THE Consumer Crew are here to solve your problems.
Mel Hunter will take on readers’ consumer issues, Jane Hamilton will give you the best advice for buying your dream home, and Judge Rinder will tackle your legal woes.
Jane Hamilton, property expert
SELLING your home? Then get ready for the Boxing Day Bounce – the period from today to New Year’s Eve is traditionally the busiest time of the year for property portals, with Rightmove reporting a 231 per cent surge in traffic this time last year.
Here, Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent strike.co.uk, shares his top tips for boxing clever.
Get your home ready: Fix leaky taps, fill cracks and clean carpets and upholstery.
Create kerb appeal: Make your home stand out. Pick up litter, clean or paint the front door, hide bins and make sure the path to your home is inviting.
Spruce up the garden: Remove dead leaves, cut back overhanging plants and clear any clutter so your garden looks as big as possible.
Get ready for the Boxing Day Bounce by getting your home in order with these tips
Maximise your online presence: Marketing during lockdown relies on buyers looking online. Choose a digitally-savvy agent who will use keywords in your listing such as garden, annexe, study or playroom / office.
Get the photos right: Ensure your agent takes top-quality photos so your house looks its very best. Your main image needs to be perfect to draw people in. Showcase the best parts of your home.
Price realistically: It’s usually the biggest factor in how fast a home sells. A competitive price can trigger offers above the asking price – research what similar homes are selling for locally.
Buy of the week
This stunning one-bed garden flat in Southampton is on sale for £175,000
HAMPSHIRE residents are the UK’s keenest home movers, with 40 sales completing between Christmas and New Year last year, according to website yeshomebuyers.com.
Join them with this stunning one-bed garden flat in Southampton. It’s on sale for £175,000 at zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/57217434.
Judge Rinder helps a reader who received an unexpected £2,000 bill for scaffolding during work on her home
Q. IN September we were quoted a total of £3,300 for refitting our dormer windows. We agreed to this and paid a £660 deposit.
A provisional date for the work was set as December 1. It then changed to December 10. That date passed without contact from them.
When I chased the company it said we would need to pay £2,000 extra for scaffolding. This is far more than we want to pay. Am I entitled to the deposit back?
The firm says not because we already agreed to the work being done, but we didn’t have the full figure at that stage.
A: It was an extremely bad idea to hand over a deposit without having a clear agreement in writing as this is precisely the sort of problem that can arise.
That said, it seems to me you are almost certainly entitled to a full refund because the window company does not appear to have given you any indication whatsoever (either verbally or by providing you with written terms and conditions), that it was going to be charging extra for the scaffolding.
You were either explicitly told when you agreed to the work or you reasonably assumed that £3,300 was the total price for everything. By demanding an extra £2,000, this firm is attempting to vary your verbal contract, which you do not have to accept.
Either insist the company does the work for the price quoted or insist it returns your deposit. Email it at once making clear that, unless it returns your money, you will bring legal proceedings in the small claims court.
Q) MY gran died in May and my mum is her executor. As the estate was more than £32,000, my gran’s solicitor had to obtain court confirmation (we are in Scotland) before the estate could be distributed among the named beneficiaries.
It took more than six months to get confirmation, with much of the delay down to a catalogue of mistakes on the solicitor’s part.
When it was finally sorted, my mum paid the solicitor’s bill, all other bills/debts related to the estate and distributed the remainder to the beneficiaries.
Now the solicitor has written requesting payment for a court fee of more than £250 which they omitted. Does she have to pay it from her own money or should the solicitor be told they are too late to claim on the estate?
A: Despite the appalling mistakes these solicitors have made, they could in principle ask your mother (as the executor) to get the money back from the beneficiaries.
However, it seems to me the solicitors will have a tough time getting anywhere, given their behaviour. Your mum should write to them reminding them that the funds have already been dispersed to the beneficiaries and that this new charge has come to light because of this firm’s admitted negligence.
She should make clear she will not be paying this fee given the solicitors’ conduct and is considering reporting them to their regulator.