3,091 Spare ‘Spare’ Bedrooms in Darwen – Is this the cause of the Darwen Housing Crisis?

3,091 Spare ‘Spare’ Bedrooms in Darwen…

That isn’t a typo, of the 12,363 households in Darwen, 3,091 of those properties don’t only have one spare bedroom, but two spare bedrooms! … and it is this topic I want to talk about this week, my Darwen Property Market Blog readers – because this could be the cure for Darwen’s housing crisis.  Spare Bedrooms in Darwen. The fundamental problem of the Darwen housing ‘crisis’, is the fact that the supply of homes to live in has not historically met demand, increasing property values (and in turn rents), thus ensuring home ownership becomes an unattainable ambition for the twenty something’s of Darwen.

Darwen Spare Bedroom
Spare Bedrooms in Darwen

Call me a realist, but it’s obvious that either demand needs to drop or supply needs to rise to stop this trend getting worse for the generations to come.  Don’t get me wrong, I admire Downing Street’s plans to build 200,000 starter homes which will be offered to first time buyers under 40 with a minimum 20% discount price.  However, the building of starter homes on current building sites, where new homes builders already have to build a certain number of affordable ‘starter’ homes at the moment under a different scheme, does not increase the stock of new ‘starter’ homes, it simply replaces one affordable scheme with another.

One option that could resolve the housing crisis is if the Government literally looked closer to home, concentrating on matching households with the appropriate sized home.

In Darwen, 8,523 households have one spare bedroom and of these, 3,091 have two or more spare bedrooms.

This compares to 426 households in Darwen that are overcrowded (i.e. there are more people than bedrooms in the property).

Looking specifically at the homeowners of Darwen, 3,754 owner occupied Darwen houses have one spare bedroom.  Now having a spare bedroom is not considered a luxury.  However, in addition to those 3,754 households with one spare bedroom, there are on top, a further 2,710 owner occupied Darwen households with two or more spare bedrooms.

Therefore, I am beginning to see there is the spare capacity in the Darwen housing market.  Principally, I will concentrate on the group that makes up the bulk of this category, the owner occupiers of large properties, in their 60’s and 70’s, where the kids flew the nest back in the 80’s and 90’s.  They call it ‘downsizing’, when you sell a big property, where the extra bedrooms are no longer required, to move into a smaller and, usually, less expensive property.

However, there are many explanations why these individuals do not downsize.   These people have lived in the same house for 30, 40 even 50 years, and as one matures in life, many people do not want to depart from what they see as the family home.  Much time has been invested in making friends in the area and it’s nice to have all those rooms in case every grandchild decided to visit, at the same time, and they brought their friends!  But on a more serious note, more and more people are beginning to downsize earlier, but in my opinion, not at a fast enough rate.  As the years go one, we will have a situation where younger families will be living in smaller and smaller houses, whilst all the large houses with a couple of 70 something empty-nesters rattling around them!  I believe the Government should put more weight behind downsizing, because with the right incentives, many could be encouraged to think again and make the spare rooms available.

.. and it would have to be incentives, as the using the stick (instead of the carrot) would be political suicide for any party, especially the Tory’s.  One option is to allow retired downsizers not to pay stamp duty on the new property, saving them thousands of pounds and another for the planners to work with builders to build not only starter homes for under 40’s, but also have housing built just for retired downsizers … or is this one step too far in ‘social engineering’?

The fact is not enough properties are being built in Darwen, and with population rising at a faster rate, something needs to be done.  However, I believe the Darwen population (and in fact the whole of the UK) is slowly turning into a more European model of house ownership.  In Europe, most people rent in their 20’s and 30’s, only buying in their 40’s and 50’s, when they inherit money from the sale of their late parent’s property.   That works particularly well in Germany and I can’t see why it can’t work here.  In the meantime, there is an opportunity in the coming 20 years for people to supplement their pension by buying smaller properties to rent out, as that is where the demand will be in the next few decades in Darwen.

I’d be interested to hear your comments on the subject, why not drop me a line..

Paul Ainsworth-Lord


Mortgages ahoy! The financial reason why now is a great time to move

Mortgages ahoy! The financial reason why now is a great time to move

We know when you’re thinking of buying or selling, one question that always springs to mind “is now the right time.” We agree timing can be profitable but with mortgage lending at its highest level since 2008, there now is a financial reason to move. There is no doubt that the Governments Help To Buy scheme is helping people get on and move up the property ladder as is the number of favourable mortgages available at the moment.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “Although the average price of the typical first-time buyer home has grown by 10% in the past year, the number of buyers taking that first step onto the housing ladder has been supported by favourable economic conditions; namely, record low mortgage rates, rising employment and real pay growth.” First-time buyers are tending to opt for the longer term of 35 years rather than the normal 25 according to recent research. Other data confirms that the number of first-time buyers is increasing due to the number of transactions in November 2015 rose by 23.7% from the previous year.

According to Moneyfacts.co.uk, mortgage costs fell to a low of 2.56 per cent in 2015. Charlotte Nelson, finance expert at MoneyFacts, said; “Anyone looking for a fixed-rate mortgage now should act fast to secure the best deal.” The only way now for mortgage rates to go is up, and all eyes are on the Bank of England, although the governor Mark Carney only this week ruled out any imminent increases. The UK base interest rate has been at a record low of 0.5 per cent since March 2009, since which fixed rate mortgages have been extremely popular as borrowers wish to lock-in their monthly mortgage payments in case of any pending rises.

Although fixed rate mortgages offer security and peace of mind, there are an increasing number of tracker mortgages with interesting deals on the market at the moment. But does it offer the same security? John Charcal mortgage broker, Simon Collins says “Some lenders offer managed variable rates that are based on their own rate rather than the Bank of England. So if the Bank of England rate rises, your mortgage won’t necessarily increase. It is all down to personal circumstances and affordability. There are still some good tracker and variable deals out there but you need to look out for early repayment charges. If you are likely to get hit by even a 0.5 per cent rate rise then you should probably bite the bullet and go for a fix rather than a tracker.”

If you are looking to buy a new home, check out all the financial options open to you as understanding what you can afford and having a mortgage in principal will stand you in a strong position when you are ready to make an offer. No one can predict when rates will rise although we know it isn’t imminent, you can take advantage of the low mortgage rates open to you at the moment.

With our in-house mortgage adviser being able to search hundreds of deals to find the best option suitable for you and your needs, at Ainsworth Lord Estates we are the complete solution for whether you’re buying, selling, letting or renting a home in Darwen..

Want to Sell your Home Quickly? You need to act!

Want to Sell your Home Quickly? You need to act!

So you have made the huge decision to move, you may have found your perfect next home and therefore, you want to sell your home quickly.  No one wants or plans to have their home on the market for a long time, but if you act you can help sell your home quicker than you think.  But what can you do to ensure a successful and fast sale?


Before you rush and invite estate agents through your door, is your home ready to be sold?  You may have heard the term home staging, and even watched the TV programmes, but no matter your personal thoughts the facts are that home staging works, and not only can it help sell your home quicker it can often ensure it sells for a higher price than a home that hasn’t been presented for sale.  There are 5 main stages to staging your home for sale:

  • De-Clutter
  • Repair and decorate
  • Deep clean
  • Rooms that have purpose and balance
  • Finishing touches


There has never been so much choice when it comes to finding an agent to sell your home.  Do your research, read reviews and ask friends and family for recommendations.  Select three agents and invite them round to value your home, prepare a number of questions to ask each agent so you can compare their services, their knowledge of the local market and your gut feeling if they can sell your home.  The right agent will make the sales process easier for you and your family.


We would all love to sell our home for a high price than we paid for it.  You may have invested in an extension or a loft conversion or upgraded your home through decor and internal changes.  But the reality is that the value of your home is what someone is willing to pay for it in today’s market.  Working with property every day we know the ebbs and flows of the value of property and how that even can vary between street to street.  We see what buyers are looking for and able to advise our clients on any subtle changes they can make to their homes to meet those needs.  At Ainsworth Lord Estates we are here to achieve the highest possible purchase price for your property, let us help you do so.


Delays can often happen when as sellers you are not prepared.  Having to hand documentation relevant to your property sale is essential such as any certificates, deeds and financial statements.

Selling your home quickly can often be down to your planning as much as the skill to market your home effectively by your chosen estate agent.  Therefore, before you put your home on the market make sure you are ready to present, choose, listen and prepare, as doing so will mean you will have the keys to your new home quicker than you think.

For advice on selling your home, please contact a member of our team today on 01254 760660..

Don’t let your carpets damage your sale

Don’t let your carpets damage your sale

You have put your house on the market, you have made an effort to present it but as we all know, buyers can see past old decor and a bit of clutter – right?


One of the biggest mistakes with vendors is perception, they perceive buyers can see past anything that is tired when in reality most imperfections can actually turn off buyers.  Surprisingly, the results of a recent poll by home improvement store Wickes found that the biggest turn off of all was carpets, 1970’s style or dirty carpets being the worst.  Out of the 100 estate agents questioned, 61 per cent stated stained carpets as the number one turn off and 53 per cent 1970’s carpets.  Replacing such carpets and flooring is essential if you want to sell your home for the highest possible price, research suggests that replacing poor  with new can add approximately £2500 to your home.  You need to look at your property, not through your eyes but the eyes of your buyers, never assume.


But what else made the list?

49 per cent of the agents polled states that Artex ceilings and wood chip wallpaper also put off potential buyers.

Mitz Vaghji, flooring category manager at Wickes, said: “While the top tip to help sell your home is painting interior walls in neutral colours, a beautiful new floor can easily help to transform your home and increase your chances of selling.  Having good quality flooring consistently throughout your home has been proven to add value, and with the affordable ranges available at Wickes, there is something to suit every home at a great price.”

As estate agents, we also want to achieve the best price for your property and therefore, many of us will help to make your property presentable for a viewing, often hiding away ‘inappropriate items’ left lying around, making beds and even a quick vacuum.  This is not ideal as we can only doing a quick fix whereas a home that has been decluttered, deep cleaned, had it’s decor refreshed and been presented for sale is more likely to sell quicker and for a higher price than one that hasn’t.


Selling your home is more than simply placing a for sale sign outside, it’s about thinking what a buyer wants from your home and showing them it.  For example, if your home suits the family market and you don’t stage each bedroom as a bedroom, buyers may think that a particular room is too small and unable to picture the room decorated for their child.  By placing a bed in a room (the largest size that will fit comfortably) buyers can see the room as a bedroom and make informed decisions.

If you would like advice on presenting your home for sale, contact one of sales team today so when you put your house on the market you know you won’t be damaging your sale..

5 stress-busting tips for moving home

5 stress-busting tips for moving home

Happy New Year! We hope you have had a wonderful festive season.

For many a New Year sparks decisions of change, and this means moving home. They say that moving house is one of the most stressful things that you can ever do in your life.

The chances are, if you are moving home, then your stress levels are probably hitting the roof. This can be exacerbated more if you throw kids into the mix too. Not forgetting the emotional upheaval. Let’s face it unless you’re used to moving around, your move can be very daunting indeed.

Here are 5 stress-busting tips for moving home.

1. Get organised

Start decluttering, at least, a month before moving day. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t really leave your packing until the last minute!


Items such as clothes and books that are not used every day can be boxed away in advance, and guess what? you can do this while the kids are in bed. Start making a list of things you don’t need to take with you and arrange for them to go to a local charity.

2. Research your new area.

It’s really important that you and your family become familiar with your new surroundings as soon as possible. It will then start to feel like home.


This is even more vital if you’re are going to go through a big change, like moving from a rural area into the city. Give your children the opportunity to join new clubs or sports facilities in advance. This will give them and you the opportunity to look forward to doing new things and meeting new people.

3. Budget

There are so many outgoings to consider when you move home. To reduce stress you should work out your expenditure and budget. It would be really useful for you to do this advance to ensure you are able to cover all of the costs (sometimes unexpected) associated with moving. To save money during this time, be sure to budget for things like conveyancing, surveying and removals.

4. Hire a professional removal company

If your finances allow, of course, it would be much easier for you to get some expert help when moving home. Inform your removal company of your requirements in advance so that they are fully prepared. The company may even provide a packing service, which is less stress for you again, right?


It will save you time and energy that you’ll be able to conserve as your big day approaches.

It is also important that you hire accredited professionals. If you are confident that the company you have hired are skilled, then you’ll be able to relax and let them get on with all of the hard work.

5. Last but by no means least – Have Fun!

Make moving a fun adventure for the whole family. Let the kids pack their own bag or box and also choose their own décor for their new rooms.

Moving can be scary, but you should always view it as an exciting and positive experience because it is. It’s the start of a new chapter for you and your family which begins in discovering your new home.


Not everything will go your way, but if you keep a sense of humour, moving can be fun.

Happy Moving!.

Is your home ready for the Christmas peaks?

Is your home ready for the Christmas peaks?

‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’, and whether your perfectly prepared or having a last-minute crisis, nothing can stop time as Christmas is just two weeks away.  If you’re selling your home, you may think that this period is a waste of time, I mean who is house hunting at Christmas period?  You may be surprised to hear that estate agents up and down the country are encouraging vendors to have their home listed for the festive season, but why?

Did you know that last year over 1 million of us indulged in a spot of home searching on Rightmove, what’s more, viewing of property on Rightmove peaked on boxing day.  Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside states: “ It’s highly unlikely you’ll want prospective buyers to come round to have a look while you’re tucking into turkey or leftovers between Christmas and New Year, but being earlier to market means you won’t get left out of this surge in buyer interest if being an early-moving bird is your New Year resolution.”

So why is property search up around this time of year?  Many people are seeing the New Year as a new start and the thought of being in a new home before Easter is equally appealing.  Sadly the stresses and strains of the season can also impact in the increase in property searches and some relationships break down but equally new ones begin.  There is nothing more exciting than searching for a new home, but if you’re selling remember to have your home ready for these Christmas peaks.

The second largest property portal, Zoopla, is launching their biggest advertising campaign ever on Boxing Day to take advantage of these peaks.  It is predicted that that 91% of us will see a Zoopla TV ad over its campaign period.  Gareth Helm, Chief Marketing Officer for Zoopla Property Group said that their ad will hit our screens “with a big-bang during what is traditionally one of the busiest periods for TV viewing and the property market.”  With Rightmove and Zoopla both boasting the benefits of having our home available to view online, we should not ignore them.


With the giving and receiving of gifts, our homes are filled with extra goodies that we need to find a place for.  It is easy for your home to become cluttered when the decorations are coming down and Christmas is packed away for another year.  Clutter can be extremely distracting for potential buyers as they want to see themselves living in your home, but instead, they will be focusing on the clutter they see.  Clutter can also make your rooms feel smaller, and when selling your need to make all efforts to make your room feel bigger.  As the seasonal celebrations come to an end, take some time to see your property through the eyes of a buyer as you never know how soon a viewing could be requested and you want to be prepared.

If you are looking to sell your home, there is still time to list before we all take a step back to enjoy the festivities.  Contact a member of our sales team today who would be more than happy to help you.

But if you are one of the million starting to look for your new home next year, here are a couple of properties to get your search going.

Love a project

This is the ideal property present for anyone looking for a project.  With full planning permission, Knowle Barn could be transformed into a stunning 3 bedroom home perfect of character lovers.  It beautifully located on rural land and blessed with views both to the front and rear.


Perfectly Presented

We know buyers will quickly fall in love with this gorgeous 3 bedroom home in Darwen perfect for a family or professionals.  With a wonderfully sized kitchen to entertain your guests, whilst the garden, which includes a superb decked area, is where you will spend your time in the summer.

850 (1)

Under £70,000

When you step inside the front door of this 2 bedroom terrace you will immediately see the superb quality to which is home has been renovated.  Take a look at this kitchen, we are sure you wouldn’t have a problem creating a wealth of delicious treats here.

850 (2)



How to stage your home for a viewing during Christmas

How to stage your home for a viewing during Christmas

We’ve all seen them; houses decorated for Christmas with just about every piece of tinsel in the land. Red, white, gold, blue, purple….no colour is off limits. And what about the exterior; light up reindeers on the lawn and glowing Santa’s ‘climbing’ the chimney. They may be eye-catching, but not necessarily in the right way. This is fine if that’s what you like for your home, each to their own. But if you’re selling your house, I hate to break it to you, but it’s essential to get out of this mindset. Your home is no longer your home, it’s now a commodity to be bought and sold on the housing market. You need to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. And they may not all share your taste in Christmas décor.


So how do you appeal to these buyers browsing the property portals over the Christmas holiday whilst Uncle John snores in the chair across from them? How do you fill your house with that wonderful festive vibe that you love without alienating those who don’t share your personal taste, or, gasp! those who hate Christmas?

Read on for the five top tips to home staging at Christmas time:

  1. Keep it simple

There’s no need to use every single Christmas decoration you own. We’re not in the 1980’s. Santa’s grotto may be super fun for the kids, but your buyers might not feel the same. Pick and choose carefully. If it’s broken, dated, doesn’t go with your chosen colour scheme- don’t use it. You can always bring it out again next year when you’re celebrating Christmas in your new home.


  1. Choose a colour scheme and stick to it.

Speaking of colours, choose two or three and stick to them. Traditional red, green and gold go nicely together and usually go well in more traditional properties. White, purple and silver look lovely in more modern houses. It depends on your home’s décor. Use your wall colours and your furniture as a starting point and try to coordinate your Christmas decorations with them. If in doubt, look online for some Christmas colour inspiration.

  1. Less is more!

If it looks good as it is, don’t add any more. A natural pine garland with a few well-placed candles on a mantelpiece speaks simple style. Maybe add some fairy lights for some sparkle. Christmas trees look great with baubles in your colour scheme, some white or warm white fairy lights and a choice feature on the top. No need to add a sack of tinsel as well.



  1. Decorate key areas, not all areas.

As a general rule, decorate the following: fireplaces, front doors, window sills and, of course, your tree. It’s probably best to leave the ceiling alone this year. It saves getting up on that ladder anyway.


  1. Don’t forget your lighting

Most professional interior designers will tell you that lighting is incredibly important, yet is often neglected when it comes to interior decoration. For home staging at Christmas stick to white or warm-white lighting. These colours will go with any choice of Christmas décor and still provide that lovely cosy feeling we all love at Christmas. You can achieve this with fairy lights or candles. Or both. Just leave those more boisterous lighting pieces in the box this year.

It’s not difficult to stage your home for Christmas. It just requires a little more careful thought that usual. For the first time, you’re not just catering to your own tastes and that of your family, but also complete strangers who may be contemplating handing over vast amounts of money for your house. Make it easier for them

Good luck and have fun!




Top Tips for Electrical Safety over the Festive Season

Top Tips for Electrical Safety over the Festive Season

As many of us use this years’ savings on Christmas presents and New Year’s celebrations, you may be looking at ways to save money when it comes to your heating options. With swathes of Christmas lights ready to decorate our homes you need to place electrical safety at the forefront of your mind this year, especially with electrical fires being one of the biggest causes of accidental house fire in Britain.

Electrical fires can start quickly and can be caused by a variety of issues including:

* Socket overload

* Faulty wiring

* Below par products

* General negligence

We want you to have a snug and happy Christmas this year, so please check out the following tips for keeping your appliances safe and reducing the chance of accidental fire in your home this year:

* Look out for a British or European safety mark

To avoid buying an unsafe product always check whether it has a valid electrical safety mark:


* Keep Your Pets in Mind

A recent survey by Electrical Safety First revealed that 65% of pet owners said that their pet would be a bigger loss to them than any of their material possessions they would lose in a house fire situation. But worryingly two thirds of these pet owners admitted to still leaving their mobile phones on charge whilst leaving the house unattended!

At Ainsworth Lord we are real animal lovers, so we urge you to be vigilant about turning off all appliances when leaving home. You don’t know what your pets get up to when you leave the house, so make it ‘pet friendly’ and double check you’ve switched everything off!

* One socket only

You should always try to use just one socket, taking extra care not to overload extension leads. The Electrical Safety Council have a really helpful Socket Overload Calculator here. Try it out now and find out whether you’re currently putting your home at risk of fire.

* Check before bed

It sounds simple, but many of you are still leaving things like TV’s and mobile phones plugged in overnight. Unless the appliance has been designed to be left on constantly, e.g. a fridge or a freezer, switching off appliances will reduce the risk of fire dramatically and save energy too.

* Common Sense

Never leave your Christmas lights on whilst you’re asleep. We know how beautiful it looks on a wet, windy and cold night when your home glistens with the colourful array of fairy lights. After a joyful night with family and friends, falling asleep on the sofa is easily done so before you snuggling on the sofa in your cosy living room, maybe take a moment to turn the lights off.

What if I rent my home?

If you are a tenant who rents your home your landlord has a legal responsibility to make sure that the electrical system is safe from move in date. It needs to be maintained accordingly throughout the tenancy, and your landlord should therefore carry out basic electrical safety checks on a regular basis. If you live in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) your landlord has an extra obligation to carry out an electrical inspection on the property every 5 years. Furthermore, any appliances that are included with the tenancy must display at least the CE marking, to prove that they comply with all the requirements of European law.

As the festive season draws ever closer make sure you take a moment to think about your electrics. Discover the most proactive Property Agents in Darwen and Blackburn, and stay safe throughout the long winter months ahead..

What are buyers really thinking when viewing your home?

What are buyers really thinking when viewing your home?

At Ainsworth Lord Estates it is our job to find out what your potential buyers want, accommodate those needs and get your Lancashire home sold quickly and efficiently. Buyers in Darwen and Blackburn have such a variety to choose from that you need to get your marketing experience right from the beginning. The viewing stage is one of the most fundamental phases of purchasing your dream home and as a seller you’ll know that there is a form of ‘unspoken etiquette’ throughout the process between agent, buyer and seller.

Don’t forget that as a seller you have first-hand experience of what it’s like to be in your buyers shoes. You may even be selling your home whilst looking a new one yourself. Think back to when you bought your first property; what were your first thoughts and impressions? What exactly made you fall in love with the property you decided on in the end, that you’re now attempting to sell and move onto pastures new? There are a variety of buyers who envisage different necessities and requirements, for example:

Men VS Women

Latest research from one of the biggest UK lenders tells us that men are most excited by a prospective properties outside features; e.g. parking space, garage, garden space. Less concerned by location or condition, if you have an apartment for sale that has an outside space prepare to attract more men. On the other hand, women were found to be a lot more passionate about the actual space inside that the property has to offer – as well as its location, structural condition and decorative order.

Families VS Singles

Single home hunters in the North West tend to lean towards large entertaining rooms and blank canvases, compared to families who will opt for those properties with larger kitchens and a ‘ready to move into’ atmosphere. Both characters will appreciate an ample garden, what with 2 million British homes left wanting for this British home-owners ‘x-factor’. Due attention should also be taken by those of you who have gardens with a lot of plants/foliage in particular. This is because it needs to be made clear what the plants actually are, as buyers can be put off a property with the fear of the increasingly publicised likes of Japanese knotweed being present.

First Time Buyers VS Retirees/Downsizers

The majority of first time buyers and retirees/downsizers will both have thoroughly done their homework when it comes to the areas property values, as well as being equally pragmatic to taking fewer risks with their property journey. The difference between these two genres of homebuyers is that they will have largely differing budgets and will be looking for very different types of home. With grandparents sitting on huge piles of equity, now is the time for them to downsize and open up the market for the increasing number of first time buyers.

First Impressions Count!

The study also revealed that nearly two thirds of us have already made up our minds before we’ve even stepped over the properties threshold! So the phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’ certainly does not apply to the majority of Darwen and Blackburn property hunters. This means that it is really necessary to up your game when it comes to your kerb appeal and home staging ideas if you want to sell your home by Christmas or New Year. 90% of buyers use the internet to view their next potential property online, so crystal clear photography and detailed and thorough descriptions are a must in today’s property market.

At Ainsworth Lord Estates every seller is unique to us and the same goes for our buyers. We’re very proud to be the only Independent estate agent in the whole of Darwen. This also means that we are much more attuned to what buyers in our area truly want. The local knowledge of an estate/letting agent is extremely important to buyers and sellers alike, so we hope we have aided you further in discovering what buyers are really thinking about when they come to view your home this Winter..

Save Money and Keep Energy Efficient This Winter!

Save Money and Keep Energy Efficient This Winter!

With a dramatic shift in the weather expected right across Britain, we could all be facing freezing gales and heavy snow in just a matter of weeks! It’s up to you whether you believe weather predictions of not, but we’re definitely starting to feel the chill in the Ainsworth Lord office already.

There are so many energy tariffs to choose from these days, it can become a tough task to keep your heating bills under control as well as staying energy efficient. Did you know last winter was said to see the highest rate of cold deaths in 5 years?! As landlords and tenants alike settle in for a hard winter, we understand that you both need to prepare; firstly by securing your property before the weather turns and then putting handy money saving techniques in place for a budget-friendly Christmas and New Year. The similarities continue, as both of you are likely to be facing money issues this year; what with more legislation being piled onto landlords (increasing their costs) and rents rising in most areas around the country. As a letting agent who truly cares, this is where our support and expertise come into play for both parties in our thriving local communities of Darwen and Blackburn.

Nobody should have to choose between heating and eating this year, and with icy winds and heavy snow predicted here are our top tips for landlords and tenants alike who want to keep their bills low and stay toasty warm this winter:

Central Heating

As a landlord it’s important to keep your central heating system regularly maintained and updated, so ask yourself how old the pipework actually is. If it’s over 30-40 years old you should look into getting it replaced, as there are many smaller, modern radiators around now that will be far more efficient and cost effective for you and your tenants.

Insulate, insulate, insulate!

Be sure to insulate your heating system, hot water pipes and your attic space properly, which will save your tenants more money and prevent further heat loss. If you have an inactive fireplace you can also purchase a ‘chimney balloon’ which prevents warm air escaping too.


Are your radiators adjustable? If not you need to gain more control over the output of each radiator by simply fitting adjustable valves, preferably thermostatic valves (TRVs). These will not only save your tenants money and energy, it will also help them to avoid issues such as rooms overheating.

Did you know that by fitting foil behind your radiator it will reflect the heat back into your room, making it feel warmer?


Avoid putting furniture in front of the radiators or covering any other heat sources with curtains, etc. It may sound silly, but it’s still surprising how many people still do this and wonder why the heat isn’t circulating around the room or property – so make sure you pass this onto your tenants. You may also want to consider fitting thermal curtains, which can reduce heat loss by as much as 25%.

Cut Down

Bills can be reduced by up to 10%, simply by turning the thermostat down by just 1°C. You can also retain the heat simply by shutting off your kitchen hob vent whilst cooking, which can keep your

kitchen warm for a good half hour longer. And, it may sound simple, but by only heating the rooms that you’re using you’ll avoid wasting more energy and cash in the long run.

If you are a landlord or tenant in Darwen, Blackburn, Bolton, Accrington or Liverpool’s surrounding areas looking for a dedicated and proactive rental service you’ve come to the right place with Ainsworth Lord Estates. And if you’d like any more advice on any of our energy saving tips above please don’t hesitate to get in touch, as landlords ourselves we know how important it is to keep our tenants happy through the harshest times of the year..