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Planning to move to London? Relocating is hard, and London is not the easiest city to adapt to.

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Getting yourself mentally prepared is the first step and we found a good article about things to consider before moving to London on Property Division. We dived them into ‘pluses’ vs. ‘minuses’ so you can do the math:

– higher rents

+ more available jobs and different types of careers to choose from

+/ – housemates (it’s a + or a – considering the type of person you are)

+ meeting interesting people

– high costs for transportation

– pricey pubs

+ lots of new things to see

+++ everything’s open late!

Things Northerners Should Consider When Relocating to London

Now what do you choose? Being a tourist or a Londoner?

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Understanding the difference…

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When searching for the ideal property to buy, aspiring homeowners may be faced with a choice: leasehold vs. freehold. What are the differences?

 

 

Leasehold vs. freehold: the basics

The main difference between leasehold and freehold is that if you buy a leasehold property, you own the property but not the land it stands on. With a freehold property, you own both the building and the land.

In England and Wales, the majority of flats are leasehold, while houses are usually sold as freehold properties.

 

Buying a leasehold property

With leasehold properties, the land the building stands on is owned by a landlord, also known as the freeholder.

You will own the property for the length of a lease agreement with the freeholder. After the lease expires, ownership of the property will revert back to the freeholder.

You’ll pay ground rent to the freeholder, although this usually won’t be very much. The freeholder will also be responsible for maintaining and running the building, so you can expect to pay a service charge to contribute to the cost of this.

 

 

Buying a freehold property

When you buy a freehold property, you’ll own the dwelling and the land it stands on outright.

There will be no time limit on your ownership, so you won’t have to worry about a lease running out.

You’ll be responsible for maintaining the building and any related costs, but this will mean you’ll be free to do whatever you like to the property (subject to planning permission).

 

Leasehold vs. freehold: a summary

Buying a home is an exciting step, but it is very important to understand any impending issues surrounding property ownership.

When it comes to leasehold vs. freehold, the main difference is that as a freeholder you’ll own your property outright from the get go, while as a leaseholder your ownership will be limited to a set length of time.

If you want to know more about buying a home, get in touch with our team today; we are more than happy to help!

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Landlords have been the target of some serious new taxes and regulations. Although these are worrying for some, these measurements are not an end of the rope for most.

For those of you considering investing in properties, keep in mind this:

long-term investments will surely bring you a good profit. New research showed that investing in buy-to-let, but not on an amateur level, will bring the landlord a stable and consistent source of revenue.

More details and a good case analysis in this article on Property Reporter:

How much could an average long term property investment earn you?

If you’re thinking about investing in a buy-to-let here are our property recommendations from the Victor Michael website:

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Unlike most other student based cities London is the exception in the fact that students are not locked into their contracts early. Take the University of Southampton for example, Southampton being the student-dominated city it is; the search for a property for the next academic year starts in November and most of the good properties go by February. This forces students and Fresher’s especially, to seek a property and housemates right as the start of the academic year, whilst Fresher’s are establishing who their friends are. Also, it forces students to pay full summer rent although they are not in the property during the break due to the high demand for properties.  But London being the bustling city it is this problem doesn’t occur.

Below are our 5 top tips for students at London universities seeking tenancies.

Photo source: https://bit.ly/2wxRiTd

  1. Do not rush to enquire.

Our policy, like most other agencies, is not to advertise properties until a month before the current tenancy is about to end. If you want to move in September, start enquiring in August. This ensures you do not waste your own time or the time of the agency. It also ensures that you aren’t made to pay rent over the summer unnecessarily if you are not staying in London during the holidays; this will save you untold amounts of money.

 

  1. Know your requirements.

How long do you want the property for? When are you looking to move? What is your preferred location? What is your maximum budget per calendar month? Are you willing to share facilities with other tenants? Make sure you know your requirements before you enquire so that the agent is best able to help you.

 

  1. Know what the agency requires.

For full time students, except those completing a PHD, agency and landlords require you to have a guarantor. A guarantor is someone, often a family member or loved one, who is willing to agree to pay your rent if you default payment and your rent becomes in arrears. Your guarantor can be international, though some countries are harder to reference.

 

  1. Be prompt with your referencing.

Referencing students for the property is a little more complicated as we have to verify your guarantor too. Make sure you promptly fill out your referencing forms, send over all necessary documentation and that of your Guarantors, especially if you have a holiday planned just before you move-in.

 

  1. What to know when you move-in. 

 

An inventory check-in is often mandatory on the day of your move-in. You are required to attend and the inventory clerk will go through and note any damages to the property left by the previous tenant, this is for your benefit so you are not unfairly charged at the end of your tenancy. We would advise you to take your own pictures as evidence and store this one a backed up memory drive.

 

Your Deposit. All landlords and estate agents are legally required to register your deposits 30 days after receiving it. Make sure you are provided with evidence of its registration. If your landlord fails to register your deposit he may be liable to pay you 3 times the deposit amount and is prohibited to issuing a section 21, an eviction notice.

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It’s no secret that tiling is a more practical approach for your bathroom floor than paint or carpet. It is one area that experiences more water exposure than others, and unlike carpet, most tiling is able to withstand it.

But with this said, some types of tiling are able to handle it better than others, and it’s important to be aware of what you’re paying for when going with your chosen material.

Below are some of the most popular tiles used in modern bathrooms, listed to help you select the best bathroom tile for your bathroom.

Porcelain

Porcelain tiles are one of the more popular choices for bathroom floors; they are better suited to those with smaller budgets and who don’t intend on changing the appearance. They come in a wide range of colours and styles, allowing you to achieve a more expensive look at a cheaper price. Their durability also makes it ideal for both floor and wall tiling.

Glazed porcelain tiles are often preferred due them being more hygienic; they are able to withstand more water, scratches and bacteria which make them the most suitable for a bathroom. They are also easier to clean and maintain, and can withstand heat, so you have the option to install under floor heating with it if you want a warmer underfoot.

Slate

Slate tiles can provide your bathroom with a modern, timeless feel. They come in different shades of grey, which gives off an air of sophistication and can also work with many kinds of styles.

They’re also naturally waterproof, non-stick and don’t require any additional sealing, making them ideal for low maintenance bathrooms and shower cubicles. They are a better option for those with higher budgets, but for a stone tile they do have value and will retain their value for a very long time.

Quartz

Quartz tiles are becoming increasingly popular due to how pleasing they are on the eye. They come in every colour and contain a high gloss finish; some even contain small pieces of mirror within the tiles that give off a glittery look. Quartz tiles are therefore ideal for many different styles, particularly for people who want to create a more modern feel in their bathroom. They are also durable and retain their colour well.

Due to Quartz tiles being made from resin, they don’t require sealing for waterproofing and are therefore perfect for any bathroom. They are a suitable choice for those seeking a no quibble, no fuss tile; they are resistant to heat and stains which makes them easier to clean as well.

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7 Feng Shui steps to a harmonious home

Getting started with feng shui for your house and home can be easy when you start with the house basics and gradually move on to the more complex feng shui levels. To help you get started with good feng shui in your home, here are some helpful feng shui house steps for beginners.

Clear your clutter for good Feng Shui

Get rid of everything you do not love in your house. Clutter clearing is a time-and-energy-consuming process that will feel like therapy, but it will help you “lighten up the load,” so to speak. Do not skip this step, as it is an essential one in creating harmonious house feng shui energy.

 

Get good quality air and light

These two elements are essential for good feng shui energy (called Chi) in your home. Open the windows often, introduce feng shui air-purifying plants or use an air purifier. Allow as much natural light as possible into your home and consider using full-spectrum lights.

 

Define your energy map

Define the Bagua, or the feng shui energy map of your house, by using one of the two main feng shui methods: the classical school Bagua or the BTB grid. Once you define the Bagua, you will know which areas of your home are connected to specific areas of your life. For example, in traditional feng shui, the Southeast feng shui area of your home is connected to the flow of money energy in your life.

 

Get the basics of 5 Feng Shui elements

Get the basics of five feng shui elements in order to create balance and vibrant energy in all areas of your home. For example, if you are working on attracting more prosperity, you will introduce the feng shui elements of Wood and Water in the Southeast area of your house. If you need to improve your health, you will place lush plants representing the Wood feng shui element or pieces of wood furniture in the East area of your home.

 

Always be mindful of the quality of energy in your home

Always be mindful of the energy in your home and how its energy influences your well-being. Make a habit of paying close attention to the so-called feng shui “trinity” that is deeply connected to your health: your bedroom, your bathroom, and your kitchen. Nothing is static in the world of energy, so be wise and keep your home healthy and happy.

 

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The Government is set to take a closer look to the regulations concerning carbon monoxide alarms.

Main topics to be reviewed are:

-> if the alarms should be mandatory for all types of heating installations (including gas and oil).

-> if the installation rates for these alarms are raised by the cost of the alarm itself.

The campaign to review the regulations for carbon monoxide alarms was launched by Eddie Hughes MP and was agreed by Housing Minister Dominic Raab.

Reviewing the regulations will start from the number of carbon monoxide poisonings because, as Dominic Raab said:

“Carbon monoxide can be a silent killer and my top priority is to ensure people remain safe and protected in their own homes.”

Main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Dull headache.
  • Weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Confusion.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Loss of consciousness.

There are around 8 million alarms for carbon monoxide all across the UK, many being installed after 2010 when they became mandatory for appliances based on solid fuel. Moreover, in 2015 private rented sector landlords have been obliged to install these alarms wherever they offer accommodation that has a solid fuel installation.

Source: Press release

Government to launch review into carbon monoxide alarms

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The Tenant Fees Bill can soon be a reality for tenants in England. The Government also answered upon the HCLG Select Committee report on the draft Tenant Fees Bill.

The main changes the Tenant Fees Bill can be read here. The most important provisions in the document that are to affect tenants (and landlords) are:

  • Maximum security deposits: six weeks’ rent.
  • The upper limit for holding deposits can be of no more than one week’s rent.
  • The landlords can charge more than £50 for sharer charges only after they prove that the costs were greater than the amount mentioned.
  • Landlords will not be able to issue a Section 21 notice until they have repaid any unlawfully charged fees.
  • Letting agent transparency requirements will be included in The Consumer Rights Act 2015. This will also be applied to websites and portals that do lettings.

Moreover, the Trading Standards should help tenants to recover unlawfully charged fees via the First-tier Tribunal.

To sum up, there are only some limited extra-charges a landlord or an agent can charge the tenant with:

  • a change or early termination of a tenancy when requested by the tenant
  • utilities, communication services and Council Tax
  • payments arising from a default by the tenant such as replacing lost key

What is your opinion upon the bill? Does it help enough tenants? Are landlords and agents too restricted?

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There’s no point crying over spilt milk, or spilt wine, or anything you have spilt in fact. When you have spent a long time decorating your home, and choosing the perfect materials for curtains, carpets, furniture, and more, the last thing you want is for it to become stained.

If you’re battling a tough stain, then don’t panic. Here are some home remedies that will help get even the most stubborn marks out of soft furnishings and walls:

Baby Powder

If you have any oil based stains, then baby powder can work wonders in getting them out. Sprinkle some powder over the stain as soon as you see it, and wait for the powder to soak up the oil. Once the stain is less oily and has risen to the surface it should be much easier to wash out.

Lemon Juice

With its acidic nature, lemon juice can make a good bleaching agent and can help get stains out of any bright white materials. Simply squeeze lemon juice on the stained white fabric and leave it out in the sun for a couple of hours. Wash the item as usual, and the stain should be gone.

Vinegar

If you need your fabrics to brighten up or have tough stains that need soaking, then vinegar can come in really handy. Either put some white vinegar in with your wash, or soak tough stains caused by perfumes or deodorants before popping in your usual wash. Don’t use vinegar on delicate fabrics though, as it is quite strong.

Ironing

Wax can be quite hard to get out of fabrics, and often your tablecloth becomes the victim of a wax stain when one too many candles melt down the side of their holders. Simply place a couple of paper towels over the stain, then iron across the top of them. This will help the wax to melt and transfer onto the paper towels, leaving your tablecloth looking as good as new.

Body Lotion

Surprisingly, body lotion and moisturiser can be very good at getting stains off walls. If you have a child who loves to draw on every wall of the house with crayons, then try using body lotion to remove their artwork. Put some on a soft cloth and rub gently over the marks until they disappear. Don’t rub too hard though, as you don’t want to remove a layer of paint too.

Baking Soda

The great thing about baking soda is that is has so many uses. It can keep your fridge smelling nice, be used to whiten your grout, help remove crayon marks on the wall, and get rid of those tough tea and coffee stains in mugs. It can be made into a paste with a splash of water, or mixed into vinegar to create a cleaning spray.

WD-40

Most famous for fixing squeaky hinges, WD-40 is also a great grease busting stain remover, and can be good for getting out stains like permanent marker pen. Simply spray a small amount of WD-40 onto a cloth, then wipe over the stain. It’s best used on tiles, laminate and hardwood, and should be wiped straight off afterwards using warm water.

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Moving house can be a long and tedious process, but the day that you finally wake up and realise you’re moving into a new property can be incredibly exciting. A new house comes with new adventures, new possibilities and a new place to put down roots, but depending on your situation it can be weeks or months after buying a property before you finally get to move in.

 

Moving day can be quite complicated, and there is a lot to get done. Delays can only add to any potential stress, so it is important to make sure your move goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips to avoid any moving house delays:

 

Communication

 

You will speak to many different people while moving house, including estate agents, solicitors. surveyors, removal companies, and more. Filling out any paperwork quickly and replying to any enquiries can really speed up the process of moving.

 

Make sure you have copies of your ID, bank statements and any planning permission needed throughout the process, so you can be ready to hand anything over when needed. Keeping everyone updated throughout your move means any problems or concerns should be quickly fixed and the whole move should go smoothly.

 

Book in Advance

 

Ideally you should start arranging a removals van around four weeks before your moving day. Contact three or four companies and get a consultation with each. They will all provide you with quotes and you can decide which one works best for you.

 

Once you have that booked you can make any other arrangements you need, such as parking. If you are moving to a house that only has road-side parking, you will have to give notice to anyone it may affect, and let them know a removals van will be parking up for a few hours.

 

Avoid Exchanging and Completing on the Same Day

 

Although it may seem like an obvious option and a good thing to do, exchanging and completing on the same day can actually cause problems if you are part of a chain – it only takes one person to be unable to complete for the whole chain to break.

 

Try and leave a week or two between exchanging and completing, as this should give you enough time to resolve any potential complications that could come up. It’s good to have a bit of breathing space when moving house, as you never know what might happen.

 

Packing Preparation

 

One of the key things that will prevent delays on moving day is to have everything packed up and organised. The last thing you want is to be rushing around packing up some last minute items when you have a hundred other things to think about.

 

Start a month or so before you move, and keep everything as orderly as possible. Chuck out any clutter or take it to a charity shop, and pack a few boxes each night, carefully labelling them and wrapping anything delicate in bubble wrap. Having everything packed and ready to go will be a huge time saver when you get round to moving.

 

Arrange Child/Pet Care

 

Even though they are moving with you, children and pets can be quite distracting on moving day, and it can be quite an unsafe environment for them to be in with heavy boxes being carried back and forth to your new home.

Try and arrange for someone to look after them while you move, as this will allow you to concentrate fully on the task at hand and allow them to move into a new house afterwards with all their belongings in place. If you have older children you can find age appropriate tasks to enable them to help out with the move.

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