7 THINGS YOU SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR IN YOUR RETIREMENT HOME

At Property Property Property we cater to everyone, including our dear pensioners. So this post is dedicated and the start of more to come, that are highlighted specifically to pensioners or those seeking retirement.

We have curated and listed below our top 7 tips on things you should look for in your retirement home:

TIP #1: Ramp or home modification

Now we’re not suggesting that this is a most for everyone, but as most people who are seeking retirement homes for the purpose of living there for the rest of lives, we advise that this is something you look out for. As it is a known fact that strength decreases with age, so looking into securing a property with a ramp and already installed home modifications is a bonus as it will save you time and money in the future when having to maybe install these functions.

TIP #2: Low ceilings

Ideally, when you look for properties, your mind isn’t too focused on the size or height of the ceiling. But as you gracefully age, I believe it is something you should look for in your retirement home. As you’ll still want to be able to have reach of the lighting on your celling and something that doesn’t have an overwhelming effect, such as a high ceiling.

TIP #3: Lower units

Following on from having lower ceilings, you may also consider having lower units. Such as a lower kitchen cabinet, lower bathroom system; anything that doesn’t stress you or is more easily accessible for yourself as you age.

TIP #4: Community park or recreation center

At this age, you are either more free to explore the world or you’re freer to explore your community. We suggest looking for local facilities that encourage pensioner activities or anything that will keep you busy and stress-free in your older years.

TIP #5: Location

Location is a very important factor to consider when seeking a retirement home as you still want to be accessible and reachable to family, friends, and anyone who you are in contact with. But at the same time, aim to look for a more peaceful and scenic neighborhood so that you can enjoy your retirement with less noise pollution.

TIP #6: Maintenance

This leads back to point 3, we just want to reinforce the point that it’s better to look for a property that will require less maintenance work in the long-run. As you wouldn’t want to spend your retirement having to make continuous modifications and alterations to your new home in order to suit your health. Why not jump this step and consider this now.

TIP #7: Transport

And finally transportation. We advise anyone and everyone looking for a new space to look for a location with good transportation links, as this will give you more freedom to travel as this will be something that is easily accessible for you to visit friends or family.

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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 ‘Retirement and Pensioners’ series.

 

 

5 COOL THINGS FOR YOUR CHILDREN TO ENJOY IN THEIR NEW HOME

Parents, do your children complain that your home isn’t cool enough or that little Johnny’s room isn’t as nice as little Maxwell’s is his class. Well, we’ve got some tips for you on how you can make your home look super-duper cool for your kids.

TIP #1: Chalkboard walls

You either find it fascinating or annoying and that is; chalkboards. As a kid, you may remember drawing all over the walls of the house, even though there was paper somewhere in the house. I definitely did.

To prevent that but also encourage your children’s creative abilities, invest in some chalkboard paint. Whether you want to paint a panel, a strip or be adventurous and paint a whole wall; go for it. Make sure you actually have some chalk though and a chalk eraser, to clean it up after.

TIP #2: DIY cinema system

Have you tried having an at home cinema day, where you’ve put in some animated DVD’s for the kids, but the issue is the screen isn’t big enough? But the layout is cool, just the screen causing problems. Well for that final touch we recommend that you consider buying some ‘Projection Screen’ (preferably 100” inch 16:9 and portable), have it pinned up or stuck to your wall and get you a projector next. Then project your films on a BIGGER screen! Get some popcorn too, while you’re at it.

TIP #3: Dedicated space

Whether it’s an entire playroom, a small corner, or a reading nook. We believe that your child needs a space where they can have some chill me-time. But decorate it and make it look a bit fancy for them.

TIP #4: Cool scenery wallpaper

Have you ever been to the jungle? I haven’t, but you could take your kids there. And I don’t mean a real jungle; I mean that you could customise your little one’s room with some scenic wallpaper ranging from an animated jungle, a little princess castle, a tropical island or whatever takes their fancy. These are a really good way to drastically change the appearance of the kid’s room.

TIP #5: Cool storage systems

As a youth, cleaning wasn’t one of my biggest hobbies and I’m sure it isn’t your children’s either. Unless times have changed drastically. But in order to slowly nurture your kids into the art of home maintenance and also teach them good household skills, create a cool storage system where cleaning actually looks exciting. Having some hanging storage bins are quite good, as your children could practice basketball and represent our country in the Olympics.

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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 ‘Family’ series.

 

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.

10 top tips for increasing your estate agent monthly turnover

In a busy industry such as estate agency it is vital that you are ahead of your competition. And with so much competition out there you really need to be doing all you can to increase your monthly turnover.

Vendors are pretty clued up these days, and they know what they should be seeing and looking for in an estate agent.  In order to secure more property, to get more on the books and to thus increase your monthly turnover, we have a few top tips to get you going.

1.  Research

One of the most important things you can do is to be constantly researching. Ensure that all your employees know the area that they are working in, the schools, bus links, in-depth details of your properties.  The ‘need to know’ information.  This really shows your prospective purchasers and vendors that you care about their needs and not just their money.

2.  Presentation

Estate agency is also about looking good. Not just being smart yourself, but that your offices give the right impression. You don’t have to have the most expensive building to make the most of it. But first impressions count, so when people walk through your doors what do they see?

3.  Speculate to accumulate

Sometimes in life we have to spend a bit to get something back in return.  Are you leaflet dropping in your local area? How are people hearing about you? Make sure you have smart brochures for people to take away. Packed full of literature about buying, selling and letting. It shows that you are keen to inform your prospective clients and vendors as much as you can.

4.  Sign up to portals

There are many portals out there.  But choosing one that won’t break the bank is key.  Here at Property Property Property we are constantly adapting and tailoring our service to suit you.  We won’t cost you a pretty penny so you can help to reduce your overheads. With 20% of the market share in just a year we are fast becoming the go-to portal to share your properties with. In fact, with our new TV campaign and our soon-to-be launched radio campaign we will be popping up all over the place, just like your boards!

5.  Reduce your overheads

This brings us to our next point; reduce your overheads. Start to look at the areas where you spend money, advertising, print, petrol, rent. And begin to consider cheaper and alternative options.  You may be spending money on advertising in areas that you no longer need. Much offline press is not as important these days for estate agents.  But advertising online and in portals such as Property Property Property is a great way to reduce your costs.

6. The heart of the customer

Get to the heart of your customer.  What are their needs? Don’t just show them the most expensive property. If they are looking for a two bed house then don’t show them a three bed house. If they have children, ask them their ages and show them properties in catchment area to good schools.

7. Knowing your area

If you have new estate agents working for you, maybe people who don’t know the area so well, show them around.  Take them on the unknown roads, show them where the best local pubs and shops are and where the best schools are. Give them copies of the local newspapers and get them to really get to grips with their location.  This will ensure that you have fantastic staff that have great knowledge.

8. Honesty

Honesty is always best policy, and never more so than in estate agency.  An honest estate agency is one that people will use time and time again.  If someone buys an investment property with you and they have a good experience, then they will most likely require your letting services too.

9. Get out there

How are you getting your name out there?  What methods are you using? Look at advertising online, displaying your properties in local papers and local lifestyle magazines. Where are your boards? Are there areas where you have less boards than others? Start to really look at how your brand is perceived and how you can expand your reach.

10. Online

This leads nicely to our final point. Get online. Everyone is online these days and so your estate agency should be no different.  Use online portals like Property Property Property, which will link directly to your website.  Get on Facebook and Twitter and start to interact with those house hunting, in the market for selling and of course, the student market.  Don’t miss a trick!

Overall, by putting these 10 tips into practice you will help to reduce your monthly costs and to expand your reach.  You will also grow your estate agency into a business that is well-known and much loved in your local area.

What is HMO (House with Multiple-Occupancy)?

You will know if your property or someone else’s property is a House with Multiple-Occupancy (HMO) if:

  • At least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • You share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

The correct definition of a ‘household’ is a property that contains a single person, or a property that consists of more people but of the same family. With modern days ‘same family’ can mean more than the traditional married mother, father and two son’s scenario. Now the ‘same family’ also applied to the boyfriend and girlfriend that live together and people in same-sex relationships.

However if you do live with 3 other people who are also paying rent to a landlord, then you live in an HMO. The landlord has a responsibility to meet certain standards and obligations set by the government. These responsibilities include making sure that communal areas such as the shared bathroom is in a good state of repair and that fire safety measure are in place.

An HMO can be any of the below:

  • A house split into separate bedsits
  • A shared house or shared flat, where people have separate renting agreements
  • A hostel
  • A bed-and-breakfast hotel that isn’t just for holidays
  • Shared accommodation for students – though a lot of halls of residence and other types of student accommodation owned by educational establishments aren’t classed as HMOs.

Some HMOs must be licensed which your landlord must do before setting-up rental agreements. With this licence the council must set certain conditions to ensure the safety of furniture, gas, and electricity installations in the property. It is in fact a criminal offence if your landlord has not had the HMO licensed and could be fined £2,000. Saying this however, if you do find out that the HMO you are living in has not been licensed, you can not withhold rent.

How to complain

If you have a complaint about the HMO you are living in such as any hazards, then you can report them to your local council. The council will then take action to make sure the landlord corrects any problems.

How to deal with noisy neighbours

Struggling to sleep at night because next door like to have 12-hour rave parties in the wee hours of the morning? Rather than losing your cool, take a look at these tips to help you resolve the conflict.

While most people were ringing in the New Year for 2013, I was pounding my fist against my bedroom wall and wishing unpleasant things on my neighbours. A group of students moved in next door and host monthly parties that start at around 11pm and don’t end until 11am the next day. As can be expected, this results in very little sleep and a lot of frustration. So what’s the best way to deal with this without creating a ‘neighbours from hell’ scenario?

Your rights with noisy neighbours

According to the Noise Act 1996, any excessive noise between 11pm and 7am the next day are deemed to be causing a nuisance. The definition of ‘excessive noise’ is a bit hazy, so there is no hard and fast rule for this. As a general guide, any noise above 85 decibels (dB) is considered to be the level of noise that can cause damage after prolonged exposure, and anything above 50 dB at night could be considered noise pollution.

Don’t try to live with it, and don’t reciprocate

Trust me on this one – don’t try to live with the noise, because it won’t get easier. If you’re expecting the constant thrum of dubstep to become part of the background noise, you’ll be disappointed. Nip it in the bud as soon as it happens, otherwise you’ll only get angrier and more frustrated every time it occurs.

On the same note, don’t try to reciprocate their actions e.g. hammering the wall in annoyance, turning your music up even louder or deliberately making more noise than they are (I’ve been guilty of all three). This will only escalate things further, so don’t be tempted to vent your frustration elsewhere. Hammering the wall is also likely to leave a dent, leading to an expensive home insurance claim and a very awkward conversation with your landlord. Don’t try that.

Talk to them, but time it well

If you’re anything like me, telling your neighbours that they’re being too loud and rowdy is just about the most uncomfortable thing you can think of. That being said, about a third of all people with noisy neighbours found that actually communicating the problem to them resolved the issue straight away, according to the HomeOwners Alliance. If face-to-face interaction fills you with dread (as it does me), then leave them a polite note to explain the facts.

Timing is essential for this to be most effective. You don’t want to storm into a house full of drunken revellers during a party and start shouting at them; that’ll only lead to a bad situation. You’re better off catching them when they’re having a quiet moment so you can have a word without losing your temper.

Reporting noise pollution

This may vary depending on your local council, so check with them to ensure you’re following the best method. You can find your local authority on the Directgov website.

It’s the responsibility of your local authority to investigate any instances of noise pollution (this comes under ‘statutory nuisance’, which also covers light pollution, smoke and insect infestations). The government’s definition of what counts as a ‘statutory nuisance’ is anything that is ‘unreasonably interfering with the use or enjoyment of your premises’. So, if your next door neighbours are throwing wheelie bins at one another at 4am (this was the same New Year’s party that kept me awake all night) you’ll have good reason to initiate a complaint.

Depending on your local council, you might be provided with an email address, phone number or online form to register your complaint. Remember to stick to the facts and not to let your frustration influence what you say.

What happens next?

The noise pollution officer will visit the house and issue a ‘noise abatement’ order. This basically tells them to pipe down or they’ll face legal action. If they break this order, the noise officer is within their rights to confiscate any noise making equipment (stereos, TVs, or in my case, a set of professional, festival grade amplifiers that were brought in by a DJ) and fine them up to £5,000.

Suggest that your neighbours let you know in advance if they’re planning on having a get together. That way you can make plans to be away or be out while they’re making their noise. This shouldn’t mean that you’re forced to leave your home whenever your neighbours get a bit loud, but knowing in advance will ease the situation and allow you to keep your options open.

If things get out of hand …

Sometimes it’s not just noise that’s the problem. Where there’s a party, there’s usually alcohol, and that can bring with it a whole host of problems. If you hear any arguments or see the beginnings of a fight breaking out, then call the police straight away. If the party spills out into the street and the revellers are generally being disorderly, then that counts as a breach of the peace, and you should also call the police to deal with that.

Dealing with noisy neighbours in this way means that you’ll be able to deal with the problem quickly, maintain the moral high ground and minimise any conflict between you and your neighbours. Have a good night’s sleep!

How have you dealt with your noisy neighbours? Let me know in the comments below!

Jamie Gibbs is the lifestyle blogger for home insurance comparison site Confused.com. He keeps a pair of noise cancelling headphones and a copy of Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell by his bedside table ready for whenever next door have a party.

Terrific Tips for a First Time Property Investor

Buying your first home can be an exciting time, but it is also one fraught with confusing issues and hurdles which can be difficult to leap. Here at Property Property Property, we know that it can be easy for first-time buyers to feel overwhelmed, trawling through all the estate agents in London (and especially if they view their property as an investment opportunity). Hopefully, the tips given below will be helpful in relieving some of the stress associated with the buying process. Don’t forget to check out our search tool and property alerts service to ensure that you’re among the first to see new properties as they come onto the market near you.

Buying a house is probably the biggest purchase you will ever make, so you need to make sure you are getting what you pay for. Spend as much time as you need on looking at a property because you want it to be right for you. If property investment is your plan, then the same rule applies. Property investment is a challenging, yet rewarding project; use some of the tips listed below if you are a first time property investor.

Do not buy the first property you see
Even if you are in love with the property, you need to do your research and shop around because there might be a better deal. You need to consider a number of aspects, not just how much you love it.

Do not be afraid to ask for advice
If you are confused about your process, then you should ask for advice. By asking for advice, you are avoiding silly mistakes that could potentially be crucial. Property investment is not easy and if it is your first time, then you should really not be afraid to ask for advice.

Work out your budget
Without a budget plan you could cause yourself big problems. The budget is a huge factor in property investment. You need to work out your overall budget for everything; you will need to have a rough price in mind on how much you are willing to spend on the actual property and then another figure for the work you are going to do.

Do not just look at the property once
Go back as many times as you think is necessary. Buying a house is a huge purchase, so you need to make sure you are getting what you are paying for. Make sure you are not taking on a job that is too big for you to handle, otherwise you will struggle to make a decent profit.

Begin with a small project
Do not go straight into property investment with a huge goal, you should start small because you need to find out whether it is right for you. If you figure out half way through the job that you do not like it, then you will wish that you had not created such a huge project. You also need to see what you can do. By all means, go for a larger project after you have experienced the first.

Create a contact book
If property investment is something you are serious about, then it would not be a bad idea to have a contact book that lists a number of people you may need to call; this contact book can include numbers for plumbers, electricians and estate agents. Create good relationships with these people so they will be willing to help whenever they can.

Now you have a few tips on property investment, you can go ahead a begin your project; just remember to take your time. You do not want to rush a property investment project because there is a lot of money at stake; you should begin with a smaller project and then work up to larger ones, once you have got a good idea about what is going on. It is not always going to be easy, but it is most definitely a rewarding job.

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About the Author: Janet is a financial advisor who deals with a lot of property investors. As a financial advisor, she helps people work out a budget and makes sure they are aware of how much money they need to spend. She recommends online tools and calculators to help plan out a budget.