How To Find The Best Rental Property That’s Within Your Budget – PART 1

One of the main benefits of renting an apartment or house is that it gives you your own space, without having the hassle of worrying about a mortgage, but it can also be easier to get ripped off. Here’s how to find the most cost-effective space for you.

With the values of house prices increasing and banks tightening up their lending criteria’s, getting on the property ladder is more difficult than ever before and will continue to get more difficult.

So if you’re considering renting but don’t want to pay too much, here’s how to find the best rental properties for your money.

Set a reasonable budget

  • Before contemplating a fully-furnished luxury penthouse, you’ll need to work out exactly how much you can afford to pay each month to avoid disappointment further down the line. 
  • Working out a maximum amount will stop you from overstretching your finances to breaking point. It’s important in making sure you can afford the payments now and in the future as you will be paying rent for months and possibly years to come.
  • When setting your budget, make sure to factor in the extra bills you may need to cover once you move in. These can include utility bills such as gas, water and electricity, council tax, broadband and paying for your TV licence.

What do you need?

  • Before starting your search it is a good idea to work out exactly what you need and wants from your ideal property.
  • How many bedrooms, bathrooms, guest rooms or parking spaces will you need in your new home, and are each of these factors equally important?
  • Most times it can be difficult to get everything you want, so prioritising what you need over what you want can help making a decision easier further down the line.
  • Deciding whether a furnished or unfurnished property is another important decision, if you’re moving into your first flat and have little furniture, you can save money with a furnished property. However, most unfurnished flats now come with useable goods such as a fridge and washing machine so check exactly what’s included; you might be able to get by with an unfurnished property.
  • Where parking is concerned it may be worth researching offsite parking in the surrounding area; if there are plenty of free spaces nearby you could make big savings by opting for a flat with no allocated parking.

Research the area you want to live in

  • Making decisions on where to live is one of the biggest parts of searching for a new home and the location will play a big factor on the type of property you’ll be able to rent with your budget.
  • You will need to prioritise whether location or size of the property is more important to you when you’re looking. Ideally, the more flexible you can be about where you live the better your chance of finding a bargain. How flexible you can be will depend on your lifestyle of course.
  • If you have young children then access to schools may be a big factor in where you look. But if you don’t you may find better properties with lower rents further away from popular school catchment areas.
  • Being close to transport links and other local amenities is also worth considering. Do you need to be close to a supermarket, train station or sports centre for example?

So these are just a few things to look out for when on the hunt for an ideal rental property that suits you and is within your budget. For more tips check out PART 2 in the series.

3 THINGS ESTATE AGENTS DO IN YOUR INTEREST THAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW OF

There has always been speculation and negative talk on Estate Agents, but we’re here to turn that around as we work closely with the agents on our portal. We’ve now curated a list of 5 things Estate Agents do in your interest that you may not be aware of:

TIP #1: Area Research

Estate Agents make sure that they have an in-depth understanding and appreciation for the community they are serving, as this will better their chances in assisting you in either selling your property or buying one. Either way, them having a closer understanding of the area benefits you in general.

TIP #2: Market Research

Estate Agents strive to be on top of the property market as this will aid them in negotiating prices with Landlords or vendors as well as helping you to understand when is the best time to make an investment in regards to anything property related.

TIP #3: Support other local businesses

Agents are always getting involved in local community events or supporting other local businesses in the area via sponsorships, campaigns and etc. Doing this allows Agents to have a close tie with the community and also, in turn, become your tour guide into the community.

So these are just things that Agents do in your interest!

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles on Estate Agents and their services.

 

New build vs. Second-hand homes in London: house price report reveals six-figure gap between new and resale flats

There’s a huge gulf between the average price of old and new-build flats in London. New builds can offer peace of mind while ex-councils flats are best for value so weigh up the pros and cons carefully before you buy.

Ex-council vs. new-build prices in every London borough

The six-figure price gulf between new and resale property, and between privately built and former council homes, is revealed in a new study focusing on London.

Research comparing the cost of one-bedroom flats in every borough shows pre-owned homes cost an average £542,715, while a new-build one-bedroom flat costs an average £679,671. That’s 22 percent — or almost £137,000 — more.

An ex-council one-bedroom flat is the best value of all at £396,317 on average, the Hamptons International study shows. This is more than £146,000 — or 31 percent — less than buying a privately built flat, and more than £283,000, or 52 percent, cheaper than a new-build flat.

New build is always the premium buy, for the peace of mind that comes with a modern, well-insulated home, often with such extras as communal gardens and sports facilities. In today’s tricky market some developers are offering good deals such as paying buyers’ stamp duty to stimulate sales, but the property will always come out more expensive with annual service charges on top.

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New — what £350,000 buys you: a flat at Leven Wharf, Poplar, with a terrace and city views but only one bedroom. For sale with My London Home (020 8012 5708)

Not long ago you could have said a new-build flat, bought off-plan, would make you a profit by the time you moved in. The direction of the current market is anybody’s guess because of stamp duty hikes and the fallout from the Brexit vote.

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Adrian Plant, director and head of new homes at estate agents Currell, says: “With the new build, you hope you know that for the first 10 years there will not be any major costs. You won’t need to pay for builders and plumbers, and many developments now come with a concierge to handle maintenance and sort out issues like arranging for parcel delivery or laundry, at a cost of service charges.”

Buyers of older homes pay less to purchase, but often then stump up for renovations and/or extensions. Of course, an older home may bring the bonus of period features such as cornicing, wide staircases, stained glass and Victorian tiled floors.

WITH GREAT VALUE COMES GREATER RISK

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Old — what £329,999 buys you: a second-floor ex-council flat with two double bedrooms in Clapton E5. Former council homes can be great value, but ask locals what life on the estate is like before you commit to buying

Ex-local authority homes are fantastic value but this is the riskiest sector to buy into. Generally, those built before the Sixties and Seventies are higher quality and larger than a more modern home. But on estates blighted by years of underinvestment, flats can be shabby, common areas depressing and getting a mortgage can be a pain.

However, Stephen Lovelady, sales manager at Foxtons’ Pimlico and Westminster branch, says ex-council homes on his patch are often well built, with good security and sometimes well managed. He says most lenders will offer mortgages on ex-local authority homes in central London, although some will not lend on buildings above six storeys, or of poor construction standards.

READ MORE

Beyond Zone 1, broadly speaking, lenders are happy with ex-council homes in desirable areas and less keen on run-down locations. Buyers must research whether there are any major repairs planned for the block or estate because they, unlike the council tenants, will have to pay a share of the cost. Request a work plan from the local council which will give a five-year list of any projects plus an estimated cost. Your solicitor should investigate any major works when conveyancing your sale.

Communal halls, lifts and walkways are often grim. Bad management, crime, drugs and gangs of teenagers making life a misery are all possibilities on a big estate. A safer bet is a small, low-rise block that’s well integrated into local streets, although this might be more expensive than average.

So before you buy, contact the tenants and residents association to discuss any major problems, knock on doors and chat with residents, talk to the local paper, study police crime statistics and visit the flat during the day and at night.

 

HOW TO ACCURATELY THEME/COLOUR MATCH YOUR HOME

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The task of decorating your new home can be quite daunting. If you’re like me and don’t have one specific theme or idea that you are going for then consider these points when decorating your space.

Group Inspirations/Ideas

The internet is a great tool when curating mood boards and also sourcing inspirations. Websites and applications such as Pinterest, We Heart It and Hometalk is great places for you to get ideas on how you want to decorate your living room to your bathroom.

List What You Like

Make a list of things you like. For instance, if you’re heavily into plants, then make a list of the different plants you like and the colours associated with them, that way you can select your colour scheme based on your likes.

Your Personal Style

In the times we live in, we currently have minimal restrictions on how we dress or what our personal styles are; so why not implement that into your home. If you’re into floral prints in your cardigans, skirts, tote bags or whatever, then you’ll more likely be drawn into having floral prints in your home.

Customise each room

Sometimes we really can’t choose one theme or one colour scheme for our home. But who said you have to stick to one theme? You don’t!

It may be an unconventional idea, but why not have various themes in your home, and they can all vary from room to room. After all, it is your home, so you have all the control on making it your comfortable place, and if it means having contrasting colours/themes on the top floor, then go for it.

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the ‘First Time Buyers’ series.

[Opening image sourced from Knight Partnership Cambridgeshire listing, check out the property now http://bit.ly/2jVWUjR]

This is set to be positive year for Aberdeen’s commercial market

The political landscape and predictions are widespread over how the snap general election could affect the markets. With Scotland dealing with the negative impact on property investment and market confidence amongst some investors and developers because of the prospect of a second independence referendum.

However, in Aberdeen, the atmosphere has largely driven by the fortunes of the oil and gas industry for the past two years, with the sector now showing largely positive signs. But not to say the wider political backdrop is of no concern, the UK’s vote to leave the EU immediately benefited Aberdeen’s oil and gas economy. The North Sea producers have profited from production costs being incurred in a depreciated sterling relative to a product sold in US dollars, as have local service companies pitching for business around the world conducted in a largely dollar-denominated market. With a growing confidence in the local air which is now impacting itself in our property market.

The office sector was a most impacted sector by the energy industries. The fortunes between 2013 and 2015 fluctuating and with the best quality space have maintained headline rents and interest from occupiers despite carrying a record level of voids. However, it must be said that much of the remaining stock has seen its day, being functionally or economically challenged or located on peripheral estates which have long been a unique feature of Aberdeen’s property supply.  

In comparison, Aberdeen’s industrial market has held up reasonably well. During 2016, take-up was in line with the 10-year average with rents generally remaining stable although the supply of second-hand stock has increased.

Investor appetite for Aberdeen is beginning to show signs of increasing. A North American investor, for example, acquired the Lloyd’s Register building in Prime Four Business Park for £41 million in February, pushing Q1 office investment levels to £49 million, more than the total volume recorded during 2016. Investors are seeking a ‘flight to quality’, looking for well let assets in the city, which may offer more attractive yields than elsewhere in the UK.

The good news is that office lettings in Q1 2017 were 181,000 sq ft (16,815 sq m), the highest quarterly take-up since Q3 2013. This clearly indicates that the local mood has moved up a gear, in part reflected by oil companies Total and Marathon committing to new leases and a number of large requirements circulating.

The further positive news comes with Hurricane Energy announcing a new find west of Shetland with estimated recoverable reserves of a billion barrels and small local independent Chrysoar announcing a $3 billion acquisition from Shell comprising 10 separate assets in the UK continental shelf with funding from US private equity firm EIG Partners.

The smart money is clearly backing a more positive future for Aberdeen and the property market is starting to reflect this.

 

7 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING PRIOR TO MOVING INTO YOUR FIRST HOME

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As a first-time buyer, the responsibility can be quite daunting when moving yourself and your belongings into your new haven. Fortunately, for you, the buying process is made easier if you used the more traditional method, via Estate Agents. However, as soon as the keys are in your hands, the responsibility is yours!

So we’ve curated and listed below, our top 7 tips that we believe you should be doing prior to moving into your first home:

TIP #1: Change your address

There is nothing more annoying than having your utility bills, doctors’ appointments and random promotional letters being sent to your old address. Not only is it annoying for you to go back and forth to collect post or have your previous neighbours (family) have to update you on your letters that are flooding in, but it also means that your life is still registered at your old address.

So make sure you’ve updated your Driver’s License, Doctors, Water/Gas Providers or whoever it is that you’ve moved. I can tell you from experience it definitely saves you a LOT of hassle!

TIP #2: Change the locks

Now that the victory key has been placed in your palms, it’s time to throw it away and get a new one. No seriously get a new one!

Estate Agents, tradesmen, previous owners, neighbours, cats and dogs, whoever who may have had access to the house prior to you owning it will probably still have a spare key to your new home lying around. So for your sake and the sake of your sanity; have the absolute reassurance that no-one but you can get into your new home, look into getting new locks installed ASAP.

TIP #3: Spring clean the place

Whether you bought the property in Spring or not, give the place a good scrub. You might be lucky and have the previous homeowners clean up the place for you, but it’s still best to add your touch to the cleaning as you can definitely be certain that your new home is nice and clean, ready for you to decorate.

TIP #4: Don’t throw it away, paint it

If you happen to have a surprise chest of draws left in the masters’ bedroom and you don’t know what to do with it, definitely don’t throw it away!

You may not be excited about the colour or hardware of the leftover furniture, but upscaling and adding your own style to it can definitely reinforce that rewarding feeling of owning something as well as saving you money, but you can also brag to your friends about your handy work. So don’t throw it. Paint it. Style it. Repurpose it.

TIP #5: Get familiar with the community

Now, I’m not saying that you have to attend community meetings 6 weeks consecutively prior to your move or sign up to all the local clubs so that you can become familiar with everyone in the area and have Julie who lives across the road fill you in on the community gossip. I mean if you want to do that you can, and I’m sure Julie wouldn’t mind filling you in.

But rather, we suggest that you acquaint yourself with the local transportation, get a clearer understanding of the local shopping/market on offer and familiarise yourself with the key hotspots/locations around the town. It will save you a lot of mindless confusion and time. So you don’t necessarily have to research the communities’ historical records or look for a Julie.

TIP #6: Check the hardware around the house and mechanical equipment is serviced

Even though some Estate Agents offer those additional services and can recommend to you servicemen/traders to do the job before your move, it’s even more beneficial if you keep on top with the condition of the gas cooker or that the heating and cooling system are still running nicely and have had a good clean.

TIP #7: Throw a party!

Even though this tip applies more when your home has properly been furnished, it is one of our top recommendations.

Invite some friends over for a meal or a drink, not necessarily a party as you might have that one friend who after one or two drinks may decide to wreak havoc among your nicely decorated china display. A get-together is a good way to celebrate your achievement and also make your home homier.

So these are the main things we would recommend you budding first-time buyers consider doing when moving into your new place. Also, an additional checklist would come in handy (that’s a bonus tip), we’ll be providing you with one of your own checklists in the coming weeks!

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the ‘First Time Buyers’ series.

[Opening image sourced from Martin&Co Chelsea listing, check out the property now http://bit.ly/2xuSeEK]

What first-time buyers need to know

There is always a first time for everything, and that even includes buying a house. According to recent reports in the Telegraph, the average age of a first-time buyer is around 30.  More and more young people are being forced to rent for long periods of time.  What was once a temporary source of accommodation is fast becoming a long-term solution.

So, for those first-time buyers out there who are about to step foot onto the property ladder, a little advice and ‘need-to-know’ can go a long way.  It can be a daunting time for anyone, let alone someone who is investing their life’s savings into a property for the first time.

Here are just a few things that first-time buyers need to know:

How are your finances?

Do you have good credit history? Do you keep on top of all your purchases and spending?  Now is the best time to really look at what you are spending and where your money is going.  Moving house is not cheap.  There are solicitors fees, stamp duty fees and of course, you will want to have money to buy new furniture too.  All those added extras that are on top of your deposit.

Getting a mortgage is tricky these days.  It has probably never been so tough to get a mortgage as it is now.  So make sure you are one step ahead of the game.  Get your finances in order, pay off any outstanding debts that could go against you and make sure you are on the electoral register.  Yes, even being on the electoral register will stand you in good stead.

Don’t stretch yourself too far

That three bedroom family home with the beautiful garden will always be appealing.  But if it is way out of your price range then it is best not to stretch yourself too far. Know your limits and work within these.  Speak to a mortgage advisor who will be able to help you understand how much you can realistically afford.  Remember, you still need to eat and live once you move into your new home.

Get the right mortgage

Getting a mortgage means shopping around.  An independent financial advisor will probably be your best bet.  They are independent because they are not tied to a bank or building society.  So this means that they have access to the best deals.  This is a chance for you to be really open and honest about your finances and to get the best mortgage rate you can.

Use Property Property Property

By using a portal such as Property Property Property you will be able to find the right home for you.  You can search by postcode or place name and search within a price bracket that suits.  Here you will find plenty of information, pictures and details on the properties you plan to view.  You can even email them to a friend or partner to let them know what you have been looking at.

At the end of the day, it is all about finding the right property at the right price for you.  And, as a first-time buyer you need to take as much advice as you possibly can.

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.

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.

Related Articals:

http://propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog/2013/03/

 

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