The stamp duty holiday deadline ended on 30 June but buyers have until 30 September to take advantage of the lower stamp duty holiday threshold of £250,000. Landlords will be able to save up to £2,500 although they still have to pay the 3% stamp duty surcharge for owning more than one property.
Thinking About a Mortgage? Here’s What You Must Know!
“The mortgage market is in continuous move and it can affect you as well. ”
If you’re one of those shopping for a house soon and you are considering a mortgage, you should carefully analyse a couple of factors before making a decision. The location, the time you are going to spend in your new home (if it is temporary or, hopefully, for the rest of your life), the purpose of the investment (for your own living or if it is a buy to let), and other life circumstances should be considered when choosing a type of mortgage.
However, even with all these cleared up, there is still one more factor that might influence your decision. The mortgage market is in continuous move and it can affect you as well.
The analysis after the first quarter of 2017 proves that some types of mortgages are increasing, while other products for loans are remaining unchanged. For example, the number of contracted mortgages rose in the first three months. These are bank products offered for self-employed people, people with complex incomes or other underserved segments of the buyers’ market. Looking closely upon the offer of bank products, you may see that banks will speculate this moment and will come with new and improved offers. You will just have to pick the most advantageous for you.
The mortgage market also seems to be improving since the number of completed applications for first time buyers is rising. 67% of first time mortgage applications were completed in the first quarter of 2017, up substantially from 48% in the same period of 2016. Intermediaries have eased up the applications because of the struggle to obtain a mortgage that was intensely publicised last year.
And one of the most important news that the mortgage market received at the beginning of this month is that the lending rates reached their lowest point. The figures from the Bank of England showed that this year’s borrowers received the lowest mortgage rates ever.
These effects are sometimes connected and influence one another, but paying enough attention to the movements of the market might pay off eventually.
What to look out for when buying a home?
Buying a home for the first time is one of the biggest decisions you will make.
You will need to choose what mortgage company is best for you and what kind of deposit you will need to have. There are quite a few choices out there now though that can help you.
Here is a list of things you should look into:
- How much can you borrow?
Before you jump in and start looking for your home, check your credit and speak to a mortgage adviser to find out how much you may be able to borrow and if you can afford the monthly payments. Don’t forget to put some money aside for legal fees to. Always ask your lender if they cover mortgages above a commercial property as some lender may not.
- Decide what you’re looking for and where
Once you have either got a mortgage agreement in place or you know what you are able to borrow then you can start looking into what type of property you are looking for, how many bedrooms, is a garden important to you and how far is the transport. When looking at a area check what
- Start house hunting
When looking for a property the first step is to look on your local estate agent’s website. You may look at quite a few places before you find the right property for you. When you see a property that you want to view, look around for any signs of dump, is the building structure sound, how old is the roof, how much storage space.
Top tips for stress-free house moving
As if there isn’t enough stress involved in buying and selling a property, once the purchase is agreed it’s far from over.
Here is some top tips to ensure your move goes as stress-free as possible:
1. If you’re renting, you’re in a strong position. Keep the rental property for an overlapping week (or as long as you need/can afford) to make the process deliciously smooth.
2. There’s an idea that moving on a Friday is a good idea, but we think Tuesday is the best day, especially if you have young children. Take Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off work, giving you Saturday, Sunday and Monday to get ready; move on Tuesday; then Wednesday to straighten things up while the children are at school. The weekend’s not far away for a final push. The good news is that removal firms generally charge less for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday move.
3. Spend several months pre-move having your children’s friends to stay, so you can call in all sleepover favours over your moving period. Farm out children, pets, or any other member of your family who won’t be a positive asset to the process.
4. Don’t even think about packing the contents of your house yourself. Look at the removal costs as part of the big picture and get the pros to do as much as possible. (You will of course already have de-cluttered and dispensed with anything that, in the words of William Morris, ‘you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’).
5. If you find you are moving a box that hasn’t been opened since your last move – now is the time to get rid of it!
6. Use your pre-move time productively by obsessively labelling boxes with their contents AND which room the box should go into on arrival in its new home. Use as much colour coding, labelling, post-it noting and organisational brilliance as you can muster.
7. If you’re downsizing, build in as much time as possible between exchange and completion to give you adequate opportunity to dispense with the possessions you will no longer have space for.
8. Not all removal companies are the same (or charge the same). Personal recommendation is generally best, but social media is extremely helpful for finding the best suppliers of this kind of service. Get quotes from, and meet, three companies before you make a final choice.
9. It’s better to find a removal company that is local to your new home than to use one in your existing area. You should be able to advise them about local access and parking issues at your existing home, and they will have a good understanding of any problems in your new area.
10. If you’re moving out of London, bear in mind that London removal companies charge like angry rhinos as soon as they see a postcode outside the M25. And if you’re moving down the road, don’t be tempted to do it yourself – it’s no easier to move 300 metres than 300 miles, so grit your teeth and get over it!
11. Check and double check access. Several smaller vans are more flexible than one big one, but it will cost more. If you’re relying on on-road parking space for the removal van, speak nicely to your new neighbours before putting some cones out.
12. Take a picture of the metres at your old home as you leave the premises, and the new ones as you cross the threshold. That way, arguments with utility companies are easy to resolve.
Finally, stay calm, and try to see the funny side if things don’t go according to plan. The chances are you will be gaining anecdotal entertainment on which you will be able to dine out.”
Cheap isn’t always cheerful – Read the small print
‘Cheap’ insurance can quickly become expensive if something goes wrong. Always read the small print.
Specialist landlord insurance is not a legal requirement, but if you don’t have it, you could find yourself out of pocket if you are unfortunate enough to have your property occupied by squatters, vandalised or worse still damaged by fire or flood. If you rent out property and have purchased a standard homeowners buildings and contents insurance, you will not have cover for extended vacant periods greater than 30 days or if a tenant is injured on your property and claims against you. Tenants living in a property generally pose a greater risk than the owner living there, so it is vital to take out a specific landlord policy, shifting the risk to your insurer rather than taking on that risk yourself.
Having made the decision to purchase landlord insurance, what comes next?
It is extremely tempting to use a comparison site to get a speedy quotation and find the cheapest option available. This is obviously an easy way to search for a policy and it will give you a benchmark for price, but there is usually a reason for the quote being so cheap.
Dispelling the myth that cheaper is better
It is always advisable to choose a quality policy that offers extensive cover and peace of mind. The insurers behind NLA Property Insurance have been carefully vetted to ensure that the product, service and claims service is ‘best of class’ and provides the widest cover available at the most competitive prices for landlords and buy-to-let investors. Unlike comparison sites, there is help at hand to make sure that you understand the small print and purchase an insurance product that will work for you when you need it the most.
In the field of landlord insurance, the menu of ‘extras’ can be extensive. Some of the bigger, well-known providers may provide what appears to be a cheap quote at the outset, but once you start adding on the ‘optional extras’, additional premiums will apply – pushing up the overall cost of the insurance.
Take a big name like Direct Line: purchasing cover for malicious damage, or even theft by tenants/guests will increase your premium substantially, but it is covered as standard under the NLA Property Insurance’s Superior policy. If your rental property is deliberately trashed, then repairs could run into the thousands. You may have taken a deposit from the tenant but findings provided by mydeposits shows that even a deposit equivalent to six weeks rent is often not enough to cover the replacement costs.
A closer examination of Direct Line’s landlord insurance reveals there are several aspects of their policy which are either inferior to those offered by NLA Property Insurance, or not covered at all without additional premiums. For example, the NLA policy will insure an unoccupied property for 90 days compared with Direct Line’s 60 days. Our public liability cover will pay out up to £5M in the event of death of bodily injury, compared with Direct Line’s £2M – a large difference especially as liability claims have been known to cost several millions and increasing with the new compensation laws that have been recently introduced.
Whether you have a single property or a portfolio of properties, the Superior policy offering from NLA Property Insurance offers highly competitive premiums (including a 15% discount for NLA Full Members) and includes many ‘extras’ such as accidental damage, alternative accommodation or loss of rent as standard.
As a landlord, you will be looking to minimise risk and maximise peace of mind. Remember that home insurance isn’t designed for rental properties – you need specialist insurance for landlords. Choosing a cheap quote from so called big names may seem like a low risk option but don’t forget to check what is included in the price.
Demand for luxury apartments soars in parts of UK, particularly London
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.
15 features that sell homes faster and at the best price
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
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.1%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 46
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
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 5.4%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 14
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
Feng Shui your way to a better property sale
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: firstname.lastname@example.org for honest, expert and friendly advice.
Should rental payments be proof of mortgage affordability?
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.
FTBs storm the property ladder in February
The latest research from Connells Survey & Valuation shows that, during February, first-time-buyer activity soared to a market share of 36% – an 8% rise against February 2016.
The near zero base rate has ensured that mortgages remain more affordable than ever – with gross lending at its highest level since 2008.
First-time buyers have seized the opportunity to get on the property ladder. This group now accounts for a third of activity in the property market during February (36%) – the highest proportion of first-time buyers since July 2011 and the highest February since 2010.
John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey & Valuation, said: “Continued affordable mortgages have provided first-time buyers with an ideal opportunity to take their first step onto the ladder in February. Lending to aspiring homeowners continues to rise, while the base rate remains so low. For those with enough savings for a deposit, now is a great time to buy. Many are taking advantage of the opportunities on offer.”
John said: “The stamp duty surcharge has succeeded in helping first-time buyers at the expense of landlords. But this may well be temporary. Less competition for today’s first-time buyers comes at the expense of tomorrow’s. Most people rent as they save for a deposit, but the steady investment into the rental market is running dry. With limited new homes being built for the PRS, rents will soon start to rise. This will devour tenants’ disposable income which would otherwise have been saved for a deposit. The problem will be exacerbated next month as mortgage tax relief is removed, forcing more landlords to exit the market or ramp up rents.
In the Housing white paper, the Government announced plans to boost build-to-rent and institutional landlords, but it will be years before anyone can move into the accompanying new homes. Rents remained relatively stable following the influx of investment before the stamp duty surcharge but tenants could soon feel the full force of recently announced Government policies.”
However, the increase does not mean the Government has succeeded in boosting the prospects of first-time buyers long-term, says Connells Survey & Valuation. The surge from 28 per cent last February to 36 per cent this February is only marginally higher than the 10 year average. Over the course of the last decade first-time buyers have been responsible, on average, for 35 per cent of the market. And the 36 per cent of valuations that first-time buyers represented in February 2017 pales into insignificance compared to the 41 per cent peak in February 2010.
John continues: “The rapid growth in first-time buyer activity is a recovery from a lower position, rather than a substantial improvement in market conditions. It’s important to not just look at the snapshot numbers but take into account the long-term trends. It’s still incredibly difficult to get on the property ladder. Most aspiring home owners will tell you about the Herculean challenges they face to save for a deposit. Despite all the Help to Buy programmes, first-time buyer activity is only 1 per cent higher than it has been, on average, over the last decade.
We may be in the eye of the storm in Britain’s housing market – a brief period of calm before the turbulence begins again. The base rate can’t stay on the floor forever. With Brexit approaching, economic conditions may get tougher. First-time buyers may need to board the ladder now before it’s hoisted up again.”