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Selling a house or putting it up for rent will get the owner through some trouble. One thing you should consider is raising the property’s price before you make any of these real estate moves.

Depending on the budget, one can choose any of these types of easy-to-do improvements:

#1 Revive the faded colours of the walls

#2 Give the windows a bold new look

#3 Make partial updates to the kitchen…

#4 And a few tweaks to the bathroom

#5 Wipe and polish everything in sight

#6 Sanitise and deep clean carpeted areas

All the details (with tips & tricks!!!) of these low-budget steps are in this complete article on Property Division.

11 Low-end and High-cost Ideas to alter the Value of your Property

We can only guess that the second part of the article (the high-budget improvements) were made by the owners of the priciest home sold in January, though!

Priciest home sold in England and Wales in January was almost £38 million

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UK landlords face more pressure with costs rising over the last few months. Latest studies show that the market is almost at half the average in UK.

Number of homes for rent in London is 46% below the national average

The buy-to-let is one area in which landlords feel the high pressure, since the costs here have been continuously rising.

Each side of the coin is equally affected: the landlords and the tenants that are swimming in a cold market.

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Photo source: Wikimedia http://bit.ly/2EWQ2N2

Working in London and living in the countryside? Maybe you’re one of those who are willing to spend some time on the road just to enjoy the quiet landscapes of areas outside London like Windsor, Surrey Hills, Colne Valley, Epping Forest, Lullingstone Country Park, St Albans or Brentwood?

Top 7 places to escape to and find your dream home

These would be our recommendations, too. What would you suggest we add on the list?

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Photo source: CityIQ http://www.cityiq.co.uk/

The need for new residential buildings is obvious in a big city like London. However, space for new homes can be an issue, even when the Government actually decides to give funds for development.

A recent report states that in London are 18 hotspots when it comes to counting residential developments.

In terms of values, the majority are localities where new build developments are priced at under £800 per square foot most are also outside zone 1.

These hotspots range from Southall in the West of London to Tottenham Hale in the North and West Ham in the East. They all have one thing in common: their future and raise of prices depends heavily on the infrastructure updates London already happening all across town.

Report identities new build development hotspots in London

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… but don’t give up easily!

The profile of a first time buyer (FTB) is clear: around 32 and with an income of £66,000. They want a home and usually turn to mortgages to become homeowners, but still have a hard time getting what they want.

First time buyers still struggle to get on housing ladder in London

However, another advantage of a young first time buyer is that they don’t give up easily. So, despite the challenges, first time buyers seemed to get the loans they needed in January. The figures rose compared to December and November, which is a good sign…

Home loans to first time buyers in the UK increased in January

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Every buyer must have had this dilemma in their minds at one point: is it cheaper to rent or to buy?

Those in Scotland can almost be convinced that it is better to buy than to rent. It’s the statistics there for the last 9 years, time in which the cost for buying a property actually decreased.

First time buyers are better off in terms of cost than those who rent in Scotland

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Quite simply, conveyancing is the process that happens between you putting in an offer on a property and completing, in order for you to become the new legal owner of the property. It is the transferring of a property’s legal title from the old owner to the new owner.


Who does my conveyancing?

You can hire a solicitor, property lawyer or a licensed conveyancer to do your conveyancing for you.

All solicitors are qualified to undertake work of this kind, but not all are experienced in it.

It could therefore prove sensible to hire a solicitor who specialises in residential property transactions, or a dedicated licensed conveyancer who only works on cases of this kind.

You may, however, find that you have to choose from a list of conveyancers approved by your mortgage lender, or pay a fee to go elsewhere.


Making sure legal processes are followed properly during a property sale is vital otherwise the whole thing could fall through. So you need to find a solicitor you are confident will do a good job. You can search for conveyancers on the Council for Licensed Conveyancers website.


Conveyancers will either charge you a flat fee or a percentage of the value of the property. Costs will vary, but you can expect to pay between £500 – £1,500 depending on how complex the transaction is. Get a few different quotes before choosing who to use.

Try not to use a solicitor who is too busy to give your case the attention it needs. If possible tell them your preferred exchange and completion dates and ask if they can meet these.

Also avoid choosing a solicitor who is very junior or lacking in conveyancing experience. All solicitors are qualified to do conveyancing but if possible use a firm that specialises in this area.

It can also help to use a local solicitor, they will have a good knowledge of any laws or issues particular to the area. Although most of the process can be handled via phone or email, being able to drop into an office to handover paperwork or check on things can speed things up.

If you are dealing with an estate agent they will often recommend a conveyancer to you, but you don’t have to use them. You should shop around yourself to see if you can get a better deal on price or service.


What happens on completion day?

After finding a house, securing a mortgage, ensuring the legal aspects are covered and exchanging the contracts, the big day arrives, so what can you expect?

Completion day is the main event, where the purchase funds are transferred between solicitors, the keys are handed over and ownership of the property is transferred, leaving you free to move in.

Your conveyancing solicitor will aim to have this arranged by midday, checking you are happy to proceed with the transaction and ensuring the funds are available for release, allowing formal completion of the sale. They will then inform you that the sale has gone through and you can pick up the keys to your new home either from the vendor or the estate agent, formally finalising the deal.

What happens after completion?

Once you are in your new home, the conveyancing process continues as your solicitor ties up the remaining loose ends, drawing the transaction to a close.

This will involve any remaining administrative issues, such as:

Checking all deeds and documents are correctly signed and legally binding

Paying the necessary Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Applying to the Land Registry to record the transfer of ownership and mortgage (where necessary), and pay the required fees

Liaising with the Land Registry to resolve any issues raised by requisition

Checking that registration of ownership and mortgage documents are in order and names etc. are spelt correctly

Sending a copy of the title deeds to you, along with any remaining documents that are not required by the mortgage lender.

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Shared Ownership

This scheme allows you to buy a share in a property and then pay rent on the remaining part.  This means you can start of paying the mortgage that you can afford and then overtime buy a bigger share of the property when your finances allow, this process is called ‘staircasing’.


To be eligible to buy a home through Help to Buy: Shared Ownership in England you’ll need to:

Have a household income of £80,000 a year or less outside London, or £90,000 a year or less in London.

Own no other property (you cannot be a homeowner or be named on the deeds of another property).

Have no outstanding credit issues.

Properties that can be purchased through shared ownership are from Housing Associations and can either be new builds or resales of existing shared-ownership properties.  When purchasing a shared ownership property you will work with a Home Buy agent, who will manage your application.

Other shared ownership schemes

There are other schemes that offer shared routes to shared ownership and are focused on particular groups.


Key Worker Housing Eligibility:


Each housing association will have a specific allowance of properties that are reserved for key workers. Each local authority will have their own specific list of key workers and eligibility criteria but as a general rule you must be employed in a qualifying key worker profession and have a minimum of 5 years to serve before reaching retirement.


Eligible key worker job roles include:




Prison Service

Probation Service

Local Authority

Fire Fighters

Ministry of Defence (MoD)

Environmental Health Officers

Highways Agency Traffic Officers


HOLD (Home Ownership for people with Long-Term Disabilities)

This scheme helps assist people with long-term disabilities to purchase a home and live independently. As with other shared ownership schemes, you buy an initial share and then more shares as you can afford it from the Housing Association or Registered provider.  The difference, however, is that if the properties available are not suitable to accommodate your needs, you may be able to buy a property from the open market.  This requires a referral to a specialist provider and your local authority to validate the application.  It is a voluntary scheme and as a result not necessarily available throughout the UK.


OPSO – Older People’s Shared Ownership

Supporting people over 55 to home ownership, it follows the same principles as other shared ownership schemes but the properties available are exclusively for those over the age of 55. The maximum you can own however is 75% of the property and if you do so, you will not have to pay rent on the remaining 25%.

If you already have a property this will need to be sold before applying to the scheme.

Extra Care is an extension provided by some OPSO schemes and is a Sheltered Shared Ownership scheme, which provides the added benefit of onsite care. This allows residents to live independently in self-contained, modern homes with access to tailored care package and support programme.


Rent to Buy is another route to shared ownership for those who haven’t yet been able to save the 5% deposit that is required.  Housing Associations and registered providers offer homes to rent, the rents are typically about 20% less than the open market rent, giving you an opportunity to save a deposit.  You will also be given the option in the future to purchase a share of your home and staircase up as you are able to invest more in your home.


Starter Homes is a new scheme which is due to launch shortly aimed exclusively at people 23-40 looking to get on to the housing ladder.  As part of the planning conditions, developers will be required to supply specific ‘starter homes’ which will then be sold through an approved scheme, priced at least 20% below market value.  The maximum property price outside London will be £250,000 and inside London £450,000.


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You’ve found the home of your dreams, but it’s listed. Should this put you off, or is it nothing to worry about?

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

Here are five things you need to know about buying a listed property


  1. Your property will be on a national register

Listed buildings are on a national register of properties which are of architectural or historical interest. There are around 500,000 listed buildings in the UK. There are three distinct types of listing:


Grade I: This means the property is of ‘exceptional interest’. Only around 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade 1 listed.

Grade II*: This means the property is important and considered of more than special interest. Around 5.5% of listed buildings fall into this category.

Grade II: This means the building is of special interest. The clear majority of listed buildings, around 92%, fall into this category.


All buildings constructed before 1700 are listed, as are the majority of those built between 1700 and 1840. Some modern buildings are listed too if they are considered of special importance, such as the Royal Festival Hall and the BT Tower in London. You can find out if a property is listed by searching for it on the National Heritage List for England.


  1. You’ll need specialist permission to make changes

If you want to make changes to a listed property, such as building an extension or changing the internal layout, you will have to apply for listed building consent. It can be more difficult to get this consent, as conservation officers need to take the property’s historical significance into consideration. If planning permission is granted, you may need to use specialist materials or techniques so that you don’t alter the character of the property.

If you’re considering buying a listed property, you must check that any work that’s been done in the past had planning permission. If it hasn’t, then you rather than the previous owner will be responsible for putting things back to how they were.


  1. Repairs may cost more

You’ll often have to hire tradesmen with specialist skills and products to make repairs to a listed property, which can be far more expensive than using a ‘standard’ builder. Do plenty of research before buying and make sure you get a comprehensive survey, so you get an idea of the sort of work that might need doing.

  1. You may be able to get a grant for repairs to a listed property

Historic England, which is the public body that looks after England’s historic environment, occasionally offers grants to owners of historic buildings if they need repair. They are usually offered in situations where, without a grant, a project would not be able to go ahead. You can find out more about some of the grants which might be available and how to apply for them at historicengland.org.uk.



  1. You may need specialist home insurance

When taking out home insurance, you must let your insurer know if the property is listed. Depending on the type of property you are buying, you may need specialist cover, although some mainstream insurers will cover listed buildings.

Remember too that your buildings cover should be for the rebuild cost of the property and not its market value. Listed buildings often have higher rebuild costs than other properties because they may require specialist materials. This means cover can be more expensive than if you are buying a home that isn’t listed. Never scrimp on cover – if you are underinsured, this could cause serious financial problems if you need to make a claim.


No question that a listed building potentially presents more problems than a new home, but owners of listed properties say it’s the same as owning a vintage car. It may need more servicing but every time you look at it, you feel a little surge of pride and pleasure!

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