Steps to Getting Your Mortgage Payments Under Control

Finance is a foremost concern when it comes to buying a new home, and here at Property Property Property, we’re aware of the strain that some people can be put under (just to rent in London alone, can be enough to keep people off the property ladder longer than they originally hoped for). This ever-present problem becomes even more persistent in times like these, where shrinking wages and rising bills combine to create an unfortunate financial situation. Read on for a great discussion about how to manage your mortgage.

A lot of homeowners are having a hard time coping up with their mortgage payments. If you happen to be one of them, chances are, your finances are already stretched to a point that they might break down. While things are tough on you at the moment, there are steps you can take to get your mortgage payments are under control. The process is not easy but you can be assured that by doing so you will be able to avoid foreclosure. Here are some tips for you to stay on top of your mortgage payments.

Look at your repayments and get everything covered

Evaluate your mortgage repayments and see how you can pay off when something happens unexpectedly. For instance, if the interest rates go up will you be able to afford them? What if you or your partner lost your job or fall ill, would you be able to handle the repayments on your own? Do you have an emergency fund you can use up in case something happens out of the blue? Knowing all these things will allow you to know what considerations you have to take in order to set a mortgage repayment budget that will work for you no matter the situation.

Set up a realistic budget

Once aware about all your repayments, create a realistic budget. First you need to monitor your spending habits and cut back on areas that you deem are not too important. Then, work your mortgage repayments around the money that you have, but do leave a wiggle room for adjustments in case your financial situation changes.

Make extra payments

If you receive extra cash every now and then, one good way to use it wisely is to make extra payments for your mortgage whenever you can, which in turn will go to the principal and not in the interest rate. This will help reduce your mortgage payment duration.

Negotiate with your lender

If you are really struggling to pay off your mortgage despite the budget you have set, your next best move is to speak with your lender. You might find this stressful and embarrassing or you might think that doing this can have a negative impact on your repayments. However, keep in mind that by taking actions quickly, you can stop the problem from getting worse. When you communicate with your lender early on, they can provide you options for your mortgage repayments and possibly make changes in your loan’s terms, especially if your problems can be sorted out in a short period of time. For example, they may give you a pay interest-only option for a few months until you are able to get your finances back on track.

Avoid throwing yourself in situations that can make matters worse

If your mortgage payments are already putting a strain in your finances, do not attempt to make the situation worse by borrowing money from family or friends, using up your credit cards for purchases and switching home loans. Doing these things will only put you further into debt and do you more harm than good.

 

Author:

This mortgage advice was provided by one of the regular contributors of Financial Wise-Mortgage Advisors, a company that specialize in providing expert advise on mortgage and protection as well as other financial solutions for clients.

Helpful Tips for Waterproofing Your Basement to Keep it Safe and Dry

Once you’ve found your ideal home using Property Property Property‘s estate agent search tool and property alerts, you’ll want to keep it in tip top shape. Not only will a well-maintained home be more pleasant to live in; it’ll also retain its value much better, allowing you to command a higher sale price if you decide to move up the property ladder at a later date. Likewise, if you rent in London, avoiding any deductions from your deposit when you move out, is always welcomed. Read on for a discussion of the importance of waterproofing your basement, and instructions on how to achieve this goal.

One of the biggest concerns that many homeowners have is basement waterproofing. Because the basement of your home is below ground this makes it so much more susceptible to moisture and flooding. A wet basement can cause many problems, including the ruining any of your stored possessions, causing mould and mildew to grow, causing the foundations to crack and allow termites and rodents into the home and even cause electrical problems. A damp basement can encourage the growth of toxic black mould, which can be a serious health risk for your family. Also, having issues with a damp basement will significantly reduce the value of the home.

Basement waterproofing is the only way to prevent these issues from happening again. It takes a bit of time and effort to properly waterproof your basement, but once you do you will not have to worry about moisture and flooding. You can do basement waterproofing yourself or you can hire a professional to carry out the task for you. The most important thing is that it is done well and thoroughly, so that you will not have any problems in the future.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are basement waterproofing:

Where are the Leaks?

One of the most important things to do is find out where the leaks are coming from, so that you can stop them. First, look all around the outside of the house where the water in your basement seems to be coming from. Are there any areas where water has collected or the land slopes towards the house? Do you have an automatic sprinkler system or a gutter that is leaking? When you find the problem you can correct it.

Repairing Cracks

Many basement leaks are caused by cracks or holes in the wall or the floor and they will need to be repaired before you carry out your basement waterproofing. Small hairline cracks can be fixed with a regular waterproofing mix. Any cracks which are larger than an eighth of an inch will need to be cleaned out and patched before applying the waterproofing mix. There are special materials that you can purchase for making these small repairs. If the crack is very large, you might want to mix up a batch of mortar to fill in the hole. Simply mix together one part cement and two parts fine sand with a little bit of water.

Applying Basement Waterproofing Mix

Once you have filled and patched all of the holes and cracks in the wall, you will be ready to apply your waterproofing mix. First, you should use a spray bottle or a hose on a mist setting to coat the walls with a fine spray of water. They should be damp, but not dripping.

Next, you will need the basement waterproofing epoxy which is designed specifically for treatment basement walls and floors. Follow the instructions on the package for how to correctly apply it. In some cases you might have to remove the paint from the walls first before the waterproofing mixture will adhere. When you are applying the coating, start at the bottom of the wall and work upwards, as this is where the water pressure will be the greatest. Slowly brush the mixture all the way up to the top and then start again at the bottom to add more layers. Once the basement waterproofing mixture has dried, spray the area with a fine mist of water again to soak it and let it set overnight. Repeat the same for the second coat, as one coat will usually not correct the problem.

After all this, you will have fixed your leak and successfully waterproofed your basement. You can do this task yourself, or you can hire basement waterproofing experts to do the job for you. Waterproofing your basement is very important and it ensures that you will be kept safe from flooding, mildew and mould for many years.

A wet basement can cause a lot of problems, so here are some helpful basement waterproofing tips to keep in mind.

The Need To Know Guide For First Time House Buyers

Our friends at Fridaysmove sent us this post about the possible pitfalls awaiting first-time home buyers who are keen to get their foot on the property ladder. Property Property Property know how confusing it can be to purchase a home – hopefully this advice will help those of you who might let your excitement get the better of you!

Buying a first home is such an exciting time, you have a budget to work to and an idea of the area you want to live and you set off to view properties with a choice of estate agents. Many first time buyers overlook the important points and let their excitement overwhelm them. This excitement often comes back to bite them a few years down the road.

Start At The Beginning

Having been in the real estate industry for many years, I saw my share of first time buyers. They would see a property they liked and buy it, they really thought it was that easy. Most of the time it is but when dealing with listed properties and older properties here in the UK, there are a few important steps you need to follow.

Rather than using a choice of agents and getting confused at what properties you have seen, it’s best to choose one top quality estate agent that works the area you are looking in. These agents specialise in the area and thanks to MLS (Multi Listing System), they have access to all the properties on the market in that area. Using one agent means you can build up a good relationship with your agent; they will get a good indication of the type of property you are looking for, which can save a lot of time.

By viewing with a choice of agents, you will be shown a large selection of properties that don’t meet your criteria or budget, but using one agent will ensure you only get to see the properties that suit your requirements and taste.

Putting In An Offer

After viewing a host of properties, you sit down and choose one that really tickled your fancy. It has the right number of bedrooms, it’s the perfect size, in the right location and it comes in on budget. You are so excited and call up the agent to make an appointment.

Let’s put the brakes on here. When signing the offer you must make it subject to a surveyor viewing the property. While this may cost you a small sum of money, it is always money well spent, especially when you are putting an offer in on an older property. This is the biggest mistake so many home-owners make and only later on, when the damp starts coming through, do they find out that the foundations are unstable or end up paying a fortune replacing the roof.

A surveyor will come in and do a thorough report; this way there are no nasty surprises about the property a couple of months or years down the road. You can then proceed with the offer depending on how much work the property will need and you can add this to your budget to ensure you will be able to afford any necessary repairs in the long run.

Signed and Sealed

Before you sign on the dotted line you should have a conveyancer in mind. Maybe you know of a conveyancer, a friend who works in the legal industry or you have a company you have worked with previously. It’s essential you know your conveyancer in advance. You can choose anyone to do the transfer for you, but you want to know that the conveyancer you choose is going to work for you, they are going to offer you the best service and get the transfer completed in the shortest period of time without any problems.

In some cases the seller may suggest you use their conveyancer to complete the transaction, while there is no problem with this moving forward, you may want to hire your own conveyancer to work on your behalf. This is something you will need to decide before placing an offer on your first property.

 

Author:

Fridaysmove offer top conveyancers and surveyors from across the country who are on hand to help you buy your first property or protect you when bidding on an auctioned property.

How To Keep Your Home Safe and Secure

Here at Property Property Property, we’re mainly concerned with estate agents and great property to rent and buy. But once we’ve helped you find your dream home and it’s yours to live in, you might be concerned with keeping it safe. Read on for some top tips on how you can guard your home from unwanted guests.

As part of our Bodyguard Week to celebrate the debut of the West End adaption of The Bodyguard, today we’re going to look at home security. In the film, Whitney Houston’s pop star hires Kevin Costner’s bodyguard when she becomes the victim of a stalker. Hopefully you’re not at risk of receiving such unwanted attention, because a bodyguard might be a bit much. However, it still pays to take precautions and not to be careless when it comes to property security.

Some choose to go all out and have special surveillance and preventive equipment installed. This can be a good investment if you live in an area that is particularly at risk; however, always assess that what you’re buying or the work you’re having performed is absolutely necessary and a security company isn’t merely exploiting your concerns for their own profit. It’s easy for many, when it comes to their and their family’s security, to go overboard, out of fear. Do your own research and make an informed decision. So below we look at some easy tips to take on board when it comes to making sure your home is secure, and that you’re safe.

Locks

On moving into a new property, whether buying a house or flat, change the locks as soon as possible. You can’t always account for who owned the property in the past. Review your locks at least twice a year. Slamming doors or windows, as well as general wear-and-tear might weaken a once-strong lock. Always hire a locksmith with good references to perform this work too. Get used to opening only a few windows so you don’t forget to close any when you leave or go to bed.

Double Doors

If you live in a flat, make sure that you always close the main communal door, as you come and go. Some can be quite heavy and don’t always close properly. Listen out for the ‘click’ it should make. If it has been left open, as if someone is moving furniture, check ten minutes later if it is still open. If no one is around, close it yourself. If you live in a home with a porch or gate, always keep both locked as it provides an extra defence.

Loiterers

Get to know your neighbours. It’s not so much about being nice but to know who lives where, the rough times they come and go, and most importantly, who they are. It can be very easy to be anti-social and concentrate on your own business. Unfortunately, this can lead to incorrectly assuming that a potential intruder is a neighbour when you might be allowing an intrusion to take place. Even if you don’t wish to become close friends with your neighbours, get a good idea amongst yourselves who lives where and any regular visitors, they receive like family. If you can befriend one or two neighbours, you’ll have someone nearby to keep an eye on your home when away.

If you live or rent in London, Manchester or a similarly large city, where crime is often higher on average, you may find it difficult to tell who is hanging around suspiciously, and who is simply passing by. This can be aggravated if you live on a main road with a lot of foot-traffic. Is anyone walking past more than a normal number of times that you know doesn’t live close by?

Valuables

Keep laptops, tablets, mp3 players and anything mobile and expensive out of sight from windows. This might simply involve putting them in a desk-drawer. It can also be very easy to keep car keys and wallets as you come in to the property, like in a keybowl. Intruders can use an instrument to pluck these up through the letterbox, or simply find what they want quickly if they choose to break the lock and enter.

Sabotaging Yourself

It’s common to keep ladders or garden furniture lying around outside your house when and where you need it. However, these can all be utilised by professional intruders to get into your home. Are there any ledges or walls around your property, which can easily assist someone in reaching a window? Ornaments or other objects might also be used to break a window or lock, so keep this in mind when decorating the exterior of your home.

 

 

 

Protecting Your Property This Halloween Part 2: Handy Tips

Halloween is almost here; and that means a small dose of organised bedlam in residential areas and communities for just one night.

As seen in our previous blog post last week, damage to property increases around this time of year according to recent research. Though it should all be a bit of fun and a chance to dress up or go mad on more chocolate than is good for us, Halloween can have frightful consequences on our homes. This might be whether you’re hosting a party or you attract hungry trick-or-treaters to your doorstep. Unfortunately there are a few bad (toffee) apples out there who set out to put a damper on the fun for the rest of us.

So here are a few tips to ensure that come November 1st, your home doesn’t look like the setting of a horror film:

Security

Burglaries increase around this time of year because the darker evenings make for an excellent cover. If your house is the setting of a party or base for trick-or-treaters, there will be a lot of comings and goings; do your best to find out everyone’s names or that people you trust can vouch for those you don’t. All the costumes and large numbers can make this difficult, so it make it a closed event or keep a tight control on who is invited. A lot of property in London is located on main roads or are near to them; so consider a lot of foot-traffic which passes by, and may see an open door with no one around.

Fires

With candles being placed in pumpkins, Halloween is a prime opportunity for incidents involving fire. Keep wet rags at hand, while anything that does require an open flame should be kept away from wooden furniture or fittings that are flammable. Rather than use actual fire, use flashlights or LED lights instead for a similar effect. Any decorations which require a plug, like light-up lanterns, should be plugged in close to the outlet to avoid tripping on wires; and if you do have several things plugged in at once, check that wiring is up-to-standard and split electrical appliances between several sockets.

Space

Clear as much space as you if you plan on having a dance-floor. This includes stairways and corridors. Expect some rather large and lavish creations in the costume-department, which may require extra space for the individual to move around freely. It might just be easier to dump these costumes as the night goes on. Related to the point above, make sure any doorways aren’t blocked either in case you do have to “abandon ship”.

Eggs

Take care of any remnants from unhappy “treaters”, as soon as possible for hygiene reasons and to prevent any infestations (ideally the next morning). Don’t hang out of windows to clean the side of your house, but use an extendable mop instead from the ground. You also don’t want any lasting dried egg or produce marks on your home either.

Protecting You and Your Property This Halloween

Recent Aviva research illustrates a significant annual increase in home damage during Halloween. According to the insurance company, the period spanning the end of October and the first few days of November brings about a rough increase of 150% in claims of malicious damage to the home; meanwhile, damage to cars rises by half as do car thefts which go up by 20%.

The Halloween festivities encourage a free-for-all around this time of the year, with the consequences being most evident in the exteriors of properties up and down the country. More youth are out in public until a later time at night. Because this crowd have a valid excuse and are in costume, they have the opportunity to get away with tricks. This encourages a higher frequency in reckless behaviour, though this blame shouldn’t be pushed on kids alone. Potential damage can be attributed to young adults, with many attending parties and enjoying more alcohol than normal, on Halloween itself and the nearest weekend. Heavy alcohol use usually results in varying levels of destructive consequences anyway through scuffles, accidents and driving while intoxicated. More specifically, if individuals rent in London, Manchester or a similarly large city with an active nightlife, and they live close to town or main roads, tenants shouldn’t be surprised to receive more attention through foot-traffic. It’s also getting darker, sooner in the evenings, providing an excellent opportunity for vandals and burglars to strike under the cover of darkness.

So how does this affect those in the property-game, who own and let out accommodation? Well, individuals can very well expect to spend the next day on the phone with repair-men to arrange visits and quotes for work to be done. Many tenants will be phoning up their landlords, sheepishly reporting damages that have “just happened” (that is if they actually report it rather than fix it themselves or even hide it). Agents and Landlords will commonly hear of incidents including broken windows, damage to paintwork, spray-painting and produce being thrown. More complicated examples can involve plumbing too

Those who don’t report damage to their landlord or letting agent, but instead go about covering up any problems themselves, can safely expect the damage to be discovered on inspection of the property at a later date. Agents and landlords regularly inspect properties, and can do so with just 24 hours notice (or none if their is a concern of damage to the property). Common discoveries include chipped furniture and stains on carpets.

Because Halloween is a popular annual tradition, it’s guaranteed that there will always be young trick-or-treaters and older party-goers out and about, abstaining from their usual behaviour. Unless there is a prevalent fear amongst members of a community with a prior negative experience to point to, Halloween fun and games will be tolerated unless they breach the law. Due to budgets cuts and the expected incidents around this time of year, emergency services will be stretched even further. Preemptive measures by property-owners can help. Because Halloween is an annual holiday, it’s generally accepted by landlords and agents who let out properties that these incidents will happen. Holidays like Halloween and the behaviour it brings out in others is one of those things to consider when deciding where to live. For those who want to avoid such festivities but still wish to rent in London or another major city, flats which offer more security from the outside, area safe option. On the other hand, if you want to be more active, like hosting a party yourself, a house, rather than an apartment, will provide more space to dance!

Halloween in London: Killers and The Gothic

You probably know by now that we like to harp on about how London is such a brilliant place to live, but it’s true! This week, in preparation for Halloween coming up, we’re going to look at London as a historical minefield when it comes to everything horror and spooky.

If any one name is synonymous with London and horror, it is surely Jack the Ripper. The unidentified killer and his true identity has been subject to scrutiny and guessing games for well over a hundred years since his reign of terror in the East End of the Capital in the late 19th century. Fortunately things are a lot safer, as evidenced by the meticulous and thorough security during this summer’s Games despite prior media conjecture.

The other aspect of London which lends itself to this special day, is the Gothic architecture which you’re surrounded by. You don’t have to live in the countryside a la The Hound of the Baskervilles to see it. Though a modern city with constant refurbishments and renovations, and a far cry from simply the cobble streets and old-fashioned telephone boxes associated with it by foreigners, the buildings which make up London tell it’s own history. You could easily wander around all day, taking in the nooks and crannies which have held on and survived till now, linking the city to it’s past.

As much as we love browsing those new properties which have been recently renovated and look like something out of a glossy drama about the rich and famous, a part of us really loves those which have stuck close to the original design (at least in some way or where possible). Sometimes we’re completely taken aback to find that, tucked away in a road of very archaic exteriors, is a swanky apartment which Patrick Bateman might have lived in if he lived on this side of the Atlantic.

Of course, if you want a quick thrill, there are various ghost walks and attractions, like the world famous London Dungeons near London Bridge, to take in. It’s reasons like this that millions travel to London every year and why you can’t run out of things to do if you’re a full-time or long-term resident.

Browse for yourself our wide range of properties, either for sale or for rent in London. You’ll most definitely find yourself on a street steeped in history, even if some of it is a bit murky.

 

Chocolate Week: Why London is the Sweetest Place to Live

This week (October 8th-14th), it’s Chocolate Week; the UK’s biggest celebration of the sweet stuff, and an easy excuse for us to dive in to the lovely stuff. As well as being a nationwide celebration of the dark stuff (or white stuff, if that’s your thing) in homes and offices, you can bet there will lots to do in London including a choc-opera in Belgravia and tasting events in Piccadilly Circus.

That’s one of the great things about living in London; there is just so much to do. You’re only a tube ride away from some sort of event tied to national or international celebrations. As a resident, you can never have an excuse to not have anything to do; a quick skim of the weekend paper, search online or even wander around will bring you into contact with something fun and interesting to pass the time.Often you won’t even need to plan ahead or even actively look for things to pass the time, as you’re hit with options every time you go out through sings, billboards, posters etc. Some are more traditional or historical, whereas as others might be a bit more quirkier or “on-the-edge”.

Returning to chocolate, London has a great place in the history of the delicacy coming to these shores in the 17th century. It was in 1657 that the first chocolate house was opened in Bishopsgate by order of Charles II and it was Christopher Columbus who brought it over from his travels.

Even when it’s not Chocolate Week, you’ll be hard-pressed not to get your chocolate fix when in London. As well as the multitude of shops, both big and small you can find special chocolate tours which run regularly all year round, in the Mayfair and Chelsea areas. To cater to international residents and tourists who might be a bit homesick, you’ll also come across shops which import products from all around the world.

Some people complain about the average rent in London being more than anywhere else in the country (not that this is any different from most other countries and their largest cities). However, it’s times like these, in terms of options of entertainment and culture, when the benefits of living in a cosmopolitan city really reveal themselves.

A History of James Bond in London

Last month, we celebrated the big-screen adaptation of classic cops show The Sweeney with a themed week of properties and posts; but this week we’re welcoming back a very well known British film icon in James Bond, when Skyfall leaps into cinemas. So we thought we would take a look at some of the locations in and around London that have inspired Bond’s adventures through the years.

Bond is one of those great exports that we have bestowed on the rest of the world; and every time we deliver another barnstormer of a film, it’s another chance to show off the sights of London which is always a great benefit for the economy, tourism and real estate. One of the best recent examples is the effect that filming the LOTR trilogy had on New Zealand. Sure, there are those gorgeous foreign beaches on which 007 likes to woo his femme fatales; but he always needs to start at home, usually with a ticking off from Q while he’s introduced to his latest gadgets. Home is indeed where the heart is.

When we think of MI5, our secret service, we would expect the headquarters to be something like that in Men in Black: a big grey building, with little in the way of markings to indicate that this is where the creme of the crop of British intelligence work…and that is exactly what you get if you look at Thames House. Located in Millbank, on the north bank of the Thames, the development was previously occupied by the government before it was handed over to MI5 in 1994 to use alongside the Northern Island Office. Hopefully, it wasn’t a bloody scrap that saw our very own Bonds take over the building!

Filming for Skyfall has involved many, many areas across London including Southall, Canary Wharf, Charing Cross, Tower Hill and Parliament Square. If you live or work in the area, and have heard any funny explosions in the last year, it’s probably just been Daniel Craig saving the world, ho-hum. So when you go to see it, you’re certainly going to be treated to some key London landmarks; see if you can spot them all!

Look out for the properties we’re posting this week in London to rent and to buy, which will be closely tied to the adventures of 007.