• cropped-henry-be-229092.jpg

    cropped-henry-be-229092.jpg

  • cropped-pexels-photo-111249-1.jpg

    cropped-pexels-photo-111249-1.jpg

The number of million pound apartment sales in England and Wales has grown nearly threefold, up 196%, in the last decade, according to new research.

The rate of sales growth for apartments has far outpaced other prime market property types with sales of million pound terraces rising by 165%, followed by semi-detached properties up 154% and detached homes up 88%.

The research from Lloyds Private Banking also shows that apartments represented 22% of all million pound property sales in England and Wales in 2016 compared with 17% in 2006 and accounted for 26% of the increase of all million pound property sales between 2006 and 2016.

Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of million pound plus apartments were in London with 96% of sales and the sale number in the capital has increased 193% from 973 in 2006 to 2,853 in 2016, representing 35% of all million pound property sales in Greater London in 2016.

Source: http://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/demand-luxury-apartments-soars-parts-uk-particularly-london/?utm_source=Property+Wire+News&utm_campaign=fc980f14bb-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cb0fe1dd73-fc980f14bb-108361813&goal=0_cb0fe1dd73-fc980f14bb-108361813 

Read more

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 

Read more

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+

Read more

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/ 

Read more

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.

Read more

According to new research by Saga, 420,000 over 50’s are considering using some sort of credit such as a loan or borrowing from friends or family in order to fund their home repairs.

The onset of lighter evenings is often what prompts people to think about doing a bit of redecorating or a spring clean, but for almost half of people over 50 it is home repairs and how to pay for them that people need to focus on.

While the most common things that need fixing in the over 50s homes are gutters (14%), many are in need of more essential repairs, 1 in 9 say their roof needs repairing (11%) and the same number say their heating or electrics need to be fixed.  Furthermore, 1 in 10 say their plumbing needs some attention and 8% say their insulation needs looking at. Typically, people in their 70s are more likely to be living in a home in need of repair.

However some people are struggling to pay for these essential repairs out of their wages, savings or pension. Over 420,000 are considering using some sort of credit such as a loan or borrowing from friends or family in order to fund their repairs.

Around 150,000 people aged 50 to 59 say they will take advantage of the pension freedoms and use their lump sum to fix the essentials in and around their home, which may leave some struggling to fund their retirement.

However, one in five over 50’s say that they will not pay for the repairs that need doing.  An intrepid few will attempt to fix the repair themselves, but 300,000 over 50’s say they simply can’t afford to fix it.

Gloria Barker, head of product for Saga Personal Finance, commented: “For many people who have lived a lifetime in a property and have become very attached to their home, it is very upsetting not to be able to maintain it, particularly if it also causes them discomfort with leaky roofs and not being able to keep as warm they want to.  If people are worrying about how to pay for essential repairs it’s worthwhile exploring all their funding options as soon as possible to make sure the situation doesn’t get worse.”

Over 60% of people who use the Saga Equity Release Advice Service use some of the money they release from their home to repair or improve their property.  On average people say they use £14,000 for home improvements.

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/700000-over-50s-cannot-afford-to-fix-their-home.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-200904-Campaign+-+04%2F04%2F2017+FRA 

Read more

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 

Read more

 

  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. 

Read more

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.

 

 

Read more

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/

Read more