ASK Property wins award at The ESTAS, the most prestigious awards

in the UK property sector

The Mansfield based agency ASK Property  received the Gold for Best in County award in the East Midlands at the prestigious ESTAS Customer Service Awards for 2020 sponsored by Zoopla, the biggest awards in the UK property industry. The winners were announced on You Tube by Phil Spencer in the first ever virtual awards for the property industry.

Now in their 17th year the awards, which are powered by ESTAS own customer review platform, recognise the best estate and letting agents for customer service based on ratings from clients who have been through the whole moving experience with an agent. This years results were calculated from 45,000 customer reviews.

Phil Spencer, who has hosted The ESTAS every year since their inception in 2003 addressed viewers “There’s never been a more appropriate time to highlight and celebrate the importance of customer care as agents strive to do the right thing for their clients whilst protecting their businesses & families. The ESTAS are the purest kind of recognition any property firm can receive because its real customer review ratings from real clients that decide the winners.”

Estate and letting agents were recognised in counties and regions around the UK.  National Grand Prix Awards were also announced for the Best Single Agent Office in sales and lettings.

Simon Brown Founder of The ESTAS said “When we started we wanted to create a set of property awards which were completely pure, where winners were selected solely on customer service ratings from actual customers – no awards submission, no interviews or presentations –  just the feedback of genuine clients who had experienced a full service from an agent. 17 years and over half a million reviews later The ESTAS is now the customer review platform of choice for property professionals and the most prestigious award an agent, a conveyancer or mortgage broker can win in the property industry.”

Andrew Marshall, Chief Commercial Officer for Zoopla said “We’re proud to mark a decade of support for the ESTAS. While this year’s virtual awards may feel a bit different, their mission is now more important than ever. Let’s shine a light on the agents who’ve been a pillar of support to their customers, as they sell, buy, let and rent at an unprecedented time. We’re also excited to celebrate the very best of a brilliant bunch through our Xcellence award. It recognises agents with a long-standing commitment to exceptional customer experiences.”

Kelly Statham manager of ASK Property said “We are absolutely thrilled to be recognised in this year’s ESTAS. It means so much to us as we know it’s our customers who have judged our performance.  We take our levels of customer service very seriously because we know clients have a choice.  We have always been very proud of the personal service and this proves we are delivering what we promise.”

The Importance of an inventory.
What is an inventory and why is it important when Letting out a property?

Picture the scenario- You allow a tenant to rent out your beloved property which used to be your family home. You know and trust the tenant and do not think that an inventory is necessary… Fast forward to 6 months/ a year etc down the line and they have decided to move out.
Before their move out day arrives, you visit them and you notice that the wall paper is ripped, there are marks on the paintwork, footprints on the carpet and a huge scratch on a worktop…. you are not best pleased to say the least.
You kindly ask them to fix these issues before they move out and to your horror, they tell you that ‘It was like that when we moved in’
You took a deposit but you have no proof to claim against it and the tenants will of course deny all responsibility.

Unfortunately, this will usually have to be chalked up to a lesson learnt- in the mean- time, you have to spend your rental profits on the repairs and are unable to get a new tenant straight in to the property.
An inventory is a binding legal document that provides an accurate written record of the condition and contents of a property at the beginning of a tenancy.
Since the introduction of a legal requirement to secure a tenant’s deposit in an approved scheme (We at ASK use the DPS, (Deposit protection scheme))
It has never been more important to have an inventory, preferably prepared by an independent company or your managing agent can assist with this. In order to deduct monies from a tenant’s deposit you must be able to demonstrate changes beyond reasonable wear and tear. The only way to do that is with an inventory.

The importance of an inventory
It is only effective if it is accurate, therefore all defects and soiling must be noted. Some landlords do not realise that although descriptions can appear uncomplimentary, it is those descriptions that will allow them to prove whether a tenant caused damage.
Photographs are always invaluable to coincide with descriptions
The following areas are normally included but more or less can be covered by arrangement. In every case, detailed comments are shown beside each description: Interior condition and decorative order, plus the fixtures and fittings including: doors, windows, drapes/blinds, ceilings, walls, carpets etc. Furniture and other contents, excluding items which the Inventory Clerk considers as expendable, such as magazines and living plants. Gardens are described in layman’s terms only. Garden statues, sheds, outbuildings etc will be described as deemed appropriate. Lofts, cellars and similar areas are not normally covered.
Should a property contain anything considered an antique or of great value we must be notified and, ideally, valuations should be provided. It is recommended that a property is cleaned to a professional standard for the start of a tenancy paying particular care to carpets, curtains, upholstery, kitchens and bathrooms. If an item is soiled at the start of a tenancy a tenant cannot be charged for cleaning it at the end. Landlords are also advised to retain all receipts.
Once a tenant is ready to move into a property, they must go through the inventory carefully and sign to acknowledge the condition in the report is as stated. If they have any discrepancies, they MUST be rectified or noted on the inventory and initialled.


Getting your property ready for viewings

Prepare your home for a viewing
Presentation matters- Buyers/Tenants are coming to look around your property, and you need to make an effort to show your home at its best.
Don’t make buyers/Tenants imagine how good it could be – show them. Decide on the strengths of your property and show them off. Go all out to impress. Here are our seven top tips for preparing your home for a viewing. Marketing your property is key, but it’s only half the battle. Once you have a prospective buyer interested in viewing your property, you should do everything you can to really “sell” your property.
From kerb appeal to ‘the little things’, this post will show you how to correctly prepare your home for a viewing.

1. Drive by appeal
First impressions are important for any sale and houses are no different whether selling or renting out your property.
Many buyers/Tenants will make a drive-by visit to your property at different times of the day before they decide whether or not to make a viewing and make an immediate judgement.
Tidy up the outside of your home, regularly mow the lawn, trim hedges and remove any weeds from your beds or pathways. Consider giving the front door and the window frames a lick of paint, and if it’s the right season put some pots or baskets outside your property. Make them want to come in.
Once you’ve taken care of the exterior, it’s time to work on the interior

2. Bathrooms and toilets
Clear away the mountain of toiletries, sponges, medication and make up that seems to accumulate in the bathroom. Clear away children’s bath toys and put out clean, dry, folded towels, empty any bins, wash any bath mats and clean the toilet.
Bath and shower fittings should be spotlessly clean. Clean and open windows to clear away any excess moisture. Consider replacing bath and shower sealants if mould has accumulated.

3. Living areas
You need to declutter
Clutter makes a room feel smaller and makes it harder for a buyer to imagine their furniture in there and may taint their desire to living in your home. Make sure distinctive features like fireplaces can be fully appreciated. Let the natural daylight flood in by pulling back the curtains, cleaning the windows and removing any items that might block light such as vases or photo frames on window sills. Keep the house warm in the winter but, whatever the season, be sure to regularly throw open the windows to let fresh air in. During viewings, turn off the TV and any music that might be distracting.
Let the viewer walk into each room first so they get a feel for the size of the rooms without you standing in front of them

4. Kitchen
Clean and polish all surfaces, fittings, handles, cupboard fronts and appliances. Clean inside the oven and any integrated appliances that are included in the sale= Cleanliness is key.
Clear any clutter from surfaces and make sure the sink and draining area is completely clear. Pet bowls should be cleared away, and always let in a blast of fresh air to clear any stale cooking smells. Freshly brewed coffee or baked bread are still the most appealing aromas to be found in the kitchen – it’s a cliché, but it’s true!

5. Space and order
Potential buyers will want to see every room, so make an effort on every space in your house. The kids’ rooms can look like warzones, but spend some time sorting them out so they look like bedrooms again. Toys can be boxed and all clothes, including shoes, should be cleared away. Buyers will want to look in cupboards and lofts too, so try to put these spaces in order.
6. Garden
For many people the garden is one of the biggest selling points. Tidy away any rubbish, weed and cut the grass and put out some potted plants to soften patios and yards (even artificial plants can look just as good). A seasonal fertiliser will add colour to a tired lawn. Be sure to cut back any boisterous bushes, particularly in smaller gardens. Also, jet wash patio areas as this is one less job for a new occupier to do (They will have a ‘To do list’ for the property) and the shorter that you can make the list…. The better.

7. And finally, you love your pets but…
your potential buyers may not. or may have allergies. Ask a friend or neighbour to take care of them during a viewing so as not to distract (or scare) a potential buyer from your property. If possible, have your children visit a friend or relative as small children can distract attention and no one wants to walk into a room with bigger children sitting in there on their game’s consoles.

Always Ask !.

Viewing a property, what to look for and questions to “Ask”

Prospective homebuyers view between 15-20 properties before deciding upon one to make an offer on, which is a lot of information to have to retain.
Here at ASK, we want to make life as simple and as easy as possible, taking the worry out of buying your home.
Here are some tips to ensure your well prepared for your viewings.

Give yourself plenty of time
Shown around by an agent or owner?
View the property at your own pace and avoid being hurried. Tell them beforehand how long you intend to spend viewing the property.
The last thing you want is to have to rush around the property because you have another viewing booked 10 minutes later, or because the estate agent is rushing to another appointment.
You should leave at least 20-30 minutes to view the inside of a property and to walk around the local neighbourhood to get a feel for the area if you are unfamiliar.
Leave emotion at the door
Walking through the front door and immediately imagining yourself living in the property can be a good sign. However, it is also likely to mean that you are looking through rose tinted glasses for the rest of the viewing and miss vital aspects of the property.
Even if you feel that a property could be the one, try to look around the rest of the flat or house with a critical eye as this will be your home for possibly a long period of time.
If you do find a problem, the landlord or landlords’ agent should be able to rectify this prior to the start of your tenancy.

View in daylight
· If you have to attend a first viewing when it is dark and like the house or flat, try and arrange a second viewing during the day.
· If you have viewed the property in the day and want a better idea of what the area is like in the evening, arrange a second viewing later in the day.
This will give you an idea of how light the property is at different times of the day, how loud the neighbours are and what the neighbourhood is like.
Check for damp
Damp is a big concern regardless of whether you are looking to buy or rent a property, simply because it may illustrate more fundamental problems.
Signs of damp include:

· Peeling wallpaper
· Bubbling paint
· Mould or dark residue on the walls and ceiling
If you suspect that the property suffers from damp it need not be a deal breaker but should definitely be an issue you raise with the agent and investigate further.

Test the property
When you are looking around a flat or house, do not be afraid to test the fittings and fixtures. Check the following:
· The windows open easily
· Locks are fitted on external doors and windows
· There is suitable water pressure throughout
· The shower and taps work
· The wiring and electrics all function correctly
· Ask to put the heating on.
Although you may feel awkward testing things in this way, any issues you spot at viewing can either be fixed before you move in.

Think about space
An empty flat our house will always look bigger than a fully furnished property, so you need to check that there really is enough room.
· Check the storage space; are there built in wardrobes in the bedrooms, or would you need to have space for a wardrobe in each room?
· In the kitchen, are the white goods built in or would you need to use vital space for a fridge, washing machine or dishwasher?
· Is the cupboard space enough to fit all of your pots, pans and crockery?
· Would your bed, sofa, dining table and drawers all fit comfortably, or would you be blocking radiators and sockets?
You can take this a step further by taking a tape measure with you to check if your furniture would fit comfortably in each room.

Get the camera out
Taking lots of photos or a video is a great way of ensuring that, should you miss something, you can check again once you get home to refresh your memory without arranging another viewing.
It also means that you can look back at the property and compare it to others you have seen in your own time without the pressure of going around with an agent.
However, make sure you ask before you start snapping. Although letting agents and estate agents will not usually have an issue with you taking photos, if the owner still lives in the property it is only polite to check so not to infringe upon privacy and data protection

Question everything – take a list
Do not be afraid to ask questions, you are well within your rights to have your questions answered. Landlords and agents will always help and remember, there is no such thing as a silly question.
Here are some questions you should ask the agent before you sign:
Q- Can I decorate?
The décor may not be to your taste but always ask before doing any alterations.

Q- Is the gas and electricity billed or on a card meter?
Some tenants prefer billed so that the meter doesn’t run out and some like to know what they are spending.

Q- Is there parking?
Never assume that a space off of the premises is a designated space.

Q- Does this property accommodate pets?
A very common question but please always ask. The landlord may not accept pets for such a simple reason as allergies so please respect this decision. Please also be aware that if pets are accepted, there may be an extra small charge.

Q- Does the property/ area have internet access?
Believe it or not, there are areas of the UK that do not have internet access as they are in Black spots.

No other season necessitates a colourful interior update quite like spring. After months of dreary browns and sensible cosy neutrals, the cheery effect of a bright pop of colour cannot be understated. Of course, not everyone has the time or budget to be running around buying new sofas on a whim at the advent of a new season, but chromatic updates don’t have to be extensive. They can be as simple as a vibrantly hued accent wall in your living room or a fresh coat of paint to give an old table new life.
The best thing about spring colour trends for 2019 is that each hue is completely adaptable to both large-scale changes and smaller design updates.
With the changing season in mind, our interior design team here at ASK and New frontier developments, have used some of the leading textures, colours and accessories to creative our latest Executive rooms ,released this spring, boasting the latest colour trends. From the bold to the demure, there is a fresh, vibrant feeling in how we are creating luxury, affordable comfortable living space here at ASK, though you may notice a few colours, in particular, are gaining widespread attention


Ask Director Kelly statham, recently shared her success story and vision for her newly launched estate agent business, with the HMO property magazine, in this Aprils edition. Property is something she has always wanted to engage in and her sheer passion, drive and determination have enabled her within a year to achieve a successful portfolio of property’s, and she recently punched the air, when she was selected to become a finalist at the Mansfield 20/20 Business awards, to be held on May the 5th this year, for two category’s “Best New  Business” and “Entrepreneur Spirit.”

Kelly’s ability to grasp every opportunity is as a result of her hard work and she is certainly not afraid to apply her creative style and offer a different experience that is being recognised by landlords, tenants and investors, all keen to become clients of Ask. So what is the magic spell Kelly? “its simply knowing the business and doing it better than anyone else.” We don’t try to succeed, we achieve here at ASK and the results are awakening much interest in her new style and approach towards  property management.


                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ask are proud to present 5 brand new executive rooms, two of which have En-suite, to rent in  Mansfield, providing easy access to the M1 and A38 and is a ten minute walk into the town centre, with regular bus services supporting the area, as well as the town centre train station. The house has been refurbished, so the quality and décor is  to an exceptionally high standard. The rooms offer modern, stylish  living space, created by our own team of interior designers. Every detail has been considered to reflect comfort and affordable luxury for working professionals. The theme is urban city living offering high class facilities throughout , with the modern kitchen complete with integrated appliances, superfast broadband and a regular cleaning service included.

We are seeking friendly individuals that want to achieve a healthy work life balance and will enjoy living with other like minded people. In choosing this house you benefit from an immaculate tidy home that is perfect for the working professional. The ALL INCLUSIVE rent covers all bills including council tax, WIFI, gas and electric, water and a regular cleaner for communal areas. We always put our tenants first and ensure the highest quality is maintained so you can be sure to enjoy a comfortable and welcoming experience and a place for you to feel at home.

If you are interested in a room and would like to arrange a viewing , please call or e mail us , as these rooms are in a prime location and will go fast, so just ASK!.

Spring is in the air and here at ASK, we are simply buzzing as we proudly showcase our latest executive rooms, in the Nottinghamshire area. Our own team of interior designers have  selected the latest on trend colours, textures and accessories, to create a modern sleek and stylish atmosphere, offering affordable living for professional working people. Viewing is highly recommended to appreciate the high specification of accommodation we have to offer. With our extensive selection of locations, you only have to ASK !.

#I want that room.