant moves in.  It is also not possible for a landlord to insist their tenant professionally cleans the property before they move out.  But a tenant does have a duty to leave the property in the condition that they received it.  

If it is a condition of your offer that the property is professionally cleaned, then you must ensure this has been listed on your offer to rent form so the landlord can consider your request.

What fees do I need to pay to rent a property?

Once your offer has been accepted you will be asked to pay a holding deposit, which is later deducted from your first month’s rent.  When you have passed the referencing stage and the tenancy is ready to go ahead, you will then be asked to pay your deposit and the balance of your first month’s rent. 

Full details of securing a property with Fairfield can be found within our Tenants guide to securing a property located on our Renting page

What documents do I need to provide when my offer is accepted?

Full details of the documents that you will need to provide can be found within our Tenants guide to securing a property which will be attached to the email you receive with the ‘Offer to rent’ form.  The Tenant’s guide to securing a property can also be found on our Renting page.

How long does the referencing process take?

The referencing process can be as quick as 48 hours, but on average it takes 5-7 days.  But the truth is this process is completely controlled by third-party factors, like how quickly you complete your tenancy reference form, and the speed at which your employer, for example, responds to the referencing agency.  So, the quicker these parts are dealt with will determine how quickly your references are completed.

Our lettings team are always on hand to answer any questions you have.

Can I change the rent payment date?

This is a question listed on the ‘offer to rent’ form that you will need to complete.  If you detail your request on this form, we will ask the landlord and let you know if they will agree to this before moving forward with your offer proposal.  

If you are already a tenant with us and want to see if you can change your rent due date, then we can approach the landlord with your request once you send it to us in writing.

Further information can also be found within our Tenants guide to securing a property located on the Tenant’s page of this website. 

Can I decorate?

It is important that you do not make any alterations or decorate the property without the landlord’s consent.    We are more than happy to approach the landlord for you once you have detailed your request in writing.  you will need to provide details of the type of work you would like to complete and the exact location within the property. 

For example, if you would like to paint your child’s bedroom then you will need to provide details of which bedroom this is and a sample of the colour you would like to use, this can be a swatch reference or a website link for the landlord to see.  

Please be aware, if alterations are agreed it will then be your responsibility to correct those alterations prior to ending your tenancy unless prior written agreement is made with the landlord.

Can I change the utility provider?

Yes.  All we ask is that you contact us to advise when you are planning to do this and provide us with details of the utility supplier you are changing to.  We will then require confirmation once the switch has taken place.

Who do I call with a maintenance issue if your office is closed?

This information would have been provided within your welcome letter when moving into the property.  If our offices are closed and you do not have access to your welcome letter, then please refer to our property management page for instructions.

 

How much notice do I need to give to end my tenancy?

This will depend on the agreed terms when you signed your tenancy agreement.  If your landlord agreed to include a break clause then this will be detailed within your tenancy agreement.  

If you are still not sure after reading your tenancy agreement, please get in touch with one of our property management team and they will be happy to assist you. Click here to contact your local branch.

How do I get my deposit back when my tenancy has ended?

Once your tenancy has ended and you have been checked out of the property, the check-out process will be completed and you will be contacted by someone from the check-out team.

Further information can also be found within our Tenants guide to securing a property. 

Do you have a complaints procedure?

As members of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and ARLA Propertymark, we follow a strict code of practice for lettings.  We hope that you do not find yourself needing to make a complaint about the service we have provided, but if you do have any reason to make a complaint we have a detailed complaints procedure for you to follow.

Lettings – Complaints procedure

Are you members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)?

We are members of ARLA Propertymark and follow their strict code of conduct.

Do you have Client Money Protection?

As members of ARLA Propertymark we have Client Money Protection for your peace of mind.

Our Client Money Protection Certificate

Client Money Protection accounting rules

Landlords FAQs

How is the rental market in this area?

The area of Watford is very popular with tenants looking to move into the area.  Watford has a long list of popular schools and multiple shopping facilities to offer, along with the motorway links, rail links and its proximity to London. 

Why not have a look at the latest activity in the area around your property by clicking onto our Area Insights tool.

How quickly can you find a tenant for my property?

We believe we provide our clients access to potentially the biggest audience of tenants looking in the Watford area.  Why not look at our Landlords guide to see all the marketing channels we use in the effort to achieve the best rent for our clients.

Where will you be marketing my property?

With the benefit of having three established local offices, we always start with our tenant database.  This is often the fastest way to generate viewings from quality tenants already looking for similar properties in your area.  We typically have hundreds of tenants registered at any one time waiting for our “pre-press release” alerts!

We also make sure your property is marketed on Rightmove, Zoopla, and On The Market, which is often referred to as the “Big 3” property platforms.  Along with social media marketing and our YouTube channel; we make sure we look for the biggest audience for your property.  

Why not look at our Landlords guide to see all the marketing channels we use in the effort to achieve the best price for our clients.

How do you qualify prospective tenants for my property?

Firstly, we look to understand the reasons a prospective tenant would like to rent your property.  We then ask them to complete an ‘Offer to Rent’ form that provides the answer to lots of the questions most landlords would like to know.  Once you are happy to accept an offer from a prospective tenant, we strongly advise they are fully referenced via the referencing agency we use.

If you have any other questions, why not take a look at our Landlord page or contact one of our lettings team who would be more than happy to help.

Can I meet prospective tenants before they move in?

Yes, of course you can, it is completely up to you.  Some landlords are happy for us to be the tenant’s contact throughout the process and other landlords like to meet prospective tenants before accepting an offer and moving to the referencing stage.  Take a look at how we can help manage your tenancy.

Do I have to supply appliances?

It is not a requirement to provide appliances at your property but there are many reasons why you should strongly consider providing your own appliances.  The reasons start with the fact most tenants are looking for properties where white goods are included and give you a bigger audience to achieve the best rent.  

But the reasons are even bigger when you consider the issue of being in control of what goes into your property and limiting the risk of damage to floors and cupboards, through to avoiding hidden leaks from dated appliances or DIY plumbing that is definitely the biggest risk to consider. 

If you are still not sure, why not chat with one of our lettings team who would be more than happy to help.

How much do you charge?

The fee we charge depends on the level of service you have chosen.  At Fairfield, we believe we offer the very best value for money, and for that reason, we tailor our service to fit our client’s needs.  If you would like to discuss the level of service you are looking for and book for one of our consultants to visit you, please click here.

Why do I need to pay for the tenant to be referenced?

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 was introduced on 1st June 2019 which prohibited tenants from being charged any fees other than a shortlist of permitted charges.  A tenant cannot be charged for the referencing process which unfortunately means this now becomes a choice for the landlord to choose if they require a prospective tenant to be referenced.

Our advice will always be the referencing process is the most important part of setting up a tenancy.  

Take a look at other key topics, Securing and vetting quality tenants, The regulated world of lettings, The importance of having an inventory, and The key stages of a tenancy.

Can you provide rent guarantee insurance?

Rent guarantee insurance is offered by the referencing provider if all tenants applying to rent your property pass the referencing process.  

If this is an option that you would like to consider, please feel free to chat with one of our lettings team who will be more than happy to help.

When can I expect the rent payment to arrive in my account?

At Fairfield Lettings we look to send our landlords the rent on the same day it is received.  

We strongly advise before instructing an agent to rent your property that you confirm their policy regarding the timeframe to pay your rent.  We believe it is not unheard of for letting agents to advise it can take up to 14 days to pay the rent into the landlord’s account!

What happens if my tenant stops paying?

If we are collecting the rent on your behalf, then we will follow an in-depth contact process for tenants that stop paying their rent, whilst keeping you fully informed during the process.  

At Fairfield, we have very few rent arrears among the hundreds of properties we collect the rent for, which we put down to carrying out all the right pre-tenancy checks at the start before moving someone into your property. Click here to take a look at the levels of service we offer.

What’s the difference between your managed levels of service?

At Fairfield, we offer three managed levels of service to suit any landlord’s requirements.  This can range from simply being your tenant’s point of contact, to a fully managed tenancy service that even includes rent guarantee insurance. Click here to take a look at the levels of service we offer.

You can also click here to read everything about our Property Management service.

Are tenants responsible for maintaining the garden?

In general, the tenant is responsible for returning the garden to the standard set at the start of the tenancy.  But this does not mean a landlord can expect the tenant to perform tasks that require gardening experience or knowledge.  The landlord will still be responsible for cutting back hedges and maintaining trees.  

Click here to take a look at our Property Management service.

What happens if the tenant damages the property?

If your tenant has caused damage to your property you will need to be able to prove this has happened if you are looking to claim the cost of repair from their deposit.   If you have had an inventory completed when your tenant moved into the property, you will have the best chance of proving damage has been caused.

Click here to read the importance of having an inventory.

Do you carry out inspections?

If we are providing our managed ‘Premium’ or ‘Platinum’ service, then we will be carrying out routine property inspections and providing you with an electronic report each time a visit has been completed.  

Click here to take a look at the levels of service we offer.

Can I complete inspections myself?

The simple answer is YES, as it is essential to inspect your property.  If you are not using one of our managed levels of service that include property inspections, then it is imperative that you carry out an inspection at your property. 

By not completing inspections at your property, you could land yourself in unnecessary trouble with the authorities, read our property management page to find out more.

Can you recommend gas and electrical engineers?

If you are using one of our managed levels of service, then we can provide you with access to our recommended list of contractors.

Our lettings team are always on hand to answer any questions you have. Read our property management page to find out more.

When will you contact me about renewing the tenancy agreement?

Our renewals team will be in touch with you around 12 weeks prior to the end of your tenancy.  They will discuss the process with you and guide you through our renewal checklist.  

There is a reason it is this early as it is essential to ensure there is plenty of time remaining if there is a need to serve any notices.  

Can I increase the rent?

Rent increases are normally discussed as part of the tenancy renewal process.  At this stage, our renewals team will discuss the current market with you and take your instructions.  

If you are looking to increase the rent when you have a periodic tenancy or mid-term of a tenancy, then this is not as straightforward, and we advise you to talk to one of the renewals team who will guide you through the options available.

What happens at the end of the tenancy?

At the end of your tenancy, the tenant will be checked out of the property and our end-of-tenancy team will complete the final process for you depending on the service level we provide to you.

For more information on our service levels please check out our landlord guide.

Will you help me serve a notice on the tenants?

If we are providing our managed ‘Premium’ or ‘Platinum’ service, then the answer is YES, dependent on which notice you are looking to serve.  

Please feel free to contact our lettings team if you have a particular question relating to serving a notice.

Can I change the level of service that I currently have with you?

If you are looking to change the service level that we are providing, then we will be more than happy to discuss the options available to you. 

Please feel free to read our Levels of Service guide or contact your local office and one of the lettings teams will be happy to help.

Do you have a complaints procedure?

As members of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and ARLA Propertymark, we follow a strict code of practice for lettings.  We hope that you do not find yourself needing to make a complaint about the service we have provided, but if you do have any reason to make a complaint we have a detailed complaints procedure for you to follow.

Lettings – Complaints procedure

Are you members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)?

We are members of ARLA Propertymark and follow their strict code of conduct.

Do you have Client Money Protection?

As members of ARLA Propertymark we have Client Money Protection for your peace of mind.

Our Client Money Protection Certificate

Client Money Protection accounting rules