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  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide One

    Opening doors to your future Residential Sales and Lettings in the Plymouth area

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Two

    Opening doors to your future Locally owned and run Independent Estate Agents

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Three

    Opening doors to your future Sales and Lettings offices centrally located

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Four

    Opening doors to your future Highly motivated friendly staff

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Five

    Opening doors to your future Established in Plymouth since 2003

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Six

    Opening doors to your future Highest levels of customer service

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Seven

    Opening doors to your future Extensive knowledge of Plymouth and surrounding areas

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Mobile Slide Eight

    Opening doors to your future Dedicated to making the process as smooth as possible

  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide One
    Opening doors to your future
    Residential Sales and Lettings in the Plymouth area
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Two
    Opening doors to your future
    Locally owned and run Independent Estate Agents
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Three
    Opening doors to your future
    Sales and Lettings offices centrally located
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Four
    Opening doors to your future
    Highly motivated friendly staff
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Five
    Opening doors to your future
    Established in Plymouth since 2003
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Six
    Opening doors to your future
    Highest levels of customer service
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Seven
    Opening doors to your future
    Extensive knowledge of Plymouth and surrounding areas
  • Cross Keys Estates - Residential Sales and Lettings - Slide Eight
    Opening doors to your future
    Dedicated to making the process as smooth as possible

It is well documented that we, as a nation, have had some particularly challenging times in the last few years including covid, gas and electricity prices going sky high, interest rates going up, rents going up, to mention but a few! The fact that gas and electricity prices have risen so much has had an impact on people’s energy usage and this has meant that people have not heated their properties as much as they would ordinarily do, due to being afraid of the enormous bills these would create.

As a result of this, there has been a huge increase in the amount of condensation that is in people’s homes, which has, in turn, been detrimental to their standard of living and in some cases their health. There is a real lack of knowledge when it comes to things like condensation and black spot mould but the rise in it has meant that we, as a Company, are finding ourselves trying to inform and educate people what causes it and how to treat it. It is understood that there are other types of damp such as rising damp and water ingress, which are entirely different things and would need a specialist to investigate further.

The most common type of damp found in properties is caused by condensation. As you can imagine, just by living in a property, moisture is created by cooking, bathing & showering, washing & drying clothes and even breathing! Condensation occurs when moisture laden air is cooled to a point where it can no longer hold all its moisture and it will then go to the coldest part of the house, which is invariably an external wall that does not open to the elements. Over time, the condensation can then start to turn into black spot mould, which can be dangerous to health if the spores are inhaled in sufficient volume. Unbelievably, there are 100’s of species of mould that are carried in the air that can settle and grow if the conditions are right.

The best way to keep the levels of condensation down is to produce less moisture by following the tips below:

  1. Cover saucepans whilst cooking & do not leave kettles boiling.
  2. Do not dry your washing inside the property.
  3. Always close the bathroom door when showering / taking a bath.
  4. Always close the kitchen door when cooking.

It is also particularly important to heat the property but sadly some homes are only heated for part of the time; this can result in condensation occurring when the rooms are unheated. This has been a huge issue over the last 18 months or so due to the energy crisis, which has impacted people’s affordability to use their heating. Keeping the whole home consistently warm will reduce condensation. This is better, and may be cheaper, than having intermittent heating to higher temperatures of parts of the home.

As well as heat, it is also imperative that properties are well ventilated, which will help remove the moisture from the atmosphere. Please see some tips below, which will assist in keeping the air moving:

  1. Ventilate kitchens and bathrooms when in use. After use open the windows wider to remove the remaining moisture.
  2. Keep windows on “air lock” or ensure the windows “trickle vents” are open (if fitted).
  3. Ensure that any extractor fan you have in the kitchen or bathroom is switched on when the rooms are in us and for approximately 20 minutes thereafter (they are usually set to a timer for this).
  4. Ensure that your tumble dryer is vented outside (if applicable).
  5. Wipe off wet surfaces, for example, where condensation has formed on windows or after using the shower.
  6. Use a dehumidifier if you have one available to you.
  7. Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes. Avoid putting too many things in them as this stops the air from circulating. Where possible, position wardrobes and furniture against internal walls.
  8. Leave a space between the back of the wardrobe and the wall.

In simple terms, if you see black spots around your window or on your walls then that is black spot mould, which is caused by a lack of ventilation coupled with a lack of heat. It is our enemy, so immediately wipe it away and then introduce both heat and ventilation to the room. I am sure you have seen some horrific examples on the news, but these are the extreme and it is usually a combination of condensation, water ingress and even some rising damp. Nevertheless, it is important to keep on top of the issue but if you feel it is getting out of control then speak to a specialist to see if there is an underlying cause.

Anyone that has been trying to find a property to let recently will know that the rental demand in Plymouth remains high. As soon as a property is listed on our website, our Facebook page, or Instagram we are inundated with enquiries. There is a definite shortage in rental properties which in turn has pushed rents up to an all-time high.  

The competition is ferocious with good quality tenants desperate to secure properties, we as agents feel for applicants and understand the frustration of not being able get their foot in the door. The pace from releasing a property to it being Let Agreed is literally days, sometimes hours.  

My advice to tenants looking for properties is to set up alerts on websites, register with letting agents and when applying for properties provide as much information as possible on your current circumstances to include income details. Have your documents ready, generally letting agents will require proof of ID (passports and driving licences). At Cross Keys Estates we like to give everyone a fair chance and encourage them to apply for properties via our on-line portal.  All applications are acknowledged and viewed by landlords; we will then let all applicants know the outcome of their application.

Landlords are also feeling the pace having to ensure that properties are turned around quickly for new tenancies. There are many considerations for landlords to be aware ensuring that properties are compliant with Gas Safety Certificate, Electrical Installation Condition Reports and up to date Energy Performance Certificates. In October the new legislation regarding Carbon Monoxide Detectors will come into force.  At Cross Keys we help our landlords to ensure that these safety checks are carried out and in place. We are encouraging our landlords to install CO2 detectors correctly now.  

Obviously, the question is can this fast moving rental market be sustained.  We don’t see it calming down anytime soon.  Unless there is a mass influx in rental properties coming to the market in the next month or two, the trend of rents going up and properties letting within hours will continue for some months to come.  So buckle up and ride it out!

As many of you will know, the rainy season is already upon us and we have seen some heavy downpours in the last month or so. You may be one of those people that likes the autumn and winter more so than spring and summer but for the majority of home owners / renters / sellers this is the time of year that sees where the faults in your property are.

Have you had a slate from the roof come off? Is there a crack in your render that has now allowed an unsightly damp patch to appear? Has your chimney had any water ingress? Do your windows have cracks in the frames that might be letting water in?

If the answer to these questions is “NO” then count your blessings and move on to the next section where we will talk about energy efficiency. If the answer to any of these questions is yes then please take my advice and deal with them sooner rather than later. A small problem now that is left unresolved can result in catastrophic issues in time to come.

A small crack in your render can easily be chased out and filled rather that in a few month time needing the whole wall being hacked off and re-rendered. Replacing a slipped tile may only take a day or two to get fixed but water coming for a prolonged period could result in the timber starting to rot or ceiling collapsing or the electrics failing where the lighting is.

Water will always find a way, your job is to make it as hard as possible for the water to get in. If the water does get in and the temperature starts to fall, then consider the ramifications of moisture in the fabric of your house. If this moisture freezes, then untold amounts of damage can occur and usually this will lead to expensive and unwanted bills at a time of year where we normally have other important things to spend our hard earned cash on.

Maintenance is not a sexy subject that grips everyone and get them excited but there is an old saying “Prevention is better than a cure” and regular updates on your property is highly recommended to ensure that they are in the best possible condition in order to withstand one of our winters.

Moving on from maintenance, we need to consider the effects of not having enough insulation in our properties. Insulation is relatively cheap but highly effective at keeping our homes not only warm but also energy efficient. There are currently a lot of schemes around that are offering either free or hugely discounted fees for installation of the best quality insulation. Keeping your home warm isn’t just for your comfort but also helps ensure that your property is being looked after because at the end of the day, warm and dry will always be better that cold and damp.

I really hope that you have found this blog informative and helpful, it may seem like these subjects are trivial but trust me, they do help to make sure your property is in its best possible condition for both living in and for selling. If you are a tenant, it is also really important to inform your managing agent or landlord if you have any of these issues or other minor problems, especially if it concerns water or moisture inside of the home. A dripping tap left dripping for a long time could escalate from simply needing a washer to be replaced to needing an entire kitchen unit or worktop needing replacing.

Like they say in Game Of Thrones “Winter is coming” be prepared.

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Cross Keys Estate Agents Sales Property of the Week 1

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Langstone Road, Peverell

£300,000 to £330,000 Guide Price

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Cross Keys Estate Agents Sales Property of the Week 2

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Sylvan Court, Stoke

£140,000 to £150,000 Guide Price

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Cross Keys Estate Agents Lettings Property of the Week

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Monroe Gardens, Pennycomequick

£900 pcm

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