Real Estate

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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In 1931, two of the world’s most celebrated and influential men met in a house in Canning Town.

Despite coming from completely different worlds, Mahatma Gandhi and Charlie Chaplin were brought together by a shared understanding of the struggles of the poor and the working classes.

Now the historic meeting has been marked with a specially created garden near to the site where it took place, a since demolished house in Beckton Road that belonged to a friend of Gandhi.

The story of Gandhi and Chaplin meeting is an extraordinary and inspirational one. However, it is typical of life in Newham where people from all different backgrounds come together.

Why not come to Canning Town and see the changes that have taken place since Chaplin met Gandhi.

 

 

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cleaning is the most common issue that will cause a dispute to arise. Although less than 1% of tenancies end in dispute, of these, cleaning is mentioned in 57%.

How clean is clean?

One of the main reasons for a dispute over cleaning to arise is a miscommunication between tenants, agents and landlords about what standard of cleaning is expected at the end of the tenancy. There are many different standards of cleaning, and the difference between these standards can be very subjective.

For example, you may expect a property to be cleaned to a professional standard – that is the gold standard of cleanliness, and should show no evidence of a person having been there. For example, no smears on glass, no fingerprints on appliances, no dust on the tops of doors. Imagine someone inspecting the property in white gloves, checking for dust under sofas and on skirting boards. In comparison, a tenant may clean to a domestic standard fit to live in and generally clean – if the sofa is moved you may find some dust bunnies. This is where the miscommunication can build into a dispute.

Lay out at the beginning of the tenancy what standard of cleaning the property is presented in. You can expect the property to be returned in the same condition of cleanliness.

Communicating this to the tenants at the start and end of the tenancy will go a long way to setting expectations and avoiding a dispute over cleaning charges.

Cleaning best practices

The key to getting the tenant to meet your expectations is to be descriptive when detailing cleaning standards. You can list this in both the tenancy agreement and the inventory, and remember that cleaning is not subject to fair wear and tear. If you note that the property was cleaned to a professional standard prior to the tenancy beginning, then you can expect it to be cleaned to the same standard at the end.

When a tenant gives notice, you may wish to give them a pre-checkout checklist, making particular note of areas which are often overlooked, or are particularly subjective. For example, rather than simply noting that the tenant should ‘Ensure the kitchen is clean’ you can specifically a list where you want them to clean, and what that entails. For example:

  • Clean and degrease oven
  • Clean and degrease hob
  • Defrost and clean out fridge/freezer
  • Empty and clean kitchen bin

This is not an exhaustive list, but it should give you some examples of what you could consider including.

Cleaning disputes

If, after all your preparations, the tenants do not clean to an acceptable standard, then you will need to prepare for a dispute. Preparing for a dispute is something to be done at the start of the tenancy – as afterwards could be too late.

As part of the inventory and check-in process, don’t simply mark down what items are there – also mention the age and condition of the item, remembering to include the features of the property itself such as walls, skirting boards, doors, etc. For example, you may describe your living room as follows:

  • Freshly laundered lined curtains, blue and beige checked material. Two years old – no frays, tears or stains.
  • Steam cleaned twist carpet in pale cream colour. Three years old, slightly worn by doors but no stains, marks or other damage.
  • Painted walls and skirting boards, last refreshed in October 2016. No chips or marks, professional standard.

As you can see, this clearly lays out what state the property is in at the start of the tenancy. If at the end of the tenancy the check-out report stated that the walls were dented and the paint was chipped beyond wear and tear, you would be able to show a clear deterioration in condition.

Cleaning dispute prevention checklist

There are many things you can do to try and protect your property. The following are only suggestions and the list is not exhaustive.

  • In the tenancy agreement note the cleaning standard you expect the property to be in by the end of the tenancy.
  • In the tenancy agreement note that if the property is not cleaned to a high enough standard you can use the tenant’s deposit to cover professional cleaning costs.
  • In the inventory note the condition of all items; pictures can be useful as supporting evidence but can seldom replace a comprehensive written description.
  • During the check-in explain to tenants what is expected of them when the tenancy ends.
  • Send a pre-checkout checklist to tenants when you receive their notice.

Source: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/how-clean-is-clean-how-to-avoid-a-filthy-problem-at-the-end-of-a-tenancy/

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National Home Improvement Month starts in April, so how can property owners can add value to their homes by making improvements?

National Home Improvement Month encourages home owners to improve their homes this April. NAEA Propertymark advises that whether you are selling now or maintaining your home to sell in the future, there are many small home improvements you can address to keep your property in best shape for when the time comes to sell-up.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark, had this to say: “Faced with a difficult housing market, updating and maintaining a property is more important now than ever for homeowners. Whether you need more space but can’t afford to move, or want to put your house on the market, you should be making the most of what you’ve got. You can be on a budget or willing to spend, there are always innovative improvements that can be undertaken which will successfully increase your home’s value”.

10 top home improvement tips to increase the value of your home:

1. Mirrors

If you cannot add a skylight or build a conservatory to brighten up your home, there are simple yet effective ways of creating light through the use of a few mirrors. Hanging mirrors opposite windows tricks the eye into thinking there is another window there and maximises the impact of natural lighting. Another illusion when capturing light is to reflect it into any darker corners, to make your property look bigger and brighter.

2. A pristine and private garden

Giving your garden a makeover can go a long way. Start by tidying away any litter, mowing your lawn, removing all perennial weeds and cutting back overgrown trees and shrubs.

Once you have made the space look attractive, try and create a feeling of solitude. An open, clutter-free space is appealing but privacy is essential. Consider growing trees or adding boundary fences and walls, which can go up to two metres without needing planning permission. Another option would be to assemble a structure in the space such as a pergola. As well as creating privacy, this is a great way to separate areas of your garden for socialising and to extend the use of your garden into the colder months.

3. Opening up space

Opening up living space is becoming more and more popular, particularly for the kitchen and dining room. Combining the two into one large room creates a sociable space, great for the whole family to enjoy. Knocking through walls to create this open-plan living space is an effective way to add value to a property because a larger space is not only trendy but more useful. However, it is important to remember the practicalities with this, as many consumers still like the front room philosophy that can be used for special occasions or to be used for privacy by the adults.

4. Makeover the kitchen

An attractive, hygienic and fresh looking kitchen is essential. Start by painting the cabinets to give a fresh look and replace doors and handles if needed. Improve kitchen storage where you can; a larder for example is hugely attractive among house-hunters. Make sure there is adequate lighting as well, it’s very easy and cost effective to install under unit lighting. Finally, ensure that any floor tiles are well fitted and a colour that is easy to maintain and keep clean.

5. Get rid of busy wallpaper

With each potential house buyer having varied tastes in patterns and texture, certain wallpaper designs can be seen as overwhelming. Wallpaper can also be difficult to remove which could lead to people being put off by if they are looking for a home to move straight into. We recommend using paint and keeping colours neutral, making it a simpler job for the next homeowner and the property overall becomes more appealing.

6. Replace doors

First impressions count. The front door of your home can say a lot about the rest of the house to viewers seeing it for the first time. If you cannot afford to replace the door, make sure it looks attractive by giving it a power wash or a fresh lick of paint.

7. Converting the loft

A loft conversion is a more expensive improvement yet probably gives back the best value for money. Most lofts can be easily converted and expanding the house upwards offers homeowners an extra bedroom for growing families or a space for extra storage. Adding an extra bedroom can give huge value to your home, particularly if it includes an en-suite bathroom.  Remember to seek planning permission before undertaking this work though.

8. Be energy efficient

Fitting your home with energy efficient appliances can add value to your home by promising to knock the costs of bills. With a huge variety of new products on the market for this, it’s increasingly becoming a key feature for new homes.

9. Double glaze the windows

Noisy roads can impact the value of a property. It will keep the home warm and keep the noise out, even if it’s near a main road.

10. Install a fireplace

A fireplace can bring a lot of character to a room and creates a focal point. It’s also practical; the warmth from the fire allows you to reduce the use of your central heating which will lead to savings on your energy bills.

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/household/top-10-improvements-to-add-value-to-your-home.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-199643-Campaign+-+28%2F03%2F2017+MT 

 

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THINK OF YOUR GARDEN LIKE AN INTERIORS ‘SCHEME’

Gone are the days of neglected gardens that are only used on the sunniest of days. With space often at a premium, gardens are increasingly seen as an extension of the home. And this year, interiors trends are set to make their way outside more than ever before.

Swedish cool

Both of the major Swedish interiors trends – hygge and lagom – translate to the outdoors. Whether you want flaming fire pits and cosy blankets or favour a more minimalist, pared-back approach, the latest Scandi trends will work in your garden, too.

Natural materials


As the popularity of natural materials rise in interiors, gardeners are making them their friends, too. Less concrete, less composite materials, more timber, and more soft, free-flowing elements are the key.

Colour hit

Colour is heading out into the garden and if you think clear wooden varnishes are the only option for fences, think again. Bright block colours are a great way to create the feel of an outdoor ‘room’.

2. CREATE AN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PLOT
The environment is a hot topic and the garden is the place to put your eco-friendly credentials to the test.

Native plants


This year will see a move to planting more and more native plants that won’t disrupt the ecosystem. Shopping locally will also avoid transportation costs and is likely to be more affordable in this current economic climate.

Avoid chemicals


Natural weed killers and fertilisers will become more and more important too, to avoid the polluting effect of chemicals.

Grow wild


But it’s not just what you plant – it’s how you plant. Wilder gardens that are slightly more unkempt are great for birds and insects, plus wildflowers attract bees. Less work, more eco– bonus!

3. REAP THE HEALTH AND WELL BEING BENEFITS OF THE OUTDOORS
Green spaces are well known for their stress-busting properties and being outside regularly will make you feel more Zen. With long work hours and more time spent in offices, 2017 is set to be a year when people remember to get back to nature.

Solo pursuits


With this in mind, you might want to use your garden as a calming retreat for reading or having a post-work glass of wine. Or you may want to get active and do some yoga stretches.

Grow your own

To be truly at one with nature, why not grow your own fruit and veg? The satisfaction of producing your own food is bound to give you a boost, plus you’ll know that everything you’re growing is 100% organic. What could be better for body and mind?

4) TREAT YOUR SPACE LIKE AN EXTRA ROOM
People are beginning to want more comfort from their outside spaces, so expect a big move towards furnishing your garden as you would your interior.

Outdoor furniture

The lines between indoors and outdoors are being more and more blurred, especially as French or sliding doors often lead from an open-plan space directly out into the garden. That feeling of flow means people are demanding more from their gardens and want to make sure that they are comfortable. Large seating that resembles a three-piece suite, huge multi-function cooking stations, plus sturdy dining furniture that isn’t easily moved will all help to build a feeling of an ‘extra room’.

Light up


Garden lighting is set to become more of a feature, rather than a functional afterthought. Uplighters beneath big plants, pretty hurricane lanterns and even fairy lights will add a magical feel after dark.

5) PLAN AN EASY-CARE GARDEN
We all know what it’s like to be busy. Time is of the essence and anything that can be done to make sure that gardens aren’t a time drain will be a bonus in 2017.

Mow no more


If you hate mowing the lawn, artificial grass will be your friend. With modern production techniques, faking it is a far more natural-looking alternative than ever before. No mowing, no watering – simple! If you feel you are desperate for a real lawn to sit on, minimise the work by keeping it small and filling the rest of the space with pretty pale pebbles.

Dig free


Flower beds need a lot of attention, but you can get plenty of foliage from container grown-plants. Terracotta pots are super on-trend for 2017. A variety of plant sizes will add interest to your garden.

Robust plants


Hardy shrubs and plants are the answer for those who are tight on time. There will be a move to planting varieties that aren’t overly sensitive and that can thrive in any conditions. Sounds good to us. Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’, Alchemilla mollis and Lamprocapnos spectabilis are just a few recommended by the RHS.

 

Source: http://www.idealhome.co.uk/garden/garden-ideas/hot-garden-trends-2017-156339

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New research by the Federation of Master Builders has found that when it comes to making vital decisions regarding building work, women are twice as likely to have the final say on the style and scope of the project.

The FMB also asked female home owners if they have ever carried out a range of basic DIY tasks around the home and the results were as follows:

• Almost 80 percent have painted a room;
• 65 percent have put together flat-pack furniture;
• 58 percent have unblocked a sink;
• Over 50 percent have changed a fuse;
• 44 percent have unblocked a toilet;
• Over a quarter have cleared the guttering.

Jenny Carter, mum of one from North West London, said: “I’m happy to hire a builder for the big jobs but it would cost me a fortune if I had to pay a trades person every time I needed to change a fuse. If I’m a bit unsure, I tend to search online for “how-to” videos to help guide me through the process – these videos give people like me a bit more confidence to tackle the smaller jobs. Every family is different but in our house, when it comes to these sorts of tasks, I’m easily as handy as my other half.”

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “This research shows that any lingering gender stereotypes regarding domestic life are totally outdated. Not only do women lead on decisions regarding the style and scope of building projects, they also get stuck in themselves when hiring a builder isn’t necessary. In 21st century Britain, you’re just as likely to find a woman up a ladder clearing out the guttering or battling with flat-pack furniture, as you might be likely to find her performing some of the more traditional domestic chores.”

Berry concluded: “On a more serious note, the construction industry is facing a massive skills shortage and we’re crying out for more female builders. At present, only 2% of construction workers onsite are female and until we start to appeal to 50% of the population, we won’t be able to plug the skills gap. It is my hope that these hands-on women, many of whom will be mums, are inspiring their daughters to think differently about what is an acceptable career path for girls. There is no reason why young women can’t become the next generation of brickies and sparks and it’s our job to remind them of that.”

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/women-twice-as-likely-to-take-charge-of-building-projects.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-198646-Campaign+-+21%2F03%2F2017+FRA 

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A petition that has so far gathered 144,343 signatures and argues that making rental payments is proof of ability to meet mortgage repayments is to be considered for debate in Parliament.

The petition creator, Jamie Jack Pogson, says he wants “paying rent on time to be recognized as evidence that mortgage re-payments can be met”.

Jamie had this to say: “Since living on my own I have paid £70,000+ in rent on time yet still struggle to get a mortgage. Unless you’re getting handouts, wealthy or in receipt of inheritance it’s almost impossible.”

Recent research from Lloyds Bank found that home affordability – as measured by the ratio between average house prices and gross local earnings – across UK cities is at its worst level since 2008.

Yet buying still remains more affordable than renting in all 12 UK regions. Halifax data shows that on average, first-time buyers are making annual savings of £651 compared to those who rent.

Buying is most affordable compared to renting in London, with the typical first-time buyer paying £161 (10%) a month less than the average renter (£1,420 against £1,581) an annual saving of £1,927.

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/finance/should-rental-payments-be-proof-of-mortgage-affordability.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-198062-Campaign+-+16%2F03%2F2017+MT 

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According to the latest data from Responsible Equity Release, the first two months of 2017 have seen a 70% rise in new equity release plans compared to the same period in 2016, with 52% more homeowners releasing equity from their homes.

The average amount of equity released by homeowners has also increased, at just over £70,000 in the first two months of 2017, compared to £63,197 during the same period in 2016 – an 11% increase.

Regional figures reveal that Yorkshire homeowners have taken more than five times more equity (444%) out of their properties in 2017 so far, compared to last year. While homeowners in the East of England have released 250% more equity since the start of the year compared to the same period in 2016.

Average loan sizes have also increased the most in Yorkshire, with an average of £75,451, compared to £49,792 for the same period in 2016.

Steve Wilkie, managing director at Responsible Equity Release, commented: “The momentum from last year has continued into this year. Equity release is increasingly being seen as an important financial product for thousands of people with different needs; from pensioners wanting to supplement their retirement income, to grandparents wanting to help out their children at a time when a boost of funds can make the biggest difference.

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/finance/equity-release-momentum-continues.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-197997-Campaign+-+16%2F03%2F2017+FRA 

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When it comes to home decor, 2016 was the year of everything from woven wall hangings to Scandinavian-inspired interiors. And as the year winds down, soon enough your thoughts will most likely wander to a home refresh. So it’s worth exploring the top decorating trends that will likely be on repeat in homes across the country—and possibly in your own abode.

We checked in with three interior designers—Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, Young Huh, and Beth Diana Smith—for their 2017 decorating forecast and some easy pointers on how to make them your own. These trends are chic, inspiring, and (fortunately) don’t require a complete room overhaul.

Green
According to celebrity interior designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, who counts Kendall Jenner among his list of clients, green is “strong again.” From lime green to emerald, the hue works throughout the home—whether it’s as a wall color or a room-filling rug. If you’re not too keen on the idea of using green in large doses, Lawrence-Bullard has a suggestion: “Add really fun emerald glasses to your regular white plates and suddenly you’ve got that up-to-the minute look.”

Tropical Prints
It’s no secret that interior design takes cues from the runways, and this year, we’ve seen the likes of Marc Jacobs, Prada, and Emanuel Ungaro experiment with all things tropical. The print will continue to appear in wallpaper and designer fabrics, according to Lawrence-Bullard. But don’t worry if such in-your-face prints are out of character for you. He suggests throw pillows boasting the trendy pattern: “Always buy a plain sofa and change it up with new pillows,” Lawrence-Bullard advises. “It’s just like buying a great piece of classic clothing. You can certainly refresh it with a new bag and shoes.”

Texture
Weaving texture into an interior makes it more inviting and the idea of mixing fabrics and materials will be on the rise. “Texture is really important,” says Lawrence-Bullard. “We are seeing more and more texture in every form, from brushed brass tables to light fixtures to fabrics and wallpapers.” A quick way to test the trend: Drape a nubby wool throw over a leather chair or mix fabrics used for decorative pillows.

Marble and Brass Combinations
Young Huh, who was named one of Vogue’s five young interior designers on the rise in 2015, promises marble and brass will continue to dominate in 2017. “We’re going to see this trend in both kitchens and baths,” Huh explains. “It’s that combination of something very natural and clean, like white marble, and something industrial, hard, and a little bit glamorous with the brass.”

Muted Colors
Does the thought of bold colors anywhere in your home make you feel a tinge of anxiety? Don’t fret—it’s all about neutrals in the year ahead. “Whites, beiges, pale grays, camel, and blush pink are super on-trend,” Huh says.

Geometrics
Your goal should always be to create a home that feels curated, and an easy way to accomplish this is through pattern. “We’ll see inventive geometrics that speak to ancient cultures, whether it is African or Asian patterns, but they’ll be modernized,” Huh says. Think simple lines, geometric designs, and triangles, Huh explains.

Quirky Lighting
Think of lighting as an accessory for your home—it’s the perfect way to show off your unique design sensibility. “A quirky lighting fixture looks great in a dining room,” Huh says. “It’s a great space to go for it and do something unusual.” Also consider sprucing up your bedside lamps with something truly memorable.

Artisan-Crafted Furniture
For New Jersey–based interior designer Beth Diana Smith, the new year will include an emphasis on uniquely crafted furniture. “People will be going back to furniture that is more of an investment—furniture that is very well-made,” Smith says. She recommends antique shopping for pieces that will add character to your home and browsing sites like Chairish.

Gray
Gray was a prominent color in 2016 interiors and it will continue to reign in 2017. “We will see different tones of gray, a lot of gray and white, and gray in deeper colors,” Smith says. It’s the sort of color that complements a full spectrum of shades, from bold red to mellow ivory.

Bronze
Smith promises that 2017 will bring loads of bronze—a metal that warms up any space. “It’s a lot more classic in a sense,” she says, as it complements a myriad of decorating styles. “I like it in lighting and accessories, whether it be vases, lamps, or decorative bowls for the kitchen,” Smith says.

Source: http://www.vogue.com/article/home-decor-decorating-trends-2017 

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