What is stamp duty?

To put it in a short way, stamp duty is a tax on land and property transactions. For the most part, you will have to pay stamp duty when you buy a house or apartment. Stamp duty is officially known as stamp duty land tax (SDLT) but being how we are, it’s more commonly known as simply, stamp duty.

The amount stamp duty you will have to pay depends on the value of the property you have bought.

When do I have to pay stamp duty?

You will more often than not have to pay the stamp duty within 30 days of the ‘effective date’ for a property valued at over £125,000. The ‘effective date’ is typically the day the purchase of the property has been concluded.

The stamp duty must however be paid sooner under other circumstances. For instance, if you move in to the property earlier than the day of completion or you pay for the property prior to the day of completion, the 30 day payment terms starts from these earlier dates instead so bear this in mind when choosing your options.

For the majority of people, you will have instructed a conveyancing solicitor to deal with matters; this solicitor will also pay the stamp duty on your behalf. Even though your solicitor will do this, you still must check with the HMRC that you have paid the right amount.

Do I always have to pay stamp duty?

It would be a very rare occasion if you did not have to pay stamp duty on a property valued at over £125,000.

To put this into perspective, if for example, you done a house swap with a family member or friend with no cash involved just a straight swap; you would both have to pay the stamp duty at the value of the house you are moving into. The same thing applies whether you buy a house outright or through a mortgage, you will still have to pay stamp duty on the value of the property.

If however you are getting divorced or separating, this might be an occasion where stamp duty is not applicable. This only way this applies is if one partner is transferring their share of the house or apartment to the other. If you sell the property to a third party, the buyer will have to pay stamp duty in the customary way.

Need mortgage advice?

It is vital to obtain mortgage advice before jumping into the potentially biggest purchase you will ever make. There are various ways to obtain advice, but you can find mortgage advice from an independent mortgage adviser.

With all this in mind, if you are thinking of moving, or buying your first/next property, why not start the search here

How to find the best tenants?


Avoid the less desirable tenants with Property Property Property’s specialist advice on how to find the best tenants. Take our advice and be a magnet for the best tenants to your property…

Rivalry to secure the best tenants is now brutal since the nationwide explosion in rental properties became obtainable. However if you do some good planning and forward-thinking, you will be able to secure the finest tenants each time.

So what is a good tenant you wonder? Well the perfect tenant would be someone who has a secure income, who is responsible with their budget, and someone who pays the rent on time every time.

A few other things landlords and agents consider to be a good tenant are people who can provide their own deposit, can move into the property within 2 weeks, has their own furniture, no pets, someone who does not spoke, and has a stable job. One more thing that is important to landlords and agents is finding a tenant who is looking to stay at the property for more than six months.

We at Property Property Property believe the best tenants will understand that the little jobs around the house or apartment are actually their own responsibility rather than the landlord or agent.

Are there any telltale signs that points out a bad tenant?

There are definitely are ways to spot the bad tenants. Some of the obvious ways to spot a bad tenant is if they mess you around when it comes to paying the deposit, or if they failed to tell you about any CCJs you discovered when doing the credit check.

Whilst it is important to lookout for telltale signs of a bad tenant, you should also never ‘judge a book by its cover’ and judge a person on first impressions.

A sure fire way to check whether someone is likely to be a bad tenant is their credit check, so we couldn’t stress any more how important doing a credit check on someone is.

How do you find the perfect tenant?

One of the best ways to find the best tenants is to use an agent as they have a lot of experience in weeding out the bad nuts, so to speak. If you only let once or twice a year, or if it’s your first time, you will not have the experience that agents have… it could save you money, stress and trouble in the long run.

It is so important to present your property in the best possible condition, as this will draw the attention of best tenants. Get the property professionally cleaned; make sure you have neutral colours throughout the property – think of it as someone’s blank canvas.

Don’t forget that once you have found your perfect tenant, you have to keep hold of them, so be sure to maintain the property to the standard the tenant came into it as.

A lasting tenant is a precious asset in this aggressive rental market so we do recommend that you keep on top of all the small jobs that will help the tenant to feel at home.

The most important rule is to make sure that you have a good relationship with your tenant, when they want to talk, take the time to talk to them and help with any problems.

How to spot a less desirable tenant 

  • Bad references from their previous landlords
  • Bad credit rating or CCJs
  • Only looking for a short-term let
  • Won’t meet up with the landlord in person
  • No guaranteed monthly income
  • Refuses to make their monthly payments by standing order
  • Unwilling to take responsibility for minor maintenance and the garden
  • General uneasy feeling about them

With all this in mind, if you are thinking of moving, or buying your first/next property, why not start the search here

10 Things to consider when renting a property

We understand that renting an apartment or house for the first time can seem daunting, which is why we have put together some helpful guidelines to help you make the right choice.

For more information, download our guide for renting.

1. Location, location, location!

The most important factor that has to be taken into serious consideration is where you want to move to, where do you see yourself living? – In a bustling city centre, a country village, something that is close to shops and public transport. People think sacrificing the location for a property that has the most beautiful kitchen or luxury bathroom is the right choice, but location is everything. If you don’t drive and need public transport every day to get to work, there is no point in renting an apartment a 45 minute walk away from public transport or the local shops. Never underestimate the convenience of the little corner shop for those essentials!

2. Is it affordable?

Whether it’s your first or tenth time renting a property, you always must review your budget before viewing any properties. You can not enjoy your lovely new apartment if you fall short of money every month. To do this, make a list of all your monthly outgoings including bills, rent, utilities, food shopping etc.

You need to plan your budget realistically and not think “we only need half the food we usually get”, this is not the way to do it, base your budget on outgoings in the last 12 months.

3. Size matters!

As the same with planning your budget, you need to look at a property realistically in terms of will you and your family fit in it comfortably without sacrificing comfort? Do you have children that need a bedroom each? Do you need a study if you work from home? All these are things you need to think about.

4. Presentation

Presentation is key when it comes to getting your attention, that is why our website contains as many photos and descriptions to help you get the full idea of a property before you book a viewing. The vast majority of people book viewings when the property has been professionally cleaned and has neutral colors throughout.

5. When do you need to move?

It may sound like an obvious question, but because of many things than need to be done when moving into a new rented apartment, people tend to overlook when they actually need to move.  We recommend that you start looking for an apartment or house to rent 2 months before your ideal moving date, this way you will know the date you wish to move prior to viewing properties. You need to know your moving date as you can not commit to an application until you know this date.

6. Do you have pets?

The majority of landlords prefer that their tenants do not have any pets. That said however, a lot of the population have pets, most of who are responsible and will keep the rented properties clean and tidy. Make sure that you ask whether pets are allowed in the rented apartment or house prior to viewing, this way you can avoid any disappointment.

7. Who manages the property?

This is another important factor to take into account and one that should be asked when viewing the property, is the property managed by the agent or landlord? There are many good landlords out there but many tenants prefer to deal with the managing agent. If you do ever experience a serious issue, then you make a complaint with the Property Ombudsman.

8. References

Once you have found a property that is in the right location, is affordable and is the right size, you will fill in an application to rent. Once this application has been submitted, the agent will seek references from you in order to check your circumstances. These details will usually include, employment references, landlord references if you have previously rented, credit searches, photo ID’s and proof of address.

9.  Register your details with us

To help you on your search for your perfect apartment or house to rent, get in touch with us and we can help you find it, or you can browse through our many properties on the website.

10. Is your Agent qualified?

At the moment, there is no requirement for agents to be licensed, meaning anyone can set up a letting agency. There are however membership statuses such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the National Federation of Property Professional (NFOPP). If an agent is also SAFE registered then your money will protected and insured giving you the peace of mind from your agent.

For more information, download our guide to renting.


Harrogate tops list of where Brits are happiest to reside

According to a new study done by a property portal website, Harrogate came up top of the list of the happiest places to live in the UK.

The survey asked a sequence of questions to approximately 38,000 locals varying from how they felt about their area, the way of life, facilities, how secure they feel, how house-proud they are, and more. The information found that Lincoln is the most house-proud whilst people of Hereford feel the safest concerning where they reside. Swansea and Aberdeen top the highest places to live in Wales and Scotland respectively.

Like a lot of other countries, the UK is fanatical about property with well-liked shows such as Escape to the Country and DIY SOS. A house is a home and each person’s fortress. Turning a house into a home is something that we all go through, from buying that ideal cosily settee to building that 2-storey extension, from getting acquainted with the neighbors to joining the neighboring Street Watchers. We do all these things to be able to feel comfortable, secure and content in our homes.

Harrogate ironically didn’t top any of the individual categories that we mentioned before, but they won the name of the happiest place to live because their overall rankings of the individual categories reached a better average than others. “Average asking prices in Harrogate are up 5.6% year-on-year,” said Shipside, “outperforming the national average of 1.2% and North Yorkshire average of 0.4%, indicating that there is demand to live in the UK’s happiest place.”Stockport took the number two spot.

Behind the top two happiest places to live, the rest of the top 10 happiest towns and cities (in descending order) are Ipswich, Exeter, St Albans, Kingston-upon-Thames, Bath, Worcester, Bromley and Truro. The study also suggests that the North of England is more contented than the South.

Due to many factors such as inadequate space, satisfaction, security and friendliness, nine of the bottom ten locations for happiness are in Greater London with the most least happiest place being Dudley, But you’ll still find some amazing homes and people here.

With all this in mind, if you are thinking of moving, or buying your first/next property, why not start the search here.

House Price Index – March 2013

House price increases down but inequality up, says the Office of National Statistics (ONS)

The Office of National Statistics today released the latest house price figures for March 2013, showing that the speed of house price inflation has slowed.

To give you an idea of the comparison at which the rise of prices has slowed, prices across the nation as a whole rose by 1.9% between February 2012 and February 2013.

That compares with a preceding yearly increase of 2.2% in the 12 months to January. Even though these statistics are based on a national coverage, there is however still areas in the UK that are not seeing this slower speed of house price inflation. The nationwide number reflected a broad inequality across different regions of the UK, which appears to be rising.

According to the Office of National Statistics, house prices in London are now rising at 5.9% year on year. Where as in Scotland and Northern Ireland, they have seen deeper house price falls then ever before.

Prices north of the border are declining by 1.2%, as those in Northern Ireland are down by a massive 7.7% over the last year. With stats not that off from London, Wales house prices are now at an increasing rate of 4.1%, up from just 0.9% in January.

Another region in the UK that is performing healthier than most is north-east England, where prices are up by 2.4%. Ernst and Young’s Item Club earlier this week predicted that house prices in the UK would actually stay almost at a standstill over the next two years.

Its prediction suggested that prices would rise to 2.1% in 2014, but recover to 5% in 2015.

National Statistics House price index 2013 (Download Here)

Future updates on the House Price index 2013

Monday 20th May 2013
Monday 15th June 2013
Monday 15th July 2013

With all this in mind, if you are thinking of moving, or buying your first or next property, why not start the search here.


The Luxury Basements of London’s Billionaires’

It comes as no surprise that the areas of Kingston and Chelsea are home to the wealthy, with lavishly designed homes and equally beautiful surroundings. What might come as a surprise is that now if you took a walk in these areas, you might discover conveyor belts as high as the buildings themselves and skips brimming with rubble… do the residents know something we don’t? Are they digging for gold?

Some residents are not too pleased with the uproar of commotion that is going on, disturbing the elegance of the wedding-cake mansions. Some people went as far to say “It feels like they’ve turned Kensington into a war zone.”

The reason behind all the quarrying is not the discovery of an undiscovered coal-rich mine beneath the streets of Kensington and Chelsea, but rather the development of basements! Over the past four years, this local authority alone has granted planning applications for more than 800 basement extensions… that is a lot of skips! It is the most densely populate borough in the country, with no room to build outwards, and no permission to build upwards – so the only way is down.

But this infectious enthusiasm to build down is not to everyone’s liking. In November 2012 a fit of anger erupted when plans were released for a four-storey basement beneath a 19th century schoolhouse in Knightsbridge, for Canadian former TV mogul David Graham.

I know what you’re thinking… four-storey building!?! Well this gargantuan sized basement (if you could call it that) will plunge deeper into the ground than the height of neighboring homes. It would house a ballroom and swimming pool, with hot tub, sauna and massage room, as well as 15 bedrooms, seven bathrooms and 20 toilets.

The Duchess of St Albans who just so happens to be a neighbor says “These plans are absolutely monstrous and unnecessary, it’s just absolute greed. No one needs that much space. Quite apart from that, the commotion is going to be dreadful.” The mail online estimates David Graham – a former cable TV mogul – 19th century 12 bedroom underground home conversion in Knightsbridge to be worth in the regions of £90 million once the works are completed.

But this one man isn’t the only one who is building a ‘billionaires basement’, the past 5 years has seen underground leisure lairs excavated across west London, from Knightsbridge to Belgravia, Fulham to Notting Hill. It is leading to a kind of iceberg architecture, a modest mansion on the surface just the visible peak of a vast underworld, with subterranean possibilities only limited by the resident’s imagination.

With all this in mind, if you are thinking of moving, or buying your first/next property, why not start the search here.

What the changes to stamp duty means for home owners

George Osbourne’s 2013 Budget was, as always, eagerly anticipated.  And, for many, the changes in stamp duty will have a big impact.

When moving house stamp duty is one of those crippling factors.  It is something that has caused a great deal of conflict over the years as the Government has given stamp duty holidays, changed the stamp duty bracket and increased fees.

2013 Budget

The 2013 Budget has meant that stamp duty has increased.  Penalising those whose homes are of more value, and who want to move to the next rung on the property ladder. In the past it has meant that many have stayed put and felt financially backed into a corner.  For a while many estate agents saw a lull in property buyers, often due to moving costs. There is now a 5% stamp duty tax on homes of £1m, 7% on those at £2m and 15% for those that are bought through companies.

If you look at the average house price of a home in London you can expect to pay over £370,000.  This comes with a 3% stamp duty.  It is now a case that mortgages and even deposits are easier to secure than the financial difficulties that come with the prospect of actually moving.

Stamp duty was recently described by the Institute for Fiscal Studies as “Exceptionally damaging” and stated that an increase would cause significant issues.  In a time when the property market has undergone such huge changes and dents it would seem that increasing the stamp duty could do far more harm than good.

By increasing the stamp duty it means that buyers have less money with which to purchase a home which will inevitably push the prices of property down. The losses incurred here are passed onto the current home owner despite the fact that it is the buyer who pays the stamp duty tax.

As you can see, the changes to the stamp duty tax has a significant affect overall on the housing market.  In terms of the housing market, it is certainly a time to ‘watch this space’. With the Christmas and winter period now behind us it will be interesting to see if the next few months alters and whether the changes in the stamp duty will affect prospective buyers.

With all this in mind, if you are thinking of moving, or buying your first/next property, why not start the search here.

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New York penthouse comes with 80-foot slide


Running the length of Manhattan’s skyline is a layer of private spectacle, available by invite only. Predominantly, it’s a place of general lavishness, where wealth buys a bigger room, a higher ceiling, a superior shower head. One pair, however, has turned four complete stories atop an 1896 skyscraper into a fortress of ideas.

At the 21st floor, the beaux-arts structure culminates in impressive curved windows and stone angels supporting a brusquely inclined roof.

In this conservatively cordial skin is a completely modern space, a 7,000-square-foot penthouse apartment that combines geometric difficulty with pure liveliness and reduces privacy to an old-fashioned eccentricity. It’s structural design for the age of social media.

Some designers faded at the face of inserting a sumptuousness home within the sloping roof of a land marked building. The standard approach would have been to shape this inverted furrow into room-sized boxes, leaving wedges of useless real estate. The owners sought after something more competent, thrilling and superior.

Enter New York architect David Hotson, who keen to rupture further than his collection of smooth, modest interiors; seized the opening to make a complicated three-dimensional puzzle.

To assist Hotson, his mathematically minded client sent him his thesis, regarding an algorithm able of discerning the construction supporting multifaceted sequences of symbols: a Bach partita, a human genome, a sonnet.

Enthused Bewilderment

It turns out that if you provide sufficient information, a computer can figure out the values of counterpoint, heredity and Elizabethan verse. Hotson likewise used raw computing muscle and a 3-D laser scan of the incomplete space to make a plan that preceding generations could barely have visualized, let alone built.

The effect is a place of enthused bewilderment. Walls splay outward and floors incline. Daylight flows in through concealed windows, bouncing off walls, bleaching out darkness and wreaking havoc with all sense of depth. Wherever you stand, you can look through to other levels without quite comprehending how they relate.

The occupants, a husband and wife who declined to be known, wanted their star-ship outfitted with the perks of continuous infancy (though they have no kids of their own): Ladders lead to out of sight lofts, a swing dangles in front of a fireplace and a steel pillar mounting 40 feet from the living room to the rafters is equipped with rubber handholds and a harness, so you can get in a swift climb prior to breakfast and rappel down before your cappuccino’s finished frothing. The two cats have a gym of their own, a succession of top secret passageways hidden in the walls and leading to a window that looks down upon their masters’ bed.

Four-Story Slide

The real-life slide runs a longer, more unhurried route. Starting in the loft, you clutch a canary yellow cashmere blanket from a stack to hurry your trip, hop in, and go down elegantly to the third floor. There you move to the subsequent section, roar all the way through a second-floor bedroom, slow as the gradient flattens to clear a sofa in the den, and burst out a few yards from the dining room table. This may not be the house for lounging in shoddy comfort, but it’s perfect for the easily bored.

Coventry Council to assist first-time home buyers

Those that are struggling to get on that first step on the housing ladder in Coventry might have helping hand, in the form of the Coventry Council.

There are talks that the council will provide a kind of mortgage ‘top-up’ to first-time buyers who are struggling to save the deposit required, meaning they can finally get on that first yet hard to reach step.

In order for this to work a partner bank or building society will have to lend 75 per cent of the mortgage, and the council lending 20 per cent. Successful applicants only then have to raise a 5 per cent deposit lessening the burden.

Coventry Building Society appears to be the favourite in terms of the lending bank/building society as the majority of talks have been involved with them.

What seems to be stopping this help from taking place is the matter of high risk, as those who are successful will be those that have not been able to obtain a mortgage from any high street bank. Search for properties in Coventry now!

Chris West, the council’s director of finance and legal services, presented the plan to councilors at the Transport and Infrastructure Development Scrutiny Committee last week. He said: “The first advice I would give you is risk.

“You will not find many financial advisers who would recommend getting into the mortgage market right now. It is probably not in the range of normal for local authorities these days.

“The other thing is we would have to put a lot of money in for not many mortgages. Then we would need to get into the debate whether we would want to do this for all homes or just new homes.

“My view is to just offer council mortgages willy nilly would not achieve much. We need to use it to stimulate housing development.”

The idea is in its early stages and, if implemented, would be carefully targeted, possibly according to postcode and economic circumstances. Any council mortgage would be in partnership with a high-street provider and lent at a commercial rate to cover its costs.

Around eight per cent of mortgages would be expected to default. Unlike other councils which provide similar mortgages, funding for it would be borrowed.

If councilors decide to provide the mortgages, the policy will take six months to implement.

Read the full story here:

Source: Coventry Telegraph