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

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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 

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

Accessories

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

Fabrics

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

Artwork

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

Colour

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

Lighting

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

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

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

 

 

  So what Brexit actually means for our country?

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

 

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

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

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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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