Real Estate

Photo source: PropertyReporter http://bit.ly/2j6Hhmt

Affordable houses may not be a strong point for London, but the city is still on the preferences list of Millennials.

Studies show that Millennials would choose the city for a couple of reasons. And, as stated in this article on Property Reporter, the top five London Millennial Hotspots are:

1. Redbridge – Best For Culture
2. Croydon – Best For Young Families
3. Newham – Best For Star Neighbourhood: East Ham
4. Barking & Dagenham – Best For First Time Buyers
5. Tower Hamlets –  Best For Hipsters, Foodies And Festival Heads

Yes, you noticed rightly! Locations with a high cost of living like Kensington and Chelsea are not on the list. This is because Millennials search for cost effective places.

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Photo source: ThisOldHouse http://bit.ly/2ynxHkj

Taking good care of your house means fixing all that needs to be fixed in time, before the problems overgrow.

However, sometimes the bad road is also paved with good intentions and we tend to exceed. Results may vary upon your house, depending on what you are trying to fix.

We found a very good article on ThisOldHouse about how very good ideas can end up being wrongly implemented and causing more damage than good.

For example:

  • brighter light bulbs can over-heat and cause fires;
  • repainting can make even more cracks in the paint;
  • trees planted too close to the pavement can cause cracks when they grow;

Consult the full list in the article and suggest some more ideas of small reparations that need, in time, some more repairing!

 

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We can all notice the good and the bad about the city we live in now. The longer we have been staying in one place, the more bad things we seem to notice: the trash is wrongly positioned, the high buildings are creating a shadow all day long over the children’s park, not enough greenery etc.

Some of these we can change and improve by ourselves, but there are some things that are unchangeable. These are usually the things that were designed or simply appeared once with the city. And the more impact they have on us, the more frustrating it is that they cannot be changed.

The continuous development will bring more cities on the world map. It is important that we learn from the current examples and make the new ones better and better.

Having this in mind, Peter Calthorpe, urban designer, started planning the cities of the future and advocating for community design. He made a list of  7 principles to build the new cities on and you can hear them all in his TED conference from April this year.

 

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Photo source: MoneyObserver http://bit.ly/2iHG8Bz

The Elizabeth Line: it’s the new, purple Tube line with the royal seal of approval.

Rightmove recently reported that asking prices for homes along the line have soared by up to a third, and they’re continuing to rise, with analysts predicting average price increases of £133,000 between now and when the line launches in 2018/19.

If you want to move or invest to take advantage of the line, here’s some of our top property hotspots…

Forest Gate

Forest Gate is located on the southern edge of Epping Forest, and neighbours Stratford and Leytonstone. It has enjoyed significant gentrification over the past few years, thanks to the Olympic Games and the opening of Westfield shopping centre, and now the anticipated arrival of Crossrail is gentrifying the district even further.

The transport links definitely appeal to potential buyers. There’s an Overground train to the City that takes 13 minutes, and when the Elizabeth line opens, locals will be able to catch a train to Tottenham Court Road in just 17 minutes.

The Zone 3 district also offers a wealth of affordable, Victorian houses, and is a haven for investors and first-time buyers.

We expect property prices to rise by 10% by the time Crossrail is complete.

Ilford

Crossrail will finally put Ilford on the Tube map! Although it was not traditionally an elegant place to live, it is certainly becoming gentrified as a result of the new transport plans. New build apartments, trendy eateries and bars are popping up in the east London borough, signalling a wave of new buyers coming into the area.

It is one of the best value spots in London. Despite values rising since the announcement of Crossrail. Ahead of the line’s completion, we forecast further price rises of 10%. It believes the area will prosper as a result, making it an ideal location to both live and invest in.

Romford

Romford is becoming an increasing popular choice for homebuyers, as many are being driven out of the capital because of rising property prices.

The Essex town offers affordable housing, a quick commute, (you can get to Liverpool Street in 20 minutes), and a wealth of trendy cafes, delis, late night bars and independent shops and boutiques.

House prices have already reached record highs in the area due to infrastructure plans, but we predict they will continue to soar until Crossrail is fully operational in 2019.

If you’re planning a move to take advantage of the line, you’ll need to move quickly, we expect the market to get extremely competitive the closer we get to the opening of the line.

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Photo source: Wikimedia http://bit.ly/2jr4fFh

Renting sometimes comes under a lot of scrutiny. Rising rents, spiralling house prices and smaller incomes have all contributed to the development of the term ‘generation rent’. Although for some, a property rental is a short-term measure and something they’d rather leave behind in favour of a mortgage. For many, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

 

No maintenance costs or repairs to fork out for

One of the main pros of renting a property is the lack of repair bills should something go wrong. Broken boilers, severe leaks and damp problems are all issues that can arise and are extremely costly to sort out. New boilers for example can cost up to £1500, while leaks and damp usually need specialist input meaning costs quickly spiral. Owning a home means you are solely responsible for fixing these issues with your own money. However, when you rent a property, your landlord is accountable for all maintenance and repair costs. If an appliance stops working or you spring a leak, you do not hold any financial responsibility to have them fixed.

 

No big deposit needed

As mortgages have become harder to get, buyers – particularly first-time buyers – are required to have at least a 95% mortgage, however more often than not, a 10% deposit is required. This can result in those buying needing anywhere between £5,000 and £40,000 towards a deposit. Bundle this on top of solicitors’ fees, mortgage arrangement fees and surveys, and it’s easy to see that buying a house can be incredibly costly. In contrast, renting will usually require a deposit equal to one or two months’ rent, making for a much more pocket-friendly alternative to buying.

 

Renters aren’t vulnerable to fluctuating prices

The housing market is can be notoriously unsteady. Negative equity is currently a worry for many, especially those wanting to sell soon. Renters on the other hand need not worry about fluctuating house prices. Rents are generally agreed on a six or twelve-month basis meaning no unexpected fluctuations.

 

It gives freedom and flexibility

Renting is ideal for those who may be working on a temporary basis or moving to a new area. It offers the flexibility to move on after a short period without any ties or worries, while giving those new to the area a convenient and cost-effective introduction to the local property market.

 

Living with friends

Another benefit of renting is that it provides more opportunities to live with friends. What’s more, the boom in flat sharing presents people with a range of opportunities to make new friends for life.

Living with a group of friends is no longer just for students – hordes of young professionals now share rental properties in the UK’s largest cities with the aim of minimising costs and maximising social opportunities.

While owning a home may be beneficial over a long period, for many renting is a better option, especially in the short-term. The choice of whether to rent or buy a property is very personal and dependent on various factors. But before making the leap into property, whether renting or buying, it’s always advisable to review your finances and make sure you can afford to live in your new home.

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We know the property market is going through an offer crisis with resolutions already coming into place like budget for new homes. The demand is high creating huge differences between the original price and the one bid by the potential buyers. And the effects do not stop here, of course.

Latest figures show there are 11 potential buyers for a property, so if you are one of them you should know that it is really hard to get the dream house at the right price.

The key factor is to make a decision fast enough and you can do that only if you know all your limits: budget, clear image of the property you need, extra benefits, acceptable minuses etc.

A study actually brought into attention 10 factors for a successful transaction for the buyer.

Study reveals keys to success in UK’s competitive property market

Which one of the factors did you use for your dream property?

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Although not concerningly, the London housing market is slowing down. The figures show it and the signs are here:

Sales to first time buyers in the UK fall to eight month low

Rental market in the UK slowing as homes to rent fall to 12 month low

Average house prices in the UK sent to remain flat in 2018, latest forecast suggests

Buy to let mortgage market in UK may never be what it was

Of course the factors that caused the housing market in London to reach this moment are not just a few. However, Property Division made a top of the 3 causes for the slowdown:

  1. Brexit
  2. Stamp duty changes
  3. Mortgage constraints

Read the entire article for the full explanations and arguments and tell us your opinion in a comment!

The top 3 reasons as to why the housing market is slowing in London

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Photo source: Geograph.org.uk http://bit.ly/2BBwZmg

Property guru Sarah Beeny is urging prospective sellers to get their houses market ready and up for sale ahead of the Christmas rush for a potential festive purchase.

Sarah Beeny property expert and presenter of popular Channel 4 television shows, including Property Ladder and Double Your House for Half the Money, says the figures don’t lie – the festive period is one of the busiest times of the year for house hunting.

With so many people having time off over the Christmas holidays, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s an upsurge in interest at this time of year. On Christmas Day in 2014, Rightmove recorded over a million house-hunters visiting the website. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense considering the amount of people that have new mobiles or tablets for Christmas presents and spend the day browsing the web. However, it’s worth noting that those searching on Christmas Day were actually serious about buying as over 10,000 people took time out from their turkey sandwiches to actually email agents on Christmas Day.

On Boxing Day it got even busier, with page views jumping to over 25 million – up 21% on 2012 – and views peaked on New Year’s Day, with over 38 million page views recorded.

Sarah Beeny says: People often think December’s a quiet time in the property market calendar and hold off selling until January, but these stats show that putting your house up for sale ahead of the festivities can pay dividends.

People who are looking to move have more time to search for properties and research the market over the festive period, so it is a great time to sell. You will get a head start on anyone not ready to make the most of the increased activity and generate mass interest in your property.

Most people think that this is a quiet time of year, but vendors who list their properties in late November and December get a significant amount of buyer interest over the festive period. People viewing properties in these months tend to be the serious ones, including people that need to buy for a particular reason, such as starting a new job in the New Year.

With an extended period of time off work and an iPad in hand, potential buyers’ search will have already started before the New Year. Presumably some buyers need a distraction from family get-togethers!

As a result, it is clear that marketing your property before Christmas can give you a real head-start, and expose your property to significant numbers of active buyers searching during the festive period.

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Would you spend just 20 minutes viewing a property that is going to be your home for many years? Some buyers do and live to regret it. Don’t remember the things you should have looked for after you have left, write a checklist of things to look at.

 

  1. Is there damp?

The main giveaway signs are a mouldy smell, flaky plaster, and watermarked walls or ceilings. It sounds obvious, but make sure you look closely near the ceiling and around the skirting boards. Another clue might be if the room has just been repainted – possibly hiding any damp.

 

  1. Is the building structurally safe?

If the house looks and feels solid and structurally sound you may not need a surveyor at all. Big cracks are what you are looking for, you should expect some hairline cracks. Look especially around where extensions join, end-of-terrace walls, and bay windows, all of which can start to fall or bow away from the rest of the house. If you see major cracks or have any doubts it might be worth getting a surveyor if only for peace of mind. If any walls look like they are seriously bowing, consider engaging a structural engineer.

 

  1. Is there enough storage?

Storage space is a valuable but often overlooked asset. Where will you keep your vacuum cleaner, towels, spare linen, and boxes of junk? Is there room for cupboards or shelves to be built in? Especially in newly built houses, storage space can be limited.

 

  1. Which way does the house face?

In winter, during a cloudy day or at night, it is difficult to tell the difference between a north and south facing house or garden, but in summer it can make the difference between a home that is full of light and warmth, and one that is frustratingly dark. Don’t be shy about taking a compass with you to the viewing, you might have one on your smart phone.

 

  1. Are the rooms big enough for your needs?

It has been known for sellers to put smaller furniture in the room and place it strategically to make the rooms look bigger.

 

  1. Have you been fooled by staging?

Cleverly placed mirrors, strategic lighting, delicious smells, cosy fires, and fresh licks of paint are all tricks sellers use to make their home more appealing. Make sure you don’t get fooled.

 

  1. Do the window frames have cracking paint? Is the double-glazing intact?

The state of the external window frames is a great indicator of the state of the house – if people look after those, they are likely to have taken great care of the rest. If you can easily push your finger into wooden window frame, they are usually rotten. If there is condensation between double-glazed window-panes it means that they are usually faulty.

 

  1. How old is the roof?

Replacing roofs is an expensive business, and newer roofs have a life expectancy of only 15-20 years, depending on the materials

Also, if the property has a flat or nearly flat roof, check out the material with which it sealed. Nowadays a membrane is used and is better than asphalt and gravel, which can leave seams and edges unsealed.

 

  1. Are there enough power points and what condition are they in?

Dodgy wiring can be dangerous, and rewiring your new home can be an expensive business. Also check out the fuse board, often an indication of the state of the wiring. Does it look old and outdated?

 

  1. Is the plumbing up to scratch?

Run the taps to check the water pressure. Ask if the pipes are insulated, and ensure they are not lead which would have to be replaced. Do the radiators actually work? How old is the boiler? If the hot water tank is situated in the roof it is probably an old one, and may have to be replaced soon.

 

  1. Is the property adequately sound-proofed?

If the sellers have the radio or television on ask for it to be turned down to ensure that you can’t hear your neighbours’ every word.

 

  1. What’s the loft like?

People often ignore the loft, but it is an important part of the house. How easy is it to access? Is there much storage space? Could it be converted into extra rooms? Is there insulation?

 

  1. What’s the area like?

Are you near a pub, bar or kebab shop that becomes rowdy in the evening?

Can you walk to shops to get a pint of milk, or do you have to drive?

Is it easy to get to public transport?

Are there noisy roads or train tracks nearby?

Are you underneath a flight path?

 

  1. Is there sufficient drainage in the area?

Check the whereabouts and levels of external drains. Are the drains accessible and are they fully functional? Keen gardeners may use lots of extra water which can cause severe structural problems for potential home improvements such as conservatories or patios. If you are concerned about insufficient drainage for a property you wish to buy, then get a structural survey.

 

And most importantly, does it feel like you could make it your home?

 

If you do like a property, arrange another viewing for a different time of day, and scout out the local area a bit more. If you can, take somebody with you who might be able to notice things you don’t.

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Are you a landlord who would prefer to be more hands off? If so then a property management service might be the right option for you and your needs.

 

Those who are looking to avoid the headaches of weekend maintenance calls and rental income/expenses management can take on this kind of service to fully manage their property investment, allowing you as a landlord to gain some extra free time and not worry about problems you will have to face with your property.

 

Here are some key advantages of a property management service.

 

Having a point of contact

Should an issue occur at your property, like an object breaking, travelling to the property to inspect it can become an inconvenience, especially if it’s in another town or city. A property management service can deal with these issues for you, at all hours of the day and arrange for its repair or replacement. The property manager is their main point of contact.

 

Tenant screening management

Due to them reviewing hundreds of applications, property managers can use their keen eye to select the best of the bunch; they are able to make note of any potential red flags when reviewing tenants’ paperwork. This greatly improves your chances of securing a good tenant.

 

Collecting rent

Regular collections of rent ensures on time rental payments. If tenants are failing to pay their rent on time, the property manager should know the correct steps to take to address the situation, including the issue of an eviction notice if deemed necessary.

 

Limiting tenant changes

A quality property management service will work tireless to keep their tenants happy, and know how important it is to do so. They know the appropriate steps to take with any situation and do so swiftly. If a tenant is happy with their point of contact and the service they provide, they are less likely to move elsewhere and may be open to reasonable rent increases as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Peace of mind

Although property investment is a great for monthly cash flow and long-term wealth, daily management isn’t suited to every landlord. By letting someone else take on the management of your rental property, you’ll encounter fewer daily issues and complications to deal with, as well as gain a greater peace of mind. If you’re looking for more time and less stress, a property management service might be for you.

 

Ensure you take enough time to research different agencies and what they have to offer. It is a big decision to make, as not every property management service will offer the same type of service.

 

Victor Michael’s Property Management Service is ideal for both experienced landlords and those just starting out. Our vast local knowledge allows us to let your property swiftly as well as assist you in securing you the best rental income.

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