First Time Buyers

Buying a home for the first time is one of the biggest decisions you will make.

You will need to choose what mortgage company is best for you and what kind of deposit you will need to have. There are quite a few choices out there now though that can help you.

Here is a list of things you should look into:

  • How much can you borrow?

Before you jump in and start looking for your home, check your credit and speak to a mortgage adviser to find out how much you may be able to borrow and if you can afford the monthly payments. Don’t forget to put some money aside for legal fees to. Always ask your lender if they cover mortgages above a commercial property as some lender may not.

  • Decide what you’re looking for and where

Once you have either got a mortgage agreement in place or you know what you are able to borrow then you can start looking into what type of property you are looking for, how many bedrooms, is a garden important to you and how far is the transport. When looking at a area check what

  • Start house hunting

When looking for a property the first step is to look on your local estate agent’s website. You may look at quite a few places before you find the right property for you. When you see a property that you want to view, look around for any signs of dump, is the building structure sound, how old is the roof, how much storage space.

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As house prices are increasing, first time buyers are struggling to save a deposit that qualifies for a mortgage loan.  They have no choice but to rely on their Mum and Dad or family members to assist with finance and help them get on the property ladder.

New research shows that this year alone, parents are expected to lend £6.5 billion, contributing to more than 298,000 mortgages and accounting for 26% of all property transactions. Compared to 2016 this is a 30% increase.

In the past, owning your own home as a young adult wasn’t the struggle it appears to be now. There was a time when they could buy a family home for a realistic amount that was reasonable to salaries, at least in comparison to today’s prices.

The average of borrowing from the bank of mum and dad in the country stands at £21,600, with London being much higher at £29,400. Of those buyers that receive help from their family and friends, 57% receive it in the form of a gift, 18% were given it as a loan with no interest and 5% as a loan with interest. Research also found that 19% admit that their parents also help them to carry out DIY.

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An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows how efficiently a home uses energy, the cost of running a home and recommendations of how to improve the energy efficiency of the property.

As from the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating.

Improvements

So long as the minimum E rating is obtained, it is left to the landlord to choose which works need to be carried out. Below are a few examples of works that will improve the energy efficiency of your property.

  • Solid wall insulation (internal or external)
  • Pipework insulation
  • Replacement glazing
  • Roof insulation
  • Hot water cylinder insulation

Penalties

Penalties for a single offence may be cumulative, up to a maximum of £5,000. Further penalties may be awarded for non-compliance with the original penalty notice where a landlord continues to rent out a non-compliant property; however, penalties would be cumulative up to a maximum of £5,000.

For further information please see link below:

https://www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/energy-performance-certificates

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Buying your first home will be exciting, but it is important to stay grounded and focus on some important factors. Victor Michael look at the questions that first- time buyers should be asking before they purchase their first home.

Buying your first home is a very exciting time, and can also be a stressful one. Preparation is key in overcoming concerns and worries in order to make the process as painless as possible.

Victor Michael have compiled a list of questions to ask during the buying process that will hopefully help you on your way. It could mean the difference between buying your dream home or buying a disaster.

How much can I afford ? This, in itself can be a daunting task, but a task that needs to be assessed before you can look at any properties. The mortgage application is as important as the property. It is advisable to speak to a few brokers, just to ensure that you are getting the best quote to find out how much you can afford. Once you have a “ decision in principle” you can start your search for properties in your price range.

Would I be happy here long term ? When searching for your new home, don’t compromise on location just to get on the ladder. Remember that you have to live there, so make sure you explore all your options. Make a wish list of the amenities that you need close by – the way you live is key to deciding on a location.  Think about what you do when you come home from work, this can help you really determine if proximity to a gym, train station, park or good restaurants matter

Why are they selling ? While agents or sellers don’t have to answer this question it’s always good to get a good idea of the property’s history, and why the current owners have decided to move on. You might find out that the owner has work that is taking them overseas and therefore is keen to sell quickly, and so would accept a lower price.

Which survey do I need ? This is an important factor for any purchaser. This will ensure that the property is in good shape. Taking out a home buyers survey will avoid any stress later down the line – so be sure to undertake this task.

Exactly what is included in the sale. ? Ask questions ! Do not be afraid to ask. No matter how silly you think it sounds. If you see an item of furniture that sets the property off, ask if there is a possibility it could be included.

Has the property repeatedly changed hands ? Try to find out ? Speak to neighbours, shop keepers, anyone that may know. If the property has repeatedly changed hands In the last 10 years, this could be an indication that something is wrong. Be realistic, and keep an open mind.

How much is the council tax and how much are the utility bills in this area ? If you can, try to get exact amounts, talk to the seller if you need to, these costs need to be added to your overall budget. While these may seem like small considerations in comparison to the amount you will spend on the house, they are reoccurring expenses that will add to the pressure of owning your own home.

Do you have noisy neighbours ?If the seller has lodged any complaints against their neighbours they legally have to tell you if you ask – so make sure to ask this one, it could save you a lot of trouble! It may be worth visiting the area at night just as a precautionary measure.

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It turns out home buyers are really into barn doors.

When Zillow looked at design features that sell homes at the best price and with the shortest listing time, that topped the list.

Anything craftsman-style, like rectangular farmhouse sinks, also got homes off the market at a premium.

Here are the top 15 design features:

1) Outdoor kitchen

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 3.7%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 19

2) Tankless water heater

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 43

3) Backsplash

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.1%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 46

4) Granite

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.1%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 38

5) Stainless steel

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.2%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 42

6) Heated floors

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.3%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 28

7) Frameless shower

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.6%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 38

8) Pendant light

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.6%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 48

9) Exposed brick

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.9%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 36

10) Craftsman

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 5.4%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 14

11) Quartz

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 6.0%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 50

12) Subway tile

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 6.9%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 63

13) Farmhouse sink

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 7.9%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 58

14) Shaker cabinet

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 9.6%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 45

15) Barn door

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 13.4%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 57

 

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/property/15-features-that-sell-homes-faster-and-at-the-best-price-a6984086.html 

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A new survey lifts the lid on the UK property market, with Brits sharing exactly what made them buy their homes.

Wood flooring specialists Flooring Republic asked 1,000 Brits what led them to fall in love with their homes, and which factors they consider non-negotiable when buying a property – and between community appeal and room size, it seems Brits are swayed by more than an attractive price tag.

After the BBC reported that the number of first-time buyers was at its highest in a decade, this new study reveals what it takes to get Brits excited about buying a house. With 60% of the vote, a safe and friendly neighbourhood took the top spot, followed closely by the price of the property (52%).

The local community also proved to be a key selling point for 45-54 year olds – with a huge 73% citing this as a major factor in their decision-making process. In terms of what Brits love about their living space, room size came out on top – taking 38% of the vote.

At one with nature

For 31% of participants, a good-looking garden is what got them to sign on the dotted line – and half of over-65s declared this the ultimate highlight of their homes. Natural elements proved popular across the board, with a fifth of those surveyed saying natural light is what they love most about their home.

Price versus practicality

Perhaps surprisingly, just over half of all respondents believe the price of a property is the most important aspect when it comes to making an offer.

Generation Y are more price-conscious, however – with 18-24 (57%) and 25-34 year olds (69%) admitting the asking price was the thing that ultimately swayed their decision. Space proved a key concern for 37% of Brits, who said the number of rooms in a property would influence whether or not they bought it.

Aesthetic appeal

When it comes to a property’s appearance, it looks like it’s not just what’s on the inside that counts – with 16% of Brits saying they’re swayed by both exterior appeal and interior styling. For 17% of male respondents, the outward appearance of a house is a deciding factor – while 18% of women favour the property’s interior design.

11% of Brits revealed they bought their home because of high ceilings – a factor which sweetened the deal for just under a quarter of 25-34 year olds.

Smart solutions

According to 35% of all respondents, parking availability is a key issue when it comes to deciding on a suitable property – and more than half of over-65s agree. This is less of a concern for those living in the capital, though – with just 17% of Londoners put off by limited parking. Organisation addicts across Britain declared practicality a priority when buying a house – with storage space scooping 15% of the vote.

Other answers

For 14% of homeowners, accessibility is a deal-breaker – with proximity to local transport networks and amenities proving particularly important. Respondents were also invited to offer up their own answers when it came to the reason they fell in love with their home and what they consider to be the key factors when buying a house – with answers including the property’s character, affordability and a double garage.

With Brits divided over what makes the perfect home, as housing prices continuing to fluctuate, the future of the property market shows no signs of stabilising any time soon.

Mark Haskell, Ecommerce Manager of Flooring Republic said “It’s great to see just how many Brits value a welcoming neighbourhood, and it’s really interesting that most homeowners are concerned with more than the price of a property. Spacious rooms and beautiful gardens will always hold plenty of appeal for buyers – although they generally come with larger price tags.”

 

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/brits-reveal-what-made-them-fall-in-love-with-their-property.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-201394-Campaign+-+06%2F04%2F2017+

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While there has been much focus on the so-called ‘tenant tax’, agents are warned that new legislation coming into force today has been largely overlooked despite its potential significance.

It gives local authorities in England tough new powers to crack down on rogue agents and landlords.

For the first time, local housing authorities will be able to impose a civil penalty of up to £30,000 for a range of housing offences, including:

  • Failure to comply with a housing improvement or overcrowding notice;
  • Failure to have the correct licence for a property that needs a mandatory HMO, additional or selective licence; and
  • Failure to comply with the HMO management regulations.

When it comes to properties that do not have the correct licence or where management rules for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are breached, both the landlord and letting agent can be held liable.

Before imposing penalties, local authorities must have regard to government guidance, issue a notice of intent and invite representations. There is also an appeals process.

The Government has also expanded the Rent Repayment Order (RRO) provisions that enable the local authority or tenant to claim back up to 12 months’ rent.

Previously, this power was only available in relation to licensable but unlicensed properties, and tenants could not lodge a claim unless the local authority had prosecuted the landlord.

From today onwards, RROs are available as a sanction for a wider range of offences including:

  • Illegal eviction or harassment of occupiers;
  • Using violence to secure entry; and
  • Failure to comply with a housing improvement notice or prohibition order.

Tenants will now be able to submit a claim without the local authority having prosecuted the agent or landlord, and the local authorities have the power to assist them.

Unlike criminal prosecutions, any income received from civil penalties and RROs can be retained by the local authority and spent on certain housing enforcement activity.

Isobel Thomson, chief executive of NALS, said: Whilst we support local authority action to crack down on rogue agents and landlords, it is vital that councils resist the temptation to issue financial penalties for very minor infringements purely to raise income and fill their budget black hole.

“If used wisely, these powers could mark an important step forward in driving rogue operators from the market and improving consumer protection.

“With councils able to retain revenue from targeted enforcement action, the business case for introducing new bureaucratic and costly licensing schemes is weaker than ever. It is time for councils to think again and adopt a smarter approach to regulation.”

 

Source: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/new-legal-crackdown-on-letting-agents-and-landlords-comes-into-force-today/ 

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At Victor Michael we look at every possible way of ensuring that every home we are marketing has the best possible chance of being sold for the highest price in the shortest amount of time.
I read a lot of estate agency and property industry magazines and websites to stay on the ball and hear about new ideas and ways of marketing people’s homes.
An article which caught my eye last week was from America. It said how estate agents (or realtors as they’re known across the pond) were calling in Feng Shui experts in a bid to make homes sell quickly and for the best price.
For those of you who are unaware Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy based around positioning objects and buildings to maximise a positive flow of energy and, many believe, to create good luck.
Feng Shui has been around for 5,000 years, so it’s nothing new. You might think it’s all a bit New Age but some Feng Shui principles are actually just common sense.
Read these five ways Feng Shui can help sell your home and decide for yourself.
Arrange your living room so that people who walk in aren’t met with the backs of furniture. i.e. sofas.
Keep a lid on it. Yes I’m talking about your loo. Feng Shui experts believe that water is linked to money and the toilet is one place that water (money) ‘escapes’. Even if you don’t buy this theory, keep your lid closed anyway. It just looks better.
Place thriving plants or flowers in the corners of rooms. This gives the property energy and life according to Feng Shui.
Less is more. Feng Shui experts share estate agents’ beliefs when it comes to clutter. Their view is get rid of it to create a good flow of energy in every room.
Let go. This is an interesting one and I’ve seen this before. Sometimes people subconsciously don’t want their homes to sell for whatever reason. In this situation they advise sitting down and thinking about why you want or need to sell and why it’s for the best.
So what do you think? Is FS full of BS? Or can it really change people’s lives and make homes more saleable?
Thanks for reading.
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Victor Michael and our team on 0208 559 7040 or email: info@victormichael.com for honest, expert and friendly advice.

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Adding a touch of luxury to a room through carefully-placed accessories, colours and fabrics can instantly give it a show home worthy look and feel, often for a minimal budget.

Accessories

Adding metallic accessories such as a gold drinks tray or a statement mirror can make a room look stylish, yet remain functional. Complement the look with this year’s Pantone Colour of the Year, ‘Greenery’, by adding a statement plant to bring the outdoors inside, in a luxurious way.

Fabrics

Achieve that luxury hotel look by using a variety of textures and finishes – luxurious fabrics that feel great against your skin and make your bedroom a comfy but stylish haven. Add thick pile towels in your bathroom and en-suites as well as luxurious fabrics to curtains, carpets and soft furnishings.

Artwork

Create your own personal ‘wall of fame’ at home by placing your favourite family photographs into a mix of metallic and dark wooden frames and place them on a statement coloured wall. This look is sophisticated and a great talking point – particularly when paired with a feature sideboard.

Colour

Thoughtful use of colour can create a feeling of luxury and adding furniture and accessories to a room in a neutral palette will give the room a sophisticated look. This year, you may want to use on trend shades of stone, praline and green enhanced with metallics.

Lighting

Nothing says luxury more than the right lighting in a room. Consider investing in a statement pendant over your dining table to create a real focal point, and add a dimmer switch to control the mood. Lighting up the best features of your room using beautiful lamps and well-placed candles are perfect for illuminating a room’s luxurious side.

Source: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/make-your-luxury-home 

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  Victor Khatri, the Director of Victor Michael estate agents, has spoken out about the possible effects of Brexit, saying, “I don’t think the triggering of Article 50 will affect the property market directly from today. In one sense it removes the uncertainty surrounding when Britain’s withdrawal process from the EU will start, but in another way it will create economic uncertainty until we know what deals we will strike with EU and other commonwealth and non-commonwealth countries, America in particular.”

 

 

  So what Brexit actually means for our country?

  Mr Khatri continues: “Brexit will no doubt mean a turbulent two years for the London and UK market as we begin to hear what negotiations and proposed deals are being put forward for our exit out of Europe and the single market. I think we will see a continued slowdown or lethargic London market when it comes to sales volumes, and as we reported toward the end of last year, transaction volumes across London are already more than half of what they were before the 2008 crash. London has a significant part to play in businesses who trade and operate across Europe and the world, and a buoyant property market relies on the UK’s economic health. If Brexit negotiations go well this could cause further price growth as the economy grows and we see the nation’s confidence lifted, but equally, if a good deal isn’t reached then the international companies who operate here or look to relocate here might change their minds, reducing the number of residents who live in the capital and again further reducing the transaction levels, which could ultimately lead to price decreases (more supply then demand)”.

 

  It’s therefore important that you make property decisions based on your personal situation and what you want to do, rather than gambling on how the market will play out. “Right now we may experience some uncertainty, but as the negotiations progress, we will regain some much needed stability into the housing market, as people realise that the effects of Brexit are not catastrophic and go on with their lives. We’ll hopefully see transaction levels increase as a result, which are currently dangerously low and affecting price growth across the capital. He continues, “Today’s events are likely to have a much more profound effect on foreign investment however, with the weakening pound expected to fuel demand from overseas buyers and investors.” Many are also speculating that today’s events will mean that the Bank of England will be hesitant to increase their interest rates, in spite of the recent inflation rises.

  It will remain cheaper than ever to borrow and get onto the property ladder. 

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