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What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) gives a property its energy performance rating. The energy efficiency of a property is measured on a sliding scale depending on how energy efficient it is. Ratings are from A-G with A being the most efficient and G being the least.

As a landlord, it is a legal requirement to have an up-to-date EPC. Legislation which has been implemented means that a property has to meet Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) of an E rating or above in order to comply with regulations.

How long are they valid for?

Energy Performance Certificates are valid for 10 years. If you’ve spent time working on your home and it improves the energy efficiency, you may want to consider having another EPC survey completed to understand how the improvements have increased the efficiency on the property.

What happens during an EPC?

During an EPC, the assessor will look at a range of metrics in order to determine how efficient the property is. All of these components come together to determine the final Energy Performance Certificate. The areas that assessors look at include: the age, construction and size of the property. Primary heating systems including the boiler and heating controls. Insulation, whether there is cavity and loft insulation installed. If there are any secondary heat sources including renewable energy. Lighting, whether any energy saving light bulbs or low energy light bulbs are in use.

How can an EPC be improved?

With significant increases in energy prices and a rising concern on both the part of buyers and tenants when it comes to energy efficiency, taking steps to improve energy efficiency can result in many benefits.

There are a number of considerations to bear in mind when taking steps to improve the energy efficiency of a property. Period homes and older properties can be harder and more expensive to raise the EPC rating. Whereas newer properties may already have some energy efficient features and it is often easier to add more.

The following features have the potential to improve the EPC rating:

• Loft insulation
• Wall insulation
• Double or Triple glazing
• An energy efficient boiler
• Using a renewable energy source such as solar panels or ground source heat pumps
• Ensure all lighting is as efficient as possible
• Install a smart meter and thermostat
• Insulate hot water cylinder
• A seal draughty doors

Legal requirements of an EPC and potential changes to legislation in the pipeline

The latest Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards have been in play since 2020, they will apply to all existing tenancies, not just new ones or renewals. Currently, the fine which can be incurred for not having a valid EPC is £5,000.

However, after a consultation which took place in December 2020, the government announced new standards to become law by 2025. From this date, all rental properties will need an EPC rating of C or above. These new regulations will apply to new tenancies first, followed by all tenancies from 2028.

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Property Agency of the Year

Berkeley Shaw wins major gong at YM Liverpool Property and Business Awards 2022

Leading Merseyside property agency, Berkeley Shaw, has been named Property Agency of the Year following a record year for the lettings and block management departments.

Berkeley Shaw has been an indomitable agency in the property industry for over 40 years.

Recently, the Berkeley Shaw Group has expanded its block management operations. Having acquired Keppie Massie Residential last year, the group now manages over £1 billion in residential and commercial assets.

Managing Director John Baybut, “We are delighted to have been recognised as Property Agency of the Year at this year’s YM Liverpool Property and Business Awards.

The award is a testament to the hard work delivered by our staff this year. It has been a fantastic year for us as a business. Here’s to a fantastic 2023!”

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Berkeley Shaw’s first-time buyers guide to saving for a deposit

Saving for a house deposit can be a challenging endeavour. With the onset of rising property prices and a more competitive marketplace, first-time buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to secure the funds required for a deposit. Berkeley Shaw have devised some simple ways to help first time buyers implement a strategy to save enough for a deposit on their first home.

Open a savings account

Open a savings account which is solely for the purpose of saving for your house deposit. This can help you keep your specific savings separate from your everyday spending account and other savings accounts which are designated for other purposes. The best type of savings accounts for this purpose can depend on a variety of factors including the level of savings that’s required, the regularity of adding to your savings and length of time the savings need to be completed by.

Managing your outgoings

It is expensive living in the modern world. Particularly if you subscribe to various services such as Netflix, Spotify, gym memberships along with an eating out lifestyle and indulging in artisan coffees can, over the course of a year, rack up to potentially significant figures. For those serious enough about saving for a deposit, an accurate evaluation of an individual’s outgoings and cutting back on those which are superfluous may speed the process up saving dramatically.

Set out a budget and stick to it

The process of budgeting will be a useful reflection tool to help first time buyers reflect on their current financial position. Firstly, it is important to accurately understand the finances coming in each month and understand overall outgoings.

In order to do this you’ll need to gather all of your financial information together including: regular household bills, living costs, insurance policies, travel expenses, leisure costs and any outstanding debts you may have.

You’ll also need to calculate your income. This is the money you receive each month from any work you do, as well as income from benefits, pensions and investments or any money from partners or relatives.

Finally, calculate your regular spending. To do this you will need to look at what you spend every month in each of the following categories: Housing costs, household bills and services, court payments, travel costs, housekeeping, leisure and entertainment, health and personal care, debt repayments and other essential living costs.
Use the help available

Are you eligible for a government grant or scheme? It may be worth checking before plunging headfirst into saving for a full deposit. There are several ways in which the government is trying to help first-time buyers: the Help to Buy equity loan scheme and through the shared ownership scheme.

Help to Buy equity loan
Through the loan, the government will lend up to 20% of the cost of a newly built home. This means the cash deposit required will be less, just 5% and the mortgage payments will also be lower.
The current scheme runs until March 2021. After that, there will be a version that will run for two years. It’ll be available for first-time buyers only.

Shared ownership
Shared ownership lets you buy part of a newly-built property and pay rent on the rest. You can increase the proportion you own by buying further shares in the property. If you ‘staircase’ to 100% you become the outright owner of the property. If property prices go up you’ll pay more for increasing your share.



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Thinking of moving? Here’s why your next home should be in Formby

Formby has long been a desirable place to live for people residing in Merseyside. Geographically, Formby is ideally situated between Liverpool and Southport, nestled in the beautiful surroundings of beaches, fields and forests. Buying a property in Formby means you will be neighbours with some of the Premier League’s most notable footballers as well as numerous celebrity and famous faces.

Berkeley Shaw have compiled a guide to some of the town’s key attractions to highlight why Formby is so special.
Who lives in Formby?

Formby is predominantly a residential area catering for families to settle.The town is home to seven primary schools including Freshfield Primary school and two strongly rated secondary schools; Formby High School and Range High School. Formby village has a close-knit community feel with many familiar retail and hospitality brands featured on the high-street.

Commuter town

Formby is a prime location for those looking to live within an easy commuting distance to many of the region’s large cities. Formby is just 25 minutes to Liverpool city centre by train, 30 minutes by car and around an hour’s drive away to Manchester. This means that those wanting to move away from the city to somewhere quieter, but still need to be close enough to access the larger cities quickly, will find the ideal location in Formby.

Formby’s local amenities

Formby has numerous restaurants, bars and shops which includes both national chains including Waitrose, Marks and Spencer Food Hall, Tesco, Cafe Nero, Subway and McDonalds and independent outlets such as Suay, Sorrento and Tibu.

If you enjoy the outdoors, Formby has much to offer. The award-winning beach and coastline has beautiful sand dunes and prehistoric footprints, perfect sights for a long walk. The rare red squirrels are also a major attraction to the area. The National Trust site is one of the few remaining refuges for the red squirrel.

There are numerous other leisure activities to be enjoyed in Formby including the famous links golf course of Formby Golf Club which is set amongst the coastal sand dunes as well as Formby Hall Golf Resort and Spa. Moreover, Formby Pool Trust also operates a successful leisure centre which is home to a gym, swimming pool and cafe.

Premium properties

Formby is home to some of the most exclusive properties in the region. Most notably, Shireburn Road which is Merseyside’s most expensive street and Victoria Road which also ranks in third. Many of which feature luxurious facilities including swimming pools and cinema rooms.

Karen Parks

Head of Residential Sales

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10 questions to ask an Estate Agent when viewing a property

Buying a home is for most people, the biggest asset they will ever purchase. The property industry can appear cluttered with confusing jargon and complex language but we will do everything we can to ensure you are properly informed to make the right decision.
Even if you aren’t a first-time buyer, it’s highly likely that it’s been some years since you have gone through the house buying process. Berkeley Shaw has developed 10 key questions which prospective buyers can use as a guide to help you make an informed decision.

1 How old is the property?

Sometimes this may not be featured on the advertisement, but ask how old the property is exactly. There are many benefits to buying an older property including beautiful period features and a traditional appearance. However, some older properties do come with repair and maintenance issues such as damp, mould and subsidence. These maintenance costs can potentially rack up to significant additional costs and need to be considered carefully.

2. Why is the owner selling?

Knowing the reason why a vendor is selling can determine if an interested party should purchase or not. Though in most cases, owners will be selling for perfectly normal reasons such as upgrading, downsizing or just simply moving on. Some sales occur due to crime rates within an area, noise pollution or structural problems within a property. Understanding this can significantly influence the decision-making process.

3. Has there been much interest in the property?

An indication on the level of interest in a property can act as a barometer to how desirable the property is to other potential buyers, how reasonable the asking price is and ultimately how competitive the final sale will be.

4. What is the owner’s chain like? 

If the owner of the property has no chain, this can be an attractive prospect to potential buyers. No chain transactions can allow for a smoother process enabling all parties to complete effectively. According to a Which survey in 2017, 28% of people have experienced a property sale falling through.

The bigger the chain, the more complex the transaction can become and ultimately creating an increase in the chance that the sale will not complete at all. Although our experienced team will do everything to ensure smooth management of the chain, some circumstances are out of our control.

5. What direction is the house facing?

The orientation of a house is a crucial consideration for house hunters. The direction of a home affects how much sunlight the property receives. This can also impact on other aspects of the house such as the property’s energy efficiency, heating and cooling costs and home maintenance.

6 . How Many Owners Has the Property Had? 

Quick turnarounds between owners can be an indicator of problems that exist within a property. Get an accurate answer of the ownership history within the property, particularly from within recent years.

7. What Is the Neighbourhood Like?

When buying a property you are also buying into an area. It is important to get an understanding of the local amenities including shops, restaurants and bars as well as transport infrastructure, crime rates and local schools.

8. How long has the property been on the market for?

Generally, properties that have been on the market for shorter periods are safer options than ones that have been on for significant amounts of time. This question is often put to agents to get an understanding of the overall quality of the house. A property which has been on the market for several months can be an indicator of faults or quality issues, though there are exceptions to this.
9. What is the Council Tax band for the property?

Knowing the Council Tax band is crucial to understanding the overall costs associated with running the property. What Council Tax band the property is determines how much the owner will have to pay in Council Tax.

10. How energy efficient is the property?

The energy efficiency of properties is determined in the UK by an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating. EPC certificates include information about the property’s energy use, costs as well as information about how to make a home more energy efficient and cheaper to run.

An EPC rating will give buyers an indication of some of the inefficiencies which exist in the property.

Josh Harkin
Property Consultant

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Berkeley Shaw appoints new Head of Residential Sales

Leading Merseyside estate agent, Berkeley Shaw, have appointed Karen Parks as Head of Residential Sales.

Karen has a wealth of experience in property sales having worked in North Sefton for more than two decades, having previously worked for Michael Moon, Entwistle Green and Wainwright Edwards before opening her own agency in Formby.

In her new role, Karen will undertake all valuations in Hightown, Formby, Ainsdale and Southport as well as oversee the running of Berkeley Shaw’s Formby branch.

Speaking about the appointment she said: “I’m really looking forward to getting started with Berkeley Shaw. The company has built an effective business model over the many years they have been in operation, with an outstanding reputation for delivering for their clients.”

Berkeley Shaw managing director John Baybut said: “We are thrilled to have Karen join our team to lead our residential sales. Together we have developed a market leading plan which will make Berkeley Shaw the leading agent in the area. Karen’s expertise and contacts within the area are going to be a significant asset to us.”

The appointment follows a series of announcements from the company as Berkeley Shaw aims to expand their reach across the region including a recent merger with Keppie Massie Residential.

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Estate agent shares what it’s like to live in Merseyside’s ‘poshest’ village

Village’s “secret” beach is among the appealing features of living there

An estate agent and chartered surveyor from Merseyside has revealed what it’s like to live in Merseyside’s “poshest” village.

Hightown was recently named one the poshest villages in the UK in a report by Savills Estate Agents and the Telegraph, with the village coming in the top 54.

We spoke to the managing director of Berkeley Shaw estate agents, an award-winning Merseyside-based firm, with the managing director himself living in the quiet village north of Liverpool.

Hightown, found between two of the most sought-after areas in Merseyside, Formby and Blundellsands, is an exclusive area in its own right.

With just 1,000 homes in the village and no developments seeming to be on the horizon, the wait for properties to appear on the market seems staggering.

John Baybut said that people find the sense of escape the village offers a key selling point.

Speaking to the ECHO, John said: “My initial reaction was that some people will really like that label [of poshness] and some people will really dislike it but I can see where Savills are coming from and I can see where the Telegraph [who wrote the original list] is coming from.

“The cynic in me says it’s a PR exercise (from an Estate Agent such as Savills) who want to sell more properties in Hightown but on the other side it has all the attributes to be one of the most sought after villages in Merseyside because it has everything you need in a locality and where you want to live.

“The only thing it’s missing is a school which would really drive values up. Other than that it’s got effectively a secret beach, it’s got your cricket clubs, rugby clubs, tennis clubs, your bowling clubs, a nice pub, the station is there. It’s in between Blundellsands and Formby, two of the better-known areas of Merseyside, or certainly the higher value and higher-brow areas and just sits on its own between the two.

“It’s almost like a secret village, not a lot of people know about it.

If you go on holiday nobody has heard of Hightown, most people ask ‘do you mean Huyton?’. The people who do know it’s in between Formby and Crosby say ‘it’s only one road in and one road out’ but that’s what a lot of people like there, it’s out of the way.

“The only reason you’re going down that road is to visit Hightown, you’re not passing through.”

According to Rightmove, Hightown has the highest average house price in the last year, outpricing Formby, Crosby and Liverpool, despite the £1 million mark yet to be reached in the village.

Hightown has an average house price of £372,000 compared to Formby’s £360,000, Crosby’s £291,000 and Liverpool’s £205,000 average price.

John said: “I think that semi-rural location as you come off the A565 on the way to Formby from Liverpool you’re out in the countryside momentarily since you’ve got a mile or so from the main road.

“You’re surrounded by countryside and fields then suddenly you get this little village which is lovely with roads like St George’s Road, Elmcroft Lane, Sandy Lane and there’s also Blundell Road as well.

“Those roads were part of Old Hightown and then they’ve added on significantly in the 70s and 80s. There are a thousand houses in Hightown now so there’s not a lot of people there.

“The other thing is the sailing club. There are not a lot of sailing clubs in Merseyside. It’s all to do with coming off the main road into the countryside, the rural feel and you could be anywhere.

“I remember when I bought my first house there as an adult, I did grow up there but after university and a stint in Crosby, my neighbour said ‘I love coming home from work and as I drive past The Pheasant my shoulders drop and I relax because I’m out of the hustle and bustle of Liverpool city centre’. That always stuck in my mind and I’m sure other people think that as well.”


Photo courtesy of Brian Quinn

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KM Real Estate appoints new Head of Residential Property Management

Leading Merseyside property management company, KM Real Estate, have appointed Michelle Cliffe as Head of Residential Property Management.

Michelle has joined KM Real Estate after an illustrious career within the property industry spanning over 18 years. Michelle learned her craft at leading social housing provider Regenda before progressing to senior block management roles within the industry for national organisations.

In her new role at KM Real Estate, Michelle will oversee the company’s Block and Estate Management, Asset Management, Compliance and Right to Manage Services, working with a wide range of clients.

Michelle’s appointment follows the recent acquisition of KM Real Estate by the Berkeley Shaw Group. As a result, the group now manages a portfolio of properties worth more than £ 1 billion.

Speaking about the appointment, Michelle said: “I’m incredibly excited to start working with KM Real Estate to oversee the company’s residential property management. KM Real Estate has an amazing portfolio of properties spanning throughout the North-West.

“I am a true believer that leadership is about building the right team who are the best at all different things. At KM I can already see a clear vision of the future and I’m really keen to get started!”

Group managing director John Baybut said: “We are thrilled to have Michelle join our team to lead our residential property management department. Her expertise and knowledge within property management is going to be a major asset to us, particularly as we continue on our growth plans

“We have recently acquired a new 10,000 sq ft city centre office space at The Ternary, Old Haymarket, which will be the new home for our residential property management team which will be open next month.”

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Leading estate agent warns of nightmare stories from sellers who list homes through online retailers

Berkeley Shaw managing director John Baybut has warned of the nightmares faced when opting to use online estate agents.


The leading Merseyside estate agent explained that sellers have been forced to move from online retailers to the high street due to such poor service.


Berkeley Shaw have been operating within the region for over 30 years, with offices located in Crosby, Formby and Liverpool city centre. 

The company also recently acquired Keppie Massie Residential to further expand their portfolio within the city.

Mr Baybut said: “Increasingly we are seeing disappointed sellers who are coming through our doors with nightmare stories of really poor service from online-only estate agents.  

“Sellers are lured into the online-only estate agents by the low fees but what they get in return is a detached service from agents who are uncontactable when they are needed most.

“These horror stories are a recurring theme when it comes to selling most people’s biggest asset, experienced staff and local knowledge are absolutely paramount to ensuring the best possible results.

“We have a track record of adding value and securing the highest price for our clients and we do so as a result of our knowledge and understanding of the area in which we operate.”

The Financial Times reported that total properties sold in 2021 reached 1.5 million, more than in any year since 2007.

During this boom, the limitations of online estate agents are potentially highlighted by the fall in share value of the UK’s biggest online agent Purple Bricks, which has fallen 93% since 2017. 

During the same period, Berkeley Shaw has grown by 10 times revenue and opened 3 additional offices.

Berkeley Shaw recently completed a listing on Victoria Road, Formby, with a record 8 day turnaround from viewing to completion.

Mr Baybut added: “Our ability to complete sales in record time are down to a whole multitude of factors including our network of contacts in legal and surveying meaning we can make transactions in rapid time.

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Berkeley Shaw sells out £2million Crosby development Merchants Court

Berkeley Shaw have sold out all 12 luxury apartments at the Merchants Court development in Crosby, on behalf of Accelerate Property Developments.
The long-established property specialists announced that all 12 properties were sold to a mixture of owner occupiers and buy-to-let investors.
KM Real Estate, a subsidiary of Berkeley Shaw, will manage the property once all residents have moved in, scheduled before the end of this year.
The development comprises 12 one and two-bedroom luxury properties, carefully constructed to convert the original Victorian building with a newly-built extension.
The expansion sensitively complements the area by providing luxury communal gardens as well as state of the art resident facilities including a communal gymnasium, storage facilities and private off-road parking.
Berkeley Shaw managing director, John Baybut, said:
“We’re delighted to announce the sale of all properties at the Merchants Court development, this is a fantastic project which has attracted significant attention ever since we brought it to market.
“Thomas and the rest of the team at Accelerate Property Developments have an excellent track record when it comes to the delivery of residential property developments, we’re proud to support them with this.”